The upscale penthouse apartment of one of New Orelans’ hottest lawyer, in more ways than one, is where one can find the affluent and verbose Aloysius Marcus Vance IV this evening. It is a rare night off, one not spent shuffling paperwork, arranging meetings and keeping the cash rolling into his personal coffers. And also one not managing the New Nightmare known as Reaper. As a matter of fact, Aloysius is about as far removed as his fourth-generation self can be from it all, lounging on a black leather sofa with a bowl of gourmet kettle corn on the glass-topped coffee table and a pint of brew next to that minus a few sips. The smirk is near perpetual… and why wouldn’t it be?
Reaper powered through the biggest challenge of his career thus far against Anaquin Adams in a Death Match, the streak continued and, of course, all the green that came with how sought-after his charge was coming. Business was a-boomin’, as the kids once said, with mention of the masked man enough to bring plenty of extra business before that mahogany desk of his.
But, of course, reality has a dark side, too...
”And in local news this evening, police are still on the lookout for a pair of masked assailants who abducted and attacked a local high school football star, considerably injuring him and, at last report, seemingly putting an end to his NFL aspirations.”
Having his glass tilted in mid-sip, AMV stops dead and his eyes avert toward the television. Lowering the glass slowly, he pays extra close attention.
”Kenneth Morel, star quarterback for the Metairie High School Gators, was the victim of a vicious assault a few weeks ago, and reports from doctors are that he suffered a broken jaw, missing teeth, an extremely fractured patella and other injuries. Police are doing their best to find the suspects who perpetrated this terrible crime, the sort of altercation that has become almost commonplace in the area over the last few months.”
”Son of a…”
”Numerous bar brawls have also taken place, as well as fights breaking out at local sporting events. While the area is no stranger to violence, mostly from various gangs and so-called clubs fighting for territory in the area, the frequency and violence has increased considerably since a particularly nasty occurrence near the Civic Theater in New Orleans that left one victim comatose, several seriously injured and two dead. We’ll be right back.”
Beer glass still in hand, actually shaking a bit in Aloysius’s grip, the lawyer downs the rest of the beverage and reaches for his cell. Activating the screen, he mutters into the speaker.
*Ding!* “Calling Elise…”
Putting the phone on speaker, AMV sets it on the table right after putting the television on mute. Glancing at the clock on the phone, which reads 11:18pm, his expression shifts a bit, becomes almost apologetic. After but one ring, a sleepy-sounding voice answers the call.
”Hey, gorgeous… did I wake you?”
The cute, squeaky yawn on the other end of the phone tells him that he did just that, and yet a small smile forms on his face anyway.
”Sounds like I owe you dinner, then. Listen, I promise this will only take a moment. I need you to think back to earlier this week. Remember that you said someone came by to see me while I was out of the office, but they didn’t give a name?”
Sleepiness did nothing for the secretary’s conversational skills...
”Was that before or after the activation of our new security systems?”
”Ummmm… after. Yeah, was the morning before that… *yawn* ...we got those fired up.”
”And did you remember to e-mail me the information so that I could check on those remotely?”
”Uh… *ya~awn* ...huh. Private account. Like you said.”
Seeming quite relieved, Aloysius is about to end the call but pauses, his finger hovering over the red phone button. After a few seconds, he speaks again.
”And… were there any packages?”
”Ummm… one? You told me to put things like that in the vault if you were not there to take them…”
A bit of consternation manifests on AMV’s face. Something, at least in his mind, is amiss.
”Can I go back to sleep now?”
”Hm? Oh… yes, of course you can. Sweet dreams.”
A cutely-mumbled response is given before the line goes dead. For several moments, Aloysius sits and stares at the phone. The sweet, crunchy treat is forgotten, the empty glass begs for a refill and the news continues on, silent yet unabated. Rubbing his face with his hands, AMV looks up, hands still covering his lower features, before he finally lowers them and mutters at the phone.
*Ding!* “Calling Reaper…”
One ring… two rings… then an almost silent click.
”What the FUCK did you DO?!”
From the other end of the phone? Silence.
Uncharacteristically, Aloysius Marcus Vance IV stands in the middle of an MHW ring, in the center of an empty arena, dressed to the nines in a tailored black Ermenegildo Zegna suit. The damn thing probably costs more than the ring AMV is standing in. Uncharacteristic by his absence is Reaper, though… the New Nightmare of Mile High, the monster who has yet to be pinned or tapped and who has torn apart every opponent he’s faced up to this point. In another time, another place, we might be seeing an AMV who was confident, smug and even jubilant about the upcoming ThrowDown.
Today, however, we get none of that. He looks quite severe, enough that lines become apparent on his face from the tension of his expression. It puts some years on the young man’s face. He does not even wait to get into his diatribe before pulling off his designer Ray-Bans and pointing with them at the camera.
”Before you pop open your fly-catcher and start spewing politically-charge verbal diarrhea all over whatever unlucky cameras and microphones are closest to you, Dana Ellis, I want you to listen very, VERY closely to what I’m about to say… because not one damn syllable that topples unabated through that yawning abyss is going to change one unadulterated, ineffable, universal fact:”
Tucking the shades into his jacket pocket, Vance keeps his gaze locked on the camera.
