"Yes, yes, thank you for coming out tonight."
The voice belongs to a slightly annoyed Quentin Scarboro who is sitting behind a table wielding a sharpie pen. A pile of CWF Vertigo promotional posters, DVDs, t-shirts and more, including hardback copies of Scarboro's book "A Moment of Introspection" are laid out on the table in front of him as faithful CWF fans crowd into the conference center that sets our scene.
Looking completely out of place, Big Q is dressed in a worn and weathered white tanktop and matching jeans, with his feet covered in dusted up steel toe boots. Standing behind him is Tara Robinson, who is nervously standing behind him and dressed for business.
Countless fans file through, with Quentin battling the carpal tunnel in his wrist with every signature and handshake. He finally turns to Tara with a whisper.
"Hey Miss Robinson, remind me why we gotta do this again?" Quentin agitates. "How in the world is signing promotional posters and copies of my book going to help me prepare my match?"
Tara scoffs, but maintains a whisper as to not set off the crowd of people that have amassed for the event.
"Really? You threw a referee out of the ring and attacked Mike Rolash. I myself have been attacked by a CWF Superstar. The experience scars you.."
"It was a means to an end to get to what I want. I have no personal grudge against Denny or Rolash. All I wanted was a fair shot and a fair match so I can squash that pissant Scott Dann once in for all. Now I have what I wanted."
"St. James gave you that match, and as far as I see it, you got a pretty fair deal in being able to choose the stipulation. With Summers suspended high above the ring, he won't be able to be involved.
"So this whole signing event?" Quentin asks. "What's that about? Mandated in the match contract? What is C$J up to now, I may ask?"
Quentin pauses for a moment to embrace the next fan, a nervous and awkward young boy with glasses. An older man with the same style glasses, presumably the boy's father, smiles before pulling a camera out to immortalize the memory.
"Thank you sir," the man says.
"No, thank you!" --- with sarcasm dripping, Q turns back to Tara with a whisper --- "I never signed up for any of this."
"To my understanding...you did. I guess St. James felt like you needed some kind of probationary period, consider this your community service project. I guess in his eyes, you have to redeem yourself to the public, and get those fans back in your favor headed into this things. Besides, you should be happy to be out here selling a few copies of your book."
"Yes, yes, I am sure glad my tragedy can help sell those leftover Jace Valentine t-shirts and Dick Fury bobble head dolls. The simple matter is that I would rather not be here."
Tara laughs struggling to contain herself as the next group of fans, decked in NASCAR hats and leather jackets come and go.
"You don't want to be here?" Robinson mocks. "Do you think anyone wants to be here? It is your job Quentin, and as part of your job you have to play by the rules."
"This week for Vertigo? The rules are that there are no rules. Like the tables, like the steps, like the barricade and more...the rules were made to be broken. There will be no rules, no regulations and there sure as hell will not be any inspections...at least on ground level. The action inside that ring is my contribution to his company and this industry. I don't think I need to be sitting here with a sharpie just to sell things."
"You don't get it, Quentin, and at this point I am seriously beginning to doubt you ever will. In this industry, you sell things. You sell big matches, big moments. You sell pay per view buys and promotional posters. You sell hype and you sell excitement, because in the end, that is what is going to put an ass in that seat and a check in your bank account. So I would suggest you get on board, Rookie."
"What did you call me?"
"I once thought you were simply naive. But no, it's ignorance. Arrogance. You think that you are above scratching and clawing and fighting your way to the top. You think you are privileged because a few people out there knew your name and knew your story before you even walked in the door. Let me tell you this, Q, you're wrong."
Sensing the tension building, Quentin tries to back away.
"Excuse me, you know what..."
"You have all the potential in the world to do great things in this industry Quentin, but you are so damn clueless it is frightening. You have to make yourself easy to work with."
"Listen, I am me, and that's all I am. If these producers or media hotshots or whoever don't like my persona then I guess I should just walk out the door right now."
"Quentin Scarboro? A Quitter? Ya don't say."...a deep voice comes from the next man in line.
The man wears a red hat with the Make America Great Again insignia on the front, barely containing his wild hair and handlebar mustache which is peppered grey.
An agitated Scarboro goes completely rancid at the sight of the man.
"Where you think you're going boy?" the man says as he raises one of the CWF promotional posters in the air, waving it in Quentin's face. "I paid twenty bucks to get you to scribble your damn name on this here toilet paper."
"Russell." Scarboro's voice trails off as a stern look goes across his face.
