So Darryl comes back to Georgia. Mickey’s back is better and he can go in the ring, but he needs to work back into it gradually and most importantly he needs an opponent that he can trust and who knows his condition; someone who will work safely with him while he figures out how to bump in a match without killing his back, because even with all the rehab work, his back is never going to be what it was.
There’s only possible person who can fit that criteria and it’s Darryl, who is already a heel, but they need a way to tie things together and bring Mickey back. To set this up, Von Hess had a plan.
Von Hess has been edging toward retiring for a few years, but now he makes the official announcement: he will wrestle his last match at the big Centennial show in Atlanta. No mention is made of his opponent yet, but they hold a big ceremony and present him with a plaque and a trophy in the ring. Darryl interrupts the ceremony and starts raving about how since Mickey got injured Von Hess has no more time for him, how Von Hess has decided who his favourite son is. Von Hess takes the mike and asks how Darryl can say these things when Mickey is confined to a wheel chair. Von Hess puts over the fact that Darryl is the son that he never has to worry about because Darryl obviously can take care of himself. Darryl fumes a bit and then takes his “father’s” trophy and smashes it over Von Hess’ head, then sweeps the plaque, mikes everything off the presentation table, chases everyone out of the ring, clotheslining the President of the fed out of the ring in the process. Than he picks up Von Hess and while the crowd is yelling “No, no, no,” Darryl picks up Von Hess and obliterates him through a table with a power bomb.
Understand, this is in the days when a power bomb was still considered a nearly lethal move and where putting someone through a table was considered to be an attempt to end someone’s career. Security ends up dragging Darryl from the stage and they end up doing the gimmick where Darryl spends a night in jail for “assaulting” Von Hess and Von Hess supposedly spends a night in the hospital. Than Von Hess goes to the Atlanta studios where he cuts a promo asking for Darryl to be released. Von Hess says that it is his fault that Darryl turned out this way that he never spent time with Darryl as a child and he neglected his responsibility as a father to make sure that Darryl was being brought up right. He then says that Darryl may be a big man, but that it’s not too late to take Darryl to the woodshed and teach him some manners.
So Von Hess and Darryl start a series of heated battles using a variety of weapons from the dangerous - wood, leather straps, to the ridiculous - bars of soap. They see-saw back in forth in terms of wins and losses with Von Hess sneaking in some wins through guile and Darryl winning the other half of the matches through brute strength. All of which is to lead to a final match in Atlanta to mark the Centennial.
Now, by this point, Von Hess has pretty much emptied his bag of tricks against Darryl and all of the moves that he was able to land against Darryl in earlier matches, Darryl has counters for them all. Even Von Hess’ trademark move where he walks the ropes like a tightrope walker and then jumps on his opponent to apply “The KLAW” nerve pinch - even that move, Darryl catches Von Hess in mid-move and slams him to the mat. It all looks hopeless for Von Hess, when Mickey hobbles out to the ring on crutches. The crowd goes nuts because Mickey isn’t even supposed to be able to be standing and here he is on crutches. Darryl gets distracted, Von Hess yanks him over in a roll-up ... and Darryl just kicks out at three. Von Hess continues to rally with Mickey cheering him on, but eventually Darryl is just too strong and finishes off his father with a power bomb. Like any old timer, Von Hess wanted to end his last match on his back, looking up at the lights, putting someone else over, in this case furthering the career of a man who if he wasn’t his biological son was as close to him as any son could be.
Wrestling has a lot of traditions, many of which make no sense to an outsider. The tradition of losing your last match is one of those. But it’s a good tradition. It’s about putting back into the business what you took out, and leaving something behind. It’s generous and selfish at the same time, because your legend becomes linked to the guy you put over. He becomes the guy who retired you, it becomes part of his legend that he finished your career, and in that way you have a little bit of immortality.