”You are going to get hurt.”
Dead serious, this guy. He stares at the camera as though waiting… no, EXPECTING… a response. That is not to come, obviously. At least… not yet. But AMV hardly cares about that. He has only just begun.
”The first words out of your mouth when you address Reaper should be filled with gratitude, because just being in the ring with him guarantees that, for better or worse, your inaugural match in Mile High will be a memorable one. Robert Mack is not starting you out against some implant-filled tomato can with a saccharine smile or some half-homeless nimrod he shoved a $100 bill in front of just to give you an easy night at the office. No, he is giving you a trial by fire against the baddest wolf in the woods. And you should be fucking grateful for that, because you damn sure do NOT deserve such consideration!
Yes, that’s right, Dana. I said it. Are you going to hop on your soapbox again, start claiming that Mile High is anti-female? Will you claim that Mack has it in for you, hoping that Reaper will shut your mouth for good and spare him a lot of headaches? Or are you perhaps dreaming that Reaper will end the match scraping you from the bottom of his boots so that, at the very least, you can be something of a martyr for your lost cause? I’m sure you have excuses and conspiracy theories at the ready. Just like every other talking head in this business, you want to make sure you’re prepared for as many happenstances as possible. And if you weren’t so grating to the senses, I might be impressed.”
Shaking his head, AMV looks both bored and pissed at the same time. He holds up his right hand, thumb and forefinger a fraction of an inch apart.
”Thing is? For just a few moments there when I first got a look at the contract? I dared to believe that you might be, oh, I don’t know… different? Instead, you already sound like everyone else who has come up against Reaper, histrionics and all.”
His hand makes with a rather impressive Pac-Man impersonation. As a matter of fact, every time he says a few words...
”I’m gonna break the streak!”
...said words appear at the bottom of the screen, only to be eaten up by Pac-Man himself, complete with an accurate wakka-wakka-wakka sound effect! Who knew AMV could lay on some funny?!
”I’m gonna beat that monster down!”
”I’m not afraid of Reaper!”
”MHW is holding women down!”
Seems like poor Pac-Man broke a tooth trying to gobble up that line. AMV, rolling his eyes, slaps away the animation from the bottom of the screen, annoyed.
”A starving Ethiopian couldn’t swallow that bullshit if you covered it in steak sauce. First of all, even if it the company were holding women down, it would have nothing to do with the fight you’ve got coming. The fact that the women here are talented enough to stand up to the men, hang with them and even defeat them makes your idiotic point moot from the get. The first World Champion in this company’s history was a woman: Candi Bratton. The Shieldmaidens, who up until now have had little competition in or out of the ring, have likewise dominated from the start… and they’re even doing so without their former leader. And that's only a few of the names I could mention.
So, tell me again about women are marginalized in this company or, hell, in wrestling as a whole? Oh, you’re about to retort, but what about the pain and suffering that they have to go through on a weekly basis in that ring? To that I say the following: welcome to wrestling. This ain’t ballet and if you aren’t hard you’re going to wash out damn quick. The only uterus-wielding, bra-stuffing malcontent raising a stink is you. If you were hoping to gain some allies among the fairer set around here by claiming that you fight for them and their rights, I have some bad news: they’re laughing at you, Dana. In your face and behind your back. You’re worse than some 50-something senator who has no idea what a fucking menstrual cycle is yet still has the gall to think they can put forth legislation on birth control or tell a woman how to handle her own body. Translation: you've no idea what you're speaking of, yet are all but demanding that the rest follow your tattered banner.”
Ah, that vitriol is welling up again. Well, the 80s-level, pixellated good humor couldn’t last forever, right?
”You’re late to the party, Dana. Painfully late. Out of touch. The revolution has left you behind... left you grasping at straws and hoping to pull one hard enough to keep that door propped open so you can stumble through and spread your agenda amongst the unwashed masses. And you know what? I don’t have a problem with that. Reaper doesn’t have a problem with that, either. I mean, there’s no shutting someone like you up. We know that. More effective, and more fun in fact, to let your own words be the rope that hangs you in the end. Besides… it is going to be pure joy seeing the look on your face when this happens:”
Giving his queue to the stage, the lights go down and the big screen comes up in a familiar montage while the notes of Kamelot’s “Necropolis” start to play. Appearing on the stage is Reaper himself, wasting little time in walking down to the ring. This time, the camera’s view switches and takes in the big man’s approach from the front, slowing retreating and matching his pace as the New Nightmare arrives at and enters the ring… before he grabs hold of the lens and shoves it away after stepping between the ropes.
And AMV? He laughs...
”You need to do something about this…”
AMV’s voice is somewhat frantic as he shuts the door leading into the outer area of his office behind him, leaning against it to catch his breath. He’s on the phone, but it is impossible to hear the person on the other end; he remembered to take it off speaker this time around.
