Author Topic: MILES KASEY v MARK CROSS  (Read 133 times)

Offline Christian Underwood

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MILES KASEY v MARK CROSS
« on: January 02, 2023, 06:20:34 AM »
Post your roleplays here by deadline. Good luck and have fun!


“To err is human - but it feels divine.”
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Offline The Dragon

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Re: MILES KASEY v MARK CROSS
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2023, 03:06:18 PM »
Part 0.5 - Loss.

“You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair."
   -- Old Chinese Proverb

Have you ever lost someone, before?

I think that’s probably a dumb question.Who am I kidding, of course you have?

Loss is a common human experience.

Loss is what happens when a young child drops their favourite bear in the street, or in the park. Since the child is too young to communicate effectively…no matter how hard their parent may try…no matter how a kind soul might have rested the bear in some prominent position…it becomes like looking for a needle in a haystack…and the little boy or girl’s best friend in the whole wide world is gone forever.

Yet…let’s rewind to the first part. When a young child DROPS their favourite bear.

One second, they’re holding on and the next they just…stop.

Let me tell you something…when I treasure something? I never let it go. I still have my favourite toy from when I was a child, a labrador puppy named Andrex (yes…like the toilet paper…my parents cut out the coupons from the packets and sent off for him) and trust me I would squeeze that thing so hard I’m surprised the stuffing wouldn’t come out for the FEAR of what would happen if I ever let him go, if I had to go on without him.

Now…Andrex isn’t real. Andrex is an inanimate object, and truth is I could probably get another one on eBay if I wanted…but so often it’s inanimate objects that carry such a heavy weight. We create this importance around them…

…a balloon, floating off into the sky, never to be seen again. Your first car, scrapped after a collision with a tree. Your son or daughter’s first baby blanket. Your number one guitar. A wrestling match. A World Heavyweight title…things that aren’t worth much in themselves, but the memories, and the importance we place on those objects? That’s where the difference comes from.

Loss can lead to feeling overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, lonely, fearful, guilty and angry. Whatever your experience, the grief is real and the loss is important.

The grieving is a process, too. Sometimes, an anniversary rolls around…or a song comes on the radio that triggers a memory. Sometimes the grief can wash over you weeks, months, years later, completely unprovoked. It has to be managed. It has to be coped with somehow. It can be destructive, but it can also be healthy. It can make you stronger. It can help you cope better.

I’m going to share with you a story of loss in the next part. It’s not a new story, but it is fresh, and it is topical. In fact, it’s going on right now. The ending is yet to be written, and I feel it’s important you see this now because it may lead onto something in the future.

You may get to see how it plays out, right here.

You may get to see me feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and anxious. We’ll see.

I think one thing I need to clarify, given where I’m headed back to in just a few weeks time…is I’m not trying to ‘chase’ a loss. I’m sure that’ll be where a few thoughts lead when the former World Heavyweight champion rolls back around. I don’t feel like I have unfinished business in that field. After all, I achieved far more in that moment than I ever thought I would.

My opponent…Mac Bane…well he and I share similar employment again. The new company has an interview segment…and I learned something new about Mac.

He considers his victory against me as his single greatest achievement. That’s one heck of a crowning glory on such a storied, decorated career…don’t you think?

From that moment on? I felt better.

I’d done my job.

Now…a lot of things in life are finite. Careers, especially in a combat sport, something so high-impact, an environment where if you can’t hang anymore, you’re putting yourself at serious risk of being hurt? Those can be over in a blink of an eye. Friendships come and go. Relationships, just as common. Wins and losses…well…you can get right back in the ring the next night if you want, so those things don’t have to live long in the memory. Even our lives themselves? We might get seventy, eighty years…if we’re lucky?

I want to achieve, sure…things like title wins, Blast from the Past victories…Hall of Fame inductions…those things last. They get written into the history books and at that point? They stay relevant as long as the company remains in business at the very least…but sometimes I want to think about how I can make an impact, too.

I want to elevate, too.

I want to raise the bar.

I want to be the fucking yardstick.

The reason that someone whose career would make most wrestlers green with envy values a win against me, above all else.

That’s impact.

That is when loss is acceptable.

We all have to experience loss. Once in a while.

These days, it’s rare for me to experience them, of course. That’s in wrestling, where I’ve earned a reputation as being a dominant, but sometimes overlooked force, and in life. A life where I get to do something I love every day, wake up next to someone I love every day, in a house I’ve loved from day one, in a city that captured my heart the second I stepped foot in it, in a financial situation where I, and probably several more generations of the Cross family yet can live in comfort, unless we do something stupid.

Most everything I want to keep in my life stays in it.

That makes those few losses harder, makes them more bitter pills to swallow.

Makes my urge to get them back ever stronger, like a hyper-fixation.

The kind that makes me travel halfway across the country on a whim, with a half-baked plan.

One thing’s for damn sure. I don’t do things by halves.

Part 1 - Maroon.

And I chose you
The one I was dancin' with
In New York, no shoes
Looked up at the sky and it was
The burgundy on my T-shirt when you splashed your wine into me
And how the blood rushed into my cheeks, so scarlet, it was-


“FUCKKKKKK!”

Isn’t it ironic that Taylor Swift, of all people…my celebrity crush since hearing Fearless for the first time in 2008…became the reason I was slamming my hand against the stereo system, purely in my haste to shut it off?

Maroon was my favourite song on the new album, until the lyrics brought *that* memory flooding back. It took a while to sink in, but when it did? Well…it hit me like a freight train.

