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NYCW: Queensboro Bridge Over Troubled Waters

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Location: The corner of 10th St. and 43rd Ave., Queens, New York (aka The Ministry)


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"If you're looking for your cut of the gate Steve, you're outta luck. I don't got two damn nickels to rub together. We took a bath on that last Buffalo show and you know how it goes. You know I'm good for it. The boys gotta get paid otherwise we're outta business."


"You call this being IN business? Christ Larry, I can count on one hand the number of shows I've gotten paid for the last few months. Not a great way to treat a beloved NYCW icon if you ask me."


Steve Flash was just busting his chops but inside, Larry Vessey bristled. His head booker was one of the few good people in this business and one of his only real friends. He hated taking advantage of his good nature but New York City Wrestling was struggling. Even more so than usual. For decades the throwback company had manage to exist. Not thrive. Not by any means. But now the boat was really starting to take on water. Something had to give and soon or NYCW was going to end up at the bottom of the Hudson River alongside all the bodies the mob had disposed of over the years.


"You know I'm good for it Steve. I've never not paid a debt. You know that."


"Tell that to your first wife Larry."


"Dammit Flash you know I can't legally get within a hundred feet of her. Besides I'm talking about actual people that I've owed money to. Turns out it's impossible to ever truly pay off a goddamn harpy!"


"Seriously though, what do you owe me? Ten grand?"




"I think your math is a little fuzzy. Anyway, how much do you think this company is even worth?"


"A lot! This company has been a part of the city's landscape for over three decades!"


"Aside from a couple of rings, some handshake agreements, a relic of a website that I'm pretty sure was made on Geocities and a sponsorship deal with a two and a half star pizzeria according to Yelp, what else of value do we really have here Larry?"

Larry Vessey shifted in his chair. He was starting to get annoyed at this line of questioning. Despite being in his early 60's, he was still a burly man and when he wanted to, he could still intimidate people with his size and glare. Steve Flash had seen the look before and knew he was minutes away from Larry blowing his lid. He talked quickly, trying to get in what he could before the explosion.


"Look I love this company as much as anyone. I gave the bulk of my adult life plus several of the disks in my back to make this promotion a success. My point is, why are you still doing this Larry? You have an amazing wife, a lovely home outside the city and a grandchild on the way. You had a heart attack three years ago and that still barely changed your routine. You shouldn't be here at this old dump at ten o'clock at night crunching numbers to try and figure out how to eke out a few more bucks to keep this thing afloat. Besides, we both know what needs to happen here. You can't keep running a 1970's promotion in 2020 man! I'm not saying we need to tear NYCW down to the studs but a little modernization would do wonders!"


Vessey drew himself up from his chair to his full height. Steve Flash braced for a tongue-lashing. His red face seemed to suggest it was coming but the onslaught never came. Larry Vessey spoke, more slowly and softer than usual.

"I know. Believe me Steve, I know. In my mind, I'm just the caregiver of The Stomper's promotion. I always respected the grumpy old bastard and I gave my old mentor my word that I would protect NYCW and continue to run it in his image for as long as I was here. My word is my bond Steve and I can't break it."


Steve laughed to himself at the idea of a grumpy bastard like Larry calling ANYONE else a grumpy bastard. But he didn't let his face betray the seriousness of the moment. He pressed on with his pitch.


"The solution is right there in your answer Larry. You told Stomper for as long as you were here, nothing would change. But what if you weren't here?"


"What the hell are you talking about Flash? I'm not faking my death again. I settled everything with those loan sharks from Atlantic City!"


"Oh dear God Larry! I'm saying I'll eat the ten grand..."




"....that the company owes me and the lawyers can figure out what would be a fair price for me to buy this place from you. You can go retire to spend well-deserved time with the family. You can golf and fish and drink fruity boat drinks with umbrellas in them. You gave Stomper's company a decade of your life. You don't owe him your soul too. Go home Larry. It's time."

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<p></p><div style="text-align:center;"><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>Location: A one bedroom apartment above a Quiznos sub shop just outside of Tampa Bay. </strong></span></p><p> </p><p> <a href="<a href="https://imgur.com/Ph0gzeI" rel="external nofollow">https://imgur.com/Ph0gzeI"><img</a> src="<a href="https://i.imgur.com/Ph0gzeI.jpg" rel="external nofollow">https://i.imgur.com/Ph0gzeI.jpg"</a> title="source: imgur.com" /></a></p></div><p></p><p></p><p> </p><p> </p><p> His fingers slid across the keyboard for a couple of seconds before arriving at an all too familiar site. </p><p> </p><p> </p><blockquote data-ipsquote="" class="ipsQuote" data-ipsquote-contentapp="forums" data-ipsquote-contenttype="forums" data-ipsquote-contentid="48618" data-ipsquote-contentclass="forums_Topic"><div>From supremewrestling.com:<p> </p><p> <em>"Effective today, December 4th, 2019, SWF has parted ways with Franklin Fumier and he is no longer under contract. SWF wishes Franklin the best in all his future endeavors."</em></p></div></blockquote><p> </p><p> He had pulled up this particular post seemingly a dozen times a day in vain for the last few weeks. The information in question had yet to change. </p><p> </p><p> He should have known that scoring his dream job with the Supreme Wrestling Federation in his early twenties was too good to be true. Maybe he should have taken that wrist-sliteningly dull office job his family implored him to take. At least then he wouldn't have to listen to an endless stream of <em><strong>"I told you to stop wasting your time with that fake crap!"</strong></em> from his father. He tried to explain he was cut because of the chaos and fallout from the IRS sting job, not because he wasn't good at his job but his old man didn't want to hear it. He closed the laptop and sighed.</p><p> </p><p> Based on the collection of empty pizza boxes and bottles of Mountain Dew strewn everywhere, one might think Franklin Fumier had opted to just give up. The TV screen seemed to mock him as Netflix yet again asked if he was still watching. He could see his unkempt mug staring back at him.</p><p> </p><p> He clicked yes to get rid of this reflection and resumed his binge watching. He didn't even know what the hell he was watching anymore and he didn't care. For now he was taking comfort in his defeat, luxuriating in his self-pity. He knew he was a loser. He didn't need to be reminded of the fact. But deep down, he knew something had to give. He knew he would make the SWF regret cutting him some day. For now though, he wanted to finish the season of whatever this show was and then maybe take a nap. Inspiration would surely strike soon enough. At least, he hoped it would.</p>
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<div style="text-align:center;"><p><strong><span style="font-size:14px;">Location: A 2019 Acura RDX heading eastbound on the Grand Central Parkway out to Long Island</span></strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p><strong>

