The usual backstage chicaneries are… well, it’s PRIME, so they are well underway.
The BOSS of PRIME, Lindsay Troy, is walking shoulder-to-shoulder with her beau, Wade Elliott. She has a walkie-talkie in hand.
Lindsay Troy: Any sign of Pizmo yet?
There’s a few seconds of crackling before Dam’s voice replies through the speaker.
Dametreyus: Not yet, Boss. Got the Enemigos keeping an eye out for him and Bobby.
Lindsay Troy: And still no Coral.
Dametreyus: Got them looking for him too.
Lindsay Troy: OK. Keep me posted.
She returns the walkie-talkie to her hip and sighs.
Lindsay Troy: I know I say this every show, but this might be the night I kill Cancer Jiles.
Wade Elliott: Sounds sort’ve expensive. And illegal.
The Queen lifts an eyebrow to The Bad Dog, and he grins in reply.
Wade Elliott: What? Never said I weren’t in favor. Hell, I’d pay a couple bucks to watch.
The Lady of the Hour elbows him in the arm with a chuckle…
..but it’s short lived.
Lindsay Troy: Aaannnd there’s the rub.
Leaning against the wall is the loser of his first round Almasy Invitational match, David Noble. He’s about as happy to be there as the Queen is to see him. Posted up next to him in front of the Steel Door o’ Doom is the leader of KING, Rose. Her head is lowered, looking intensely at her iPhone.
Rose: Craziest thing on the Tickety-Tok, this girl Susie is trying to make homemade pesto, because she doesn’t like store-bought pesto.
She then looks up at Lindsay, with a smile on her face.
Rose: Crazy, huh? And everyone keeps, I don’t know what they call it, adding their own crazy story on top of it. Like… I just want to know how she makes her homemade pesto. Is that so crazy? I don’t need to know how you fed a homeless guy you caught breaking into an apartment across the way.
Looking at the faces of Wade and Lindsay, she quickly slips her phone into her front pocket, and smiles as brightly as a person has ever smiled.
Rose: How’s it going, fam?
Wade Elliott: …what?
Lindsay Troy: (curtly) Rose.
She glares at her before looking over at David Noble.
Lindsay Troy: (annoyed) Dipshit. Whatever you two want, the answer is “no” and “fuck off.”
Rose looks over at David, a shocked look on her face.
Rose: Ooh, you were right. She really doesn’t like you.
David Noble: Told you.
Her head then pivots back to Lindsay.
Rose: I hear you. I can only imagine how much you hate it when people infringe on your personal space. Being an only child, I didn’t really have that experience, but it’s one that I hear often and totally get.
She then straightens her stance and pushes away from the office door before inching towards the power couple but stops herself.
Rose: Except… I invited someone here. And it would be rather rude if we just left and said person showed up and we weren’t here, you know? I know your usual hospitable spirit is one of not wanting to offend anyone —
She then looks over at David.
Rose: Present company not included, obviously —
Her head whips back to the Mom and Step-Dad of PRIME.
Rose: So how about this one time, you let us in and wait for the person to show up? Then, we can be on our way. Just this once? I don’t want people to know that you don’t have an open-door policy.
Wade Elliott: Pretty certain there ain’t ever been an “open door policy.”
Lindsay Troy: (confirming Wade’s comment with a smirk) The door’s open for the people I want to see, if you catch my drift.
Rose: Oh, oh my. I was really mistaken about that. My apologies.
Lindsay Troy: You’re really bad at this, you know.
Rose: What’s that?
Lindsay Troy: Sincerity, or the appearance of it.
Lindsay waves Rose away from the office door and walks in, with Wade following her. As the door closes, Rose slips in with Noble right behind. The Queen walks to her desk and, as she’s about to sit, notices Rose and David in the room as well. She rolls her eyes as Rose carefully sits on a side table adjacent to Troy’s desk, then flashes her pearly whites.
Rose: Thanks Lindz. Should I call you Auntie Lindz? Since we’ve known each other so long, you know?
The side-eye Lindsay throws is so sharp it could cut glass.