I danced with a barefooted girl in New York once…on a roof terrace, of a bar, on Pier 17. My arms wrapped around her, her face buried in my chest, flowing chestnut curls covering up the stains on my shirt, the result of both of us having a little too much to drink, I’m not sure who spilled what. We didn’t care who was watching us, if they even were…as in that moment there was just her, and I, and nothing else.

Joanie.

I’m sure we all have our fair share of first date stories, right?

After all, whether you like it or not, dating boils down to little more than a numbers game. That’s if you’re doing it properly. Not too selective, not too judgemental…just putting yourself out there, seeing what comes. That’s always been my style. The fact of it is…most first dates aren’t memorable, for one reason or another. Maybe there just isn’t a spark…or someone, usually the guy, is only in it for one thing. They may succeed, they may not, but when that little box is checked, one way or another? They’ve drawn a line under it and moved on, it doesn’t go further. Overall, the success rate? Usually not that high.

In truth, I don’t remember a lot about my first dates. That may sound almost cold but really? I’m sure my female companions felt much the same about me. I’m sure one or two happened to see me on TV or something in later life, wondering how different things could have been, but even then I don’t expect many saw us not getting together as a big loss. You just have to keep rolling those dice, shake off the disappointments right there on the spot, and move on to the next one.

Some, of course, stuck in the memory. Those woeful stories, nights that were memorable for all of the wrong reasons of course, but these were the positives. The romances you’d tell your kids about, even if they weren’t all happy memories. The ones that got away, the girlfriends, the wifes, the fiancees. The ones you built stories with…built lives with…

Except…One, in particular, which keeps coming back to haunt me.

Especially now she’s gone.

When I met Joanie? The timing was all wrong. I was a few short weeks out of a broken engagement, finding myself in the place that started it all. New York City. It’s where I was in town to wrestle a show, where I’d met Amber, and where our relationship had first blossomed into nearly three years together. She was going to be my ‘one’...the girl I asked to take my last name. For the first six months I’d take every show I could around New York to spend time with her, that was until she moved with me to Florida. If I weren’t such a stickler for maintaining prior obligations? I wouldn’t have even been near this place again, too many memories, and JJ…well she was on the run from her husband so, safe to say neither one of us was ready to be starting something new. Yet…we had a mutual friend, who insisted. Literally booked a table at one of the most exclusive restaurants in town, knowing I could afford to foot the bill, and gave us both a few hours of notice to get there. Thanks Tony.

We ate dessert before main…and then skipped the main altogether. We opened up about why neither one of us should have been on a date that night…and we laughed. We drank until we could barely stand, and we laughed some more. We danced what was left of that whole night away, and while we would probably never be each other’s person?

I thought I’d made a friend for life.

That was until after a while, the replies stopped coming. Her phone, disconnected. Her apartment, emptied. Her best friend Tony, the reason we’d gone on that date in the first place? Was none-the-wiser. No forwarding address, no alternative phone number, nothing. It could have been an elaborate ruse of course, but the look of concern on Antonia’s face suggested she really wasn’t fucking with me on this one. That girl was a lot of things…but a liar wasn’t one of them.

I cursed myself for thinking of her. Those dark curls swaying against a spangly black dress as we walked back to the rental car neither one of us was in a fit state to be driving. The sounds of my whooping and hollering to go faster as she nearly totaled a six-figure rental car maybe thirty times over. I relive that night more times than I care to admit, and I hate that I was wasting even a second’s thought on her…on ANYONE who clearly didn’t value my place in their life enough to stay in touch. I wish that she hadn’t…fixed me…

…It would be that much easier, if only I didn’t owe her so much…

Joanie pulled me out of the darkness. In one single night, I saw myself again. The multi-time World champion…The distinctly average actor, working hard to become an above-average one…the guy with a million stories to tell…the guy who wants to write a million more…a man who loves hard and fights for the ones he loves even harder…a born winner, a serial over-achiever…

She helped me realise I could win again. Be great again. Find happiness again.

I guess I needed to know she found happiness too.

Whether she wanted me there, or not.

Tony gave me the one thing she knew. A name. She nodded and pointed and said “Yep that’s the guy” and that was all I needed.

Chester Hamilton. Chief Financial Officer. Bigshot looking guy, three-piece tailored suit on the “Our People” page. Salt and pepper stubble and cold, dark eyes. He looked like the calculating type and that fit the bill. I remember what she told me, although it wasn’t much, we tended to want to stick to happier topics but her words stuck in my mind and it painted such a picture. So controlling, so…narcissistic.

I saw shades of myself in myself. A younger me. A more selfish me. The Mark who didn't care about the cost to human life as long as HE was okay. The guy who didn’t give a damn who he fucked over if it suited HIS narrative. I hated that part of myself and I swallow it down so hard when it threatens to come back again. I remember how dangerous, how damaging…

Fuck…

She went back to THAT? By choice?

I don't think so.

"Hey Google, give me directions to the airport…"

I had to get her out of there. Now.

TBC…

Part 2 - Milo

I can't help but feel like the return to Sin City Wrestling? It’s a bit like going back for a one night stand with that ex that you're still on pretty good times with. You know it’s never going to be long term, been there, tried that, but it’s a situation where you both know what you like, know what buttons to press, and whatever happens it’s going to be a fun process. Much like before I doubt this will be permanent. I doubt it’ll go much past this one appearance, at least for now…but I’m back in familiar territory. It feels comfortable, and it feels right to do this again.

