MATCH PROMO » balance of expectations.

Andrea Valentine

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#1
Usually, when I have a tag partner, they aren't coming into this in the condition that Layla Lockhart was last seen in on last week's Empire. The issues of The Pride - or what used to be The Pride, I guess - are something that I'm hoping can be pushed aside by Layla to focus in on getting this win. Still coming off of losing at King of Elite myself, but channeling everything I've felt since then into doing my part to help beat down the Crowe's Nest this week and focusing on this is what'll be necessary. I know what I've got to do and I'm sure that Layla knows what she has to do, especially when going up against someone she's had plenty of history with, meaning that we're already one step in the right direction to victory. But with that said, I know nothing about this match will be easy to pull off for a number of reasons, especially when we've got Raven over there doing everything she can to pick away at Layla's emotions knowing the state she's in. You've done a lot to Layla - injured her, put her out of action and on the shelf - all just to get a point across and show that you aren't who everyone first took you as, to make it clear that you're very much a dangerous threat to anyone and everyone you get into the ring with. Obviously, you've already got an idea of where I stand on that and really it was a fucked up thing to do, but for as much of a bitch as you've been, I'm not about to let that take away from the fact that you're still more than just a solid competitor in the ring. I watched on as you carried that New Breed Championship through stellar matches, undoubtedly would have won the Women's World Championship at Road to Redemption, and now we're here in somewhat similar situations when it comes to us looking to pick ourselves back up from our losses with more than just hope in mind to get back where we want to and need to be. It's never really just about hoping that things go right the next time, you and I both know that, which is why I'm not coming into this hoping that Layla makes a miraculous recovery from the bullshit that went down last week and instead, I'll do everything I can to make up for any areas where she won't be able to come through as any good tag team partner would. Even with everything that happened between her and Remi, Layla's still willing to get into that ring and that's something I can appreciate because it lets me know that she's still willing to fight, that she hasn't completely given up even when in the wake of The Pride's disbandment.

But am I expecting you and Jael to cower in fear at the thought of that? Not in the slightest, and I wouldn't expect the thought of it to even cross your minds as you're still some of the best well-rounded competitors I've seen individually and as a team. But that doesn't mean I'm not about to get into that ring and hold back just because it's you two I'm against with Layla still hurting. A lot of people will look at Layla and think of the state she's in as a detriment, that she's going to hold me back and that we'll just be easy pickings for the Crowe's Nest to show that you'll continue on dominating Empire, but all I see is a reason to fight harder. I see another reason to work harder, and what we do out there in that together will reflect that. Will Layla's condition make this that more of a challenge for both of us? Absolutely. Undoubtedly. But I'm willing to work through whatever gets thrown our way out there to show that for every thought that crossed through anyone's mind that we should drop out of this match, that we were only that much more driven to succeed at the end of all this.

It's true that I haven't beaten the Crowe's Nest in a team effort before and when I saw what the match this week was, I knew what this would be about. Jael, we've had our run-ins before and it's been a while since the last time you and I shared a ring for a match, but I knew our paths would inevitably cross again with your return. That thought though wasn't met with dread, it wasn't met with a defeated sigh but instead, I knew that I'd have to be as best prepared to go toe-to-toe with you when the time came and I am. There's no denying that the both of us said a lot of shit to each other in the early stages of our career, whether it was trying to get under each other's skin or just straight up letting each other know that what the fuck happened in the ring would be a testament to what either of us could prove to be capable of. In that amount of time since then? We've both come a long way, had to overcome doubts at plenty of different points, but for Layla and I, this will be a match where we show how far we've come and the mountains we're daring to climb to make it to the other side. But the thing about all of this is that it's one mountain after another, challenge after challenge that we all have to be willing to look in the eyes and battle back against the waves that crash into us with the intention of pushing us back for their own agenda. In a sense, I know we're swimming with the sharks but with what I'm sure Layla and I can still prove to be able to do, our bite can prove to be as lethal to anyone's chances as the next. We're coming into this on the understanding that we know we'll have to really work for this win, but do you think I'm honestly worried about that? If I was scared of legit competition, I would've fucked off to some other company but when you've tasted success on a stage like EAW, when you know that this is the place to be if you really want to work to make something of yourself, everything's only met with determination to continue to work up. Even when it looks like I've been knocked completely down, I'm punching my way back up like I'm prepared to have to do in this match and that's something I feel Layla wouldn't be backing away from either; we wouldn't be here otherwise.

Sure, no one knows what Layla and I are able to do as a team, but this wouldn't be the first time that we're coming in with shadows of doubt cast on us but we've never let that keep up us from going into a match before. While Layla's had her close calls with wins, even pinning the last Empress of Elite's shoulders to the mat just like the rest of us in this match have done before, it's known what I'm able to do. My Specialists Championship reign wasn't really anything to brag about and there are things that Raven said about it that are true, I know, but I can still bring it in that ring, I can still be calculated and I can still go even in light of defeat. Sure, I'm not out here running around snapping spines and shit, or trying to crush someone's eye with a knee strike, but I know how to exploit an opening in a match when I see one and I'll ride it all the way to a victory for Layla and myself. Our dynamic as a team doesn't look too damn hot to anyone else right now and that's understandable, and shifting that balance of expectations isn't something we'll be able to change until the bell rings and the match is over, but in this uphill battle I'm still confident in what we can still do. People thinking there's the chance we "could" win is slim, that's just judging it from their different points, but we can turn "could" into "did" and all it'll take is three seconds, three hits of the referee's hand on the mat for everyone to know that we did what they might've thought as impossible - and so long as I'm able to do anything about it, we will.
 

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