The scene opens on a low angle shot of the MGM Grand Garden Arena, right off the Las Vegas strip. Looming in the background we can see the massive hotel and casino. Hanging overhead are large banners bearing the PRIME logo and the faces of several legends from the old days, seen for the first time in many years.
Slow pan down, revealing a young man standing on the sidewalk before the camera. He is probably aged somewhere in his mid-to-late twenties, but his short, strawberry blonde hair, thick-framed glasses, ample freckles and cherubic grin suggest an almost childlike quality to him. He’s wearing the PRIME colors — a well-fitted azure blue suit, winter white shirt, and midnight black tie. The microphone in his hand suggests he is an interviewer.
A graphical overlay with the PRIME logo fades in on the bottom of the screen, introducing us to Junior Reporter SIMON TILLIER.
Simon Tillier: Hello and salutations, wrestling fans! My name is Simon Tillier, and I’m here outside the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where in just a matter of days, PRIME Wrestling will make it’s much anticipated return to the world of professional wrestling with the aptly-named event, ReVival!
He adjusts his tie, smile widening.
Simon Tillier: Personally speaking, I am excited and proud to be here for this monumental moment in sports history, not only as a longtime fan of PRIME Wrestling since my childhood, but also to be serving as part of the PRIME media team! The feeling is truly indescribable here! All week, we’ve been seeing so many of the greatest wrestling stars of today, and just as many great wrestling stars of yesterday, converging here in Las Vegas! All coming to participate in the Almasy Invitational Tournament, for a chance at winning the prestigious PRIME Universal Title!
He looks up and down the street past the camera, searching for something or someone.
Simon Tillier: Today, I’ve been tasked with meeting one of the newcomers to PRIME participating in this event! I’ve been told they should be arriving soon, although I guess they may have gotten held up in traffic, cause I’ve been waiting for over an hour and haven’t seen anyone…
The squeal of tires can be heard echoing in the distance. Simon’s grin fades into confusion as he looks up the street. The camera follows his view…
Simon Tillier: What the…?
A nondescript gray van comes hauling ass around the corner, and accelerates to our position. As the van passes by, the side door slides open and we get a brief flash of two black-masked individuals tossing something out. A soiled burlap sack hits the pavement!
And then the van speeds off, disappearing around the corner with another screech of its tires.
Something convulses within the sack. The human shape implies that it’s a person. The inhuman groans and grumblings suggest something else. Simon is reasonably apprehensive as he approaches it. Suddenly…
A tiny tear appears in the burlap. Through it, a wide and bloodshot eye darts around in every conceivable direction, until it locks in on the junior reporter questionably looking back at it. The eye disappears as tar-stained fingertips bore their way into the opening, and then…
The sack instantly splits apart, and like a black butterfly emerging from a grisly cocoon, the form of a filthy, repulsive man appears splayed out on the sidewalk.
Some would immediately recognize him for the black pants, the black denim vest covered in band patches, the countless tattoos, the thick, dirty hobo beard, and the long, shaggy horseshoe of dark brown hair surrounding a comically bald head and an infamously familiar goat-like face. Others, like our Simon here, can only recognize this absolute mess as low-down GUTTERPUNK… which is exactly how we’ll know him, for now.
He lies there with his mouth agape and his crazed eyes boggling in a way that makes him look like the human equivalent to a cigarette butt that’s been stamped into the ground.
Simon Tillier: Dear God, it was a PERSON in there! Uhh, sir! Are you okay?
Simon leans in to check on him… when a hand suddenly grasps his tie. Without warning, the interviewer finds himself yanked within inches of the man’s face.
“Gutterpunk”: WHERE AM I?! WHAT YEAR IS THIS!? ARE YOU ONE OF THEM?!?
Simon Tillier: HUH?!
Now the punk grabs Simon by the lapels of his suit and aggressively shakes the hell out of him.
“Gutterpunk”: Goddambit — THEM!! The NANCIES!! The MUSKOS!! The BLICKSHARTS!! Those no-good, money-grubbing ROUND EARTH SOCIETY CRACKPOTS!! THEY’VE BEEN AFTER ME FOR WEEKS!!
Simon Tillier: I’m sorry! I have no idea what you’re talking about!
The crusty stranger shoves the reporter aside as he scrambles to his feet.
“Gutterpunk”: I gotta get OUTTA HERE!! I gotta get OFF THE GRID before those FUCKS FIND ME AGAIN!! I gotta get the ESSENTIALS… NOW!! SMOKE!! GASOLINE!! MATCHES!! DYNAMITE!!
The punk frantically paces up and down the sidewalk, ranting and raving like a crazy hobo. Seeing this sad state of affairs, Simon pitiably shakes his head, before looking apologetically back to the camera.
