Did you know, FLAMBERGE, that you’re just about the same age now as Chandler Tsonda was when you were born?
Probably a good thing this match wasn’t booked back then. Famously, babies have low agility and struggle with bridging up when they go for a pin. Then again, many species of lizards don’t reach full maturity until they’re past a year old, and I’ve only been with you for…let’s see…wow, has it been 10 months already? What a world. My little dumbass shit-stirrer French poodle’s almost grown up. Brings a figurative tear to the figurative eye.
Maybe it’s a fair fight now – the old gunslinger looking for one more taste of the glory days versus a zesty little gecko who’s figured out how to operate the Glue Gun and is wreaking havoc all over Michaels.
(do they have Michaels in France? Michaelses?)
(…arts and crafts aren’t big in France?)
(cooooool, well. ask Hank later. the man loves his construction paper. he knows what’s up.)
By the way, did you see the photo The Ringer used for that article about Tsonda last month? No WAY that’s current, right? The phrase is “black don’t crack”, alright, and since there isn’t a hilarious rhyme about “First Generation Vietnamese-Americans don’t blehhhhhhh”, it stands to reason that his skin should be WITHERED BALLSACK by now. He’s older than Youngblood, for Pete’s sake, and I’m pretty sure that means he’s at a point in his life where he has strong opinions about hearing aids. The man lived during the Gerald Ford presidency.
(sorry, forgot, you don’t know anything about anything…the Valéry Giscard d’Estaing presidency.)
(…he was France’s president in 1975.)
(yes, the only reason I know that is because Phil Atken put me here and he is much smarter than you.)
Maybe he called in a favor to the PRIME office – no way is his photo on the website current, either.
…wait, no shit? That’s actually what he looks like today, in The Year Of Our Glue 2023?
…well. We’ll just tuck that little Pan-Asian Zaddy card in our back pocket for now.
I had a reason for bringing up that article and now I’m all wrapped up in PRIME’s never-ending supply of thirst traps. The thirst is crowded in here, kid. It’s too much. I need a straw.
Field trip, to a place with straws.
…no, not Indiana.
Well. The Downtown Cleveland Shake Shack is a choice.
Not even going to pretend to eat like a professional athlete anymore, are you? At least not when I’ve locked you into this feeling. The dread before every match now, the horror in your guts at the chance to either consume another PRIME wrestler whole and leave them forever ruined and maimed, or worse, to not do that thing, and the double-horror of finding out which buttons I’ve found back here that I haven’t even begun to play with.
I’d get a cheeseburger and a chocolate shake too, to be fair. The high calorie, fat, and protein contents will surely sustain you longer while you stockpile necks for your hibernation (I assume, you fuckin’ weirdo). And I did ask for a straw.
…wow. What an inspiring view. Desolate Downtown Fucking Cleveland.
Truly, it must be said, you’re in the downtown of what is surely the most happening city in America because LeBron is from here.
(yeah, I know that little nugget about you. how many secrets do you think you can still keep from me?)
(side note: you can’t claim LeBron just because it sounds French, FLAMBERGE.)
(…what do you mean it’s French for “The Brown”?)
(…you can’t claim LeBron just because you’re brown and French, FLAMBERGE.)
…oh, you don’t realize it, do you? That you’re down the road from Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse? The place where you’ll do the fighty fight real soon? No, cool, you’re staring at a tree, right. That’s the thing to do in this situation.
Sip on a milkshake. Chomp on a burger. Stare at a tree. Pro wrestling 2023.
Maybe it’s better that you didn’t go here thinking Very Seriously about This Arena Being A Record Making Place or some shit and that, instead, you wandered into a burger place near your hotel because you’re a dolt and you don’t understand how the lust in my figurative loins works. I expect if we weren’t out at this truly dumb hour (I mean, who wants a milkshake at 6:30am??) that we’d probably run into one or two Very Serious PRIME Wrestlers Thinking Very Serious Things.
Instead, you’ve got your own thing going with this tree.
Careful, FLAMBO, your burger’s dripping. I know that your moisture content is very – aaaaand the ketchup’s down to your wrist now. Cool. Well. Handsome, that’s what I’ll choose to say, what a handsome lad you are, thank goodness, and what a great feeling it is to know you’re no longer being tasked with sending your thoughts past the second neuron.
You’re allowed to do two things sometimes. You’re allowed to look at the tree and also not be a slob.