Lindsay Troy: No.
Wade closes the office door and moves towards a wall across from Rose, his arms folded across his chest. Rose whips back out her phone and starts tapping away on it while Noble leans on the wall behind her.
Wade Elliott: (somewhat on an island) …y’all know I could toss y’all out’ve here by the scruff’ve yer necks, right?
Rose doesn’t bother looking up from her phone as she shrugs her shoulders. Silence fills the room as Lindsay grabs her tablet and starts reading something on it. After a few moments, she looks at David.
Lindsay Troy: Y’know, I could’ve gone the rest of my life without seeing your stupid face again.
David doesn’t even bother looking at Lindsay.
David Noble: The feeling is mutual.
Lindsay Troy: Cool. Glad to see you’re still making poor life choices, by the way.
Rose looks over at Lindsay and then at David, confused as if she witnessed something she shouldn’t have. She then looks back at Lindsay.
Rose: I’m really excited about Kaz’s big match tonight. Going to be so much fun to see him get in the ring. I hope Daytona doesn’t cause him more pain than he needs to. That whole business with the chain–
Lindsay Troy: Please keep trying all the buttons, Rose. Maybe you’ll finally push the one that works.
Wade Elliott: (scanning the room, a touch confused) Y’all know that…right?
Rose smiles and returns to her phone, waiting for her visitor. They don’t have to wait much longer as a knock is heard.
Rose moves towards the door but stops as she looks over at Wade.
Rose: Sorry, are you supposed to open the door? I don’t want to take your job over there. I know you take being the personal bodyguard of Lindsay Troy very seriously.
Wade grumbles under his breath and shoots a sharp blue eye to the Lady of the Hour.
Wade Elliott: They dont’ know a fuckin’ thing, do they?
Lindsay Troy: They absolutely do not, but let’s get this over with.
Elliott shoots a glare toward Rose, then reluctantly opens the door. In steps one-half of the show’s main event this evening: The Anglo Luchador.
The Anglo Luchador: ‘Sup. Got a note saying there was a meeting in the boss’ office? You sent? Where’s Ceece…
Lindsay Troy: Not me, Tom.
The disdain drips off her words as she thumbs to the side of her. TAL looks over and sees Noble leaning against the wall and Rose sitting on the table, putting her phone away for the second time. Wade, meanwhile, has nudged himself off the wall and is re-positioning.
The Anglo Luchador: Nah, I’m good.
Rose rises from the table.
Rose: Tom? Just for a moment?
Wade Elliott: (stepping in and interrupting) Shit, I hate t’rain on y’all’s parade…
With an unexpected wave of force, Wade has managed to usher the trio of Noble, Rose, and The Anglo Luchador toward the office entry, heavy boots moving them steadily through the threshold, despite the confusion across their faces.
Wade Elliott: …but we ain’t interested. Sort it out yourselves.
The Bad Dog slams the door, leaving the three in the hallway. They exchange angry, confused, and disconcerted glances, adjusting themselves after their expulsion from The Queen’s office.
Rose’s glare draws to TAL.
And TAL stares at Rose.
Rose: (collecting herself) I…I get why you didn’t want to be in that room with us, but I figured you would want to know the why behind it. Plus, I figured if Lindsay and Wade were in the room, the threat of fighting in front of the parents would diminish.
TAL: (gesturing toward the door) I’ve known Lindz for two decades now. I’ll do anything but get naked in front of her.
Rose: Well, that’s going to be an image burned into my mind, unwillingly. You can relax though, we’re not here to fight.
TAL: Hard to relax when you and your goon squad drugged me and threw me out onto the ramp at UltraViolence. Or we got a case of selective memory?
Rose: Well, I get how that could be disconcerting and alarming. As you will possibly remember though, we didn’t actually attack you. We just needed you in a state where you could listen. Far too often, you’re ready to strike, and I didn’t want that to happen to you. Five-on-one isn’t really a fair fight, and with your back up against the wall like it was against Paxton, we needed you in a different state of mind.
