It doesn’t matter.
W I L D H E A R T
How much I have to train.
Chapter Two: Start Again
How sore, how tired, how exhausted I am.
Grand Rampage, April 18-19th, 2020
I’ll be the best version of myself I can.
I’ll be even greater.
“Forty rolling Germans”
“WHO ARE YOU TO CALL ANYTHING SLOPPY? YOU’VE BEEN SITTING ON THAT BEER FOR THE LAST THREE DAYS”
“Is Jamie’s great student rebelling against his teacher’s instructions?”
It had been three days. Three days of spending almost every waking hour in this gym under the tutelage of Desmond Helms. But Jalyn didn’t feel as if the relentless training and dealing with the overbearing nature of Desmond was getting the best of him. No, instead he felt more prepared and ready to charge straight to San Francisco to challenge for the New Breed Championship. This time the sun had set, exhausted and his legs barely able to keep his body up, Jalyn gripped the grappling dummy around the waist and hoisted it up and over his head into a bridge before using his core to bring himself back over the dummy. Again he hoisted it up and over his head, this time struggling to transition out of the bridge.
“I feel like my stomach is about to collapse in on itself” Jalyn remarked, barely capable of getting the words out between the fastening pace of his breath. “Oi, don’t you get queasy there” Desmond responds with little care, flicking through his phone and a can of beer in a hand.
“Are you even watching?!?” Jalyn yelled.
The two were positioned at opposite sides of the gym with the gym between them. At this point Desmond’s ‘throne’ of beers was down to a mere 3 cases, barely allowing him to peek over the ring and see Jalyn.
“Aye. I’m watching you, why wouldn’t I? That would make me a pretty lousy coach.”
“YOU HAVE DRUNK MORE THAN HALF THE BEER YOU GOT IN JUST THREE DAYS AND YOU’RE ON YOUR PHONE ALL THE TIME SCROLLING THROUGH TINDER. IT’S A PANDEMIC AND EVERYONE IS STUCK AT HOME” Explodes Jalyn with frustration at the lack of care and tardiness of his trainer.
“AH HA! That means less competition for my irresistible Aussie charm. Besides, that’s not true. I’m not always on my phone” Desmond replies, a grin and a slight chuckle in his voice. “I only have two hands. Can’t drink, eat and scroll through my phone at the same time”
“I fucking hate you” the thought has slowly grown in Jalyn’s mind for days.
“Now, less complaining, more Rolling Germans! And right now I’m not seeing a grappling dummy going flying over the ri--”
Desmond’s sudden pause created some awkwardness in the air. Enough for Jalyn to stop his workout and stare at his trainer, who himself was staring down at his phone.
Jamie: lmao justin bodied you.
“WHAT DID THAT CUNT SAY ABOUT ME? I FUCKING SWEAR I’LL WALK OVER TO THAT SHITHOLE OF A CITY HE’S IN AND DRAG HIM AN OUTBACK STYLE OF BEATING AND NOT THAT FRAUDULENT OUTBACK CHAIN THEY HAVE HERE, BUT THE REAL OUTBACK. I BET HE’S NEVER STUCK A BIT OF HOSE INTO A GATORADE BOTTLE AND MADE A MAKESHIFT BONG IN HIS LIFE! GAH, THIS BROWN-EYED MULLET JUST PISSED OFF THE WRONG GUY. IF ONLY I HAD MY KOALA WITH ME I WOULD HAVE HIM RIP JUSTIN’S FACE OFF!”
“I thought it was for emotional suppo--”
Before Jalyn could finish, Desmond was in his face, nose to nose. He could feel the warm air released through his nostrils on his face as Desmond turned a bright, bright red absolutely seething.
“THEY ARE VERY VERSATILE CREATURES JALYN DON’T EVER GET THAT MISTAKEN. ONE MOMENT YOU CAN CUDDLE THEM AND THE NEXT THEY’LL RIP YOUR FUCKING FACE TO SHREDS! ANYWAY, WHY AM I ONLY LEARNING THIS FROM JAMIE HUH? WHAT? YOU COULDN’T TELL ME?!?”
