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Gold Rush RP2: "A Wrestler’s Horror - The Barren Trophy Case"

Tobias Stevens

League Member
Jul 29, 2006
Gold Rush RP2: "A Wrestler’s Horror - The Barren Trophy Case"

A Wrestler’s Horror - The Barren Trophy Case

Place: Phoenix, Arizona
Time: 11:07PM
Date: Unknown

[The image this time is one of recognition, the living room of Tobias Stevens -- a nobody in the sport of professional wrestling looking to become the next champion of CSWA. The room is basically the same as it was the previous time we happened upon it. The chipped white walls and the wooden flooring with the two-cushion white leather sofa as the centerpiece of what is in view. The difference between the first encounter with this enigmatic mid-westerner comes in the addition of a glass case to the right of the screen, in the corner of the room where previously there had been nothing but white walls. The case is empty but its significance in the following dialogue cannot be understated.]

[As seconds tick away the sound of footsteps out of view of the camera can be heard and as the steps become louder and closer one has to assume we are about to be graced by the presence of wrestling’s latest victim of gold fever. The view shudders slightly as the camera recording this is adjusted by a hand not yet seen. The view settles again and immediately a figure steps into view, walking around the simple wooden coffee table and turning to take a seat on the white couch.]

[He is Tobias Stevens, of St. Paul, Minnesota. He is young and a carbon copy in the ring of what his mentor and trainer Jason Hughes may have appeared to be…some decade ago, long before Old School arose. Stevens is dressed casually, the likelihood of him being able to afford the clothes that make a World Champion is miniscule to say the least. The likelihood of him being able to repaint his home may yet take another dozen matches in which his blood stains the canvas of some high school gymnasium – the site of his matches for little known and lesser cared for Axis Wrestling, his current home promotion here in Phoenix.]

[As he sits he stares quietly, his right hand making the same finger tapping motion across his right knee over and over again in succession.]

[Pinky, ring finger, middle finger, fore finger, all up, pinky, ring finger, middle finger, fore finger, up again.]

[Like a wave across the ocean it moves slowly and simply with his eyes always trained on the camera – all wrestlers know that to be truly a great star in this industry you must always capture the attention of the viewers. Your great champions know this…the charisma factor. Troy Windham has it. Jason Hughes had it. All the greats in CSWA have it to an extent. This is why a wrestler of any size can be champion so long as they can keep the viewers glued to their seats and continuous in their ticket purchasing – regardless of if they cheer or the boo the specific body on which the championship resides.]

[Stevens is his own man but like any student of this business he takes with him a part of each person who has affected him along the way. A memoriam if you will. In Axis he is often humble and quiet, easily raged and inexperienced in the ways of the squared circle. But in front of the camera you can see it in his eyes. That flash that shows the hint of ‘Old School’ Jason Hughes. The style of wrestling and more than that…the ability to speak is in this man from St. Paul as it was in the man who taught him, a man who now sits somewhere in South Carolina; retired with his wife, son and the second child expected soon.]

[The new generation has found its way without the elder holding his hand along the way. All that remains is for this man, Tobias Stevens, to find the lines of gold and metallic accolades that adorned his mentor’s career.]

“What do you think of my trophy case?” Stevens says, his voice breaking the silence of the moment as his eyes seem to move deeper into the lens until they can all but pierce the viewer…as though he were in the same room as you, inches from you and no longer simply speaking through this video tape.

“I bought it this afternoon. I know it may be a little presumptuous of me to buy this before having any trophy or championship to put in it…but I figure, you should always be prepared. Boy Scout motto and all that. Besides, I figure its only a matter of time before this nobody who sits before you can hold a championship straight out of the most prestigious promotion on the planet. I mean, after all you’ve got Troy Windham out communicating with the various other talents in this event and their bland bickering back and forth with each other…but nobody wants to chit-chat with me. That makes me sad…” He pauses long enough to pout, quietly frowning and pointing to the frown on his face for a moment before it is gone as quickly as it came and he continues. “See…sad.”

A moment passes and a smile crosses his face.