”Because if this is from who I think it is, and is filled with what I’m afraid it is, things are gonna get damn complicated. I told you, he barely listens to me at this point! He’s got the taste of blood in his mouth and I don’t have to explain to you what that means!”
There IS some noise from the other end of the phone: a deep voice. What they say is difficult to make out, more so with the constant beeping of AMV opening his office vault with various codes and scans. Thing is damn near James Bond level.
”What do you mean he isn’t talking to you either?!”
Entering the room, Aloysius immediately spots the package sitting on a central table, compartments lining the walls and protected shelves all but ignored. There must be quite a bit in here, but the fourth-gen lawyer only has eyes for the solitary package, taking it up and quickly exiting the vault. He has to put some effort into closing it behind him, the passage finally clicking into place with heavy, metallic noises.
”Just… just try, okay? I’ll be in touch.”
Taking the package to his office, AMV puts it on the desk and, with great care, pulls loose the string binding it, taking equal effort to gently unwrap the plain brown packaging. He peers into the box after taking several moments to open it… and takes out what appears to be a black iPad. Turning it on, the light illuminating his features in the dimly-lit room. His lips move a little as his eyes dart back and forth… then he puts a finger to the screen to start a video clip.
A scream, male or female is difficult to discern, peals from the speakers as they play the recording, leaving AMV to almost drop the device and put a hand to his heart. Quickly turning the device off, he puts it into his bag and tears out of the office, almost forgetting to lock the door behind him.
Returning after a bout of static to the ring, now to Reaper AND Aloysius Marcus Vance IV, we can still hear “Necropolis” playing in the background, though the camera’s view is from below now instead of straight ahead. AMV and Reaper likewise loom over the device, staring down at it, one expression masked and the other tight yet satisfied.
”And this, Dana, is where it ends. You will rise and you will speak and few will afford you the courtesy of listening. That much you have not earned, accomplishing nothing that warrants us taking your diatribes seriously. Then, you will walk down to this ring, perhaps snapping up a house microphone on the way to let out a few more tarnished gems of purported knowledge, hoping to sway a few more hearts and minds. Then… it hits. This song.
Then you see it… this nightmare.
And, a little while later, you will stare through hazy eyes, your body aching in ways you never thought possible, with severity that will bring tears to those pretty gazers. And the view will look pretty similar to what you’re seeing now. Just a bit less handsome.”
Crouching, AMV turns the camera so that it’s all Reaper, taking him out of the shot. Ah, we get it now. Less handsome. Har har.
Reaper isn’t laughing, though… like that’s anything new.
”Not because you are a woman, Dana. Not because you talk too much or have basically threatened and diminished the New Nightmare in some way. No, because you are his opponent. Reaper does not see black and white, male and female, when that bell rings. He sees an opponent and he follows his instincts. Those instincts have left each and every opponent who has stepped into the ring with him laying. Some in… more difficult-to-understand shapes than others, most smeared with a large amount of red. That’s the part that’s gonna be hard for you to glom on to, but you fancy yourself a pretty smart lady, so I’m sure you’ll figure it out when the pain subsides.”
Drawing the camera back over as Reaper crouches now, both men glaring into the device as AMV’s smile disappears.
”Shallow motives, a transparent agenda and a mouth that your body could never back up, Dana. That’s why you’re going to fall to Reaper. Because there is no purity in you, no rigid, stony justification for why you say what you say, why you do what you do. You are flawed, and that makes you weak. Blame Robert Mack if you choose. Claim that all of wrestling is against you. Whatever it takes, Dana, to pick yourself up when it is done with. Because there is no glory in your future. Only pain. And if you cannot handle that… well, then I guess your precious movement will need another figurehead. Hopefully one that learned from your costly, debilitating, bloody mistake:
Do not FUCK with the Reaper. Welcome to a new nightmare.”
Grabbing the camera, Reaper pulls it in close, taking it from its spot and standing, holding the lens close to his metal-covered features. Close enough that the harsh breathing can be heard through the mouthpiece, so that the shaded eyepieces no longer fully hide the dark stare beneath them.
That is the last sight given before the feed cuts to a sudden, inky black. A nightmare, indeed.
Sure, it isn’t very lady like, nor is it something to be proud of, but that was my reaction when I read the call sheet for this coming Throwdown where I make my much anticipated debut. I was expecting someone like Chris Mosh or something just to get my feet. But then I saw the name “Reaper” printed out next to mine and memories of what I saw him due to that poor stupid girl at Black Magic came flooding in. And then I felt warmth run down my legs as I realized that I would have to be the one to face that evil rage monster in the ring. The thoughts that my worst fears were coming true raced through my mind as I truly did lose control of my bodily functions.
Fear had taken over me. My MHW career would be over before it had begun …and why? Because Robert Mack didn’t like me making my proclamations. He didn’t respect my opinions on the show he runs, so he purposely punished me for it …which proves my point when it comes to the criticisms about his company. He is just out to exploit women to an audience that constantly wants to see us get battered and broken. And Reaper is the tool he uses to do that. Again, what happened to that poor ignorant woman at Black Magic could very well happen to me
And why is that?
