”Everyone’s got a family.”
“This isn’t me being sentimental or some shit: it’s a law of nature. At the very least, biologically speaking, everyone that has ever existed has had a biological mother and a biological father. Beyond that, you might have siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, and if you’re really lucky, you’ll actually like them.”
“I’m really lucky.”
“I have a good relationship with my parents, very much pushed by them, as a direct result of both of them having a very poor relationship with their parents: I’ve never actually met any grandparents. But I like them, they get me. They raised me with information, not boundaries.”
“Probably, my dad being a wrestler and my mom being a touring musician gave them perspective. It wasn’t ‘don’t do drugs,’ it was ‘Here’s what can happen when you do drugs.’ It wasn’t ‘Because I said so,’ it was ‘Because I have firsthand life experience and will tell you exactly what it is.’”
“Would that work for everyone? Probably not. But it worked for me.”
“I’m also grateful for my extended family. My aunt and uncle and my cousin, my mom’s best friend, the cynical hero, the upbeat bartender… I don’t take the support system I’ve got lightly.”
“This is the sentimental part: family doesn’t need t’mean blood.”
The nice part of being a backstage reporter, Tara Robinson always thought, was that there’s less pressure on her than the athletes. She has to be there at the televised events, obviously, and occasionally has one or two assignments during the interim days. But she does not need to make personal appearances; she is rarely recognized when out in the world, and she does not (usually) have to be on a schedule. It makes traveling to the next city for the next show a fairly relaxed affair; she can do things at her leisure.
Naturally, of course, when she receives a text message from her friend, former CWF World Champion MJ Flair, with an address in Washington Heights and the tag ‘911’ (signifying an emergency), Tara flagged down the nearest taxi.
Forty minutes later, after a disappointingly high cab fare, Tara climbs the steps to the fourth floor of an apartment complex, looking (for some reason) for apartment 3B. She follows the sound of music; instead of Julie Andrews, she clearly recognizes Valerian’s Garden pouring out of 3B, at the end of a hallway.
Knock. Footsteps. The door opens, and she’s face to face with a man of about thirty; short hair, five o’clock shadow, familiar ‘Pagan Crucifix’ design tattooed on his left bicep.
He waits for a moment, assessing her presence.
“You’re Tara, right?
Tara: Yeah… is MJ here?
He nods, and backs up so she can enter.
“I’m Randall, by the way. Randall Knox.”
Knox extends his hand, and they shake.
MJF (Muffled, from behind a closed door): Knox, is that Tara?
He returns his attention to Tara.
Knox: You need anything? Food, drink, whatnot?
Tara: I’m… good.
With a nod, he turns around and walks towards the apartment’s kitchen, which is directly across from the main entrance. Tara walks towards the door, apprehensively, and slowly turns the knob. She flinches back as the door is suddenly pulled open from the inside, and comes face to face with a woman she recognizes as ‘Cally,’ the manager of the bar that MJ’s dad owns.
Cally: Welcome to the jungle, Tara!
Cally hugs her; Tara is a little taken back by this but returns it. She steps into the room to see MJ standing by a closet, staring into the abyss. She’s dressed in a sports bra and booty shorts, which is probably the reason that Knox remains outside. Her hair is wet and stringy, implying a recent shower.
Tara: MJ? What’s wrong?
MJ looks at her, then picks something up off the floor.
MJF: Which boot looks more like a responsible adult’s? High heel or flat heel?
Tara: You said this was an emergency!
MJ drops both boots.
MJF: It is! I’m supposed to be having dinner with Roger’s parents tonight, and it’s the first time I’m meeting anyone’s parents since I was in high school. Everything has to be perfect.
Tara: Wait, you and Roger got back together?
Cally: I know, I tried to tell her.
Tara: Yeah, I tried to tell her.
MJF: This isn’t the time, guys!
Both women stop talking. Tara sits next to Cally on the queen sized bed, in the only other spot not covered with clothes.
MJF: I just want tonight to go perfectly.
Cally: You know, she could do so much better.
Tara: SO much better.
MJF: I’m pretty sure I could kick both your asses if I had to.
Cally facepalms. Tara raises an eyebrow.
Tara: I’m sure I’d get in a few well - placed slaps.
MJ rolls her eyes, while Cally puts her arm around Tara’s shoulders.
Cally: Where have you been? Mariella, I like her. You should keep her.
Tara: I’m not going anywhere, don’t worry yourself about me.
Cally: Good; that way we can worry about her.
