“What the FUCK happened?!”
January 27, 2023 – ReVival 21
Lindsay Troy’s Office, Amalie Arena
Sonny Silver looks around the room. Nova lays sprawled across the only couch. Dr. Astrid Fihlguud hovers over him, her hands delicately moving over his face.
“That’s a good question, Sonny,” Lindsay Troy replies, shifting forward from her resting position against the large cherrywood desk behind her. “Where were you? Isn’t ‘Being with Nova’ kind of the only thing you have to do?”
“Hey, girl,” Silver raises a hand, “Nova wanted to talk with you alone, I left him to it. Free country. Obviously I didn’t know the Louisiana Looney Tune was gonna mash his face into the wall.”
“He really needs to go to the hospital,” Dr. Fihlguud chimes in, “we have multiple facial fractures, and obviously I’m not equipped here to do anything except let you know what level of care he needs.”
Troy runs a hand through her curls. “Whaddaya say, Caes?”
Nova waves a hand dismissively.
“Could we…just have a few minutes, please?” Troy says with a strained smile. “Thanks, Astrid. I promise I’ll take him myself later.”
Dr. Fihlguud nods and stands up to leave.
“Hey,” Silver offers, “ready to turn this into a Good News Day? I found your tooth, buddy!”
He holds up a tooth. Behind him, Dametreyus grunts.
“Alright,” Silver rolls his eyes, “Dam found your tooth, but I found Dam.”
Dam grunts again.
“Alright,” Silver shrugs, “I didn’t find Dam, but I did walk in with him.”
Sonny looks back for another objection, finding none. Nova raises a gloved hand to his face, feeling around his jaw.
“It was one of the back ones,” Silver goes on, “soooo, not really an aesthetic issue.”
“Does Wade know about this yet?” Troy asks.
Troy walks over to the couch and lifts Nova’s legs, taking a seat before draping them across her lap.
“If that’s the case,” she says, “Paxton Ray should probably be grateful that he’s surrounded by barbed wire right now.”
There’s silence in the room as the sounds of the crowd “oooh”-ing and “aaahhh”-ing echo from the arena throughout the building.
Sunday, January 29, 2023
Embassy Suites by Hilton
Downtown Tampa Convention Center
Nova sits in a lounge chair, fully clad in his wrestling gear but also cloaked in a white terry cloth bathrobe. His face is heavily bandaged with a structural support across his eyes and nose.
Sonny Silver can be seen setting down a suitcase inside the hotel suite, then slides open the balcony door and steps out.
Nova lights a cigarette. “I thought everyone was gonna be okay.”
Silver nods and grimaces.
“It felt like we turned a corner,” Nova goes on, “but everything is still so…fucked.”
Silver scratches his scalp behind where his now-silver wingtips fade.”Yeeeeaaahh, that’s what I always loved about you, Nov. You’re an optimist, despite everything.”
He shrugs. “Me? I assume the worst in everyone. And then that pisses me off.”
A broad grin spreads over the face of the Former Chairperson of PRIME.
“And then I start fucking everything up.”
Nova responds with a knowing nod and takes a drag. “I remember him saying something to me.”
“Who’s that?” Silver asks, arching an eyebrow.
“Paxton Ray,” Nova responds, “I remember…”
Ray grabs a handful of Nova’s hair and presses his forehead against Nova’s own, the Risen Star’s blood smearing across the Bayou Butcher’s face.
“But what good is burnin’ down the temple, if ya don’t destroy the idols first?”
Nova takes another drag. “What do you think he meant by that?”
Silver shrugs. “I think he has a learning disability. But that’s just me. I hear some shit I can’t easily explain these days, I go to undiagnosed autism.”
Nova shakes his head. “Regardless, clearly shit is not okay. This fuckin’ guy on the warpath, and me in his crosshairs for some reason…we’re gonna have to put our exit on hold, bro.”
“Duuuuude,” Silver moans, “c’mon, man. Is your face all fucked up? Yes. Is PRIME still subject to the whims of a kinda-murderous back-alley brawler who is probably gonna put at least two more externs in the hospital before Arbor Day? Yes.”
Silver pauses and exhales.
“But we could bounce, Nov. Call it a day on all this and go have some fun.”
He flashes the same grin that has delighted and horrified fans for decades.
“You’re free, and I’m available. What say we call it one on PRIME 2.0 and beat feet, bud?”
Nova runs a hand alongside the bandages that cover his face.
“No,” he says after a moment, “not now. Now we bait this fucking guy and see what he does next.”
Silver’s shoulders slump.
“Figured as much,” he says, “I already sorted out flights and hotel for Orlando. You can take up that conversation with Troy later.”