Because a woman spoke out against a very powerful man. Robert Mack wants to make me a martryr, NOT a hero. Because women can’t be heroes in Mile High. He will not allow it.
“Miss Ellis,” a man setting up the ring for a road show I was working came up to me. Clearly he was trying to white knight himself to get me in bed. All men who act concerned for a woman are just doing it to get laid. That is a fact. “Are …are you alright?”
“What kind of question is that?” I snapped back at him. “Of course, I’m okay. How am I not okay? I have a chance to strike back for women everywhere, including this company.”
I wasn’t okay. I was FAR from okay in that moment.
“It’s just that,” he began, rambling. Clearly, he had noticed what I was just realizing in that moment. “It looks like you had an accident.”
I looked at him and then looked down at my white dress. There was a huge puddle in the crotch of it. I grimaced a bit out of sheer humiliation. THIS is what Reaper has done to me. THIS is what his smarmy little manager did to me. THIS IS WHAT ROBERT MACK DID TO ME JUST BECAUSE I HAD AN OPINION THAT I NEEDED TO VOICE!
I looked down and then looked back up at him.
“I spilled my tea.” I tried playing it off as if I had not wet myself out of fear of being pummeled by a masked marauder; a monster wearing human flesh.
“But you aren’t drinking tea,” the crew member noted.
I looked back towards the nearby corner, trying to cover up my involuntary body function. “I dropped it over there.”
“But that happened just now…” he kept trying to challenge me.
“I SAID I SPILLED MY TEA!” I cut him off before stomping away to the locker room. I now had to go find a change of clothes and underpants. And all the women in this company wore gear that made them walking thirst traps. I would NEVER demean myself in that manner. What my bell, legs, and cleavage looks like is nobody’s business, nor do I want to encourage young boys in the audience to spank off to my image after the show. And what does that say to the young girls watching at home? They see a woman strong powerful woman displaying her body, they are going to think that is okay. As said, the women at MHW are bad enough in that regard. I need to be a symbol to them, even if I was going to get brutally murdered to thousands of cheering fans in just a few short days. I had to maintain an image of a healthy, reserved body image; one that doesn’t use her sexuality to control the situation. I needed to be a woman that wasn’t going to let this vile company exploit her.
So I either had to wrestle in my urine soaked dress or I had to dress like a slut, sacrificing all of my values.
I didn’t care how terrified of Reaper I was, I was NOT going to sacrifice the values that I hold dear. I was not going to let the thought of that boogey man change that about me. I was petrified in fear, but I made a choice in that moment. I have a cause. That cause is to bring about social change in the wrestling industry and Robert Mack wanted to mock that. I might get killed at Throwdown, but I was not going to back pedal on the values of equality and fighting abuse within the industry. I was not going to let any of those MEN control me in that way. It just wasn’t going to happen. I was not going to waiver in my beliefs.
So …I wrestled in a urine soak dress for that road show. It was embarassing and VERY uncomfortable, but I HAD to do it. There is no comprise with what drives me. There is no giving in to the fear that MEN force upon me. There is no settling with their ways. I might be a dead woman walking …but I was still MY OWN WOMAN. And Reaper might be the undefeated monster, but he was not going to make me be anyone else, but who I was.
And that was how I began to fight back against him. TWO DAYS LATER
I was bluffing and didn’t actually believe anything I was saying that day on twitter. I didn’t think I could beat Reaper in the match. I didn’t think I could survive, but I needed everyone to believe that I believed that. How would I look if I admitted to feeling completely overwhelmed? How would it seem, after all my talking about women’s rights if I told him “Yeah, your guy is going to massacre me? What public image would I have if I told Aloysius that I also believed that I could not survive the beating I was about to receive at the hands of his monster. It would throw away all I was fighting for.
So …I lied.
I claimed that not only was I going to survive. I was going to end Reaper’s unpenetrable undefeated streak …even though I had no possible idea how I was supposed to do that.
HOW THE WORLD WAS I SUPPOSED DEFEAT WHAT HAS PROVEN TO BE UNDEFEATED?
But I had to try, right? I needed to crack this nut even if it would literally kill me. So, I did what any UCLA graduate would do. I did research. I found all of Reaper’s matches so far in MHW and studied the tape. I looked at what he did to his opponents. I especially watched the Black Magic with great interest to see if there was anything I could do to avoid that fate. God knows I didn’t want to be slammed through the ring. It WAS fortunate that this wasn’t a death match. I maybe could avoid getting terribly maimed. But there was still the probably about not only this man seemingly having no weakness, but he was a huge mother as well. Me being fit, but tiny woman didn’t help matters much.
So I watched his matches. Obsessively. Over and over and over and over again. I made sure to watch every slam. Every finish. I noted the way his opponent’s body crumbled under his sheer power in the ring. I took into account every opening he left where an opponent could possibly take advantage of his power. There weren’t very many. I stayed up for hours in my hotel room, trying to find any kind of weakness I could take advantage of. I tried and couldn’t find a damn. So, I watched them again. Tried to find some lead to go where I wouldn’t be helpless when the bell sounded. There was a reason he was undefeated here. So, I did another round of analyzing him…
…and then I vomited.
