never gonna stop, like rob zombie.
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❝ Do you ever stop to think about how things could've gone differently for you?
It's natural, ain't it? Maybe you wish you put in that extra hour to study so that you could pass that test. Maybe you could've spoken up in a moment to defend someone. Maybe you could've been just a step faster so that you didn't lose that race. Or maybe, you wished you didn't buy those tickets thinking that the Cowboys were gonna win so that you didn't waste your kid's college saving funds for a fraudelent team that hasn't even peaked for twenty-odd years now. Honestly, I didn't think we'd see a Amir versus Jay match play out in a football game, but hey, there's a first for everything.
Alright, alright. I'll chill on the jokes, especially since... there's the much serious elephant in the room that I gotta address. Of course, as we all know by now, I'm not in the finals of the Empress of Elite tournament. I may be booked and busy for Vancouver, but it ain't for something that I initially worked towards when I walked out of Road to Redemption empty handed. Holly beat me. No interfeence or foul play at all. It was just the two of us, dukeing it out, and my name is officially X'd out of the bracket. Just like that. That night in Portland was tough. There was just so much riding on me heading into the semi-finals. I mean, I was the favorite heading into the tournament. Everyone had Milli Banks at the top of their list. Everyone wanted to see me clash with Serenity Valdez for the third and final time. Everyone wanted to see me beat her with five months' worth of ass-whooping and claim a win that I should've had over her. I scratched and clawed my way to the top of this promotion at a pace that hasn't been seen. I got people that hated me to start rooting for me; made doubters into believers; made Elitists who once looked down on me recognize my game. King of Elite was supposed to be my crowning moment. The story was written, set in stone for me to be the woman who was going to rule above all... but that fairytale ending never came about.
It sucks. It really does. Knowing I let you all down, that I let myself down, that Serenity is going to spend all of that week doing her best Milli Banks slander campaign while laughing all the way to Vancouver with that horrid, wicked witch-like laugh of hers. God, I'm already having a headache just imagining that shit now, chile. It ain't a pleasant sound for any ears, that's for sure. But you know what? It was all on me. I got too caught up in the fantasy. I was enamored by the whimsical tale of conquering the woman that has given me hell for most of my career here in EAW. Fiction began to feel more like a fact. I was way over my head. I became entitled. Complacent. Relaxed. Too cocky for my own damn good, really. And as much as I was heading into my match against Holly Arrow trying to convince my mind not to wander, it still did. It wanted to focus on Serenity, and because of that, I paid the ultimate price. Specialist Championship? Gone. Being one of the few Elitists to win a prestigious tournament in their rookie year? Gone. A chance to fight for a title that isn't just seen as a women's title but is recognized as a whole-ass world championship in its own right? Gone as well. Three strikes have been made, and now, I'm out.
... Still, as disappointed as I am, I'm not gonna stand here and bitch and moan about it. Crying about it isn't going to change the outcome. What happened happened, and on that night, Holly was the better Elitist. Given how she's a focused and experienced competitor, I should've known better. I should've done better. However, while I may be out of the tournament, that doesn't mean I'm out for good career-wise. I'm not all of a sudden forever altered by my loss. I made a mistake - a huge one at that - but it's one I'm going to make sure is never repeated again because the first time was enough for me. I can still keep my dreams alive and let them come to fruition. I know that by the end of this season I can become a champion. I definitely know that I can and will have Serenity's served on a silver platter. But, that bit of rage that I have for her? I've got to mellow it out. I can't let it consume, because twice now I've been burned by own rage. It didn't serve any purpose. I just can't be distracted anymore. Whatever lofty goals I have won't be fulfilled if I remain being my own worst enemy and get too caught up with the bigger picture. I can't allow myself to get in my own way. Not anymore. I gotta keep myself grounded.
And I will do just that.
You know, it's almost comical that a woman like me is able to do some serious, much-needed reflection like this. Had I been the same Milli Banks that came into the game back in July of 2022, I probably would've shut down any and all criticism. I wouldn't be able to stand here and take a hard, long look at the woman looing back at her own self. I mean, shiiiit, I really was one arrogant, hard-headed ho. But you know what? I'm glad that I changed. I mean, I can stand here and cut into my opponents deep, pointing a finger and listing every-single heart-crushing defeat and mind-sobering mistake they've made, so it's only fair for me to do the same to myself. If I didn't, then I'd be no different from all of the Elitists who continue to be stagnant in their careers. I'd be no better than a Haruka, a Sierra, a Mary, or a Lexi. I'd be just another girl caught up in her own endless fantasy, far removed from reality and not understanding the true weight of things. This isn't going to be the typical tale we hear where people promise time after time again that things are going to be different for them. I'm not going to make history off of my losses and mistakes - I'm going to make history in spite of them. I won't be needing wishes or lucks. I just need to be the best possible version of Milli Banks that I can possibly be. And on Friday Night, you're all going to see that as I go up against a man who was the first person to even beat me.
