Backstage we can hear the muffled sounds of the crowd cheering on their faves during the course of the Culture Shock Battle Royal, eager to see someone they can root for take the whole thing for a shot at the Universal Championship…but one person NOT going for the big prize is Kenny Freeman, who we watch stumbling down the hallway, as if just trying to find a good place to lay down after the beating he just took. Eventually he finds what he’s looking for…or at least, close enough.
A nice, clear spot on the floor where he plops his body down, resting his back against a wall as he takes a deep, deep breath in and out to clear his head. He doesn’t get long to clear his mind, however, before Aeon Khronos arrives at the scene pushing Randall Schwartz in his wheelchair. The pair look at their friend with a certain mood of concern that hangs in the air for about thirty seconds before Randall speaks up.
“Well, that sucked,” states the Entertainer, much to the annoyance of Kenny. How much so? Well, the usually jovial young man gives Randall a cold, murderous glare, a snarl forming on his face…and gives him the bird.
…I’m just kiddin’.
Kenny rolls his eyes at the remark, letting out a heavy sigh before finally responding.
“Thanks, Randall. I am tired…in pain…and most of all, angry. You feel me? That bastard Ivan Stanislav got me seein’ red tonight, and I can’t get over it.”
Curiously, this draws a laugh from the Entertainer, much to Kenny’s confusion.
“Ha, I get it…seein’ red, cause he’s a Communist,” replies Randall, slapping his leg to emphasize the hilarity of the joke…which only makes Randall wince in pain. There is, after all, a reason he’s in that wheelchair…though your guess is as good as mine as to what it is. With the Entertainer recovering from his lapse in judgement, Aeon speaks up with a less humoring tone.
“What are you going to do about it, Kenny?”
Freeman takes a moment to think about it, realizing to his horror the dilemma that’s been presented by his time and space traveling friend. Kenny lets out another sigh, shaking his head slowly before replying.
“That’s just it, Aeon…I don’t know if I can do a damn thing. People look at Ivan Stanislav and they see a man who nearly won the PRIME Universal Championship last night…a man who beat the HOW World Champion just a few months ago. They look at ol’ Kenny Freeman, and they see–”
Kenny gives the interrupting Randall an actual murder glare this time around, very nearly coming to the point of giving a gesture threatened earlier…but alas, Kenny simply nods his head weakly.
“A damn dweeb. Can’t advance in the Alias Title tournament, can’t pick up a win over the Winds of Change, can’t stay in the damn Battle Royal long enough to not get yeeted like a sack of potatoes…I can’t just go barging into Lindsay Troy’s office and demand a match against that Russian Bear, can I? I might either get laughed out of the office, or denied purely out of my ‘own personal safety’…and I end up back at square one. So no, I don’t know what I’m gonna do about it. Maybe…”
Kenny hangs his head low for a moment, afraid to utter the words that are coming to mind. Eventually, he loosens the mental restraints as he utters that dreaded phrase.
“Maybe it’s time to go home.”
With that, Kenny looks at his friends with the most forlorn-looking expression one could imagine. It’s the kind of look one has when they reach the biggest roadblock of their lives…a situation that clearly inspires the inquiry that comes next.
“Aeon, do you remember when you recruited us for this little mission of yours?”
Aeon gives a slow nod in response.
“Just over a year ago.”
“That’s right,” responds Kenny, slowly rising to his feet before brushing himself off. “And we started at Culture Shock last year…April 8, 2022. We signed a one-year contract effective that date…and today was the end date. Let’s go home.”
“I–” Aeon starts to respond, but Kenny pushes past him on his way toward the exit. Randall just looks up at the man pushing him toward the same exit, raising an inquiry of his own.
“That’s not how our contracts work, is it?”
Aeon shakes his head.
“That, and he’s forgotten about the PWA contracts you two signed a few months after the fact. We should probably remind him of that before he says something stupid on social media.”
With that, the pair rush toward the exit to catch up with Kenny as we fade to black.
I’m just here so I don’t get fined.
…okay, I’m just kidding. I’ve always wanted to make that remark, though. It’s been a rough few months for me, and I reached probably my lowest point when I went crashing to the floor at Culture Shock thanks to the Russian Bear, taking away my hopes and dreams for winning the big Battle Royal and really making a name for myself.
All I ended up doing was making a fool out of myself.
My frustrations are through the damn roof, in case you couldn’t tell…but against possibly my better judgement, I am going to push through this. I’m mad, mad as hell right now…but that means I need to be focused.
The only way I’m getting past this roadblock is to speed along with everything I’ve got…even against Tristan-Crispin Gladhappy and Terry Woods. Man, I got tired just saying those names out loud. Sorry.
Terry! Welcome to PRIME! So glad you could come join this madhouse, this one-ring circus of some of the strangest folks around. Shame you gotta come up against such the angry little clown that is Kenny Freeman. There will be no joking around when we step in the ring at ReVival 26.
Tristan, I am…beyond words with what to say about you right now. You and your crew have been frustrating to watch, to say the least…and it’s time ol’ Kenny taught you a lesson or two. Everyone inside the Paycorn Arena and watching from home is gonna see just how focused I can be…and it’s gonna be at y’all’s expense.