● miss no fucks given
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● Monday May 6th, 2019 ✩ Royal Pines Hotel Urawa
Harlow Reichert finished applying a fresh coat of gloss to her lips and headed out of the bathroom of her hotel room. It was early evening, and the Empire Elitist had plans later on that night. An acquaintance from Christchurch was actually in the area, and Harlow was going to meet that person for dinner later. Harlow had been in Saitama, Japan since yesterday and had spent most of her time thus far sightseeing. Before discovering she actually cared about the sport and didn’t want to waste her talents, the biggest perk to becoming a professional wrestler for Harlow had been the traveling. From an early age, the redhead had been struck by wanderlust. At the very core of her being, Harlow was a dreamer. She wasn’t the most vocal, or most open person when it came to her feelings and her thoughts, but the inside of her mind was a picture perfect fairytale world that just begged to be explored. It was no secret that if Harlow could be anything in the world, it would be a writer. But because that wasn’t possible for her, being a wrestler and getting to perform in all these exotic countries was the next best option. It was amazing when you stopped to think about how far she had come in such a short time. All it taken was one bad match, and Harlow’s hazel eyes had been opened. No one deserved to be treated the way Harlow and Jax had been on Battleground, and ‘Miss No Fucks Given’ was working her butt off to try and ensure something like that never happened again. Harlow wanted to be respected, and at the end of the day, she was going to do the work and put forth the actual effort to make sure that happened.
Harlow headed over to her bed, where her suitcase was, and began to rifle through her clothing. She would never be mistaken for a fashionista, but Harlow did like to look presentable once in awhile. She pulled out a black skater style dress with pink floral print on it, a pair of black combat boots, and black knee socks. “Cute enough,” she muttered, and kicked off the sneakers she was currently wearing. Harlow went to grab her clothes and head back to the bathroom when her phone started to buzz.
It was Aron Reichert requesting a FaceTime call. Harlow rolled her eyes but accepted it anyway.
“So she is alive, I see.”
“Very funny. You know the schedule I keep these days,” Harlow dryly replied, and sat down on the edge of her bed.
“I do indeed, and keep a similar one myself, however that’s never stopped me from reaching out to people and checking in.”
“Spare me the dad lecture, Aron. It’ll just fall on deaf ears. You’ve got me on the phone now. How’s everything?”
Aron shot Harlow an exasperated look before replying. “All is well. Combat Church is well. Normani and I are doing well, thanks for asking.”
“You know I don’t care about Normani.”
Normani Reichert was Aron’s wife and Harlow did not get along with her at all. Part of the reason Harlow had decided to distance herself from Combat Church and Aron’s training was thanks to Normani. However, that’s another story for another day.
Aron sighed. “I’m well aware but believe it or not, she’s proud of you. We watched Grand Rampage and she was impressed with what you were able to do and how close you came to making it to the end.”
“Well the fact remains is that I didn’t make it to the end and officially there’s no match for me at Pain for Pride.”
“Right. A victory this week will get me to Terminus and more importantly, one step closer to Pain for Pride.”
“Are you looking to get a little revenge against Andrea for ending your Grand Rampage run?”
It was a fair question and one that Harlow knew was going to come up at some point this week. She had thought long and hard about it, but truthfully the redhead didn’t harbor any ill will towards the Heart of Empire.
“It could be anyone in that ring with me on Thursday and I would treat them the exact same way. I can’t fault Andrea whatsoever for doing what she needed to do to win. I just wish I could have gotten to her before she got to me. Andrea is a great competitor and I have no issues admitting that she got the better of me. This upcoming match will be much different though because it’s definitely more my style. I’m a pure wrestler and one-on-one matches is where I excel as you know.”
A little smirk touched Aron’s lips. “I guess we’re about to find out what happens when you don’t win Grand Rampage.”
Harlow glared at her brother. “I really hate Xav for making me think about that the night before the match.”
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Flashback ● The Night Before Grand Rampage ✩ Grand Club Lounge
“So what happens when you don’t win Grand Rampage?”
Harlow blinked and looked into Xavier’s cold, blue eyes. They very rarely told his story and gave away his actual thoughts. It was hard to read the man, but Harlow felt for the most part she could figure him out. His question had caught her off guard though. Grand Rampage was tomorrow and entertaining any other possibility but winning right now didn’t seem like something Miss No Fucks Given needed to do.
