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The Mat Memoir of 'Mazin' Mags

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Offline MazinMags

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The Mat Memoir of 'Mazin' Mags
« on: February 08, 2024, 07:50:25 AM »
Some of you may know me. Some of you may not. Some of you may be familiar with this character through roleplays we've done. But over the past few months, I've found I've lost the enthusiasm for roleplays, but gained an increased desire to explore this persona, as well as her world how I see it.

I'm posting Chapter 1 now. I'll follow with Chapter 2 on Friday, after which my plan is to post a new chapter every other Friday. A word of precaution, to manage expectations: we're not gonna get to the match itself until Chapter 5. (I'm a big believer in world building.) But I will say, that is easily THE longest chapter I've written so far... :P 

Hopefully, you'll enjoy! :P


Chapter 1: The Girlhood Dream


As a kid, you think the life of a pro wrestler is all glitz and glamour.  You see all of these impossibly buff guys and unbelievably beautiful girls on your TV screen each week, performing death defying action under bright lights in front of expensive, high definition cameras. And when they’re not on TV, they’re on your phone. On your YouTube and IG feeds, from various gorgeous ports of call, living their absolute best lives.

It's oh so very easy to believe that none of it is real, any more so than Supernatural or Riverdale are real. Oh, sure, each week the shows come from cities that you know are real… but they’re usually never ones that you’ve ever set foot in. I mean, sure, Chicago was only a two hour trip each way for me as a kid. But growing up the child of lower middle class RV plant workers in the Michiana region, a trip to see one of the major promotions put on a show in the Windy City was a bit too pricy a luxury than they ever felt they could justify.

Not to mention… look, my dad loved pro wrestling more than anyone I’ve ever known. Almost as much as me, even. But he could see the twinkle in my eye when I talked about wanting to be a wrestler when I grew up, and then he could look at the state of the major promotions and see what sort of opportunities were available for women… especially when I was a kid… and…

Look, I don’t wanna say he didn’t support me, because he absolutely did. But looking back, I can see where he might have made the choice not to go to some of those big shows so that maybe he wanted to give me a chance to see if I wanted something better for myself, instead of falling under the spell of all that glitz and glamour.

Still…

Even if you keep your distance, if you fall under that spell enough, you start to do some digging. And when you do that, you learn that below that glamorous world of the big leagues, there’s another wrestling world. Maybe not as glitzy or fabulous, but still thrilling and exotic in its own right. A world of smaller buildings and smaller crowds, traversed more across interstates than by acquiring frequent flyer miles.

And tucked away in that different world, still 2 hours up the road in Chicago, was a company that my dad did feel comfortable taking me to see. It was called Mighty Maidens of the Midwest. Their preferred abbreviation was 3M, though some fans (males in particular) definitely took to calling it MMM. Despite that name, however, the women in the company (which were just about everyone except for most of the refs) were presented as serious, legitimate athletes.

So yeah. Seeing my first big league show on TV was where the seed of me becoming a wrestler was planted. But it was sitting in the little VFW building in Chicago, watching 3M matches, where I actually made the decision to become a wrestler.

Even then, though, there’s a promise of adventure in coming up through the indies. But nothing ever really gives you a clue as to what it takes to get out on the indies in the first place. You don’t just show up at a building and tell the guy at the door you’re there to wrestle.

(Well, there IS that one company, that thinks you can take anyone off the street and make them a wrestler. But the less said about them, the better.)

No, there are the months and months you spend in school training, busting your ass as a barista by day and bumping your body in a rickety ring at night. Even once you graduate, you usually have to try to hold down a day job while you get your first bookings, especially if you have the misfortune of getting booked by some of the less reputable promoters in the industry, who aren’t always as forthcoming with their payoffs as they lead you to believe.

But, if you build up enough of a name, eventually you start getting better bookings. More reliable bookings. More frequent bookings. If you’re really lucky, you start getting booked enough that you can support yourself, however modestly, just working in the ring.

But the work to get you ready for the ring never ends. The early mornings spent at the gym, to keep your body in the best shape it can be in…

And I like to think I’m in pretty good shape. For one thing, I’ve still got youth on my side, having only just turned 24 back at the end of January. And God blessed me with… good genetics, if not great genetics. One thing a wrestler can have going for her is to be gifted with impressive size, and… well, I didn’t get that gift. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m hardly a munchkin. Hell, I’d say I’m probably a little bit taller than about half the women I pass on the street. But at 5’6”, I’m still gonna find myself sharing a ring with plenty of women taller than that.

Still, if you haven’t been blessed with the gift of size, you’ve got a couple of options. One is to build up your muscle, so that even without the hulking height you can lift a small couch or crush a watermelon between your thighs. The other is to work on your cardio, build up your stamina and focus your training on speed and agility. The latter was the route I’d taken, partly out of necessity. For one thing, there are just some people who could spend their entire life in the gym and not get jacked, which is a camp I definitely fall under. But beyond that…

Look… like I said earlier, I get what my dad was thinking when he worried what lessons lil Margaret McMillan might take from the way women were being showcased in the big leagues. But adult Maggie realizes that there IS a cosmetic element to this industry. And that goes for the guys as well as the girls. If you can sell boatloads of 8x10”s at the merch table, you’re gonna have advantages that someone more reliant on pure skill or brute force won’t.

And it never hurts to be a blonde in wrestling. I might not have gotten the blue eyes part of the deal, but there’s something to be said for being a brown eyed beauty. A great man once said fat looks better tan, but really, in this business a nice tan helps most people. And I have a… nice figure. I mean, no one’s gonna mistake me for Katy Perry, but I’m not exactly hurting upstairs. My stomach, on the other hand, is fairly flat and with just the tiniest hint of abs. I do have long legs going for me, and while I’m not sure how many lives my thighs have saved, I certainly wouldn’t call them twigs…

And there’s definitely some junk in the trunk. Maybe not as stuffed as Kim K’s, but pretty tightly packed.

But you gotta put in the work to maintain it. And if you really wanna make it in this business, you put in the work every morning.

And I like to make sure that a nice, relaxing soak in the tub comes every afternoon, once I make it home from the gym.

But today, my phone had different plans.

Hearing the hum of my phone as it vibrated on the edge of the tub, I closed my eyes and let out a sigh. Another thing they never really warn you about when you become a wrestler is, you no longer really have the luxury of ignoring your phone. You ignore your phone, you might miss a potential booking. Or you might show up for one that fell through. Prompting the lock screen to appear, I immediately notice the notification:

“SAH
Got u a booking. Call me ASAP”

I frowned slightly, just a tiny bit puzzled. “The Supermodel” Alina Harvey ran the wrestling school I had graduated from. She was an amazing woman. Australian by birth, she’d made her name with the fans and built her legacy within the business working the indies primarily in Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana. With her combination of technical skill and sex appeal, it had always boggled my mind that she never had a run with one of the major leagues. There’s no way I could ever overstate the level of respect I have for her…

But she’s never once contacted me about a booking. She was a trainer, not a promoter.

“Hey, Alina,” I said once she picked up on the other end. “What’s goin’ on?”

“Which do ya want first, the good news or the bad news?” she asked, all those years spent in Appalachia having done nothing to lessen that Aussie lilt in her voice.

“You know me, Alina,” I answered, “always lead with the positive.”

“Well, the good news is… I still love ya, kid. Even if it’s not gonna sound like it in a moment.”

That wasn’t particularly encouraging.  “Oooooooooooooooooooookay…”

 “I’ve been in touch with Kathy Davies…”

“Kathy Davies?” I interrupted, caught off guard. Davies was the founder of 3M, and still runs the company today. Like I said, it was sitting in the crowd at 3M that really solidified my desire to become a wrestler. One day stepping in a 3M ring was a dream for lil Margaret. And once upon a time, it was a dream for a lot of the women in this business. With the way the majors tended to treat women, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that for some women, 3M was a destination promotion that the girls strived to reach, rather than a promotion you worked through on your way to somewhere bigger. In recent years, with more opportunities (and better opportunities than in the past) their roster had taken a little hit.

But they still had more than a little prestige.

“I’d heard she was gonna run a show just down the road from you in Fort Wayne, so I figured I’d tell her the best student I’d ever had lived about 90 minutes away.”

I was happy that she couldn’t see me blush. “Look, Alina, that’s very sweet of you to say, but you’ve gotten all the tuition out of me you’re gonna get.”

I could hear Alina stifle a chuckle.  “So,” she continued, “you’re working the 3M show this weekend…”

“… and I’m not yet hearin’ the bad news,” I replied.

“This isn’t a tryout match,” Harvey said, bluntly. “I mean, they’ll definitely be willing to bring you back if you show out…”

“I’m sensing a ‘but’ coming…”

“Bitch, there’s always a butt with you around!”

Now it was my turn to hold back a laugh, even being as aware as I was how much Harvey relied on humor to stall when she didn’t wanna say something. “Alina…”

The first thing I heard on the other end of the line was a sigh. Which was then followed by a resigned, “They got you booked against Genesis…”

“Genesis?” I echoed. “Genesis Santiago?”

Until 3M’s last show, Genesis Santiago was the reigning, defending, and more importantly undefeated World champion. Obviously, I had never met her, but I’ve seen her. She was… imposing. Physically, sure, but not unreasonably so. I mean, she was only a little taller and a little thiccer than me. But she carried herself with the confidence of a women who knew you couldn’t touch her, let alone beat her. She had it all: the look, the skill, and the demeanor. She was talented, cruel and remorseless. She was considered a fiery, no-nonsense, sadistic bad ass when she was in a good mood.

And there was no way, after the past month, that she’d be going into this match in a good mood.

You didn’t need to be a 10 year vet to see what the expectation was. You didn’t even need the 2 years of loops around the indy circuit that I had under my belt at this point to get it. They were booking me to let her make a statement.

Lost in thought, it took me a few moments to realize that Alina had still been talking this whole time. “Look… I can call her back, tell her you’ve got another booki…”

“I’ll do it,” I said.  Simply.  Matter of factly.

I could hear Alina blink.

“Maggie…”

My voice was firm. Confident. Even as I felt my heart skip a tiny beat. “I’ll do it,” I repeated. “I mean, they call me ‘Mazin’, right?”

“I called you that,” Alina huffed. “Then you put it on your ass.”

It’s called building a brand, babes.  The first time I heard her call me that, I knew it had cache.  Besides… they’re already gonna be looking there.  Might as well give them something to read while they’re looking.