Now of course this hasn't come about completely by accident. Not long ago, I signed up with the WGWF. Coming to work at the CCPE Arena means I’ve spent more time in Vegas again, something I’d never really felt the need or the urge to do in my time away from SCW. I have to admit the energy of this place, it’s tough to beat. Caught up with some old friends, visited some of my favourite places on the strip and you know what? Have to admit I’ve missed it. Now…I’ve never wanted to live here. Even when COVID restrictions meant we’d be working permanently out of Vegas, I was much happier commuting in. It’s not that kind of energy for me, doesn’t feel ‘homely’ in the slightest, even if it is familiar…but for an adrenaline-fuelled weekend of work? Perfection. Pure perfection.

Now…I just so happened to be in town, an opportunity opened up and you know what? I love California. I spent a lot of time in Cali, in my time in the NFL the Raiders were still in Oakland, I couldn’t walk down the street without being recognised…and honestly? It kind of feels like Florida with more of a West-coast vibe…so again it was a prime opportunity for me to go and check out some old favourite places…see how much has changed.

To me? It was a chance to travel that I was actually excited about, signing up for Inception…and for Sin City Wrestling? I was a known quantity. I show up, I put in quality work, I conduct myself in a professional manner…and I usually leave with my hand held high in victory. I’m a safe bet.

Now…I did just mention how often things change over time…but just because I am not around all that often doesn't mean that anything has changed with me.

Whether I work one event per year or one hundred, the preparation stays the same.

The intensity stays the same.

Winning on a consistent basis? That stays the same too.

Now I mentioned the WGWF and if you want? You can go and ask Chronic Chris Page about how that’s shaking out so far. After all, he and James Raven assembled one of the single greatest rosters for a ‘start-up’ promotion…a phoenix from the ashes promotion if you will…for me to take second place in the West Coast Rumble…become number one contender for the World title at the very next Supercard…very quickly positioning myself as one of THE forces to be reckoned with…sound familiar, Sin City Wrestling fans?

Now that’s going to keep my dance card pretty full. There’s no reason for the current SCW guys to fear. You remember my part about loss? You don’t have to clutch them to your chest like your Mom’s about to take away your Playstation…

But that doesn't mean that I couldn't.

The biggest thing about me…I guess what makes me as exciting for the fans as it is a threat to the guys backstage is that you can't count me out of anything. You put me in there, with any number of competitors, any kind of ability level, and at no point can you count me out. As much as they want to try.

Even the copywriters. Not the first time a match description has raised an eyebrow or two and this time it’s my turn, huh? Will I lose out to a younger opponent with my ring rust situation? What ring rust is that exactly? I haven’t stopped training. I haven’t stopped working. I’ve been in the city…working shows elsewhere…poking my head in where I can to see old faces. I didn’t take time out of the ring. I didn’t stop training every day. Just because I took my leave away from Sin City Wrestling, it didn’t mean I sat in Florida crying myself to sleep. The world still spins outside of these walls.

Doesn't mean I don't miss the place, the people, the fans.

Doesn't mean I don’t miss that crazy 6-sided ring, that just adds an extra little bit of spice to the proceedings.

Doesn't mean that I don't mind adding to my already fairly impressive record.

After all, it's been 6 months or more. It's probably time I remind people why I was world heavyweight champion around these parts.

And that brings me to my opponent, to Milo Kasey.

After all…I can’t really fear a younger opponent who’s lost four on the spin, can I?

I'm sure coming into Inception off the back of an admission that you can’t find a way to beat Bill Barnhart has some kind of threatening connotation to it that my brain just isn’t figuring out, and we’ll loop around to that one in a moment, because can I first offer you my commiserations because umm…

…a man in your position? I’m sure you’d love to test your mettle against a former World Heavyweight champion who always has some excuse. I’m overworked, undertrained, catering didn’t have my favourite pizza toppings, the full moon was in Libra or something…because let’s face it, not all World champions are created equal, right? Austin James Mercer is very much beatable on his day. Very much unbeatable on other days too, don’t get me wrong but umm…

It turns out you don’t get it so easy this time around.

Look I’m not the type to go and disrespect someone that can win a title belt around here. That's the kind of rookie error that…let’s be fair…I wouldn’t have been making even ten years ago…but I’m a realist too. There are some guys around here…like Austin for example…where you have to dangle a big enough carrot to get anything out of them. It shouldn’t be that hard. Miles…I’ve never faced you before. That’s my motivation to prove that I can. You have the chance to take out a former World champion, that should be your motivation to give me everything you’ve got and to be fair?

Your inability to take Bill out serves as a kind of motivation in itself. You kind of get it…but you’re still some way short.

I don’t want to make light of your ability either, of course. Sure, arrogance might tell me this is all mine to lose, but ability isn’t your problem. After all the Roulette title is a bit of a wild card, and if you can come through that it shows if nothing else that you're adaptable, you can roll with the punches.

But we look back to that admission real quick.

Now, I've been in the ring a number of times with Bill. I can tell you that he has never been able to score a victory against me. He probably sees me much the same way as you do him…I don't know if you've got in your own head over him, or if there's something a little more technical to this, but either way it's something that can be exploited. It’s playing right into my hands.

And no, I’m not going to throw the age-old ‘You can’t beat Bill…Bill can’t beat me…so you can’t beat me’ preschool kinda logic at you. I can do one better than that.

I've wrestled all around the world. I've wrestled in parts of Africa and Asia where there is a really deep rooted tradition of wrestling, but the styles are very awkward compared to what we’re used to in the US. I've talked about it until I was blue in the face about how I trained in Japan, and I wrestled a lot in Japan in the time afterwards…and trust me, the infamous chop training that you might get here in a US gym is kicked up into overdrive. We’d hit each other with kendo sticks, 2x4s, whole wooden boards as part of the toughening up process, and we needed it to. Half the style is kicking, kneeing, or elbowing an opponent hard in the face. You had to be able to take it as well as give it out. Bill is different too, he is very unorthodox, his style is just a combination of little bits stolen from here and there, he tries to throw you off as much as he can, keeps the pressure on you…doesn’t let you get your footing…

But he’s just wrestling.

