The odds are ever in my favour...I designed them that way.
Take a good look into my eyes. Soak in Kev. Look at me you self-proclaimed "Emperor of Hardcore", and by the way the late nineties called and would kindly like their nickname back.
Henry Dylan is looking well dressed in a smart but likely modestly priced grey suit with brown leather patches on the elbows. Classic look. He sits behind an oak wooden desk with an assortment of stationary neatly sorted into colour-coordinated mugs and containers. The camera slowly zooms in on Henry Dylan’s fierce, quietly intimidating dark brown eyes. He is stone-faced, his usual mechanical grin noticeable only by its absence. His tone is sombre and not easy to judge.
Do these eyes look for even one second like those of a man who is easily worried? Can you sense any lingering doubt of lack of self-confidence? Kindly allow me to answer for you – No, they do not and no you most certainly do not.
I’m facing the single biggest match of my infant career against a man who is well known in this circle of the industry, but yet I can honestly place my hand over my heart and declare that I am completely and unequivocally sure of my victory. I don't have ten million ridiculous nicknames but what I do have is a carefully formulated strategy that guarantees victory. I didn't do a lazy quick search and find one match of yours to scout, I looked into your history and I can see directly into the very depths of your very soul Kev. You're a weak man dwelling on the opinions of one or two experts that predicted an outcome that wasn't in your favour, oblivious to the fact that most people still actually think you will advance. I guess you really can't see the wood for the trees. You're a forty one year old man who still talks like and wishes he were in his twenties. You rambled through an interview with Rudy Seitzer like a broken record without actually saying anything of note. Your best days are behind you, and I'm the man standing in front of you readily armed with a lethal injection, willing to insert and able to put you out of your misery. I am the present for a man stuck living in the past, and make no mistake - I will euthanise your wrestling career and do so with a friendly smile on my face. Like this one:
Dylan flashes his finest smile to the camera, looking like the twisted love child of Chuck Norris and The Joker with his beard and widespread grin. The smile then vanishes as quickly as it appeared as Dylan cocked his head to his left.
It can be difficult, nigh on impossible to judge a man who has been away from the ring for so long. Even for a keen eyed observer and student of the game such as myself. As soon as the draw was made I did my research and in a matter of hours knew just about all there was to know about the glorious career of one “Good God” Kevin Powers. I looked up each of your title victories, the date you won them, how you won them and eventually lost them. I did my due diligence and looked deeply into your strengths and weaknesses. I even checked up on your facebook fan page, and thank you so much for accepting my friend request. I knew that using a fake account and setting my profile picture to a lingerie model would do the trick. You can safely say that I did my homework, which brings me to you.
I couldn’t help but laugh when I went online and saw your poor excuse for a promotional video hyping yourself. I saw an aging man desperately trying to talk a big game. Trying and failing to convince the world that he can still go, that he still has the it factor to succeed in a wrestling ring. I saw a hopeless man trying to Google my name at the last moment in an attempt to scout my arsenal. Did it ever occur strange to you that for all your apparent research you could find no more than one single match I have competed in? That’s not chance my dear friend, that right there only formulates one part of my advantage. You’re exactly the same as the countless youths who tried to get their homework assignments written up the night, even the hour before they were due in. You’re no different to the multiple kids cramming in some last minute revision that is never likely to cut the mustard when it comes time for the crucial examination.
You’re pathetic Kev.
I must thank you however for creating your own shortened version of my name as I did yours. As I previously stated, it really does make me feel better being on good jovial terms with an upcoming opponent. I suppose I could be considered somewhat unique in that regard. Dyl or Dylly, whichever you decide to stick with once you’ve made up your mind it’s all fine by me. Some kids at school when I was growing up used to call me Hen, but I must admit I never really took to it. It’s strange but infinitely fascinating how I can implant a passing suggestion inside your little mind and you find yourself powerless to oblige it, however mocking your tone may be. You should see Kev that I am cool, calm, collected and very much in control of our pleasant exchange whether you choose to willingly accept that or not. It’s kind of cute in a way. I sat and watched you fumble your way through your promo reaching for something – anything – that you could use against me. Some vague accusation about me touching children in inappropriate places is hardly enough to pass water these days. I was a teacher and a fairly good one in my own humble opinion – not a priest.
