Thursday, February 24, 2011

Vintage Troublemaker: Phantom Troublemaker Goes to the Royal Rumble

After linking this the other day I realized it wasn't actually here on Needless Things. Now I'm going to correct that because it really is a pretty good story. Also because I don't have anything new for today.
Phantom Troublemaker Goes to the Rumble!
The Director's Cut

This was originally posted over at my new home, but was severely edited just in case the fucking nut we dealt with happened across the post. Trust me, if you'd been there you'd feel the same way. Since this blog has an average readership of about five people that I know personally, I figured it was okay to put it up in all of it's retarded glory. I hope you enjoy, or; if you're that guy – I hope you choke on a dick.


I fucking hate downtown Atlanta. It’s dirty and gross and you run into all sorts of mean, rude fucking assholes down there. The traffic is terrible and the roads don’t make any fucking sense. Plus, you’re about fifty times more likely to get mugged and raped by a transvestite crack whore than you are anywhere outside of the perimeter. I personally believe that you have to be out of your fucking mind to live down there if you are over the age of twenty-five, despite having several close friends who are voluntarily in exactly that situation and who I’m reasonably sure are of sound mind. My adventures from January 1st, 2010 definitely help support my belief. Fucking downtown.
So I ended up in what was apparently a life-threatening situation Sunday night. It was not as exciting as you might imagine, but I’ll tell you what was exciting: WWE’s Royal Rumble! LIVE from Hotlanta! Because where else would one receive such unwarranted hostility and fucking death threats! We’ll get to the potential murder stuff later. Here’s what happened before that at what I think is the best Rumble I’ve seen.
I bought 4 Rumble tickets way back in whatever month they went on sale last year. At the time I was under the impression that I was buying for myself, Gnoll, Angry Matt and probably JTW; but this ended up not being the case. For the second time in a row I ended up with an extra ticket to a wrestling event that I needed to get rid of. On Friday, in the process of making my calls to get everyone squared away, I was informed by Angry Matt that he would not be attending due to reasons that I still don’t quite comprehend. It basically amounted to, “Here are a bunch of words to give you the impression that I’m super-busy!” I don’t know what the deal was, but Angry Matt was out. While JTW didn’t necessarily remember being in in the first place, he was still more than ready for some Rumble action. Gnoll, of course, was as reliable as he’s been since I met him. Which means I’d already known he was going from the moment he paid me back the day after the tickets arrived. You see, my problem is that I try to look out for people’s fun more than I look out for my wallet sometimes. That’s okay. I’d rather be out some cash than feel shitty if Angry Matt had decided too late he wanted to go, or if somebody just can’t pitch in for a PPV that month, or whatever.
So anyway, I spent the weekend trying to get rid of that fourth fucking ticket. What with professional wrestling not being half as popular as it was a decade ago (Why is that boom even still a consideration? That was ten fucking years ago! Things are so different now in the industry that it is nearly unrecognizable from what we had in 2000. We all need to get over it.) it is tremendously difficult to find a wrestling fan, let alone one that can part with ninety bucks on a two-day notice. What with the economy not being half as good as it was ten years ago (Why is that boom even still a consideration? That was ten fucking years ago! Things are so different now in the country that it is nearly unrecognizable from what we had in 2000. We all need to… wait a minute…) – never mind. I think I might see a connection here.
I had some success on Sunday morning with a potential Rumbler. A friend of mine who happened to be a lapsed wrestling fan said he would go after I made it clear that I wasn’t worried about speedy payback, I just wanted someone to use that ticket. Unfortunately, he backed out around 2:30 due to some vague circumstances (maybe he was helping Angry Matt), so I was back to square one. With no other avenues to pursue, I decided I would find one of those nice young African-American fellows that always seem to need tickets the day of the event. I wonder - why don’t they just buy them sooner?
Oh, wait. I know why. Because once we got down there, I only got forty bucks for the damned thing. Granted, I had already decided I would take whatever I got from the first gentleman I ran into, but I was hoping for fifty. I just didn’t feel like dealing with that damn ticket any more. And would you believe that African-American gentleman tried to hoodwink me? I was flabbergasted! First he agreed to forty dollars and then, after some confusion with his legal tender (the poor fellow seemed barely able to count his bills! I certainly hope nobody took advantage of him that night!) and a couple of polite and mild monetary corrections on my part; he informed me that he could but part with thirty-five of his most assuredly hard-earned dollars. I gently pointed out the wad of cash in his right hand that he must have overlooked, so he gave me another five and we were on our way.
I felt pretty sure he wasn’t going to be able to unload a single ticket for any price, so I was a bit concerned we might end up sitting next to the scumbag if he decided to come on in and enjoy the show. Gnoll misunderstood my concern when I voiced it and assured me that the guy wasn’t buying it for himself. My logic was simply that if I were in his shoes (ugh) I’d probably come into the nice, warm arena for the show if I couldn’t get rid of the ticket. Granted, I wouldn’t be scalping tickets in front of Phillips arena anyway; so what the hell do I know about the way this guy’s mind works?
After that financially destructive transaction occurred, we still had a good twenty minute wait to get inside. I should have brought a hat. I always forget about that wind tunnel effect you get when you’re downtown that makes it seem about ten degrees cooler than it really is.
We got to our seats with no difficulty and sat down just a couple of minutes before the “Live-on-the-air” announcement, so our timing worked out really well. Seven hundred and eighty-three bursts of stinky pyrotechnic excess later and it was Rumble Time!

