Your honours, may I just say that this is the most humble day of my life. I hope what I’m about to share with you serves not as an excuse, but rather as an explanation.
No one’s started an apology that way before? Right? Can’t think of anyone.
Yes, Coral, this is an apology, and a sincere one at that. I’m sorry that I can’t be the opponent that you truly lust after. I know you got that bad terminal hero brain shit on the go and I respect that, I really do. You’ve got a moral compass, you have values that are meaningful to you and when your sense of justice is crossed, you will carve down anyone you see as in the wrong. I have so much respect, in fact, that I had a whole villain monologue planned out for our upcoming sporting adventure at Tropical Turmoil.
I was going to stand proudly and talk about my SECRET PLAN, and how it had to be you, only you, wonderful you that would stand across the ring from me as my inner turmoils became much moister.
I had it all planned out, and I think if I explain it to you, you’ll admire the mind behind it. It starts humbly enough, giving you a little needling about leaving poor Sid and Joe high and dry after Culture Shock. I mean, I think even you’d admit that you fucked that one up bud. Then I’d start connecting your future fatherhood to your mentorship skills. It was going to be really mean spirit. I was going to say some wild shit.
“Coral, maybe you felt that the Winds of Change let you down at Culture Shock, but you abandoned them at their lowest point. If you do that as a dad, you get a visit from child services… if you’re lucky”
See, that’s fucking gross. It would have been great villain shit! I would have been the worst. The crowd would’ve wanted me murdered, they’d clamor for my head and would see you as a vessel of my destruction. Then you’d bring a big sword to the ring, probably based on Final Quest Twelvty or some shit and everyone would chant “OFF WITH HIS HEAD” in unison, and then my head would fly to the moon and then I’d be a head in space and you’d be disqualified because beheading is a crime but you’d keep the 5 Star Championship because titles don’t change heads on a beheading. I’d just be a corpse.
Wow, even my brain was like “give my a minute to breathe here bud”
Anyway that whole deal would have worked out real nicely for you. I’d even started planting the seeds for the whole moral battle we were going to embark upon. I kept asking you about the Winds, and you kept blowing me off until your actions smacked you in the back of the neck. I was near the ring at all of your 5 Star matches. Oh, it was going to be a wild ride of connections and callbacks.
Then ReVival 30 happened…
A lot of people have asked me why Cecilworth Farthington is currently walking around with the Glue Factory brand in his back pocket. They have no idea how I would have been so willing to let a man like Farthington take over my legacy. I’m sure to the uneducated amongst all of us that it feels like a slapdash or hotshotted decision. I get that if you’re looking in from the outside, I really do.
What people in that position forget, however, is that this moment in history is not the first time that myself, Cecilworth Farthington, Dirk Dickwood and Hank have been interwoven. Me and Cecilworth were never in the same promotion at the same time. He’d been getting his toe wet in the wrestling ring by tag teaming with Hank, using our beautiful pool boy as a bit of a heater, a bit of a meat shield. They were actually a damn good team, and considering this was at the birth of Cecilworth’s career, they were getting looks. People knew about them, respected them. Daft wee shite though he may be, Cecilworth Farthington is a charming and dazzling fucker when he wants to be.
Dirk had put the team together. He’d been trying to salvage the mess I’d made of my fucking career at that point, suffering the indignities of viking mothers and midgets in the New Frontier…
…How many years have I been holding on to that grudge now? Seventeen? Eighteen? When does the counter tick over for the year?…
No, no, let us not get sidetracked. Dirk. This is about Dirk. So Dirk knew I was knackered and fucked, I knew I was knackered and fucked, I just couldn’t admit it out loud. Dirk had my blessing to branch out and he found a diamond in the shitting rough when he saw Cecilworth Farthington training in some shitty New York gym.
That’s how I first met Cecilworth. Dirk had invited me over to the gym one day to have a closer look. I wish I could tell you more about the place, but if you’ve seen one rat infested mold hole, you’ve seen them all. Dirk didn’t want me to work with the kid, or train him, I think Dirk basically considered me burnt at that point. Damage goods he had to deal with because I was thoroughly out of warranty. He knew I had an eye for talent though. Still do, as a matter of fact, I’m sure you’ve all heard of the upcoming French lizardstar, FLAMBERGE…
…Sorry, no, this is not about me.
