The scene opens between the shelves of a record store in Melbourne, shelves full to bursting with CD's, cassette tapes and old vinyl sleeves. A few customers are idly browsing the shelves, while a bored-looking cashier idly clicks away on a computer. The only customer showing rapt interest in the store wares is Nathan Paradine, fresh off his appearance at Confliction 2019. The Australian Submission Machine is rapidly flicking through old records, his brow furrowed in deep concentration.
Nathan Paradine: "Let's see what we have here..."
He flicks two records aside dismissively, pulls another out to peer at the album art, and finally settles on a beaten copy of "Some Kind of Blue" by Miles Davis.
Nathan Paradine: "There's something comforting about vinyl, you know? It's easy to just slide in a CD, or pick a song on your streaming music service of choice. But vinyl... sliding the record out of the sleeve, putting it on the turntable, placing the stylus in the groove... it's an experience. Playing music on vinyl takes effort, and care. It's not unlike professional wrestling, in fact; you have to invest time in the craft to get any reward from it. I haven't had as much time as I'd like to devote to collecting music on vinyl... but I have dedicated a hell of a lot of time to wrestling."
Paradine places the album back, deciding against a purchase. Nothing else on the shelf appears to grab his interest and he moves along to another, eyeing off a reissue copy of "Murder Ballads" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
Nathan Paradine: "At Confliction I was presented with a choice. I chose to persevere, and make all the time I invested in this sport worth something. And you know what? I won. When I was starting out, I learned the phrase "the bigger they are, the harder they fall" and Scott Dann fell hard."
Paradine continues moving through the shelves, past a bin full of discount CD's and a wobbly looking rack of tour posters. He nods curtly at the cashier, who doesn't bother to look up from his computer, before coming to a stop in front of a large display of imported music.
Nathan Paradine: "He was a tough son of a bitch to put away though, which I can respect. But it's time to look forward to the future... while the rest of the CWF is packing up and heading back to the United States, I get to spend a few more days in my favorite city before ReAwakened on Friday night. And at ReAwakened, I'll be teaming with Jon Travis to take on Christer Lundmark and Cyrus Black... now, I'll admit, things haven't been so crash hot for the Hostile Elite lately. There were some teething pains the first time we tagged, but I'm confident that we've moved past those to function as a cohesive unit."
He indicates towards the import shelf dismissively.
Nathan Paradine: "Christer Lundmark has appeared sporadically since Frozen Over. There's something about this sport that attracts the oddities and the freaks along with the pure athletes. I don't know where he's been for the last two months and quite frankly I don't care; if he's in that ring opposite me it's going to take more than a prayer to Odin to come out with a victory. Honestly, I'm more surprised that a Swede has actually chosen to take a side in a conflict; their famous neutrality has come to an end after bloody decades of cowardice. You might have needed a Reason to step back into the ring, but I don't need a reason to make you tap out mate."
Paradine slaps his hands together three times in rapid succession.
Nathan Paradine: "And as for Cyrus Black... I'm glad that you feel comfortable enough to share the mechanophilia you feel for your bike to the world. The only thing that needs to be "cleansed" is the idea that you might actually have a future in Hostility. Not that I'm not doubting your ability in the ring... only your ability to withstand the Mark of Judas once I've got it locked it around your throat. A victory by forfeit doesn't make you a victor, my friend."
Paradine finally moves away from the import rack to a section labelled "Metal". He browses the selection with interest, his face lighting up when he spies a particular album; Pantera's "Vulgar Display of Power". He picks it up and flips it over to look at the track listing.
Nathan Paradine: "Nathan Paradine. Jon Travis. The Hostile Elite, coming to ReAwakened. Get ready to be fucking hostile."
The scene comes to an end as Paradine approaches the cashier, the Pantera album tucked safely under his arm.