ONE LAST TOUR
Fireworks explode all around the MGM-Grand Arena and “Death Grip” by Watt White engulfs the arena in sound.
And I’m fire
Nick Stuart: We’ve heard rumblings the last few days that Dusk was in town and here he is!
Richard Parker: And why? I thought he retired.
Nick Stuart: Well, you know, he came up victorious against Larry Tact and wants to say his farewells I imagine.
Richard Parker: Buh-Bye! See you later! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Even if he does look good in those slacks.
Nick Stuart: Alright, calm down tiger.
Dusk emerges from the backstage area wearing a pair of baby blue slacks and a white t-shirt that says ‘FIGHTING FOR JONATHAN’. He makes his way down the ramp, high-fiving the fans on his way down before he slides into the ring.
Richard Parker: Okay, thanks you came, now go home.
Nick Stuart: Oh calm down.
Dusk walks around the ring as the fans continue to chant his name.
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
A smile appears on his face as he walks to the ring apron and graciously accepts the microphone a stagehand is offering him. He holds the microphone in his left hand while slipping his right hand into a pocket on his baby blue slacks. He walks around the ring, the same smile on his face before standing in the center of the ring, tilting his head up slightly, and closes his eye.
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
He places the microphone to his lips.
Dusk: Man, does that sound good.
He lowers his head, looks out at the fans again, and nods subtly.
Dusk: It is that sound, the sound of your voices that has willed me on, night after night, city after city for the majority of my career. It didn’t matter if we had seventeen people in attendance or sixty thousand. It was all the same to me because you were the reason I fought through pain, fought through torture, battled against the best this sport has ever put in front of me, and continued to push forward without pause.
The fans roar at the top of their lungs as Dusk moves to the edge of the ring, removes his hand from his pockets, and rests his forearms against the top rope.
Dusk: You all have stood by me for the past thirty years and have reminded me why I do this time and time again. You all stood by me two weeks ago in this very building and continued to chant my name as I battled against Larry Tact—
Dusk: —to victory.
Dusk: And I have to hand it to Larry, he pushed me to my limits and while he’s a little pissant, I also respect that he brought everything he could into that ring to give me the fight for my life. I hope he learned something from that match, because I sure did. I learned that there’s still some life in these old bones of mine. That maybe, just maybe, I could still perform in this ring like I used to.
He walks around the ring, the fans continue to cheer him on.
Dusk: Still, that doesn’t negate the health risks that I’m facing when I do step inside of this ring. The risks that have the doctors in the back worried and warning me of what could happen if I suffer another concussion. I would be lying to every single one of you if I told you that watching what Paxton Ray did to Jonathan Rhine didn’t only make me sick to my stomach, but make me think twice because of the risk we all take when we do the very thing we love most.
RHINE! RHINE! RHINE! RHINE! RHINE!
A smile appears on Dusk’s face as he nods his head.
Dusk: He’s going to need your love each and every day moving forward, and if I know Jon, I know just because an asshole like Paxton did everything in his power to break him that there is no breaking the spirit of The New Life.
Dusk: But that’s not my battle, that’s for Jon and Jared to figure out. No, for me, tonight is about what tomorrow brings and whether or not I’ve stepped foot into this ring for the last time. Are you all ready for some real talk?
The fans respond in agreement. He knew they would.
Dusk: Good, good. Because when I stepped out here into the ring with Tact, I fully intended for that to be my final match. Part of me was ready for it to be my final match. I went home and I prepared for a trip to Japan with my family. Then, I got a call. From the Boss-Lady of PRIME. And she had an intriguing offer for me.
Dusk lowers the microphone as he walks around the ring before he pauses in the center of the ring.
Dusk: That offer was simple. To not let my match against Larry Tact to be my final match. That if I wanted a true final match, that Lindsay Troy would provide one for me. As she put it, to have a real Colossus moment fitting for me to close my career out on. To have a farewell tour over the next few Revivals. To finish my career the right way.
Dusk: And I can’t begin to tell you how excited I got about the prospect. Because I knew I still have something left in the tank and part of me wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet. To be honest, I half expected Lindsay to yell ‘SIKE’ into the phone and hang up. You see, Lindsay and I, we haven’t had the smoothest of roads together. While we’ve only stood across the ring from each other once or twice in our careers, we’ve never been what some people would call friendly. But then, she gave me a list. A list of people she wanted me to face on this farewell tour.
Then, Dusk reaches into his pocket, and pulls out a small piece of white paper. He takes a look at it and then looks back at the crowd.
