LET’S GET HYPED!
“I was never The Guy.”
We fade in.
The locker room is decorated like a lunatic’s basement, which tracks, because most of these items are usually stored in one. There’s a porcelain garden gnome setup on the floor by a bench. A half dozen mannequin heads of different genders and colors are scattered not far from it. There are two turkey costumes. One rests on a folding chair nearby. The other dangles from the ceiling.
Don’t ask about the penis costume that’s been setup on a very different mannequin in the background. The less said about that the better.
In the middle of all of this, Jared Sykes sits on the bench with the hood of his sweatshirt pulled over his head.
Jared Sykes: (voiceover) Maybe it’s more accurate to say I was never supposed to be The Guy.
Quick cut to a much younger version of him walking to the ring at the height of his cargo shorts phase. The gnome is held over his shoulder.
Another shot, and he’s arguing with it at ringside.
Then Jared is standing on top of a ladder unhooking a championship in front of tens of thousands. A moment later, he’s leaning against the inside of a massive steel cage with his forehead busted open.
Over each of these four clips is the caption “Footage courtesy of the National Wrestling Council.”
Jared Sykes: (voiceover) Opportunities didn’t come my way very often, and when they did, well…
A new clip shows the hero of our vignette standing in front of a black tapestry with the gold and red lettering of Sin City adorning it. He’s dressed like a penis for reasons that aren’t getting explained here.
Jared Sykes: (voiceover) Sometimes they were earned through questionable means. But every once and a while…
Bloodied, bruised, and with a left hand whose fingers are bent in unnatural directions, he kneels on a canvas stained red. Tears stream down his cheeks as he cradles the only world championship to his credit in his one good arm.
“Footage courtesy of The Kensington Foundation.”
Jared Sykes: (voiceover) The facade falls away, and they all have to reconcile with the idea that the weird kid with the gnome ain’t so bad after all.
Rapid shots now. Victory at Great American Nightmare, and the all-timer tag title run it catalyzed. The aftermath of the defenses since. Standing tall for the first time without the Blueberry mask after the main event of Colossus while Paxton Ray struggles to retain consciousness at his feet.
Back in the locker room, he rises to his feet and pulls the hood back.
Jared Sykes: Maybe it’s time to remind ‘em.
He moves towards the door, and the scene fades.
The Anglo Luchador
There is a man standing in front of a green screen, which currently shows the Culture Shock logo. That man wears a purple and green mask, and his eyes are flared open wider than those eyeholes are wide. Is he on cocaine? No, he swore never again after that night in Tuxtla Gutierrez. He’s on something though. And he’s ready to yell at a camera in advance of his entry into the Battle Royale.
He’s the motherfucking Anglo Luchador.
TAL: What’s up, pendejos? I am The Anglo Luchador. I’ve never wrestled for DEFIANCE, and you won’t catch me back in that infested shithole known as The Best Arena again if I have anything to say about it. I used to work for a bunch of companies before now, but they won’t be important again until I retire. You know what is important right fuckin’ now?
TAL: So many of you assholes use this company as a resume booster. For me, it’s life. It’s home. And it’s where I aim to be the best, no matter what anyone else has to say about it. This is real to me. The Universal Championship is the only thing that matters to me. Right now, 39 other people are in my way. Some of them are real ones, but a lot of them nerds just want to take home the title that [Ivan/Hayes/Erik] has as a cheap trinket to show their daddy.
TAL: If you want it that bad, you’re going to have to claim it over my dead body. I’m throwing as many of you over the top rope as I can, and then at Tropical Turmoil, I’m taking the only thing I came back for, the only thing that means a good goddamn in this industry. Spoiler alert, it ain’t the Alias Championship.
Coral Avalon: Legacy…
Coral Avalon’s back faces the camera, his lion-themed fur cloak taking up most of the real-estate of the screen as he speaks.
