This is Part 3 of a 3-part series about Abadon.
- In Part 1, Evolving Abadon, I identify the need to flesh out Abadon’s character more in a way that makes sense to AEW’s audience. While this doesn’t need to happen right away, if Tony Khan ever wants to place her at the top of the division, fans will need to be able to reconcile why there’s a zombie wrestling in AEW.
- In Part 2, Abadon: Birth Of A Living Dead Girl, I talk about the strategy for delivering this story including a promotion schedule.
- In Part 3, this part, I present the actual creative I’d pitch for Abadon to tell their story.
So the thing about doing something like this, whether you want to call it “Fantasy Booking” or “Fan Fiction” is it is just inherently nerdy.
If not cringe.😅
And especially writing dialogue for a wrestler… But I feel like the best way to communicate this idea. And the idea is this: My goal is to make Abadon a character whose existence can be explained beyond “they cosplay as a zombie to scare their opponents”.
So I hope you enjoy, or at the very least endure, this story…
The scene opens like a House Of Black promo. Abadon screams as blood pours from her mouth. Her breath heaves with the exhale sounding like a growl. As the breaths grow slower, her face goes from a maniacal smile to deadpan. Abadon’s eyes blankly staring through the camera lens. Suddenly her eyes engage. Her face becomes animated. And Abadon speaks.
“My name… Is Abigail Donaldson but you can call me ‘Abby’.”
Abby begins cracking/adjusting her neck, implying that performing as Abadon is strenuous on her body.
“When Abadon arrived in AEW, you’ve been told that it’s an act or it’s ‘mind games’. ‘Abadon’ isn’t a ‘mindset’. This isn’t Chris Jericho putting on eyeliner and calling himself the fucking Painmaker.”
The room brightens revealing that Abby is sitting in a makeup chair, similar to any makeup tutorial you’d see on YouTube, except we get multiple camera angles.
Abby begins taking out her contact lenses.
“So clearly, I am a fan of the horror genre. But it gets nerdier than that…”
Abby pulls out a black moleskine journal.
“When I was young I was fascinated by all the different abilities of each horror monster…”
Abby starts flipping through pages in the journal.
“Slender Man can do this.
Samara from The Ring can do that…”
Abby tucks the journal away.
“But back then, growing up in rural Colorado, I would’ve gotten made fun of for being that into horror and sci-fi shit. So I kept it to myself.”
Abby starts wiping makeup off her forehead.
“As it turns out, all that studying of seemingly trivial horror movie facts changed my life.”
We get more glances of Abby as she removes more makeup.
Act i: Glory Hole
“I wasn’t big into sports but I liked going outside and exploring the woods around my house. I pretty much knew the whole area. And that’s saying a lot because the woods behind my house were vast! So it stuck out to me when one day, on one of my excursions, that on a rock face I had seen 100 times before, there was a perfectly cylindrical hole. Surveyors sometimes take core samples and leave these holes. They’re something I’ve seen before and while I’d normally ignore it, I noticed that there was something in that hole. I reached in and pulled out a lighter and an open pack of cigarettes. Apparently I had happened across someone’s stash! I was not going to pass up this opportunity to snoop! I reached in a bit further and pulled out a porno mag. Classic reading material in the woods.”
Abby wipes some “blood” off her neck.
“Hoping to find more, I took off my jacket so I could reach further in. I hung my jacket on a tree to keep it clean and reached into the hole again. Nothing. I pushed a little bit further just in case. Nope. Just the smokes and a porno. When I went to pull out my arm, it wouldn’t move. The suction from the displaced air in the hole wouldn’t allow me to pull my arm out of that rock. I wasn’t that far away from my house but no one knew I where I was. I could’ve phoned for help… Except my phone was in the pocket of my jacket which I had just neatly hung up on the tree which was now just out of reach. I yelled for help but I was far out enough that no one could hear me. To make matters worse, I was just in t-shirt and shorts. Very quickly, I started to get cold. And it was only getting colder. The only part of my body that wasn’t cold was the part of the arm that was stuck in that hole. This was a bad situation. My mom was out of town on work and my dad worked nights so it was pretty common place for him to come home from work and just fall into bed, assuming I’ve been looked after.”
We finally get a shot of Abby with her makeup mostly off, but there’s still a lot of the “blood” on her neck and chest from earlier.
“It washed over me in that moment, that through this random innocent act of exploration, this could be how I go out.”
Abadon looks down, starring into the distance realizing the gravity of what she had just said before suddenly snapping to and looking into the camera,
“Be right back!”
Abadon gets up and walks off stage right.
We come back from commercial on the same empty seat when Abby walks back into frame having just showered with a towel over her hair.
“I woke up in an ambulance headed for the hospital. I got treated for hypothermia but other than some scratches, my arm was totally fine. No broken bones, just a bit sore.”
Abadon holds up a photo of herself in the hospital which the camera lingers on while Abby speaks.
