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Concussion Catastrophe

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1 Concussion Catastrophe on Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:06 pm

James Ceno


HSW North American Champion
HSW North American Champion
”Some things are so unexpected that no one is prepared for them.” - Leo Rosten




It meant nothing, Eli. How does that sound?

You fought me in this match, and it meant absolutely nothing.

I still won. I still came out on top, and there was nothing you could have done to stop it.

I was the better man. I hardly needed Christy. You needed better than Kris Chaos.

Just like I proved to win this title...

Just like I’ll prove to retain this title...

Eli Goode is still just a kid.


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~The commercial break took place after Eli and Kris laid James and Christy out post-match. The first to get up, holding his jaw, was James, with Christy taking the time to relax before eventually getting up herself. Ceno, by the time Christy was back on her feet and ready to head to the back, had grabbed a mic and leaned into the ropes, facing the ramp.~

JC: That’s right, Eli! Run like the scalded dog you are! I earned this!

~Ceno holds up the North American Heavyweight title, in defiance of Eli’s sneak attack.~

JC: You can hit me from ALL SIDES and it won’t matter; it didn’t matter. I not only put you down, but I made that no-contest into a win. I earned the W tonight, and your team was swept under the rug as it deserves. It is nothing compared to Paragon, and you are nothing compared to me!

~Ceno laughs as the fans start to boo.~

JC: Bring it on, every single one of you! Any of you who could step into the ring and take me down, go and try! You’ll just be a warm-up for both Eli and for the Sole Survivor. Not only will this title here stay around my waist, but I will show you all the strength to be a champion of a calibur much higher than this belt proves.

~The fans continue to boo, and it only serves to piss him off more. Immediately, his mind goes back to the fact that he has been doing right by at least himself, but it increases the volatility of his anger.~

JC: Who the hell are any of you to boo me? I have been stepping up everywhere to be a better man than I started off with in this sordid little stable. And now you want to ignore the actions of a penitent man? Hypocrites, all of you! You will all watch me ascend to the highest parts of this industry, and I’ll leave all of you behind. Cheer me on or boo me: it won’t matter when I beat either Jack or Mizore for the World Heavyweight Championship!

~James drops to his back and rolls under the ropes, heading to the backstage medical station for an icepack. It felt like Eli rattled a tooth or two.~

-------------------------------------------

But you want my title, do you still?

Even though I beat you and closed the gap that night, you still want another kick at the can.

This can kicks back, Kid. I proved that at Slam 11, and I’ll be showing you all over again.

Winter Survival will be a cold night for you.

For me, it will melt your hopes to free the culmination of my dreams.

Be prepared for that, Amber.


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~After finishing an interview with Kelly backstage (to be featured elsewhere), James got into his car and started to drive to the community pool. It was something he hadn’t done in a while: aqua therapy for his muscles. It would also help with his exercise, especially toning and cardio. Even though James was a weak swimmer, he would make the best of it. However, as he pulled into the parking lot and found a spot, something bothered him. He pulled out his cell phone and, knowing that she was still in Vegas, called someone.~

JC: Hello. Yes, this is James. Look, none of that right now, because it was called down the middle by the end... No, you listen to me, Maya! I don’t care what happened after your match for the tag titles! You and I have to talk. I heard what you said to... No, let me finish. I know you’re pissed, but no one I train, teach or otherwise is going to go into a match without the desire to succeed, and success means victory, even if it comes down to you beating me, kid!... Yes I’ll see you back at the gym. In Albany... What makes you think we’re done? We only knocked off the tip of the iceberg... I want you to beat Annie, Maya. You deserve it after what you’ve been through, okay? I know Mizore and 18 are great help too, but answer this question for me when I see you next, please: didn’t you feel something more than just training with your fiancée, especially with me watching? Yes I know it’s an awkward question, which is why I want you to think about it with your eyes closed, since you are still essentially blind. I’ll see you when I’m off the plane. And don’t bother mentioning it to your mother. Something feels off about her, with how I saw her treatment of your sister... Bye. Oh, Maya, good job in the ring tonight. I was very proud of you. I watched the whole thing from gorilla; you took to what I taught you beautifully. It was fun watching Amber getting frustrated; keep it up.

