Backstage at ReViVal 16, away from the repercussions of heinous actions and the declarations of others’ in the midst of the chaotic shifts occurring in PRIME, one man has been discarded as figurative trash. While he exits the locker room area looking dapper in a dark grey suit, crimson pocket square and tie, along with polished black Armani’s clacking the ground beneath him, there’s not as much mirth in his step this night. Perhaps it’s the damage sustained at UltraViolence, a match he thought he had done enough for. He saw the scenes play out in his head from that night as he rolled a suitcase with one hand and held his gaze on the ground ahead of him. The sight of Dusk rising up, over and over, replayed in his head and he would call it a nightmare, but even those have an endpoint. A time when an explored part of our brain, which is prodding and twisting a psychic knife within us, determines its had enough fun for one night.
Nightmares? They end.
This was his life, his career. In a state of shock after losing at UltraViolence.
The scene re-racked and began anew, with scenes of Dusk rising up despite his brutal attempts to end that outcome.
It was the getting back up he couldn’t shake. He couldn’t get past the grotesque sight. It made him sick to his stomach every time the memories lurched back to the forefront of his cranium, as if flooding it was the only way these thoughts could finally escape.
“Larry Tact!” a microphone is suddenly thrust in front of his face. Larry looks up to find PRIME interviewer, Matt Mills, walking alongside him and keeping the microphone just close enough to be both unnecessary and irritating.
“I thought we were going to hear from you tonight, but it appears you’ve declined that opportunity. Would you care to explain?” Mills prompts.
Larry offers back a scowl, but not a word of response.
“Fair enough. Regardless of why you changed from the rumored course, you must have had something on your mind that you wanted to get out, at some point. Would you care to elaborate?”
Interviewers, reporters, they were clever little bastards. Always trying to get an angle, or sniff out the scent of a rumor, or the stink of a secret. This one knows full well he’s fishing with the idea that Larry had expressed he had something to say. After UltraViolence, these vultures were looking to bait him and pick his remains.
That was a mistake.
Larry stops in place, slowly looking down at Mills like a homing bullet locking onto its target.
“Elaborate, Mills? Elaborate on what, exactly? I haven’t said a word to you or anyone here about my current disposition!”
He hopes Mills catches spit in his eyes for his impunity but takes a half step back after a moment. All he needed was a fine for getting real with them. Too real for them to handle.
“Matt, you’re not a dumb guy, right?” Larry reigned in his aggressions enough to try and address the interviewer cordially. “I’m not here to comment on my match with Dusk, but if you want to know a status update? I’m here, I’m cleared, and I intend on getting paid.”
“Interesting that you say things that way,” Mills chimed in, causing Larry to look a little perplexed at what was coming. “Considering you wanted to end Dusk’s career on your terms, and… well, Dusk was the Last Man Standing.” He quickly adds, “But does it make you weigh your own options in PRIME, given your… record, and your… well, no, your record.”
Larry feels the heat rising into his chest, wanting to blow fire and torch this living meatsack into something tender ‘n crispy. Instead, he took a noticeable inhalation, and blew the air out in Mills’ face, causing him to wave his hand in comical fashion. “You know, Matt. How did I not think of just that? You’re firing on all idiotic cylinders, tonight,” he scans around, seeing nothing but equipment and production teams working to produce the ongoing show. “Do you know what that record you want to harp on has done to me? You probably think each of the losses has been, what, some dagger to my heart? Do you think I’m going to act all dejected, like Dusk? Do you think I’m somehow in Dusk’s position? That’s a load of crap because I am NOTHING like Dusk! I don’t question my place. I only question why I’m allowing this narrative of holding back. Not giving my all, unlocking my full potential in PRIME. It’s time that ended. It’s time for some damn change.”
With that, Larry swats at the microphone and pivots away from Matt Mills, who fumbles for the struck mic. Larry heads past the Argyle position as he heads to the exit tunnel. He hears the PRIME faithless getting riled up about… something. Something he wasn’t apart of. That would need to change.
