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Sep 11, 1997
Katy, TX
"Pain may be inevitable, but misery is optional"


A hallway....

Upon it are several old portraits....

To those who take care to inspect closely, they are obviously photos of the man that the wrestling world knows as 'The Ego Buster'......

A younger face appears in these shots....a more carefree face....yet not without trace of worry even then....

Still, a smile is present....the type of smile that the wrestling world never sees......

Not a smirk....

An actual smile....

On one heavily muscled shoulder, held up for the photographer to see is the reason....a young girl.....

Obviously she favors her father, yet a hint of her mother's Asian ancestry is clear....

Happier times.....

Before scandal took hold.....

Before the business.....

Before many decisions that would forever render that smile unique, forever lost in a past unable to be recaptured......

The video shot pulls back.....

DAN RYAN staring at the photograph, no expression on his face.....that well known smirk still not present.....

Ryan: "It's interesting, isn't it?"

"For all of the ways that every one of us who live this sport come into our demons, it usually is tracable back to the same basic issues."

"Has that thought ever struck you, Shane?"

"Have you ever sat back and thought of the perils of this sport? How many of us simply fade into oblivion....sad shells of our former selves?"

"How often do we achieve great professional success only to go home to a bottle....or a pill? How often do we return to empty homes and ghosts of former lives and find ourselves full of regret?"

"How common is it?"

"More common than any of us would believe going in...."

"I entered this business out of a pure love for the sport. I wrestled as an amateur from the time I was old enough to join a wrestling team until I graduated from high school. I would have continued to the college ranks had my family situation not so drastically changed."

"My parents moved to Japan....and I was happy to go with them. The pure art of wrestling is highly respected in that country, and though I was not one of them I fit in rather well."

"My parents disapproved naturally."

"But when you have a burning desire to eat, sleep and breathe everything about the art form....every hold....every joint lock that renders your opponent unable to do anything but tap....not to mention....when you're 6'8" and almost 280 as a high school senior....."


"Well...it was damn near impossible to steer me into just about anything else."

"Those days were the days where a career in professional wrestling seemed like a dream. My family was comfortable...not rich, but they wanted for nothing."

"But I insisted on making it by my own merit and by my own hand."

"I was poor. But the poorest person is not the one without a nickel, it's the one without a dream."

"Does that overly romanticize things for you, Shane?"

"Do I sound like a cliche'?"

"Maybe it's because we all go through the same struggles. Me in Japan....you in New Orleans perhaps....."

"But no matter where it lies....where it is born....it pushes us forward to the same choices."

"As success comes, everything else in your life takes a back seat."

"Show me the man who has avoided the pratfalls of this business without temptation or regret, and I'll show you the one true man in this business who deserves to be applauded."

"It can't be done."

"But sacrifice must always be made. Blessing can not come without sacrifice. If you've succeeded without sacrifice, it is because someone else has already made the sacrifice for you."

"But all too often, it is we who make the choice...we who sacrifice a life we would later wish to embrace...at an irreversable cost."

"My cost was a life as a father....a life as a son."

"The sacrifice made was my purpose as a father who showed a daughter the attention she deserved."

"The love was always there, Shane. The pain and bitterness, unfortunately was allowed to overwhelm it."

"When do we see what we've lost, Shane?"

"When do we truly understand the price of our choices?"

"I was a miserable human being prior to January 13th, 2003."

"I was successful. I was strong. I was a multiple time World Champion even then."

"But inside I was weak."

"What could have been crippling was turned into the one thing that made me stronger than I ever conceived I could be."

"I have no business being here today, Shane. I have no business being alive."

"Mark Windham once told me....that no matter what I do from here until my last breath...I will still always be a failed father...a failed son."

"Maybe so.....it's true that some things can never be changed."

"But maybe some things can. Maybe sometimes, those things which seek to destroy a man actually make him infinitely stronger."

"And I am stronger, Shane. I'm stronger as a man, stronger in the knowledge of who I am as that man....stronger in my profession."

"If it's truly clicked for you, Shane......all the better."

"But what loss have you truly suffered for your craft, Shane?"

"I'm sure that you wonder.....who is this guy to tell me I haven't suffered for what I do? What right does he have?"

"I only speak the same thoughts you take with you to bed every night."