Coral Avalon: I don’t have a family legacy to live up to. I’m not Joe or Sid, whose fathers cast long shadows over the two of them before they were old enough to be potty trained. I’m not Nate Colton, born to a beautiful wrestling family. I’m not Tyler Best, grandson to a pirate magnate that rules over Chicago with a ballpoint pen at hand. I’m not Eddie Cross, who – like it or not – still represents his father’s legacy. I’m not even FLAMBERGE, whose father wanted to live vicariously through the unparalleled talent of his son.
He pauses, taking a few moments to breathe. He looks off-camera for a few moments, collecting his thoughts.
Coral Avalon: I’m not Brandon Youngblood, or Matt Ward, or Nova, or Ivan Stanislav… even Tony Gamble… all of their legacies were cemented before I even joined PRIME for the first time. I’m not Jared Sykes, or Justine Calvin… I’m not Rezin, or Hayes Hanlon, or Nate Colton. The cement on their legacies are already drying.
The Crownless King pauses, before he turns to face the camera.
Coral Avalon: But all of you with your legacies cemented… you need to know something. I want it. I’m taking my crown. I want the Universal championship. If you’re in my way, get out of it. Save yourselves. Because right now, I’ll fight anyone to get a shot at that thing. I’ll fight anyone to build a legacy for myself in this place. And if you get in my way, there won’t be anyone to save you.
He smiles dangerously.
Coral Avalon: Thy kingdom come.
Then he walks off.
Eddie Cross: Culture Shock. They say that this is a prestigious event. They say that there will be thirty nine other people competing for a shot at the titles. There will be special entrants and big surprises. All this talk about shocking big names from the past, old wrestlers trying for their one last shot at glory. They’re forgetting one important shock: The future.
Scenes of Eddie defeating Mushigihara, streaming to his fans, and smashing the gaming laptop over Mike McGee’s head flash on the screen.
Eddie Cross: Clinging to what was will not protect you from what is coming. The new generation of PRIME is ready to step forward and put the past where it belongs.
Images of older wrestlers like The Anglo Luchador, Tony Gamble, and Brandon Youngblood flash on the screen.
Eddie Cross: The first rule of game theory is to anticipate the other player. A lot of people in PRIME are so worried about their own problems that they don’t think about the others and their role in the game. The key to the theory is that one player’s payoff is contingent on the strategy implemented by other players.
The feed changes to Eddie gaming and defeating his enemy decisively.
Eddie Cross: Unfortunately, sometimes you aren’t the hero of the story. Sometimes you are just a side quest. Sometimes you are an NPC. There’s no room for emotion. This is about a cold calculated fact. The fact is this isn’t your world, it’s mine, and I am going to take out everyone else on the leaderboard until I’m on top.
A familiar bloody font that says “Flawless Victory” shows up on the video package.
Eddie Cross: My first big PRIME event and it’s a Battle Royale? Bruh, I’m used to 99 to 1 odds. 39 to 1?
Eddie looks directly into the camera.
Eddie Cross: GG.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall is in front of a camera… until Vickie pops up from in front of him.
Vickie Hall: My man is rewriting his PRIME journey! He is entering the battle royal and taking names and kicking ass and destroying destroying DES TROY ING everything in his path to reclaim our rightful spot at the top of the mountain! PRIME will witness the greatest love story of all when my Amazing Life Partner WINSSSSS!!
Her man doesn’t look confident. Instead, he can barely take a breath without looking like he’s going to lose his mind.
Vickie turns to Jonathan-Christopher and pats him on the forehead.
Vickie Hall: Let’s go get it!
Somewhere, resplendent in a silk kimono and flower crown to add to his ring gear, is Sage Pontiff. The Bodhisattva is seated in a room, full lotus position, and his smile is easy as he begins to speak–no nerves or pressure will affect him, it seems.
Sage Pontiff: You have been concerned with the why of my lesson.
He taps his tanned chest lightly.
Sage Pontiff: But you do not take the lesson to heart.
