I WOULD DIVE FOR YOU
It’s the 1980’s. Ok, it’s 2023, but the sound of these guitar riffs mean it feels like the 1980’s. That’s the opening ten seconds of “You’re The Best” by Joe “Bean” Esposito. Bean, of course, being the most common nickname for Joseph.
Nick Stuart: (audibly shuffling papers) Bobby Dean’s match is next, but I don’t have this accounted for on the call sheet.
Richard Parker: (totally unfazed) This song just makes me think of Karate Kid. Once drank a lovely Yamazaki scotch with Pat Morita. Real nice guy.
Not a karate kid, not even a karate man, is he who emerges from the top of the ramp. It’s Beautiful Bobby Dean, in all his glory. The robe. The matching shiny boots. The architecturally majestic swoop of hair that would be at home atop an SEC head football coach. And the people of San Diego…do not love it.
Nick Stuart: I can’t say I understand the reason for the season here, but the PRIME faithful are none too pleased at the early arrival of Mr. Dean.
Richard Parker: There’s a few nutjobs out there popping for this guy. And to those loonballs, most of whom seem headed for drunk & disorderlies tonight, I say bravo.
It seems like most of the announce team wasn’t ready for this because Vince Howard is still sitting in his ringside chair. The camera cut to him shows the head announcer looking confusedly up at the ramp. Here to cut aside the confusion, though, is Bobby Dean, who has a mic in hand and starts to address the Petco crowd as he strolls down the ramp.
Bobby Dean: I got some Cracking News of my own for y’all tonight. First: This has to be, without a doubt, the worst Tropical Turmoil of all-time. Did you know they’re not even serving frozen pina coladas back there? This just seems like totally REGULAR turmoil. How boring.
Nick Stuart: I…don’t think wrestlers are legally allowed to drink before their matches?
Richard Parker: I like a free thinker. Let’s hear him out.
Bobby Dean: Thirdly: I’m about to get a sweet supershow pay day, because I’ve been boning my body and honing my mind, while my opponent is certainly no match for me. If I were you, I’d go to DanDuel – that’s my friend Dan’s gambling website – and bet the house on Bobby Dean to show. Speaking of Cancer Sonada, let’s bring him on out so I can embarrass him on this here ole mic before I wrestle circles around him in the ring. And don’t play any good music for this guy, mister DJ.
“I said ‘kiss me, you’re beautiful’
These are truly the last days'”
Nick Stuart: That’s Chandler Tsonda’s music. But we saw that ludicrous stunt double of his last night, so I can only imagine…
Bobby Dean: NEXT!
On Dean’s command, instead of the expected Coheed and Cambria tune that would announce Real Chandler Tsonda, it’s…
… When Jason was at the table
I kept on seeing him look at me when he was with that other girl
Do you think he was just doing that to make me jealous?
Because he was totally texting me all night last night
And I don’t know if it’s a booty call or not
So, like what do you think?
Did you think that girl was pretty?
How did that girl even get in here?
…the intro to “#SELFIE” by the Chainsmokers.
Richard Parker: Love the Chainsmokers, man. Only their early stuff.
And instead of a real wrestler or person who would make any sense appearing at this show, out from the back emerges Doppeltsonda. The San Diego faithful, desperate to see their hometown guy, flat out do not like this.
Nick Stuart: Let me be the first person, but probably not the last, to apologize for what you’re seeing, fans.
Doppeltsonda does the dorkiest shit imaginable at the top of the ramp. He’s got a pale imitation of Tsonda’s gear, and he shadowboxes in place, as if he’s gotten the stage direction “look like a tough guy.” He’s got a mic, and he’s barely able to be heard over the boos as he tries to play his part in this farce.
Not Chandler Tsonda: Bobby Dean, you’re an incredibly impressive wrestler, and an even more impressive man. I have to admit: I’m quaking in my boots right now. I’m scared. I’m afraid. I just want you to take pity on me. Let me leave with my dignity.
