“Maybe Sammy will wear dat neck brace one day...”
[FADE IN: on the Spinal Smash Monger, TEDDY ALEXANDER, wearing a SAM TURNER JUNIOR-esque John Deere t-shirt with the sleeves crudely cut off. He’s sitting in a field somewhere in Harlan County, presumably on the Turner’s farm, with a crop blowing in a stiff wind, dancing as it laps across the field. He looks off into the distance, not directly into the camera.]
“It’s true. Sometimes my temper REALLY gets da better of me. Sometimes I put too much pressure on those around me. See, for me, dis is everythin’. I’ve set my goals and I stick to them. I’ve got a glass ceilin’ all of my own to smash through and unfortunately... sometimes people get in my way.
“People I hate.
“People I like.
“People I’ve found myself in allegiance to.
“Sometimes they just... get in da way. And I think we’ve all grown accustomed to how I deal
with people dat get in my way. Just take a look at da aptly named Oblivion. He stood in my way, round one of dis tournament, and found his lifeless carcass bein’ dragged over da top of da cage to seal my victory.
“Then Dan Ryan, by an act of da Empire Pro World Champion, my mentor, da First... pushed me together with Sam Turner Junior and we haven’t looked back since.”
[Rummages around beside him in the field to produce a previously unseen item: one half of the Empire Pro World Tag Team Championships. He rests it over his shoulder.]
“Haven’t – looked – back.
“And da only direction from here is to look forward. Will Sammy wear dat neck brace one day? I hope not. I like Sammy. I really do. He’s a sweet guy. There’s not many people in dis industry who are true and wholesome but I would dare anyone to defy me when I say dat Sam Turner Junior is.
“I hope Sammy doesn’t wear da neck brace one day but it’s fair to say dat perhaps one day it could happen. And when it does, while I’ve got any sense of sensibility, I tell you now, Sammy, dat I’m sorry
for if and when dat day comes. Well, it’s probably more when
. But I can tell you now... I’m sorry for dat day.
“Because me, Teddy Alexander, sittin’ here right now in your hometown of Harlan, I gotta say dat I like you, man. I feel a brotherhood with you. Your family are great and they’ve taken me in like their own son. And you don’t know how much dat means to me. But dis...”
[Pats the tag team belt on his shoulder.]
“Dis means MUCH, much more to me. My success. Gold. My OWN legacy. It all means dat much more to me than friendship. See, all my life I’ve looked out for number one because nobody else saw it in their hearts to do it. I did EVERYTHIN’ for me because I knew dat I would die starvin’ if I didn’t.
“And it’s a sorry way to live, some might say. They might say it’s difficult to find love in your heart when you’ve lived a life as far away from it as possible. Some might say it’s no
way to live.
“Dat doesn’t mean when I join forces with you, Sammy, dat I’m not committed. It doesn’t mean dat I don’t have Sammy’s back because you’ve seen... you’ve ALL seen... dat when we step inside dat ring together we’re an unstoppable force and we’ll stop at nothin’ – NOTHIN’ – to take da next step.
“And when we take dat next step you’ll see dat we’re not only just da Empire Pro Tag Team Champions of da World.”
[Waggles a finger at the camera.]
“Oh no. We’ll be da God damn Kings of da Cage.”
[TEDDY rises to his feet, adjusting the belt on his shoulder as he does.]
“People sit up there on their pedestals. They expect us to bow to them, Sammy. Triple X calls himself da King of da Empire. He calls us his disciples. But when he stands across da other side of da ring, starin’ us dead in da eye, expectin’ to see our knees knockin’ and da fear risin’ up through us da King’s gonna be starin’ across at a revolution he never knew existed.
“Da day I take da knee to someone like Triple X Sean Stevens is da day you can shut da lid on my casket.
“You think you standin’ inside a cage frightens me, Trip? Dat your threats of throwin’ down and breakin’ my nose frighten me? Trip – you want a fight you’ll get a fight. You wanna throw down... man, I’ll throw down. You wanna take all of dat ring experience and step inside da cage on MY terms then dat’s just fine with me, old man. You’re wrinkled, old ego doesn’t stand a fightin’ chance against six feet and two bucks eighty of beast mode standin’ on da other side of da cage. Doesn’t – stand – a chance!
(thumb to chest on each point)
“I am – legit – fuckin’ – beast mode.
“Legit. You’ve seen it. Dirk Dickwood can attest to it. He’s seen it firsthand. Sammy’s stood alongside of it. But you just DON’T seem to get it... so dat means I just have to make my point a little louder and a little clearer to you when your kingdom comes crashin’ down around your ankles in New Orleans, Louisiana.”
