“Nice work guys. Way to introduce and set the tone for yourselves. That was a very nice debut. And your promo before Evolution was pretty good. I liked how you pulled in the Edgar Allen Poe quote”
“Thank you Mr. Russell. It’s been all because of your teachings. I did feel inspired“ Amanda responds.
“Would have been better if she had gotten the quote correct though. The saying is quoth the raven nevermore. Not never again.”
No one hears or rather than no one responds to Tom’s correction of the famous quote. He begins to recite the poem to himself as it is one of his favorite.
“Oh Amanda, please stop with the Mr. Russell stuff and call me Chuck.”
“Tee hee, of course Chuck”
“Thank you, now Tom, how is training coming along?”
“It’s been going well. My trainer, Dr. Sweatt, thinks I should be ready in a few weeks to do less scripting beforehand and more on the fly wrestling, assuming we don’t have too many more interruptions for the other parts of the business. But if we are done here taping for today, we’ve got to get pack to training. Are you coming Amanda?”
“No, I’m going to stay here and try and get a better understanding of our characters. There isn’t much for me to do there anyways.”
“Alright. That makes senses. I’ll see you later dear. Love you.”
Amanda doesn’t hear the last part as she starts walking off with Chuck, discussing what Tom only assumes is their character.
“Oh and don’t forget, we still need to finish our talk”
This gets her attention for just a moment, as she rolls her eyes and continues on as if she didn’t hear, not wanting to deal with the issue again.
Tom is sparring with Dr. Sweatt in the middle of the ring.
“Tom, make sure you work hard on your in ring skills. This character they’ve got you playing, no self respecting man would be caught dead doing, but we know you aren’t one.”
“Yeah, well, it was a foot in the door opportunity.”
“And the door is going to chop off that foot. Well at least you’ve got a faithful peach helping you along.”
“She is, and leave her out of this. She is part of the reason we got this chance. Her attitude and presence.”
“Well, just keep your in-ring skills sharp. That is what will carry you through these growing pains. If you become a master in the ring, there will always be a job for you. Gimmicks will come and go, and those who can talk will wear out their welcome. But those who can tell the story in the ring, those are the ones who can last. Those are the ones who will have the staying power. They may never become the ultimate superstar, but they will always be in the discussion.”
“Then let’s quit yapping and get me being one of the best in-ring workers. That’s what you are here to do aren’t you? You were one of the best in your day. But you know how the old saying goes, those who can’t teach.”
“Screw you. That’s bright, piss off the man who is about to give you a physical lesson. I can make this harder or easier.”
“Yeah, yeah. Big talk old man. Let’s get on with it.”
They get back to work, while Amanda is shown fixing her hair and makeup.
“That was a great lesson Chuck.”
“It’s easy with a great student such as yourself. You are a natural. Well, it looks like you and Tom have another match.”
“Really, it nice to see that they recognize my skills.”
“You definitely have a certain appeal..”
“Well of course. I mean look at me. I’ve got everything the top stars have. The looks, personality, the physical strength. I am the total package. I’ll carry Tom to superstardom. “
“It’s going to take more than you to carry you guys there. Tom is going to have carry his own weight to. As talented as you may be, if he can’t perform, you guys will be dead in the water.”
“Ok, I will make sure to stay on his case to get him to where he needs to be for me to succeed.”
“Good idea. Now, let’s write out a script for our next promo. When Tom’s done at practice we’ll shoot the promo. “
Tom returns to the studio, has a shower and walks to the stage in his ring attire, with his mask in his hand.
“Alright Tom, for this, I want you to be on all fours, and when Amanda mentions Jarvis, start growling. Amanda, calm him down and continue your speech that we wrote up. Tom, just bark every now and again while trying to move forward. Almost as if you were ready to attack. Alright, mask on Tom, it’s showtime.”
Tom dons the Benji mask and gets down on all fours. Amanda grabs his leash and puts her foot on his back.
“Amanda, I like that move, wait until after he growls before putting your foot on him. Alright, its show time. In 3..2..”