Bobby Dean: Afraid I can’t do that, Definitely The Real Chandler Tsonda. You’re going to have to come down here and collect this whooping.
Not Chandler Tsonda: Is there anything I could do to make you show mercy?
Bobby Dean: (forgetting his part for a second) Yeah, did you see anywhere to get a frozen pina colad…no, you know what, Definitely The Real Chandler Tsonda – a guy I am totally about to beat and have all the record books show it – I have to put on a show for these great wrestling fans here in San Francisco and put you down.
Not Chandler Tsonda: (sighs) Alright, but I’m just begging you to go easy on me.
Doppeltsonda jogs down to the ring.
Nick Stuart: Surely, this is not going to be allowed. This is an obvious ploy by Bobby Dean to take advantage of Chandler Tsonda’s absence and earn a win.
Richard Parker: Dean could’ve just gotten a forfeit win, since Tinkerbell isn’t showing up. At least we’re getting this messed up stage play out of the whole thing.
Doppeltsonda enters the ring. The bell hasn’t rung, but it seems like mere ceremony. Bobby Dean takes one small step towards Doppeltsonda, and gives a two-finger poke to the chest. Doppeltsonda goes down like he’s been hit by a sniper. He does a very theater kid death spasm, lets out a howl, and then falls onto his back, eye closed, tongue lolling out of his mouth.
Nick Stuart: Oh, come on.
Bobby Dean: Here you have it, San Junipero. “Beautiful” Bobby Dean has felled the mighty Chandler Tsonda. Now all that’s left to do is ring that bell and we can all count to three together.
BBD takes one step towards the prone Doppeltsonda. Forgetting to play dead for the cameras, the Tsonda double looks up at Bobby and does a cornball wink and a thumbs up, then goes back to being fake unconscious.
“I said ‘kiss me, you’re beautiful’
These are truly the last days'”
Bobby Dean: (turns to the PRIME*View) You are screwing up music cues left and right, now’s not the time to play crappy music!
That’s the sound of a lightly-but-violently plucked guitar. The first tiptoeing notes of Coheed & Cambria’s “Welcome Home.”
Welcome home, indeed.
Nick Stuart: The jig is UP! Ladies and gentlemen, that is a sound we describe in this business as a roar, and it is for none other than…
Richard Parker: (interrupting) A way to ruin a perfectly good night.
Bobby Dean: Uhm, I think the ‘beetus is flaring up because I’m seeing double here. And one of them is looking really mean. Like bad mean. Ellen Degeneres mean. This can’t be—
It’s really him. Top of the ramp. Here in his home city. Looking plenty mean. In the pinstriped Padres jersey, number 11. Yu Darvish, that’s the homie.
And on the bottom: yeah, that’s his ring gear. Which means, importantly, that he’s looking ready to fight.
WEL-COME HOME! WEL-COME HOME! WEL-COME HOME!
Nick Stuart: Chandler Tsonda hasn’t said a word, and this place is absolutely electric! The roof is going to come off!
The Model Citizen has a mic. Of course he has a mic. The feedback of the crowd buzzes as he raises it to his lips. He stares lasers in both his body double gone wrong and Bobby Dean.
Chandler Tsonda, For Real This Time: (points to the ring) …you. (points to Doppeltsonda) That guy’s gonna run away. (points to Bobby Dean) And then I’m gonna flay you. (points to the crowd) And all these people? They’re gonna lose their goddamn minds.
Chandler Tsonda: Now ring that motherfucking bell.
The Model Citizen, drunk on the hometown pop and with a noticeable edge, is sprinting to the ring before mic hits the ground. And in the corner of the frame, as Tsonda slides in under the bottom ropes, is the sight of the body double he once hired, scampering away into the night.
Nick Stuart: Well it’s not how we would’ve predicted getting here, but we’ve got our two competitors in the ring, we’ve got a livewire crowd, and we are ready to go here in San Diego!