Pat Gordon, Jr. was putting the finishing touches on packing his duffel bag. The wooden dresser from which he was taking his clothes - jeans, INFINITE Wrestling t-shirts, and wrestling gear - definitely belonged to his father, and probably HIS father before him. The 1970s style shag carpeting in the bedroom was flattened beneath his feet. There was a small table next to the bed. A picture of Pat Gordon, Sr. in his wrestling days stood proudly on top of that small table. PGJr turned away from his packing.
PGJr: "So here we go, UltraTitle Round Two. Pat Gordon, Jr. vs. August Joyce. You know, this is gonna be a big, BIG match. Two guys who ousted two of the favorites in this tournament clash head to head. Lots of top picks have fallen, and along with Cobra and Zero, you and I have managed to turn this tournament on its head. Hell, we turned the WRESTLING WORLD on its head. The pundits were against both of us, but here we both stand. I beat the Man, the Myth, and the Legend, Suicide - and I can't tell you how berserk my dad went. Joyce, you ended the undefeated streak of Joe the Plumber. That's something nobody thought would come easily. Hell, I thought for sure Joe would be waiting for me on the other side of Suicide. But you beat him, and I have to tip my hat to you. Congratulations."
Paddy turned back to his duffel bag, stuffed his wrestling boots inside, and tied it up.
PGJr: "I know you said you weren't impressed with Joe's undefeated record, but it sure impressed the hell out of me... So did your victory. It does make me wonder, though, exactly what is the kind of thing that impresses a guy like you, Joyce? Are you a "what have you done lately" kind of guy? Does it impress you that I beat someone barely anyone thought I had a chance to beat in the MAIN EVENT of our bracket? Probably not, but that's okay."
Pat Gordon, Jr. hoisted his duffel over his shoulder and left the bedroom, walking down the stairs.
PGJr: "You know, being unimpressed by anything has its advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, you don't go into the match thinking you can't win. On the flip side, you might overlook the man standing across the ring from you and end up flat on your back. Suicide did that to me. His Mr. Mystery Man said I wasn't worthy of facing Solian's most famous persona, and when S hit the Suicide Driver, he neglected to even attempt to pin me. I won't lie, I got a lifeline, and I capitalized on it. He came into the match thinking I'd be a pushover and I did exactly what I told him I was going to do if he underestimated me. Ulysis Solian got a Sunday Morning Hangover, and I advanced to the second round.
"Now, Joyce, I'm going to warn you, just like I warned Suicide. I'm not a pushover. Do NOT underestimate me or my 'scrappiness.' "
The Brute of Beantown grinned as he went out the front door, which displayed the number "R2." He locked up and walked away.
@AugustJoyce: New aim, get to Sweet Sixteen in the #ULTRATITLE Tournament to face @KHardHero!
You know, sometimes plans don’t always work out. But this time, for once, it wasn’t down to August.
The Beresford Apartments Vancouver, Canada Monday 14[SUP]th[/SUP] May 2012
“Dude, you’re an idiot!”
The voice of Benjamin Doi carries from off screen as we open on the kitchen of August Joyce’s apartment. Joyce is stood by the refrigerator, leaning on the open door as he peers inside looking for a drink.
“Seriously, what the **** were you thinking?”
Doi walks into view with a TV remote in his hand, using it to point out of the door at the TV screen in the other room.
Joyce hooks out a couple of bottles of beer, passing one to Ben and closing the fridge door. “What are you talking about?” Joyce asks.
Benjamin shakes his arm to emphasise his pointing. “I’m talking about DAT!” He shakes his head as Joyce looks past him to see what his friend is pointing at. “You were on Twitter during a match?”
“Ha!” August chuckles. “Yea… not the wisest move I’ve ever made.” He opens his beer and takes a quick swig. “But, take another look, I was outside the ring and the bell hadn’t sounded. I’m not the one who made a mistake.” Joyce stands beside Doi and points to the off-screen TV. “Joe made a mistake trying to jump the bell. Which one of us is still in this tournament?”
“Aight.” Doi turns back into the kitchen and opens his beer. “So, round two. Congratulations. Slump officially over eh?”
