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X-treme Wrestling Federation » Pay Per View Boards » Free For All 2024 RP Boards
It Leaves You
Author Message
Ned Kaye Offline
per cogitabat, per facis
TITLE - Universal Champion



XWF FanBase:
The IWC

(gets varying reactions in the arenas, but will be worshiped like a god and defended until the end by internet fans; literally has thousands of online dorks logging on to complain anytime they lose a match or don't get pushed right)


#1
01-27-2024, 11:57 PM

OOC: Ned is formatting late? Nooooo.

It Leaves You

Remember at your peril
Forget the ones you can


Patient Name: Ned Liam Kaye
History: Fraught experiences with therapy. Excesses of emotional withdrawal, highlighted by focused retreats inward. Recovering alcoholic. Patient struggles heavily to balance his feelings for others with his perceived responsibilities. Uses work and related events as a substitute for emotional attachment, despite awareness over its detriment towards his emotional and physical health. Has allowed his ambition to harm existing relationships with others. Following a complete breakdown in 2021, slowly repaired bonds and attachments, with notable shortcomings. An analytical mind trapped by the conflicting necessities in being a better person and success in his industry.
Occupation: Professional Wrestler



January 20th, 2024

“Lookin’ snazzy,” Amelia complimented teasingly, watching as Ned tugged on the tie firm around his neck. He’d always hated suits, a fact that he was less than clandestine about. A fabric cage that clamped down on him, as uncomfortable as it was concealing. His thoughts drifted to the undershirt dragging along the small scars left by the deathmatch with Chris Page as his eyes stayed shut.

How many etchings had been left on him by others  over the years? Signatures, wanted and unwanted alike, scrawled across him. Covered up for what?

His eyelids lifted, the vision of various industry insiders and high society members alike putting on their best pleasant faces. Dozens of costumes, performers in an intricate ballet of misdirection. Waiters waltzed through the labyrinthine arrangement of bodies, carrying trays of alcohol and hors d'oeuvres, navigating expertly through it all. And in the eye of the storm of plastered smiles and meaningless chatter, Ned stood. Surrounded, but alone. He glanced over to Amelia, dressed in the nicest clothes she owned. Being the young woman she was with her own history of recovering from addiction, this meant a t-shirt and jeans that weren’t visibly damaged.

“Reminder: you need to be on your best behavior,” Ned glanced her way, finally accepting that there was no one part of his attire he could adjust for comfort, “these kinds of parties attract eyes and drugs.”

Amy’s eyes rolled in an exaggerated fashion as she waved off Ned slightly, “Oh, for the love of- you’re my sponsor, not my Dad. Back off.”

She gestured what could only be charitably interpreted as “rolling the dice” towards Ned, when a hand emerged from the sea of bodies circling them and respectfully lowered Amelia’s wrist.

“You know, Ned,” the effortless confidence in tone could only ever belong to one man, Theo Pryce brushing his hand against his coat subtly as he continued to speak, “you always know how to surprise me with your plus ones.”

Theo had exquisite standards for parties like this and the first Pryce party of the new year was truly something to behold. For all of their differences, Ned and Theo shared an appreciation for detail. Watching pieces fit in their place. Ned merely didn’t apply it to people in the way Pryce did. A large banner centered in Kaye’s focus.

New Year, New You!


“I could say the same about your decorating,” Ned responded, watching Theo deflate slightly with a grin across his lips.

“That might be the first time you’ve expressed a sense of taste,” Theo replied, looking up at the tacky motto of the evening’s festivities, “I still need to figure out who in the hell signed off on that.”

Amy snorted, holding in a laugh, “Maybe they just wanted a slogan as fake as the folks under it?”

Theo looked over to her with a blank expression before turning back to Ned, putting on the warmest look he could muster, “do you mind telling your friend to sit at the kid’s table until the grown-ups are done speaking?”

“Don’t mind me,” she shook her head somewhat frustratedly, “I’ll just go powder my nose.”

She departed the conversation, the sea of suits parting for her anachronistic appearance. Theo gave a soft pat on Ned’s shoulder, grabbing a small glass of champagne from a platter without hesitation and taking a sip.