Chuck points to Amanda and she begins the promo.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I have recently introduced you to Animal Control. You have recently seen the kind talent in the ring we bring. We have shown how we are the new guiding hand. Here to remove the mangie scroundals that plague this company. We put the Raven back in a cage. Another mangie animal put it its place. The next one to go to the pound, Jarvis King.”
“Grawlll woof woof grrrrrrrrrrrrrr”
“Down boy” The Warden places her foot on Benji’s back, getting him under control, a little harder than necessary. “We will catch him soon enough, and to the pound he will go. Jarvis King, the myth, the man, the LEGEND.”
“Right boy, I found it surprising too that this geezer decided to come out of retirement, just to be put back into a cage. We respect what you’ve accomplished. You have revolution this business. You changed the trajectory of this profession. You are the forward pass of wrestling. You have shown us a new way to succeed. Unfortunately, you like other pioneers, while revolutionizing their field, were unable to find success when it is no longer new and novel. Jarvis, while I don’t know much about you, why you left, what makes you tick, I just know what you’ve been able to accomplish. And currently, nothing much. Coming out of retirement, after already being enshrined as a hall of famer, what are you trying to prove. Was the local Piggly Wiggly no longer hiring elderly greeters? The retirement home final close due to the abuse? What makes you think that you still have what it takes to face the new generation? You step back into the ring against a woman on the down side of her career, a former champion. How do you perform? You embarrassed yourself. You had to be stopped before you were disgraced any more. The ref, the ref of all people. The lowly ref, the man who everyone laughs at and no one respects took pity on you and had to save you from any more embarrassment. There are two unknowns that we need to figure out. One, how are you going to embarrass yourself this time. And whether or not to allow Benji to run wild with you or show some restraint. The answers to these question, while entertaining, does not an effect on the outcome, which is you being transported to the pound.”
“Grawwww woof woof bark bark grrrrrrr grrrr woof woof”
“And cut. Perfect guys. That was a good start. Now, I can’t wait to see you guys back it up in the ring. That Tom falls mostly on you. Remember Amanda, you have a part to play as well. I’ve got faith that you guys have what it takes to be successful. Let’s hope the fans get behind you. I’ll see you guys after your match to start prep for the next one. This is the grind. “
Amanda and Tom finish up promo, and before Tom can stand up, Amanda has stormed off. Tom had wanted to finish the conversation they’ve been having the last several days. Amanda, rather than using the money they earned on an actual hotel room, she had spent it getting a manicure, pedicure and a haircut. She claimed that since she was the face of the team, the spokesperson, she needed to look the part. To stand out from all the others, so they could continue to be noticed. His argument was that if they got some good night sleep and continued to grind it out, then the money could come. They would earn the big bucks in due time. She thought they deserved it now. Tom’s body still aches from the match, and the poor sleeping conditions he’s had to endure over the last few weeks. He isn’t recovering as quickly as he should be able to, and it is affecting his training.
“How could you think that the right way to spend our first paycheck was to pamper yourself?”
“Because, it was needed. I need to look the part, I can’t be just another face out there. I’ve got to do something to stand out. If we want a career past this gimmick, we’ve got to stand out. The only way for me to do that is for me to look my best. I don’t have a chance show anything physically. I have my looks and my acting. And for what those are worth, there are plenty of others out there who can replace me just as easy. So I need to stand out. I can’t do that without looking my best. In order for me to do that, I need to be pampered. Don’t be so selfish. We are in this together. We are a team”
“Don’t be selfish?!? How can you think that getting us accommodations is being selfish? Having a good night’s sleep and a decent shower not going to benefit both of us?”
“You know what, I can’t talk to you when you are like this.”
“Like this? Upset? Correct?”
Amanda storms off ending any further chance of continuing this conversation, or getting a resolution.
The conversation never had a resolution, as the show must go on, and the next event is coming up quick. A little quicker then they were expecting, going from the more spread out schedule of Hostility to the grind of Evolution. Due to their lowly stature and the triple zero in the bank, triple zero, as zero dollars, zero in the tens of the column of cents, and zero in the ones. That means rather than the quick, easy flight, they have a long, long drive ahead.