“Well…” I replied, feeling the determination within me growing.  They might be setting this up for Rodriguez’s benefit, but I knew an opportunity when I saw it.  “This seems as good a way as any to show everyone just how ‘Mazin’ I am.”
« Last Edit: February 08, 2024, 07:56:28 AM by MazinMags »

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Offline MazinMags

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Re: The Mat Memoir of 'Mazin' Mags
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2024, 04:10:56 PM »
As promised, Chapter Two!  (And Chapter Three just went live on Patreon. Just sayin'! :P )


Chapter 2: Making Friends


Well, Maggie. Of all the ideas you’ve ever had… this was definitely one of them.

Shortly after getting off the phone with Alina, I’d called Kathy Davies to introduce myself and finalize the details of the booking. You know, find out what building they were running, what time I needed to be at the building by, get an idea of what sort of payoff I’m looking at, that sort of thing. But Kathy had been a bit surprised when I asked her what motel she had the talent staying at. “Kid, you’re just down the road,” she’d said.

You get into this business for any period of time, and you quickly become fluent in Promoter Speak. So I quickly recognized the meaning underneath that statement, which was that part of, if not a significant amount of the reason I was getting this booking in the first place was so she didn’t have to pay travel expenses for one more talent. Which is why I quickly set her fears to rest, assuring her that I had every intention of paying for my own room, but that I just wanted to know where the other girls would be staying. Sure, she was right, it was a less than a 2 hour drive down US 33 to get to Fort Wayne. But considering who I was about to face and what this match could do for my career, I’d rather be able to get a good night’s sleep, get settled in and have a short drive to the building than to spend my afternoon in my car before getting in the ring.

“Put a lot of thought into this, huh?” Kathy had said. Put way too much thought into it for basically getting paid to take a beating, she’d been kind enough to leave unspoken.

But she was also kind enough to give me the name of the hotel where my side of the locker room would be staying. So I’d headed out a little after 9 on Friday night, intending to get to the motel no later than 11PM. Unfortunately, the combination of road work and a wreck on US 33 made a nearly 2 hour trip closer to 4, and I didn’t get finished checking in until a little after 1. Then I went to get the rest of my bags, bring them in and head up the elevator to my room on the third floor.

I dropped off my bags off in my room, but I was still a little too wired to sleep, so I made a quick little trip down to the Circle K. Gotta stock up the mini-fridge for the weekend. Had a much more pleasant drive back to the motel, gave the desk clerk a wave on my way to the elevator, and headed back up to my room. Heard a couple of girls call for me to hold the elevator, but it was already too late for me to reach out and catch the door by the time they called.

Ding!

“Third floor, exhausted wrestler’s rooms,” I announced, breezily, to no one but myself before heading down the hall. I’d just reached my door when I heard another door open, and a couple of girlish voices giggling amongst themselves. I immediately recognized those voices as the ones I heard call for me to catch the door, and I felt the tiniest twinge of guilt at having made them take the stairs. Especially once I looked over and could see that, while maybe not completely smashed, they were definitely just a little tipsy.

I took a quick glance their way, just out of curiosity. Both of them looked like they wouldn’t have been able to get into that club without getting carded, but that neither would have much trouble getting past a bouncer with just the tiniest bit of… persuasion. They were both a little on the shorter side. By which I mean, shorter than me. The taller one was an olive skinned brunette with wavy, shoulder length black hair. She had a lovely round face, with apple cheeks and full, pouty lips, her brown eyes residing behind an adorable pair of round, wire framed glasses. She was wearing a darling little floral print sundress with a pair of sensible red pumps. Her friend was a few inches shorter, barely over five foot. Her hair was blonde with pink highlights and spilled out from under a black baseball cap to just about the top of her shoulderblades. She was wearing a black crop top, along with skin tight black leather pants and a pair of white sneakers.

They continued to chat as I turned my attention back to fishing my keycard out of my purse, their voices carrying enough that I could tell that much even if I couldn’t exactly make out what they were saying. Finally finding my card, I started to slide it through the lock when I heard one of the two girls giggle, “… I still can’t believe you did that!”

“Why do you think they call me the Wylde Child?” another voice answered. And that was enough to cause me to freeze in mid-swipe, turning my head back down the hall to take another look at those girls.

I hadn’t recognized them in civvies, but they were members of the 3M roster. The brunette was Nikki Vasquez, “the Schoolgirl Crush.” Remember when I said I was blessed with good genetics? Well, Nikki hit the fucking genetic Powerball. She wasn’t some jacked super specimen by any means, but she was one of those women who you could tell was still gonna be looking like she’d only just turned 20 when she was pushing 50. And not only did she own that shit, she’d made it her gimmick.

And I can’t say I blame her. You could do a lot worse trying to get over than playing to schoolgirl fantasies.

The blonde was “the Wylde Child,” Jazmin Wylde. I don’t know why they call her that away from wrestling, but when it comes to the ring, they call her that because she’s never seen a high risk move that she was afraid to try. At first glance, you wouldn’t think either of them were wrestlers. Wylde had the sort of lithe frame that suggested more of a dance background, while Vasquez looked softer and more luscious than firm and sinewy.

Jazmin’s eyes locked on mine for a moment, and a look passed across her face. It was a look I recognized, having seen it on my own face in a couple of IG posts I’d been tagged in, of pics taken when I’d been… well, I don’t wanna say “ambushed,” but when I’ve been approached by a fan at an airport gate at, like, 1AM.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my fans, and I’m extremely grateful that I’ve already built up even a tiny fanbase. But there’s a time and a place, y’know?

But seeing that look on Jazmin’s face, I flashed her what I hoped was a reassuring smile. “Relax, ladies,” I said, “I’m in the biz. I’m actually workin’ your show tomorrow.” Setting my bags down by the door, I approached them and offered my hand. “I’m Maggie. Mags to the fans, and my friends.”

“Jaz,” Wylde replied, relaxing, shaking my hand.

“Nikki, hi!” Vasquez said, offering her hand, her face breaking into a warm, inviting… and yes, inebriated, smile. As I took Nikki’s hand, I kept the blonde in the corner of my eye. I could tell she was sizing me up a bit. Not so much in a judgmental way, but… like me, both these two girls were fairly recent additions to 3M. Vasquez had made her debut last summer, and Wylde had come in at the beginning of this year. I’m guessing that Jazmin was hoping maybe she had found another friend in the locker room.

Nikki definitely seemed happy to see me. But considering the alcohol involved, I’m sensing she’d probably be happy to see just about anyone.

“We’d heard they were bringing in someone new to feed to…”

Jazmin’s voice trailed off, as she realized what she was about to say. I could see the embarrassment pass across her face, even though she had to know I’d already thought the same thing.

“It’s okay,” I assured her. “No one’s expecting me to win this thing, are they?”

Wylde frowned, looking down for a second. “Sorry, nothin’ personal, but no.”

“Trust me, though,” Nikki cut in, “no one in our locker room is gonna be TOO upset to be wrong.” Her facial expression was changing, too, growing more animated. But unlike her buddy, she wasn’t mortified. No, Nikki was looking angry. “Most of us have been in the ring with her at least once and would LOVE to see that bitch go down!”

Well… maybe there was ONE person Nikki wouldn’t be happy to see right now.

“I’m guessin’ you’re one of the girls who’ve been in the ring with her?” I asked, my voice soft, trying to soothe her.

I could see the memories play across Nikki’s face in the instant before she nodded. “She was better than me that night. I’m not gonna lie. She’s a beast, everyone knows that! But…” She drew in a deep breath, collecting herself. “But she didn’t have to enjoy driving that point home as much as she did.”

Jazmin pulled her friend into a quick little sideways hug, giving her a small peck on the cheek before turning her gaze back to me. “Hey,” she said, “Toni just showed the world she can be beaten. Nothin’ says you can’t go out there tomorrow night and do it again!”

The words were great, as was the sentiment.  But I could see in Jazmin’s eyes…  It wasn’t that she was trying to lie to me or anything like that.  Sure, she felt it was possible.

But she didn’t think it was likely.

I didn’t take it personally.  This girl’s only just met me.  For all I know, she’s never seen me in the ring.  And I certainly didn’t get the sense she was hoping I’d go out and have my ass handed to me.  So, I gave her a small nod.  But those words lit Nikki’s face right back up. “Damn straight!” she exclaimed, pulling away from the blonde just long enough to sling an arm around my waist and pull me in close. “You got this, Mags! You’re gonna kick her ass!”

“I guess we’re friends now,” I grinned, more than a little amused at just how affectionate this lil brunette was. Pretty sure that last bit was the alcohol talking, but it was still nice to hear.

Shaking her head slightly, Jazmin gently pulled her friend away from me, leading her back to their door. “Come find us at the building tomorrow…”

“Or we’ll come find you!” Nikki blurted in, while Jazmin pushed the door open.

“Or we’ll find you,” Jazmin agreed, ushering the inebriated brunette into her room. “And we’ll make sure you get settled in before the big fight.”

“Thanks, girls,” I replied. Wylde flashed me one last smile before closing her door, leaving me to go back to mine. At least now I wouldn’t be walking into a building full of complete strangers, I thought as I slid my keycard through the lock.

Fully, this time.

That almost felt like a victory already.

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Re: The Mat Memoir of 'Mazin' Mags
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2024, 04:16:18 PM »
Chapter 3: You Never Get a Second Chance…


Whether you’re a major league wrestler or someone just starting out on their path in the business, we all have one thing in common: very quickly, we all get very familiar with sleeping in unfamiliar beds. Your big league stars will find themselves in a different city probably three-quarters of the year, but even your young up and comers will find themselves spending most of their weekends in a different motel. If they’re really lucky, they’ll spend every weekend in one.

I was up at 7, even with the late end to my evening last night. Not because of anything wrong with the bed, or the room. Just my body’s internal alarm clock telling me that dammit, Maggie, it’s time to get going. So, rather than fight it, I got up. Few promoters in the indy world spring for five star hotels, and Kathy Davies was no exception. But the motel she’d booked for the girls at least had a modest gym, suitable for getting in a small workout first thing.

Which suited me fine. I mean, you never wanna overdo it the morning of a match.

After a healthy early lunch and a few hours spent collecting myself, I headed over to the building. It was a short drive from the motel, and from the outside pretty much exactly what I expected: a modest sized VFW hall, its tan aluminum siding obviously not new but not in particularly obvious disrepair, a short awning overhanging the sidewalk in front of a set of glass doors, the parking lot… honestly? Surprisingly litter free.