I had watched too much of abuse on every single one of his opponents. I watched their bodies become battered. Sometimes I could even see bones fractured as his onslaught on them would break their bodies down. It was horrific and my stomach couldn’t handle it.
I finally stopped the video and wept.
This was going to be me and there was nobody that could help me. There was nobody that wanted to help me. It was my first week in the pro’s and I was already a social pariah.
And that’s when I finally broke down and grabbed my phone. I had no one else to turn to.
I dialed a number I hadn’t dialed in about a year’s time.
Within a few seconds, the voice of “The Mother of Violence” Agnes Gertrude answered.
“Yes,” the grizzled woman said as she answered the phone.
“Mommy! I don’t know where to turn to. I NEED your help,” I pleaded to the woman who not only raised me, but has been in the wrestling industry since the mid-nineteen eighties. She had seen everything. She would’ve done everything had the men in charge of the industry back then not have held her back.
“Well, it’s a might fine situation you got yourself into, isn’t it?” She immediately spoke shrilly. “I told you that you wouldn’t last a month.”
She also wasn’t exactly the greatest parent in the world. Or, at least, not the most supportive to say the very least.
“Please, help me!” I began sobbing over the phone. I didn’t like losing my composure, but it was happening right then and there. I was just thankful there was no one else in the room at the time. Though footage like this tends to get leaked for pro-wrestlers. You are never REALLY off camera in this industry. There is always somebody watching. In the future, somebody is going to somehow see this moment of weakness and use it against me …that is fine and that is fair. “I got myself in a bad situation at Mile High and I don’t how to get out of it.”
“I know. I watched you march into that poor promoter’s office, making your silly demands about women’s rights and I got a good chuckle out of it. You realize that isn’t the way the industry works, right?” Agnes taunts me over the phone. She would do that whenever I came home with just an A from elementary school, even though she got expelled for her High School and isn’t exactly what you would call literate.
“But, it SHOULD work that way. I was just trying to make a difference in the business. You know, like you always wanted to do before…” I trailed off for a moment.
“Before I gave it up to raise you because your stupid father didn’t feel it necessary to wear a condom when fucking a ring rat,” my mother finished my sentence for me in the crudest way possible.
“Mom, never refer to yourself as a ...” I whispered the next part just because it made me uncomfortable to talk about my mother in that regard. “A ring rat.”
“But, I was. All of us back then were. It was how you got television back in the day. Probably still is that way now, but you’re just too idealistic to know any better. You’re always trying to save a world that doesn’t want to be saved. Always trying to make wherever you’re at better. You are in the wrestling industry now. There are no safe spaces or professor’s who’ll give you a pass because they think it’ll get them laid. It is a tough brutal world that you have no place in …because you’re weak.” Agnes laid it all out for me in the harshest way possible as she was already sounding impatient with me. “The fact that you’ve even come to me on the phone crying pretty much solidifies that. There’s no crying in wrestling, sweet heart.”
“But, I’m not weak. I know I’m not weak. I know I can make it here. I was just given a terrible first opponent because of gender biased management,” I tried to explain frantically as I was putting my vomit filled shirt in the wash.
“Oh my god. Are you listening to yourself? I never raised you to be this sensitive.”
“Yeah, I know. You made us all eat dog food once because you were all out of money. That was the worst Thanksgiving ever, mom.” That was a true story and a somewhat traumatic memory.
“It was supposed to harden you to the harsh reality that was out there. But here you are using words like ‘gender biased’ and all that other educated crap that makes you think that you’re better than everyone else. In the ring, the person that wins the match is better than everyone else and this week, it is that large motherfucker. Now, you stopped talking to me because you ‘think’ I was an abusive parent, but suddenly, because management is trying to test you, you come to me, looking for sympathy?” She pauses for just a second before the pitch in her voice goes up. “News flash, Dana, all management of any kind is corrupt and you’re a fool to believe that you can change it. Wrestling is sexist. That’s the truth. This is what you chose for God knows why.”
“I was just trying to do what you couldn’t, mother. I was trying to prove that a woman COULD make it in this industry without having to batter her body or get abused for entertainment of others,” I tried to explain to her as the wash started and my weeping had ceased.
“Don’t give me that crap, you little idiot,” Agnes scolded me, as she tends to do most of the time. “You did it because your big mouth gets you in trouble wherever you go. You graduated from UCLA at the top of your class, but happened when you actually started doing social work? You talked down to your patients as if they were stupid. People don’t like that. You did the same with your management when they told you your bed side manner sucked. And let’s not forget when you went to europe to follow your dream of being an artist. You talked down to any person who had a criticism about your work. You couldn’t last through retail without telling those in charge that they need to have a union and have better benefits for women. You’re so smart, but it is that intelligence that keeps getting you in trouble. You joined the industry that MADE your mother because you thought what I did was easy and the only reason I wasn’t successful was because I wasn’t as good as you are and that the industry was corrupt. And NOW, your mouth has got you in trouble again and it’s going to probably get you very badly injured.”
