I did not know what to expect when I walked back into my home following my return from the last Climax Control. Kimberly was still at school so I had a few hours to myself. Adrianna was right there in front of me with a notebook in her hand.
“Hey…” I greeted.
“Welcome back, sis.” Adrianna said warmly. “Scotty told me to give you this.”
I saw the notebook and I became intrigued.
“He found it in his dad’s stuff and said this was for you to read… alone.”
Adrianna suddenly handed it to me before turning and heading upstairs. I was confused for a few moments with everything happening so fast. I took a breath and I sat down on the couch. I was in for a shock when I opened up the book.
“I recognize this handwriting…” as I saw ‘First Day of Training: 6-5-1975’... and a picture of my mother at the age of 20 below that.
“...this belongs to my mom!”
My eyes widened with shock as I flipped through some pages. I was seeing some entries she had written throughout her wrestling career, but the first one that grabbed my attention was a page with ‘Perseverance’ written at the top.
“There’s sure been plenty of that for me lately…” I said as I began to read aloud from the date of 11-6-1980.
"13 tries now... and I STILL haven't won the CWA World Women's Championship…” I read, and immediately I felt that sympathy.
“I’ve accomplished everything I’ve ever wanted except win that world title. It stings that I just can’t seem to get it done no matter how hard I try. I’ve pushed myself to become a world champion for five years. I really want to be a star… and defend that title all across the country and expand my horizons beyond the South and I just can’t do it without that belt. I used to be worried about never winning that title a few years back, but I’m not thinking like that anymore. This 13th setback isn’t going to kill me. I am DETERMINED AS ALL HELL to do what I got to do and get another shot. The failures are PAINFUL, but I know that all I need to do is win that belt ONE time and the ANGUISH I’ve dealt with for 13 times will disappear. Tonight SUCKS, there’s no erasing that. But, I’m not quitting. I’m heartbroken, but not shattered. Unfortunately… the worst part was seeing that rail-thin supermodel BITCH Chelle Kramer at the bar running it all in…”
As I continued to read aloud this entry, I began to really immerse what I was reading in my thoughts… as if I was seeing her life through my own eyes.
“I can’t fucking believe this…” my mother said as she walked into a Miami bar. “How many more times am I going to have to deal with falling short when it matters the most before I finally win that title?”
“You’ll get her next time, Trina…” a friend of hers named Becca told her. My mother sighed as I was feeling sadness at her frustration knowing how easy it was to root for her.
“I just wanna punch something…” my mother admits. “That fucking cheater had to hold the damn rope and pay off the fucking reg to beat me. I’m getting so fed up with this. I’m so sick and damn tired of being the ‘best woman in CWA to never win the big one’. That label is an insult to me, Becca. What the fuck else do I gotta do to win that belt and to wipe that smirk off of Chelle’s face?”
My mother heard laughter as Chelle, the champion, walked in with the CWA World title and her entourage behind her.
“Oh HI, TRINA!” Chelle told her in a mocking fashion. “What’s that? You’ve failed THIRTEEN TIMES NOW!”
The vain bitches laughed at my mother and there was anger going through me reading about my mother being picked on.
“Oh HI CHELLE… what’s that? You had to cheat to beat me AGAIN? Hey, cheating ain’t new for you, sweetheart. When are you telling your husband you’ve been sleeping with every referee and the promoter himself behind his back?”
That’s right, mom! Stand up to her!
“You heard me! Listen, I don’t give a fuck if you run me down for ‘never winning the big one’, I AM going to win it…”
“You’ll NEVER be enough, Trina…”
“Shove that ‘never be enough’ crap straight up your ass, crack sniffer!”
“Give it up, Trina! Seriously! Just accept that you’ll never win the big one.”
“I’m NOT giving up on my dream no matter how bad you want me to and I don’t give a fuck about what you think. I know in my heart, I AM better than you and one day, when you’re not cheating and sleeping around, I AM going to show that”
“Not against me, you won’t… you Alabama, backwoods skank…”
“Empty, supercilious, vapid whore"
My mother got decked with a bunch, igniting a barroom fight. “HOLY SHIT” was my thought when I read this part of the page, but I felt so proud of my mother for standing up for herself. She ended the entry by talking about the satisfaction she felt that she busted Chelle’s lip and gave her a black eye even though she spent that night in jail. When I finished the page, I was floored in the best way imaginable…
“My mom took NO crap…” I said with a laugh. “She had a rebellious streak just like I do. Hell, she went through the same thing I've gone through with the haters, critics and everything... and she didn't take any crap. Like me, she wasn't giving up on her dream. Knowing my mother the way I did, I never got the vibe that she’d give up and quit… and that’s why I can’t and won’t ever quit my dream of becoming the SCW Bombshells World Champion despite the empty, bullshit words of an Amber Ryan, Kate Steele, Todd Williams or whatever Levana Cade might have the nerve to say to me. My mother… stubborn and persistent just like me…”
I smiled at this fact and I was feeling inspired in my heart already when I flipped to the next page and began to read it aloud.