Ruler, what's popping, champ? It's... good to see you. It really is. I figured that after you, Joso and I embarassed the Queen Bees, we would be crossing paths again. After all since we met back in July, we were throwing some cheap shots and subs at each other now again. However, now, we have some mutual respect for each other. Like, genuine respect. Wouldn't have expected that from a guy who said he was gonna put me through another downward spiral, but hey, that's the beauty of competition, hm? For every Queen Bitch, there's a Ruler - and we ain't talking puns now, chile. It was dope to team with you. Honestly, the way you and Joso were beating them bitches over the heads made me motivated to not just beat them, but to humilate them in any way possible. That's why we were able to defeat them in their first official match as a trios. That will always be a highlight in my career, and though I already thanked y'all for the assist with some bomb-ass curry goat, I have to thank you again, Ruler. I also have to thank you for being honest about the mist. Truthfully, I ain't expected that. I mean, I honestly thought you were finna tease me about that shit, but you know, it's nice hearing from your mouth that I had you sweating out there! But on some real shit, I gotta be honest with you too, Ru-ru: at the time, I didn't take you seriously. I was already long ahead in my own little dreamworld, envisioning all of that titles I'd win and bomb-ass matches I'd have. At the time, I was just worried about looking like a star instead of actually thinking about the work that such a mantle requires. I was partying with the fam, popped up on the camera last minute, just talking hot shit as usual. I didn't put in much thought into it, and looking back, I just gotta cringe, chile. So, while you may have regrets about having that mist ruin this million-dollar face, I have some regrets of my own too, Ruler. Especially since that match was the catalyst for the humbling that I'd receive over the course of my career.
Shit, looking back on the match now, I really should've woken up at that point. Hindsight truly is twenty-twenty, but that match should've rang the alarms in my head that people in this promotion are gonna do whatever it takes to beat me and move one step closer to accomplishing their goals. It should've been a crash course in the sort of unforgiving environment that I decided to sign up for. Back then, I was entitled. Complacent. Relaxed. Figured I wasn't gonna break a sweat; that I was someone who could've easily defeated you and be well on my way to the main event scene or something. However, that wasn't the case. Now, with all of the pieces laid out in front me, I can see the image clear in front of me. I was too comfortable, and when it came down to it, you were able to catch me off guard at the right moment. It's why you won. Like Holly, you weren't looking too far ahead. You saw what was right in front of you. You weren't caught up with the imaginations of success. You saw flesh and blood. You saw what was real. You were the more focused and experienced competitor, and that paid off for you. That's just the truth of the matter. A fresh-faced rookie made rookie mistakes. Still, as much as our match was a humbling experience for me, it seems like it was a humbling experience for you.
Because you know better than anyone that if I had just one more second, one more chance to step away, just one more opportunity to put you away, I would've beaten you. So, you had to do what you had to do in order to put me away.
I did have a whole boatload of potential, but I've grown a lot since we last faced off. Likewise, you've grown yourself, Ru-ru. Game recognizes game, and we both stepped up our game since. I've been able to spend the bulk of my career in title conversations while you became a champion. We were both able to give Dynasty its two wins at Territorial Invasion, showing that we are absolutely here to stay and lead this brand when it matters the most. I'm about to enter my fifth consecutive marquee event while you're heading into King of Elite prepped and ready for another potentially successful defense. It felt like an eternity since we last wresltled each other, but we've progressed our careers in record timing. And to think that I could've been one of the first people to hand you a loss in singles action when you were on a near-unstoppable run at the time... back when I was just unrealized potential. But now? I'm really coming into my own. I know that I have what it takes to beat you, and with how much I've outdone myself time after time again in the ring, there's no doubt in my mind that I can even the score with us. However, I'm also not going to stand here and make the same mistake I did when I first faced you. At this point, underestimating you would be career suicide. You're bigger than me, crafty and sly, and a true marksman. All it takes is for that one kick that Mei Sasaki has shamelessly stole from you to end my night. And with you having one of the more noteworthy New Breed title runs in a while, I know you're looking to cement your status as the ruler of the New Breeds.
We're both trying to make our marks here. We're both looking to further solidify our spots as the fresh, young aces of this place. And I know that with me, it isn't going to be easy with you. You've made due on your promises in the end, Ruler. You may have had your hiccups, but when it comes to having the last laugh, you get it. You're a focused man. It's why you beat Alex. It's why you beat Caroline. It's why you beat Mei. In fact, at Road to Redemption, you and Joso were able to beat Mew-Mew and Sierra "Sarah Price Still Clears Me" Bradford, respectively. Meanwhile, with me... yeaaaaaaah, well, I don't got that golden strap on me now, do I? Serenity lost, but I couldn't carry out my end of the bargain of putting a nail in the coffin of the Queen Bees. I wasn't focused enough. You were. And that's why, I am more determined than ever before, laser-focused on just you and you alone. There's no more distractions. No more bullshit. No more excuses. I am going to do everything I possibly can to beat you, Ruler. No more pipe dreams. No more empty promises.
It's time for guarantees. ❞