“But I..” I tried to stop her from continuing to berate me over the phone, but she just continued.
“And the thing is, you won’t learn. I gave up a long time ago thinking you would’ve taken something away from all of your failures. Reaper is going to massacre you in front of thousands of blood thirsty fans and you are going to be crippled and you ARE STILL going to insist that it was all Robert Mack’s personal vendetta against you. Wrestling promoters have a tough job. It is even tougher when a spoiled little girl barges into his office, telling him how to do his job. He doesn’t care about your representation or your gender equality.”
“But he should. This is the year 2019 and he shouldn’t be running a promotion where a man is allowed to hold the title unopposed the way Skrabz does nor she he be sending women off to their doom at the hands of a beast. If you just look at the facts…” I, again, tried explaining my side of the argument to her, but AGAIN, she cut me off, not wanting to hear my point of view.
“NOBODY CARES ABOUT THE FACTS, DANA. They care about wrestling.” She berated me again while yelling at me AGAIN. My mom is so abusive and just doesn’t understand that representation matters. That facts matter. And most importantly, wanting to protect women from abuse of bigger and stronger men matters.
“Mom, I just called for some advice on how to fight this guy. You would know. You’ve fought guys like him before. I just thought …” I trail off, realizing that I should have never have called. All she ever did for me was make me feel weak and like a piece of shit for even trying.
However, her voice did calm at this point, as if she was trying to relate to me. “That’s the thing. I did fight men like him. And every time I lost. There is no winning. There is no right. There is no perfect strategy or lucky break. You walk in, hope that he doesn’t break your back, and battle through the pain. It’s like that hot piece of man ass who managed him said. You’re fighting to survive, not win because there is no winning against him.”
“That can’t be true, mom. I refuse to believe that there isn’t some way to bring him down. I am a strong independent woman. Nothing truly stands in our way when we have a cause and determination to beat those that stand in the way of our goals.” It sounded like I was trying to convince myself of that more than anyone else.
“Believe that all you want, but I’m not going to help you. Nor will I be giving you a place to live when this whole “wrestling” fad dies out worse than that time you thought you could make your career nit-picking sexist games on Youtube. That’s how you got all of those death and rape threats.”
“That isn’t how people in society should act. That’s what my mission is all about it.”
“You can’t change the world, honey. The world is the world and it’s ugly as sin. Until you realize that, you need to not call here ever again.”
And just like that. Mother of the Year hangs up the phone and leaves me alone again …by myself …still facing the biggest threat of my life and not knowing what in the world I would do against it. And she just laid out all of my flaws in one phone conversation, while just saying what all the critics had said before. What they were still saying. Telling me how awful I am for wanting progression seems to be the only advice anyone wants to give me. In fact, all anyone seems to EVER want from me is to just leave. They just wished I never challenged them or offered them a solution. It seems to be a running theme. I think differently, therefore I should just not exist. Again, it’s a reminder EVERY time I post ANYTHING on twitter. It is just full of folks telling me how much I don’t matter. They love to tell me how much everyone hates me. My existence seems to be JUST so people can rant about my ranting.
And as I hung up the phone, something weird happened.
I stopped crying.
I stopped feeling sorry for myself.
Instead, I was JUST angry.
I was angry at the world. I was angry my mom. And I was angry at myself for ever believing anything they ever said about me. I needed to find a way to prove ALL OF THEM WRONG.
…and I was just going to have to do against an unstoppable beast named Reaper!
The fight continued… SEVEN DAYS LATER “Hi, my name is Susan,” the blonde haired woman said, standing up to address the circle of woman that surrounded her. She seemed hesitant to speak or even address the entire room. She was meak and afraid. I wondered if that was how I sounded a few short days ago. Sure, I was still scared and there was doubt clouding my mind on HOW I could beat Reaper, but was I ever that timid? I mean, that’s why I scheduled this time here: to figure out how to cope with the beast I was going to square off against. Self-defense classes didn’t help. Self-help groups weren’t helping me find that spark. The only way to truly mentally confront what I was about to face was to find women who are trying to cope with it.
“And …I …I shouldn’t even be here. Brandon was just concerned that I was cheating on him again. He didn’t meant to hurt me. He was just worried about me. It was my fault.” She said, almost crying. “I should’ve done something to make him know that I was loyal now.”
I sat in the circle, surrounded by the rest of the women who were currently residents of that certain shelter. I listened intently to her story, but immediately got a strange feeling about my place there. I know I volunteered to listen to these stories, but I felt uncomfortable for some odd reason. I wanted to know how to cope with the abuse I was about to take for having thoughts and opinions. I needed to find the source of my fears and how to overcome. Afterall, these were women who were overcoming their fears, right? They would know how to combat the primal urge inside men such as Reaper …if Reaper was even a man.
“Thank you for sharing, Susan,” Barbara, the woman who was running this particular meeting said as she had the floor. “But I think you need to realize that this isn’t your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong. Nobody should ever raise their fists at a human being nor should you feel the need to justify that behavior. He CHOSE to beat you because he has problems. Not you. Who’s next?”
