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As the dust settled from another stellar edition of Breakdown, the hype leading up to Rise to Greatness continues to build. From the World Championship match between Jake's closest friend and ally in SCW, Thorn, against arguably the one man Jake can't insult enough, Greg Cherry, to the much anticipated Tag Team Championship match between the emerging Dark Fantasy, and defending champions Karnivale, Rise to Greatness promises a card for the ages.

Outside of the title picture, directly, stands one match the world seemingly is highly buzzing about as well, and that's the encounter between former World Champions, Josh Hudson and Jake Starr.

This match has been one brewing for months now. Since Tactical Warfare, when Josh Hudson shocked the world and stole the victory and the title, and then proceeded to go on a spree of assaults, attempting to whittle the competition down to he and Starr only. His goal, to be able to prove he is superior to Jake Starr.

And now, he'll have his chance.

At this last edition of Breakdown, Jake walked in anticipating a match against a man whose shear vernacular confuses many, and instead, saw Josh Hudson make a statement. It was Hudson's first attempt to get inside the head of his opponent, seeking any edge he could muster. Hudson decimated Dillusion before the match could ever begin, thus giving Jake his first win in SCW via forfeit...

... And it wasn't one that left a sweet taste in his mouth!

Since losing the World Championship, Jake has been on a mission to climb back to the top of the mountain. He has yearned for the chance to truly compete one on one for the SCW Championship, and knows if incidents like this happen, the likelihood becomes scarce that it could become a reality. He knows that forfeits get him nowhere in the eyes of the "powers that be," and he knows ultimately it'll take convincing wins to raise his stock.

It's a fact that Hudson knows himself as well.

Jake hopes as Breakdown looms again, the result will be the same, but by a different manner.

Jake walks into this episode of Breakdown, looking at yet another opponent he's seen before. He sees a woman looking to do her own "stock raising," and one that has suffered defeat at the hands of the Social Misfit in the past. He sees Rachel Foxx.

In Rachel Foxx, Jake sees a prime opportunity to show he's still at the top of his game, and worthy of consideration in the "big picture." Foxx is highly regarded as one of the strongest "dark horses" in SCW, and capable of striking down the goals of others at any moment.

It's an opportunity he cannot let slip by!

Unfortunately, before he can arrive at Breakdown, and seize the opportunity presented to him, he has a lingering battle on his hands. It's a battle that has continued to rear its ugly head outside of the ring, and ultimately inside his real-world life.

Since realizing that his nightmares and night terrors have resurfaced, the thought of sleeping through the night becomes more and more of a "nice thought," but a difficult reality. The amount of sleep he's been able to successfully get in a week, without being plagued by horrific thoughts, scenarios, or ideas have been able to be cumulatively added on two hands.

Tonight is no different...

As a summertime thunderstorm illuminates the sky with lightning, and echoes the rumble of thunder across the city of Des Moines, Jake sits in his entertainment room, in pure darkness. His head leans back on the top of the couch, and the room lights with each flicker of lightning.

As a bolt of lightning makes the entertainment room light up, Jake sees a figure standing at the entrance to the room. His eyes shift over to see the silhouette of his wife standing there staring at him. It is confirmed to be her as another flash of lightning briefly illuminates her. The look on her face is that of sleepiness, and concern for her husband.

She takes a couple of steps into the room, and Jake tilts his head in her direction.

Roeper Hart: You're up...

Jake lets out a slight smirk.

Jake Starr: I could say the same thing for you...

She continues walking toward him, and sits down next to him on the couch. She extends her arm up around his head, and leans hers back as well onto the couch.

Roeper Hart: I rolled over and realized you weren't there. I peeked over at the bathroom thinking you might be in there, but the light was off. I figured then you had to be out here.

Jake lightly shrugs his shoulders.

Jake Starr: ... Meh... I just couldn't sleep...

Roeper Hart: Nightmares again?

Jake moves his head back toward the ceiling, and simply nods.

Roeper Hart: What was this one about?

Jake peeks over at his wife.

Jake Starr: In a nutshell?

Roeper Hart: It's late, so preferably...

