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Natalie McKinley
Posted: April 12, 2019 11:00 pm

SCW Valued Member

Group: Members
Posts: 65
Member No.: 229
Joined: July 21, 2014

It is around 8 am on Saturday 1st December 2018, and Lowri Moss is stood in her hotel bathroom in Cardiff, with her hands on the rim of the sink, looking at herself in the mirror. For someone who has had barely five hours sleep, on the back of consuming a not considerable amount of alcohol, Lowri does not look too bad, and although she feels a bit worse for wear, thankfully for her, she is not hungover.

Last night had definitely been a good one. It had included a stop off at Caroline Street - referred to colloquially by locals as Chippy Lane, due to the number of fast food restaurants along the street - before finishing up at Live Lounge, therefore fulfilling the two requirements for any good night out in Cardiff. Together with her boyfriend, Neal Durden, Lowri had left Live Lounge shortly after 2 am. She would have liked to have remained there until it closed, at 4 am, but she also wanted to get back to their hotel, to attempt to get some semblance of a good night’s sleep, especially knowing that they would have to check out by 11 o’clock.

Lowri runs a tap and splashes some water on her face. After drying herself with a towel, and then pouring herself a glass of water, Lowri switches off the bathroom light, as she makes her way back towards the bed. She sits down gently on her side of the bed, being careful to avoid disturbing Neal, who is still asleep. She then gulps down some water, before placing the glass on a nightstand beside the bed.

Last night had actually been a good one for Lowri before the first drop of alcohol had even passed her lips. In fact, it had been better than simply good - it had been one of the best nights of her life so far. And part of the reason for that can be seen on the nightstand, next to the glass of water. Ten or so hours ago, Lowri had been in the main event of a show in the Welsh capital, at the Motorpoint Arena, not at all that far from where she is now. And in that main event, in front of a sold-out crowd that included plenty of her family and her friends, she had won the HKW North American Championship.

The memories of the show are of course still fresh in Lowri’s mind, and as she looks proudly at the championship belt, with a broad smile on her face, the happiness that she feels is enough to dull any headache. It is a title that she had been chasing for nearly six months. Her first shot at it, back in June, had ended in defeat, with Lowri’s cause not having being helped by a longtime rival of hers sticking their nose in where it did not belong. The following month she was part of a fatal five-way for the title, and although it did change hands on that occasion, it was not Lowri that left with the belt, as she instead found herself in the position of being unable to break up the pin in time, while someone else won the match and the championship. Two months later, she had another opportunity to win the title, this time in a four-way elimination match, and after Lowri had eliminated two of her three opponents, it came down to her and the defending champion. However, just when it appeared that she was set to win, Lowri was struck in the face with a baseball bat by the former champion, costing her the match, and once more dashing her hopes of claiming the title.

In retrospect, perhaps it was fate that she had been forced to wait until last night to become the North American Champion. Winning the title would have been a memorable moment for Lowri wherever it had occurred, but for her to win it in her native land, in front of her family and her friends, that had made it extra special. And as she lies back down next to Neal to try to get some more sleep, still with a smile on her face and still staring at the championship belt, there is no doubt in Lowri’s mind that what happened last night is something that will stay with her for the rest of her life.

A few hours later, and Lowri is now sat in a cafe, somewhere else in Cardiff city centre, gorging herself on a fried breakfast. Having checked out of the hotel, she has a trolley case with her, which is next to the table, but her other half is conspicuous by his absence. However, Lowri is not sat alone for much longer, as she is approached by a man who was a recent inductee into the SCW Hall of Fame: Simon Jones. He smiles pleasantly at Lowri, as he greets her.

Simon: Good morning, champ.

She responds in kind with a smile of her own.

Lowri: Good morning. How are you?

Simon: I’m alright, thanks.

He pulls out a chair, taking a seat opposite Lowri.

Simon: How are you feeling after last night? Where did you go to celebrate?

Lowri: I’m not hungover, if that’s what you’re getting at.

Lowri takes a sip from a cup of coffee, as Simon gives her a wry smile, not entirely convinced by her statement.

