(CUTTO: An Aggression backdrop pinned against a wall somewhere in a building which is insignificant compared what we’re actually here for.)
(Standing before the camera’s gaze is a man whose short, back and sides hair cut is unstyled and unkempt. He wears a Larry Tact “Starbreaker” t-shirt which has had the sleeves crudely cut off. He wears a pair of blue jeans and work boots. Around his neck, however, is a neck brace. He places his own head in his hands and jerks it to the left as if to get the crinks out of it. Then his hands swap places and he does the same thing again.)
(From out of the camera’s sight a hand comes into shot holding a microphone and the man takes it. Taps it twice before raising it to his lips.)
MAN: “Hello, EPW. More importantly... hello, Larry Tact. I trust ya doin’ well. Sittin’ at home. Wit’ ya NEW-ly won EPW Television Championship sittin’ on ya mantle piece. Casually glancin’ at it, just to make sure it’s still there. Sittin’ there wit’ all ya memories. Spannin’ a wrestlin’ career dat’s spanned over...
“God – how many years HAS it been, Larry? You’ve written your names into da history books of more feds than I’ve had hot dinners.
“You’ve written a legacy all of ya own.”
(He puts his free hand on his hip and whistles an impressed whistle.)
MAN: “Wow. To think I’ve signed a contract wit’ Empire Pro and da first cab off da rank is YOU, Larry.
“Hello, EPW. My name is Teddy Alexander and I’m Philly born and bred. Born into da HEART of professional wrestlin’. A city dat is da pulse of dis great sport. A city dat has birthed more stars than a supernova. Where more blood has been spilt in wrestlin’ rings than anywhere else on dis planet. A place dat is a wrestlin’ legacy.”
(He nods his head slowly, smiling proudly at the camera.)
TEDDY ALEXANDER: “Oh yes, EPW. Yes. You’ve forged ya own legacy, too. I mean, how many other promotions have had greats like Triple X and Lindsay Troy and JA. Not many other people can reel off talent like dat. I mean, in his own right, Larry Tact has a legacy of his own to talk about.
“I make my debut in Empire Pro against a five-time World Heavyweight Champion. A two-time TAG team Champion. And dat’s not to disrespect da other seven Championship belts he’s held... EXCLUDIN’ EPW’s own Television title.
“And by da way, Larry... by da way, congratulations on winnin’ ya first singles Championship here in EPW. It’s been a long time comin’. Long time comin’. But I’m gonna have to agree Dean Matthews... it couldn’t have happened to a more deservin’ guy.
“Ya might think I’m bein’ an asshole here, Larry, but I mean it from da bottom of my heart. You deserved to beat Rich Mahogany, Larry. You deserved to beat him. When ya rolled him up wit’ dat inside cradle I literally popped out of my seat. Right up off da armchair. Right up outta it.”
(He stood their applauding awkwardly while he held the microphone before raising it back to his lips.)
TEDDY ALEXANDER: “It doesn’t mean, Larry... it doesn’t mean dat because I respect you as a competitor... because I respect ya legacy... dat when we collide at Aggression 66 I’m gonna lie down flat on my back and let ya have ya way wit’ me. It doesn’t mean I take dis **** lyin’ down. It doesn’t mean dat wit’ all da weight of dat Championship experience, all da years of ring knowledge you gots, dat I’m gonna curl up and die just so I can be another name on a long list of assholes dat’ve been beaten by you, Larry.”
(shaking his head) “Oh no, Larry Tact. What happens when we go face-to-face inside of dat Empire Pro ring is I forge my OWN legacy. I forge my OWN name in da history books. I take a stand and I prove to you and da rest of EPW there’s a war machine rollin’ inta town, Larry, and it’s not takin’ any prisoners.
“While I can walk into dat ring, respectin’ everythin’ you’ve ever done... ever accomplished... I know it means s[censored]t when we face off. Those memories ya got...” (points off to a point into the space/time continuum) “...can’t do nothin’ to me inside dat ring. Yeah. You can bring all dat experience and make a greenhorn like me learn from my mistakes. Maybe. But all them belts... all dat glory... all those years aren’t gonna be standin’ ringside when it’s just you and me in there, Larry.
