The Anglo Luchador is seated, wrapping his wrists in tape in preparation for his main event bout against FLAMBERGE. He finishes his left wrist, tears the tape, tosses the roll aside, and looks up with weariness in his eyes.
TAL: FLAMBERGE… kid…
The luchador shakes his head.
TAL: All this could’ve been avoided if you’d just kept your pride in tow at ReVival 21, but something tells me you didn’t want to avoid it. You wanted a fight, and you hoped that maybe I’d still have what I had then in Tampa to fight for. Sorry about that. I’d blame Foster Nackedy, but in all honesty, it’s not in my nature to shift the blame. I lost that belt on my own. That’s not something I’d have readily admitted when I was your age.
The luchador snorts to let a beat pass before continuing.
TAL: You still seem hung up that you lost the Five Star Championship without ever being pinned or tapped for it though. Again, you’re where I was in the olden days. Cocksure, trigger finger hot, ready to prove to the world that you belong in the conversation no matter how many of us oldheads tell you that you don’t. I’m not here to tell you that you don’t belong, Julien…
The luchador looks directly into the camera, eyes burning with enough intensity that one might be forgiven if they thought they saw literal flames in his retinas.
TAL: I’m here to tell you that you do, and that you’re dangerous because you do. But are you more of a danger to me? Or are you more of a danger to yourself?
The former Intense Champion stands.
TAL: I’m not telling you that you remind me of me because I want to control you or because I want to be on a high horse, barking orders like a bloated, ineffectual general, in my position because my bourgeoisie father handed it to me as a symbol of status. I know you don’t trust me, and you have every right not to. Every father figure in your life has tried to suck the vitality from you in an attempt to prolong their youth and their relevance.
TAL: I wouldn’t trust me either if I were you. But that’s a hard lesson I didn’t think you should have had to learn. The truth is, deep down, I wanted this match too. I was delighted that you picked a fight with me, not because I have a pathological need to slam fist against skull and feel retaliation. I needed it because I could not stand to see someone with a light as bright as yours snuffed out through self-destruction like I did to myself.
He bows his head.
TAL: Now, you can listen to me and believe what I’m saying, now or after I teach you the lesson physically. Or you can continue listening to the ghost of a glue-monger who is only telling you what you want to hear so he can continue to leech your youth and recover in his cocoon like a more boring version of Sauron. Do you want to be a bastard sword made of pig metal held by an ugly, mindless orc…
The luchador lifts his head back up.
TAL: …or do you want to be Narsil? The righteous blade.
TAL: The choice is yours. After our match, I will extend my hand to you, win or lose. The choice is yours whether you want to take it. I won’t be mad if you don’t, and even if you do, I will leave you alone unless you want me to be in your hair, for better or worse. But regardless, before I extend my hand, I’m going to teach you the lesson someone in one of my past locker rooms should’ve taught me. I hope you’re receptive to it so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.
The luchador walks out of the locker room as the camera cuts to another part of the arena.