And so I’ve landed once again.
This time, the CWF.
Championship Wrestling Federation.
I’d been in Baltimore since lunch. CWF brass had me cooped up in a trailer at the building for hours before Evolution went on the air. Once the show was finally starting and attention was on the ring I made my escape from that tiny little slice of hell and I threw on a hoodie, pulled the hood tight around my face, and I made my way into the crowd where I could hide in plain sight until it was time.
I knew my cue.
I knew it all, like the back of my hand.
This was old hat, the “surprise debut.” Everything was perfect, even MJ didn’t know what was coming. I’d asked J-Rish to keep everything as hush-hush as possible, that’s how I ended up hiding all afternoon in a room with no wi-fi and half a mile away from Catering.
Once into the crowd I could feel it. Tiny jolts at first, but the electricity was definitely there. It didn’t take long before it was time for me to grab Cassandra’s chair and wrap it around her head for her.
That, as they say, was that.
Everything had gone according to plan. There were no leaks, MJ’s reaction on television was perfect, hell Cassandra and Coulter both almost pissed themselves.
I was home.
This is the first place that I’ve been outside of DEFIANCE that felt like it could be just that. Of course, as with any new dwelling there would be a fair amount of trash removal and remodelling to be done before I could ever be truly comfortable. It’s a necessary evil, though, one that I don’t mind dealing with again because if I’m going to spend any time here and make any money here things have got to be just so.
I’d spent the last month on the road working every shitbox indy and outlaw bullshit promotion that I came across, punishing myself maybe, surely looking for something that had been missing for a long Goddamned time. At least since I stepped away from DEFIANCE a couple of years ago.
The CWF, for the most part, at least feels like the big time. Maybe I’m projecting, but I really do feel like this could be home. For a while, at least. Everyone had been accommodating at the building, they knew who I was and were happy to have me on the team. That’s new. I’ll be honest with you I’m still waiting on the other foot to drop. I’m not used to getting the VIP treatment without having to throw my weight around first.
Speaking of, I’ve already seen the runsheet for next Evolution. My first match in and I’m working on top, teaming with MJ Flair against… some people that I’m supposed to take seriously I guess. If somebody could tell me exactly what in fuck’s name an Ouroboro was supposed to be I’d be eternally grateful. What it sounds like to me is somebody with too much time on their hands went looking for the most over the top symbolic bunch of bullshit that they could find that they thought might look good on a t-shirt and they ran with it.
It had been bothering me since the first time I’d heard it. I knew I knew what that word was supposed to mean, but it flickered and faded on the tip of my tongue. The more I fought to remember, the further away it went. Forgetfulness isn’t new to me, though. Between the drugs and the concussions my entire life is filled with gaps that I just can’t remember.
And then the light bulb went on over my head and I remembered. What they meant was ‘uroborus’ or some derivative of it.
It was the serpent swallowing its own tail.
Ancient Egyptian iconography at it’s best.
Basically, these people, the biggest of the big bads running around the CWF, had patterned themselves after a bad tattoo design, one that every hipster douche-bro this side of the Jersey Shore had either badly placed on his bicep or tatted around his belly button, or worse yet, the small of his back.
That sudden realization told me everything I needed to know about my first opponents here in the CWF. For starters, Cassandra and Coulter has the outward appearance of what I used to call the Expendable Goon Squad. That is to say, low level fodder to be trampled underfoot by the likes of myself and MJ Flair on our way to something, anything else.
First you’ve got this Dean Coulter motherfucker. The best I can figure he ditched his long time partner in the Lost Boys to join up with the Oreo Brownies because, I dunno, “personal stuff?” It’s all pretty vague from where I’m standing. What I can tell is that he traded in a long running successful team for a bunch of mooks in robes who talk to the moon or whatever.
Seems like a real downturn, Tag Team Champion to bottom of the barrel cultist, handpicked to what, not be a tag champ anymore? Follow around Cassandra, who is a whole other set of psychotic issues herself, and then what? Help to complete the master plan by cheating at wrestling and making sure that fans change the channel in droves because you went from somewhat interesting just another guy in the snap of a finger?
At least you didn’t turn to dust and scatter in the wind, am I right?
The day after Evolution.
