The Music City Radio Hall is full to bursting of avid wrestling fans from far and wide, come to experience and enjoy the spectacle that is the CWF Fan Fest, commemorating the moments leading up to the wrestling promotions premiere Pay-Per-View event, WrestleFest. It is a day full of meet-and-greets, public signings, guest appearances, Q and A’s…the list goes on and on. All in the name of the loyal audience expressing their appreciation for the frontier wrestling promotions through deference, or contempt, for the various hard-working superstars that make the company what it is. A fair ratio of the already prodigious attendance for the day filter into one of the pavilions within the Radio Hall cordoned off and organised for the talent Q and A’s. They sit and wait, getting more agitated and restless with each passing moment, as they wait for the next guest.
That guest in question is one of the two competing contenders for the vaunted CWF World Heavyweight Championship. None other than the Hollywood Hot-Shot himself, action movie-star who styles himself a legitimate athlete and fighter, the incredibly tardy (beyond the realms of what could be considered ‘fashionable’), Colton Mace. Usually it would be a GREAT sign that a crowd of growing magnitude would be waiting to see Colton Mace. The superstar very much responded to anything, or anyone, that pads his already gigantic ego, but for Mace to benefit from such pandering he actually needs to be physically present. As the growing crowd stirs further into disappointment and surliness, Danny finds himself anxiously checking his watch more and more. One of the FanFest Event Staff approaches the Manager of the A-List Athlete.
“Where the fuck is he? We can’t keep them waiting like this?”
“Just a little longer. I beg. Mace’ll be here. He never misses a chance a show himself off.”
As if responding to a cue, Colton Mace finally, and mercifully, makes his appearance. Danny starts to breathe again, never realising he had in fact stopped. It is clear from the unsteadiness of Mace’s steps, his head bowed low and the distinct pair of sunglasses upon his face, Colton had enjoyed himself a little on the excessive side last night and was sporting a decent hangover.
Such is the lifestyle of self-acclaimed Hollywood superstars.
“It’s about time. We’ve been wait-“
Colton raises his hand to interrupt the event coordinator, stopping him mid-sentence. Mace takes a moment to collect himself.
“I know this is a dream come true to see Colton Mace in the flesh, but there’s no need to shout.
Mace snatches the chart off of the staff member and quickly pens his signature on the cover sheet, before returning it to its rightful owner.
“Now where is my adoring audience?”
“Not now Danny! Are you really going to prevent these people from fulfilling their life-long dreams and seeing their idol in person for the first time. How unprofessional of you. Now go get me my coffee!”
Mace shoos away both Danny and the Event Staff before stumbling toward the podium. Danny and the Staff Member share a glance, the Staff Member wearing an expression of pure shock and surprise. Not uncommon when someone has dealt with Colton for the first time. Even then, Danny has been working with him for years and still the superstar’s selfishness and ego finds a way to surprise the Manager. He really does know no bounds!
There is a token effort towards applause as Mace is announced, coming to stand before the crowd.
“God. Can’t even get applause right! How dumb are you New Yorkers?”
If the day doesn’t end in a riot, it would be very surprising.
“I’m doing you all a favour by speaking here today. Where else are you going to get so close to greatness? In return you can all do me a favour in and not waste my time. Those who ask their questions promptly will be awarded with Colton Cash! I’m kind of a big deal you know and have a lot to do, so first question…You!”
Up stands a young man.
"Aren't you concerned that many find your constant abuse and arroance towards others in this foolish...'crusade' to prove your worth is really just an indication of your fear of failure and own inadequacies as a person?"
There is a long, drawn out silent pause as everyone looks to the question-asker, trying to take in what they just asked. Colton is quick to shater the contemplative moment.
“Oh my god, what a nerd! You read that on Wikipedia lately or something? Keep your false-psycho-bullshit to yourself, let me handle what happens in the ring. Sit down, shut up and just appreciate what I do. Next!”
The next person to stand is someone Mace probably should recognise, but he makes no indication of acknowledgement, let alone acquaintance. The rotund individual in question is “Beautiful” Bobby Dean, wearing a Mikey Unlikely t-shirt, stretched to the point of tearing, and munching down on the special cafeteria lunch options…yes, ALL of them.
“If you wanted to copy someone so much, why did you pick to be like Mikey? Why not more like Bobby Dean? I've been in movies, I once filmed a homemade porno…but I had to take it down. Apparently you have to ask permission to film someone first... But yeah, why not be more like me! People love me! They don't seem to like you very much..."
