HANDS ARE NOT FOR HITTING
It’s not often that King Blueberry gets the full-blown interview treatment. He’ll tell you that it’s because this sort of thing isn’t really his vibe, which is true; he’s never been a fan of situations he doesn’t control. The reality is that most interviewers just don’t want to deal with him. Angelica Brooks, renowned and venerated in the industry, is not most interviewers. If there’s anyone capable enough to get legitimate answers, it’s her.
King Blueberry and a redhead. What could possibly go wrong?
Angelica Brooks: Tonight, PRIME will crown its first tag-team champions of the new era. I’m here with King Blueberry ahead of our main event.
For his part, King Blueberry is calm, almost serene, with the faint hints of a smile playing at his lips.
Angelica Brooks: King Blueberry – Jared – it’s no secret that there’s been some tension between yourself and Jonathan Rhine over the last few months, and tonight you’ll be stepping into the ring against each other for the second time since PRIME re-opened its doors.
At the mention of Rhine’s name, the berry reflexively runs a hand along his jaw.
King Blueberry: Yeah. First time didn’t go so well for me. Rev 4. I wonder if he’s still pissed about the whole taser thing.
Angelica Brooks: Two weeks ago things between you escalated going into the final Survivor challenge, and the cameras caught you saying, “that one I had coming.” I was wondering if you’d elaborate on that one for us.
He nods along as she speaks, and when the microphone is presented for him to answer, he starts to speak, thinks better, and contemplates the answer. This happens two more times before words finally escape the berry, but to Angie’s credit she never lets him dodge the question or give him an out. It’s why she’s paid the big bucks.
King Blueberry: So, the short answer is that I got angry, and dredged up something that I shouldn’t have. I tried to make a point, I guess. I’ve heard it from Jon for as long as I’ve known him, just a constant stream of “here is everything you’re doing wrong.” And it’s easy to judge when you never take a good, long look at yourself. And, so, I went about it the worst way I possibly could. So yeah. Had that one comin’.
Angelica Brooks: And what would you say the nature of your relationship is now?
King Blueberry: Complicated.
She waits for more, but it doesn’t come.
King Blueberry: Sorry, that’s about the best I can give you right now.
Angelica Brooks: A moment ago you mentioned how the first time you stepped in a ring with Fighting For Nora that things didn’t go in your favor. At the time you were using a mannequin as your partner. I know that a contract has been issued by Killean Sirajin’s office recently. Does this mean you think tonight will go any differently?
The smile spreads like wildfire across his face. He tries to control it, to reign it in, but fails.
King Blueberry: I can confirm that there will not be a mannequin wrestling tonight.
The disappointment from the assembled crowd at the MGM Grand is audible, even backstage.
His next comment is directed at everyone who just made their displeasure known.
King Blueberry: (laughing) Oh, shut up. It’s not like he’s going away. SCG is here to stay.
Sorry, Joe Fontaine.
King Blueberry: He just won’t be in the ring tonight. Hopefully never again, but we’ll take it week by week. As for the rest of your question… will tonight go any differently? I don’t know. There’s a big part of me that wants to end the night a winner. Not just for me, but for the person I’m going out there with.
The mask has always only covered half of his face, so it’s still somewhat noticeable when his cheeks flush.
King Blueberry: And then there’s a part of me that doesn’t care, because this is already a good day.
Angelica Brooks: How do you see this matching playing out?
His posture noticeably tenses, and for the first time since this conversation started the smile wanes.
King Blueberry: Call it a hunch, but I think I’m probably getting punched tonight.
“Yeah, prolly a good bet.”
Angelica turns as Paxton Ray walks up behind her. The brawler notices Blueberry’s reaction and smiles.
Paxton Ray: Don’t get all fighty on me. I ain’t here for an early session.
Angelica, the professional that she is, turns and puts the microphone in Paxton’s face.
Paxton Ray: I jus’ wanted to say before we go out there tonight that…well, I think I was a little too harsh on ya.
The berry’s first reaction is to glance back over his shoulder. After all, a blindside or distraction attack is commonplace in the world of professional wrestling. Almost fifteen years of experience has taught him that it’s not something in the Rhine playbook, but old habits die hard.
King Blueberry: Okay, so this is… unexpected. But you’ve got my attention, so fire away.
Perhaps a poor choice of words, given the history here.
King Blueberry: What’s up?
Paxton Ray: When I got here I didn’t know anybody, and I thought ya were just a fuckin’ weirdo. And ya prolly still are.
Blueberry nods, naturally.
Paxton Ray: But then I saw how hard ya fought. How ya kept coming out on top, even as ya saddled yourself with a useless hunk’a plastic. And I saw ya with Nora. So yeah, I punched ya after, and I’ll punch ya again tonight, because that’s jus’ what I do. But I wanted t’tell ya that I respect ya.
Paxton holds up a fist expectantly; not for punching, but for bumping. The gesture is returned in kind.
King Blueberry: I meant what I said at the fundraiser… about you guys being strong. And I wish for both your sakes that you didn’t have to be. That said, I’ll make sure I have the ice packs and frozen peas ready. You know, for later.
With one finger the berry traces a slow circle in the air around his face.
King Blueberry: Shit, at this point it’s just tradition.
Paxton nods and begins to walk away. He stops, then hangs his hand on the wall for a second before turning around.
Paxton Ray: An’ for what it’s worth. No matter what he says to ya…Jon respects the hell outta ya too. It’s why he’s so pumped tonight. So whatever beef y’all have between ya…hopefully one day it’s gone.
He turns around again and walks away.
Paxton Ray: An’ if I can help with that in any way, I will.
King Blueberry nods for a moment, and then turns back to Angie.
King Blueberry: Well then. Guess tonight just got a little more interesting. I appreciate the time, but I’ve, you know, got to go see a guy about a half-dozen smoke machines.
The last thing the camera catches before fading is our intrepid interviewer mouthing the words “smoke machines” with a furrowed brow.