Angus Skaaland finds himself sitting in a dive bar in the Bronx. “Angry Johnny” plays over the jukebox, it’s one of those newfangled internet deals that can play pretty much anything you can find on the internet. It is easily the newest thing on the inside of TC’s Pub. A couple of regulars mill about, not that there’s much room to mill about in but you get the idea. Angus has the physical bar to himself for the time being.
He nurses a half-warm Miller High Life and waits. A moment passes before his solitude is broken by the bubbly voice of bar manager extraordinaire Rosalyn Callasantos, AKA Calico Rose, BKA Cally to anybody who knows her, bebops onto the scene carrying a greasy basket that she sets down in front of Angus.
Cally: Angus Skaaland wants Chili-Cheese Fries, Angus Skaaland gets Chili-Cheese Fries. The chili and the cheese both came out of a can, though, so it might be a little hexed. I dunno, you’re the first person to ever order them. If you die, make sure you let us know so we can adjust the portions. But don’t die. I’d miss you.
Angus Skaaland hasn’t heard a word, he’s lost in the monstrosity in front of him, elbow deep into the greasiest plate of food he’s seen all week and enjoying it as if he’d been living on water and chia seeds.
Cally: Anyways, what the poop are you doing in New York, my love?
Skaaland finally looks up from his obsession.
Angus: Well, for starters, I do sort of live here. When I’m not on the road with Dane or living in New Orleans for DEFIANCE or… okay, I used to live here. I’m sort of from here.
Cally: What the fuzz? How did we never meet before DEFIANCE?
He gives a shrug.
Angus: My dad was Army. We moved. A lot. I came back after high school but when the wrestling bug hit I took off again. Haven’t spent any real time here since I was eight or nine.
Cally: You from the city? Or Uptown?
Angus: Staten Island.
She eyeballs him peculiarly.
Cally: This… explains… everything.
The Motormouth of Malcontent, as he is known in other circles, shrugs and returns his attention to the half pile of culinary delight in front of him. He does the International Symbol for “one more beer, please” as it would be rude to ask with a mouth full of food. Cally reaches into a cooler below the bar and produces another Miller High Life to replace the one that he’d just finished guzzling.
Cally: I can’t figure out how or why you drink this toilet-water.
Angus: [incredulous] It’s the Champagne of Beers!
Long story short, Cally and her boyfriend Randall Knox (Impulse) came to work for DEFIANCE for a while where Angus is not only the Color Commentator but has often times been put into the position of Executive Producer of the television show. A few awkward meetings later and not only did Cally and Angus strike up a weird friendship, but she also managed to become his pot hook-up.
That doesn’t explain much, but it gives us a reason to be here. Time passes and Cally goes back to her managerial duties and Angus finishes his cheesy pile of failure and sucks back another couple of beers.
More time passes, regulars come and go, Angus remains, nursing beers and creeping out the majority of anyone who speaks to him. Most notably Loriann (the bartender) finds herself slightly sick to her stomach every time he asks for another.
Story of his life.
Last Call comes and goes…
Cally: Last call, precious. I need to do the things. Clean up, Count de Mone’ and so forth.
Angus: Yeah, I know… I just…
She purses her lips and raises an eyebrow.
Cally: Do you need something?
Angus: I dunno, can we get outta here?
Angus: Yeah, cupcakes.
Cally: Bossa to the nova. I’ll be with you, post-haste.
These thoughts and more swirl through my head.
I hadn’t been avoiding Mariella since the interview earlier this evening, but I hadn’t seen her either. I figured Angus could handle her for a while so I could meet with Rish again and finalize a contract. Little did I know that half an hour and about forty signatures later and not only was I an official member of the roster, but I was standing in an A/V room with a producer getting ready to do a good old fashioned pre-tape to sell a match.
I smile an inward smile, this is how things were supposed to be.
I took my spot in front of the camera.
I waited for my cue.
The producer counted me down…
It was go time in five…
The little red light blinked on.
Eric Dane: Well here we fuckin’ go again!
My smirk widened, almost uncomfortably.
Eric Dane: It’s like I was born for the CWF, is it not? I walk in the door, I’m rubbing shoulders with former World Champions, and before you know it I’m Main Eventing in my first match here!
You wouldn’t even believe how much they’re paying me, it’s borderline ridiculous. That’s one of the things I love in this business though, if you’re worth it you can demand anything you want in a contract negotiation.