Russell Warren is one of the biggest sports boosters in Central Pennsylvania, and one of the state's biggest troublemakers. After the tragic shooting at Penn State University, after Quentin walked away from the team... Russell Warren took exception to that decision. He repeatedly chastised and criticized Big Q for betraying the team instead of being the catalyst that brought the university back together.
"I just think it's funny. Ya see that a skunk never really changes his stripes. Big Quentin is always going to be a big quitter. He is always going to be the scared little child hiding in the broom closet. You have no heart!"
Scarboro is irate, seemingly doing everything he can to stop himself from lunging at Warren.
"I have more heart in my big toe than you have your whole body, you asshole. You never took that field, you never stepped in that ring. You never had to walk the halls of class with bullets flying by your head. You don't know what I had to deal with!"
"What I do know is that you are a coward!" Warren screams, the confrontation now clearly causing a stir within the crowd of people gathered. Perhaps in an attempt to avoid a complete disturbance, Quentin attempts to make a quick dart towards the closest door.
"A big flat footed fucking coward, lemme tell ya! Watching you embarrass yourself out there in the wrestling ring, it makes me wonder after all these years if maybe Ethan Kingsbury was right!"
The words fall on deaf ears however, as a storming Quentin had already made his exit, with Tara Robinson not far behind him, presumably to drag him back in to appease the crowd of people who are now growing restless.
The big "American Thoroughbred" is shown exiting the side of the building and stepping into the streets, his skin bubbling red with rage and his blood pressure spiking. He slams his fist into the side of a brick building that is neighboring the conference complex, possibly breaking a knuckle or two, but the medical checks are out of the way now.
Plenty more knuckles will be broken over the face of "The Enforcer" Scott Dann, and it will be for a just cause. It will be a noble encounter to knock that chump down a peg or two, and to erase that smug look off the face of the Inspector.
Why Last Man Standing?
To provide Quentin a chance to prove himself. To provide Quentin a chance to prove everybody else wrong. Tara Robinson, Inspector Summers, Christopher Saint James, Dann, Russell Warren, all the doubters. All the haters.
They need silenced. They need censored....they need checked and inspected.
They need a moment of introspection, and just like X, Q is gonna give to em. The bird cage, or the shark cage, whatever you want to call it. A professional wrestling classic, who is to say Scarboro doesn't belong in this industry.
You know what they say, everyone has their own wrong opinion. Call it ignorance, call it arrogance or call it whatever you want to call it.
For Quentin, this is a just cause. Or maybe, for Quentin he is doing this just because.
At this point none of it is clear, as Scarboro slumps against the brick wall of the building behind him. It's all gone so terribly wrong.
That is until a small young girl, no older than 10 or 11 approaches Quentin and takes his bruise fist into her soft palms.
"You aren't leaving are you? I was so excited to get to see you, my mother and I have been waiting in this line for hours! I'm so happy to finally get to meet you! You are a hero!"
Scarboro's heart softens at the sight and sentiment of the young child, as he seems to let his guard down.
"I appreciate it, sweet heart, but I am no hero, I am a fraud."
"A fraud? Not to me. I heard all over the news about how you stopped that shooting. My uncle was in that school on that day, I remember my family was devastated but I was still too young to fully comprehend the magnitude of the situation. All I know is that my family always admired you. Your heroism, your strife, your sacrifice."
Quentin, with a tear swelling in the soft corner of his eye, takes the small girl and embraces her with a hug.
"I told you, dear. I am no hero, but I will be your friend."
Quentin flashes a genuine smile before taking a moment to sharpie a poster for the child. Moments later, Tara Robinson has finally caught up to the Thoroughbred outside of the conference center. Spotting Scarboro, she sneers.
"So are we doing this out or what? It is a madhouse in there, and I am sure our loyal fans would not appreciate you ducking out of here. Do I have to call St. James and have him axe the match?"
"You don't have to worry about that, Miss Robinson. My friend here just put it perfectly in perspective for me."
"Oh yeah?" Tara mocks surprise. "And who's this little one?"
"Actually, I didn't get a name," Quentin ponders out loud.
The young one provides an innocent smile.
"My name is Emily Rose Timmons...but I like to be called Emma."
Tara and Quentin in unison - "Well, it is nice to meet you, Emma."
Quentin turns to Tara.
"I guess it is time to get back in there. I don't want to let a single one of my fans down. They are counting on me. This is bigger than me. This is bigger than all of us."
"Bigger than Big Q?" Tara says with a smirk.
"Even bigger than the biggest of Q's, I reckon," Scarboro replies with a laugh.