The scene opens on an early morning in the hotel room of "The Australian Suplex Machine" Nathan Paradine, and a prior scene of revelry is immediately apparent. Clothes belonging to both men and women are scattered about, and on a table a bottle of champagne sits in a melted slush of ice water in a cooler right next to a half-full champagne glass. Another glass is on its side, the alcohol spilled over the tabletop and carpet. The sheets on the bed have been throughly tousled, and a leg -definitely feminine- has been thrown over the covers, but the identity of the occupant remains a mystery. Nathan Paradine himself is standing in front of a large floor-to-ceiling window, his arms on his hips as he looks out over the city of Houston. Although we've seen Paradine in many different states in many different promos, this is something new and the only way to describe him in this particular moment is 'bare-ass naked'.
Nathan Paradine: "There's nothing quite like getting up early to watch the sunrise. Watching the birth of a new day, along with the many opportunities it will invariably present. Hell, it's a goddamn momentous!"
Paradine has a triumphant smirk on his face; this is a man who, at this moment at least, exuberates confidence. There's a grunt from the bed and the sheets shift as the leg disappears from view. Paradine ignores this however and nods to himself.
Nathan Paradine: "Three days. Three days. You know what happens then?"
There's another grunt from the bed. Paradine, still smiling, turns to look this time.
Nathan Paradine: "That's right! Twilight of the Gods. Lindsay Troy and Zach Van Owen... it'll be bloody poetic. The triumphant former world champion returning after a hiatus lasting years, climbing to the top of the mountain once again to seize a shot at the championship after overcoming the hungry younger opponents. Hell, Stallone won a fucking Oscar for writing a story like that, and he can barely speak coherent English. The story writes itself! First step CWF gold, next step movie deal."
There's a groan, and the covers are tossed back to reveal a young brunette woman who is definitely feeling the after-effects of the previous night. She blinks twice and brushes a stray hair from her face before rolling over again.
Woman: "Yeah, you kept saying that last night. It was a bit weird actually."
Nathan Paradine: "What do you mean?"
The woman opens a single eye to look at him.
Woman: "Most men don't ask me to call them the world champ, then mutter about beating people during sex. And besides, didn't Rocky lose the big fight?"
Paradine's grin vanishes instantly. He snatches up a pair of underwear from the floor and tosses it onto the bed.
Nathan Paradine: "It's time for you to leave."
The woman rolls her eyes and crawls from the bed, the sheet wrapped around her body. Paradine scowls as he disappears into the bathroom, then grabs the half-empty glass of champagne and downs it in a swallow before wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.
Nathan Paradine: "Rocky won the title in the second movie... who cares about the first one? He lost, it doesn't matter..."
Still muttering to himself, he moves around the hotel room, gathering up his clothes and throwing them in a heap onto the bed. He grabs a white hotel robe and throws it on as he moves into the small kitchen area, grimacing as he prepares himself a cup of instant coffee. From the bathroom, the sound of a shower running can be heard. Paradine peers into the darkness of his coffee cup and begins to speak.
Nathan Paradine: "The plot of a movie doesn't matter. In movies the good guy always comes out on top, but in real life... it's the bad guy who is in with a chance. Life has a habit of screwing over good people and I am a goddamn reckoning in the making for Lindsay Troy and Zach Van Owen. See, we can all talk about who 'deserves' to win this triple threat match, but the truth is it doesn't matter. Pure wrestling ability will beat out merit every single time, and pure wrestling talent is something I happen to possess in abundance. This isn't Lindsay Troy's story, this isn't Zach Van Owen's story, this is my story and it's a documentary with the facts presented alongside irrefutable evidence, like something you'd expect David Attenborough to narrate. Hell, while we're at it, why not get him to do play by play?"
Paradine raises the cup to his lips and blows on the scaling coffee before taking the smallest of sips. He licks his lips and swallows, wincing as the brew travels down his throat.
Nathan Paradine: "You know, I used to hate coffee. Couldn't drink the stuff at all, it'd make me sick. After a while though I got used to the taste and now I start every day with a cup of coffee black as midnight. It's kind of like how I think about Lindsay Troy... once she was an insufferable pain in my ass, but after beating her in our last match together I feel like we've reached a sort of understanding. i don't like her or respect her, but I can appreciate her and what she does, just because she's so tenacious. She kept going after me and going after me, despite my warning, no, my pleading with her to stop before she found herself in over her head. She didn't listen, and what did she end up with? A kick to the groin and total humiliation in front of the entire world. I didn't just beat Lindsay Troy, I broke her so badly that she tapped out in complete and utter submission to me. Sure, she may have won the adoration of the fans that night, but we've long since established that they're a fickle bunch and today's hero is just tomorrow's villain, or worse yet tomorrow's afterthought."
Paradine takes another sip of coffee, now sufficiently cooled enough for him to take a larger gulp. He closes his eyes and nods, just once, slowly to himself.
