TIME TO STEP AWAY
The interview set up in the Bridgestone Arena. The PRIME and Ace Network logos side by side. The backdrop already features the visages of FLAMBERGE and Ivan Stanislav, glorious in their appearance. The main event of the tenth Colossus. Underneath? In golden lettering, ‘The Finals of the 2024 Seymour Almasy Invitational’. Neither are the true focus now, however. Instead, it’s someone conspicuous in his absence from either of these main event opportunities. The man who held the Universal Title for more days than only one other in PRIME’s history. The only person who can claim to win not just the Almasy, but its progenitor; The Jewel in the Crown. The Tower of Babel.
Standing in street clothes, he isn’t alone. Stylish as ever, effervescent as always, he is joined by the best interviewer in all of combat sports, Angelica Brooks.
Angelica Brooks: Ladies, gentleman, nonbinary friends, I am joined now, surprisingly, by Brandon Youngblood. Many, myself included, didn’t expect you to appear here in Nashville after the result of last ReVival’s titanic main event, where you were eliminated from the Almasy Invitational by Cecilworth Farthington–
The Diamond interrupts.
Brandon Youngblood: Because I stormed out.
Angelica Brooks: That’s one reason why. It’s no small secret you’re also currently dealing with a debilitating injury to your left arm, something that could only have been exacerbated in your battle with the undefeated and current 5 Star Champion, Farthington. There was a lot riding on that bout, and tensions were said to be running high.
Brandon Youngblood: Yeah. I stormed out of that ring, got out of my gear, and was out. I didn’t want to see anyone. Talk to anyone. None of that shit. Because I was angry. Because I was furious.
Undaunted, the host of the Undergroundcast lives up to her ability to ask the tough questions.
Angelica Brooks: Because of your submission?
Brandon Youngblood: That I put myself in the position in the first place.
Angelica Brooks: That drains a lot of credit from Farthington from putting you in that position in the first place. Some might consider that extremely disrespectful, especially given how acclaimed he is in grappling and submission wrestling.
Brandon Youngblood: Ang…I’d love to stand here, look you in the eye, look everyone in the eye, and spit all over what Farthington did. Say it was a fluke. That he got lucky. Right place right time. That he caught me when I got one arm busted and that played right into his wheelhouse. That he’s been coasting on nothing but bullshit, not having to put that 5 Star Title up, tag matches for main events, that it’s all just gravy for PRIME and Lindsay because, well…she and her kids like him, for whatever reason, more than they like me. But there’s a problem there, Ang…
Angelica Brooks: That being?
Brandon Youngblood: All that…all those ways to frame it…it’s horseshit.
There’s no sarcasm in his manner.
Brandon Youngblood: Just like I said when Ivan beat me for the Universal Title, credit where credit is due. Was I a hundred percent? No. Nobody who fights to get to the top of the tower can be. You fight. You bleed. You push yourself beyond endurance. In the ReVival, I take everyone’s best, demand the very best of whoever is in the ring against me.
A slight shift.
Brandon Youngblood: Farthington is a great wrestler. Not just now, but all time. He fights and he fights. Is he cutthroat? Can he be trusted? Will he shiv you in the back the moment he feels the opportunity is right? Yeah. But he took what I hit him with, and he got up. He fought. He fought through my gameplan and through the blows and weathered it all. And then, he got a hold of me after ruining both my arms. Yeah…I could’ve passed out. I could’ve let him rip apart my arms and lost a year to recovery. And maybe I never get back to the level I’ve been at in the ReVival. Maybe I don’t heal fast. When I’m beat…and I know I’m beat…I’m not going to lay there for pride. Pride like that is bullshit. It’s stupid. It’s arrogant.
Hands on hips.
Brandon Youngblood: And I want to fight my way back. Not just to Cecilworth, not just to Stanislav…to anyone at the top of this sport. I don’t get that if I’m under the knife or in a cast. I’m not moving on. It’s just…right now…people are renting. And I plan on coming home.
His glower turns from Angelica, directly to the camera.
Brandon Youngblood: But I’m not going to get there if I’m sitting around in rehab. Lindsay and Killean…they gave me the choice to sit out the Almasy. Medical reasons. I said no. I have to live with that, just like UltraViolence. And I’m here tonight because they gave that opportunity again. So if I want to get to where I belong, if I am going to do the right thing, I need to do what I refused to do last year. I need to go home–
The clapping is annoying, but not as much as the perpetrator easing into the frame. Another PRIME Hall of Famer. Another Jewel in the Crown winner. Tony Gamble. The size disparity is, as always, a bit comical. The permanent smirk is unflinching.
Tony Gamble: I never fail to be impressed by the way you can fail the way you do, stand there as if nothing has changed, and talk about how getting back to the top of this sport is not just a few fights away for you. It’s sickening that you’ve managed to remain the mountain – I’m sorry, the tower – the rest of us need to ascend to become relevant these days. Especially, when you’re in this condition.
In saying this, The Grin gives a heavy, hearty slap to Youngblood’s left bicep, causing the Tower of Babel to flinch, to wince, to try and protect the wounded limb.
Tony Gamble: I know I’ll never be mommy’s favorite son – never had it in me to bend a knee and kiss the ring – but every once in a while I wonder what it would be like if I had been here since Revival number one… In any case, have fun sitting at home licking your wounds.
Youngblood, enough time having passed, bolts back stern, upright, seething. There’s only one problem; Gamble is no longer there to deal with the seething Diamond. Sentiment made clear, we go back to the ring for the Battle of Glue between Hayes Hanlon and Cecilworth Farthington.