At LAST... after 16 tries and 7 long years, I'm finally the CWA World Women's Champion... and the best part was I won it off that BITCH Chelle Kramer too…”
I paused and smiled reading that aloud and my inspiration to win Blast from the Past and the Bombshells World Championship grew within me.
"A champion stays vigilant and doesn't let anyone tell her 'no'. I wasn't gonna let that little tramp define me. Coked up SKANK! All the years of bullshit I ever dealt with from the day we met! She did everything she could to stay in my way. She insulted my family and I. She even had the nerve to make fun of my father for being diagnosed with cancer! She’s the most mean spirited person I’ve ever met. This is a brutal ass business... but ya gotta stay strong, keep your head up, persevere... 'cause the day you realize ONE success, your 100 failures are forgotten about…
Whether it’s 15 failures or 100, what MATTERS is the ONE time you get it done. The wait was long, but it was worth it... lord almighty, the happiness I felt today was amazing!”
My mother’s writings began to describe the moment she experienced right after she realized her dream and again, I immersed myself in it…
Backstage, my mother had clutched her newly won CWA World Women’s Championship and buried her face in the gold. I was experiencing feelings of pure joy when I read about how she shed tears of joy of her own and how she described that it was the greatest feeling in the world she’s ever experienced up to that point in her life.
“Finally…” my mother said, not minding the tears that were streaming across the gold of the title she just won. “For nearly a decade, I busted my ass for this. From the day I walked into that wrestling gym to start my journey, this is what I wanted to do. I endured a lot of manure just to finally get here… Chelle and her nonsense when she cheated me in ‘80, that one title match in ‘78 when I was just a half-second slower in getting out of the cage, my first ever shot in ‘77 when I grabbed the rope to break the pin and the ref missed it…”
I felt that tug in my heartstring reading my mother bring up her past heartbreaks, reminding me FAR too much of my loss in the finals last year and the double whammy to Amber.
“...and none of it means a damn thing anymore, Trina…” my future trainer Scott Lockley said to her as he walked in. “You’re the champ now, as you were always destined to be!”
Of course, reading about my trainer celebrating this with my mother didn’t surprise me.
“Thanks Scott…” my mother said as she stood up to exchange a hug with him.
“It’s only fitting that the best damn women’s wrestler in the South finally has her world title. You’ve had to persevere through so much from other people trying to drag you down, to other people cheating you. Nobody deserves that title more than you do, Trina.”
“Seven long years…” my mother reminded Mr. Lockley, as I felt nothing but pride in my mother seeing her dedication pay off. Reading this inspired me knowing that she overcame heartbreak and that I would someday as well.
“Congratulations Trina…” Chelle said as she walked in. Mr. Lockey was pissed off. “...you won. I was wrong.”
Chelle stared down my mother while she didn’t know what to do at that moment.
“Honestly Trina, you should fuck this bitch up for all the bullshit she put you through for the last seven years.”
Instead, my mother extended her hand.
Chelle was surprised, but she shook my mother’s hand and left.
“It’s behind me, Scott…” my mother said and I was so happy on the inside to read about my mother setting a championship-caliber example.
"That's my mom... always being the bigger person. 16 times? Those horrible losses she went through? It makes my failures in SCW look like a cakewalk in comparison. I've endured so much myself and when I win that world title, it too will be worth it..."
I continued to flip through my mother’s diary and I began to realize that the wrestling-related entries suddenly stopped after November 1983. Written entries were replaced by pictures: those of her being pregnant with me, the moment she held me for the first time, pictures of me as I was growing up, pictures of me being happy with her…
It was heartwarming seeing her diary begin to focus on me. But then I saw the one sentence that wiped away ALL the good feelings I had…
"1-18-1992...Brain cancer. Inoperable. Terminal. 'A short time to live'...”
Suddenly, I began to feel numb.
