* "The Muffin Man" Kin Hiroshi leans back into a park bench outside of Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. The warm summer evening seemingly set in earlier than normal. Kin has a prime people watching spot on the famous Las Vegas Strip, and the passersby take their time across the street marveling at the Bellagio fountains making their nightly eruptions. Men, women and children all feel the evening heat, and a few drunk souls mock diving into the small man-made lake to relieve themselves. Hiroshi merely stretches, and motions the cameraman to follow a few young girls sauntering by. *
KIN HIROSHI: "Ya know, it wasn't too long ago that I would have been chasing after tail like that. Flaunting my NFW World Heavyweight Championship, or my CSWA United States Championship. Hell, there's some nights when I finish my security shift down the street at Tao Nightclub that I can talk a girl into coming to take a peek at the CSWA belt resting above the fireplace, but they gotta be drunk.
"And they gotta be a die-hard wrestling fan."
* Hiroshi relaxes from his casual demeanor, and leans into the camera, resting his forearms on his knees, and removing his aviator sunglasses. *
HIROSHI: "It amazes me, how quickly a bright and shining star can dim and fade: how quickly the spotlight seems to shift it's ever-staring gaze. It wasn't too long ago that you couldn't mention certain legends of this industry without hearing my name, Kin Hiroshi, tossed in the mix. Now, though, it's almost as though I'm an after-thought, a man who had all the talent, all the opportunities, but none of the drive.
"And it can all be taken away.
"Men like Joey Melton will forever be linked with this industry. A man who had everything that I had, but he had that spark to keep going. I guess that's why Lazarus, himself, has tossed his hat into the mix for the Ultratitle. Me? I'm a thousand miles away from my beloved Seattle, Washington. A thousand miles away from anyone who can remember what I accomplished. A lifetime away from the goals that I set out with.
"But it also amazes me how quickly opportunity can knock again. How quickly the muscles remember how to throw a punch, a clothesline, a suplex, or even take a bump.
"Chad Merritt reminded me once about why I would forever be The Muffin Man. The letter I received from CS Enterprises last week as a formal invitation to enter into the Ultratitle Tournament, was a second reminder of who I was.
"Who I am."
* Kin leans back again. *
HIROSHI: "I've made my mistakes in this industry. I've cancelled on promoters. I've shunned responsibilities. Hell, I've probably got more enemies left around my old stomping grounds than I have wistfully remembering fans.
"But I make no apologies. I did what I had to do to make myself happy. Did I make myself rich while doing it? Hell no, but I stuck to my guns. When I made a run at a comeback a few years back as The Unicorn Mask, I was determined to make it to the top of the game again, and reveal myself to the world. The Prince of Pastries making a triumphant return.
"My return, as it resulted, was nothing more than a footnote in the annals of NFW.
"When I got that letter last week, I was reminded about who I was, and still am. I'm not a security guard in a Las Vegas nightclub. I'm not a footnote in a win-loss column.
"I'm the motherf*cking Muffin Man.
"I'm motherf*cking Kin-God-Damned-Hiroshi!"
* Kin lowers his head, and leans forward again. Attempting to regain his composure. *
HIROSHI: "In the first round, I've drawn 'The Dream' Marcus Davis. A lot of people are watching this match, because chances are the winner is going to have to take on Joey Melton in Round Two. A lot of people are wondering if a 30-something Kin Hiroshi has still got what it takes. Is he a dark horse? Will he be the first person in the tournament to grab an underdog victory?
"All that rests beyond 'The Dream' who's in for a rude awakening if he thinks he can get past the nightmare coming his way.
"Davis. I don't know you, kid. Chances are, you've maybe heard of me here and there. You better wish on a shooting star tonight, because a miracle is what it's gonna take to stop me from from stomping your brains out all over the mat on my way THROUGH Melton, Cameron Cruise, Dan Ryan, Godzilla, Mother Theresa, or all of the Avengers if need be.
"I'm not just going to be you, 'Dream.' I'm going to humiliate you in front of your peers. I'm going to make you regret, with every ounce of your being that you decided to enter into this tournament.
"Kin Hiroshi will be more than a footnote.
"I will rise beyond that glass ceiling that I have placed above my head for years, that others have reinforced due to my errors.
"Marcus Davis, it's just a shame that you had to step in front of a locomotive."
Now this means something, since his arrival in the United States, Marcus Davis has continued his training. Along with the rest of the field making up the rest of the first bracket, his focus is being the most prepared he possibly could be for his first opponent. This is the most anxiety the competitors will be under, nobody wants to taste the bitterness of defeat in the opening round. Nobody wants to have to look at their opponent and admit that on that night, they just weren’t the better man. This is why one must do everything possible to prevent such an…embarrassment and make sure they move one step towards their goal of capturing the UltraTitle. Yet, what goes into capturing of such a prestigious accolade?