“Haha, well, you see I didn’t think it was important at all after all you DID say I have to be in complete focus for this match!” Jalyn responded, a smile on his face and his hands trying to push Desmond away, giving him some space should Desmond lash out.
But instead, Desmond relaxed, putting Jalyn at ease.
“Ah yes of course, I knew that.” Desmond confidently and arrogantly replies. “But! Now I would like you to add a more personal reason to your fight! You shouldn’t allow your opponents to walk over anyone who trains you; it’s not right for others to disrespect and insult those who are not involved!”
“Yeah I’m not doing that” Jalyn flatley remarks as he turns his back on Desmond and makes his way back towards the dummy.
“OI! WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF HE INSULTED JAMIE, HUH? OR CAMERON, HUH?” Desmond yells despite having already followed Jalyn closely, thus screaming into his ear.
“Jamie doesn’t need someone else to fight his battles and that’s the same deal with Cameron. Two peas in a pod. What? You can’t fight your own battles?” Jalyn questioned.
Desmond pulled out his phone and showed a letter stating he will never be able to work permanently in the United States.
“Sucks to be you”
“Don’t be like that I could leave this very instant an--”
“Good, do it, leave” Jalyn cuts him off.
“I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE YOU’RE STUCK WITH ME FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK.” Desmond exhausted, wrapping his arm around Jalyn’s shoulder. “And what would you be doing without me? Kids your age, in a time like this, just think of all the terrible, terrible things you could be getting yourself into.”
“You’re an alcoholic and probably a drug addict, why would I listen to you?” This time Jalyn kept those thoughts to himself.
“Just look at the New Breed Champion, a terrible terrible influence on young people. I could never go on camera and parade around in such a delinquent manner!”
“Wasn’t your Pain For Pride entrance going to promote drinking alcohol?” Again, Jalyn kept these thoughts to himself.
Desmond smacked Jalyn across the back of the head, causing Jalyn to stumble forward and trip over the grappling dummy but Desmond took no notice of the fall and instead made his way back to his pile of beer.
“Now, you’ve wasted a good amount of time here Jalyn. You’ve had your rest! And now you'll do--”
“FUCK NO, WAIT!”
“ONE HUNDRED ROLLING GERMANS!” Desmond proudly proclaims with a finger in the air.
“YOU SAID FORTY, THAT WASN’T A ‘REST’, IT WAS A DISTRACTION YOU CAUSED AND NOW I’M STARVING. I HAVEN’T EATEN SINCE BREAKFAST AND IT'S ALREADY 10PM” Jalyn replied, hurling the grappling dummy over the ring and sending it crashing into a pyramid of empty beer cans Desmond had been working on.
“OH BOO HOO LITTLE JALYN GARCIA IS HUNGRY. IF YOU DO ONE HUNDRED MORE ROLLING GERMANS I’LL BUY YOU A KEBAB”
“A KEBAB?!? I TRIED ONE ON SUNDAY AND IT WAS FUCKING SHIT! IT WAS AN OILY WRAP!”
“HEY! DON’T YOU DARE INSULT ANOTHER CULTURE. IT’S NOT A WRAP, IT’S AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THING! WHAT IF I INSULTED YOUR CULTURE OF TACOS AND CALIFORNIA BURRITOS?!?”
“I’M NOT MEXICAN AND A CALIFORNIA BURRITO ISN’T A MEXICAN DISH ANYWAY.”
“IF THERE IS ONE THING I’VE LEARNED BY BEING IN A DRUNKEN STATE IN THIS COUNTRY, IT’S THAT TACO BELL IS AUTHENTIC CUISINE. MAYBE I SHOULD TRAIN YOU EVERY DAY, EVERY WEEK, EVERY MONTH AND EVERY YEAR BECAUSE AT LEAST YOU’LL BECOME CULTURED LIKE ME!”
