When Nathan Filmix isn’t wrestling, he is training. Usually in a practice ring, perfecting his technique. But he had already had his practice session today, so he wasn’t training.
When Filmix isn’t practicing…he is training. He spends a lot of time every day in the weight room, improving his strength, endurance, and cardio. But he’d already been there today, twice. So while his body was still covered with sweat, he wasn’t working out.
When he isn’t working out…he is training. He spends several hours a day watching and studying film of himself and his opponents. His incredible eye for detail allow him to zero in on any weakness or mistake. But again, he had already completed that task for today.
When he isn’t watching film…he is training. Filmix has a one-track mind, which he keeps sharp by running through in-ring scenarios and planning strategies around them. That’s what he and Coach Nelson Hark were doing in this room at the moment.
“Collar and elbow tie up, followed by hammerlock. What’s the escape?” A grizzled voice quizzed.
Nathan Filmix rubbed his chin in deep thought.
“Slide step into a side headlock so I can at least use my forward momentum to push my opponent into the ropes. Then anything is fair game,” stammered Nathan.
Coach Hark nodded approvingly before busting out some eight by ten cards.
“I want you to take a look at these pictures. They are of the competition. Oh and I threw one in there of your partner too. I think you’re going to like him,” Hark premised.
Filmix’s eyes analyzed every detail of every photo he leafed through until he came to one with the name caption ‘Nate Colton’ under it.
“Damn,” Nathan muttered to himself, “Looks like we got a soldier on our hands.”
“A darn near carbon copy of yourself at first glance, if I do say so myself,” Hark responded, “I’ve done some scouting on him too and he looks mighty fine in the middle of that ring.”
Excitement isn’t usually an emotion linked to the name Nathan Filmix yet here he was, sitting on his hotel room bed, almost unable to contain himself.
“Mat skills?” Nathan asked.
“Second to none,” Hark confirmed.
“Rope presence?” Nathan inquired.
“Above average,” Hark confirmed.
“Psychology?” Nathan wondered.
“Intrepid,” Hark finalized.
The room became silent for no other reason than to allow Nathan the time to let who his tag team partner was sink in. This was perfect. He couldn’t ask for a better partner. He couldn’t ask for a better NAMED partner either. He was eager to tear it up.
“So when do we get started?” The Wrestling Junkie asked his coach.
All Hark had to do was point up.
“Let’s go meet him. He’s upstairs,” Hark directed.
Meanwhile, on the 26th floor, there was quite a different conversation afoot.
“Mom, you should see this. The view is amazing.”
Nate Colton had just arrived in his suite on the 28th floor of the MGM Grand. After his usual check-in procedure—check the mattresses for bedbugs, make sure the smoke detector is working, see what’s on TV—he stashed his clothes in one of the dressers, washed his face, and headed for the window. From there, all of Las Vegas sprawled out before him; the twinkling lights, the flashing neon, the throngs of people wandering from one pleasure palace to the next.
Of course, the first thing he thought to do was call his mother.
“You can see everything from up here!” He stared through the glass, mesmerized by the extravagance. For a kid who grew up thinking any building with an elevator was fancy, it was almost too much.
“That sounds wonderful,” came the voice from the other end of the phone, belonging to Mallory Colton. Mallory’s tone was sweet but world-weary, which will happen when you have to raise four rambunctious kids (five, if you count the times she looked after Dennis while her sister-in-law was “having troubles.”) Still, she could manage to be happy for her oldest son’s success. After all, he was about to be on a major show for a major promotion for the very first time.
“Have you ever been out here, Mom?”
“Oh…once, a very long time ago. I think your father and I went there for our honeymoon. I bet it’s changed a lot since then.”
Nate chuckled. “No doubt. How’s everyone doing back home?”
“Just fine. Benny and your father are getting ready for the next show, and your sister is just about to finish her own training.”
He beamed with pride over his sister’s success. There had been a lot of tension in the family about letting Jennifer into the “family business,” but she wouldn’t be talked out of it. “That’s great! Do you think she might make the Belmont this year?”
“You’d have to ask your father about that. I’ve been busy with Blake’s graduation. You’ll be coming home for that, right?”
“Of course, wouldn’t miss it. It’ll be good to see that some of us can finish high school.”
He could somehow hear his mother frown on the other end of the phone. “Be fair, Nathan. Ben isn’t stupid; he just didn’t care.”
“He’s a little stupid.”
Behind him, Nate heard the soft beep of the door’s card reader being activated. “Gotta go, mom. I think my roommate’s here.”
“Okay. Thanks for calling. Love you miss you, baby.”
Nate turned around to see the door opening, and two men set to enter. He whispered to the phone, “Love you miss you, ma.”
“Don’t you whisper at your mother, I don’t care who you have to impress.”
“Hahaha! Bye, Mom.” He ended the call, then started walking toward the hotel room’s new occupants. “Hi! Nate Colton. Glad to finally meet you.”
At first, Nathan is reserved at the sight of a similarly bound wrestler. Filmix coldly examined Colton and noticed his arm extended outwards.
“Hmph,” Filmix scoffed.
Hark jumped in and shook the man’s hand to avoid any further awkwardness.
“Coach Hark and Nathan Filmix here. It’s nice to meet ya,” The Coach tried to quell things.
Unimpressed, Filmix took it upon himself to look around the room for any fire exits, the mattresses for bedbugs and to make sure the smoke detectors worked.
“Already checked all that,” Colton informed.