Ask Rishel how many bottles of LifeWater he has to provide for me week in and week out at Television. It’s a funny story, go on, I’ll wait.
Mockingly I cross my arms and begin to tap my foot.
Eric Dane: Back so soon? Fantastic! Now, where was I? Ah, yes, I was just about to extrapolate on the situation with myself and MJ Flair and the Ornamental Boricuas wasn’t I?
Well, pay attention kids, I’m not in the habit of repeating myself.
Mariella Jade, the “Second Coming” as it were, well she and I go way back. Not really at all, actually. As a matter of fact I don’t think we’ve ever traded two words before Evolution, but that’s beside the point. Y’see I know her daddy, and I know him well, and I just know that he’d want me to look out for her here in the CWF, understand?
I nod approval, you can’t help but to nod along.
Eric Dane: As far as Cassandra and Other Guy goes, you all should know that what I did at Evolution wasn’t personal. You just happened to be the predictable idiots who did the predictable thing that allowed for me to make my debut and put myself into the wonderful position of Main Eventing my very first match in CWF.
Now, I know that you guys think of yourselves as kind of a big deal. I’m not sure why, one of you is a sniveling coward, the other is a scheming bitch, and I’d be willing to wager the rest of your Kool-aid drinking compadres are right there close to you on the spectrum, if you know what I mean.
Which, you very probably don’t.
What I mean to say is that you’re all retarded.
I pause, pondering for a moment if I’m allowed to say that they’re retarded or if I’ll be forced to make some kind of insincere apology. After a moment I decide that if it’s a big deal somebody will cut it out in post and I carry on.
Eric Dane: That’s right, big ass football helmet wearing, poop-ball rolling, crayon eating, window licking, short-bus riding retards who run around following some Moonbeam or Honeymoon or Man in the Moon motherfucker who I can’t be bothered to even do a Google search on his name.
This cult nonsense is ridiculous if you ask me.
Especially the part where some of you are a cult within the cult.
It’s stupid, just bad TV. What I really want you guys to do is take a little break from television, get a good relationship with a good writer, and come back in six months repackaged as something that might actually put an ass into a seat or sell a few t-shirts, naw’mean?
My New Orleans accent is thick. Try as I might to lose it when I’m in front of a camera every now and again it sneaks through.
Eric Dane: But again, as we’ve already previously discussed, you probably don’t know what I mean. You probably have ten million reasons why you lot are the end all be all big bad wolves of the CWF. Probably you even have some of the boys thinking that too…
And also girls.
Christ knows there’s a shitload of girls wrestling here. Not that I mind, I’m an equal opportunity tooth-loosener when it comes right down to it, I’m just not used to there being so many girls running around. Make it kind of awkward in the locker room, right?
Well, you know, except totally not you, MJ.
You being the Second Coming and all it never really seemed to come up that you had tits and other bits, am I right? Sure I am. Besides, you’ve already proven yourself here, now it’s my turn, and unfortunately for Cassandra who I guess doesn’t have a last name and some guy named Dean that she may or may not be holding hostage on some kind of secret island somewhere that means that come next Tuesday in Bahston I’m gonna be looking to beat the shit out of those of you unlucky enough to be standing across from me inside of that ring.
That means you, Cassie, and you too, Deannie-poo.
It’s gonna be a long night friends, so pack a lunch. But hey, look on the bright side, you’ll be the first kids in your class who can tell the other kids that they got a world class wrestling lesson live and in living color from the last Living Legend that matters in this sport! That and three bucks might even get you a cup of Joe, but I doubt it. You schmucks seem like the type to drink that designer bullshit that tastes like scalding hot dirt and comes fully loaded with triple half-caf and no whip.
I nod. Half of this shit doesn’t even make sense. I don’t expect much out of my opponents though, I doubt they do enough barking to matter and I’m quite sure that they’ve got no bite.
Eric Dane: So, in conclusion, The Only Star has come to the CWF to collect three things: Gold, Glory and a Bodycount.
Deal with it.
I drop one last signature smirk in before the little red light goes off. The producer leans out from behind the camera and just stares at me. Apparently he had yet to see anybody cut a promo with any vitriol around these parts.
Well that’s just fine.
I’ll have ‘em all trained before this song and dance is finished.