“BUY THE SHIRT!”
Somewhere in Australia, a Daniels sells a shirt in a loud and boisterous way. You’re expecting this to be an ad for the PRIMEporium complete with air horns and the endless shilling of outrageous things like urinal cakes and rocks to throw at masked idiots. Except this is 2018, PRIME is dead, and that isn’t our name. Not yet, anyway.
Jacky Rex Daniels–approaching his mid-twenties like a hyperactive child that ate too much sugar–is a flurry of salesmanship. He shakes hands, kisses babies, and talks a million miles a minute in the most Aussie way imaginable. His brown eyes twinkle in his own brand of lunacy. His dark hair pokes out from his backwards cap. His ravenous delivery of a sales pitch for a shirt with words on it has passion to it because in his heart of hearts, he believes in what those words represent. That neo-eighties print in neon and chrome amplifies his thunder.
Team Overkill are the both of us. He, the Kurri Kurri Iron Fist wishing he was brought up in the decade where MTV really emphasized the M and a love for kung fu movies. Us, not an us yet but not Dodobird anymore either, freshly regenerated months ago and trying to refind memories via…well, wrestling. The yin and yang of a tag division. Polar opposites of one another that became strangely bound at literally first sight. I didn’t understand it at the time. But he did.
People can say what they will about this version of Jacky. They often did. They scoffed at him being an overgrown child with a weird obsession with his own fists. The veterans laughed at his half-assed training caused by lazy con artists who opened a wrestling school to steal money from poor, desperate younglings who just wanted to escape otherwise shitty lives. They hated how loud and manic he was. However if nothing else, this Jacky Rex Daniels knew exactly what he wanted.
Or to drive the point home, who he wanted.
In between selling another shirt to a resident of Bumfuck Nowhere and other babyface shenanigans, he steals a glance at me. On the off chance we catch each other’s gaze, he waves to me and I nod at him as I sign an autograph. I’m not completely obvious to the pinings of his heart. But I’m in a relationship already with a person that a small voice inside tells me is a fucking idiot. And though there is a spark between this strange little human and I, I have the awful habit of being too damned loyal for my own good. When I fall in with somebody, I stick with them and, as I’ll remember later, that’s to my detriment.
(If you notice, dear reader, this is a good reason why we keep our connections to a minimum.)
That would be enough of a hurdle for normal men. Enough for them to give up on the prospect and try to find somebody else that’s more available. Yet even in these circumstances, Jacky can’t bring himself to do that. I don’t think the thought has ever crossed his mind. This is the centerpiece of both dream and daydream. He isn’t stupid enough to turn into a possessive stalker. But when he’s selling these shirts with our team name on them, his belief isn’t just in us as a tag team. He’s here. Forever. Keeping his heart to himself, keeping the smile on his face, keeping himself close…
And when the opportunity presented itself, he took it wholeheartedly. He never had a single doubt in his head. He still doesn’t in our modern day. His faith in this never left him.
The PRIMEporium, as you know it, wouldn’t exist without Jacky Rex Daniels. Oh sure. Somebody would maybe sell a shirt or two every now and then to jack off their own ego before inevitably forgetting it exists. But if it wasn’t for these moments of slumming it in the outback trying to sell a shirt, we wouldn’t have become the “Merch Czar”. This would be an absolute wasteland of nothingness. And yes, you motherfuckers crashed into it and tore it apart with your ongoing stupidity. But we can rebuild. It’s what we do.
You owe our husband a debt you can never pay.
We owe him several.
To the participants of the Culture Shock battle royal.
Okay. Are the bleeding hearts and insta-ragers gone? Good! Now let us explain why we say that.
First of all, it’s not said out of malice. That would be a waste of time and energy. It’s not said out of hate. In fact, some of you we’re actually okay with. It’s not a personal statement nor is it a PRIMEporium statement. We say the above statement as professionally as possible. We said it because at this stage of the game, we need to. For about a year and some change, we’ve watched you all interconnect to each other in friendship and in warfare. Observing the webs you weave. Keeping it cool from our side of the road as we ask questions to ourself. Should we intermingle? Should we care? Does it matter? Now after all this time, we finally asked ourself…
Why do we care?
Ya know, the most fun we had in the business was when we didn’t really give a shit about who were our friends or foes or otherwise. We played with people out of the ring and beat their asses in the ring and it was effortless. It was when the chips were down and we didn’t care about things like our win-loss record or gaining all the belts or what people thought of us or whether we got any respect or not. When we lost Dodobird, we lost that. That sense of freedom. Many would say we outgrew it and that was inevitable. But here we are on our bed with our dog doing what we can to not circle back around but also dig deeper.
In doing this–ressurecting the dead in such a halfassed manner–we know there’s no real way to change what we became as a result of her death. We can’t undo ourself. We can’t get rid of this bitterness on our tongue that comes from being endlessly defeated in this ‘verse. We can’t erase the hunger in our soul. However, we can change the pace. We worried so fucking much about playing by your rules. We play by the rules of every universe we fight in. Sometimes though, no matter how hard we try, it just doesn’t work. You can give us the entire list of excuses as to why and we don’t want to hear them any more.
PRIME is so hard. Oh, it’s so tough. Everybody’s so strong.
Songs of the drama queen.
