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X-treme Wrestling Federation » Cross-Promotional Event Boards » Cross-Promotional RP Board
Crossroads
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Thaddeus Duke Offline
Lionhearted
Management Lv. 2


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XWF FanBase:
Some of everyone

(cheered; very rarely plays dirty but isn't lame either; many likable qualities)


#1
02-17-2024, 02:16 AM

Everyone has their opinion of me.  As a man, a husband, a father, a wrestler, a lover.  None of those opinions matter.  What I’ve learned in the lifetime I’ve spent in and around this business is that those opinions are formed by the weak minded and shallow.  They never dig too far below the surface of what they see because… well that would be too much like work.  Nevertheless, there are two things that I’ve hung my hat on since the day I entered this business.

One being loyalty - I have been a staunchly loyal friend, brother and partner to any and all that have earned my trust, my love, my friendship.  Once it’s broken, it’s next to impossible to earn it back.  ‘Fool me once…’ as the saying begins.  Some might ask ‘well who cares?’  And that’s fair.  Thing is, I’m a powerful, formidable ally, but if you’ve decided we’re enemies… well… don’t let the pretty face, the sense of humor and the Hollywood smile fool you.  I can be as cold… dark… and twisted as anyone else.

The other?  Honesty.  So many men and women that grace our screens week in and week out as they sell their bodies to anyone that’ll give ‘em a paycheck lie.  They inflate their success, minimize their failures, and generally play spin doctors to intentionally circumvent the truth.  That’s never been my game.  My success has been mine to own, my failures have been mine to own and I never let anyone take that away from me.  I’ll tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth the way I see it and that… truth and honesty… makes people in this business wholly uncomfortable.

That said, I’m afraid I haven’t been entirely forthright in the reasoning and rationalization of my semi-retirement that I announced a little under a year ago.  When I made the announcement, I said publicly that I had met my career goals, that I had been successful in and out of the XWF Universe and that my only remaining goal was to be a good and present father and husband to my three kids and my beautiful wife.  While that is true to some extent, it has not been the full truth.




Present Day - Vacant Woolworth Tower Penthouse


Casually dressed in a hoodie and jeans as the elevator came to a stop, I punched the code and entered the vacant penthouse.  With my hood up over my head, I stepped inside.  A four story luxury penthouse apartment that was once full of warmth, of life, of love and laughter now sat cold, dark, empty.  Part of me regrets moving to Long Island.  I’m a city boy through and through.  Moving to the seclusion of thirty acres of private land most certainly took an adjustment.  There are times where I still miss the smog, the exhaust fumes, the millions of people crawling the sidewalks looking like ants from up here.  I miss the sirens and the occasional gunshots.

One might think ‘why?’

The answer is easy.

Because it’s home.

Don’t get me wrong.  The life Lauren and I are building out on the island?  I love it.  I wouldn’t change it for anything.  I build things.  And ride horses.  I rent heavy equipment and bought a massive dually four wheel drive just to haul shit.  I’m always doin’ something out there.  It’s just that that doesn’t mean I don’t still long for the past from time to time.  When Lauren and I decided to do what’s right for our kids- raising them outside of Manhattan- it seemed to cause a shift in many lives.

I’m not saying that all that has happened since we left the city is because we left the city.  I’m only saying that it feels that way at times when I get inside my own head.  Sebastian and Sloane were still together.  I still had a career.  We hadn’t yet lost our daughter Gracie.  Frankie hadn’t started dating.  Matt Knox was still an insufferable cunt… okay so not everything has changed.

We sold everything.  The castle in Scotland, the mansion in Rhode Island, the weekend home Upstate, all of it.  The penthouse was all that remained.  On the market for nearly seven months, Lauren has pushed to lower the asking price.  I won’t.  Part of me doesn’t want to sell it.  What if we want to come back again?  I loved this place.  It’s pristine, high end real estate in Tribeca.  I’m not selling it without turning a massive profit.  If it doesn’t sell, so be it, it’ll remain a lifeline.