"You come into this battle feeling reborn....as a phoenix taking flight into bold new frontiers.....not out of the flame....but into it."

"Sometimes the fire does more than refine, Shane."

"Sometimes the fire melts you down into the basic elements in all of us, exposing our inner faults for the world to see. Are you prepared for that?"

"A broken marriage....are you sure that there isn't something more?"

"What of the pressures of living up to expectations and not yet achieving that level of success?"

"What of the ever present search for what and who you really are?"

"What of the all too real possibility that this new relationship that gives you something new to live for....may end the same as the last?"

"Humble is something I will never be, Shane. I am what I am, and as I believe myself to be the best in the world....I expect to face this challenge head on as I have all the rest....and I expect to come out the other side victorious."

"Remember....they said I couldn't do this either."

"But it is those people who have never done anything who insist that something can not be done."

"There must be a vision of something bigger than today."

"The party isn't over yet, Shane."

"It's only just beginning."



League Member
Jan 1, 2000
(Life is not painful, it's my resistance to life that causes me the pain. )

{{...FADE-IN: Shane Southern is sitting in the middle of a park. Children are playing on the various playground equipment while other adults run behind them or sit and read, or any one of numerous other activities. Southern is talking to somebody off camera ...}}

SOUTHERN: " FIVE more minutes OK baby? You gotta' get home ta' momma ba'fore dark. "

VOICE off Camera " Awww daddy ... come on, ten more minutes?? "

SOUTHERN: (smiling) " Five. ... but maybe we can stop for ice cream or sumthin' on tha' way. "

VOICE off Camera " AWWW RIGHT! "

SOUTHERN: (laughs...then focuses on the camera) " Ya' know Dan ... all this talk ah'bout pain ... sufferin' ... n' what not , it's kinda depressin', don't ya' think? I mean ... this match ... shouldn't be ah'bout that. Yeah, we all got our demons, n' I'm not one ta' say mine's worse than anybody else's. This is tha' life I chose, n' I can't really say that my revelation and realization last week made it any easier ta' do what I do each n' every week. It's hard. But that girl out there ... loves me unconditionally, n' once I ALLOWED mah'self ta' feel that love, n' tha' love of others, I've been ah' happy man. N' now ... somehow ... all tha' pain becomes bearable. "

" Yeah, sounds sappy huh? I mean, we're professional WRESTLERS, not soap opera stars. But hey, you wanted me ta' go out n' find out WHO Shane Southern is ... well I think I may have seen a little bit of that person tha' last few weeks, n' as time goes on, I find out more and more ah'bout myself every day. "

" Now who's ta' say that newfound love, that happiness won't leave me ta'morrah. Who's ta' say that I don't sink right back down inta' that black hole I was in ah' few weeks ago. It could happen ... but now, I know how ta' climb out of it. Now I know that if I want to ... TRULY want to ... I can do just ah'bout anythin'. "

" Like win tha' CSWA World title. "

" Ya' know Dan ... just 'cause I've found ah' part uv' mah'self I didn't know was there, just 'cause I'm ah' happy guy ah'gain ... don't mean I've decided ta' trade mah' steel chair in for ah' hand-shake. I'm still ah' cynical guy. I'm STILL lookin' over mah' shoulder for tha' next sneak attack ... n' in some cases tryin' ta' prevent tha' ones I can see comin'. Just 'cause Shane Southern gained ah' little perspective, don't mean I won't hook yer tights ta' win tha' CSWA World title...."

" Cause I'm gonna' do ... what I gotta' do, ta' win that belt. "

" Win or loose Dan, I'm not gonna' come out of this match sayin' I didn't do EVERYTHING in mah' power ta' win. That may make me ah' bad person, it may make me ah pretty poor role-model ... but that's who Shane Southern IS. "

" And I just gotta' be me . " (smiles)

" I trust I'll get tha' same outta you Dan. I want that title just ah'bout more than I've wanted ANY material thing in mah' life ... but if I can't get it, if yer hand is tha' one raised when tha' final bell rings, then I want it ta' be said that Shane Southern VS Dan Ryan broke tha' mold when it comes ta' CSWA World Title matches. I want this one ta' be talked ah'bout in tha' same breath as Guns-Randalls, Hornet-Love, and all tha' other ones you can buy on CSWA home video. "