Jake Starr: Basically, we got a knock at the door, it was daytime, and I went to answer it. I looked through the peephole, and all I saw was darkness. It was daytime, yet I felt like I was looking into night. Without thinking I just opened the door, and it was like I knew I was going to be attacked. Right as I opened the door, I dove straight into several guys, dressed in black, who ended up tying us up, and ransacking the place. They made me watch as they beat you up, kicked you in the stomach, and laughed as you bled. I guess one was behind me with a gun, because right as I heard the gunfire, I immediately woke up.

Roeper begins to run her fingers through her husband's hair, hoping it calms him down.

Jake Starr: ... My adrenaline was going so fast then, I just knew sleeping wouldn't happen. I didn't want to wake you, so I came out here.

Roeper Hart: Well that's what you normally do, though, right? Either here or your office...?

Jake Starr: Yeah... I figured maybe out here, at least, the couch may entice me back to sleep. No luck though...

Roeper Hart: I'm sorry baby...

Jake tilts his head back in the direction of his wife, and looks at her. He, again, lightly shrugs his shoulder.

Jake Starr: ... Meh... what can you do right?

Roeper Hart: You could talk to someone...

Jake Starr: I do... I talk to you about them...

Roeper tilts her head to the side, letting Jake know she knows that he knows what she meant.

Roeper Hart: I'm talking about going back to the doctor, and talking to him about it.

Jake Starr: Eh... The thought has crossed my mind here and there.

Roeper Hart: Well... Have you made an appointment to see him?

Jake Starr: Not yet, no...

Roeper Hart: Why not babe?

Jake Starr: Well... The last time I went, we talked a lot about these nightmares, and really focused on ways to cope with these things, and ways to hopefully get rid of them. So, I've been trying those methods...

Roeper lets out an audible sigh, as a clap of thunder echoes through their house.

Roeper Hart: ... Well that clearly hasn't been very successful has it?

Jake Starr: Guess not this time around...

Roeper Hart: So... Why, then, haven't you made an appointment to see him again?

Jake rubs his eyes with one hand, then opens them wide, closes them hard, then opens them normally again.

Jake Starr: Because... I'll be fine.

Roeper tilts her head to the side, showing her annoyance with his claims of being fine.

Roeper Hart: ... Obviously not! This lack of sleep is eventually going to catch up to you in some way, shape, or form!

Jake looks over at her, and is vehement in his response.

Jake Starr: Babe... I'm going to be fine!

Roeper lets out another sigh, continuing to become annoyed with his defiance.

Roeper Hart: Jake... Eventually this lack of sleep IS going to effect you. It's either going to effect you physically, like by making your immune system turn to sh!t, and you get sick, or it's going to effect you when you go into the ring, and you could end up seriously injuring yourself. Neither of those scenarios I particularly care for.

Jake lets out another sigh, while Roeper continues to plea to her husband.

Roeper Hart: Please call and make an appointment...

Jake leans forward and droops his head toward the ground.

Roeper Hart: Please baby?

Jake lets out another sigh, and finally realizes he has no option but to concede.

Jake Starr: Ok... I'll call them in the morning, and try to work an appointment out.

Roeper Hart: But... Don't they have an answering machine?

Jake shrugs, as another clap of lightning and thunder bellows through the house.

Roeper Hart: ... Most doctor's offices do!

Jake Starr: Umm... Ok?

Not getting the subtle hint, a frustrated Roeper finally goes blunt.

Roeper Hart: Call them now!

Jake, confused by the order, doesn't see the logic in her statement.

Jake Starr: Babe, it's late!

Roeper Hart: I don't care! It's not like an answering machine sleeps!

Jake Starr: Ugh!

Jake's frustration in his wife's persistence is blatantly obvious. He doesn't know if it's due to the situation, or if it's due to his lack of sleep, and he continues to try and not let it become something he overreacts to.

At the same time, Roeper realizes his frustration, and knows trying to argue with him may not be the easiest way to get through to him. She finally takes a stab and reasoning with him, and maybe offering a solution to the impasse.

Roeper Hart: ... Ok... How about this? Try to call now, and if they have an answering machine, leave a message, and if they don't, just ignore the whole idea until morning, and then try again.

Jake, once again, rubs his eyes in exhaustion, and lets out another sigh.

Roeper Hart: Please baby?

Jake takes a deep breath, and comes to grips with the fact that his wife is right, and knows the severity of the situation. He reaches over to the end table, and picks up his phone. He unlocks the screen, and begins to shuffle through the gobs of contacts he has in his phone. After several moments of scrolling, he finally comes to the last name "Collier," and clicks the name.