Lowri: We only went to a couple of places: Tiny Rebel first, then Live Lounge.

Simon chuckles.

Simon: Of course.

Although originally from Birmingham, having been a resident of Cardiff for a number of years now, he too has spent many a Friday or Saturday night in Live Lounge.

Simon: And what time did you stay out until?

Lowri: Just after two.

While Lowri cuts off a piece of egg white, Simon scans the cafe, as he looks expectantly for someone, but is unable to spot them.

Simon: Neal not with you?

Lowri swallows the egg white, before replying.

Lowri: No, he has gone to see his family. I offered to go with him, but he told me it was something he wanted to do on his own. Hence why I’m here, instead.

Simon: Didn’t he see them last night - weren’t they there at the show?

Lowri shakes her head.

Lowri: His parents aren’t exactly supportive of his chosen career. They’ve never been to a show to see him wrestle live, so it isn’t exactly surprising that they wouldn’t go to a show to watch his girlfriend wrestle.

Simon: Fair enough.

As Lowri cuts off part of a sausage, a waitress appears at the table, looking in Simon’s direction.

Waitress: Can I get you anything?

He looks up at the waitress.

Simon: Could I just have a cup of tea, please?

Waitress: Sure.

Simon: Thanks.

The waitress walks off to prepare a cup of tea for Simon, and Lowri finishes ingesting the piece of sausage, just in time for him to ask her another question.

Simon: So, has it sunk in yet? What you accomplished last night, I mean.

Lowri: Yeah, actually, I think it has.

Lowri’s face bears that same broad smile from earlier, as she again recalls the previous night’s events.

Simon: You looked a bit shocked when the referee handed you the belt.

Lowri: Well, I think that was it sinking it - you know, the realisation of what I had just done. I had been chasing that championship for however many months, and I finally got to get my hands on it - it was finally mine.

The waitress reappears, carrying a mug.

Waitress: Here you are.

She places the cup of tea on the table, together with a milk jigger, a sugar sachet, and a plastic stirrer.

Simon: Thank you.

Waitress: You’re welcome.

She then goes to tend to other customers, and Simon carries on his and Lowri’s conversation, as he pours the milk into his tea.

Simon: Where does winning the North American title rank amongst everything that you’ve achieved this year?

Lowri: It’s definitely near the top.

Simon: How does it compare to winning the World Cup?

Lowri puts down her cutlery, and while she takes a second or two to consider his question, Simon pours the sugar into his drink, before then stirring it.

Lowri: I don’t know. Those are probably the top two.

As Lowri pauses to think about it further, Simon has a sip of his tea.

Lowri: The World Cup was really special, but last night might’ve topped it. Anyone who knows me knows how proud I am to represent Wales, and winning the World Cup for my country was the pinnacle of that, but… the finals of the World Cup were in Puerto Rico, which is a beautiful place and all, but…

Simon interjects.

Simon: But it’s not your homeland?

Lowri: Right.

They each consume some of their respective hot drinks, before Lowri continues.

Lowri: Winning the World Cup was one thing, but winning a title here in Cardiff, in front of my family, my friends, and all of those fans, that was something else. And the noise after I won - that was breathtaking.

Simon nods his head in agreement.

Simon: Yeah, I think it must’ve been one of the loudest reactions I’ve heard from any crowd in all of the years that I’ve been involved in wrestling.

Lowri raises an eyebrow.

Lowri: Was it louder than any reaction you ever received?

Now Simon is the one who pauses for thought. He then gives another nod.

Simon: I would probably say so.

Lowri: Did you ever get to wrestle in Birmingham during your career?

Simon: Yes, once, seventeen years ago. It was early on in my career, one of my very first matches, when not many people would’ve been familiar with me, so the reception I got was nothing like the one you received last night. In fact, if I hadn’t been announced as being from Birmingham, I probably would’ve gotten little more than a golf clap from the crowd.

Lowri: I seem to remember you getting a pretty good welcome when you were the guest ring announcer for the main event of that one show.

“That one show” being Inception, back in January of 2015.

Simon: I did, but it still wasn’t anywhere near the level of the reaction that you got.