“CULTURED? JUST BECAUSE YOU AUSTRALIANS EAT A KEBAB WHEN YOU’RE DRUNK AT 3AM IN THE MORNING AFTER A NIGHT OUT DOESN’T MAKE YOU CULTURED”
“...how dare you!”
Are you religious, Justin?
This past weekend among the Coronavirus pandemic has reminded me of the idiocy that exists among them. People believe that their faith will save them, protect them from falling ill. And yet they become shocked that a pastor, who tells them that they will be okay, that they will be protected, contracted the virus and died. This is their apparent faith. Faith, something so intangible, something that exists in hypothetical only. They can’t exactly prove the existence of their God, but they believe it to be true. And while I started this with judgement, calling it idiocy, it’s the way they live their lives. Something that they cannot see, touch, feel, smell, taste is still reality to them. They don’t need a tangible thing to hold in their hands to prove the justification of their faith, rather they believe that their God is walking with them in stride. You don’t have to have literal proof that something exists to believe it to be true. We could all die and we could learn that all these people of faith lived a life full of lies and falsehoods, promising a blissful eternity within the confines of heaven but would they be wrong? They lived a life by good morals and standards - well mostly, shoutout George Pell - and lived with peace. They never needed proof, just comfort in something. And it’s why we allow religion to exist without it being stomped out. I believe it to be outdated and slowly picked apart by scientific endeavours bit by bit each and every month. Still, people remain resolute in their faith, in protecting it. Some overstep their boundaries, trying to force it upon others, but most exist in their bubble. As a society we accept them for it, we treat them equally in the eyes of the law. They’re not oppressed, they’re not treated unkindly and laws don’t actively work against them. While we have our reservations we’re all no different in one manner; we all face the truth at the same time. Allow me to clear it up a little. Jamie approached me long ago, almost two years ago actually, and invited to train me. I spent a year training under him and when he thought I was ready, I debuted. I allowed emotion to get the best of me when things didn’t go my way, when I found myself to still be immature and growing. So I left this company, I left Voltage, I hit the road and never answered my phone. Dark and gloomy days, depressing days, days that I wish would fade away. I didn’t go out to find Jamie as my mentor, he found me the first time and he found me again. He brought me back again and this time I rid myself of that emotion. Even coming back, I still felt it influencing me. Fuck I wanted to quit again at one point, but I worked through it. Now? Now it’s a clear goal, a clear vision, a clear desire and emotion isn’t what influences my steps towards it nor what I do when I arrive. I trust what I’ve learned, I believe in what I’ve been taught. I know that what my heart wants aligns with what I’ve studied. My mind leads my heart through the field and towards what it wants. He has faith in me so I have faith in him.
I don’t think you recognise the difference between us.
Calculation versus emotion.
