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Round 2: "Formerly High Flying" Jack Harmen vs. "The Aftermath" John McDonough


The Godfather
Staff member
Mar 17, 1988
Round 2: "Formerly High Flying" Jack Harmen vs. "The Aftermath" John McDonough

Roleplay runs from Tuesday, May 15 to Tuesday, May 22. 2 RP minimum this round. SHOW UP! :)

The Minstrel

League Member
Mar 6, 2012
The Paths We Take...

[Backstage, at the First Round of Bracket Four of the ULTRATITLE Tournament, the scene is the locker room. The walls are white and row of lockers sits against the far wall. A pair of benches sits in the middle of the room. Between these two benches stands a man dressed in a black long-sleeve shirt and black pants. He wears a ski-mask over his face with holes cut out for the eyes, where two black holes stare straight ahead.]

[His breathing is heavy based on the movement of his chest and the slight convulsing of his body. Otherwise, however, he is steadfast in his direction and stance.]

The calm before the storm – what a fitting analogy to make.

The storm is brewing and the rain is starting to come, the wind is starting to rustle the trees and those dark grey clouds are overcoming what was so clear at one time.

And this is just the beginning…

[The lights go out in the room. Darkness takes over the screen.]

Congratulations. You have taken your first step, but the climb gets more treacherous with each level you reach.

The obstacles get tougher, the stakes become higher. Soon, son, you will not be able to make out the ground beneath your feet.

If you get that far. If you can make it that far… If you are ALLOWED to make it that far…

[Suddenly, a loud roar in the background almost shatters the audio - guttural and static in nature – and is followed by the sound of several...]




But it is one step at a time, one foot in front of the other. Just make sure you know where you are going, where you are heading.

Oh, the places you will go.

[A hissing sound is heard amongst the darkness – it is stopping in short intervals and restarting again for prolonged periods.]

You will go everywhere or nowhere…

If you just focus on what’s right in front of you.

And pay no mind to what’s creeping up behind you.

Pay no mind to what haunts you.

[The lights flicker and are restored to full strength, the man in black is no longer in the room. The room has been trashed as lockers lay strewn about the room and one has gone through the bench in front of it. On the far wall, in black paint, the words state:]


[Fade out.]

[Amidst the green grass surrounding it, a fire pit with a small blaze burns brightly with a color that matches the evening’s orange, purple hue. Along side the fire, which is surrounded by mid-sized rocks to keep it contained, sits “The Aftermath” John McDonough, who leans up from his beach chair with his eyes closed taking in the aroma of the fire.]

[He is dressed in a dark blue New York Rangers t-shirt with a pair of tan shorts and flip flops on his feet. His brown hair is up, but mussed atop his head and stubble has returned to his face from not having shaved for a few days.]

[His blue eyes are revealed – calm, for the moment – he cracks his knuckles and leans back in his chair. He acknowledges the camera with a quick nod of his head as he settles back.]

Still here.

[He says this with a smile, but assured as though there was little doubt.]

And onto round two against Jack Harmen – a man, who made extremely quick work of Tyler Boyd in round 1. Well done, my friend, well done.

[John gives a light round of applause.]

I must say, after doing my due diligence on you, Harmen, myself and my friend, Shane, have come away extremely impressed. Your resume and talent are nothing to squawk at – although your former opponent might just disagree.

[As he makes this last statement he playfully flaps his arms in a chicken or peacock-esque motion before letting out a quick laugh. After a second, he leans forward in his seat with the flames of the fire painting his face an almost reddish/orange.]

I’m sure you’ll agree… Now, the real fun begins.

[He rubs his hands his together methodically.]

You know, Jack, with the beautiful weather we’ve been experiencing I took a hike today – and it got me thinking about the two of us. Two similar people, who have arrived at a similar place, taking different paths to arrive.

In round one, you chided your opponent for walking from the sport to be a family man – for working the nine-to-five and praised yourself for destroying the special relationships you had.

[He allows his words to sink for a moment, but makes no attempt by his body language to imply anything.]

Now, I walked away from the sport as well, but not entirely – I, much like you, opened a wrestling school and gym, but walked away from the actual professional competition.

I walked away, not for family-solely, but because I was devolving – I was a mass of rage and anger when I started in this sport and saw my in-ring destruction translating into self-destruction on the outside.

This sport may be meant for a young man physically…

[He points to his head as he makes the following statement.]

But it is an old man’s game mentally – meant for an experienced and advanced mind. Meant for someone who knows how to channel their abilities and emotions – not one who just acts, but can calculate their next five moves and counters before they happen.

And that is where we are, Jack. Above the fray, beyond the mere delusions of grandeur… And so what separates us? What makes me confident I can defeat “he who up until not-so-recently flew high”?

[He smirks at his tongue-in-cheek reference to Harmen’s name. A knowing grin crosses and stays on his face.]

In the past, I would get all red face, puff my chest out and tell you how bad I wanted it – with my eyes crazed and my voice growling… I do not believe that is necessary.

This is the UltraTitle Tournament – the pinnacle of the sport – anyone who is anyone shoots for this, wants this. This is a career-defining tournament – only the best of the best remain and each one wants it.

But who… Wants it more?

[John leans back away from the fire and reaches down to his right – he picks up a small log of wood and carefully places it into the fire, which was fading a bit.]

Jack, you have spent your entire career building a resume, that few would NOT envy – numerous title reigns of extraordinary length – what is this tournament for you, but just a simple notch in your belt.

For me, Jack, it is everything!

[His voice strong, his eyes seemingly a light blue blaze as he points to himself – specifically his chest - to emphasize this point.]

