It was two weeks ago that veteran journeyman wrestler, former longtime tag team champion, and mystery enthusiast Proteus tracked his old partner, Jonathan Zaius Showtime, also known as Showtime, to a quiet suburb where he was enjoying his retirement. Last year, his leg was shattered by an opponent, and he feared he would never step in a ring again, let alone do any actual wrestling in it.
Proteus’ motivation was clear: he knew his partner still had greatness in him, that his glory days were not in the past. That he still had a shot at achieving the legendary status he deserved: and that shot lay in the ULTRATITLE tournament. After some convincing, Showtime agreed to leave his life of comfort and return to the way of the squared circle.
The duo spent the first three days on the road, driving aimlessly. In the olden days, they used to drive across the country, from venue to venue, in a big old van they stole from a white supremacist named Corky. They reminisced about the open road, about eating in greasy spoons, about getting into fights about who threw the map out the window, and about getting lost... until they actually got lost.
“Okay,” Showtime said, “This time it was definitely you who threw the map out.”
“I can’t help it. I sneezed on it. It was soiled.”
“I have really missed you.”
Eventually, they set up a training camp at a disused Blockbuster video. The rental fee was cheap: a brick through the window. Inside, Proteus, acting as a manager for his former tag team partner, set up a makeshift ring out of old newspapers, cardboard boxes, and homeless locals who were being paid small sums to lie perfectly still and simulate the feeling of bumping on a mat.
After a few weeks of practice, something still wasn’t right. Showtime’s timing was off, he was getting winded. He needed to sit down after too much action. At one point, he even contemplated hanging it up for good.
“It’s no use,” Showtime sighed. “I’m not the man I used to be. It’s not the early-2000’s anymore, it’s the late-2000’s.”
“Actually, it’s the early 2010’s,” Proteus corrected him.
“Even worse, it’s several years later than I thought it was. I’m washed up, P-Man. I’m gonna start being an old man with a beer gut who wears dad jeans and makes an ugh noise every time he bends down. I’m gonna turn my garage into a workshop where I paint birdhouses and attempt to build shelves but eventually give up and go get one from IKEA. I’m gonna tell my kids it’s not whether they win or lose, it’s having fun that’s important. I’m gonna join the PTA.”
Proteus finally lost it. “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO, NO! NOOOOOOO!” He stopped to catch his breath, then heaved yet another brick though the window. “I did not pluck you out of suburban purgatory – suburgatory, Wednesdays at 8:30 on ABC – just so you could get tired and quit again! Not without trying. Not without remembering who you are. Not without wrestling at least one match – since I’ve already paid the entrance fee, and you’re already booked to appear!”
“I don’t think I can do it,” Showtime said.
“Your opponent is named Jared Wells... but he calls himself... ‘Daddy.’ ‘Daddy’ Jared Wells.”
Showtime gasped. “You mean... I have to fight... my own father??”
“That’s not true...” Showtime screamed, “THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE!”
“Search your feelings, Showtime. You know it to be true! Now join me, so we can end this destructive conflict, and bring order to the ULTRATITLE TOURNAMENT!”
Showtime stood up “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooo...” then, in his rage, he kicked over the garbage can, then stood each of the homeless bums up and delivered each of them a kick to the face – one by one – his finishing move, The Standing Ovation.
When he was done, he looked around the room at the carnage he caused. He took a deep breath. “Star Wars references and senseless violence against the homeless. I feel like we’ve made a breakthrough.”
“You seem much more relaxed,” Proteus observed.
Showtime nodded, “It’s very therapeutic.”
Proteus agreed, “That’s why I started throwing bricks through windows.” He threw another brick through the window. “It clears my head. Now, are you ready to start?”
Showtime extended his hand for a handshake, and monkey-flipped his partner onto a pile of unconscious hobos.
“Ready as I’ll ever be.”
And so Showtime trained, re-learned how to execute his most famous, most effective, most camera-ready moves. He was still a bit stiff, still a bit rusty, but it didn’t bother him. He knew he was fighting for himself, but more importantly, he was fighting for the fans who longed to see him in the ring again.
(Camera opens up inside Dangles Bar & Grill which is owned by Jared Wells & Cameron Cruise. Closing time, bartenders are counting money, waiters & waitresses are cleaning up. Camera pans to the end of the bar as Jared Wells sits with his hands behind his head wearing a white cutoff EPW Dangle Brothers tee shirt that reads 'GETTIN' IT IN & DONE'. Sitting in front of him is a half gallon bottle of rum and two shot glasses)
JARED WELLS: The Ultratitle. Unfortunately on the rocket ship of fame, there’s only room for one. Any added baggage will just weigh you down, hold you back from shootin’ for the F(BLEEPING)KING stars. The Ultratitle to me is simply baggage. There was this young kid named 'Rage 'o Fire' who became numerous world champion, loved by millions. HE HAD IT ALL. In 1995, this young 'Rage 'o Fire' decided to knock on the door of the CSWA looking for a new chapter, a new challenge. NOTHING. 1996, again he knocked on the door looking for opportunity. Again, NOTHING. The world turned their back on this young kid. Couldn't find a job with anybody, CSWA never called and he was never heard of again.
