Title: All Those People [2]
Featuring: Uriel Cortez
Date: 8/2/21
Location: DEFIANCE Training Facility

Monday, August 2nd
4:57 pm
DEF-Plex Training Facility, in-ring

If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late, you’re screwed. 

That old adage was stuck in the head of BRAZEN star Dan Leo James as he arrived a couple minutes before his scheduled ring practice with DEFIANCE’s own Uriel Cortez. A training that at the start of this day, he didn’t even know he would have. His parents were good, well-meaning people that taught Dan well and advice that had no doubt stuck in his brief two years in the sport. 

Ears open, mouth shut. 

And now here he was about to train with a member of DEFIANCE for what was no doubt a massive opportunity. 

But then he thought about it again… 

The crowds. 

In between the ropes, he was okay, but getting out there first… all those eyes… all those people…. And not to mention… the internet was unkind. Judging your appearance, your wrestling skills. What if he went out there and he was the shits.

What if...

Uriel Cortez:
Good, you’re early.

Dan Leo James:
AAHHHH!

The giant James jumps when he hears the voice of Uriel Cortez from across the gym calling out to him. Cortez, along with Minute and Holly “Titaness” Aldaine, walk in and each give Dan a look. 

Uriel Cortez:
Uh… you okay?

Dan tries to take a breath and shakes his head. 

Dan Leo James:
Nah… I said AHH-llo! My uh… family does that. You know, trying to welcome one another. 

Titaness looks up at Uriel. 

Titaness:
Uh… okay. [meekly] ah-lo to you, too. 

Minute shrugs and then rolls into the ring. Once he does so, he shakes hands with Dan Leo James. The 5’4” dynamo looks up at James and pulls back a sweaty hand. He wipes the drenched hand on his sleeve. 

Minute:
How are you doing? Nervous at all? Gran oportunidad para ti, mi amigo.

Dan nods. 

Dan Leo James:
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no… cool, man. Cool, cool, cool, cool, cool over here. 

Minute looks to Titaness and Uriel, both exchanging glances. 

Uriel Cortez:
Look, kid…  if you’re nervous… it’s okay. We’ve all been there. I’ve heard from people long before me in DEFIANCE and I’ve talked to a few people in BRAZEN. It happens to everyone. 

Dan looks at the trio. 

Dan Leo James:
Nah, dude… uh, Uriel… Mister Cortez? Sir? 

Uriel Cortez:
Uriel is fine. 

Trying to salvage what’s no doubt an awkward encounter, the man known as “Big Tech” tries to change the subject. 

Dan Leo James:
So, uh… how long have you guys been wrestling?

Uriel Cortez:
I started working indies and Mexico since 2014, then came to DEFIANCE at the end of, I think, 2018. I made my debut fifty pounds heavier than I am now, walking around in suits staring blankly into TV screens everywhere. 

Dan laughs… then not, not sure if Uriel is joking or not (and for you, the reader, he’s not but let’s leave Dan wondering, shall we?) Titaness shrugs. 

Titaness:
I’ve got about five years under my belt. I was in BRAZEN just like you for about a year and a half, then got promoted a few months ago. 

Dan looks to Minute. 

Minute:
Yikes… almost ten years? Was in Mexico… but spent last six years in the States, amigo. 

Uriel Cortez:
Don’t let him lie to you. He came out of the womb doing 720 cannonballs or whatever. His mom grounded him for doing corkscrew 450’s off the roof and shit. 

Minute:
Conseguir follada!

Uriel laughs and Titaness tries not to (not very hard anyway). Then he turns to Dan. 

Uriel Cortez:
How about you, kid? I heard a couple years? Amateur background, right?

Dan Leo James:
Yeah, yeah, some high school, two years amateur in college, but I dropped out cause of you know…

He twirls his finger, seemingly a little more at ease. 

Dan Leo James:
This whole thing we’re doing, heh. I did a year in Japan, but I missed home so I came back here. DEFIANCE picked me up a few months ago. 

