Black vs Joe

Contrary to popular belief, I am not an angry person. Generally, I am pretty happy and I try my best to stay upbeat and optimistic. One thing I am though, is frustrated. Another thing I am is insatiable...

A couple of weeks ago in Jersey I publicly stated that my personal mission is to change not just the face, but the body, mind, and soul of the pro wrestling business. I feel at this time that the best way to go about forcing that change is by vanquishing Nigel McGuinness and capturing the Ring of Honor World Title. Some would say that is quite the lofty goal, especially for a person of my age and experience level. I would tend to agree, but I want another shot. I'll do anything.

With that said, I have had two opportunities in the last 7 months. I came up short both times. So what would entitle me to another chance? Why would ROH give me a third match with Nigel? What can I do to prove that I deserve this belt?How can I complete this dream?

By knocking out Samoa Joe.

So consider this a challenge. Joe is coming to Chicago on November 22nd and everyone wants to know who his opponent will be. Well, it should be me. I'm sick and I am tired of these "former ROH legends" coming "home" to ROH from TNA. Try as they might to rekindle that flame within, TNA has bought off their spark, and that fire is long snuffed out.

Motor City Machine Guns? Beat em. Homicide? Pinned his shoulders to the mat. Now its Joe's turn. He'll be the next sell out I defeat and this time it's gonna be even sweeter. Because I want to knock him out. I want to kick his face off and knock him and his senses back to Orlando where he and his ego can recover in 4 minute, made-for-TV matches.

Now I respect Samoa Joe and all of his accolades, but the bottom line is that he isn't conditioned for me. I'm not washed up. I am not a has been. I'm certainly not a part of the Main Event Mafia. What I am is young. And hungry. And part of an honest revolution in the Age of the Fall.

My name is in the hat. I want Samoa Joe in Chicago. And then, I want my shot at the ROH World Title.


Change (Sights Are Set)

I can't keep my feet on the ground or this disaster in my head. We've tried all we can, and don't get me wrong, it's gotten us this far...so far. In a year's time we've accomplished many of the goals we initially established. We have conquered the Briscoe Brothers. We captured tag team gold twice. And most importantly, we have traveled the globe with our message in mouth and delivered aloud that message to thousands of struggling people worldwide. Up until recently, I've felt accomplished.

Is it possible to sense a national aura of hopelessness? A global uncertainty? Maybe it's just me but from my eyes it seems that passion is slowly disappearing across the board. Chalk it up to an American economic landslide. Maybe an endless "war" in the Middle East. But I have been sensing something lately. I see it in everyone's eyes. Feel it in her touch. I can hear it in their voices. Everywhere I look for comfort, there is something missing.

All I can think about lately is change. Are we doing too much? Are we not doing enough? Am I imagining all of this despair? Or does this run even deeper than I can dig?

I spoke earlier about goals. Well what we've done is not enough. We are coming up short. Drastic times call for drastic measures, and I am no exception.

True change comes from within. And I know what must be done.

We are the ones we've been waiting for....

the war is waiting....

no more waiting.

It's time to be responsible and accountable for our shortcomings. This life is ours. We live today. I have never been good at regret, and next time the real dream won't slip away.


The Boys and Girls to Change the World

Life is ever changing. People come and they go. Opportunities appear out of thin air. And hope dissipates into despair as quickly as this summer has into autumn. One misnomer about this job is that it's glamorous. The truth is that silver linings are really all we have to look forward to. Faces are forgotten and friendships are few and very far between. Locales differentiate only by longitude and latitude. The seasons blur and the colors all eventually become gray.

So really, this job--like any other--is just an extension of life. Because the only bonds that matter are the ones you build. Age of the Fall is partly about camaraderie and relationships and trust, like life is. We're here to offer sanctuary to those who feel like those connections aren't meant to exist for them. And in that vain, we as a unified stronghold welcome Delirious with open arms. He adds to our veins a shot of unpredictability and a salivation for revenge. And with that vengeance comes focus and the intention to right the wrongs. And like in his case, when the indiscretion is the breaking of a heart, there is no force more powerful.

Then, as we head to Japan we are as strong as we have ever been...

The next two weeks are make or break...

The Briscoes can pout all they want. They can make their proclamations about returning to their roots, but the fact remains that they have lost touch. And shooting guns and drinking gallons of beer aren't changing a fucking thing. Their fire may have been reignited by their shortcomings, but our flame is burning as bright as ever. And we will carry that torch to Japan and come back home basking in a new glow....the reflection of a World Title on the back of our leader.