Well. Sorry, Julia, I know you raised your son better thannnnn-aaaaand, he’s back! Welcome back, FLAMBERGE, you’ve been dead inside for almost a year. Good to see you. You’re fucking disgusting and also you have ketchup on your arm.
What’s going on with this tree? I know how you get fixated, but this is something else…ahhhhhh, ok, I see it.
There’s an anthill pretty close to that tree. And there’s a few groups of ants going around. Giving you a rumbly in your tumbly, Monsieur Lizzeau?
(that’s French for Mister Lizard, I’m pretty sure.)
(not just a Lizzo joke.)
(keep eating those burgers and milkshakes, though, see how long it takes before a Lizzo joke plays.)
…there’s a big trail of ants on the tree you were staring at, now that I look closer. Is there a pierogi at the top or something? No? They’re searching for something…huh.
It’s like a conveyor belt of ants, or something. That’s so bizarre. Why would they care about climbing a tree together? What do they have to gain? What do they think they’ll find at the top?
They better hope it’s not an incredibly agile anteater, I guess. Or a lizard.
They’d be a conveyor belt of food at that point. One by one, following the others ahead of them because that’s what they’re supposed to do…and then mlem after mlem and suddenly they’re inside a very dark tummy.
Wouldn’t even have to move an inch, that lizard at the top, look at these fucking dummies…doop de doo, I’m an ant, I’m next in line, mlem.
It makes me happy you’re thinking this way, FLAMBERGE. You doing this on your own, with minimal instruction (if “straw field trip” counts as instruction).
You’re almost there. You could be that horrifying lazy thing that goes mlem forever.
You just have to keep letting me drive.
…hey. FLAM-I-AM. The ketchup.
Ope, yep, that’s an aggressive lick. Is anyone watching?
No, there are no people in the entire downtown of Cleveland, you’re good.
Find a napkin. Or a leaf. Preferably not one covered in ants.
Keep walking, you mangy…
The article. Yes. That one from The Ringer. The one that got us all zippity zappity. There was something about it that I can’t quite place.
I’ve been stewing on it ever since it came out, sure, but I’ve been especially stewing on it ever since it became clear Chandler Tsonda, the legend, the Hall of Famer, was placed before you to be The Very Talented And Handsome Ant That Thwarts The Tree Lizard. There’s a lot of weird…something. I don’t know.
Can you work it out with me? Work it out with me. You’re used to me by now, you know where I’ve already looked. If it was going to work out where I could dust off the old videotapes of past memories to make a Very Pertinent Analogy About How Your Past Relates To Now, or at the very least, Shame You About How Ugly Your Crush Was In High School, I would have done it by now. This isn’t something you can solve from YOUR past.
Your past doesn’t go back far enough.
There’s something more ancient about Chandler Tsonda that’s digging underneath the whole thing that I can’t help but shake – and no, that’s not another dig at his age.
(but also he was alive for America’s Bicentennial.)
(that’s not another dig at his age either.)
(that’s me saying, figure out his skincare routine, I’m sure you’re already on the right track but it can’t help to double down.)
I think the problem is that the gnawing feeling I’m pulling from this exists outside of you, FLAMBERGE. It’s coming from Phil. I’m not a Cecilworth Farthington joint, after all – I’m a Phil Atken joint.
I think I register this feeling as coming from him.
How can I explain this? To you, of all people, who thinks he’s going to live forever and so far has been proven right?
Ok, let’s start at a beginning. Why are you harvesting so many necks, FLAMBERGE? Yes, that’s correct, you’re stockpiling them for the long winter ahead. Why does the long winter ahead matter?
…because deep down, within a part of yourself that doesn’t even need a synapse connection to fire off to relay the message, you’re aware of the idea that there are plentiful years and there are lean years, and it’s worth practicing how to get ahead now when you’re young and capable rather than face the brutality of constant failure for the first time when you’re too old to learn how to cope.
(pour one out for some of the old horse homies you’ve dissolved into paste over the last year.)
(they know who they are.)
You know who knows lean years? Phil Atken.
He survived, clawed, clung onto every neck he could harvest like it could be his last one ever when he wrestled in PRIME…it wasn’t just his philosophy that drew you to him, after all, it was his sheer brutality. He wrestled like a nature documentary, uncaring about how ugly or macabre it might end up because he knew old beasts who don’t provide get put down and every neck has value.
