SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT
Kapow! We cut to the interview area backstage, where our good friends Simon Tillier and Nate Colton are standing by. Simon, as always, is wearing his suit that was definitely purchased by himself and not his mother. Colton is in his ring gear, although he has a t-shirt underneath his ring jacket. Glad to see he’s varying his wardrobe, although the PRIME logo still peeks through.
Simon Tillier: Good evening, fans! I’m here with Nate Colton, who has been on an absolute tear for the last few months! Nate, you’ve racked up some huge wins lately, including that absolute barnburner against FLAMBERGE at UltraViolence.
Nate Colton: Thanks, Simon. It’s been a wild ride, that’s for sure. But I’m just getting started.
Simon Tillier: I believe it. Tonight you’ll be in the ring against Anna Daniels. I know you’re looking to make a statement in that match, but it looks like you’re making a fashion statement already…
Simon points to Nate’s shirt, causing Colton to roll his eyes.
Nate Colton: I was hoping you wouldn’t notice that.
He undoes a few snaps of his jacket and reveals the shirt…which does not feature the PRIME logo, as it turns out, but a very similar one that reads “NEW ERA.”
Nate Colton: I thought I had packed a PRIME shirt in my bag; looks like I got this one by mistake.
Simon Tillier: I suppose nobody can call you a coward, anyway.
Nate Colton: Damn right.
Simon Tillier: How are you feeling heading into tonight’s match? Daniels is coming off a hard-fought loss at UltraViolence, but they’ve got a lot of wins to their credit.
Nate Colton: Oh, I know it. You go back and watch their matches in this company, you’re gonna see someone who never backs down from anyone. Anna’s got guts that matches their skill, and I respect the hell out of that. Whatever else might be true, it’s a fact that she’ll try to take my head off if I give her half a chance.
Nate turns to the camera, his face sporting a bit of a cocky grin. The rush of adrenaline, the excitement of the upcoming bout…it’s all very clear on his face.
Nate Colton: Anna, you may talk about other worlds or whatever. You’re welcome to ‘em. But when we step between those ropes? That’s my world. It ain’t much, but it’s all I’ve ever wanted. I ain’t ready to give it up either, so you can expect a fight tonight…and at the end, you can expect to see me with my hand raised.
Simon Tillier: Bold words, Mister Colton; we’ll soon see how you back them up. One more question; what are your plans for the future? What’s the next goal you’ve got your sights set on?
Nate Colton: Well…there is a thought that’s been buzzing in my brain lately. I had it again a minute ago, after I got changed. I looked in the mirror and thought, “Nate, you’re lookin’ pretty good. But something’s missing. Some color, to complete the look. Maybe…something gold.”
Simon Tillier: You mean…a PRIME championship?
Nate Colton: That’s exactly what I mean.
Simon, ever the eager lad, gets really excited now. A title challenge is big news, and he gets to be the one to break it!
Simon Tillier: Which title do you have in mind? The Five Star? The Intense? Maybe even the–
“Tillier! Simon Tillier!”
The junior reporter snaps to attention when he hears his voice being called off camera, and into the frame walks a surly middle-aged man in a delivery service uniform.
Delivery Man: Hey, youse Simon Tillier?
Simon Tillier: I, um-um-um… yes?
The delivery guy holds up the clipboard in his hand.
Delivery Man: Signs here, please.
Tillier readjusts his glasses as he transcribes the paperwork.
Simon Tillier: Uhh, what’s this about, exactly?
Delivery Man: Gots a special overnight delivery for ya. Priority air express. Hot stuff. Needs it off our hands, chop chop. Now you want it, or not?
Simon Tillier: (scribbling his signature) What? Really? What could possibly…?
Delivery Man: OOKAY, BOYS!! BRING ‘ER IN!
He slips out. Two more guys in similar uniforms take his place, pushing a large, bulk crate before them on a dolly. Despite the word “FRAGILE” clearly being written across the front in red, these dudes clearly don’t speak Italian, as they push it forward and let it drop to the floor.
They leave. Simon is left staring at the large, definitely human-sized box before him. He looks to Nate for some sort of cue, but the second-generation wrestler can only shrug in equal levels of confusion.
Simon Tillier: Well… I guess I’ll go ahead and open it…
He procures a crowbar from the place where practical things materialize whenever they’re needed and wedges the end beneath the lid.
Simon Tillier: I swear, this better not be another leg-shaped lamp!
After a moment of prying away, the top side pulls loose.
Simon pushes the lid aside and looks in…
Simon Tillier: …nothing?
Simon Tillier: Nothing!?
Tillier leans over and searches the walls of the completely empty crate. It is completely void of substance. Just an empty box.
Simon Tillier: Who on earth would send me an overnight express giant box of NOTHING just to interrupt my interview!
Colton leans in and spies something.
Nate Colton: Hey… is that a card down there?
Simon sees it for himself, and quickly snaps it up in his hand. He holds it up and readjusts his glasses to read.
Nate Colton: What’s it say?
Tillier reads the card… and his face fills with dread.
Simon Tillier: …it says, “Look behind you.”
He can already sense the bloodshot eyes burrowing holes into the back of the head, staring out from a five feet and ten inch filth-encrusted obelisk of muscle, marrow, and madness.