I didn’t turn into the parking lot. Kathy had told me the talent were all using the lot for the pre-school, just down one of the side streets behind the hall. Being the weekend and all, it would be pretty clear of cars, and it allowed us to avoid any potentially unpleasant social interactions with the crowd either before or after the show.

Finding a parking spot near the sidewalk, I got out of the car and headed toward the building. I was dressed… well, I wouldn’t say I was dressed not to draw attention to myself, because I felt like I was looking pretty cute today in a pair of white Reeboks, a set of loose grey slacks, and a long sleeved, light purple crop top that left plenty of my belly visible. But only the gym bag slung over my left shoulder gave any indication that I was here to work the show. I certainly wasn’t wearing a sign that said “I’M A WRESTLER, ASK ME HOW!”

As I got closer to the building, I could spot a back door open, as well as a man leaning against the wall alongside, glancing at his phone. The closer I got, the better I could make him out. He was cute, if you go far tall, lean, youngish… but older than me… men of middle eastern descent, whose strong jaw and upper lip were adorned with a moustache and beard which could pass for a couple of days’ stubble but were clearly closely groomed to foster that impression.

It didn’t take me long to recognize him. Shahid Soliman. Many people in the indy wrestling world wear multiple hats, which is kinda fitting when you think about how many people in the indy wrestling world have multiple faces. The fans knew Shahid Soliman as the voice of 3M, who called the action on their iPPVs. But to the girls, he was the closest thing that 3M had to a head of talent relations. Kathy had told me to look out for him when I got to the building, but I hadn’t expected to find him outside it.

I was about six feet away from him when he finally looked up. “Hi,” I said, flashing him my warmest smile as I offered my hand. “I’m Maggie. Kathy told ya to expect me, I’m hopin’?”

“Ahhh, you’re the new girl,” he replied as we shook hands. “Not sure what you did to piss Kathy off for this booking, but I hope you won’t hold that against me since she’s not here.”

Is anyone gonna miss the opportunity to not let me forget what my chances are tonight?

I forced my lips into a smile, and offered a strained chuckle before responding, “Just so long as you don’t hold it against me when I score a major upset.”

“Touché,” Shahid said, his expression turning sheepish. “Good to have you here, though. I mean it.” He swept his free hand toward the doorway. “Your dressing room’s gonna be the second door on your right.”

My dressing room…

Let’s dispel some misconceptions right away, shall we? Out here on the indies, there’s virtually no such thing as “your” dressing room. When he said my dressing room, he meant the room that had been commandeered for my side of the locker room to get dressed in. Which, with any luck, would be large enough to house all of us, but that was never a given.

“Thanks,” I said, giving him one more, warmer smile that ideally let him know there were no hard feelings on my end, and went inside. Just as his phone started to ring. I entered a very short hallway, about six feet long, that opened up considerably to my left, but only about another six feet to my right. There were a few tables set up with some equipment sitting on them, and a couple of cables running along the floor, but there was hardly any crew to be seen.

But I could hear them working, on the other side of a black curtain that had been erected to create a makeshift backstage. Obviously, they were busy getting the ring constructed and the lighting properly rigged.

Second door on my right, he’d said…

I was just about to reach for the handle when a vaguely familiar voice called from behind me. “Glad you could make it!”

I turned around, expecting to see either Jazmin or Nikki. But I saw two women, not one, standing in front of a doorway along the back wall. And neither of them was Jaz nor Nikki. The one on the left was the taller of the two, if only by an inch. She had brown eyes, full eyebrows, and long, dark blonde hair that spilled well past her shoulders. Her gurls weren’t huge, but they were practically straining against the super tight, leopard print tank she was wearing, along with an equally snug pair of blue jeans that sported several strategic rips in the denim.

The other woman had practically equally long, light black hair. It was almost like they were trying to meet in the exact center of the blonde-brunette spectrum but weren’t quite there. She had green eyes and pouty lips, and was wearing a white tube top that had a red oval in the center, inside of which was written “SAINTS & SINNERS,” only the ampersand looked to be comprised of a pair of interlocking S’s, one S fashioned to end in a devil’s tail, the other’s end sprouting into an angel’s wing, with a halo above their joined crown. Her denim had also met a set of scissors, but the scissors had completely won the battle with hers, resulting in a set of Daisy Dukes. White athletic socks rose out from a pair of chunky white sneaks, ending with a trio a stipes, the center one red, the two sandwiching it blue.

It didn’t take me long to figure out who they were, even though they weren’t sporting their championship belts: Ida and Rita Thibodeaux, also known as the Hurricane Sisters. The Twin Terrors of Bourbon Street, though they weren’t actual twins. But both the amount of carnage they could wreak and the alcohol they could consume were very nearly identical. Some said they were named after the natural disasters, others said their name came from the drink, and it’s quite possible that nobody was wrong in their assessment.

I swallowed down the building lump of anxiety, hoping that it didn’t show.  Rita, the blonde, took a step toward me. Ida moved off to her sister’s left, beginning to circle me, her eyes studying me with searing intensity. My eyes in turn began darting around the room, getting a measure of the surroundings I’ve only been in for about the last ten seconds. When Rita noticed that, she offered a smug little laugh. “Relax, sweetheart,” she said. “We’re not here to hurt you…”

“Well,” Ida interjected, “not physically…”

Rita nodded slightly before clarifying. “Well, not too much.”

Ida smirked. “Can’t say how well your pride’s gonna hold up.”

“I’m bettin’ not well,” the brunette agreed. “But you’re Genesis’s toy tonight. And Genesis wouldn’t like it too much if we broke her toy before she got to play with it.”

“And I’m not stupid enough to get on her bad side,” Ida said. She was behind me now, forcing me to take a step back and pivot, enough to at least keep each of them in my periphery. But I was still taking in the lay of the land. There was no one else around, either on this side of the door or on this side of the curtain. I’ve never been one to back down from a fight, but the simple fact was, they had me outnumbered. There’s a certain type of wrestler who doesn’t have to worry about being on the wrong side of the numbers game.

But that type of wrestler wasn’t me.

“Just think of us as the welcoming committee, hun,” the brunette purred, looking me up and down much like a lioness would regard a tasty zebra.

“And it just wouldn’t be good manners if we didn’t initiate you into 3M,” Rita said, putting more than enough emphasis on that one word to leave no doubt what sort of “initiation” they had in mind…

I let my gym bag slide off my shoulder, my body tensing as Ida and Rita both began to circle now, and I suddenly found myself in the eye of the Hurricane Sisters. As soon as the bag hit the floor, I kicked it to the side. Specifically, I kicked it toward Ida’s feet, hoping to trip her up, and at least buy myself a few moments with just Rita, one on one. With any luck, I could land something that took her out of the equation long enough for me to deal with Ida once she was back in the mix…

… only Ida pulled up short of the bag before she could stumble over it, Rita halting herself an instant later. She glanced down at my discarded bag for a second, then looked back up at me with a smirk. “Quick thinkin’, babe,” the brunette said. “Honestly? I think I kinda like ya…”

“But I’m sure we’ll like you more when you’re sobbin’ and snifflin’,” Rita observed, before they started moving again. It was a tough task, keeping my feet moving, trying to keep my eyes on both of them, trying to spot which one of them would make the first move. And knowing that, even if I succeeded in catching whoever made the first move, the other would be ready to pounce the moment…

“Ladies,” a new and more familiar voice called out from behind me, “can anyone join this party, or do you need an invite?”

Even as all three of our heads were turning, another voice added, “You know that’s a trick question, Nikki. I’m always down to crash a party.”

I let out a sigh of relief when I saw Jazmin Wylde and Nikki Vasquez in the doorway. “The Wylde Childe” was dressed simply in a loose fitting tie dye tee, a pair of black yoga pants, and matching sneaks. “The Schoolgirl Crush” was almost living the gimmick in a black halter, plaid miniskirt, and a pair of white low top canvas sneakers. She had on a pair of shades, whether that was in any way accommodating a hangover from last night I wasn’t prepared to say.

I didn’t particularly care, either, now that I had some backup.

Now that they found themselves on the wrong side of the numbers game, the Thibodeaux girls grumbled their displeasure and slunk off back where they’d come from, Rita casting one last dirty glance back over her shoulder at me before slamming closed the door to their dressing room. “I thought I told you to find us when you got here?” Jaz asked as they came over to me.

“That was the plan,” I told her, “but they found me first.”

“Well, I told ya we’d find you,” Nikki said, pulling me into a quick little hug. “Glad we did when it mattered.” Apparently, the alcohol didn’t have too much to do with how affectionate and outgoing she was last night.

“C’mon,” Jaz said, opening the door to our dressing room, “before anyone else gets any bright ideas…”

I followed them inside, and we joined about half a dozen other women who were already there, in various states of both dress and undress as they got ready for tonight. Some of them I recognized, some of them I didn’t. Of course, one person I recognized right away, sitting in the far corner, was the woman who just last month knocked my opponent tonight from the ranks of the undefeated and took her World championship, Toni Edwards.

We might be blonde, but that was about where our similarities ended. She had a few inches on me. She wasn’t quite six feet tall, but she wasn’t far short of that. And she was just on the other side of 30, with about a dozen years of experience under her (newly won) belt. But while she was the first person I spotted, she wasn’t the first one I introduced myself to. No, there’s an etiquette to these things. You don’t just march up to the champ and say, “Hi! Here I am!”

No, I started with the woman closest to me. Who I also recognized. She was about my height and build, and about a few years older than me. And… at the risk of sounding crass, she had what some promoters would consider the good fortune to have been born into a gimmick. By which I mean, she was Native American. And much like Nikki using her youthful charms to play the schoolgirl, she had embraced it, as shown by her gear. She was just putting the finishing touches on her ensemble: a tan, suede top decked in fringe and in dangling turquoise beads, low rise boy shorts with long fringe around the legs, and a small, beaded flap that came across as a little loincloth.

I waited for her to finish zipping up her matching boots before extending my hand. “Maggie.”

She gave me a welcoming smile as we shook hands. “Nicoma Bylilly, nice to meet you.”

Seated just a little ways past her were two more women, both younger than her, and both younger than me. I definitely hadn’t worked with them before, but as I looked at them, there was something eerily familiar about them. It was hard to be sure with them sitting down, but they looked about the same size. They were both blonde. In fact, they looked enough alike that I was almost certain they were sisters. One of them had a slightly rounder face than the other. Both of them had brown eyes, but the one with the rounder face had slightly lighter eyes. Again, I introduced myself and offered them my hand.