With a finger in the air, the Bodhisattva begins to preach.
Sage Pontiff: Let me tell you a parable. A great general is shot with an arrow smeared thickly with poison. So his companions call the surgeon, right? But the general stops his work. He says ‘Slow down, man. I won’t have this removed until I know if the man who shot me was noble, a brigand, a priest, a warrior. Until I know his height, his village, the family he came from. Until I know if the bow that fired it was long or short, the type of arrowhead…’ On and on and on. And you know what?
His eyes sparkle.
Sage Pontiff: He dies. And he still doesn’t know those things.
With a sigh, Sage looks to us. His smile drops. His eyes are pleading, warm, brilliant.
Sage Pontiff: All I’m asking you to do is the important thing.
Tap to the sternum.
Sage Pontiff: Pluck the arrow from your chest. Don’t let speculation and conjecture kill you.
His smile comes back–whiplash from how quickly he can embrace different emotional weights.
Sage Pontiff: Don’t worry–I’ll help. And once the arrow has been removed–once I am atop the mountain, so high that I can see the patterns in the seasons and the flow of energy from each of you to one another?
Sage Pontiff: Then I will reach down and help every one of you up. I will bring you to the mountaintop.
The Bodhisattva stands up, unfolding himself to his lanky height. His brilliant smile drops to something sinister.
Sage Pontiff: Whether you want it or not. Namaste.
With a low bow and his brilliant grin back on, he strides off.
Rocky de Leon
Rocky de Leon is facing away from the camera. Scene is tight on the back of his head panning around close enough to display the stitching in his mask.
Rocky de Leon: I hear what the others say behind my back. They think I’m unproven, think I don’t have it in me. I’m not hard enough. Bad enough. Strong enough.
The camera backs out revealing what looks like green cloth with a scale pattern.
Rocky de Leon: You think because I have a conscience, morals, and ethics that I’m weak. That I’m just another mouse being chased by the big cats.
Camera shot switches to Rocky’s hands cinching his boot laces.
Rocky de Leon: You don’t know me.
The laces tie tightly, and the shot slowly backs out to reveal his full body from behind.
Rocky de Leon: But you will. 39 of you won’t be enough to stop me. 39 of you are about to feel my jaws at your throat. 39 of you are about to learn the difference between predator and prey. 39 of you are going to experience a prehistoric level of pain. 39 of you are about to learn what it feels like to take a full body press from the F… D… P.
A 3D animated scene of a volcano erupts as dinosaurs of all types and some early mammals begin running toward the screen, away from the fire. Soaring through the fire at high speed, a pterodactyl appears and screeches loudly, as it glides across the camera.
The camera falls on a full-body shot of Rocky from behind. He snaps his wings out taught to the side, then does a rapid 180 degree turn and bolts toward the camera, grabbing it. He lunges his masked face toward the lens and
Rocky de Leon: SKREEEEEEEEEE
The man himself, Ned Reform. He rubs his chin thoughtfully for a few seconds before laughing.
Ned Reform: So here we are! Culture Shock. What an apropos name, yes? We are all indeed in for a culture shock when DOCTOR Ned Reform throws every single ingrate, charlatan, and dimwit over the top rope and takes his rightful place as the figurehead of this company. Oh yes, the culture around here is sure to change children… for the better.
Ginny Van Lear: (voiceover) Ah’m so proud uh Adam an’ how far he’s come along in his wrestlin’ career.
Film footage of Adam Ellis training with Charlie Blackwell at the new Sportatorium in Dallas. Blackwell is talking… Ellis is listening.
Ginny Van Lear: (voiceover) Ah ‘member th’ nite he wrassled Darin Zion at thuh HOW Dead or Alive show last year.
Ellis ducks under Zion’s right hand and whips him into a corner. Ellis follows and fires off right hands on him. Zion pushes back. Ellis runs in- *SMACK* Zion hits him with the BOOT… Zion spins… BANHAMMER- NO! Ellis ducks- BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX BY ELLIS! Ellis stalks Zion. Zion bails from the ring and takes a walk over to Vickie Hall.