The shot finally pans back out to a complete body shot again as Dylan reaches into his top pocket and pulls out a small wooden pipe, checking inside for just the right amount of tobacco. He calmly sets it alight before puffing slowly and rhythmically, rewarding himself with the perfect aroma and a cool smoke. He glances back towards the camera and continues speaking.
That brings me to the saddest point of all, a timeless but telling tale of a man failing to move with the times. You’re long past your sell by date Kev. All of my research could not tell me exactly what you had left in the tank today, for that key information I had to wait patiently for you to reluctantly show your face. You tried biding your time in hope that I might not show up, and I’m sure it was no mere coincidence that you appeared almost immediately after my own opening promo went live, as though you’re a gambler concealing a poor hand. I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of disappointment when I saw the great “Double G KP” sitting in front of a computer at a cheap looking café and drinking coffee like a layman. Like an average Joe nobody. Dare I say it? I think I will. Like a has-been.
Your jokes are dusty and fragile antiques and your trash talk is cringe worthy. Your very tone and delivery creaks like a door in need of a good oil. I haven’t heard too many men in their forties crying out “Eww gross” in an over the top manner, it only takes me back to my days teaching classes full of sweet innocent schoolgirls. Good God Kev – you’re irrelevant.
You’re not the first man to fall victim to such a fate and you certainly will not be the last. At least you can look back on a decent run before the wrestling world mercilessly caught up and breezed right past you. I can only assume I am the first to draw your attention to this harsh but true realisation. Whilst you’ve been busy selling cheap coffee to make a living the wrestling business has evolved and moved on to fresh and exciting new places.
Long gone are the days when cheap accusations are good enough to be considered impressive trash talk. The times when RAISING YOUR VOICE at seemingly RANDOM INTERVALS to highlight KEY POINTS have gone the way of the dodo I’m afraid, and sadly your once glittering career is about to follow suit. Truth be told I haven’t heard a competitor speak like you since my Great Granddads eighteenth birthday party…and yes that was my attempt at humour. Clearly I would have been unable to attend my Great Granddads eighteenth, though I would imagine it was a cracker. Perhaps humour is not my strong point, but it sure as hell isn’t yours either.
Seems to me that right now in 2012 your strength is in running a string of cafés, and in all fairness there is no shame in that whatsoever. Everybody needs to make a living somehow, and it is now crystal clear to me and the entire wrestling world that you’re no longer any more than a six foot ten inch coffee salesman. I will take pleasure in being the man to bring that ton of bricks down on you when we meet in the ring. Don’t fight against the inevitable Kev, do the right thing and make the correct decision. Swallow your pride and accept defeat before returning to what your life has become.
Make. The. Right. Choice.
Evolution occurs whether we like it or not, and it can be a strict mistress. Sometimes you have to keep moving forward or father time ticks away and you become no more than a forgotten footnote of the business in which you once made your name.
Dylan pauses for a moment to ponder, looking up to the heavens above and gently placing his pipe down on the desk in front of him.
You can look back on your time and know you’ve achieved many things Kev, but I’m the messenger that’s here to tell you how winning the Ultratitle simply won’t be one of them. I know you’ve won a load of title belts in days gone by, I even said so much last time I addressed you but I can understand your need to repeat a few damn near forgotten accomplishments on your resume. I know you have a never-ending list of nicknames, each one dumber and more of a stretch than the last. But the fact is that this match isn’t taking place in your glory days because they are long gone and never coming back. You’ll just have to deal with that, and I know it’s hard. Right now I don’t think there’s a soul alive who pities you more than I do – but my pity doesn’t grant you a win. SHOUTING LIKE THIS at irregular INTERVALS DOESN'T buy a win. Questioning or attempting to insult any of the few experts that dared to predict against you marching to victory doesn’t score you a three count. Referencing Eli Flair, Teri Melton or Lindsay Troy out of sheer transparent desperation doesn’t legitimise your modern day self or give the people watching a reason to mark out and it certainly does not hand you a victory. Cheap and unimaginative insults or schoolgirl like noises don’t equal “win”.