<a href="</strong><a href="https://imgur.com/7wkk2WK" rel="external nofollow"><strong>https://imgur.com/7wkk2WK"><img</strong></a><strong> src="</strong><a href="https://i.imgur.com/7wkk2WK.jpg" rel="external nofollow"><strong>https://i.imgur.com/7wkk2WK.jpg"</strong></a><strong> title="source: imgur.com" /></a></strong></p></div><p></p><p> </p><p> </p><p>

<strong><em>"So I called up the Captain,'Please bring me my wine'. He said, "We haven't had that spirit here since 1969....."</em></strong></p><p> </p><p>

Larry Vessey turned up the dial and sang along with The Eagles. He found himself getting lost in song until the overly enthusiastic millennial DJ kicked in. She wasn't actually a millennial but Larry called everyone younger than himself a millennial. </p><p>


"Well there is a goldie oldie, classic rock hit! If you were around when that song hit the charts, it's probably time for some eye cream!"</em></strong></p><p> </p><p>

Larry clicked off the radio in a huff. He didn't need some punk kid's opinions. Besides, he had some thinking to do. Steve Flash had just offered to buy out New York City Wrestling from him so he could go enjoy retirement. He knew his wife would approve. Hell, deep down he knew he wanted it too. But the business was all he had ever known ever since he and his brother had broken in when they were barely more than kids. The thought of relaxation and getting away from the grind sure did sound appealing but how does someone finally walk away from the only life he's ever known?</p><p> </p><p>

And then there was the whole Stomper issue. The man was like family to him, like an uncle....granted a really surly uncle who reeked of cigar smoke no matter the time of day, but an uncle nonetheless. He could see the writing on the wall. Steve had come to him several times with the idea of modernizing the product a bit, taking a giant leap from being stuck in the 70's and zooming ahead to the 80's, maybe even the early 90's. He actually agreed most of the ideas were pretty good so of course Stomper would have hated them. Handing the reins over to Steve Flash was the right thing to do for the business because if ever there was a Mr. NYCW, it was Steve. Even grumpy old Stomper couldn't be mad at Steve Flash taking over the company. Larry had given NYCW a decade of his life so maybe it was time to move on. The problem was even if he wanted to get his blessing, the last time Larry had seen The Stomper, he wasn't in good shape. All the years of whiskey and cigars had caught up with him and he was in the early stages of lung cancer. After that visit, Stomper's wife called him and told him not to come back. Stomper didn't want anyone to see him withering away, a proud old bastard until the end. </p><p> </p><p>

Still Steve's words had resonated with him. Stomper stayed in the business for years and years until it had used him up and spit him out. He managed to stretch out the couple of thousand bucks that Larry had given him for the company which managed to keep he and his wife afloat for a while but he just went from health issue to financial crisis to health issue over the last ten years. Larry even had to help him out a few times and even though Stomper told him he would pay him back, he knew there was no chance of it happening. He never brought up any of the debts to let the man have his dignity. </p><p> </p><p>

He pulled into the driveway of his exquisitely manicured home on the north shore of Long Island and sat in his car for a few moments before pulling out his no-frills, most decidedly not smart phone. The call went to voicemail. <em><strong>"Steve, I'll get my lawyer to draw up the paperwork. And I'll meet you in middle, nine thousand off the price of the company to cover what I owe you. I'll catch up with you next week and we'll finalize everything. Talk to you soon."</strong></em> </p><p> </p><p>

He hung up and then placed another call over to the firm of Duey, Cheatum & Howe and left a message for his lawyer, Harry Cheatum III, explaining the whole situation, with an explicit note to express the value of the company at nine thousand dollars above its actual worth. Steve may have been a good friend but business was business.</p>

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Your NWA diaries were always great and I love the backstory you have written thus far. This is coming from someone who never reads any backstories in diaries, but the way you write is fantastic. The right mix of humor and seriousness. Plus how could anyone be against a diary where the Eagles' Hotel California is mentioned?
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He hung up and then placed another call over to the firm of Duey, Cheatum & Howe and left a message for his lawyer, Harry Cheatum III, explaining the whole situation, with an explicit note to list the value of the company at nine thousand dollars above its actual worth.


My favorite law firm.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Location: A one bedroom apartment above a Quiznos sub shop just outside of Tampa Bay.


<a href="https://imgur.com/Ph0gzeI"><img src="https://i.imgur.com/Ph0gzeI.jpg" title="source: imgur.com" /></a>




"No dad, I haven't been avoiding your calls. The reception here is really bad. I think they're working on the cell tower. I'm not seeing any missed calls on my phone."


While Franklin Fumier didn't enjoy lying to his father, he really didn't have any great difficulty doing it. When the wishes of your family are in diametric opposition to your dreams, you learn to stretch the truth a little. Growing up in a family that barely tolerated his obsession with professional wrestling, Franklin had a hunch that when he told them about his plan to pursue a career in the business after he graduated from the University of Miami (which he did, graduating a semester early with honors, mind you), it would not go well. He never told them that he worked for a local indy promotion the entire time he was in college. As far as his parents knew, he worked at the school bookstore. What they didn't know, didn't hurt them.


He actually had to laugh about it all. He had no worries and there were minimal problems when he came out to them as gay during his junior year of high school, but the sheer terror of telling them he was taking a job in professional wrestling? That nearly caused him to break out in hives. As bad as that was though, telling them that he had been let go was a hundred times worse. His father practically demanded that he move back home immediately.


"I'm definitely looking to move dad but not back home. You remember Anthony, my suitemate in college? So he got a job up in New York City working for NY1, the local cable news station there and he got me an interview next week. It turns out a lot of the behind the scenes work I did in the SWF translates nicely to working in cable news so I'm headed up there and we'll see how it goes."


This satisfied my old man and honestly, it wasn't the worst thought for me either. I could do the job they're looking to fill in my sleep and maybe if I lost some of this pizza and Doritos weight I've gained, they might even realize how handsome I am and use me as on screen talent. It wasn't another spot in the wrestling business but it would be a nice job in media in a major market and potentially a stepping stone to something bigger and better. It was something and something was a lot better than the nothing I'd been wallowing in. Perhaps this job could be just what I needed. And as much as I loved wrestling, perhaps the universe was telling me it was time to move on.

