The camera pans up to a podium in the Studio Ballroom, the same one where at ReVival 5, the Anglo Luchador gave a press conference about how he did not eat IcyHot. The setup is similar. There are rows of seats, mostly filled with fans and some MGM Grand employees on their coffee breaks. Notably, Baron von Blackberry is front and center, wearing a lanyard that contains a piece of yellow lined notepad with “Daily Banana,” written in Sharpie. Randall Schwartz and Kenny Freeman are embedded in the middle rows, conversing among each other. The camera tracks the crowd and then follows back behind the curtain, where a nervous Anglo Luchador stands dressed in a finely tailored suit, holding an index card in his hand. His brother Mikey, dressed in a golf shirt and khakis, stands beside him.
TAL: I still don’t know how this is all going to go over. Everyone saw what happened with Ria last week. This was supposed to be a debate, but getting a hold of GREAT SCOTT is like trying to herd cats. What am I doing? F…
Mikey: Yo, bruh, chill out. You’re doing fine. Everyone makes mistakes. You got this jawn.
TAL: It’s just a lot to take in right now.
Mikey: Yeah, I know. But you’se one of the top guys in this company.
TAL: Am I?
A production assistant comes back to where the brothers are standing.
PA: Mr. Luchador, you’re on.
TAL: Here goes nothing.
The old luchador walks out onto the stage and takes the podium.
TAL: Friends, PRIMEates, coworkers, lend me your ears. Four score and seven years ago, uh, professional wrestling was a carny business run by carny people doing carny things. Now, in the modern age, modern problems require modern solutions. Those solutions? Speaking softly but carrying a big stick. And that big stick is a weapon that I will use if I am elected, along with the absent Ms. Nightshade, to be in the Intense Championship Match at Great American Nightmare.
The old luchador notices Baron von Blackberry straining to get his attention with a raised hand.
TAL: It’s not time for questions yet, Baron.
Baron von Blackberry: FOOL! I am merely stretching my arm in an effort to keep myself great, and mighty, and ABSOLUTELY LIMBER! How dare you call into question my exercise routine on this, the most DIABOLICAL of days!
TAL: I know you have a question, just spill it. You never not have a question. I know you.
Baron von Blackberry: …Very well. Have you considered using an ancient solution for your modern problems? Perhaps you should employ a catapult. I know plenty of fools who would make for excellent projectiles. Some of them practice Scientology.
TAL: Well, to address your concerns here, while I have thought of using a catapult, I don’t have the funds to have one built that will be adequate for our arena. Read my lips, no new taxes. If you want to know what is my solution for the most pressing problem I have, then it’ll have to depend on what the definition of the word “is” is.
Jax Mollineaux: (Seated in the front row, without anyone noticing he walked in) Hello, Mr. Luchador, this is Jax Mollineaux, INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST, and I have a question.
TAL: This isn’t a press conference, and you don’t have diplomatic immunity like Baron does. Shut up.
Jax Mollineaux: ignoring him Are you AFRAID that Balaam will interfere in your match, or have you accepted that you are a sinner in the eyes of Hoyt Williams and will accept your flogging before, during, and/or after the match.
TAL: Look, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. I am not afraid of Balaam because I have not thought about him in weeks. He is not my opponent at Great American Nightmare. Ria Nightshade is, and she will be a formidable opponent, one who deserves, no, commands all of my attention.
Jax Mollineaux: Interesting deflection…
TAL: Mikey, can you get this guy outta here?
Mikey emerges from the back, grabs the INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST by his collar, and shuttles him out of the Studio Ballroom.
Jax Mollineaux: YOU’LL BE HEARING FROM MY LAWYERS ABOUT THIS.
TAL: Anyway, back to what I’m trying to…
Just then, Randall Schwartz interrupts, standing up with his hand raised.
Randall Schwartz: Yes, hello, hi, I have a question for the Angelic Lunchable.
Kenny jumps up beside him, whispering something in Randall’s ear.
