April 12, 2002
"We have a situation."
The comment hung in the air as Global X-Treme Wrestling Co-Owner Erik Zieba spoke it. Chad Dupree, the other half of the ownership team said nothing, but stared intently at their World Champion, Dan Ryan.
Ryan cocked his head slightly. "What kind of a situation?"
Dupree pushed a manila folder toward Ryan. He picked it up and opened it as Dupree continued. "Well..."
"It's about Evan Aho."
Ryan's eyebrows raised slightly. "He asked for time off, right? He wanted some time to get over some burnout -- said he needed to get away from the sport for a little while. What about him?"
Zieba gestured in Ryan's direction. "Open the folder."
Ryan did so, and Zieba continued.
"It seems that he's not as burned out as he was letting on when we last met with him."
Ryan's eyes narrowed.
Ryan's flipped a piece of paper inside the folder over and saw a photo that revealed Zieba's next words. Zieba spoke them anyway.
"Not burned out enough to keep him from making a triumphant return to Greensboro by winning the CSWA World Championship at a taping last night."
The irritation in Dan Ryan's face became palpable. "So... what you're telling me is, he gave notice, citing burnout and a desire to take time off from the sport for a little while, but instead signed a secret deal with Greensboro...."
Dupree nodded. "That's the long and short of it."
"And no advance warning?" Ryan snapped the folder shut. Zieba shrugged.
"None. We asked him about it after we heard about it second-hand and he assured us that he meant no deceit."
Ryan smirked. "And what did you say to that?"
Zieba smiled. "We assured him that we had absolutely no problem with it, that we wished him all the best, and we thanked him for his service to the company. Also, even though he's officially done with the company, we invited him back for... Evan Aho Appreciation Night... and he gladly accepted."
"So..." Ryan frowned... deeply. "Why am I here, then?"
"Well..." Zieba glanced at Dupree, whose gaze never left the champion. "We were thinking that since you like to take it upon yourself to defend GXW whenever someone slights us, that you might have an opinion on the matter. So -- do you have an opinion on the matter?"
The words hung in the air. The World Champion stared at his owners, saying nothing, until finally breaking the silence...
"Fuck Evan Aho."
April 21, 2002
The Spokane Arena, Spokane, Washington --
JOINED IN PROGRESS: Evan Aho & Kin Hiroshi vs. Co-Owner Chad Dupree and Commissioner Jonathan Penley
JP: They ... OH NO! DUPREE JUST WALKED INTO A DESTINY DRIVER BY KIN HIROSHI! DUPREE IS OUT! JP JUST WALKED INTO AHO'S AGONY! JP IS OUT! And now Hiroshi and Aho are looking at eachother with ... WICKED SMILES ON THEIR FACES!
GM: I don't like this!
JP: THEY'RE CALLING FOR IT ... OH DEAR GOD! DOUBLE ECSTASY! DOUBLE TIGER DRIVER 91'S! As if to celebrate the of Evan Aho, Kin Hiroshi hits his partner's finisher ... and Zieba is there for the count!
THIS ONE IS OVER!!!!
JG: THEY'VE DONE IT! EVAN AHO AND KIN HIROSHI ... OVERCOMING ALL THE ODDS ... HAVE BEATEN DUPREE AND JP!
GM: Oh with a little help from Erik Zieba don't forget! Special ref! What's that all a'boot!
As Zieba holds up the arms of the victors Aho and Hiroshi, two men leap over the ring barricade, one with hair long in the front, gelled into a point that extends past his chin, clad in a fishnet shirt and leather pants and the other, slightly larger with shorter, blood red hair and a sleeveless shirt with heavily tattooed arms.
JG: The hell?
The men quickly roll into the ring, the one in the fishnet shirt stunning Hiroshi with a blow to the face before whipping him to the ropes. Meanwhile, his compatriot kicks Aho in the back of the leg, causing him to lose his balance and fall. Zieba, now seeing this, turns around as well, but turns right into a swinging chair aimed right at his face by Victoria McCave dropping him instantly! As the dyed red haired man locks a powerful looking ankle lock on Aho, the other lifts Hiroshi onto the top turnbuckle and they both fly off as the man executes a two handed choking powerbomb from the top rope, shaking the ring with the impact. As the other man lets go of the ankle lock, JP grabs the ring mic again and laughs into it before speaking.