“They really do let anyone into these things…Where’s the security? Firstly, eat with your goddamn mouth closed. Show some manners! Secondly, who the fuck are you? And lastly I’m not the Spin-Off here! I am the genuine article, the first! If anything Mikey is imitating me. It’s getting kind of sad really…And these people didn’t come here to listen to such nonsense. They want to hear me talk about great I am and how badly I’m going to beat MJ Flair at WrestleFest. So thank you for wasting my time. I’d tell you to sit down and shut up but I don’t think the convention has enough staff to pick you back up again…”
Bobby’s expression changes to give Mace a cold, levelled stare.
“I’m going to enjoy Mikey suing the pants off of you…”
“I don’t get my pants off for anyone. Not anymore. I deleted that video…Alright I’m over this…any last questions? Yes, you!”
This time a young woman brave Mace's ire by standing.
“Funny how you mention your videos. Your…exploits in Hollywood are well documented and you cite wanting to prove the realism of your stunts and action scenes, affirming your toughness and machismo, as the reason you step back into the squared circle…Ironic then isn’t it that the most popular video of you is the clip of you knocked out in one-hit by Vi-“
“That…incident is not open to discussion! Seriously, where is the security?! I am done here!”
Colton turns on his heels in a huff and exits stage right, but not before several other members of the audience make their comments, following Mace as he steps off the podium.
“It’s going to be great watching MJ kick your arse!”
“What you gonna do when MJ beats you? Have another cry and leave the CWF again?”
Amongst other such scathing remarks.
Returning with the desired cup of coffee, Danny sees Mace storming off with a mask of hysteric furor on his face. He barely notices his manager, barging through Danny, knocking the coffee all over the floor and the talent manager.
It looks as if another breach of contract lawsuit would end up on his desk…
In any other circumstances you would think a car trip consisting of Jaiden Rishel, “The Fearless Atlantic Gentleman” Mark Carlton, Danny Tremaine and of course Colton Mace is a perfect formula for a comedy blockbuster. For Jaiden Rishel however, it was a day in his own personal hell. Especially since Jaiden was forced into the back seat, seated next to a snoring Colton. Luckily, it isn’t a long trip from the Montreal airport.
“Alright, we’re here.” Says Danny, relegated to the job of driver, “Better wake him up.”
Witout even trying a more conscientious approach, Jaiden gives Mace a stiff prod in the ribs with his elbow. The A-List Athlete wakes with a start.
“NO! NOT A UWE BOLL MOVIE!”
It takes Mace a moment to realise where he is, with every other occupant of the rental car looking at Mace expectantly.
“I just had the worst nightmare…”
“We’ve arrived Mace.”
The group all clamber out of the car to appraise the street of the high-end Montreal suburb.
“And I’m back in Canada. Ugh. I’d prefer to be in a 50 Shades movie than be here.”
“But this was your idea!”
“I know you have to suffer for your art…but this is torture!”
“Let’s just get this over and done with.” Growls Jaiden, in assent. He clearly wants to be in Montreal as much as Mace does.
Before them, in all its glory, rests an extravagant mansion.
“Not one for modesty is he…” Mark remarks in disbelief.
Clearly the owner spared no expense. Surrounding the mansion is a well maintained garden with topiaries and statues abound that all resemble the same individual. There is also a pool that is designed to resemble a man-made beach.
“I’ve seen bigger in Bel-Air.” Mace scoffs.
It is the home of former CWF Heavyweight champion and retired talent, Jace Valentine. In some respects considered Mace’s contemporary. Though one stark difference is that, despite how harshly Jace was judged for the apparent flaws in his character, he was always considered a legitimate competitor. A privilege lost on Colton Mace.
Accompanied only by Jaiden, together he and Mace walk through the excessively self-aggrandising front garden. They stand awkwardly at the front door, Mace looking to Jaiden, expectantly. Jaiden rolls his eyes and knocks on the door. Considering the size of the mansion is takes some time before the knock is answered, with Tabby Ubetcha revealed to be the one answering the door.
“Can I he-Oh…What do you two want?”
“Is he in?”
Mace asks barging straight through Tabby, unconcerned by concepts such as trespassing.
“I don’t think you sh-“
“STOP TRYING TO HIDE JACE! I KNOW YOU’RE HERE!”
Considering it is Jace’s house, it doesn’t make sense for him not to be there…Not that anyone was game to say that aloud to Mace. There is a silent pause before…
“Tabby. Show him in.”
Reluctantly Tabby motions for Colton and Jaiden to follow her through the house, Jaiden opts to stand at the door. The CWF interviewer intern leads the Hollywood Hot-Shot through the house, motioning him into a very posh looking drawing room, where Jace is seated, ready and waiting for Mace in a rich satin dress robe and a glass of an expensive drink in his hand.