Lowri picks her knife and fork back up, and as she eats another piece of sausage, Simon drinks some more of his tea.

Simon: I bet your parents were so proud of you last night.

Lowri: Yeah, they…

She suddenly stops in mid-sentence.

Lowri: Did you see me going around ringside after the match?

Simon: When you were slapping hands with all the fans in the front row, and taking pictures with anyone who wanted a selfie with you? Yeah, I saw that. I didn’t have anywhere that I needed to be in a hurry, so I stayed until you disappeared backstage, savouring the moment.

Lowri: Did you see me when I was crying then?

Simon shakes his head.

Simon: No. Why? What happened?

Lowri: Nothing bad.

It is Lowri’s turn to let out a chuckle.

Lowri: As I went around ringside, eventually I made it to where my family was, and the last two people that I saw were my parents. My Dad was first, and he gave me a big hug, congratulated me on my win and told me he was proud of me. And then I came to my Mam. And she was in tears. And seeing her crying set me off as well.

Lowri pauses to take a breath.

Lowri: We hugged, crying over one another, and through the tears, she told me how proud she was of me.

She takes another breath, trying to prevent herself from getting over emotional right there in the cafe.

Lowri: It’s the first time they’ve gotten to see me win something live, rather than watching it from a distance, and it meant so much to me to have them there last night. My relationship with my parents is pretty much the antithesis of Neal’s relationship with his parents. They’ve always been so supportive of me, and I wouldn’t be where I am without them.

Simon: I know what you mean. My parents were the same, even if at first they weren’t too impressed when I decided to try my hand at wrestling.

As Lowri drinks most of what remains of her cup of coffee, Simon thinks about something that brings a smirk to his face - which does not go unnoticed by Lowri.

Lowri: What are you smirking at?

Simon: I was just thinking about a conversation I had with you in June or July of last year, when you were still yet to win the first title of your career, and you had just suffered some more disappointment, in your attempts to end that wait.

Lowri: That would’ve been after that seven person ladder match I was in, the one that ended with me being knocked off the ladder and crashing through two tables - a loss that probably hurt me even more emotionally than it did physically.

There is a slight sigh from Lowri, after recalling what is not a particularly pleasant memory for her.

Simon: Right. I had told you previously that you’re a more talented wrestler than I was, but by that stage, with the state of mind that you were in, I think you were finding it harder and harder to believe. I think I also told you that you were too talented a wrestler to have to wait too much longer to win the first championship of your career, and well… look at you now! In the past ten months you’ve won, what - half a dozen titles, plus two tournaments?

Lowri: Three tournaments.

Simon: I stand corrected.

Simon smiles wryly.

Simon: Seriously though, Lowri, there can’t be many people in this sport who are having a better year than you. And at the rate you’re going, it won’t be too long before you eclipse what I achieved during my career.

Lowri: Maybe I will in terms of total number of titles won, but as far as world titles are concerned, you’ll still have me beat for a while yet.

Simon: In the immediate future, perhaps, but I’m sure that in the years to come, there’ll be plenty of world titles with your name on them.

Lowri shrugs nonchalantly, not wanting to take anything for granted.

Simon: You’re gifted, Lowri. You’re already a remarkable wrestler, and you’re only going to get better.

Now she grins at the praise from Simon.

Lowri: Thanks, Simon.

Simon: I mean it. I’m really pleased for you, no one can honestly say that you haven’t earned all of this success you’ve had, and I’m glad that I was able to be there last night to see your latest big win up close.

The two exchange smiles, before Simon drinks some more of his tea, and Lowri eats some more of the little that is left of her breakfast, following which, their conversation then moves on to other, non-wrestling matters.

A camera finds Lowri inside the living room of the apartment in Orlando that she shares with Neal Durden. Dressed in a pair of jeans and a replica Wales rugby union jersey, she is sat on a sofa, leaning towards the camera, and she starts by offering her usual greeting.

Lowri: Hey, what’s occurring?

With a smile on her face, she then sits up straight.