I already explained to you why fans and the grand praise attached to your name don’t matter to me. Do I need to explain it again? Do I need to repeat myself over and over again? I adore my fans and their support but in the confines of any match I compete in they are mere flies buzzing around; distinctions that don’t influence the outcome. Why would I suddenly feel threatened by your desire to fight for them when they themselves don’t influence what I do week to week? You act as if I’m a bad person who is never once cheered for in his life but if you truly watch any match of mine you would see that it isn’t the case. They haven’t influenced me when I’ve been cheered, why would they influence me if I were to be boo’d? They could plug the stadium’s PA system for us to hear a cacophony of boos, use the jumbotron at Oracle park and every LED of the stage and overhead rigging to project a different live feeds of fans from their homes angrily tossing me aside and cheering you on. A world where Justin Windgate is the beloved character just like the religious idolise their God, giving you the fix of the one drug you can’t live out far more than any strain of weed. And yet nothing will change. Pure poise and calmness in among the upheaval of the environment surrounding us. Yet you still want to ram this idea down my throat as if it matters. This is emotion. Where something you feel so passionately about must be understood and accepted; how dare I or anyone else think so little of one of something that gives you strength! Irrational, isn’t it? You can’t seem to comprehend how I don’t care for it and this isn’t as simple as wiping a fly away. I know in order to succeed in this business I will inevitably do bad things, terrible things, to people who may or may not deserve it and through such actions I’ll become loathed, I’ll become hated, I’ll hear those boos. So why struggle to cling onto fickle opinions and thoughts, pathetically justifying myself in an attempt to bring them beneath my thumb once more? I might as well become numb to them now. This isn’t an emotional driven desire, this is calculation. This is preparing myself to follow the path of least resistance throughout my career. I could become emotionally driven like yourself to chain myself to a beast that is never satisfied, who no matter how much they may love and praise me at my peak of popularity, will inevitably move onto another product. What favour do I receive from them for the punishment I put myself through in an attempt to entertain them? Nothing. I understand that I will be fighting against not just you, but hoards of people but that additional force is purely tangible and nothing of considerable substance or validity. It poses no threat because how can it? Only if I willingly submit to the idea that their opinion and perspective matter, only if I deem it to be influential. Do you think Jamie cared when the world rallied for TLA to beat him in 2017? No. Instead he drove his knee into him alongside his wife and left him shattered. Do you think Jamie cared when a venue crammed to the roof wanted Chris Elite to beat him? No, he did whatever he could to win - calculated and not driven by emotion. Same scenario months later in Brooklyn. When you say that you have loyal fans, when you asked me if I think these people are going to root for anyone else other than yourself, why? Do you believe them to be a variable that matters? That hold any weight? By now you understand that my approach is adopting his, by studying a manifesto of success.
One part is that crowds do not matter. The reasons your opponent has do not matter.
This is not a fucking popularity contest.
But please, do indulge me on the reasons why they matter and why I should be concerned. I’m looking forward to the mental gymnastics about how a stadium without people will be an advantage of you. Bee tee dubs, I don’t see ghosts like Sam Darnold so you can scratch that off your list.
This is emotion. Irrational, chaotic, unbound emotion that puts you in a position where you’re punching up, not punching down. While your previous contenders may not have had the wits, may have fought from the emotional platform as you do, I don’t. I’m not looking to ‘flex’ anything to feel better about myself, facts are facts are they not? But emotion isn’t what determines what I do. It doesn’t drive me. I allowed it to once. Again, your emotion is getting the best of you with your belief that I haven’t seen enough of the relationship you have with your friend to pass comment. The difference between your friend and mine, your clip and mine, is that you still spoke openly about the problems that existed. You unintentionally painted enough of a picture for myself or anyone else to come to a close conclusion - a conclusion you admit yourself. Like a puzzle mostly complete, there’s enough clarity to see the whole story despite the missing pieces. It’s perspective, Justin, that you helped create. Desmond is a drunk, he’s eccentric, he’s a bogan, he’s a bit of a deadbeat, he’s legally a criminal, but it doesn’t mean you have enough to come to a conclusion; you haven’t seen enough of his story. That’s the thing I pointed out previously, this matter always devolves into a shit slinging contest where the other tries their best to dismiss and diminish the other even if they’re clutching at the shortest straws to do so. I’ve allowed you to see what I want you to see, KNOWING how it reflects back to me. You? Your emotions put yourself in a place that can easily be picked away at by vultures like me. And I get it, it’s rare that someone like me exists in this division and is capable of doing so, but that’s something you’re inevitably going to face as you progress further and further up the card, isn’t it? Your emotion is a weakness, not a strength. People believe their heart and their will is enough to spur them forward and towards greatness but eventually they’ll run into those where nothing cannot be manipulated. Your heart. Your mind. Your soul. Your desires. Your actions. Your reactions. Your success. Your failures. All capable of being exploited and turned back onto you. Others would have made a joke about Mike, in my shoes they would have responded with compounding reasons why they were right and you were wrong without ever truly touching on the part about you dictating everyone’s perspective. Sturgis could never turn your own words back against you, but I can, I have and I will continue to all week long until our match. I may have opened your eyes, but I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be my duty to do so. Shouldn’t your eyes always be open? Always be alert, always be aware? Expect the unexpected, as they say? I may have opened your eyes now, but is it too late? Has this all begun to tip in my favour simply because you spent the first while blinding yourself to something you chose to believe didn’t exist? Allow me to be presumptuous for a second, but I assume you spent the last while observing me and coming to a conclusion that I would be an easy opponent to beat. Isn’t that emotion? Isn’t that your own bias corrupting the sensibility that is expected of a Champion? I’m not sure how you could argue emotion is a strength, is something be favourable about when so far I’m seeing flaw after flaw after flaw.
