Jason Jackson sits in the back of a company car that PRIME normally sends for its less illustrious members. His legs sprawl out on the seat with an arm draping over the back of the seat, one of the least known faces in PRIME simply grins and soaks in the nighttime air flowing through the windows. The driver, Tony, spots his super relaxed passenger and whips around, totally not watching traffic, and grins maniacally.
“You wanna hit this again, big boy?!”
Tony holds up a very beefy joint. Crash’s eyes go wide before mute-yelling ‘OH YEAAAHHHH!’ As he leans forward to grip and rip, both men try to get to full falsetto as Bob Segar’s “Night Moves” plays on, before they both begin hacking and cracking. Clearly, the joint is beginning to take maximum effect. It’s really clear when they come to a stop.
“What’s up, bud? This is where you’re goin’, right?”
The man viewers know mostly as Crash sits somewhat starstruck – while extremely high – and stares up from inside the car. In the reflection, the bright green neons of the Enterprise Center beam down on him from above. He’s seen some bright lights before, but this all feels a lot different. The kind of different that can change a man’s life. The kind of different that makes this single match the most important yet.
The Northern Light looks back at Tony, smiles, and then pounds knucks with his new bud.
“Damn straight, Tony. This is definitely where I’m goin.”
Crash steps out in marvel. It’s been some time since he had come through the Gateway to the West. Regardless of how long, his last time was by bus, in a motel, and came with way too many gasps instead of gushes.
Weird people here, bro. Stay frosty.
The lights from the home of ReVival 36 cover the streets below with a neon green hue. The people pass by with very little concern for trampling the new guy. He slowly spins to embrace the wonders he might find nearby and, yup, there’s a hot dog cart directly across the friggin’ street.
DOGGIES!? Now we’re talkin’!
He locks onto this real-life hot dog cart and immediately beelines it into heavy traffic because, honestly, he’s very high right now and super munchy. Unlike most human beings, the kind who like being alive and consider consequences before making dumb decisions, Crash doesn’t hesitate to get his fix pronto. He does this quick by executing a few flawless hood slides and juke moves. Before he even clears certain death, he lets out a quick whistle to get the dog slinger’s attention.
“Lemme get two dogs, bub! Hit me with that sweet meat, baby!”
No surprise to us that the vendor – and about twenty other people, not counting those avoiding him with their automobiles – already have eyes on the man with a hot dog death wish. With so many watching him bound the busy city streets, some instinctively pull out their phones and get ready to witness vehicular manslaughter right in front of their eyes.
This road always this busy? Dang.
It isn’t until he lands on the sidewalk safely that Crash notices all the phones and folks looking on with open mouths. He just nods and smiles, pretty sure that’s what future stars of PRIME would do with such an impromptu public gathering, before turning to the King of Wieners with a gracious bow. It’s an awkwardly slow rise before he smiles, spewing charm.
“Load ‘em up, big guy.”
It takes the local hot dog monger a few seconds to snap out of the amazement that this guy isn’t flat on the street before autopilot kicks in. He does his thing in a remarkably quick fashion. Crash watches on, licking his chops, before the man holds up two glorious looking plumpers with all the fixins, bitch!
Those. Are. Beautiful.
Just like that, Crash inhales the first before taking a few choppy breaths, repeating the same CHOMPCHOMPCHOMP process on the second in less than two minutes. Getting that last bite down, our hungry hero lifts his chin and closes his eyes, extremely close to climax. A smile stretches over his face while he audibly exhales pure satisfaction through his nose. He points to the vendor before opening his eyes and nods sincerely.
“Respect, brother. For realsies.”
The pointing finger retracts to offer this culinary genius a stern fist bump. The man obliges before quickly pulling back, his eyes growing wide before clapping his hands together.
“Oh shit! You guys know who dis is?!”
Cautiously, Crash reels in his bumping fist. There are a lot of ways this can go, especially if it turns out that he knows this guy or, even scarier, he might know his daughter. Hot Dog man steps out from behind his stainless steel vessel of processed meat paradise, outstretching his arms and turning his focus to the crowd. The open palms turn into fingers pointing at Crash, who seems ready in a moment’s notice to GTFO if this turns into a public lynching type of situation.