He may not have known when it would happen, but he must have known it was close at hand all those many moons ago, before two cowards to whom you owe a Bill Of Collection did what they did and put Atken in a wheelchair.
And now, YOU. Aimlessly, you, you reckless youth who seems doomed to bark up every damn tree he can find from Colton to Youngblood to Anglue to Paxton to Hanlon, you find yourself in this mindless loop of mlem and you almost understand why, except true understanding requires a third synapse that you don’t fucking possess anymore. It’s just neck and neck and neck and neck, and neck.
Avalon. Rezin. Nova. JCH. Anglue. Teefers. Tripspo-Cripspo. Hoyt. That other dog. 2nd Edition Morty.
You and I, we’ve collected more necks than most people on the PRIME roster have collected total matches in the ReVival era.
And you don’t need to question it – keep doing the thing. Keep rolling around on floors, zoning out when people want to learn about you, scouting all the exits of a room in case you need to relocate the nest or whatever shit; keep forgetting how to blink, and forgetting the fact that you do not in fact lay eggs. I don’t actually care. This vibe is working for you, which means it’s working for me, which means it’s working for Phil, which means we’re all very good boys doing our jobs very well.
No…you don’t need to question it, because it’s possible that when you’re double your age, if you ever decide to Tsondafy yourself…maybe you’ll find that you have that same feeling Phil had.
That dread – one you’d think you could imagine, but, FLAMBO, my idiot friend, you can’t possibly – the existential dread of facing the final chapter of a career, of a life you find familiar.
I think he wants Lindsay Troy to put two proverbial bullets in his head.
And even more wild than that – I think Lindsay Troy thinks you might be one of those bullets.
After all, look at what you’ve left in your wake. Name one neck we’ve collected together that isn’t radically changed AND/OR RUINED because of us. You’ve either forced them to bend to their darker guttural base instincts or they’ve become a shell of themselves entirely. You’re a real horror machine, kid – perfectly nice things appear before you and then it’s just soul gore when you’re done with them.
And despite it all, despite everything you’ve proved to this roster week after week, I just know that’s why the 2 is back behind your name, FLAMBERGE. I know that’s why the brass around here keep that fucking Tactical Ogre atop the rankings around here – to keep us PISSED. To keep me pissed, that anyone other than the Forever Flagbearer of Glue should be called best of the best. A pissed lizard is a feisty lizard, is a dangerous lizard, is a violent lizard, is a gruesome lizard.
Lindsay Troy may have picked this moment, in (spoilers, sorry LeBron) Nothing Happening, America, to demonstrate just what happens when you poke at the gods out of ego.
She activates the threshing machine. She dangles the shiniest belt in all the land (shut up, Cecilworth, I don’t care how much you polished the 5 Star, yellow gold can never match the true light-reflective power of white metals such as silver, and for the rest of my TED Talk you will find-) next to that machine, seeing who bites.
Hoping for a big old dino. Hoping for a grand old thing, taking up a prominent space without a lot of time left.
That’s the thing about wrestling rosters – new spaces have to be created all the time. New ants need to climb the tree, new meals need to be prepared for the conveyor belt, and so and so forth and infinite ants must be created forever and all times.
New ants are coming from all sorts of woodworks new and old now that PRIME has become THE destination for the top echelon of this sport. Old ants clog up the works.
Send ‘em down the line. Dangle dangle, mlem. New spot on the card – come on down new guys, how about you, Max Kael, you’re sufficiently weird and full of nutrients, have you considered the benefits of becoming mlemmed? Something like that.
And down they go, in the cold, Nowhere Nothing No-ville, Ohio, and the void consumes all.
Happiness is a Glue Gun. Bang bang, shoot shoot.
It’s just a theory.
Thank you for attending my TED Talk, by the way, FLAMBERGE. I think you’re contractually obligated to say that every time.
Especially when you’re expanding the mind of a very distracted Frenchman.
You know what I’m talking about. You’ve been wanting me to bring him up from the moment I told you that the thirst was getting crowded in here.
Hayes Hanlon. Mustache. Yes, fair, what a hunk.
Do you think he won’t try to throw you off the top of the tree you’re on, you goon? He’s just as much of a cocky little uber-talented shithead as you are, except he has a better marketing guy so everyone loves him. Can you believe he’s already won the Universal Title twice?? You haven’t even had a whiff of that thing. 20 matches in PRIME, you fucking failure. There are people who successfully whirlygigged a Kickflip McTwist with a Spiky Dick once and for only one night and earned a shot at the biggest prize in the world, and you’re sitting there with a 2 behind your name and a medium-large amount of silver rather than a 1 and gold and platinum.
