A Flame Ignites
Diego steps out of the cab tipping the driver well. He stands outside Brunoâ€™s Gym in Brooklyn where he regularly trains for all his Code Red Wrestling matches. Diego walks in to see different types of athletes training for their events: weightlifters, boxers, wrestlers, mixed martial artists. Diego nods to all the men as he has become a celebrity for the guys there. It wasnâ€™t too long ago that he was one of them, an unknown hungry to prove himself. Diego remembers entering Code Red Wrestling a hungry young wrestler wanting to live his dream. He made a mark on the company overtaking the fan base and become a huge fan favorite. Now he was back to phase one in the Experts. Despite all of his success in Code Red Wrestling that didnâ€™t matter at all in the Extreme Tournament. It was time for Diego to prove himself all over again, to overtake the fan base, to start winning.
(Bruno): Close the door behind you.
Diego walked into the office of gym owner and his own trainer Bruno. He dropped his gym bag and sat across from the old manâ€™s desk. Bruno was a 60 year old black man who had seen more battles than his body would have allowed. His hands were massive, covered in scars and sporting all kinds of calluses. When he spoke it was a deep voice on par with Barry White.
(Bruno): Diego whatâ€™s going on with you?
(Diego): I didnâ€™t know something WAS going on with me.
(Bruno): Well something better be going on because I donâ€™t recognize the man sitting across from me.
(Diego): Bruno is this about the losses?
Diego was going through a â€œrough patchâ€ this past week Diego had been eliminated from the Trans-Atlantic Cup Tournament; he had failed to regain his Apex Championship, and had lost his first round matchup against Adrian Specter. It had been a long time since Diego had tasted victory.
(Bruno): This has nothing to do with winning or losing and everything to do with you.
Bruno grabbed a green folder and flung it across his desk. Diego picked it up and realized what Brunoâ€™s gripe was. In the folder was a stack of editorial articles about Diego de la Vega. Behind them was printouts of Diegoâ€™s tweets. Every tweet he had made over the past few weeks and finally the last paperwork was a transcript of the day after Las Vegas where Diego had experience his own Hangover story.
(Bruno): So this is who you are now? Laughing stock of the entire tournament.
(Diego): Wait a minute Bruno thatâ€™s not fa-
(Bruno): FAIR? Since when is wrestling EVER FAIR!!
Bruno slams his hands down on his desk cracking the cheap IKEA wood. He gets up from his aluminum chair; the only thing creaking louder than his knees. Bruno had been retired for decades because of his health. His body had broken down on him but his mind was as sharp as ever, itâ€™s what made him such a good trainer. He plants his frame in front of Diego sitting on his desk.
(Bruno): This business is tough. It eats away at your body, breaks down your will, and concusses your mind and for only an outside shot at the glory and greatness that hundreds of thousands strive for. I saw you had that chance for greatness. I saw a hunger in you that would keep pushing past the emotional and physical pains that wrestling loves handing out.
Bruno reaches across his desk for his heart pills and swallows a few with a gulp of water. Diego leans in to listen closer to his trainer.
(Bruno): But that file. That person â€¦ is not the Diego de la Vega I met. That man doesnâ€™t show any hunger. I donâ€™t know who this impostor is that is sitting in front of me. You wear the mask and you talk like him but you donâ€™t have his eyes. The Diego I knew had a fire in his eyes that trainers dream of finding in their pupils. You â€¦ your eyes are empty.
Diego buries his head into his hands pulling at his mask. He takes a deep breath in.
(Diego): Iâ€™m still that same guy Bruno. Iâ€™m still starving for more. Iâ€™m not happy to ride the middle of the road in Code Red Wrestling and Iâ€™m not happy just showcasing my talents in the Extreme Tournament. Lo quiero ganar. I want to win.
Bruno reaches into the file and pulls out a piece of paper. He holds it up in Diegoâ€™s face for him to see. It is his Biography and Q & A that he filled out for the Extreme Tournament.
(Bruno): You remember this donâ€™t you? You know what I see when I read this. Itâ€™s not hungry, itâ€™s weak. Happy to be nominated? Weak. Family over titles? Weak.
(Diego): Esperace un momento! Now I may have been in a rut but you watch your mouth about my family!!
Diego stands with an accusing finger pointed at his own trainer a smile across his face. Diego is breathing hard his muscle tensed as he stands in front of his trainer fuming underneath his luchador mask. A slap on the shoulder breaks the silence as Bruno lets out a quick laugh.
(Bruno): GOOD. The fire isnâ€™t totally extinguished. But not every man is going to insult your family and spark that flame. Youâ€™ve got to find a way to tap into that fire on your own. That packet right there? Itâ€™s absolutely meaningless. The TMZ contract out on your head? Background noise. Only one thing matters right now and thatâ€™s the next match you have against Smith Young.
