Jay Gold vs Aaron Blackbourne vs Datura vs Shilo Valiant
3 RP Limit for singles; 4 RP Limit for tag

Deadline: 5 PM ET Saturday, April 18, 2020
OOC: I wish I could have done more, but I was unable to start until late last night considering my poor performance on my exam. Regardless, good luck everyone. 

Rule of Threes
What started off as an act of jealousy and fear has now spiraled out of control.

If I had been told at the start of this year that I would find myself in a four-way that is every bit as chaotic as most of the people involved, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Considering everything I went through last year, including ending the year with unresolved issues against someone who suddenly decided it was time to disappear in hopes that it would continue to throw me off, maybe it was a bit naive of me to come into 2020 hoping for something a little more straightforward. After all, there are plenty of people in the world who have convinced themselves of something that drives them to do desperate acts that are completely unnecessary.

One such individual is at the heart of this entire mess.

As badly as I want to address him now, I’m going to save him for later. He can think that means something if it satisfies his fragile ego, but there are a few other players that deserve mention first because they found themselves drawn into this black hole simply because when one makes a plan and only cares about the end result, he tends to invite the wrath of others who are wronged in the process.

Jay Gold is one such individual who’s now involved in my mess with Shilo Valiant.

Firs off Jay, I apologize for what happened when it was supposed to just be you and me. Despite everything that was going on, I truly intended to give you nothing but the straightforward match you deserved to have against someone like me. Unfortunately, someone apparently decided it would be more fun to draw attention to himself because he saw you as irrelevant… it was all about me and what he was looking to gain from continuing the games he’s been trying to play with me for months on end. Despite that, I still forged ahead to give you the fight you deserved, though I wouldn’t blame you for believing that my win over you is tainted even if that was the furthest thing from what I sought on that night.

Even still, you got yourself involved in this when you decked Shilo out of frustration, and with all due respect… I don’t agree with the decision.

Don’t get me wrong, he deserved what he got on that night and I completely understand that you are sick and tired of this being the game he wants to play. How do you think I’ve felt for months on end, having him suddenly surface to challenge me and refusing to even finish a match he clearly wants only to disappear for months on end, resurfacing only when he feels it’s necessary? I’ve wanted nothing more than to move on from him for far too long, but I know it’s not a relief I’m going to be getting any time soon, even after the dust settles in this contest between all of us.

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful Jay, but this issue was mine from the beginning, and I know that no matter what happens at Cold Blooded, Shilo will hide behind whatever excuse he can take away from this match to continue tormenting me for just a little bit longer.

You feel you have a valid reason to go after him, just as Datura does following the stunt he pulled at Retribution. I want to be grateful that I’m not the only one who’s had enough of this, but I also have to look at the difficult reality that because this match isn’t just me settling things with Shilo once and for all, his games are going to continue. Datura wants his head on a silver platter and is more than willing to crack my skull open for getting in her way, you want to knock him into the next millennium because he’s disgracing the Hall of Famer title you proudly carry for your own accomplishments… I do get a chance to try and settle some of my own issues with him as well as indulge in a match where competition will certainly be in full effect, but… it’s hard to take solace in any of that when I believe I understand this situation well enough to know that Cold Blooded will not be the last time I’ll have Shilo Valiant attempting to haunt me like a ghost.

I wish I could somehow convince you and Datura otherwise… but I know such efforts will be in vain.

That said… if it means proving a point so Shilo understands exactly what kind of pandora’s box he’s opened, I’m going to walk into this match prepared to show everyone involved what happens when you think you have the power to dictate the story of this creative soul. I know you’re going to come at me with everything you have in the spirit of competition Jay, and believe me when I say that I respect that more than you may ever know. But I also want you to understand that I have no plans on taking my foot off the gas pedal just because this isn’t the ideal situation I wanted out of this pay-per-view. I plan on walking into New Orleans ready to welcome everyone into my world, and I plan on walking out of New Orleans victorious.

There may be one person in particular that links all of us together in this mess, but for as much as I owe him an ass-kicking, I will not hesitate to throw the full force of my creativity against anyone and everyone in order to stand atop the pile when all is set and done, ready for the storm I know is waiting on the horizon.

I’m sorry Jay… you wanted to join the party, but you’re going to experience something you’ve never seen before from me, and if you aren’t prepared to adapt to the challenges laid before you now, then Sunday night is going to end the same way our match on Breakdown did. After all… all it takes is one Unchained Creativity, and the target is irrelevant as long as someone is on the receiving end of it.

I hope you can understand if that person ends up being you…

Even in victory, Aaron still couldn’t find peace.

After the mess that had unfolded at Retribution, Aaron believed his path was clear: if Shilo was done hiding, then he needed to draw the Hall of Famer into a match to try and settle this once and for all so he could move on with his career. He needed to win at least one match to get himself back on track and prove that despite all his fun and games, Shilo Valiant could not unravel a man who wasn’t even intentionally seeking to be his successor. He’d managed to do just that down in Mexico against Jay Gold, but after that night his problem only seemed to magnify more than anything else.

Datura getting involved in an issue that had started out as just being between the entertainer and the creative soul was expected, given that she was collateral damage to Shilo’s game at Retribution. Gold inserting himself into the mix after his match with Aaron, however, had thrown everything into chaos.

With Cold Blooded on the horizon and the announcement that the four of them were set to compete in a four-way match, Aaron had spent a great deal of time trying to decipher how he could possibly end his issues with Shilo and be free of him once and for all after April 19th. The more he thought about it, however, the more complex the scenario seemed to become. Pinning Shilo in the middle of the ring was the easiest answer, but he wouldn’t be surprised if the clown refused to let things end there just because “Aaron didn’t beat him on his own.” Unless she either won the match or broke Shilo with her own two hands, he doubted that Datura was going to exit this scenario anytime soon, especially considering the two of them still owed one another the singles match they were denied at the last pay-per-view. If she let Aaron off the hook about that so easily, it’d be easy to think she wasn’t acting like herself. Jay Gold was the real wild card in all of this… outside of being fed up with the stunt Shilo pulled when he and Aaron clashed, he didn’t really have as much of a reason to be involved. As far as Cold Blooded was concerned, he would either leave this situation regardless of how the match ends or get more involved depending on how much of an obstacle course Shilo wanted to create to avoid the karma that was long overdue.

Aaron had so much of a headache from this whole situation that he’d almost forgotten about the other issues still sitting on his plate, even if they were far tamer in comparison.

It probably seemed odd that Aaron was conspicuous by his absence from the final Breakdown leading up to the pay-per-view, but he had his reasons. Near the top of that list was feeling uncomfortable about being in the state of Arkansas and not being booked to compete, as the mess from way back with Scarlet Grey and the date he’d been forced to go on with her was something he’d never be able to erase from his mind even if he had an industrial-sized bottle of brain bleach. As understandable as that was all on its own, the official reason SCW was given for his absence was medical in nature, courtesy of a certain therapist who wanted to check in and see how the artist was holding up.

While he thought he’d be making a detour to Chicago, instead he was a bit surprised when he was asked to meet in New Orleans, being the site where SCW would be emanating from for pay-per-view action that Sunday. It was certainly nice to get the chance to relax a bit and enjoy the city for a change, but naturally, Aaron would admit it would have felt a whole lot better if he didn’t have a million and one thoughts swimming around in his mind like fish in an aquarium. After all, he and Liane were still trying to figure out a way to approach dealing with her parents so they could begin locking their wedding plans in place, especially as their excitement grew with each new idea they settled on. They had actually planned originally to head up to Michigan if Aaron was allowed to skip Breakdown to try a direct approach, but this impromptu meeting/appointment scrapped all those plans.