Thaddeus Duke here for the Grant-A-Wish Foundation…  Okay not really, but it does seem that way.  Johnny Bacchus has made a little wishlist of sorts for the last couple years of those he wanted to step to.  I made his little list two years running.  So when Johnny made his public plea several months ago to face someone at the esteemed Denzel Porter’s third invitational, I was feeling generous and giving.  I put forth my own name and Johnny gets to cross a name off his list.

The thing is though, does he really know what he’s getting into?  Everyone talks smack, everyone talks a big game but so often, they’re never really as good as they say they are.

I am.

I said before that I own whatever I am.  Good, bad or indifferent.  Despite the public flowers I give to my opponents whether they succeed or fail against me, I can count on one hand how many have the courage and the testicular fortitude to do it back.  I mean, if I waited for anyone out there in the public domain to verbally suck my dick and admit that I’m just fucking good at this shit, it’d be an effort in futility.  It falls on me to remind Johnny and everyone else just what talent I possess.

The old saying warns us to be careful what we wish for Johnny Bacchus, you ARE the next contestant on the Thaddeus Duke Show.




Last May - Paradise Ridge - Long Island


We hadn’t officially moved from Manhattan yet.  Lauren and I decided to wait until after the school year to uproot Frankie.  Closing on the property in late April, we started spending weekends at the new place just to get a feel for it.  Initially hesitant about moving away from the city, Frankie fell in love with it pretty quickly.  Mufasa and Minkah had room to run in the gigantic yard.  There were paths and trails through the woods for Frankie and his dirt bike.  It sat upon Long Island Sound so there was always an opportunity for boating, fishing, or swimming.  All of which Frankie loves.

He also loves baseball.  Born and raised in Brooklyn by his birth parents, he's the biggest little Yankees mark this side of Joe Montuori.  He was never very good at it himself, unfortunately.  He could catch and has a cannon arm, but he has no accuracy and he couldn’t elevate a grounder if his life depended on it.  So, he settles for playing catch in the yard.

”Throw it high and hard,” I called out across the yard.

Then 12 year old Frankie launched the ball in my direction effortlessly.  From easily fifty yards, the ball comes in hot.  Lurching to my right, I reached out for the ball, but it kicked off my glove and careened away.

”Hahahahahahaha!” Frankie belly laughed from a distance.

I stared at the glove as if it betrayed me.  Normally, I have far better than average hand-eye coordination.  I didn’t miss fly balls in high school.  I was a standout player.  Further, I didn’t miss throws from Frankie.

Ever.

After gathering the ball, I tossed it back to the boy.

”Try it with some accuracy this time, ya shit!” I joked.

”Don’t blame me because you suddenly forgot how to catch!” he yelled back.

Again, he launched the ball toward me with considerable velocity.  Most often, his throws travel to the left of him.  After a quick step to the right, I went back left as this throw was right on target.  The ball hit the glove and I snapped it shut… a second too late.  The ball fell harmlessly to the ground.  This time, Frankie didn’t laugh.  Instead, he stood across the yard in a stunned silence.  Missing one ball is an anomaly, an aberration, rare.  Missing two, and back to back, is cause for concern.

”Frankie!” Lauren called from the porch as the screen door slapped against the jam.  ”You didn’t take out the trash like I asked you!”

”I’m gonna do it after!” he called back.

”No, you’ll do it now!” Lauren shouted.

”But MOMMMMMMM!?”

”Now, Francis!” I yelled.

Frankie hung his head and dropped his glove in disgust as he started to make his way toward us.  Lauren neared me with a suspicious eye.

”What’s goin’ on with you?” she asked.

”Me?  Nothin’,” I lied.

”Catch,” she said as she tossed my truck keys toward me.  I’d normally snatch them out of the air with ease, but they hit my fingertips and fell to the ground.

”I don’t like it when you call me Francis,” Frankie said as he neared.  ”It sounds like Princess.”

”What’s wrong with Princess?” I joked.  ”You can be my Princess.  You can be a Princess if you wanna be a Princess.”

”Idiot,” he said with a chuckle as he climbed the porch steps.