If you were to ask Marcus himself, he would not have an answer. Correct, he would not know what it truly takes to win the UltraTitle, unlike others in this tournament; Marcus will admit he has yet to learn what truly is needed in order to win. All Marcus can do is…
Train like his life depended on it…
Sweat runs from his brow as we focus in on Marcus running on a treadmill, and by running he’s almost in full sprint. The trainer standing beside him applauds as Marcus begins to slow down, he’s quickly handed a towel in which he uses to wipe off his face and bare chest. We focus in on him as he takes a few deep breaths and shakes his trainer’s hand who pats him on the back.
After collecting himself, Marcus walks towards the camera still breathing slightly heavily. He collects himself for a few more moments before beginning to speak.
Marcus: Instead of wasting my time talking about my methods of taking drunk eighteen year olds home, I’ll attempt to get to the point as to why I’m standing in front of you right now…
Marcus shakes his head in disbelief before continuing.
Marcus: Unlike my opponent Kin Hiroshi, there’s more to be done in order to win the UltraTitle rather than stand around, reflect back on the times when you were relevant in the wrestling world and didn’t have to work as a security guard to afford a Big Mac.
I may not be as well-known as you to everyone paying attention to the UltraTitle, but I am aware that in order to make a mark in this industry you cannot sit back and reflect on what you have done in the past. You are not a history professor standing in front of a class room of bored college students whom can’t wait to get out of your class.
Hiroshi, you aren’t even a High School teacher that’s teaching a group of impressionable youth. So, why do you feel the need to waste everyone’s time and mostly _My_ time by running through memory lane that led to you announcing all of your hopes and aspirations that you could achieve by your last opportunity at glory…
Marcus pauses briefly, taking a large breath.
Marcus: And all you have to do is win the UltraTitle Kin, no big deal right? You’re going to defeat all the great names in the tournament and you’re going to achieve the greatness you always wish you could have during your prime….
Marcus shakes his head again before wiping sweat from his forehead.
Marcus: …And they call me The Dream….
Marcus shrugs his shoulders.
Marcus: You seem to be a bit more delusional than anything; you would have to be in order to make the claims you put forward. Maybe they should call you “The Delusional” Kin Hiroshi; you seem to think you are some kind of nightmare that’s going to embarrass me as you are some sort of locomotive that will plow straight through me.
Marcus knocks on the wall beside him, not taking his now piercing eyes off the camera. He follows by crossing his arms.
Marcus: That was reality knocking Hiroshi…You should really join the rest of us in the real world, the world where you actually do more than just talk. You making tough statements about how you’re reborn, how you’re going to be a nightmare…
Marcus pauses again before continuing slowly.
Marcus nods his head allowing the sting of the words to seep in.
Marcus: I’ll let you in on a little secret Kin, I really don’t care who you are, what you’ve accomplished, or who you _THINK_ you are. Not to disrespect your career, as you were correct I have heard about you and do have respect for what you _HAVE_ accomplished. But, that doesn’t change anything Kin, I simply don’t care…
A grin comes across Marcus’ face as he continues.
Marcus: Unlike you, I’ll take a step into reality right now. To be honest with you Kin, they shouldn’t call you “Delusional” as “Muffin Man” suits you perfectly. The man I saw was not the Kin Hiroshi from the past, the man I saw was a shell of himself, weak, sad, pathetic. Yet, that man felt as if he would have no problem defeating me and having a dream match with Joey Melton in the second round….
Intensity enters Marcus’ eye that was not present before.
Marcus: Kin Hiroshi…there will be no second round for you, there’s not going to be any rise back to glory, and you will _NOT_ defeat me. The sad excuse of the being that you have become will _NOT_ be the one to keep me from advancing in the UltraTitle. You will _NOT_ have any match against Joey Melton as you will _NOT_ make it past me in the first round…I have not come this far only to lose to someone like you Kin Hiroshi. I hope you like your job as a rent a cop as that’s where you will be spending your time after you step into the ring against me.
A full smile comes across Marcus’ face as he simply looks forward.
Marcus: Kin Hiroshi you are about to become nothing more than a footnote in the career of “The Dream” Marcus Davis…a very small footnote. If you believe otherwise you can simply…
* Hiroshi passes through TSA at Mccarran International Airport in Las Vegas, NV. The Ultratitle Tourney is about to begin, and destiny is calling. Kin slips back into his shoes, grabs his carry on bag, and walks towards the tram to take him to the D Gates. *
HIROSHI: "Kid, you're insane. Davis, if you really think that you're gonna keep me from advancing into round two, then you must have a secret weapon.