Considering they’d heard from some of Liane’s older siblings that their parents had apparently scrounged up enough cash to go on a road trip somewhere for the week, they’d actually been saved from facing a wasted effort.

Having watched Breakdown the night before and hearing what both Jay and Datura had to say about the match on Sunday, Aaron knew he would need to process it all in order to address the both of them as well as finally give a direct address to the one common thread uniting them all in this situation, but it was hard to focus on that right now when a discussion with Dr. Marsh-Asher was on the horizon at some point. He’d heard nothing more specific about when and where to meet aside from in New Orleans, which bothered him a bit. In an effort to try and put her future husband at ease, Liane had suggested having some brunch in one of the local diners as a way to try and get their day started off on the right foot. A hungry artist couldn’t argue with that, and it wasn’t long before the two of them found a quaint little place that didn’t seem too busy at this time of day and sat down next to one another in one of the booths before being brought menus to look over.

“You alright?”

“A little bit… hopefully, some food will help.”

Liane couldn’t help but be concerned as she rested a hand on Aaron’s shoulder as they looked over their menus, reminding him that she was there for him no matter what. In fairness, Aaron had every reason to feel concerned. Even if he managed to get his mind off of SCW and the dormant issue of Liane’s parents, his first and only appointment with Dr. Marsh-Asher so far had not exactly gone as pleasantly as he’d hoped. Granted, he was surprised the former SCW wrestler wanted to stay in contact and continue to try to help him after his insane proposal to try and put an end to the Nemesis issue once and for all, but it was proof of how much the man truly wanted to help people, either because he hated the idea of anyone turning out as he had for the longest time or feeling it was a way to make up for some of the things he’d done in the wrestling business was up to speculation. The fact that Aaron had found somebody that was actually willing to try and understand him instead of immediately writing him off as crazy felt like a miracle in and of itself, and he didn’t want to squander it if there was a chance he could get some help.

“Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, so I would certainly hope it helps to keep a mind like yours sharp.”

Aaron and Liane suddenly turned their heads towards the unexpected voice joining their conversation, and Aaron, in particular, was in shock once he realized the voice belonged to the very man he’d been called down to Louisiana early to meet with. It certainly felt odd seeing the man formerly known as Thirteen dressed in a black business suit with his long black hair tied into a ponytail, but it definitely made him look more presentable than he might have in almost any other attire that was more synonymous with him. James motioned towards the empty seat across from the couple, and Aaron nodded to give him permission to join him as a waitress briefly stopped over to give a menu to the new addition to their party.

“Dr. Marsh-Asher, what are you doing here?”

“Please… you can just call me James. We’re not exactly in a formal setting right now anyway, so there’s no need to address me by my title. As for your question… I know I told you I wanted to meet with you once you got into town, but I was just stopping in for the same reason as you two seem to have before I go attend to a little meeting I have this afternoon. I wasn’t expecting to run into you here, but I guess this saves us both a bit of work.”

The calm smile James wore slowly put Aaron more at ease, especially with how sociable he was being outside of a professional setting. Granted, it was hard to imagine what kind of social life this man lived beyond being a therapist and formerly wrestling himself, but this certainly painted him in a positive light he wondered if many actually ever got to see. Liane removed her hand from Aaron’s shoulder to extend it to the therapist, who gently shook it in return.

“I’m Liane, Aaron’s fiancée. It’s an honor to finally get to meet you.”

“Likewise. I’ve heard some pretty good things about you in the entertainment business. And I apologize if I’m crashing your guys’ date.”

“Not at all! We were just getting our day started before Aaron was going to try and get a hold of you to figure out when you wanted to meet him.”

“Ah, my apologies I wasn’t more clear on that Aaron. I had intended to get you more concrete information sooner, but I got tied up with something else. That meeting I told you I’m having this afternoon? It’s with some SCW officials about possible help I could give. Their board really wants to have me affiliated with them as a therapist-on-call if they’re concerned about someone’s mental well-being, but… it’s kind of hard to get a green light when you left a few scars that will probably never heal.”

James looks a little forlorn about this, and Aaron couldn’t blame him. After all, the man’s hit and run of Sasha that kickstarted his infamous run to the top was forever etched into SCW’s history and arguably altered the landscape permanently, and considering he never once showed remorse or concern after all was set and done and even continued bringing it up years later to justify what kind of threat he was before retiring, there was a good chance Sasha would never be willing to work with him again no matter how valuable an asset he would be even if he wasn’t competing. The trio reflected on that as their waitress stopped by to get their orders and then bring them drinks, but once she was gone again the topic of conversation shifted.

“Alright Aaron, considering I’ve told you before I prefer working ‘out of the box’ in a sense, would you be alright if we talk about things over our meals? I’m sure anything you’ve discussed with me is likely common knowledge to your significant other here, and it’s dead enough in here that no one’s really paying attention to anything besides their own meals and chatter anyway.”

Aaron took a quick look around the diner, and sure enough, James had a point. There were a few people scattered here and there, but most of them were several tables away and well out of earshot unless voices were inexplicably raised. Anyone who was close enough to listen in were either too engrossed in their own conversations to care or, in the case of the person sitting right behind where James was, too lost in whatever they were listening to on their iPod as they ate. As he nodded, James folded his hands on the table, almost as a means to try and appear professional while bracing himself for whatever he got out of this conversation.

“I guess I’ll start with the obvious question then… how have you been doing since the last time we met?”

“I’ve been… alright, I guess. There’s been plenty of ups and downs, both inside of SCW and out.”

“Considering I still keep up with the product, unless there’s something specific that’s bothering you, I’m well aware of what’s happening there. I told you if you ignored him for long enough Shilo would resurface, and I’m not surprised he created a mess for himself to have to face now in the process. He always did have a knack for pissing off more people than he intended to when concocting plans.”

All three of them got a bit of a chuckle out of that as their food was delivered, and they slowly began eating. Aaron couldn’t lie about how tempting it would be to try and pick the brain of a man who knew Shilo better than just about anybody else, but Shilo wasn’t his only concern right now and whatever advice he got would likely be rendered moot by the presence of two others involved in the battle. Besides, James seemed more interested in other matters right now anyway, as evidenced by the next question he asked.

“How have things been inside your head? Dealing with Nemesis and reflecting on what happened last year?”

Aaron had been about to take a bite but paused and slowly lowered his fork back down to the plate as he took a deep breath. James looked worried about this, especially when Liane carefully began to rub the artist’s back to try and remind him that she was still there for support. With her encouragement, he locked eyes with the therapist and began to open up.

“I’ve… still had the occasional nightmare over what happened with Dylan. It’s a sight that I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to get out of my head, but it’s not as frequent as it used to be. Nemesis, the driving force behind all of it, is… well… he’s kind of out of commission at the moment.” James looked a bit surprised by this before Aaron elaborated further. “There was a bit of an incident back on Valentine’s Day this year, right before I challenged James Evans for the World Title. Liane and I were out on a date when some drunkard tried to sexually assault her and pick a fight with me over it. I ended up getting knocked loopy in the ordeal and Nemesis tried to lock me up in my own head and assume full control… at least until the little army I’ve been building with all of my other creations that fully trust in me rescued me and drove him away. I haven’t seen or heard from him since… but I can feel he’s still in there, weakened but recovering.”

