There's the quiet twang of an acoustic guitar, and the scene opens up in the Melbourne home of Nathan Paradine. The Australian Submission Machine is sitting cross-legged in the middle of a bare lounge room, strumming idly on a guitar as he stares at the wall. There's movement behind him; several removalists are pushing a fridge past the door to the room. One man pauses and pokes his head into the room.
Removalist: "Hey mate, there are still a few boxes in one of the rooms. Are we taking all of it, or what?"
Paradine continues to play the guitar, turning his head slightly to talk over his shoulder.
Paradine: "Take it. It's all going into storage."
Removalist: "Righto, sure thing."
The removalist returns to his work, and Paradine continues absent-mindedly strumming on his guitar. Abruptly he silences the sound by grabbing the neck of the guitar and sighs. At his feet is a box of Chinese food and a half-drunk bottle of beer, and it's the beer he picks up and takes a swig from. He lowers the bottle and peers at the wall closely.
Paradine: "When I still lived here, just a few short months ago, I had replicas of every title belt I'd ever won up on that wall. The sVo World Championship, The Hostility World Championship, the Aversion Championship... but that doesn't really matter now. The companies are defunct and the titles themselves are meaningless, they served only as a reminder of a single moment in a long and storied career."
Paradine takes another sip of his beer, but it's a moment or two after swallowing before he speaks.
Paradine: "Moments are what make up a career, of course. You start out, and your first loss or your first victory becomes a moment, and then another, and then suddenly it's twenty years later and you're looking back thinking did I really do all that? Of course you did, and it went by pretty bloody quickly. Too quickly, maybe."
Another sip, another moment. On the wall, the dusty outlines of the title belts are visible in the mid-afternoon sun.
Paradine: "There's a lot of stuff to look back on. A lot of good stuff. A hell of a lot of bad stuff. A lot of mistakes that ended badly, and two or three that worked out for the better. Twenty years of moments, culminating at Evolution this past week with a loss to Jimmy Allen. If I died today, there are probably better moments I could have ended my career on to be honest. Losing to Jimmy fucking Allen is a bit of a lacklustre ending to a career that quite frankly deserves better."
Paradine drinks off the last of the beer and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand.
Paradine: "So I've missed out on the finals of the Paramount Grand Prix. Just like I missed out on the Modern Warfare tournament, just like I missed out on retaining the CWF Tag Team Championship. It seems like the story of my career these days is just missing out, with a missing tag team partner and a bit of corporate espionage thrown in for good measure. I don't have anyone to blame but myself really, but for someone who just wants to wrestle, I'm doing a really fucking bad job of it lately. And look at this! I'm doubling down!"
He indicates around at the room with the empty bottle.
Paradine: "My house has been sold, and when I return to the US with the CWF it'll be as a resident for the forseeable future. I'm making a full-time commitment to, what? Carrying Hostility on my back as part of the Hostile Elite? Playing "I Spy" for Jon Stewart? And for what? Promises of almost and nearly and maybe next time!"
Paradine tosses the bottle away with a clatter to the floor. It rolls away into the corner, spinning slowing becoming coming to a stop pointing at Paradine.
Paradine: "Apparently my reward for a month of eavesdropping is a match against... who, exactly? Scott Dann? In my home city, in front of eighty thousand of my fans... I get an insignificant nobody in an insignificant match at the curtain jerker end of the card. I mean, I wasn't expecting anything spectacular, but Jon Stewart has still managed to fall short of my already low expectations. Don't get me wrong, I'll go out there and still do the same thing I do every week; win or lose, Scott Dann is going to get a hell of a fight from me."
Paradine removes his sunglasses and rubs his face wearily.
Paradine: "I don't have Devereaux watching my back anymore. And I can't expect the Hostile Elite to fight my battles for me. Out there, in that ring... it'll just be me and Dann, and I don't need help to make him submit. I've heard he's a mountain of a man, built like a brick shithouse. If there's one thing I've learned in all my years wrestling, it's that it doesn't matter how big or strong they are... they all tap out the exact same way."
Paradine climbs to his feet, still clutching the guitar in his hand. He surveys the room one last time, his free hand on his hip. The removalist pokes his head around the corner again, and Paradine turns to face him.
Removalist: "We're all done here. Are we taking that guitar too?"
The removalist points, and Paradine holds the guitar out to him.
Paradine: "Yeah, throw it in storage with everything else."
Removalist: "You're done here too, mate?"
Paradine: "Yeah, I think so. I was just tying up some loose ends."
Paradine takes a final look around the room, a frown on his face. He takes a deep breath and sighs it out, before following the removalist out of the room as the scene fades to black.