You can go home and still be considered one of the best of all time – the only way I go home and move from the Hall of Very Good… From being a name only known by fanboys to the lips of every wrestling fan…

Is to win this tournament.

And you, Jack.

[He points across the fire at the camera – straight through right to Jack Harmen – unflinching despite the flames almost licking his arm and hand.]

You are in my way.

[John removes his arm from above the fire and stands up – the flames from the fire now lighten up cause his face to become almost distorted by the shadows as the natural sunlight has faded on the horizon.]

We have taken different paths, Jack, to get to this point. I have to wonder though, Jack, since you have never allowed yourself to exit the competitive realm to really sit back, watch and understand just how much you’ve changed.

[He begins pacing in a semi-circle around the flames.]

I have. I have evolved – I understand things about the sport now I never could as a young man.

And you…

You are thirty-six years old and have a green-dyed goatee…

[John stops in place and shakes his head smiling.]

It looks good on ya.

[He winks and then gives a smirk towards the camera. While his appearance is confident, his eyes have never shifted from the camera and continue burning as bright as the blaze at his feet.]

So Jack, how have you changed? How have you evolved? Or are you still the same young man you always were – just trapped in an older man’s body?

Even if you have changed, Jack, even if you’ve evolved – you’re still faced with one problem… You’re at the same point and facing off against a man who’s willing to die for this match.

Different roads, Jack, to the same point… And after we meet you’ll be left there…

Left in the Aftermath.

[Fade out.]

[An acoustic guitar plays a slow rhythmic melody as the screen fades up to show a man lying in a bed, his face down against a pillow and his body, other than his exposed shoulders hidden underneath a pile of sheets. From the side we can see this man is none other than “The Aftermath” John McDonough.]

I hurt myself today,
To see if I still feel,

[As the familiar and timeless voice Johnny Cash begins to sing – the screen fills with the image of a young John McDonough, his blue eyes distant in the mirror, focused on something well beyond the image of himself staring back. He is applying the red streaks in his war-paint as he is preparing for battle – his breathing is steady.]

I focus on the pain,
The only thing that's real,

[The scene cuts to a video of John McDonough struggling to escape a sharpshooter submission hold with blood dripping from his temple – reaching out and grasping with all of his strength and determination for the ropes, which are just inches away. His face is anguished and strained as the chipped away facepaint lies in pieces on the ring as he continues his struggle towards the ropes.]

The needle tears a hole,
The old familiar sting,

[The next scene features John McDonough sitting on a doctor’s examination table with his left leg stretched out. The doctor in scrubs and a jacket appears from off the screen and taps a needle before inserting it into John’s knee. John grimaces as the needle is inserted and closes his eyes as the injection is made.]

Try to kill it all away,
But I remember everything,

[The scene cuts to John McDonough seated at a barstool swallowing to the best of his ability some amber colored liquor. As he finishes, he slams the glass down and stumbles up off his barstool towards the door.]

What have I become,
My sweetest friend,

[The scene that follows paints happier times – John McDonough with his bride, Katrina, at their wedding day. He spins her around and brings her in close – the two lock eyes as they sway back and forth for a moment like blades of grass caught in the breeze.]

Everyone I know,
Goes away in the end,

[A still photograph fills the frame – John McDonough leans over to the right of his wife, who smiling in the photo while wearing a Santa hat. John’s hand rests on her stomach as in her left hand she holds a Christmas ornament of a baby peering over a crib.]

And you could have it all,
My empire of dirt,

[The next scene shows John McDonough after defeating Mark Towers for the Bluegrass State Wrestling Regional title – the belt lofted high above his head. He takes a couple of steps backwards up the aisle taking in the applause before falling to his knees and burying his face in the belt.]

I will let you down,
I will make you hurt,

[The scene shifts back to John McDonough still locked in the sharpshooter submission hold, blood forming in a small pool below him, when he looks into his peripherals and sees his wife pleading with him. After a second, he collapses to the mat face-first and taps out, losing the Hawaii Island Wrestling regional title to Ben Van Iten.]

I wear this crown of thorns,
Upon my liar's chair,

[The scene shifts to John McDonough walking out of the ring after dispatching Dez Bradley in a hardcore rules match, blood drips down from the top of his head through his then spiky hair in front and from the sides. He slaps hands with fans as he makes his way back to the dressing room.]

Full of broken thoughts,
I cannot repair,
Beneath the stains of time,
The feelings disappear,

[The following scene is John McDonough hitting his opponent and then National Wrestling Council World Heavyweight Champion Derrick Daliente with a German suplex and the ref counting to three with Daliente raising a shoulder at the last possible moment and McDonough’s shoulders pinned to the mat, unable to bridge. Daliente rises to his feet, gets his hand raised in victory and raises the NWC World Heavyweight title while McDonough scrambles to the corner with his head in his hands in complete disbelief.]

You are someone else,
I am still right here,

[A scene from a few short weeks ago, where John McDonough stands in front of Katrina’s grave with his duffle bag resting on his shoulder. He steps forward while placing his hand to his mouth and kissing it – before resting it on top of the headstone.]

And you could have it all,
My empire of dirt,

[The next scene is one just witnessed a few short days ago – John McDonough emerging from backstage to the crowd packed into the arena for the UltraTitle Tournament. His eyes widen and brighten, caught in the moment and taking it in before making his way down the ring.

I will let you down,
I will make you hurt,

[A dark silhouette stands opposite the mirror, but the room will not allow the image of this person to be made out. Only the outline and the dark clothing of the person are visible.]