“Looks folks! A Blues player, eatin’ my dogs! Joanie ain’t never gonna believe this! Hey, pal, lemme get a picture! What number you wear?”
Crash’s shoulders drop a bit. Here this guy is, being so great at making wieners and now, delivering the daily dose of deflation he finds inside PRIME.
For fuck’s sake. This guy too? That baddie nurse I get. This guy just… smells like a wrestling guy, though, so how the hell doesn’t he recognize me?
Now it’s going down on the streets? According to the internet research he’s done, his match was one of the better matches of the night. Crash feels like he might have a chance at getting some extra num nums if he leans into this case of mistaken identity but… he’s ready to make a name for himself.
“Sorry, wrong guy. I’m just a wrestler who loves some good hots, my man!”
Maybe he rewards honesty with free weenies…
A blank look on this guy’s face is a pretty good sign he doesn’t. Our unpopular wrestler shrugs, figuring it was a long shot, before beginning to turn away.
“No, dude! That’s Crash Jackson. He’s in PRIME.”
Crash’s eyes shoot up with a grin, pulling his thumb up as he turns to the crowd. He holds his arms out wide, ready to shower in their love. A few silent seconds pass by before he opens his eyes. The Northern Light can see a few more phones out now, most of whom are probably wondering where this Blues player is. The confusion is… deflating… to say the least. He decides to focus on the lone fist in the air, before watching a stiff middle finger flip up.
“He got his ass kicked by Max Kael?!”
It was close!
Crash throws his hands at the conjecture rising from this group of doubters. Plus, he put up a fight! It wasn’t a complete massacre in the grand scheme of things. There were some… things… that got in the way, is all.
“That’s not a question. He did! Two weeks ago. Violent Purple smashed his fuckin’ head in and he lost to that Max guy in Detroit.”
Perfect. Not only did that vivacious minx steal my win, my heart, but now she’s pulled off the worst heist of all. She’s stealing my street cred with the fans. Stop thinking with your dick, dick. It already cost you one match. Forget Violent Purple. She’s forbidden fruit.
“Hey! Does it look like my head is smashed in? Huh? I’m alright, guys. Trust me. Head. Right here. Fully well rounded. Promise.”
Pointing to his somewhat swollen but still, yes, round head is proof that Crash speaks at least half of the truth. Then he realizes he probably looks like a dummy doing that, so he quickly stops and redirects the focus on this liar in the crowd. Well, I guess he’s not a liar, but he’s a giant asshole for shouting all that shit out loud.
“Let’s see you step in the ring and not get put in a trance by a sexy goddess lurking around the outside. You can’t! It’s science, bro. Plus, that match taught me a lot and now my focus is set on the Almasy Tournament.”
I said it. I meant it. I’m sure a lot of people don’t know about me. Hell, I bet there’s people in my own damn company who wouldn’t know me from a door mat. I’m gonna have to change that. The best way to do it?
Beat every last fucker they put in front of me.
“He thinks he’s gonna beat a religious nut?”
A voice calls out from the crowd, clearly confident and full of PRIME knowledge.
Oh shit, is he a nut? Did not see th-
“Yeah right! Couldn’t beat a nun!”
Crash’s head snaps to the left with appall.
“Can’t even beat a guy who doesn’t know how to wrestle!”
Well, shit, gang. This is just downright hurtful now.
Denying himself the joy of lighting up every loudmouth jackass in front of him, this is a new day for Crash. The days of instant violence and handling things with his fists outside the ring have passed. The suits at PRIME told him so. So now he’s got to take the high road, and be nice, and be cool with the fans.
“Alright, alright. Let’s settle down, people.”
It’s kind of hard to not beat heads in when they’re spouting such slanderous material. Despite wanting their love and approval, he stands there in shock for a split second, trying to figure out how to go about changing the public opinion. Crash fans his hands toward the crowd and shoots a stern finger toward the last schmuck who made that last hurtful comment. He’s pretty sure it comes from over there anyway.
“And look, dipshit. Of course Max knows how to wrestle. He’s got that killer Queen teaching him everything he needs to know – especially if she decides to cloud his opponent’s hearts and minds and feelings with her lustful voodoo spells. Wake up, man!”