“You have to consider every possible scenario when you get into that ring tomorrow night. I’m not trying to shift your focus, but there is a real possibility that what you want to happen, won’t actually happen. Tell me. If Harlow Reichert isn’t the final woman standing, then where do you go? How do you recenter yourself when clearly you’ve put all your eggs in the Grand Rampage basket? How do you get to Pain for Pride, and somehow make yourself stand above all of your peers? There’s only a handful of spots, and as we have said time and time again, Empire is very competitive.” Xavier sat back in his seat as a waitress walked up to them.
“Good evening. What can I get you started with this evening?” The waitress was polite, but she never once looked over at Harlow. She kept her eyes firmly on Xavier’s, a coy little smile etched across her angelic looking face.
“Gentleman Jack on the rocks.” Xavier turned to Harlow. “Would you like anything?”
Harlow rolled her eyes at him. “Water, please.”
The waitress winked at Xavier and went to fill their orders, and Xavier let out a laugh. “She annoyed you.”
“Probably because I was sitting right here and she didn’t even acknowledge me. That’s completely rude and you know it.” Harlow folded her arms across her chest. “And so are your questions about what I’m supposed to do if I don’t win the match. You’re the one who constantly preaches to focus on one thing at a time and don’t look ahead.”
“You’ve been looking ahead this entire week, though,” Xavier pointed out, and he wasn’t wrong. “You already see yourself competing at Pain for Pride against Sienna or Raven, and I doubt that you’ve entertained the other possibility.”
“You sound like you’re saying me winning Grand Rampage is a little unrealistic.” Harlow couldn’t keep the disappointment out of her voice.
“I’m not saying that at all. I’m challenging you to examine all your options because contrary to what you want to believe, you can’t control everything that happens tomorrow night. This isn’t a traditional wrestling match, and you know that’s your strength. This is a battle in endurance, stamina, and intelligence. It boils down to luck and a little bit of finesse, and relying on other people to help you get the job done before it’s narrowed down enough that you can truly count on it being every woman for herself, and even then, it might not go that way until we have a final two. Just some food for thought and nothing for you to get irritated over.”
The waitress returned with their drinks and sat them both down on the table. “Anything else for you, sir?”
“I’m good, thanks.”
The waitress nodded and walked off.
“I’m glad I didn’t need anything else,” Harlow replied. She was definitely salty.
“You need to answer my question.”
“I don’t want to answer your question because honestly, I haven’t thought of anything else but winning Grand Rampage since I declared myself for it. You told me that finishing in the top five would be a good performance, but I don’t want to just have a ‘good’ night. I want to have a ‘great’ night and I want to start getting some recognition of my own. My wins have been nice but there was something Serena said earlier in the week that really hit me. Those wins haven’t come against anyone worth noting. If I want to be considered a world championship contender and a top woman on Empire, I need matches AND victories against the major players. I need to be inside the ring against Serena, Raven, Tyler, Sienna, Kassidy, Andrea, Consuela, and every other woman who is seen in a positive light. My competition thus far with the exception of Tyler hasn’t been anything to brag about. Those victories have been routine for me and I don’t really want this to be easy. I want to fight and I want to claw, and I want to show everyone just how far I’ve come. I came up short in that New Breed contendership match and that still bugs me. I hate the fact Tyler Wolfe seems to have my number because we can both agree that she is far from invincible. I should be able to beat her, and at least I’m getting another crack at her tomorrow. To ruin her chance at competing for the Women’s World Championship would erase every single L that I’ve take from her because I would have taken away something she feels is being withheld from her.”
“Do you honestly believe you are better than all those women you just named, Tyler included?”
“I think I’m just as good as them, and that I should be considered for the same opportunities that they get. Unlike some people, I don’t mind actually earning my keep. I don’t expect anything to be handed to me which is why I picture myself winning Grand Rampage. To win this match you will have EARNED it, and earned it several times over because everyone is going to give it all they’ve got. Finishing in the top five won’t satisfy me when I know that could cost me going into Pain for Pride.” Harlow bit down on her bottom lip. “You know I want this. You’re the person who told me that my primary goal for this year should be competing in a meaningful match at Pain for Pride. If I can do that, and continue to remain rock steady, my future is limitless.”
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“Well low and behold, yours truly didn’t win Grand Rampage.”
(A sigh escaped Harlow’s lips.)