Dusk: Part of me wondered if Lindsay was punking me. I half-expected the list to either be facing Jimmy Bonafide three times or hell, facing off against Alexandra Pierce and Cozen. But, that wasn’t the case. Instead, there are three real names on this list that Troy wants to see me wrestle against over the course of the next handful of shows and then a mystery opponent at Colossus IX. So, I’ve had time to think about it, but I thought I would hear what the fans have to say.
Dusk: I’m sorry, I didn’t quite hear you.
PRIME THAT SHIT! PRIME THAT SHIT! PRIME THAT SHIT!
Dusk: Well, now you’re just going to piss off Lindsay Troy with that chant.
FOUR MORE MATCHES! FOUR MORE MATCHES! FOUR MORE MATCHES!
Dusk: Well, that chant is a mouthful, but I think I get the gist of what you’re trying to say. Can I share with you my thoughts? Because on one hand, I’m all for it. Four more matches against the best that PRIME has to offer is something that speaks to me. Because as much as I know I need to step away from the ring, I don’t want any doubts in the back of my mind, any regrets for not going forward with this. At the same time… I’m scared. I don’t want it to be like when I went up against Phil Atken. I feel… better knowing that I took our newly-crowned Universal Champion to the limit and nearly beat him. That I beat Larry Tact. I still don’t want to fall flat on my face and stay for one match too long, do you understand that?
He sighs as he stands there.
Dusk: But, I didn’t get as far in this business, I didn’t build a thirty-year career in this business that I love, by being safe, by being scared, by taking the road away from adversity. I did it by throwing caution into the wind and staring my demons directly in the face. So what the hell? Three more matches here in Vegas. Then in Madison Square Garden, at Colossus IX, I will wrestle my final match, and this time, it will be the end of the road for me.
Dusk: So, before we wrap this party up and get to Ned Reform and Great Scott, do you want to know who my first opponent is?
Dusk: Well, the fans demanded it. I know he is back there, his tiny fingers tapping away on Jabber. This is a man that I have stepped in the ring with in a multi-man match at Dices, Dollars, and Tragedy, a man that has been my opponent in a number of tag matches, and a man that in singles competition we have one victory a piece. Though, my victory against him came at Culture Shock fourteen years ago and saw me capture the Intense Championship from him. I’m talking about none other than The Grin himself… TONY! GAMBLE!
“Well, I’m glad someone is excited.”
There at the top of the ramp, with a microphone in hand, stands Tony ‘The Grin’ Gamble. Still wearing the #STANDINGFORJON in white Comic Sans font t-shirt he revealed earlier in the night. That in itself gets a deserving chorus of boos from the crowd.
Tony Gamble: Now me, I’m not so happy. You see, after my little conversation with The Angry Luchadore, I marched straight into Troy’s office and demanded a match against him for the Intense Title next week at Revival Seventeen. And luckily for him, her answer to me was no.
He starts down the ramp, headed toward the ring as he speaks.
Tony Gamble: She said no because apparently the piece of canvas I cut out of the ring after UltraViolence ended, is now worth nothing since that is not the mat you wrestled your last match on. You selfish son of a bitch, I was going to sell that online for hundreds of dollars!
Dusk raises the microphone to his lips, but Tony lifts his left arm and extends a single finger in the air – no, not that one – and wanna it side to side.
Tony Gamble: NOOO!! NO SIIIRRR!! You just spoke for two hours about your now insignificant match with Leroy, so now it’s my turn to talk.
Tony makes his way up the steps and into the ring. Dusk welcomes him with a smile as he approaches.
Tony Gamble: Don’t worry, it won’t take long. I just wanted to look you in the eye when I tell you…
Do you know those pauses that just keep you on the edge of your seat, waiting with bated breath and a sudden rush of adrenaline in your veins that makes your heart feel like it wants to rip its way through your chest?
Tony Gamble: No.
Tony said simply, as he popped the non existent collar of the black Fruit of the Loom t-shirt he had some kiosk in the mall put stickers on while he shopped for the dark blue denim jeans with the faded patches on the front at Hot Topic. He was actually looking for a pair of pants reminiscent of the ones Troy used to wear years ago during her first run in PRIME.
Oh, you don’t really care about all that.
Tony Gamble: I don’t have anything to prove, and as far as I’m concerned you’re already in a box on the top shelf just waiting to be forgotten about. Here, let me start the process.
Tony turns around and heads towards the corner.
Dusk: Whoa, whoa, Tony. Slow your roll.