Simon Tillier: Ugh… sorry you have to see this, fans! I guess it’s just expected to see scenes like this here in Las Vegas. They don’t call it “Sin City” for nothing!
The nameless punk perks up when the reporter mentions the name of the city.
“Gutterpunk”: Vegas…? Waitaminnit, did you just say LAS VEGAS?!
There’s a dark glimmer in his eyes as he scans the surrounding skyscrapers.
“Gutterpunk”: So then, I finally made it out here… and now the FUN can begin! So much LUCK in the air… and so much HOPE to spoil!
The punk materializes a spliff from inside his vest and plucks it between his lips, lights it using a Zippo, and fills his lungs with thick dopesmoke as he broods. Simon is awkwardly looking up the street for something. Anything. Any reason to just get away from this vile individual. The stranger lets out his hit as he suspiciously looks between the interviewer and the camera.
“Gutterpunk”: The fuck you guys supposed to be anyway? A new reality show where the kid from A Christmas Story walks around and interviews people in the street?
Simon Tillier: No… I’m Simon Tillier, and we’re with PRIME Wrestling. I’m presently waiting here to interview one of our stars who has yet to arrive.
“Gutterpunk”: PRIME WRESTLING?! Well I’ll be dambed! I just signed with those dudes!
Simon Tillier: Wait, hold the phone… you… are a wrestler? Hang on, this can’t be…
Panic fills the eyes of the junior reporter. He reaches into his suit jacket and frantically searches his pockets.
Simon Tillier: There must be some mistake here! Are you telling me that YOU… are…
He pulls out the memo he was given earlier with the name of his interview subject. His eyes are wide as he reads the single word written there…
Simon Tillier: …RAISIN?!
The same graphic overlay from earlier appears again underneath our crusty gutterpunk, giving us his proper title: “The Escape Artist” REZIN.
Rezin: Goddambit, it’s REZIN, ya fuckin’ normie! How do people keep screwing that up!?
Simon Tillier: I… really don’t know what to say right now! I mean, are you sure you’re a wrestler?
Rezin: I dunno, how ‘bout I choke your scrawny ass out here and now, and we find out for ourselves?
Simon Tillier: Uhh, no thank you, I’ll pass. And I’m sorry, but it’s just that when Mr. Mills gave me this opportunity, he said I’d be interviewing one of the industry’s top stars! No offense, but…
The junior reporter inspects the chaotic daredevil’s disheveled appearance from head to toe. Rezin wears an annoyed scowl; he knows exactly what the other is thinking.
Rezin: …YA, okay buddy, I get it! I know that I’m hardly the picture that forms in your mind when you think of “future PRIME Universal Champion”!
Simon Tillier: I mean, I have to admit that PRIME has had its own extensive history of unsavory personalities, so I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised by any of this, but still, how does someone like you end up in a place as prestigious as PRIME Wrestling, with a coveted spot in the Almasy Invitational Tournament?
Rezin: The HELL if I know! Maybe they were just looking for a warm body to throw into the mix to make the stars of their past and future look good, and my name came up! After all, I’ve built up quite a rep for being a certified professional wrestling alchemist! I mean that in that I make GOLD out of pieces of SHIT! You know how an average looking dude looks good when you put him next to an ugly guy?
Simon nods, understanding this allegory at least somewhat. Rezin sticks a thumb into the shriveled blackened heart tattooed on his chest.
Rezin: Well I’m the ugly guy! And I keep getting these jobs, because the rubes keep buying tickets wanting to see a SCUMFUCK like me get his face bashed in! It ain’t flashy, but like all aspects of life, somebody has to do the shit jobs, and in this sport, that somebody is ME!
Rezin turns and holds his arms out wide to the Garden Arena in the background. The PRIME Wrestling banners flutter overhead.
Rezin: What more can be said?! Chaos is an ocean! I just surf the waves, and PRIME just so happens to be where the tides have taken me!
Simon Tillier: Oh man… are you another one of those crazy guys obsessed with “chaos” or whatever?
A pained expression crosses the Escape Artist’s face.
Rezin: Oof… yeah, okay, I’m sure there’s enough of that type in this tournament that you could make a drinking game out of it…
He shrugs, having no answer.
Rezin: Look, I ain’t gonna bullshit you here… my gimmick may not be entirely unique in the scene these days, but c’mon, what do ya want from me? I’ve been burnin’ joints and buildings everywhere my legs took me for something’ like twenty years, and then one day the smoke thins out enough that I suddenly notice being a creepy, nihilistic stoner has become the hip new trend in the wrestling world! Now you have crazy hobos and evil sociopaths as far as the eye can see! But does that mean I’m supposed to just give up my shtick? Conform to what the SYSTEM wants? Nahhh, FUCK THAT NOISE!
