The ruins of Chichen Itza.
Dan Ryan and Lindsay Troy are standing toward the back of a group of tourists, looking on as a demonstration of burial rites is being performed by locals. The ‘high chief’ holds a clay jar high over head as a guide explains that the jar would have held the organs of the deceased, being prepared in a preserving solution for burial alongside the corpse.
“This is so depressing.”
Dan Ryan looks at the sight, a look of disgust on his face.
“I don’t know.” Troy chimes in, her eyes fixed on the goings-on. “I think it’s fascinating.”
Ryan sighs. “I’m not talking about this night of the living dead performance. I’m talking about Mia Rayne.”
“Oh?” Troy breaks her gaze and looks over at her brother-in-law for a second, then turns back to watch as a young tribe member paints symbols on the face of the ‘corpse’. “What about her?”
Ryan shakes his head slightly. “Her promo. It was…. “
Troy doesn’t look over, but interrupts.
“Boring? Sad? Pointless?”
Ryan nods. “I was gonna say tiresome. But those all work, too.”
Troy’s eyes followed as a long wooden burial chamber was wheeled out and the ‘chief’ made a series of waving gestures over the body while four younger tribe members lifted the body over the open hole in this thrown-together contraption.
“Why was I half expecting to see The Shadow here? It seems like his kind of crowd.”
Ryan was barely paying attention. He’s been staring off into space.
“Do you think it’s because she’s mentally ill?”
Troy wiped her forehead with the back of her hand, wiping some beads of sweat away. “Hmm?”
Ryan scratched his chin thoughtfully.
“Mia Rayne. Do you think she rambles around in circles like a third grader because she’s mentally ill? I was thinking maybe she was like, one of those people whose mind only matures to a certain point, then stops immediately. With her, for example, I’m thinking around 11 years old.”
Lindsay Troy scans the area. The demonstration is ending. Her eyes catch a family with a small child and she smiles.
“I don’t know.” Troy looks up at Ryan, who is still scowling. “I don’t think she’s dumb or anything. Maybe a bit naive.”
“Are you sure?” Ryan furrows his brow and makes a face. None of this computes. “She seems really really dumb. And yet, she’s been champ. She beat California, or Calamine lotion or something like that…. She beat MJ. I guess you don’t have to be smart to be talented.”
Troy nods at this. “Very correct. But, have you considered that she did all of this without us around to mess it up for her? Maybe she was able to do all of this because there weren’t enough people around to shine a light on the fact that she’s exceedingly mediocre.”
Ryan turns and stares at her. She stares back and, after a few seconds, smiles a fake smile.
“You’re probably right.”
Just then the crowd disperses and Dan Ryan snaps from his thoughts, and becomes disappointed. “Awww….”
Ryan holds his arms out, clearly saddened by the scene in front of him.
“I missed it.”
“Well, yeah you missed it.” Troy makes a face at her tag team partner for the week. “You kept going on and on and weren’t paying attention. Maybe you should have spent your time more wisely, and instead of rambling about nonsense that nobody cares about, paid more attention to what’s actually happening right in front of you.”
“So you’re saying,” Ryan raises a finger thoughtfully. “Just bypass all of the bullshit and just get to the point already?”
Troy throws her hands up in exasperation. “EXACTLY.”
Suddenly Ryan turns toward ‘us’.
Ryan bows, Troy follows, and what we now realize are extras stop what they’re doing in the background. A director steps into frame.
Ryan smiles and stretches out his hand to shake the director’s. Ryan turns and shouts to everyone.
“Well done everyone! Really well done. There’s some food over by the buses. I had some spinach puffs brought it. Trust me, they’re delicious. Vegan, so don’t worry if you’re not into eating meat.”
Troy smiles. “That was fun. We should do that more often.”
Ryan and Troy walk past the director as he turns his attention to clearing the set, and walk offscreen as the scene fades out.
A sprawling beach property on the beaches of Cancun, about two miles outside of the tourist zone, and several more miles away from the location for CWF’s Paradise event.
Dan Ryan’s wife, Alaina Troy-Ryan, and his daughter, Cecilia, who have been here all week for those paying attention are down near the water. The waves crash in a soothing rhythm, setting the tone for a very relaxing afternoon ahead of his war with Mia Rayne and Duce Jones in just a few short days.
Ryan rubs at his head a bit. His match in Tampa with Cecilworth Farthington was only just last night, and it’s safe to say his bell was rung just slightly by the roaring fist to the side of the head delivered by the billionaire wonderkid.
The doctors had good news - no concussion - but having a few days rest will be nice.
The large palm tree overhead gives just the right amount of shade, and the drink on the small wicker table to his side, just in arm’s reach from his cushioned beach chair, means this spot right here will do nicely. Yep -- it will do very nicely indeed.
You know… Jaiden Rishel takes a lot of shit on social media, television media, radio media, satellite radio media, print media… pretty much all media, but I have to say, scheduling this run of matches down here in beach locations is inspired promoting. I’ve spent some Summers in shit hole locations for the love of my sport, but this -- this is nice.
What’s NOT nice is the way I’ve been booked this week.
Don’t get me wrong. Mia Rayne has earned her spot. So has Duce Jones. My complaint isn’t with who we’re facing this week, but rather with the timing. I guess it’s not really your fault, Jaiden. How could you know that you’d have me set to cut promotional videos to promote this particular match against these particular people just one day after I got walloped in the side of the head? I’ve spent most of my day popping Ibuprofen out of a pez dispenser to try and make a dent in this sledgehammer on the inside of my skull.
And here -- I have Mia Rayne speaking gibberish to me for two fuckin’ hours.
Mia. I want to have a talk with you. I was gonna say long talk, but you OBVIOUSLY have the market cornered on those. But still, I want to have a talk with you.