Lowri: After shows in Dublin, Belfast and Edinburgh, it’s now only a matter of days until SCW’s tour of the British Isles stops off in Cardiff, which means that’s it’s also now only a matter of days until I’m going to be competing inside the six-sided ring, for the first time in fifteen months. And in the main event, no less.

Her smile widens slightly, as she continues.

Lowri: Yes, that announcement at the end of last Sunday’s show caught me by surprise a bit. I’ll admit I had hoped that my match would be in a prominent position on the card, but I would’ve settled for being in the opening match of the night, if it meant me getting to be wrestle on a show in my home country. I certainly didn’t expect to be in the main event though, seeing as I’m not even a full-time member of the SCW roster, so now not only do I need to thank Mark Ward and Christian Underwood for inviting me to be part of the show, I also need to thank them for giving me the honour of headlining it.

She does something resembling a bow, in an attempt to show her gratitude to the two SCW owners.

Lowri: I’m sure they’re both aware that there’ll be a number of people in the crowd on Sunday who aren’t hardcore SCW fans, some of whom might simply be there to watch yours truly, and I guess that would’ve been a factor in their decision. It takes two people to make a match though - well, a minimum of two - and the fact that my opponent on Sunday is an SCW Hall of Famer probably also contributed to Mr Ward and Mr Underwood deciding to have the match be the show’s main event, so perhaps I should be thanking Mercedes as well.

A smirk crosses her face.

Lowri: When I was originally offered the chance to be involved in this Sunday’s show, I had no idea who my opponent would be, whether someone would be selected for me, or whether I would be asked to handpick who I wanted to face. For all I knew, the plan could’ve just been to find a rookie from somewhere local to be my opponent, with the expectation that I would make short work of them, and while that would’ve been better than nothing, it might not have been the most competitive or most entertaining of matches for the fans. I’m more than satisfied with the way that things have worked out though.

She nods, before quickly continuing.

Lowri: Mercedes Vargas is a more than ideal opponent for me to be facing in this match. With the exception of Jessie Salco, and possibly Amy Santino, I don’t think there’s anyone who has been a member of the SCW roster longer than Mercedes has, so I think it’s fitting that she’s the one I’ll be in the six-sided ring with on Sunday, in Cardiff. Mercedes has been part of SCW for so long that when she first arrived, I hadn’t even started university yet, let alone started training to be a wrestler; when she had her first match in an SCW ring, it would be another three and a quarter years before I would have my first match in any ring. I think she has been wrestling for about four times as long as I have, but it’s not uncommon for me to be in the ring with opponents who are more experienced than I am, some of them considerably more experienced, and despite that, more often than not, I’m the one who gets their hand raised in victory at the end of the match; I’m planning on having that be one of the final sights people see during Climax Control, this Sunday.

Lowri lifts up one of her arms, as if to give a preview of that.

Lowri: Not only is Mercedes one of the longest serving members of the SCW roster, I believe I’m right in saying that she’s also the most decorated wrestler in SCW history. Now, obviously the more time someone spends in a promotion, the more chances they’re going to have to become a champion, but not everyone is able to take advantage of those opportunities when they come their way - I think there’s probably a greater chance of me becoming the World Bombshell Champion than there is of Jessie Salco ever winning that title. Mercedes though… she has made the most of a large percentage of the opportunities that she has had, which has resulted in her holding more gold than anyone else in SCW’s history, and ultimately, it’s what got her an induction into the Hall of Fame.

She then runs a hand through her hair.

Lowri: As I mentioned two weeks ago during Climax Control, the last time I was in the six-sided ring, I had a chance of my own to become a champion in SCW. It wasn’t to be though, as Mackenzie Page and Charlotte Elliot defeated me and Natalie McKinley, to leave Full Circle with the bombshell tag titles still in their possession. At the time of that match, I had yet to win a championship in any promotion, and while I would’ve liked to have won those tag titles, I wasn’t too disappointed afterwards following the loss, mainly because I believed that Full Circle would be SCW’s last ever show, so if Natalie and I had won the titles, we never would’ve gotten to defend them anyway.

She gives an indifferent shrug, before moving on.