If I could start again,
A million miles away,
I will keep myself,
I would find a way,

[Present day John McDonough stands at the sink, water dripping from his face as he stares into the mirror. He takes a deep breath as though he is exasperated.]

[The scene cuts back to the younger John McDonough – his eyes unflinching – the war paint now completely applied. His chest rises and falls forcefully as silence beckons for a moment. Suddenly, he slams his hands down on the counter in front of him and leans forward with a guttural growl says:]

“I will let you down. I will make you hurt.”

[The words ring out without hesitation or remorse.]

[Darkness follows as the scene comes back in present-day John McDonough has his hands resting on the sink and is leaning forward in the exact same position. He eyes himself in the mirror carefully before shaking his head.]


[He says this authoritatively – establishing the idea as definitive.]

“Not anymore. Not ever again.”

[The lights click off and darkness envelopes the screen.]


[The painful ring of the alarm clock rings out is followed by the sound John McDonough from his bed reaching over and slapping it off. He puts his legs over the side and puts his hands on his face to knock the sleep out of his eyes.]

[After that he looks down at the floor and then up at the wall in front of him.]

“No. Not ever again.”

[He says this to himself in almost a whisper, but it is no less definitive than before.]

[Fade out.]

(OOC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bp4UI_FxGLE - link to song)


UTA Hall of Famer and All-Around Nice Guy
Staff member
Jan 6, 2005
Los Angeles, CA, formerly PA
Re: The Paths We Take...

(FADE-IN: A swinging wooden sign hangs just outside of an otherwise unmarked facility. “The Odessa Wrestling Dungeon.” It creaks from side to side as the wind gusts.

On the outside, Derek Edwards, late 20s, former ACW and LOC star talks through a blue-tooth earpiece. He wears a golden monocle, an unbuttoned gold hue vest and leather pants. Clean cut, well built but with a small body frame, Edwards broadens his shoulders and talks with the confidence of a seven foot monster.

Next to him is the wide eyed blond Josh Klein, who is twiddling some rubber bands with his fingers. Klein wears wrestling tights with lightning bolts streaking down the sides, along with a large ski jacket.)


(Edwards opens the door to the Odessa Dungeon, revealing a long and narrow concrete staircase. Edwards carefully makes his way down using his phone as a light as he speaks through his headset. Klein cautiously walks behind him, his steps illuminated only by Edwards’ cell.)

DEREK EDWARDS: You go back and you tell them to go f—

(Edwards reaches the end of the staircase and pries open the slightly stuck wooden door. The sounds of violence and brute force flood from the entrance. It echoes a cacophony that bounces up the staircase and drowns out Edwards’ conversation.

Inside reveals a spacious yet dimly lit gymnasium. Two spotlights from either side of the room illuminate a wrestling ring. Two aspiring athletes train in the center of the ring. They're working on chain wrestling holds and grapples. On either side of the ring, we have additional students training. Some are lifting weights; others are boxing on a punching bag, but most of them are trying to pry knowledge from Mary-Lynn Mayweather.

Edwards walks over to the right, passing by a behemoth body builder utilizing a bench press. The camera lingers on the scene, as an annoyed young student stares at the body builder, arms crossed over his chest. He's the student Mary-Lynn Mayweather was teaching posture too, yet couldn't keep his eyes off the buxom beauty. His name is Ken Day, a man who has only recently enrolled in the Odessa Dungeon. Ken runs his hands through his crew cut blond hair. He’s the prototypical all American farm boy.)

KEN DAY: You know, there are other machines you could use.

(The body builder puts the bench press back on its rack and sits up. He takes a towel and wipes the sweat from his forehead and hair, before starring blankly at Ken Day.)

KEN DAY: Just saying. Your calves look like Johnny Drama’s.

(CUT TO: Derek Edwards and Josh Klein walk up to the Tiny Attorney, IWF’s Mary-Lynn Mayweather. Mayweather, as always, is dressed in her trademark red skirt suit, emerald lens glasses and carries a clipboard. She notices Edwards and Klein walking over and frowns.)


DEREK EDWARDS: I was on the phone with my agent. Hey, you wouldn’t have any experience in contract litigation, would you?

MARY-LYNN MAYWEATHER: I do favors for people who are reliable Derek.

DEREK EDWARDS: Really? What about ol’ boss man?

MARY-LYNN MAYWEATHER: He’s reliable. In a crazy way.

(Edwards scoffs, and walks over to his desk to start up his computer. Klein bows his head slightly to Mary-Lynn as penance. Mayweather smiles and lightly grazes Klein’s arm.)

MARY-LYNN MAYWEATHER: Don’t worry; I know it was all Derek’s fault.

(Klein smiles with a renewed sense of enthusiasm. Klein runs to the ring and slides in under the bottom rope, the camera following him in a pan from right to left as he does. Klein stands up and begins to bark instructions to the two young students.)

JOSH KLEIN: You got him tied up all wrong. Place your leg in a scissor hold, so it looks like your opponent is trapped. Yeah! There you go! Perfect.

(The camera continues to pan right to left, past the ring and to the heavy bag’s hanging from the ceiling. The amateur boxer with a black crew cut and short wrestling tights continues an exemplary work out on the heavy bag. Great stance, fluid strikes. Tony Davis, one of the head trainers, watches on from behind. As the boxer turns for approval, Tony Davis holds up a playing card, the four of diamonds.)

TONY DAVIS: Was this your card?

(The boxer frowns, and turns his attention back to the heavy bag.)

TONY DAVIS: Hey! I want to show you a magic trick!