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<div style="text-align:center;"><p><strong><span style="font-size:14px;">

Location: Crossfit Unleashed, 37th St. (Queens, New York)</span></strong></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"> </span></strong></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:14px;">

<a href="</span></strong><a href="https://imgur.com/xBzMpIa" rel="external nofollow"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;">https://imgur.com/xBzMpIa"><img</span></strong></a><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"> src="</span></strong><a href="https://i.imgur.com/xBzMpIa.jpg" rel="external nofollow"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;">https://i.imgur.com/xBzMpIa.jpg"</span></strong></a><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"> title="source: imgur.com" /></a> </span></strong></p></div><p></p><p> </p><p> </p><p>

The ink was barely dry on the contract and already Steve Flash was celebrating the only way he knew how.....with cardio. Whispers of his legendary workout routines had circulated for decades and just about everyone who tried to keep up with him in the gym invariably ended up heaving into the nearest garbage can. People thought he was an absolute maniac, but they couldn't argue with the results that kept him in the game until his fifties. Now he was moving on to the next stage of his career, as the owner of New York City Wrestling. Just being a road agent and head booker wasn't enough for him. He was too competitive. He needed some skin in the game, some real stakes. While he had always had a rep for being a bit, let's say thrifty as a wrestler, it left him with a bank account that, buoyed by prudent investments, enabled him to easily write a check for the company. And even though he was sure Larry had overcharged him what he thought his company was worth, he had had the company appraised by an independent analyst a few months earlier and Steve Flash knew he was potentially getting a steal. </p><p> </p><p>

He also knew it was almost embarrassing how little money this company had made over the years. Top flight talents like American Buffalo, Roger Cage, Bulldozer Brandon Smith, Joey Minnesota, the Ring Generals and more had plied their trade in NYCW. They had all come and gone without making the company a fraction of what they would go on to draw in USPW, SWF and TCW. To be in the vicinity of all the wealth that the Big Apple has to offer and only being able to merely exist? It never made sense to Steve Flash. In fact it was downright maddening, but as a worker, he just showed up and did his job. But now as the boss, he knew had to modernize the product to draw in some new fans but he couldn't just rip the whole thing down to the studs either. While not huge in numbers, NYCW did have some very loyal fans and there was no point in alienating them right off the bat. </p><p> </p><p>

His next move would be to put his team together. Losing Larry to retirement would mean the company was losing an encyclopedic amount of professional wrestling knowledge and experience. Also, while Larry had given him the book, Steve never really felt comfortable with it. It's like how great athletes rarely become great coaches. He just instinctively knew how to tell a great story in the ring but he couldn't script it out for someone else though. Plus at his age, he wasn't on the cutting edge of what was cool any more. He wanted some youthful energy on his team. Once he got back to his office at The Ministry, it was time to start doing some research and making some phone calls. But for now, he had to finish his workout.</p>

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<blockquote data-ipsquote="" class="ipsQuote" data-ipsquote-username="Wildfire1324" data-cite="Wildfire1324" data-ipsquote-contentapp="forums" data-ipsquote-contenttype="forums" data-ipsquote-contentid="48618" data-ipsquote-contentclass="forums_Topic"><div><p> </p><p> </p><p> The ink was barely dry on the contract and already Steve Flash was celebrating the only way he knew how.....with cardio.</p></div></blockquote><p> </p><p> This line hooked me.</p>
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  • 1 month later...

Location: A Third Floor Walk Up Studio Apartment, 36th Street (Queens, New York)


<a href="https://imgur.com/Ph0gzeI"><img src="https://i.imgur.com/Ph0gzeI.jpg" title="source: imgur.com" /></a> <a href="https://imgur.com/xBzMpIa"><img src="https://i.imgur.com/xBzMpIa.jpg" title="source: imgur.com" /></a>


I had barely landed at LaGuardia when my day went from bad to worse. The airline had lost one of my bags so I had no razor, deodorant, cologne or any of the other toiletries I had packed and I was already a bit ripe from the flight. I lugged the rest of my bags up two flights of stairs and dropped them off at my buddy Anthony's apartment where I was crashing for this trip. Fortunately he had left me a key to get into his place while he was still at work. I figured I should run down to one of the bodegas in the neighborhood to stock up on supplies in case the airline didn't find my bag.


Even with the early winter chill in the air, the streets of Queens were alive with people. It was a different energy than I had been used to of late, but I was still lost in thought and buried in my phone when I barreled into someone coming out of the gym on the corner. I hit the pavement. The man barely budged."Hey are you alright man?", he said as he extended a hand.


The bright afternoon sun glared in my eyes but I would know the silhouette of that mullet anywhere. "Holy sh*t, you're Steve Flash!", I fanboyishly said. The man helped me up with a smile and replied. "Well.....I used to be. Where are you off to in such a hurry kid?"


"I'm sorry. I'm a hot mess today Mr. Flash. I just got into the city a little while ago for an interview with NY1 and the airline lost the bag with all my toiletries so I'm scrambling to replace them."


"Please call me Steve and good luck with your interview.....what did you say your name was?"


"Franklin." The iconic indie grappler stared at me for a long moment before it suddenly clicked in his head.


"Franklin Fumier! It was driving me crazy where I knew you from! You were the host on the pre-show panel for The Supreme Challenge this past year right? You did a real nice job kid! Why the hell are you looking for a new gig, the Eisens cheaping out on you?"


Wait, Steve Flash knew who I was? Even though I had worked with some of the biggest stars in the business, wrestlers knowing who I was is still a strange phenomenon to me. "Thank you. I appreciate that but not quite. They made a few cuts in light of that damn IRS setup and as one of the newest employees, I was expendable I guess. I'm still trying to figure out what my next move is."

"That sucks kid. Hey, are you busy? My favorite bar is around the corner. Let me buy you a drink. It sounds like you could use one."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Location: Juice-O-Rama, 37th Street (Queens, New York)


<a href="https://imgur.com/Ph0gzeI"><img src="https://i.imgur.com/Ph0gzeI.jpg" title="source: imgur.com" /></a> <a href="https://imgur.com/xBzMpIa"><img src="https://i.imgur.com/xBzMpIa.jpg" title="source: imgur.com" /></a>


"Hi there Maya. Yeah, I'm glad to be back in the city. Buffalo is as cold as a penguin's rear end this time of year and the crowd was lousy too. We're going to be in Jersey City next month though. Let me know if you want to come and I'll get you some tickets."


As I watched him talk with the girl taking our order, I thought to myself of course Steve Flash's favorite bar was a juice bar. OF COURSE IT WAS! I shudder to think what he'd say if he saw how many pizzas I had devoured over the last few weeks. I tried to imagine the last time the man had allowed himself the luxury of a slice of pizza, a travesty considering he lived in the pizza capital of the world.


"I'll take my usual beet and carrot juice and set my friend up here with a green juice, heavy on the kale." He brought our drinks over to the table and I saw the green sludgy looking beverage he expected me to drink. "Here you go Franklin, you look like you needed this. It's loaded with vitamins and nutrients so you'll be in peak shape for your interview today. You do drink green juices, don't you?"


"Does Mountain Dew count? It's sort of green." Steve Flash recoiled in horror and quickly changed the subject, asking me about what it was like behind the scenes at the SWF. "There are some great people there but the Eisens keep things very tense, intentionally I assume. I felt like I was walking on eggshells the entire time I was there. It's not how I would do things but I guess there's a reason why they have a wrestling empire and I'm out of the business at 22."