Nova and Silver turn their heads to see the “Queen of the Ring” standing in the living room of the hotel suite, hands on her hips.
Silver holds up his hands and steps out of the frame. Troy steps out onto the balcony.
“Everyone’s getting packed up to go,” she says before looking back, “seems like y’all may still have some work to do?”
In the background, Sonny snorts, taking all of the umbrage.
“I’ve been thinking about it,” Troy says, “Pax is still technically on a probation period pending full reinstatement with PRIME. I could probably just deal with this administratively and it’d be over, Caes.”
Nova closes his eyes, the words ringing in his head again.
“What good is burnin’ down the temple, if ya don’t destroy the idols first?”
He shakes his head. “I’m in this motherfucker’s sights, for some reason.”
Nova turns to Troy. “And that’s fine. Don’t do anything. Let him come to me if he’s got something he needs sorted.”
Troy is silent as Nova thinks for a moment, then nods his head. “As a matter of fact, I want to be booked. Put me on for ReV 22 if there’s a spot open.”
Troy cocks her head. “You want to be booked?”
Nova meets her gaze and nods.
“You need to recover,” Troy responds.
“I need to recover?” Nova turns in his chair. “But Jared Sykes can defend the tag titles the night after Ray tries to murder him? And I don’t get on?”
Troy backs up, her face turning to stone as she points a finger at the Risen Star.
“Oh, you want to question my judgment now?” she spits before gesturing to Nova’s leg. “I don’t see an ankle bracelet down there, did you pull that one off all by yourself?”
Nova holds out a hand. “Alright, alright, I didn’t mean it like that. But I want on, Lindz. Trust me on this.”
The PRIME CEO’s gaze softens and she steps forward, placing a hand on Nova’s shoulder.
“We can revisit it once we’re settled in Orlando, okay?”
The Risen Star stares out over the Florida coastline before nodding his head.
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Grand Bohemian Hotel – Nova and Sonny’s Suite
Nova adds thin slices of lime to the rims of two gin & tonics before carrying them delicately out onto the balcony of the hotel suite where Sonny Silver is already enjoying the view of Lake Eola.
Sonny takes his drink in hand. “Fuck the ocean. I think these little lakes are charming.”
“I don’t disagree with you,” Nova says as he takes a seat in one of the lounge chairs, “I think…”
Suddenly there’s a knock at the door of the suite. Nova and Sonny look at each other before Sonny motions for Nova to stay seated and stands up. Nova watches him leave and he returns moments later with a box in his hands.
“You got a delivery,” he says, handing the package to Nova.
Nova stares down at the nondescript brown cardboard box for a moment before tearing off the packaging tape and opening it.
He lifts a note.
If you want on, you’re on. You and FLAMBERGE, ReV 22. But let’s do our best to be safe. Deal?
Nova roots through the wrapping paper, lifting out of the package a molded face mask printed with same deep blue night sky, stars, and lightning bolts that cover his wrestling tights.
A short time later…
Nova still holds the mask in his hands, periodically turning it over and around, examining it.
“I think we have a lot in common, FLAMBERGE.”
He sets the mask on the table next to him and lights a cigarette.
“I know what you were feeling when you stood across from the Anglo Luchador and briefly lost the plot there last show.”
Nova takes a drag.
“I know what it means to feel like you don’t belong.”
He shrugs. “I’m sure that sounds like bullshit. I enjoy a sense of celebrity around here, I recognize that. I get a pass that other people continue to claw and scrape for because of what I did a long time ago.”
Sonny Silver makes his way out onto the balcony and hands Nova a new G&T. The Risen Star takes a sip and sets the drink next to his mask.
“But I felt like I didn’t belong when I showed up here in 2004, at the advice of a friend who didn’t bother sticking around. No one cared where I came from, what I accomplished, what I went through…I was just a rat, fleeing a series of sinking ships, paddling desperately towards PRIME like a lot of other people were because it was stable, and it continued to issue paychecks for our particular skill-set of inflicting violence on each other.”
Nova snuffs out his cigarette and takes a sip from his drink.
“It didn’t feel right when I lashed out at everyone, either,” he shrugs.
“I felt like I didn’t belong when I was brought back last year, either. So much pageantry, and I get it, the company needed someone to hang their hats on, Brandon’s head was heavy enough for the crown and mine wasn’t.”
Nova takes another drag and smiles. “Until it was.”
“I feel you, man. I do. We both are looking for something that feels like it’s right out of reach, but at the same time, here we are. And you know what?”
Nova nods into the camera.
“We belong here. Both of us. So let’s go out there and show it.”
The Risen Star snuffs out his cigarette.
“See you where we do that.”