James pondered this as he took a few bites of his meal, with Aaron watching him closely as he mulled over this new information that certainly seemed like a huge turnaround from their last meeting. As Aaron began to eat, feeling some weight being lifted from his shoulders to have seemingly put the doctor at ease about the mess inside his mind, he caught a glimpse of Liane out of the corner of his eye, still looking worried but trying her best to hide it. When James finally took a break from his meal to respond, Liane ended up cutting him off, surprising both men.

“It’s been painful, watching him go through everything he has, doctor. SCW, Nemesis… and yet, he still tries to put others before himself while trying to fight his own battles alone. He’s still worried about my parents over most anything else and how they might try to intervene in us getting married… and my other self hasn’t exactly been giving me confidence that we’ll figure something out.”

Aaron looked stunned by this revelation, knowing that Liane had been trying to get him to be just as open about being helped with his problems as he was to helping others, but hearing that her own little voice in her head had been resurfacing was news to him. James was surprised by this new bit of information himself, but quickly regained his composure and decided that maybe Aaron wasn’t the only one who needed help.

“Dare I ask what this is all about Liane? This ‘other self’ and these issues with your parents?”

“My… my parents haven’t exactly been thrilled with the lives they’re living, being stuck in jobs they’re good at but not being what they wanted to do with their lives, especially since I’m only one of eleven children they brought into this world they had to try and support. When we each started to find our callings in life and pursue them, they attempted to find some way to profit off of us since they felt it was too late to live their own dreams. I… was never supported as much as my siblings for my comedy aspirations, and while they would groan at my jokes, my parents outright told me they thought I was wasting my time. I… kind of ended up developing this other personality without realizing it, kind of as a way to get revenge through extreme pranks on April Fools Day and stuff like that. It kind of made things worse…”

Liane trailed off as Aaron wrapped an arm around her and gently pulled her into a hug as she looked like she was started to break down a bit, and considering they were kind of in the middle of this impromptu session he didn’t want any extra attention being brought to their table right now. James watched the two of them carefully as he added these pieces to the puzzle forming in his mind, letting Aaron calm Liane down a bit before speaking.

“You two believe her parents are going to oppose your union, am I correct?”

“Considering my only meeting with either one of her parents wasn’t exactly a great first impression because I was trying to defend her from whatever her father planned to do in response to her losing control, it wouldn’t surprise me.”

“Noted, and believe me, I have quite the messy track record myself when it comes to parents. As much as I disagree wholeheartedly with their stance on things, at least feel grateful that, at least from what you’ve told me, they haven’t done any actual harm.”

James delivers that line with a somber tone, and it’s hard for Aaron to ignore it considering he never exactly hid the abusive childhood he had while standing in front of a camera painting the picture of what kind of monster he wanted SCW fans to see him as. He was silently grateful that his family didn’t turn out that way, but he couldn’t help but feel a bit of lingering concern over whether or not Liane’s would’ve delved into that territory had he not intervened in the parking lot all those years ago.

“As far as your parents are concerned Liane, it’s never too late to try tackling your dreams, and the fact that they haven’t attempted to do so yet is more indicative of a fear that they might fail and lose the opportunity forever if they so much as make the attempt. I believe you have the power to convince them otherwise, but they need to be open to listening to you first. As for your ‘other self,’ I can attest to the development of a second personality when under enough stress as a result of the actions of someone else, especially family. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a true split personality though… at least not yet. It could just as easily be your mind latching onto something as a means of challenging you to push beyond what you fear the most, which I could also say is most likely the case with you and your imagination Aaron. After all… in your mind, you can do anything, especially what would be deemed impossible in reality, and the easiest fear to perceive in your case would be losing control of the one thing that has defined you up to this point.”

The couple exchanged glances of realization, understanding what James was getting at. Aaron losing control of his imagination and it putting him in a position that would destroy his life was always at the top of the very limited list of fears he had, and it was no surprise that Nemesis was the perfect representation of all of that and the most likely way it would come about. In Liane’s case, her other self was a reflection of the anger she had over being criticized for the dreams she had and the monster she feared she’d become if she lashed out about it, something akin to the Joker from the Batman series where the only joke that would satisfy her would be the entire world being made to pay for the actions of a small few that pushed her to a breaking point she didn’t think she had. It wasn’t as complicated as a full-on alternate personality, but it was just as dangerous if left unchecked as Aaron slowly realized from his own firsthand incidents.

James finished his breakfast and watched the two carefully as they processed what he had told them. He’d certainly gained a lot out of this conversation and came to realize Aaron wasn’t alone in having some issues that needed to be dealt with, which made him smile slightly at his own observation of how perfect these two were, both for their own creative personalities and how much they could help one another overcome all of their issues together. It was a support system he himself had sorely lacked for most of his life, and even now he still felt there were some pieces missing, but in an odd sort of way, he felt at peace seeing these two represent the one thing that may finally make him feel whole himself at long last. Before he could say anything further, the doctor was distracted by the sound of his phone going off with a notification, and he found a text message informing him that it was time for him to have the meeting that was the other reason he’d come down here.

“I apologize, but it looks like our time is up for today. It was very nice getting to see you both, and I can walk away from here with a much better understanding of where both of you stand and where to go from here. Aaron, I’ll be watching you on Sunday night and I know you’ll kick Shilo’s ass among others, and I’ll definitely be in touch with both of you to progress further from where we stopped today.”

James shook hands with both of them as they thanked him for the surprise visit, and he returned the favor by paying for the entire meal himself as a courtesy to his new patients before leaving them be to finish their breakfast and reflect on what they’d learned about themselves and each other today, which put things in a much greater perspective. Aaron certainly felt a little calmer about where things were even if he hadn’t gone too in-depth about the Nemesis situation, but for the time being, it wasn’t an issue to be concerned about and what was currently resting on his plate would be dealt with in his usual creative fashion until he would finally get the peace of mind he sought for the life he wanted with Liane.

Unbeknownst to anyone at that table, however, their conversation had not gone unnoticed. The woman who had been sitting behind where James was hadn’t exactly been listening to music on her iPod. As she ate, she was listening to something else that seemed to irritate her, but once she’d turned it off and eavesdropped on what was going on behind her, a smirk began to grace her lips. She left the earbuds in to avoid suspicion as she jotted down a few things she’d picked up on a napkin that was soon tucked away in her jacket, opening up the door for what she thought could be her big break into a world she truly did not belong in.

Many people love to throw that word around, putting all of their faith behind the concept of nothing making sense and being as unpredictable as possible. To them, the ideal world is one that makes as little sense as possible, where you can swim through the sky and fly through the ocean and nothing you do will ever be viewed in a negative light because it doesn’t even make sense in the first place.

Chaos is a concept I know very well, despite what some of you may think. After all, chaos itself is at the very heart of creativity, because what makes sense to you will likely not make sense to anyone else. I’ve made it no secret about how much I like living in my own head and bringing to life whatever I find in there, and I am not afraid of simply throwing something at a canvas and seeing what it makes with little rhyme or reason. There is a reason that chaos exists, after all, and it’s not to bring ruin to the world we think we know when we least expect it. It represents the balance to order that open doors you were afraid to open once upon a time, inspiring you to try new things and find out firsthand if what you’re doing is truly worth pursuing or not. So many people give up on their wildest dreams so easily for that very reason: they believe they are too wild to ever become reality.

If there are two people who are living proof that you can make anything a reality as long as you’re willing to take the leap, it’s myself and Datura.

Making masterpieces out of pure madness, however, is where the similarities slowly begin to end.

