Rose-Tinted Vision: Attempting to Unmask Wrestling’s Greatest Odyssey
by Justin Henry
Just who is under the mask of The Midnight Rose?
For quite some time, the Midwestern wrestling scene, namely OCW Pro Wrestling, has been plagued by this veiled curiosity’s hellbent path of domination.
The Rose is a verbose figure, never one to let time pass without polluting the ears of bystanders with his questionable Hispanic accent, making hearty promises of his next big score. His trademark flowered lucha-libre mask only shrouds the vociferous jefe from the world, one which he claims to be his for the taking.
There are numerous theories as to who Rose might be. Some think a disgraced ex-wrestler, while others point to him being a delusional businessman without the cobbles to make it as an athlete.
Or, as myself and other members of the WrestleCrap brethren hypothisize, someone who walks among us as our beloved colleague.
As I made the flight in to sunny southern Florida to interview this shadowy spectre, I fine-combed my notes, preparing myself for this spectacle.
So many questions begged to be answered: just what do he and his Rose Garden stable of wrestlers have in store for OCW’s locker room at the forthcoming May-Hem event on May 18 in Topeka, KS? Who will they target?
And will he shed any light on who dwells beneath that flowery mask?
The taxi driver delivered yours truly to the imposing gates of Rose’s Mediterranean-style compound, which stood like a caged leviathan behind the wrought-iron fence. I pressed the button of the intercom affixed to the gates, and waited patiently.
“Who is it?” demanded a deep, unfamiliar voice that punctured any level-headedness I was thinking of having.
I needed a second to gather my bearings, but I mustered a simple response.
“Sir, it’s Justin Henry from Blue Bar Cage. I’m here to profile Midnight Rose.”
After a pause that felt like eternity, the gates opening inward, accompanied by a mechanical whirring noise. So instilling in its lack of humanity, and it did little to re-establish my confidence.
I passed many statues in his football-field sized front yard, many of which were limestone renderings of famous sculptures, like Michelangelo’s David and Rodin’s thinker. Only their heads were reworked to resemble Midnight Rose himself.
“At least success hasn’t gone to his head,” I thought.
I knocked twice before being greeted by a grim-faced middle-aged butler, who’s impersonality extended the par for this course.
“The great Master Rose will see you now,” he announced without looking me in the eye, before leading me through the halls of the mansion. Our footsteps echoed, as if we were beside a chasm.
After minutes of walking through doorways to empty, unlit rooms, he finally pushed open two heavy oaken doors to reveal a lively scene, and what a scene it was!
A party was in full swing, right in the ballroom-sized lounge of the compound. Various harem-like women danced and laughed, enjoying themselves in the midst of bass-accentuated salsa music. Some questionable men in suits smoked cigars and joked loudly. Two of every three people were drinking from margarita glasses.
Off to one side, Mr. Fitness II and “The Inchworm” Thomas Rodman, two members of The Rose Garden, were playing billiards, with their own entourage of beauties eyeing them adoringly.
“Master Rose is over there, sir,” the butler gestured toward the patio, behind an open French door. I walked through all of the decadence toward the opening, where muscular bodyguard Master Hood stood steadfast, arms folded.
Under his watchful eye, I eased out onto tiki-wood deck, and there he was: Midnight Rose, in swim trunks and his floral mask, laying poolside on his lounger, surrounded by yet more scantily-clad dames.
“Well good afternoon, mang,” Rose growled charmingly. “It’s about time the press gives Midnight Rose and the Rose Garden some necessary ink!”
I forced a thin smile, and pulled up a chair beside Rose and the ladies, who were alternating between fanning him with a large feather, as he drank from his margarita, via a straw pipelined under his mask.
After some pleasantries, I got down to business and asked what his plans were for the May-Hem event for OCW Pro Wrestling in two weeks.
“Lemme tell you, mang, I’m about to put the kibosh on these OCW clowns, you know what I’m sayin?” the syndicate leader rasped. “Their GM, Daniel Brown, he knows the kind of havoc we wreak, and he’s trying to keep a tight leash on us, but that’s not gonna happen. Instead, mang, we just tell him to stick his head up his toilet, see if it fits, know what I mean?”
As he chuckled, I noticed his distinct eyes through the netting of his mask. Those beady, cloudy eyes. My suspicions to Rose’s identity had merit.
“You live on a white-sand beach in gorgeous weather; why ply your trade in an admittedly quieter place like Topeka?” I inquired.
“Mang, Topeka’s not a bad place, it’s just got some bad apples in it,” he retorted. “I admit, when I’m not partying with my pelicans here, I like to slum it where the noise is less. Topeka’s the nest of many wonderful chicos, like Bill Kurtis, coach Dean Smith….”
“Blade Braxton,” I chimed in.
Rose paused, and tilted his head at me. I sensed my contribution wasn’t welcome.
“You funny, mang,” he huffed. “You not the first polluted pendejo to say that name to me.”
With that, Rose snapped his fingers, and Brother Hood appeared before me, fists clenched. The plethora of women wore worrisome expressions, and I was about to join them.
“Hey Mr. Media Man,” Rose taunted. “You think you can lift my mask, get froggy and jump at me, mang.”
By the way Hood cracked his knuckles in his fists, I wouldn’t be answering that challenge.
The interview ended promptly, and I meekly excused myself from the proceedings. I could feel Rose’s faceless glare all the way from the patio, and out the front door, where a taxi was wisely called for me by the butler.
As I journeyed home, all I could think is: if Midnight Rose is so forceful about concealing his face, how forceful will he be when he’s overthrowing the powers-that-be in OCW Pro Wrestling?
Justin Henry is a freelance writer, as well as the editor of Blue Bar Cage. Justin can be reached on Twitter