They both stare at her, with as ‘motherly’ a look as both of these childless women can muster. Despite the conversation, MJ starts to laugh.
MJF: Okay. okay… fine, he’s not perfect.
Tara (to Cally): He’s a bit of an alpha male asshole.
Cally (to Tara): He’s got control issues.
MJF: I know, I know… but I’m trying to see things from his perspective. He’s a traditional kinda guy, he likes to be ‘the man’ and provide for and protect his girl. I don’t need anyone to provide for me and I sure as fuck don’t need to be protected.
MJF: So I let him take control of the things he can control. He’s not hurting me, he’s not forcing me to do anything I don’t wanna do… we’ll figure it out.
She continues to flip through the closet.
MJF: Cally, you need more dressy clothes.
Tara looks at her; Cally shrugs.
Cally: I spend my nights in a dive bar playing therapist, I spend my days in the kitchen baking yummies. There’s not an overwhelmingly exploited reason for me to slip into evening wear, little cublet.
MJF: I’m gonna buy you some cool stuff so I can borrow it.
Tara: MJ… Why aren’t you getting ready at home?
She pulls a black pleated skirt out of Cally’s closet and holds it to her waist. Being a bit taller than Cally, the skirt rides up to the bottom of her thigh, and she considers it.
MJF: Roger’s parents live in Yonkers; it’s just more convenient to get there from here instead of Warwick. Plus I can’t borrow my mom’s clothes.
MJ turns around and grabs her own backside with both hands.
MJF: I’ve got this, and my mom’s a twig.
Tara starts to giggle.
Cally: I’ve got that too, but Mariella does a lot of squats and I’m just hispanic.
They both stop, and they look at Cally.
Tara (Confused): Brownies?
Cally: Seriously, have one. They’ll take the edge off.
MJ shakes her head.
MJF: Sure, man. That’s a great first impression. Hi, I’m Mariella. I’m dating your son and I am high as fucking balls.
A look of realization washes over Tara’s face.
Tara: Ahhhh. Brownies.
”Professional wrestlers are on the road. A lot. If you don’t have some friends, it’s a lonely existence. You get yourself two or three really good friends, you’ve got yourself a tribe.”
“And you won’t survive without your tribe. I had one once - things didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped.”
“Aces up to Fears and Kush: the trisickle lives.”
“Now? I hit the road with Adrian, I hit the road with Tara. They’re good people, but hardly anyone I can turn to if I need to tag team with anyone.”
“Dane, Angus, Box? I have no idea what’s going on there.”
“Had something started with the Bright Young Things, but things didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped.”
“So I’ve got my family, but I’m still searching for my tribe. All in all, it’s preferential to the alternative: having your tribe and actively throwing it away.”
Roger: Calm down; they’re gonna love you.
He pulls his car into the valet station at X20: Xaviars on the Hudson, and squeezes MJ’s hand reassuringly.
MJF: Yeah, because telling your girlfriend not to be nervous about meeting her boyfriend’s parents always works, right? Is it possible to spontaneously develop asthma?
Roger laughs, leans over, and kisses her on the cheek.
Roger: Let’s go.
As he leaves the car, MJ pulls down the visor mirror to check her makeup. Following her mother’s footsteps, she typically does her eyes and leaves the rest of her face alone. Inheriting her mother’s skin certainly has its benefits. Satisfied, she steps out of the car as Roger opens her door, and gives herself a once over: her conservative (relatively) outfit of a knee length flowing black skirt, black sleeveless top, dark red sweater, and shin high boots.
They walk to the front entrance, past a crowd of people evidently on the waiting list, all the way to the hostess stand.
Hostess: Good evening; for two, it’ll be about sixty to ninety minutes.
Roger: Actually, it’s four - and I believe we have a reservation, it’s under Turner.
The hostess checks her reservation list, and points.
Hostess: The rest of your party has already been seated; this way, please.
Now MJ takes Roger’s hand and squeezes it. He takes the lead following the hostess until a look of recognition crosses his face and he makes a beeline. MJ’s breath catches in her throat as her nerves start to punch her in the brain. She looks at the two people Roger is pleased to see: they are both about fifty years old or so; he has a head of thick gray hair, bifocals, and a warm smile. She has graying reddish hair, permed, with a pants suit, heels, and a pearl necklace.
Roger walks to them and hugs his mother, and shakes his father’s hand.
Roger: Mom, dad - this is Mariella. MJ, this is my father, Steven, and my mother, Arlene.
