“Little French kid is pretty damn good.”
The walls were white and the carpet was a dull warm gray, and yet the two chairs across from the island partition that separated the ‘living room’ from the ‘bedroom’ of the Residence Inn Tony Gamble and Frank Pastore were seated in were made of dark red leather. Nothing in the two, dollar store style works of art brought the color scheme together either. Considering we are not exactly staying at one of the rooms in the Bellagio or MGM Grand, it’s to be expected.
The television screen placed on top of the aforementioned island partition is currently airing a recap of Revival 13. To tell you the truth, Tony has been watching his match on repeat for the last few hours and is more than likely ignoring Frank’s comment. His elbows rested on his thighs, closer to his knees than his waist as he leaned forward at the edge of his seat.
“He is,” a voice answers from the right of both men. “But your homie here wasn’t expecting that bell clap. It took him by surprise the first time the kid tried it, and threw him off his game.”
Frank turned in the direction the voice came from, his brow furrowed as he shook his head at the same time. “It isn’t easy to knock Tony off his game, Dom.”
“Check out his face, Frank,” the bald headed Latino stood next to the refrigerator with a bottle of water in one hand and the cap he must have just twisted off in the other. He motioned toward the television with the hand holding the cap. “Se mira perdido.”
Clearly Frank is not fluent in the espanol, but his friend notices rather quickly and explains what he said.
“He looks lost, homie.”
Frank turned his attention to the television and watched the end of the match play out once again, this time focused on the look on Tony’s face as Flamberge connects with the Bell Clap. “He’s good, but he obviously got lucky there at the end.”
“Nombre, that vato pulled that shit off clean.”
“Well, it was Tony’s second match back,” Frank explained as he stood up, his hand pointed at the screen as The Grin just sat there. “Clearly he still has some rust to…”
“No, your friend is right,” Tony cut him off. “I watched plenty of his matches plenty of times, and I never saw him use that move before. It took me by surprise and I’m an arrogant son of a bitch that stuck to my original strategy, and it bit me in the ass.”
Tony paused the footage right as the PWA and ACE Network commercial started, so all that can be seen is the digitized ACE logo dissipating into darkness. He turned his attention to the Hispanic male taking a drink from his water bottle.
“What’s your name again,” Tony asked. “Don?”
“Frank calls me Dom,” he answered. “But my name is actually Domingo.”
= = = = = =
“I want to stand here and tell you that you have no clue what’s coming for you at Revival Fourteen.”
Tony Gamble is standing on the patio of his hotel room, his hands on the railing as he allows a full smile to slink its way across his face. Wearing the same handmade ‘Purch the Merch, Scaredy Cats’ shirt from the last Revival, light blue denim jeans, and a pair of silver and black Nike Dunks.
“That what you saw at Revival Thirteen, was just me shaking off a bit more rust before I’m back to being the man who had fans on the edge of their seats in anticipation of what I was going to do next.”
A shrug of the shoulders followed.
“I’ve probably still got a ways to go before that will be true, but in all honesty I really don’t know when I’ll be back at that level. I’ve always followed the old cliche about faking it til you make it, but lately it has been more like the other cliche about not being able to teach an old dog new tricks… Well, I truly believe they were talking about me and the status of my career, because I seem to be in way over my head against the fresh new talent that is already PRIMEd to be the future of this company. A future that just so happens to include you, Nathan.”
The smile twists itself into more of a smirk.
“The thing about old dogs, Nathan, is that we’re at the point where we’re not impressed by much anymore. We’ve been through so much, that there isn’t really anything we haven’t seen before. Can’t say that I won’t be surprised every now and then, but why learn new tricks when the old ones work just fine.”
Leaning forward a bit, Gamble’s forearms rest atop the rails as he looks out at the garbage riddled alley a few floors below. It would be really cool if there was a mangy old mutt with one eye and half a tail, rummaging through the bags looking for any sort of scraps to feed on. Unfortunately, the only animate thing in the alley is a bum scratching his ass, or at least we hope that is what he is doing since his arm is halfway down the back of his pants.
“Well, they have been. I didn’t notice it in my match against the one hit wonder and Larry Tact, probably because Tact is just a few years younger than me and Petey Pablo was more of a brawler and not very quick. The match against Flamberge though, I noticed I didn’t have that same pep in my step that I used to.”
He pauses slightly, shaking his head before continuing.
“I felt like I was wrestling in quicksand, while Flamberge was dancing around asking me to sing Camptown Races. It sucked to realize that I was in the same position of the opponents I used to make fun of and exploit when I had first come to PRIME. My stubbornness… No, my arrogance cost me that match against your new best friend and it took me a while to fully realize it. The thing is, he’s been teaching you a little something about yourself as well. You may be a tougher nut to crack though, because you’re too good for your own good. You don’t realize it now, but you need to step out from the shadow cast by your father or you’ll never reach your true potential.”
He lifts his hands up in a hold up there buddy motion, the smirk no longer present.
“Okay, that may not have come out as complimentary as I intended it to, but you have to understand that I know what it is like to live in the shadow of someone that accomplished things I may never duplicate. It is hard to ignore the voice inside my head, the one that constantly tells me that I am never going to step out from that shadow and become something great here in PRIME.”
But it was only gone for a moment.
“The difference is, the shadow that whispers in my ear while massaging my shoulders and tucking me in at night; belongs to me. When I look at the awards on my mantle, I see my name. When I look at old pictures hanging on my wall, I am in those photos. Those title history pages that I look up on the PRIME website, have my names written in them.”
That trademark smile on the face of the man known as The Grin, spreads its wings wide as the camera zooms in on the face of the Permascar Superstar.
“Okay, we’re kind of going through the same thing.”
= = = = = =
“Domingo Cruz,” Tony rubs his chin as he allows the name to dance around his mind for a minute. “I’m not familiar with the name.”
“That’s the best part about it, Tony!” Frank said, his heart practically pounding on his chest begging to escape the confines of its cage. “No one is going to recognize him, and I spent less time than a hiccup in Defiance. We can change the names we wrestle under and just start from scratch.”
“Trust me,” Tony said with a bit of a chuckle. “The PRIMEates will run facial recognition programs through years worth of wrestling footage that no one even knew existed, and find a match that you were just sitting in the crowd for to figure out where they may know you from. Someone will find something.”
“So you think we should just stick with the names we’ve already used?”
The man we now know the identity of is not a well known name in these parts, but did spend some time wrestling in Siberia for the Experts to gather a bit of exposure when he was actively wrestling. Having made a living for the last few years working security for different bars across the Great State of Texas. He met Frank Pastore in one of those bars and the two got along, bonding over a few beers and classic National Wrestling Council footage online.
“Yeah,” Tony looked in Cruz’s direction as he answered. “As much as the fans want to know about your past, where you’ve been and what you’ve accomplished means nothing when you step between the ropes.”
He pauses for a brief moment.
“We’re not ready for the competition level in PRIME, Tony.”
“But we will be.”
It’s pretty obvious by now that Gamble is always smiling, but every once in a while you see a glimpse of one that is genuine and sincere. It’s brief, but one just made a guest appearance on his lips.
“Alright, I’ll help you.”
The duo nod, giving each other dabs.
“You don’t want to rush this though,” Tony continued. “Spend some time getting your timing down, make sure you have a good feel for when you can and can’t interfere. There’s a shit load of things you’re going to need to learn in order to establish yourselves as a serious threat to the tag team division of whichever organization you join.”
The excitement in their eyes reminds him of his early days.
“You have an idea for a tag team name?”
The two nod and reply almost in unison.
“No Laughing Matter.”