And when pay-per-view comes calling, I will do what I do best and deliver. In Boston, Jimmy and I will successfully end the championship promise of Kevin Steen. Why so confident, you ask? Because I can be. I am in the best shape of my life, and psychologically no one can hold a candle to Jimmy and myself. He is a mastermind and when it all comes down, let's be honest, Steen and Generico simply can't compete with us on a cerebral level. Try as they might; will themselves as I am sure they shall; those two are why second place is still a celebration--so slackers have something to be proud of.

And with all that gold, we will step into the ECW Arena and finish what we started one year ago by demolishing everybody in sight, and using their bodies as metaphors for every doubt in every heart in the world. Heartache and solitude and hopelessness are all real.

But so is triumph.

So is valor.

So are dreams.

Steel Cage Warfare is an end to the beginning.

We are the boys and girls who will change the world. We are the ones we've been waiting for.


Fifth And Clark

The pavement cracks my feet. The moon is full... dreams still light my way.

Two big nights. Two big losses. Two more miles to run...

"Give me the strength to move this mountain..." I pick up the pace. I want my breath to disappear.

Each step is another reminder of my defeat. The distance blurs. My jaw stings to the rhythm of my stride. It's midsummer and I don't have any answers.

So I run a little further. So I stay out a little longer.

I believe in a place called home. These humble streets are the roots that wind deep and grip tightly the fabric of my existence. They remind me of who, and why I am...and of how far I have come, and still have to go. And they won't let me stop.

Life is about opportunity, about chances. And sometimes, about second chances. So I will take my shortcomings and wring them of dry of their lessons. What's left is the past, and I will put that behind me...

This Saturday in the brightest lights, in the grandest city in all of the world the guard changes hands...

The anticipation cuts out my sight and I scream the night my rage. No one needs to listen. And anyone who could hear wouldn't understand anyway. No one wants this as bad as me. Not Bryan, not Claudio, and not Nigel. I will run until the feeling in my legs dies like the echoes my voice carries into the Midwestern sky. Until all my thoughts are burned into the blacktop by the pouring sweat of my brow. Until the pain ceases and all that remains is belief. Hope. Until all I have is hope. We are the ones we've been waiting for. Change happens today.


Let's Make History Stop

From--of course--Anonymous:

"Aaaaannnnd we make a change on society to make a better future by winning title belts from various indy wrestling promotions???"

Before I tear this asshole a new...well, asshole, I would like to use him as a reference for an introduction. The Ring of Honor fans in Chicago are already acquainted, but I am using this forum tonight as a formal unveiling.

Age of the Fall, welcome your newest member; the SHIMMER Champion MsChif.

I could tell you her story, but you already know the details. Let me just say, she belongs among us. She is driven. She is passionate. Smart, capable, and under appreciated. And most importantly, the only mold she fits is the one her dreams have cast. Now, out of years of frustration and hard work, she is at the top of her game, but because she isn't a life size Barbie doll, she remains under the radar...and she's had enough. MsChif has found strength in our camp. And likewise, we have become that much stronger for accepting her. Some companies could take a hint. I digress...

Back to Mr. Anonymous. Back to answers...

You know what Mr. Anon, you're right. Yeah, we could be making a difference by joining the Peace Corps. Maybe we could donate blood more often. We could make some picket signs and march for a pro-choice. Or tie ourselves to a Christmas tree in hopes of preserving the legacy of Ol' St. Nick. Or we could go to college. Pre-med. Then we could get our Ph.D's. Become doctors. Save lives. Cure diseases. We could do that, but then we wouldn't be here, doing this....

And then where would you be? Where would Eric be? Where would Mick Foley be had he not been there to see "Superfly" dive off that cage onto Don Muraco in 1983?

Yeah, you're right Mr. Anonymous. We could all be doing something better with our lives. And that's the fucking point.


Whips and Chains

There is a place I want to see where every day is a sweet summer breeze. And every night is as starry as it is in my dreams...

So we're wearing gold again. This time we won't be letting it slip away.

