12.10.2019 | 94th Floor One World Trade Center | New York City
It's easy to sit and judge. It's easy to sit back on your ass and judge others based upon their wins and their losses and armchair quarterback whatever it is you're judging, whether its football, baseball, basketball, even wrestling. It's easy to sit back and tell me that I'm an idiot, or I'm this or I'm that for getting myself involved in a Lions Den Match with Nathan Paradine. It's easy to sit and tell me how you knew I would lose because the match was right up Paradine's alley and while that is no doubt true, no one really could have predicted how it would shake out.
I'm not one to beat around the bush or mince words. I don't make excuses when I lose and I don't brag over a win. It's a competition. From bell to bell it is an absolute crapshoot. There isn't a man or woman that has laced their boots to face me that hasn't earned their right to be there.
As the saying goes: any given Sunday.
I sit in my office chair, stewing over the mess I have made in my professional life. Between the bitter divorce with the XWF, a public dispute with its owner, the failure of the Royal League AND the rather quick demise of the Resistance, I have nothing but thoughts to keep me company. I have nothing but thoughts eating away at my sanity. It'd be fair to ask if maybe I hadn't been overextending myself the last few months with funding a different wrestling promotion, pulling out of it and deciding to attempt to start my own while trying to rejuvenate my career and my love for the business despite the best efforts of some others to stamp out my love for the game.
The fact is, maybe its in my head?
"Who are you talking to, mate?" asks James, startling me in the process, nearly causing me to jump from my chair as well as my skin. I spin around to see him standing near my office doorway. If you don't know it or if I haven't told you, James is Jim Edwards. He's my best friend and my closest adviser.
"What do you mean?" I ask him as I gather myself.
"I think you were narrating out loud," he says matter-of-factly.
I've only done it one other time. I was so engrossed in thought and the Illuminatus Compound at home in Connecticut was completely silent. I was alone and it was all so unnerving that in order to stop the solitude from driving me nuts... like Jack Torrance nuts... I started saying my thoughts out loud and... "I'm still doing it, ain't I?"
"I really don't know what to do, Jim," I let him in on my thoughts as he saunters in and plops down in a chair across from my desk.
"What's bothering you?" he asks.
"What are you, my shrink?" I joke.
"Nah mate, but I you are my best friend and I love you," he explains. "Plus, you haven't really been yourself of late. At times, you've been a proper cunt."
I couldn't deny it. I wouldn't even attempt to argue it. I was born into authoritarian power. What I mean is, I give orders, people follow them to the letter and they question nothing. It's been that way my entire life so when things don't go according to plan, I don't always respond well to it. When I'm faced with adversity, I usually respond to it by lashing out in anger.
Have I stopped narrating out loud? I wonder.
Jim stares back at me.
Is your mom sick? I didn't see her at her usual corner.
"You can talk to me about anything, you know?" he states. Apparently, I'm not narrating anymore. Not out loud at least.
"I'll get over it, Jimmy. I'm used to succeeding at everything. The failures at starting my own company just kinda got to me is all."
"Right well, offer stands," he says as he stands up. "You'll need to come home at some point, Thad. The Ares Project hasn't gome away."
The Ares Project.
"And don't talk shit on my mother," he states as he takes his leave.
Anyway, the Ares Project... I'd been so consumed with my professional life these last few months that I have sort of placed my private life on the back burner, despite it being my entire reason for existing. The Ares Project, if you must know, is a mission undertaken by a militant group armed and outfitted by the United States government (unofficially) in order to take my father and I out.
And I don't mean for a nice hearty brunch. They aim to kill us. So you see why a wrestling match result doesn't exactly take precedence in my life. I like to win and I love shiny trinkets like title belts as much as the next guy but when your life is constantly threatened by radicals that think you're their enemy when really all you want is left alone, you can see where a win or a loss is just... not as important.
That said, it's time. It is time for me to show all of you why I chose the Championship Wrestling Federation rather than make peace with my former bosses and go back to the place where my name means more than it does here.
I wrestle there and I get bored and complacent. I get placed into this situatin or that situation because they know I'm a stud and a workhorse and I deliver. Here, you guys don't know me from Joe Smith down the street... but you're learning. You're learning that Thaddeus Duke is every bit as capable as anyone to come in here and cement a legacy that I forged on my own and wasn't just awarded to me because I have a famous father.
See, Nathan Paradine pushed me to the limit and I'd never deny it. You beat me fairly and I'll never deny it. But something has happened and despite he and I besting each other for the better part of a month leading into Genesis, we find ourselves full of respect for one another and sharing the same corner...
I've never been a part of a long term tag team combination and I've never given it much thought... until now. I've never thought of entering the tag team ranks in any company... until now. Nathan and I have an undeniable chemistry in that ring and I have to say, that maybe it's time to put the tag team champions on notice. Most Known Unknowns.... whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean... Natural Selection... it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is if we choose to go for it, no one will stop us from proving without a doubt that we're better than you.