“Come on Troy, off your high horse with the belt and the women and the other hall-of-fame talents at your level. Come down and talk to this nobody who soooooo wants to get to know you. I mean, and pardon me if I wasn’t told of what kind of language is acceptable for this self-promotion but…you’re the ****ing man. You hold what every other wrestler craves. You are the CSWA UNIFIED…why do I have to shout that…World Champion! There may not be anything beyond that….certainly no other championship can quote such a lineage of great stars to have held it. But again, that’s why all of us are here…why not try and claim the top spot? Why crawl before we walk…why not sprint first across that ring and sucker punch the great Troy Windham before he even realizes it. Knock him from the precious pedestal that he sits atop and take what makes him truly great. Take that World Title from him.” The finger tapping subsides as he stretches his fingers outward and they crack slowly, first the right hand and then the left. He turns slightly to his left, his hand touching the glass case as he continues to speak.

“I think your belt would look nice…right about here Troy. What do you think? Frankly I cannot wait until I have a championship to place here. After all, it’s every wrestler’s greatest horror to have the love for the sport, the talent in the ring and even the ****ing glass case…but to be without a single championship to place inside. The barren trophy case…it’s just a meaningless box until the glint of gold can be seen. This may come as a shock to you Troy, is it ok if I address you as that? I just feel that ‘oh holy wondrous, Mr. World Champion’ is a bit…well, it makes you sound a little corny. Anyway…this may come as a shock but this is my first Championship Match and I must say…those butterflies that people speak, wow…I’m feeling them. Right here in my gut.” He pauses and sets his hand upon his stomach to reiterate the origin of the nervous butterflies. He sits back, for the first time since introducing himself he is no longer rigidly upright and completely attentive. He is lounging across the right cushion of the sofa, in almost an Al Pacino pose from the movie Scarface…yes, the scene with the cocaine.

“I mean….you’re talking about over forty people across five rings, though honestly Troy I don’t see how having that belt makes you good enough to have one ring all to yourself. I mean, come on…earn your keep Champ. But forty stars from around the world and from all periods in CSWA history are coming to this singular event with the hope being that one of them can take that belt away from you. One in forty isn’t exactly great odds. So yeah, I’m nervous, ok…downright petrified. I mean I spent months with Jason Hughes and he had this huge trophy case with World Championships, Tag Championships, Hall-of-Fame plaques, tournament trophies, Wrestler of the Year Awards, cups, statues, plates and all the rest. Belts of gold, bronze, silver and metal…glistening with the slightest shine of light. That type of achievement makes a nobody like me feel kind of small. But Jason reminded me that every great competitor, be it him or even you Troy…started with an empty trophy case. That barren feel may be so far gone that you don’t even remember the pangs but I feel it Troy…the pain, the sickness of knowing that my talent is beyond that of someone deserved of an empty glass box.”

“I want to be recognized. I want the world of wrestling to direct their attention towards me as I and all the rest of my Gold Rush compatriots focus on you Troy. I’m a better wrestler than you. I’m a better communicator than you. But you have the belt…and the belt makes the wearer better than anybody. You are going into this event with a shield…a shield of five rings and a belt that says “I’m the best”. But that only protects you for so long Troy. Eventually the belt will be high above the ring and all that differentiates one wrestler from another will be the talent we have. I learned from the best Troy that there are two ways to break a champion…with words and with action. My words today and tomorrow will dip into your psyche and maybe somewhere deep inside you’ll begin to doubt if 40 to 1 are simply odds to great for even you to outlast. Then, on the day of the event, with enough luck and all of my skill I may just meet you on the field of battle and then….then my fists will dip into your blood and just before you are tossed aside and I take my place with your belt I promise to smile for you Troy. A smile of a nobody about to become a somebody. A smile of a king on his coronation day. A smile…of the new CSWA World Champion.”

A knowing smile comes over the face of Tobias Stevens and as he sits up, just before he stands, the smallest wink goes from him to the camera.

“Ignore me now Champ…deal with me later.”

Stevens calmly stands and again walks the path across his living room, out of view and the screen moves a bit…zooming in on the barren trophy case that is perhaps about to be filled.


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