February 22nd, 2019
Nathan Paradine attempts to stifle a yawn with the back of his hand but isn't quite successful; the Australian Submission Machine exhales loudly and stretches, the bright overhead studio lighting reflecting off his sunglasses. He's sitting in a room somewhere inside the Sydney Superdome dressed by the CWF staff to resemble a talk show. Two comfortable chairs, red curtains, a large CWF logo and a lone potted plant in the background make up the set, and Paradine glances around before pouring himself a glass of complimentary water. He looks around at the crew who are still assembling the set and scowls.
Paradine: "Well, you wouldn't want to be in a hurry..."
As he drinks deeply from his glass of water Tara Robinson emerges from behind the stage lighting, striding forwards with her arm extended for a handshake.
Robinson: "Nathan, it's so good to finally be able to organise a sit-down interview with you!"
Paradine attempts to both swallow and spit his mouthful of water back into the glass in order to stand up and shake Tara's hand, however this results in him making a strange snorting noise and sending water spraying all over the CWF interviewer's outstretched hand. Paradine and Robinson regard each other for a moment, Paradine in horror and Robinson is distaste.
Paradine: "Oh my god."
Robinson: "It's okay, really-"
Paradine: "I am so fucking sorry-"
Robinson: "Don't worry, it's fine-"
Paradine: "Look, can we... I mean, uh... can we get a little bit of goddamn help over here please?"
He gestures frantically at Robinson's outstretched hand. A stagehand comes to the rescue with a towel that Tara uses to dry her hands thoroughly. She sits down opposite Paradine, who is still blushing furiously. He wipes his own wet hands on his jeans frantically.
Paradine: "Let's just get this over with, shall we?"
Quickly the various members of the crew take their places around the room. The stage lights are moved back and another hand gestures for Tara to begin speaking.
Robinson: "Hello CWF! I'm Tara Robinson, reporting for the CWF from the Superdome in sunny Sydney, Australia, the site of Evolution 43 taking place in just a few days! Today will be the first in my "Down Under Direct" series, focusing on a different member of the roster each day we're on tour in Australia. What better way to kick things off than bringing on the "Australian Submission Machine" himself to answer a few questions!"
Paradine blinks and forces a smile onto his face.
Paradine: "Glad to be here, Tara."
Robinson: "Last week you took on KC3 in the first round of the Paramount Grand Prix and took him to a time limit draw. What are your thoughts on the incredible battle you put each other through?"
Paradine rubs at the back of his head, where the bruises from KC3's knee strikes are still tender. What exactly are his thoughts? Should he just admit that he was almost taken to his limit by the much younger wrestler? Or reveal his pride that if he couldn't manage to pull out a victory, he was at least able to hold out for a draw?
Paradine: "I'd say it's fairly evident that it was a hell of a match between two competitors at the top of their game; that much was evident by the fact that no matter what we did, we couldn't quite manage to put each other down. KC3 was a tough competitor, but now that I've got a measure of him I'm sure the outcome of a rematch would be, uh... a little more definite, let's say."
Robinson: "Of course. I'm sure the CWF audience can't wait for the two of you to cross paths in the ring again! Looking towards the future, this week you'll take on Silas Artoria in a secound round tournament match. If you manage to win, you'll be tied with his three points in the Grand Prix so far."
Paradine: "I have a serious question... last week, I was laid out by Hostility security in Sacramento. I should have realized something was up when I saw two competent guards at a CWF event, I mean seriously... two out of my last three matches have had interference from outside competitors. Is there a security team? Or are people just left to their own devices, free to do whatever they want?"
The Nomad rubs his chin thoughtfully as he contemplates his words.
Paradine: "Silas Artoria snuck his nose somewhere it wasn't wanted, or needed. I don't need help to finish my matches, at least when it comes to the likes of KC3. I mean, look at Jimmy Allen. Hasn't been right in the bloody head since the beating Tobias and I gave him at Frozen Over. That's what happens when you interfere in my business, and Artoria will realize that come Evolution."
Robinson: "There are some people saying that the only reason you drew with KC3 is because of Silas interfering in your match. What do you have to say to that?"
Paradine: "Who said that?"
Robinson: "There's been a lot of buzz online about the result of your match."