”Love you Princess!”

”Hate you,” he joked as he disappeared into the house.

”You’re going to the doctor,” Lauren informed me.

”For what?  Missing a couple balls?” I asked, intentionally minimizing her concern.

”I know you think I don’t pay attention,” Lauren began.  ”Tossing and turning all night?  Missing throws when you have hands like Jerry Rice?  The keys?  Thaddeus you don’t miss.”

”Nobody has hands like Jerry Rice,” I said, subverting the subject.

”You know what I’m saying, Baby,” she said while folding her arms in front of her.

”I’m fine,” I lied again.

”And if it happens when you’re tossing Caty or T.J. in the air?”

”Hmmm, you manipulative bitch,” I joked.

”You’re getting your head checked,” she said as she leaned against me.

”Yes dear.”



So what is the Thaddeus Duke Show and what does it mean?  Quite honestly, it’s a five star caliber performance that captivates a worldwide audience using a mix of intelligence and intensity to add to a stellar technical prowess and top notch speed and aerial ability.  There’s a reason that I’ve had some of the best performances and best matches against the best talent in the industry.  None of it was an accident.  I am exactly as good as I have said I was since my debut contest and I’ve only grown vastly more talented as time has gone by.

What does it mean for me?  Being the star of said show, it falls on me to elevate those across from me.  That’s not a shot.  At least not yet.  See, I’m only as ridiculously freakin’ talented as I am because whether I have won or lost, I always learn something.  Sometimes about the person I’m facing, but mostly about myself.  I push myself to be the very best match on the card whether I’m on first, last or somewhere in between because maybe I’m not in a title bout or in a featured ongoing storyline, but I stand out because I make that happen.  I make damn sure that when the thousands that paid to see me… see me.  I make certain that as they’re driving home after the show that as they’re running down the card and what they saw, what they liked and didn’t like… “oh man, what about Thad!?  Incredible.”

Why?  Because I’ve challenged myself to step through those ropes and face the very best of the very best.  I haven’t won them all but more often than not, I come out on top.  It's because I elevated their game.  They were preparing to beat me because I dunno if you know this, but it’s very fucking hard to do.

What does it mean for the Denzel Porter Invitational?  What it means is poor old Ned Kaye plays second fiddle to me like he always has.  Sure, Bacchus and I are on before him but when our night is over it won’t be Ned Kaye they’ll all be talking about.  It’ll be Johnny Bacchus and Thaddeus Duke.

You’re welcome, Johnny.

Most importantly, what does it mean for Johnny Bacchus?  I could tell you how hard I’m gonna work to win this, but it’s not me that has to raise their game to win this one.  It’s not me that has to put up or shut up.  That responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the aforementioned Mr. Bacchus.  Bacchus is a four star talent and I’ll never take that away from him.  I won’t belittle what little he’s done in this business.  I won’t belittle the promotions he’s worked for.  I’ve said it privately to Theo Pryce, I’ll say it publicly now.  If I were starting a promotion and building it from the ground up, Johnny Bacchus is undeniably one of the four pillars I’d want in place to support that promotion.

He is that good.

But when it comes to this business, you’re only as good as your last match.  I know privately, Johnny has questioned whether he still wanted to be a part of this business and who could blame him, really?  You work your ass off night in and night out, win this or that, claim this title or that and every damn night, the next guy is telling the world how little it matters and the people eat it up despite it being very far from the truth.

Lying is popular.  That’s why I won’t do it.  Gaslighting is easy.  It’s far more difficult- and satisfying- to make ‘em eat out of the palms of your hands by hitting them with the truth the way I see it.  Whether the fans love me or hate me at any given moment, any time I have the stick in my hand, I leave the ring with both hands soaked in mark saliva.

In a business where it's far more popular- and far easier- to play the villain, there needs to be more Seb Bryce’s and more Thaddeus Duke’s.  Guys that are as talented and more so than most, that beat you over the skull with the truth.



Last May - Office of Dr. Chow - Queens, New York City


“Your tinnitus lasted how long?” she asked.

