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 Into the Storm

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PostSubject: Into the Storm    Wed May 17, 2017 5:21 am

“I got guns in my head and they won't go..

Spirits in my head and they won't go”

++

The thunder rolled, as lightning blinked through the clouds in the sky, but it didn’t bother Cosmo Cooper as he sat on the beach on this dark night. With the way the wind whipped his brown hair back, he knew there was a storm approaching soon. Cosmo had never been afraid of the rain—or of storms for that matter. When it stormed, the most he ever did was bring his goat, Gatsby in the house because the miniature goat was terrified of rain and storms.

It was a time of reflection, something Cosmo often tried to do on nights like these when he couldn’t sleep. The small, green Corolla he drove was parked just behind him on the hill and that’s where he had left his phone. All he has a grey sweatshirt he had gotten from a blood drive once upon a time and a pair of athletic shorts. The hood was pulled over his head and the flat bill hat he wore which read XHW in script font was turned backwards.With his knees pulled up into his chest, and his arms around his knees. Cosmo looked down between his knees to the sand before back up to the jet black water before him.

In his head, the words from his friend Trevor Miller echoed in his head, Trevor was his best friend and despite them feuding over the GCW Legacy Championship—they had finally patched things up after the match where Cosmo walked out successful. The pair had shared a hug in the back after the match—they also decided it would be better if they started traveling together once again when they could, but even that had changed.

“You know your life could change forever, right?” Trevor said, he pointed to the belt that was now draped over Cooper’s lap as he tossed his sweaty sheet of hair from his face, a water between his legs as he cooled down from the match, an ice pack on his neck from an untimely attack by Madalyn Macie after his match with Trevor. “Not just the Legacy Championship, but I know what you’ve got going on in XHW too.”

That’s when the feeling of anxiety set in. Cosmo hadn’t even had more than five minutes to celebrate his title win, because he knew what loomed in the distance. As big as the Legacy Championship was, it wasn’t as big as the XHW World Championship…A cage surrounding the ring, ladders on top of the cage…A title on top of all of that.

Hell From Above was a star-making match. As much as Cosmo wanted to pop off and talk about how he’s the reason XHW survived the way it did, he was thankful XHW had given him so many opportunities.

As cocky and as brash as Cosmo Cooper was, here he was with a championship already in his lap, and he was worried about another one that loomed.

“Yeah, man…It’s….” Cosmo trailed off, trying to find the right words to say. Scary? Was that a word he was really about to use. The big, rough and tough Cooper using a word like scary when it came to the pro graps? “It’s something else, man.”

“Changes forever…”

Mumbled Cosmo as the first couple of droplets of rain began to hit him across the bridge of his nose, but he didn’t even flinch as he just pulled his knees tighter into his chest. Truth be told? Cosmo was already feeling the pressure in XHW. Everywhere he turned, someone was coming at him. On social media, during the show, backstage, it didn’t matter. Hell, people who were just joining was all of a sudden trying to get a piece of Cosmo Cooper.

“Am I ready for that?” Another question that left his lips as he sat there on the beach—lost in his thoughts and the hymn that the ocean was singing. “Sure, I can tell everyone I’m ready for that when the cameras are on…But am I ready for the weight…Am I ready for the target to be on my back?”

Slowly a soft smile crossed his lips as he nodded to himself. Coming to the decision that he could, Cosmo began to push himself up from his seated position as the rain began to pick up. The next clap of thunder and flash of lightning seemed to be a little closer than before, and Cosmo used it as a metaphor in his mind to compare it to XHW.

Before? Cosmo enjoyed the noise. It meant…Fear. It meant that the other wrestlers on the roster knew that there was one man to beat, and that was the man they constantly yelled and cursed at. Now? The voices were bearing down on him, and he knew the second he reached up and grabbed that championship belt?

That’s when the storm was truly upon him. Not when he was the smiling jackass that everyone loved to hate. But the smiling jackass everyone loved to hate with the gold around his waist. The lone target.