"You should be proud of what you accomplished though Franklin. I'm 50 and never made it to the big leagues but I'm still proud of what I accomplished in my career."


"You definitely should be! You're one of the best in-ring performers in the history of the business. Actually when I was twelve, I read in one of the dirt sheets that you were going to be a surprise entrant in the Rip Chord Invitational and I whined until my dad finally agreed to take me up to Baltimore so I could be there to see you compete. He's not a fan of wrestling but even he had a good time that night watching you win."


Steve Flash sighed. "When you were twelve? Geez......way to make me feel even older kid." I tried to stammer out an explanation but Steve just laughed. "So tell me, are you really done with the business for good? A lot of people have said that but the siren's call of professional wrestling has lured many a man back into her grasp."


"I honestly don't know. My family would be thrilled if I was, that's for sure. Part of me says move on, part of me wants to make an epic comeback, a Kill Bill-esque return of revenge on the Eisens.....only with less katanas and murdering and more of me announcing and maybe doing a little booking for another company that would make them regret dumping me."


Steve Flash stared at me, either in disbelief or maybe fear. I wasn't sure which. "Well, that escalated fast Franklin. But I get what you're saying....I think. I didn't know you had any interest in booking. Did you get to do any of that while you were there?"


"Not really. Beyond broadcasting, I mostly just helped the scouting department based on my Florida indy experience. Although I DID help Jack with a small TV angle one time when everyone else was tied up."


"Jack Bruce? You want to pick up that name you just dropped kid or should I?"


A wry smile crossed my face. "What can I say Steve, I ran with fast company."


As we had a small laugh over that, Steve's phone suddenly blew up with a series of text messages. "Sorry Franklin. Let me just take a look at this.....oh cripes!"


The color left the man's face. Something was clearly very wrong. "Are you okay Steve?"


"No. I need to get to the hospital. Rock had a massive heart attack this morning!"

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Man I don't know how that dope-ass intro post escaped my notice before but that was some great stuff. Also interesting to see a generic jim like Franklin Fumier involved in something, well, interesting. Keep up the good work!



Thank you! My thread got a little buried because I went a few weeks between posts but I am getting back to more of a regular schedule hopefully. Thanks for reading :)

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Location: St. Michael's Cemetery (East Elmhurst, New York)


</a> <a href="https://imgur.com/xBzMpIa"><img src="https://i.imgur.com/xBzMpIa.jpg" title="source: imgur.com" /></a> <a href="https://imgur.com/7wkk2WK"><img src="https://i.imgur.com/7wkk2WK.jpg" title="source: imgur.com" /></a>



"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me..."


Steve Flash was physically there at Rock Downpour's gravesite but his mind was a million miles away. He barely could even feel the cold January winds whipping through the cemetery. Looking beyond the trees, long reduced to a seasonal collection of barren branches and sticks, he could see the skyline of New York City in the distance. While surveying the city brought back some good memories of all the wonderful dinners in Little Italy with Rock and the other boys, it filled him with an incredible sense of failure as well at this moment.


He had tried to get Rock to improve his eating habits. He offered to train him at the gym. He encouraged him. He scolded him. He pleaded with him. Nothing worked and Rock just got bigger and bigger. He'd make jokes to deflect from his size but for someone like Steve who made fitness such a big part of his life and was such a major part of his success and longevity, it ate him up inside to be unable to help Rock. Now he was burying his friend far too soon. In a business historically full of people succumbing to "their demons", this was an aberration. Normally it was the bottle or the pills or the drugs that did people in. Rarely were the demons pepperoni pizzas, dirty water hot dogs and Dr. Peppers.


".....we commend to Almighty God our brother Ricky and we commit his body to the ground, his final resting place...."


The man was clearly loved though. The entire roster had turned out, along with a numerous alumni from the promotion and other people from across the business. Normally seeing old cohorts like Whistler, Black Hat Bailey, Man Mountain Cahill and others would lead to a late night filled with stories, drinks and assorted mischief but this was far from a normal time. Burying a friend that was only in his late fifties wasn't normal and Steve Flash needed some time alone once this was over and pleasantries had been exchanged. He felt a hand on his shoulder, a hand he instinctively knew belonged to Larry Vessey.


"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Amen."


"Amen.", the gathered crowd repeated back to the minister. As the family dropped white roses on to the casket as it was lowered, Larry Vessey whispered to Steve Flash, "Wasn't expecting to see you again so soon, especially not under these circumstances. How are you holding up? I know you and Rock were close."


"I don't know Larry. I just don't know. I mean, his youngest boy was graduating from NYU this spring. Rock and Darlene deserved the chance to take pride in their children's accomplishments and to enjoy being grandparents and to grow old together. Now that's all gone. It's just not fair. I know life isn't fair but geez man. I don't get it."


Steve and Larry took a few moments to express their condolences to Rock's widow Darlene before individually saying their final farewells to their longtime friend.


"See you in the next life brother" Steve Flash softly stated as he wiped a tear from his eye. Larry stoically stared at Rock's final resting place for a several moments without shedding a tear before making the sign of the cross and walking over to where Steve was standing.


"I hate talking business on a day like today but I just wanted to let you know Marv gave me a call last night. He offered to help, not knowing that I had sold to you yet. They're keeping him busy down there in MAW but he told me to pass along that's he'd make the time to come back up here and handle the booth for a few shows while you sorted out which direction you wanted to go in."


"That's a nice gesture and please thank him for me. I have an idea about what to do there but I'm not sure if it's even possible yet. If I get in a pinch, I might have to take him up on that offer. Hell, it wouldn't hurt to have his booking mind here to help me a bit. I honestly have no idea how I'm going to put together Rush Hour and it's only a few days away now."


"Who are you thinking of? I always liked that Terry Smith kid from up north and I'm sure he's looking for work after all the upheaval that's gone on in the Canadian scene the last few years. I bet you could convince Peter Michaels to come here for one last run too."


"You know the books better than anyone Larry. We don't have Peter Michaels money for the booth."


"I know....but at least it's not my problem anymore", he said with a wink. Did grumpy old Larry Vessey just crack a small joke? Retirement was already agreeing with him and honestly, good for him. Today more than ever was a painful reminder to cherish the time with loved ones.


"Actually by pure chance, I ran into that you kid from the SWF the other day, the one from the pre-show that we both thought was pretty good. He got burned by the Eisen IRS scandal and he might be over the business but I want to give him a call anyway. He seemed pretty bright, plus I bet he'd work cheap too."


"Cheap you can afford. Let me know if I can do anything else to help Steve."


"Just go home and hug that beautiful wife of yours who's honestly out of your league. I'm going to go for a long drive and clear my head. It's what I need right now. I'll talk to you some time next week."