 “Nova,” Dark Brown Eyes Girl introduced herself.

“Starfyre,” Round Face Girl followed.

Before I could say anything else, Jazmin came up alongside me. “I see you’ve met the Spencer girls…”

Spencer…

I took another look at each of their faces, and then it clicked. These were Liberty Spencer’s kids! I’d never gotten to see Libby work live, but I couldn’t tell you how many of her matches I’d seen on TV growing up.

Nova grinned. “And there it is,” she announced, clearly spotting the moment where I’d worked it out, causing my cheeks to blush just a little.

“The Heavenly Bodies here are challenging for the tag titles tonight,” Jazmin informed me.

“Trust me when I say I’ll be your biggest fan tonight,” I told them.

“I’m guessin’ you had a…”

“Mags?”

Starfyre had been cut off by a voice from behind me, and I slowly turned around. When I did, I found myself face to face with an extremely well built and well-endowed blonde girl, standing a couple of inches taller than me, wearing an open blue flannel over a black tank, blue denim shorts, cowboy boots on her feet and a hat to go along with on her head.

I didn’t offer her my hand.

“Quinn???”

I pulled her into a BIG hug!

I didn’t just recognize Quinn Hughes. I knew her. We’d worked a handful of shows together, in Kentucky, Tennessee and in Arkansas. We’d kinda bonded over those shows, two young girls about the same age and with about the same amount of experience. And, at least at the shows I’d worked with her, the crowds fucking LOVED her! I mean, one, c’mon, she gorgeous! But also, that cowgirl stuff goes down real well with southern crowds. Whether it would work as well in Indiana, I wasn’t sure.

But if anyone could pull it off, it would be her.

“I didn’t know you were here!” I said.

“Only my second show,” she told me. “Did the one in Kansas City two months ago.”

“Dammit, I missed that one,” I confessed, before turning to the Wylde Child. “Jaz, have you two met?”

The smaller blonde shook her head. “No, I wasn’t at Kansas City. Jazmin Wylde, nice to meet you.”

“Likewise,” Quinn replied as they shook hands. I couldn’t help but smile. As happy as I was to have made friends in Jaz and Nikki, it was always nice to have a few more buddies in the locker room. Especially if they got along with each other.

That left just one more woman to go, before I got to Toni. But she was perhaps the most intimidating of all. Nearly fourteen years ago, my dad had taken me to my first 3M show. At that show, little Margaret McMillan had watched as 22 year old woman named Tamara Thomas wrestled for the 3M Midwestern champion. Little Margaret had cheered her tiny little head off when Thomas won the title and had a smile almost too big for her face when she got her picture taken with the new champ and the belt after the show.

Fourteen years later, grown up Maggie found herself not sitting in the crowd, but standing in the locker room, looking over at that same Tamara Thomas.

Oh, she was older, of course. And in those fourteen years, she’d added another run with the Midwestern title, as well as become a four time, four time, four time, four time 3M World champion. She’d had offers to go to other companies. Bigger companies. But she’d spurned every one of them, electing to stay with 3M. That, as well as all her success, had made her beloved by the 3M fans. And had made her thoroughly respected in the locker room.

With every step I took toward her, I felt myself morphing back into that 10 year old little girl. And when I introduced myself to her, I could swear that I heard my 10 year old voice. Tamara gave me a reassuring smile, took my hand, and then she…

“’Mazin’ Mags McMillan.”

I blinked. “You… you know who I am???”

The veteran blonde nodded. “I’ve seen you. And I’ve been impressed.”

Suddenly, I found myself questioning whether the last 72 hours had, in fact, actually happened, or whether I should expect to hear the screeching of my alarm clock any second now. “Th… thank you, ma’am,” I stammered.

She raised a hand. “It’s Tamara,” Thomas said. “You can call me ‘ma’am’ after I retire.”

“Yes, ma…”

It was almost instinctual, but I caught myself. “You got it, Tamara.”

She smiled at me, then began to slip on a knee brace. “I hear you’ve got a big match tonight…”

“It feels like everyone’s head that,” I sighed.

Tamara patted the seat next to her, and I won’t lie, my eyes widened a little bit in disbelief. But she nodded her head towards the chair, and like any good newcomer in a locker room, I did what the vet told me to do. “I still remember my first big match,” she recalled. “I was a few years younger than you are at the time. You ever see a woman named Boudicca?”

I shook my head. The name rang a bell, but not for anything to do with wrestling.

“She was an Irish lass,” Tamara explained. “And when people talk about ‘monster heels,’ she’s who they’re talking about. She was well over six feet tall, easily two fifty, absolute Amazon. No one gave me a chance against her…”

“… but you won?” I asked.

“No, she kicked my ass.”

Gotta be honest, I’ve heard better pep talks.

“But there was a reason she kicked my ass,” Thomas explained. “Know what it was?”

“She was a hulking beast?”

“No,” Tamara stated simply. “I mean, that didn’t hurt. But the reason I lost was simple: I didn’t think I could beat her, either. I’d heard what everyone said, and I took it to heart. Even the occasions when I had her reeling, there was a part of me just waiting for the tide to turn back in her favor, because I knew it was gonna. Everyone had told me I was just some nobody kid going in to get my ass handed to me, and I listened to them.”

Again, I found myself blinking. Why was Tamara Thomas taking the time to build me up? Who the hell am I for her to be taking the interest to talk to me like this? “Do… do you actually think I have a chance?”

Done with prepping her knees for battle, Thomas started taping her wrists. “Doesn’t matter,” she said simply. “First lesson, Mags: no one else is gonna believe in you before you do. Doesn’t matter if no one in this room thinks you can win, or if no one in the crowd thinks you can. It doesn’t even matter if Genesis thinks you can’t win. As long as you believe you can win, you can. And the more you believe, the better chance you’ll have.”

I nodded. What else could I do? Well, there was one thing. “Thanks, coach.”

Tamara glared at me, but I could tell it was a playful glare. “That’s another title you can save for when I’m retired, kid,” she chided me, and I had to laugh. “It’s your night tonight, Mags. Just go out there, show out, and let the chips fall where they may. And where they fall just might surprise a few people.”

*

Offline MazinMags

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Re: The Mat Memoir of 'Mazin' Mags
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2024, 04:37:55 PM »
Chapter 4: The Not-So-Calm Before the Storm


Honestly, after that little pep talk from Tamara, part of me was kinda sad I couldn’t head straight down to the ring now and get the match started.  But we were still a couple of hours away from showtime, so once I’d finished making my introductions to everyone already here, I found a place where I could drop my bag and start to change.

I feel like I should repeat, just for the new arrivals: most of the time, what they might call a locker room on the indy circuit more often than not didn’t actually have any lockers.  You found a spot to call your own, put your bag down, got changed, and trusted the sisterhood that it would still be there at the end of the night.  On this side of the aisle, at least, that was pretty much a safe bet.  I couldn’t tell you about across the hall.  I know they say there’s no honor amongst thieves, but I gotta believe even they have to find some things sacred.

Amid the bustle of other women milling about, chatting with each other, and getting prepared themselves, I went about getting dressed for tonight.  By the time I was done, I was—as much as anyone in the professional wrestling industry can truly say it—dressed for battle.  My usual gear was a two piece look, a baby blue sports bra style top with gold lining and matching, high cut briefs with a gold waistband.  And of course, my moniker of ‘MAZIN’ was proudly emblazoned upon my ass in flowing gold cursive script.

Hey, I know what I’m working with.  I know which of my 8x10”s sell the best.  In this business, if you got it, you damn sure better flaunt it.

But yeah, back to the gear.  I’m not a barefoot wrestler.  I’ve never particularly cared for the feel of the canvas under my feet, and besides, I’m not prepared to play THAT much to the horndogs of the world.  My knee and elbow pads are also gold.  I know there are some girls out there who don’t go for pads.  I’ve never understood that.  I’ll always be kind to my joints. 

And hopefully, they’ll be kind to me thirty years down the line.

Of course, both while I was getting dressed and after, I had the new arrivals coming up to me as they came into the venue.  Quinn remained my only friend in the dressing room—well, not counting Jaz and Nikki, of course—but some I knew by reputation.  Assuming I might be lucky enough to stick around in 3M after tonight, maybe I could get to know them better.

About an hour before bell time, there was a knock on the door.  When it opened, a blonde woman juuust north of the border between 39 and 40 slipped inside.  She was about 5’5”, and clearly spent a good chunk of her waking hours in the gym.  Or perhaps on the ranch.  Now, being someone who’d followed 3M for fourteen years, I recognized her right away: “the Good Hand” Betty Coughlan.  When I first started coming to 3M shows, she was one of the most beloved figures on the undercard.  Unfortunately, despite a couple of runs with the Midwestern title, she never reached the pinnacle of the company.  And even more unfortunately, issues with concussions had cut her career short about five years ago.  Since then, “the Good Hand” had become something of Kathy Davies’ right hand, from doing a little commentary to just about any job backstage. 

But seeing her right here right now, I’ll tell you one thing: I STILL wouldn’t wanna find myself caught in her scissors.  Girl’s thighs could crush a watermelon.

“Heads up, ladies,” she said in a thick southern drawl, taping a sheet of paper to the wall beside the door, and then promptly slipping back out as quickly as she had arrived.  The other girls quickly moved toward the door, eager to see the rundown for the show tonight.  Me being the new girl in town, I held back, allowing the vets to get the lay of the show before I took a look at when I was going on.

I was both surprised and not surprised to see my match with Genesis in the fourth spot on the show.  Oftentimes, the first time I showed up in a company, I tended to get put in the opener.  Now, there are two ways a talent can look at being asked to open a show.  The first, which is how I usually took it, was as a sign of faith in you from the promoter.  There’s a psychology to putting together an event, and in an ideal world, your first match really gets the crowd engaged and energized right from the jump.  Not just anyone can be entrusted with that responsibility.

The second way to take it, which even though I’ve never met Genesis Santiago I would wager my purse from tonight’s match was how she looked at it, is as an insult.   The lower down on the card you were, people often felt it was a sign of how little the company felt they mattered.  And as quick as every single person has been since last night to express their sympathies for the pain and humiliation that Genesis Santiago was going to inflict on me, maybe they saw it as a mercy, not putting her in the position to make me pay for her further indignation of being asked to jerk the curtain.