“You can handle it, though.” Leela Watts voice now broke into his thoughts. The second person he had talked to that night as the two shared a wine cooler that Leela just so happened to have a pack of. They had clinked them together in a toast and celebrated with a drink. “If anyone can handle that sort of pressure, it’s Cosmo Cooper.”

All the while, Cosmo couldn’t help but grin—even if he couldn’t properly celebrate his Legacy Championship win because of the Hell From Above match looming. Leela always had a way to make him feel better. It was sort of like that warm and fuzzy feeling you got when someone gave you a gift, Leela gave the best gift—her smile.

“As always, you’re way too kind,” Cosmo lifted the small bottle in his hands up to his lips as he readjusted the title on his shoulder. “Plus, you have wayyyy too much faith in me. What are the chances I become a double champion? Gotta’ be pretty slim, right?”

Leela playfully pushed him on the shoulder as she often did. Much like his grandmother.

“Pretty slim for whoever else is in that match with you, I’ve told you time and time again and you refuse to believe me.” Grabbing his shoulders, Leela squared him to face her and then looked at him dead in the eye. “For the 100th time. You’re the best. For the 1000th time, you’re going to kill it.”

Lighting flashed in the distance and this time the thunder roared overhead, but Cosmo didn’t pick up his pace from the light walk back up the beach toward his car. Somewhere it sat in the darkness, but his thoughts was a million miles away.

They were somewhere in Asheville, North Carolina.

With each lighting strike, and each crack of thunder. Cosmo was reminded of what stood in his way. The brutal, tall and intimidating Sapphire with her massive arms crossed over her chest, flexing menacingly at him. Ashley Williams who wore a cocky smile, because she knew she was better than Cosmo, knew she had this XHW Title in the bag.

Another flash of lighting. There was Trevor Miller and Leela Watts telling him that he could do it, telling him that he would be the first ever XHW champion.

BANG!

CLASH!

The entire XHW locker room stood in front of him now as a gust of wind nearly took his flat bill cap off. The rain—the storm was disorienting for him, but he kept his head down and pushed toward where he had parked. Cosmo turned his body once more towards the ocean.

Right there on the spot, he promised himself he would be back here, but it would be as the XHW champion. As a clap of thunder clashed overhead, Cosmo dropped down to one knee. With another flash of lighting and once again, he imagined the roster standing there before him.

Both of his arms went out to either side, and he lifted his palms up towards the heavens, his head followed as the cold droplets of rain splashed over his face—it was refreshing and chilling at the same time. The storm that had been approaching now seemed to be right on top of him, but Cosmo, in the face of it all…Posed in front of that invisible roster—the current storm—like he was in a wrestling ring and each flash of lighting was the spotlight that usually came down on him when he used like that.

Opening his eyes, now soaking wet, he looked out over the water as he sat there on one knee with the elements whipping around him.

“Bring on the storm.”

+++

“From the beginning…From the very start…I told each of you what to expect, yet every single one of you rolled your eyes at me and told me wasn’t possible. From the very opening of this company. I told each of you my goals, my aspirations and my desires. You ignored me. I told each of you that when it was all said and done, Cosmo Cooper would be the star of XHW, he would be the guy everyone talked about, he would be the guy everyone came to see. Yet, none of you seemed to care or see past your own little bubble. I could see the mountaintop, I knew what I had to do to get there, and I knew what it took from that first night.”

“While each of you were sleepwalking to the next match. I kept a laser focus on the top of the mountain. While you were busy grab-assing and talking about respect…I was putting away anyone who decided to stand in front of me, and I did that by any means necessary. The first show? Cosmo Cooper was just another name, just another face in the crowd but I had to face two absolute studs, a legend in Kaden Kessler and Buffy who said she wouldn’t be turned away in XHW and would make her name known, yet I beat them both and stood tall.”

