The scene opens on a sun-scorched stretch of highway in the middle of the New Mexico desert. A low rumbling can be heard, and a lizard pokes its head out from a scrubby growth between two rocks. Darting its eyes back and forth quickly, the lizard crosses the sand and approaches the ashphalt of the highway as the rumbling gets louder. Slowly it extends a leg and steps onto the road, strutting forward step by step, approaching the marked line in the middle of the highway...
Until the lizard suddenly vanishes in a spray of red mist, the source of the rumbling being a motorcycle that ends the lizards life with a single pump of the throttle. The motorcycle continues tearing down the highway, the identity of the rider hidden by a full-face helmet and leather jacket, and gradually a diner appears on the horizon. The bike pulls into the parking lot and the rider dismounts, unzipping his jacket and taking off his helmet as he approaches the door; of course it's The Australian Submission Machine, Nathan Paradine, who only pauses long enough to slide his trademark sunglasses onto his face before stepping into the diner. Inside it's dim, and a rickety overhead fan whirrs loudly over the heads of the few men and women eating. Paradine appoaches a man sitting at the furthest booth of the diner drinking coffee, throwing his helmet down into the chair and taking a seat.
Paradine: "Hello, Leigh."
Paradine's lawyer, Leigh Boetticher, looks up from his mug of grimy instant coffee with a grimace and nods in greeting at Paradine. A waitress approaches and Paradine waves her away, before suddenly thinking better of it and calling her back.
Paradine: "Oi, actually, some of that bloody coffee wouldn't be too bad."
Boetticher: "It's terrible."
Paradine: "Don't care, I need the caffeine."
The waitress nods and walks away, while Paradine turns his head to face Boetticher. It's been a month since they've met face to face, during which time Paradine has been fired and rehired by the CWF, negating the contract that had been the cause of contention between them. Boetticher takes a sip of his coffee and motions towards a briefcase sitting next to him.
Boetticher: "Shall we?"
Paradine nods, and Boetticher places the briefcase onto the table. The waittress returns with Paradine's coffee and he drinks deeply from the cup as Boetticher opens the briefcase and takes out an assortment of documents stamped with a CWF letterhead.
Paradine: "So, what have you got for me?"
Boetticher: "No funny business. It's a safe, secure contract for twelve months. Nothing like last time."
Paradine: "Yeah, well, you're the guy who missed those details last time. I should have fired your ass and gotten somebody new."
Boetticher has the grace to look abashed, but only for a moment. He hands a copy of the documents to Paradine, who tucks them away into his jacket. He drums his fingers on the table impatiently.
Boetticher: "So what's next for you then?"
Paradine: "I keep getting booked in tag team matches with the Hostile Elite. I mean, it's not like tagging with Tobias... I'm not sure how far I'd trust these guys. But it's going well. I reckon we'll be gearing up for a run at the tag team title belts soon, especially after our win over the Lost Boys last week."
Boetticher: "You might want to temper your expectations a little bit."
Paradine: "Why the hell would I do that?"
Boetticher hands Paradine another sheet of paper, and The Nomad snatches it from his hands. His eyes scan the document quickly and he nods to himself, once, quickly. He scrunches up the paper and tosses it over his shoulder, ignoring the fact that it hits an old man in the back of the head.
Boetticher: "So? What do you think?"
Paradine: "Not a problem."
Boetticher: "But it's-"
Paradine: "I know who it is. Scott goddamn Dann. Do you know what happened the last time I stepped into the ring with Scott goddamn Dann, Leigh? I know you weren't there in Australia, and I wouldn't expect you to follow my career when I'm not paying you, but you might have heard about the result somehow, some way."
Boetticher: "You won."
Paradine: "You're goddamn right I won! He tapped out to the Mark of Judas. Power and strength? They're nothing compared to a well executed submission hold."
Boetticher: "I know what happened. You're not giving me a great deal of credit, my friend. You don't think that it might be a little bit more difficult now that he knows what to expect from you?"
Paradine chews his bottom lip, before shaking his head suddenly.
Paradine: "Scott Dann is big. Scott Dan is strong. Scott Dan is fast. It's fair to say he tossed me around in that ring like I was a rag doll, but I still won the match. Experience will trump power, almost every time."
Boetticher: "Yeah, but it's the almost you should be worrying about."
Paradine: "Don't you see? This is what I do, Leigh. People throw down these challenges in front of me and I overcome them. If Scott Dann wants to tap out again so desperately, then so be it. I'm happy to oblige him."
Boetticher: "I'm just saying... it wouldn't hurt for you to be a little more wary."
Paradine: "Pfft. Mate, I'm the most cautious guy on the CWF roster. Don't you worry about me, I'll deal with Dann and then focus my attention on something a little bit more worthwhile."
Boetticher: "If you say so Nathan..."
The scene comes to an end with both men in conversation as they finish their coffee. After a small string of victories, has Nathan Paradine become overconfident going into his match against "The Enforcer"? And is his partnership with The Hostile Elite as secure as he belives it is? Only time will tell...