“I won’t sit here and pretend that I’m not disappointed because I am. I had a goal in mind when I walked down to the ring that night, and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than obtaining victory. Things don’t always work out how we picture them, but I’m not going to be one of those people who let the bitter taste of defeat consume and define them, and wreck their confidence going forward. I’m realistic, and at the end of the day, that match could have gone to anyone. All of us who stepped into Grand Rampage had the same goal, and that was to win and headline Pain for Pride along with the Women’s World Champion. I would have loved nothing more than to have booked my spot at Pain for Pride, but unfortunately it just wasn’t written in the stars for me to do it that particular way. Since the beginning of the year, I have vocally stated that I had two goals to accomplish in 2019. The first one being to compete in a significant match at Pain for Pride. The second one being to hold championship gold. I’ve had the opportunity to capture contendership for the New Breed Championship, but I failed to earn a spot in that match for the Iconic Cup. This week on Empire, I have another chance to earn a title shot.
I've been in this position before and chasing the Specialists Championship is not an entirely new scenario for me. Contendership matches themselves aren't a foreign concept to me at this point either. I've had a couple and they have all left me yearning for more, as you all know by now. Months ago, I had a chance to become the Specialists Champion. Tyler Wolfe and I took one another to hell and back in a best two-out-of-three falls match. I managed to pin the champion for the second fall but I wasn't quite up to par when it came to getting the decisive one. I have learned from that loss, and at that moment in my career, that match was huge for me. It gave me a taste of what it was truly going to take to succeed in this business, and overall it was the beginning of my maturation as a professional wrestler, competitor, and person. I've been in Elite Answers Wrestling for almost a year and if I were a more a humble person, I would be somewhat ashamed of the time I wasted in the beginning. However, I needed go through that in order to get to where I am right now, and right now I'm in the best possible position I could be in. A victory this week gets me the opportunity to accomplish both of my goals at once. If I’m able to get myself to Terminus and knock off Consuela Rose Ava, I could literally walk into the biggest event of the year as a champion, and defend that title in front of all those people. Defending the Specialists Championship would definitely be a significant match for me, and it would honestly be the perfect way to end my rookie season here in Elite Answers Wrestling.
I never like to get ahead of myself though, and the best advice Xavier has ever given me, is to simply take it one week at a time. Right now, my objective is to walk into Empire and square off against a former two-time champion here in EAW in Andrea Valentine. This match is funny to me for a couple of different reasons, and both of them are very obvious. Back at Grand Rampage, Andrea and I became linked together in the history books. We share the record for the most eliminations in Grand Rampage, having each gotten four. I give the ‘Heart of Empire’ props for that. She’s always been someone who gets inside the ring and gives it her all. Her ability to bounce back from crushing losses is admirable, and the fact her fighting spirit never wavers is something I somewhat admire. She gave everything she had to Grand Rampage, and I know that she wanted nothing more than to headline Pain for Pride. I personally felt her need and desperation inside that match because she’s the one who crushed my dreams and took me out of the equation. I don’t hold grudges because at the end of the day, Andrea did what she had to do and I know that it wasn’t personal. Business is business, and both of us wanted to win.
It’s been a rough year for Andrea, because every time she gets her hands on something worth having it, it’s unceremoniously taken from her and she’s left to once again pick up the pieces and reevaluate her direction. I know that a lot of people are rooting for her, and I know that come Empire I’m going to be the villain once the two of us step inside the ring. I don’t mind playing the role of spoiler, and if I have to be the bad guy in this situation so be it. Some of my favorite book characters ever are the so-called ‘outlaws’ of the story; the anti-heroes. I can wear multiple hats, and play different parts, and this week is just as much about me as it is about Andrea. I’m fully aware that people are more invested in her as a person, performer, and professional wrestler. Everyone wants the best for Andrea Valentine, and if she weren’t standing in my way of achieving my dreams, I would be rooting for her as well. Her story is compelling, and for as much as I appreciate a good villain, my heart will always belong to the strong, independent heroine of the story. One of these days Andrea is going to get an opportunity to be the heroine we all want her to be, but I can’t let her do it at my expense this week.
