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Stephen Rivera's 4th Fall

Session 6: Albatross

March 31, 2011

Everywhere I go, I carry a burden that even Atlas himself wouldn't dare to bear. I am so tired, so very tired. I run and it chases after me. I sneak and it sneaks up behind me. I seek refuge under the largest rock and there it is, lifting the rock to invite me into its new home.

If the world is my tour bus, I am an ever-changing wife cowering inside. Screaming a language that has not yet been discovered, I look on with an awkward combination of fear, lust, and confusion in my eyes as this burden attacks my spouse. This burden is known of by many, but known best by one. This burden is professional wrestling.

While I am out on the town, I try to fashion it into an ascot to blend in with the crowd. The masses see right through my disguise, pointing in my direction and mocking my existence. "Guffaw, guffaw. You watch professional wrestling and write about it? What are you? Some kind of middle-class person who watches professional wrestling and writes about it?" they say. "That may be the case," I reply in a shameful tone. How could they say such hurtful things? The fact that this burden makes me look middle-class is punishment enough. I refuse to snap into any Slim Jim. I do not need a 5-Hour Energy Drink either. In case I do, I will just hire someone to invent a time machine. Then I will go back five hours and sleep.

Will this curse ever be lifted? Must I wander the earth, sharing sporty and entertaining stories for the next million centuries? As per contract, probably. This contract seems official. The Wrestling Fan logo is at the top of the page. Written underneath in bold, Times New Roman font is Contract. An airtight contract, I must say.

- The lack of Amish characters in the wrestling industry is disappointing. Roadkill is not enough. Why does professional wrestling tease me so? More, I say. More Amish. Imagine a ladder match in which an Amish wrestler refuses to use ladders provided by the company because they clash with his beliefs. Therefore, he must build his own wooden ladders with a drawknife to stay competitive in the match. If one ladder breaks, he must gather more wood, put on a beard net so his beard doesn't get wood chips in it, and build another one. I think this is what wrestling sorely needs: traditional, labour-intensive carpentry. At least, that's what the kids of this on-demand generation want.

- In the event that Triple H challenges me to a No Holds Barred Match, I shall accept. I plan to compete shirtless, forcing Hunter into a cat costume. Then, I will cradle him in my arms, petting him as if he is an adorable, fluffy kitten. I'm sure he won't enjoy it, but he can't go back on his word now. He should have barred some holds beforehand. Win or lose, he's getting Whiskas on a pillow.

- When I first heard about The Rock referring to Fruity Pebbles, I wasn't sure what to make of it (I regretfully missed the segment when it was first aired, as well as every re-airing). At first, I thought he was referring to the finishing move that Chiquita Banana uses in which she rams into a man's pelvis head first, not the delicious Post Cereal. I made a similar mistake when my butler Regibald asked if I wanted Cocoa Pebbles. I misheard him and requested some. Hollywood actor Mario Van Peebles proceeded to violate me with his groin-centric offense.

- No matter the grade or subject, The Marine and The Marine 2 should be required viewing in public schools. Young adults must learn that marines should not have significant others. If you are a current or former marine, it is in your best interest to go on vacations unattached. After some other marine defeats a group of bad guys to save his wife, that is when you should find a lady to call your own. She must dislike vacations.

- At house shows, I buy several pairs of Cena-Approved "You Can't See Me" foam hands. To amuse myself, I hold them up to my face for the entire show. To blink, I fold the hands down like eyelids. If I see a fetching young lady in the audience, I fold one hand down to wink at her. This fun activity dates back to the WWF days when I used to buy those "Austin 3:16" foam hands that were flipping the bird. Back then, I tied the two hands together to make a pair of sunglasses, using the middle fingers as sunglass frame arms. I couldn't imagine wearing novelty hands on my actual hands. Everyone would laugh at me.

- Summerslam 2010 has come and gone, yet I'm still afraid to return to 7-Eleven. One hot summer day, I was walking outside a 7-Eleven and accidentally tripped over my feet, stumbling through the entrance. Because I was thirsty, I did what I had to do. I filled one hand with cherry slush, chucked my wallet at the clerk and ran for it, filling the neighbourhood with my wild, girlish screams. I knew Rey Mysterio was lurking in the shadows of that store, waiting to jump in front of me. I don't even want to touch his straws. No thank you.

