The Main Event

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Sam Meadows had a secret, something he told nobody else. He was a massive fan of professional wrestling.

Sam Meadows was flaked out on the sofa watching the wresting. This was how he spent most of his evenings. When he had finished watching that week’s shows he would watch a DVD of a classic main event. His focus on the action on screen was disturbed when his mobile phone rang. He paused the television. On screen the wrestler was frozen mid-air, drop kicking his opponent. Sam’s friend Phil was on the phone, a lad he’d known for over ten years and who he counted as one of his closest friends.

‘Alright, mate?’

‘Sammy-boy, how’s it going? What you up to?’

‘Nothing, just watching TV.’ Sam said.

‘What’re you watching?’

Without hesitation, Sam lied about what was on TV.

‘The Arsenal game.’ he said.

‘What’s the score?’

Sam quickly flicked over to the sports channel.

‘They’re losing one-nil.’

‘No surprise there, eh? How are they playing?’

Same made the usual football chat. He didn’t really care for football, but kept up the pretence. He told nobody of his lack of interest in the so-called beautiful game. He pretended to be into football to be one of the lads. Sam would keep an eye on the score, the major footy news, he would even join his mates in the pub to watch United. If a stranger asked him the usual question, are you a red or a blue, he would answer he was a United fan, but if he was being completely honest, he would have replied that actually, he didn’t like football.

Phil asked if Sam was joining them in the pub on Saturday afternoon. Sam said he wouldn’t miss it, and couldn’t wait. Saturday was derby day, United versus City. This was the biggest game of the season, when the whole city, the whole of the North West, would be gripped by what would happen in those ninety minutes. The match would be spoken of, discussed and argued about for weeks to come. The derby games always went down in legend. Players became heroes or villains on those days. Reputations were made, careers defined. But Sam couldn’t care less. He would go to the pub, would down a few pints of lager, would even swear and yell in the right places, would cheer and clap at the match on the big screen, but there was only one sports event that he was interested in that weekend.

Collision Course was happening on Saturday night, the latest wrestling pay-per-view. In the days leading up to derby day, his mates, colleagues, and everyone else he knew, were talking of nothing but the football. For Sam it was all about the pay-per-view. The main event was Barbarian versus Sid Rotten, the climax to a bitter feud that had been rumbling on for months. Not that Sam had ever told anyone his obsession with wrestling. Whereas his friends had progressed and grown out of wrestling, gone on from sports-entertainment to so-called real sports like football and rugby. By the time he’d left high school, he had learned not to mention his interest in wrestling. To mention his interest in pro-wrestling would only bring ridicule. Even now, in his late twenties, if any of his friends or family, were to discover his interest, he would be mocked mercilessly. They would tell him to grow up, and ask if he was eight years old or twenty-eight.  Then they would no doubt use the F word, the work that grated with every wrestling fan across the world. They would say it was Fake.

There were times he felt like having it out with them, coming clean and admitting his passion for wrestling. When the inevitable mockery came, he could tough it out. When the F bomb was dropped he could insist that wrestling might be fixed, predetermined, but there was nothing fake about power slamming someone through a table.

But he said nothing. He knew he would be wasting his time. When buying wrestling DVDs he would feel his cheeks redden as he approached the check-out. Did the person on the till know the DVD was for him? The action-packed DVD was for his own entertainment, not a gift for a young niece or nephew. He would have been less embarrassed buying an adult movie, such was the stigma attached to wrestling.

 

He found his friends in the pub on Saturday afternoon. The place was packed, the atmosphere electric. A city centre bar was the best place to watch the big game, outside of the ground itself. The crowd in the packed pub were so worked up. With the excitement, the banter, the singing, it was almost like being at the game. The cheering and chanting was deafening. It was the highlight of the football season. And it bored Sam to tears. Compared to wrestling, football seemed so dull, so boring and the more the lads got worked up, the more bewildered Sam was by it all.

It was over an hour until kick off, yet all eyes were already glued to the screen. Pre match build up, they called it, as if the ninety minutes wasn’t bad enough. He reached the bar, squeezing next to two women, obviously sisters. They wore United shirts and were discussing the merits of a player Sam had never heard of.

He found the lads chatting animatedly about the team news. Sam nodded and repeated what he’d heard the women at the bar saying. He feigned interest in football to fit, to be seen as one of the lads, after all, who didn’t like football?

While the match was being played, and the lads were getting carried away, as was the rest of the crowd in the pub, Sam kept thinking of the wrestling that night. That was his main event. He would make his excuses later on and head home for a few cans and tune in to the thrills and excitement of Collision Course.

The match finished two-all, leaving both sets of fans to bicker and squabble over what goal was offside, whether a certain player should have been sent off, and which team was robbed of the victory. Sam hung around for a few pints after full time. He heard one of the sisters saying that she would swing for Gayle if she says anything on Monday morning. Sam could only assume that Gayle was a workmate who supported City not United. Finally having stuck it out for as long as he could, Sam downed the last of his pint and went over to Phil. He gave his mate a nudge.

‘I’m getting off, mate.’ Sam said.

‘Really? Some of the boys are on about going for a curry later.’

Sam repeated that he was going home.

Phil shook him warmly by the hand and said he’d call him during the week. Sam pushed through the people in the pub. The revellers were drinking and debating the game and the sisters were merrily singing a song about United being the pride of all Europe.

As he headed for the bus stop, Sam rubbed his hands together. Now that the boring, boring, football was over, the excitement was starting to kick in. Collision Course. Barbarian versus Sid Rotten for the Intercontinental title.

Back home, Sam got himself a cold beer and flicked the TV over to the right channel. Seconds later the words Collision Course exploded onto the screen. The graphics gave way to shots of the packed arena in an American city. The crowd cheered, whooped, and hollered. They waved large, bright signs, declaring their love for some superstars and their hatred for others. Sam smiled to himself as he felt the rush that only pro-wrestling gave him.

The first contestants in the opening bout were introduced. Sam raised his pint glass ad joined in with the ring announcer. The following contest is scheduled for one fall.

Around half an hour later Sam was startled by a knock at the door. He was puzzled as to who it could be. The only person who usually called round this time on a Saturday night was a takeaway delivery driver and he hadn’t ordered anything yet. He flicked the TV set off and went to answer the door.

His mate Phil was standing on the doorstep. He rubbed his arms to show how cold it was outside.

‘Let us in then, mate?’

‘Yeah, sure.’ said Sam.

He showed Phil through to the living room. Once they were both seated on the sofa, with a fresh beer each, Sam asked why he’d called round.

‘I couldn’t be bothered with a curry. Thought you might fancy a bit of company, mate. And I knew you’d have beer in.’ he laughed.

‘Yeah, sound. I’m thinking of getting a pizza or something sent in, later.’

‘I’ll have a special kebab.’ Phil replied.

Phil nodded to the blank TV screen.

‘Why’s the telly switched off? Have you been watching mucky films or something?’

‘Something like that.’ laughed Sam.

Sam flicked the television set back on. He winced as the television came back on to the same channel it had been on. On screen two wrestlers, Johnny Ringo, and Bailey Sky, fought it out. Sam’s cheeks burned red in embarrassment at being caught watching wrestling. As he was about to declare that he had no idea why his TV box had landed on that particular channel, Phil pointed to the screen.

‘You watching Collision Course? Nice one. There’s no way Rotten is going to beat Barbarian.’


Submitted: November 17, 2021

© Copyright 2021 CTPlatt. All rights reserved.

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AdamCarlton

Very good. One day they'll discover MMA!

Thu, November 18th, 2021 3:40pm

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