“What the hell do you want Mace?”
He may give the image of sophistication, but there is no such pretence for the likes of Colton Mace.
“This is it? I was expecting so much more…”
Mace appraises the drawing room, sneering in disdain at the many self-portraits of the Host with the Most.
“Well luckily I didn’t buy this house with impressing you in mind.”
Jace doesn’t even bother offering Mace a seat, hoping to expedite the conversation.
“What? Not the house…you...Wasting away, fading into obscurity.”
“I may not be an active competitor anymore but I can still whip your B-Grade grade arse off of my property. So what do you want?!”
Tabby goes to stand beside Jace and hopefully prevent the altercation from escalating, but Jace stops her in her tracks with a wordless raise of his free hand. He felt he knew Mace well enough to know that he wouldn’t try to attack face-to-face. Certainly not alone. But best to be sure and keep Tabby safe. Afterall what is the saying about the Iressistable Force and the Immovable Object...
“I’ve come to see how far the mighty have fallen with my own eyes, to confirm the Box-Office Bomb that is Jace Valentine. Somehow people considered you one of the greatest. I assure you that I will fill the void that you selfishly left behind. Succeed where you failed. Through Colton Mace I will elevate the World Title and the Company to the highest possible pinnacle imaginable. More so than you could have ever done.”
Jace drinks to stifle a snorting laugh.
“You really think you can take down MJ? It amazes me how much of a fool you really are Mace. If by some miracle you do beat her, do you honestly believe you can hold onto that title for even a day? Give me a break. I never realised how adept you are at Comedies, cause this is a joke! You are perfectly incapable of doing anything yourself Mace, you will always be little more than the foil in a Buddy Cop movie. Carlton, the Eternals, now Jaiden…just do us all a favour and go back to the tag division. It’s where you belong, in the passenger seat. Cause you don’t have what it takes. And that’s MY advice.”
“You're just jealous! Like everybody else who questions my legitimacy and my abilities. You are no longer relevant, content to while away in this prison of yours. What’s more sad is you made this prison yourself, somehow content. Your words are baseless. And just you wait. I WILL show you. I will show EVERYBODY that I am the only true Champion this company has seen! WrestleFest is the debut of my Colton Mace Epic! My award winning performance which launches the Colton Cinematic Universe! And I’m going to enjoy rubbing it in your face!”
“What exactly hope to achieve here? Prove your superiority? Feel better about yourself? Are you really THAT desperate for affirmation? The mere fact you felt the need to waste YOUR time and effort to come to my home and try and psyche me out is telling enough. You were always beneath me Colton. There is a reason why you were never able to make it to the top when I was around. Think on that. You can see yourself out.”
“Just you wait and see!"
Colton turns to leave, Tabby quickly taking the time to finally stand beside Jace.
As he takes his leave, Mace drops a few notes of Colton Cash on the coffee table then returns to the car where his entourage; Carlton, Tremaine and Rishel are awaiting. They all notice Mace somewhat red in the face from his emotional tirade.
“Went well?” Tremaine asks as they organise themselves back into the car.
“Just drive. Every second in this god forsaken country makes me sick to my stomach.”
From the front window Valentine watches them make their departure, shaking his head. If nothing else Mace is usually good for a laugh. Tabby joins Valentine, standing beside him.
“Babe…we may just have to watch WrestleFest…”
If for nothing else then the satisfaction of seeing Colton Mace fail.
“Welcome once more to another edition of At the Wrestling. I’m “The Fearless Atlantic Gentleman” Mark Carlton.”
“And I’m the soon-to-be crowned CWF Heavyweight Champion, Colton Mace.”
The usual studio set up is now complimented by a rather garish and unsubtle cardboard cut-out of Colton Mace with the CWF Heavyweight Title belt draped over his shoulder and the WrestleFest banner emblazoned beneath him. Their flat-screen TV set is also silently playing a promotional clip for the PPV in the background.
“We’ll get to that in a little bit Mace, for this is it, the Big One. CWFs’ penultimate Pay-Per-View event, WrestleFest! And since this is a special occasion we’re joined by a special guest tonight. The Prodigal Son himself, Jaiden Rishel.”
The camera zooms out to reveal Jaiden Rishel sitting beside Colton Mace. He doesn’t wave or say anything, his only acknowledgement to the camera is a simple solemn nod.
“Thanks for joining us Jaiden…Before we get to your stunning return and alliance with Mace, lets first talk about WrestleFest! Autumn Raven, Loki Synn, Silas Artoria and The Shadow are facing off in one hell of an opening match for the chance to face the World Heavyweight Champion-“
Mark breathes to collect himself and not loose stride despite the interruption.