(Takes a shot of rum)
'Rage o' Fire' died and became Jared Wells. I've become one of the baddest mother F(BLEEP)KERS in this business PERIOD. Here we are some twelve years later after that first CSWA door knock. They finally knocked on Daddy's door.
I no longer hate the CSWA or the Ultratitle, I embrace it.
The mission is simple. I will go thru the entire tournament, one by one, win the title and SHOVE IT right up the asses of whoever was associated with it. The Ultratitle MEANS NOTHING TO ME. Bastard number one, Showtime. I couldn't help sit here SLAMMING on my rum watchin' the ambiguously gay duo of Proteus and his partner Jonathan Zaius Showtime. You're no longer Proteus or Jonathan S. Preston, Esquire, Showtime to me. You're Gary and Ace. I'm just waiting for the old war story of how you used to throw bricks into existing Blockbusters to steal the VHS version of Boner Jam's '98. You really have no idea what you've gotten yourself into do you Ace? A nerd with his nerdisms, that's all you are. Talk about your bum leg, but all you really are is a bowlegged piece of S(BLEEP)T.
(Jared pours two shots and does a toast)
One for the Ultratitle!
One for ACE!
It doesn't matter if the Ultratitle was apart of the CSWA, NFW, Sippersville USA, 7-ELEVEN, everybody will pay. Ace, when you get your ass handed to you, don't blame me, blame the F(BLEEP)KS apart of this. They did this to me. Your Hornet's, Melton's, Doc Silver's, they did this to me. This is all about Jared Wells. This is all about Daddy. Ace, when you wake up and look yourself in the mirror you should say....
(FADEIN: The Dangle Brothers Bar & Grill. Restaurant side appears closing up slowly as the bar area begins to crowd. Camera pans around the decorated bar with wrestling memorabilia all over the walls. Titles, posters, attire, boots, all focusing on Jared Wells & Cameron Cruise, the owners. Camera then pans over to the far corner and zooms up to Jared Wells wearing business like clothes, sitting at the bar with a bottle of rum and shot glasses)
JARED WELLS: Today was a good day, and DADDY is happy. Spending my last night at our Panty Dropper Palace before I fly out to compete in the *YAWNS* ULTRATITLE Tournament. Earlier today, myself and Cameron Cruise announced it was 'DANGLE BROTHERS APPRECIATION NIGHT' here at Dangle Brothers Bar & Grill. We are simply giving back to our loyal patrons, fans, and anybody else that came to show their support. IT'S WHAT WE DO. But DADDY wants to get onto the subject of the ULTRATITLE. When the name ULTRATITLE or CSWA comes up people assume that I'm bitter, or pissed off. I AM, but at the same time cynical. I've already told my story about how I feel on the ULTRATITLE. The ULTRATITLE is simply STU-PID. WHERE WERE THEY WHEN I KNOCKED ON THE DOOR IN 1996? You see, you have all these old bastards like myself tryin' to get that last moment, last paycheck. Difference between DADDY and the rest of the old balls still floundering is that I can leave and come as I choose. I made a business decision to leave wrestling and run something I knew people would love and here we are. I don't need a wrestling paycheck, nor wrestling period. Jared Wells made it in the big time a long time ago, and today. Why? Not because of the CSWA or ULTRATITLE that's for sure. I made it on my own terms, my recklessness, my unpredictability, and if you scratch your head even thinking about it, you should be kicked in the head twice. I listened to a few radio shows, and some of the nerds out there kinda forgot about me or had nothing to say. All of the sudden Jared Wells comes back, you stick a microphone in my hand and here come the bandwagon fans. Bandwagon fans like JOEY MELTON fans. JESUS H. CHRIST. Joey Melton is going to win this thing. I respect what Joey Melton did to this business, but for me to sit here and watch people ride the bandwagon even if they don't give a S(BLEEP)T about the ULTRATITLE, makes me sick. Then again, the ULTRATITLE sucks, that makes me a hypocrite. Makes me think of Showtime. I think if you flip over a scratch off ticket in any state it will tell you your odds. 1:3 are probably named Showtime. Listen to NERD-RADIO, there is two?! Bandwagon fans will get it.
(All of the sudden Jared takes off his sports jacket, dress shirt, and is wearing the classic white EPW DANGLE BROTHERS tee shirt. He jumps onto the bar and grabs the attention of the crowd as he grabs the mic)
JARED WELLS: SLAAAAAAMMMMMERRRRSS!!! EVERYBODY IS A SLAMMER RIGHT?!