“You really ought to be easier on her,” a huff of air escaped Ned, a frustrated exhale while he scanned his surroundings for water, “that expedition to Jeremiah’s tower took a toll on all of us.”

“She’ll be fine, Ned. Not everyone needs you to be their valiant defender.”

True words that felt false echoing in Kaye’s ears.

“So, why the Universal Championship? Why now?” Theo questioned, noticing Ned begin to zone out.

It’s something they had discussed in private many times over. The XWF had viewed Kaye as a top contender for months upon months at this point. And yet, when offered opportunity, he took his careful time. But with Isaiah King’s sudden victory, something shifted in Ned.

The words left him somewhat automatically, as though they were rehearsed for the party, “it felt like the natural trajectory I’ve been on-”

“Cut the shit,” Theo finished his drink as he interrupted, making sure to directly look into Ned’s eyes as he spoke, “we both are aware you’re not the type to act erroneously. You don’t have to feel ashamed for wanting to be the champ, tag belts or not. Why do you want it?”

No answer.

Theo took a deep breath and placed his glass on another platter that zipped past them both, adding, “Truth is, it doesn’t matter much to me which one of you walks out of Free For All with the belt. We’ll be able to sell it and promote it all the same. But believe it or not, I try to do right by you. I can show you the stage of a champion, but I can’t make you spill your guts, nor do I have the stomach for one of your “try my hardest” spiels, so I may have invited someone a little more suitable for that task.”

Ned’s face contorted in confusion.

“Who?”

“Darcy. She arrived a few minutes ago, in fact,” Theo smirked as he answered, giving Ned’s shoulder a final pat before slipping back into the crowd of socialites, finding some faint praise for the motto he threw under the bus moments prior. Ned’s body tightening, his grasp clutching onto a cup of water and holding on for dear life.



January 24th, 2024

Ned’s fingers dug into the styrofoam cup he’d been handed prior. There was something so effortlessly suffocating about the environments meant to better your health. The soft glow of the wooden floor as it reflected the light outside lit up the interior, the neutral tones of the bookshelf and fern next to his new therapist’s desk adding to a banal sense of comfort. Dr. Maria Knight’s pen scratched against the notepad she had before her, filling the void of silence with a muffled murmur.

Therapist offices almost made him long for neckties.

“And Darcy Ellis is an ex-partner of yours?” Knight inquired before she had finished scribbling down the other details Ned had provided.

“Yeah,” Ned answered uneasily.

Maria lifted her head, doing her best to give some reassurance with her expression and ultimately failing, “I take it the parting was tense?”

A pause.

“Yeah.”

Knight raised an eyebrow, wordlessly requesting an elaboration.

“We had both been stretched pretty thin because of my work and… I focused so much on helping others, that I wasn’t there for her.”

“Did you discuss it with her after the fact?” Knight prodded with the careful precision of a surgeon.

“We’d hadn’t talked up to then, no,” Ned confirmed. Therapists had a way of making Ned feel like he was under a scalpel, being dissected in slow motion for another person. He wondered if that's what Isaiah saw in him. A bizarre admiration for analysis that cleansed half-truths and guarded comments with a gentle flame.

“Clearly this incident caused a significant amount of stress for you. Care to elaborate?”

“I mean, she was the only person I felt that close to in years. I hadn’t opened up to romance again until her. I just put my nose down and worked. Sure, I’d find some time to hang out with friends, but it wasn’t the same. She was like a North Star for me. And I know it’s wrong to put that kind of pressure on someone, so I never said it, but things made more sense with her in the picture. It was nice.”

Knight stopped writing, placing her pen down with a decisive, gentle thud.

“And that was it? Her being there was enough to flare up your anxieties?”

Ned looked up from his chair. The styrofoam cup was nearly leaking with his nails stabbing into its sides.



January 20th, 2024

“She’s here with someone,” Amelia said, peeking her head out from over the crowd of attendants. There was a sing-songy tone to her announcement, a bit of joyous repose in the chaos of the situation. Ned’s back was flat against a steel support beam. He had slowly migrated behind one of the large “New Year, New You” banners after informing Amy of the situation.