JP: MR. ZIEBA ... Allow me to make the proper introductions. Global X-Treme Wrestling...please meet the newest addition to our happy little family...Kyle Carson and Paul Zombie...HORROR BUSINESS!!
Zombie releases the ankle hold, Aho sagging to the mat as Dupree drops down and covers Aho as McCave makes the fast three count. She takes JP's mic and yells into it.
VM: Your REAL winners of this match ... Commissioner JP and Co-Owner Chad DUPREEEEE!!!
McCave raises JP's and Dupree's arms as Horror Business stalks around the fallen Aho, Zieba, and Hiroshi. Dupree takes the mic from Victoria and smirks before speaking.
CD: ZIEBA (shoots a boot) you SON-OF-A-BITCH (Shoots another boot to his head) don't you EVER get involved in my business AGAIN! Oh, and Aho, before you go, there was someone else who wanted to speak to you.
(The lights dim down and the crowd screams in anticipation when suddenly strobe effects come to life and "G-X-W" scrolls quickly across the screen in unison with the opening riffs of "Zero" by Smashing Pumpkins. Moments later, Dan Ryan is standing at the entrance holding the GXW Unified Title high over his head. The shot alternates to a shot of Aho struggling to get away from Horror Business and then back to a smirking Ryan as he stalks to the ring to a thunderous ovation from the crowd and climbs in, stopping as he hovers over Aho and looks down at him with a disgusted look on his face and holds out his hand for a microphone)
Ryan: Evan Aho. (smiling) Evan fucking Aho....in GXW. I've gotta admit, Evan. I didn't think I'd ever see you in a GXW ring again. I never thought you'd have enough "time" to come back here and grant us an audience with what you must perceive as greatness. After all, you don't have enough time to be spending what little time you have wrestling the likes of Gemini, Eric Edwards, John Miller, Zero, Chris Lehew, Dan Ryan, Marcus Johnson. I mean, who the hell are we anyway right? So you asked for some time away. Right?
(Ryan turns and walks toward the ropes deep in thought, then turns back and returns to Aho)
Ryan: And then, color me shocked when it came to my attention that not only were you not taking time off.....but you were going at it full time in CSWA. Or what passes for full time over there. So I thought to myself...I said...Self, we need to teach this fool a lesson. We need to go take up a little side residence ourselves and show him who's boss. And yes, I know I'm sounding a lot like Gemini here but this introspective dialogue is something you just need to know. So I went to Chad Merritt, and oh yes....he was more than happy to offer a contract to the GXW Unified World Champion. But you see, I'm not a dummy. I've never been known for extreme stupidity so I saw the writing on the wall. I know exactly what was going down over there. And you look at CSWA today, and I've gotta ask you, Evan. Do you guys ever actually you know.....wrestle?
(laughter is heard from the crowd as Aho's face turns to one of anger)
Ryan: This was the C-S-W-A. This was supposed to be the pinnacle of wrestling today. All the history, all the great shows, the great talents. THIS? This was the CSWA?? Are you fucking kidding me, Evan??? You came into the GXW offices, put on a little smily face and asked for "time off" so you could return to this?? Well....
(Ryan goes and points out to the crowd)
Ryan: I don't know about all of these people out here, but when you turn tail and bullshit your way out of this company to go work for a piece of crap outfit like that, it kinda pisses me OFF.
(The crowd roars as Ryan gets down close into Aho's face)
Ryan: But I know why you did it, Evan.....(Ryan backs away again)...Did any of you know that Evan Aho...little Evan Aho here...is the current CSWA World Heavyweight Champ?? That's right! We've got wrestling royalty right here in our very presence! The almighty CSWA has lent us the services of their champion for one night only....so very kind of them. But let me say it again...I know why you went back. (Ryan gets back within an inch of Aho's face)......Because you knew damn well that your act...your tired, pathetic Bret Hart "I'm only here to wrestle" whaa whaaa crap...wasn't getting you a sniff in a real company like GXW. And you knew...and pay attention so you know exactly what I'm saying here...EVAN......you knew that as soon as you got back to CSWA it would only take a well placed dick up a certain HORNET'S ass and you would be champion one more time.