We’re stronger than all of you hoes. All of you. From the toppest of the top to the lowliest jobber on the block. And trust us, there’s a few around. Example: who in the hell is a Violet Samuelsson and why is she wasting valuable air time pretending to exist? Considering her alleged life story, you think she’d be foaming at the mouth to prove herself. Instead she wanders in here, gets her ass beat by a brokenhearted woman half her size, cashes her paycheck, and vanishes. She leaves this promotion tomorrow, who’s gonna cry about it? Nobody except for maybe Lady Troy for a waste of a contract. Then again, there’s been a lot of wasted contracts. What was that Aussie woman’s name again?
Or wait. Tyler Adrian Best. “Oh, but Anna! He’s facing off against Nate Colton! He’s won his whole two matches!” Now wait a minute. We have a theory about ol’ Tabby. And y’all are going to look at us like we’re crazy but what else is new. We really don’t think this is a person. Our belief is that Tyler Adrian Best is a tulpa. Not even in the way all of us are. We’re all hoaxes here. We’re talking about this man being one hundred percent imaginary, even for this place. Somebody has had to put something in the water in this ‘verse in order to make all of us hallucinate him into flesh and bone. Maybe somewhere in the distance, Master Roshi Best
(We never could remember his name. Sorry not sorry.)
is mixing up some chem trail nonsense for all of us to inhale. Man’s not even a man. Man’s a made up social experiment who might magic himself a five second five star title reign. And people will jack him off to hell and back over it because he’s “related” to a name. Yes, we say, YES THEM THERE WAS AIR QUOTES.
We’re a thousand times more solid than those two and we don’t even live here! Which gets us to thinking if the non-existant can fool you all that they can do something, why not us?
Which brings us to Rezin.
Brandon Youngblood had a point when he said we should aim at him. We knew what that meant. He didn’t mean Rezin specifically. He meant the belt the old Goat Bastard is currently toting in a sack. We agree with the assessment. Of course, we do. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be dragging ourself into a massive battle royal to earn our rightful place. A place that, with all sincerity, was ours from day number one of this so-called revival. Every number one contender for that belt, and every single champion for that matter, have been keeping our seats warm. Nice of you all. Really. But now it’s time to get out of the way.
We realize that when–not if, when–we win this clusterfuck of a match, Rezin might not even be the champion. It could be Ivan. It could be Underwear Boi.
(FYI, we call you that because initially we misremembered your name as Haynes Hanlon. As in the underwear. Then we remembered but it was too late. The name has stuck and you’re Underwear Boi forever to us.)
But we’re focusing on Rezin right now because out of every single one of you, he seems to be the only person here that has the right idea. In a promotion filled with high tension and people being volatile little shits because PRIME is so hard, Erik’s the one guy who couldn’t care less about any of the foolishness even if he wanted to. He goes in and fights, sometimes winning and sometimes losing, but always driving you nuts by the end of it. He’s here to cause chaos and in some sick twisted way, we can almost appreciate that.
The man has held two fucking belts since the revival. More often than not, that’s two more than the people who belittle him can claim at the moment. Hate him all you wish. Critique his appearance. Snark about his “punk rock” sensibilities or lack thereof until kingdom come. It doesn’t matter. Man’s a success in spite of himself. He’s doing something right. And the truth is? The vast majority of you can’t combat his crazy.
Right now, however, it doesn’t matter who ends up the champion. In order to get to them, we gotta get through all nine billion and forty-two of you. Most, if not all, of the roster. A few has-beens and never-weres that are destined to get a cheap pop from some oldhead fans. Perhaps a few surprises along the way.
We’re going to have fun killing you.
“You sure this is a wise idea, Prime?”
Firebug does her usual bit of leaning, snarking, and smoking. Thus far, she hasn’t been impressed by this whole concept of resurrecting Dodobird. The loony bitch died for a reason, died because she outlived her usefulness. Bug could understand why they wanted to but couldn’t wrap her head around the how.
The Prime’s misty exterior nods. “I think it’s time, Firebug. I really do. We’re not really ourself without her. We can’t evolve without her.”
“But the whole digging up her bones and sucking her marrow bit…”
“…is morbid, but necessary.” The leader of the Multitudes grows taller. “We are not going to make her something she’s not like that ‘verse did, Bug. Nor are we going to make her a shambling zombie.”
“No. You’re just going to graft her remains onto that one.” Firebug points to the Anna signing autographs in 2018. “She doesn’t even have a name, Prime. She certainly won’t be Dodobird. Not really.”
The mist buzzes in response. “It’s not traditional. I’m aware of that. I’m fully aware she can’t be fully Dodobird, but she doesn’t have to be. Bird had flaws that we no longer have as a result of becoming that one.” There’s another point to the past. “Have you heard of the story of Foot Locker?”
Firebug’s face contorts in confusion. “The fuckin’ shoe store?”
“It’s a bit more than that, but yes.” The Prime continues. “It’s a young company in the human retail sphere, relatively speaking. Yet it carries the last simmering fragment of a bigger company that lasted for many decades before then. A business that started in the late nineteen-seventies that has the roots and stock exchange history of a company founded in the late eighteen-seventies. Laypeople wouldn’t consider a Foot Locker the same thing as a Woolworth’s or vice versa, but they are. It’s a grand and glorious paradox. And what is more paradoxical than us?”
There’s a snuffing out of a cigarette, followed by a sigh. Some logic you just can’t argue with no matter how bizarre it is. “But how do you know this will work?”
“If there’s one thing our beloved has taught us…”, comes the response, “… it’s that headstrong belief, a powerful will, and an iron fist can beat the shit out of anything.”
It also helps being an Outer God. But Bug knew better than to argue.