“Oh no…” I said to myself knowing exactly where she was going.
“For all the persistence and perseverance I’ve shown over my life and my former wrestling career, this is my biggest test of all.” I read aloud. “I don’t want to die…”
“I can’t read this…” I said to myself, feeling that numbness in me grow… “No… mom WOULD want me to read this..”
I continued reading aloud.
“Just when I thought about getting back into the business for my daughter…
But ya know what? I’m not throwing a pity party. However long I got left, I’m going to keep on fighting and keep on living. What I’ve learned from my time in the business is that it ain’t about winning or losing, it’s about fighting until the very end no matter what. My time on earth is running out, but so what? If I’m goin’ down, I am goin’ down swinging! I’m not afraid to die. That’s the one thing I want Miranda to know about my passing… that I wasn’t afraid to go. It PAINS ME more than ANYTHING that I am leaving her behind but I got faith in the Lord above that somehow, someway, she’s gonna be alright. Still…hearing that I was going to die sucked the soul out of me. So much for those ‘innocent migraines’ that I thought were nothin’ for the last 2-3 years…”
My heart was sinking at this point, but I was staying as strong as I could as I read on…
“Are you SURE there’s no way?” my mother asked her doctor.
“Your tumor is inoperable and even if it was, your cancer has metastasized all over your body. You’ve already celebrated your daughter’s birthday for the last time…”
“Miranda…” my mother lamented with a tearful sigh. “I’m never going to see her grow up…”
Reading about how she said that shattered my heart into pieces. The tears were already coming and a few even fell on the page at this point
“I understand that hearing ‘you are going to die’ is a scary pill to swallow, Mrs. Rivers but…”
“I ain’t scared, doc…” my mother said to him, surprising him. "For however long I got left, I'm living my life to the fullest and I'm going to fight for as long as I can"
“There are medicines that…”
“I don’t want any…” my mother said, surprising him (and me) again. “My little girl told me today her dream was to be a wrestler just like me and I've gotta teach the most precious part of my life that she's gotta be a fighter no matter what. It’s the one thing I’ve gotta do before I go. She’s too young to know what I am going through and if she were to see me with those medicines…”
“She’d know something is wrong…”
“This fight to the end is for my daughter…” she said, as tears of sad determination stroll down her face. “When she grows up, she’s going to know that I never stopped fighting for her and that I was the best mom she could’ve ever wanted. She’s going to know that I was a fighter that wouldn’t quit even when everything seemed bleak and that I set the example for her to be the best she can be the very best way that I could. She’s going to run into a brick wall time and time again, but I’ll make damn sure she remembers me and the example that I set for her so she can know how to break that goddamn wall down every time…”
That’s where my mother’s final diary entry ended and while I was incredibly heartbroken to have read about, and to a certain degree lived through, the moment she realized she was about to die, there was a huge piece of my heart that was on fire because my heart was inspired by the fact that she persevered through the end.
“Mom…” I said through my tears, lamenting the fact that just one week after she wrote that diary entry, she was gone. “You sacrificed so much for me. How could I ever forget that? You fought for me and if it wasn’t for that, there’s no way I’d ever realize my dream of being a wrestler. God, if you were here with me right now to see what I’ve become, you’d be so proud of me. I know it’s been more than 30 years, but it still feels unfair that you were taken from me so soon…”
I suddenly lost my grip on that last page and the page suddenly flipped to one more page. This page wasn’t a diary entry… it was a letter…
"To my baby girl Miranda... the brightest light in my world... you'll come across this one day and I have faith that on the day you do, you'll be flying high and at the absolute best part of your wrestlng career…”
“WHAT?” I said in disbelief seeing that my mother wrote one last letter to me before she passed.
“From the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry that I couldn’t stay longer for you. To think, I was wanting to unretire from wrestling just so you could watch me compete and so that I could inspire you to live your dream. I know life without me is hard sometimes, but no matter what you go through or how deep the darkness you come across becomes, you have to stay strong and finish the fight no matter how it ends. As you continue your journey, you CANNOT be afraid to fail. Failure is part of wrestling just as much as it is part of life. You are going to fail and I’m sure by the time you read this, you’ll have suffered some heartbreakers just like I did when I was chasing the dream. You gotta persevere and stay persistent sweetheart, no matter what anyone says, no matter what you go through.
ALWAYS BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! Every time you believe, I will be in your heart cheering you on and believing in you too!