" I want somethin' special ta' happen in that ring at Anniversary, n' Dan ... I think yer just ah'bout tha' ONLY guy I know of that can give that ta' me. Yer desire, yer will, yer talent...rival tha' best I've ever seen. I know how good you are ... I know how good I am ... so I know how good WE can be. "

" It's gonna' be a HELLUVA ride at Anniversary Dan ... and yer right, tha' party IS just beginnin' ... in fact, I'm so pumped fer this match, that I'm gonna' do something I only do once in ah' blue moon...I'm gonna' end this promo without sayin' my "catchphrase". 'Cause ya' see Dan ... a catchphrase is NOT who I am. "

" You'll find that out firsthand at Anniversary. "

(Southern winks, then stands and looks off camera)

" Come on' hunny ... time ta' go. "

{{...FADE OUT...}}


Sep 11, 1997
Katy, TX
"At the fork in the road, will a man choose simply survival ...or excellence?"


ARCO ARENA - Sacramento, California

Before us are a host of empty seats. The lights are out, save for a small section here and there left illuminated for security measures.

DAN RYAN sits alone among them, and as the camera pans to the side his face becomes plain. Ryan looks up and around, reflecting....

Ryan: "Is there anything significant about this place to you, Shane?"

"There most likely isn't."

"However, to me it represents the starting point. It represents the first step......the same first step that you're trying to take now."

"I exorcised some demons right here in this arena, just two weeks more than two years ago today."

"It was here that I stepped back into reality after learning the hardest lesson of my life."

"It was here that I made my return to the ring after an almost complete internal shutdown."

"And it was here that I took that step, Shane. It was here that I regained my GXW Unified World Title and began a journey to becoming the man I am today."

"And make no mistake, Shane. Whether or not you want to believe that you now know how to climb back out of whatever pit you may fall into, the trick is not knowing how to get back up. The trick is growing into a man who doesn't fall back into that pit once again."

"Like I said before, I'm two years further along the line in that process than you are. It's a long road."

"And here now I wonder if you realize there's a road at all."

"You suggest you may fall again tomorrow."

"There can't be a possibility of that tomorrow if you truly want to survive in this business, Shane."

"The temptations and pratfalls will never go away. NEVER."

"You can't allow yourself to be made victim to this business. You have to make it work for you. You must decide.....what is most important to me? The pursuit of golden belts and the lining of promoters' pockets at the expense of your soul?"

"Would that make everything new again?"

"Or would the cycle simply begin again? A fresh soul to eat up and spit out one more time."

"But that's okay. You know how to climb back out again."

"You accept your pain. I deal with mine, but I will never accept it. I will forever find ways to remove it....to rise above it....to honor who I truly am as best as I can."

"Honor is a tricky word, isn't it?"

"To most it means a sense of fair play."

"I don't know anything about fair play, Shane. All I know is being true to myself and being what I was always meant to be."

"I will take my place among the greatest this sport has ever seen with or without you....with or without 'fair play'."

"This new concept you've discovered is as old to me as any fairy tale spoken since the beginning of time."

"I may do a lot more than hook your tights before we're done, Shane. If you're looking for sneak attacks, you should be sure to give a look my way as well. If I see you walking into the arena and I don't notice you paying attention, you'll be taken out before any bell gets a chance to ring."

"Doing 'whatever it takes' isn't pulling tights in the ring. Doing 'whatever it takes' means exactly what it says....."

"You're pumped up.....that's good.....that's real good....."

"I hope you're prepared for the sort of reality check that Mark Windham was forced to wake up to....I hope you're ready for the sort of epiphany that this entire company has been forced to acknowledge."

"Do what you will, Shane. Use your new tactics, it doesn't matter. Play fair if you like......I won't."

"Whatever you do, I promise you this: I will come back."

"No matter what you throw at me, I'll come right back."

"It's more than just knowing who you are."

"Whether or not we are bad people is irrelevant.....and our purpose is not to be a role model. I couldn't care less if I sell any t-shirts."

"I was meant to be the best there is."

"And that's who I am."

"I choose to do more than survive.....more than just take the right first step."

"Let's see what you do...."


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