An excerpt from Sucker-Punched, an upcoming novel by Robin Collins....
I was in the center of the ring with my brother Mike hoisted high above my head, poised for a body slam. The crowd was roaring. It was great. I love it when the fans go crazy like that. Pro wrestling fans are the most verbal, least politically-correct fans in the world. That's what makes them so great—in my opinion, anyway. This is a crazy life, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Mike was trying to break free. “Come on, Paulie,” he gasped. “This is the third time this week!”
“They love it, Mike,” I told him. “Listen to them!”
“Listen to me, you idiot,” he shot back at me. “I'm your brother!”
“Not here, you're not,” I said, preparing to make my move. In the ring, we weren't brothers. I was the Punisher—no relation to the comic book guy—a Heel, a bad guy, of the first order, and my kid brother was a Face, a good guy known as Pretty Boy. That was a stretch. Mike's a long way from pretty.
“I love you, bro,” he pleaded.
“I love you, too.” Then I slammed him to the mat.
“Was it my imagination, or were you enjoying that, bonehead?" Mike asked when we went backstage to the locker room afterward.
I grinned. "What do you think? "
"I think you're an asshole, " my brother said. "I think you like beating the crap out of me."
"I like winning."
“I was supposed to win.”
“Only by disqualification.” Mike was looking for something in his locker. Pain meds, probably. Who said to be a wrestler means being in constant pain? I can't remember—but whoever he was, the dude was right. Bruises, broken bones, torn muscles, concussions....
I was about to head off to the showers but got sidetracked. The reigning heavyweight champion, Mad Dog Mueller, came barging into the locker room, duffel in hand. Mad Dog is the biggest, ugliest creature to ever walk the earth—three hundred-plus pounds of pure mean and a face that looked like it had been on the losing end of a fight with a meat cleaver. There are few movie star faces in wrestling, but Mad Dog's got a face only his legally blind mother could love. And I'm not sure about her devotion to the beast.
His match was next up and he was just getting there. "You do know you're late, right? " I asked. “You're going to be the cause of the boss' next scheduled stroke.”
Mad Dog glared at me. Most of the heels in pro wrestling are nothing like their ring personas, but Mad Dog really is a world-class jackass. "What are they gonna do, start without me? " he asked, pulling off his street clothes. "I'm the champ. It's my show."
"Sure it is, champ, " I said, nodding. Mike was looking from one of us to the other but not saying a word. He didn't have to, really. He thought Mad Dog and me were about to brawl right there in the locker room. It wouldn't have been the first time. But no, I had no desire to roll around on the locker room floor with a naked Mad Dog. The other guys might come in and get the wrong idea, y'know?
“Mad Dog--” Mike started.
“Shut up, loser!” Mad Dog wasn't interested in anything either of us had to say. He pulled on his robe--he was one of the few who still wore a robe out to the ring anymore--and hoisted the heavyweight championship belt onto his shoulder with a smug look on his ugly mug. His entrance theme began, filling the arena with eardrum-splitting heavy metal music as he headed for the ring.
"Don't you think we should have told him? " Mike asked as we went out to the entrance to watch.
I grinned. "And ruin the surprise? No way! "
The crowd greeted old Mad Dog with the usual chant : "You suck! You suck!" He leaped into the ring and threw off his robe, his arms outstretched to allow the unworthy a view of his physique, which was a lot better than his face, visually speaking.
That's when the audience--and Mad Dog--realized he'd forgotten his trunks. The idiot was standing in the middle of the ring, in front of fifty thousand people-- and--God knows how many watching on TV--butt naked!