After the match, Darryl comes out and gets in Mickey’s face and jaws with him. They start pointing fingers at each other and eventually Darryl gets fed up and pushes Mickey down and spits on him. Really riling the crowd up. I mean he beats up his father, he knocks down a cripple, Darryl is baby-punting away from being a total monster. Of course, then as Darryl walks down the ramp, the incredible happens and Mickey gets to his feet and motioning the crowd to be silent grabs one of his crutches and runs after Darryl clobbering him in the back of the head with his crutch. Now, normally attacking someone from behind with a weapon is considered cheating, bad form for a hero, but in this case, Darryl is so hated that Mickey has carte blanche to do whatever he wants.
So, once the crowd gets over being stunned that Mickey can run, let alone walk, they go nuts as Mickey splinters the crutch on Darryl. Than Mickey gets on the mike and lays into Darryl for being an ungrateful brat, for attacking their father. Tells him that Von Hess begged him not to get involved in the match, that the two brothers shouldn’t fight. Apologizes to his “Dad” for disobeying, but says that Darryl needs to be fought and challenges Darryl to a match at the next show, which the crowd has no problem with at all.
Once Mickey is reintroduced, Darryl and him are off to the races with a feud that rages up and down the South. While they are fighting, Darryl is also helping Mickey figure out how best to bump so as not to fuck up his back more and is helping him fine-tune his matches. Pretty soon, the colour mags are talking up Mickey as the next guy in line for a shot at the titles. Especially when the feud with Darryl ends with Mickey going over clean. So, he’s now this dragon-slayer hero, the one guy that could take out the fearsome King Cage.
Mickey has another couple of feuds to build him up and with Darryl helping him out backstage with moves and finishes, and with Von Hess acting as his manager, it becomes obvious to anyone that matters that they have to put the world title on Mickey. By which I mean the NWA title, at this point the one title that means anything. I mean there are “World” titles in Minnesota - which sounds like a joke and eventually it was a joke - and the New York belt of course which had prestige because of the Gardens. But they were second tier belts compared to the NWA title. Within two years, the NWA title would be a second-tier belt and then it was a third tier belt and now its defended at flea markets by a Fucking fake Indian with leather skin whose finish is a fucking axe handle from the top rope. Fucking pathetic.
But right then, in 1977, the belt still had value, it was still the big Golden belt. the “Forty Pounds of Gold” the belt that everyone had to hold. Everyone was in favour of Mickey winning it, but to do that Mickey would have to go to Canada - to Quebec to be exact. See, TNA had developed this weird tradition that every once in a while a Canadian would have the belt and hold it for a while. Started with a guy named Whipper Billy Watson who was the one guy who could beat Shooter Lou for the title. And in early 1977, the guy who held the NWA title was a French Canadian by the name of Rene Martin who went by the name “La Patriote”.
The Quebec chapter of the NWA, my home fed since I was still a green rookie at the time just working out the kinks of the Rattler gimmick, anyway the Lutte Quebec International, my home fed, they knew once Martin lost the belt that there wasn't much chance of seeing a world title match in a while, so they insisted that the match where Martin lost the belt happened in Montreal. Not hard to figure out why, title matches meant bigger audiences, more money, better ratings on TV, the works. Since Martin had held the title for a bit under a year, during that time he had obviously toured with the belt, but he also came back to Montreal to defend the title in the Montreal Forum on a regular basis. So, they wanted one last belt of the apple, one last title match in the Montreal Forum, one last pay day.
It’s that greed that got Mickey killed. And it’s that greed that led me to meet King Cage and Von Hess and Mickey as they came to Montreal for Mickey to become World Champion.
UGH. Cahpter Eighteen. Llakor don't need sleep much do he?
Originally posted by piemanIt looks like you're going to make it, Llakor!
I'm not so sure. I really have to bear down on Thursday when I have the day off and on the weekend to make it. I'm also a little concerned that I may hit 50, 000 words and not be finished the actual novel.
Originally posted by piemanAnd it's a pretty decent read as well.
"It's a pretty decent read" is going into the blurbs along with the Immortal Pat McNeill quote: "It's surprisingly good"
Originally posted by piemanHow many words are you up to now?
Ah yes, but I break the table waaaaaaaay more than Jeb breaks the table. (SIGH. Yes, I DO need help.) Which reminds me that I really need to break loose and write something that will find pieman at lunch with a small novel sized print-out to read.