Ginny Van Lear: (voiceover) Ah ‘member his first match in PRIME last year.
Ellis slaps on the Elevated Boston Crab and Ria Lockhart desperately tries to fight it! Lockhart scratches and claws, but Ellis manages to turn her over and cranks back! Ria tries to reach the ropes with all her might, but Ellis has the hold cinched in too deep. She has no choice but to tap!
Ginny Van Lear: (voiceover) We’ve stuck together in thuh good tahms…
Violet Samuelsson with the Tilt-a-whirl Headscissor– no, it’s countered into a BACKBREAKER by Adam Ellis, who quickly hooks the leg!… Ellis looks to help Violet back up off the mat after the match as a courtesy, but before he can get to her, he’s practically tackled to the mat by Ginny.
Ginny Van Lear: (voiceover) …an’ through thuh sad tahms.
We see a picture of Adam with his arm around Ginny at her father’s funeral.
Ginny Van Lear: (voiceover) Tonight Adam’s wrestlin’ in first PRIME pay per show.
Back to film clips of him training at the Sportatorium.
Ginny Van Lear: (voiceover) An’ Ah couldn’ be happier tuh be in his corner.
Ginny grabs Darin Zion by the ankle and swiftly yanks him off the ring apron, causing Zion to smack his chin on the way down! She begins to put the boots to the Honkmaster, who desperately does his best to cover up.
Ginny Van Lear: (voiceover) An’ Ah couldn’ be happier tuh be his wife.
We see Ginny and Adam’s wedding picture.
Ginny Van Lear: (voiceover) Ah luv that boy. And ah always be in his corner.
Tony Gamble is in front of a Culture Shock backdrop. If he looks a bit taller than normal, it’s due to the chair he is seated on. Already dressed in his gear, with the ever present grin that has become his trademark. Tony stares into the camera and opens his mouth slightly as if he is about to say something, but nothing comes out when he moves his lips…not even a bunch of gibberish like he forgot about Dre.
He shakes his head for a moment, because he knows what he wants to say. The thing is, as soon as he walked through the doors Lindsay Troy’s conversation with him about making sure to be careful with his words or there would be no chance in hell the vignette would even air. So it made him think long and hard about what he could say that would not have him end up suspended and would still be able to be aired. His eyes practically sparkle as it came to him, and the grin that only he could flash was front and center demanding everyone’s attention…or dare I say adoration.
Tony Gamble: No, you.
A quick nod, then he hops off the chair and goes on his merry way.
We are in the familiar interview room, where commentary portions of Abe Lipschitz’s failed documentary were filmed. In front of us is the leader of the Pink Posse herself, Deb Warenstein. She’s delightfully chipper as usual, a smile spread across her face. We’re also treated to a view of the back of the narrator/producer’s afro. Purvis currently wears a pair of Beats around his ears, and we hear the same overdubbed narration explain the scene.
Purvis: During the verbal attack on Abraham that was delivered by Lindsay Troy, there was no time to get a camera in her office to record it. However, Deb Warenstein was able to retrieve the audio, and allowed me to listen to it.
Purvis: (now actually speaking) I don’t care how adorable you are, you’re about to lose this company millions of dollars. And that’s not something I can just forgive you for, despite the sweet gesture of offering me a full body massage. I’m really upset with you right now.
Purvis listens to the tape for a few more seconds, his hands lifting up to wipe tears from his eyes.
Purvis: Can you turn it off?
Deb nods, hitting the pause button on her iPhone. Purvis removes the headphones and sets them down on the table in front of them.
Purvis: Deb, you must never listen to this.
Deb appears confused by the statement. In fact, she seemed a little confused when Purvis began to recite the monologue that Lindsay Troy had delivered on the recording.
