Las Vegas, Nevada
“It’s been happening again.”
A stern statement from the usually energetic Kenny Freeman grabs our attention immediately, as we see him and his compatriots Randall Schwartz and Aeon Khronos sitting inside the coffee shop. The trio are trying their best to survive the maddening heat of the summer solstice, and the most appropriate solution for them was to wait it out with an iced coffee for each of them. Kenny’s statement raised a red flag for Khronos, a look of both curiosity and concern on his face.
“What’s been happening, Kenny?”
“I’ve been having some really weird dreams, man…nightmares, even.”
Aeon had warned the pair of the significance of such dreams, as windows into the vast multitudes of universes in which parallel lives could play out…so naturally, this comment really piqued his interest. Randall, on the other hand, seemed somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of other versions of himself running around the multiverse…but, in fairness, Randall has also not had such dreams. In fact, he often finds himself not dreaming at all…or at least, not remembering them. He wasn’t sure if it was the excessive amounts of caffeine he’s consumed over the years, or simply his lack of imagination…but neither seemed to be a concern of Kenny’s, not by a long shot.
“Tell me about these dreams, describe them for me if you can.”
Kenny took some time to think about this, recalling as much detail as he could. This turned out fairly easy for Kenny, as a good percentage of the details stuck out vividly in his mind even hours after his state of slumber.
“Well, the other day I had one where I was being chased by an evil-looking clown and…yeah, I know how that sounds, Randall.”
Kenny stops to remark at the look Randall is making with his face, one of utter confusion and even worry. Kenny shakes his head, annoyed by the distraction as he continues.
“I was being chased by some evil clown and ended up getting killed…I think. It was all very confusing, as I seem to recall the last image in my head being that I was paraded around like some toy in his collection.”
He shudders at the thoughts flowing back into his head, but we see Aeon just listening intently and nodding his head in acknowledgement. After a moment of silence, he speaks just a single word in response.
Randall interjects, looking rather annoyed by the response given.
“Curious? Curious ain’t the got-dang word for it, Aeon! It’s bad enough you dragged us into all this multiverse mumbo-jumbo…which we still haven’t seen all that much of, aside from a living Rubik’s cube and some dude we don’t even know popping up, and now Kenny’s having nightmares about things that might have happened to some other him in God knows where.”
Randall scoffs at this as he rises to his feet.
“Curious…get outta here with that.”
Grabbing his now-empty cup, Randall walks over to the nearest trashbin as Kenny and Aeon continue to converse.
“How long have you been dealing with these dreams?”
“About a week or so. What do you think it means? Is some other me actually been tortured or something?”
Aeon thinks about this, as Randall quickly returns from his trip.
“All I know is, if I start getting these nightmares I’m checking the hell out of all this mess. I’m perfectly fine with not going on expeditions, but I sure as hell don’t wanna start thinkin’ about clowns and stuff, man. No, thank you.”
Aeon raises his hands, as if surrendering to a point well made as he speaks again.
“That’s fair enough, Randall. Listen, if you two are really that concerned about all this, we can reassess our situation…but it has to come after your little match at Great American Nightmare. You know, the one you two managed to poke and prod your pals Dangerous Mix into with your little coffee shenanigans.”
He glares at Randall at that last statement, and the Entertainer just shrugs his shoulders in response.
“I still have a lot of work to do, and I can’t focus on doing that if you two don’t have your hearts in it…whether it’s the mission or the wrestling. I need both of you to straighten yourselves out, especially since all eyes will be on the MGM Grand at that show. I need you to go out there, give it your best effort, but above all else…provide a distraction so I can get the last of my tasks done. Then, when it’s all said and done, you get your arms raised in victory, we’ll meet up at the fountain like in that movie Ocean’s Eleven, and we’ll call it a night.”
This gets a very positive response from both of the Masters, whose eyes widen with a sense of glee. Kenny, naturally, is the first to speak up on it.
“Oh boy, I love that film! Does this mean I’m the Matt Damon character?”
Aeon nods with a shrug.
Kenny grins at the thought of this, before pointing to Randall.
“Hey, that means you can be the part George Clooney played! You look old enough for it.”
Kenny chuckles at the remark, much to the chagrin of the Entertainer…but before Randall can respond, the door to the coffee shop swings wide open. A figure steps in, the light outside making it difficult to make out who it is…but Kenny soon realizes precisely who’s just made their entrance.
“Well, this just got interesting.”
Oh boy, here we go.
I touched on this a month or so ago when we first faced off in that ring, along with 2BECOME1…but this match at Great American Nightmare is a long time coming for me.
I don’t think Randall or Aeon even understand the real gravity of the situation…nor, I suspect, the man I’m referring to in particular.
Lemme turn the clock back, folks…the year was 2015, and I was wet behind the ears as a rookie in this business. After being trained by one of the best at the time, I found myself diving headlong into one of the biggest promotions out there.
And in the time it will take me to finish this sentence, I joined the promotion with high hopes…only for those hopes to come crashing down.
And all before I could even get my hands on the great Mushigahara.
