He knew they were trouble.
He had succeeded in incapacitating Jimmy Allen with a well placed knee, but the “special guest referee” was too busy focusing on relevant bickering on the outside. He was furious enough that this was a regular occurence with the regular referees in the company, but a wrestler, especially one who’s the self proclaimed “wrestling inspector” monicker, should’ve known and acted better.
He warned his audience about this, and it happened anyway.
Mr Summers was quick to feign ignorance as he rose Jimmy Allen’s arm, with his smirk not so subtly indicating an ulterior motive to the whole world, and on pay-per-view. Silas, still completely drained of energy thanks to Allen’s admittingly devastating Lone Star, rested upon the bottom rope as he saw both Summers and Allen walk up the ramp, clutching the Paramount title in their hands; one as the champion and the other as the official.
He looks at Jimmy in the eye, seething within.
PASSENGER: I presume Mr Allen is on our list?
SILAS ARTORIA: No, not until I force his hand.
He pauses, and a light smirk appears on his face.
SILAS ARTORIA: Mr Summers, on the other ha--
???: Excuse me!
Silas finally breaks the eye contact and looks towards the source of the demand for attention. No one notable. Just a plain-coat official.
OFFICIAL: We’re running long, you need to get out of here!
Silas looks back up towards the ramp, and the match’s victor had already disappeared behind the curtain.
SILAS ARTORIA: Apologies.
He slides under the ropes and lands on his feet, wincing a little as his ribs release a sharp pain. He getting used to it, and the ribs were nearly healed, thanks to the boost his Passenger had given him the prior week, but it was clear that the damage Autumn did to Silas was more devastating than initially thought. Two months later, still suffering the consequences. He walks up the ramp without assistance, breathing sharply and eye supportive members of the audience.
SILAS ARTORIA: We still have some work to do.
A silhouette is at the center of the frame, with numerous bright televisions contrasting against the dark foreground. The shape of the figure and the cane shooting down from the arm makes the figure unmistakable. The static deafens the soundscape, turned to a variety of absent signals full of nothingness, but Silas Artoria looks on.
Suddenly, they turn to different channels. Some of the televisions show matching footage, but there was no pattern to be seen. The only thing they had in common was the subject on the screen; the man known to the CWF as Scourge.
All of the screens showed him taking on another talent in the company, each screen showing a different angles, different opponents, different matches. He looks dominent as he squashes the men he comes in contact with.
SILAS ARTORIA: Look at him. Fighting ants.
Silas’ head turns around, and the frame shows a lopsided smile on his face. His speech is paced and methodical, but the tone is soft and controlled.
SILAS ARTORIA: In time what makes the Scourge so imposing will destroy him. But time is not on my side, so I’m forced into a situation where I have to bring him back down from the clouds personally.
He starts walking to the right, with the footsteps he makes now the foreground of the soundscape. The echo can clearly be heard more than the multiple bangs, slaps, and chops of the footage featuring his upcoming opponent.
An armchair with a high back enters the frame, and when Silas sat inside it acted as a clear background for the man himself. The blending of televisions no longer distorted the foreground, as Silas can now be seen clearly.
SILAS ARTORIA: First of all, can I start off by saying that I was right about what might happen during the fatal four way? I made a claim that special guest referee, the self proclaimed “Wrestling Inspector”, would be the ultimate hindrance in our showdown.
The look he had maintained since he turned around faded away, and his arm raises to the point that his hand was parallel to his head.
SILAS ARTORIA: And what do the highlights of our match contain?
The televisions change to a different channel and a different subject. Stan Summers, front and center, administering the match and making himself the center of attention, no matter what was going on, something Silas clearly contempted.
SILAS ARTORIA: Shot...after shot...after shot, after shot, in multiple angles and perspectives. No matter how you saw the match for how long and who you were rooting for, the face of the non-contender was plastered all over the recaps and replays. In the end, what should’ve been the end of a gruelling contest pitting veterans and young-boys against each other, ended in none of them being the face of the final match.
His finger single taps the temple, making a high pitched thud in doing so.
SILAS ARTORIA: The man in my head tells me that I should prepare for the complete dissection of Jimmy Allen, considering a different referee would’ve ended the match sooner with I gave the Catalyst my patented bicycle knee to his chin…
Quick look to the side with his finger on his chin.