You just have to strategize around it…and honestly? You have to be prepared to take a little punishment, too. You say the losses are the motivation but just how much motivation?

After all…Mac Bane only kicked out of the GTS in a Supershow Main Event…with a World title on the line. He didn’t the two times before…just proving the point again that some guys need a big enough carrot in order to give a shit. Otherwise they can’t get their bodies to get up one more time, or they figure they’ll just lay down, waiting for that bigger fish to come along.

I’m not waiting for a bigger fish, Miles. This business is all just wrestling, in the end. What it all boils down to in the end is a fight. Tougher man wins, if that man is willing to lay it all out on the line.

This is what throws me…you can hang in a Roulette format, but you can’t figure out Bill…who’s a walking talking Roulette title match.

You’re entering the ring with a man who has a Plan A, B, C, and D for every opponent. A former World Champion here, a former two-time Blast from the Past winner…a guy who can change the whole complexion of a match within the face of a move or two. A natural born fighter, who has come back from immense punishment to win…whether that be in front of 15 people or 15,000 people.

You don’t need to put a title on the line to get my best work. Give me an opponent and ring a bell.

Now don’t get me wrong, I can be beaten, but go back over them…go back over a decade. What do those opponents all have in common?

They had to bring their best work to do it.

Now…you make noise about wanting to beat Bill, but he can’t bring that out of you. Do you want me to believe that you can?

Now…I know the word ‘territory’ is rarely used to describe this business anymore…but I’m going to revive it, because when you work in one place for a while, you start to cross paths with some familiar names. I came toe to toe with Goth, right beside me almost to the bitter end in the West Coast Rumble…an impressive start. I’ve seen Mac Bane struggle to take the lid off the basket, maybe struggling to adapt as well as he would have liked given his history and his success here…and in that same Rumble…well…Peter Vaughn managed to outlast me, right at the death…after I’d chalked off a couple of his nine lives.

It’ll be me to face the champion at the next big event.

Some people struggle in new settings. Fortunes can vary, even working in the same city.

I guess all eyes are on me to see how I ‘adapt’ to Sin City Wrestling again.

I don’t need to adapt.

I’ve already been to the top of that pyramid. I’ve already seen the view.

You’re not putting me in an unusual setting. You’re not making me do anything I haven’t done before. You’ve got no spin of the wheel and no gimmick to hide behind. It’s just you and me.

I’m the one former World champion who isn’t about giving free passes.

Offline MiloKasey

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Re: MILES KASEY v MARK CROSS
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2023, 11:58:23 PM »
It Was A Holly Jolly Christmas
Seattle, WA

It had been an absolutely amazing few days.

Miles Kasey had been invited to spend a few days before and after Christmas with Carter and his family as a thank you for everything that he did for Carter during the entire Lazarus saga.

Though a major system that took on to land 4 days before Christmas and put his travel plans into a serious frenzy, plaguing it with delays, possible cancelation and an extra layover in Dallas, Miles ended up at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport late Thursday night.

So late in fact, that he hadn't expected anyone to be up, except for Carter who was kind enough to pick him up... From the airport. Look, I know where you guys were gonna go with it, run with it and move on.

The from moment he got through baggage, greeted Carter with a hug and then crossing the threshold of the McKinney residence at the stroke of midnight only to be greeted by Carter’s mom and grandmother, Ari and her fiance and multiple helpings of Grams goulash that after a while put him directly into a food coma.

It’s strange being in a new place with faces you know but Miles was made to feel welcome from the word go in the McKinney home. Definitely helped lessen the pain of being 1. Away from his own mum, sister and nephew and 2. Being away from the Wolfslair Crew that has turned into a second family.

But sometimes a change of location can be extremely eye-opening because Miles found himself welcomed with open arms. Being around them all came so naturally. Even the general joking around, including Miles being chased out of the kitchen when he offered to help.

By the time Christmas Eve had hit, Miles was up early with Ari to help with the big breakfast to surprise Carter’s family with. He played sous chef to Ari, following her around and handing her items at her command and then cleaning up after her completion of every meal.

One thing that went noticed during the stay though, Carter avoiding the mistletoe that they had hung up at the same time as Miles was anywhere near it. It seemed like the close proximity made him uncomfortable, more so than usual and he swore that everytime he spotted Carter near the area, he’d blush and pick up his pace away.

Ari kept nudging Miles when she caught him staring, “What is up with Carter?

Miles just shrugged, “Not a clue,” he’d simply stated as he sat on the couch and watched whatever was on the television at the moment.

Ari’s eyes rolled so big that if possible Miles would have heard them, “Bullshit Milo. Come on, you know how he’s been crushing on you since the first day he met you.

And your point?” Miles said with a smirk, “Trust me Ari, I’m well aware but I’d like to think after things happened like it did with Laz...

Ari practically growled, “Don’t mention that son of a...

Stand down,” Miles said, holding up his hands to her, “Just haven’t been sure if I should, it’d be a hell of a Christmas present, that’s for sure.

Ari took notice of the tone Miles' voice had changed. Like he was sad for a moment, “Something you need to talk about?

Hmm?” Miles snapped too, taking a deep breath, “Nah, all is well.

Before Ari could push it any further though Miles excused himself from the room and vanished to the bathroom, after splashing his face water trying to snap himself out of whatever the hell was going through his head. In his head, Miles saw the mess ups, the fuck ups, the use and in a way the mental abuse that he had endured. Last thing he wanted was to hurt anyone else.