And for those of you who thought that maybe our distractions would set us back, or stagger us in the least, what are you thinking now? The Tag Title Tournament at Hartford was further proof that when the battle lines are drawn, we'll be at the front of the lines-- leading by example. Unlike a certain Leader of the Free World, we don't always send the poor or the weak. We "man up" and fight our wars with conviction and fire and balance. If you're still scoffing, fuck you. The proof is in the proverbial pudding. And in this case the pudding is silver and gold. :)

From Hartford to Philly is about a 4 hour drive. Most of the drive was spent listening to Hulk Hogan and the Wrestling Boot Traveling Band (the girl had nothing else worth giving a shot). Needless to say, if my two prior losses to Bryan Danielson weren't motivation enough, that red and yellow drivel sent me over the edge.

Stepping into that armory in Philadelphia I got goosebumps remembering the way I felt back in March when I let myself down by not capturing the World Title at Take No Prisoners. I was one count away on multiple occasions from seizing a dream. Flash forward now, to last Saturday. Respect is Earned II. I wasn't about to drop the ball again.

I truly feel that there is nothing that can stop Jimmy and I as a team. And when he fought his heart out trying to tear Aries to pieces, I took a spark from his flame and let it truly ignite in my eyes. And when the fans in Philly felt the temperature rise as it boiled down to just Bryan and I, I breathed in that smoke. Every voice was another log and the fire just kept building. It burned out the roof and lit up the sky. And when I felt the third count after my Phoenix Splash, I knew we had done it. We had proved our point. As a team, and as revolution...

The question I get asked most. "What are you guys revolting against, anyway?"

It's that mindset. That psychology. You know the one. It lands you in a cube farm, or with paper cuts on your hands from bagging groceries all day. It leaves you broken hearted. It keeps you voting. It keeps you buying shit--shit you don't need. Shit no one needs. It keeps you detached and afraid. It keeps you apathetic. It keeps kids on the streets and books on the shelves. It keeps and it keeps and it keeps going and going and going. It's that mindset. I know you know the one, because chances are, it's yours.

Send thoughts to aotfblack@hotmail.com


Our New War

Since we last spoke one war was ended, another began, and a third is now scheduled for renewal...

Two and a half weeks ago we did just as I said we would. We tore down the superficial. We vanquished the facade. When Jimmy made Alex Shelley give up, Jimmy not only gained a measure of personal revenge, but through his desire and fortitude he showed the world that if you can visualize answers, they will appear. And now there is no longer a shadow; no longer a mask. Contracts and image and money mean nothing. Fuck exploitation. The reality isn't in the show, it's in our hearts. We believed. And we conquered. And as the garbage crashed like hail on our parade... I have never known such a beautiful shower of disappointment turned elation.

Unfortunately, our celebration was quickly soured, and just as Jimmy had put what he thought to be the last of his demons to rest by defeating Alex Shelley, it appears that old ghosts still haunt him. For now. There is not much I can ascertain relating to love and lust and how they effect Jimmy in this situation. All I can say is that anyone who has ever felt the sting of a broken heart has to empathize. More to follow...

One exception I do take in regards to Austin Aries is his use of the word "hypocrite" in relation to us and our fight.

In today's cynical world, where it has become more of a crime to believe in anything at all than it has to sit-- idle and ignorant, what kind of person do you think you are, Austin? I understand as well as anyone what personal turmoil and indecision can lead to. I know the road depression paves and uncertainty paints so simple and pretty. It's not easy to go down the gravel, signless road. It's not easy to figure things out on your own.

What we are Austin, is an alternative to that nice road that takes you to the big city and that nine to five-tired name tag-weekend warrior bullshit lifestyle. And you know what? On our end, there stand Age of the Fall and no one else. So we're fighting one versus one million. And you know what else? We're not afraid. Of the blind stereotypes like the Motor City Machine Guns. Or, of the silent cynics like you and 90% of middle class America. The ones who love to talk about all the things in this life that need to change, but never once stand up. Or even take a single look in the mirror.

And now it seems like you have been given a World Tag Team Championship. Wow. I bet you feel proud... Come the Hammerstein, we'll show you what action is all about when we pry that belt from your undeserving hands. Whether they are alive and clenched, or cold and dead...

But before we reach that road, Age of the Fall invades the nation's capitol. And there, on May 9th I find myself pitted--one more time-- against "The Best In The World."

...Bryan, the last time we met I took for granted your experience. I will give you all the credit in the world, as your moniker may not be such a stretch. But I truly believe that in Dayton last year, it was not you who beat me. It was me who beat me. A lot of kids go into matches with wrestlers they idolized just happy to be there. And the first time, maybe that is a halfway viable excuse, but it's also new motivation for me. I can defeat you Bryan Danielson. This time, will be nothing like the last time. This time, Bryan, I will defeat you.