We come back from commercial and see a sweat covered Arthur Pleasant. His upper body glistens under the backstage lights as dried blood stains the area around his mouth. “My God!” he thinks, reflecting on the war with TAL he just went through. It left him feeling rejuvenated. Alive, even. After several weeks of irrevocably changing a man’s nature, the end result was a true blessing. He believed TAL left every bit of his strength, anger, and wrestling prowess on the mat in front of thousands, and Pleasant wouldn’t have it any other way.
In fact, TAL should be thanking him.
Slicking his long, black hair back and exposing more of his undercut, Pleasant smiles like a man who just had the best meal of his life. An equipment box on wheels sits idly by next to a steel frame designed to hold equipment for pyrotechnics that has gone unused throughout the night. Hopping up onto the equipment box, Pleasant reaches into the waistband of his wrestling gear and pulls out the same pack of Newports we’ve seen him pull out before.
As Arthur smacks the bottom of the pack, Yuri waltzes into the camera’s view looking as emotionless as always.
Arthur Pleasant: (wincing slightly from the aftereffects of his match) YURSTER, MY BOY! I was wondering where you disappeared to.
Yuri shakes his head.
Yuri: I had some things to take care of with our mutual friend.
The Siberian Silencer zeroes in on the cigarettes Pleasant is PRIMEing.
Yuri: Did you have a pack of cigarettes on you the whole match?
The gargantuan of a man leans back on the steel frame next to Pleasant. Arthur laughs as he tucks a cigarette between his crimson lips.
Arthur Pleasant: Haha. Of course not. I kept them at Gorilla. That’d be something, though, wouldn’t it? Especially if they remained intact after something like a shooting star press!
Yuri: Uh… da.
Arthur and Yuri just stand there for several moments. Arthur, enjoying his cigarette, finally breaks the silence once the orange glow reaches the halfway point.
Arthur Pleasant: I guess it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway; I was telling the truth all along. The good guys just don’t win… even when they win.
Pleasant takes another heavy drag.
Arthur Pleasant: Not in a world this cruel and unforgiving. I’m willing to bet a month’s pay that the next person MASK introduces himself to, like the artificial pest that he is, won’t be as snarky about it. Because you just don’t know what someone might do when you show them a lack of respect.
Pleasant turns his head sideways and winks at Yuri with a contented aura about him.
Arthur Pleasant: Speaking of a lack of respect, I have half a mind to clean up the JABBERwockies from PRIME. Seems like birds of a feather truly do flock together here. What do you think, Yuri?
Yuri: Your call. You could always go after a championship.
Pleasant laughs and shakes his head.
Arthur Pleasant: Are you kidding me? I’m one loss away from being a punchline in this place like a Zion or a Mephisto. No, not yet. As much as I would love to throw my hat into the Intense or 5-Star title picture, it’s not the right time. I appreciate the confidence, comrade. Besides, there’s not a chance in hell La Presidenta would feel enough warmth towards me to give me a chance like that. So, no. I have a little cleansing to do around here. Maybe actually win a few more matches before I start collecting belts. Right now, I’m more than happy to collect some pelts.
Smirking, he finishes his cigarette and puts the lit end out on the equipment box.
Arthur Pleasant: One thing I do know for sure, though? I need to have a chat with Ivan.
Pleasant turns to walk away but stops once he realizes Yuri is still leaning on the steel frame.
Arthur Pleasant: Come along now, Yuri. You’re a part of this now, too.
Arthur and Yuri head off down the hallway of PetCo Park while we head back out to the ring.