Come on Milo, get your shit together.” he said to himself in the mirror.

After that, he made up his mind. He did eventually catch Carter under the mistletoe and the reaction wasn’t what he expected from Carter, as he went into hiding for a bit but it had answered some of his own questions.... But what was he gonna do about it?

Miles had fear that he did something wrong though and mentally kicked himself for the majority of the night, in silence. Carter’s mom and grams assured him that everything would be fine but that lingering feeling stuck around. The encouragement from others as well, gave him a little hope.

Christmas Day though, when Miles opened the gift from Carter, suddenly that doubt slipped slowly away. Course the whole crew had a little fun at their expense but by the time they had wrapped up the day, he and Carter were a little closer. Closer to what?

Only time would tell.


It’s A New Year. Is it a new you, Dragon?

So imagine my surprise that when the card for Inception was announced that after a quick change that the one and only Mark ‘The Dragon’ Cross had stepped up to not only make his well received return but he would step up to face...me?

Not gonna deny that it’s a bit of an honour there, Mark. I have been honestly kinda curious where you up and vanished too but I’ve also had my hands full lately. The Roulette Title was gained and slipped through my fingers. Maybe someday I’ll get that pretty belt back but a lesson learned and the fact that I finally realized that in 2022, I am perhaps onto something.

But you bring forward an interesting challenge, Mark. I have taken on a plethora of amazing talent in SCW, I have lost a lot but at the same time there isn’t a single solitary soul that will tell you that there isn’t something special there. Every time that I have had my ass handed to me, I pick myself up, dust myself off and learn from this whole experience.

What’s funny? When it was announced that I was gonna be taking you on, I practically salivated at the chance. I feel like there is an honest chance to make a point here. I’m not going to back down and shirk from the potential that everyone seems to think I have.

Yeah, I can take my beating like a good little lower tier bitch...but when does one take that chance, step up and finally put that upper creme-de-la-creme on notice? I feel like I’ve been holding back for far too long on a lot of things as of late, it’s about time one comes out of the proverbial closet and steps dead into that spotlight that guys like you have enjoyed.

Fuck, mate...I respect ya. I respect you for what you have done, for what you are doing. I even admire the moxy it took for you to step into this match with me. But bruv, you gotta know something...I’m not your everyday run-of-the-mill former Roulette Champ. I’m gunning for something a hell of a lot bigger, and pardon me if you are in my way.


Offline The Dragon

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Re: MILES KASEY v MARK CROSS
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2023, 03:52:00 PM »
Part 0.5 - Irrationality

“I can be calm and rational after everything you put me through, why can’t you do the same for me?”

Because we’re not the fucking same.

We don’t handle things the same.

We never have and we probably never will.

Most people who spend any length of time with me comment on how chilled out I am, how I’m so laid-back I may as well be horizontal, like I don’t have a care in the world and you know what? I’ve said it enough times, how much I love every aspect of my life. I’ve got no reason not to feel that way.

Two types of people will disagree with that statement.

My opponents.

And people that piss me off.

I’ve lived one hell of a life, up to this point. I’ve got more stories than I know what to do with and I’m just under a year away from my 40th birthday. I’ve seen and experienced so many things that it takes a lot to REALLY get a big reaction out of me these days, but it doesn’t stop me from waking up each morning trying to work out what memories I can make before the next bedtime.

Making memories is my life blood. It keeps me young.

Competition keeps me sharp, gives me purpose. That killer instinct burns as bright in me now as it always has, from day one. Does it mean I go for the jugular, whatever it takes to throw my opponent off-kilter? Absolutely. I’m not in this for a bit of fun, after all.

Even then, it’s controlled. It’s a calculated, targeted attack. It’s not personal…as such…although 99.95% it’s going to come out

No…it’s when someone pushes that red button that shit really starts to get real. The combat instinct of a man who fears nobody in a sport as brutal as professional wrestling let loose in a real-life situation?

I can be dangerous.

I am impulsive. I am reckless. I shoot first, ask questions later…and even after I calm down I usually still won’t admit I was wrong.

I maybe could have handled them better. That I agree on.

But I was never wrong.

What you’re about to hear is a reflection of a situation that happened to me recently. You remember, last week, how I showed you something in preparation for it maybe coming to a head? Well this isn’t that point…but it is a continuation.

I’ve been saying for years that I don’t see myself wrestling much past forty.

That gives me roughly 350-something days. Give or take.

Now that’s scary, from a couple of angles.

Like I said, and like I’m about to show you, I still have a raging fire in my belly. All it takes is for a few wrong buttons to be pushed and I start to become the person you really…REALLY don’t want to be in the same zip code as and if it was you that pushed the buttons? Well not even being in a different fucking timezone is going to save you from the flaming hell that this dragon is about to rain down on you…

Now like I say, this is scary, dangerous.

After all, a combat sport gives me an outlet to unleash a little frustration. Daily, in fact. Whether it be weight, training partner, punch bag or opponent, there are things for me to hit, or throw, or slam, or any combination of all three.

That rage that bubbles and burns within me has an outlet. It can be quelled.

What happens, if I quit?

Well…I guess I’m going to have to try not to blow my top in normal civilisation…

Or?

I spend the next 350-something days getting that rage out of my system. Once and for all.

Any volunteers?


Part 1 - The Other Woman.

Show me how it ends, it's alright
Show me how defenseless you really are
Satisfied and empty inside
that's alright, let's give this another try


It's crazy how strange it can be when you meet a person for the first time, and it feels like you’re looking in the mirror.

It's scary when you don't like the person looking back at you.

