“I can’t believe I agreed to this.”
Colton Mace muses aloud as he stands backstage in the ETCanada studio, being tended to by crew for their final checks. The host, a lovely woman named Sangita Patel, is moments away from announcing the Hollywood action star turned pro-wrestler. Mace of course feels the entire process redundant as he is ALWAYS camera-ready and picture-perfect. Danny Tremaine however had urged, almost pleaded Mace to tow the line. In the business it pays to humour the desk-jockeys and give them what they want.
“You said any means necessary Cole. And you didn’t exactly need much convincing…” Danny Tremaine is there beside Mace, trying hard not to let his concern show through. He had fought tooth-and-nail to secure this spot. Believe it or not, Mace has a bit of a negative reputation and it made organising such things quite difficult.
“Yeah but…the CWF? After everything that happened. After they all turned their backs on me? ME?! Do you really think I’d willingly show my face there?!”
This is of course is completely ignoring the fact that Mace was the one who made the decision to walk away from the federation.
“It’s your only option. Either take it, or go back to making love to the Damsel in Distress while rolling around in the trash…I personally think being covered in bin juice suits you.” “Fuck you!”
The stagehands try, but drastically fail, to stifle their sniggers. Colton shoots them all a levelled gaze. Back in the day his stern look would have intimidated, but instead the crew just rolled their eyes and giggled all the harder.
How the mighty had fallen.
“Ok. Ok! You’re done here.” Mace growls, waving off the crew.
“I thought you’d be keen for a chance to step back into the ring and prove your toughness and fighting ability. Your legitimacy as an action hero. Especially after…well…you know…” “SH! We don’t talk about that!”
Mace worriedly gazes around the backstage area. Luckily no one seems to notice the slip-up. Or seems to care. Either is fine by Colton.
“And why am I in Canada of all places?”
“The next Evolution is here. Very few talk shows in the States are willing to work with you and I thought it metaphorical since your pro-wrestling career started with that tournament in Canada…Take your pick.”
Mace is denied a reply as Sangita, announces his arrival, to a very cold response from the live audience. Without needing any prompt Mace, former CWF tag-team champion and Hall of Famer, saunters onto the set-floor, under the diligent scrutiny of the rolling cameras.
“You suck Mace!” shouts one, VERY vocal member of the audience.
“So does your mum!” Mace replies.
Sangita is quick to come to Mace’s side and ushers him over to the guests couch so they can get comfortable and straight down to business.
“Colton Mace. A pleasure to have you on the show.” Sangita Patel says though she strains the inflection of the word pleasure, expressing it is everything but. Colton’s reputation definitely precedes him, as the host had been duly warned.
“It is isn’t it…”
Backstage Danny Tremaine can’t help but panic, hoping and praying that;
1. Sangita doesn’t make any mention or inference to the…Incident
2. Mace doesn’t say or do anything that has the entire studio and audience hating him even more than they already do.
“I’ll just stop you there Sangita. I’m doing this city, and country, a favour by appearing here tonight. I may as well do you a personal favour by doing your job for you. At least it’ll be interesting.”
Well so much for those hopes and prayers…
Understandably the reaction is one of passionate vitriol.
“Oh shut up! Me being here makes this backwater relevant!”
This only proves to spur the crowd on even more. Danny fears that Mace may very well start a riot. Colton simply waves them off disdainfully.
“I’m supposed to plug my most recent role. But that movie is a flaming pile. A bit like Toronto really. And there’s more important things to talk about. Because the rumours! I’m back in the wrestling biz!”
It is hard for Sangita, a consummate professional, to speak through the lively disapproval of her audience and to not let her own biased feelings come through. If nothing else the security will probably be earning their salary tonight.
Finally she is able to quieten the horde.
“The question is Mace, why? After all this time, after seemingly giving up and washing your hands of the professional wrestling promotion, why go back? The Z-Grade Action films not doing it for you? I’m sure I can speak for pretty much everyone when I say we are all enjoying watching you die on screen.”
Maybe just one little jab, to try and redirect the crowd, whom show their appreciation for the roast, and take control back of her own show.
“Laugh all you want. But I’ve come back for that very reason. I’ve got BIG plans, plans to finally receive the rewards, recognition and respect I damn well deserve! And it begins this coming Evolution, leading all the way to WrestleFest, where the world shall bear witness to the beginning of the Colton Cinematic Universe. With me, the Hollywood Hot-Shot, the CWF World Heavyweight Champion! I’m a Hall of Famer for God’s Sake! Yet this means jack shit to the likes you people!”