The two men parted ways and Steve climbed behind the wheel of his baby, a navy blue 2018 FIAT 124 Spider convertible. He debated cranking up the heat and putting the hood down but it was already pretty chilly so he opted against it. He hit the road and headed east, racing down the highway before ending up where he always went to think, the boardwalk at Robert Moses State Park on the south shore of Long Island. While the boardwalk was mostly empty this time of year because of the cold and the oceans winds, the sun was bright and the sky was clear, almost as if the universe gave Rock one last beautiful day. The sight of the ocean waves crashing upon the beach and the smell of salt water air invariably helped cleared his mind a bit.


He pulled out his phone, a Samsung Galaxy Note10, and snapped a few pictures of the scenery. As a bit of a tech nerd, Steve Flash was decidedly pro-Android and anti-Apple. He pulled up the condolence text he had gotten from Franklin Fumier a few days prior and placed a call. "Hey kid, you got a few minutes to talk?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

<p></p><div style="text-align:center;"><p><strong><span style="font-size:14px;">Location: Just Outside Dos Toros Taqueria, Terminal B, LaGuardia Airport (Queens, New York)</span></strong></p><p> </p><p>

<a href="<a href="https://imgur.com/Ph0gzeI" rel="external nofollow">https://imgur.com/Ph0gzeI"><img</a> src="<a href="https://i.imgur.com/Ph0gzeI.jpg" rel="external nofollow">https://i.imgur.com/Ph0gzeI.jpg"</a> title="source: imgur.com" /></a></p></div><p></p><p></p><p> </p><p> </p><p>

<strong><em>“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”</em></strong></p><p> </p><p>

My father's favorite movies were the Godfather trilogy and he watched them incessantly when I was growing up so of course the words of Michael Corleone circled in my head as I walked through the airport. I put down my luggage and newly acquired quesadilla before plopping down into a chair in the Southwest Airlines waiting area. I had come to New York City seeking a job opportunity and was heading back to Tampa with not one but two offers. My interview with NY1 went swimmingly and I charmed the pants off the interviewer. Metaphorically speaking of course. He wasn't my type. I had gotten out of the building and was barely a few blocks over when they called to offer me the job. Maybe it wasn't my dream job but how many people seriously get a dream job once, let alone twice? It was a good job that paid okay and presented me with a future that would put my communications degree to good use.</p><p> </p><p>

The problem with that future however, is that my past unexpectedly came calling. With the sudden passing of Rock Downpour, New York City Wrestling, already in a state of flux with the ownership change, were now without their lead commentator of twenty something years. I had literally run into Steve Flash a few days ago, fresh off his purchase of the beleaguered wrestling league and we hit it off. We even swapped cell phone numbers before Steve had to rush to the hospital after Rock's heart attack. I figured we might swap the occasional text message to talk about the business, assuming I ever even heard from him again.</p><p> </p><p>

Instead, he had just offered me the lead announcer position for NYCW and also wanted me to help him book the promotion until he could get his head straight again. I'm not even sure why I'd be remotely considering this offer. If I ever was to return to the business, it sure as hell wasn't going to be with a hole in the wall promotion like NYCW, no matter how much of Steve Flash mark I was. Someday I'd turn up in USPW, TCW, CWA....somewhere visible, somewhere that I could make the SWF regret tossing me aside like yesterday's garbage, but not for a literal dumpster fire like NYCW. </p><p> </p><p>

A quick search on Alta Vista pulled up their website, NYCWrestling.net. Dot net? Who the hell has a dot net site in 2020? Their site slowly loaded up and I actually laughed out loud, startling the hell out of the elderly couple sitting near me. My mom, who still has an AOL email account mind you, could build a better site than this and on top of that, it hasn't been updated in so long, it has Roger Cage, the Ring Generals and Animal Harker listed as their current champions. </p><p> </p><p>

As I closed my laptop, I couldn't help but shake my head as I turned my attention to scarfing down that quesadilla. I finished eating and prepared to board my flight back to Tampa. NY1 was a good job, a better job than a lot of people I had graduated with had managed to score based on what I had seen on their Facebook pages. Plus I was getting a fresh start with a chance to live in the Big Apple, a definite step up from the land of strip clubs and steak houses that is Tampa Bay.</p><p> </p><p>

I even managed to catch a few winks on the flight and arrived at Tampa International Airport fairly refreshed from my whirlwind trip. My bags arrived safe and sound this time and I lugged them back to my car which was fortunately unscathed in the long term parking. Maybe things were finally turning my way. I got in the car and quickly realized I was still dressed for January in New York City, not January in Florida which was 73 degrees today. I cranked up the AC on my Prius and stripped off the hoodie I was wearing. As I pulled out of the airport, I pulled into the drive-thru Starbucks on the way home to treat myself to an iced latte to celebrate a successful trip when my phone buzzed with a new text message.</p><p> </p><p>

<em><strong>"Hey Frank, it's Steve again. Rush Hour is coming up next week so let me know what you're thinking......."</strong></em></p>

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  • 2 weeks later...

Location: Steve Flash's townhouse in Flatbush (Brooklyn, New York)


<a href="https://imgur.com/xBzMpIa"><img src="https://i.imgur.com/xBzMpIa.jpg" title="source: imgur.com" /></a> <a href="https://imgur.com/e6JTw01"><img src="https://i.imgur.com/e6JTw01.jpg" title="source: imgur.com" /></a>


"No, no....I get it kid. I'd probably take that job with NY1 too rather than throw in with this ragtag bunch. Hopefully I'll see you on my TV soon and I can tell people I knew you back when. But hey, as long as you're coming up here this weekend to apartment hunt, come to Rush Hour as my guest backstage. My wife is visiting her sister down in North Carolina so you can even crash at my place if you'd like.....okay, great Frank. I'll see you then."


He hung up the phone.


"No luck boss?"


"Don't call me boss Art."


"Sure thing boss."


Steve Flash had known Art Reed for decades, dating back to their time working together up in Canada, and the man was an Olympic caliber ball buster. Without Larry Vessey helping to run the show backstage, he knew he needed some organizational help backstage with Rush Hour and just by a stroke of luck, his old friend was in town to do a signing at a convention in New Jersey. While Art had more matches behind him than left in his career, he still felt like he had plenty left to contribute to professional wrestling. An incredible athlete with a lifelong commitment to physical fitness (something that the two men bonded over when they first met and quickly became workout partners), he figured he could stave off Father Time a little bit longer to work the occasional match while learning the ropes behind the curtain at the same time, before fully segueing into a backstage role when his time in the ring was up.


"He's not done with the business. His words are saying no, but in his heart, he wants to take the job. I can tell. I figure if he comes to the show, it will become clear to him that he wants back in. Ron says he can handle the play by play this month and maybe for another month or two at most before he has to focus on spring training. So even if Franklin still says no, that will at least buy me a little time to find someone to fill Rock's giant shoes."