(The crowd goes nuts as Evan Aho struggles mightily against his restrainers in fury, but can't get loose)
Ryan: So...I'm sorry Evan. I'm sorry you felt the need to shit on this company for a company full of your prison buddies to bail your career out of the crapper. I'm sorry you made the all time biggest mistake of your career by coming here tonight. And I'm sorry....but you're gonna find out what happens when the paper champion of an overblown inactive company comes back to his old stomping grounds and a REAL Champion gets in his face...and I'm gonna do it....oh.......NOW
(Ryan lays in stiff kicks to Aho suddenly as Horror Business joins in also. Ryan calls them off however and motions to the outside. As they head out, he pulls Aho to his feet and whips him into the ropes and hits a vicious belly to belly suplex that sends Aho halfway across the ring, then goes to him and locks him in the Humility Deathlock, his version of the STF and asks for a mic again while still applying the hold)
Ryan: SEE WHAT HAPPENS, AHO!! SEE WHAT HAPPENS?? THE GXW CHAMPION MAKES THE CSWA CHAMPION HIS BITCH!!!!
(Ryan lets go of the hold and pulls Aho to his feet....as Horror Business has set up a table outside...Ryan makes the signal for the Humility Bomb and the crowd stands to it's feet and goes nuts.....Ryan lifts Aho up and tosses him outside through the table to the floor as table shards explode everywhere and Aho just lays in the rubble)
Ryan: (obviously pumped up, then falls to his stomach glaring at Aho on the floor) There you go Champ. Now you've got all the time off you want. Say hi to Merritt for me....
("Zero" by Smashing Pumpkins starts back up as Horror Business, JP, Victoria McCave and President Dupree re-enter the ring and all six raise their hands with the fans roaring)
JP: THIS IS UNBELIEVEABLE! DUPREE, JP, MCCAVE, HORROR BUSINESS, AND DAN RYAN ARE STANDING TALL AS AHO, ZIEBA, AND HIROSHI ARE DOWN AND OUT! Folks we've got to leave for tonight, but stay tuned to GXW news on the website cause ... SOMETHING has to come of this! For Garrett McFarland and everyone else here at GXW this is Jason Grant saying good night from Spokane, Washington!
Ten Minutes Later
Backstage, just after the show....
Chad Dupree rushes up to Dan Ryan, smile as wide as the grand canyon.
Dupree: That was amazing! I knew you'd do the right thing and defend GXW.
Ryan: You got it?
Dupree: Uh...got it?
Ryan rubs his right thumb in the rest of his fingers making a money gesture.
Dupree: Oh uh.. yes, yes of course.
Dupree digs an envelope out of his jacket and hands it over. Ryan starts looking through, making sure it's all there.
Dupree: This is really gonna do great things for GXW. I can't wait to see what people say when they find out you jilted CSWA to stay with us.
Ryan: I didn't.
Dupree stops cold, stunned.
Dupree: Wait, what?
Ryan: I'm starting there on Monday.
Dupree is absolutely speechless, managing only to stammer...
Dupree: But, you just said in the ring...
Ryan: Yes, yes I did. And when I show up over there... (Ryan holds up air quotes)... defending GXW's honor... the roof will blow off the place.
Dupree: So you just used this situation, used us to further your own career??
Ryan: (tapping his index finger on his right temple) Never could fool you, Dupree.
Dupree: You son of a bitch.
Ryan: Well, it looks like the money's all here, so it seems our business is done.
Dupree: I can't believe this.
Ryan: Good day, Mr. Dupree.
Ryan does a short mock salute, turns on his heels and walks away while Chad Dupree looks on, disgusted.