Nathan Paradine: "This is damn fine coffee, for the instant stuff. Where was I, Lindsay Troy? Oh yeah. I admire her determination to break through the glass ceiling, but her place is this match seems a teeny tiny little bit like gender equality gone mad. I mean, she's a part time competitor at best, her most recent showing might as well have been a cameo appearance. Not to mention there's a severe conflict of interest that I'll be getting my lawyer to investigate. Who the hell is booking the CWF? Putting someone in a contendership bout for the world title then later on making her the official referee in a match for that same belt? I know things can get a bit wacky in the world of pro wrestling but it reeks of bias. For all I know this could be a rort planned by Troy and her buddy, the big, bad Dan Ryan to make sure he retains the title over the next two months. It's shady, it stinks and dammit, I won't stand for it, because like it or not I have some moral backbone. Sure, it ends just short of kicking a woman in the vagina but it's still there. Last time we had a match together I said that beating you wasn't a prediction, it was a spoiler alert. I'd advise you to prepare for the inevitable Lindsay, because the sequel is coming and unfortunately for you it's a rehash, not a reboot."
Paradine shrugs and he's almost apologetic. He takes another gulp of coffee as the bathroom door opens and the woman emerges, now with a towel wrapped around her. Paradine points wordlessly at the bed and she retrieves her clothing before retreating back to the bathroom, taking careful effort to slam the door behind her. Paradine chortles into his coffee at this display of anger.
Nathan Paradine: "Kids these days, hey? I mean... she's legal age and everything. But it's not many men in their forties who could pull something as hot as that. I'd like to think it's a combination of my personality and great good looks that still makes me so appealing to the fairer sex, even as the years go on. In saying that though... she was probably born after I'd started wrestling. Christ, I didn't think about that last night, a few too many daiquiris and, well... you can see what happened."
Paradine gestures around at his dishevelled hotel room.
Nathan Paradine: "You see, she was a real firecracker. These young'uns... they can really go and go and go, I'll tell you that. But you know how I can keep up with them? Experience. I've been at this a long time, all over the world. I've shown the very best of myself on five of the seven continents and every time I haven't come out on top because I was younger or faster or stronger, I came out on top because I'd been doing it longer. I'm not talking about sex, just for clarification, oh no! I'm back on the subject of my true love, that being professional wrestling. I wrestled a tag team match against Zach van Owen, and what I saw left me disappointed. I saw an immature, undisciplined boy trying to compete with the men. I mean, a fucking Kamehameha? Five seconds of showboating that he could have been using to get an advantage over myself or Ataxia. I mean, sure, Shadow and Zach won the match. But did the Boy Wonder contribute to the victory? I think not."
Paradine drains off the last of his coffee and smacks his lips together loudly.
Nathan Paradine: "Zach is younger than Lindsay and I and he might think that gives him an advantage, I can assure him it does not. When he was in diapers I was touring Japan, when he was a preteen I was busy winning the Hostility World Championship and when he finally graduated into the big bad world he had the misfortune to time it just a few months before I made my triumphant return. I don't have a problem with you mate, you're just another obstacle standing between me and my goal. At Twilight of the Gods when we step into that ring together and I'm forced to show my hand and beat you into submission, I want you to know it's nothing personal. Think of it as a learning experience! You can be good, but you'll never be better than the Australian Submission Machine. When it's all said and done, after Golden Intentions maybe I'll even let you buff my newly won world title. It'll be the closest you get to it as long as it's around my waist, anyway."
Paradine taps his head thoughtfully, as if suddenly remembering something.
Nathan Paradine: "Ah, but I'm getting ahead of myself now. I'm good at predicting the outcome of my matches, but maybe not so good at predicting the future. I don't want to jinx it after all! But in all seriousness, Zach, step back and let the master work his craft. It'll work out better for you in the end because I'm all for equal opportunities; I'll hand out ass-kickings irregardless of age or gender. And afterwards, you will go home and you'll get into bed and you'll stare at your ceiling and thank whoever or whatever allowed the stars to align and the fates to converge and allowed you to share the ring with Nathan Paradine again, when you were both almost, not quite, almost on equal footing. And I can guaran-damn-tee as you lay there, the realization will sink in that you never really had a chance, that the result was set in stone from the minute the match was announced. Your winner, and the NUMBER ONE CONTENDER FOR THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP-"
The young woman is standing in the doorway to the bathroom. Paradine, impassioned during his speech, evidently failed to notice her reappearance. He turns to face her, looking more than a little bit abashed.
Woman: "Who are you talking to?"
Nathan Paradine: "Uh, no one."
Woman: "No one?"
Nathan Paradine: "Uh, it's a wrestling thing... you wouldn't understand."
The woman's eyes widen, and her thoughts are evident from her expression; YIKES. Now dressed, she quickly grabs her bag and belongings from the table and ducks out of the room, avoiding eye contact with Paradine. For his part, Paradine watches her move, slightly embarrassed to have been sprung in promo mode. He shouts after her as she races towards the door.
Nathan Paradine: "You know actors do this shit all the time! Method acting or something... fuck!"
He throws his arms up in exasperation as she slams the door to the hotel room closed and the scene comes to an end. What future lies in store for the Hostile Exile at Twilight of the Gods? Will his brash attitude come back to bite him in the ass, or has he really delivered a bold prediction for the event with his declarations of victory?