MJ smiles and shakes hands.
Arlene: Mariella, that’s such a pretty name. What’s the ‘J’ stand for?
Arlene: Oh, that’s so nice. Sit down, please - we’ve just gotten here and ordered drinks.
Roger pulls out MJ’s chair and they sit at the table. MJ looks around; she was here once before, several years ago, when Atlantic Records was trying to woo Valerian’s Garden into signing with them; that was a private party, however, and as an eleven year old girl she wasn’t expected to impress anyone. Now, however, MJ opens the menu and her eyes bug out at the prices. She has money, that’s not an issue, but she and Roger have not discussed what’s supposed to happen here. Is she paying for herself? Is she paying for them both? Is he paying for them both? Are his parents taking them out for dinner? MJ feels no guilt whatsoever about buying herself an expensive meal, or Roger buying one for her - they do trade off when they go out - but parents are a different story.
Fortunately, at this moment their waiter shows up with a glass of white wine for Arlene and a cocktail glass with some form of alcohol on the rocks for Steven.
Waiter: Hi, my name’s Todd. What can I get you to drink?
Roger: Any IPA on draft is fine.
MJF: Club soda with lime, please?
Todd: Great, thank you. I’ll be right back with those, please look over the menu at your leisure.
Arlene: Oh, it’s okay - you can have a drink if you want.
MJF: Thank you, but whether I want one or not is irrelevant; I’m not old enough for them to serve me.
Arlene: Oh? How old are you?
She can feel the blood rush to her cheeks.
MJF: I’m eighteen.
Arlene: Being here with us, I don’t think they’d check your age.
MJF: Maybe? Regardless, it’s against the law and I wouldn’t want to put you or our server into a complicated spot.
Steven: That’s very mature of you, young lady. So tell me, how did you two meet?
The irony of the moment isn’t lost on Roger or MJ.
MJF: Well, we met at a bar, actually.
She takes a sip of her wine.
Roger: Not like that, ma. There was a band playing, and I saw her and offered to buy her a drink.
Arlene nods at her son, but keeps her attention on MJ.
Arlene: Roger does love to listen to music. So, you go to bars a lot?
MJF: I mean, do I go to a lot of bars, no. My dad and my aunt own a bar in the Bronx so I’ve spent a lotta time there, and I’ve made friends with a lotta musicians that came through too, so I’d say all the time I’ve spent in them have been for the music.
She holds up her hands.
MJF: There’s a lot of X’s here.
Steven: I don’t get it.
Roger: It’s a music thing. If you’re not 21, a lot of bars will still let you in for concerts as long as they draw an X on your hand - means you’re not of age and the bartender shouldn’t serve you.
At that moment, Todd returns to serve their drinks.
Todd: Do you need a minute?
Roger: Yes, please.
He holds up his drink.
Roger: A toast - to new friends.
Arlene: And family.
They all clink glasses.
”You had it, Silas. You had the tribe. The Coalition seemed as tight a group as you could get without resorting to cultlike behavior. Sure, things can get heated sometimes, and you and Autumn and the Lost Boys went through your stuff, but in theory, you got past it. When the Lost Boys successfully retained the tag team belts against you two, it seemed like the war was over.”
“But what happened, Silas? Dean had some issues and went cookie on Sam, and you decided that instead of tryin’ t’keep the band together, you dropped Autumn as dead weight.”
“I’ve talked in the past about how dumb Judas Dean was for choosing the cookie monsters over his brother Sam - well, Silas, how much do you suck when y’forget your boy even exists when he’s going through his shit?”
“No, what’d’ja do? Ya got on the World Champion’s radar: not as a viable or credible contender, but as an irritant that needed t’be squashed.”
“There is a difference, by the by: not all attention is equal.”
“And there’s the main reason why you’re alone, Silas. For as much as you’ve complained about being overlooked and treated unfairly, how you ‘deserve’ more than you’ve gotten, let’s remind you that when your Coalition was fallin’ apart, your first instinct was ‘What can I do for the sole benefit of Silas Artoria?’”
“You fucking idiot.”
Since it’s an awkward conversation to have no matter what, MJ decided, when Todd returned to take their orders, that she wouldn’t restrict herself from anything just because of price. If need be, she had enough cash in her bag to pay for the entire meal anyways, and her parents had always stressed to her the importance of being herself.
As Todd returns to the table with salads and appetizers, MJ digs into her yonkers shellfish chowder. Now that she’s actually in the moment, her nerves have subsided and her appetite has returned with a vengeance.