Randall Schwartz: Right, sorry, The Anglo Luchador. Anyway, very important question sir…where is the free food? I was under the impression there were snacks.
TAL: Why does everyone think I’m buying food for them, goddammit. Actually, I have a question for you, both of you, actually. You’re multiversal, right? Like you know what happens in a bunch of universes.
The Masters of the Multiverse (B-Team) look at the old luchador, stone-faced.
TAL: Can you tell me, in how many of those universes is the lead singer of Fozzy ALSO a professional wrestler? It’s been bugging the hell out of me.
Randall responds without missing a beat.
Randall Schwartz: You mean the Muppet bear that’s also a comedian? That’s the only Fozzy I know…or acknowledge.
TAL: You mean, the band, Fozzy, the one that sang my old entrance song? They have this song “Judas” that’s everywhere now? Ah, you know what, forget it, you’d probably be violating all kinds of spacetime laws like the old guys from two shows were. I can’t get any answers around here. Please clap.
No one claps, not even the trained seal from the animal show taking place the next night.
TAL: This was a mistake…
Baron von Blackberry once again is either stretching out his hand or trying to ask another question.
TAL: Okay, are you stretching again, or do you have another question to ask?
Baron von Blackberry: Little of column A, little of column Blackberry.
He considers it, and then raises his hand again.
Baron von Blackberry: Ah, yes. What’s up with that Ria Nightshade, uh… mutual acquaintance that definitely might stab someone for real one day?
TAL: She’s my opponent at Great American Nightmare.
Baron von Blackberry: Yes, of course. The Great American Nightmare. Indeed. Pray that you may one day never experience the Great Fruitsylvanian Nightmare, the counter-programming
that shall air on another, more fruity network! Probably TruTV, if we’re honest. They’ll take anything. ENOUGH! Are you truly sure that this is the opponent you wish? She is very stabby. Also, I think she hates you and thinks your hair is stupid. Probably not her words. Definitely not mine. I’m blaming Sid. He’s definitely said that about your hair.
TAL: Well, she should hate me, we’re wrestling in a deathmatch and…
The old luchador looks backstage at his brother, who shrugs and mouths “go with it!”
TAL: …and we’re going to tear the house down, because uh, you know what? I hate me too right now. If I’m being honest? I hate me with every fiber of my own being. And that’s why I’m going to go out there at Great American Nightmare, bare my chest, and take whatever aggressions she has directed at me as punishment. But you know what? I came up through this crap, and I have survived years, DECADES of putting my ass through the goddamn ringer. Whatever her puerile ass thinks she can dish out to me? I WILL DISH IT BACK OUT DOUBLE.
He throws off his suit jacket, rips off his vest, popping the buttons all across the Studio Ballroom, and starts undoing his tie.
TAL: Because when I start to feel intense self-loathing, watch out. That’s when I lash out at everyone, at you pointing at Baron and you two pointing at the B-Team and even you pointing at the seal. That’s right, don’t play coy with me you seal bastard. I KNOW YOU’VE BEEN STEALING FISH WHILE YOUR TRAINER ISN’T LOOKING.
He rips off his tie and throws it unintentionally right into the waiting hands of Miss Maverick, the Phantom Republican’s chief of staff, who places it neatly into her clutch. He then lets out an uncharacteristic “WOO!” and drops an elbow on his suit jacket before rising, dusting himself off, and getting back to his increasingly deranged rant.
TAL: You [SEVEN SECOND DELAY]ers want to see violence? I will show you why they called me the Blade of the Eastern Shores in Japan. I will show ALL OF YOU how [SEVEN SECOND DELAY]ED UP I CAN BE IN THAT RING. DAMMIT.
The Anglo Luchador, fired up and removing his shirt while storming past his brother, leaves the Studio Ballroom. Mikey heads to the podium.
Mikey: Uh, hey, uh, thanks for attending this jawn, uh, I’mma talk to Melvin and see if he can’t get you comped to the buffet for havin’ to watch that ish.
The room’s mood lightens up as the promise of food is introduced as the camera kicks it back up to the broadcast desk for the next match.