(Walking out of a nearby office in the background is the 2012 Ultratitle contender, your friendly neighborhood lunatic, Jack Harmen. Harmen wears his official NFW “We are all Mad Men” t-shirt, with the trademark silhouette of a man falling from the sky below the text. Harmen narrows his eyes and smacks Davis in the back of the head.)


JACK HARMEN: Illusions Tony. A trick is something a whore does for money.

(Jack continues on his way as Tony rubs the back of his head in slight discomfort.)

TONY DAVIS: Why do you always quote things I’ve never seen!

(Jack walks up to a microphone dangling from the ceiling by a wire and hook. Harmen taps the tip twice and coughs. As he speaks, his voice booms over a pa system, echoing off the dank basement walls.)

JACK HARMEN: Attention everyone! That means you Tony. Avengers assemble.

(The bodybuilder reluctantly gets up from the bench press and makes his way over. After a few moments, the entire class, trainers and students, have gathered around Jack Harmen. He smiles.)

JACK HARMEN: Alright. So, you’ve all been doing so well, I want to reward you! You all have two options. The first, is to take a seat on our floor and watch, what was it? Oh right. The movie “300.” The second is to continue training as you normally would. Anyone who sits and watches “300” gets pizza. Anyone who goes back to train, well, you don’t get anything but our wisdom.

(Harmen turns to MLM, and whispers.)

JACK HARMEN (Whisper): Kill the lights.

(Mayweather walks off and does as such. A small projector lowers from the ceiling as the opening credits to “300” begin to play. After a few moments, the majority of the students have gotten up and returned to weight training. Ken Day specifically is finally able to use the bench press, as the body builder and the amateur boxer have taken their time to watch the film.)


(CUT-TO: 300 continue to play. The body builder and the boxer are quietly watching the film, illuminated by the projector. All the other students have gone off to do some weight exercises, while Josh Klein and Derek Edwards extoll the virtues of being a tag team in the far corner.)

JOSH KLEIN: --not for everyone, but if you can find someone you click with, it can be the ride of your life.

DEREK EDWARDS: Plus you only have to do half the work!

(The camera pans back to behind the body builder and boxer, watching the film. Jack Harmen steps into frame, towering so large his entire body can’t be in the shot. His foot is, as he taps it impatiently. The camera rises, as Flyer points a finger to the corner. The lights come back on; the movie is cut, as the boxer and body builder murmur in confusion.)


(Jack Harmen begins to smack the boxer with a newspaper.)

JACK HARMEN: I don’t have time to teach shiftless layabouts! I don’t need money from people aren’t committed to being the very best! Get outta my gym! GET GOING!

(Harmen begins to chase the two confused men out of his gymnasium.)

JACK HARMEN: Who do you think you are? Cyanide Harvey?!

(Once the two students are outside of the gym, Harmen turns to them and grabs the door by its hinge.)


(Harmen SLAMS the door shut on them, locking them out. The door slams on the camera leaving the boxer and body builder on the outside looking in. Dejected, they take their slow walk up the staircase, and exit the Odessa Wrestling Dungeon forever.)


(FADE-TO: Jack Harmen has made his way inside his ring. He bounces off the far ropes and staggers himself to a halt in the center. He smiles as he stares directly into the camera.)

JACK HARMEN: The ULTRATITLE. Not as ULTRA as I wanted it to be. I wanted 127 athletes at the prime of their careers ready to tear each other apart to be called the GREATEST this sport has to offer. Instead, I get Tyler Boyd in the first round, a man who didn’t do his research enough to simply DUCK as I revved up the locomotive and STEAM TRAINED HIS FACE OFF. Silly man.

(Harmen scoffs.)

JACK HARMEN: But it seems I’ve finally gotten someone who values the Ultratitle as much as I do. John McDonough, the “Aftermath,” the survivor of a catastrophe, a man who runs a training school and imparts wisdom to his own students. Kudos. It’s always good to pass on what we know to the next generation.

(Harmen smiles, he paces inside the ring.)

JACK HARMEN: But that’s where the compliments end and the violence begins. And it’s nothing personal John. I think you and I could be friends outside the ring. Similar personalities, backgrounds, maybe not accomplishments but if you keep Thomas the Training, you’ll get there one day.

(Harmen nods his head in approval.)

JACK HARMEN: But the difference between us is perspective. You look at the sport as a place that forces you to devolve. That rage and anger are BAD things. The sport we compete in FORCED you away and NOW you want to come back? WHY?

(Harmen shakes his head from side to side.)

JACK HARMEN: Y’know, I think rage and anger are good things. I’ve used them to evolve from the man I was. I used to have your perspective. I used to look at my opponent as a roadblock, much like you do. A wall to Thomas the Chu-Chu and LOCOMOTIVE through on your way to becoming a MEGA-superstar. So of course you see Jack Harmen as a wall that needs to be torn down on your way to the Ultratitle.

(Harmen smiles.)

JACK HARMEN: Cause I am John. You are right about that. But when I look at you? I don’t see an impenetrable wall. I see OPPORTUNITY! I see the chance to face someone I’ve never had the pleasure of squaring off in the ring against. I see someone who’s actually willing, and perhaps even able, to give me a challenge.

(Harmen laughs.)

JACK HARMEN: I WANT a challenge. Cause the Ultratitle has no meaning if it's not a challenge!

(Harmen shrugs.)

JACK HARMEN: I mean, winning the Ultratitle by defeating guys like Sammy Brown and Tyler Boyd isn’t an accomplishment, it’s winning the lottery. It’s luck. But winning the Ultratitle by defeating and humiliating accomplished athletes like Troy Windham, Sean Stevens, Eli Flair, and yes, even you John McDonough… Now, THAT is an accomplishment.