With the question of when I was going to be going on now settled, all that was left now was to wait for showtime.  As the clock ticked closer and closer to bell time, a bit more of a din drifted from the curtain outside toward the dressing room door as the house began to fill up.  And as the seconds passed, a lot of the girls stopped socializing and started drifting more to themselves, falling back into their own individual rituals for getting themselves psyched up and ready for violence.

Every girl has her own thing.  Some go through something of a warm up, some… well, “meditate” sounds a bit too pompous, but some definitely slip into their own headspace.  Me, I like to slip on the headphones.  I’ve got a few songs I’ll listen to, but my entrance music is never on the list.  That’s as much for the crowd as it is for anyone else.  It speaks for me, sure, giving an audience that might not know me a taste of who I am before the bell has even rung.  And it speaks to me as well, but not necessarily in the way that gets the blood and the adrenaline pumping.  There are a few songs I go to for that, but I always end on the same one.

“Till I Collapse.”

Couple of reasons for that.  First, it gets me in absolutely the right frame of mind to go out and leave every ounce of blood, sweat, strength and determination I have in this body out there in that ring.  Second… it was dad’s favorite song.  And hearing this helps me to feel that he’s here.

As that song drifted to silence, I called up my lock screen.  Only a couple of minutes now before the first match.  Taking a deep breath, I slipped my phone back into my bag and left the dressing room, venturing out into the makeshift backstage…

Now, I know what you’re thinking: is that safe?  If you watch the big companies on TV, you see a lot of confrontations in corridors.  Hell, even in parking lots.  But honestly?  Here in the indies… while those sorts of things definitely CAN happen, it’s not nearly as common.  In the big leagues, ambushes like that… yeah, they’re to put a hurting on whoever you’ve got an issue with, but they’re also to make a statement to the wider world.  There’s less incentive to do things like that here where there aren’t as many cameras.  Doesn’t mean an indy backstage is completely safe, of course. But it’s usually incidents well before showtime, like my little encounter with the Hurricane Sisters earlier.

I wasn’t worried about them right now.  They had a title match to get themselves ready for.  As for Genesis, I suspect she’s counting on the intimidation factor of her rep to do a number on my nerves, and that sort of psychological warfare works best when she makes me wait to actually lay eyes on her as long as she could. 

Could I be certain that was her thinking? 

No. 

But call it a calculated gamble. 

I found a spot close to the wall, where I could pull the curtain back just enough to peek through.  With the house lights still up, it looked like the building was maybe… 60% full.  Which is to say, there were maybe about 120 people here.  Not awful for a small show away from 3M’s home base, but I’ve definitely wrestled in front of bigger crowds.  In the ring, there’s already a referee, as well as a prematurely bald man in his early 30’s, pretty much of average height and build, in a smart suit.  That would be Matt Weston, 3M’s beloved ring announcer, doing his best to get the crowd pumped as we neared the first match.

As much as possible, I liked to watch the matches before mine… and, depending on the circumstances and the condition I was in, the matches after.  There were always lessons you could draw from seeing others compete, either in the form of scouting future opposition or drawing inspiration from others that can help you hone your craft.

The first match of the evening was a tag team bout.  The first team down to the ring were a blonde and brunette, both about my age (the blonde may have been a little younger) and about my height (the brunette may have been a little taller), both lithe yet curvy, and decked out in cheerleader uniforms.  These were Kendall Davis and Rowan Smith, collectively known as the Pep Squad.  And they were an excellent choice to open the show: youthful, bubbly, energetic.  They had no trouble getting the crowd engaged and cheering, even before their opponents came out.

Oh, but when their opponents did come out…

The other team consisted of a brunette and a redhead.  The brunette might have been the shortest woman in the match, if only by an inch or two, but she made up for any deficiencies that might come from being vertically challenged in thiccness.  The redhead was definitely the tallest woman in the match.  I don’t think she quite made it to six feet, but you could announce her as such and I’m not sure how many people would question it.  She also wasn’t quite as thicc as her partner, but she definitely looked thiccer than either Kendall or Rowan.  And where the Pep Squad were enthusiastic ingenues, these women had the look of seasoned killers.  The brunette appeared to be in her mid-thirties, the redhead in her mid-forties.

Like Genesis, I didn’t know them personally, but I certainly knew of them by reputation.  Vivian Myers and Jorddan Addams.  (Rumor has it each of Jorddan’s legal names only had a single ‘d’, but she added the second ‘d’ to each for her ring name to match her bustline.)  Between the two of them, they had almost half a century of in-ring experience.  Hell, Vivian alone had been wrestling longer than either Rowan or Kendall had been alive!  They’d each had cups of coffee in the major leagues.  Vivian had even spent about a year working in a major promotion that no longer existed.  But neither had achieved the success on the grand stage that they felt was their due.  While they both had years upon years of experience, they’d only recently crossed paths and joined forces, creating the team of Reality Check. 

By which, they meant they intended to give their opponents a reality check, showing them just how much they (didn’t) measure up.

And ohhhh did Rowan and Kendall find that out tonight, finding themselves dominated for nearly six minutes before Myers and Addams put them out of their misery.  Vivian made effective use of her height, hoisting Rowan up with the back of her head resting on the redhead’s shoulder, Myers holding the brunette matchbooked.  Or, put another way, held in position for a Muscle Buster.  Which would have put on exclamation point on this match in its own right, only as she fell backwards, Jordan caught the falling cheerleader and added extra emphasis to her landing with a sitout powerbomb.

They could’ve demanded a ten count, if they’d wanted one.

Next up was a singles match.  Out first was a young blonde woman with icy blue eyes and bow shaped lips.  This was Jade Olson, “the Cosplay Cutie”, who tonight was wrestling dressed as Baby Doll from Sucker Punch.  Gotta say, it was a very fitting choice for her, as she nailed the look exceptionally.  Just as in tonight’s opener, though, Jade had drawn an older, more experienced opponent… and a far more gothic one.  This woman’s hair was dyed a bright green, her left arm sporting a full sleeve of ink.  Her right forearm was likewise tatted, and the hint of ink could be seen beneath the fishnet that adorned each thigh.  Her bottom lip was pierced on both the left and right, and she wore a septum ring.  Her skin was a flawless porcelain. 

And she had possibly the most striking blue eyes I’ve ever seen.

This was Selena Nyx.  The Pagan Princess of Pain and Punishment.  A self-styled witch of the ring.  She was someone else that I had never met, but I’d heard stories about her.  Most of the women I’d met who had faced her had been left unnerved by their encounters with her.  It would be easy to just call her a mistress of mind games, but could it be more than that?  Certainly, she didn’t have mystical powers… and yet, I’d talked with women who knew they had wrestled her but couldn’t remember a single thing about the match.

Or the rest of the night.

I’ll give Jade credit, she was able to put up more of a fight against Selena than the Pep Squad had managed against Reality Check.  But it wasn’t enough, as Nyx put her away with a diabolical spin on the grounded Octopus stretch.  Olson found herself on her belly, her right arm locked under Selena’s left, the blonde’s left arm loosely scissored between the witch’s thicc thighs… but only for a moment.  Just the moment it took Nyx to thread her left calf under Jade’s chin and locking that foot against the pit of her right knee.  It didn’t take long for the Cosplay Cutie to start frantically waving her right hand and pleading her surrender.

Not a good night for the good girls so far.  Hopefully this wasn’t an omen.

The next match brought a smile to my face, and I couldn’t help but let out a supportive whoop as my girl Quinn made her way down to the ring.  And sure enough, the cowgirl had this Hoosier house eating out of the palm of her hand as she made her way down to the ring.

Never should’ve doubted Quinn Hughes.

Her opponent tonight was quite possibly her polar opposite: “Picture Perfect” Khloe Cummings.  The Model Wrestler.  Unlike Selena, I didn’t need to hear stories about Cummings.  Like Quinn, I’d been on a handful of shows with Khloe.  Even had a match with her once.

Wish I could say I came out on top that night.  But…

Khloe was a little smaller than Quinn.  All the physical aspects of the match definitely leaned in my girl’s favor, but never underestimate the Model Wrestler.  She had guile.  She had cunning.  And she used every shortcut in the book to try to steal the win tonight.  But none of it was enough.  A few moments after turning the tide with what I felt from the first moment I saw her was possibly the best sitout spinebuster in the business, Hughes put her down for the one-two-three with the Round Up, a fireman’s carry Michinoku Driver.

Not gonna lie, I was the first person at the curtain to meet Quinn when she came back from the ring.  And not just because my match was next.  Beaming, I raised my hand as she parted the curtains, and a grinning cowgirl met me with a high five.  “Nice work out there tonight,” I told her.

“Thanks, babe,” Quinn replied, then pulled me into a quick, supportive hug.  Leaning in, she whispered into my ear.  “Now it’s your turn, Mags.  I know you can shock the world.  Or at least Indiana.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle.  Just as I’m sure she knew I would.  Girl was definitely trying to make sure I went out there loose.

“It’s your night, girl,” Quinn added, before pulling away.  “Go get it!” 

*

Offline MazinMags

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Re: The Mat Memoir of 'Mazin' Mags
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2024, 08:57:39 PM »
Chapter 5: Break a Leg, Kid! (No, Really, Don’t…)


As Quinn retreated to the confines of the dressing room to get cleaned up and changed, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.  Whether it was my fiftieth match or my five thousandth match, I’m pretty sure those few seconds between matches will always feel like an eternity.  But the ring crew needed time to clean things up from the previous match.  And if you’re working for a company with a decent budget, they would usually rotate referees.  Your smaller companies, you might be lucky if they had two refs on hand, but the bigger indies liked to make sure no ref worked multiple matches in a row as much as possible.  They liked to be able to keep fresh eyes on the action…

… well, as fresh as a ref’s eyes ever are.

Was that out loud?  No? 

Good.

Through the low lights of the makeshift backstage, I could see the sound guy press a button on his control panel, and then I heard the optimistic strains and horns that preceded Brendan Urie’s vocals…

“Had to have high, high hopes for a living,
Shooting for the stars when I couldn’t make a killing,
Didn’t have a dime but I always had a vision,
Always had high, high hopes

Had to have high, high hopes for a living,
Didn’t know how but I always had a feeling,
I was gonna be that one in a million,
Always had high, high hopes”

Right on “Mama said,” I pushed open the curtain with both hands and burst through them, shooting forward a couple of strides before pulling back and taking in the scene.  I can tell some in the crowd were looking for context clues, trying to figure out how they should react beyond the respectful applause that always greeted an unfamiliar competitor.  But I was enough of a local girl that a few people recognized me, and they welcomed me warmly.  The rest of the crowd picked up on that quickly enough, and joined in. 