Enjoy your coffee Kev. I sincerely and from the bottom of my heart wish you nothing but the very best of luck in that venture. Now that I’ve seen you I can finally be convinced of my own superiority, and that is one ***** of a relief. After all I’m just Henry and nothing more, but you…you’re no longer relevant to the wrestling industry. Period.
So dust off your old boots and get ready for one final match. Hear the roar of a live crowd one last time before taking your crushing defeat like a man and walking out of there with your head held high. Defeating you is my choice, and it will be my distinct pleasure to do so.
[FADE TO BLACK]
LATER THAT DAY...
“So what have you go there son?”
Henry Dylan stands tall over a teenage boy in a large supermarket. The child is around the age of sixteen and dressed in baggy denim jeans and an even baggier black hoody, gazing up at the mysterious man addressing him. Henry reaches out in a flash and takes a firm grasp of the boys wrist, startling the youngster.
“Yo what the ****? You can’t touch this man!”
“Calm down there MC Hammer. No need to get all worked up and agitated,” Henry started and flashed a friendly grin “…I just couldn’t help but notice you place that DVD down your hooded top back there and it got me thinking – is that really what you want to do here?”
“What the...?” The boys shock was evident both visually and audibly in his adolescent tones.
“Tell me son,” Henry’s voice reduced almost to a whisper “…what is your name?”
“What da' **** does it matter to you man? I don't even know you or nothing.” The teenage boy stood firm and unafraid as Dylan looked down at him square in the eyeballs.
"Okay I get it. You don't know me and see no reason to give me your name, but allow me to ask you this one question - how are you going to get past the security buzzers without setting off the alarm?"
"You stupid yo?" the boy scoffed. "All it takes is removing the metallic sticker and you're golden. Now leave me the hell alone."
"Oh really?" Henry opened up his free hand to show the thin plastic covered metal sticker the boy had already removed from the DVD. "You mean like this one?" The child's baby blue eyes widened at the sight before him. He motioned as if to speak but Henry cut him off before he could begin. "I may have seen you dump this little beauty over in the frozen food aisle just now. I might well be aware that this isn’t your first time stealing...is it Jesse?”
“Dude how d…”
“I know a lot about you son.” The trademark menace shone through in Henry’s raspy voice. “I know you’ve already made some choices that are destined to lead you down a slippery path. So ask yourself – is this really the life you want?” Dylan extended his arm and took a firm grasp of Jesse’s lower back as if pulling him closer, more than enough to startle the delinquent who raised his own voice and battled free of the unwanted attention.
“Get the **** away from me man or I’m gonna mess you up yo.” The child was brave and tough for his age but Henry could sense his fear. Almost taste it on his tongue. He liked it.
“Very well Jesse, sounds to me as though you’ve made up your mind…now you be on your way then.” Henry took a step back and smiled before turning around and heading off in the opposite direction. Jesse turned and checked his surroundings before putting his head down and heading for the exit. As he made it there he was sure not to glance up at the well-built guard standing and minding the security barriers.
Without any hesitation he stepped through them when suddenly and much to his surprise...the alarm went off, beeping and wailing loudly. The last sound he wanted to hear at that moment.
He panicked. Jesse instinctively ran and before the guard could move he had already built up a hefty lead. He kept on running until he ran out of breath, too frightened to turn around for fear that a guard or cop was right behind him. Eventually he turned down a blind alley and stopped to regain both his breath and his composure. He swore and wondered how had that happened. After all he had removed the tag and so the alarm going off should have been impossible.
That’s when he felt a sticky security tag stuck firmly in place...on his lower back.
Somewhere Henry Dylan was still smiling. Just as he was certain he would be after he took care of Kevin Powers and advanced to round two.
The coveted Ultratitle was well and truly locked in his sights.