Face to Fuckin’ Face
Our view switches to a blue and white color-schemed interview area inside the MGM Grand where a beautiful redhead is standing by. She wears a silky, shimmering dress and, though we cannot see her feet, is obviously wearing high heels, giving her a couple of inches in height from her normal five-foot four-inch frame. The woman is none other than Angelica Brooks: lead interviewer and longtime PRIME employee during its initial run. The crowd pops hard as they all watch from PRIMEView in the MGM Grand.
Smiling to the camera, Angelica speaks.
Angelica Brooks: Ladies and gentlemen… for the first time ever on a PRIME telecast, Eryk Van Warren.
Eryk Van Warren steps into the camera’s view wearing a white PRIME t-shirt with blue lettering, and an old school Violence Jack zip-up hoodie. His head is shaved down to the scalp– most likely with a straight razor – with a three-inch wide, half-an-inch tall mohawk strip going down the center of it.
Knowing his career exploits from SHOOT Project like the backs of their hands as they were once an affiliate of the Las Vegas promotion, the crowd gives a massive ovation. The surreality of a marquee name, former World Champion and Hall of Fame inductee from another promotion setting foot inside PRIME for the first time? Yeah, that’s not lost on anybody.
Angelica Brooks: Eryk! It’s great to see you.
Saying nothing, Eryk simply looks up and away, waiting for the inevitable chants to be heard inside the MGM Grand.
EVW! EVW! EVW!
Eryk Van Warren: Thanks, Angie. And thank you, PRIMEates, for recognizing me and appreciating me even though you really didn’t have to. I know how territorial fans can be and… well, I’ll just say that I’m surprised at the warm welcome I’m receiving thus far. And Angie? It’s nice to finally meet you. Heard many great things about your interviewing talents here.
Angie nods, looking a bit bashful over Eryk’s compliments. Moments later, she speaks into the microphone again.
Angelica Brooks: Thanks for that. So, I’ll get right down to it since it’s probably the first thing on everyone’s mind when they see you here on a PRIME broadcast. Why are you here, and how have you been treated here since your arrival to the MGM Grand?
Eryk chuckles and speaks into the microphone Angie is now holding in front of EVW.
Eryk Van Warren: I’ll answer that first question in a sec. ‘Cause honestly? I’m more interested in that second one there, Angie. That said? Most everyone’s been pretty chill thus far. Which, coming into a new place after making my mark in another company for as long as I have? That’s usually the last fuckin’ thing that happens to competitors like me. Usually we’re ostracized and gaslighted into believing our accomplishments outside “the bubble” don’t matter and it’s our fault for that happening.
Eryk shakes his head in disappointment mixed with frustration.
Eryk Van Warren: And I mean, I get it. It’s a load of horse shit because we sweat, bleed, and cry tears of joy and failure just the same as everyone else does. But, I get it. I’m an outsider. I’ve been doing this shit for 25 years, so it goes without saying this isn’t my first rodeo. The things I’ve seen… more specifically, the elitist behaviors I’ve witnessed from other outsiders? Like I said, I get it. I really do. It is what it is and I’m not afraid of the uphill battle that manifests itself from that. Fuckin’ bring it, I say.
The crowd pops at his intensity, causing Eryk to pause for a moment. Then, after collecting his words and choosing them carefully, he continues.
Eryk Van Warren: Keywords, though? Most everyone has been chill. I won’t name names ‘cause I’m not in the habit of aimlessly lobbing heat bombs at people in the hopes of one of ‘em sticking and going off on someone. But if you’ve been following Jabber? Then you can probably take an undergraduate-level educated guess at who hasn’t been so chill with me. But that’s okay. Can’t please everybody, right? And I’ve never been the type who gave a flying fuck what the rest of the locker room thought of me. All I care about is what people, those spending their hard-earned money for a night full ’uh pro-wrestling kind of people, think of my ability in that ring and recognize how much effort and sacrifice I actually put into this thing of ours. And hearing that chant just a few moments ago? That tells me all I need to know about that. ‘Cause without their blessing? Whether they hate me or love me, this is all for naught. Which brings me back to the first question you had for me…
The fans watching on PRIMEView all roar in support of Eryk’s words.
Eryk Van Warren: … why am I here? Well, I pretty much just answered that, didn’t I? I’m here because I wanna be the guy who comes in from the outside and finds success amongst a new locker room full of talent, a new generation full of piss n’ vinegar, and add new championships and accolades to my collection. That’s it, really. Anything extracurricular? Like, the respect of the PRIME locker room? That’ll be a great bonus to have. But I’m not chasing it. No, ma’am. That’s not to say I wouldn’t love to have their respect and admiration and would thumb my nose at someone for shaking my hand. But they’ll either get on board when they decide to get on board, or they won’t. Either way, this train’s leaving the station next ReVival when I have my debut match in PRIME. Period.
Angie continues to hold the microphone in front of Eryk’s mouth, as expertly as a backstage interview can.
Eryk Van Warren: I’m not coming into PRIME expecting anything to be handed out to me, Angie. Nah. I’m coming into PRIME ready to fuckin’ WRESTLE my ass off and prove to the world why I am one of the best goddamn wrestlers to ever lace up a pair of boots. Is that answer a simple and clichéd one? Maybe. But who cares?! That doesn’t make it any less true! That doesn’t make it any less significant to the other competitors in this tournament watching my lips move and listening to the words come out of my mouth..
Angie pulls the microphone back to her own lips.
Angelica Brooks: Well, I think it’s safe to say that your honesty will be very much heard throughout PRIME, Eryk.
Raising the microphone back up to Eryk, he continues.
Eryk Van Warren: I’m counting on that, Angie.
Angelica Brooks: I only have one last question for you, Eryk. You mentioned that your debut match in PRIME is happening on the next episode of ReVival. Your opponent is the number fourteen seeded Teddy Palmer. What do you have to say about your opponent?
Eryk looks at Angie quizzically.
Eryk Van Warren: Did you really just ask me to spill my thoughts on my opponent for the next show before the official bookings even went up?!
The crowd laughs at this, to which Angie gives a silent “eek.”
Eryk Van Warren: Hahaha. It’s okay, Angie. I’ll tell you what I think of number fourteen…
Number three stops in his words and looks directly into the camera.
Eryk Van Warren: …on the next ReVival. When he and I are face…
He steps closer.
Eryk Van Warren: …to fuckin’…
Then he takes another step.
Eryk Van Warren: …face.
EVW is nearly nose-to-nose with the lens of the camera at this point. Not blinking for what seems like an eternity, his eyes finally relent to the cold air surrounding him and wink at the camera.
Angelica Brooks: Well, there you have it, folks. For the first time in PRIME, words from the veteran wrestler himself, Eryk Van Warren. Back to you, Nick and Richard!