Lowri: Of course, rather than shutting down operations permanently, SCW merely lay dormant for a few months, and while I’ve only made a handful of appearances in SCW in the past, I’m pleased that Full Circle turned out to just be the start of a short hiatus and that it wasn’t actually SCW’s final show. Everyone that’s part of SCW now will have their own reasons for being glad that its doors were reopened - in my case, it’s that if SCW had remained closed, I wouldn’t have this rare opportunity on Sunday evening to wrestle in my home country. This match with Mercedes is going to bring my number of matches in the six-sided ring to a total of five, and although this one is going to be especially noteworthy, for obvious reasons, it still probably won’t outrank my first ever match in SCW in terms of significance.

There is a shake of the head from Lowri.

Lowri: When I set foot inside an SCW ring for the first time, two and a half years ago, I was a virtual unknown. I only had a couple of matches under my belt, and it was my first time wrestling in the US, but more importantly, it was my first ever singles match. You see, for the first four months of my career, I wrestled almost exclusively in tag team matches - and I was on the winning side in nearly all of them. However, that match in Arizona - my debut in SCW - it showed that I could be successful on my own, as well as part of a tag team. It might not have been pretty at times - as was always likely to be the case, given that my opponent that night was Twisted Sister - but I was able to get the job done, and that was all that really mattered; not only did I win my first match in SCW, I also won my first match as a singles wrestler.

Lowri takes a breath.

Lowri: Looking back to that match, it’s kind of amazing to see my development as a wrestler since then. Last Sunday, Mercedes tried to claim that beating me will be the easiest win of her SCW career, and while I don’t think she genuinely believes that, if we had been opponents two and a half years ago, her statement might actually have been true. Now though, I’m going to confidently say that Mercedes is going to be in one of the toughest one-on-one matches that she has had in a long time. For the people who only watch SCW, and who haven’t seen me perform elsewhere, I’m looking forward to showing them how much I’ve improved since my only singles previous match in SCW. Comparing me now to the me of two and a half years ago is like night and day, I’ve come on leaps and bounds since then - as Mercedes will soon find out, to her cost.

Following the briefest of pauses, she continues.

Lowri: Even in the fifteen months since Full Circle, I’ve made big strides. Five weeks after Natalie and I failed to become tag champs, I finally won the first title of my career, and since then I’ve gone on to win several more. I may not yet have accumulated quite as many accolades as Mercedes has, but the past year or so has exceeded all my expectations, as I’ve managed to win multiple titles and multiple tournaments, both on my own and as part of a team. And now, as my reputation continues to grow, I’m returning home, to main event a show in Cardiff; from an unknown in my first SCW match, to a main eventer this time round - I certainly have come a long way.

Lowri leans forward again.

Lowri: A few minutes ago, I said that this match on Sunday is a rare opportunity for me to wrestle in my home country, and it really is, as it’s going to be only my fourth time wrestling in Wales. Furthermore, it’s going to be only my second time wrestling in Cardiff, a city where I spent five years of my life. I’m originally from Llanelli, which is about fifty miles to the west of the Welsh capital, but Cardiff is my second home; it’s where I went to university, it’s where I trained to wrestle, and it’s where I lived until just a year ago, when I relocated to the US to further my career. I’ve also attended numerous shows in Cardiff in the past, including being in the crowd the last time that SCW was in the UK, four and a bit years ago. That night, I watched as Natalie had a victorious homecoming; this Sunday, I’ll be the one filling that role.

She gazes down towards the floor momentarily. She then looks back up at the camera, and continues.