(Diego): Whatâ€™s to say? Iâ€™m going to train as hard as I ever do because thatâ€™s exactly what I do. Smith Young might be misguided by his beliefs but heâ€™s going to do the same. Words are absolutely meaningless when the competition is this close. Does it matter if I humiliate my opponent before the match only to lose in the ring?
Bruno reaches for his bottle of water and takes another gulp.
(Bruno): Donâ€™t let your humility get in the way of your hunger. Your hunger is whatâ€™s going to take you far in this tournament and maybe â€¦ just maybe â€¦ to the True Experts Title but first things first you have to get a win in your match against Smith Young. A loss would cripple your chances in advancing from the Group Stage while a draw would mean we would have to sweep the next matches. A win is the only acceptable result this time.
(Diego): I understand.
(Bruno): Good. But something tells me you wouldnâ€™t be so timid if you saw what Smith Young had to say about you.
Diego sees Bruno take out a transcript of Smith Youngâ€™s interview. Diego reads it over reacting each time to Smith Youngâ€™s outlandish accusations.
(Diego): He actually said these things? Esta loco este pendejo? I feel bad that he got mugged but that does not excuse his words in this interview.
Diego just stares down at the transcript trying to understand what would make a man of God make such wild accusations about someone he knows little about. Out of frustration he slams the transcript on the desk and leans in staring right into Brunoâ€™s eyes.
(Diego): This culero doesnâ€™t even know me. Yet all of a sudden heâ€™s a true expert on Diego de la Vega? Well I donâ€™t want to make the man a liar. Heâ€™s going to become a true expert on Diego de la Vega. Heâ€™s going to learn exactly who I am and what I do. Heâ€™s going to realize that heâ€™s not better than me; neither as a wrestler or a man.
Diego stops speaking and just stares into Brunoâ€™s eyes who doesnâ€™t react to the pissed off Diego de la Vega. Once again, a smile cracks across the wrinkled face of Bruno as he simply nods and tells Diego to get ready to train. Diego removes his hand from the desk and grabs his gear heading out of the office. As he closes the door behind him he can hear his trainer whisper â€¦
(Bruno): itâ€™s about damn time.
Diego closes the office door behind him his adrenaline running high. He passes by his training partner Keith Evans and heads to the locker room, Keith following behind him. Diego drops his gear down and asks Keith to pull out his phone.
(Diego): Keith Iâ€™m gonna want you to record this for me. This is a message for Smith Young. I hope you wrestle better than you preach because for a man that worships and follows God as much as you do you have forgotten Godâ€™s greatest quality; love. Godâ€™s love and forgiveness are his greatest qualities because we are not defined by our moments of weakness spent in sin we are judged for the good we do in our lives. The only thing you seem to love is the sound of your own voice.
You have a problem with me celebrating with my friends in Las Vegas? Do you have any idea the work it takes to not only start your own wrestling company but to establish it and get it noticed. Thanks to Talon Wilkinson, Donovan Davenport, Gravedigger, Carlisle Cain, William Draconis, Buck Dempsey we have already put Code Red Wrestling on the map. Together with our blood sweat and tears we built Code Red into the threat it is now. Our hard work, our backs, our Code Red and excuse me Mr. Holier than thou if we took a minute to reflect on how far we have come.
But our match isnâ€™t about me partying in Vegas, itâ€™s not about you getting mugged, itâ€™s about two men who believe without a shadow of a doubt that they are the better man and the better wrestler. You want to question my work ethic? Eres un imbecil!! I have lived and survived through everything. I escaped war, death, and murder in Juarez and came to the United States in order to live the American Dream. I made it all the way to New York City into Code Red and now I will be in Chicago wrestling in front of thousands. Do you even understand how much work, courage, heart, determination it takes to leave your home, your country, your people in order to chase a dream that everyone tells you isnâ€™t attainable? Does that kind of hard work and effort exists in your little bubble world?
And as if you havenâ€™t pissed me off enough you insult me by saying I hide behind my mask. You riff of a bible quote about pride but donâ€™t see your own pride that clouds your judgment. You believe yourself superior to everyone around you and Iâ€™m sorry to be the one to prove to you that you are NOT better than ANYONE!! You are not God and you are not fit to judge anything!!
Youâ€™re in for a very rudo awakening Smith Young. A war is already here in EFK. Men are in a mad grab for power and you believe yourself to be their savior. You believe yourself a Messiah. I mean after all, everyone will play their role que no? But against me on Saturday June 30th your role will not be that of a savior your role this Saturday will be of my whipping boy as I make it a point to humble you. You will learn to shut your perverted and twisted views on God.
God loves and he forgives always. This Saturday â€¦ I donâ€™t.
Diego heart is racing a mile a minute his adrenaline on full blast. His breathes are short and quick. Keith uses the zoom function on his phone to close in on Diegoâ€™s face and just for a moment Keith swears he sees the flicker of a flame in Diegoâ€™s eye.