My career started off horribly here in EAW, and that is no one’s fault but mine. I desperately want to rectify that and show people that I’m someone worth investing in as well. My struggles aren’t the same as Andrea’s, and I’m certainly not as decorated of a performer as she is, but I’m just getting my feet wet here. In before someone says that because you are new, there will be plenty of opportunities in the future. That’s not necessarily the case, especially when you are on a competitive brand like Empire. The talent on our show surpasses that on all other brands, and I dare someone to try and argue that point with me. There are plenty of women who could realistically call themselves the face of Empire, while Showdown, Dynasty, and Voltage only have two or three people who are truly the cream of the crop. Empire is a difficult show to break out on, and that’s why you have so many girls who walk around bitter and jaded about their positions within the hierarchy. Everyone wants to be at the top, but there’s only so many world title shots that can be handed out, and only so many marquee matches a person can compete in on any given day. I know how hard it’s going to be for me to get to Pain for Pride and represent Empire in a huge match, and that’s why I’m willing to go the extra mile to ensure I get the job done this week, and every other week after that.
My talent is limitless and now that I’m starting to understand what I need to do to harness it, I know I’m well on my way to becoming an unstoppable force inside that ring. That Specialists Championship AND going to Pain for Pride is all the motivation I need to make sure I go into Empire will my full focus on the task at hand. One-on-one matches is where I excel and not even someone as highly regarded as Andrea can match my skill set. She is a great wrestler, and I’m taking nothing away from her whatsoever, but I am better. There’s not a single woman on Empire who can do what I do inside the ring. My results might not backup those claims just yet, but that falls on my shoulders. That falls on me for not working hard enough, for not taking my opponents seriously, and for not truly wanting to taste victory and get to that next level. When I want something this bad, I’m hard to stop, however I know Andrea is going to come out swinging. I can’t completely rely on my size and strength advantage against her because Andrea is used to being the smallest competitor in the ring. I know she’s defeated bigger, stronger, and more powerful athletes during her career here. We all saw what she did last year at Pain for Pride. She took Hurricane Hawk, TLA, and Andrei Sokolova to their limit and defeated all three of them to capture the Openweight Championship. She defeated Terry Chambers to successfully defend that belt, and when he’s not being murdered by The Roundtable he is pretty effective inside the ring. Andrea holds victories over the top tier of Empire, and she can mask her lack of size with in-ring awareness and just the sheer will to survive.
But so am I and I need this victory just as much as she does.
Everything she’s got in the tank, I’ll make sure to have an answer for. I won’t let her get into position to catch me off guard, because I’ll make sure to keep her grounded. If I can apply what I know best which is ground and pound, Andrea won’t have a chance. I will wear her out, keep her off her feet, and not give her to the ability to get the crowd involved. Once those people see their beating ‘Heart of Empire’ getting the absolute snot kicked out of her by ‘Miss No Fucks Given’ they are going to be left in shock. The best part of my game, and something that sets me apart from everyone else on Empire is that when that bell rings, I have no attachment to anyone. I don’t care who stands across from me because I’m going for the win every single time. With a snap of my fingers I can turn off all emotions and truly not give a fuck about what’s going on around me. That’s why I know no matter how the crowd reacts to both of us on Thursday night, I’ll remain in my zone. No distractions and there will be zero fuckery. I fully expect Andrea to dish out just as much as she takes from me, but the difference between us is that I’ll be able to keep her down. I won’t make the same mistakes her other opponents have, and I won’t let the energy of the crowd and her millions of fans rattle me. My journey to Pain for Pride is just as important, and so is my quest to become champion here in Elite Answers Wrestling. We all have a story, and even though mine doesn’t have as many chapters as Andrea, it’s still worth reading. It’s worth continuing to write, and Harlow Reichert as the EAW Specialists Champion will be one hell of a subplot.
No one expected me to last in this company for very long. I didn’t even expect myself to last here if we’re being honest. But it took a bad experience and the right person, and my confidence and belief has never been higher. I have come a long way, and I’m just as deserving of winning this match as Andrea. Because I’ve been forced to entertain the question, ‘what happens if you don’t win Grand Rampage’, I’ve had to search for answers and map out a much different path. This one is just as good, in my opinion, and I don’t want to think of other scenarios if somehow the unthinkable happens on Empire. I’m not sure I’m truly ready to dig that deep, and thankfully I’m confident enough to believe that I won’t have too. When Empire is done, and my hand is raised, I’ll take comfort in the fact I’m heading to Terminus and I’m going to capture the first of many championships here in EAW. Andrea’s ability to bounce back will serve her well, and she’ll be fine. I want this match and I’m taking it.
Then I’m going to take that Specialists Championship from Consuela Rose Ava and stamp my ticket to Pain for Pride.”