Back at Retribution, the idea was simple: a clash between two creative individuals to see who was better on that night. I never held any ill will towards Datura no matter what she could have said or done to me, and for all the chaos she planned to unleash I was ready to weather the storm. I stepped up to accept her challenge not just because I was after the exact same thing she was, or because I was excited about the idea of such a creative clash. I knew full well what I was getting into when I walked out on that night because Datura is not one to hide what she’s capable of when she knows she can take advantage of whatever free rent you are willing to give her inside your head, and I was more than willing to invite her into my world to see if she was truly up to the task of overcoming whatever she found in there, as a test to myself because I know full well she isn’t the first and won’t be the last cerebral entity I cross paths with to try and push me beyond every physical and mental limit I have to see if I can go beyond them.

Unfortunately, we were both denied that opportunity, and now we find ourselves in a situation that is equal parts ideal and infuriating.

Let me say this right out of the gate: Datura, I owe you a one-on-one match. You can name the time and the place and I will do everything in my power to make it happen. We are owed that much after being denied something we both clearly wanted all because of another party that I will address in due time. As far as I’m concerned, this four-way presents its own unique challenges, but the outcome will never compare to that finite sense of knowing who would have prevailed if it was just the two of us throwing everything we have at one another to see who is able to survive the longest. If you feel content by walking out of this match victorious, then that’s your decision.

But I know, deep in my heart, that you’ll only be truly satisfied once we get the match we both truly want with one another.

That said, we both have our reasons for the contest presented to us this Sunday night. My issues with Shilo are no secret at this point, going so far as to listening to Sharper and Knots constantly question week after week if Shilo was on my mind when my sole focus was on trying to prove I was ready to become World Champion. Unfortunately, you were treated as collateral damage so he could get the jump on me as proof that he just could never leave well enough alone, and that’s a position you didn’t deserve to be in. You’ve earned your right to attempt to claim a pound of flesh from that so-called entertainer regardless of whatever he tries to pull in New Orleans.

The only problem I have with your outlook on this match is the idea that you think anything will be set and done once the bell rings.

You can be content with whatever you do to Shilo if that’s all you want out of this Datura, but I’m not blinded by all of the extra chaos that has become the situation we face at Cold Blooded. Even if I win, I know that nothing will truly be settled. Shilo will make whatever claims he has to in order to prolong our little game until he finally gets the result he desires, you and I will continue to keep a close eye on one another until we have a chance to settle our score as just you and me… if anything, this match does neither of us any favors and only exists as a means of trying to put Shilo in a position where he has to confront the mess he created because of his own haphazard plan.

Sunday night will, in truth, resolve absolutely nothing in the long run. But don’t mistake this line of thinking as an admission of surrender.

Regardless of the circumstances, we will still be sharing that ring Datura, and you’ll still get firsthand experience as to what happens when my imagination is allowed to breach the borders of reality and come to life before the eyes of thousands of people from all walks of life. Consider it a preview for the inevitable battle you know is waiting on the horizon. You’ll come to understand that I’m not so easily shaken, no matter who you are or what you think you can do to me.

You will not stop me from giving Shilo a message of my own.

You will not stop me from walking out of Cold Blooded with my arm raised in victory.

And you will not stop me from showing you exactly how much controlled chaos keeps this creative soul moving forward, no matter what kind of threats you make in hopes that I ignore the man that was originally my problem in the first place.

For now, everything was at peace.

Aaron only wished it could stay this way.

Within his imagination, things had slowly but surely returned to normal. Aaron had lent his power to helping to rebuild what had been destroyed during the lingering mess with Nemesis, but for the most part, he left the denizens of this world to their own devices as many reasoned they could fix what was broken on their own since Aaron had already done so much up to this point in trying to maintain the way things worked here. The most vocal of these voices were Dreambender and Gleeful, who had insisted Aaron needed to give his mind a break so he could better focus on what stood before him in reality, as well as Ferrugo, who was deadset on him and his carnies being the ones to rebuild their destroyed carnival with their own hands, just as they did when Aaron first granted them that little section of this world, to begin with.

Feeling that his creations were right and he really did need to use some time here to simply escape from reality and relax, just as he always used to do, he knew the perfect way to do just that. This was why his lucid dream on this night had seen him add something new to this world in the form os a small little island in the middle of a lake. The island itself was fairly simple, with a few trees here and there along with a big fire pit as well as a little log cabin for him to just relax and let his head clear as he watched the sparkling blue water roll along. It was simple and peaceful, and the kind of vacation he would love to have with Liane someday if he ever got the chance. Granted, finding a small little island cottage or something along those lines would be a bit of a challenge, and there was plenty to deal with first-

“Nope, nope, nope… we’re not going to worry about any thoughts like that right now. I just need to take it easy and let my mind be washed clean so I can focus on doing what I need to do on Sunday.”

Aaron was not going to let himself be derailed when this whole moment was meant to be his chance to finally get a sense of clarity for the first time in months. Worrying about Liane’s parents, dealing with Nemesis, fears regarding his own family, his brother’s passing, Dylan’s twisted machinations… none of that mattered at this moment in time. Nothing Shilo could scheme or Datura could threaten would send him into Cold Blooded behind the proverbial 8-ball, and he knew he would have a plan to be able to contend with the mess that had spiraled out of control from a situation that started off as nothing more than a Hall of Famer simply being afraid that he was finally going to be replaced.

Unfortunately, there was one party in this situation that Aaron hadn’t fully accounted for, and it was not exactly in the best of moods.

Aaron smiled to himself as he carefully sat down against one of the trees near the shore and just gazed out at the seemingly infinite expanse of water that stretched out before him, taking deep breaths as he allowed himself to slip into probably the most tranquil state he’d ever allowed himself to be in. Just as he was starting to get comfy, something caught his attention. An eyebrow was raised at ripples in the water that were emanating from a spot in the distance that seemed to be bubbling. He wanted to pay it no mind, but as he blinked he swore the bubbling mass had inched closer to his little island, the ripples becoming far more noticeable now. Another blink and it was even closer, and this time it wasn’t staying put as it suddenly began swimming towards the island at breakneck speed. Aaron immediately hopped to his feet and took a fighting stance, trying to gauge whatever had the audacity to interrupt his first relaxing moment in a long time could be and how to effectively defend himself as it was just about to hit the shoreline. Suddenly, a giant multicolored mass shot out of the water like a cannonball before landing on the sand, locking eyes with the creator of this world like it had a bone to pick with him.

“Did you really think I was going to be forgotten about that easily!?”

Aaron became less tense and let out a sigh as he finally took in the sight of the being standing before him, familiarity washing over him like a tidal wave. The creature had no consistent form, doing it’s best to at least remain humanoid as the various parts of its body shifted between being made of different substances or even taking on the appearance of animals or animalistic appendages. The one truly coherent thing that could be gained from being in the presence of this creature was the fact that it lacked any real sense of structure or form, and only one being in Aaron’s mental menagerie truly fit that bill at any given time.

“Hello again, Pandemonium.”

It was clear Aaron was a bit annoyed at his break being interrupted, but in hindsight, he really shouldn’t have been too surprised. Even if it wasn’t for the fact that Pandemonium was, essentially, how his mind perceived the concept of chaos incarnate and did whatever it pleased regardless anyways, the abomination had been Aaron’s choice to take charge back at Retribution for the battle with Datura. He’d reasoned that if Datura was going to show him a dance of chaos for their creative little clash, then he would respond in kind by showing her his definition of the term come to life and have her understand the kind of controlled chaos he operated under. Pandemonium had initially been skeptical of the idea, not enjoying the concept of playing by its creator’s rules as it went against everything that made it what it was in the first place, but it agreed out of respect for Aaron and, admittedly, having a desire to show someone who believed in chaos what it was truly all about. Unfortunately, Shilo’s ‘brilliant’ idea to attack Datura beforehand and disguise himself as her to get the jump on Aaron had destroyed all of that, so he could understand why the demon would be upset.