If this is the kind of perspective our Champion has then allow me to ask something.
If you had a set goal, a set desire, a set destination, do you stray from it?
Energy and how much someone puts into a match isn’t a story that's told on the surface. Again I make no excuses for my shortcomings against Price at Shock Value and contrary to your belief, neither with the Ladder match. However, how much did those respective matches influence my arrival to this place? Nay, how much would have victory in both influenced my arrival at Grand Rampage? Would defeating Sarah make this match any different? No. Would defeat have taken this match away from me? Unlikely. Do you know what the term ‘Unique Opportunity’ is in Ladder matches? It’s an abstract term to drive the competitors to win but ultimately it means nothing. Bethany’s unique opportunity didn’t give her the match she already had against Darcy and swapped the laws of the Specialists Championship. It’s safe to say had I won that match I would have been granted the opportunity to determine the stipulation for our match but that’s not exactly changing this, is it? How we fight yes but not that we fight to begin with. Alternatively the reward would have been for after Grand Rampage regardless of the result and again, if you had a set goal, desire and destination, do you stray from it? In this case, why would I want to look forward to something before the very thing I’ve been working towards? The simple reality is that nobody can always be this on, this engaged with their opponent and this motivated to compete each and every week. That’s how one leads to burning themselves out. While I may not always be this chirpy and this motivated to go back and forth with my opponents, my efforts in matches doesn’t change. You could call it the bare minimum, doing only enough to win at all but what’s the point in questioning it if it’s ultimately the desired outcome? That’s why I thought nothing of your criticism that I didn’t beat Gavin quickly enough to your apparent standard, I won and that’s all that matters. Exerting myself in matches that don’t really matter isn’t ideal, really. It’s illogical to always cast yourself against pain and brutality in an attempt to please others but that’s your addiction, isn’t it? I digress. I understand the notion that perception is reality, that watching me and judging me for weeks on end formed your expectations leading into this match, but that’s not supposed to be ‘Championship Mentality’. Your perception is formed by your own motivations, your own actions. Your opponents change but you stay the same; the same reasons, the same motivations, the same effort, the same will. You do it every week, every night, every match, the same intensity with the same risk involved regardless of the consequences all while wearing your scars as if they’re something to be proud of. This is how you win, thus you expect it from others. And when you can’t find it in your opponents, you assume that they don’t have it; that they can’t measure up. Title match, non-title match, it’s all the same to you and yet for me, I’m not bothered by the insignificant contests. What doesn’t influence my future, my goals, my desires, my destinations don’t have any attention paid to them. Yet when I stand here, before my goals, before my desires, at my destinations, why should it come at any kind of surprise that I’m energised, focused and ready to give it my all? Who - through any kind of journey - would walk away from the precipice without doing everything they can to win? This is your emotion blinding you, isn’t it? And conversely, this my calculation proving itself to be correct once more.
So again, let me ask you, If you had a set goal, a set desire, a set destination, do you stray from it?
The answer is no, isn’t it?