"Yeah man, we're all gonna miss that big goofy bastard. I remember that time a few years ago when I did a one off in Yonkers for Larry and Rock set up a damn waffle station backstage, saying he wanted to help the boys "carb up" before the show. Meanwhile no one wanted to hurt Rock's feeling but they also didn't want to be barfing up maple syrup halfway through their matches either so I remember he ended up with a big stack of waffles left over when I hit the ring for my match with Roger Cage that night"


"I remember that match. You two nearly tore the roof off that little craphole. But anyway, yeah, that was Rock man. His heart was always in the right place but he was so oblivious at times too. It all worked out in the end though. Don ate every last one of those waffles and then borrowed three bucks off me to get a Snickers bar and Diet Coke out of the snack machine."



"A Diet Coke? Devastating Don had a Diet....nevermind. I don't even want to know man. Let's take another pass at this card we've been working on for Rush Hour before it gets too late, shall we?"




NYCW Empire Championship Title Match


Brutus Milano © vs. Tennessee William



NYCW Tag Team Championship Title Match


The Boys from the Yukon © vs. The Casey Brothers


NYCW Tri-State Regional Championship Title Match


Masked Stranger © vs. Denny King




Crockett Tubbs & Riley McManus vs. Andrew Harper & The New York Doll


Freedom Eagle, Hawkeye Calhoun, Animal Harker & Mystery Partner vs. The Dimeo Family


The LA Stars vs. Devastating Don & Ray Snow


Richie Riggins vs. Geoff Borne


and much more


(Predictions welcome!)

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  • 3 months later...

Location: Jersey City Armory (Jersey City, New Jersey)


January 2020

Attendance: 350

Announcers: Ron South and Ernie Turner

<a href="https://imgur.com/0hb23FD"><img src="https://i.imgur.com/0hb23FD.jpg" title="source: imgur.com" /></a><a href="https://imgur.com/05SeQbb"><img src="https://i.imgur.com/05SeQbb.jpg" title="source: imgur.com" /></a>


"Okay so I want the Stars to create the movement for you two but Ray, I'm counting on you to hold this match together. These kids have a lot of talent and athleticism but they don't have the ring time you do."


"Wait, what do I do then?"


"You just stand there and look pretty Don. Or in your case, just stand there."


"Awww screw you Reed!"


I chuckled as I walked past Art Reed going over the match plans with the LA Stars, Ray Snow and Devastating Don. For an organization without much of a track record of success and had just suffered a tragic loss, the mood was surprisingly upbeat. Sure the boys probably wanted to impress their new boss, but they also didn't want to let down a friend, mentor and colleague who has invested his own money in them to try and take New York City Wrestling to a new level.


"Not quite the glitz and glamour of a Supreme show huh Franklin?" said Steve Flash with a smile as he extended a hand to me.


"I worked south Florida indies Steve so I've seen worse. Well, maybe not worse but equally bad."


"Well hopefully this is the start of something bigger and better for us. Thanks for coming though. Why don't you grab something from the catering spread before Don polishes it off and then come on over to watch the show with me and Art over in the Nero Position. The last few prelims are finishing up and the main card is just about to start."


After the prelims end, before the show begins, the house lights are lowered. Ernie Turner leaves his spot next to Ron South in the announcers booth and climbs into the ring. After thanking the crowd for coming, he begins to eulogize his long time broadcast partner Rock Downpour. The crowd launches into a "Thank you Rock" chant and Ernie wipes away a tear. After wishing Godspeed to his friend and colleague, Ernie calls for the bell, prompting the timekeeper to ring it ten times before the house lights return to normal as the crowd cheers.


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In the opening match of the evening, power overcame speed as Richie Riggins scored the pinfall over Geoff Bourne with a running powerslam. Post match, Richie flexes a bit for a mostly unimpressed audience. (34)


The LA Stars cut a terrible promo on their opponents, the new duo of Ray Snow and Devastating Don. To say their promo work is bad is like saying Don needs to work on his cardio a little. Well, they say practice makes perfect....hopefully. (17)


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In the second match of the evening, the LA Stars defeated Ray Snow and Devastating Don when LA Star #2 pinned Don following a double team Star Destroyer. (22)


Sal DiMeo and the DiMeo Family strides to the ring, microphone in hand, serenaded by a chorus of boos. "These two goofs in masks, the so-called Brooklyn's Finest are starting to get on my nerves. If that's the best Brooklyn's got, that burrough is in a lotta trouble ain't that right boys?" Sal playfully elbows Machine Gun Marino in the ribs but he doesn't flinch or crack a smile. Meat Cleaver Pirelli and Lucky Luca Sacramoni give polite chuckles. "Boy, tough crowd. So any who, as I was saying, these two numb nuts went got themselves a partner, Animal Harker who is a dumb as a stump and twice as ugly. And on top of that, they went and got themselves a mystery partner. I guess that's supposed to scare us boys. Well take a long, hard look at the DiMeo Family. My uncle didn't send me to NYCW to be scared of a buncha clowns. He sent me here to run the joint and that's what we're gonna do!"


Hawkeye Calhoun, Freedom Eagle and Animal Harker emerge from the back to the strains of generic, royalty-free music. Out from the curtain emerges veteran east coast indy star Tank Bradley. The veteran receives approval from the crowd. The four men charge the ring and the fight is on as referee Michael Bull calls for the bell. (35)


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While the babyfaces got in most of the offense, the DiMeo Family picked up the win when Tank fell prey to a double team and Sal rolled him up with the Greco-Roman handful of tights. (27)


Backstage, off camera: Eagle and Harker help a clearly hobbled Hawkeye limp over to the medical station. He gingerly hops up on the exam table and the doctor quickly determines its nothing too serious, just an ankle sprain that should heal up in a week or so. Steve Flash breathes a sigh of relief and tells his young star, "When you get home, be sure to elevate that ankle and ice it, twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off. You'll be as good as new in no time kid. And bring back these crutches next time. We don't have the budget for you to keep them!", he says with a wink.


