I KEEP RUNNING INTO THIS GUY
T-Mobile Arena. Yeah, the show is already one match deep (should be two, but big oops on that Alias Title match), but The Anglo Luchador doesn’t necessarily have to be in Kansas City this week. He goes to every show, mainly because if he didn’t, a parliament of owls would dig their talons deep into his back and carry him there. But not being booked affords him the ability to show up a little late. Besides, as long as he got there before the Five Star Title match, he was golden.
Still, as he walks the hallways backstage at the arena, he can’t help but feel unsettled. Last week’s encounter with Arthur Pleasant left him cold, and that chill permeates every step he takes. He looks around frantically as he progresses through the corridors. The hustle and bustle are real, people milling about, wrestlers stretching, arena employees moving boxes. He sees no sign of Pleasant after nearly getting to the locker room, and he breathes a sigh of relief.
Except right before the door to his destination, almost materializing out of nowhere, Arthur Pleasant and an especially menacing looking man standing behind him appear in front of the luchador.
Arthur Pleasant: Good evening. Funny we keep running into each other, huh.
The luchador is taken aback by the suddenness at which the duo appeared in front of him, but also because Pleasant’s companion looks, for lack of a better term, mean-as-fuck.
TAL: Who the hell is that?
Arthur Pleasant: My associate? Oh, that’s Yuri Reznikov. He means no harm unless… well… I want harm done. Hehe. But therein lies the rub. Do I want harm done unto you, o vapid man who hides behind a mask? Do I, do I, oh ever do I?!
Arthur Pleasant: Something about you still vexes me. People love you here, but what have you done that’s been worthy of such affection? For example, now, you greet my associate with crass surprise and not a hello.
TAL: Well, you just app…
Arthur Pleasant: And rude too! SO rude. Mm. Not even letting me continue my assessment of your utter fraudulence. No wonder you hide behind a mask, keeping your true face from the world. But I wonder what other emotions you hide behind there. Is there hatred? Disgust?
Pleasant leans in uncomfortably closely and inhales in exaggerated fashion through his nose.
Arthur Pleasant: Fear?
TAL: Can I answer now, or are you going to snap at me for not letting you blather on? I have things to get done here…
Arthur Pleasant: What, you don’t enjoy this conversation? Does it cut a little too close to the core for you, masked man? Would you prefer we do it over Jabber where you like to run your mouth incessantly? That way I couldn’t possibly look into what’s behind that mask? Truth is, amigo, I think you’re hiding quite a bit of fear behind that mask.
TAL: If I tell you that I am quaking in my boots every waking minute of my life, will you let me pass?
Pleasant rolls his eyes. Yuri snarls again in disgust.
Arthur Pleasant: Why are you soooo fucking quick to patronize me?! Uggggh. See, this is why I have such a problem with you, luchador.
TAL: Really? Because I said hi to you two weeks ago and you’ve been doing armchair Freud on me ever since? Like, maybe you could hit the bars with me after, share a beer, some conversation, you could…
Pleasant interrupts the luchador with an eardrum-piercing cackle.
Arthur Pleasant: You really think I’m the kind of person who breaks bread after work? Who takes kindly to condescending sobriquets from happy-go-lucky little twerps? Do you honestly think you know me well enough to warrant such ineptitude?!
TAL: Not really? Uh, that’s why I think it’d be cool to ha…
Arthur Pleasant: You really like to hear yourself talk, don’t you? Always quick with a quip. You’re the kind of guy who has to be the first one to say something funny or sarcastic when you don’t know how to deal with the unknown. Funniest guy in the room syndrome, but call it. I’ve seen it before, too. HOW. SHOOT Project. My days back in Japan. So on and so forth. And right away, I recognize it here in PRIME with you!
Pleasant finally pauses, scoffing at TAL as he shakes his head. Yuri looks like he’s about to pound something before Arthur waves his hand with the flick of a wrist.
Arthur Pleasant: Regardless, your ignorance will reward you with a prize worthy of your fear and hubris. Until the moment I decide to award it to you, be on guard. You don’t know when the hour will come. You don’t know how it will happen. You don’t know where it will go down. But just know this, ‘friend’: it’s happening. It’s fucking happening and there’s not a goddamn thing you or anyone else can do to stop it.
Pleasant’s eyes narrow. Stepping up to TAL, he does so with the Seven-Foot Mean-Muggin’ Russian directly behind him. Knowing his counterpart isn’t stupid enough to do anything at this moment, he simply snorts and walks away. Yuri gives the luchador one last scowl before following.
TAL: I have the worst luck with people in this fucking company.
The camera cuts from the hallway to the ring, where Vince Howard is ready to introduce the third match of the night.