”Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” - William Shakespeare
The arena crowd roars. Dan Ryan pulls a man, Mark Windham, to his feet, then nearly clotheslines his head off.
Dan Ryan takes a liquid adhesive soaked, tape-wrapped fist and dips it in broken glass, then drives that fist into Bronson Box’s forehead, sending blood splatter everywhere.
Dan Ryan grabs Jack Harmen, and in a quick motion, pulls him up from a standing headscissors position, then drives him neck first down over the ropes and to the arena floor.
Ryan’s face fills the screen, then the scene pulls back, showing him in a three piece suit, dark sunglasses over his eyes, the corner of his lips curled in a sneer.
The outskirts of Houston, Texas.
Inside a complex on this vast ranch, a professional grade gymnasium stretches out across 3,500 square feet or so. The centerpiece of this room is a full-size wrestling ring. There are no fancy colors, no logos, no belts adorning the walls… no trophies.
The hulking figure of “The Ego Buster” Dan Ryan, casual in a pair of jeans and a black “Zero” t-shirt, steps into frame, staring through dark glasses at the ring.
This is my domain.
My life, such as it is, exists here. I’m not here to do a job. This is no nine-to-five. I don’t punch out. I live it. I breathe it. I was born into this, and until the day I die, it will be who I am.
So many men flick on a camera, point it at their faces and tell everyone who they are, what they are about, and what is it all but white noise? Who really stands out when everyone sounds exactly the same? For over a decade, I have travelled the roads, I have filled arenas, I have run companies and made decisions. I have held the careers of men in the palm of my hands. I have made men and I have broken them.
I have been life and death to so many.
Ryan turns to face the camera
Oh, I know. It’s all so melodramatic, isn’t it? It’s so awkward meeting like this for the first time. One can never assume that he is known, and so we must dance this little dance. I stand here, I brood and use my vast vocabulary to let all of you know just how fucking badass I am, and you all sit there wondering what to believe.
I don’t blame you.
Ryan takes the sunglasses off and tosses them over a shoulder.
If I said these things to me, I’d tell me to go fuck myself. I’d say, hey douchebag, how about you and your college words come over here, and I’ll take them and shove them right up your ass?
Well, I actually invite you to try just that.
In fact, here’s the truth of the matter. It’s not just wrestling that I eat, speak and breathe - not just competition.
Ryan tilts his head forward slightly, his teeth clinching, brow furrowing, eyes narrowed.
It’s violence I seek. It is the language in which I am most fluent, and I speak it with a flourish. I’m not here to dance, and I’m not here to help you look good to the teenaged girls in the front row. Divert your attention once and I’ll kick your head off. Miss one opening and I’ll knock your teeth down your throat. Fail to defend just one time…. and I’ll rip your fucking arm off.
Ryan’s face instantly goes to a softer visage, one of almost cheerfulness. In any event, a smile.
I want this relationship to be fruitful. Mostly, I’d like to ingratiate myself to the locals and fit in. I’ll begin by taking Kendo and The Crimson Ghost, and perhaps breaking a bone or two. Nothing big. Maybe a pinky or… what’s that bone that sticks out on your ankle?
Ryan looks off screen with a questioning expression on his face. Some mumble is heard but not understood.
The medial malleolus. I like it. It rolls off the tongue.
I don’t want this to go too far. I know you two want and plan to have your careers continue on after our match, and I’m happy to oblige, so long as you don’t get stupid. Don’t try any funny business.
Kendo, none of that Samoan dancing bullshit. This ain’t Dancing With the Stars and I fucking hated that Moana movie. So don’t even start. I know the pain of knee injuries, so I relate, but I’m willing to give you elbow, shoulder, neck and head injuries to keep that knee company if I have to. Believe me, I can suplex a bitch too if need be, and son, you have bitch tattooed all over your face.
And Crimson Ghost, I’ve seen the tape and I’ve gotta be honest, that frantic punk rock bullshit sprint entrance you do already pisses me off. You better hope that I’m introduced after you, or if not, you better hope you don’t slide under the ropes and get your little head too close to me, or I’ll curbstomp it into a Crimson Spot on the canvas.
Ryan looks down on final time, thoughtful, then looks back up.
Gentlemen, it’s quite simple. We all have roles to play, and sadly, your bit part ends here. I am the greatness that is being thrust upon you. You can take solace in this, as greatness only touches most of us once in a lifetime, and boys, this is your time. I have the World Championship in my sights. There’s nothing left for you here.