Never stop fighting, my angel...
I love you Miranda, and I always will!
With all my eternal love…
While I was undoubtedly crying, that fire in me to win the tournament and the world title grew to its strongest point yet. Experiencing the parallels between my mother’s career and my journey and knowing that she kept fighting even as she was dying was inspiring.
I was more inspired than ever to fight until the end and achieve what I know in my heart is my destiny…
Here I stood inside of the Las Vegas Convention Center. I not only felt my mother’s presence beside me, but I was also wearing an old “Trina Rivers’ t-shirt from the early eighties with a replica of the CWA World Women’s Championship wrapped around my waist. When the camera came on, I was nothing but determined and inspired. The inspiration my mother provided me was about to shine through in the biggest way imaginable when I expressed my thoughts.
“Two rounds down, two to go. Max and I have gotten it done and ultimately, that’s what matters. However, now comes the semifinals and I am not going to sugarcoat it. Levana and Jaycee ARE going to be the toughest competition that we’ve faced in this tournament so far and that’s fine with me. Just because two hotshot rookies who definitely had good influences taught them along the way as they came up through the ranks eliminated the current world champion and a Hall of Fame member doesn’t mean I should just give up and quit. What? Because Amy’s a Hall of Famer and Levana beat her means I have no right to beat her? Because Amber was eliminated by this team and considering the past I have with her, then I have no business moving on? I call bullshit on that of course. You two… I can sit here and I can dissect your words and what you’ve said to your opponents so far all night long… but that’s not going to do anything for me. I already know you two are going to come in here being SUPER confident just because of the competition you’ve eliminated so far and I can’t blame you both for that. But see, there comes a point where you hit a wall. I know that going forward, the harshest words and the toughest criticisms are going to be thrown my way.
I know this is the part of the tournament where I am going to get flak for being the runner up of last year’s tournament, for losing to Amber twice, and for any predictable excuse that you two can dig up on me to paint this opinionated, false narrative that I can’t get it done when it matters and that I’ll never be good enough because of that. I already know that in some way, shape or form, you’re going to take a few things I’ve said in recent promos and you’re going to try to use that as ‘proof’ to try to drag me down and paint me as unworthy and you know what? FINE! BE that predictable. You want to throw my failures in my face? FINE because I’m NOT going to let ANYONE in this company, especially you two, attempt to define me for my failures because the only one that defines me is me. Yeah, I’ve had my shortcomings in the big moments in SCW and I haven’t gotten to the top YET, but so the fuck what? You want to spend all day throwing that in my face, you’re just wasting your time because my mother, who was a professional wrestler herself, was someone that didn’t win a world championship herself until her 16th try and I’m OKAY with that because what I learned from HER experience is that how long it takes? How many times fall short? It means NOTHING. What TRULY matters is WHEN you get it done and no matter what the fuck happens in this tournament, I am going to get it done and I am going to be the SCW Bombshells World Champion and win or fucking lose, you two do not have ANY sort of power to EVER take that away from me. Yeah, those were some painful heartbreakers but you know what? I wear them on my sleeves as badges of honor because the ONE thing that MOST wrestlers ALWAYS forget in this business is that you can’t succeed without failing first. You two think you’re going to be better than me because of failures that happened last year? Typical young wrestler thinking…
No, I’m going to let you both in on a little secret here that you think is crazy…
My FAILURES from last year, hell not just last year, but from my entire career? They make me BETTER than both of you. What? You’re SHOCKED I’d say such a thing? You two don’t even KNOW what failure in this business is like. I can tell you from experience that it IS a bitter pill to swallow and that’s a bitter pill that you are both going to swallow because your victories so far are going to have both of you sticking your heads up your own asses thinking that you’ve got it ALL figured out. You’re OVERCONFIDENT coming into this match with Max and I. You think just because Max is someone that failed in the first round last year and because he’s trying to make a comeback at his age, that it makes him an easy target. You think just because of my shortcomings, shortcomings that are going to make me a champion someday by the way, that I’m just someone you can run over.
