WITH REGARDS TO JOHN B. STETSON
Wouldja look at that?
It’s a door.
The arena-provided door has been removed from its hinges.
In its place? Well, there’s a pair of swinging saloon doors.
Above those swinging saloon doors? Well, there’s a wooden sign.
What does that wooden sign say? Well, it says this:
THE DIAMOND MINE
A HONKY TONK SALOON
IF YOU GOT THE HONK, WE GOT THE TONK!
TROYS ALLOWED, BUT STRONGLY DISCOURAGED
…I guess you can see where this is going.
From above and below the doors, darkness emanates from within. The lights are out, but there’s the sound of movement, rustling. Through the arena’s speakers, “Goin’ Out West” by Tom Waits begins to play. The PRIMEates begin to boo. Yadda, yadda; you know the drill. What’s really important is a red carpet rolls out from beneath those doors on cue. What’s really important is the doors swing open, also on cue. What’s really, really, really important is Daytona Diamonds emerges from The Diamond Mine in all his rhinestone-bedazzled glory, a sneer already on his lips and his hands balled into two determined fists.
Except, y’know, something’s missing.
Let me ask you a purely rhetorical question: What’s a cowboy without his hat?
Well. I guess we’re about to find out, huh?
Sure enough, Daytona’s hat is missing. Gone. Vanished. By all accounts, it should be there, but it isn’t. Daytona, for what it’s worth, doesn’t acknowledge it; he just marches forward, cracking his neck and snarling his lips, throwing a few quick punches in the air as the camera backs away from him. The whole time, his music plays, Tom Waits growling about voodoo and karate as Daytona flexes and points finger guns and just… looks like an asshole, man. Obviously, as he walks, he starts talking shit.
Daytona Diamonds: Chandy! Oh Chandy! You’re ’bout five minutes away from the ass whoopin’ of a lifetime, pardner! This is the goddang Rhinestone Era, baby! Ain’t you fuckin’ heard?!
He turns a corner towards the Argyle Position and suddenly… Daytona stops, dead in his tracks. His eyes go wide. His jaw falls open. He looks like he’s seeing a ghost…
The camera pans around.
And there’s Ami Troy.
But more importantly, there’s Daytona’s hat.
Oh, the rhinestones are still there. Somewhere. See, they’ve been covered up by dozens and dozens of patches and stickers. Little ditties like a milk carton that says “MALE TEARS,” a happy little sunshine and rainbow with the words “I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU WERE TAUGHT, UNLEARN THAT SHIT,” a picture of Ron DeSantis above the phrase “IF EXPLOSIVE DIARRHEA WAS A PERSON,” and a cute holographic cartoon hamster eating a big bowl of ramen (a Kohime Mori contribution, obviously). The embroidered “DD” has had its stitching removed and replaced with bright pink thread in the letters “PP&F” for “PINK POSSE & FRIENDS.”
Perhaps the most important change isn’t what’s on the outside of the hat, but what’s on the inside. Upon closer inspection, it’s filled to the brim with tortilla chips, queso, lettuce, tomatoes, beans, jalapeños, sour cream, salsa, and pulled pork. Ami reaches in, takes a couple smothered chips and brings them to her mouth, chewing thoughtfully. Then she holds out the hat to Daytona and smiles, sweetly.
Ami Troy: Want some?
Now, here’s the thing. Daytona? If there’s one thing he loves more than wrestling, it’s a funny sticker on the back of a car. In fact, somewhere on an impound lot in Chicago, his truck still sits with a sticker on the bumper that says “GARTH BROOKS IS MY CO-PILOT.” And if there’s one thing he loves more than funny stickers? Well, it’s nachos, obviously. Jot that down. It’s canon now.
But… but… want to know what he loves more than nachos?
His custom-made cowboy hat.
The one Ami Troy has turned into a nacho bowl.
His heart, as I’m sure you can imagine, aches.
Daytona Diamonds: You… you didn’t… I… oh… you…
He can’t even get the words to come out right. A mouthful of vowels, each one rising in volume until… if this was a cartoon, there’d be steam coming out of his ears. His face turns as red as a fire engine, his eyes bulging out from their sockets. When he speaks, he somehow manages to scream through his teeth. It sounds every bit as off-putting as you might imagine, somewhere between a screeching toddler on a plane and polystyrene rubbing together.
Daytona Diamonds: WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO YOU GOD DANG BOTTOMFEEDIN’, SCUMSUCKIN’, GRASS BELLIED CUNT?! WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUUUUUUCCCCCK?!
Ladies and gentlemen, PRIME is proud to present… Daytona’s Epic Meltdown 2023.
There’s an audible GASP from the PRIME production crew members who are in earshot of the Rhinestone Cowboy calling the Boss’s daughter the Big C Word. Daytona doesn’t hear them, though, because he’s very busy stamping his feet and screaming while spinning around in a circle, incensed at the moxie of this young woman.
Ami watches Daytona’s hissy fit for a minute before shrugging her shoulders.
Ami Troy: More for me, I guess!
She walks off and leaves Daytona to his rage. He doesn’t even notice her leaving. He’s too busy punching a door; don’t worry, it isn’t the saloon doors, those are safe. When he finally turns around and sees that she’s left, he tries to collect himself… but fails miserably with the sudden realization that his music is still playing and he’s still supposed to be in the ring and he still has a match to attend to.
Daytona Diamonds: Shit, shit, shit!
In a sudden whirlwind of movement, The (Perturbed? Yeah, we’ll say Perturbed) Rhinestone Cowboy rushes towards the Argyle Position on shaky legs, the camera following after him as we cut to ringside…