Inside the penthouse of the Highland Park Social Club's New York headquarters, Richard Farnswirth looks very much at home. This is the one place in the world that he has truly made his own, a place to get away from the every day grind. On this night, he is sitting behind his desk reading casually through a couple of papers. As the camera closes in on him, he puts the papers down and smiles.
Farnswirth: If there's anything that can be said about the Highland Park Social Club, it's that we never forget when something has been taken from us.
Until this past week's Aggression, the last time I was seen around here was being held back by a bunch of security guards while our tag team titles were stolen from us by way of a conspiracy between Dan Ryan and his boys in the Cameron Cruise Project.
What was it, Dan? What are you afraid of? You're the one who invited us here, remember?
You expressly brought us here to help revive an ailing tag division. Those desires were very clearly spelled out in our negotiations. And believe me, I have a habit of paying very careful attention to negotiations in my line of work. When did you lose your nerve? Was it when we crossed the one month mark as champions? Two months?
Regardless of whether you're in charge here or not, I intend to fulfill our contract to the letter. Whether you want us to or not, we're taking those belts back.
I imagine that Cruise and Melton are just now recovering from that little visit we paid to them last week. The fates were kind enough to return our belts to the team that stole them from us in the first place, and now we can right all the wrongs that have been done to us in one fell swoop.
But alas, things around here never seem to move as quickly as they should. Instead of getting the title rematch that we so rightly deserve, we are relegated to facing the team of Foxx and Karl "The Dragon" Brown. Not exactly the opponents we wanted, but I suppose there's nothing like a little warm-up match to knock the rust off.
Oh, and you might have noticed that the Clown is no longer with us. After years of underachieving, he's been sent on permanent assignment to the looney bin of his choice. If we never see him again, that'll be too soon.
But never fear, the HPSC knows all about trading up. Buy low and sell high, and all that.
Cruise and Melton had the honor of meeting him first. You're all familiar with him, of course. "Yours Truly" Adam Benjamin, just the kind of man who is fit to be a part of the elite. He knows what being head and shoulders over the riff raff is all about, though there's always more that could be learned.
Farnswirth smirks at the camera.
Farnswirth: How appropriate that we will be making our return at the biggest show of EPW's calendar year. Really, you shouldn't have bothered going to all this trouble just for us.
[FADE IN. “The Dragon” is standing, dressed in his ring gear, in front of a black and red EPW/NEW WrestleSTOCK backdrop]
Karl: It’s weird, Foxx called me asking if I’d tag with her, and we find our opponents are the Highland Park Social Club. How many of them we don’t know – two, three, five, whatever – but that doesn’t really matter. I’ve always said I’d wrestle in whatever match I’m booked in, whoever’s in charge of the company, so I’ll go out there, with Foxx, and wrestle.
No complaints. No wondering why the Intercontinental Champion, one of only two people who’s not lost a one-on-one match in Empire Pro against Lindsay Troy, is squaring off against the Club. No statements that I should be in a higher position. Because, quite simply, I’m put where I’m put. It’s up to me to go out there and put on as good a match as possible, against whomever Farnswirth brings with him.
Now, I don’t actually care one way or the other who he is or who he thinks he is –and trust me, there’s a wide gulf between the two. He’d have you believing that he’s Gods’ gift to wrestling. Hell, he sounded very much like Hida Yakamo when he was talking about the inevitability of recapturing what they lost in a two-on-two match – the tag team titles. Actually, the whole point about inevitability is something most of the industry says – they’re the best, the baddest, the strongest, so they’re definitely going to win.
But before I fall into the trap of giving Farnswirth some new material, let me state that I honestly do see the Highland Park winning the tag team titles down the line. Some point, a team as powerful through whatever means as they are will find a way of securing the titles. With or without Slambo pinning a manager making his wrestling debut – sheer weight of numbers will sooner or later pay dividends if they go through wrestling three on two, or whatever.
Then there’s the talent each individual member has. I’m not sure who’s at the top of the pile – that would be an interesting match, even just amongst the three people I think are currently the Empire Pro version. Chip Friendly, Richard Farnswirth, and now, Adam Benjamin… quite a collection of talent. Champion calibre all of them.
So long as Adam doesn’t decide to start going down the path so many would in his situation – how he had me beaten, et cetera et cetera. All I can really say is I hope he’s going to try if he’s in this match, because last time was kind of an embarrassment for both of us.
But this week? I’m going to just go out there and enjoy myself. I’ve actually only been in one tag match before – a six person against Troy Windham and his entourage. So it’s a new experience for me, against a very good collection of individuals. That is, if they don’t continue to embarrass themselves like Richard’s ego already has.
Because, Richard? You may have assembled a strong force. You may have earned yourself a fortune. But having an untempered drive for success will only get you so far – pretty far, yes, but you won’t be able to achieve your full potential.
When you or one of your partners decides to embarrass themselves, I’ll let you in on the secret. But for now, I’ve got to go prepare Foxx. As big an opportunity for a challenge as this is for me, it’s that much greater for her, and you wouldn’t want her at anything other than her best now, would you, Richard?
[FADE IN. There is no light, only the steady clink, metal on metal, as something is dropping, landing, and sliding. It’s a very rhythmic sound, a slight tinkle about it. Sadly beautiful]
Voice:[deep, resonating, as the “clinks” continue their rhythmic beat] Money. Power. Alpha. Mankind seeks it, takes it, hordes it. Uses it to show dominance. Uses it to show status.