“The…’Likes of Us People’ would probably be more impressed if we thought for a second you had a chance. I mean, Youtube is a buzz with that video of you and Vi-“
“How dare you!”
Mace shoots up from the sofa, looking out to the audience and directing his diatribe towards them, and by association anyone else he feels had wronged him.
“Things are about to change! It's time for a massive re-shoot and I can guaran-damn-tee that THIS time…In this reboot. Colton Mace is coming out on top. Now, this interview is OVER!”
Angrily, Mace storms away from the interview, tearing off his mic. He stops, shuffling back onto the set floor to say something into the host’s ear. Sangita’s surprised expression quickly changes to enraged disgust and she responds with a stiff right-handed slap to the face of Colton. As the audience laughs him off, security starting to shift, Mace turns back on his heels and storms back out again, practically grabbing Danny by the collar on his way out.
He would put an end to all the laughter and denigration.
Colton Mace was kind of a big deal and the time they accepted that is long overdue.
Colton puts an abrupt end to the phone call.
After all, there is only so much laughter at his own expense he is going to accept. Regardless of who he is asking for ‘help’. It’s almost enough to sway his resolve.
“Who’s next on the list?”
Seated at the other side of the small rounded table in their room at the [hotel] is the ever loyal Danny Tremaine, pouring through the names in Colton Mace’s black book of contacts.
“That’s it. We’ve reached the end of your list.”
“Who? Who is it?”
“Fuuuuuck No! How bout a drink?”
“I’ll even pay.”
What would normally seem like a charitable act from the self-centered action star is, in reality, an attempt to deflect the issue at hand and avoid a situation which was about to quickly become awkward. The ‘Mark’ Danny is referring to his Mace’s former tag-team partner and…’friend’, Mark Carlton. Caledonia’s cousin. Their relationship hadn’t been the healthiest, or most stable, and understandably they hadn’t parted on the greatest of terms.
Mace grabs his jacket and makes for the door, but the surprisingly quick and spry Danny Tremaine appears at the door, barring his client’s exit.
“If you’re as serious as you claim about this then you’ll grow a pair, call Carlton and do what’s necessary!”
Danny offers Mace the black boot. Mace pouts as he looks from the book, to Danny, and back again.
“I’ll call your mum!” Mace snaps back.
“Please do, she’s been asking about you.”
“Aww, she’s such a sweetheart.”
Danny gives Mace a glowering look, free with raised eyebrow and everything, and pushes the black book into Mace’s stomach.
“Fine! But I don’t gotta like it.” He puts the cell pone to his ear. “Oh dear. No response. Oh well.”
Grumbling under his breath Mace concedes to the demands of his more than tolerant manager and agent.
“It’s ringing.” Mace says impertinently, hoping it rings out.
A familiar British voice answers. Mace panics.
“Ah…Yo my homie…”
Danny shakes his head and mouths the words ‘What the fuck are you doing?’ Mace shrugs in response.
“Gods. Mace? Fuck Off!”
“You Fuck Off!”
“You Fuck Farther Off!”
“You Fuck the Fartherest Off, times Infinity plus 1!” Mace takes a breath. “How’s your mother?”
“She misses you…”
“Cause she’s awesome. And I’m awe-“
“What do you want Mace.”
“You…ah shit, I mean. We need to get the band back together…again…I need a promo partner.”
“And this is my problem?”
“C’mon man! Remember Toledo?!”
There is a pause of silence as Mark tries his best to remember Toledo. Then realisation dawns.
“You just chose a random city to invent a favour you did me, didn’t you?”
“Yes…” Mace replies sheepishly. “But you’d know I’d do the same for you…”
Carlton whispers something imperceptibly to himself on the other end of the lined before replying.
“Ugh. Alright, when and where?”
The title screen is accompanied by a very generic public domain intro theme. Though basic, it is also strangely harmonious. The title card fades to black and in its place is a generic backlit, set. Dark and sparse save for two stools, where both Colton Mace and Mark Carlton sit. Between them rests a flat-screen TV.
Carlton is shaking his head.
“I told you we should have spent more money on the intro. That was…pathetic.”
“Shut it! We’re live!”
Both men quickly shift their attention to the cameras.
“You heard right ladies and gentlemen. At the Wrestling has returned!”
At the press of a button artificial applause responds to the announcement.
“It seemed fitting. If Colton Mace is coming back gs his true self. Then naturally I’d have to bring back this wonderfully informative segment about the inner workings of the CWF…As such, tonight we’re talking about one thing and one thing only…”
“You’re severe lack of production value?”