“I know,” he exhaled, softly tapping the back of his skull against the wall. Amy chuckled softly while tiptoeing around the crowd that blocked her vision so efficiently.

“What?” Ned asked, bewildered by her chuckling.

“I don’t know what’s got you all worked up about this. You’re like a teenager, dude,” Amelia responded as she surveyed within the best of her ability, making a quick judgment call on the woman Darcy had arrived with, “Besides, she doesn’t even have the Mom haircut. You’re fine!”

Her eyes widened with a surprised smirk before she turned to Ned, adding, “Her kissing technique, though…”

“Look, I know it’s not a big deal for you,” Ned put his palms up to interrupt her before she added any details, “but I don’t love talking about my exes and how they kiss their new partner.”

“Christ, Ned,” Amelia pantomimed vomiting for a moment, “you go to one fancy party and now you’re as stuffy as these bastards, huh?”

A passerby twisted their head to quietly judge Amelia, prompting her to give a small, “no offense.”

Rubbing the bridge of his nose, Ned shook his head, “I really wish you wouldn’t act like I have to be knocking things over not to fit in here. I’m painfully aware I’m not like the rest of them. They can’t help but point it out whenever we speak.”

“So, why care what they think?” Amy’s words were matter of fact, but with a hint of venom upon uttering “they.”

“Of course. Because dressing up to contrast everyone else in the building is certainly not caring what they think about you,” Ned returned, giving a snarky smirk.

“Oh, that’s a cheap shot even for you. This is why I get along better with Isaiah,” Amy crossed her arms, her fingers tapping against her elbows.

“You get along better with Isaiah because he won’t push back when you decide you’re going to get in over your head,” Ned’s patience with her quips had run out, pointing an accusatory finger, “you could have died in that mixup we all got involved with! Because you like doing what’s against the grain for the sake of it! And that’s fine, but you never seem to acknowledge that you create messes and someone else has to clean them up!”

It was only after the words had been uttered that he realized how harsh they sounded. It was as if a switch had flicked in Amelia’s brain the second he stopped talking.

“Amy, I didn’t-” The apology wasn’t even able to form in his throat before a wicked grin unraveled across her face.

“I make messes, huh?” She said, uncannily calm. With the swiftness and grace of Theo Pryce picking up a champagne glass, she tripped the next waiter who passed her by, an avalanche of food and sauce plummeting to the ground and splattering against the fancy tile beneath her. Her finest clothes were stained in the process, but it was a toss up if she even noticed it. She backpedaled into the unsuspecting crowd, smashing and tossing indiscriminately as her gaze was fixed perfectly to Ned. It didn’t take too much more chaos before she was forcefully escorted out of the party, leaving Ned to shamefully retreat to the balcony. The quiet howl of the evening was a nice refrain from the commotion indoors. He took a long exhale, watching his breath turn to light smoke in the cool night. New York stared back at him, its skyline bearing its many eyes through his soul.

A voice cut through his focus on the city and the eyes on him. A single, familiar voice off to his right as he leaned against the railing.

“Is this spot taken?” Darcy spoke as she stepped up to his side, her black dress glittering in the moonlight.





“So, Ms. Ellis initiated the conversation with you?” Knight clarified as Ned recounted the evening.

“Yeah. She had gotten splashed in the commotion Amy caused and walked outside to dry off a bit.”

“May I ask why you chose  Amelia to accompany you on this evening to begin with?”

Ned hesitated a bit, eventually saying, “Well, I’m her sponsor, so I try to make sure to be near her, especially when in an environment with alcohol. And despite the problems that night, we got on better terms afterwards. Just a bad choice of words on my part.”

“You didn’t answer my question," Maria reiterated without a hint of the hesitation Ned displayed.

“Why did you choose to bring her there?”

Ned’s body leaned forward in his seat, hands clutching his upper arms.

“I’d been… struggling with my own sobriety. And I knew if I had to keep track of someone-”

“Then it would be easier to keep yourself in line?” She finished for him. He confirmed with a shameful nod.