[TEDDY adjusts the belt on his shoulder. The smirk on his face is slowly twisting into a sadistic grin.]
“Puff up your peacock feathers, Trip, and KEEP tellin’ yourself dat my threats of breakin’ your neck... of breakin’ ‘Pulse’s neck... are all just idle chit chat to make me look bigger and stronger. But you can’t tell me for one second dat there’s not dat stray thought flickerin’ through Impulse’s skull where dat threat lingers just a LITTLE... too long.” (snicker)
“You can tell me my words just bounce off you like you’re rubber ‘til your blue in da face, Trip, but I know for a fact dat there’s just dis little glimmer of understandin’ in Impulse’s mind dat what I’m sayin’ is real and he’ll spend ANOTHER twelve months on da shelf.
“Believe dat.” (points sternly down the camera’s barrel)
“DAT’S a fact.
“And I don’t need any imagination to paint da picture me and Sammy are gonna paint in Louisiana. All we need is RED. And lots of it. And fortunately we can paint da canvas with da supplies Triple X and Impulse bring. I might use Farthin’ton as my God damn brush.” (shrug)
“I’m no artist... but by da time my masterpiece is done you’ll get da picture clear enough. You’ll understand da subtext.
“And da message will be clear as day. We didn’t need ANY luck to get where we are. We did it by sheer determination and more power in a tag team than da Empire has ever seen before. Luck isn’t catchin’ a flyin’ Otaku and deliverin’ da biggest Ragekill Driver dis industry has ever seen.
“You make your own luck, Impulse. And your shit out of it. You’ll be lucky
if you walk out of dat cage. You’ll be luckier
if you ever step inside dat ring again.”
“I like how yourself and Trip both think dis is SOOO academic. I like how you both think dat after you tear each other limb-from-limb, battlin’ Cameron Cruise, softenin’ yourselves up for your own massacre at da hands of da First, dat you’ll be able to take care of Sammy and I... take care of DEE-DEE-PEE... take care of business SOOOO easily in da Aggression Main Event.
“It’s mindless self-indulgence to believe dat, Impulse. You’ve said so yourself. I’ve set da tone. And da tone dat we’re all listenin’ to is sheer carnage.
“It’s bloody terror.” (tone intensifying)
“It’s warfare.” (words like venom)
“And me and Sammy are ready for war. If you think we’re not gonna do whatever it takes to hold down our first Championship titles in dis industry against da likes of you and DEE-DEE-PEE you’ve got rocks in your head and I’ll be happy to crack your skull open and pull them out for you.
“I pray dat you wrestle like legends. I can only hope dat you turn up with everythin’ you’ve got. Because I don’t want anybody takin’ anythin’ away from me and Sammy for da bloody victory dat we’ll have come da final bell toll in Louisiana.”
[Enter. Stage left... er... field left. Another man. Another Champion. THE FIRST wearing the EPW World Title over his shoulder, his face painted in the “Eye of Horus” motif, black dress shirt and pants, his hair dyed all sorts of colors with a majority of green in the bangs.]
“I’ve heard some men talking bad about me. Saying how they’ll take my title, how they’ll expose me for a fraud...Big talk...Let’s see how you go about backing it up...You see the thing here is you boys have stretched yourselves mighty thin...You get to fight each other and Cruise...Listening to the two of you dogpile on that stupid bastard...It reminded me of Impulse demanding I put the belt up in what would have been a three on one...Now the man and his buddy who’s putting him up in the nice plane and the nice house think they have a handicap match...
“But you two have to go to war and it will happen in that ring, and when it does I’m going to enjoy it seeing you two self righteous pricks tearing each other down just for the honor of losing to me at Unleashed...Warms my heart...But the fun thing is that after that match happens...Even if one of you does manage to win...Well then your dreams of winning King of the Cage...Are finished...You two even on the top of your games couldn’t beat this monster standing beside me and Sam Turner Jr. and let me assure you that while Cameron Cruise might be a stupid man, he might be a man who is easy to trick and was just a useful fool to get me my third title reign...The man still hits like a truck...And I know the pride you two have...And when you two are done tearing each other apart and then you have to suck it up and get in that cage...That’s just blood in the water for this Great White to hunt after”
[FIRST turns and looks at TEDDY.