“You and I need to have a little chat, Aaron.”

“I know that you’re essentially my embodiment of discord and mayhem, but couldn’t this wait? We still have a bit of a way to go until Sunday night and I haven’t had a chance to properly relax either inside or outside of my mind in what feels like an eternity.”

Aaron really didn’t want to come off as hostile, but he wanted Pandemonium to be very much aware of his annoyance right now. Even if it was a self-made literal dream vacation, this was a rarity for him at the moment and he wanted very much to make the most of it to sort out what awaited him. Pandemonium, however, wasn’t simply going to wait as one of its legs seemed to transform into a leafless tree, the roots suddenly plunging into the sand and digging their way through the ground. Aaron eyed the creature carefully before throwing himself to the side, avoiding the tree he’d been trying to rest against suddenly coming to like and attempting to grab him with its branch arms. As he tried to get back to his feet, however, he could feel himself sinking and looked down to realize the area where he’d landed had suddenly turned into quicksand. Spitting out a sigh of frustration more than anything else and trying to ignore the chaotic monster trying to get to him, he reached out to grab the legs of the chair that was sitting near his current position, only for the chair to suddenly jump above his reach before turning and sprouting a face, laughing at him in the manner of your stereotypical creepy clown.

“This isn’t funny, Pandemonium!”

The demon itself wasn’t laughing, but it kept its glare fixated on its creator as Aaron again reached for the legs of the chair, only for it to jump out of reach this time. Upon landing, a wave of energy slowly crept along the ground from where it planted, slowly transforming the area around his quicksand trap into solid gold, making it slick and impossible for him to attempt to get a good grip on the ground itself to try and pull his body out. Aaron shot a glare towards Pandemonium before looking down at the quicksand, eyes widening as he found it was no longer that, but instead a black hole with various rainbow-colored spirals running through it that reminded one of the “video” you’d see while listening to a song in Windows Media Player back in the day. He looked up again to find that Pandemoniuj was suddenly standing at the very edge of this abyss that was slowly swallowing its creator, staring down at him with no semblance or remorse. Aaron was actually starting to panic a bit now as he had no idea what this thing was trying to do. Thankfully, Pandemonium couldn’t restrict him from the power he possessed within his own head, so with one mighty attempt, Aaron managed to leap out of the vortex and suspend himself in midair as the two kept their gazes upon one another.

“What the hell do you want!?”

“What I want is another shot!”

Aaron raised an eyebrow at this, but Pandemonium’s lower body suddenly transformed into a giant spring and it launched itself up towards him, aiming to grab a hold of its creator. Aaron, however, floated off to the side to avoid him before lowering himself to stand on the roof of his cabin as he continued to give a confused glance towards the demon, who had now sprouted angel wings from its back to remain in the air.

“I agreed to be in control for your last little pay-per-view, and I was robbed of it by that Godforsaken clown! How is it fair to me if you move on to letting someone else take charge when I never had my opportunity!”

Pandemonium slowly flew down to be directly in front of Aaron, whose gaze slowly lowered from the constantly changing form before him to what was below. It didn’t take a genius to realize what each piece of that display was supposed to represent, but naturally, Aaron was a little more concerned with trying to avoid any actual harm at the hands of this unhinged creature to truly take it in until now. Pandemonium was well aware of who Aaron would be facing at Cold Blooded, and it wanted a proper chance to show what it could do against the individual it was supposed to clash with, the one who stole its moment and the outsider who seemed like he’d muscled in on a situation that he didn’t need to be a part of. Aaron’s gaze rose back to look the chaotic creature right in the eyes… and he couldn’t resist chuckling a bit after everything that had just happened, which only infuriated it more.

“What’s so funny?”

“That’s all you wanted? Really? You could’ve just said so. You didn’t have to try and create some sort of elaborate deathtrap to get your point across.”

Pandemonium grumbled under its breath as it turned its gaze towards the sea, which suddenly spawned several geysers blasting water into the air as a way for the demon to vent some of its lingering frustrations. Aaron couldn’t help but find the situation amusing, if for no other reason than the fact that his embodiment of chaos itself was seeking a sense of order to balance out the fact that it was denied and screwed over at Retribution. Never in his wildest dreams did he ever think Pandemonium, of all designs, would go to these lengths to try and ask for a second chance to have a proper showing. Perhaps it could’ve boiled down to the fact that up to this point, Ferrugo had been the only one that had appeared twice, and he could understand if this thing was concerned that he would count the debacle from a month ago as its appearance and move on.

“You never were that great at being direct about what you’re after, huh?”

Pandemonium scoffed, but Aaron had seen enough to know what it was playing at. There was a reason it usually stuck to its own corner of this world and remained alone no matter what was going on elsewhere. Chaos and being social usually went together about as well as oil and a lighter, and Pandemonium had simply acted on fear first before giving any rational thought to how else it could’ve approached this. Par for the course for a creature that didn’t comprehend what ‘rational’ really was, to begin with, but he would let it slide.

“Still… you’re right. I hadn’t really given it any thought since I’ve had so much else to deal with, but it isn’t fair that Shilo stole your moment from you. I’m normally not one for repeat performances, at least so soon, but… I think I’ll make an exception this one time… on the condition that you don’t pull another stunt like this again.”

Pandemonium looked a little annoyed at that but did nod in agreement, and upon doing so the island paradise slowly shifted back to what it originally was before its arrival. It extended the closest thing it was willing to shapeshift into a hand, but Aaron shook it regardless to solidify their deal before it divebombed back into the water and disappeared back to who knows where. Aaron could only sigh, at least grateful that this demon tended to stick to its own devices for better or worse as opposed to making situations like the Nemesis ordeal any worse purely for the sake of maintaining a constant state of chaos.

The two of them together could balance everything out somehow, and while they didn’t get to show that at retribution, Cold Blooded would simply become the new stage where the world would bear witness to this concept at work.

Every problem that exists always has a distinct point of origin.

Sometimes, it’s a bit harder to figure out the longer an issue persists, as facts become distorted and people forget where the blame truly lies, creating a situation where the only thing that matters is that someone emerges victorious, no matter the cost at the end of the day.

That scenario does not exist at Cold Blooded, because there is a very clear origin point for everything that had led us to this moment in time. He may be reveling in the fact that he’s the one standing in the spotlight, but by the time all is set and done, I can promise you he won’t have the last laugh, no matter how much he believes otherwise.

This begs the question… is being the center of attention really worth it?

I’ve always been clear that I’m not afraid to stand out in a crowd. Maybe some people don’t like the fact that I am who I am because it threatens what they believe is a machine that I do not belong as a part of. Others may believe I’m simply trying to imitate something that worked for someone else once upon a time, hoping to garner the same level of success. People are free to believe whatever they like, but I know exactly who I am and always will be: a creative soul who isn’t afraid to be himself and open to sharing the inner workings of my mind with the rest of the world because no one should ever be afraid of who they truly are just because you think the world around you will never approve. Everyone is always entitled to their own opinions, and only you know for sure the difference between fact and fiction.

The problem is that a certain someone has immersed himself in a tale of pure fiction, and can no longer tell the difference simply because he feels everything that he is has been threatened by a pretender who does not exist.