(Harmen smiles.)

JACK HARMEN: McDonough wants to say the Ultratitle shouldn’t matter to me. That I’ve already accomplished all there is to in this sport.

(Harmen sneers, narrowing his eyes.)

JACK HARMEN: But I’ve never had the Ultratitle. I’ve never even had the CHANCE before now. And for a man who has forsaken family and friends to be the best this sport has to offer, I see no other recourse than to kick the heads off of seven people on my way to raising the grandest trophy prize of them all high above my head.

(In the distance, outside of the ring, Mary-Lynn Mayweather calls out to Jack with her hand covering an ear piece to her cell phone.)

MARY-LYNN MAYWEATHER: Hey Jack! It’s your wife on the line.

(Harmen’s eyes roll as his attention is diverted.)

JACK HARMEN: Is she or any of my kids on fire?

(Mayweather blinks.)

MARY-LYNN MAYWEATHER: I don’t think so…

JACK HARMEN: Then take a message.

(Mayweather unhappily saunters off.)

MARY-LYNN MAYWEATHER: (mumbling) I’m not your secretary.

(Jack turns back to Mary-Lynn and shouts.)


(Harmen turns back to the camera.)

JACK HARMEN: The Ultratitle comes first. Above my slut ex-wife. Above my kids.

(Harmen’s eyes go wide.)

JACK HARMEN: John McDonough talks about sacrifice?

(Jack sneers.)

JACK HARMEN: He gave up this sport the first time things got rough! You know what I thought when I went SPLAT on the canvas?

(Jack smiles.)

JACK HARMEN: I think I can.

(Harmen begins to pace.)

JACK HARMEN: EVERY, time I got knocked down. I thought, ‘I think I can.’

(Harmen smacks his fist into the palm of his other hand.)


(Harmen repeats it, and then stops pacing.)

JACK HARMEN: Until that day, when I broke free of my restraints, broke the ties that bind me to this world and became the person I was always meant to be. High Flyer. Jack Harmen. Multiple time World Champion. Promotional cornerstone and ICON of this sport.

(Jack scoffs.)

JACK HARMEN: John says he’s willing to die in the ring against me?

(Harmen smiles as the camera goes to an EXTREME CLOSE UP.)

JACK HARMEN: Let’s test that theory.


JACK HARMEN (V.O.): I’m an icon, ‘cause I believe I can.

The Minstrel

League Member
Mar 6, 2012
Devotion and Desire

[In the distance, two parallel silhouettes move closer into view at a fairly rapid pace. The sun rises in the background, creating an orange horizon, but is blocked by a house and trees in the distance. As the two silhouettes continue to move closer, the haze disrupts the focus. The street is lined with a few cars parked on each side, but other than that is devoid of signs of life on this early morning.]

[After a moment, the two shadows have been revealed as two men, each of which UltraTitle viewers have become familiar with – the one on the left, a competitor in the tournament, “The Aftermath” John McDonough and the other, his protégé, Shane.]

[John is dressed in a grey t-shirt, which has black lettering reading “Weathered. Broken. Endure.” and black basketball shorts. His hair sits mussed on top of his head and is slightly wet with perspiration. John’s face is slightly flushed as the two men continue to push on at a quick, but steady pace.]

[Shane is wearing a white t-shirt and a pair of black track pants. His hair is slicked back, but is also wet with perspiration. The sweat has started to form around his neck. He looks over at this mentor.]

“You’ve been kinda quiet.”

[John continues to look straight ahead.]

John: Sorry… Just focusing…

[The words stumble out of his mouth, as he does not seem to be quite all there at the moment. His steely blue eyes are focused on something in front of him that it seems no one else can see.]

Shane: It’s alright. Just want to make sure you’re alright – the interview went well.

[The words sink in for a moment and John is able to shake himself from his trance with a quick head snap. He immediately flashes a grin at his student.]

John: Really?

Shane: Yeah, no call-back though…

[John nods knowingly – remembering the anxiety that came with securing his first contract.]

John: Yet.

[Shane nods, but is not a believer at this point.]

John: It’ll come.

Shane: I hope so.

John: Just gotta believe, kid. You know you already nailed the interview – that’s half the battle, your tape is excellent and you’ll nail any in-ring tests they have for you.

Shane: And if they don’t call.

[John cannot help, but chuckle at the young man’s concern.]

John: F--- ‘em. You’ll go somewhere else and they’ll get a bargain because you’ll have a chip on your shoulder and work that much harder.

[Shane nods understandingly, a small grin building on his face. His self-assurance has been affirmed.]

Shane: Yeah, I’m pretty sure I got it. And if not screw ‘em.

[The two men continue on for another few seconds at the same pace – Shane falls in line behind John for a second to allow a car to pass from behind them. Once the car has passed, Shane returns to his post.]

Shane: So like I said, what is eating at you?

[John shakes his head with a smile on his face.]

John: Not gonna let it go, huh?

Shane: No chance.

[Shane gives John a light shove as John rolls his eyes.]

Shane: Is it Harmen?

[John shakes his head as he responds.]

John: Not really, no. I mean the guy is an incredible wreslter…

[Shane nods his head empathically until John gives him a little shove back.]

John: Thanks, dick.

[Shane chuckles as he regains his balance after being shoved slightly off-balance and returns to his prior spot.]

Shane: Is it ‘the man in black’?

John: No, as of right now, he’s just trying to play head-games, and I have no desire to engage in those… I have enough to worry about.

