Alex Rain is seen sitting in the casino playing blackjack. He has quite the amount of winnings on his side and security starts to edge near him. Alex still focused in the game suddenly gets a tap on the shoulder.
“Meet me outside.”
Alex quickly ends the game and takes his winning and leaves the casino. He looks around for the person who called him out.
“Counting cards again are we? Archie?”
Alex turns around and sees Martin eating a burger.
“Well… Not really getting many matches in CWF, gotta pay the bills somehow.” Alex grinned.
“I didn’t help you get the job with CWF so that you go spiraling down in your gambling habits again.”
“Oh come on, Martin why do you care so much?”
“Because I’m your manager, moron. Also because… you are the grandchild of my Master.”
Alex grins as he keeps counting the money he won. Martin looks at Alex and shakes his head in disapproval. Martin starts to walk towards his car.
“Come on Alex, we need to get going.”
Alex takes the front seat and Martin starts driving.
“I understand that it’s getting tougher these days for you to make money but gambling really isn’t the answer.”
“Yeah, yeah I get it.”
“Good, good. I got you a match though. I entered you in the Modern Warfare tournament. I know it’s really too soon for you to enter the heavyweight title picture but its a good place to show what you are worth. My match with Harley Hodge got me on everybody’s radar even though I lost, but still, it gave me quite the star power.”
“Star power? What good did that do? Have you ever won a title in your life, Martin?”
Martin stayed quiet as he drove quietly through the night. Alex starts to regret what he said but decides to stay quiet as they drive to Martin’s home.
Sunlight beamed into the room. Alex starts to get out of his bed. He could hear a little girl’s giggling downstairs. He goes downstairs and was greeted with Jake, Karin and Lucy.
“Finally woke up, sleepy-head” Jake said as he threw an apple at Alex and Alex caught it.
“Thanks for having me over.” Alex takes a bite from his apple and searches the room.
“He is not here. He went out for jogging.” Karin replied while setting plates on the dining table.
“Hmmm” Alex acknowledged quietly.
“Come with me Alex, outside. Let's talk.” Jake smiled as he opens the front door.
Alex follows Jake to the front lawn.
“So, what happened between the two of you?”
Alex looked surprised at Jake.
“Nothing. Nothing at all.” Alex replied.
“Well, you both have been acting weird ever since last night. Keeping things inside won’t do anybody any good.” Jake sighed.
Alex looked at Jake for a moment and finally shakes his head.
“I might have pointed out that Martin didn’t really make much of an impact in CWF. He didn’t really win any titles in that company.”
Jake looked away from Alex.
“You think he doesn’t know? He retired from CWF because of his family. He made that choice so that he can be around Lucy. But very few understand how big of a sacrifice he made. He still thinks about our sister Lucy, he still thinks about his master. He hasn’t completely forgotten about his promises. That’s the very reason why he still keeping himself in shape. But if you ask him, he will always say no. He will always say no to wrestling because to him his family is important.”
Alex felt guilty.
“This really shouldn’t be the reason why he shouldn’t return to the ring. He is the same man who brought me back the squared circle and he is backing out himself. I understand being around family but he is giving up on his dreams. There are very few people who can go toe to toe with him. It’s downright insulting that a man like him hasn’t yet held gold. To retire without even tasting success like that.”
“That’s why he wanted you to succeed for him. He wanted you to do what he couldn’t. Your grandfather trained him and now he wants to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes he made. Try to understand where he is coming from. Try to understand him because he is not the enemy.” Jake smiled.
Alex saw the scars on Jake’s face.
What he must have gone through. What this whole family must have gone through.
Martin is seen in the distance jogging back to the house.
“Hey… *pants* Give me a minute *pants*” Martin takes a minute to catch his breath.
“Martin, I am sorry for what happened last night. I shouldn’t have said those things to you.” Alex blurted out.
Martin looked at Alex with a surprised look.
“It’s alright. Everything you said was true in a sense. I didn’t really win any titles. I am nobody to tell you what needs to be done.” Martin gave a weak smile.
“I know you got me booked for CWF Modern Warfare but… I refuse to compete.”
Both Martin and Jake open their mouth to protest.
“Yeah, I am not gonna compete because I need someone more deserving than me on that tournament. His name is Pandalike.”
“Are you sure?” Jake replied.
“Hey listen my time to wrestle is up. It’s your turn, Alex.” Martin protested.
“No ifs or buts this is my decision. It’s time the world recognize why the former FCW champion Arch-Angel chose you as his manager. If not for yourself… Do it for me.” Alex grinned.
Karin walks out with Lucy in her hands.
Martin walks over and puts his hand on top of Lucy’s head.
“Guess Pandalike gotta comeback one more time. This time for the glory.” Martin smiled as Lucy giggled.
“My journey started on Evolution 3 against a man name Silas Kincaid. The Irish bastard as he called himself and I was Master Chang’s protege. Two wrestlers who couldn’t be any more different than each other and yet we had one thing in common. We both were new to the company and we both were hungry for our first win. And so we went toe to toe to show what new and fresh wrestlers bring to the table. A match that surprised everyone around the world. So much so that I was immediately booked in a Trick or Treat match where I came out as the winner, walking away with the chance to face the CWF World Heavyweight Champion, Harley Hodge in the next evolution show.”
“And that, my friends, were the beginning of many title matches I lost. These losses were piling up on me day after day and I started to lose confidence in my ability. I thought I was going to become champion for Lucy’s sake, I thought I was going to become champion for all Pandas in the world. I was so wrong. After wrestling with the best in the ring I was dubbed as the underdog who never could…”
“Truth is I may come up every night and show heart and resilience in front of everyone but in the end, everyone knows Pandalike can never win big. But I just can’t stop, can I? In my long career with CWF I’ve not held one single CWF title but that’s not stopping me. So many have come after me who’ve shown their worth and has become champion. People like Duce Jones, Shadow. People who use to find me interesting, entertaining, champion material. Sadly I’ve haven’t lived up to their expectation. I am even ashamed to call myself CWF original. Cause CWF has produced me… a loser.”
“But a loser who just won’t quit. A new year has rolled into the wrestling world and I vow this year will be mine. Martin Elric Bailer AKA Pandalike will be the man who will stand at the peak of CWF. I’ll be the champion. A champion that’s worth remembering. I know that my messed up past has always gotten in the way of bringing me nearer to my goals but it has also made me stronger and now I have a family that loves and supports me. I’ve buried my demons and said goodbye to my mentor. I’ve trained over the past few months I was gone and have gotten back even stronger. The new Pandalike will be nothing to sneeze at. The new Pandalike will be the one who will get things done.”
Pandalike takes off the mask and reveals Martin’s new black and white face paint.
“Let's start my new journey at Frozen Over VII, the pay per view where I lost to the man named Duce Jones for the now-retired CWF Academy title. This is the pay per view where Duce Jones and I put up an iconic Punjabi Prison Match. The match that stole the show. However this time I am put in the opener match to determine the match stipulation for the first round match in Modern Warfare Tournament.”
“To tell the truth to some it might seem I’ve fallen far, to be relegated to an opener match but I see it as a chance to start all over. To become the champion that I know I can be. But I know that as the underdog I will need every advantage I can get if I want to be champion. This is my opportunity to pave the path to my victory. This is will be my redemption story.”