The junior reporter’s feet leave the floor in terror.
Simon Tillier: REZIN?!
Shirtless. Sweaty. Wired. High as fuck. Caked in mud, soot, and…
Simon Tillier: Where did you come from!?
The Escape Artist points to the floor.
Simon Tillier: …is that blood?
Rezin arches an eyebrow as he inspects the splash pattern across his chest that Simon is referring to. He looks back to the reporter and shrugs.
Rezin: Uhhmm… that ain’t mine.
Simon Tillier: Dare I ask?
Rezin: Ugh… look, Simon, I ain’t really got the time to get into it, but for future consideration, if you ever go to a Halloween costume party and all the other people in costume are dressed up ghosts then you might wanna check yourself, cause that is NOT a Halloween costume party you are at.
The Goat Bastard looks right into the camera.
Rezin: Remember the advice of Uncle Rezin, kids! Eat your gummies! Listen to Black Sabbath! And punch EVERY NAZI YOU SEE right in his FUCKIN’ FACE!
Simon Tillier: Rezin, why are you here? You’re supposed to be away, rehabbing from injuries!
Rezin: You should know by now, Simon: I’m too PUNK ROCK to be rehabbin’ ANY shit! Besides that, someone’s gotta be here keepin’ the normies like YOU on your TOES! What, ya think I’d just let ya go around gettin’ FAT and LAZY?! Perfectly content within your SAFE, STABLE BUBBLE!? While I’m just sittin’ with my feet propped up BACK HOME in…
Rezin freezes, as soon as he notices Nate Colton watching the proceedings mere feet away. His eyes narrow into slits.
The Escape Artist looks suspiciously between interviewer and interviewee, realizing for the first time that he’s the third wheel in this.
Rezin: What we got goin’ on here, Simon? Ya two-timin’ me?
Simon Tillier: Well technically, Rezin, you’re not allowed to be interviewed by me anymore.
Rezin: BAH, fuck the law! So whaddya guys chattin’ about?
Simon Tillier: Well, as it so happens, Mr. Colton here was showing some interesting in going for gold.
Rezin: Ahh, cool cool…
Then it hits him.
He glances down at the one spotless part on his visage: the Five Star Championship, clean and immaculate, draped over his shoulder.
His daring gaze snaps back to the young Colton.
Rezin: Well DAMB, kid! I admire the gumption, but I sure hope you ain’t got eyes for this strap! Ain’t sure my conscience can bear ruining the rise of yet another young future star like yourself!
Here’s the thing about Nate Colton.
Since joining PRIME, he’s gained a reputation for being humble and respectful…with a few notable exceptions. And, with a few notable exceptions, he’s earned that reputation. Most people know him to be polite, friendly, and if not outright deferential to veteran wrestlers, at least modest.
Right before a match? That’s another story. His blood is pumping, the adrenaline has kicked in, and he’s building up his confidence for the task at hand. He’s getting ready to do what he does best, and isn’t about to let anyone stop him. Humility has no place in the ring; manners can wait until after the bell.
So if you want “humble, respectful” Nate Colton? Look for him some other time, because he’s got the night off.
Nate Colton: That’s exactly the strap I’ve got my eyes on, Rezin. That’s the belt that lets everyone know. The Five Star Title is the one that says, “I belong here. I deserve this. I am one of the best of the best.” And the reason it says that, is because to win the Five Star, you gotta be either one of the best pure wrestlers in the world…
He locks eyes with Hell’s Favorite Hoosier, and that cocky grin from earlier grows a little wider.
Nate Colton: …or an undeniable, Grade-A, tough son of a bitch.
Rezin gives him the Nick Cage deathstare for a moment… and breaks into a delighted chuckle.
Rezin: Heh heh… aight, kid. I see ya. But hold up, did I overhear earlier that you’re about to go out there and tango with the Timelord herself?
Simon Tillier: That’s what we were discussing before you arrived, yes.
Rezin: Innerestin’… innerestin’…
He thoughtfully runs a hand through his long and unkempt hobo beard.
Rezin: Ya know… Anna’s only one of two people to put my shoulders to the mat for the three here in PRIME. Be quite a statement if you were to go out there and succeed where I failed.
The Five Star Champion leans in, eyes so wide they look as though they may crawl out of his skull.
Rezin: Well, Nate Colton… sounds like this is your chance to SHOW ME WHAT YA GOT!
Nate Colton: Be glad to. Just don’t be surprised if the next chance I get to show you what I got…
Nate points, very clearly, at the title belt draped across Rezin’s shoulder.
Nate Colton: …it’s what you got.
After a beat, Rezin grins. Or could it be a devilish sneer? Either way, he lets out another raspy chuckle.
Rezin: Aight, kid… I see ya. Give ’em hell tonight, eh?
Rezin lingers a moment, looking voraciously between Colton and Tillier. A beat later, he turns away and leaves.
Neither Colton nor Simon Tillier take their eyes off the Goat Bastard until he rounds the corner. When he does, Nate looks back toward Simon…and Simon looks in the opposite direction, fully expecting Rezin to reappear.
Nate Colton: Good news is you got a free box out of the deal. Any plans for it?
Simon Tillier: Yes. I’m going to crawl inside and close it. Then I’ll be safe.