Shilo, this all started as just you and me, spawning from this belief you have that I’m trying to be the next Shilo Valiant. Yeah, maybe I do entertain people with what I do, but I’m not obsessed with that concept like you are. After all, why try to be the next Shilo Valiant when I can be the first Aaron Blackbourne? But you don’t see it that way… you see the paint, the creative endeavors, the way I fight, and the only thought that runs through your head is that I’m daring to intrude upon your legacy and must be eliminated by any means necessary. You had a clear shot at doing so near the end of last year when you decided that the appropriate follow-up to walking away from a TV Title match with me was costing me the title the very next week as a way to make yourself feel better. We had a match at Clarity where you could’ve proven your point once and for all, but our match had no end result and you just waltzed away again.

And then… nothing.

I’m not dumb Shilo, I know exactly what kind of game you were trying to play. You believed that if you left everything alone, I would continue to obsess over you and slowly destroy my own career in the process. You were praying that I truly would fall victim to the same beliefs you had become consumed by, and you would never have to resurface again, content with your handiwork. Except… that’s not what happened, now is it? Yeah, maybe this year hasn’t gone the way I wanted it to, but I’ve still walked down to that ring night in and night out and busted my ass, pushing forward with or without your presence. I was still given an opportunity to challenge for the World Title because of all my efforts, and despite any chatter that surrounded me, you faded from my thoughts and became nothing more than a bad dream…

Being forgotten by the one person you’ve been obsessed with and were convinced you would make me the Batman to your Joker, a neverending rivalry… that thought drove you insane, didn’t it?

I knew that if I forged ahead and ignored your existence that you would resurface at some point. Your ego would never allow you to simply walk away from all of this when you never got a true finale against me. The only thing I didn’t count on was how desperate you truly were to get my attention again… was it the fact that I challenged for the title that was your pride and joy for so many years? Was it the lingering belief that with me around, people would forget all about you in favor of the man who was never trying to usurp your throne in the first place? Whatever the reason was, you decided the best way to remind me that our business wasn’t quite finished yet by causing as much collateral damage as possible in hopes that you would continue to find a way to believe you were in my head and weren’t going away anytime soon.

Because of you, I never got to have my match with Datura, dragging her into this mess.

Because of you, Jay Gold has gotten involved because he’s fed up with the games you’ve been playing that are, sadly, no different than the antics of so many others when you really get down to the nitty-gritty.

Because of you… I’m almost a hundred percent positive that your little show with me isn’t going to have its final act at Cold Blooded after all, and I hope you’re happy with trying to keep that curtain from falling Shilo.

This isn’t the first time I’ve found my career being hijacked by someone else in a desperate attempt to get something from me that was never there, to begin with, and you know what happened the last time I was in this scenario? Despite how much my career seemed like it was being derailed, despite all the nights I was robbed of any meaningful progress that would’ve allowed me to get to where I wanted to go, at the end of it all I prevailed against all odds and regained everything that was taken from me out of delusional belief in something that was never there, to begin with. What makes you think history isn’t going to repeat itself when you finally realize exactly what you’ve gotten yourself into Shilo?

As I walk into New Orleans on Sunday night, I know what I have to do. I’m going to walk into a chaotic situation that went far beyond what it started off as… I’m going to give Jay Gold nothing less than my absolute best, I’m going to show Datura the full extent of my creative onslaught, and most importantly, I’m going to make you, Shilo, understand why these months of games and trying to stop me from becoming the ‘king of fools’ in SCW were a waste of your time.

No matter what happens beyond this night, no matter how long this has to go on for… Cold Blooded will belong to the one true creative soul… and at the end of it all, the whole world will know my name.
[Image: yC0vuyj.png]
[Disappointment is something I have experienced and felt far too many times.  It does hurt every time I come up short in a wrestling match.  It hurts more when those that I do have respect for are involved in that disappointment.  But it hurt me most a few years ago when my own daughter would just resist everything that Martha and I were helping her to accomplish.  Sarah Vixen has grown a lot over the past four years, but it wasn't easy.  She has always been very nice and caring to others outside our walls, but inside if she didn't want to do something, we would just be met with resistance all the time.  It got so bad that we just had to go for intervention and have our own daughter evaluated to see if maybe, perhaps maybe, there were some interior issues.  As it turns out, we found out that was indeed the case...]

DATE:  Monday, May 16, 2016
TIME:  10:00 AM
CITY:  Albany, New York
LOCATION:  Neurologist's Office

[This is NOT the way I wanted to spend this morning, nor any other morning.  I'm supposed to be at work, but I had to take time off in order to be in attendance to see my daughter get evaluated.  I am already antsy, as is Martha, that we are in a room with a machine, but the doctor has already seen us for the first time and stated it was just to get images and to also get inside Sarah's mind to see what she is thinking.  Sarah, for whatever reason, seems extremely nonchalant.  It's almost like she doesn't care, and that she is off in some other world.  We have seen this behavior, more times than I count, more times than necessary honestly.]

"Alright Sarah, can you please get up on the table so we can get started?"

"Can I bring my dolly up there?  If not, I'm not doing it!"

"Sarah dear, please listen to the doctor.  This needs to get done."

"No.  Can you please be this dolly instead?"

"Not right now.  Table please so you can be checked."

"But can you name this dolly mom?  Can you be her?"

"Not right now."

[This is a normal everyday occurrence and all I find myself doing is rolling my eyes.  I'm tired of rolling my eyes.  I'm tired of our little girl misbehaving and ignoring us on purpose.  It is what has brought us here, to maybe see if there is indeed something that is impeding her from listening and being the good girl we know she can be.  Sarah grunts, another normality, but finally does get up on the table, though with the doll that she has in her hands.  She continues babbling about the doll, when the doctor turns to Martha and myself.]

"Alright Sarah, you'll have to give that doll over to your mom and dad for now."

"But I... don't... WANT TO!  It's MY dolly and you can't take her!"

"Sarah please, just please give me the doll.  This needs to be done."

[Again we are met with resistance.  Gee, what a surprise.  I am so over this.  I just stand up, go to the table and take the doll from her.  She whimpers, but I tell her as kindly as I can something that she probably wants to hear.]

"Mom and I will take good care of her.  We won't be going anywhere.  We will be right here.  Okay?"


[She looks really disappointed, but with her episodes, I think she even knows that she should be disappointed in herself.  Grunting again she hands me the toll and lays down on the provided pillows.  The doctor starts up the machine after Sarah is strapped in, you know so she doesn't just get up off the table.  That would be obviously counter-productive.  I turn to Martha and see that she has turned to be.  We are both nervous, but we both want what is best for our daughter.  We want her to grow up and not keep acting like she is two years old for the rest of her life.  And so we watch as the machine does take quite a number of pictures, before the machine stops with Sarah completely inside.]

[It's at this juncture that the neurologist comes over to us and whispers.]

"Alright Mr. and Mrs. Gold, I hate to do this but at this point we can't have anyone else in the room except your daughter and myself.  It's the sleep portion of the test.  She'll be fine."


[We both stand up and quietly leave the room, Martha gripping my right hand tightly with her left.  Once we are out of the room and the door is closed we head back up front to the waiting room.  Even though there are a few other patrons in the waiting room, Martha lays her head on my right shoulder as soon as we are both sitting in chairs.]

"I can't lie Jay.  I'm worried about her.  I know we've both been tough on her because she has never seemed to listen to us, but I'm worried that there is something there that just cannot be cured.  You remember what I went through as a teen?"

"I'm sure it's nothing like that.  If anything there must be something that's just blocking her from paying attention."

"Attention Deficit Disorder.  That's one of my biggest fears.  I hope that's not it.  I mean she will still be able to grow up and learn and whatnot, but she will always have this thing of not listening.  It will always impede her."