Arlene: So tell me, Mariella - are you in school?
She chews her salad nonchalantly while MJ dabs her mouth with her napkin.
MJF: Actually, no. I finished high school a year early, and I’m taking a bit of time before I decide anything about college.
Steven: What sort of things are you interested in?
MJF: I dunno; I’d likely try to get into some form of art school: SCAD or something, you know?
Roger: She’s a great artist. Great musician, too.
Arlene: Yes, the arts give wonderful ideals, but there’s very little money in that unless you’re incredibly lucky. Or if you know the right people.
Steven reaches into his pocket for his wallet, and pulls a card out.
Steven: I know a few people, I’ve handled investments for several galleries in Manhattan, I’d be happy to make some calls.
His card gives his title as a Certified Financial Planner with Goldman Sachs. MJ nods her appreciation and places the card in her bag,
MJF: Okay, well thank you so much for that.
Arlene: That is a bit of a pipe dream, though. Do you have a backup plan?
MJF: No, it’s cool babe. Actually, ma’am, I’m currently working as an athlete for the Championship Wrestling Federation.
Roger’s parents look at each other.
Arlene: That’s such a lowbrow form of entertainment. No offense, dear, I just don’t get it.
Steven: It does seem very disrespectful to women and they appeal to a somewhat uncultured demographic. Again, no disrespect intended.
MJF: I mean, I guess if you’re watching guys that don’t care about what they do, that’s valid. I’m not one’a them - I care about how I come across and try to present myself with dignity like my dad did.
Steven: I thought you said your dad owned a bar?
MJF: He does that now, but he was a pro wrestler for nineteen years: that’s how he made a living t’raise me and help my mom not have to give up her own dreams.
Arlene: And what does she do?
MJF: Musician; she’s a singer. Now, I guess she’s also a small business owner since we opened up a recording studio in the basement.
Arlene: Sounds like you never get a moment’s peace.
MJ shrugs again.
MJF: I don’t mind. There’s always someone interesting at the house, and honestly, as someone who also interacts with the public, it gives me a good barometer of how I should and how I shouldn’t act when entertaining.
MJF: I mean, my mom remains the standard of class, but learning what not t’do is just as important as learning what to do, y’know?
Arlene sips from her drink, smirking.
Arlene: There’s wisdom in that, Roger. Always listen to your mother.
“D’ya need some prominent feminist figure t’remind you that you’re worth more than being some dickhead’s punching bag, and that no, you don’t have to take it?”
“No. No you don’t. Have some fucking self - respect.”
“This little lover’s quarrel between you and Silas? I dunno. Is it a lover’s quarrel? Having t’even think about that makes me wanna projectile - vomit. But the fact remains, this should be a no-brainer. He’s been shitting on you for weeks, and you’ve taken it every time. It’s as if he decided that your sole purpose in being was to support his run at the CWF World Title.”
“You know, the title that you had a shot at, and literally the only time he showed interest in your career was when he could get himself on my radar. The title that he decided he was gonna play mind games with me t’get close to. The title that Silas decided, for some reason, when I lost it to Caledonia, that he was still ‘owed’ a shot at it and he’d both blame Caledonia for not keeping my promises and me for not still being Champion.”
“The title that, even after loss after loss after loss after loss after proving to me, you, and the entire CWF universe he does not have even the ghost of a claim on, he claims to be his right.”
“I saw it go down, Autumn… he belittled you, he attacked you, he treated you like a less - than. Any other match, I’d take a seat in the corner and let you kick the living shit outta Silas Artoria and count you the three myself.”
“Of course, any other match doesn’t lead to a shot at the CWF World Title and another - probably my final - chance at makin’ it into the Wrestle Fest main event, and that’s more important t’me than your divinely inspired retribution.”
“It’s nothin’ personal.”
Dinner has come and gone; MJ enjoyed herb-roasted venison with sauteed foie gras and figs, baby brussel sprouts with bacon and spatzle roasted lady apple. She may, in truth, be a cheeseburger - and - onion - rings kind of girl, but MJ Flair enjoys fine dining when she can.
‘When she has to’ may actually be more accurate.
The dishes are cleared, the coffee is poured, and dessert has been ordered. Todd brings it quickly, placing a slice of cake in front of Arlene, a ricotta tart in front of Steven, and butterscotch pudding in front of MJ. Roger declines, simply taking a glass of port.