“I don’t know why the company doesn’t have a chartered plane for us to use. They are the ones who decide where we go and how far apart the venues are? This drive is going to be tedious.”
“I know dear. I can’t believe they scheduled an event that is almost 17 hours by car. I don’t know how I’m going to be able to wrestle, after spending all of this time in the car. Based on the locations you gave me, we are going to have to perform and drive again.”
“I know. Kansas City to Chesapeake to Tulsa. It’s crazy.”
“It’s what we signed up for.”
“No, I signed up for the fame and fortune. This is just the path to get there.”
“That’s true. I am sure there are easier ways to the fame and fortune though. Ones that don’t involve 17 hour drives followed by physical exhaustion with another 17 plus hour drive to more physical pain.”
“The physical part isn’t that bad. The travel though is killer. Wake me when we are close.”
“What? Okay, sleep tight.”
Amanda, reclines her seat, and closes her eyes. Tom puts on an audiobook to help pass the time, but Amanda complained, not being to sleep with the noise, so he drove in silence, making the drive even longer.
Eventually, they arrive in Chesapeake, tired, sore and ready to stretch.
“So, the directions are just to the City. Do you have the directions to get the arena. I need to piss like a racehorse, if I can stand with this charlie horse.”
“I thought I did. That’s what Chuck said, that he would see us at Chesapeake. So I got us directions to Chesapeake.”
“He didn’t tell me.”
“Ok, let go to that library, use the computer to see where the arena is, and to use the restroom.”
After spending a bit of time in the library at the computers, and speaking with the staff, the determine the only arena on the home of Old Dominion University basketball teams. And it just so happens, that they had a big production of Sesame Street Live. Meaning this is not the location of Evolution 49. Tom is able to hold his frustration into until they get outside to the car.
“You had us driving 17 hours from Kansas City, to Chesapeake, when we were 4 hours away from CHESAPEAKE BAY ARENA in OKLAHOMA CITY.”
“Sorry. I didn’t know. Who names an arena after a different city? How was I supposed to know the difference? Besides, you were the one driving. You should have realized that it was too far way to make sense. Don’t you dare blame this blunder on me. I just tried to be helpful. Last time I help you out.”
“Help! Help?!? Your so called help may have just cost us our jobs. The jobs that were leading us to your fame and fortune. The jobs that paid for us to get to Chesapeake, with the expectation of more money to get us home. But since we don’t have a job to do in Chesapeake, how are we going to get home?”
“Listen here you piece of shit. I’m the superstar here. If it wasn’t for me, you we would still be that crappy trailer, without this opportunity. You were the one who failed the tryout. It was my presence that caught the attention of the scouts. I made a simple mistake, getting directions to the wrong location. You are the one who is responsible for the logistics. I have to focus on performing. I am the star in this team. You need me more than I need you. I can get another gorilla to replace you.”
“You can’t do this without me, and I can’t do this without you. We are a team, and we failed. I accept my role in this. You are correct, in that I am the one who takes care of the logistics. Sometimes, I do need some assistance. I should have let you know and double checked we were headed to the right location.”
“Damn right you screwed this up. Just fix it, as soon as possible.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Fix this. Get us to the arena so we perform, pick up the win, and get paid.”
“That isn’t going to be possible. It is almost impossible for us to get back in time to make our match.”
“Get your ass in the car and start driving.”
Tom gets back in the car, and hauls ass to make the 1,300 hundred mile trip in under 12 hours, which would give them one hour to dress and warm up before show time.
King power walks the aisle and slides under the bottom rope, telling referee Trent Robbins immediately to ring the bell, and he slugs Tom Marrow in the face with a hard right hand!
Jim Gunt: The Hall of Famer not wasting any time, he’s punching Marrow into the corner and down to the mat!
Mia Rayne: Everyone knows, you don’t punch down! Makes you look like a bully.
Mike Rolash: Or a hero.
Marrow to the mat, Jarvis now drives his boot into his chest and stomach, and he lifts the sub up, knees him in the stomach, and drops him up, over, and down with a double underhook suplex! The Game Warden is jumping up outside the ring, trying her best to get Marrow back into things, but the only thing he can do is stand up and take a short arm clothesline to the chest!