“Ned, I think it’s admirable that you want to help others so much, but it’s telling that you have to use a situation like that in order to keep yourself in line. You’re so focused on giving to others that you were barely able to make time for a woman who meant the world to you. You have to prioritize your wants and your needs or you’re not going to be able to help anyone..”

Yeah,” Ned quietly agreed, gaze focused on the reflecting light of the floor.



“So, you’re finally challenging for the big belt, huh?” Darcy asked.

“Yeah, I guess it was a long time coming, but it’s nothing like kissing on a cute new girlfriend, right?” Ned teased slightly, causing Darcy’s face to redden a bit more behind her glasses.

“Oh? Anna? Yeah, she does that a lot in public. It’s sweet, but a bit eager, y’know?”

They shared a quiet, uncomfortable laugh before growing quiet.

“So,” Darcy spoke once more, “you think you’re gonna win it?”

Ned’s tone was unlike anything she was used to hearing from him.

“I don’t even know if I want it.”

She looked at him in disbelief, certain he must be joking or exaggerating, but his expression spoke louder than his words.

“Ned, ever since I’ve known you, that’s been the big thing you’ve wanted. What could get in the way of that?”

His gaze settled on her.

Looking away, he sighed, “I don’t know. I don’t feel like I fit into any of the groups I’m supposed to. I’m not like the people who embrace tradition or those who shunt it. I’m just me. New year and that’s it.”

“So?”

Her words drew his focus back on her.

“Everybody’s kind of in-between. Everyone’s an outsider somewhere, but that’s what you pride yourself on changing. Think of all the people who had nowhere to turn that got purpose because of you? Even Isaiah got that from you. You take what most people can’t and you give more than they ever could hope to. That’s all this is. And it’s okay to be selfish. To want a sign of how far you can go. Just because you work for other people doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it a little, y’know?”

Ned smiled, feeling the tightness around his throat loosen for the first time in the night, “I do.”

“Then kick his fucking ass, Ned.”

Darcy would leave to go find Anna and enjoy the restored party. Theo would return to once again question Ned’s choice in plus one’s, but Ned simply stood out on the balcony and bathed in the light of the evening. In the eyes upon him.

No neckties.







“Ever since I was young, there was one championship belt above all else in this industry. One golden sign of perfection. The XWF Universal Championship. From VHS to 4K, it has glittered more brightly than any other accolade in our sport. And every time someone finally reaches that summit, the crowd has one thing to say. An eternal chant.

“You deserve it.”

A triumphant serenade for a picturesque moment. And yet, when Isaiah King finally won it after a historic rise as a rookie, what did the crowd say? What greeted him into his long desired reign?

Nothing.

Because Isaiah King’s title is as hollow as the way he won it. And if he thought a tag-team title or a stable was going to cloud my vision or stay my tongue, he doesn’t know nearly as much about me as he thinks he does. And it still wasn’t enough for you. You had to go galavanting for another belt with me instead of defending the one you had. You don’t respect that belt or the people who have suffered for it. You think it exists to adorn your waist. But the irony is, that as little as you care about the Universal Title, you care a lot about me. My one victory over you has ruled your focus ever since. Hell, it didn’t even take the victory to do that.

All it took was three words: full of shit.

That hit to his ego burned a hole in him he’s been desperately trying to snuff out. To prove he’s better than me. To embrace every underhanded tactic just to outdo what I’ve done, even stooping to the level of interfering in my matches to try and shake my confidence. Dragging in unrelated people just to protect your own ego. You utilized all that talent and possibility to hurt other people to exert some small bit of power over me. What a punkass move. Ask Chris Page if he needed a wrench in his maw to lose to me. Mark and I stick our necks out for you and you constantly make us look like fools for saying what is plainly obvious to us both: that you have a place in the future of this company at the top. For all your talk of royalty, you try to burn more bridges than you do build kingdoms.