Larry and his son, Logan Tact, were each sitting on one of the plush sofas in one of the living rooms of their penthouse home in Manhattan, New York. Logan was playing Madden on their 4KUHDTV, which takes about as long as saying television. Regardless, Larry didn’t take notice, as he was working on forging a destructive daily fantasy football lineup. Logan turned to him after he threw a touchdown and kicked the PAT. “Hey Dad, I meant to ask something earlier, but I wasn’t sure how to put it.”
“Now you think you have a grasp over your thought?” Larry responds without looking up.
“Yeah, I think so,” Logan nods, then takes the controller back up and starts playing again.
A couple beats pass and Larry senses what Logan is doing. The outer crease of his eye starts to twitch. “Alright, what are you waiting for? I’m listening,” as his eyes revert back to DFS tinkering.
“I wanted to know what everything with Dusk even means now? I know what it was supposed to be. I know you didn’t think it was right allowing him to walk off into retirement without a fight. I get that you were making an opportunity for yourself. I get that,” Logan continues to play Madden, intercepting a pass and cutting the proverbial gridiron rug as the opposition gives chase. “But now? It’s over and I mean– you did lose the match to Dusk. So, what does everything before the match even mean?”
Larry’s finger stops as it hovers an inch from the screen. He lifts his head to look at his son, who is asking a well meaning question. That didn’t bother Larry one iota. It was the tone he took in asking. It, too, was questioning. If a reporter were within range, they would catch a whiff of this and seek out the source. It was a juicy emotion indeed, one that could be cultivated into a monstrous, possessive bastard of a force.
That’s the tone Logan had taken. One that doubted whether I had a plan, or even the motivation, to find out what was next. It was a stark contrast to the encouraging voice I had heard leading up to UltraViolence.
It was disappointing, but Logan was not a disappointment. Neither was his father, and he would not disappoint with this.
“Logan, if everyone based their thoughts on the past and the completed, there wouldn’t be much success in this world. There would be zero breakthroughs, very few wonders, and the feeling of awe and astonishment would sputter to a halt and be snuffed out. Because everyone fails first. It’s how we grow.”
“Okay, no offense, dad… you’ve been getting into kind of a more committed relationship with failure, lately,” Logan commented as he recorded a tackle for loss.
Larry put his phone down and rubbed the bridge of his nose briefly. “I meant more that everyone learns about failure at an early age. We fail because we need it, in order to grow. I got where I am in professional wrestling because I didn’t allow failure to crush me. I’m not shrinking, I’m growing. Everything I did leading up to UltraViolence? It was never going to be a waste, so long as I gained from it.”
“You certainly gained a few things. Crutches for days, bandages for the blood, painkillers for the bone bruises…”
“You’re still trying to be the cute kid,” Larry watches as Logan spins around a defender in the backfield, and breaks the perimeter defense, “But after awhile, it comes off too obnoxious to be cute anymore,” he says as Logan pauses the game and turns to face Larry.
“I’m listening,” he huffs.
“There’s my son,” Larry smirks. “Look at this coming ReViVal. I face Brandon Youngblood.”
“The former Universal Champion?” Logan looks with equal parts surprised and excitement.
“Yes, and don’t think you can attend and make some Instagram fodder out of it. This is strictly business and by your logic, I’m going to be slaughtered for no cause by Youngblood.”
“I’m just saying, when you lose on the big match, how do you know what you did holds value?” Logan elaborated.
“Logan, when you’ve been in this business as long as I have, you’ll lose your fair share of matches. Eventually, the magnitude isn’t as important as getting to the next point. It’s a matter of perspective. Yes, you want the immediate rewards, the gains. You could say that about football. Young coaches want to prosper quickly, to establish themselves. Meanwhile, a veteran coach may succeed for longer because they came into things more established and with a longer leash. You could say Youngblood has more credibility than anyone. But would that mean I gain nothing from wrestling him? Hardly, even if I lose, it can only help shape the next part of my PRIME experience.”
“And it’ll make the Last Man Standing match a marker… for something more, something purposed filled.”