"I know.  There is nothing we can do about it right now.  Let's just wait and see what the results are.  Though I doubt we will know today."

[She picks her head up off my shoulder and sighs.]

"Yeah I know.  These things always take time."

"Unfortunately.  Hopefully things will look brighter on the other side.  At least we are both here for her."

"And always will be."

[I nod.  And now we wait...  For quite some now we have waited out here until finally the door opens and Sarah comes out and races for us, hugging mommy's leg, which has almost always been her first instinct.  The neurologist stands by the door and motions to me to come in.  Martha waits in the waiting room with Sarah.]

"I don't have all the results obviously, not this fast."

"I figured that."

"But at first look I'm a bit disturbed by what I witnessed during the sleep portion of the test.  There were a couple of abnormalities in the sleep pattern, as you can see here on the chart."

[He shows me the chart and I do see the two waves of activity.  Now we both show a worried look.]

"I have seen this in patients before.  We will have to run more tests over the next few months.  First we will have to wait for the results of this one."

"My wife and I are really concerned that our daughter has ADD.  Is there a chance of that?"

"Yes.  Something like that isn't really curable, but she will still be able to function.  You will just have to try harder to get her attention when things need to get done.  Same with school I'm afraid."

"Her first grade teacher has alerted us several times this year, as did her kindergarten teacher last year.  She won't even go to the bathroom when she gets so distracted by something."

"It's very tough Mr. Gold, but she will likely grow out of that.  The best medicine for now is to perhaps limit her interaction with the television and other things that might distract her when that needs to happen."

"Alright.  I guess I should speak with the receptionist about the next test date?"

"Correct.  I'll see you again soon.  And tell your wife not to worry.  We'll do what we can for your daughter."

"Thank you doctor."

[I show myself back out as I'm sure he has other patients to be getting to.  The moment I am back in the waiting room...]

"Daddy!  What's wrong daddy?"

"Please calm down Sarah.  We need to get going."

[Again a grunt, but it washes away quickly as she goes back to paying attention to the doll that she once again has.  The three of us exit the office, with Martha and I knowing we will be back, many more times than just this once.]

DATE:  Friday, April 17, 2020
TIME:  9:01 PM
CITY:  New Orleans, Louisiana
LOCATION:  Bourbon Street

[This is just unimaginable.  Here we are in the warmer Spring months and there is absolutely no one around out here.  While it is true that Mardi Gras was a couple months ago and it did happen, usually this street would be crawling with partiers of all kinds throughout the year.  But this... this is just a ghost town tonight thanks to all that is going on.  In two nights from now though that won't be the case at the Smoothie King Center.  We will have a crowd like we have been having and they will no doubt voice their opinions every second of the way on the night of Cold Blooded, just like they always do, just like they always have, and just like they always will.  I just pray that not a single one of them gets sick.  That's right, contrary to many people's beliefs, I am not a selfish person.  I am not a Sienna Swann, or a Chris Cannon, or a Siren, or a Glory Braddock.  I have ALWAYS marched to the beat of my own drum.  It's just that now in 2020 I see I need to change the beat... to avoid disappointment after disappointment.  I can't do this alone.]

"I hate to bother her, but I know Selena is busy with Asher and Glory.  I can't call her for now."

[I sigh before dialing the familiar phone number of my cousin Stacy.  It rings twice before I hear her Texan twang.]

"Hey Jay.  This is kinda a surprise.  Somethin' wrong?"

"Yes actually.  I can't do this alone, and I don't want to bother my wife and daughter with this amidst the health crisis.  Besides Martha is way out of wrestling practice."

"I see.  I kinda have been watchin' and have seen that yer missin' a few steps.  It's like yer heart is into it and all, but yer havin' the same issues I was, unable to get ovuh the hump and get those wins.  Trust me, it got to me too.  I'll help ya out as much as I can Jay but I might not be the one you should be confidin' in.  I'm far from the best.  Heck yer better than me."

"Thanks Stacy, but right now I'm rattled.  SCW 2020 is just... disappointing, in so many ways.  I was just wondering if maybe, possibly, we could meet for a few sparring sessions at least?  You know, despite with everything going on?"

[She doesn't respond right away, meaning she is likely thinking about it.]

"Okay.  I mean I haven't been wrestling much either ever since I left due to getting pregnant.  Craig and I spar for fun once in a while when we get the chance.  He pretty much always wins.  He's so strong, but I'm fine with it.  He knows I love him more than anything else."

[I'm sure she is blushing on the other end of the phone.]

"Ya know, maybe Craig can help ya out.  I'll ask him.  In the meantime, good luck on Sunday.  And about Shilo, he really is just all about entertainment.  Don't know why he's goin' after Blackbourne, but I guess it is what it is."

"Well, he got involved in our match.  You know very well that I don't like that brand of quote on quote "entertainment" Stacy.  I'll take it from you though.  You do know him.  I was already out the door at that point."

"Yeah, but there is only so much I can say about him.  Don't take my word for it Jay.  I'm sure you'll be fine on yer own."

"Um, that hasn't been working for me.  I'm to the point where if I'm not successful Sunday night, I'm going to ask Sasha to put me down to the bottom of the roster, and start me as a rookie."

[There is a slight pause, before I hear her again.  This time her voice is as soft as I have probably ever heard it.]

"Hey.  Please don't disrespect yerself Jay.  Don't get too hard on yerself.  You've got this.  You'll figure it all out and be able to BOTH help the SCW thrive and have the success that you want."

[I heavily breathe and sigh.]

"I hope so Stacy.  I hope so.  Because what I've seen the bright future of SCW endure?  It's ugly and will only lower SCW's standards further than they have already dropped."

[Now I hear her sigh before she tells me her goodbye.]

"It really is sad how some people are.  Listen Jay, I'm sorry, I have to go.  My little one is getting up from his nap."

"Okay.  Thanks Stacy.  Hopefully I'll see you soon."

"Sure.  Bye Jay."


[I end the call on my cell phone and sigh again.  Despite what she just told me, if I lose on Sunday night, I think I SHOULD have to start again from the bottom, just like I did back in 2003.  So for me, Sunday night is everything.  Sunday night is really my last chance to help shape SCW's future into all positives, instead of all the negatives that so many others are trying to enforce upon the rest of us, just because they feel like they can.]

[With this all weighing heavily on my mind, it really is time to let the whole world know where my head is at going into this weekend.  And while my heart IS in the right place, my head?  It's clear that is a different story.  But tomorrow though.  Right now all this heavy weight is exhausting me.  Sleep is calling my name.]

DATE:  Saturday, April 18, 2020
TIME:  3:13 PM
CITY:  New Orleans, Louisiana
LOCATION:  Louis Armstrong Park

[I woke up very late today, in the afternoon in fact.  I can't remember what time, but it does not matter.  It just shows how flooded my mind has been as of late.  I wasn't able to sleep last night, caught myself tossing and turning several times.  Tomorrow night truly might be everything, and already I have heard the words and have seen the actions that others are willing to take in order to catapult themselves to victory.  Well, now it's my turn.  I know that tomorrow night I can't hold back, not even for a single nano-second.  If I do, any of my three opponents could easily put me down.  My cracks have long since shown, and I need to sew them up.  That task really starts right now, right at this very moment, right here in this park which is quite dormant.]

[I drop onto the ground and do a set of 20 pushups in order to begin to get myself pumped.  Exercising outdoors is definitely a bit refreshing, especially considering how the world currently is.  After these I get back up for a breather.  I do feel a little better, but not much.  Right now I can't put it off any further, so here goes for the world...]

