It’d been a rough couple’a fuckin’ weeks.
Acclimating to the CWF had as yet proven to be much more of a challenge than I could have ever imagined. The place was like UTA on crack, with a social justice nightmare of an “old boys” club sitting in the way of any kind of forward momentum.
The place was eating itself alive from the inside.
Honestly that’s why I’d taken the week of Evolution 26 off.
Well, why I’d attempted to. Halfway through the week and this crazy news hits that the Oreo Cookie Mafia had taken some kind of a hit federally and there were all of a sudden off the table. Couple that with the equally out of nowhere news that the World Champion had left the company, presumably to find her missing husband who had apparently been kidnapped by the Cookie Monsters or…
I couldn’t make heads or tails of that complicated mess, and as it turns out I’d never have to. I’ll be all the way honest for once, although I’d already been in the process of putting the pieces together to get rid of Elisha and his crew of idiots and assholes and it was only a matter of time before I ended up scraping Caledonia off my boot, it was still something of a weight off of my shoulders when they all just…
At the same fucking time.
It made things so much easier, so much clearer. The path to the top of the CWF had all of a sudden opened itself up quite exponentially, and all I’d have to do was beat some trumped up Uncle Sam motherfucker and win an Elimination Match at the Pay-Per-View?
Things were coming together a lot quicker than anticipated.
I would have to be careful going into the next phase, though. Things had to be just so, otherwise the whole house of cards would come down around me. Fortunately for me, careful was my middle name. Also fortunately for me, I knew I had all the leverage.
The paradigm was indeed shifting.
And I would be at its golden center, whether anybody liked it or not.
10 July 2018
Nationwide Arena, Columbus OH
Just after Evolution 25
Eric Dane chuckled. Lightly.
“What’re ya on about now, eh?”
Bronson Box had been in a much cheerier mood since his and Eric’s last conversation in this very parking garage. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he’d managed to get a pinfall over the Shadow in the interim.
Too bad it wasn’t for the belts, am I right?
Dane answered with a shrug.
“Oh, it’s nothing for you to worry your little waxed mustache about,” Eric rattled off as he squatted down to examine what looked like a business card laying on the ground beside the rented Rolls Royce that he had arrived in with Bronson and Angus Skaaland several hours earlier in the day.
Speaking of Angus, it was his turn to chime in.
“Lemme guess,” he snarked. “It’s that A-Mia-Melia chick again, ain’t it?”
Eric smirked. On the card was a simple message drawn in vivid purple. It had the hint of a feminine curl, for all that one could hint when drawing in lipstick. The Hardcase took a long, hard look at the card and potificated to himself as to the meaning of it.
Bronson Box was the very definition of incredulous.
“Ah, fer fook’s sake, that bird’s off her bloody meds!”
Angus chuckled. Box continued, stone cold serious.
“I’m tellin’ ya, boyo, that one’s goin’ ta be a fair sight more trouble than she’s worth.”
Angus agreed with him.
“Seriously, dude, that chick redefines the phrase batshit crazy, we don’t need that kind of drama hovering around like some kind of obsessed shit-fly if we’re gonna make this Golden Paradigm thing work.”
Box didn’t let him chew on that one long before going all Charlie Bronson on him. Truth be told Eric had expected it earlier, but ol’ Boxer had been on his best behavior since their pep talk earlier in the day.
“Pete’s trouble enough, but at least he’s with us, is she? I didn’t come here to footy around with the fookin’ Corpse Bride ... “
Box leaned in a little closer and raised both eyebrows for emphasis.
“We STORMIN’ this castle? Or ain’t we? You promised me pillagin’... you better deliver, sunshine. I’d hate fer’ somethin’ to happen to the poor bedazzled lass. You know my track record with the fairer sex, I get SO bloody carried away sometimes, you know that… people get HURT.”
The End Boss snorted unceremoniously.
“Two things,” he said. “Firstly, did I or did I not offer you up half the goddamned federation for plunder tonight?
Boxer shrugged in mild agreement.
“Secondly,” It was Eric’s turn to lean in close. Angus winced in anticipation. “Should anything happen to Ms. Rayne, there will be consequences to go around for anyone involved. You understand consequences, don’t you Hollis?”
The Banff Brawler relented and a cheerful smile returned to his face.
“‘Course I do! What kind of heathen do yeh take me for?”
Dane slides the card into his breast pocket before retrieving a smartphone and unlocking it with a slide. Angus scrunches his face up at the boss, uneasy at his inability to always anticipate the wants and whims of his mentor.
“What’re you doing?” Angus asked?
“Calling an Uber.”
Jamming his free hand into the front pocket of his slacks The Only Star produces the keys to the Phantom and tosses them to Angus. Skaaland cocks an eyebrow.”
“See to Hollis, would you?” Eric started. He was quickly interrupted.
“Aw, what in the actual fuck?” Angus demanded. “He’s a grown fuckin’ man, just because he looks like Mr. Clean had an affair with a Bearded Lady doesn’t mean he’s a complete Freakshow, right Boxy ol’ boy?”
Bronson’s face scrunches in disgust.
“Get fooked ya soddin’ hippy.”
“I can’t goddamn fuckin’ believe this shit.”
The voice belongs to Angus Skaaland.
“Fuckin’ promo duty.”
Angus rolls his eyes.
“Eric Dane took one look at the run sheet, saw his name across from The American Patriot, and said he couldn’t be bothered with, and I quote: some piece of Republican Iconography garbage.”
A cigarette is lit, smoke rolls on the wind.
“To be perfectly fuckin’ honest, I don’t blame him.”