SILAS ARTORIA: ...I should probably rename it at some point…
Silas shakes off the thought and returns his attention to the frame, his arm which maintained his hand in the frame now lying on the rest.
SILAS ARTORIA: ...anyway, the audience knew who the winner of that Paramount match was, and as far as I am concerned, I should already be at the top of the list for a shot at that title!
Pause. Silas’s look of bitterness was evident, but his face relaxes into one of hopeless disappointment, and he leans to the side; resting his chin on an upright fist.
SILAS ARTORIA: But I don’t blame you Jimmy Allen, not yet anyway, so the next few weeks will be interesting to say the least.
He tilts his head.
SILAS ARTORIA: Are you in league with Mr Summers, Allen? Because that smirk he gave at the end strongly hints at the prospect.
Silas sits up and stretches his back, giving out an audible sigh in the process as his stiff posture loosened.
SILAS ARTORIA: As it stands, I am forced into a situation where I have to earn my way back into the title picture, and that means I have to go through Scourge.
Quick sigh, he leans back into the comfort the chair provided.
SILAS ARTORIA: I feel sorry for Quintin Scarboro. He beat Scourge during the Grand Prix, yet he has become a complete non-factor in the bigger picture. Is he still going to be around? Or is he going to slip into obscurity?
Pause. Silas nods slowly, and negatively to match his following sentence.
SILAS ARTORIA: Either way, that’s not the path I can plot out, I can only be a mere observer, and what I am seeing is a giant presence of which you are currently in the shadow of.
SILAS ARTORIA: Scourge. A literal giant. Unknown past, filled with many blanks. Demolishes those before him.
His head tilts to the side, and a mischievous grin appears. His hand once again raises to be parallel to his head, and twisted to be in pre-click formation.
SILAS ARTORIA: Sound familiar.
The televisions once again change, this time to feature a face that CWF had seen before, long ago. He was an imposing figure with an unparalleled aura of intimidation, and was known to completely demolish his opponents, no matter their size and statue. The man has since vanished from the public, but his legacy was one not the be underestimated, something that Silas Artoria clearly knew.
SILAS ARTORIA: Last year, we went to South Korea to begin the Unhinged tour with a bang. There was a series of qualifier matches for the signature match, and I ended up getting paired up with a man called “Nerezza”.
His wrist rotates and his palm turns flat, facing upwards, as to direct those watching to pay attention to how the man known as Nerezza dispatches his opponents, and Silas kept up his appearance.
SILAS ARTORIA: Look at him. He was a force to be reckoned with, with the ability to break your arm in three different places just by twisting it, and his head contained near infinite ways to make you tap out. His strength was his mind, and his size simply amplified his emmensity. He knew precisely what to do and had the training and acument to outsmart and out wrestle anyone in this company.
His arm crashes down on the rest with an audible crack, almost dismissively in implication, or in contempt.
SILAS ARTORIA: You, Scourge, are no Nerezza. Your strength and size is certainly a big advantage, but it is also your biggest your biggest detriment. The mind should back up the physicality, but it is something you do not possess.
His grin fades away as the frame focuses more and more on his face, as his statement turns from friendly lecture to competitive dismissing.
SILAS ARTORIA: You’re going up against a man who has the luxury of facing another man your size and one whom is beyond your capabilities as an athlete, and as such, I am ready for what you have lined up for me. I’ve face far...far worse than the likes of you.
Deep breath, he reaches around the back of his head and clutches what looks like a bundle of his hair. He yanks it, revealing that he was actually gripping the bandages around his eye and head. He slowly reaches under his jacket, and unravels the second set of bandages that covered his ribs.
No bruises, no cuts, no signs of damage.
SILAS ARTORIA: I learn from my failures, and it’s time for you to meet me in the ring. Not the Silas Artoria hampered by injuries, but the man from Toronto who make the likes of Shadow and Loki team up to take me down.
SILAS ARTORIA: I do believe that I am missing something to fully realise my potential as a competitor, but whatever that might be, it won’t be needed when we meet in the ring.
SILAS ARTORIA: See you in Phoenix.
The televisions tune to a dead channel, with the static flooding the room. Then, in unison, they flick off with a loud click.
A darkly chuckle in the dark sees the transmission out.