"I know that I'm being viewed overall as a disappointment.  And I know many out there probably believe I have no place in this fatal four-way match tomorrow night against Aaron Blackbourne, who just beat me... Datura, who already holds a victory over me from back in the Trios Tournament... and Shilo Valiant who is a Hall of Famer in his own right.  The only reason for why I am here in this position is because Shilo chose to interject himself when I was facing Aaron.  Shilo clearly wants Aaron to be more entertaining.  Same with you Datura.  Shilo is probably just considering me as collateral damage, as being the man that just happened to be taking on Aaron Blackbourne at the time.  I took exception to his brand of "entertainment" and let him know it.  There is nothing wrong with what I did.  I wasn't trying to muscle my way into this match that had already developed.  Apparently Sasha wanted to just add me in.  That's not my fault.  So Datura, I'll say this directly to you.  Blame Shilo for why I'm here, because it's the truth.  The truth does hurt, and believe you may, I know that.  The truth that I have been having issues being victorious for quite some time now does hurt.  I have been rocked to my core here in this 2020 SCW.  But it is like I've said, I don't like some of this 2020 SCW.  It's not you.  It's not Aaron.  And hell it's not even Shilo, as I can handle people that want to get involved in matches that they shouldn't be getting themselves involved in.  I've done that countless times in the past, so honestly, Shilo's hi-jinks don't bother me like they seem to bother you and Aaron.  My advice here to both you and Aaron?  Take it in stride, laugh it off, and kick his ass.  That's what I'm planning to do tomorrow night... whether or not people believe I belong in this affair or not."

[I take a breath and look around, making sure no one is close to me.  No one is.  I can only see other people in the distance, wearing their masks, trying their best to carry on with their lives, just like I am.  I sigh and continue with my thoughts.]

"Datura, this affair, contrary to what you believe, is NOT about the past.  Yes, my past victories, they happened.  Great.  I want to also be successful NOW.  I didn't come back to dredge up the history of SCW.  I want to assist with the good parts of the FUTURE of SCW, to help make SCW far better than what it is now.  Do I want success?  Yes.  Of course I do!  I don't want to be deemed a failure by my peers, or my wife, or worse... my daughter.  She wanted me to come back SO BAD, to see her father wrestle, because she too is actually interested in our sport.  I actually do hope by watching what is going on that she sees that it's not all unicorns and rainbows.  It's a cruel, harsh world... in more ways than one.  You Datura sure can understand that.  I understand that.  Aaron understands that.  And Shilo is the one of us that differs, as he tries to choose to ignore it by introducing his brand of entertainment into everything he does... even when he's not funny."

"Anyways Datura, I don't want you to worry about drawing blood from me tomorrow night.  It's not like I'm going to die at your hands.  I already know that you are going to be too focused on Aaron and Shilo, and I don't blame you.  I'm going to let you do what you're going to do.  My interest in this match is showing the world that I CAN still do this.  I CAN still be successful.  And that I'm not going to allow people like Shilo Valiant to try to break anyone down.  So finally to you Datura, I'm sorry if you think I'm in the way.  But the only thing I'm barring you from getting is a victory that I need now more than anything!"

[My heart beats stronger and faster now.]

"You heard me Shilo.  Unlike against Selna, and unlike against Aaron, I'm not going to hesitate this time.  If I see that opportunity to get the victory, I am going to step up, reach out, and grab it!  Quite honestly the crowd needs something to be stunned about and to cheer about in these rough times.  They need something to clap their hands over, and no, not to your brand of entertainment.  Back in the day some of it was funny, back when you actually wrestled to go along with it that is.  Now though it's clear you're not interested in wrestling.  You're more interested in getting inside peoples' heads and derailing them from doing what they love.  You tried to put Datura on the shelf... and failed.  You've been trying to make Aaron's 2020 a whirlwind of failure... and you will fail on that.  And tomorrow night, when you're in there against Aaron, Datura, and myself... you will fail then too."

"It just makes me shake my head, you know?  All of us Hall of Famers returning, yet I'm the ONLY one that wants to do SCW some good.  You Shilo just want to be a menace, and Matt Hodges... well, it's clear he's never changed.  But here's the thing.  In the end, menaces are just those... menaces.  In the end, those never win.  Tomorrow night the same will ring true, even if you DON'T deem it as entertaining.  The three of us that you're up against though?  We don't care what you want.  We all want to get a piece of you and take you out."

[I close my eyes for a few brief moments before opening them.]

"Which brings me to you Aaron.  You were able to take me down a couple weeks ago, and as you could tell after the bell when I got up, I was disappointed.  I was frustrated.  Out of respect for the youth of SCW, I gave you your props, as they were much deserved.  You did what you wanted to do as you were just that bit more motivated to get the job done.  You beat me and that's that. Now though the tables are turned.  I'm sure you can understand that out of the four of us, I NEED this win."

"Do I sound selfish right now?  Yes.  But I do need it.  If I don't put my nose to the grindstone, fight to the best of my ability, and come out on top in the end, I really don't deserve to be in a match of this caliber... at least not until I am ready for it.  Tomorrow night though, I am making sure that I am READY for you Aaron, and READY for Datura, and READY for Shilo.  In the end I want to show the entire world and the current roster that I can still be more than just competitive, but that I can also be an asset for this company, and an asset in dealing with those who just believe they can be here just to stir up drama and beg and cry for what they want!  Right now, recently, I've been a detriment.  Something I don't EVER want to be!  That doesn't even end tomorrow night at Cold Blooded.  It ends RIGHT NOW!  You Aaron want to get creative.  Shilo wants to continue being entertaining.  And Datura wants to get Shilo's hide."

"The real question is, what does Jay Gold want?  You and several before you Aaron have already said it.  I'm deemed a wild card yet again, which is something I don't want to be.  I am here to help usher in SCW's Golden Years, and get it out of the current Dark Ages it is in.  Look around Aaron... those whom are most successful are those who play the most games, try to make the most deals, and those who manipulate, cry, beg, and steal to get whatever they want!  I hope Aaron that you never become like that, after seeing all that has taken place.  Because I sure as hell damn won't!  I can be counted on to do nothing but help the deserving future of SCW, and yes, I DO consider you as one of that future.  But I want you to understand this.  If I don't win tomorrow night, I don't think I will be able to help you, at least not right now.  So I'm sorry if you end up getting my wrath, instead of Shilo or Datura receiving it.  If that happens, just remember that I'm not doing it for selfish reasons.  I'm doing it because my wife and daughter want to see me succeed.  I'm doing it because the fans want to see me succeed.  I'm doing it for so many GOOD reasons.  Starting right now, I can guarantee you one thing Aaron...  NO ONE will forget what they see from me here in New Orleans tomorrow night.  No one."

"As far as Datura and Shilo go, if one of you takes the brunt end of my wrath, it'll be deserved, and it will do that little bit of help to usher in the Golden Years of SCW.  It will help breathe a little bit of life in as others try to suck that life out.  I however won't let SCW die, no matter what my role becomes after Cold Blooded is over.  If I have to work even harder to gain that success I desire, I will!  In the end I will NOT be what all three of you are probably already deeming me to be... a disappointment.  If me getting the victory against the three of you disappoints the lot of you, then so be it.  The point will be that I will have earned that Golden Moment, just like how I want SCW to earn nothing but a bright future."

[With a nod it's time for me to get back to work.  There is so much work to do.  The disappointment I have endured weighs heavily on my mind, but my cousin Stacy Kissinger is right.  In the end I can do it.  I HAVE to do it.]

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