The moments following the 'Back in Town' PPV ending (spoilers)

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The Golden One

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Peacock breaks off his hug with Price and he rests his new championship on his shoulder and he embraces some fans in the front row as he makes his way around the ring. He stops though when he glances at the ring and locks eyes with Devin Golden. There is a moment whether neither says or does anything, but a small smile forms on Golden’s face. He doesn’t need to say anything. Chris can tell just from how Golden is looking at him that he proved himself. He won that championship by earning it. There is a small nod in reciprocation and perhaps appreciation for Golden, but Peacock then returns to enjoying his moment with the fans.

After "Disco's Last Warrior" Chris Peacock exits the ringside area, "The Rotten Gold" Devin Golden remains inside the ring. He can barely stand after the bruising match with the newly crowned FWA World Champion, so he leans against one of the turnbuckles closest to the entrance and exit ramp. The referee for the match retrieves Golden's "bowler hat" (as the Europeaners say) and the walking cane he does not need. And despite what you may think about him needing the cane right now, Golden has too much pride. He'll limp and even crawl his ass out of here before he needs the cane in this moment.

"The Rotten Gold" twirls in his right hand the walking cane he absolutely, positively, emphatically, unquestionably, assertively, purposefully, and defiantly does not need while moving to the center of the ring. With shaky knees and an unstable posture, Golden slowly leans his upper body forward, removes his bowler hat, and bows for the remaining fans in the Ball Arena of Denver, Colorado.

What happens next is left for interpretation to the fan. If you'd rather Golden get lost, then maybe you'd focus on the heckling and "fuck you, Golden!" chants and tell everyone who asks that's what the crowd was chanting. If you are on the opposite end, then you'll focus on the cheering and the "thank you, Golden!" chants and tell everyone who asks that it was a display of gratitude to an undisputed FWA legend. Either way, Golden bows and curtseys before rising up, placing the hat back on his head, and once more, bellowing a "HA-HAAAA" although in the post-match fatigue, it doesn't have the volume or the length of some others.

Golden exits the ring -- one last time? -- and slowly limps to the stage. He doesn't prolong this moment any further. Just a turn to everyone watching and a "thank you" with his eyes closed, before turning again and stepping toward the curtain.





There were some conversations along the way -- not many, but some. I push open the double set of doors leading to the Ball Arena parking lot. It all feels very surreal, very deja vu-esque. And, well, there's a reason for that.

Man, I’m hurting. I think I was described on the show as “beat down and bruised, but happy as can be.” You’re damn right I’m battered and bombed but gleeful. My back hurts. My neck hurts. My head is throbbing. Yeah, my head is absolutely throbbing. Like someone has arrows piercing the gooey texture of my brain. Like someone is carving up my skull with a steak knife.

As I slowly walk through the indoor, enclosed, covered area of the parking lot, I feel the brisk, cold night air of Denver, Colorado slap the exposed skin of my face, arms, and legs -- just like last time.

I’ve just noticed how cold it is right now. It’s Denver, Colorado on December 26th, so of course it’s cold. But it’s also thin air. It’s tough to breathe, especially when I’m a little short on energy and breath to begin with. So this isn’t fun to walk. Denver, Colorado for Mile High? It feels like it’s every damn time I’m cold walkin’ out of the show. Why can’t the ride be at the door?

Another similarity between the two? The Uber ride is not waiting on the side of the road. It's not in the parking lot. It's not anywhere nearby. So, just like last time, I have to hobble my way through this parking lot in the dead of night as headlights of fans' cars are all stacked in a pile, the final evidence of a post-PPV traffic jam.

Fuck it. I’m a seven-time FWA Tag Team Champion. I am “The Rotten Gold.” Get out my way. I can walk 5 miles through pain. 10 miles. 20 miles. ... Just another thirty steps. Let’s count them. That’ll help me get there – mentally.