Look ma, a psychotic with split personalities. How quaint.
Dan Ryan is sitting behind his desk, a genuine smile of remembrance on his face.
This brings back fond memories. I'll do you the honor of calling you what you'd like to be called... CHESHIRE. I have much experience with mental illnes, you see. I've known my fair share of psychotics over the years. Some of them have proven most useful. The type of psychosis which draws a woman or man to this business of ours tends to be one that lends itself to extreme violence, and that's a particular skill I both share and respect. In another time, perhaps we'd share a drink. Then, we'd smash the glasses over each other's heads and then share another. Maybe I'd stab you with a fork. Maybe you'd stab me with a railroad spike. Whatever's lying around. Good times.
But alas, instead it is our lot perhaps to face one another in the ring for the first time. That is, should I get past Burlap Boy. And, I'll get to Burlap Boy momentarily.
But first, let's get to know each other a little better.
Like I said, I'm quite familiar and quite fond of the mentally ill. While being delightfully violent though, they also tend to have one other thing in common. They tend to think they are much, much smarter than they really are, and they tend to think that erratic behavior which leads to unpredictability is a strength rather than the weakness that it really is. Maybe you aren't used to dealing with intelligent people...
I really don't know.
Still, I enjoy you. But see, the thing is, if you were truly all that you say you are, the kindergarten games would be beneath you. Pretending not to know my name? Tsk tsk tsk, my friend. Disappointing. But then, I do appreciate the need to feel the new guy out. Or maybe you're one of those not-so-bright psychotics.
You don't know me. That's what you said. So fine. Be alternatively childish and clever if that's what you need to do to express your various sides. If you're wanting help from me, perhaps a little lapse to let you see my hand, you've come to the wrong place. Still, why depend on rumblings when you can simply watch the tape? Hmm? I haven't been wrestling in Siberia. Whether or not you've had your eyes open for the past decade or so is truly not my concern. But rest assured, the 'proper' introduction you seek is only a round away. That is, should you survive that long. And trust me, I haven't survived this long by underestimating anyone. No, I can certainly promise you this... you will receive all of the respect you deserve in that ring... again, should you survive that long.
Ryan holds up a hand, his index finger pointed upward.
But I will tell you this much -- there is no such thing as a championship that I have no business fighting for.
You should probably be made aware of at least one fact. I was invited here. I'm not intruding. I'm not invading. I was... INVITED. Why? Well.. maybe you can figure it out. Maybe you're smart enough. Maybe you can listen for more rumblings.
Whether you do or not, I'm giving you the scoop right now. I'm going nowhere. No matter what happens with this tournament, I'm now here for the long haul, and that my dear Cheshire is something you're going to have to figure out how to deal with, figure out how to square with. Whatever plans you've made will now have to include me, because mediocrity I'm afraid will simply not do. I will be around the championship, whether it is around my waist or I'm knocking at the door to take it. That has been the way of things for many many years with me, and trust me, it hasn't been by accident.
Ryan looks suddenly deep in thought, but still on the edge of a smirk.
Everyone is so worried about how to prepare for you. You should be worried about how to prepare for me.
Ryan leans back, contemplative.
And The Shadow. Do you, like Cheshire, also have a preferred name? Is it The Shadow? Shadow? Mr. Shadow? I heard you say something about The Weaver of Dreams, but I have to be honest, I thought you were trying to say The River of Dreams, but you had a speech impediment. How embarrassed am I?
Not as embarrassed as you should be, I can tell you that.
Spare us all the wise old locker room leader speech, would you?
And what is it with all of you and your complete inability to do any research? Does 'we don't really know that much about you' make you seem above me somehow in your mind? Is that what passes for a superiority complex around here? Perhaps I'm not playing along properly. Maybe this is where I talk about how only time can tell what will happen when we face in the ring. That in all of my travels, none have crossed my path like the great..THE SHADOW. Truly, in all of my life my mere mortal eyes have never beheld the pitch black haired, pointy goateed visage of a man quite like you. And the dark eyes....OOOOOOOOH... SCAWWWWWY! And druids! No, not druids! God, I hope I don't end up sacrificed on some stone slab somewhere. That's gonna happen eventually right? I mean, you've already got the robes and the torches. Might as well put them to use.