Tony pauses and looks back at Dusk.
Dusk: First off, I get it. Your feelings are a little bruised. You had those big dollar signs in your eyes and were ready to sell that ring mat on eBay for, what do you call it, i soldi. And now you can’t. I have a proposition for you though, my long time nemesis. I’ve got pieces of a table from our match back in 2008. You know, the one where I hit the Sunset on you through it before taking the Intense Championship from you? Now, that should fetch you a pretty penny.
The grimace on Tony’s face darkens as he inches closer to Dusk. Dusk puts up his hand.
Dusk: Slow it down. Do you remember the last time we stood in the ring together? You were teaming with Devin Shakur. I was with Cozen [shudders], it was a lot of fun. More fun because Cozen and I got the victory, but you know, it’s like our last great memory together. I don’t know what it is about us, Tony, but we already gravitate around one another. It’s not my fault that you’re, like, in love with me. It just is what it is.
Tony opens his mouth, but Dusk shakes his head and holds up his finger.
Dusk: You want a match with The Anglo Luchador? For the Intense Title? You’re in luck. I’ve got a direct line to my old friend. You accept this match and I will help make that a reality. If you don’t accept the match though? Well, I’ll keep you here, in this ring, all night. In front of these fans.
Then, a stagehand approaches the side of the ring and waves at Dusk. Dusk looks at the stagehand, looks over at Tony, and holds up both hands before he walks over to the stagehand and leans over. The stagehand whispers something in Dusk’s ear, Dusk looks at him with a confused look on his face, and then shrugs his shoulders.
Dusk: Okay, Tony. They’re telling me I can’t keep you here all night. I can keep you here for twenty minutes though. And I know you don’t want that.
The stagehand then whispers in Dusk’s ear again.
Dusk: Oh, really? Okay, correction, I’ve been told I have like sixty seconds at most before Lindsay Troy comes out here and makes the match happen herself. You don’t want to upset the bosslady, do you Tony?
Dusk then looks out at the fans.
Dusk: I may have made that last part up, about Troy coming out here.
He then looks back at Tony.
Dusk: So, what do you say, Tony? One last time. You and me. In this ring. Let’s have some fun together. It would be so fetch.
The Grin shakes his head.
Tony Gamble: I was still going to say no, but you brought up a few interesting points: I’ll upset Troy if I decline, you can put a good word in for me with The Angry Luchador, and most importantly the fans really want to see this.
Tony Gamble: The thing is Dusk: I don’t really care what the fans want, your good friend is the one begging for a shot at me, and I piss off Troy on a daily basis so this is nothing new for me. It was the last thing you said though that really irked me, made me realize that I wasn’t thinking things through, and that was when you used the word fetch to describe what our match could be.
He walked up to Dusk and tiptoed a bit to look him kind of in the chin.
Tony Gamble: That convinced me to change my answer of no to… Hell No.
Tony turned his back on Dusk once more.
Tony Gamble: Troy said the match is already signed, but she’ll have to drag me to the ring kicking and screaming before I step into the ring with you again. Enjoy your little walk into the sunset, because I won’t be joining you.
Dusk: Man, I would’ve sworn you were a Mean Girls fan, but that’s okay Tony. Because at Revival 17, we get to kick it like the old times again.
Tony exits the ring and begins to make his way up the ramp.
Dusk: And Tony…
Gamble turns around and looks at Dusk.
Dusk: I look forward to showing you that not much has changed in the fourteen years since we’ve stepped foot in the ring together when I have your shoulders pinned for the ol’ 1-2-3. Because, what the boss wants, the boss gets. See you in two weeks, best buddy of mine.
Tony scowls as he marches up the rest of the ramp and disappears backstage as “Death Grip” by Watt White plays once again in the MGM-Grand Arena.
Nick Stuart: A farewell tour for Dusk!
Richard Parker: Ugh, I was more than happy when he was leaving at UltraViolence. Now I have to put with more of him! Come on!
Nick Stuart: Well, Lindsay Troy made a request.
Richard Parker: I thought she hated him too!
Nick Stuart: Well, maybe not? But we know that we have Tony Gamble vs. Dusk, which feels weird for me to say, happening in two weeks time and who else do you think is on that piece of paper of his?
Richard Parker: I don’t know, but I’m sure it won’t be fetch. Ah! He’s got me doing it now! Curse him!
We got from Dusk interacting with the fans, taking pictures of him to the backstage area where one Sage Pontiff is doing… Pontiff things.