<a href="

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Ron South and Ernie Turner run down the story behind the next match for the fans. Long story short, burly heel Andrew Harper put white meat baby Riley McManus through a table and since McManus is still a little banged up but still wanted revenge, management booked a tag team match with veteran Crockett Tubbs teaming up with McManus and the sketchy, flamboyant New York Doll aligning with Harper. After a mediocre brawl, held together with duct tape and McManus' ring savvy, the babyfaces score the win. The heels collide, bonking heads following a failed double team move and McManus quickly rolls up the Doll for one two three. (36)


Harper slaps the ropes in disgust and vows revenge much to the collective meh of the crowd. The dastardly duo jump the victors until officials pour out of the back to break up the fracas before serious damage can be done. (26)


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The Masked Stranger retains his Tri-State Regional title by DQ against Denny King after flustering his long time nemesis with a dazzling array of holds, prompting King's temper to get the worst of him as he low blows the masked man right in front of referee Arnie Plummer prompting the immediate call for the bell. King smuggly walks off, apparently satisfied with his efforts. (32)


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The Boys from the Yukon overpower the game but outmatched Casey Brothers and retain their NYCW Tag Team titles following a devastating Tiiiiiiiiimber (A brutal High Low double team) on Chuck Casey. (29)


Backstage, off camera: "Okay William, let's get a big showing tonight. This is a big moment for you!" Steve Flash was talking to the most promising young talent on the roster, embittered blues musician turned grappler, Tennessee William. "So after you make the cover....". I was baffled by this booking and I just shot off my mouth without even thinking, "Wait, you're putting the title back on him tonight? Didn't he just drop it to Brutus? Not to be rude Steve but what the hell was the point then?" A wry smile came over Steve Flash's face. "So what do you think we should do then kid?" I'd walked into his trap. He knew that my juices for the business would start flowing eventually while I was at the show. "Mr. Reed, I'm pretty sure I know the answer but do you have your gear?" Art Reed cocked his head sideways as he looked at me. "Son, you know damn well any wrestler worth his salt always, ALWAYS brings his gear with him. What do you have in mind kid?"


The NYCW champion Brutus Milano struts to the ring much to the approval of the crowd, especially the very vocal Italian fans who came out to support their fellow pisan. The muscled strongman holds the belt high overhead for the crowd to see as he waits impatiently for Tennessee William to hit the ring.

"Brutus. Brutus. Brutus." The unmistakable twang of Tennessee William fills the air as he walks through the curtain. "Now as much as I relish the chance to take back the title that you stole from me but unfortunately...." William flexes his hand a bit and winces. "...unfortunately my hand is all cramped up from a sold out show I did on Beale Street the other night." The crowd boos the bogus excuse loudly. "But fear not, fear not people. I know you're disappointed you don't get to see the brightest star in the Big Apple wrestle tonight but there WILL be a match tonight!"


"The Pure Athlete" Art Reed steps through the curtain smiling like the cat who ate the canary. The two men shake hands and there is clearly an exchange of hundred dollars bills within that handshake which Reed not so subtly stuffs into his trunks. Milano who has been pacing the ring like a caged animal gestures for Reed to bring it on. "It looks like we have a match!" exclaims Ron South.


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Art Reed proved to be a difficult challenge for the powerful champion as the veteran used his technical prowess to grind down the match and manages slow Brutus with a series of holds. After several minutes however, the champ overpowers his more experienced foe with sheer brute force and mounts a valiant comeback, prompting Tennessee William to roll into the ring and blindside him, prompting the DQ from referee Michael Bull. William and Reed begin to put the boots to Milano who quickly recovers and chases them off, much to the approval of the crowd. (38)


Show Rating: 37

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Location: A booth in the back of Astor Bar and Grill, Montgomery Street (Jersey City, New Jersey)


<a href="https://imgur.com/Ph0gzeI"><img src="https://i.imgur.com/Ph0gzeI.jpg" title="source: imgur.com" /></a> <a href="https://imgur.com/xBzMpIa"><img src="https://i.imgur.com/xBzMpIa.jpg" title="source: imgur.com" /></a> <a href="https://imgur.com/e6JTw01"><img src="https://i.imgur.com/e6JTw01.jpg" title="source: imgur.com" /></a>


"Okay kid, so you booked your first angle. Now tell us where we go from here since you're done with the business and headed off to that cushy job with NY1."


"That was dirty pool Steve and you know it! You knew that once you got me in the door I'd get all the old feels in the stomach!"


"To be fair, that might have just been that lousy pizza Steve brought in from our sponsor at the quote catering station." interjected Art Reed.


The show had ended a little while ago and I was putting a few away at a booth with Steve Flash and Art Reed. Some of the other boys were partaking in post-show festivities in the bar as well.


"Seriously, you just knew I wouldn't be able to help myself Steve!"


Steve Flash winked at his old pal Art and faux-innocently said, "I have no idea what you're talking about Franklin! I just figured I'd give you a little excitement on your way out of the business. I'm thoughtful like that."


"I say this with all due respect Steve.....you're full of crap. So let's talk about how we can make this work. I still need to take that NY1 job or my dad will murder me. And when I say murder me, I don't mean he'll be mad. I mean there will be a bounty on my head. That being said, I can work part time during the week for them and still have my weekends to announce and book for you."


"I think we can work with that. Sounds like we have a deal."


"Hang on Steve. I have a couple of things I need. One, I have to be able to tweak this product and style a bit. This company needs modernizing in the worst way."


"He's got a point boss."


"Don't call me boss Art. And I agree with that idea Frank, but not anything too dramatic here. I don't want to be doing garbage wrestling or sports entertainment nonsense."


"Two, I want final say on the booking. If this is going to work for me, it needs to be my vision we put out there. Obviously I'll listen to what y'all have to say..."


"I'm sorry, did he just say y'all?"


"Pretty sure he said y'all Art."


As hard as I try with my diction, sometimes the southern upbringing sneaks out when I least expect it. "Look there are some things that even graduating with honors in Communications can't pry out of a person!"


"We're just busting your chops Frank. You can have complete say over the book. But speaking of communication, what about announcing? Ron told me tonight he can do one more sure as the lead announcer but he says once spring training starts, he won't have the time to properly prepare to do full time play by play. He'd still be available for supporting roles though if we want to use him."


"That's fine. It will give me a month to really formalize my plan and familiarize myself with the roster before I take over. And speaking of the roster, I want control of personnel for the company, at least as it relates to the ring."


"No offense kid but why should Steve let you decide the talent? You're barely old enough to shave. How are you supposed to know who can work and draw money?


"Well, I've been working in the business for the last six years, four with various indy groups in Florida and a little over a year with the SWF who thought enough of me to put me right on the main roster and not send me to Rhode Island."


"We know you have talent Frank but that doesn't mean you have any skills in picking talent."


"Well I did some work with Enforcer Roberts in the scouting department, mostly data entry but I learned a lot from him in a short time. Plus I have this...."


I open up a file on my phone, and show it to Steve Flash and Art Reed.


"A spreadsheet?"


"Not just a spreadsheet Steve, but an in-depth database of all the young wrestling talent, both here and abroad, that the SWF has their eyes on for the future. And thanks to good old corporate bureaucracy, my login still works just fine so I get to see all their updates. But I have a backup of the file just in case they realize their mistake too."


"Does that list have any of our boys?"