Steven: Well, that’s a good sign, son - she’ll order her own dessert instead of trying to eat yours.
Roger: MJ? Oh, she can eat. She’s very much into fitness; so she can put it away.
He takes a sip of his port.
Roger: Every time she wrestles, we go out for ribs afterward.
Steven nods his approval. Arlene clicks her tongue.
Arlene: That’s going to be terrible for your cholesterol.
MJF: Maybe someday, but for now it’s holding well. Mainly, it’s like having your cheat day when you’re on a specific diet, you know? I work hard, I reward myself.
At that moment, Todd returns.
Todd: How is everything?
Steven: Very well, thank you.
Todd: Great! Can I get you anything else?
He looks at the rest of the party, expectantly. The foursome all make it clear, one way or another, that they are finished.
Todd: Great… will this be one check or two?
And the moment of truth.
Steven (Simultaneously): One.
Roger (Simultaneously): Two.
Todd: Should I give you a minute?
Steven: Just one check.
Todd: All right, I’ll be right back.
He walks away and Arlene and Roger both look at Steven.
Roger: Dad, we can pay for ourselves.
Arlene: Nonsense, son. Save your money - you have to keep her living the good life. Right, dear?
She winks at MJ, and MJ smiles at her, though confused.
Roger: All right, that’s fine. I’ll be right back.
He gives MJ’s thigh a quick squeeze under the table as he stands up and leaves. Sitting there with his parents, MJ’s self-consciousness returns as she mentally reminds herself to not speak until spoken to: the first impression isn’t yet over.
Arlene: Well, this was fun.
MJF: It was; thank you so much for dinner.
Steven’s attention is elsewhere, and he suddenly stands up.
Steven: Your son is trying to pay; I’ll be right back.
Steven stands and leaves, leaving the women sitting.
MJF: He’s generous like that; whatever those two decide, next time I’ll get.
Arlene: Oh, honey, it’s sweet of you to offer. We’ll see.
MJF: Oh no, it’s no problem.
Arlene: I’m not doubting you, dear - I’ve just come to realize I can’t assume seeing any of Roger’s girlfriends again.
For the first time in recorded history, MJ Flair is speechless. Lucky for her, the men return at that moment.
Arlene: Well? Who won the brawl?
Steven puffs his chest out.
Steven: Who always wins? The young man says he’ll get us next time.
Arlene: What a coincidence, the young lady has said the same.
Steven smiles and holds up his hand. With some trepidation, MJ high fives him, but smiles good naturedly.
Steven: You: stick around, young lady. I enjoy a good meal.
Roger and MJ turn around and lead the way out. As they walk, Roger’s mother speaks quietly - but not so quiet that MJ can’t hear her.
Arlene: A good meal; like father like son.
Inwardly, MJ cringes.
”What’s everyone’s goal?”
“That’s the first question. What do each of us, we three, want to accomplish? You’d think it’s simple - the winner’a this match gives a spot in End Games for the vacant CWF World Championship. Isn’t that enough?”
“I’m sure Autumn Raven wants to beat the shit outta Silas Artoria more than she wants to be in a World Title match. I’m sure Silas Artoria wants to prove some sort’a point more than he wants t’wrestle for the Championship.”
“Think about it: they typically go hand in hand, but if Silas had to choose between having a shot at the Championship and being considered a major player in the CWF - and it was one or the other - he’d want to matter.”
“I don’t give a flying fuck about Autumn Raven or Silas Artoria outside’a the fact that they’re my opponents. Autumn is lost and needs to find herself. Silas has attacked me, unprovoked, time and again. Isn’t the first time it’s happened and it won’t be the last. And I know he wants to be my nemesis, because it’s his last grasp at relevance.”
“I don’t hate you, Silas. I nothing you.”
“I plan to win this match, and then forget you exist three seconds later.”
“How’s that taste?”
There’s nothing more shameful than the walk of shame. Mitigating circumstances, however, could make it a little less… shameful. MJ Flair leaves her boyfriend’s uptown apartment while he’s still asleep, but she has showered and changed into exercise gear beforehand, thus avoiding the awkwardness of being dressy at 8 AM.
MJ walks out of the 1 train at 238th street, fully transformed into herself with a ponytail, lack of makeup, and headphones in her ears to complete the ensemble. She walks up a block and over half an avenue, and stops in front of TC’s Pub. She pulls her keys out of her bag and unlocks the front door, stepping inside to the familiar scene.