Then, I think to myself, "Do I want to get there mentally?" Do I want to do these next 30 steps? Do I want to leave this place ... forever? Do I want ... this?

Even as I think about this, I keep walking. Maybe 15 steps now from the exit gate of the parking lot and the sidewalk where an Uber ride will be waiting. Now it's 10 steps. Now it's 5 steps. It's like my body knows I need to keep walking.

As I reach the sidewalk, my head down, I let out one last deep breath. The cold Denver air presents my breath visibly. I do it again. A third time. It's centering.

Then, I look up, and park my eyes on a set of oncoming headlights. Slowly pulling up next to me along the curb is a black Toyota Camry. When the back door opens -- almost magically -- there are three people waiting for me inside. One, the driver, is a male in his mid-forties with tattoos down his arms and glasses covering his eyes. The next, the occupant of the driver-side backseat (opposite me), is a frail-looking man with a red tomato T-shirt. He's fast asleep.

The occupant of the front passenger's seat, though, is wide awake. A woman with striking blonde hair that waves down just past her shoulders, turns around. I'm expecting a smile -- or some sage advice that comforts me in this moment -- but she offers nothing.

"It's too fuckin' cold for ya' to be wantin' a sentimental moment. Either we goin' or we ain't."

Shannon turns back around and props her feet onto the car's interior dashboard before leaning the seat back to remove nearly all leg room for whoever (meaning me) sits behind her.

The driver then turns around and looks at me.

"We did good."

I nod my head, but then I look at the ground.

"I wish I could've done more."

"Everyone does. You'll be here forever wishing you could do a little bit more."


A pause. I can sense Shannon growing frustrated by this ongoing conversation with the cold air of Denver seeping into the car.

"There's no such thing as a perfect ending, right?"

"It's whatever ending you want it to be,"
the driver responds. "You don't have to go, you know? You decided this is how it'd be, but you can turn around. You're allowed to stay for as long as you want."

There's a temptation to my subconscious' words, but it's a temptation I was mentally prepared to face. I knew it was my decision, and I also knew the decision has been made. I am never coming back, because I need to move on.

"You're with me until the last word, right?" I ask, and before my subconscious can answer, Shannon groans and barks a response.

"Man, what the fuck you think we here for? A midnight drive for snacks? Fuck, man. It's COLD! That's why we all here, even that joke ya' made in the back seat. We doin' this together, ain't we? Shit, I ain't even got anythin' after this. I'm just nothin'. You at least get to go back 'n wake up!"

Shannon's words get me to chuckle -- they were just what I needed to relieve some of the nerves and tension with the situation.

“I got … a bit of a hurtin’ head … so leave me be, yeah?”

A nod from the driver is all I need to affirm that he -- at least he -- will leave me be for this drive. I slip into the car with my bowler hat still on my head and find a small crease of space for the walking cane I definitely do not need. When I close the door, the car slowly drives away. And my perspective somehow shifts a slight bit from first-person to third-person, almost as if I'm watching myself from outside the car while also existing inside.

That's because XYZ has walked outside into the cold Denver, Colorado night air and watched a nondescript black Toyota Camry slowly drive away. XYZ knows nothing of the situation -- he got here far too late to truly understand -- but nonetheless feels compelled to keep watching. So, too, do the group of Frank, Wild Jerry, PacMan Bert, Sierra, and a tiny child in Sierra's arms.

"Why ya' walk 'round with that damn cane anyways? Ya' ain't even need it!"

Shannon's question and astute observation are the last thing anyone hears, as even the car itself becomes soundless. It reaches the nearby intersection as a nighttime fog lowers below the green trees and nearby buildings of downtown Denver. When the car turns left at the intersection, the fog is thick enough and low enough to serve as a gateway for the car to enter. And at some point, like a ghost vanishing and making you wonder if it ever existed at all, the red tail lights are no longer visible.
 
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Tig

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PLEASE DON'T GO

PLEASE DON'T GO

PLEASE DON'T GO
 
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