The Rumble
I don’t really know how exciting I can make the actual Royal Rumble event sound. It was pretty awesome, but I generally don’t do wrestling recaps. I’d just feel bad leaving out the whole reason I ventured down into Georgia’s butthole in the first place. Bear with me.

Match #1 – Ezekiel Jackson w/William Regal v. Christian (champion) for the gigantic ECW Title
This was actually a pretty good match, and one of the more convincing live matches I’ve seen. It seems like almost every wrestling match has at least a couple of moves that require a television camera’s assistance to not look stupid. Angle is everything (positioning, not Kurt). Christian and Zeke did a pretty good job of avoiding those kinds of moves. Things were a little more even than you would expect from this sort of pairing, as both guys got off a good amount of offense. Regal got his evil ass booted after attempted shenanigans and shortly thereafter Christian hit the Killswitch, got the pin and retained his title; surprising everybody in our crew. (There are people online who devoted five more paragraphs to recapping this match than I did. I salute those people.)
Winner – Christian
Match Rating – I am not that kind of jackoff
Segment #1 – They replayed the Cryme Tyme bit from last year’s Rumble, except this time The “Great” Khali and his life partner call Cryme Tyme “homeslices” and referenced a twenty-year-old sitcom that nobody in WWE’s apparent target demographic has ever fucking heard of and the rest of us are trying to forget. Oh, and Miz dropped in to make a really good point.
Segment #2 – Cody Rhodes told Randy Orton that he is his one true love and that Ted DiBiase, Jr. doesn’t really care about him and isn’t really gay, anyway. Awkward.

(Surprise) Match #2 – Morbidly Verifiable Procrastinator v. The Miz (Awesome) for the US Title
During this match I noticed that MVP has an awful lot of moves that require a lot of cooperation from his opponent, which is kind of the opposite of the thing I was admiring so much about the opening match. The Miz is awesome, so he got the pin with Jeff Jarrett’s finisher. Way to show TNA, WWE!
Winner – The Miz
Extra business – MVP got all huffy about sucking and gave Miz somebody else’s shitty finisher, just to show who the king of shitty finishers is around here, anyway.
Segment #3 – Chris Jericho told Big Show that he is his one true love and that The Miz doesn’t really care about him and isn’t really gay, anyway. Wait a minute, what the fuck is going on here tonight? Also, Chris Jericho called us all gelatinous parasites. Which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Segment #4 - Ted DiBiase, Jr. told Randy Orton that he is his one true love and that Cody Rhodes doesn’t really care about him and isn’t really gay, anyway. Seriously. Kind of.