“Rescuers found me nearly 24 hours later. I was passed out. They used some lubricant and compressed air to get my arm out. I slept for a full day in the hospital and then another full day when I got home. I had never been that tired in my life.”
“Those are all the facts on the police report… But there’s a part of the story I’ve never told anyone…”
“After my voice had gone horse from yelling and it became clear that I was solely at the mercy of someone finding me. There was nothing more I could do. I was terrified that I might die. I was freezing. And I was hungry. My entire existence was agony. So I figured the best thing I could do was distract myself. I started thinking about all those horror movie monsters and how they’d get out of this situation.”
Abby pulls out her journal again and holds it in both hands.
“Like, Pennywise could just shape-shift his arm smaller…”
Abby turns the page
“the Creeper could just cut his arm off and regrow it…”
Abby turns a couple pages,
“It was when I got to how a zombie would get out of this situation that this game hit a snag. A zombie would just stay stuck there forever if no one discovered them. It dawned on me that the only difference between what I was doing and what a zombie would do was that a zombie wouldn’t care. No fear of death. No pain from freezing. No anxiety. It would just… wait. I felt… weirdly envious of zombies suddenly. That’s the last memory I have until I woke up in an ambulance.”
Abby pauses, touching her face for a moment before continuing.
“Soon after, I began to have reoccurring dreams of my arm being stuck back in that hole. Every time I’d think ‘I can’t believe I’m stuck here again. They might not find me in time this time. These could be my last few hours on earth.”
Abby looks despondent as if she’s reliving the trauma in that moment when suddenly she snaps back to,
“I’d wake up to a panic attack. My heart would be pounding so hard, I’d be hyperventilating, my bed was drenched in sweat. I couldn’t even feel relief that it was a dream because in the moment, physically, the panic attack was overwhelming. It was as bad as I felt when my arm was actually stuck in that hole. I’d resort again to thinking about zombies and how if I were one, I couldn’t have panic attacks. And that would settle me. And I’d fall back asleep. It did the trick every time. It got to the point where it was a reflex. Some days, it’d be the afternoon or evening and I’d suddenly remember that I had a panic attack in the middle of the night but I forgot because I had dealt with it so quickly and automatically.”
Abby shakes her head,
“I kinda knew that this was probably putting a bandaid on the trauma but… I just didn’t feel like I could face it. Until one day, I was forced too.”
Act iI: Fishing for Zombies
Abby holds up a photo of her at 15 years old with both her arms in slings.
“I was in my freshman year of high school. Some… shit head… had taken fishing line to setup a trip wire in the hallway. You know, as a ‘prank’.”
Abby says with distain,
“What this genius didn’t account for was how close they put the tripwire to the stairs. I came along, tripped over the wire but instead of falling flat on my face, I tried to get my feet under me and catch myself which only caused me to pickup speed, essentially running straight for the stairwell. I went flying headfirst down the stairs. I put up my hands to block myself from going head first into the stairwell wall.”
Abby shakes her head,
“Like… I could’ve broken my neck.”
Abby can’t hide how pissed off she still is over the situation,
“The good news is I only suffered a broken wrist on my left arm. The bad news, I suffered a compound fracture on my right arm. The same arm I got stuck in that hole years before. The bone was sticking out of the skin. Students and teachers gathered around me. One teacher threw up.”
Abby has a sly smirk,
“I woke up in the hospital. I don’t remember anything after Mr. Johnson threw up. But reading the investigation report was quite something.”
Abby chuckles, pulling a yellow piece of paper out of a manilla folder, she reads,
“…after Ms. Donaldson… that’s me… stood up, witnesses say that a bone was sticking out of her right arm. A male teacher approached her, advising her to not move for fear of doing additional damage to the injury. Ms. Donaldson shoved the teacher out of the way and started walking up stairs. The boy [name redacted] who had setup the tripwire was standing at the top of the stairs. Witnesses claim they heard him repeatedly apologize before turning around and running in the opposite direction. Ms. Donaldson pursued him. The boy tripped over the tripwire he had previously setup. The boy turned onto his back with his hands up to defend himself. Ms. Donaldson mounted him and despite her injuries overpowered him, throwing down punches on his face and body.”
Abby looks up from the report and smiles wryly,
“During the altercation the sharp exposed bone from Ms. Donaldson’s right arm managed to puncture the left forearm of the boy. The boy managed to flip onto his stomach with his arms underneath him to protect his injury. Ms. Donaldson resorted to punching the back of his head before biting the back of his neck…”
Abby looks up again,
“Yeah, this shit got fucked. So eventually I got pulled off the poor bastard and I guess from the blood loss and the pain, I passed out.”
Abby begins putting on her every day makeup at this point.
“I was assigned a child psychologist who met with me in the hospital while I recovered from surgery on my arm. I hadn’t read the report but Mr. Johnson had come to see me and gave me the gist of what happened, which was fortunate because I had started to piece together what was going on but if I told the psychologist that I didn’t remember what had happened, I would almost certainly be prescribed an anti-psychotic. Instead, they concluded that I suffered from PTSD and that the injury to the same arm that was stuck in the hole in the forest sent me into an episode of rage, or whatever. I guess that’s partly right…”
Abby continues to apply her normal makeup.