Jim Gunt: Jarvis with a scoop… Straitjacket suplex! Cover!
Jarvis King rolls off and leaves the ring, refusing to allow the referee to raise his hand.
Back in the dressing room, Tom falls to the ground in exhaustion. Several suits stop by to have a small chat about responsibility, professionalism and timeliness. Tom takes the verbal lashings with as much dignity as one who just spent 34 out of the last 38 hours in a car. Of course, dear old Amanda has managed to sneak off, avoiding any of the reprimands that they dealt.
Tristian Nancarrow: I swear, if you two ever pull a stunt like this again, you will not have another place on television. It’s a good thing next week you have off, for Girl’s night out.
Tom: Actually, about that. Amanda is available for the battle royal. Can she participate to help make up for this mistake of ours?
Tristian: Trying to earn some brownie points?
Tom: Trying to do our part to make the show as entertaining as possible. We let you guys down this week.
Tristian: Is Amanda ok with this? She’s never wrestled before or shown any indication that she wants any part of the physical aspect of this job.
Tom: It was actually her idea. She thinks it will provide some good entertainment. With the way people have reacted to us, she doesn’t anticipate much physicality, a quick in and out. Let people get a few good laughs and a few good jeers in.
Tristian: I will speak with those who are booking. Maybe, based on this stunt, she will see a little more than a few good minutes.
Tom: I’m sure she will be up for it. She knows we screwed up this week and wants to show that was the exception, not the norm.
Tristian: I can tell you are a good person, who is going to do your best to entertain. It is a shame that you haven’t earned any goodwill. So we will see you guys next week in Tulsa. Tulsa Oklahoma, which is only, at most a 2 hour drive with traffic.
Tom: Thanks for the reminder. Not that we need it, as we won’t ever forget again.
Tristian walks out, and Tom sits lays on a bench, sore and exhausted from the travel. After a half hour or so, Amanda returns, freshly showered and ready to head to the hotel.
“Why aren’t you showered yet? What are you waiting for? I’m tired and want to go to bed.”
“Sorry, I was having a discussion with Tristian Nancarrow, production supervisor.”
“Why was he talking to you? I’m the one who he usually deals with, as I am the one who usually does the talking. So what did he have to say?”
“Well, to make up for our mistake today, rather than suspend us for a show, he thought it would be fitting to have you in the Superwoman Battle Royal next week.”
“What? I can’t participate. I’ve never been in a match before. And with some of those neanderthals. They don’t recognize my talent. I am a beauty and they are beasts, just like you.”
“I know, I tried explaining that, but he was insistent.”
“Didn’t you tell him I couldn’t participate, due to a medical condition?”
“No, I didn’t know you had a medical condition that would prevent you from being able to participate.”
“Oh nevermind. Just get showered, and let’s get back to the hotel,and get to bed. I’m tired. We traveled a lot today, and you know what travelling does to me.”
Tom, gets up, showers, taking a bit longer than normal, allowing the hot water to work into his muscles, and just delaying a little bit. Finally, drying off, he walks out, to see Amanda pacing around the room, talking on the phone. She is just bad mouthing the talented women of the CWF, overstating her beauty focusing on how unfeminine it is to be so athletic. Making up stuff about how men don’t want buff women, women who can beat them up physically. They prefer the beauty, not the brawn. Tom, thinks to himself, that it is a good thing that she isn’t going to get to much of a chance to shoot a promo, without someone else writing it. Otherwise, she will be in for a rude awakening when she gets into the ring. Tom felt bad about lying, but she needed to see what he had to go through each week, and the toll it takes, both physically and mentally. Besides, it would be good to teach her a lesson about responsibility, but then again, she won’t. She’ll find a way to make herself the victim, not letting her accept the fact that she is kind of a piece of shit. Tom, while he felt bad for a moment, decided to make a mental note, that while this has given him, at least for now a bit of satisfaction, this isn’t who he really is. And more than anything, he wasn’t going to allow anyone or anything to change him from his true self.