Yeah, think like that all you want. The only people that you are bringing down with your way of thinking are yourselves. Levana wants to go on Twitter and act like I’m this “cheerleader” or whatever the hell she said and act as if my career has been all rainbows and sunshine… noooope… you don’t know the first thing about me, Levana. All you know about me is things that I’ve said on camera and the matches that I've competed in throughout my time in Sin City Wrestling. I’ve ALWAYS been a realist with myself. I have my dreams, I preach my positivity, I go out and I fucking inspire people to be their best, I fight for my daughter every single time I step into that ring just the way my mother used to fight for me when she was alive. I’ve NEVER, not ONCE, had it easy, alright? I’ve fallen down the path of darkness. I’ve seen the world the way you appear to see it. I’ve been that miserable bitch that has taken her insecurities out on others in the past. I’ve had my moments of glory, I’ve had my moments of heartbreak and sure, that makes me flawed as fuck. I’m not perfect and I’ve never pretended that I was. I knew that coming back to this tournament and taking that journey to finish what I started last year was going to be difficult, but I’ve never, EVER believed that it wasn’t possible to win this tournament and I’ve never doubted for a second that Max and I can, and will, win this match. With you two?
You don’t even know what it’s like to fall short. You’ve never had to lick any wounds since you made it to this stage. You’ve never felt the sting of failure… and THAT is what will sink you in the end. You two walk around here acting like winning every single match in front of you is how you’re going to be a champion and everything, but no, that’s not how you’re going to be a champion. You become a champion by persevering through the difficult times. How the hell can you two sit there and say you know anything about perseverance in this business when you’ve yet to experience ANY iota of a difficult time whatsoever? Spoiler, you can’t. You become a champion by getting knocked down and then being persistent enough to get the fuck back up and fight all over again. You two can’t say that you’ve been persistent because you’ve never been knocked down before. Max and I? Yeah, we’ve experienced HELL so many times in our career, yet HE still keeps coming back and I STILL keep fighting. Max and I? Yeah, we’ve been knocked down SO many times, and you may knock us down on Sunday, but does that mean we stop fighting? FUCK NO! Does a victory for your team prove ANYTHING you say about us right? Maybe in your egotistical rookie minds, but in the grand scheme of things? FUCK NO! Because you two don’t define Max and I and you definitely don’t define who we are in this business.
You can knock me the fuck down as many times as you want, and yeah, people are going to mock me for getting knocked down and they are going to prick and poke and prod at me and run up a list of times I’ve been knocked down as their excuse to make up this narrative about me ‘not being able to get it done and never will be able to get it done’, but all I need is ONE fucking moment of glory, ONE fucking SCW Bombshells World Championship and ALL of that shit? ERASED! I am THREE wins away from erasing all of that shit and even if it doesn’t happen here, does that mean it’s never going to happen? FUCK NO! Because just like my mother did when she fought for years to be a world champion and kept falling short OVER and OVER again until her career until she won the big one, I WILL fight to the fucking end no matter what! For better or worse, I will NEVER quit fighting until I achieve MY destiny in this business because if anything? Past failures? They break, destroy and even RETIRE most wrestlers that have ever walked through that door in Sin City Wrestling but for me? They BUILD ME into the champion I’m going to become.., that I’ve been everywhere else I’ve ever wrestled but here.
Would I be this strong, this confident, this determined and this persistent had I won Blast from the Past last year and/or either of the two matches I had against Amber?
Because had I won any of those, I’d be no better than you two because the journey would’ve been too easy for me.
So for you two and for anyone else in this company from Todd Williams and anyone in the Bombshells division, BY ALL MEANS throw my failures in my face… because all you’re doing is reminding me of the building blocks along the way that I’ve had to collect to get to my ultimate goal. Ironically, for all your brash bravado and for your egos taking SO much pride in rubbing the failures of others as you did with your past opponents, the BITCH of the reality coming your way on Sunday, it’s your lack of knowing how to fail and your subsequent lack of knowledge on how to handle it that is going to sink you both in the end. Go ahead, fly high, define me however the fuck you want to define me, but one thing my mother never did was allow any of the enemies she encountered in her life define her…
And like her?
I’ve allowed someone else other than me to define me for the last time! It took Amber knocking me on my ass the second time to FINALLY get it… but unfortunately for you both, I DO get it now.
Either we win, or you both do me a favor and give me another failure to learn from that’s going to build me into a champion. It's a WIN-WIN for me! I got nothing to lose but this match and encountering wrestlers LIKE you throughout my long career? I KNOW that you AREN’T strong enough to have that same mentality. It’s like I learned 14 years ago when I had my big breakthrough moment and everyone under the sun wrote me off as an afterthought:
The WORDS of others don’t matter… but what matters is how I feel about me…
And I feel like I’m a Bombshells World Champion in the making about to enter the peak of my career.