[gold]“Three weeks,”[gold] I replied.  [gold]”I was checked though.  I wasn’t concussed.”


”And you’ve never had a concussion related to your wrestling career?” my neurologist asked.

”None so far as I know,” I replied.  ”They all happened in the military.”

”How many?”

”Five that I’m aware of.  In the heat of battle, when you get your bell rung you don’t get to call timeout and have a medic check your brain.”

”I understand,” she chuckled while studying the images of my brain.  ”Thaddeus, I’d be remiss if I didn’t advise you to stay out of the ring.”

”What?” I asked incredulously.  ”I can’t do that.  I’ve already committed myself to Triad and I don’t go back on my word.”

”These spots are troubling,” Dr. Chow said as she started pointing out different anomalies in the images.  ”I can’t, in good conscience, permit you to do it.  Without my clearance, no one will let you compete.”

”You gotta clear me for Triad,” I pleaded.  ”I made a commitment to an old friend.  I won’t go back on it.  It’s only four or five weeks.”

Dr. Chow sat quietly for a minute.

”I’ll clear you on one condition, Thaddeus,” she began.  ”You come get imaging done after every match.  If anything changes in the scans, I’ll revoke the clearance.”

”Yes ma’am,” I said with a smile.

”Anytime you take a bump to the head, I want you in my office, is that clear?”

”Completely.”

There’s no rule that states that I have to keep my appointments…

”You miss even a single appointment, and I call everyone you work for and pull my medical clearance,” she warned, cutting my own thoughts off at the knees.



What happens when the emotionally volatile meets the mentally fragile?  I wear my heart on my sleeve, that’s not news.  See, Johnny and I have almost always been friendly.  Why wouldn’t we?  We’re both young and talented and never were in the same place at the same time so why would we be at odds?

Jealousy.

There was a time in our combined history where Mr. Bacchus blocked yours truly on the big mean twitter and it wasn’t because of any argument, not because of a match, but because I was successful at something he wasn’t.  At least not at that point.

See, I didn’t know it at the time, but Johnny had eyes for Lissie Hope and Lissie herself had thighs for Thaddeus Duke.  It was one night and didn’t mean a damn thing, but Johnny got in his feels and decided we couldn’t be friends anymore.

That stuck in his craw so much that when Lissie lied to him and told him I wasn’t packin’ he foolishly believed it and tried to go public with it.  He could’ve asked any number of men and women whether that was true or not, my exploits are well documented.  But… Why let the truth stand in the way of a good lie?  I’d have shown him myself if it mattered at all, but I was never that into him.

Johnny has been jealous and envious so much that when he and my wife were in Triad, he attempted, foolishly, to get with her.  The comments, the flirtation, the suggestions of broom closets… come on man… I could only guess it was to return the favor of me sleeping with Lissie before he did.  Maybe he was just messin’ around to try and get under my skin, but I trust my wife.

Trust me Johnny.  She likes you, but she never wanted to sleep with you.  If she did, she’d have said something to me, because that’s how our marriage works.




Present Day - Vacant Woolworth Tower Penthouse


It was good.  I was good.  While I chose to step away from wrestling, I never closed the door entirely.  I left it open for things that piqued my interest.  Triad being one.  Sean Parker another.  Johnny Bacchus and DPI being another, still.  My neurologist tried to close the door completely.  It’s one thing to choose to step away because you can always go back.  You can always say ‘hey, I miss it.’  It’s another thing altogether to have someone that has the power to stop you from doing what you love, to close the door for you.

I have a history of nasty concussions.  Most of them were caused by percussive blasts, or diving out of the way of something and smashing my head.  Even today if something bangs or slams loudly within earshot, more often than not, I get a visit from my old friend Tinnitus.

I followed every instruction Dr. Chow gave me, to the letter.  Well, except one.  If I hadn’t, Lauren would’ve chewed me out.  In fact, when I faced Sean Parker at Fire & Ice, she did chew me out.  Against the advice of Dr. Chow, I went ahead with the match anyway.  I was concussed when he gave me his knockout elbow on an episode of Madness.  That concussion and its symptoms lingered for several weeks.  Chow refused to clear me so I resorted to signing a release from liability waiver.