Joyce shakes his head as he drinks. “No, I don’t think I can say it’s over after one win. One win doesn’t make me a great wrestler any more than losing makes Joe a bad one. But if I can get through to the third round…”
“Ok, I get ya.” Doi says with a smile. “Now hows about you ‘n me take these beers in there and watch the Gordon/Suicide match.”
“Good plan!” Joyce raises his beer bottle before heading out of the kitchen and out of view.
Outside the Beresford Apartments Vancouver, Canada Friday 18[SUP]th[/SUP] May 2012
August is stood outside his building as he is ready to talk about his endeavours in the ULTRATITLE Tournament. He looks into the camera and smiles.
“You know what? A lot of people… a LOT of people… expected me to fail in the first round of the ULTRATITLE tournament up against a former NFW World Champion… a previously undefeated Joe the Plumber.”
Joyce stops and tilts his head to one side slightly, an eyebrow raised and a thought brewing.
“Wait, he was a FORMER champion and undefeated? What gives? Did he get stripped or did he walk away from his title? I mean, seriously, what kind of loser does that?”
August pauses and looks away from the camera for a second, remembering the Rising Sons 2006 in Japan where his friend and tag-team partner Tim Worthington walked out of a match when he was defending the MWA World Championship. He looks a little sheepish for a moment, hoping Tim wouldn’t see this, before looking back at the camera and getting back to the point.
“Joe, as much as I want to shout from the rooftops that I ended the Plumber’s undefeated run, as much as I want that to mean something to me, it did kinda seem like you failed to turn up for our match. And that disappoints me. In fact I’d go so far as to say that ending Joe the Plumbers undefeated streak means absolutely nothing to me.”
He shakes his head and sighs.
“But, let’s not dwell on the past. Let’s look forward to the second round, something that DOES mean something to me; what’s sure to be a tough match against Pat Gordon Jr.”
“Pat, I caught your match with Suicide. Or The Hound; whatever. You put up a good fight, got a good victory over one heck of an opponent. I can see you’re a tough S.O.B, a second generation wrestler who knows how to handle himself in the old squared circle.”
Joyce smiles again and puffs a short blast of breath from his nostrils like he’s just thought of something amusing.
“Ah, second generation, there’s a phrase I hate. Being a second generation wrestler means jack ****. You’re smart enough to know that, right? I only ask because I’ve heard people talk about being second generation or third generation like it means they’re better than the rest of us who didn’t follow in our parents footsteps. Commentators especially just LOVE to point out when someone’s second generation. Don’t get me wrong, being second generation doesn’t mean you can’t be successful; it’s just that for every Bret Hart or Eddie Guerrero there’s a Shawn Stasiak or David Sammartino.”
“Gordon, I don’t think you’re arrogant enough to fall into that second category. I honestly think you’re the real deal and I think I’m in for one hell of a time when we step into that ring together. The pair of us may have come into this competition as underdogs, we may have both beaten people who were expected to go all the way… but we can light up round two with the best match imaginable. Round two is an interesting one; one where I’m out to prove that beating Joe was no fluke. You’ll no doubt be wanting to do the same. Will I wake up with a Sunday morning hangover? Possibly. Will I get to make the choice? Hopefully. Will the rest of the bracket sit up and take notice of whoever advances? Definitely.”
August smiles one last time before turning on his heel and walking off screen as we fade to black.
Pat Gordon, Jr. watched workers loading and unloading cargo from ships shrouded in fog. Sometime earlier, he had taken his INFINITE Wrestling hoodie out of his duffel bag and was wearing it over his t-shirt. The aforementioned duffel bag rested on the ground, next to him.
PGJr: "August Joyce, I just wanted to make one last stop before heading to our match. I like to come out here sometimes to get some perspective, get into the right mindset for a match. I see you're not depressed anymore; you've got your smile back. That's good. It's just a shame that you'll have to lose that smile so quickly. It's not that I have anything against you, Joyce. Quite the opposite, in fact. You drink beer, you have some knowledge of what's going on... You seem like a likeable guy. Hell, under different circumstances, I'd like to think that we might be knocking a few back together. The problem is that fate, destiny, a random number generator - whatever you want to call it - has put you in my way of the UltraTitle. And that's something my family has been dreaming about for generations."
Paddy pointed toward the ships in the fog.