[Shane shrugs, as though he’s out of suggestions, John looks over at him – ready to confess to what was bothering him.]

John: I just had a weird dream the other day – I dreamt that I was almost communicating with the “old me”, the last time I made a run at this. And it was like we were almost enemies, there was such a tension there.

[After a contemplative moment…]

Shane: Are you going to pay my hourly rate by credit card, cash or insurance?

[Shane can barely get the last part out before chuckling.]

John: You were the one who asked.

[Shane nods his head.]

Shane: Yeah, I don’t know… Seems to me you might be trying to overcome your old instincts – the things you left behind years ago, you know?

This is you fighting off your demons – I guess, your past is one of those and that was playing out in your dreams.

[John allows for Shane’s opinion to sink before responding.]

John: Yeah, that’s probably right. This was probably the manifestation of my desire to return to the old ways… to get lost in the moment.

[Shane nods his head.]

John: No going back. Stay disciplined.

Shane: Stay focused.

[The two men recite their creed almost on cue, automatically, as they begin to slow their pace and, after a few seconds, they have slowed to a walk as they turn onto the sidewalk.]

John: You know, you’re pretty smart, kid. Should’ve been a doctor or something.

[Johns says this while playfully hitting Shane’s left arm from behind. Shane heads towards the house’s front door while John remains on the sidewalk out front.]

Shane: I’m not smart – you’re just plain stupid.

[Shane says this as he enters the house with a smirk and shuts the door – John cannot help but chuckle before turning to the camera. He looks away for a moment and collects himself before walking to his right.]

John: Great kid. I think he’s really got a good chance of having a great career. He’s got a level-headedness that you just can’t teach young men in this business. Never too high…

[He raises his right hand up to eye level…]

Or too low.

[He brings his hand down to the middle of his abdomen.]

That’s what I’ve learned over the years – took me years to get here. To understand that, in that ring, you need to keep yourself in check. You cannot allow yourself to get too carried away because you only hogtie yourself.

And then if you take that outside the ring… If you carry that with you, as a burden, instead of as motivation. It can get ugly fast.

[He nods his head, reflecting on his own experiences. As he reaches the corner, he leans against the blue mailbox, which sits there.]

Jack, I never blamed the sport – hell, if I blamed the sport, if I thought it forced me into becoming something beyond ugliness in here.

[He places his right hand over his chest.]

Why would my first post-wrestling career move be to pass it on to kids – kids like Shane back there.

[He gestures with his eyes back towards the house – alluding to Shane.]

I was my own worst enemy – a kid unable to deal with his own problems, his own past and his present. It was not the sport’s fault that I could not deal, that I was a mental and emotional wreck.

I came back because I love it and NOW… ONLY NOW, do I grasp what it takes to be great – that it goes beyond wanting it, beyond needing it. It takes more than laying it all out there on the line…

But knowing WHEN to lay it all out there. It is a chess match, not checkers, and the sooner you grasp the strategy, the art of the ring - the sooner you can understand the intricacies of being great…

You see Jack, I always wanted to win matches like you just did against Boyd, just dominate and… Boom!

[He smacks his hand across the top of the mailbox before turning the corner.]

But that’s just not feasible now against competitors like me and you.

I cannot approach you like that and that’s how I would have back then. I am not looking to mow you down like you were the cause of all of life’s problems, Jack. To do the impossible and beat you to a pulp before the match even begins. You are just a man, Jack – just an opponent – not the manifestation of all of life’s wrongs.

You are just a man despite your own pontifications concerning your legacy and iconic status.

Your status in the game does not make you anymore likely to win this match – the better man, who steps in the ring on that night will be the victor – track records will be thrown out and be completely meaningless.

I am…

[He points to his chest.]

Ready to be the better man.

Now, to clarify, I never said you should not want the UltraTitle – it’s an accomplishment unlike any other in the sport. Hell, anyone, who entered this tournament, that’s in their right mind wants the UltraTitle.

However, you list off your accomplishments like a man, who thinks he deserves a great, big round of applause. Like a man, who already has a shrine of himself in his own personal hall of fame.

[John claps his hands slowly, sarcastically.]

You consider yourself an icon, a legend already, Jack. So what is the UltraTitle, but just another notch on your belt? Just one more to toss onto the list of titles and accolades…

[He points emphatically at the camera.]

You see, Jack, you WANT to win this Tournament…

[John points right back at himself.]

I NEED to. This is not just another notch in my belt – this is MY chance at GREATNESS! The greatness you seem to expound about so willingly. The greatness you believe you’ve already achieved.

That was my point – I do not question your desire, Jack – I just think I want it…

[He brings his fingers close together and stares at the camera with his blue eyes, unwavering, through the tiny opening his fingers provide.]

Just this much more.

You think you can, Thomas the Train. You believe you can, Harmen – I know I can.

[John removes his hand to avoid from further obstructing his face. He breathes deeply as a smile crosses his face slowly.]

And if you want to see how far I’m willing to go – trust me, you’re going to find out.

Question my resolve, doubt me because I walked away.

According to that logic, Jack, any wrestler who is not on a “scaled back schedule” wants it more than you and should be able to beat you? Since they have not walked away from the sport “full-time”…

[John nods his head while forming a faux-inquisitive look on his face.]

I don’t think you’d say that – would you, Jack?

[He shakes his head.]


[John takes a step back – that smile has grown wider from moments before.]

And when you’re lying on your back, looking at the ceiling – I’m sure your umpteenth titles reigns, which lasted forever and a day will comfort you… When you get your answer about just how far I’m willing to go…

[His eyes remain locked – unwavering – assured and focused.]