Titaness:
Hey, that’s cool. I was in amateur wrestling through high school and college, too.

Dan Leo James:
Yeah? Nice. 

The massive Cortez stops leaning the corner and then starts to warm up. 

Uriel Cortez:
All right, now that we’re all introduced… let’s get warmed up, eh? Sooner we train, sooner we win Tag Party 3, crowd eats it all up… we got this, man. We got… uh… 

The second he mentions the crowd, Dan starts to clam up a little bit. 

Uriel Cortez:
Hey, you… you okay? You’re looking a little uh...

Dan Leo James:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m game… uh… 

He looks up at the three DEFIANCE stars across from him. 

Dan Leo James:
No, no, no I’m not! Look, man… I’ve… I’ve had all day to process this and… dude, those crowds BLOW! THEY FREAK ME THE HELL OUT! ALL THOSE EYES LOOKING BACK! AND THE INTERNET! HELL TO THE NAW NAW!

Dan takes a second to catch his breath as the word vomit leaves his body, leaving Los Tres Titanes confused. 

Titaness:
It’s okay, it’s okay… have you really never wrestled in front of crowds that big?

Dan Leo James:
No! No! Maybe like… a hundred? And I’d still have to try and tune them out, but… I had one match on UNCUT! There was like…. THOUSANDS of them! I slipped on my ass out there and I barely got through that! And dude, do you read the internet? They are BRUTAL! Some dude, MagnumG1999, called me Dan Leo DUMBASS after I fell! 

Cortez puts a hand over his mouth and sighs right into it. 

Uriel Cortez:
Okay, first off… knock THAT shit off. 

Dan straightens up. 

Uriel Cortez:
Second of all… that’s what blocking is for. And Twitter is a cesspool anyway. If you’re trying to be a wrestler and you aren’t trying to sell yourself… get off that thing. What matters is what we do in the ring. 

He stares at Dan. 

Uriel Cortez:
Look here… you and I, we have a real good chance to go far in this thing if we work together. Along with Rick Dickulous and MASSIVE Cowboy, we’re the largest team in Tag Party. You clearly have something in you that somebody saw and it’s up to you to bring that out. Me, Holly and Mateo… we’re here for the ride the whole way with you. Whatever is put in front of us in DEFIANCE, we take this seriously and if you’re with us… you will, too… got me?

Dan Leo James:
Uh… yeah. 

Cortez bows up, looking down at the rookie.

Uriel Cortez:
Nah, that was bullshit. Do you want this? Do you want people to know who Dan Leo James is or do you want to go back in a corner and crawl?

Dan Leo James:
No, I do! I do!

Uriel Cortez:
All right. Don’t leave this kind of thing bottled up, Dan. If you want any of us to listen, that’s what we’re here for. And… 

In fact… 

Uriel taps his shoulder. 

Uriel Cortez:
You and I, we’re gonna train this week. You want to be ready for crowds by the time we get to Tag Party?

James nods. 

Uriel Cortez:
Okay… we’ve got one chance between now and then to get crowd ready, so… I’m gonna go make some phone calls and we’ll get something sorted. I’ll be back in a few if you want to do some drills with Holly and Mateo. 

The young BRAZEN star nods again as Uriel goes to leave the ring. He steps over the ropes and grabs his phone…

---------------------------- 

LATER THAT NIGHT… 

After an intense workout alongside Los Tres Titanes, young Dan Leo James has rested up with a shower and a cold beverage as he arts to sit down in his bed. It’s been a long, long emotional day… but one that he’s genuinely excited for. He takes a deep breath and gets ready to relax…

But not before one last internet search on the DEFIANCE website on his phone before bed just so he can see his name on the Tag Party 3 lineup…

He remembered the confidence that Los Tres Titanes put in him to compete… 

And a smile crosses his face.

Then just a little further down the site...

Dan Leo James:
WHAT?!

There for the next show…

UNCUT 99
URIEL CORTEZ VS. DAN LEO JAMES



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