“Since when we’re you a film-making expert. I’m the Hollywood Mega-Star!”
“Fallen star more like.”
“No. Fuck You!”
Danny Tremaine’s voice from somewhere off-set brings the quarrelsome and dysfunctional duo back to the present moment, with cameras still rolling, catching every passing moment.
“Ahem. Yes. Right. We’re talking about me. Colton Mace.”
“Just for something different…”
The sarcasm is thick and undeniable.
“I make my big and triumphant in-ring return to the CWF this coming Thursday night at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. And though the show has got a few other things happening, the only match worth seeing will be my victory over Danny B.”
The tv screen comes to life with the footage from last week’s Evolution. More specifically the stunning sneak attack by The Ripper, flooring the A-List Athlete with the RKS.
Mace is none too impressed.
“Where did you get that footage?!”
“It’s sort of a trending topic at the moment.”
“God damnit! My return should be trending. Not this soap-opera grade bullshit! But can you believe that? Out of the goodness of my own heart I agree to return to the CWF, and claim the prize I rightfully deserve. To, much adoration and thunderous applause of course.”
Mace was, of course, booed vehemently when he appeared to challenge for the World Heavyweight Title at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
“And then this…Extra comes along, trying to steal MY spotlight, and put me to shame with his brazen, unmitigated sneak attack. I HATE it when amateurs improvise and go off-script! But the joke is on Danny come Evolution. Cause I know why he did that…”
“To make his own stunning return and prove a point?”
“What? No! He knows deep down that he can’t possibly beat Colton Mace. In fact, he is JEALOUS of me. Jealous of my fame. My good looks. My talent. He knows that attack is the only chance he will get at the spotlight. But his 5 seconds of fame are over! As the lights dim next Evolution he’ll be back out onto the streets fast than you can shout Cut. With no one giving a damn about him, or the name of Danny B. He’ll forever be little more than a sidekick. A foil. A support character. And that’s being generous cause in the Colton Cinematic Universe I really don’t have the need for the likes of him!”
“Winning the title isn’t going to be as simple as beating Ripper. There’s a couple of other factors you are naturally forgetting.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s not just you in this picture. First you’ve got Danny B. But there’s also Ataxia and Mariella-Jade Flair.”
Mark Carlton counts each participant of the World Heavyweight tournament on his fingers, each face appearing on the screen of their TV. An image of the World Heavyweight title is also imposed between the four faces.
“Why should I be concerned with them?”
Mark looks dumb-founded at his former partner. Mace is religiously arrogant and self-absorbed. But this was taking it to a whole new level.
“…Never mind Mace. You’ll find out soon enough.”
The two share a drawn out moment of awkward silence and stillness. Mace mouthing a contracted ‘Ooooook…’ before bringing it back to their segment.
“Let’s get real for a second here. I’m not just coming back to claim my prize. I’m also returning to the CWF because it’s clear the company needs me.”
Carlton goes to interject. Mace stops him in his tracks with a raised hand.
“No. Hear me out. Have you seen the state of that place lately? Wowee! I’ve been involved in some pretty horrible movies, but the CWF these days…It’s what happens with bad direction. Everyone should be thanking me for even considering the notion of coming back. Go figure they turn to me, to come to the rescue, despite everything they did to me.”
“What THEY did to you…?”
“Exactly! At least I know you got my back. Even if you are just a poncy Pom!”
Not for the first time Mark wonders why the hell he agreed to this…
“And now that I’m back I ain’t sharing my spotlight, I ain’t playing second fiddle, or co-starring with anybody else! This is my show damnit! And the likes of Danny B are gonna have to get in-line and buy their own damn tickets to the Colton Mace show. I’m a star! And the World Heavyweight Champion is a role I was born to play!”
Mark Carlton groans.
“Roll the damn credits!”
“But Mace we’re not do-“
It’s no use, Mace is once again performing one of his token storm offs, kicking his stool over on the way out. He leaves Mark Carlton sitting in front of the camera awkwardly, at a loss for words.
“Ah…Well folks, I guess that’s that. We’ve been Colton Mace and Mark Carlton, and this has been At the Wrestling…See you at Evolution!”
The scene fades out to more stock outro music, generic and uninspiring. IAt least what can be heard over Colton’s tirade of indignation as he disappears into the depths of the humble sound-studio. Mark shakes his head, musing how getting involved with Mace again would lead to alcoholism. But considering the turmoil surrounding some of his family at the moment he couldn’t deny it was a nice distraction.
And if Mark we’re being really honest. Fewer things were as enjoyable as watching Colton Mace fail.