That’s how I felt immediately after that ‘lunch date’ with Julia.

Her presence in this was unexpected. I’d found where he worked. It was the one shred of information Joanie’s friend had, the name of her husband, and from there, it’d developed. Evolved into some half-cocked plan where I’d show up and figure it out as I went. I’d gone down there, made a scene, threatened to start permanently rearranging some furniture unless they took me to Chester Hamilton. That seemed to amuse the blonde, who’d heard it all unfold and intervened, getting me out of there so we could talk properly.

Within minutes it was clear we were both trying to size each other up. Work out how useful we could be to one another. She was the other woman. The one cast aside upon Joanie’s return to her husband. The fact she was rejected seemed to not even register, no emotional connection. That’s what tipped me off, it was clear she would do anything she had to, as long as it meant she got what she wanted.

It didn't matter who got hurt, or how it happened, or if the prize actually wanted her in the first place…as long as she got to hold the trophy.

It was that kind of one-track-mindedness that I applied to my own career. It was the same instinct that had me crashing a taxi driver’s cab for livestreaming me without permission. It was the same mindset that had me questioning the parenting ability of a good friend, and next opponent, for the sole purpose of throwing them off their game. Which worked, by the way.

Julia was, undeniably, one hell of an ugly person on the inside.

Maybe she saw the same in me.

Maybe I was seeing shades of myself in her.

But this was different.

I've been sitting outside of the address Julia gave me for what felt like hours. In reality, it might only have been a minute or two. After all, I only had a finite window to get…something to happen, set some wheels in motion. She would go back to the office and distract Chester. I was free to talk to Joanie, until I got the signal that he was on his way. We’d communicate often, but meet little, to prevent arousing suspicion.

This was for her own good.

The seeds for this had been sown long before Joanie high-tailed it out of New York without a word. From our first meeting, our blind date…she’d hinted at why she’d run away in the first place, the slightest of hints, moments of silence that spoke a thousand words all by themselves. It took time, a lot of time into our friendship…she was hurting and she was scarred…I could tell that but I didn’t know why. Not really.

It was months before I found out how much of a monster Chester Hamilton could be.

She’d thank me for this.

She was being manipulated, she had to be, there’s no way she would go back into his arms willingly. He had something on her, something he could laud over her, some threat, some ransom, it was the only explanation. I’d talk to Joanie, she’d tell me what it is, and I could go about putting that right, make sure nobody got hurt, nobody got blackmailed…

No scratch that first thing I said, Julia and I with nothing alike.

I’m saving someone. I’m HELPING someone.

It’s all about appearances, it had to be. Julia said they looked happy…looked…but a lot of people can look anything they want if it’s for their benefit, if it’s for their own survival…they can’t actually be happy…I remember in that moment I was sitting there thinking I don’t care, even if it was true, she might be happy now…but what about in a week, a month? What about when he turns on her like he always does and then she’s in too deep and there’s no way out…

I’m no human psychology expert…but I know hearing one of your friends is happy should be a good thing…but I know better…she knew it too…when she told me…she sat across that table, studying my face…watching as it didn’t change…if anything it hardened…as she thought that would make me even more determined to tear it up, destroy everything they had…but no it just meant I had to work faster…in case Joanie started to believe the lies she was telling herself. What if she started to believe she did actually love him.

This is the right thing to do.

I have a good instinct about this sort of thing. I can read people. I’m never wrong.

I’m not wrong about this. Definitely not.

I looked Julia square in the eyes across the table. I told her, with the same conviction I would wear when talking about my next match, my next opponent, my next title. I told her Joanie would be leaving with me. I’d get her out of there. I’d make her see sense, and I would save her. It wasn’t the kind of victory I was used to, but in the end…helping people I cared about? Maybe that was enough of a prize.

I’ve been described as selfish. Controlling. Narcissistic…but then again, I’ve been known to have a hero complex too. Surely one counteracts the other? Maybe the hero complex only kicks in when the person or thing that needs saving I value even more than I value myself? Maybe I put myself first…right up to the point when somebody else needs to go top of the list for a while. Someone in my circle. Someone deserving.

Maybe I’m not as bad as people think I am.

Maybe I’m not as bad as I think I am.

Maybe there will come a time when some life event will push me permanently into second place.

Maybe my main focus will shift from my own success, to something like…making good memories for my kids?

I think when…if, that happens? That’ll be the end of my wrestling career as I know it. I won’t have the drive. The determination. The single-minded need to get what I want. With no exceptions.

Until then? I was going to take full advantage.

I was going to get what I wanted.

I was going in.


Part 2 - Year of the Dragon

New year, same Dragon.

There you go Miles, the one question you posed answered.

Nothing about me has changed and honestly? That works out pretty badly for you.

I am not a stepping stone.

I never have been, and the day I start to become that? Is the day I hang it all up.

I’m a fucking launchpad, at the top of the mountain, and you have to climb just to use it.

The fact is scoring a victory against me will further your career, and not just in the way you’re thinking. That’s what’s different. See anyone can beat a washed up shell of their former selves, riding on the coat-tails of their past glories and you know what? Sure, you can dine out on their name a little bit, take their success of a decade ago and it might count as a bit of a Scooby snack for you. That’s a stepping stone.

You may take out an opponent with an impressive scalp to their name, for example. Someone who you might want to score a victory against too. After all, if they can beat them, and you can beat that person, you should be able to take both of them. Then you realise the opponent was one of your stablemates, who always seem to get a case of the butter-fingers when a championship belt falls into their hands, and you can ride the wave a little bit until someone like me devalues it in one single argument. That’s a stepping stone.