Lowri: I don’t remember much about that match Natalie had, when she teamed with Simon Jones, against Jessie Salco and Steve Ramone, but as someone who had ambitions of becoming a wrestler, it was somewhat inspiring for me to see two British wrestlers - and in particular, a female Welsh wrestler - being featured in the penultimate match on a show staged by a pretty sizeable American promotion. Since then - since my own career in wrestling has begun - I have of course gotten to know Natalie, but I’ve also gotten to know Simon as well. Come to think of it, it’s kind of ironic that Mercedes, of all people, would often refer to Simon as being Natalie’s mentor. In truth, I think he has been more of a mentor to me than he ever was to Natalie. Since the first time I met him, he has always been there whenever I needed him, to lend and support and advice. He’ll be there on Sunday too, and I know that he has a lot of respect and admiration for Mercedes, with the two of them having debuted in SCW at around the same time, but I also know that he’s going to be arriving at the Motorpoint Arena wanting to see me win, and I have no intention of disappointing him, nor any of the thousands of others who’ll be there to cheer me on in the main event of Climax Control.

She shakes her head again.

Lowri: When I laid out the challenge to Mercedes last Sunday, for this match, she alluded to what happened when Ella Singleton challenged her to a match. And I know that after Mercedes beat her last month at Blaze Of Glory, Ella Singleton packed her bags and ran off to SCU. But here’s the thing, Mercedes. With all due respect to Ella Singleton, she’s no Lowri Moss. When she was in the ring with you, she was out of her depth; I won’t be. I’m well aware of who I’m going to facing on Sunday, and I know that I’m more than capable of getting the better of you. If you want to underestimate me though, Mercedes, go ahead and do so. That’s your mistake. Because this match isn’t going to be easy for either of us. I’m prepared the challenge that you’re going to present, but I’m confident that I can outwrestle you. Me beating you on Sunday isn’t going to be a surprise like when Venezuela defeated your beloved Argentina a few weeks ago. It’ll be more like, say, any of my country’s recent matches in the Six Nations - a hard-fought contest, with the Welsh coming out on top.

She pats the badge on her rugby jersey.

Lowri: The last time I wrestled an Argentine, it was in the final of a global tournament - and I won. The last time I wrestled in Cardiff, I was in the main event of a show at the Motorpoint Arena, challenging for a championship - and I won that match too. Now I’m set to wrestle another Argentine in the main event of another show at the Motorpoint Arena, and while there’s no trophy or no title at stake this time, that doesn’t in any way lessen my desire to win. Nor does the fact that I’m not a full-time member of the SCW roster. Mercedes, you said that I “don’t even go here,” and you’re right, I don’t. After this Sunday, I won’t then be in Manchester next week, and I won’t be in London at the start of next month, either. However, the reason my appearances in SCW are few and far between isn’t because I don’t belong here - it’s because of my commitments elsewhere. This Sunday, Mercedes, you’re going to find out how good I really am; you’re going to find out that not only am I as good as I say I am, I’m as good as everyone else - fans, pundits, and my peers - say I am. I expect you plan to put my name on your checklist, but trust me, Mercedes, you won’t be getting to cross it off. Only one of us is going to be victorious on Sunday, and the fire from this dragon is going to make your best-laid plans go up in smoke.

Lowri snaps open a pinched hand, and silently mouths, “Poof.”

Lowri: You know, Mercedes… I never denied being selfish. Maybe it is selfish of me to come in and take up a spot on the show that could’ve gone to someone who’s an SCW regular. In which case, I guess it’ll be even more self-indulgent of me when on Sunday, rather than allowing SCW’s most decorated wrestler to pick up a win in the main event, I instead go on and beat her. If that makes me selfish, then I don’t mind one bit.

She then gets up from the sofa.

Lowri: I’ve wrestled in big stadiums like Safeco Field in Seattle and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, but as amazing as it is being in venues like those, getting to wrestle in the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, in front of a few thousand of my compatriots, is something special for me. I know that most of the pressure is going to be on me this weekend - I was the one who asked for this match, and I’m going to be wrestling in front of an expectant home crowd. However, I wouldn’t have been able to have the success that I’ve had so far in my career if I couldn’t cope with pressure, and on Sunday, I’ll rise to the occasion once again. You aren’t just going to be up against me, Mercedes - you’ll be up against an entire arena, and with support like that, I can’t possibly lose.

She utters something in Welsh.

Lowri: Cartref melys cartref.

Before reverting to English.

Lowri: Home sweet home indeed, Mercedes.

And as Lowri looks towards the camera confidently, with a smirk on her face, the scene fades to black.

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