The Motormouth of Malcontent reaches to the back pocket of his skinny jeans and retrieves a folded pieces of paper. He unfolds it and takes another drag before reading from the paper.
“‘A wrestling fan since he was a child, The American Patriot has seen his beloved sport turn into a mere shadow of itself. Now focused on 'tits, and ass', the American Patriot has decided to enter the world of professional wrestling and clean it up. Seeing the American values decline that wrestling was based off of (according to him), he is now on a mission to return wrestling back to how it was in the "good old days" : wholesome family entertainment without ANY kind of PG material.’”
“And that’s it.”
Facepalm. Smoke rises wistfully from the cigarette jutting between two fingers as Angus tries to make sense of it enough to cut a promo on it.
“That’s his entire bio, and everything we know about the guy. Nobody’s ever heard of him, nobody’s ever seen him wrestle, and apparently nobody from the office has any hopes for him as an in-ring performer in the future as they’ve managed to feed him to Eric Dane in his first CWF match.”
“A match where there’s World Title contention on the line.”
“The American Patriot is a dead man.”
He pauses for another thick drag of Camel Wide.
“You know, for a guy whose entire existence is a biography on a website, you’d think he’d at least get somebody to proofread the thing and maybe, I dunno, punch it up some so that it makes sense. I mean, I hate to revisit a topic that I’ve only just covered twelve seconds ago but this guy isn’t exactly giving me anything to work with, yanno?”
He smirks, not as effectively as Eric Dane, but twice as face-punchy. He brings the folded biography back up in front of his face and gives it another read.
“‘Seeing the American values decline that wrestling was based off of (according to him), he is now on a mission to return wrestling back to how it was in the "good old days" : wholesome family entertainment without ANY kind of PG material.’”
With a flick he is done with the smoke and scratching his head.
An eyebrow raises.
“I mean seriously, did you say that shit out loud before you wrote it down? You’re gonna bring back wholesome entertainment without any kind of PG material?”
The head scratching continues.
“You think somehow we’re gonna revert to motherfuckin’ titty-suckin’ G rated professional wrestling? Were you dropped on your head as an infant? Did you eat paint as a toddler? Were you fondled as a teenager?”
The biography, now crumpled, is tossed. In its place is an imaginary doll.
“Show us on the doll where he touched you, Pat.”
That grin, it widens.
“I can call you Pat, right? Good. Now listen Pat, I hate to play into heel tropes here when the Boss generally likes to dissect just such analogies as useless and overplayed, but then again he’s a former eight-hundred-million time World Champion, and I’m just a washed up curtain jerker who got lucky and found a gig.”
“My point here is this, Pat. Now might be a good time to rethink the timing of your CWF debut. Maybe just call in sick, tell them that some shithouse third world country called Fuckoffistan is in urgent need of some Freedom and you’re just the man to deliver it! Or fuck, tell the truth, you have no fucking chance of winning this match and you’d rather debut against literally any other member of the roster.”
“I don’t really give a fuck, bro, I’m just trying to help you save your skin.”
Retrieving another cigarette he brings it home.
“Fuck do I know though, right? I’m just a guy cutting a promo on a bio for another guy who can’t be bothered to waste the time.”
10 July 2018
Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph
Later that night…
Eric Dane used to be a man about the town.
There were stories and myths about his exploits throughout the nineties and early double-aughts. He had been a womanizer, a drug and alcohol abuser, he loved nothing more than to find a party and bury himself in coke and tits and the adulation of those around him.
It has been the stuff of legend.
That Eric Dane would call his 2018 counterpart a pussy.
The sad thing was, 2018 would probably agree with him...
...just before he ripped his eyelids off and fed them to him. There is plenty to be said about a man with his wits about him as opposed to a man riding the wave of whatever pill or powder he could get his hands on at any given time.
With innumerable concussions, two torn ACL’s and one torn PCL, not to mention a broken neck, The Only Star had been forced to slow down as he’d gotten older. He may have been a man who loved a good party, but more than that he loved his career as a wrestler. He loved to win, to hold championships, and to Lord over all of the assholes and idiots who over the years thought they could make their name off of beating him.
So with all of those injuries combined a rowdy case of hypertension The End Boss has been forced to lay down most of his bad habits. It’d been 2015 since he’d had a cigarette, even longer since he’d had so much as a sniff of a hard drug.
More than one doctor had demanded that he gave up drinking too, but a good scotch was where he drew the line. With that thought in mind, Eric poured himself two fingers of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, dropped a couple of cubes of ice into it and found his way out to the balcony overlooking downtown Columbus.
Just as he was about to take the first sip, his phone buzzed and gave its notification sound. He grabbed it and swiped it open, finding a text message from Angus with a somewhat large file attached to it. The text read:
“Found this just after you left, you might wanna check it. Remember, I told you that bitch is fuckin’ crazy.”
Eric considered this as he nipped at the scotch.
Turns out the attached file was a video, its origin completely unknown at the moment. He shrugged to himself and pressed play. Immediately greeted by a very close up shot of Mia Rayne, The Only Star gave another slight chuckle. He watched the video from start to finish with an odd look plastered across his face, almost like he couldn’t quite put a finger on what her deal was or why he couldn’t let it go…
He watched the video again.
“The Golden Pariah, am I?” He chuckled to himself. “That’s a good one, I’m keeping it.”
The air was abnormally thick for Columbus. Eric didn’t mind though, it was nothing compared to the swampy humidity of New Orleans. He drank his scotch and he watched the city below him and he took stock of himself, his current situation in the CWF, and what the future would hold for himself and his Golden Paradigm.
The longer he thought about it, the wider his grin became.
The wider his grin became, the worse it was going to be for the CWF.