At some point, you have to look back on the journey and ask if the destination was worth what you went through. Every heartbreak of a loss, every bump and bruise left on your body and soul. Every ounce of vitriol thrown your way, and why? Because you decided to do things your way, instead of following what everyone expects of you?
I can’t live that kind of life. Not anymore.
So from here on out, ol’ Kenny Freeman is looking out for himself. No more Masters, no more Multiverse, no more Aeon Khronos. All the bullshittery has stepped through the portal and gone away, for good…and all you’re left with is a man hungry to take what’s rightfully his.
The biggest win of his career. A shot at the Universal Championship. A chance to ride off into the sunset with the biggest prize in the business.
Because that’s what this is, folks. The end of the road for Kenny Freeman. See, I signed my contract just before this time last year, and that contract was good for precisely one year…so as far as I’m concerned, I have two matches left on the paperwork.
The namesake battle royal at Culture Shock, and the Universal Championship opportunity I get from winning it. Notice how one only happens with the other…if I don’t win this battle royal?
Game over, man. Game over.
I clear my proverbial desk, I pack my proverbial bags, and I walk out that proverbial door once and for all. You won’t hear from me ever again.
That’s what winning this battle royal means to me…a matter of life and death, if you will.
Nearly a full year of letting everyone’s jokes about me dictate how successful I am. You know just how tiring it is to hear “oh Kenny, so ignorant and naive, look at you stumble and fall” over and over and over again, until you start to wonder if your ears are bleeding?
That’s why I have the cotton balls at the ready.
Come Tuesd–I mean, Saturday–I take back control of my career. I take back control of my life. I stop listening to all the hate, all the doubt, whether it’s from others or from within myself…and I do the damn thing. I go into Culture Shock refreshed, renewed, and ready to take down thirty-nine other competitors.
In a row.
I’ll try not to eliminate anyone on the way to the parking lot.
But what I will do is stake my claim at the top, take my shot at whoever is king coming out of the previous night…and you’d best believe I won’t miss.
I’ll run through the whole goddamn lot of them, so I will. I don’t care who I have to take out to get where I need to be. It can be the likes of Darin Zion, a man always looking to attach himself to the hip of someone else whether it’s some goofball in HOW or Jonathan-Christopher Hall here in PRIME. Hell, lemme at both of the Love Compa–I mean Convoy.
I’ll take down Mortimer Knievel, a man I’ve yet to figure out how to beat in PRIME. It’ll be a hell of a lot easier to send you over the top rope than it is to pin you or make you tap, but you know what? A win is a win is a damn win, so I’ll take it. I’ll figure out the rest later.
But I’ll tell you who target number one with a bullet is…Ivan Stanislav.
If he comes out of Night One without that Universal Championship, he’s in my crosshairs the moment he steps into the battle royal. If he WINS the title, he’s in my crosshairs when I win the whole thing. Either way, I will not let this yeeting go unreceipted.
Anyone who gets in the way of that is collateral damage. Even you…Tyler Best. It’s about time I remind the people who the REAL social media influencer is around here. Stick that trash talk on your TAB, ‘cause at Culture Shock it’s time to pay up.
Culture Shock, for me, is all about proving that I can stand on my own two feet and deliver on a promise I made to myself when I started.
I’m gonna get this job done all on my own, or I’m gonna move the hell on.
And if you believe that statement, check the timestamp.
I am a lot of things. An underdog, a loveable loser at times, a romantic who believes that good will prevail over evil at the end of the day. I am whatever you say I am…but I ain’t no quitter. I do NOT have that dog in me, pal.
Why would I drop everything now?
Nah, that ain’t it. I’ll tell you what it is, though…a new era on the horizon.
The only difference between what I said before and what I’m telling you now is that when this is all over, I will be enjoying the fruits of my labor with my pals Randall and Aeon.
Otherwise, I’m coming out of my cage and I’m doing just fine.
Shit, that is one too many song references. I am so, so s–
“Alright, that’s a wrap!”