A frumpy woman stood up from her seat, she seemed a bit more confident than Susan did, but only a little more. Again, she wasn’t the strong woman facing her fear that I was expecting. Her posture was that of a person who was terrified of their own shadow. The frumpy woman began to speak with somewhat of a southern twang. “I have every right to be here. Arnold is a son of a bitch who deserves for someone to run him over with the car or got shot in the head. He is a bastard who’s been beating me for twenty years. Every time he comes in from the bar, he finds the stupidest reason to batter me senseless. I am just too powerless and weak to stop him from doing it. I mean, I love the big oaf when he isn’t drunk. But he is a monster that I can’t fight when he is drunk. I am powerless to stop him and I love him too much to put a bullet in his damn head.”
“Thank, Sally.” Barbara said, nodding as she acknowledged the woman’s hostility. “See how abuse makes us angry and conflicted. Your thoughts are not uncommon, but wanting something violent to happen to your loved one isn’t healthy either. You are just giving into their violent mind set and nature. Sometimes the best thing to do in these situations is to leave them and build yourself back up.”
“I can’t leave him. I love him,” Sally spoke with earnest.
“I know, but if something is unhealthy for you, you have to purge it from your system. That’s how you begin the healing process,” Barbara informed, Sally, the lady from the mid-west with a terrible temper.
“But I tried running away and Travis somehow keeps finding me,” a red headed woman stood up, she also had the posture of a scared puppy dog. “It doesn’t matter where I go, I feel like every corner I turn, he will be there, waiting, with his belt in hand. I can’t get away from it.”
Barbara considers what she is saying as the red headed woman sits. I personally could not believe what I was seeing here. It made me uneasy, it made me uncomfortable. And yes, it made me feel sorry for these women. They had to put up with so much from men’s primal instinct to take their rage out on people that they considered weak. But there was another emotion I was feeling. I wasn’t happy that this is the word that sprang to mind, but it was..
I pitied them.
“Erica, yes, sometimes there are men who will not let you get away. But remember, you are in a safe space here,” Barbara began. “Some abusers fear the healing process so much that they are unrelenting towards their goal of breaking you down. Yes, they will not stop until they know they have broken you mentally, where you feel that there is no way out. You need to be able to see that way out.” Barbara suggested to the frantic lady.
She then turned to me and gave a warm welcoming smile. “Ladies, we have a special guest today. Please welcome Miss Dana Ellis. She too has apparently been dealing with abuse as of late and wanted to share some things with all of you. Dana, you have the floor.
“Hi, my name is Dana, and I am about to be a victim of abuse,” I said confidently with a proud stance. I could feel that my posture was that of someone who had not been broken like the other women there. In that moment, I felt like a shiny beacon of hope for people who had none of it to begin with.
“What do you mean ‘about to be?’” Susan asked. I could tell she was confused because she had probably never been around a confident young woman like myself.
“Oh, I’m a pro wrestler like my mother and I have match with a monster who destroys women on a regular basis.”
“Wait, isn’t that your job? Your job is literally to fight your opponents and take that beating,” Erica pointed out. Barbara stood there, listening intently. I could tell that she saw my as an inspiration to these women and didn’t like that my motives were being questioned here.
“Nobody’s job should ever be to take beatings. Have a well fought match? Sure, but women should not be abused for sport the way it is tolerated in MHW. However, listening to your stories made me realize something. You all struggled fighting regular sized men and they all broke you. You never had any fight in you to begin with. I am not like you. I am not made like you. Something made you cower in the face of abuse, but it is the same thing that is making me stand up to it. To face it head on. And no, I’m not going up against some regular creep. I am facing man who embodies all of that primal rage. A man that embodies the masculine essence that makes up all of your tormentors. Yes, I’m afraid. Hell, I am damn near terrified, but that drives me to not just sit there and take it. That drives me to overcome that fear, but not just that. It drives me to put a halt to Reaper’s reign of terror once and for all.”
“What in the hell are you talking about?” Sally asked, looking like she wanted to give me a big hug for my courageous heart and inability to back down in the face of danger. In many ways, I had the power that they would probably never have.
“I am talking about the fact that for days I’ve been hearing that I am going to be facing off against Reaper because it is my fault. That I needed to run away. That I should feel sorry about who I am and the things I say. You know, the same stuff your abusers tell you all of the time. But hearing you all made me realize that being booked in this match was not my fault like many want to think it is. I am facing push back to put me back in place, but I will stay in that place. I will not let the rest of the world look at me at Throwdown and say ‘well, she had it coming.’ None of us had it coming. Powerful and abusive men will not turn me into the terrified wisps of a woman that I see sitting before today.”
As I am speaking, I can see Barbara pull out her cell phone and make a call. She is probably calling her supervisor to have me do tours at schools to talk about overcoming your tormentors.
“For you, I will not let Robert Mack or Reaper but my will into submission. For you, those who chose not to fight back and cowered, I will STOP Reaper’s massacre by any damn means possible. I will fight the war that you women think you can’t. And I am going to take that abusive man’s undefeated streak right along with me.”