“XHW did the right thing, they booked me in a match vs. Wulf Erikson. I can see the reasoning. They wanted to see who was the better of the two medal holders, what did I do? I played Wulf like a fiddle. I played to his fragile little ego and I told him I’d put my medal on the line. Wulf didn’t know who I was, he didn’t know what I was capable of, and what happened? I caught Wulf sleeping and sent him off that ladder and claimed the medal of my own. I did what I said I would, I stood alone atop XHW…Yet all I heard was excuses from the rest of this roster. All I heard was how I used questionable tactics. All I heard was that I didn’t earn it, I cheated my way to a victory…”


Cosmo rolled his eyes.

“Yes, wrestlers who have supposedly done this for a while claimed I used questionable tactics in a LADDER match where the only rules are to climb the ladder and retrieve the prize.”

“Sapphire…The only one on paper who can stack up against me. I disposed of her, JUST LIKE I SAID I WOULD and still…Nobody wants to admit what they know deep down. I am the BEST, XHW has to offer. Even last week, I took Sapphire to the end with me, and while she tossed me out of the ring I was never eliminated and I picked up yet another victory, tallying my win/loss total to 4-0…Undefeated…Unbeaten…Untouched…Unpinned. Yet nobody wants to utter the obvious.”

“I am what I have claimed to be this entire time: The face of XHW. At Hell From Above, I will prove once and for all that this is the house that Cosmo Cooper built, not Sapphire, not Ashley Williams, not Wulf, not Doug, not every person barking at me on social media…But ME. Because just like I told you all the last four weeks and you didn’t listen, I’m going to say it loud and clear so your ancestors will be able to hear me.”

“I. WILL. BECOME. THE. FIRST. EVER. XHW. WORLD. CHAMPION. And there isn’t a damn thing either of you is going to do about it.”

“Lots of you dream it, Sapphire…Williams. I know you both wake up every morning just like every other wrestler on this planet. I bet you swing your legs out of bed, sore from the weekends work. I bet you wince every time you step on a treadmill or lift a weight. But what keeps you going? What pushes you? It’s just the chance of being a champion. It’s the chance of having a title around your waist. It’s the vision, every morning when you look in the mirror of a championship belt around your shoulder…And while you both dream it…I’ve lived it.”

“Only one time in my career have I been pinned. In college I was untouched as a colligate wrestler. In high school I was a state champion in basketball, football and wrestling. I was born a winner. People like Sapphire…People like Ashley Williams…They can point to success in their life…Who knows? Maybe they’ve been as successful as they claim, but it doesn’t show in the wrestling ring. You see, before I’ve spoken about drive, I’ve spoken about going above and beyond what is expected of me to be a champion. It paid off in GCW because I won the Legacy Championship. It paid off in college, it paid off in high school. Now, it’s paying off in XHW, because every time I see Ashley and Sapphire talk trash to me? Talk trash to someone who is 4-0 in XHW?”


Cosmo barked a laugh.

“That’s what keeps me going. That’s what pushes me to be better in XHW, because I know that without me? Nobody has a villain to chase, and it’s not because I’m a bad person. It’s not because I’ve “cheated” in matches. They chase me because I am the best. They chase me because I am the front runner, and soon they know just as well as I know, that XHW championship is coming home with me. They know at the end of the night, I will be standing above either of them with that belt above my head.”

“Ashley Williams claims I’ve never beaten her and never will. Strong words from someone who just technically lost a match against me last week. Look, I know Sapphire got the pin, but I wasn’t touched in that match. I was on a team that beat your team, I don’t like to nit-pick though, especially against a bunch of “wrestlers” that doesn’t even know how the sport even works. You’re right, I’ve never beaten you, and I don’t want to claim a tag team win over you because I want you to know the truth, in this Hell From Above match.”