I shouldn’t have.

I went on to beat Sean Parker but I needed some help to do it.  My brain felt like it was drunk and it was the only way I stood a chance.  That’s not me.  That has never been my game and I regret it everyday.  Not only did I rob Sean Parker of a substantial win in front of his hometown crowd, I put my own life at risk of being altered forever.

Coming out of Fire & Ice, Dr. Chow was livid.  She scolded me in her office like she was my mother for 45 minutes.  My wife yelled at me.  My son yelled at me.  I was wrong and I knew it.  So, I tapped out.  I gave in and gave Dr. Chow everything she wanted including experimental treatments.  It took months, but then the scans started coming back clearer and clearer.



Today was our latest appointment.  The reason I came to the old penthouse in the first place was to reflect on the past and to read the letter given to me by Dr. Chow.  Standing in the chilly air on the balcony, I pulled the white envelope from inside my hoodie.  I wasn’t sure what was in the letter, but I felt its importance in my hesitation to even read it.

Tearing the envelope open, I began to read the handwriting of Dr. Carissa Chow:

Thaddeus,

You have been a remarkable patient.  I cannot stress enough just how important your treatment has been over the last few months.  Not just for you, personally, but for the world at large.  Your most recent scans have shown a never before seen reversal of what was once believed to be permanent brain damage.  Do you know what this means!?  If these studies and trials work out it could mean the reversal of brain damage in athletes all over the world.  And not only athletes, but perhaps even dementia and alzheimer’s patients as well!

I know the last year or so have been tough on you.  I know you want to get back to doing what you love at your own speed.  My hope is that you recognize what you’ve done in agreeing to those treatments.  As invasive and sometimes painful as they are, you’ve given the neurology field hope that we can help millions of people with traumatic brain injuries in the coming years.

Regarding your own treatment, Thaddeus, I think we can scale back now.  You visited once a week but I think we can cut that to once per month.  Further, I’ve enclosed what you’ve been waiting for for several months.  Your full and unconditional medical clearance to return to doing what you love.

Congratulations, Thaddeus!  You’ve earned it!

Sincerely,
Carissa Chow


I fell to my knees on the balcony and sobbed to myself.  The life I was forced to live took away from me, what it is I wanted to do.  In a lot of ways, I pretended to hate this business.  I acted as if I was above it at times.  Truth is, I lied to myself and tried to make myself hate it.  From the day I was born I was meant to be an athlete.  I was meant to be one of the greatest, most athletically gifted competitors to lace a pair of boots and it was taken away from me by a life I never wanted.  Now… at long last… I was free to do it again.



We’ve reached the end of our run up to DPI.  And perhaps we’ve reached the end of the career of Johnny Bacchus.  I won’t say I’m not disappointed.  Johnny is extremely talented.  This business is all the more stronger with someone like Johnny.  As good as he is though, he will not be good enough at bell time.  Don’t take it personally.  So few are good enough to beat me.  It’s not a shot at Mr. Bacchus but a testament to just how fucking good I truly am.

I’m proud to face Johnny Bacchus.

I’m proud that I was on his little wish list.

I’m prouder still to send him off into the sunset… flat on his back.

[Image: wgqr9W2.png]
74-31-1
Semi-Retired


1x  XWF Universal Champion || 3x  XWF Xtreme Champion || 1x  XWF Supercontinental Champion (First)
1x  XWF Hart Champion (Last) || 2x  XWF Television Champion || 1x  XWF Tag Team Champion
1x  OCW Savage Champion || 1x IIW Tag Team Champion  || 2x  SOTM (9/20, 7/21)
2021 Male Wrestler of the Year (shared w/ Alias) || XWF Hall of Legends
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bacchus (02-17-2024), Doctor Louis D'Ville (02-17-2024), Sean Parker (02-17-2024), Theo Pryce (02-17-2024)




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