“I can sit at home and watch days of footage spannin’ across your wrestlin’ career. Weeks maybe. S[censored]t, I could lockdown for a fortnight and watch back-to-back Larry Tact matches. I’ve seen everythin’ you’ve done in da ring. All those high highs. All those low lows.” (Teddy smirked at his unknowing mimic of his opponent) “ Watched you layout guys wit’ da Starbreaker. Watched guys tap out to da Tactful Surrender. I seen all’f dat. I’ve studied and I’ve studied HARD, Larry. I’ve made sure I know everythin’ there is to know about you between those ropes. Understand what makes ya tick when you hit da canvas.
“And what do you know about me? Jack. Nada. Zip. Ya don’t know nothin’ and ya won’t know nothin’ until you see my LIVE in da flesh. You can give Alvin Prosser a call back home in Philly and scout me. He’ll tell ya everythin’ you’ll wanna know. In fact, I’ll GIVE YOU... Alvin’s red hot tips right now, Larry.
“Alvin Prosser will say: stay da Hell away from him. Those will be his words. Stay da HELL away from him coz he’ll break ya God damned neck. That’s what Alvin will tell you. That’s what da guys I trained wit’ will tell you. That’s what da word on da STREET... will tell you, Larry. I will BREAK your God damned neck.”
(He snatches the neck brace from around his neck and holds it out to the camera.)
TEDDY ALEXANDER: “I don’t wear dis thing coz I got neck problems, Larry. I don’t wear dis thing coz somebody somewhere down da line broke my neck. I wear dis thing, Larry... I wear dis thing as a courtesy to you. I wear dis neck brace because when it’s all said and done there’ll be a real God damned kink in ya neck and you can take this home wit’ ya. When they wheel you out da back you’ll hear da EMT’s mutterin’ things like possible C1 and Can ya feel ya legs? Which means you spend da rest’f ya days s[censored]ttin’ int'a bag stapled to your gut and drinkin’ steaks through a straw.
“Yeah, Larry... I respect everythin’ you’ve done in that ring. I respect all da titles and all da Championship belts that you’ve won over AAALLLLLL these years but when we get inside that ring... when we go head-to-head in front’f AAAALLLLL them fans I want you to respect somethin’.
“I want you to respect that I’m forgin’ my OWN Damned legacy in that ring. And I’m gonna bring it. And every other time I’m gonna bring it. And it don’t matter if your belt is on da line, da World title is on da line or I’m jerkin’ a f[censored]ken curtain...
“I’m gonna bring it.
“You don’t know s[censored]t about me. You don’t know s[censored]t but I guarantee ya that after Aggression you’ll know me. You’ll remember me.” (points off into the space as if he were fingering at every EPW fan) “All of EPWs fans will remember me.
(A view from the Top Of The Rock, in the heart of midtown Manhattan, New York. The deep blue of the clear night sky acts as a cloak above, but the moonlight shines down and illuminates-- along with the city lights-- to give us a clear view of the skyline uptown. A lush landscape of green stands out immediately, with bushy treetops and a lake at the far end, as Central Park is surrounded by the buildings and roads of New York City. Far off to the left, we spot a bridge connecting the island borough with another. Zooming out, we see Larry Tact staring out at the sprawling scene, back turned to us. He is dressed in stonewashed blue Alfani jeans; a black Ralph Lauren polo shirt and boots; his golden blonde hair tied back.)
LARRY TACT: "At Black Dawn 2008, I arrived onto the EPW scene. I said I was here to make a new mark in wrestling-- start somewhere fresh, where I could further extend my legacy, and show yet another audience that Larry Tact was the wrestler that others should aspire to beat. I said the category of wrestler doesn't matter; I don't discriminate; I don't respect. Plain and simple..."
"And I did win. Tag Champions were set down. Former World Champions were set down. I earned a shot at the Intercontinental Champion by beating the title holder."
"But I didn't follow through with an Intercontinental title win, back then."
(He turns around, a small grin actually on display.)
"For the most part, I've been successful in EPW. However, I find it hasn't been the wins that have truly taken measure of me. Obviously, everyone needs to win, needs the successes, at some point. And they come deservedly when you wrestle in EPW. But the defeats, the setbacks, and everything that comes along with them... those can reveal some very raw and real aspects."
"I lost to Troy Douglas, for the Intercontinental Championship, back in 2008. I didn't like it, but I didn't go home. I took the next match, and every one since then. I pushed to reach that next step in this promotion: becoming a Champion. I won tag titles, and kept on pushing."
(He reaches over and brings into view the EPW Television Championship.)
"And now, almost four years later, I have that singles title. But it isn't the way I had thought it would be. Also, I'm not stopping by any stretch."
(The title is slung over his shoulder, but the grin has leveled out to a more somber expression.)
