NO MORE IF
The camera is fixed on the entry to the Baltimore Arena in… Baltimore, MD. Where’d you think it’d be, Narnia? The shot is fixed on the steel doors for a few beats before one creaks open into a full swing. The crowd roars because it’s the challenger to the Universal Championship in tonight’s main event. He looks like a blast from the past, wearing a thick blue blazer and pants over a baby blue full turtleneck. The colors of his mask are blue and silver for now. Steal this look, from the iconic movie, El Santo and Blue Demon Against the Monsters. Completing his look is his duffel bag. A picture of calm before the most awesome storm he’d face in his career.
Universal Championship on the line.
A career-defining moment in the balance, threatened from behind with furious rage from the Bayou.
The Anglo Luchador is ready. He has things to say to his fans, his haters, to Youngblood, all before the bell rings and armageddon is upon him. He’s hoping he sees a reporter he trusts, one with red hair and a reputation for journalistic excellence.
He meets a woman with a microphone, alright. It’s just not the one he was looking for.
Woman: Well hello there, mysterious. Care to spend a minute, answer a few questions?
Brunette locks. Expert makeup. Form-fitting designer dress with pumps to match. To the untrained eye, she’s perhaps a new hire in PRIME. Those in the know, however, realize the Luchador should probably get out of there before she can open her mouth again.
Savannah Scandal has a lot of things on her mind. None of them the PRIME Universal Championship.
The Luchador pretends not to notice her, trying to move past briskly, hoping Angelica Brooks, Simon Tillier, Matt Mills, hell, even the fuckin’ Minotaur is around somewhere with a microphone. Unafraid of charging tecnicos, she stands her ground right in his path.
Savannah Scandal: You definitely have time for a few questions, silver daddy.
TAL: No, I don’t, I have the most imp…
Savannah Scandal: First thing’s first, hot stuff. How’s Melissa in the sack?
A shocked Luchador steps back.
Savannah Scandal: Don’t act shocked. We all know that’s why you so graciously took in another man’s daughter.
The challenger blinks his eyes hard and long while inhaling deeply through his nose.
Savannah Scandal: What, El Gato got…
TAL: Shut up.
Savannah Scandal: Excu…
TAL: No, you excuse me. Please get out of my way before I take my cellphone out, call Dametreyus, and have you forcibly removed from the arena.
Savannah Scandal: Go ahead and call him, sweetie. I’m sure he’ll love you wasting his time and harassing a member of the press.
The Luchador sighs.
Savannah Scandal: So are you gonna answer?
Savannah Scandal: Okay then, I’ll…
The challenger walks off, leaving Scandal with a look of disgust on her face. He walks a few more paces before finding the one he hoped he’d find upon entry.
TAL: There’s the interviewer I want to see.
Angelica Brooks: Big night, Tom. I’m sure you’ve got some last words.
TAL: You could say that.
Angelica Brooks: Any parting shots before you head off to the main event?
The Luchador puts his duffel bag down, inhales deeply, and then holds his hand out for a microphone, which Angie obliges (she always has that thang on her).
TAL: Yeah, I do. Brandon, you’re the standard around here for a reason. Pretenders try to think it’s easy to get by you so they can do their own pervert shit like taking the belt off to wherever they think is better than here. Truth is, nowhere is better than PRIME and it’s because of wrestlers like you and like me. If you win, I will shake your hand, but honestly, that’ll be the last time I use that word tonight.
The challenger closes his eyes for a beat before jolting them open again, pupils steely in focus.
TAL: “If” is a word people who don’t know they have it in them. Too long, I was like that. Mistaking timid for deferential. It took me injuries, conflicts, screaming matches, a too-long hiatus, and everything else that’s happened in the last 18 months to get here. But I am not coming to destroy the Diamond or use this title to glorify some vanity project or something greater than PRIME because there is absolutely no wrestling promotion greater than PRIME.
TAL: And it’s time I proved to you, to me, to Brandon, to everyone, from the Russians to the Cajuns to the people who couldn’t fucking cut it here, that I am worthy to carry this standard. That I am the one who will establish myself not only as the man here, but in this entire confederation of promotions.
He hands the microphone back to Angie.
Angelica Brooks: Wow, you heard it here. One last thing, any updates on Nora?
The Luchador shakes his head.
TAL: Sorry, Ange. I don’t mix those topics up. Just know she’s safe.
The challenger picks his duffel bag up and nods to the senior reporter before heading off to his locker room to prepare for the biggest match of his life.
Angelica Brooks: Alright, you heard it. Now let’s kick off ReVival 32!
Before the camera cuts to Nick and Richard at ringside, it pans over to Savannah Scandal, with an unimpressed look on her face, rolling her eyes.
Savannah Scandal: Pfft, amateurs.