"Which brings me to my next point. See these guys out here working on these ships? A lot of them come from families who have been doing the same work for generations. Sure, there are a lot who haven't, but some of these guys out here do the same thing their fathers and grandfathers did. And they do it quite well because it's what they've always known. Now, it's true that not all multi-generational athletes stand out. But you have to admit that growing up in a wrestling family has its advantages, you just have to take advantage of them. Imagine a wrestling fan who grew up his whole life watching wrestling, but had access at an early age to the wrestlers. A wrestling fan who got to start training with people who knew what they were doing since he was a kid. A kid who dedicated his entire life since birth to one day being the best in this industry."
The Boston Bruiser pulled a photograph out of his back pocket.
PGJr: "Now imagine what that kid would be like when he grew up and was finally standing on the cusp of being the best. That kid grew up to be me."
He turned the photograph around, revealing it to be an old picture of him as a child. He was with his father, and they were both wearing ring gear and making a muscle-man pose. He put the picture back into his pocket.
PGJr: "Second and third generations produce some great opportunities. Taking advantage of them is what creates great wrestling families like the Windhams or the Thompsons. And soon enough, people will put the Gordons in that same grouping. This match, the next match, and the matches that follow will see to that. The UltraTitle is the greatest stage professional wrestling has ever seen. That's why we're all here - to win with everyone watching, to beat the best of the best, and to prove that we belong on the top. To prove that we belong on the top. That's why Chris Hopper had a good point when he told Larry Tact that it wasn't the title that made the man, rather the man that made the title. And I plan to uphold the great tradition of UltraTitle and make sure that next time this stage pops up, it's even bigger and badder than ever before.
"So like I said, August Joyce, it's nothing personal. It's just my chance to prove that I belong on the top. And I intend to take it. May the best man win."
Pat Gordon, Jr. picks up his duffel bag and walks away, eventually disappearing into the dense fog.
August Joyce is sat on the edge of a wrestling ring in an empty gym. He looks hot, beads of sweat on his forehead indicating he’s been through some training here tonight as he sits on the ring apron in his wrestling gear, leaning back against the ropes as he looks into the camera in front of him.
“Pat Gordon Jnr followed his father’s footsteps into this business and is looking to emulate his successes and build on them, push himself further than his old man did. That’s an admirable trait. So you’re probably wondering what it is about all of this second generation bullcrap that I don’t like?”
“Well you could say I have daddy issues.”
“When I was eight years old I came home from school, opened the door to our apartment building and was greeted by the sight of my mother and father in a bloody mess in the hallway. Turns out my father was a VERY jealous man and brutally murdered my mom before killing himself. Not one thought about me in all of this. Not once did he contemplate what that would do to me, as an eight year old, discovering their bodies and having to deal with the aftermath.”
Joyce looks away for a moment, trying to shake the memory.
“My father was a great business man, incredibly social and a keen hockey player. But you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t want to emulate his most notorious incident. In fact I’ve probably chosen the path that’s most opposite to his; whether that was deliberate or subconscious I’m not entirely sure.”
He looks over his shoulder at the wrestling ring as he begins to speak again.
“My father hated wrestling and would never let me watch it when I was a kid. I remember discovering it when I was in foster care and ended up watching as much as possible, reading as many magazines as possible, playing the video games and even playing that roleplaying game by email that was popular back in the day. Man, I always sucked at that game.”
“When I was eighteen I went to Japan purely to watch wrestling, taking in shows at Kōrakuen Hall, Budokan and Tokyo Dome. It was like a dream come true for me. And to be able to say now that I have appeared at the Tokyo Dome is something I will be forever proud of.”
“I’ve ended up becoming a person my father would have hated. And that’s the best thing I could ever have done, in my opinion. Because a man like my father wouldn’t stand a chance in this ring against someone like Pat Gordon Jnr. But, do you know what? I do!”
Joyce rubs his hands together as he thinks about his second round match.
“So while you following your father was your life path, getting away from my father was mine. Nothing personal, Pat, but I’d love to show you that being your own man can get you a long way in this world… even in this great job of ours. And if it means beating your ass to prove it to you then I’m sorry; but there’s no way in hell I’m letting you advance to round three!”
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