"If we're speaking anyone that they might remotely be imminently interested in, just Tennessee William really, although I know they're keeping an eye on the Stars for the future, not any time soon though. So the Eisens might not be that interested in picking out the next great technical wizard but they have a penchant for finding guys with that "It" quality. So we can use this list to get a jump on some of these guys and maybe create some stars for us and maybe sell some tickets. What do you think?"


"Well that seems a little bit sketchy but for the wrestling business, that would barely make a ripple with all the immoral things companies do. I saw the other night that some fans of IPW tried to start a rumor on Twitter that GSW was actually owned by a Satanic cult! So yeah, let's do it. But I stay have final say over the purse strings. We have to be fiscally responsible here. It looks like we'll actually make a few bucks tonight but we can't go spending like a drunken sailor."


"And my final request, and this one is non-negotiable Steve."


Steve Flash sat straight in the booth and braced for some outlandish request.


"You have to, I repeat have to.......get a better pizza sponsor. I ate terrible Florida pizza for four years in college and that slice I had tonight was poor even by Florida standards."


Art Reed busts out laughing and Steve Flash manages a relieved smile.


"I'll see what I can do. He already headed home for the night but let me give you Ernie Turner's cell number so you two can get to know each other before you start in the booth together."


"Actually I would like to be able to pick my own broadcasting partner. I have someone in mind already. Also, I have bigger plans for Ernie too, I think."


"Who did you have in mind?"

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<div style="text-align:center;"><p><strong><span style="font-size:14px;">Location: Joanne Rodriguez's apartment in Fishtown (Philadelphia, PA)</span></strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p><strong>

<a href="</strong><a href="https://imgur.com/Ph0gzeI" rel="external nofollow"><strong>https://imgur.com/Ph0gzeI"><img</strong></a><strong> src="</strong><a href="https://i.imgur.com/Ph0gzeI.jpg" rel="external nofollow"><strong>https://i.imgur.com/Ph0gzeI.jpg"</strong></a><strong> title="source: imgur.com" /></a> <a href="</strong><a href="https://imgur.com/ofzeEWB" rel="external nofollow"><strong>https://imgur.com/ofzeEWB"><img</strong></a><strong> src="</strong><a href="https://i.imgur.com/ofzeEWB.jpg" rel="external nofollow"><strong>https://i.imgur.com/ofzeEWB.jpg"</strong></a><strong> title="source: imgur.com" /></a></strong></p></div><p></p><p> </p><p>

<em><strong>"I'm sorry, who did you say you are again?"</strong></em></p><p><em><strong> </strong></em></p><p><em><strong>

"Franklin....Franklin Fumier. We met when Enforcer Roberts was on your podcast right before Supreme Challenge last year?"</strong></em></p><p><em><strong> </strong></em></p><p><em><strong>

"Oh....you were his booking manager right? The young kid?"</strong></em></p><p><em><strong> </strong></em></p><p><em><strong>

"I mean, yes.....no I mean, no I wasn't his booking manager but that was me. I'm an announcer and backstage worker for SWF. I mean, I used to be back then but then that whole IRS mess happened and I'm not working there any more. But I was wondering...."</strong></em></p><p><em><strong> </strong></em></p><p><em><strong>

"I'm really sorry but listen Frank, I understand losing your gig sucks. It happened me plenty of times in my career but I don't do shoot interviews on Behind the Curtain. I'm not interested in embittered employees shooting on the Eisens." </strong></em></p><p><em><strong> </strong></em></p><p><em><strong>

"What? No, no...that wasn't what I was asking about! I landed on my feet and I'm working for New York City Wrestling now....."</strong></em></p><p><em><strong> </strong></em></p><p><em><strong>

"You went from the SWF to NYCW? Now I'm really sorry kid!"</strong></em></p><p><em><strong> </strong></em></p><p><em><strong>

"I get it but Steve is going to do a great job rebuilding the company now that he's running the show."</strong></em></p><p><em><strong> </strong></em></p><p><em><strong>

"Wait, what happened to Larry?"</strong></em></p><p><em><strong> </strong></em></p><p><em><strong>

"Steve bought out the company from him. Larry is off enjoying retirement."</strong></em></p><p><em><strong> </strong></em></p><p><em><strong>

"Wow, I hadn't heard that yet. Good for Steve. He's one of the best guys in the business. Boring ass interview on my podcast though."</strong></em> J-Ro said with a laugh.</p><p> </p><p>

<strong><em>"Yeah that's Steve alright. Not exactly loaded with charisma but I think he's the right guy to finally make something out of NYCW. I think everyone has always been waiting for them to grow but it just never happened. I'm going to be taking over the lead announcer spot and I'm going to be booking the show as well so hopefully I can help make this happen."</em></strong></p><p><strong><em> </em></strong></p><p><strong><em>

"I heard about Rock's passing. So sad."</em></strong></p><p><strong><em> </em></strong></p><p><strong><em>

"Everyone in the company was hit pretty hard by it. I have some big shoes to fill, literally and figuratively. But that's what I wanted to talk with you about. How would you feel about joining me in the booth?"</em></strong></p><p><strong><em> </em></strong></p><p><strong><em>

"Thank you but I'm doing really well with my podcast and I wouldn't want to take Ernie Turner's job. He's one of the best in business at color commentary."</em></strong></p><p><strong><em> </em></strong></p><p><strong><em>

"No doubt but we have big angle with Ernie coming up soon, that's why we're looking to add someone else to the booth. Please give it some thought though. It's won't take time away from Behind the Curtain and if we can grow like Steve and I are hoping we can, you'll have plenty of the biggest indy talent coming through to have on your podcast. Plus I think we'd be great together so please just think about it and I'll call you again next week."</em></strong></p><p><strong><em> </em></strong></p><p><strong><em>

"I'll think about it. But no promises Frank."</em></strong></p><p><strong><em> </em></strong></p><p><strong><em>

"Fabulous. I'll talk to you soon!"</em></strong></p><p> </p><p>

I hung up with J-Ro and immediately placed a call to Steve Flash. </p><p> </p><p>

<strong><em>"Hey Steve.....no, she didn't say yes. But she didn't say no either. I'm supposed to give her a call next week so we'll see. I'm still hopeful but if not, we'll go back to the drawing board. I just wanted to touch base with you quickly. I'm looking at a couple of apartments in the West Village today and I still need to place a few calls to some of the kids on the SWF master list. We still meeting for dinner tomorrow night? I want to go over the new website I built and the new social media accounts I've started. Okay great. I'll see you then boss. I know, I know. Don't call you boss. Art told me to say that."</em></strong></p><p> </p><p>

My next call was to my dad. A few more white lies on my ledger weren't going to kill anyone. </p><p> </p><p>

<strong><em>"Hey dad. Yeah I'm just looking at some apartments today. Hopefully one of them pans out so I can get off of Anthony's couch. I can't wait to get started with NY1 next week! You know, I think this is just the new beginning that I needed."</em></strong></p>

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