“I don’t get what the hang-up is. It’s not that complicated.”
The camera fades in, but its proximity to the intended targets is a little too close, and it takes a few extra seconds to focus. What we do know? Is that they’re round. Bulbous. Possibly luscious.
Annnd we’re scanning upward, only coming into perfect focus on the backs of PRIME’s Bold and the Booty-Ful. The pair stand in front of a concession, and with no match for the Sykes the Dragonslayer or Hammerin’ Hayes, street clothes are the attire of choice. The concession’s host hands a pair of large plastic cups; Jared’s contains enough caffeine and sugar to power a rocket, while Hanlon’s carries what is clearly a gin and tonic.
Jared Sykes: And also, I can smell that from here. Keep it the hell away from me.
Hayes rolls his eyes, taking a sip.
Hayes Hanlon: (back to the subject) I dunno, man, tag stuff has just never really been my thing. Like, how do I know when it’s time to jump in.
Jared Sykes: Here, let me show you.
Jared sets down his beverage, then grabs Hayes by the wrist of his free hand. He follows with a big, exaggerated slap to Hanlon’s palm with a loud SMACK.
Jared Sykes: There, that’s how you know. But it doesn’t count unless you hold a little white rope. Turnbull is very serious about holding the little white rope. If you don’t, then all the high-fives in the world won’t mean a goddamn thing. He’ll get all up in your face and make you go stand outside again like a schmuck.
The most accurate description, at least according to Betsy and Gretchen – those are the brain hamsters that live in Jared’s head in case you tuned out earlier, you heathen – is that it’s like a certain scene in Santa Claus: The Movie. Early in the film a homeless child named Joe stands in the snow outside a McDonalds watching everyone go batshit on their Big Macs. It’s supposed to be a moment where the audience feels for the kid, because he’s very lonely and desperate for some cholesterol, but that’s hard to do when you’re watching a glorified product placement.
Also, every animal in that movie is dead now, because it’s been almost forty years since it came out.
Jared Sykes: And if you’re very unlucky, he’ll count at you.
Jared takes a sip. You can almost see the caffeine pulse through the veins in his arms.
Jared Sykes: Oh, and FLAMBERGE says “what’s up.”
The Comeback Kid averts his eyes as they roll.
Hayes Hanlon: (sarcastically) Enjoy your little chat with the Glue-Douches earlier?
If he were to answer this honestly, Jared would have to admit that yes, in fact, he did. The conversation was a little combative, sure, but no one tried to kill him. This is a rarity. Normally when Jared has a confrontation with, well, literally anyone of the argumentative sort it ends in exactly one way: with security rushing in to escort the bad men away while Mr. Sykes gets to experience another round of blood loss. And that didn’t happen, so we’re calling that one a win. A great big W in the record books of “Shit That Goes on Backstage.”
Of course, he can’t just come right out and say this.
Jared Sykes: It was… an experience. Not what I was expecting, and yet somehow I wasn’t surprised by it if that makes any sense. Except for the thing about haunches. Still trying to work that out. There’s an image in my head around it, and I’m not sure I want it there.
He’s not mad about that either. Again, can’t say that out loud.
Jared Sykes: Which reminds me, I’m also supposed to pass along a message about… Look, I’m just going to assume you saw it. And if you didn’t, then feel free to watch it back later on.
Hayes Hanlon: Oh, I saw it. I’ll make sure to try and “unclench.”
A quiet moment follows as they amble along. Betsy and Gretchen slow their pace a little. Hayes lets the gin soak between his teeth.
Hayes Hanlon: …look, I’m sorry about that “hero” line a couple weeks ago.
Jared Sykes: Hey, I get it. If I was in your position and some idiot showed up to piss on my campfire I probably wouldn’t have taken it very well either. Water under the bridge, you know? And I admit that might not have been the right thing to do on my end, but it’s a situation I’m too familiar with. Been on your side of it enough to know how it plays out.
Deep inside his head, two small hamsters hold up hamster-sized concussion helmets. Alas, they have no mirrors.
Jared Sykes: It usually doesn’t end well.
Hayes Hanlon: Yeah. I guess I just wanted to take that one on my own. Send a message or something. But I probably just would’ve got my ass beat, and you’re probably right. You’ve got the years under your belt, after all.
Hanlon stops, and shifts toward Sykes.
Hayes Hanlon: So, thanks for stepping in. And I’ll give this tag match everything I got. I wanna see these guys taken down a peg.
Jared Sykes: I know how tag matches are viewed here…
Oh shit. Nope, we’re not doing this rant today. That’s why both of the hamsters have run into their panic room, surrounded by fresh hay and vegetable crunchies. They’re going to be there a while. For safety.
Jared Sykes: But a win here still means you went over two of the top names in the company, regardless of their allegiance. That has to count for something. FLAMBO…
He shouts the name, because that’s what he does when things are stylized in the ALL CAPS.
Jared Sykes: He’s sitting at number one on the rankings, and based on what he said to me earlier has like a whole-ass trophy room full of necks. Plus, you know, the whole Intense championship thing. Farthington has the Five Star, and beat thirty-nine other people at Culture Shock to win that battle royal.
This is exactly what happened.
Don’t argue with me.
My logic is infallible.
Jared Sykes: So yeah. Big names.
Hayes Hanlon: Big names. Big belts.
Hanlon lingers on his comment, staring absently past Jared’s head for a bit. He blinks, shakes his head, and draws his eyes back to the Heart of PRIME.
Hayes Hanlon: Small chests. Let’s eat some glue.
We then cut to another area backstage, that features one member of his own makeshift tag team in the main event tonight.