You can enter a multi-man brawl and in the heat of the moment and limbs flying, you might be able to score yourself a victory, when everyone is too distracted with everyone else, it becomes little more than a crap shoot. That’s a stepping stone.

You might capture the Roulette title. That’s a stepping stone.

The spotlight I’ve enjoyed? Let me tell you about the spotlight I’ve enjoyed.

And let me say right here right now. Me, and any other name you can think of, who’s been in the spotlight? We’re all human. We can all be beaten. That’s important to remember, that centres around my whole point, in fact. Find it surprising that I’d admit that in the run-up to a contest? Yes…but the records speak for themselves and you know what? Contrary to popular belief, I’m not always all lost in my own hype all the time.

Now I know you hang out with the likes of Austin James Mercer…Alex Jones…and I know they’ve stood with a World title strap around their waists, just like I have. You’ve worked in with them, I’m sure plenty of times…and maybe that’s why you have this little bout of confidence that you might be able to get one over on me…you can hang with that calibre…but those guys and I aren’t the same, and you’re about to find that out the hard way.

Every single defeat…I’ve been pushed to my limit.

Every single defeat…that opponent has had to bring their A-game.

Every single opponent…has had to raise their bar.

Some guys? They need the bright lights and the big city. They feel like they have this right to be in some kind of title picture and you know what, some sparring match in a gym just isn’t enough to get the juices flowing. They train like they’re some prize fighter, not like every fight is their last.

You or I could tear our knee to shreds in a training match. It could have to be rebuilt with ligaments and tendons grafted from other parts of our bodies, that could be our very last fight and you know what?

I don’t want my memory to be ‘I could have gone harder’ or even worse…

If I had gone harder, I might have been safe.

Let that sink in for me, just for a second.

I could get hit by a car outside Dunkin’ and that last time I wrestled? That would have been my last.

I could get nommed by a gator on a golf course out in Florida. That sparring I did that morning would have been my last contribution. My last battle. My Waterloo.

I leave nothing behind. Ever. In sport or in life. Because if I do? I’m wasting my fucking time.

The problem I see…is that I don’t think you’re taking this seriously enough. It’s just another match to you. It’s a little opportunity to prove yourself and if you get knocked around and slapped right back to the level you belong at? Well that’s how it was meant to be.

There’s no belief there.

There’s no pushing yourself to bring out the best you ever have. You’re just…hinting that it might be there somewhere, hiding in the shadows.

Greatness doesn’t hide in the shadows. Greatness is a narcissist, it’s just like me. The only reason it’d hold itself back is if there was some kind of benefit to it and trust me…losing to Bill Barnhart multiple times doesn’t serve much of a purpose. Lulling us into a false sense of security? You know that doesn’t work, right? You know New Year, same Dragon means I’m preparing for you as if you’re going to have the match of your fucking life against me, right? Greatness might just not be in your future. It definitely isn’t in your present. If it’s there, it oozes out of you, rushes through you like a wave of white-hot energy. It straightens your posture, makes you feel a few inches taller. It gives you a purpose, and you know what? You get in the ring, instinct takes over, your body has muscle memory, it knows what to do…and you stop thinking. You’re aware of what’s happening…you’re winning…but it’s like you’re not in control.

You don’t have to be.

You’re in the zone. You made it, my friend.

You’re gunning for something a hell of a lot more?

Wrong.

You’re either there or you’re not.

You’re ready or you’re not.

You’re at the level, or you’re not.

See?

In a world where there is a winner and a loser, the grey area may as well not exist.

I want to be at your level but I’m not there yet - You lose.

I’ve got the ability. I just need a little more experience - You lose.

I need to work on my conditioning but-

You lose.

I think there’s a chance I might be able to…

Double negative. What’s the result? You tell me.

Champions in the wrestling world? In terms of guys and girls that have held title gold in their time…well we’re not exactly a rare breed. You don’t have to look very far before you’re asking ‘LOL that dude won a title?’. Yes. They’re actually surprisingly easy to collect. There’s a lot of wrestling companies, at a lot of different levels, and each one has a number of different belts you can win.

You can find your level somewhere.

But not all champions are created equal.

You may beat me Miles.

You may wrestle the best you’ve ever wrestled and maybe, just maybe…it’ll help you break through that skill ceiling and be able to stand toe-to-toe with me. If you do, there’s still no guarantee you’re picking up the victory, but at least we’ve got one hell of a contest on our hands. It’ll be fun to be in, it’ll be entertaining to watch for the fand and win, lose or draw? At the end of it you’ll *know* that you belong at this level. You won’t just think you have a chance. You’ll be sure that you can win.

If you get to that point? I’ll let you use my launchpad.

Anything other than that? Well fuck, mate…it’s you who’s in my way…and I won’t hesitate to move you out of it.

Offline MiloKasey

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Re: MILES KASEY v MARK CROSS
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2023, 11:59:28 PM »
5..

4..

3..

2..

1..

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

And just like that, 2022 was history.

All around him, those stupid little horns blew obnoxiously loud with people screaming at the top of their lungs about the clock and calendar flipping a whole new year. Outside on the deck though, Miles sits in the cold New York air by himself. Tipping his bottle that he has been working on into the air to give a little salute before he polished the rest off.

He didn’t want to look behind him with all his friends who gathered for the New Years celebration inside of Finn’s penthouse that night because he honestly wasn’t in the right mood to deal with it. Truth be told, he had rather wished that he hadn’t promised he wasn’t going to be there at all.

In Miles’ head, he kept going back to his time in Seattle and had rather wished he had just stayed put. Especially when Carter was given those papers where Laz decided to throw a lawsuit for what had happened at Ari’s. It took Carter the strength of the likes barely anyone had ever seen to break himself from Laz but it was like a recurring nightmare that no matter how many times you woke up from, you’d fall back asleep and start right where you left off.