I nodded, smiling in appreciation before I started down the short walkway toward the ring, zig zagging from the left-hand railing to the right in an effort not to miss any of the hands offered my way.  Thankfully, once you’re at ringside, there’s only one side to deal with, and I made my way along the railing continuing to accept the support of the crowd.  It was Good Girl 101, sure, but I liked to do everything I could to make sure the fans understood just how much I valued that support.

And I especially made it a point to stop for as long as I could with any younger fan along the way, well aware that in, say, fifteen years’ time, with any luck they might be making the flustered introductions to me backstage that I was making to Tamara Thomas a couple of hours ago.

Turning to the ring, I bounded up the steps, pausing long enough to wipe the soles of my boot on the apron before slipping through the ropes.  I went to the corner just to my left… I don’t know why, but I’ve always felt that was my corner.  No matter the building or the ring, THAT corner was mine.  And I climbed onto the middle rope.  After a quick fist pump, I shouted to the crowd, “READY TO BE AMAZED?!?!”

They made sure to let me know they were.

Still smiling, I tapped a hand to my heart, then fashioned both hands into a heart symbol before jumping down to the canvas.  Turning toward the corner, I started to stretch and limber up as “High Hopes” began to fade…

Remember when I said your entrance music was more for the audience than it was for you?  Well, sometimes the primary audience you intend for your entrance is an audience of one: your opponent.  And that was clearly who Genesis had in mind with her choice, as the upbeat melody of Panic! at the Disco was replaced by the discordant, ominous beats and harsh flow of Rico Nasty’s “Smack a Bitch.”

Genesis stepped through the curtains right at the start of the first verse, and there was no feeling out process with the crowd for her.  No, they reacted to her with the venom you would expect for a woman who had made a career of leaving their chosen favorites bruised and broken.  Sobbing and humiliated. 

And conquered.

But there WAS one difference tonight.  A difference noted by what could be seen in the record books, and more importantly, denoted by what the crowd didn’t see slung over Santiago’s shoulder.  And considering that this was the crowd’s first opportunity to see her since that change had happened, once that initial burst of hostility from the audience settled down, the jeers were replaced by a chant…

“WHERE’S YOUR TI-TLE?”
*clap* *clap* *clapclapclap*
“WHERE’S YOUR TI-TLE?”
*clap* *clap* *clapclapclap*
 
I had two choices.  Option One, I could let the smirk that wanted to form come out, and egg the crowd on in their derision, in hopes of getting Genesis angrier than she already was coming into this match.  In this business, anger is often a double-edged sword.  It certainly can be a benefit to you in the ring, but there’s a fine line between being able to channel that fury effectively and that anger making you sloppy and more prone to making mistakes.

And I’m not too proud to admit my chances tonight get better and better the more mistakes Genesis might make.

Option Two was to just play it cool and not engage, and hopefully keep this match as professional (as opposed to personal) as humanly possible.  Look, I was under no illusions: I knew Genesis would make this personal at some point.  It’s just a question of when, and to what extent.

Both options had positives.  Both had drawbacks.  But as Genesis climbed the steps, I elected to stay in my lane and let the crowd have its fun, unbothered be me. 

I’ll say this for Genesis: whatever she was feeling as the fans taunted and teased her over the loss of her championship, she still moved with the cold elegance of a clinical assassin as she slipped into the ring.  Her face did not betray any hint of anger or annoyance, and that lack of response only encouraged the crowd to try to goad her further.

But… I was close enough to see what they couldn’t: the intense fury flickering in her hazel eyes.

Matt Weston stepped toward the center of the ring, raising his microphone.  “Your following contest tonight is scheduled for one fall…”

Y’know, I’m not exactly sure when this became a thing, but Matt was ready, extending the mic away from his face and overhead as the crowd bellowed, “ONE FALL!”

Completely unphased and without missing a beat, he continued, “… with a 15-minute time limit.  Your referee, Dalton Short.”

Dalton was almost the definition of “non-descript”: he wasn’t tall, but you couldn’t say he was short, either.  He wasn’t exactly skinny, but stocky also felt like something of an overstatement.  His features were somewhat youthful, but there was definitely some grey starting to inject its way into his close-cut hair and neatly trimmed beard.

Matt kept the introductions going.  “Introducing first, hailing from Mishawaka, Indiana…”

Matt was a true pro, and he hit that with the perfect “give her the hometown welcome” note.  And sure enough, the hundred and thirty or so people (we had a few late arrivals) erupted into a rousing ovation.  I grinned, trying not to blush as I tapped my heart a couple more times.

Weston let them settle down before resuming.  “Weighing in at one hundred and twenty-two pounds, she is… ‘Mazin’… Mags… McMillan!”

Matt made sure to give each part of the moniker its own beat.

I stepped out of the corner, beaming, spinning a full 360 as I blew kisses to the crowd.

“And her opponent,” Matt said as I went back to my corner.  “Hailing from El Segundo, California and weighing in at one hundred and thirty-two pounds, she is… Genesis… Santiago!”

The crowd burst into a new round of jeers of boos, but Genesis barely acknowledged any of it as she stepped forward, and pointedly locked her gaze on me.

Let’s cut to the chase: sure, Genesis Santiago was a ruthless, cold-blooded bitch.  But she was a gorgeous ruthless, cold-blooded bitch.  Her full, dirty blonde hair spilled well down her shoulders, descended as far as what I would guess was a 34C chest.  (No, my 32B ass wasn’t jealous.  Shut up!)  Her lips were full, her cheekbones flawless, those hazel eyes as well as her bronzed skin betraying a mixed Polynesian heritage.  While I had no doubt that the girl could rock the fuck out of a two-piece ensemble, she instead went with a one piece.  Might be a bit cliché for a bad girl to dress in black, but it worked on her.  Plus, she accentuated the black with three sets of colored stripes that arose from between her legs running north.  The first two stripes were royal blue and extended more or less in a straight vertical to her bust, merging into the trim of her neckline.  The second set of stripes, mirroring to the left and right of the blues, were purple, and veered a little more at an angle, terminating just beneath her arms.  The final set was pink, and traveled at an even more severe angle, concluding just above her hips.  Two straps matching those stripes crisscrossed over her bosom, purple over pink, but did little to block the view of her cleavage.  She didn’t use elbow pads (seriously, I’ll NEVER understand that) and there was pretty much no separation between her black knee pads and black boots.  But plenty of thicc, bronzed thigh was on display.

I don’t think her preference for a one piece had anything to do with any insecurities.  Trust me, bitch had NOTHING to be insecure about.  (Look, yes, I tend to lean more toward guys… but if I didn’t know this chick and she wanted to buy me a drink, I’d hear her out.)  If I had to play armchair wrestling psychoanalyst, I’d say it was equal parts the result of liking an Old School ethos, and also denying the fans any more of a look at her than she wanted them to have.

After all, bad girls gotta give the fans reasons to hate ‘em, don’t they?

Matt Weston left the ring, and Dalton Short called for the bell.  I stepped away from my corner, raising my hands above my head as I started to circle toward Genesis.  I might not be the cheerleader that Rowan and Kendall were, but let’s face it, sometimes being a cheerleader IS part of the good girl’s job.  So, I started clapping, establishing a tempo for the crowd to match, before leaving it entirely to them. 

Genesis just scoffed at me, a look of near total disinterest on her face as she moved away from her corner, casually moving to keep herself in front of me as paths drew us closer…

… and closer…

.. until we eventually tied up.  We jockeyed for control for a few seconds, but it wasn’t very long before I could feel myself giving ground, forced into a backpedal, until I could feel the turnbuckles pressing into my back.

“Let her go, Genesis,” Dalton ordered.  And apparently, he was aware enough of my opponent’s reputation that he didn’t wait for Santiago to decide whether or not she was gonna comply before he started counting.  At four, she relinquished the lock up, stepping back with her hands raised…

A clean break.  Wonder how many more of those I can expect tonight?

Now Genesis allowed herself a small, bitter smirk.  But it didn’t last long, not when someone in the crowd (the same person who got the “Where’s your title?” chant going?  Who knows.) started another chant…

“MAG-GIE’S GONNA KILL YOU!
MAG-GIE’S GONNA KILL YOU!”

I’m gonna be honest, part of me wonders whether there might be someone in the crowd that wants ME dead.  I mean, look, it’s absolutely a fan’s right to voice their sentiments.  Within reason.  But THEY weren’t the ones who were gonna have to deal with the consequences.

And yeah, the extent to which they were poking the bear was starting to make me nervous.

Again, Santiago’s face morphed into that dispassionate mask.  All the while, that flame still flickered in her eyes, as she beckoned me out of the corner with a flex of her finger. 

She still hadn’t deigned to speak a word to me.  Guess I haven’t earned that yet.

Deciding to give her a taste of her own medicine, I only answer with a nod before joining her mid-ring and locking up again. 

It wasn’t some crazy, suicidal approach.  She’s NOT that much bigger than me.  There was NO reason for me to think I couldn’t hold my own in a collar and elbow and find a way to gain control.  But, once again, Genesis started forcing me backward in short order.  Again, I found my back pushed up against the buckles.

“Break, Genesis,” Dalton ordered once more, and again didn’t hesitate in starting his count.

And once again, Santiago broke at four, beginning to raise her hands in a show of innocence as she stepped back…

But then, her right hand swung forward, BLASTING my cheek with a resounding open hand slap that left my ears ringing.

Again, Genesis wordlessly smirked, her eyes daring me to do something. 

So, I did something.  I shot out of the corner, rushing toward her.

Remember when I said anger in wrestling was a double-edged sword?  You don’t think I forgot that, did you?  No doubt Genesis was expecting this dumb rookie she was sharing the ring with to let her temper get the better of her.  But that wasn’t me.  And as Genesis tensed to accept out third lock up, I ducked and slipped behind her, wheeling around quickly to nuzzle in and apply a tight waistlock.  Since she was already off balance and heading that way anyway, it didn’t take much effort for my churning legs to drive Santiago toward the ropes.  I heard her let out a small grunt as her belly and boobs hit the ropes, and keeping my waistlock intact, I dropped to a seat, pulling Genesis down with me, stacking her up on her shoulders as I came out the other side seated atop her powerful thighs.

Bitch clearly fancies herself Old School.  She oughta appreciate an old school O’Connor Roll then, shouldn’t she?

