EVERYONE. SAY. LENIN!!
Ivan Stanislav’s locker room is a large and spacious affair, suitable for a man of such massive dimensions.
Because he’s the Universal Champion now, silly.
Didn’t you know?
In the much larger room reserved for a man of his newfound status, one would think it would be cozy.
True to his communist roots, Stanislav’s room is jam packed with people.
Alexei Ruslan checks his watch, wearing his ubiquitous brown overcoat, pants, and hat. Next to him stands Arina Timofeyevna, Stanislav’s personal assistant. The young girl’s hair is back in a neat ponytail as she adjusts the dark suit she wears, with a small Russian flag pinned to her lapel. Kenny Freeman and Randall Schwartz stand together a few feet from Arina, with Randall very happy to be here while Kenny is still recovering from his match against Darin Zion earlier in the night.
Behind them all, near one of the nearby mini-fridges, is Maksim Stepanov. He’s not dressed casually, but not nearly as well as Arina. With his greasy, slicked back blonde hair, he has on a red polo shirt and khaki pants.
Speedy Riggs, true to his name, speeds in from the right and claps his hands. Riggs wears a red and yellow Hawaiian shirt, complete with hammers and sickles all about, which brings out the real “easy going proletarian” vibe along with a black belt and pants. His afro bobbles as he looks about.
Speedy Riggs: Okay, he’s coming!
Ruslan exhales and nods his head. He looks over his shoulder at Maksim and hisses once.
Alexei Ruslan: Fall in, Maksim!
When Ruslan turns back to the camera, Maksim briefly rolls his eyes and shambles over next to the Masters of the Moscowerse.
It’s not an earthquake, but if there was a glass of water nearby it certainly would be rippling. All members of The Red Army can feel it, while Riggs pulls a microphone out from his back pocket and looks at the camera.
Speedy Riggs: Okay Yanukovich, you have the shot?
The camera bobs up and down. A nod. That explains where the techie, Yanukovich, must be. Speedy nods and looks at the camera.
Speedy Riggs: Comrades of PRIME! This is the official Red Army interviewer, Speedy Riggs, and at any mom—
The door, off camera, swings open with a WHOOSH and a SLAM as the behemoth Universal Champion, Ivan Stanislav, barges into the room with the Universal Title firmly around his wide waist. Whatever was on the wall where the door slammed is now pulverized.
The camera has to adjust upwards so as not to cut Ivan’s head off. The group behind Riggs beam with expectation while Stanislav stands next to Riggs and flails his arms. Riggs composes himself while Stanislav speaks in Russian.
Ivan Stanislav: Я опаздываю?! (Am I late?!)
Alexei, Speedy, and Arina nearly talk over each other.
Alexei Ruslan: Нет. (No.)
Arina Timofeyevna: Нет, Старший Прапорщик. (No, Strashy Praporshchik.)
Speedy Riggs: No! Right on time, Comrade Universal Champion!
Randall gives a thumbs up with a smile, hoping Stanislav reads that as the “all clear” it is intended to be, while Kenny confirms this verbally.
Kenny Freeman: All clear!
See? Simple, easy.
Stanislav turns to the camera and his mouth spreads into a wide smile.
Ivan Stanislav: Well then, dear friends of PRIME! Your Universal Champion takes time out of busy ringside post to offer to you fantastic news! Today, we reveal guest of great honor tonight! Last ReVival, Speedy Riggs made triumphant return to Red Army, and so many others have been clamoring to be part of this great organization of ours. But! This is not done willy-nilly, people of PRIME. I want to introduce consistent, great friend of Red Army:
Stanislav motions off to the side, and much to the shock of the entire KFC YUM! Center as they watch on PRIMEview, none other than PRIME’s Worst Nightmare, The Perilously Provocative Painmonger, Arthur Pleasant, walks in next to him.
Ivan Stanislav: Arthur Pleasant!!
Stanislav lets out his raucous laugh and clasps his hand on Pleasant’s shoulder, engulfing it. Meek Arina gently shifts away from Pleasant and swaps places with Alexei, so that Arthur is flanked by Ivan and Alexei and she is away from him. It’s clear to Arthur that he is beaming with pride being situated between these two benevolent souls.
Ivan Stanislav: Arthur. Few people know great injustices which exist in PRIME as well as you do. Management of this company do very little to help protect you. Hooliganism is rampant. It is but small consolation that I am, of course, Universal Champion.
Stanislav clears his throat and studies Pleasant carefully.
Ivan Stanislav: Arthur. You have been friend of Russia for long time. Why, you were born in Alaska, which by rights should still be Russian. You have consistently stood up for little guy, like all of us do. You have fought with passion and fervor and without restraint. You have unabashedly defended myself and my comrades, and have shown, through and through, strength of your ironclad character.
Ivan looks over Arthur’s head for a moment to Alexei, and then back down at “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare.”
