A black screen, with the growing sounds of hustle, bustle, and droning conversation.
And then, a familiar voice of the ReVival.
Fading in reveals the deep, dark eyes and shining, magnificent mustache we’ve all come to know and love over nearly two years. The First Crowned. The once-Five Star Champion. The former two-time Universal Champion.
The Comeback Kid.
The Rookie of the Year.
And the Glueminati’s brand new Thresher of Hooves.
Clad in a gray hoodie and a backwards ball cap, Hayes sits at the center of a table, fingers laced together. The background noise continues, though his words are clear to the camera.
Hayes Hanlon: I’m guessing everybody’s got a lot of questions.
Cue the boos from Soldier Field, who witnessed the young Hanlon’s betrayal of Jared Sykes not twenty-four hours before. But, this being a pre-tape, Home Run Hayes can’t hear them. Instead, he holds out a pair of empty hands.
Hayes Hanlon: But that’s a bummer for you, because I don’t really have any answers. But I’ve learned a lot about this business the last couple years. And that’s exactly what this is….
He pauses, leaning forward to the camera a touch and resting his elbows on the table.
Hayes Hanlon: …business.
Hammerin’ Hayes leans back in his chair, stuffing his hands into his hoodie pockets. He looks away from the camera, exhaling through his nose.
Hayes Hanlon: Look, I already know how this is gonna go. The locker room is gonna drag me through the mud, just like they did to Colton. Calvin will probably try to choke me out in the hallway. And I’m suuuurreee Youngblood will have some choice words. Definitely looking at some “we’re mad, AND we’re disappointed” vibes from the “Good Guys.” But that’s kinda the point…
He turns his eyes back to the camera, and shrugs.
Hayes Hanlon: …because I never really cared about being one of them in the first place.
The Event Horizon takes a beat, and wipes at his ‘stache, then points a stiff finger at the camera.
Hayes Hanlon: YOU put that tag on me. YOU. Not ME. And I’m sorry it had to be Jared to get that point across. But if you were confused then? Let me make it real clear right now:
Hanlon stands, placing his hands on the table.
Hayes Hanlon: I’m here for the big lights. The spectacle. To put on a god damn show. None of that’s changed. But above all that? First and foremost? I’m here for gold and gold alone. That’s why I sought them out. That’s why I got on board. As weird as these dudes are, there’s something here. So I’m gonna go where the gold goes. And right now? The gold…
He sits back down, and extends his arms to the sides.
Hayes Hanlon: …is with the Glueminati.
At this point, the camera zooms out, revealing The Boys in Glue sitting at the same table. And where is that table? The famous Pequod’s on Clybourn Avenue in Chicago. The boys are uncomfortably forced in the middle of the establishment, surrounded by booth seating and busy servers hustling back and forth.
Joe Fontaine: Hey, Sid, who the hell uses a fork to eat a pizza?
Sid Phillips: I do, shut up.
Somewhere far off camera, we hear a shout, apparently for a pickup order:
Voice: BUTCH VIC WANTS THE PIZZA THAT’S THICK FOR VAE VIC…TIS. DAMN IT!
FLAMBERGE slowly pokes at the bruschetta on his plate and eyes the deep dish pans on the other side of the table with loathing and disgust. None of this is haute cuisine, nor is it snack food, and worst of all the wine list is shorter than the beer list, so everything sucks.
Joe Fontaine notices FLAMBERGE’s disgust.
Joe Fontaine: You alright, bestie? You look like you swallowed a bug. Uh, wait, maybe I need a different analogy here… you look like you just watched Brandon Youngblood do a big speech.
FLAMBERGE: Somebody took the tomato cheese soup bowl and overfilled it and burned the holy hell out of it so what am I supposed to think of this place, Sid’s friend? The best wine here is the RED BLEND.
Sid Phillips: That’s what they call “deep dish”, FLAMBO.
While Hayes squints in confusion at these weirdos, clearly uninterested in his post-heel-turn-promo, the camera notices Five Star Friend (OR FIEND???) Cecilworth Farthington for the first time, still very much wearing his ear defenders and blindfold that protects him from the outside world of Chicago. Despite what seems like it should be an obvious impairment to such things, Cecilworth is still Jabbing (™) on his phone.
Cecilworth Farthington: This tomato soup is too lumpy. Also yes, business. Business is good. Charts, graphs, pies that are in sections, that’s all the things Hayes Hanlon desired and we can provide it!
Hayes mouths to himself “charts and graphs?”
Joe Fontaine: This is more like a sectioned cake, if I’m being honest.
Cecilworth Farthington: No, I was talking about the business kind.
Joe Fontaine: Oh, well… I’m not super good with business cake, tee-bee-aych.
Cecilworth leans in the direction that he hopes is Hayes and hushes his voice to a gentle whisper.
Cecilworth Farthington: Sorry about Joe, he’s a good lad who means well.
Cecilworth quickly realises he was talking in Joe’s ear.
Joe Fontaine: Still don’t believe in forking pizzas.
Fortunately, Joe doesn’t seem to notice.
Sid Phillips: Stop that.
It’s at this moment Cecilworth Farthington decides to stand up from his chair, knocking over about seven to his back as he stumbles on his feet.
Cecilworth Farthington: I just wanted to thank our newest, stickiest member for bringing a delightful mustache to the group, for that was really a demographic we were missing. Your MILFs, your GILFS, your GGILFS, that sort of thing. I’m happy that someone was kind enough to notice our good intentions for the future of wrestling and the PRIME brand. Hayes Hanlon rejected terrible things, like Brandon Youngblood’s weird shaped skull, Nate Colton’s desire to show the entire locker room his hog, Jared Sykes’s sad anus. He saw they were all wanting and got out of the Sad Boy Club and into the delicious Tomato Soup Gang. So I would like to formally raise a glass to our newest friend, Hayes Hanlon.
On his way to grab his glass of fine blended red wine, Cecilworth knocks over a water jug and two orders of garlic bread. He gets there in the end though. Hayes, again confused, mouths to himself “Tomato Soup Gang?”
Cecilworth Farthington: TO HANLON AND HIS GLORIOUS FACIAL FEATURE!
Joe Fontaine: YEAH!
The water jug has fully spilled into FLAMBO’s lap. Fortunately, many reptiles use external sources of water to regulate their body temperature, so he seems un-bothered as he raises three-fourths of an empty bottle of The Very Famous Red Blend in the air, looking to cheers with Sid and Hayes before all others.
Sid holds up his mug of beer, and it’s a minor miracle it doesn’t end up all over himself because he attempts to powerbomb it or something. No, he holds it up. Like a normal person does. Somehow. In the distant future, science will still be trying to figure out how he managed that feat of competence. Hayes, reluctantly, raises what is presumed to be a gin and tonic.
Hayes Hanlon: (with a subtle sigh) To the Glue.
The Sticky Squad clink their respective beverages together, and as the rest tip ‘em back, Hayes looks to the camera one more time with sharp intent.
Hayes Hanlon: And that’s a problem for you.
Now, it’s time for the intro video!