Unfinished Business Tour
We come back from our commercial break with the ever effervescent Angelica Brooks, dressed to the nines in a sporty blazer and designer jeans, set against the PRIME backdrop in the backstage area. She can barely contain the smile plastered across her face.
Angelica Brooks: Ladies and gentleman…the Universal Champion…Brandon. Youngblood.
The MGM Grand Arena crowd roars at the announcement, and after the introduction, he steps into the picture, a form fitting dark grey henley not nearly as stark as the Universal Championship belt slung over his shoulder. There is a smile between the two, an extended hand followed by a handshake, all before the two get into a more natural position to conduct the interview.
Angelica Brooks: I know this is the boilerplate question, but I have to ask…after everything…after so many close calls…after being known for so long as the best in PRIME history to never win the Universal Title…how does it feel to finally achieve the goal you set out for the day you came here all the way back in 2005?
The Diamond looks away from her for a moment, off into the distance, thinking of the words, all before returning to meet her gaze.
Brandon Youngblood: Angelica…there’s sometimes in life where you envision a moment…you dream about it…you want it so much…and when you get there…when you finally get there…it doesn’t measure up. What you built in your mind doesn’t match up. And you’re left a little empty. A little hollow. I got to say…it feels pretty damn good. Everything I wanted, that I dreamed about, how I envisioned it…that moment…it’s bigger than anything I’ve felt in my entire career. Finally winning the Universal Championship…having to go through and win it this way…the right way…I couldn’t have asked for anything more. It’s incredible. And the outpouring of well wishes…of support…it’s been overwhelming. From some of my peers past and present…and the fan letters–
She seems genuinely surprised by this to cut him off.
Angelica Brooks: Fan letters?!
Brandon Youngblood: I mean…I used to hear stories, but good lord…I’m trying to keep up. I’m trying to respond to each letter personally, and between that and training, it’s a lot. But I appreciate it. I appreciate all the support, because if it wasn’t for people believing in me, in giving me a chance, there’s no way we’re standing here now.
Angelica can’t help but chuckle. Just as quickly, though, she’s back into interview mode.
Angelica Brooks: Coming out of Culture Shock, there’s been a lot of talk, a lot of scuttlebutt, all around your knee. It’s made the rounds that you struggled to walk after your victory, that you may have won the Almasy Invitational…but that in doing so…you might have injured yourself in the process. What’s the status on your left knee? We all saw Jiles make a point in attacking it in the main event.
Brandon Youngblood: The knee is fine.
Angelica Brooks: But is it really though?
A brief moment to ponder. And then, the truth.
Brandon Youngblood: If I’m honest with you, Angelica, maybe not. Maybe not. I’ve had to get it drained, I’ve gotten multiple MRIs, it’s not comfortable. I’m definitely having some issues with stability and making sure everything feels right. But that’s the price of professional wrestling. You’re rarely going to be all the way one hundred percent fresh…especially off a tournament…especially after being away from the sport for so long. But I want to make this clear…if I needed to defend this Universal Championship tonight, I would. If I didn’t and I was scheduled for a match, tag team, singles, whatever, I’d be out there, in that ring, ready to go. I’m cleared. There’s no structural damage. And maybe having a bum wheel makes for a great target…chop down the big oak…but I don’t care. You hold the Universal Championship, you already have the biggest target in the entire industry square on your back. The knee’s gonna get better. And I got the shoulders to carry the burden of being the standard in this sport regardless. So if someone wants to try it, think they’re gonna clip my knee and make a statement off my expense? I’m begging you. Go ahead. Try it. You’re not gonna like what happens.
Angelica Brooks: I want to make sure we’re clear. We’ve heard from the number one contender to your championship, Impulse, just a little bit ago. His intentions are clear. His position in the Great American Nightmare pay-per-view main event is set. How do you respond to him saying his eyes are wide open…that he wants this Championship all the more after coming so close to beating you in your first contest?
Brandon Youngblood: As much as I want to focus on Great American Nightmare…I can’t. He won his opportunity. He can sit back if he wants and prepare. I doubt that he will…Impulse is a pro. He’s going to fight and wrestle and make sure everything is all tuned up for his chance. And he wants this chance. He deserves this chance against me…not just for the Universal Championship…no he’s a wrestler’s wrestler. And I know it’s got to be eating a hole in his gut thinking about the what ifs the last time we faced off. Randall…let’s be clear…my hand might’ve been raised…I might’ve beaten you…but there’s no resolution. You german suplexed me. I didn’t beat you. I survived. And that’s got me thinking…how close were you to being where I am now? People are patting me on the back…congratulations…a redemption story for the ages…the Pariah made good…you want my Universal Championship. Me? I want five more minutes. I want to know…truly know…what would’ve happened had we both gotten to our feet and continued the fight. And that’s enough to drive me. But before I turned myself into a liar and focused on Great American Nightmare…I can’t focus on just you. That’s the price of being the Champion. Because before I get to you…before we get those five minutes and that resolution…I got another man…man…heh…piece of trash…that needs to be taken care of. A different resolution.
Angelica Brooks: Cancer Jiles.
The roar of boos is relentless at the mere mention of the COOLYMPIAN.
Brandon Youngblood: Mister Golden Ticket himself. And I can’t believe I have to say this…but credit where it’s due. You got to the main event of Culture Shock. You took your shots at me and tried to piss on everything I’ve been here. That I’ve fought for. And you brought the fight. More than I thought you ever could, you brought the fight. You ever had a needle jabbed in your knee, Jiles? Draining all that pus and fluid out? That feeling of relief before it starts to burn again? Where you clench your teeth and try to block out what you’re feeling? I took you for granted on that night at Culture Shock because I didn’t respect you because you’re not a wrestler. But there you were, like a rabid dog, on my knee, doing everything you could.
The Last Diamond focuses at the camera, his expression stern.
Brandon Youngblood: But that don’t make you a wrestler. And that don’t make us equals. We ain’t jersey swapping and I ain’t giving you your roses. See, I’ve seen enough of you to know that on that night? That was the best you got. I got a needle in my knee. You? They had to scrape you off that canvas with a spatula. I turned egg into hamburger meat and turned that skull of yours into smash burgers. And everything about you, how you talk, how you carry yourself, it’s enough to piss me off. But what gets me even worse? That you get to stick to the front of the line. Humpty Dumpty gets put back together again and a whole roster…Anna Daniels…Teddy Palmer…The Anglo Luchador…hell, Dusk until Phil Atken decided to bring his ass out of a ditch and make his mission statement clear…and Phil, we ain’t met before, until Culture Shock I got no issue with you, but you and that mute try me…see where that gets you…you have people like Garbage Bag Johnny…monsters like Balaam…Impulse…they take a backseat because you won a bounty. Maybe you think that’s earned…but I don’t. And that’s fine. I don’t have to agree with circumstance…just like you don’t have to like the fact that the click you’re gonna feel in your neck for the rest of your life was from me.
He resets his posture, the position of his Universal Championship, before concluding.
Brandon Youngblood: The Diamond Age starts by tying up loose ends. The road to the Great American Nightmare is the Unfinished Business Tour. Jiles…you’re gonna sit there and get yourself built up thinking you’re gonna get me this time. You’re not. I’m a better wrestler than you. I’m a better man than you. Randall…Impulse…after I’m done with him…we get our five minutes. We get our answers. And we accept them…whatever they are. As much as I respect you…I’m looking forward to it.
There is no closing statement from Angelica, instead, the intensity of the Champion’s words cuts to something perhaps even more intense; Garbage Bag Johnny and Muriel Puddings. May God save us all…