“Oh, would somebody please shut her the hell up?” Erica said. She didn’t mean that. Most women just have an irrational reaction when they see someone that is willing to stand up for them in the brave way that I do every day.
“What the hell is this, Barbara? This is supposed to be a safe space away from judgement.” Sally shot Barbara a stern look. She clearly either didn’t understand what I was saying or more likely didn’t understand it.
“I’m working on it,” Barbara titled the phone away from her mouth. I have no idea what she meant by that.
“I just wanted to let you all know that you are truly inspiring women. Not strong ones at all, but you have motivated me to not take crap from patriarchy or anyone who says ‘Dana Ellis can’t do that.’ I will be your voice out in the world against the Reapers who try to shut you down …because I am clearly woke to something you aren’t. Through my defiance of the status quo, I will put an end to Women having to wrestle in cages for money. I will put an end to the gang warfare that is Coven and the Shield Maidens. Once I am finished with Reaper and MHW, they will stand together as one. I will put an end to Chris Mosh …because I just don’t like his face. Through my battles with those that strike us down, you WILL have a voice and no longer will Robert Mack get to book me in matches as punishment for that voice.”
Suddenly, four orderlies appear in the room. I had no idea what they were doing there. Barbara points to me as two of the large men grab at me. They begin carting me off from the room.
“See? This is an example of the type of abuse I am protecting everyone from. Thank you for your time. I will not let anyone of you down.”
As I was escorted away, probably because what I was saying was too real for the women, I realized something for the first time ever. I was not just going to survive Reaper, but I would be the first woman to beat him in the ring. Sure, I’ve told everyone else that. But that was the first time that I KNEW that I would win at Throwdown. And MHW would never be the same again.
The fight will never end…
Admin: Note that the deadlines have changed. I made the change for the convenience of the other judges.
May 17, 2021 15:21:30 GMT -6
Admin: Hope everyone is enjoying their 4th of July weekend/week/day! 💪💯💯
Jul 4, 2021 14:22:58 GMT -6
Admin: Where do yall hist photos? I'm thinking about switching sites, because I'm paying a monthly subscription for Photobucket and they got watermarks back on my images. I'm guessing it's a glitch or something, but it's already been two days.
Aug 7, 2021 6:56:18 GMT -6
The Purge: I use Imgur - and I've never paid a cent for their services, and no water marks
Aug 7, 2021 8:48:13 GMT -6
Deleted: o.o Lord, Rob! Get away from Photobucket ASAP! I’m with Haircin — use Imgur. It’s way better and costs nothing.
Aug 8, 2021 16:28:35 GMT -6
Admin: I appreciate yall! ✊💯💯 Ima look into it this week. Apologies to everyone if some of the images for the show tonight have that Photobucket watermark. I didn't have the time today obviously to make any switches. But I will make time this week. 💯💯
Aug 8, 2021 17:43:04 GMT -6
Admin: Katrina will probably be happy too as she was just telling me I was crazy for paying monthly for a photo host. Lol.
Aug 8, 2021 17:44:00 GMT -6
Admin: ***NOTE*** I moved the deadline up 12 hours to give the judges an extra day to read over the rps.
Aug 10, 2021 15:29:37 GMT -6
Admin: Started messing with Imgur today and confirmed to myself that Imgur was the original photo host I was using for Season One and the beginning of Season Two of MHW. Something made me mad and thats when I switched to Photobucket. I don't remember what though.
Aug 12, 2021 16:08:47 GMT -6
Admin: Ima still switch back to it though, because the Photobucker watermarks are still showing up on some images.
Aug 12, 2021 16:09:19 GMT -6
Admin: ***Just A Reminder*** The new deadline is less than 24 hours away. 💪💯💯
Aug 20, 2021 9:45:58 GMT -6
cmosh: Marisol Vilaró is Spanish, she is from Spain
Sept 14, 2021 22:50:17 GMT -6
Admin: Noted 💪💯💯 So I can get Rrina to teach me how to pronounce her name.
Sept 15, 2021 15:35:32 GMT -6
cmosh: Don't worry I don't know how to pronounce it either. She is actually played by someone else, so it is sometimes hard to do RP's with them due to our work schelduce but I am alound to use the character over here
Sept 15, 2021 19:28:12 GMT -6
Admin: Trying something different with the match writing, based off of research and just to try something new. It's a hit or miss concept, so feedback would be appreciated. ThrowDown will also debut the new layout concept. AMMO will start with that new layout...
Sept 18, 2021 8:35:55 GMT -6
Admin: ...on the following AMMO. This AMMO will just have the new match writing idea.
Sept 18, 2021 8:36:32 GMT -6
cmosh: I want to apologize to everyone for not doing a rp this week. Just been a tough week at work and other things got in the way as well, again I'm really sorry for not rping this week
Sept 18, 2021 21:07:43 GMT -6
Admin: It happens, brudda!
Sept 19, 2021 19:49:09 GMT -6