"What a difference a year makes."
(FADEIN: A fireplace with wood crackling, the lights dimmed. The camera pans backward, past an oak rocking chair, with Cameron Cruise facing away from the camera, dressed in blue jeans and a black long-sleeved shirt.)
CRUISE: 2013 was a strange year for this business. I've competed in dozens of matches, some I've been enamored as a favorite, some as I've usually been accustomed to; the underdog, as I've always been in my career and that's fine. I've had near-misses and some I've come out on top.
And coming back to the CSWA, it started off with a match I thought I'd never see:
Windham versus Cruise.
The thing is, it wasn't Timmy, I'd beaten him years ago.
And it wasn't Troy, though I'd be lying if I told you that I wouldn't relish in an opportunity to knock him down a peg or two more than what Dan Ryan had brought him to, just based on his and my history the past few years, but that's beside the point.
It was you, Mark, against me.
The 'Crippler' versus 'The Lost Soul'.
However, for you it was another match, another match on top of the hundreds that you've competed in, maybe to just keep in shape, to get the 'rust off', as they say.
Me? I've faced off against the likes of Troy, Hornet, Mike Randalls even, and proved my mettle. But I hadn't stood against you. Against you, I was facing off against a Legend in this business, one of the few that can actually walk room of any building and make people look twice.
And I beat you.
In fact, not only did I beat you and become victorious, but I made you HURT, which for me, albeit it might seem miniscule for some, was a small win in and of itself.
Old man or not, the Legend of Mark Windham speaks volumes in this business, and to be able to do that what I did, means that I'm ready for the next level in this business.
The fact is that anyone who knows me, knows that I'm my own harshest critic, no matter how much success I attain in this business or even in this life, I'm always looking to improve upon it.
I'm always looking to do BETTER.
The CSWA gave me my start in this business, and it holds tradition like no other.
Names like Tom Adler, Shane Southern, Steve Radder and GUNS, those men were pinnicles in making this company the standard of what excellence is in this business.
Why come back, you ask? Good question, Mark.
I'm closing in on almost twenty years in this business, and you longer and you're right, with every year, there's always someone new, someone younger who wants to prove something. Whether it's his mettle or his ego or the simple fact that he wants to show off for his friends for the betterment of a evening story by the pool...it never ends.
(Cruise slowly gets up out of the chair and faces the camera.)
You don’t think for a second, that your name sells anymore, and that's fine. Most men in this business barely last ten years before calling it quits, and here we are years longer than that...your name signed onto my contract for Primetime.
You're not the man you once was and you have nothing to else to hide.
Bravo Mark, bravo, but you see the difference between us is that I NEVER hid anything and I'm still looking to step into the role in which I wanted to be when I first started all those years ago.
The same role that every man who competes in that very ring every night wants, and I know you know what I mean.
You no longer pine to be the hero and instead stay satisfied to be a 'mean asshole', and that's okay with me Mark, because I'm used to it by now, the attitude projection, I mean.
I know how to deal with those type of people, in fact, you're not the only one I'm going to have to stand tall against is due to arrive here in less in a week.
In case you haven't figured it out, I call him 'Dad'.
I don't want any apologies from you, Mark, no remorse.
People have threatened to end my career for years, now, so pardon me if I'm alittle tardy in shaking my knees.
They say 'It's better to give than to receive', and believe me Mark, if I've learned anything from my time teaming with Joey Melton...the holidays are a special time, if you know what I mean.
You wish to join the dead?
Fair enough, Mark, I'll bury you right there in that ring.
Merry Christmas, Mark.
Last time, I raised your hand in a show of good sportsmanship and faith.
(Cruise sits back down, facing away from the camera but still audible.)
...there will be no goodwill toward you.
And THAT...is a REALITY CHECK that you just...won't like.