TOO MUCH, TOO FAST
Event: ReVival 23
Event Date: 02/24/2023
TOO MUCH, TOO FAST
“So you…caught him?”
In a backstage locker room, Hayes Hanlon sits on a bench, rolling a shoulder and doing his best to fight off a grimace.
Hayes Hanlon: I didn’t catch him.
The camera pans, revealing the Dragonslayer, leaning against the wall.
Jared Sykes: I mean…it looked like you at least tried, right? That’s the important part.
Home Run Hayes leans back, thudding his head into a metal locker, again fighting off a painful jolt.
Hayes Hanlon: Man, I don’t know what I did. Or tried to do. I saw Ivan chuck him into the air, and I just…moved.
Jared nods slowly, but his face betrays no emotion. Given his history and what it means to try to save an enemy – try, and fail – this one hits a little too close to home.
Jared Sykes: So what’s the part that’s getting to you… That you tried, or that you weren’t quite successful?
Hayes Hanlon: I don’t know, because….GAH!
Hayes moves to stand, but the pain in his body has other ideas, forcing him back to his seat.
Hayes Hanlon: …because it’s Rezin? Because that dirtbag took my title from me two weeks ago? AGAIN. Because I’ve imagined that dude falling to his doom more than once, but regardless…
The former champ turns a pair of confused brown eyes to the Knight Errant.
Hayes Hanlon: …I still tried to save him?
Jared pushes away from the wall and moves to an empty spot on the bench.
Jared Sykes: Because he needed it.
He’s silent for a moment, but the gears are clearly turning. All of the things he could say, the truths he could lay bare, but these are not stories for the world to hear.
Jared Sykes: Think about him for a minute. Not Rezin the wrestler, not the guy who walked out of that show with the Universal Championship. Think about Erik the person. You see the things he does, the way he carries himself… You think that guy’s got a lot of help like what you tried to do tonight? You think people are lining up to catch him everytime he falls? But you did it. You tried.
He sighs. Only two other people in the world will understand the weight of it.
Jared Sykes: Because you knew it was the right thing to do.
A long silence, and a light shake of the head from Hayes.
Hayes Hanlon: I’m gonna beat him, Jared. And when I beat him, I don’t want it to be because he fell off a mezzanine, or because Ivan chucked him through the roof. I’m gonna beat him…because I’m gonna beat the absolute shit out of him.
A heavy breath releases through Hanlon’s nose as he steadies himself, then turns an eye to Sykes.
Hayes Hanlon: Is that the “right” thing to do?
Jared Sykes: I’m gonna go with “yes”, because there’s something to be said for wanting to face a guy at his best.
Jared Sykes: Man, spin like that could get me a job with whatever the hell Alexei does.
The two share a quiet moment on the bench.
Hayes Hanlon: Really didn’t lose the belt to kick off 2023.
Jared Sykes: Man, we’re just finding all the buttons to press tonight.
Jared leans forward and rests his elbows on his knees.
Jared Sykes: Went through something similar a while ago, around the last time this place was open. Only time I’ve ever had a shot to be The Guy anywhere, and it took me ten years to get that far. I won. Wasn’t supposed to. Nobody expected it to happen, nobody wanted it to happen, but it did. Dropped it on my first defense and never got a second look at it. Sure, some things have happened since then but…
Jared Sykes: But that’s not your trajectory. Your first year, man… Your first fuckin’ year and you got there. Sure, Ivan and Rezin didn’t let it last very long, but you’re a month out from getting another crack at it. And if that doesn’t pan out, then you’ve got a third shot in the battle royal the next night. The point is it sucks now, but it’s not going to suck for long.
A small smile behind the ‘Stache-that-deserves-a-name. Hayes leans forward to rest his elbows on his knees in kind.
Hayes Hanlon: Maybe it was too much, too fast.
Jared Sykes: Do you believe that? Like… Do you honestly believe that? Because I’ve got an opinion, but I’m curious what you think.
Hayes Hanlon: (Lifting an eyebrow.) I mean, I’ve only been in the big leagues a year, dude. I don’t have a lot to compare it to…
Jared Sykes: Even if it’s “too much too fast” it’s still not something anyone gets to take away from you. Name is still in the history books forever. And like I said, the opportunity’s there to do it again. Could be talking to the first two-time Universal Champion of the ReVival era.
Hayes offers a nod, and a small smirk.
Hayes Hanlon: Well, I’m kinda planning on it.
Hammerin’ Hanlon stands from his bench, albeit slowly, stretching out some lingering pain his body from breaking Rezin’s fall earlier.
Hayes Hanlon: Thanks, man.
He goes to leave, but catches himself, turning back to one-half of the Tag Team Champions.
Hayes Hanlon: And not that you need it, but good luck in the Main Event. That gold isn’t going anywhere.
Hayes takes ginger steps out of the locker room, leaving the Dragonslayer to his own. As the two men part ways, the camera lingers on Sykes for just a moment longer, which is enough time to see him crane his neck as Hanlon walks away. He glances back over his shoulder, looking down. Then he raises a single eyebrow and shakes his head, before mouthing a single word.
Jared Sykes: Nah.