Weeks ago. Banff, Scotland.
The bartender uncaps a half empty bottle of Lagavulin. He pours a healthy amount of the amber liquor into two identical rocks glasses. One filled with ice, the other neat. He carefully slides the now chilly whisky down the bar a piece into the eager mit of a waiting patron who immediately takes an appreciative sip. The other glass the bartender sets down next to the now sated pub patron.
Bartender: Who you expectin’ Hollis?
Even with his normally sheared head showing some unkempt growth, his mustache unwaxed, his clothing not quite as sharp, we immediately recognize pro wrestling superstar the Bombastic Bronson Box. While not at his ship-shined best, the man is still build like a brick shit-house, filling at least a spot and a half at the bar with his broad muscular shoulders. The DEFIANT Ace wraps both hands around the cool glass containing his favorite beverage with an small sigh.
Box: Just some bloody snake oil salesman, mate. No matter.
The bartender chuckles as he flicks a damp white towel back over his shoulder.
Bartender: Don’t ne’ let them American bastards push ye’ around, boy. You done enough fer’ the likes of them, lemme’ tell ye’...
“Push Bronson Box around, are you nuts? Nobody pushes him around… “
A voice behind the two locals perks up. The bartender turns to face the responsible party… Boxer does not. He knows exactly who it is. The Only Star Eric Dane plops down on the barstool next to his former employee and immediately downs the warm glass of Lagavulin still sitting, waiting for him.
Dane: … well, nobody but me, right Boxy? God, you look like shit. Lose your barber’s number or something? The poor bastard must be broke.
Eric ‘no look’ hands his glass across the bar, motioning he’d like another. He sits in silence as he eagerly watches another two fingers poured by the bartender.
Dane: Damn that’s good. I always did appreciate the shit you actually spend your money on. Thrifty prick.
Bronson looks up with a look of pure incredulousness.
Box: What the bloody hell are you doing in fookin’ Banff for Christ sake? Nearly shit, seein’ you textin’ me yer’ “in town”... What could you possibly want, Eric?
Eric Dane grins as he takes a more conservative sip of his drink.
Dane: What? A man can’t check up on his investments?
The Wargod bristles at that one.
Box: I ‘aint in no bloody way your ANYTHIN’, you fookin’…
Eric immediately deescalates with a sincere, unsurprised smile.
Dane: Slow your roll big man. I don’t mean offence, okay? Jesus. I’d heard you were back here, opened your school again. That’s good. You were always showed yourself to be a good trainer back at the Wrestle-Plex. But Boxer, I’m takin’ a good look at you sitting here and it screams one thing to me… your fuckin’ bored.
He turns to the bartender.
Dane: God’s honest truth, how often is this disheveled looking asshole parked right here suckin’ down this fine Scotch whisky of yours, pal?
The bartender looks at Eric, looks at Boxer, looks back to Eric, raises his eyebrows and makes a silent exit from the conversation to go clean some bartop on the other side of the room. Eric looks at Boxer with an unmistakable “that’s all I needed to know” expression on his face.
Box: What does it matter to YOU what I do with my time, Eric Dane? Huh? What do you give a shite about me…
Bronson takes a swig of his drink.
Eric looks almost a little bit legitimately hurt by the question. Then, a little bit MAD.
Dane: You know why I use the word investment when I talk about you, you thick motherfucker? Because that’s what I do, dumb dumb… I make investments. In places, in things and most importantly in PEOPLE. I’ll admit... it took a while to realize it, but signing your ass was one of the smartest investments I’ve ever made.
The Bombastic brawler’s eyebrow raises and his ears perk up at that.
Dane: Yeeeeah, that’s what I thought. Is that all it’s really going to take? A little pat on the head? Come on, man...
Box: What the bloody hell are you goin’ on about ye’ daft prick?
The Only Star turns on his barstool so he’s facing Bronson.
Dane: Near every single buddy, friend, compatriot and brother I brought into DEFIANCE let me the fuck down, given enough time and friction. Every. Single. One. On top of that, me and almost every single dickhead me or someone else put in charge of that place treated you like shit: like a liability. And you just kept coming back for more. You stuck it out. Unlike those ungrateful dicks I let walk up my ass, you stuck it out.
It’s Boxer’s turn to turn in his seat. A look of almost God’s honest disbelief on his usually perma-surly face. A sincere but obviously more than a little uncomfortable Eric Dane continues.