Osu to you too, pal.
I don’t harbor grudges by any means in this business, but I also don’t forget easily.
And when it dawned on me that you and I were once again able to cross paths, I knew I needed to shoot my shot.
That’s why I’ve been coming on so strong about this match, Mushi.
I’m desperate for even a modicum of fame, a shred of relevance in a fast-paced business where everyone moves on to the next big thing.
Hell, that’s part of the reason I wanted to join PRIME.
It’s why I stuck around after Tag Team Survivor.
Multiverse shenanigans notwithstanding, I’m here to prove I can hang with the best.
That I can be one of the best.
So at some point, I knew that I needed to back my words up with actions.
And that’s why we’re here, Mushi.
With Randall by my side, I’m gonna prove to everyone watching at the MGM Grand and at home that I have what it takes to belong here.
That I have a place, a purpose in all this.
And then, I’ll figure out where the hell to go from here.
This is my promise, and I am not one to break my promises.
PRIME will find out just how dangerous we can be.
~ Kenny Freeman
“What’s up, buddies!?”
Still inside the coffee shop, Kenny and Randall are continuing to struggle with the sight of who has just entered in from seemingly out of nowhere…a man wearing a shark suit and mask, complete with a goofy, cartoonish, toothy grin.
Kenny recognizes the man instantly, struggling to comprehend what he’s doing in Vegas right this minute…but Randall is just flat-out perplexed.
“Who the hell are you!?”
The man in the shark suit seems confused by the question, but Kenny quickly elaborates.
“Randall, this is Axel The Shark. He’s the guy who helped train me all those years ago, before I first tried getting into the business.”
Aeon just looks fascinated by all this, continuing to stare at Axel with a sense of wonder in his eyes.
“I’ve seen you before…well, not quite you, but…you.”
Axel just has a laugh at this, nodding his head in understanding.
“You’d be surprised how often I get that, sir.”
Kenny still looks amazed to see his old friend and teacher here, but interjects to press on with his curiosity.
“So, what brings you here? What got ol’ Axel away from Long Beach and over to Vegas?”
“Well, ol’ Sharkie here just got done with a meet and greet at one of the flea markets and I was on my way back to the hotel when I happened to see ya here! By the way, Kenny…”
Axel leans over, lightly slapping Kenny on the shoulder with a chuckle.
“…I heard you were gearing up for a Pay-Per-View match with PRIME soon! That’s awesome, man! I’m proud of you.”
Kenny smiles, appreciating the kind words…but all positivity seems to get sapped the moment the door opens once again. This time, revealing a much nastier sight…a man with blue and white face and body paint, rocking a curious fin-like mohawk, and sporting something red dripping from his mouth.
The scene inside the coffee shop quickly devolves into chaos as the staff and customers rush out the opposite exit as quick as they can, while this man…or beast…stares down the group still standing before him. He looks at Axel first, quickly tracking his glance to Kenny, then Randall, and then Aeon…who glares back.
“Now there’s a face from my own nightmares.”
Randall leans over, whispering to Aeon.
“And who the hell is that?”
Axel just shoots a look over at Aeon, before Kenny interjects.
Aeon points at The Shark…and then at Axel, as he responds.
“That thing is your friend Axel, from a world where he stopped being the Kids’ Champion and became a bloodthirsty animal.”
This draws a gnarly, tooth-ridden grin from the Predator, before Aeon speaks up once more.
“Time to go, gentlemen. Run!”
He shouts the last word before the quartet makes haste to escape the beast, who simply licks his lips uttering a single word.
What absolute crummy luck, right?
I’m not just talkin’ about bumping into hungry shark people, either.
I’m talkin’ about trying to make a name for yourself in a company as big as PRIME.
When I signed up to be a part of Aeon’s little Masters of the Mutliverse scheme, I did so thinking I’d also have a chance to prove myself in this fine business of professional wrestling.
And now look at me.
I ain’t got a win to my name.
Eliminated the second week of Tag Team Survivor.
Can’t beat 2BECOME1, can’t seem to get one over on Solid Gold Rock and Roll, and can’t seem to shake this feeling that David Fox and his Mushy buddy might have our number.
You know what?
Forget that noise.
I know what Kenny’s business is going into this match, but I can honestly say my situation is far less personal.
I just want to collect a nice paycheck, and whatever share of the winner’s purse we can get at the pay window.
That’s the Randall Schwartz way.
And to do that, me and Kenny gotta go and beat up the Dangerous Mix.
And trust me, we’re gonna do just that.
It might not look like it from the way either of us look, but Kenny and I have got some real heart here.
Some chutzpah, if you will.
So yeah, go ahead and make whatever jokes you want about us.
Call us weird, or silly, or losers even. I know what it looks like.
But it won’t change what’s coming to those two at Great American Nightmare.
When we step into that ring, and show David Fox and his OSHA buddy Musty just how dangerous we can be between the ropes.
When we reveal them to be the fools they actually are.
And then we’ll earn some damn respect around these parts.
~ Randall Schwartz