A Wrestling Tale 1.03.02: Benefits Of Being Fired By The WWF

“Rick, thanks for meeting with me. Listen, you know that we’ve been making some roster cuts as of late, right? ”

My name is Rick. I validated living this life using three basic truths. First of all, I was meant to be a professional wrestler. I might not be the best in the world at giving an interview and there might be better workers then me, but I know what I’m doing in that ring. I had the look, I had the skills. I had it. It got me to the WWF, but it didn’t get me past the midcard. I don’t know where it stopped being enough, but somewhere along the line it just seemed to disappear. One day I was doing my thing in the ring that I always do and the fans just stopped making noise. I could almost hear the flushing of toilets in the arena. So, I didn’t have it anymore. I was no longer meant to be a professional wrestler.

Secondly, I could earn good money doing this. What, was I going to go back to the docks? Was I going to go crying back to my uncle, begging for a job in his candy factory? The money I made during my first two years with the WWF, the contract that I signed for the next three years, the money just dwarfed anything I had ever dreamed of making. It was the fact that the WWF had a rather small buyout clause in my contract that got me into so many problems. When the fans stopped cheering, they told me I’d have to take a pay cut or they’d exercise their buyout option. I took a paycut. Then I took another. Then I took another. I was the new Marc Mero, and they’d be damned if they let me get away with what he got away with. I can now say that the money that I make is not enough for me to consider it good money. It’s money, but I could stay home and make this.

Thirdly, I could provide for my family.

“No, you don’t have to take another pay cut. We appreciate all of the pay cuts you’ve taken over the years, but look. This arrangement just isn’t working out for any of us. Now, we will give you the same amount of severance pay as in your original contract.”

Excuse him. He interrupted me, and before this meeting is over I’m going to stab him in the hand with a salad fork.

Thirdly, I could provide for my family. That’s what this all came down to in the end. I got married when I was 18 to my high school sweetheart. Well, not so much sweetheart as cheerleader that I knocked up. We have this beautiful girl named Nicky at home. No description of her can do her justice. She’s my heart and I deprived myself of my heart during these past 12 years so I could wrestle. Well, I can’t provide for her anymore, and I can’t provide for my wife.

My three basic truths are lies. Maybe they’ve always been lies. Maybe I just loved the rush of being in the ring, loved the crowd, hated my family. I can not imagine being a stay at home dad now. I’m 30, she’s 12. She doesn’t need me anymore, but I’ll force myself on her. No, not like that you sick freaks. I’ll force my company on her. There’ll be no more plans about what to do when I get home from the road. I loved those amusement park weekends, those Foxwood two day holidays. I was Santa Claus, and I came once a month. She won’t be so happy to see me anymore when I want to talk about how her day at school was, when I ask about the boys hitting on her. I bet I hear the phrase, “What, now you want to be my dad?” I bet I hear that phrase about 20 times in the next year.

What am I going to do now? The candy factory has been sold, and my knees are too bad to take a job at the docks. Maybe I could be a bouncer. I’d be a good bouncer. I look intimidating. I’m sure that some punk will try to fight with me because I was a professional wrestler, but so long as they don’t attack the knee, I’ll be fine. What? The indies? I guess I don’t have the love for this business like other people. I will not go back to square one. It took me three years to get a dark match with the WWF. It took me six years to get a contract. It took me six year to get to square two. I can’t go back to square one. I will not cut myself open in front of sixty people for fifty bucks. I will not drive to Wyoming to meet some promoter who doesn’t want to pay me. I will not be a traveling circus freak. I refuse it. I absolutely refuse it.

“There are some papers you need to sign to make this official. It’s nothing personal. You’ve lost that spark. I don’t know how to describe it, but something is different about you.”

Oh my God. This man is so getting a salad fork right in the palm of his hand. This fat bastard. I need to find my spark? How about I poor some gasoline on you and take out my lighter and find my spark? You fat bastard. You ass kissing son of a bitch. I oughta ram that goddamned cowboy hat up your fat ass, you son of a whore! I need to calm down. I need to locate a salad fork. Why’d I decide on a salad fork? Well, it’s done and now I need one.

That son of a bitch. How dare they fire me? I gave up half my goddamned salary because they wouldn’t put me in a program that could get me over. I got the cheers, but instead of pushing me they just let me simmer in the midcard to pay my dues. Yeah, I sure wonder how a person who gets over and then jobs about 90 times in a row to everyone not a street jobber is going to stay over. These bastards. They’ve taken my life away from me. Forget the salad fork. I’m going to take a dump right here in this office.

What am I going to do at home? I’m going to be a bother. You get to a certain point in a long distance relationship where things become settled. I’m sure at first they wondered what they would do without me. Now I’m going to interject myself into their comfortable little lives. It’s wrong. It’s not the right thing to do. It’s unfair to them.

“You need to understand our position here.”

I need to understand nothing, you fat piece of crap!

“Excuse me?”

Uh oh. Did I just say that out loud? Yep, I sure did.

“Did you just call me a fat piece of crap?

Why can’t I say anything? I want to destroy this man. I want to make him squirm. I want to make him beg for mercy and pray for me to accept his apology and my job. My job. I’m fired. I’ve been told I am no good at the only thing I’ve ever been good at.

What the hell?

“Yeah, I did call you a fat piece of crap. Am I fired? Say it, say the words fat boy. YOU’RE FIRED!”

I nod my head. This poor guy. Rick is a company man in every sense of the word. He has taken pay cut after pay cut to continue wrestling badly. But he’s just not very good at his job. We gave him chance after chance, feud after feud, and he wasted all of them with laziness. His routine never changed, and all routines have to change if they’re to stay fresh. I guess he’s just had enough. Oh God. He’s throwing things. I don’t want to call security on him. He should not have to leave this building flanked by two security guards. Maybe four. He’s a big boy. We’re giving him forty thousand dollars, and I had to pressure Vince to give him that. Oh dear God, he’s pulling down his pants. I have to call security. This is disgusting. This is disgraceful.

“Security.”

“Oh, calling security fat boy? I’ll be gone soon enough. Just saying goodbye to you like we did to Rena!”

I need to leave. We shouldn’t do this to them, but we’re a business. They knew that. They know that. In business, you don’t he’s gone. He was going to take a shit in my office but instead he just left. Where’d he go?

I can’t do this. I can’t take a crap in someone’s office. He said there were some papers I needed to sign to make it official. Until I sign those papers, I’m an employee. I still have full benefits. I still have company life insurance.

Oh, there he is. End of the hall. Maybe I can catch him. Maybe I shouldn’t try.

I still have life insurance, but once I sign those papers the three basic truths to my life will no longer exist.

I’ll wave for him to come back. I hate it when this happens.

I have life insurance but no more life. He wants me to come back. He has a lovely window.

Good, he’s coming back, and he looks calm. Oh shit, he’s running. Security! SECURIT oh my god no.

I love you Nicky.

“OH MY GOD! WHAT HAPPENED?”

“Rick. He he tried to attack me but tripped over something. He fell through the window. He wasn’t fired yet. He still had benefits.”