SHOW AND TELL
We open to a scene inside a public bus. A bus driver sits on the right side of our screen behind a black wheel. He smiles and nods as a young woman with white ear buds, ascends the steps and swipes her bus card. Her music is loud enough to be heard by the camera, but not loud enough to be distinguishable. The doors to the bus close and snap shut as the girl walks past an old man in the front seat. His blank eyes stare at a paperback in his hands. His epic white beard and a faded blue hat, frozen in time.
The bus hisses and hums to life as the seats creak and jostle around. We continue to zoom in, as the young woman grabs a silver pole and plops down in a hard plastic seat. The darkness outside the windows comes to life, as the bus accelerates and streetlights streak by the windows.
We continue to zoom forward, towards the back of the bus, until we frame a figure sitting in the back row. He’s hunched forward, elbows on his knees, and hands in a prayer pose, covering his mouth and nose. We get closer to him, revealing the cut of his jeans, the dirt on his shoes, the stubble over his mostly-shaven head. To his left, a brown paper lunch bag with the words “The Bull of the North” written on it. To his right, a yellow hard hat with a “Wrestling is Forever” sticker on the side.
The bus engine hums louder as he brings down his hands, revealing a purple bruise under his left eye, and a butterfly stitch over the bridge of his nose. His dark eyes pierce the camera, and all the noise fades to silence. We hear only heavy breathing.
Buster Gloves: Hell week. It’s the first week of practice. When you’re doing two-a-days, and every decision you make is scrutinized. It’s where you prove you belong on the team. I’m going through hell week, right now, in PRIME.
Buster Gloves: Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to prove that you belong. The stars of your company have been there before. They remember what it was like in their early days. They went through hell too. Anybody who comes in without taking their lumps won’t be accepted. So, you keep your chin up, you show you have thick skin, and you have bleed. If you don’t, you won’t last. You’ll either wash out or they will squeeze you out.
Buster Gloves: When I was young, my grandfather told me, that you let your hands do the talking. He said to me, ‘Buster, if your mouth is open, then your eyes are shut.’ When I got to PRIME, I planned on taking the high road, choosing my words carefully, and letting my ringwork speak for itself. But that garbage doesn’t work at PRIME. They want you to run your mouth and ‘GO HAM’ on the competition. You want to be nice, go home and play with your kids. You want to make a dollar, show up and be f*ck nasty. Maybe it’s time for me to ‘GO HAM’ until all the PRIME-ates start to show a little respect.
Buster Gloves: My first week in PRIME HAS been hell. It must have been real funny for the veterans in the locker room to watch a grown man p*ss away his shot on live TV, but it’s been a horrible experience for me. It’s been humiliating. Humbling. Makes me want to look for comfort at the bottom of a bottle.
Buster Gloves: The ‘experts’ say that it’s my fault. And maybe they’re right. It’s been said that I need to SHOW more and TELL less. It would be nice we all played by those same rules. When I was recruited, they told me stories about how great the brand is. About the amazing company culture. The benefits. The people. All that honey-trap nonsense they use to get you to take your pants off. If you’ve ever been tricked into taking a bad job, then you understand what I mean. To be over-promised and under-delivered. Maybe it’s time that PRIME starts SHOWING its new talent that this company has a high standard for professionalism and integrity and stopping TELLING its new hires that everything is sunshine and lollipops.
Buster Gloves: All I wanted in my first match was a fair shot to wrestle in front of a crowd. I wasn’t given that. I was set up to fail. Mr. Kjedelig was given a full introduction and a video package prior to the match. He had marketing behind him. Promotional content. Logo’s, merchandise, a production team. I wasn’t even given a match graphic. Just a create-a-wrestler silhouette over a PRIME logo. It’s one thing to have people ask, ‘Who the hell is that?’ It’s another thing to tell people ‘Don’t worry about this guy. He’s nobody.” I’m 34 years old. I’m not an over-the-hill loser. I’m in MY prime. And I’m being treated like a rookie, fresh out of college, working his first job. That’s not who I am.
Buster Gloves: So, what kind of company is PRIME, really? The people I’ve met so far are cheaters. They fight dirty. They have no respect for the tradition of wrestling. They jump you backstage. They kick you in the face. They break your nose. Just for being here. Even the geeks at the announce desk throw shade on you. Some idiot writes on a piece of paper that I’m 100 lbs lighter than I really am, these guys believe it and they call the match like I’m a 14-year-old boy that just touched my first boob. I’m 250 lbs of corn-fed bovine muscle. A sexual tyrannosaurus. And I’m madder than a wet hornet about all of it.
Buster Gloves: This company, which was sold to me as a hall of champions, is a lie. Somebody set out to make an example out of me. The combined effort of a dozen men, women, and staff provoked me by insulting my deceased wife, cheated me in a pure wrestling match, injured me backstage, and applauded themselves as they vigorously beat each other off for doing it. I’m supposed to be one of the good guys. A real one. But leading by example, spitting out catchphrases, and moving merchandise ain’t gonna work this time. That’s over now. No more Mr. Niceguy. People will provoke you until they bring out the ugly in you, then they play victim when you bring hell to their front door.
Buster Gloves: I packed a lunch. I brought my hard hat. I’m ready to put in work with a purpose. I’m gonna burn this entire house of lies to the g*ddamn ground.