God damn idealists. They think this shit is all black and white. If it was, then everyone would know the name Crash simply on entertainment value! Truth is that there’s a wide variety of things that have a way of weighing us all down to the mat long enough to get pinned. Life. Inexperience. The past. Even Love. A purple-haired Angel whom you would do anything for. Heavy shit. Get it?
Crash tries to forget about his forbidden muse by shaking his head. He will never succeed at this feat though… but must play his part for now. He expresses this by smiling and shrugging that shit off like he’s made of rubber and these little kid love thoughts are fuckin’ glue. He turns to the other area of the peanut gallery who had something to say.
“And big mouth, whoever you are. Can’t beat a nun? Are you fuckin’ serious, man? Nobody can beat a nun! Nuns are probably why Winters is the way he is. You wanna tussle with a five-foot five-inch church lady with no fun in her life, who spent years in solitude at a monastery and has to live by strict rules or go to Hell? Anyone who tells me they do… I’ll gladly cover their funeral costs.”
The rumbling grows louder and louder from the crowd. The nun comments probably struck a nerve with some and then the rest are equally as pissed because now he’s blaming nuns for molding such a despicable human being like Don Winters. Nothing really gets under his skin other than mean people and politicians and especially redheads. The main thing though… is overwhelming doubt.
Lose, lose, lemme tell you.
It hurts Jackson’s head, visibly, when he hears all the infighting that starts. This is the moment when he recalls where he is and who he’s talking to.
Fuckin’ St. Louis, bro. Their natural instinct is to be distrustful and guard themselves from anything and everything good. Not just here but everywhere, dude! With all the skepticism and misinformation out there… it really isn’t all that shocking anymore to see them throw doubt at the first sign of hope for a brighter future. It’s just too damn bad they’re so wrapped up in the bad that they don’t recognize the good.
The bickering grows and grows to the point where most of them have forgotten what is happening in the first place. He looks on at a fitting image of everything he wants to fix in the world. Instead of dividing them, he wonders what it’s going to take to bring these people together and believe in great things again. His eyes aim at the crowd but are metaphorically staring at his next match and the kind of change that would come with a win.
Well then, Crashy, now we know what we have to do.
Our hopeful hero figures this is a good time to stop effing around with these folks and focus on the task at hand. Words are only going to turn so many heads and he didn’t have many more to share. Not with anyone out here. Only one person needs to hear what he wants to say next. He turns, one hundred eighty degrees, and his eyes fill with purpose. The camera swivels, capturing a shot of the Enterprise Center in all its glory, seemingly joining Crash in deep thought.
Gonna give these people a reason to believe.
On a steel chair in the middle of the ring, under the spotlights overhead, sweat drips off Crash’s forehead and begins to pool on the mat near his feet. He runs a towel over his face before draping it around his neck. He sits shirtless, sweaty, with gym shorts and wrestling boots on in an empty Enterprise Center in the heart of St. Louis. He threw some cash to the staff to let him get some late night alone time here. Not the naughty kind tonight actually… Tonight he’s been training.
All fuckin’ night.
This is the home of ReVival 36. The site of the start of the Seymour Almasy Invitational Tournament and PRIME’s annual tournament that can turn a pebble into a pearl. A chance to make history. A chance at greatness. The chance for this nobody can start to make some noise.
PRIME’s been a grind so far. In between all the off-screen meetings with potential agents and managers and this and that, it’s been a master class in how to navigate the big leagues. He’s only been here a few weeks and is already learning valuable lessons. Last week, the lesson was staying on the gas pedal until that goddamn bell rings.
Was it being love struck by that beautyguard Max Kael?’s running around with before she smashed him in the head? Probably. Was it Max Kael? beating him because he lost focus and slipped up? Also, probably. So, staying on point is the main takeaway from that one.
And stop thinking with your dick.
Crash lifts his gaze to meet the camera after it finally makes its way into position in front of him. He grins, reaching toward his feet for a large bottle of water. He pours it over his head and takes a super big swig. Twisting the cap back on, he goes through recovery breathing exercises through an open smirk.
“I bet you’re wondering, what’s this guy gonna do, huh, Winters?”