In the Aftermath.

[Fade out.]

[On a bed covered with beige sheets, sits an open, brown suitcase loaded with clothes. Suddenly, the suitcase is closed by a pair of hands and is pushed down upon as it is locked. The hand reaches out and grabs the handle of the suitcase and places it on the ground by the edge of the bed.]

[As the camera pans out, the young man, who placed the suitcase on the floor, has walked over to the side of the bed and takes a seat. His hair is jet black and in a fauxhawk. His t-shirt clings to his well-built frame and is complimented by a dark blue pair of jeans.]

[The room appears to be a hotel based upon the set-up – including table in the left corner with an ice bucket and Bible sitting underneath the lamp on the table next to the young man. He runs his hands through his hair as for the first time, the camera gets a good look at his face.]

[He is a familiar-looking young man, but cannot be immediately placed. His face is rather pale, not naturally, but more likely because of a lack of sunlight. His facial hair creates a shadow of reddish brown on his face, but is not of considerable length.]
[His blue eyes peer out the curtained window at the world obstructed, unseen. After a moment, he reaches over to the phone with his right hand, picks up the receiver and dials a number.]


“Aftermath Fitness, Mike speakin’.”

[A small smile passes the young man’s face as recognizes the gruff, somewhat raspy voice on the other end.]

Young Man: Mikey, it’s Brandon…


Mikey: Bull****!

[The young man chuckles, his face strains as though he had not done so in a long while.]

Brandon: Swear to God.

Mikey: Seriously? What’s good, dude? You talk to your uncle, yet?

[Brandon takes a deep breath.]

Brandon: Yeah, it’s me. That’s actually what I was calling about – I was hoping you could give me the address of where he is.

Mikey: Yeah, of course, Brandon – no problem. He’s gonna be thrilled, ya know?

[Brandon nods his head.]

Brandon: Yeah… Hope so.

[Fade out.]


UTA Hall of Famer and All-Around Nice Guy
Staff member
Jan 6, 2005
Los Angeles, CA, formerly PA

(FADE-IN: An overhead high definition security camera films Jack Harmen’s cramped closet shaped office. It is filled to the brink allowing very little room for movement. Just enough space to house a small desk covered with paperwork. A thin bookshelf built specifically for the office covers an entire wall, filled with books about dieting, nutrition, and wrestling psychology.

The small desk is covered in mountains of paperwork, as Jack Harmen fiddles away with a laptop that’s seated on top of a precariously wobbly stack of papers. He rubs his eyes, rings forming underneath his eyes from lack of sleep. He wears wrestling tights for pants and a white tank top. Covering that is his straight jacket inspired “Lunatic” baseball jersey from his days in the FWO. He lets out a long yawn before hearing a knock on the door.)


(The office door opens, smacking against the desk’s corner. The desk blocks the door from fully swinging open. Mary-Lynn Mayweather, wearing her red skirt suit, shuffles inside and closes the door behind her.)

JACK HARMEN: I really need to get that door to pull instead of push.

MARY-LYNN MAYWEATHER: Then your mess would just flood into the hallway.

JACK HARMEN: What’s up Red?

(Mayweather smiles and places yet another piece of paperwork on top of Harmen’s laptop.)

MARY-LYNN MAYWEATHER: I wanted to get your recommendation for Ken. He’s been training really hard since he signed up, and he’s gotten really good very quickly.

JACK HARMEN: You’re not being biased, are you? I see how you look at him.

MARY-LYNN MAYWEATHER: It’s admiration Jack. I want to help him. I’m trying to pitch him to IWF and a kind word from you would mean more than a kind word from me.

JACK HARMEN: That’s because you’re too kind. Loses its effect if you’re always so nice.

(Harmen snatches the paperwork and reads it over. He lifts his head and smiles.)

JACK HARMEN: You even wrote it out for me. Thanks Mayfly.

(Harmen continues to scan the document.)

JACK HARMEN: Looks good. One quick change, paragraph three. Take out the line about him being a recovering alcoholic.

(Mayweather frowns.)

MARY-LYNN MAYWEATHER: I thought that could be a selling point. Considering how straight edge is so over these days. A man battling his demons, kinda like what John McDonough is doing, is a great story. Redemption is the oldest tale.

(Harmen tries to kick back in his chair, only the back of his chair smacks into a wall, not allowing much movement. Annoyed, Jack leans forward.)

JACK HARMEN: You wouldn’t tell someone on your first date that you were a recovering alcoholic. You wouldn’t say that when you were applying for a job either. Kapeesh?

MARY-LYNN MAYWEATHER: Isn’t that a lie by omission?

JACK HARMEN: Only if Ken falls off the wagon. Get me the revised copy and I’ll gladly sign it, alright?

(Mayweather smiles to Jack. She nods and exits, gently opening the door this time. She wedges her small frame through the barely ajar door. Once she’s gone, Flyer turns his attention to the overhead hanging security camera and smiles.)

JACK HARMEN: John, congratulations on battling your inner demons. But lemme make something clear.

(Harmen rubs the lack of sleep from his eyes.)

JACK HARMEN: Nobody in this Ultratitle NEEDS to win it.

(Harmen shrugs.)

JACK HARMEN: A lot of people have been saying they NEED to be the Ultratitle champion. They NEED this to cement some legacy. No John, you only NEED this because you WANT to cement your legacy amongst the greatest this sport has to offer. A little boy doesn’t NEED a PS3. A grown man doesn’t NEED a trophy. What you NEED is water, air, and maybe a little love every now and again. Me? I need water, air, and to be INSIDE that ring as MUCH as possible.