Match #3 – Randy Orton v. Sheamus or Shamus or Seamus (what the fuck ever) for the Ugly Pimp Title
For a match nobody wanted to see, this wasn’t too painful. Of course, I missed the first few minutes while I was getting a beer and a Wetzel dog (They’re delicious, by the way. I just don’t recommend eating one with a mask on. You’ll be washing the grease of for a week.) so I may not be the best one to ask. What nickname do you like better for Sheamus: The Crimson Ghost or the Ginger Avenger? Anyway, the Ginger Avenger wins after Cody Rhodes runs out to give Orton flowers and accidentally hits the big Mick with them, earning “The Viper” a disqualification. Seriously, WWE – The Viper? First off, that name is too sinister for somebody as overall goofy and unconvincingly evil as Orton. Second, all I can think of when I hear it is the GI Joe episode with the window washer.
Winner – The Crimson Ghost
Extra business – Cody finally got the flowers to Randy, but Randy didn’t want them. Ted ran out in a fit of jealousy. Uh-oh! Catfight! While the fancy lads were quarreling, Sheamus snuck up behind the threesome (the guy is nearly translucent, of course they didn’t see him…) and booted Randy in the mush. Shenanigans! Cody and Ted did see him! The two left the ring holding hands. Cody gave Ted the flowers. Apparently Ted is okay with being the second choice. The Ginger Avenger celebrated in the ring to deafening indifference.
Segment #5 – Michelle McCool is not only a terrible wrestler, but a tremendous bitch.
Match #4 – Mickie James v. Torrie Wilson’s ugly little sist… Oh, wait – that’s Michelle McCool w/Layla for the Women’s Title
Some fucktard gave McCool a mic, which she immediately started braying into like a donkey. Mickie ran out, hit her finisher and got the pin in less than thirty seconds, blowing my mind by being the only acceptable way WWE could handle this situation.
Winner – Mickie James (!)

Extra business –
Most of the women on the roster came out to the ring – including my close, personal pretend friend Gail Kim; who was wearing a dress that failed to take into account the possibility that it might need to cover a backside – to humiliate Michelle McCool and Layla by dumping cakes on them. Mark Henry looked on and wept openly.
Segment #6 – Rey Mysterio is little and Undertaker is big!

Match #5 – Rey Mysterio v. Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Title
It’s like David versus Goliath! Rey and ‘Taker did wrestling stuff for awhile and then Undertaker powerbombed the shit out of Rey and got the pin. This was a pretty good match.
Winner – Undertaker
Segment #7 – Kane acted like he matters. Triple H told Shawn Michaels that he is his one true love and that Undertaker doesn’t really care about him and isn’t really gay, anyway. Okay, I’m just kidding this time.

Match #6 – The Royal Rumble! Featuring CM Punk, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, a Mystery Entrant and a bunch of guys who have zero chance of winning for a title shot at WrestleMania
Our opening pairing was Mr. Ziggles and Evan Bourne, who don’t matter but should provide an entertaining couple of minutes of workrate. Thankfully, CM Punk came out with Molly Holly Version 2.0 to eliminate those jobbers and tell us how much we all suck. Punk did this for something like fifteen minutes, all the while eliminating everybody who came out. Except for The “Great” Khali, who was eliminated by Beth Phoenix (seriously).

Then Triple H came out. He fought Punk for a while until some other guy came out. I think his name was Drew Makeyoutired, because Punk and Triple H both yawned and fell asleep as soon as they caught sight of him. I don’t know what happened next, as I nodded off for a bit myself, but when I came to Punk was gone. Dammit.
At some point Drew Makeyoutired got eliminated, because I remember seeing him walk up the entryway as I was regaining consciousness. Also of note is that right around this time some douchebag across the aisle from us lit up a cigarette and started smoking. I immediately shouted “I can’t believe that guy is smoking!” in his direction two or three or eight times. I will pick this thread up later.
A bunch of other people came out and eliminated people I didn’t want to see eliminated. Then Edge came out! He hit the ring and speared everybody and eliminated Jericho.
The final four were Shawn Michaels, Batista, John Cena and Edge; which made for a surprising and fairly dramatic finale. Stuff happened and then Edge won.
Winner, and going to WrestleMania to fight I have no fucking clue who – Edge!

Extra business –
Edge pointed at the WrestleMania sign and ignited it using his awesome eldritch magicks. Then he did a little jig to show everybody that his Achilles’ tendon was ready to win some gold.