TAL: Sure, whatever. Why don’t you take the time to explain yourself?
Rose nods her head before moving her hands behind her back.
Rose: Perfect! Well, you see, Tom, as I said last week, I’m a bit tired of the paladin-hat-wearing style that so many of our fine heroes of PRIME seem to be wearing and not actually understanding what that actually means. I mean, how much in fines have the likes of Jared and yourself and others had to pay? It’s a lot, in case you were wondering. I’ve had the pleasure to watch quite a bit of wrestling this past year, not having much to do in my spare time. I have to say, Tom, you’re not much of a thinker.
The jaw of TAL sets a hard line against it.
Rose: You know, during your battle against Arthur Pleasant, you thought it would be a good idea to bring Craig Hamburgers to the arena, knowing that Pleasant was out, looking to sink those gnarly teeth into you. What could have possibly been running through your mind? How on Earth could that have come across as a good idea for you?
TAL’s eyes narrow.
Rose: Then, you decided to take Melissa and Nora into your home. How sweet. You decided to put them alongside your own wife and kids, knowing that the madman we all, for some reason, allow to just hang around us would do anything to get to his daughter. Did that thought ever cross your mind, Tom? Did you ever consider that you were putting your wife and kids at harm by your decisions? I mean, it baffles me that you didn’t even consider all the possible scenarios that could play out.
TAL seems to want to respond, but Rose holds her hand up.
Rose: Not done. You know the issue with you, Tom? You are selfish. You put yourself, and only yourself, first. Always about doing the right thing with you. Well, I guess not always. Because it’s your reputation that needs to be placed on a pedestal. Your pride needs to be looked at as the good guy while not giving two thoughts to the people you harm along the way.
Rose inches towards TAL.
Rose: What about your kids? What if Paxton had gotten his hands on them? Or whatever nefarious group that he has doing his dirty work? What about Craig Hamburgers? Your wife? Melissa? Nora? You hid a kid from her father. When did you become God, Tom? When did you become above the law, Tom? You are shit, and yet you think you’re the one to protect others? And then want to look Pikachu-shocked when the consequences of your decisions blow up in your face? Save us all the sanctimonious bullshit.
She shakes her head.
Rose: You’re no better than Paxton. Putting your own selfish needs above everyone else, including your kids, family, the people you swore to protect. All in the name of everyone else thinking the best of you. No more, Tom. Because I know better. I know far too well the real Tom Battaglia. Worthless of the words that come out of his mouth and even less so as it comes to his actions.
Rose: That’s why I sent you the roses. To try and remind you of your duty, but clearly, there’s not much operating up there in that skull of yours. That’s why I drugged you, to send you a message. That you, and those that run around here treating this like their own personal play space, will be held accountable for your actions. You’ve fucked around long enough, Tom. It’s now time for you to find out.
TAL looks around the hallway before responding.
TAL: Cool, I can talk now? Great. Anyway, glad to hear you can listen to shitheads like Pleasant and Nackedy and regurgitate their talking points. And you accuse me of not being a thinker. Not gonna dwell on the projection, I have too much respect for your father to go in on how you seemed to have turned out.
He turns his ire towards David, closing the gap between them.
TAL: And you? Fuck, man, I didn’t know you were that hard up for cash that you’d babysit the daughter of a Hall of Famer. What, did hanging dong on TikTok not translate to the payday you’d hoped it would?
The words aren’t taken too kindly by David, and the previous gap is no longer there. Rose immediately steps between the two, shooting a look at David that screams ‘stand down,’ and then looks back at TAL.
Rose: You want to settle it with fists? That’s fine. We do it in the ring, just like my father would’ve done, right? I’m glad that nothing got through that thick skull of yours. You would think that after having it done so many times, you would want to do things differently. It’s okay, Tom, your time is coming.
TAL: Cool. Anyway, I have a submission artist to fight in the main event. You two have fun and maybe fuck off and die.
TAL takes his leave. Rose looks over at David.
Rose: Well, that went well.
ReVival then cuts to Matt Mills, who has a guest with him.