In the off-chance Roeper doesn't believe he's actually calling, Jake takes the extra precaution of putting it on speakerphone.

As the rings echo through the room, when not being drowned out by the thunder, the answering machine finally picks up.

Thank you for calling the office of Dr. William Collier, Board Certified psychologist. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30am until 5:30pm. If this is an emergency, please contact the Mercy Medical Center at 515-555-3121. If this is not an emergency, please leave your name, number, and a brief message regarding the nature of the call, we'll get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you for calling, and have a pleasant day. *BEEP*

Jake takes a deep breath, and begins his message.

Jake Starr: Uh... Yes... This is Jake Starr, 515-555-3737, and I've seen Dr. Collier in the past, and I would like to setup a new appointment regarding the same issues I experience during our previous meetings. If you could, please call me back, so we can work out a time for me to come in. Thanks...

Jake hangs up the phone, and looks over at his wife, who is sitting there with a much more comforted look on her face. She leans over and embraces her husband, and kisses him, again hoping to ease his adrenaline, and potentially make it possible for him to go back to sleep.

Roeper Hart: Babe? Come back to bed and at least lie down and try to sleep? If at all else, just lay there and give me the appearance it's a normal night.

Jake chuckles, and reluctantly agrees.

As the scene fades out, the two begin to make their way back toward the bedroom. Roeper walks with Jake fully embraced in her arms, and Jake with one arm around his pregnant wife.

With all of this possibly, and finally, coming to a head, with Jake visiting a doctor, he, along with his wife, hope that he can move away from these nightmares, and get his mind back where it needs to be. If all goes right, and he can find a new way to cope with these dreams, he can once again focus on preparing for fatherhood, and preparing to make a second run at the SCW Championship. Until then, he has to learn to cope with battling minute amounts of sleep, and battling SCW opponents left and right.

It's a struggle he knows he must overcome!

Jake Starr: As has become the norm as of late, and as it relates to me, I continue my journey down the lovely, never-ending, continually winding, and extremely lengthy, memory lane. Since losing the World Championship, it's been a road that has miraculously appeared before me, and given me no other options but to follow.

And I will continue to do so, knowing my memories all end up back at one place, and that place is the top.

But like I said... That path is paved with visits from the past.

It began at the last edition of Breakdown, or at least, it was supposed to. It was supposed to begin with me, Jake Starr, embarrassing the likes of Dillusion AGAIN, and sending him back to the world of mediocrity where he belongs. It was supposed to begin with me starting over. It was supposed to feature me beating down those who stand in front of me, and ultimately try and begin my rise to the apex of "SCW Mountain."

Unfortunately, others seemingly had other plans.

And shockingly enough, put another "blast from the past" right in front of me.

Josh Hudson has had an obsession since stealing a win at Tactical Warfare. It's not a normal one...

... Well... Not really...

See, celebrity crushes are normal for teenagers, and those who fancy themselves still of like-mind. But usually, by the time they reach puberty, or at least high school, they realize a celebrity crush, a legitimate one, isn't something that'll ever pan out. They realize that it's unhealthy to obsess over something unrealistic and unlikely to ever occur.

Hudson didn't get that memo...

Since winning the World Championship, like I said, he's had this obsession. It isn't with the "normal suspects," you know, the Angelina Jolie's, the Megan Fox's, the Eliza Dushku's, none of them. Oh no... Hudson couldn't go down the path of normalcy. He had to select a man-crush.

Yes... I said it... A man-crush!

When Hudson won, he began obsessing over me. Me... ME!! He began gallivanting around saying how he needed to "prove" himself against Jake Starr, simply to show the world he's superior. He kept going on and on about it. Hell, before Taking Hold of the Flame, he even tried to eliminate the other two competitors, with the hopes it'd end up just he and I.

We all know that ultimately backfired! But, he hasn't stopped. He still is obsessed with me, and seemingly making it more and more about how I keep rejecting his offers, and his advances that he leaves in little notes with lipstick on them.

Jake cringes thinking about the letters left by Hudson.

Jake Starr: ... Ew! It just gives me shivers of the deuce-chill variety!


So at Breakdown, Hudson decides he's going to make his final "pitch" to me, hoping to solicit me for some future meet-up, and thus giving him a chance to prove himself.