You just had to see Cecilworth in the ring for a minute to know he had it. He was… is… might always be… just so fucking fluid. It’s like someone infused his body with eel DNA in how slippery he is, and considering what I know about his upbringing and family history, I’m not even going to rule out the fact that he is part eel. He might just be.
Dirk already had Hank stored in his back pocket. That little ball of Scottish rage had somehow managed to pull Hank out of a hotel pool once after Hank’s floaties burst. Most onlookers still don’t believe what they saw that day. It gave Hank a lifetime debt to Dirk though.
As I said, Coral, I’m sorry. It was so amazing in my brain.
Joe and Sid were going to rough you up, send you a message from The Glueminati, let you know how much you were on my radar for Tropical Turmoil. Then, to truly rub in that I am in every way a superior man, a superior mentor and, a superior father to you, I was certain I could give Joe and Sid the tools they needed to become the PWA Tag Team Champions. Sure, they Bang!ed hard, oh so hard… but, I failed them. I thought I had the Dan Ryan secrets, was so cocky that I would always have that dude’s number, even through a proxy.
That’s arrogance. That’s hubris. That’s me eating a ton of shit.
It was okay though, we had the tag match. We had Brandon Youngblood and Justine Calvan standing across from me and Joe. So, I think that I can still salvage my supervillain image here for you Coral, I still wanted to be the dragon you try to slay. If I can, on the ACE Network, defeat the Universal Champion, and at the same time, give poor Joe Fontaine a win over Justine Calvan that he richly deserves, boy, I’ve proven myself to be a good father figure for the former Winds.
I was going to salvage it Coral. The Main Event of Tropical Turmoil Night 1 was going to be the most talked about thing in the wrestling world. I was going to say shit like “when that baby plops out of your repulsive wife, it’s going to drill an elbow into your neck too. That’s how shitty a dad you are” and everyone would have booed so hard that the arena would have caved in and then we wouldn’t have been able to have our match because we would have both been murdered via booing. Then they would have to charge the entire PRIME crowd with our murders and that doesn’t seem very fair, they were just having a good time.
I don’t want that on my conscience, do you Coral? Do you want thousands of PRIME fans to be banged up in a horrible little jail cell? I bet you do, you seem like the type.
Thankfully, I fucked up again, didn’t I?
Can’t get a supervillain origin point to save my life, Coral, can’t do it. I keep trying. These schemes, these plots of mine, I want to cackle into a microphone and say something like “OH CORAL, YOU FOOL…” in a menacing way but I keep messing up.
It’s funny when you try to visualise your future, bud. After the Culture Shock Battle Royal, I had this picture in my head of The Glueminati as the feared and dominant unit in all of PRIME. We were going to be running the place, I could see it, with the talent in the group… it seemed like such a safe bet.
The show before Tropical Turmoil should’ve been The Glueminati striking fear into the hearts of every member of the PRIME roster, everyone should have been concerned about what was going to happen next. We would have had the PWA Tag Champions already, and would have soon had the Intense, 5 Star and Universal to match. We were going to become PRIME. Everyone was going to talk about The Glueminati, everyone was going to talk about Cecilworth Farthington.
The reality was much more bitter to swallow. I failed Joe and Sid. Tyler cares more about Chicago than Glue, FLAMBERGE is… an… interesting fella. I’ve already humbled myself. People should have feared the hand of The Glueminati and Coral Avalon would have looked beautiful as the first line of PRIME defense.
Instead, everyone turns their eye to the outside world and outside walls for battle.
If I was a better mentor, perhaps FLAMBERGE wouldn’t feel the need to keep making biting noises in the direction of TAB’s crotch. I must admit, they seem sexually threatening. Perhaps Joe and Sid would’ve had the trip to Mexico of a lifetime. If I was a better mentor, maybe my previous young mentee TAB would realise that you can be friends with females who aren’t your ex, and can actually be happy when these friends share a meaningful life milestone. You know, make the kid a bit more normal. Fucked that one up something fierce, didn’t I Coral?