"Because over the course of my time here, I've needed to develop more than I thought. Which is why it's really fitting that Teddy Alexander is my first opponent as an EPW Champion."
(He clasps his hands together.)
"Teddy, it seems you already had a chunk of my history on hand. I don't think you're being offensive; I just couldn't tell if you were impressed by my accolades, or excited at the opportunity to knock off someone with those accolades in your EPW debut. Either way, that's for you to sort out."
"Here's something you may not know about me: in my debut TV match on this circuit, I faced a guy named "SuperStar" Ruger. The name probably doesn't mean anything to almost anyone, now, but the fact is he was a pretty accomplished wrestler-- a former World Heavyweight Champion, in fact. I was viewed as the underdog, of course. But being in one of the big-time promotions of the era, I wasn't going to be punked out by some guy who talked about how great he was; what he projected would be another World Championship reign in his future; and generally wrote me off as a piece of trash nothing. I was determined not to let him disrespect me, and keep me from where I wanted to go. And after what seemed like an eternity of preparation finally shrank to nothing, and bell time arrived, I went in and won the match."
"Everyone wants to experience that high, that rush of winning your television debut."
"And now, like I said, I find myself coming full circle. Once again, I'm involved in a debut match, with a former World Champion..."
"Except I'm the former Champion facing the hungry rookie, who's done his homework, gunning for me."
(He hooks his thumbs in his pockets, and shrugs.)
"Teddy, I'll tell you something else... if this was 2008, and I had defeated Troy Douglas to become EPW Intercontinental Champion, and then you debuted against me? This could be a completely different match. Your chances of duplicating what I did to Ruger? Probably better. Because I may have been more like Ruger-- arrogant, disrespectful, talking about my future as EPW World Champion."
"Instead, I have walked a path of four years as a contender for singles gold in the Empire. I have yet to show everyone that I am the outright best pure wrestler this promotion has to offer. The truth is, after Russian Roulette... I acknowledged someone here who straight-up outwrestled me. I found someone I could respect."
"Point being, things rarely go how you plan them out, especially in wrestling. I never thought it would take me four years just to stake my claim as one of the three best in the Empire. But it did, and maybe even, I'm better off for it."
"Now here's where the truth may sting. Since I've already had my wake-up call here, I'm making sure not to end up as another Ruger. My immediate concerns have nothing to do with the First, or the EPW World Heavyweight Championship. I'm concerned with establishing this Television Championship as a valuable and viable icon of EPW. That means I represent it, whether it's on the line or not, with every match I wrestle. It begins with Aggression 66, and you, Teddy."
(He glances back at the view from the Top Of The Rock, and points at it, momentarily, before turning back..)
"There's a lot to see in this city, you know? People visiting will generally take in the best and brightest. But if you want the best experience, you'll sacrifice a little of the trendiest sites in order to find some gems that the locals enjoy. Then you end up with an even better scope and understanding of what this city has to offer."
"I came to EPW with my sights set on only the best and the brightest. But there's a reason why Dave, Dean, and the fans really got behind me when I finally claimed one of those spots, last Aggression. It isn't because I was the biggest fan favorite all this time; that's for sure. I've gotten my hands dirty. But I did what I've done for my entire career, and that's earn it."
"All those titles you listed off, Teddy, all the accolades? As you were talking, it dawned on me that I really haven't paid much attention to them, recently. Because while you get the idea that I'm a great wrestler, and you watch my tapes to see what I do in the ring... you won't ever know who I am from all that. I used to think like you, too. I studied all the tape I could find; went to the gym to spar against similar-styled opposition; and became an encyclopedia on my opponents. But I found out just as much, or more, about them one I faced them in the ring."
"People tend to assume too much when they do what the majority of people do to prepare. There are too many things that just don't translate. And there's a reason why the best generally don't talk about tape; cut promos in gyms; and go through their opponent's résumé."
"Whether you're ready or not, though, Teddy... Aggression 66, I show EPW how you stack up with the best of us. That happens, regardless of anything. Just don't get bent when you find out this sh**'s not so easy as doing your best to prepare, and showing up with every contingency plotted out. I can tell you from experience, winning isn't the only way of making an impression. I'm not trying to bullsh** you, either-- just check the early list of 2012 Match of the Year prospects."
"But hey, it's your time to shine, Teddy. You drew the EPW Television Champion. You have a chance to make a huge splash in your debut."
"Just... don't f**k it up."
(He shrugs and walks out of view. The shot zooms back in on the view from the Top Of The Rock. )
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