Deb Warenstein: OK, so, like, no offense, but I’ve already listened to it. And what were you talking about just now? With, like, the full body massage and stuff?
Purvis lifts a finger up to his mouth to signal for Deb to shush up and just go with it, but she doesn’t quite comprehend. Mainly because both Purvis (and Abe) had neglected to explain to her that this was a bit before they started filming.
Deb Warenstein: You know that was a remix of the ‘Blue Jay Vacation’ song, right? I should know, I totally was the one who added the bird whistles in the background.
Purvis: No it wasn’t. It was Lindsay Troy yelling at Abe.
Deb Warenstein: Oh my God, no it wasn’t, it was a rem…
Nate Colton: Folks, you’re about to see the wildest, craziest, most out-of-control night of action of your lives! Forty of wrestling’s best are gonna get in that ring and duke it out until there’s just one left! Who’s that gonna be? Well, I’m gonna do everything I can to make sure it’s Nate Colton! That’s what the fans want to see, from back home in Evansville, Indiana all the way down here to Arlington, Texas!
Nate brings up his hand and starts shaking it like he just drank a Big Gulp full of 5-Hour Energy. Judging by how he’s acting right now, maybe he did. He also stares at his hand as if he’s not controlling his actions.
In case you’ve ever wondered if Nate Colton is an extremely cool person: no. He is not.
Nate Colton: I have got the POWER tonight! The kind of power that can only be generated by eighty thousand screaming fans cheering their brains out! It is electric, it is RAW, and it is enough juice to power this wrestling machine to victory tonight! So when the smoke clears and the dust settles, and forty people have given everything they’ve got, don’t be surprised the Next Diamond is the last one standing. And then the fans, the announcers, and the Universal Champion–whoever that might be–can ALLLLLLLLLL…
He pauses briefly, so he can take a deep breath and set up his catchphrase. Let’s see if it’s caught on.
Nate Colton: SAY! MY! NAME!
Hey, there were a few people who sang along. Not bad.
FLAMBERGE stares down the barrel of the lens, all the young hate and seething in the world in his eyes. He picks up something off-camera and slowly brings it forward – a bottle of Elmer’s glue.
He turns the cap, turns it upside down, and starts squeezing.
…one hopes he laid a tarp down, for custodial staff’s sake.
Squeezing and squeezing, white glue drizzling out of the orange tip of the bottle. Seems like this could’ve been used on a craft project or something. One also imagines the efficiency he might attain by removing the bottle’s cap entirely. All the while, FLAMBERGE continues staring, and on rare occasions, blinks.
Eventually the flow of the bottle slows, then sputters, then death-spits a few stray blobs on the ground. He tosses the bottle off to the side and reaches off camera once again.
Another glue bottle.
Once again, he twists the cap, turns it upside down, and starts squeezing.The camera pans out slowly and we see that FLAMBERGE is in his ring gear, and he’s standing next to a bare wooden folding table. Set on the table – glue.
Rows and rows of bottles of glue.
The second glue bottle continues to flow for a few more moments, and soon, it also sputters.
FLAMBERGE: There are 39 of them here.
He tosses the second spent bottle aside, picks up a third without breaking his gaze, and unscrews the cap. Like its poor predecessors, the bottle is inverted and squeezed upon.
FLAMBERGE: La nuit va être longue.
The camera fades up to see a stone faced, and undoubtedly grumpy Ivan Stanislav standing before the banner of the Soviet Union. It’s clearly set up for his short clip for the Culture Shock Battle Royal. Alexei Ruslan stands sullenly next to him with his hands in his coat pockets. Both Russians look less than thrilled.
Off Camera Producer: Ivan? Can you just give us a small clip about your thoughts regarding the Culture Shock Battl—
That’s the end of the intelligible words. Stanislav lurches forward and roars as his fist crashes into the front of the camera, like a meteor annihilating Earth.
Ivan Stanislav: GRRAAAAAHHHHH!!!!
And now, on with the show…