I sought The Glueminati’s Battle for PRIME. We were the monsters that lived inside the castle walls. All the gold, all the belts. Dripping in glory and power. All hope would seem lost, but the heroes would try to stand against us. You would have made a smashing warrior in the civil war Coral, and I took that from you because I lost a step. I wasn’t the man that I thought I was.
It’s not right, it’s not fair.
I remember the first time that Dirk brought me to meet Cecilworth and Hank. It was quite the scene. Cecilworth was posing for an oil painting, wearing a small Captain’s hat and biting an apple, while Hank was splashing around in the paddling pool. I looked at the chaos in front of my eyes, then looked back to Dirk. He didn’t say anything, his eyes just wandered over to the EPW Tag Team Championship title belts sitting atop the mantle behind Cecilworth. He didn’t need to say anything.
That was his way of telling me that he felt like he’d nailed it.
I get there’s probably people wondering why ole wrestling grandpa is rambling on about the old times again. I’ve been that person multiple times in my own life. I miss the small details because I’m waiting for someone to spell out the point for me. It’s that instant gratification mindset that can really corrupt.
I’ve started realising that the man I entrusted the Glue name in PRIME to is a man who chases a constant need for immediate gratification. Cecilworth can’t slowly piece together a takedown from the inside, he’s got too much bombast and bravado for such matters. The Glue Factory was about small steps, gentle destruction, a velvet glove hand slowly pulling apart the place brick by brick until the whole thing would collapse upon itself. A KFC Employee and a hat owner managed to stop that strategy though. They brought the whole thing to a screeching halt.
I had faith though, I had faith that if Cecilworth’s excesses were tempered, he could be the leader that the Glue name needed. The Glue vision, our manifesto, our vision, our wrestling the way we wanted it. Cecilworth embodies so many of those qualities, he has the mouth to spread the word.
He’s just so impulsive.
So why did I have faith? I had faith because I knew that even if I was not in PRIME, the Glue that holds us all together would be there.
Dirk would be there.
Coral, I may not be the enemy that you hoped for, but I think we can both be proud of what we achieved this cycle. We made that 5 Star Title of yours the hottest property in PRIME. People are waiting eagerly to see our clash in the ring. We showcased our talents to the point we were honoured with the main event spot of Night 1.
It’s been a long time since you’ve had this spotlight, yet, when I entered your life, when I became a motivating factor, when a match with me was a dangling carrot, you went on a run. You’ve become a monster. You’ve become the Coral of old. That match with Sage was brutal, when you stepped in the ring with STRONK, you knew what you were dealing with and you still fought with power and dignity. No one is making references about a fruits-based mask, that is not you anymore.
They are talking about Coral Avalon, 5 Star Champion, Crownless King of PRIME.
I hope you appreciate what I’ve done for you. I’m a very generous opponent. I want the people in the ring across from me to look their very best. It makes the conquest all the more meaningful.
I may not have hit all the metrics that I had hoped. I am not the cackling supervillain I’d hoped I’d be ahead of our Tropical Turmoil clash, I still have something, though.
I’m still a fucking top tier wrestling talent, Coral.
That should actually strike a bit of fear into your heart, I would hope. You know, Coral, because you’re a smart guy, that all minds have capacity, that you have a limited amount of headspace in life. Now that I no longer have to concern myself with silly Machivelian plans, where I come out with Joe and Sid and cackle and punt your wife in the belly… okay that one was too far even for me… but you get the point. I don’t have to worry about pulling off schemes.
I just have to worry about beating you in the ring.
That’s not easy, not by a long shot. I got good aim.
I owe it to you to let you know that in California, you’re getting all of me.
The lawn of Farthington Manor was once more returfed after another one of the master of the land’s teeny tiny anxiety moments. No matter how many times the hedge maze is reduced to ashes, the next day, there’s a team there ready to rebuild. Some say that if they don’t take action immediately, a Minotaur can enter our realm. We may never know though, the Farthington Maze Hedge Squadron is an efficient operation.