(Crowd goes crazy but then they spot a few Showtime fans. SIPPERS chants start)
JARED WELLS: Security, DADDY says get rid of those sippers. (Security takes care of business and the crowd just gets more rowdy)
JARED WELLS: DANGLE BROTHERS APPRECIATION NIGHT!! You all are here and have no idea what the special is. The fact that myself and Cameron Cruise respect and love you so much, drinks from this point on until 2AM ET are for free. ON THE HOUSE!!
(While standing on the bar, Jared punts the action figure of Joey Melton into the crowd. They throw it back. He then sets up a replica trophy of the ULTRATITLE ontop of the bar. Insulting how small it is, he pulls out a golf club)
At the official Showtime training camp – AKA the abandoned Blockbuster – Showtime stands cold and frozen. Like stone. Icy stone. He’s like ice. Hard ice. A big chunk of ice with rocks in it. Cold and... stuck in place kind of. He’s staring at the screen of a TV that has just played footage of his upcoming opponent, “Daddy” Jared Wells. He takes a moment just to stare at his foe’s image. His arms are folded across his chest, his teeth clenched. He takes a deep, irritated breath.
“Well, that settles it,” Showtime grumbles. “That man is definitely not my daddy.”
Turning the TV off and turning to see his manager and former tag partner Proteus sweeping the floor for hobo crumbs, Showtime continued. “For one thing, my daddy didn’t use such foul language. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not uptight. You jam your thumb in a door, you’re gonna say sh--. Someone cuts you off in traffic, you can call him an a--hole. And when someone releases a messy, angry, rant about you on the internet... all you can do is turn around and say, man... F—k that guy.”
“He doesn’t know who you are,” Proteus said.
“Nobody does. You and me, we were big in nbW, but we’re not there anymore, are we? We’re in a whole new crowd who hasn’t seen us. They haven’t traded the tapes, they haven’t seen the YouTube clips, they haven’t paid for tickets to see us in the ring. It’s a whole new sandbox, P-Man, and it’s one I’m going to enjoy playing in. Because with every word I say and every move I make in that ring, the curtain lifts a little more on this show, the more real it becomes. They’ll learn why they call me Showtime.”
“Well,” Proteus added. “It is your family name.”
“Yes, although in the old country it was Schaugeiststein. This guy, Jared Wells – buddy, I am revoking your nickname – he has a lot to say, but it’s nothing new, nothing shocking.”
“I dunno,” Proteus said, “He said some pretty inflammatory things about us.”
“You mean when he... insinuated...”
“Yeah, that.” Proteus said. “I mean, that’s gotta throw you. You know someone’s tough if they can tell when someone else is a gay.”
“That’s never been clinically proven,” Showtime noted.
“But what if... Showtime, what if he’s right? What if we’re lovers, and we don’t even know it?”
“Well, we’re not.”
“I don’t know,” Proteus started thinking, “We did hold hands that one time. And we do spend an awful lot of time near each other. Oh my God, Showtime... what if every two men that stand next to each other are gay?”
“Proteus, Proteus, calm down.”
“I can’t!” Proteus screamed, “He’s in my head! He knows me better than I know myself!!”
“Proteus, Proteus, enough! Don’t let him get to you! Remember, even if we were gay, we aren’t each other’s types!”
Proteus stopped and pondered this for a moment. “Oh... yeah, you’re right! I like rainy days and you prefer the beach.”
“Uh... sure.” Showtime cleared his throat. He turned to address the camera. “Well, Jared, I hope you’re happy with yourself. Your hurtful words have given my manager, the man responsible for bringing me back from the brink of retirement, a complete identity crisis. But as for me, they’ve got no effect. See, when I was a younger man, I was known for my mouth. I could trash talk and make hilarious references and make myself the center of attention everywhere I go, but that’s the past. I’m not known for that anymore. You know why? It’s not because I stopped talking, because I still do – at length, as you can see. It’s because I started wrestling. I started taking what I do in that ring even more seriously, and made it my mission, my reason for being on Earth, the work I do in that ring. And y’know why? To beat people like you. To prove with all certainty that nothing you say can get me, and nothing you do can stop me. I’m gonna drag you all over that ring and make you beg me to finish you off, and the worst part for you is, I’m going to look incredible doing it.”
Showtime took a breath and continued. “Jared, you call yourself Daddy, but you’re not. Let me tell you about my father. My father was a good man, an entertainer, and an all around decent human being. My dad was an acrobat, a circus performer who spent his life flying through the air. The one thing he taught me was what it meant to be more than human. To fly like a superhero and do things no other human being could imagine themselves doing. And every time I step in that ring, it’s my mission to show those fans something they could never imagine, whether it’s flying from great heights, or standing up to someone like you. Everyone has their time in the limelight, Jared... but when you’re looking up at me from the mat, you’ll realize how incredible it was that you got to be part of my story. You were the first to go.”
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