~Ceno hangs up the phone and steps out of the car, heading into the building. He had his own locker, and in it was a clean towel and swimsuit, waiting for him to do a few lengths in the water. But he still felt rattled after the match; Eli did catch him flush in the head. Thankfully there were no loose teeth; there was a little blood though. And it still hurt like hell. There could be a concussion, but James didn’t get checked out or cleared afterwards. He was up and doing his thing during a dark period, which served to help the show keep its traction.

As he got changed, his vision got a little blurry, and he started to feel sleepy. Ceno had never really had a bad concussion before, so he chalked it up to fatigue, since he came to the pool a couple hours after the show. He was more of a veteran of insomnia and sleepless nights than head trauma, so he thought nothing more of it as he hit the showers, only to hit the tiles.

James woke up in a hospital room, quietly resting with monitors all over him. He had no recollection of how he got there, and it was puzzling to him. The world did get to MMSW, as he had his contact info for the gym and business card there in his wallet, which the paramedics were quick to locate for the sake of his emergency contacts. Keenan Kovacs was able to make it to the hospital, and James just looked at him funny.~

JC: Dude, what’s today?

KK: It’s Sunday. You know? Slam was last night.

JC: Wait, what? I missed it?

~Keenan looked concerned as he shook his head.~

KK: No, you made it, and you were the one who made the pinfall for the win, so calm down.

JC: I don’t remember any of it, Keenan.

KK: Then Eli must have hit you a little too hard.

JC: Eli? I do remember that it was a match against him and Kris Chaos; Christy was walking with me to the ring. She let me start. After that...

~Ceno thinks hard, trying to recollect what occurred. The strain matched the frustration on his face, not being able to recall a thing.~

JC: Damn it!

KK: It’s alright, calm down. Eli caught you with another one of his Goode Deal running knees, that’s all. What did the doctors say?

JC: Moderate concussion. I’m supposed to be on bed rest and low impact exercise before I can get back in the ring, and then I will be reassessed before the event itself.

KK: That’s exactly what she told me. James, you forgot the WHOLE match?

JC: I remember seeing myself in the ring after the Paynes attacked Leon and Amber, which is why I got out of the ring. I don’t remember much before that.

KK: James, you don’t remember collapsing at the pool?

JC: I did what?

KK: You went to go for a swim, don’t know why, immediately after the event. For some reason, you were going for a swim.

~Keenan then points out Ceno’s change of clothes, which were in a bunch, instead of folded up as usual.~

JC: Oh wow. Um, I don’t know what to say to that. This makes things difficult.

KK: Why’s that?

JC: I do either my highest-impact workouts with more time in between, or I do my lowest-impact workouts all one after the other.

~Ceno didn’t remember his phone call to Maya when getting to the pool. With how he slurred over the phone though, it was a wonder Maya actually understood him completely.~

KK: Yeah, I called the airport on your behalf. Due to the injury and flight restrictions accordingly, no Albany for a little while.

JC: What’s in Albany?

KK: Maya, your daughter, remember? At least that’s what you say she is. Anyway, you have been training her. In fact, the training you gave her leading up to her match against Leon and Amber was her highest point in the match.

JC: She was... in the main event. I was in the ring, chirping at her, Mizore and Jeff before Christy directed us to leave.

~A cell phone rings, and Keenan answers it.~

KK: Hello?

~A short conversation is had between Kovacs and the other end, resulting in a solemn expression from him.~

KK: That was from the gym. I have to head back. I’ll update them on your condition and tell them what’s up. Ideally, you’ll have lots of time to recuperate.

JC: But what of my match?

KK: PLENTY... of time to recuperate, James: I can’t tell you either or. That is up to your doctor. You just get better so that you CAN face Eli.

JC: Right...

~James’ face turned grim, but then his phone goes off. He looks at Keenan, then picks it up himself.~

JC: Hello?

CC: Hey James, it’s Christy. I need you to report to the interview box again, before you do anything else.

JC: But Christy...

CC: Talk about it when you’re done here. Gotta run.

~The phone hangs up before Ceno got to put a word in edge-wise. He looks up at Keenan.~

JC: Does anyone know?

KK: Only a few of us. It didn’t get to management yet. You might get an apology when you get there; I couldn’t tell you.

JC: Alright. Well I’m still being observed so I’ll get to where I need to go when I can go there.