Inside one of the many rooms within the recording studio is a young gentleman clearly dressed for the job he has AND the job he wants, a producer calling for this particular session to be finished for the day. A young lady sitting at the sound mixer starts shutting down some of the equipment, and a moment later we see the door to the studio open. Sure, we could’ve looked through the window, through the wall (through the wall) to see who was inside, but why spoil the lack of surprise when Kenny Freeman steps through the door to exit the studio?
Anyway, Kenny looks tired…exhausted, even…as he takes a seat next to the sound engineer. His curiosity gets the better of him as he starts looking at the different components of the mixer in front of him before he starts fiddling around with some of the knobs and buttons.
As a general PSA, by the way, please do not fiddle around with knobs and buttons unless you know what the hell you’re doing. Or else…
The engineer shouts at Kenny, who pulls back his hand immediately like he touched a hot stove. She gives him a glare that GREAT SCOTT would be proud of, before setting everything back to where it was before Freeman interveneman’d. Kenny is quickly distracted from being more of a pest by the voice of the producer.
“I think we finally got the best take, my man,” states the producer, a smile on his face. “I think your little Culture Shock Rumble rap is gonna set fire to the charts!”
Kenny, however, shakes his head as if disappointed by the assessment…though not for the reason we would assume, once he starts to speak.
“I sure as hell hope so, Jim. When I did my thing at ReVival 25, I said I was only doing ONE take. We did, like, a hundred today. My lips are tired, man.”
“We did thirty-seven takes today, Mr. Freeman,” the engineer replies flatly, finishing up the process of shutting equipment down.
“In a r–”
“No, and I’m not doing that bit with you,” responds the engineer with another glare. Make note, she may become Mrs. SCOTT by the end of the year. Who knows. Suddenly, the other door leading out to the hallway swings open…and since this doorway doesn’t have quite the same large window to it, the person stepping in IS a surprise.
Especially since he’s barely hanging on to the doorknob as he crawls his way into the room.
“Randall! You’re…you’re here!”
Randall just looks up at Kenny weakly, his eyes glazed over as he speaks for the first time in lord knows how long.
“Is this Houston?”
Fade to black.
…just kidding. Damn, hit you with two April Fool’s jokes in one go. Hate to see it…but also, love to see it. Anyway.
Kenny has helped Randall up to his feet, and called upon Aeon to bring a wheelchair to assist the Entertainer. Sadly it’s not one of those cool Professor X wheelchairs…no room in the budget for that, not yet anyway. All the same, the trio wind up outside where they sit upon the nearest bench…and of course “they” refers to Kenny and Aeon, because well–no, you’re right, turning the overexplain button off…now.
“Where have you been, man?” Kenny asks, looking at his old friend with a look of concern but also relief. “We tried looking for you everywhere, on Earth and beyond!”
“I…I…” Randall is struggling to find the right words to explain, but finally manages to press on. “I was told to get my ass to Houston, and I did…only no one was there. Well, the janitor was. Asked me what I was doing there, and when I told him a voice from the heavens told me to come…he threatened to call the cops, so I left.”
Kenny raises a hand to his face, shocked to hear about this as Randall continues.
“Then I saw a flyer outside promoting Culture Shock and some sorta battle royal thing happening, so I hitched a ride to Arlington. Guy wouldn’t take a wooden nickel as payment though, so he left me stranded at a gas station…and I walked here when I heard some goofy kid was making a fool of himself at a recording studio. I just knew it had to be you…nobody’s goofy enough to think they can sing about a wrestling match and be taken seriously except Kenny Freeman.”
Kenny frowns at this, but remains grateful to see his old friend.
“Is that it?” asks Kenny, to which Randall shakes his head.
“No, there’s something I need to tell you…in secret.”
Randall leans over, to which Kenny obliges as he cups his ear for the Entertainer to whisper into it.
“That battle royal is a wrestling thing, not a Fortnite thing.”
Kenny pulls away, shaking his head in dismissal with a chuckle as we now, in fact, fade to black.