More Story

Remember a few paragraphs ago when I mentioned the douchebag who lit up during the rumble proper? Well, there’s a little more to that story.
The folks in front of us didn’t care for the smoking, either; to the point where one of them went over to the guy and asked him to put it out. I honestly thought my loud remarks would be enough to get the guy to stop, but I was wrong. The guy that made it happen was this stocky dude in a yellow shirt that walked over, tapped Smokie repeatedly to get his attention - to the point where you knew he was being willfully ignored – and once the douche turned around politely requested that he extinguish his cigarette. Smokie begrudgingly obliged. When he got back to his seat, Yellow Shirt turned around and asked if the smoking had been bothering us, too. We confirmed that it had. Not long after that, Yellow Shirt decided Smokie needed to go. As far as I know he didn’t light up again, so this might have been a little unreasonable, but he was clearly a douchebag; so I didn’t really care. Yellow Shirt fetched a particularly ineffective looking member of the Phillips Event Staff and pointed Smokie out to her. She spoke briefly with Smokie, turned around to confirm that he was the guy, and left. I noticed at this point that Smokie and the guy with him – we’ll call him “Duh” - were both giving me the stinkeye. Great.
Sometime shortly before Chris Jericho came out (I know this because I missed Jericho coming out – thanks, douche) I noticed Smokie pointing an iPhone at me. That is easily the least threatening thing that has ever been aimed in my direction, so I grinned and flipped him off. This, to the best of my recollection, is the conversation that ensued:
Smokie – “I just wanna have a picture of the guy that’s gonna die before the end of tonight is over.”
Me – “I’m going to die? Like, you’re going to kill me?”
Smokie – “Yeah. You gonna die.”
Duh – “Yeah. Die.”
Me – “Seriously? You’re for real telling me that you’re going to kill me?”
Smokie – “You’re gonna die because you’re an idiot.”
Me – “That doesn’t make any sense.”
Me (to crowd at large, laughing) – “He just told me he’s going to kill me!”
Smokie and Duh – Angry stares
After a few minutes I decided I’d like a picture of this couple to put up with the story I was inevitably going to write, so here it is:

That’s Duh in the back, staring at the camera. He finally turned around after I shouted, “Hey! Hey, Smokie! Smokie!” a few times. I don’t know why, but I never got a good shot of Smokie. It doesn’t matter since all douches look alike to me, anyway. Just imagine Duh with a black ball cap.
The rest of the Rumble passed without incident. Once Edge did his little dance we moved towards the exit. I was very conscious of Smokie and Duh and the possibility that there could be trouble, I just wasn’t that worried about it. I felt like I had them pegged fairly well as a couple of downtown lifers who probably had seen too many movies. They had probably sold weed to their buddies and maybe even gotten in some misdemeanor-type trouble. Smokie had tattoos around his wrists that were too shitty to be on somebody with problem-causing amounts of money, but too nice to be from prison. Duh just looked like a kid. Duh was definitely the sidekick and would follow along but not be overly useful to Smokie if something happened. I dealt with this kind of scum on a daily basis when I worked security at the Masquerade, which is a huge part of the reason I have so little tolerance for downtown Atlanta. It’s infested with these mouthy fucks. They’ll throw catchphrases at you all day long, but rarely will anything happen. Not that I want anything to happen, it’s just so fucking tiresome to have a conversation with these people.
Like I said, I was aware of the possibility that Smokie might feel the need to confront us in some way once we were out of Phillips, so I was completely unsurprised when JTW told me and Gnoll we were being followed. I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t a little nervous. I was. This was nonsense that I didn’t need in my life, and there is always the possibility things are going to go sideways faster than you can react. I glanced back and saw Duh skulking around behind us. He was alone, so I knew at some point Smokie was going to end up in front of us. Gnoll pointed out the cop directing traffic in the middle of the next intersection, so we decided to pause there and assess the situation.
Our only interest at this point was in avoiding bullshit. Me, Gnoll and JTW are all past thirty and have houses, families and real jobs. Ten years ago things would have been different, but now we all have responsibilities that far outweigh needing to nut up to some insecure downtown filth.
Smokie walked around the corner of the street we had just crossed right around the time Duh got to where we were standing. We stared right at them as they walked past without saying a word, and they didn’t even glance at us. We continued watching as they made their way up the sidewalk. I think they were massively disappointed that they had been “made”. The douche twins paused and milled around for a second, and I will personally guarantee to you that Smokie was telling Duh what pussies we would think they were if they just kept going. They were visibly debating something. Eventually Smokie won out and they ambled back down to the corner. Here are more funny words, again, as best I can recall:
Smokie – “I didn’t know about the homework Mrs. Rosenberg.”
Me – (extremely confused – I wasn’t expecting non-sequiters) “What?”
Smokie – “I didn’t know about the homework Mrs. Rosenberg.”
Me – “I have no idea what you are talking about.”
Smokie – “Yeah I bet you don’t. Because you’re an idiot.”
Me – “No, I seriously don’t get the reference.”
I’m not sure of the order of things after that point. I know Gnoll was poised to grab the cop if need be and JTW was poised to pound the fuck out of either of the douche twins that made a move. I was poised to not play Smokie’s little cock-measuring game at all and hopefully defuse this whole stupid mess. Here’s sort of a condensed version of the rest of the verbal exchange:
Smokie - “I’ve got two strikes. You’re lucky that cop’s back there. He’s saving your life. I don’t care if I get a third.”
(This makes no sense. Why am I not dead, then?)
Me – “Why are you so angry? It’s unreasonable.”
Smokie – “You have a problem with smoking, fag?”
Me – “Wait, what does me being a homosexual have to do with this?”
(I am not a homosexual, but you see who had the advantage. I did not give a fuck what Smokie thought of me, but he was so concerned with the opinion of three complete strangers that he will probably never see again that he not only followed us what was likely several blocks out of his way to wave his dick at us, he brought his partner along to watch. I cherish my response there more than anything else about that night, because he genuinely did not know what to do with it. He had just hurled what in his world probably constitutes the deadliest insult available at me and I ate it and smiled. That was awesome.)
Smokie – “Good thing you took your little mask off so I wouldn’t know you, right? ‘Cause I’d never know you without that.”
Me – “I took my mask off because it probably isn’t a good idea to walk around downtown Atlanta wearing a mask.”
Smokie – “Oh, but it’s okay in the rest of the time?”
Me – “Uh…” (Gesturing back towards the wrestling show we had all just come from.)
I think at this point he mentioned his fictional “two strikes” again. Duh remained silent throughout this exchange, which caused Gnoll to later wonder if he was just humoring his partner.
Smokie – (before I could respond more fully to his last remark) “We don’t even like wrestling. We were only there ‘cause I got a friend that works at Phillips. Only small-dicked fags like you guys watch… (I think he kind of trailed off here)”
Me – “Okay, whatever. I just don’t understand why you’re so angry. You were doing something wrong and got busted for it. You are the one…”
Smokie – “So you got to go and tell on me? What are you, like, 9?”
Ah. He thinks I am the one who went to security. I was wearing the big, purple lucha mask, so I naturally drew his attention. That or the yelling thing. He is also being extremely obtuse if he thinks I am the one who is being immature. Also, I can’t imagine somebody who doesn’t like wrestling sitting through to the end of a three-hour pay-per-view and cheering so lustily for Edge and John Cena (of all people).
Gnoll – “No! That was the guy in front of us. Didn’t…”
Smokie – “Bullshit! I saw you fucking pussy…”
