RAMESSES THE GREAT
A singular drumbeat reverberating through the heart. The somber notes of a piano. An undercurrent rising in oppressive tension. ‘Insurrection’ by Secession Studios and Greg Dombrowski. The blackness of ACE Network fades in slowly, a focus, sepia.
The number one contender for the richest prize in all of professional wrestling; the PRIME Universal Championship.
The Humble Proprietor of The Glue Factory.
The Vanguard of The New Age.
He stalks his way to the ring, expressionless. Focused. Time and time again, different shots of his approach. A foreboding danger. The ultimate threat.
On the next drumbeat, a quick fade. In the blink of an eye, the screen is alive once more, a fuzzy haze making it difficult to suss out where we are and what we’re supposed to suss out. A space of browns and yellows, the background empty, filtered light seemingly coming through canvas cloth. As clarity becomes us, we see him, seated upon an opulent chair, finely crafted from oak and studded with aged red leather. Before his splendid suited form is a stone table, apt for wartime strategy. Clutched in his hand is a snifter, a casual swirling of whisky. In his lips, a cigar, rising plumes of smoke filtering behind his ashen hair. His eyes are obscured in shadow.
The voice of Vincent Price joins the symphony.
“I met a traveler
From an antique land
‘Two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert’”
Quick shots of him, the snifter at his lips, the ashing of his cigar, his aged hands tightening into fists. All before we watch him look upon an antique hourglass, clutching it like he had his snifter, toying with it, turning it playfully, haphazardly, a tightening on the glass and sands rising and falling. Across the top of the table, pictures, painted in oil, sized no greater than classic 8 x 10’s, tossed one by one. The figures displayed are clear; Dusk, Cancer Jiles, Impulse, King Blueberry, The Angelo Luchador, Nova, Garbage Bag Johnny, Jonathan Rhine, Tony ‘The Grin’ Gamble, Shawn Warstein, David Fox, Doozer, Bobby Dean, Darin Zion, Jacob Mephisto, Larry Tact, Rezin…and others…Killean Sirrajin, Matt Ward…even ‘The Queen of the Ring’ Lindsay Troy.
On the sand
A shattered visage lies”
His hand lingers above the collection of pictures, his body in the unfocused distance, an artisanal bottle clutched within, turning downward, the slow funneling of viscous white glue dropping across in a glaze, drizzling across each and every picture.
“Whose frown and wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read which yet survive”
As the intensity of the song increases, the hourglass strikes against the table, soundless in the growing maelstrom, its top falling away with remnants of shattered glass polishing across the pictures and the glue. Enough of the hourglass is intact that his next movement is effective; he begins burying the pictures with the sands of time.
“Stamped on these lifeless things”
Interspersed with fresh globs of sand, of dirt and grass, his nails stained and gritty, are flashes of a disgusting past. A menagerie of soul crushing defeats, both in the ring as well as outside; a collection of wrestling’s past punishing the Humble Proprietor, smashing his smile, breaking his body with the moves that made them famous, so many that it becomes its own monument of failure. Viking mothers and shuttered doors. A Frontier and its manifesto. Global Championship Wrestling as well as Sin City Championship Wrestling. All gone. Dead and buried. Yet the madness remains.
“The hand that mocked them,
The heart that fed”
The smog obscures his somber expression, but we still see the wounds upon it. Fresh. Glistening. Or perhaps tears for a youth utterly destroyed? Damn those that judge him, if only they knew the cost to his soul for all his suffering, at how meaningless his anxieties and passions were to them. How their acceptance was all he craved.
Damn them all.
No one else will have to suffer such as he.
Upon the grave of the past, his hands nimbly utilize his products to create a beautiful collage, the faces of hope painted across it; Hayes Hanlon, Anna Daniels, Ria Nightshade, Great Scott, Nate Colton, FLAMBERGE, Paxton Ray, Balaam, Jonathan-Christopher Hall, Mushigihara, Julian Bathory, Sid Phillips and Joe Fontaine, Barry Delgado and Trent Sadikaj, Nathan Filmix, Pete Whealdon, Kenny Freeman and Randall Schwartz, Mortimer Kjedelig…we even see Reina Raspberry. Above them, with baroque lettering, are the words ‘A Kinder Future, A Better Tomorrow.’’
“And on the pedestal these words appear”
The swelling of percussion and a chorus calling from the damned brings his eyes into focus finally. Sunken. Tired. And yet…filled with malice. Driven.
In his hand he holds a picture, his other utilizing a spritzer bottle to coat across it.
“’My name is Ozymandias”
A freneticism to the proceedings. The result of years of quelled horror unleashed. Brutality visited upon Larry Tact, arms wrapping around his throat, choking him into submission.
“King of Kings”
We see the picture; Brandon Youngblood, his Universal Championship skyward, roaring in victory. A debilitating piledriver. Another Shotgun, this time on the future PRIME Intense Champion.
“Look on my works, ye Mighty”
The cigar lights the corner of the picture ablaze, the flames licking across its corner. A certain madness in his smirk. He watches it as it burns.
And as we watch his butchery of Dusk, of Pete Whealdon, all uncomfortable, all beyond the pale in the sport, he holds the burning picture, the flames growing, consuming in full. He cares not as the flame draws close to his hand; rather, he meets it head on, his hand collapsing, crumpling it to ash, sprinkling the soot across the top of the sands before him.
The very notion of it all has him wild. Blackened hand, he smacks himself across the face multiple times and roars, spittle flying from his lips, a sinister grin plastered across his lips. So close. So close to making it all right. So close to his message’s ultimate conclusion.
With untold ferocity, the suited Phil Atken shoves the table over, everything falling to the ground, all except his collage of the future, which he tucks underneath the arm of his blazer as the song fades. And as it does, so do we.
Once again, the tone is somber. Vincent Price’s words drone through the cold blackness.
“Nothing beside remains.”
Piercing through the black, in blue; ReVival 13
“Round the decay of that colossal wreck”
“Boundless and bare”
The Old Age Cleansed In Fire
“The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
The New Rises From Its Bones