“Did you know Impulse already broke his neck once? Did you know every time he gets in that ring he is just one move away from not just his career being ended, but his ability to walk being taken from him? I’d think Impulse would be concerned about that when he knows you like dropping men on their heads, you like trying to break people’s necks just for sport...And when it comes to a man with a neck weaker than balsa wood. I think he’d be really concerned about that. But men talk big and don’t think about their actions...I wonder what Impulse will think when they put that neck brace on him, when he can’t feel his legs...What will be going through his mind? How quickly Rose will leave him to start screwing the other boys in the back or the new bartender they just hired...How quickly his career will be forgotten about in the history of this sport, maybe he’ll be wheeled out to ringside for moral support for Stevens when he loses to me at Unleashed...Teddy will break Impulse’s body and I’ll break Triple X’s will...Seems fair to me...
“Unless of course the weight of this cage match is too great for you and you crack and let Cruise win that three way...Even with the two of you clearly working to destroy him before you have to face off, even with that match hopelessly rigged in your favor, I can see the worry, the FEAR of having your careers ended by this beast might put you into gag mode like Peyton Manning in the playoffs. And if so...I can think of nothing more shameful than losing a glorified handicap match to Cameron Friggin Cruise.
[FIRST smiles at TEDDY and steps back to let the Spinal Smash Monger have the stage again.]
“Hey First... Lucky for Impulse...”
[Bends down and picks up a neck brace, wrapping it around his own neck. Scrawled across the front in Sharpie reads: “IMPULSE”.]
“Here’s one I prepared earlier. Because I’m dat kinda guy. I’m a team player. Much to da contrary to one Mr. Dirk Dickwood.
“Hi, Dirk. I don’t want to disappoint you. I know how much you’ve already been disappointed in your life already. What with your son ridin’ da short bus for most of his years. And dat’s da story of your life, too, Dirk. Comin’ up short.”
[TEDDY chuckles to his joke on DICKWOOD’s stature, looking over at FIRST for his reaction who adds a laugh of his own.]
“Always comin’ up short. And Louisiana isn’t goin’ to change any of dat. I know you don’t think much of me as a team player. I know you’re waitin’ for dat time bomb to go off. We can ALL hear da tickin’ from here, Dirk.
can hear da tickin’.
“It’s loud. There’s an explosion waitin’ to happen. There’s a big, bad explosion goin’ to happen one day and JUST AS LONG AS Sammy stays on da same page as me we can keep dat tickin’ goin’ for just another day. Maybe another week. Another month.
“But keepin’ these belts around our waists is goin’ to help delay da inevitable. Winnin’ da King of da Cage tournament is goin’ to push it back further. NOT steppin’ on my toes keeps him safe and sound which I cannot say for Hank and Farthin’ton.”
[Shakes his head. Waggles his finger.]
“Because for your boys, Dirk... for your boys da explosion happens in Louisiana. For Dirk Dickwood Presents dat bomb goes off in da Main Event at Aggression Seventy-Two when Sam Turner Junior and I RETAIN our Championships and win da King of da Cage.
“You’re not bein’ overlooked, Dirk -- though I’m sure you’re probably quite used to dat, too -- I’m just not worried about your Lucky Losers. See, you’ve admitted you don’t need to be da best wrestler to win. Dat you have to be da smartest. Dat your mind is da weapon of choice headin’ inside’f dat cage. A weapon dat, when sharp, is da most vicious weapon this industry could ever see.
“Da only problem with dat, Dirk, is dat for you to use those smarts inside dat ring...” (points to his own temple)
“...you need to be awake. You need to be movin’. You need to be on your feet, soldier... not knocked da fuck out from an Angerbash dat kicked da silver spoon right out of Cecil’s mouth.
“Don’t fool yourself, Dirk. You know what I’m capable of. You know what I can do. And when I’m teamed with Sam Turner Junior there’s only one word to be said about da power dat will be unleashed upon your men.
“You KNOW it’s goin’ to happen. You KNOW it’s goin’ to hurt. And you know I don’t give a good God damn about leavin’ your boys in traction for da rest of their natural lives JUST to keep my steam train rollin’.
“Dirk. Cecil and Hank. Trip. Pulse. When all of this fuckin’ comes to climax in Louisiana, in da main event, for da EPW Tag Team Championships of da World...” (thrusts his belt into the air)
“...for da KING of da CAGE it’s gonna be one big, bloody war dat leaves Sam Turner Junior and me standin’ atop a pile of bodies.
“And there will be bodies. There’ll be plenty of bodies.”
(Snatches the neck brace from his neck and steps toward the camera viciously. In the background, THE FIRST adjusts his own belt on his own shoulder and grins knowingly in the background.)
“Let da bodies hit da floor.”
[FADE to BLACK!]
***appearance by the First was written by Mike Stanton