Chapter View


Setting the Bar

No Shot

This Is The Beginning

Would'a Could'a Should'a

The Big Man on Campus

And STILL Spelling Bee Champeen of the World

Writing on the Wall

Would'a Could'a Should'a

(FADE IN: Sunset over Greensboro.) Children vacate the public park playground, the combination of settling autumn chill and encroaching darkness driving them back to their moms and dads. On a park bench facing the falling sun, NOVA smokes a joint in relative peace.

NOVA: Gold Rush was…an experience. Making my way through the back, after getting eliminated, there were tech workers and staff, other performers and random layabouts, all patting me on the back with the wink n’ nudge, saying “Hey, great job out there, ya dun good…” And while I appreciate their sympathy and enthusiasm…

…I must beg to differ. There have been plenty of nights in my career where I left my soul in the ring, win or lose, and I limped out of Wherever, USA knowing it, and making sure everyone else knew it, too. There have also been nights – too many nights – where I gave a limp-d*ck effort, and left the ring with the full weight of that on my back. I’d classify my performance at Gold Rush as the latter.

I finished third in the United States Title Ring. Final three. Not too shabby. Along the way, I kicked Kevin Powers in the head really hard, and dropped the Stinky Elbow on Hornet. I should’ve left the ring, the arena, that entire historic night, feeling like a million bucks for showing the CSWA that I meant it when I signed on the line to compete at ANNIVERSARY.

But I didn’t leave the ring feeling that way. I didn’t leave the arena feeling that way, and I sure as hell didn’t leave Greensboro feeling that way. (Looks around) It would appear, upon inspection, that I haven’t left Greensboro at all. No, instead I got to leave the ring feeling like a friggin’ douche, because I didn’t give two of Joey Melton’s feci-cured sh*ts about competing in Gold Rush when it came down to it, and I still came within arm’s reach of a strap. That’s what really got to me.

What if I had forgotten, if only for a while, about any of my other projects that I deemed more important at the time, and given ANNIVERSARY my full and undivided attention? What could I have accomplished? I showed up, laced up the boots, headed out to the ring, and went through the motions until I felt my keester bounce off the mats at ringside. Sitting on the floor as the fight raged on above, it dawned on me what a colossal opportunity I had just wasted, and I didn’t feel elated for a night of healthy competition with some of the best in the business.

I felt like a fool.

Never again. That is the harsh lesson of Gold Rush, for me anyway. I imagine for Troy Windham it’s something like “Don’t count your chickens before they make surprise re-entrances and use your self-satisfied smirk to mop the mat with.” For JA or Jay Phoenix, it might be “Don’t get comfortable.” For Dan Ryan I imagine it’s more like “Injecting my penis with the tears of a captive African bull elephant appears to be working, so I better not mess with a good thing.” But for me it’s simply, “Never again.” Never again will I enter a CSWA ring without the intent to leave it with my hand in the air or my nails dug into the mat. I wasted Gold Rush, perhaps the greatest gift the CS-Dub ever offered to a Greensboro greenhorn like me.

But next time – and there will be a next time – I don’t plan on squandering a single second of it.

For now, there’s PRIMETIME in Chapel Hill, and Hornet.

A man who helped create the legacy of the CSWA’s past gets a shot at revenge.

A man who believes in its future gets to put his money where his mouth is.

(CUT TO: A close-up of Nova’s face.) Smoke wafts up from the cigarette in his mouth.

NOVA: Out of the ashes…