KK: Sounds good. Get better, man.

JC: Yeah. I will. I should. I have to.

~The two men shake hands as Ceno watches him leave. As soon as Kovacs was out of sight, Ceno curls up in a sitting position and tried to piece together what memories he had left. Literally everything after the match was gone except for a few key moments: the defense run after the main event, going to the pool, going limp and falling to the shower floor.

He felt weak; it was disgusting. Eli weakened him by smashing him in the head and leaving him concussed. With the protocols set regarding concussions, it would make its way to HSW via the governing body of combat sports in Nevada. One way or another, Christy would find out, even if James were to black out or become incoherent during the interview that was ordered. It wouldn’t end well.

And now that James has this opportunity to contemplate his weakness, Eli was haunting him again. The man formerly known as “The Kid” rang his bell, left him ringing for a long time until he finally fell down. Now that he got back up, he’s left with shaky nerves, holding his hands out to see them tremble. It wasn’t a violent shake by any means, but his dexterity was certainly compromised, at least for the time being.

His legs were still wobbly as well, as he slowly got off the bed to get dressed, his clothes in his bag nearby. He needed to brace himself on a chair before grabbing the duffel, using some slow squats to get the strength back in his legs before changing back into his clothes. Slowly, he got out of the hospital after passing some rudimentary tests and, being forbidden to drive until he could walk straight, hailed a cab to take him to the MMSW.~

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I’ve never felt this insecure about anything, all because of that knee to the head.

Eli, are you not being careful anymore?

Is reckless abandon your goal this time around?

Are you not going to take care of me in the ring the way we’re meant to?

If that’s the case, you have forgotten something already:

I can beat you in a shoot; I already have.

It bothered you immensely leading up to SBD.

But if you want to dance that dance, I’ll be your partner.

It’s just the question of whether or not you’ll be walking afterwards that needs answering.

Best part about that is I don’t have to be the one to answer it.


-------------------------------------------

~The scene opens to Kelly in front of the camera, with James Ceno next to her. His eyes darted about quite aimlessly, moving in a way that he seemed antsy and uncomfortable.

He had the talk with Christy about the head injury and how he blacked out for portions of the show and afterwards. She, as the boss and a concerned individual, gave him the Nth degree about checking in with medical staff after all head trauma, real or imagined. Of course, Ceno had no way of knowing and tried explaining it to her, but the fact that he took a shot to the head and went down the way he did, it was his responsibility to check in. As long as the Gaming Commission didn’t catch wind, or at least had a recovery regimen and report, HSW wouldn’t be getting fined; Ceno, however, was fined.

It wasn’t a heavy number, nor was it a light one. Ceno could pay it, but it still hurt. In Ceno’s fractured frame of mind, he was already on edge, volatile at the drop of a hat, and it made the Firestorm afraid of going off. It would be reminiscent of Jack’s massacre at this very spot back in EWE. It was a veritable bloodbath.

His mind had to focus on Eli, and he had to be focused on the questions. He knew that his style would have to change, in terms of what he would be asked and how he was to answer. There is still no script for him, but he was still a little twitchy, as his body language portrayed.

Everything seemed to stiffen and focus in him the minute Kelly starts talking.~

KL: Winter Survival is coming up and everyone is preparing for a hot time in the cold weather! With me is one of the members of Paragon. Lately, he has been showing himself to be someone of a different colour flag than his cohorts, training Maya Jensen to hold Amber Ryan to a virtual standstill in the tag team match at the last Slam. Still seen as an enemy, however, he continues to take part with the villains, as if trying to be the anti-hero.

~Ceno’s face lights up with the description, since an anti-hero can ride the line while still being the good guy.~

KL: He is the Firestorm, James Ceno. Thanks for being here, James.

JC: A thank-you? That’s something you haven’t given me in a while.

KL: You’ve been a pig.

JC: Oh yeah, I know.

KL: So, take us back to Slam. You finish your tag team match with Eli, Kris and Christy. At the end, Eli hits you with the Goode Deal, a running knee strike, across the head. The footage should be attached to this video in a frame somewhere.

JC: Yeah, it’s the technology.

KL: At the point of impact, on closer inspection, your head does show a bit of recoil there.