Ryan leans in, fingers tapping on the desk.
As a professional.... not just a professional, but as one of the BEST FUCKING WRESTLERS IN THE WORLD, I did some research. I watched some matches. I listened to some speeches. Then I watched some more matches. Then I listened to some promos. And after my ears stopped bleeding, I cleaned them up and did some leg work on you, on Cheshire, on Ataxia. And why? BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT PROFESSIONALS DO.
You're not the first resident badass to pull this routine, buddy. Oh, believe me, I've made a career out of being invited out to join a great wrestling company -- because that's what happens when you win all the fuckin' time, you get invited places -- and having to deal with the welcoming committee snickering at my backstory. You know, as long as they, unlike you, took the time to pay any fucking attention in the first place. But I think you did pay attention. I think you paid attention and you know what you're about to deal with. I absolutely REFUSE to think that you could become WORLD CHAMPION and be this incompetent. I think you did watch the tapes, and I think you know that historically when I find myself in situations like these, I fuckin' knock peoples heads off, do damage and take the gold. I have past glories because I'm exactly as mighty as I think I am, fucknut.
You know. You know...
But oh, your reputation, right?
I get it, resident legend. I get it.
But I've buried resident legends before. You won't be the first and you won't be the last.
And as for your best little friend, let me just make myself very clear. There is little to no chance... no, strike that. There is absolutely no chance that you can walk out to MY RING, dressed like the least talented contestant on The Masked Singer and intimidate me. You all seem so fucking fond of telling me what you GUARANTEE I've "never seen nothin' like". Never seen nothin' like ChesLokiMiaSynderson. Never seen nothin' like....
Ryan gets REALLY REALLY SUPER SCARED HERE, Y'ALL!
Not so much.
Never seen nothin' like Ataxia!
I feel like all you mind numbing fuckers took the same first year psychology class together, then the professor had a massive fuckin' shit on deck, jumped on the porcelain throne, and out you came.
Let me promise you something.
If you come near me with that stupid damn cane, I'll beat you to death with it. Get too close to me with that stupid burlap sack mask, and I'll choke you to death with it. And a word of advice, ditch the burlap sack, probably. Just because you and grandpappy won the three-legged race at the county fair when you were a kid is no reason to spend the rest of your life wearing it on your head like some hillbilly trophy. You look stupid.
Here's the cool thing about me. I don't need a loved one in peril to conjure up my mean streak. I'm an asshole, a PROUD asshole. I'd just as soon rip your head off and piss on your rotting skull as look at you. You have all these reasons to get DARK and WACKY and VIOLENT. I'm always violent. Not only am I violent, but I don't give a shit about you.
You all saw what happened to Impulse last week.
I've always liked Randall Knox, and Cally is a nice, fun girl. But none of you will get any such sympathy from me. And guess what? You don't have to believe me. You don't have to believe anything I've said here today, but when I say it, know that I say it with absolute conviction. I say it knowing who I am and what I'm capable of. Listen to your head, listen to your heart, listen to Cheshire's rumblings. Either way, I don't give a damn. Either way, you all get to find out first hand what I'm all about.
I win matches. I win championships. I beat people up. It's all I do and it's all I am. No flashing lights. No hired idiots carrying torches around behind me. No wielding lightning or any other of that nonsensical bullshit. Just me, beating up you, then a referee counting to three.
And this is how it should be. Honestly, the three of you are too caught up in all of the drama that entangles you all. Ataxia, winning this tournament and holding the CWF World Championship just doesn't suit you. Metal gets caught on burlap too easily. Really, you're all too busy for this.
So here's what I'll do. I'll beat Ataxia, then I'll take the CHAMPIONSHIP from whichever of Cheshire and THE SHADOW remains, and that will free the three of you up to handle your twisted little game of wrestling All My Children while I show you all what a CHAMPION looks like.
It's the least I could do.