Now, the subject of this Dan Talk is…. How to say more by saying less. This is a copyrighted speech, so don’t let me see you trying to recycle it online or turning it into an e-book for sale alongside those trinkets you sell on Etsy.
Here’s the talk -- and it’s more of a demonstration than a real talk I suppose, so please pay attention very closely.
The thing I want to talk to you about is coherence.
In a nutshell, this means… making sense.
My dear, your rambling watery shit promo meanders around so much, it’s a wonder it didn’t end with you tossing a ring into Mount Doom. God knows you could have used some giant eagles to swoop in and save you at the end because as far as I can tell right now, all is definitely lost.
Something I used to do when I was just learning to speak properly was to make an outline of the major points I wanted to get across. What this does is organize your thoughts and make you sound less dumb. Don’t be embarrassed. When I was 13 years old, I had to give a speech in my science class about photosynthesis, but before I knew it, I was going on about leaves and monkeys and why provolone cheese is the proper cheese to put on a cheesesteak. It was a huge fiasco. And I grew up in Japan, so people really did not care about the cheesesteak.
Now, I’m not gonna sit here, lounging on this beautiful beach and looking at the beautiful crystal clear water, and pretend that I in any way understand what it’s like for you to walk around every day with a bunch of little voices in your head. It must be very trying to go through life that way. But while I want to be understanding, on one hand, I have a job to do on the other.
So here’s the thing.
I’m really really good at beating people up. I don’t really know what leg you have to stand on when you stand there wherever the hell you are, skipping around like an elementary school kid at camp, telling me anything at all about the position I’m in.
You are undeniably desperate for my attention, and begging so sadly for any hint of respect from me. You want so badly for me to grant you any hint of relevance, to the point that you think the thing to do is to give me a fuckin’ history lesson on your pre-Dan Ryan CWF exploits. At the risk of sounding like Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive, hun…. I don’t care.
I don’t care what you did before I was here. As far as I’m concerned, the whole of CWF history should be labeled as Before Dan Ryan and After Dan Ryan. Pretty much anything you personally accomplished BDR is utterly and totally meaningless to me. I’m not playing these games with you people anymore. This notion that you deserve some sort of leg up on me because you hand-jobbed The Shadow and Ataxia at the same time while pinning Appolonia, or whoever the fuck you said, is a waste of my time.
All I need to know is that in the here and now, the magic mirror says, I’m the baddest motherfucker in the land, my dear. And there’s not a damn one of you that can prove any differently.
I’m the one standing tall as the CWF World Champion. I’m the one taking this championship to other companies and beyond, working in main events for every single one I walk into, not you. You were a moderately large fish in this pond for a long time, but I’m here now, and you’re the one that’s gonna have to square yourself with that sad truth, kid. Not me.
You don’t have even ten percent of what it takes to get me to lose control, so if that’s your game, you are definitely barking up the wrong tree. Wanna talk about my wife and kid? No problem. Is that supposed to get under my skin? They grew up in the business. Are you stupid? Do they know what I do? Their lives are predicated on what I do. This is our life. Stop talking about love and all that bullshit. None of that has shit to do with the fact that I can and will curb stomp that fucking head of yours so hard, personalities will come pouring out like skittles.
Go tell the ‘people in the back’ that they can all go suck a dick. If anyone wants to come out to the ring and try to ‘shut my fucking mouth’, they have an open invitation to do so at any time. But they won’t, and you know why? Because every single one of them knows what happens when people get in my face. Ask your boyfriend. Ask your partner this week. Ask them about how they get sent straight back in the direction they came from, feelings bruised, questioning their place in this sport, begging for my table scraps.
You take seriousness for anger because you’re foolish. All of the window dressing doesn’t distract me. I don’t care about your get-up, your pigtails, the dancing around and talking about yourself like you come in multiples. I don’t care about your violent little ‘trademark’.
I’ll tell you what, you bring your trademark. I’ll get my glove on, coat it in a nice pool of superglue, roll it around in some broken glass, and then we can see who gets fucked up first. How does that sound, Mia Rayne? I’ll get as serious as you want me to be because I’m a professional. I’m a professional ass-kicker, a professional fighter, a professional talker, a professional in the art of violence.
Don’t try to tell me who I am. I’ve got twenty years of a track record to tell you who the fuck I am.
You’ve got Caledonia.
Hell, ask your tag team partner, huh?
Ask him how it feels to be outclassed and outsmarted by me.
I’m not gonna disrespect Duce, because he picked himself up off the ground, went out into the world and got himself right. He went out and worked shit out and came back at me with respect. You come at me with trite bullshit and Bud Light level psychoanalysis that would embarrass a first-year community college student.
And Duce? Hey Duce. I get it. I know why you’re doing this. I don’t think for a minute that you give a shit about Mia Rayne. All of this? This is pride fuckin’ with ya. I’m a man, so let’s talk like men. You want what I’ve got. Nothing more, nothing less. I respect that. I respect the fight.
So, you want a fight with me? You can have one anytime you want. I’m a man of my word, and I’m a fighter.
But your ‘friend’ over there? She’s setting both of you up for failure. Mia Rayne’s gonna get somebody hurt. If that’s how you want it, that’s how it’ll be.
And you, Mia?
How about this?
You take your attempts to get under my skin, your rambling incoherent bullshit, and you shove it all right up your little rabbit hole there, Bugs.
Nothing you’re doing or saying is new to me, and I’ve been through just as much shit as you have. The difference is, I have what it takes to get through it. I don’t just survive. I thrive, conquer and destroy. You’re not impressing anyone.
We’re all a little mad here.
Ryan leans back and takes a long cool drink. The hands go behind his head, intertwined and relaxed, and he smiles.