The place is well cleaned up after a night of action, and the familiar scent of wood cleaner is in the air. What isn’t familiar is the figure sound asleep, head down, in one of three actual booths built into the wall.
She shakes the woman gently, then a bit more forcefully.
With a start, Rosalyn Callasantos wakes up, fists in the air like she’s ready to fight.
Cally: Don’t ya touch anything here I’ll beat the living oh hey MJ, what’s up?
Despite herself, MJ laughs.
MJF: Not much, Cally. Just grabbing an energy drink before I hit up crossfit before heading home. Why are you still here?
Cally checks her phone.
Cally: Waiting for a delivery. Supposed to be here in the next hour or so, but it didn’t make any sense to go home in the interim.
She stands up and walks to the bar, pulling out both a Rockstar Zero and a Dos Equis amber. A quick open on both, and the women sip their beverages.
Cally: So, how’d it go?
MJ shivers, only a little bit as a put - on.
MJF: I mean, dinner was nice enough, and Roger’s dad seemed like a decent guy but his mom was this passive aggressive colostomy bag. Everything she said was a veiled shot at me or us or my age or whatnot. I dunno; I know he’s an only child and their mothers are usually really protective, but still - I had no chance going into it.
MJ sits at the bar while Cally pulls out a bottle of Patron and pours two shots.
Cally: Like mother, like son, chica.
MJF: No shots, Cally. I’m on my way to crossfit.
Cally: This will help!
She looks more sincere than MJ is comfortable with dismissing. The youngster takes the shot and drains the glass with this idea in mind.
Cally: Let me ask you, small fry - do you really care what she says?
MJF: Well, I--
Cally holds up her hand.
Cally: Shushie. Think about the words, small fry. Do. You. Really. Care.
She hesitates again, but this time she’s thinking about it a little harder. MJ sits on one of the bar chairs and leans back on the bar.
MJF: We have an expiration date; I think I’ve always known that. It’s just been… I’ve enjoyed being with someone that’s not intimidated by me or my baggage.
With a dramatic flourish, Cally drops her head to the bar, then picks it up and pours herself another shot.
Cally: I wonder if you listen. Use your ear flaps, you silly goose! Listen to aunt Cally, listen to uncle RK. Mr. Man is totally intimidated by you, that’s why he’s always belittling you or trying to control you.
MJF: He’s not--
She stops talking as Cally holds up her hand. The bartender drinks the second shot, slams the glass down, and picks up a slice of lime.
Cally: He is, and I have all of the evidence to prove it. The next time you guys are doing a thing, do your thing. No matter what he wants to do, insist on doing what you want. He might get frustrated or a little annoyed if you cut him off at the pass every time, but if he actually looks at this relationship as a partnership, he won’t get angry. Am I making sense?
MJF: You are, Cally… I guess we’ll see, huh?
With a smile, Cally reaches over the bar and hugs MJ tightly.
Cally: Listen to family, small fry. Family’s always looking out for you.
MJF (whispering): Family don’t mean blood.
Cally: Bossa to the nova, chickadee.
”So this is where we find ourselves. Autumn Raven and Silas Artoria in the middle of a family feud over who’s dragged whom down over the course of the past six months or so, from a Coalition to a tag team to… whatever.”
“Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right. Here I am, stuck in the middle with ‘eeewwww.’”
“Here’s the bottom line, kids. Here’s the difference between us.”
“You, Autumn… you’ve been disrespected for real. You’ve been given opportunities that you may not have earned, you may not have been ready for, and you’ve come up short. None’a this means you won’t make it in the future, but before you can convince us you’re a player, ya need t’convince yourself.”
“You’re not quite there yet.”
“Silas… dumb, deluded Silas. You’re great at pointing your finger everywhere but at yourself; you accept literally no responsibility for your own shortcomings. You’re not the World Champion? You’re not a main event player? You’re not taken seriously? Do you consider your role in any’a that?”
“Have you considered the fact that Autumn Raven wasn’t holding Silas Artoria down; Silas Artoria himself is the reason for Silas Artoria’s stumbling blocks? Of course you haven’t.”
“Why me, then? Why not Silas? Why not Autumn?”
“Autumn Raven is looking at this moment as her chance to drop the anchor from her name and prove her worth over Silas Artoria. Silas Artoria is looking at this moment as a triumph of his will that should’ve been given to him months ago. You’re both going into this match with something to prove to me, to each other, to yourselves, and to the CWF universe at large.”
“It’s gonna be Tuesday.”