Nothing I do is accidental or by mistake. Foolish and regrettable? Perhaps - no - definitely. Everything I do is crafted perfectly for the moment, for the match and nothing else should get in the way of that. If you ever had doubts about what I would bring to this match, THIS match of all matches, then I have to question whether or not you’re truly Championship material. What kind of Champion doesn’t prepare for the best his opponent has? What kind of Champion undermines his opponent in the manner you’ve undermined me? What kind of Champion doesn’t at the very least entertain and hold faith in the existence of what he hasn’t yet seen from his opponent? Any Champion worth anything considers all possibilities, all possible threats. None of what I just said should be explained. Yes there are flops, contenders with all the momentum and hype behind them who only crash and burn the moment the match arrives but how often do you see it? They’re a statistical anomaly, unreliable and something most Champions won’t even see themselves. It’s these flops who are weeded out well before they even become contenders to begin with. This isn’t steel sharpening steel, this is steel carving into flesh. It’s steel cutting to pieces a Champion with clouded eyes. I guess I need to spell out the very reasons why I’ll walk out as the New Breed Champion. Up until this point I’ve never positioned myself as more “talented”. Talent is an ambiguous term that can’t be measured. What defines talent? What makes someone more talented than another exactly? If someone is smarter, wittier, more strategic, better at reactive, better at exploiting the weaknesses of their opponents while protecting their own, how do you define that kind of “talent”? Because they’re all fine skills to have, correct? None of that is exactly tied to experience or toughness or emotion, it’s the knowledge that you dismissed right off the bat because it pales in comparison to - again - experience, toughness and emotion; ie, what we endure. Why I’m walking out as Champion isn’t exactly these strengths I hold over you and yes I hold them over you because nobody who understands the value of being cunning, being methodical, being calculated would dismiss it, it’s your own shortcomings. That’s my faith in this match. That your emotional is a volatile reaction you have no control over. That until this point you’ve only ever faced people who didn’t realise the necessity to remain calm beneath the pressure and seize the moment when it arrives before you. It doesn’t matter how long it takes.
Five minutes. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. Twenty minutes. Twenty five minutes. Thirty minutes. Thirty five minutes. Forty minutes. Fifty minutes. One hour. Two hours. Three hours. Four hours. Five hours. Six hours.
No matter how long it takes you will break and I’ll be there to drive the steel of my blade right through the heart of your Championship reign. Because that’s what I’m built for. To never let my goals and my desires escape me when they arrive in my hands. Trained to never lose sight of what you want. Never give it away, always push forward, never let your hand drop, never let your shoulders rest flat. Yes, I’m beginning to realise the hypocrisy that exists in my words and fire away if you will at it but I don’t lose sight of why this emotion exists nor why I allow it to exist. If I wasn’t reassured in my capacity to approach this match with clear intentions, with the right frame of mind, willing to walk to the ring and put on the line the things I care most about instead of fleeting feelings and emotional highs, then I wouldn’t be fighting for it, would I? It would contradict everything, rather than just one thing. That’s why I’m going to win, Justin. It doesn’t matter if you’re high or not, an addict or sober, you will never achieve a level of clarity I hold. It’s not just my perspective, my influenced perspective, it’s the complete totality of everything. Lessons taught. Family history. Books studied. Hours spent training. Own desires. Other’s desires. Failures. Regrets. History. Every piece of string that makes up not just the career of Jalyn Garcia but my entire life leads to this match and on this stage. Yet I don’t feel encumbered by the thoughts of others; the baggage I carry is of my own volition, not that of others. When I’m alone in that ring, the silence of an empty stadium, I’m only going to hear my voice because everything I fight for can be packaged in a selfish desire. You can’t though, can you? You’ve said as much yourself. You fight for others, fight for the crowd, fight for the masses, to entertain them. How can you be the only voice in your head if that’s the case? You’re bound to your emotion, bound to your faith.
But me? I’m not.
And that’s why I’ll win.