Ivan Stanislav: This is why I, Starshy Praporshchik Stanislav, invite you to join ranks of Red Army. It is not small responsibility, however, Arthur. You must pledge to defend us all as your closest comrades. You must stand against the tyranny of capitalists who poison PRIME. I will tolerate no selfishness or bourgeois thinking. Of course, same sentiment is extended to you. Every member is valuable piece of revolutionary struggle which must be cultivated. So then, what do you say?
Pleasant drops to his knees rather harshly, in what looks to be a short prayer of some kind. Ivan looks at Alexei, who shrugs, indicating a certain level of aloofness to Arthur doing this. A minute, maybe less, goes by and he finally gets back to his feet.
Arthur Pleasant: My apologies, Starshy Praporshchik Stanislav. I felt compelled to thank the Gods for this moment. Ever since I was a young boy, I relished the thought of being a part of something bigger. When I arrived in HOW and Leeroy Best accepted Jeffrey James Roberts and I into the “Best Alliance,” I never felt like we were a part of something bigger. I felt like we were mere pawns in a visionless quest for interfamily power. When I was in the SHOOT Project and tried to lead my friends to the promised land, only for them to abandon me right before we reached the pinnacle of success, it was nothing short of demoralizing.
Pleasant pauses, semi-genuinely wiping away tears.
Arthur Pleasant: But to hear you say those words, Starshy Praporshchik? To hear you invite me into your cause? It’s like a MegaElixir to the heart. I would die for you, Ivan! And you, Alexei! A thousand times over, even if it meant an eternity of rusty needles being shoved up my dickhole. I will not allow our enemies to storm the gates and try to subvert our faith in this… this war. I pledge my undying loyalty to you, Starshy Praporshchik! Now, with what sharp tool do I need to slice my hand open, for this pledge? Is there a sieve nearby I can drain my wrists into for The Red Army? Because I will-
Pleasant stops himself mid-sentence and pulls out a small razor blade.
Arthur Pleasant: -be more than happy to give as much blood as needed for the cause! Just tell me where to cut and I’m your Jigsawberry.
He goes to rip into his arm…
…Alexei looks for a sieve in his pockets…
…Arina yelps and covers her eyes…
…Speedy silently whistles and his eyes widen…
…and Stanislav grips Pleasant’s razor blade wielding hand at the wrist and holds it fast.
Ivan Stanislav: Comrade Pleasant. I appreciate bloodletting for cause! But why not save it for ring, and make it come from Coral Avalon, eh?
Stanislav’s expression grows a little harder and carries with it a bit more seriousness.
Ivan Stanislav: Make your first match in The Red Army a win.
Arthur nods. Pleasantly.
Arthur Pleasant: Oh. Well, I mean, that’s a lot less painful.
Arthur Pleasant: For me, at least.
Stanislav claps and straightens his back. His height enables him to not only tower over everyone around him, but also seemingly wrap up the entire room. Riggs is smiling happily, Alexei rubs his hands together, Randall and Kenny just look at each other, almost bewildered by the decision, Arina smiles nervously and Maksim idly looks at this phone, then snaps up at the cameras.
In that moment, Arthur suddenly disappears from the camera?! There’s rustling out of camera shot, and as Yanukovich angles the camera down (and cuts off Ivan’s head), Arthur has crawled behind Alexei, to the other side of Arina, and sits cross-cross, bearing his infamous fangs for the camera. He flutters his hair back and tries to roughly comb it with his right hand, but doesn’t exactly succeed. Arina jumps, as if a rat crawled across her shoe, and she rushes behind Alexei and Ivan to the other side of The Russian Bear and nearly clings to him.
Ivan Stanislav spreads his arms wide.
Ivan Stanislav: Here we are, PRIME! Another member of Red Army! Another individual who understands importance of collective effort. Together, as one, we shall smash all who stand in our way! The Red Era continues and nothing, and no one, can stop us!
The mass of humanity is telling. The Red Army stands as a force capable of attack on all fronts. Logistically from Maksim, Yanukovich, and the slowly relaxing Arina, to comrades of old who have answered the call like Speedy Riggs. The Masters of the Moscowverse, despite their initial hesitation to say the least, are quick to bring contemporary energy and relevance otherwise lost to the older members. Behind the eyes of smirking Alexei Ruslan is nothing but zeal, and the overpowering force of will, not to mention physical prowess, of Ivan Stanislav almost eclipses them all. But now? The seated, smirking, sharp toothed Arthur Pleasant offers chaotic precision and wholesale bloodletting.
It is a picture perfect moment that Speedy Riggs cannot miss. He pulls a phone out of his pocket and tosses it up to Ivan, who barely catches it without crushing it.
Speedy Riggs: Ivan! Take a selfie, huh?!
Stanislav smirks, and after an awkward moment of making the phone work, because the phone is so small, and he is so big, he stretches his huge arm out and turns the camera to the side.
Ivan Stanislav: Everyone. Say. LENIN!!!
Everyone more or less says “LENIN” as the shutter clicks on the phone and Ivan tosses it back to Speedy Riggs. While there’s cheering, hooping, and hollering amongst the gathered masses of red revolutionaries, not to mention many congratulations for Arthur Pleasant, one sound is certainly most prevalent.
We don’t need to put whose name it goes along with. You know.