He appealingly pounds his fists against his chest and brays angrily into the sky above. The joint never leaves his mouth.
Rezin: Maybe the real reason I got this gig is because I do that shtick SO DAMB WELL, and SO MUCH BETTER than any of the other weirdos in this thing, and my purpose here is to show ‘em how it’s done! This industry may be trying to make a PRODUCT out of my style, but don’t take me for some SELL-OUT hopping on the bandwagon! I didn’t come here to drive the t-shirt sales! I came to PRIME to keep this sport PUNK ROCK!
Simon Tillier: “Punk rock?” Hang on a second, what do the musical stylings of Blink 182 and Good Charlotte have to do with wrestling?
For a moment, the Goat Bastard snaps in rage and looks as though he may throttle the junior reporter’s neck for this comment. Somehow, he stops himself.
Rezin: BAH!! What a typical normie thing to say! PUNK ROCK is more than just a style of music, douchebag! It’s a WAY OF LIFE!! MY way of life!!
Simon Tillier: I’m not sure I understand…
Rezin: Ugh… look, I don’t have the time and you don’t have the intellect for me to fully explain it to you! In time, you and all of PRIME will come to find out! For right now, all you need to know is that I’m anything but “conventional” in this sport!
Simon Tillier: Yes, I can see that… but what I want to know right now is just what is it that I’m smelling right now? And I don’t mean the marijuana! Jesus, did you…?
The interviewer wrinkles his nose when he notices it’s definitely coming from the Goat Bastard’s general direction. Rezin’s expression looks defiantly unashamed as he takes another big drag from the spliff.
Rezin: …HEY MAN, it was a long trip! You think I had OPTIONS in that sack?! But hey, I DON’T GIVE A FUCK!! Shitting your pants is one of the most PUNK ROCK things you can do!
Simon Tillier: I’m not sure I’d agree with that…
Rezin: OH YEAH!! Well then PROVE ME WRONG and SHIT YOUR PANTS!! RIGHT NOW!!
Simon Tillier: …no.
Rezin: AHA!! That’s because you CAN’T!!
Simon Tillier: No, I can — wait, I mean, not that, just — UGH! Why are we talking about this?! I would never willingly do anything that disgusting!
Rezin: HA, of COURSE!! That’s what separates the soft little NORMIES like YOU from a PUNK ROCK BEAST like ME! In life, and in that ring, I do all the things that others are unwilling to do! Regardless of the risks! Regardless of what others might say! I GO THERE… FEARLESSLY, and UNCOMPROMISING!
Simon Tillier: Okay, if you say so, but how does soiling yourself give you a tactical advantage in wrestling?
Rezin: GODDAMBIT, listen to what I’m trynna tell ya here! See, when I look at the present state of professional wrestling, all I can see is a sport that has shit is OWN pants with out-of-control egos and self-important divas! It’s become an endless SCRUM for vanity and validation! All these meatheads, crawling all over each other, trying to climb to the top of the pile in a hopeless, meaningless effort to win a belt… a material object of no value, to give someone a deluded sense of worth…
He sneers in utter contempt.
Rezin: Being PUNK ROCK means that I don’t need any belt to prove that I can TEAR SHIT UP in that ring! I don’t need the cookie-cutter superstar look! I don’t need a list of accomplishments as long as your arm from an alphabet soup of random federations! I don’t need the mainstream marketability to make bank in the merch sales with the stupid catch-phrases that go something like, I dunno, “STOP ME, daddy, cause I’m JUST… TOO… JUUUUUUUICY!!”
Simon Tillier: …WHAT?!
Rezin: I don’t need any of that stupid shit to start a fire here in PRIME so big that the ELDER GODS look down and notice, and I sure as shit don’t need to crawl to the top of any pile like all the other try-hards in this tournament! The “top” won’t exist after I BURN THAT PILE TO THE GROUND!! And what better place to do it other than HERE?! SIN CITY!! The FAKEST PLACE in the entire world! HA-HA HAHAHAHA!!!
Rezin’s villainous laughter lapses into another fit of coughing as he blows dopesmoke everywhere. Simon Tillier can only shake his head as he takes this all in.
Simon Tillier: I’m not sure what to say about any of this, but one thing I know for certain is that you thankfully won’t be burning down anything if you fail to survive the first round against your slated opponent this week… SOLOMON RICHARDS.
Rezin: Heh… it’s a good thing that I happen to be one hell of a survivor! Right on the level of cockroaches and Keith Richards! What doesn’t kill me only makes me STRANGER! But anyway, what’s the scoop on this Solo-Man Richards?
Simon Tillier: Well, I’m admittedly still just getting to know everyone involved in this tournament, but from what I do know about Richards, he’s a preacher’s son from a small town in West Virginia, and a submissions expert.