How much shit have I looked past because I saw a good man underneath? You took a symbol of Mark’s growth as a human being and distorted it.  And through none of it have you figured out the problem here. The thing that pisses me off more than anything else: you have continued to let me define who you are by trying to shake what I think you can be. In all that temper and fury and big talk, you’re still trying to beat me in that ladder match. You’ve said so much about so many opponents. You bore your fangs into Thunder Knuckles with a mountain of vitriol, things I’m sure he forgot the night after he heard your promo. And yet three words from me have defined your entire mindset. That’s what people don’t understand about why we butt heads and bicker. Because you still want to be defined by three words of mine and I know you can be more. I put one thing on you that a million title runs can’t: expectation. I expect you to do better so you consciously do worse.

You wear the costume of a champion, Isaiah, but it’s a suit you haven’t grown into. You’re a wrestler for work. I’m a wrestler for life. You think I throw around the term Ace like it means nothing but branding. Like I don’t push myself every single goddamn week to be better than I was the last! There is no one- not a one- person more consistent than me in nearly five years of competition in the XWF. I claw and scratch and fight my way up the mountain because it’s the only way I know! Because the people who cheer for me matter to me more than just an audience of voices! I am more than just an upstart or a challenger, I’m the man who will build this company into the future. Who will stamp a legacy meant to be carried on, not end in mere minutes. You didn’t bleed for this company like me because the XWF is a job for you. For me, it’s everything!

Does it bother me that you got the Universal Title sooner than me? Sure, you got me. It bugs me, but as easy it would be to betray or get in your face or compromise our chances of being a team as Crucible, I made my intentions privately, in part because I knew as soon as you knew my gaze was on you, you were going to salivate with this idea of redemption. Like pinning me to the mat will make the things you’ve endured go away or feel like less. You saw what you perceived as a glimmer of hate and jealousy in me because the only reality you can conceive of is the one you convince yourself of.

The truth is as disrespectful and shitty towards me and that title and this company and its athletes you’ve been, you’re still my friend. I still care about you.

And the sad truth that no one here wants to admit isn’t just that you are in over your head facing me. It’s that you’re in over your head holding that belt. When you look at that list of Universal Champions before you, you see a list of people who went through hell to carry it. Lux’s death, Robert Main nearly dying, Page’s exile, Kido’s sacrifices, Bobby’s ill-advised challenge to Sidney. Lacklan was harassed for months over it. The Universal Championship is as big a burden as it is a prize. And I see you, cocksure and unprepared, hoisting it about and tempting fate, repeating the kinds of bad behaviors I showed at my lowest. And I worry. Not about you beating me. I worry about the nights I went to bed, warm glow of a CRT draped over my blanket with the shining image of the Universal Title, and thought of it as my birthright. The goal I would meet at any cost. The summit I was destined to climb to.

And I worry that I was right. That the belt that has beaten nearly everyone who has held it has its sights on me. That you are warming the curse waiting to haunt me. But then I realize that you can only continue that burden. You can’t overcome it. You can’t build something new because you don’t want that. You just want to win and it's precisely why you won’t.

It’s a new year and it’s the same old me. One day, you’ll beat me. One day, we’ll shake hands and know that we’re equals in every way that matters, not just wrestling. But it won't be January 27th. Because that burden was never yours to hold nor to solve. Because the seat on that throne is hotter than you can handle. Because for every shitty thing you have done towards and to me, you still don’t deserve it.

I do.”


Every end point fixed forever
On the day its arc began

"You can't run from yourself."
[Image: riNkNZw.png]
XWF
Wins | Losses | Draws
52 | 37 | 4


Indie Darling Eternal

#33 on The XWF Top 50(2021)
1x Tag Team Champion[with Isaiah King](Current)
2x [Image: CbviDqC.png] (Former)
1x X-Treme Champion(Former)
The Final Supercontinental Champion
1x Television Champion(Former)
Star of the Month - April 2019 | March 2021 | December 2022
RP of the Month - March 2021 (Void of the Mind)
Winner - Leap Of Faith Rafter Match 2019
1x 24/7 Briefcase Holder
Winner - War Games 2023(With Mark Flynn, Isaiah King, & Crash Rodriguez as G00D-B01)


All Time Career(Interfed)
Wins | Losses | Draws
52 | 38 | 4
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