~She points to where a screen, in slow motion, displays the footage behind the camera. Ceno winces at the point of impact, and his head throbs with the memory of said impact.~

JC: Jesus...

KL: And what’s worse is...

~The scene continues.~

KL: you popped up once the scene ended for your tirade, with no direction at all.

JC: Yeah, I don’t remember that.

KL: Not at all?

JC: No, and that’s, I think, why I just went off.

~Ceno takes his forward, aggressive stance, leaning into the microphone in Kelly’s hand.~

JC: You see, Eli, you have put me in a very vulnerable position. Here I am, still suffering from the concussion YOU’RE responsible for. Here I am, forced to slow myself down in favour of recovery so that I can come back as healthy as I can, even though most brain trauma for someone my age is essentially impossible to fix. Eli, you hurt me: that is the most irresponsible thing to do in our business. We look out for each other, regardless of our roles. Yes, accidents do happen, but the malice and lack of care you put in... you’re still trying to get into Paragon, aren’t you? You’re trying to lick at Master’s heels so you can come into the house. Well it will not happen for you, Eli. The roster has been set; Paragon has been chosen. Jack has set us up and there will be no Eli Goode here. There will be no Elis here. You are barking up the wrong tree, pup, and I’m going to swat you with one of the branches from that same tree. I understand why you targeted me, Eli, and you had every right, but this isn’t EWE. This is HSW. You’re trying to be one tough son of a bitch, regardless of what others think of you, compared to the Kid, who the fans loved and hated in equal measure, but the cheers pushed you.

KL: What is the prognosis on recovery?

JC: This is my first major concussion, and nothing on my charts lists anything head-related. The MRI came back clean, other than the obvious signs of a concussion. But, Eli, because of this concussion, I have been sidelined from active in-ring training. You know what that means, don’t you? It means I can’t spar, train, or prepare for you in any way, shape or form. I can’t get into the ring with someone who uses your style. I can’t train with Jack to sharpen my mat game or striking or anything of that sort. Sure, I can beef up and get bigger and stronger, but for someone like you, I want to stay fast, mobile, agile. I want to keep up with you, and I will. I have. It’s how I got the North American Heavyweight title: I was faster than you. Sure I used a heel tactic, but who doesn’t? You got beaten by me once. You’ll get beaten by me again, and if you want to shoot for it, I’m right here, and I’ll burn you for the attempt.

KL: When it comes right down to it, James, Eli wants the title. He has been denied your spot in Paragon, so he might as well take something else from you that means a lot to you.

JC: Yes, exactly.

KL: Does Eli stand a chance?

JC: In Paragon? He wants to pretend that he plays for the team. He wants to be recognized by Jack as an effective player of the game, and this obsession is becoming toxic. It is always about re-creation, repetition, re-hashing. They don’t understand or know what it is to be an individual. I learned very quickly that I need to be the individual in a group dynamic. That is why I train my daughter in Albany, in the presence of a woman I spited by taking out her father with a chair and holding her up for Jack to demolish in three punches.

~Ceno takes a deep breath before changing subjects.~

JC: Does he stand a chance against me? If I’m not 100%, I will still fight, but I know the fight might be lost. I get you curled up with nowhere to run. I see you, how silent you are while you hide in fear. When it is you do fight, it is an empty fight and I hate seeing people alone. You’ll see what it is to be a champion when you face me, just like how you will all see what kind of champion I will be come Sole Survivor.

~With the sudden onset of a headache, James’ mannerisms become duller. He grabs his head, feeling unconsciousness trying to set in.~

JC: And you know that I tell the truth and nothing but the truth so you can keep running, or you can turn for that cheap shot, Kid, or you can man up, take it to the ring, and I know where the good stops are. I’d even tie the record...

~James stops himself, identifying the coherent ramblings of an injured man. He waves his hand and walks out to the backstage area before walking one more day.~

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So far, so good, but I need sleep.

I may not be able to train physically, but all this bed rest will work wonders on the mind.

It’s a mind you’ve affected with your errant knee strike.

I will make you suffer for it.

You have made me dizzy, wobbly, unsure, unsteady, unstable.

You have essentially made me a shell of myself.

I am the opposite of myself.

Beating you will be the beginning of my recovery.

The beginning of my victorious, rampant retribution.

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