Nathan Paradine is shown standing on the balcony outside his hotel room, looking out over the sun-drenched cobblestones of Havana. The room itself is fairly unimpressive; a bed, a desk, a half unpacked suitcase and an air conditioning unit trying (and failing) to cool the room down. On the bed is a bottle of rum and a cigar, ready for a bit of R&R before Evolution this week. Paradine turns away from the balcony and rubs his hands together gleefully.
Nathan Paradine: "You know what? I could get used to this."
As he steps back into the room the serenity of the moment is broken by the persistent beeping of his phone. Frowning, he fishes through his suitcase before locating it underneath his boots and the frown immediately becomes a scowl as he answers the call.
Nathan Paradine: "What can I do for you, Leigh?"
The Australian Submission Machine pauses and listens for a moment.
Nathan Paradine: "Cuba is great. Sun, sand, lots of girls. You'd like it. I might even stay an extra few days."
Paradine begins to pace back and forth across the hotel room as he listens to his lawyers reply.
Nathan Paradine: "Don't worry. The thing with The Shadow, that was... a hiccup. Probably, you know how these things are. This week I've got some guy named Kyu-, Kyushu-"
Another pause as he listens.
Nathan Paradine: "Dammit, is that how you say it? Kyuseishu. I lived in Japan for years and I still have trouble with the language... ah well. Did you have a hand in organising this?"
The scowl on his face deepens. Evidently, whatever the reply was has made him unhappy.
Nathan Paradine: "It was one loss Leigh, to The Shadow! I beat Xander Daniels, I beat the guy before him, Noah whatshisface, I don't think losing a match to a former goddamn world champion constitutes a losing streak!"
He drops down onto the bed and rubs at his face with his hand, resigned.
Nathan Paradine: "No, mate... look. You're right. It'll be good to go up against someone like this, really try and bounce back. Thanks for looking out for me. Yeah, okay. Thanks. Bye."
Paradine ends the call and tosses his phone down onto his bed next to the cigar. He grabs the bottle of rum, unscrews the cap, drinks from the bottle and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand.
Nathan Paradine: "Kyuseishu. I don't know much about you, mate. I do know that our careers up until this point have followed a similar trajectory; we found our greatest success in Japan before we came west. You're a showoff, not that there's anything wrong with that. You cheat to win? What self-respecting wrestler wouldn't be willing to bend the rules to secure the victory. From the little I do know, I can see a lot of myself in you... except for one thing."
Paradine rubs his chin thoughtfully.
Nathan Paradine: "When push comes to shove, I can get the job done. Now I know this business attracts a lot of freaks, weirdos and oddities, hearing voices in your head is nothing new. But I hope for your sake that these voices are real, because it'll take divine intervention to save you from the beatdown coming your way this week. If you truly are the son of God, as you claim to be, I hope you're prepared to experience the same level of suffering as your brother did. Except this time... there will be no curtain call, no second coming. When I leave you lying beaten, and hopefully broken, and you realise that your God has abandoned you... I can only hope that you understand that the result was fixed from the moment the match was announced. Pray to your God. Sell your blessed merchandise. It won't help. Even you will tap out, just like everybody else."
Paradine stands and snatches the cigar up, tucking it into his shirt pocket before walking out of the hotel room. As usual, the Australian Submission Machine can talk a big game... but can he stand up to the self-proclaimed Holy Samurai?