“As you might expect, I was homeschooled from then on.”
“What I had pieced together from using Google and reading up on some psychology journals online is that I had developed a textbook case of…”
Abby clears her throat,
“dissociative identity disorder. Or what’s more commonly known as a split personality. They say that young children who develop a split personality will do it to distance themselves or detach from the trauma they’re facing and often that identity will be someone who can better handle the trauma. Well for me, as that young kid, I couldn’t imagine anyone could handle that trauma but I did imagine that a zombie would be… indifferent. And so from that day forth, the zombie kinda became my spirit animal.”
Act iII: Abby Dawn vs. Large Marge
“So fast forward a few years. I hadn’t had another episode since high school. After toiling away doing dead-end jobs…”
We see a photo of Abby in a generic fast food restaurant uniform.
“…I finally found something that actually made me happy: Professional wrestling.”
We see a photo of Abby training on a gym mat.
“I started training and really picked things up quickly but I had a long way to go before I was ready for a match. Despite this, I had a promoter approach me, asking me if I’d be willing to fill in on short notice for someone who was sick. I said I would. When I showed up to an Elks Lodge in…”
Abby eyes dart around,
“I can’t even remember where it was.”
“As it turns out, the promoter had put me in against a woman named “Large Marge”. I’d find out later that her previous opponent hadn’t called in sick but actually backed out because Large Marge’s matches didn’t typically go very long, if you know what I mean.”
“I wrestled under the name ‘Abby Dawn’, Abby short for Abigail, Dawn short for Donaldson. But because there was no program, my name wasn’t on any marquee, I was announced as ‘Abadon’… And instantly I thought that sounded way better.”
“In the match, I did… pretty well. My early training had prepared me to dodge and evade pretty well but attacking head on didn’t seem to be an option. I’d have to pick my spot and counter attack. I had managed to pull the rope down when Marge ran at me and send her onto the floor. She stumbled around on the floor keeled over. This seemed like my chance! I ran towards her, ready to deliver a jumping knee. As it turned out, Large Marge was playing possum. She tripped me on the way by sending me into the ring steps which, when I collided with them, the steps came up and then came down on my arm, pinning my right arm between the steps and the ring post. I was stuck. Large Marge came over and stood on the ring steps and laughed.”
“Large Marge woke up in a hospital.”
Abby can’t hide her smile.
Abby finishes the last touches on her make-up. This is the first time we get to see Abby’s face totally unobstructed with camera blurs, shadows, closeups or by her hair, hands, or holding photos up partially blocking her face.
“Abadon didn’t get the win. She didn’t have a great handle on rules… Or laws for that matter… But I was able to teach her—”
A voice from behind the camera interrupts,
“Can you explain what you mean by you teaching Abadon?”
Abby, with some hesitation replies,
“Sure. Yeah, ok. So in order to for two identities to communicate you need what’s called a ‘mediator’. So I have a close personal confidential friend who… Basically plays a game of telephone between me and Abadon.”
The off screen person interjects again,
“So they can speak to Abadon?”
Abby ponders this question for a moment,
“They… Get their point across.”
“It wasn’t long before I got a call from AEW. They were in my home state and I got pitted against Hikaru Shida. And even though Shida won, Abadon made an impact. And I signed with AEW just a few months later.”
“Today, I continue to train my body and my technique. Even though I don’t feel like that’s me out in the ring when I watch back my matches, and as I get stronger, Abadon gets stronger. As my skills in-ring improves, Abadon’s in-ring improves. Despite being the one person on this earth who could never meet Abadon, she and I are on the same page.
She wants souls, I want gold.”
“So for all the women in AEW: When you step into the ring with Abadon, you aren’t facing someone who’s cosplaying as a zombie. The awful truth is that Abadon, as far as I can tell, can’t feel pain. You could literally tear her arm off but she can’t even conceptualize what it means to submit.”
“Souls for Gold. That’s the bargain Abadon and I have struck.”
So by the end of this story we’ve taken Abadon from someone we assume just dresses as a zombie to psych out their opponents, to actually something much more frightening; A split identity that believes themselves to be a zombie and therefore doesn’t have some of the physical limitations human-beings have such as pain receptors and the ability to feel fear. On the other hand, Abadon is also limited somewhat as a competitor. Abadon’s strength and in-ring ability is dependent on Abby’s training. And as far as being clever in the ring, Abadon is dependent on what Abby (through her mediator) can communicate to her. This shortcoming could prevent Abadon from defeating more clever wrestlers and may open the door to Abby considering whether she must forego Abadon’s intolerance to pain in favour of being smarter in a match. Or maybe even enter a match as Abby and then “invoke” Abadon late in the match.
Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this loooong story as much as I enjoyed writing (and re-writing, and re-re-writing) it. Thanks for reading and as always, make sure you let the women in your life know how much you appreciate them!