Mankind hurts for it. Mankind is pacified by it. Mankind wants more of it. For some it’s a drug, for others, more vital than oxygen.
[A blue spark, in the centre of the screen, reflects off one of whatever is falling for a second – then another spark, and another, as the rhythmic “clink” sound increases in pace, steadily, until by the end of the coming speech it’s almost like a machine-gun, the spark seeming to blur, barely having time to start to fade before coming back]
Why is it man feels a need for power? What drives mankind to take, to grab, and to steal? What is it drives man to manipulate others towards a goal? What is it that makes man act against man for his or her own benefit? Is it greed? Is it hunger? Is it thirst? Is it a need, or a want? Does man seek to immortalise himself through power? Or…
[The sound and sparks stop suddenly]
Does such a being have something to hide?
[The screen flashes, brilliant white. As it fades, and our eyes become accustomed to the scene, we notice we’re back in the very recognisable forest clearing. It’s a bright sunny day, very little leaf-litter on the ground, and an ever-so-slight breeze is in the air. We pan round, until we spot “The Dragon” sitting on his favourite branch. He’s dressed in blue-jeans, white and black trainers, and a plain white T-shirt. He’s leaning back against the mighty oak tree, just letting the world pass by]
Karl: There’s always been something that’s puzzled me. I’m sure it’s also puzzled a lot of other people too. What drives someone to grasp, to claw, to attain power over others, to work against others to that end, when other people are happy to just put their heads down, and get on with work for the sake of doing a good job? Why are some people so obsessed with what’s in it for them that they rarely do anything selfless, and others are so selfless people start to wonder if they’ve got their heads screwed on right?
It’s no secret people with the drive and determination to succeed at any cost more often than not do succeed. That they’re willing to go behind others, to stab people in the back, to use others to elevate themselves is no secret – I’ve known several people like that. Some have even tried to use me to elevate themselves, taking ideas I’d thought of or just asking me to do this, or that, or the other. And I wasn’t all too fussed. I’ve always been more of the head down and work kind of person, so if someone needs a hand with something and I’m able to do it, I help them. Call me socially conscious if you want, but I could never just use someone to elevate myself.
I don’t rely on other people. I’ve been offered places in groups before, and no doubt will in the future, but I’ve always turned them down. I only accepted this tag team situation because Foxx wanted some help.
Which is why I find it difficult to fathom people like Richard, the self-professed “self-made” people who use others, then toss them aside when they’re done with them. It’s sad if you ask me – that way of life. To become so desperate to attain something that you’d tread on whomever or associate with whomever, despite your own personal strengths.
Strengths that all of the members of the Club, past and present, have. As a group, I doubt there have been many in professional wrestling with the calibre of athletes they have. Which is why it’s a shame that they still deem it necessary to use the thug mentality in getting what they want. Like the tag-team titles – do they really need to attack Melton and Cruise from behind to give them a message? Or is the excuse for it going to be “because we can”?
Whatever, really. It’s rather sad that they have to rely on that kind of method, rather than simply going out there and proving their dominance against fresh opposition. Against people who can actually fight back, rather than managers. Because the easier you make it for yourself in the ring, whilst you do get some success, you also end up, in the long run, stuck at a level you can’t move on from.
Because you only get better by challenging yourself against better. It’s what I’ve done since I got into this industry – taken on whomever was put in front of me, and given my all. In some cases, my best has easily overcome them. In others, it’s been a hard-fought contest, some of which I’ve won, some I’ve lost. But each of those matches has given me something to learn, something to improve. Something you lose when you weaken someone before the match, or when you have someone like Slambo pin a manager.
That’s why I’ve never seen the need to manipulate people. It’s why I’ve never sought power – I have no use for it. Power for its own sake is nothing. Power for the success of the individual, is meaningless. Because what’s important isn’t power. It’s not titles. It’s not being able to laud over others, citing accomplishment after accomplishment after accomplishment.
It’s about going out there and proving you’re better than you were. It’s about going out there and showing that no matter what happens, you’re going to give it your all.
That’s what I’ve always done. It’s what I’ll always do. This match is going to be fun for me, because it’s a chance to test myself against one of the very soundest technicians in the game, and possibly Adam again. Their styles, I know. I’ve seen them enough, and where they’ve gotten the styles from. Adam’s is a very British based mat technique, and Farnswirth’s is tinged with some American style grappling. Neither is averse to taking it up a notch and trying something new, either.
But they’re both beatable.
Wrestlestock’s going to be a very interesting event. Foxx is getting a chance to work with a little less pressure on her, and I’m getting to test myself against one of the best. Whether we win or lose this match is immaterial so long as we don’t come away from it with any regrets. That’s something Richard will also say – you can’t afford to have regrets. His reasons will be different, naturally. And I’m quite sure someone will come out with the usual bully-boy tactics of insults for the sake of insults, saying only losers see things the way I do.
I hope they prove me wrong. It’s more of a challenge when you can’t predict what the other side is going to say or do.
Foxx? I know she’ll be prepared. The Highland Park Social Club will be ready. They’ve got the tag team division to try and take by storm, after all.
How embarrassing would it be for them to stumble at the first hurdle?
FWrestling.com was founded in 1994 to promote a community of fantasy wrestling fans and leagues. Since then, we've hosted dozens of leagues and special events, and thousands of users. Come join and prove you're "Even Better Than The Real Thing."
Add Your League
If you want to help grow the community of fantasy wrestling creators, consider hosting your league here on FW. You gain access to message boards, Discord, your own web space and the ability to post pages here on FW. To discuss, message "Chad" here on FW Central.