Being told those sorts of things had already been taken care of intrigued Filmix.
“That so?” Nathan asked Nate.
Nate nodded as Coach Hark wrapped his arm around his shoulder.
“I see great potential in you. Heck, I see it in both of you. I mean look at you two! Nate and Nathan. Filmix and Colton. Colton and Filmix! Whatever you want to be called is good with me but what I see are two studs for wrestlers right before my eyes,” Hark beckoned.
The Wrestling Junkie rubbed his index finger along the desk by the television and then against his thumb to see if there was any dust present. To his delight, the room was spotless.
“Do you love wrestling as much as I do?” Filmix posed to Nate.
Colton cocked a bit of a smile. He knew he was being challenged.
“It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. Started am’ as soon as I was able, and same for pro. I worked my ass off in high school and college to be the very best at both. My dad–hell, all my family put their whole hearts into wrestling. We eat it, we breathe it, we live it, we love it. That ring is our home away from home, and I love being there more than anything else in the world.”
Nate took a moment to breathe, then looked back at his new partner. “How about you?”
It was as if Filmix was staring at his exact doppelgänger. Coach Hark moved to the background, crossed his arms and sat back while two wrestling junkies got to know each other.
“I was born for this. Wrestling. It’s all I know, all I care about,” Nathan reiterated, “It’s my one and only true passion in life. Being in that ring, surrounded by the chaos makes me feel alive. There is nothing more stimulating than digging down deep, when you’re completely spent and finding a way to win a match.”
Colton and Filmix don’t deviate their stare. Both are locked in on the task at hand.
“This is more than a job for me. It’s my life. I am literally owned by wrestling. I need to perfect it. I need to get better,” Nathan droned on and on before he glanced back at Coach Hark briefly, “I think I need… you. Together, we can take this tournament by storm. Think of all the possibilities if we push each other to the limit. No one will be able to stop us.”
Coach Hark finally walked up to interject.
“If I may, gentlemen, if the early goings of PRIME have been any indication, I’d say the competition out there is the fiercest in pro wrestling I’ve ever seen. In order to be successful, you two will truly have to work succinctly, as a team, to combat the foes you’re about to face. It won’t be easy but I do believe in you,” Hark instructed.
Filmix was the one who decided to extend his hand outward to Colton now. After a brief pause, Nate gladly shook hands. The two carbon copies smile at each other as Filmix pulls Colton in close.
“We’re going to tear their freaking heads off and parade around the ring with them on sticks because we’re wrestling class,” Filmix whispered coldly.
Hark slapped the both of them on the shoulder and chuckled.
“Well shit! Ain’t the two of you just a couple of WRESTLING JUNKIES!” Hark bellowed.
“I’m…fine with ‘Filmix & Colton,’ but okay,” Colton replied. He found something about these two very unsettling, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Might have been the parading-with-heads-on-sticks thing.
“Anyway,” he continued, “this Survivor thing isn’t just going to be about wrestling. Between the crazy challenges and the number of teams involved, it’s going to be more like a riot than a wrestling match.”
Colton considered for a moment, running the list of opponents through his mind. Unfortunately, as a new face in the company, a lot of them were new faces to him.
“The main people I’ve got my eye on are Nova and Garbage Bag Johnny. If anyone can handle this kind of chaos, it’s them. Jon Rhine, too. I remember watching him wrestle back when I was in high school. He’s got years of experience to pull from, even if he’s never been in anything like this before. Everyone else is pretty new to me, so we’ll have to watch some tape this week.”
Hearing the word ‘tape’ piqued Filmix’s curiosity. He would love nothing more than to salt away an afternoon in the film room.
“Coach, get all the film you can on the wrestlers Colton just named,” Nathan inquired.
Hark pulled out his phone in order to set things up for them.
“In the meantime, are there any more wrestlers on our side?” Filmix wondered.
“Out of our group…I definitely want to keep an eye on the eGG Bandits. Don’t trust them even a little bit. Not sure what to make of Solid Gold yet, but I feel like our primary competition from our own squad are the Bandits or the Crew.”
Filmix scoffed. “The idiot with the mannequin? You’re not serious.”
“Don’t laugh. That guy’s been in the business for two decades, and is basically out there wrestling handicap matches. Sure, teaming with a mannequin is dumb as hell, but it says a lot about him that he’s still standing. Dude is tough as nails.”
Nathan Filmix nodded to what his partner said. It almost made too much sense.
“A lot of the other guys in this match may be goofballs, but this challenge plays to their strengths a lot more than ours. I fully believe I can out wrestle damn near all of them, and I’m sure you do too, but that doesn’t really matter here. If we’re going to take this all the way, we’ve got to be ready for anything, and we sure as hell can’t afford to look past anyone. It’s like Rule Three says; ‘Be confident, not arrogant.’”
Filmix smirked at Colton’s remarks. Spot on. If they were to survive then it would take more than just pure wrestling skill. Nathan crossed his arms, knowing what was ahead of them.
“I guess it’s time to get to work then,” Filmix pronounced.
“Guess so,” Colton agreed.
Coach Hark stowed his phone away and began walking towards the door of the room.
“No time like the present. I’ve got everything set up. Let’s roll out, men,” The old coach informed.
Both Nathans nodded at each other, and followed Nelson Hark. As they did, Colton briefly spotted their reflection in the hotel window.
So similar, these two. Their youth, their skill, their passion, how their whole lives centered around wrestling.