Behind the curtain, Mitch stretched and waited while Desiree’s smoky voice boomed as she welcomed the raucous crowd to Krampusnacht. To his left stood Danilo, shifting from foot-to-foot in what could only be nervous anticipation. “Hey,” Mitch whispered, and Danilo turned his head to him. “Best of luck.”
“Thanks,” Danilo whispered back with a small smile, but it faltered in the space between Desiree’s “the opening contest…” announcement and the introduction of a song over the PA. “That’ll be me,” he exhaled, and rushed through the curtain. Victor’s voice rang in Mitch’s head, a piece of advice given during one of his earliest classes: You have about 5 seconds to make your first impression on the audience; what a thing to figure out, when you still weren’t sure of who you were in the ring.
And what would be the impression as soon as Zevon emerged from the curtains? In the last two years, it’d gone from boos and jeers, to applause and encouragement. Was that merely due to sympathy, or had Mitch actually won over the crowd? He stayed present since his injury to keep relevant, and so far this tactic worked. Now that he was back as a competitor, would he be forced to readjust his presentation due to expectations?
He was against their acceptance, but he didn’t want to compromise himself. More importantly -for Zevon- compromise wasn’t an option.
“AND THEIR OPPONENT-” rang out over the speakers, accompanied by a few drumbeats. Shaking his wrists, Mitch whispered “alright” along with the vocalist in the intro of his entrance song, and sauntered out to the strum of fuzzy guitars. The immediate ovation took him back after he stepped out of the staging area, and he smiled despite himself.
Circling around the ring with deliberate strides, he kept the tip of his kendo stick trained on Danilo. Mitch then took an opportunity to ham it up while perched on the apron’s edge like a gargoyle, shouting obscenities to rev everyone up. The referee urged him to get into the ring, and he eventually complied.
While Desiree introduced the competitors, Mitch shed his entrance gear in one of the corners until he only wore his tights, boots, and elbow pads. Someone in the crowd wolf-whistled, and he adjusted his mouth guard to cover up his laughter. Despite the nerves, this felt good, like a homecoming of sorts.
The bell rung, and the audience clapped to a rhythm as the opponents stalked one another. Danilo was young and obviously hungry to prove himself to his peers. Furthermore, he was Maya’s, and that added a layer of expectations that Mitch couldn’t begin to imagine. However, Mitch was starving, and those hunger pains rippled through his core. After an unsuccessful attempt at provoking Danilo, Mitch lunged first and shoved him to the mat. He bent over until they were face-to face, leering. “You’re not making your name off of me,” he spat.
“Eat shit,” Danilo hissed back, rolling forward then standing tall once more, all in one fluid motion.
That’s when Mitch got a glimpse into a bit of Mercy’s character; Mercy was defiant, something that resonated with Mitch, and a much needed trait when pitted against Zevon. Being trained by the likes of Victor and taken under Nate’s wing would give most any newcomer an advantage in the ring. The issue for him was that Mitch had all that, plus several more years of experience. Furthermore, Zevon and Yours Truly clashed countless times, and their rivalry stretched into a blood feud. So for every attempt at offense from Danilo, Mitch countered with the greatest of ease.
Yet. Even as the ring rust dissipated and muscle memory carried Mitch through the bulk of the match, as he tapped into the well of familiarity and confidence blossomed in his own abilities, the ringpost loomed in the corner. It towered like a skyscraper, and its presence unsettled him. He avoided looking at it altogether.
Throughout the bout, Danilo made several early pin attempts, and that rookie arrogance made Mitch want to knock him down a few pegs. Still, kicking out took so much more energy than he recalled, and his lungs ached within minutes. After sitting up for the third time, he rubbed his chest and internally griped about how he needed to quit smoking for good, and soon.
Despite Mitch being more experienced, the both of them shared backgrounds. Danilo wasn’t about to stay down, and though Mitch’s shoulder physically healed, psychologically he wasn’t quite ready to test it out by utilizing any submission holds. The only other option was to rely on a finishing maneuver -the strongest one being aerial- which meant he had to trust both himself and the ring.
After grabbing Danilo’s waist from behind, Mitch hoisted him above his shoulders. With one hand, he pushed Danilo’s hip to spin him so that they now faced one another, the way that a pizza chef tosses dough. He then released the grasp to hook his arms around Danilo’s thighs, and used gravity during the descent to slam his back onto the mat.
As Danilo lay in shock and gasped for air, Mitch hurried away. He knew what he had to do in spite of all of his reservations, because spinout powerbombs never sealed the deal. Right then, he couldn’t chance anything with a less than definitive conclusion.
In the corner, the ringpost loomed threateningly. Mitch made a deal with the universe: if he fell from it again, then wrestling wasn’t for him. The numerous people in his life that insisted what he did was stupid and reckless would be vindicated, and he’d call them all up so that they could tell him this, starting with Calvin. But he needed to get through this match first.
He rushed over the ropes and climbed them, fueled by pure adrenaline. Light on his feet, balanced like a bird on a telephone wire, and he spun in place on the top turnbuckle. So far so good. With both arms outstretched, his body coiled tightly then sprung loose. Once he was airborne, his knees pulled close to his chest, until the heels of his boots struck Danilo’s prone form. He poured his entire being into covering Danilo’s body with his own, hooking the leg as if his life depended on it, while the referee pounded on the mat three times.
He hadn’t fallen and met his doom, he survived and conquered. No phone calls would be made to Calvin, at least not tonight. Thank goodness.
To Danilo, Mitch mouthed “good job, man” before getting up. To the crowd, he snarled, “I’m fucking back!” and hitched a thumb at his own chest. They roared his name at him.
Principles be damned, he was one of their own. He waited until he was backstage and embraced by both Sandy and Louis before allowing pride to overcome him.
Figured this might be useful since we’re getting into some technical stuff. If you have any questions, feel free to comment and I’ll answer as best as I’m able to!
-A “finisher” is a wrestler’s big finale move, which they’ll execute right before they attempt to pin their opponent to win the match. These typically have unique names given by the wrestler.
-A spinout powerbomb is sometimes referred to as a “Blue Thunder Bomb”. They look very impressive, but for some reason rarely win the match as finishers? IDK either!
-One of Zevon’s finisher’s is a diving double foot stomp, which he’s named “Shit’s Hit the Fan”, sometimes also referred to as “Lawyers, Guns, and Money” if he’s wrestling for a more family-friendly promotion (so if you were streaming the match, you’d hear Rod refer to it as “Shit’s Hit the Fan” instead of as a diving double foot stomp).
-“Aerial” is a type of wrestling maneuvers that are acrobatic in nature, usually crazy flippy stuff that involves the wrestler climbing the ropes or the ringposts and then jumping off of them. Wrestlers that use these techniques are more often than not known as “high flyers”, and tend to be on the leaner side. But! this is not always the case; a lot of bigger wrestlers have also been known to do high flying/aerial stuff because the modern industry demands versatility.