JTW – “No, idiot, it was that guy who asked you to stop in the first place.”
Gnoll – (confirms this)
Smokie – “Bullshit! I saw you fucking pussy ass go up there!”
Me – “You didn’t, but that doesn’t matter, why are you so angry when you’re the one…”
Smokie – “Now you’re gonna die.”
Me – “Really?”
Cop – (obliviousness)
Smokie – “Who the fuck cares if I smoke?”
Me, Gnoll, JTW – “Um, everybody around us…”
JTW – “There were little kids around us.”
Smokie – “There weren’t any little kids.”
At this point we entered into a mini-debate on whether or not there were kids. This is all so tremendously silly now that I am going back over it. There was a kid in front of us with Yellow Shirt that was the reason Yellow Shirt asked Smokie to stop in the first place. There were a couple of younger kids behind us whose parents were audibly complaining about the smoke (not quite as audibly as me, I guess). After we made a couple of more points about smoke bothering people, Smokie busted out another non-sequiter:
Smokie – “You’re overweight.”
(While this is technically true, I had no idea what he was going for. Kudos to Smokie for this verbal juke.)
Me – “Wha…”
JTW – “He’s lost a lot of weight in the last year!”
(Also true. Seventy pounds, but JTW was directly responding to Smokie’s taunts; something I had been carefully avoiding. My whole plan was to run him around verbally until he ran his poor little self out of steam and left. If there’s one thing I learned from living with a bunch of crazy bitches, there’s only so long they can argue with somebody who won’t argue back.)
Smokie – “What if I had come up to you when you were eating nachos in there and been like ‘You don’t need those nachos’?”
Me – “I didn’t have any nachos, but if I did I might have thought, ‘Gosh, he’s right. I probably shouldn’t be eating these…’ and thrown them out.”
Smokie – “Well, I’m cutting down on smoking.”
(This was another bizarre statement. I was starting to feel like we should be charging Smokie for therapy, what with his wrestling shame and addiction problems.)
At some point this exchange degenerated into Smokie telling us again about his “two strikes” and how he didn’t care and how he was going to follow us and get our license plate number and find us and months from now we’d wake up dead (The cop was still oblivious, despite my extremely loud repetitions of Smokie’s death threats. I can’t say I blame him. This was all incredibly stupid.) and he’d be in prison and he didn’t care because it was better than “all this shit” (more therapy!) or some such nonsense. It is easily the silliest conversation I’ve had in years. Every word out of his mouth was either meant to provoke a reaction or suggest he had a respectably-sized dick. Nobody commented on his dick, but I’d say we all did fairly well at not giving Smokie what he wanted. Oddly enough, Duh got the best line out for his side:
Me – (In response to Smokie’s final, long-term goal) “Really? You’re going to all that trouble? Over a cigarette?”
(Smokie is walking away, trying to look like he has a plan.)
Duh – “Over a cigarette…”
(Duh turns and walks off. He might as well have said, “And… scene.”)
Gnoll watched them leave while JTW and I stood there and pondered this occurrence. I believe it was Gnoll who suggested we get a taxi back to JTW’s car just in case Smokie and Duh did intend to follow us. I’m not ashamed to say I agreed and so did JTW. Again, we don’t need to risk any unnecessary bullshit. I’m pretty confident the douche twins wouldn’t know what to do with a plate number if they got it, but we just wanted to be careful.
We got a cab and a cabbie that was interesting enough to chat with but not interesting enough to write about and made our way back to the parking lot. After that, we got out of that fucking scummy downtown Atlanta without further incident. In the interest of full disclosure, I did have JTW pull up to the next intersection after my neighborhood and turn around because there was a car that had been behind us for quite some time and more than a few turns. Rather than fade as we left that shithole, the events from downtown became more real as I got closer to my wife and son. I realized just how bad things could have gotten, which may be a bit melodramatic, but brings me to the:
Somber Dénouement
I could fill pages with all of the things that went through my head to throw at Smokie, but none of it would have been smart. I hate to get all serious, and you can play the “Mr. Drummond Talks to Arnold” track while you read this if you want; but as we get older we’ve got to stop doing dumb shit. I was initially pretty proud of myself for controlling the situation and keeping it from escalating, but now I feel like that wasn’t enough. I should have kept my big mouth shut in the first place. Somebody else was dealing with Smokie being an asshole. There was no need for me to get involved. I thought I could get some laughs and get that douchebag to put out his cigarette at the same time, and while those things may have happened; I also exposed myself and my friends to the very real possibility of having to deal with people much more nuts and dangerous than these guys turned out to be. I could run through all kinds of scenarios – and I’m not talking about movie shit where a couple of street hoods gun me down six months from now – I’m talking about some asshole who’s so high he doesn’t realize he shouldn’t stab somebody. I’m talking about a punk kid who might be even more insecure than Smokie and has a pistol because he’s afraid. People have been killed for doing nothing. Think about all the mall shootings or school shootings. Yeah, you can’t be scared and think about that stuff all the time, but you also shouldn’t ask for trouble that isn’t headed your way. Smokie was right about one thing: This is a shitty world. There are fucked-up people who do fucked-up shit, and you never know when one is going to be sitting in front of you.
Acting your age means all kinds of different things, but not asking for trouble should be pretty high up on the “To-Do” list. As the once-great Danny Glover said while being shot at by bad guys, “I’m getting too old for this shit.”
I promise to not get serious and preachy again for at least a year.
Oh, yeah - after all of my adventures, I came home to this:

Until next time, stay creepy

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