Thankfully for the poor growing maze, the night in which we find ourselves in Farthington Manor is a particularly dripping one. Rain smashes the ground, while the ground sucks it up like the thirty little bitch it is.
In the Manor study, droplets slam like bullets against a stained glass window behind the large oak desk. The set up seems quite familiar, with one small addition. While Phil Atken once again sits atop the table, and Farthington sits to his side, there is one extra guest. Dirk Dickwood sits across from Farthington.
“This wasn’t the progress I was promised, Cecilworth. You said, if I give you the Glue name, you would lay the foundation for my return. You said you would put together a team so strong, we could control the company. You told me that you had my eye for talent. You promised me that TAB would not be a Mike-like wildcard and yet…”
Up until this point, Cecilworth hadn’t reacted to a single word of the dressing down he was in the middle of receiving. Instead, his head was hung low, avoiding eye contact with the Glaswegian currently spitting in his face, mid-frothy rage. At the mention of TAB though, he lifts his head and tries to interject “…I can fix this…”
Cecilworth is cut off almost instantly by Atken. “YOU CAN FIX FUCK ALL”. I am trying to fix the mess you have already made, I don’t need you adding any more shit to the basket. Do you understand, Cecilworth?”
All Cecilworth can manage is a dutiful head nod in response.
“Dirk is an actual fixer, as in he fixes things, he doesn’t take things that were working perfectly fine and smash them to smithereens LIKE SOME PEOPLE. He is why this ground exists. He is the Glue. From now on, you run ALL decisions by him. You respect him enough to do that, don’t you son?”
Another shaky head nod, as we spot a little pool of water around Cecilworth’s eyes. Rage? Fear? Contempt? Hard to say. Cecilworth stands up to leave the room, wiping his face as he does so, just before he opens the door, Phil interjects with an “Oh, Cecilworth!” that causes him to stop and turn to the former Universal Champion, pivoting around on his heel.
“What happened to you beating Brandon Youngblood, just like I did?”
Cecilworth bites his bottom lip, his left leg vibrating as he tries to find the right words in response to Atken. He runs through a whole rolodex of possible excuses and justifications of why the tag team match turned out the way it did, he wants to cry conspiracy, he wants to feel like he was wronged but he knows the reality. He knows that he made it happen. He poked all the big bears of PRIME, he challenged them to get involved in the match, he basically dared them to do the exact thing they did.
Cecilworth knew one more thing. His chance to prove that he was on Phil Atken’s level, that he was a worthy inheritor of the Glue name… it had been pissed away, to “Birthday Hat Boy” levels of pissery. A tag team victory over the Universal Champion… no one questions you after that. So, when Phil offered his parting words, Cecilworth was already expecting them.
“You don’t have to say anything Cecilworth, I can see it in your eyes. Just know this, my friend, Tropical Turmoil is your last chance to prove yourself worthy of the trust me and Dirk have given you. I hope you don’t make this a sticky situation for all of us…”
Cecilworth’s left side of his face curls up in a half smile for the briefest of seconds before he turns and leaves the study, slamming the door shut behind him. This leaves Dirk Dickwood and Atken alone in the study.
“Dirk, I know that you’ve got this, but… I want a bit more insurance…”Dickwood has a small chuckle and takes a drag from his cigar, “what you got in mind?”
Phil Atken rolls out from underneath the oak desk, clearly confined to a wheelchair, so very much like one of the Masters of the Muleverse or whatever they are this week. Which one is it? Kenny Speckman? Something like that. Phil’s in a wheelchair too is the point. Probably from that time Jiles and Bathory murdered him.
Dirk takes a look as Atken wheels over to him “No, Phil, remember, you shouldn’t be anywhere near a ring…”
Atken hushes his long-time compatriot.
“Dirk, I’m coming.” There’s a steely gaze from Atken that makes it clear he means what he says, Dirk puts on very little resistance, he’s seen the look too many times in the past.
“Tropical Turmoil will decide the fate of glue and I will be watching in the shadows, ready to make my decision.”