- Sin Cara's debut promos concern me. Does he not notice the blazing fire that surrounds the ringside area? I don't know how they put out ringside fires in Mexico, but you're in America now, Good Sir with Face Deficiency. Furiously spinning around an unidentified opponent will only fan the flames. Get a fire extinguisher or something. Let's read the instructions. Step one: Pull the pin at the top of the extinguisher. Got it. Step two: Furiously spin around unidentified opponent. I give up. Let the Pastel Beetleborg do what he pleases.

- Every time Vince McMahon talks about matches happening in "this very ring," do you think independent ring owners hang their heads and sadly tow their rings away from the arena? You'll get your chance one day, independent ring owners. You didn't buy those rings for nothing. The instant McMahon considers bringing back War Games or World War III, I'm going to speed dial one of you.

- I will pay the tippy-toppiest of dollars to see a Super Mario Bros. rip-off tag team on professional wrestling television. Imitation Mario and Imitation Luigi could begin their entrance by attempting to unclog a backstage bathtub. Suddenly, a mysterious force would pull them through a drain that leads to the entrance ramp. When either one gets hit with a devastating move, the lights would go out to let a smaller wrestler ― dressed in smaller clothes ― take his place. To incorporate a celebrity watching at ringside, they can touch him or her and become invincible for a brief period of time.

A loss would make them face the camera, jump high up in the air, and fall through the floor. A win would allow them to leap onto a nearby flagpole, slide down it, and exit through a miniature brick castle. The first promotion to debut this team will receive a low-key fireworks show.

- I auditioned for a spot on the WWE creative team, but I was in and out of there like Vince Russo: 2002 Edition. As much as I wanted to create fascinating, suspenseful, and logical good versus evil stories, my need to model all storylines after the 2010 blockbuster hit, Charlie St. Cloud, won out:

"Picture this, team of creators. The Undertaker and Kane are brothers, though do we ever see evidence of their brotherly love on screen? What if a horrific event brought them closer together? Let's say The Undertaker and Kane are driving down the highway. Kane is certain that The Undertaker will forget about him once he leaves for Funeral School, despite his older brother reassuring him of the contrary. Without warning, they are involved in tragic car accident that takes the life of young Kane. Years later, The Undertaker tries to move on by accepting a job at the cemetery. This new job leads to a chance meeting with a beautiful girl in town. Just when time is about to heal his emotional wounds, an unexpected visitor enters the picture to complicate matters.

Kane reappears as a ghost (complete with ghost pyro) and says, 'You made a promise to me, Zac Efron. Leave that girl out of it. She just likes you because you race boats.' The Undertaker can play Zac Efron, or you can bring Zac Efron in and dress him up in a Zombie Drifter From The Old West costume. Zac's asking price is $750,000 per one-minute appearance. If you are in favour of this idea, raise your hand up, keep your hand down, or refrain from moving your hand. How about it? Great. I'm going to eat Vince McMahon's lunch in this room now."

- The WrestleMania feud between Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole has been a surprise hit. On second thought, what about... what if... what if Brian Christopher was really Jerry Lawler's brother? What if Brian perishes in a tragic fashion, becomes a ghost, and visits Jerry Lawler in the forest? "That's Michael Cole's daughter, Zac Efron. Don't do it. You are supposed to teach me how to play baseball." Although Jerry is unlikely to participate in this storyline, I have a solution. Put a crown and gold-foil t-shirt on Zac Efron. Who could tell the difference?

- The medallion within the WWE Championship hasn't stopped spinning. We are just moving with it, spinning in the same direction and at the same speed. I guess this is what feels like to be in love ― and be loved. I don't know anymore. It's been so long that I forgot how anything feels. Oh, the memories. The haunting memories are flooding back to me. We should have listened to that one-eyed, one-legged fisherman at the bait shop. He told us never to use his DDT, but we thought he was just spouting that crazy old-man talk. Swim to the surface, Magdalena. Hurry before you become one with the waters. My heart sinks with you.


Stephen Rivera is the creator of The Swerved (2006-2010), Neon Ropes, and this column. What if he is doing some skydiving, and he's like, "I got to get some... got to get some Corn Flakes?" He doesn't have time for Corn Flakes. He does have time for flan.

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November 2006


by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).