(Harmen smiles before grabbing a stack of paperwork. He sets it on the floor.)

JACK HARMEN: Those are all the applicants for my wrestling school that say they “NEED” to be professional wrestlers. Sure, it makes them sound like they can’t survive without the chance to enter that squared circle, but it’s a buzz word of misdirection. Most of these guys don't know what they're getting into. Think they love the sport before they really know what it is. And most of what these guys want is to just get one match under their belt in some bingo hall and go back to their nine to five. I’ve had dozens of plucky young upstarts stand right in front of my desk and tell me they NEED to be a professional wrestler.

(Harmen rolls his eyes.)

JACK HARMEN: I gave a lot of them chances to do just that. Once they had the opportunity, their ACTIONS betrayed their words.

(Harmen leans forward onto a stack of paperwork.)

JACK HARMEN: And your actions betray yours.

(Harmen laughs, chuckling to himself.)

JACK HARMEN: I never meant you blamed the sport for changing the person you were. I’m sure you blame yourself. But you had to leave this environment of competitive wrestling to find the perspective you so yearned for. Ultimately, you were in this sport and hated the man you were becoming. So you knew you had to change. You left competition, and you found your “cure.” Cause and effect. It’s pretty simple science. I’m sure you’d agree with me that if you didn’t leave the grandest stage of them all when you did, you wouldn’t know what type of person you’d be today.

(Harmen lets out a smile.)

JACK HARMEN: But let me tell you, if you’d stayed? You’d probably BE ME.

(Harmen picks up a bottle of water and takes a sip. He replaces the cap and grabs it at its top. He begins to draw quick circles, swishing the water around inside.)

JACK HARMEN: Cause I FLOWED with the changing tides just like water does. You see, it took me years to understand that I couldn’t be reactive in the ring, I had to be proactive. There’s a reason people call me a Lunatic. I had a tendency to act first and think about the consequences later.

Still do. But it’s less about sudden outbursts of rage and more just for my own personal amusement these days.

(Harmen laughs.)

JACK HARMEN: But I learned how to keep myself in check. Over time, I found my center, my calm, only I did it ON THE JOB. I spent the better portion of 2005 vowing BLIND VENGEANCE on a few friends who turned their back on me. It cost me match after match after match. It got so bad I smacked the poster child of the organization with a sledgehammer just because he was trying to be the voice of reason and get me to BACK DOWN. I DIDN’T LISTEN.

(Harmen scoffs.)

JACK HARMEN: That was a MISTAKE. And I learned from it. I calmed myself. I focused my strategy, making people REACT to me, rather than the other way around. I became the ultimate Chessmaster, toying with the strings to make those puppets DANCE the way I WANTED them to.

(Harmen smiles.)

JACK HARMEN: And I became the World Heavyweight Champion. Instead of LEAVING to deal with my so called “problems,” I faced them head on. I fought through and became a better man. A better wrestler. Good enough to have other people start calling him GREAT. That’s what separates us.

You say you love this sport, yet when the goings got tough, you decided to high tail it. Those who cannot do, teach. But I BREATH this sport and I am MISERABLE away from it. Without that ring, I cannot find my center, my clarity.

You however, found clarity on your own outside of the ring. Now that you finally know what “Great” means, you decide to come back.

(Harmen frowns.)

JACK HARMEN: What gave you your definition of great? Where was that inspiration?

(Harmen sets the bottle of water down on his desk.)

JACK HARMEN: Because in my book, that word is undefined. A man can always be a better man than he was. But what truly defines GREATNESS? I mean, I say I want to be called the GREATEST this sport has to offer, but even I don’t know what that means. The only thing I know about greatness is: it’s a label others bestow onto you, like hero or villain.

(Harmen grins.)

JACK HARMEN: And I’ve been blessed with the label of greatness by others because of these sleepless nights, studying my opponents and giving them the respect they deserve. I take NOTHING lightly, and know that every time a time keeper bell rings, both men tabula rasa. A clean slate for every match, as any man can beat another on any given night. It’s almost a cliché at this point. The only reason I have all those titles and a personal hall of fame with a golden statue of myself carved by low wage interns is BECAUSE I treat every match, every opponent with the respect and preparation of a World Heavyweight title match.

And I’m glad you’re doing the same. You’re analyzing my weakness and my strategies and finally know that you have to play chess in that ring instead of checkers.

(Harmen stands to his feet, shoving paperwork off his desk in the process.)

JACK HARMEN: You think you finally know what it takes to be great in this sport. Just in time to face the ultimate chess master. John McDonough, a man who’s spent his entire life playing checkers finally tries out chess and gets drawn against a prodigy?

(Harmen's grin turns to Cheshire cat proportions.)

JACK HARMEN: Knight to A6. Checkmate.


(FADE-IN: Jack Harmen, Tony Davis, Mary-Lynn Mayweather, Derek Edward and Josh Klein, the trainers at the Odessa Wrestling Dungeon, sit around a small picnic table eating lunch. They are eating Shawarma, a not so subtle nod to the Avengers.

Mary-Lynn Mayweather and Jack Harmen are also engaging themselves in a battle of chess. Mayweather moves her Knight to A6 and smiles at Harmen. Jack frowns. He grabs the edge of the chess board and tosses it to the floor, scattering the remaining pieces.

There’s an awkward pause as Edwards and Klein stare at Jack.)

JACK HARMEN: Nobody saw that.

(Soft murmurs as the rest of the trainers return to eating quietly. FADE OUT.)
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