The Goat Bastard grins devilishly as he rubs his hands together.
Rezin: Sounds like a good ol’ boy… ripe and ready for me to spoil!
Simon Tillier: So what kind of strategy are you going to bring with you into this match?
Rezin: “STRATEGY?!” PFHUH!! Look at me… do I look like I live my life according to any PLAN!? What makes you think I give a damb about “strategy”? There ain’t anything PUNK ROCK about strategy! I just act on instinct!
Simon Tillier: Then how will you contend with his clear advantage in the ring?
Rezin: Uhhhhh, hold up, what advantage…?
Simon Tillier: Well, given his stature at six feet and ten inches, and a weight of three-hundred and —
Rezin balks and nearly falls over in surprise.
Rezin: THREE-HUNDRED!? UNHOLY FUCK, he’s a goddamb MUTANT FREAK!! What the FUCK do they feed those hillfolk out there in West Virginia?! BIBLES and COAL!?
Simon Tillier: I can’t say for certain, but let’s stay on topic here: again I’ll ask, how do you think you can overcome an opponent with a clear advantage in size and strength?
Rezin: Ugghhh… look, Simon, was it? I know a tall challenge when I see it! Literally AND figuratively! And when you look at a guy that freaking HUGE, it’s only natural to think he’s got the edge! But ya know what? Through my whole career — my whole fuckin’ existence — I’ve had to face overwhelming odds! Maybe I haven’t always beaten those odds, but I’ll be DAMBED if it hasn’t forged me into one hell of a tough-as-nails, crazy-as-shit, stoned-as-fuck PUNK ROCK wrestling machine over the years! His strength is being born a genetic freak… but my strength is being the wily and crafty sum’bish I AM between those ropes! And I’m willing to bet there ain’t a single hold this “submissions expert” can put me into that I can’t squirm my way out of! Why else do you think they call me “the Escape Artist”?!
Simon Tillier: I just assumed it had to do with your criminal record…
Rezin: …I mean, YEAH, but also because I’m professional wrestling’s own HARRY HOUDINI! I’m so damb good at breaking out of things, I could get a job working for the AMAZING AMARETTOS!
Simon Tillier: …who?
Rezin: Goddambit, Simon, stay with me here! The point is, I completely understand why you see me at a disadvantage here!
He leans in closer to the interviewer. Simon visibly leans back, uncomfortable with having his personal space breached. The burning cherry on the joint is mere inches from his face.
Rezin: YOU look at ME, and you just see a worthless scumfuck! That’s exactly what you saw the moment I got thrown onto this sidewalk, and that’s exactly what SOLO-MAN will see when he’s standing across from me in that ring!
He reaches out and grabs the interviewer by his jacket. Simon can only stiffen up like a deer in headlights and brace for the worst as Rezin aggressively shakes him.
Rezin: And I’m COUNTING ON IT! Cause that’s exactly how I’m gonna BLAZE MY PATH through this tournament! Underestimating me is the WORST goddamb mistake anyone can possibly make! None of ya will see me coming when I strike! In that ring, I make it my mission to defy the expectations! To prove all the doubters wrong! And yes, I’ll even prove YOU wrong, Simple Simon!
A jackyl-like sneer forms Rezin’s face as he points to the arena in the background.
Rezin: In that ring, I am the VIPER hiding in the grass where you tread! The RECLUSE weaving its web in the places where you walk! The cancerous LUMP under your skin that you keep trying to ignore! The HOLE in the exhaust pipe, filling your house with carbon monoxide!
Rezin finally releases Simon.
Rezin: And for Soloman Richards, I’m the BLACK LUNG lurking deep within the West Virginia coal mine he dragged his giant ass out of! He may be freakishly huge, but size ain’t gonna matter once my POISON takes hold and brings him to his knees!
He ends his rant by dropping the joint, now burned down to a roach, onto the pavement and stamping it out.
Simon Tillier: Well, to be honest, I’m not sure how much stock I’m willing to put into what you’re saying, but I suppose you’ll get your chance to prove you are truly a man not to be underestimated.
The junior reporter frowns down at the black handprints left on the lapels of his nice blue suit before redirecting his attention to the camera.
Simon Tillier: Anyway, fans, that concludes our time here today! We’ll see what happens when the Escape Artist Rezin standing here next to me meets the giant Solomon Richards in the ring at ReVival One! Until then, once again, I’m Simon Tillier, and you all have a great evening!
Tillier gives the signal to the cameraman to cut and is about to walk out of the frame, but he only gets as far as one step before Rezin’s hand grabs his shoulder.
Rezin: HANG ON there, buddy… I’m gonna need those pants!
Fade to VOID.