Best part... He uses Dillusion as this "prime example."

He decided that he would interfere with my goal and my path, with the hopes of getting what he wants, and low and behold, he does. At Rise to Greatness, the world will see this clash that he has been obsessing over. He'll get his little one-on-one time with me, and we'll see how he likes it. His goal is to leave on a high note, and hope to GOD that he doesn't f_ck up again.

But that's just a little further down the road.

Right now, I can't focus on the likes of Josh Hudson. Right now... I have to look at him as a NOBODY, and simply someone looking to try and grab the attention away from those who rightfully deserve it.

Jake rubs his eyes, still suffering the effects of the lack of sleep he's been receiving as of late.

Jake Starr: You see... This time, at this edition of Breakdown, it's paved with someone who's personal path of "success" always seems to cross mine, with the hopes of achieving said "success." This time, it's paved with the likes of someone who's tried multiple times to run me out of SCW, and run me off the path, and ultimately failed at each attempt at said goal. She's a woman who's proved to be cunning, devilish, mean, and cruel to anyone who crosses her. She's also proved to be a shrewd business woman...

No she isn't Linda McMahaon, and no she isn't Hilary Clinton... She's Rachel Foxx!

Rachel and I have encountered one another on a couple of occasions, if memory serves me right, although as I always say, that is a debatable issue..

The one that immediately comes to mind was in a grueling triple threat match, where she, Donovan Kayl, and myself, squared off to earn a chance to fight, then World Champion, and returning "resident boob," James Exeter. The three of us flirted with victory several times, and ultimately, I won.

I know she hasn't gotten over it. Hell, very few people ever get over a failed attempt to get a shot at the World Championship. So I guarantee she's coming in with a mission.

Rachel has always wanted to get herself to the top. It's obvious. It's basic instinct in this business. She just has always fallen short, or run into guys like me at the wrong time in her career. It's unfortunate... Really, it is!

She's someone that, on paper, can compete with anyone out there. Any day of the week, Foxx could walk into a match with Jason Zero, myself, James Exeter, Josh Hudson, anyone, and really be a formidable opponent, and potential victor. The problem lies that she seemingly gets put in these high profile matches when her opponent has a bigger agenda to fulfill, and it just is too overwhelming.

Rachel's never been in a position where she's the one with the agenda, and everyone else plays the role of "pawn" in her game. At least, not that I know of.

That's the case with this encounter, and this memory of my past.

When she and I first met, as I said, it was for a shot at the World Championship. It was to get the opportunity to change our careers forever. I was still considered the "newbie" of the organization, even though I was the most dominant Adrenaline Champion in the history of SCW, and was doing everything I could to forge a path to the World Championship. I had a feeling... No I take that back... Because of the fact I was steamrolling through everyone, I KNEW that I would emerge victorious, and I KNEW it was finally going to be my time to grasp the highest honor in the business.

This time around, it's a similar situation.

I'm repaving that road, and walking that same path again. She stands in my way, she gets beaten like the last time. I am going to do whatever it takes to forge my path back to the World Title, without anyone impeding my progress.

This time around, she's also going to serve as an example.

She's faced with the unfortunate consequence of having to be the stand-in for Dillusion. She has to play the role of "whipping boy," since he seemingly forgot he was supposed to let me beat him like a rag doll, and not Hudson. Thankfully, unlike Dillusion, when she speaks, it's coherent, it's thought out, and it's logical. But, talking won't get her very far against me. It may help her save face in the end, but in the match, it won't help her win.

The truth of the matter is this... Some day, she'll have a time when she isn't the one being thrown into the paths of those who're on a tear of their own. Some day, she'll get to have her glory. But if she thinks it'll ever come at the expense of me, she's sadly mistaken. I want... No... I NEED to prove to the world I can get back to the top of the mountain. I NEED to show that I wasn't a one-trick pony.

Jake audibly sighs.

Jake Starr: ... I guess, in a sense, I'm on a mission similar to Hudson's. I'm not obsessing like he is, but I want to prove those who doubt me wrong. It's a boat I watched sail away months ago, and it's beginning to head back for me. It's a scenario where I don't want to be.

So I hope she listens, and realizes what WILL happen. I also hope Hudson knows if he continues to get in my way, he'll have even MORE hell to pay at Rise to Greatness...


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