Paradine: "Tara, I'd suggest anyone who feels that way to go back and watch the end of the match. There was going to be a time limit draw, interference be damned. I don't appreciate his appearance, but Silas popping up in the final ten seconds of the match had no bearing on the result."
Robinson: "Okay, moving on to the next question-"
Paradine cuts across Robinson smoothly, a pleasant smile on his face. He takes off his sunglasses and turns them around his his hands as he speaks.
Paradine: "Listen to me very carefully, Tara. I know things have been... a bit uneven for me here. The Civil War business, the lame duck tag title run, this mess with Jon Stewart and Christopher St. James... but despite all that, I am here to do the one thing I do best, and that is wrestle. Silas Artoria? Yeah, maybe I'll beat him, maybe I won't. But I will not have people say that some time-displaced fop with a bad haircut is responsible for anything that happens to me. I make my own success, and I am responsible for my own shortcomings."
Robinson: "Um... very impassioned words, Nathan. I'm glad you mentioned your up-and-down luck actually, because it leads me to my next question. You have mentioned that your age may be a contributing factor to your less than stellar win-loss record, yet there are plenty of wrestlers in your age bracket who manage to find success despite injuries or booking. Do you think that you're perhaps making excuses for your performance?
Paradine: "Excuse me?"
Robinson: "I've seen the old Hostility footage of you. Every now and then there's a spark to some fire, but the next week it's fizzled out again. Do you think that your performance in the ring is linked to your inconsistent attitude outside of it?"
Paradine: "Well I don't think that's necessarily the case-"
Robinson: "Or what about family? You've always been a bit of a loner, hence "The Nomad" as a monicker, but here in my notes somewhere..."
Tara Robinson pulls a wad of paper notes from her jacket and quickly shuffles through them. Paradine is looking visibly uncomfortable now at the sudden interrogation.
Robinson: "Here! Family. You were adopted at a young age, do you know what happened to your parents?
Paradine: "No idea, but please just hang on-"
Robinson: "What about your foster parents?"
Robinson: "Or your sister?"
Paradine: "Dead, too."
Robinson: "What about your personal life? You had a girlfriend in Hostility, right?"
Robinson: "You were married as well. Is she also dead?"
Paradine: "Divorced... but she might as well be dead."
Robinson: "So you've obviously suffered a great deal of personal tragedy, which has driven your performance in the past-"
Paradine: "I don't want to talk about this-"
Robinson: "Then tell me about Silas Artoria, Nathan. Don't hide behind half-answers and polite threats. Some me some fire, show me the Australian Submission Machine!"
Paradine: "Is that what you want, to stop this bullshit interrogation? Alright, fine. My performance has been fucking terrible since I came here, and you know why? Because I don't give a fuck about the CWF, Tara! I'm being forced to wrestle thanks to a two-bit contract my fucking lawyer told me to sign, and I was thrown into this Grand Prix tournament as some kind of bullshit reward for acting as an informant for the guy I actually want to work for! But that all went out the window, because he knew I was informing on him. I'm stuck between two shows; Hostile Elite on one side, and CWF on the other."
Paradine's voice rises as he speaks, wearing his anger at his situation on his sleeve.
Paradine: "And yeah, maybe this is my own fault. I get myself into these bullshit situations with far too much regularity, but you know what? When I step between those ropes, all of that goes away. There's just me, and whoever has been thrown in front of me this week. Silas Artoria? Give me a break. I might lose, but I'll sure as hell go out kicking and fighting. If he's expecting anything less than a war, then the Psychotic Aristocrat had better re-evaluate his expectations. Like you said, I have nothing. No family anymore. I'm a man with nothing to lose these days. Maybe that's all I've ever been, but you know what? Maybe that's what made me dangerous. Maybe that's what kept the fire burning. I guess we'll find out at Evolution, won't we?"
Robinson: "I just have one more thing to ask-"
Paradine: "No. We're done here."
Paradine stands up and slides his sunglasses back onto his face. He rips the microphone wire from his body and tosses it aside before marching towards the stage lights.
Robinson: "Nathan! Please, tell us... where in the world is Tobias Devereaux?"
Paradine pauses, breathing heavily in the semi-darkness beyond the stagelights. He turns to face the set, then thinks better of it and continues walking away. The scene comes to an end leaving a confused Tara Robinson surrounded by the stage crew.