“-At Hellbound…Kemsey Ramsey has returned, facing off against Linus Stark…Jimmy Allen challenges Dorian for the Impact Title…There’s even rumours of an announcement from Pandalike!“
“Mark, I’m going to stop you right there.”
Mark throws his arms up in exasperation.
“That sounds all well and good-”
“Pft. Not.” Colton scoffs.
“But why should anyone care? The only match we should be talking about, the only superstar worth our time, is sitting here between us. Colton Mace.”
“But WrestleFest is a big deal, and since this is a WRESTLING talk show I thought we should actually talk about wrestling, instead of, you know making it all about Colton AGAIN.”
“Leave the comedy to the likes of Franklin Fredrickson Mark. What other reason would we be here if not to talk about me?”
Defeated, Carlton sighs and shakes his head.
“Ugh. Fine Chaps, have it your way. But if we get axed don’t blame me.”
The camera focuses on Jaiden.
“And to answer your question, I came back to support Colton because well, the CWF needs him. Yes it’s that bad. The CWF has been languishing for some time now, resting its future on the shoulders of unfit champions, talentless hacks and pretenders. People only content with creating chaos to see the company fall. It was enough of a concern that Mace and I were able to put aside our differences to work together to save the promotion. At the end of the day Mace may not be the Champion everyone wants, but he’s definitely the Champion they all deserve. Sure on paper Mace’s career hasn’t exactly been the most spectacular-”
Jaiden raises a hand, pre-empting Mace’s intended interjection and stopping him before he has a chance to say anything. Warily Mace sits back, letting Jaiden finish his thoughts.
“But that’s through no fault of his own. Mace has always fallen victim to ineffective guidance and direction. Forced to share his spotlight or clamour for his own 5 seconds of fame. He said it himself. A company is only as good as its Director and he sees a fitting Director in me. So can’t fault his judgement. Together we will be the saviours of the CWF.”
“And that’s a wrap.”
Content that explains everything, Mace sits there smug. Carlton is almost loathed to tempt fate by perpetuating the ‘interview’.
“Ok…I guess under the right circumstances even bitter enemies can find reconciliation…I guess that leaves the last burning question…Mariella-Jade and the World Heavyweight Championship. Your thoughts?”
“Mark, do you have an issue with your hearing? From day one of his return, Mace has said he’ll claim the title belt, irrespective of the opponent.”
“And no one has even managed to answer my question…Who is MJ Flair? Why does she think she’s got what it takes to be champion? What exactly did she achieve when she did hold the belt? Nothing! Because of her the title belt grew stagnant, devalued and shamed. A grave mistake I aim to correct come WrestleFest.”
“I feel you discard and underestimate Mariella way too much.”
The Fearless Atlantic Gentleman tries to draw attention to clip show footage of Mariella now playing on the tv screen, but true to fashion Colton will not have a bar of it.
“Why? Because her father is an apparent icon in pro-wrestling? A legend? I’ve certainly never heard of him. And all that tells me is she is content to hide within his shadow, ride the coat-tails of someone else’s success…something I am all too familiar with.”
Mace gives Mark an overly pointed look. The Brit raises his eyebrows in response.
“Why did I even agree to this? I could just up and leave right now…”
“But you won’t, you want to live vicariously through me and my successes.”
Sad to say, by some small degree, Mace was correct.
“True, I was born naturally talented, but I’ve done the hard yards, I’ve worked my way to the top. Yes I deserve this shot, but only because I have earned it.”
“But according to the CWF Universe MJ has also duly earned this shot. She has proven herself to be one of the CWF’s top stars.”
“Have I taught you nothing Mark? Never trust the opinion of critics. They are either pushing a political agenda or paid off. If you want the truth, you go to the general viewing public.”
“They also think MJ is better than you…”
Mark grows bold in his aggravation, biting back with that comment.
“Who cares what those sycophants think! Of course she's going to look good when facing talen even less impressive than her! The only industry more fickle than pro-wrestling is Hollywood and I’ve become quite adept at riding the strands of THAT particular thread, so MJ is going to be a cake-walk. It shall be my Magnum Opus! And when I’m done the Flair name and legacy will be about as relevant as Dennis Hooper’s Out of the Blue. That’s it. Roll the damn credits!”
As per usual, Colton is up and out of his seat, knocking it over as he storms out. Leaving Mark Carlton and Jaiden Rishel to look awkwardly at each other in silence as the outro sequence plays.