As much as what he had done, Miles still found himself feeling hopeless from clear across the country but what could he do? Hold his hand? Give him words of encouragement?

Carter needed to handle this but still didn’t set well with Miles that he wasn’t there.

In fact when he left the McKinney’s at the airport’s security checkpoint, he felt something a little different, something that had been growing during his few days with them. His brain had to have a fight with his heart about turning around, canceling his flight back to New York and just staying put. His heart actually hurt to the point that it felt like it could easily burst into tears at any given moment.

But he promised.

“MILES!!!” he heard Kallie calling for him through the door from the balcony to the inside, “What are you doing out here?”

Miles looked up at her, putting on his best smile as to not concern her, “Just wanted to get some air and lost track of the time.

“Well it’s after midnight so Happy New Year!” she said with a little flourish and a lot of pregnant belly.

Her infectious attitude could have made the grinchy of grinches smile and laugh, “Happy New Year, love. Where’s your hubs?

“Getting me some more water but when I saw you out here all by your lonesome and just wanted to make sure you were alright.”

I’m just fine, just-

“-Needed some air.” Kallie said giving him that look, you know the one...the one that all mother’s gain eventually to call their kids on their bullshit. Kallie already had that one down pact, “Don’t think I don’t know about you moping around the gym since you got back from Carter’s little shindig.”

Miles rolls his eyes and says almost bitterly, “I haven’t been moping.

“Milo, if you keep lying to me...” Kallie gave that warning tone.

Fuck, you got that down.” Miles said, shaking his head. Kallie looked at him with a tilt of confusion, “That motherly look and tone.

“Ah, well I’ve been practicing lately...” she joked with a shrug, “So was Christmas that bad?”

No, quite the opposite actually. It was one of the best Christmases that I’ve ever had.” Miles said with a knowing smile of the memories that remained, “Carter’s mum and grams were so welcoming, Ari and Francisco were fun to hang around with...

“And Carter?” Miles blinks a few times and looks at Kallie with so much sincerity in his eyes it almost knocks her back, and all she could say is, “Oh.”

Yeah, ‘oh’ is about right. At first I thought it was just some strange hero complex that I had. Carter is genuinely amazing to begin with and he deserves so much better than the hell he just went through,” he goes to take a sip from the bottle but realized he already drained it, he instead sets it down and twirls it on the table, “I’m still processing it but I just have a feeling that what I’m feeling is real.

“I think the alcohol you’ve had tonight may be messing with you.”

Miles laughs, his blue-green eyes twinkling just right, before he shows Kallie the bottle, “What alcohol?

Kallie looks down and sees that he’s been enjoying a Non-Alcoholic beverage the whole night, “What? But...but why?”

Because I didn’t want you to be the only sober one tonight, and someone needs to help you keep these guys in line.” Miles smirks, “That and the last thing I need to do is drunk dial anyone and make a complete arse of myself even further.

“Awww, Miles that’s just...” she leans down and gives him a kiss on the cheek, “That’s the sweetest thing. You really are a great guy.”

He smiles at her, “So I’ve been told, and yet here I am...stag on New Years Eve.

“Come back inside, just because you are alone doesn’t mean you need to be alone.” Kallie says holding out her small hand, “And don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.”

Miles stops and thinks for a moment, “Thanks Kallie, but honestly I don’t think I want it to be a secret anymore.


Haven’t You Figured This Out By Now?

Jesus Monte Christo, Mark....you love to hear yourself talk. Dontcha, mate?

Let me make this very crystal clear to you, right off the bat.... I have not now, nor have I ever had a plan going into any kind of match. Call it Roulette Division syndrome if you will, because you can plan for all contingencies and yet that wheel can throw all your good intentions right into the bin to be taken out on trash day.

And...I don’t know maybe that is my problem, most of the time. Not planning ahead of time, not gathering all that intel that one should to really understand and get into the psyche of one's opponent. The last time I did that was when Raven and I went one on one and bruv, the shit that the guy tried to get under my skin? It worked in a way, it brought something out in me that I hadn’t felt in a long time and maybe that’s how I won that Roulette Championship. Then that oaf, Bill Barnhart came along and stomped that flame out.

It did eat away at me for a moment but then I realized that there are far more important matters than some gold in my suitcase as we travel from town to town. One thing that some forget, that you never ever stop learning. Considering that I’ve been here in SCW for just about 2 and a half years now and even though I have just one title reign under my belt in that time and YOU stepped up to face ME?!? That tells me that in the grand scheme of things, I’m something you need to learn about.

While I’m still under that proverbial learning tree, it’s only a matter of time until the stars align just right where the kid from Manchester gets it right and suddenly I’m something to fear. The tosser that you poke at for losing to Bill Barnhart, is the same bloke that stood unafraid in the ring with guys like Alex Jones, Fenris, Ken Davison, et cetera and so forth. I may have had my ass beat by them all, but I’m still going to get back up and learn from my mistakes, while you continue to make the same ones over and over.

But Mark, you can talk until you are blue in the face, and the rest of us have lost brain cells and grown a little older waiting for you to finally shut up, in the ring is where it matters the most. I’m the next generation in line for that glass ceiling you so proudly stand on. Eventually, I’m going to break through that fucker and none of you are going to know what to do next.

This whole new year is going to be a year where you are going to see something a little different, the one where the wolf not only has the claws...but his bite is a whole lot worse than his bark. I look forward to showing you something you haven’t seen before, Dragon. And know that the game has changed.