Dalton slid into position, slapping the mat one time before a powerful thrust of Santiago’s hips propelled me off her and broke up the pin.  Regaining my balance quickly, I wheeled around just in time to lock eyes with Genesis as the dirty blonde reached one knee, the veteran glaring at me as I curled a finger and called her forward.

Genesis didn’t even give the pretense of taking the bait.  Calmly, with the regalness of an uncrowned champion, she pushed back to her feet and approach.  Once more, the two of us tied up, and…

Dammit, HOW is she doing this???

Say it with me.  Once more, Genesis drove me into retreat.  Only this time, she backed me into the ropes, bodying into me as she took my wrist.  And finally, the bitch spoke, her voice barely above a whisper as she muttered, “You’ve got attitude.  We’ll see if you beg with it.”

She sent me sprinting across the ring with an Irish whip, and when I was sent hurtling back toward her, she rushed me, one arm raised to take my head off with a clothesline.  And it might have, if she’d made contact, but I ducked underneath.  I shot back off the opposite ropes as Genesis was righting herself and turning around, and I leapt toward her, parting my legs to straddle her broad hips, reining forearms to her face as I rode the dirty blonde down to the mat with a Thesz Press.

The crowd was whooping and cheering, absolutely LOVING seeing this young, hometown upstart giving the former 3M World champion everything she can handle.  And AS the young, hometown upstart, I gotta say, this didn’t suck.  But I wasn’t gonna win this match with a Thesz Press, so I climbed off Genesis and dragged her up to her feet.  And now I tried to send Santiago off with an Irish whip, but I could feel her digging in her heels before she even started the reversal.  My mind was already trying to formulate the right counter coming off the ropes whe…

“WHHHOOOOOUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!”

Genesis didn’t send me into the ropes.

Oh, she reversed the whip, alright.  But she reeled me right back in, pulling me into an absolutely savage kneelift to my belly that instantly liquified my legs.  Coughing and gasping, I had no choice but to sink to me knees.  I was even grateful when Genesis let go of my arm, allowing me to use it to hug my gulping belly as my other hand dropped in front of me, to steady myself against the mat.

Of course, this wasn’t a kindness on Santiago’s part.  There’s no such thing as kindness coming from Genesis Santiago.  She let my arm go for one reason, and one reason only:

She needed both of her hands free to dig her nails in at my shoulderblades, and slowly draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaag them down my back.

I cried out in pain, trying to arch my spine away from her talons as I rose up on my knees and crawled toward the safety of the ropes.  Or at least, that was the plan.  As soon as I reached the ropes, Santiago brought her hands to my shoulders and pushed down, forcing my throat down across the middle rope.  My hands grip the rope, trying to push up against the bigger girl, but her leverage was too good.

At least I’ve got Dalton.

Again, his four count forced Genesis to relent.  But she made no display of innocence this time, instead reaching to grip the middle rope and, with a tug, sent me tumbling back toward the center of the ring.  “Hoosiers, huh?” Santiago shouted at the crowd.  “More like Hoothefuckisthisbitch!”

The crowd erupted into a fresh round of invective, and Genesis injected a fresh amount of sass into her hip swish as she approached me.  I was sprawled on my back, a hand rubbing at my throat, my blonde hair spilled out around my head.

Genesis stepped on my hair, and it didn’t take a rocket surgeon to know what she was gonna do next.  She grabbed my wrists and yanked up on my arms, lifting me off the mat, at least as far as my trapped locks would let me rise.  But when they stopped, she didn’t.  My feet drummed the mat as I howled in pain, my scalp on fire, no doubt a couple of my roots giving up the fight.  But not enough to let Genesis yank me all the way up.

Another four count forced Santiago to let go, relief flooding my body as I slumped back to the mat.  But, just to repeat: there’s no such thing as kindness in the ring against Genesis Santiago.  No sooner had my back landed, Santiago jumped up, sliding her boots over my eyes before stomping down.

I let out a shriek as her soles scuffed my eyes, blinding me.  I shot up to a seat on the mat, my eyes blinking rapidly trying to clear the field of color swirls against a blinding white backdrop.  I could feel Santiago’s hand plunge into my hair as she started pulling me up.  She began to speak, but even in my blinded state, I could tell she wasn’t speaking to me, but past me, to the crowd.  “Even if they hadn’t told me where this bitch was from,” Genesis spat, “I’d know she was one of you.  She’s NOT a wrestler.  She’s just the best this place could manage: a cheap whore.”

I could feel Genesis spin me around and double me over, her arms wrapping around my waist.  Still gasping for breath, I tried to formulate a plan as she hoisted me into the air.  But look, countering moves isn’t as easy as we often make it look.  And countering blind is especially difficult.  Not impossible, but difficult.  And especially difficult as Genesis kept me held upside down, the combination of blindness and the blood rushing to my head mingling to kept me further disoriented.  Eventually, though, Genesis swung me back down, my journey coming to an end when Santiago arranged another brutal rendezvous between her knee and my belly.

By some minor miracle, Santiago’s gutwrench gutbuster didn’t expel my lunch from the confines of my stomach.  I’m not entirely sure how.  It wasn’t a minor miracle that kept the impact of the gutbuster from launching me off her knee and sending me flopping to the mat.  But that one I could understand, as I felt her forearm pressing down against the small of my back, holding me in place.  I could only cough and sputter, the wind knocked out of me, leaving me with barely enough strength to kick my feet in the air.

Knowing she had as much time to toy with me as she wanted, I could feel Genesis giving my upturned butt a possessive caress.  “This girl’s only contribution to this business isn’t kicking ass,” Santiago hissed, contemptuously.  “It’s showing her ass.” 

I could feel her fingers slip inside the waistband of my bottoms, but I was powerless to stop her as she slowly peeled them down, exposing the black G-string underneath.  Not to mention my tawny buns.

“Let’s give them all they care about, shall we?”

Without another word, Genesis went to town administering swat after swat to my wriggling ass.  The more and more swats the landed, the harder it was to bite back the tears welling in my eyes.  But God dammit, I managed to.  Keeping my other cheeks from flushing, on the other hand, was a futile battle.  Look, I can admit there are circumstances under which I could be enjoying this predicament.  But in front of a hundred and thirty odd strangers?  And with a woman who had no regard for my wellbeing as she did it?  Not one of them.

Don’t kink shame me.

Contrary to her taunt, though, the majority of the crowd didn’t seem to want this.  They booed her.  The shouted insults at her.  Most of them, anyway.  But there are always some, in every crowd.  They may only be a handful, but they exist.  The ones who definitely don’t mind it whenever the bad girls decide they wanna take some liberties.

And try as you might, you can ALWAYS hear them.

“What the hell, Genesis?” Dalton scolded her.  “You know how Kathy feels about…”

“I didn’t see Kathy in the back,” Santiago snapped back at him.  “Did you?  And since I don’t know a single rule this is breaking, kindly shut the fuck up!”

Finally, Genesis sent me spilling off her knee with a shove, and my hands quickly moved to start pulling my bottoms back into their correct alignment, unable to keep from wincing as the spandex fell across my enflamed skin. 

In this moment, I understood why Nikki had become so emotional at the mention of Genesis last night.

Santiago took advantage of that preoccupation to pull me up and stuff my head under her left arm, brushing my left arm away from my briefs to nudge it up over her neck.  Her right hand found its own grip on my waistband, and she gave an unnecessary boost to my efforts, some of the baby blue material sliding up into my crevice as she yanked up and lifted me off my feet.

For a moment, it seemed like she was gonna deliver a vertical suplex, but instead she brought me plummeting forward, until my stomach landed across the top rope.  As I dangled in the air, folded over the rope, Genesis gave my ass another possessive pat before she turned and raced toward the far ropes.  Unlike me, Genesis wasn’t particularly known as a high flyer.  But she had enough agility to rush back toward me and deliver a dropkick to my back, which sent me tumbling off the rope and crashing to the mat below.

I was left sprawled and moaning softly as Genesis picked herself off the mat.  And the crowd unleashed with another wave of boos and whistles as the former World champ arrogantly placed a foot on my chest.

Dalton Short slapped the mat once.

And I slammed a hand into her ankle, pushing that boot off me, breaking up the quote unquote cover.

Santiago grabbed another handful of my hair, yanking me to my feet and dragging me into the nearest corner.  Keeping that grip on my hair, she slammed my face into the top turnbuckle three times in rapid succession, then turned my back to buckles and pushed me in.  She pivoted toward the ropes, raising a leg and pressing the sole of her boot against my windpipe.  My hands rose up, grasping at her ankle, trying to push her foot away as my feet kicked frantically.

Only Dalton’s count spared me.  As she pulled her foot away, I began to sag against the buckles.  Genesis sped the process along, using a couple of kicks to my stomach to put me on my ass.  She then retreated across the ring, only to pull an abrupt one eighty and start charging toward me.  Santiago leapt into the air, swiveling again, delivering a harsh hip attack that sandwiched my skull between the middle buckle and her rump.

The impact sent her bouncing back toward center ring and sent me melting into a heap in the corner.  “You’re not the only one with an ass, girl,” Genesis muttered, grabbing my ankles and dragging me away from the ropes.  “But unlike you, that’s not ALL I’ve got.”

Santiago dropped down beside me, propping herself up on her left elbow as she reclined across me, her right hand absently brushing through her hair as Dalton slapped the mat once…

Twice…

I kicked out.  Not as emphatically as I would have liked.  But forcefully enough.

Genesis sat up, shaking her head.  Mockingly.  “You really are a stupid bitch, aren’t you?” she sighed, picking herself up.  “I’m not usually this merciful.”

She pulled me off the mat, pushing me back into the corner.

“So far, I’ve just embarrassed you.”

She bodied in, making a point of pressing her chest into mine as she took my hand.

“Just wait until I start hurting you.”

With that, Genesis rocketed me across the ring with an Irish whip.  Now, sometimes, wrestling is the art of damage control.  I wasn’t able to stop Santiago from launching me toward the opposite corner.  And I knew I didn’t have enough wind in my sails to try to jump onto the middle rope and springboard myself back toward her.  Not to mention I didn’t hear her footsteps following me.  With that in mind, my two options were to try to whirl myself around, so that my back took the impact with the buckles or run straight into them and take the collision with my belly and bosom.

And my belly’s been through enough tonight.

So, I wheeled myself around.  I hit the turnbuckles with enough force that I took a small, faltering step forward before slumping backwards, letting out a small grunt as my arms spilled over the top rope. 