“Williams, you can claim whatever you want. Even in this Hell From Above match, there will be no pinning or submitting. You and Sapphire will just have to look at the same view Wulf Erikson did when I took him on. Me, looking down at you with a smirk on my face as I unhook the first ever XHW World Championship and I reign above you like I have been doing this entire time on this roster. Then? I don’t give a shit if you say I’ve never beaten you. I don’t give a damn if you say I never will, because you can go keep your little DARC championship and you can keep being 2nd or 3rd place in XHW, because that’s how much I raise the bar.”

“Without me? What would this company look like? The crowds would still be sparse, nobody on Twitter would pay attention and there wouldn’t be a roster lining up to beat me. Just look at someone of the people who have signed on, Ashley. Are they tweeting you about how they’re going to knock you off? No. They’re tweeting me. They’re barking at the race car, they’re not barking and chasing the tricycle. They’re barking at something they can’t catch, they’re barking at something that’s going to leave them in the dust and they’re yapping at a man who will shut them up in a matter of one match.”

“I will give you this, Ashley. You’ve stayed as far away from me as possible. Going on five weeks now, this small of a roster? I thought for sure our paths would cross. You haven’t needed me to shine. You’ve beaten Wulf, you’ve worked your way into a title match, and you’ve been a star without Cosmo Cooper attached to your name…But let’s check in on our other opponent, shall we?”

“Sapphire. You need me, just like you need air. Play it off however you want…Make up that I somehow cheated in my match against you, but we both know the truth. I am better, and I’ve been better. Last week you needed me on your team to main event Fallout, the week before you needed a singles match against me to main event. If it wasn’t for me, Virginia. You wouldn’t be in this match. You would be fighting with Wulf over the scraps of this title match.”

“Something has…Changed. I don’t know, Sapphire. Part of me wants to believe that last week? When you stopped me from going out before you and you told me what was for my best interest? Part of me believe that you didn’t do that because you wanted me to take you to the end of that match with me. Part of me believes that you did that because…Maybe you care about me?”


A shit-eating grin followed that statement.

“Physically, you’re my equal. You think you belong in this match because of that and I think you got here because of me, because I decided to listen to you and I decided to LET you get those points. The moment I thought I might get a pin fall, you tossed me from the ring and I had to watch you win us the match as I sat outside on the apron and watched. I rarely admit this, but Sapphire? Part of me was…Part of me was excited for you. Part of me hoped that this may light a fire under your ass…Part of me was glad that we had our conversation, because if it wasn’t for you?”

Cosmo shrugged.

“I probably would have just been eaten alive in that match. As good as I think I am, Sapphire. I doubt I could have held off every single one of you. I’m bold, I’m brash, but I’m not -that- stupid. So I thought, maybe I owe you one? Maybe I’ll let that one slide, because we both know where I will be when it’s all said and done at Hell From Above. I’ll be on top of the ladder, where I belong and where I’ve been before. You’ll be staring up at him, and you can thank me for once again getting you into the main event spotlight. Somewhere you probably don’t belong.”

“That’s what pains me, Sapphire. I know what you could be, but I’m not sure what’s holding you back. You obviously have the work ethic—or you pretend to have the work ethic. You have the body, you have the mouth, you have all the tools in the world to be where I am, but it just seems like…I don’t know…Is the drive there? Is the motivation there? That’s why I just can’t bring my foot down on your throat like these other fools, Sapphire. That’s why I can’t go for the jugular because I see something in you that I’ve seen in myself in the past.”

“As different as you are, Sapphire. The result? It won’t be any different than our first match. I come out the winner, you come out the loser. As pretty as that title would look around you 12 pack abs, it’s going to look just as good over these massive shoulders. I have no room to feel sorry someone. I have no time to look back, and I don’t have a hand to offer you at the end of this match. I just hope you find yourself between now and Saturday, because I’m not carrying you on my back to the top of the ladder…And you’re damn sure not going through me to get it…”

“You both know the spiel, but this time it is personal. And this time? I’m STILL…Just better than both of you.”


++

“I spent a lot of nights on the run
And I think oh, like I'm lost and can't be found
I'm just waiting for my day to come”
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