And that Mustache guy’s won it twice, and STILL he’s all over your ass.
AND he’s a stud.
I need you to understand this deep down to your very bones, FLAMBERGE. I don’t care if Hanlon, Sid, Hoyt, Chandler, or whoever the hell else moisturizes and knows how to frame themselves: we’re going to end all of them if we have to. This train stops when there’s a 1 behind your name etched in granite and every sonofabitch who looks at you understands that they’re another number in line, another ant climbing the tree until they find their way into a stomach.
Hanlon’s coming, one way or another. Maybe you’ll get lucky and give him a big ol’ kiss. More likely, he’s going to hit you. And then what?
Are you going to do what you need to do when another one of What Could Have Been Your Colleague says “no” to Glueconomics 101?
I really hope so, kid.
19 août 2023
## Rue Schubert, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Je pense que je pourrais être à une victoire d’avoir le courage d’ouvrir votre lettre.
C’est juste que… je pense que je comprends, enfin, pourquoi j’en ai eu si peur.
Je pensais que c’était à cause du travail. Je pensais que c’était parce que cela me détournerait du chemin sur lequel je suis. Ce n’est pas ça… J’ai juste peur que vous ayez vu PRIME à la télévision à la maison, et que vous ayez vu ce que j’ai dû faire, et que vous ne soyez peut-être pas fier de moi.
Cela pourrait me tuer si c’était vrai, et j’ai besoin que vous sachiez que tout cela est un montage intelligent.
Ces gens, ces monstres que vous pourriez me voir combattre et qui ont des fans qui les encouragent… Je ne veux pas être méchant avec les fans ici en Amérique parce que ce n’est pas comme ça que vous m’avez élevé, mais je pense qu’ils se trompent. S’ils connaissaient vraiment les gens sous le vernis brillant qui le rend à l’écran, s’ils comprenaient ce que je fais… de toute façon, peut-être que j’y pense trop. La lutte professionnelle n’a jamais été votre chose préférée à regarder, surtout quand le père s’est impliqué.
Si, d’une manière ou d’une autre, vous obtenez ceci dans la semaine prochaine… s’il vous plaît, ne regardez pas ReVival 34. En tant que votre fils, je le souhaite sincèrement… il y a un homme que je pense devoir aider à détruire. Il s’appelle Chandler Tsonda. Les gens l’adorent ici. C’est une sorte de légende, et il cherche aussi une raison d’être mis au pâturage. Je ne sais pas si c’est parce qu’il est triste ou parce qu’il a rendu quelqu’un fou, mais c’est la seule conclusion que je peux tirer depuis qu’il a été réservé pour me combattre ici, maintenant.
Les destins se sont alignés sur le fait que je dois être celui qui doit au moins lancer le processus. Cela ne se terminera peut-être pas après ReVival 34, mais… je ne souhaite pas non plus prolonger sa souffrance. Ils ne veulent plus que je lutte avec grâce, sinon ils ne m’auraient pas mis dans la division Intense pleine de maniaques.
Ce qui est difficile, c’est que Chandler pourrait être un homme bon. C’est difficile à dire. “Loveable Dickhead” est son truc, cependant, et cela semble être une excuse, non? Papa disait ça de lui-même.
Désolé. Je ne sais pas pourquoi je continue à l’élever.
Je pense que c’est mon signal pour le laisser ici. Je t’aime et je vais faire littéralement tout ce que je dois faire pour accomplir ma tâche et gagner le privilège d’ouvrir ta merveilleuse lettre.
Je t’aime maman.
Ta petite épée,
Ahhhhhhh, and the actual stakes reveal themselves. Your mom’s letter.
You’re a bad son, did you know that?
Nobody in the WORLD puts these kinds of stakes on whether or not they choose to accept communication from their loving parent. You’re such a little shit.
I support it.
Eat him. Mlem him. Pull the trigger and shoot the first glue bullet into the base of the man’s skull. Turn his evacuated bones into glue and whatever’s left of his husk into the infrastructure you need to hold up your little Intense Title egg nest.
That’s what Phil wants. That might be what Lindsay Troy wants.
And I bet that’s what Tsonda wants, too.