And that’s when I heard the footsteps.  Genesis was charging toward me, her long, luscious legs carrying her across the ring with considerable speed.  I didn’t really have the time to consider what she was planning.  I only had the time to grip the top rope and swing my feet up into the air.

Santiago rushed chest first into my boots.  The crowd celebrated as the former champion turned and staggered away, her arms crossing over her suddenly throbbing rack.  I knew I’d only bought myself a short reprieve, so it’s no shock when Genesis turned and started charging toward me again.  So again, I kicked my feet up.  Only this time, I swung my legs to my right, sweeping them through the gap between the middle and top rope and leaving the corner empty when Genesis arrived.  While I balanced myself, seated on the middle rope, she managed to get her hands in front of her to prevent a truly awful impact with the buckles.  Threading my right arm through Santiago’s thicc thighs, I let go of the top rope with my left arm and dropped down, rolling Genesis up in a schoolgirl pin. 

And despite having been dominated for much of the match, I suddenly found myself three seconds from victory!  Allowing themselves to believe, the crowd shot to their feet, shouting along with each slap of the mat from Dalton Short.

“ONE!”

“TWO!”

The crowd let out a collective groan as Genesis bucked out of the ball she had been folded into.  I tumbled away from her, falling to all fours, but this brush with victory had me suddenly recharged.  Ready to get back on the attack, I scrambled to my feet…

… and right into a WICKED clothesline from a charging Genesis Santiago.  My feet flew out from underneath me, my body flipping through the air before I crashed and burned, landing sprawled in a face down heap.

Fueled by rage over coming so close to having another ‘L’ hung on her, Genesis marched over to me and hauled me up.  Lining me up with the corner that she’d first launched me out of, the dirty blonde sent me off with another whip, this one delivered so forcefully that she went down to one knee.  I almost didn’t have a choice in the matter this time, but I still managed to turn into the impact.

But this time, I struck the buckles with enough force that I had to take a couple of shuddering steps away from the corner before I fell to my knees, pitching forward and stretching a hand to soothe the throbbing small of my back. 

Santiago strode over to me with purpose.  Dragging me up, she shoved my head under her arm, grabbed my waistband, and muscled me up with a sharp snap suplex.  She had barely landed on the mat before she was back on her feet, once again pulling me up with a handful of my hair.  She spun me away from her, locked her arms around my waist, bridged back and ripped me off my feet with an emphatic German suplex.

This right here?  This was rage, properly channeled.  Properly controlled.  No wasted efforts.  No sloppiness.

I was in some serious trouble.

“How DARE you think you belong in MY ring?” Genesis spat in my face as she dragged me up once more.  Figuratively, thankfully.  Turning me away from her, she pulled my arms behind my back before threading hers underneath them.  Then, with a harsh grunt, she hoisted me off my feet, lifting me up in an elevated double chickenwing.

“You’re NOTHING, bitch!”

If I was nothing… why were my shoulder sockets in such excruciating agony.

“SAY IT!” Genesis demanded. 

I groaned, my feet trying to find her hips, in an effort to ease some of the strain on my shoulders.

“YOU…”

I moaned, screwing my eyes shut against the agony.

“ARE…”

I choked back a sob.

“NOTHING!”

I shook my head.  I’d NEVER give her THAT satisfaction.

Finally, Santiago’s shoulder sockets started to balk at the strain of holding up my weight.  So, she tossed me aside.  But before she could even think of pressing her advantage, Dalton stepped between her and me.  “Get a hold of yourself, Genesis,” he told her.

It was about as polite a way of saying “wrap this up” as he could, with me in earshot.  Even if I was too preoccupied with my own aches and anguishes to take offense.

Santiago just brushed past him.  Not forcefully enough to earn herself a disqualification, but enough to let him know she was unmoved.  “Bitch knew what she signed up for,” the ex-champ muttered, pulling me up.  She sent me off with another whip, this time toward the ropes.  Once I was back within range, she scooped me up.  If I had to wager a guess, she was probably intending to deliver a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker…

… only as she swung my legs upward, I managed to snake them around her neck.  And in her moment of surprise, I was able to wrench my body free of her grasp.  I threw myself under her left arm, across her back, securing her right arm in my grasp.

And suddenly, the invincible Genesis Santiago found herself locked in a headscissor octopus!

It took the crowd a heartbeat to realize what had happened, but the more I cranked on Santiago’s right arm, the louder they cheered.  Just a moment ago, Dalton Short had been tactfully asking Genesis to put me out of my misery.  And now, he was asking her if she wanted to submit.

She told him no.  In less than family friendly terms.

Genesis was a long way from the ropes, though.  And the ropes seemed an even more far away concern when the dirty blonde slowly sunk to one knee.  The crowd roared louder, summoning a new chant as I kept trying to crank up the pressure on her ensnared arm.

“TAP!  TAP!  TAP!”

As much as she might not want to, tapping felt like an inevitability… or at least it did, before Genesis started pushing herself up from one knee.  Frantically, I redoubled my efforts working her arm.  It was hard not to believe that this was my last, best chance.  That I was finished, if she managed to fight her way out of this.

But damn, this bitch was strong.  Her legs never quivered as she fought her way back to her feet.  Wrapping her free arm around the small of my back, she positioned me just so and dropped down, transforming my headscissor octopus into a modified sidewalk slam. 

The impact of my back with the canvas broke my scissors instantly and left me sprawled and spasming as Genesis gathered herself.  Climbing back to her feet, she pulled me up, locked my head under her left arm, and hoisted me aloft.  There she kept me, suspended upside down, for the space of a handful of seconds.  Then she laid out, dropping me right on the crown of my skull with a brainbuster.

Instinct told me to roll over to my stomach.  So, she couldn’t pin me.  And there I remained, both hands cradling my neck, moaning softly.  Of course, it didn’t really stop Genesis from pinning me.  All she had to do was roll me over… only she didn’t.  I didn’t really realize this until later, but as I laid helpless on the mat, she simply rested on one knee, watching with satisfaction as I tried to push myself up to my hands and knees…

… and smirking when my arms and legs gave out. 

Rising, she came to me, pulling me up to my knees.  My head hung bowed as she took my arms, holding them out in front of me by the wrists.  Then, roughly she pulled my arms toward her… and savagely thrust her knee forward, driving it into my face. 

She called this the Forbidden Fruit, and as I tasted it, it probably meant my expulsion from the Paradise of 3M.

I was all but out as my back his the mat.  My eyes might have been closed, but I wasn’t completely unconscious.   I could feel Genesis still holding my left wrist, at least for a moment.  But then, she let my arm fall limp.  I could feel the tremor of the mat, first as she dropped down beside me, and then as Dalton joined us to count the one…

Two…

But no three?

No three.

I kicked out…

Only I didn’t.

I couldn’t.

I didn’t have the strength.

And the crowd… booed?

Why would they be booing, if I kicked out?

“What the hell, Genesis?” Dalton admonished her.

She’d pulled me up.

She wasn’t done with me.  Not yet.

“Gotta make sure the bitch doesn’t come out of this thinking she deserves another chance,” Genesis hissed, pulling me up and once stuffing my head under her left arm.  She muscled me up, delivering a swift vertical suplex.  But then she rolled through, climbing back to her feet with me once again in toe, my left arm still flopped over her neck, and my head still trapped under her left arm.

She hit a second vertical suplex, then rolled through it again.  No matter who used this, it was always known as the same thing: the Three Amigos.  And as she got me up onto trembling legs, I knew what was coming…

… and I knew it was now, or never.

I hooked her leg, blocking the last of the suplex.  But it wasn’t enough, just to block.  My legs barely had the strength left to keep me up.  So, I stopped fighting what they wanted to do, and I fell to the mat, pulling Genesis down with me.  “You are fucking kidding me,” she snarled as I rolled her into a small package, pouring every ounce of strength left in my spent, exhausted body to cinch down on it.  The crowd shot to their feet one more time, perhaps praying that the louder they counted along, the tighter I could hold the package.

“ONE!”

“No,” Genesis spat, determined, writhing my grasp.

“TWO!”

“Nooooo,” Genesis hissed again, still writhing.  Only this time, I could hear something else in her voice, besides determination:

Desperation.

“THREE!”

The moment I heard the bell sound, I let go of the small package, and a burst of adrenaline gave me the strength to roll out of the ring.  I didn’t feel my feet hit the floor, or even my back hit the railing.  No, the first thing I felt were the hands of fans as they slapped my shoulder and back along the guardrail. 

Then I felt Dalton Short raise my arm.

I couldn’t see Matt Weston, but I heard his voice over the speakers.  “Ladies and gentlemen, your winner… via pinfall… ‘Mazin’… Mags… McMillan!”

Dalton lowered my arm over her shoulder, allowing me to slump against him.  I was utterly spent.

I’d gone till I collapsed.

Fortunately for me, Genesis was stunned into paralysis.  She remained on her knees in the ring, staring ahead in wide eyed incredulity.

“Come on, Mags,” Dalton whispered to me, helping me towards the curtain, clearly not willing to see how long that paralysis would last.  As we got through the curtains, he passed me over to Quinn (who was now in her civvies) and Nikki.  Nikki’s match was in the on-deck spot: not the very next one on, but the one after, so she was in her ring gear of a white blouse, black tie and plaid miniskirt over red bottoms, with white pads and boots, her dark hair pulled into pigtails.

“Oh my God, Mags,” Nikki gushed.  “You actually fucking DID it!”

Together, they quickly ushered me back into our dressing room.  Quinn stayed at my side, but Nikki stayed in the hall, so Nicoma and Jaz came over to help me.  Since she was wrestling a Street Fight in the semi-main event against her archrival, “the Hardcore Angel” Angel Ramirez, Jazmin was in something of a cross between ring gear and civvies, decked out in tight denim blue jeans a short sleeved white tee, tied off below her bust, black knee pads over those jeans, as well as black pads on her elbows. 

“Never doubted you, babe,” Quinn said softly, pulling me into a gentle hug, mindful not to squeeze me too tight in my current condition.  She then let Jaz lead me over to the bench, where my bag was resting on the floor.

“You really ARE amazing,” Jazmin assured me.  “You know that, right?”

I nodded, dumbly, my still-clouded brain struggling to process everything.  Did that really just happen?  Did I really just pin the woman who, up until two months ago was the invincible scourge of this company???

And, perhaps more importantly… what was gonna happen for me, now that I could say I had beaten Genesis fucking Santiago?