Dane: And… maybe you were right all along, I didn’t goddamn thank you for that.
After a few beats Boxer makes eye contact with the bartender who wordlessly sets the bottle of Lagavulin between the two men. The audio drops out. The two former World champions continue on conversing over more than a few more pours of scotch. For a few moments all we hear is the clinking of glasses and general pub murmur before the two men’s conversation starts fade back in. The camera resettles on Eric Dane and Bronson Box, they’re still parked at the bar. By the looks of the light coming through the window it’s much later in the evening.
Bronson divides up the last of the bottle of scotch.
Box: And so this Flair girl… she’s a little young, ‘aint she?
Dane: She’s a fuckin’ pistol, the real deal. Fearless. Good genes. These Ouroboros pricks mean business but she doesn't flinch, doesn't even bat an eye. She’s young, but she’s no starry eyed rook. Trust me. What’s the old saying? “She’s got an old soul?”
The Wargod meditates on that for a moment.
Dane: Come ooooon, you’ve got people to run your goddamn school. It’s a new territory, new people to kick down stairs, burn, pillage… What do you have to lose? Besides that awful Jean-Luc Picard ass hair-do you’ve got goin’ on man, I see now why you go with the Vin Diesel look. Smart. We could tear this place a new one the likes of which has never been seen... and I ain’t posin’ that question to ol’ Hollis neither. I’m talkin’ to the guy who smashed my goddamn face through the radiator of a Honda Accord… you feel me, hoss?
Bronson sits silently and eyeballs his former employer.
Like sipping cocktails with the devil himself.
Dane: Boxer. What do you have to lose, man?
The dull ka-chunk of breakers being switched on echos around us before buzzing fluorescent lights flicker on all around us. It’s almost too bright now. There’s nothing to mention about what little of the room we can see from our stationary view. The unnatural almost greenish buzzing lights, after even just a few moments of silence becomes almost hypnotic. That is until the soft clack of dress shoes scuffing across the rooms tile floor breaks the quiet monotonous stound.
The Bombastic Bronson Box glides into view, an open folding chair in hand. Light grey stripes over dark brown. The same three piece suit he’s always worn. Cut in the classic style. Tapered slacks, silver pocket watch tucked across his vest, a thin blood-red tie. He quietly sets the chair down relatively close to the camera and takes a seat. Making sure, of course, to smooth out his jacket and run his hand across his freshly sheared cranium.
He finally makes eye contact with us. The powerful looking Scotsman leans forward, elbows on knees. His freshly waxed mustache twitches as his lip curls in anticipation of getting started.
Box: See… I do love this part. I have to admit. Me standin’ here, you all out there watchin’ not knowin’ one lick what’s about to happen.
He chuckles as he suddenly leans back.
Box: I, uhh… I do love to talk. You can ask anyone. Runnin’ mouth’s an art I revel in, lads. Screamin’ and thrashin’ and causin’ all sorts of anarchy, that’s my oils and canvas. You get me? No. You don’t. Not ‘til I get in there. Because ya’ see. I do love to talk. Endlessly. And believe me I will. You pricks are gunna’ be sick o’ hearin’ me prattle on. As much of a lark as it is it don’t convince anyone of shite if we’re all bein’ perfectly honest… the convincin’ comes when this company foolishly invites each and every sorry bloody soul within their sphere of influence to climb into a wrestling ring with the Bombastic Bronson Box.
His lip curls again. He looks almost down at us, over the tops of his eyes.
His mustache twitches.
Box: One thing I don’t need is cheap theatrics. Or bloody numbers. Runnin’ with Miss Flair and Eric is a bonus… NOT a necessity. So you lot don’t get it fookin’ twisted around in yer’ wee heads that I’m some “stablemate” or “hired gun” ye’ wee pricks! I’m THE. I’m IT. I’m the big scary surprise waiting at the end of EACH AND EVERYONE ONE o’ you wee pricks when you trot down that isle fer’ this daft battle royal, Aye?! Golden Intentions?!
He chuckles to himself.
Box: Golden FOOKIN’ Intentions?!
Boxer stands up so suddenly the folding chair goes clattering behind him.
His wide shoulders commanding most of what we can see.
The fluorescent light seems to halo around the back of Bronson’s bald head as he takes a big step forward, directly in front of the camera.
Box: My intentions ‘aint golden. In fact, boy’o?
Mustache still twitching. Ticking like a clock.
Box: They’re black as iron.