Crash can’t help but pause to instill some dramatic effect. It might not land but it sure was damn fun, wasn’t it? Back to our subject who folds his hands together, interlocking his fingers, and making sure to limit hand movement.
“A lot of people come into this tournament for different reasons. Jiles has that Golden Ticket. Plenty of bounties out there to get a chance at a PRIME championship. You have your faith, Don. Plenty of different reasons.”
His eyes gleam with ambition.
“My reason is simple…”
It’s my friggin’ purpose, dude!
Crash finally shows a toothy smile. It’s clear that, right here, right now, he’s ready for this challenge.
“I’m just here to wrestle.”
Damn straight. God on his side or not, win or lose, I am gonna throw everything I’ve got at this guy. He’s not gonna walk out of there feeling good, that’s for fuckin’ sure.
Crash quickly stands out of the chair, shooting it across the ring super fuckin’ cool like and the camera follows him to the upper body shot. He starts to move around the ring, looking off into the dark arena from time to time.
“They told me I would get a chance to wrestle in the greatest wrestling promotion in the world. PRIME. I signed the dotted line. It’s been my dream to do what I do best on the biggest stage my entire life. Now… I’m just livin’ the dream, baby.”
This tournament is gonna be what gets me off the floor and on the front fuckin’ page. Many PRIME legends have gone through the Almasy and gone on to the greatest heights in the business. It’s pretty clear a first-round win is a must.
“Next part of the dream, as it just so happens – which is pretty shitty for you, dude – is we get to wrestle! Imagine that? It’s like they wanted me to show what I’ve got against a dude who has the power of Angels and shit behind him? I certainly mean no disrespect because, well, I just fought a guy some people call a clone and other people call a poltergeist so, these past few weeks have been interesting, for sure.”
Jason briefly reflects on his last match before moving on to the holy war ahead of him. It’s clear it’s the most important of his career. Who knows when he might have a match with any type of championship implications again? Next year? Sure. That’s a long time away.
And I want it now.
“Now, I’m not very religious, not at all really. Honestly, I’ve never really thought about God or anything like that in this ring. Not unless I was, like, screaming ‘OH GOD! OH GOD!!!’ after I broke an arm but not like, thinking about God, you know? Frankly, I don’t think the wrestling ring is any place for God – if there is a God, right? – and she certainly deserves to be, like, outside the ring. For sure.”
Maybe farther away, like on an ivory throne up on the entrance stage with a cloud machine by her feet? That would probably look super righteous.
“I only say that because I know how I get in here. Pretty ugly, if you catch what I’m sayin’. I’ve seen some of these other guys in this place do some pretty nasty stuff, too. The other night, a guy smashed a masked guy’s head into the ground! There’s so much… ungodly?… things going on here, I’m just nervous about how you’re going to do your… stuff. Ya feel me, your Holiness?”
In all actuality, a religious figure might cool things down around here. Would likely kill the ratings. THIS WEEK ON CHURCH! Then everyone’s quiet and stays in their seat. Crowd goes nuts by whispering ‘PEACEBEWITHYOU’ over and over! Heh, exactly!
That’s why I have to win. We can’t have Mister High and Mighty walkin’ around with a chance to start makin’ the rules and hoggin’ the spotlight. Next thing you know, we’ll all be in Sunday School and wearin’ uniforms that make us look like fuckin’ nerds.
Not if I have anything to say about it.
“Now, we all want a peaceful resolution to this but, honestly Reverend of Revelation, I really don’t see one. You probably want to wrestle and bask in the Glory of God and all that, right? Well, it just so happens that I also would like to win and, also, bask in the other and very different glory that comes from feeling like a god when I land the CRASH DOT COM.”
Bring it on, Bible Boy. Oooooh I hope you fuckin’ bring it, bro. Because I am soooo bringing it! Then we will both be bringing it and then it most definitely for sure have been broughten it and then me and the Bible Boy will be banging and clanging like two champion combatants to cheers and jeers for all to hear! Alliteration and rhyme? Nice, dude.
Crash spins to work his way to the opposite side of the ring. He stops halfway across before looking at the camera, dead center
“You call it Faith, your Excellency. I call it hard work, never giving up, taking the hard way, and grabbing the world by the horns to get what you deserve.”
Despite the road taken… I’m here now.