"Is it a Hulk?
"Do you have a Hulk?
"There is no way in blue tidy bowl Jesus' HELL you will ever hold me back.
"Yeah, I've been living as a security guard in Las Vegas the past few years. Not because I couldn't hack it in the big leagues; my credentials speak for themselves. I've been living down here because I needed to escape. I needed to find myself. I needed to be reminded of what's important.
"Make NO mistake, kiddo, I don't just stand around and move traffic all night. I gotta stay up on my 'game.' Gym, every day. Controlled force classes. Recognition of a threat. It's a shame that that last skill won't even come into play against you. You're not a threat. You're a wanna-be.
"You come into the Ultratitle Tournament, thinking you can beat me? I applaud your self-confidence, but I KNOW that I will be everyone put before me. You ask ME about beating the 'great names' to win the Ultratitle? Yeah, I'll do it, and by you thinking that these are 'great names' shows that you find yourself below them.
"Hmmm, maybe self-confidence isn't the term I should have used. Maybe I should have just said 'I applaud your arrogance.'
"Give it a rest, Davis. I AM the Muffin Man. I AM the Prince of Pastries. The Sultan of Sweetrolls. Do I need to go on? No. You KNOW who I am. You KNOW I am a man to be feared.
"And you are right. It is amazing that you have come THIS far: to the first round. Because it takes a lot of skill to write your name on the dotted line for a tournament, and you, kid, are a moron. You have no chance against me. I'm gonna drive my elbow straight through your nose, and watch you bleed.
"Why? Am I sadistic? No. It's because I can, and I will. I'm far from delusional. I'm a realist. You can live in your 'dream' and step into reality whenever you want, but here, where Kin Hiroshi resides...
"...the sky is blue...
"...the grass is green...
"...and The Muffin Man beats you every time.
"Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a plane to catch. I'll see you on your back in a few short hours. I advise you to do something from keeping yourself from being embarrassed into retirement. Then again, the nightclub is down a security guard, now that I'm on my way to win the Ultratitle."
When one looks into a mirror, what they see in the reflection speaks volumes. Does one see a potential champion? Or do they see an individual who blown opportunities, failed to make a difference, failed to become anything other than a footnote on the annuals of wrestling history?
Does one see something to be proud of? Or do they see a complete failure? Someone who has failed to live up to the names of their peers, the very peers that they now envy and wish they could match in accolades and fame?
Does one see themselves as a success, or the sad shell of a man who once has respect in the world of wrestling?
In the simplest state, can one honestly see a winner in their reflection? Or do they see the sad state of what is Kin Hiroshi?
We open to Marcus Davis sitting in the bleachers of a gym, his running gear and the sweat coming from his body indicates that he has been running stairs for quite some time in solitude. He holds a bottle of war in his hand which he slowly sips from; his eyes are already fixed on the camera. Marcus sits the bottle of water down with a small grin on his face.
Marcus: It seems that my assessment of my Kin Hiroshi was quite accurate, but not only is he delusional, he’s not even that creative. I guess all these years as a security guard have killed your ability to say anything interesting. Marcus shakes his head after a small snicker. He looks around briefly before continuing.
Marcus: The fact that I show respect to those that have paved the way for me to become a wrestler, is not a show of arrogance, it’s not a sign that I place them above myself. It’s simply a sign of respect Kin…That and nothing else…
Unlike you, I have no reason to be bitter. From out your own mouth you admitted that your last attempt at glory resulted into you becoming nothing more than a footnote in the NFW. You mistake my “respect” as arrogance and I see all your talk as nothing more than a bitter man wanting to recapture something that’s far from his grasp.
There is no greatness left inside of you Kin Hiroshi, just stories of chasing skirts and what you did in the “good ol’ days.” I thought I made this quite apparent before Kin, but I don’t mind repeating myself. What you accomplished in the past….
Marcus pauses briefly.
All of your talk about making me bleed…
The only thing that truly means anything is what you are going to do. Now that’s where we disagree with each other Kin Hiroshi, you seem to be on this stick of embarrassing me, and that you will make your path through every competitor in the UltraTitle tournament. You seem to think that nothing can stop you and I am a wannabe for thinking I can defeat you.
Marcus pauses momentarily again shaking his head.
So I go from someone you don’t know, to being a wannabe in the course of a few days? All just because I dare have the balls to say I can beat the “mighty” Kin Hiroshi?
His voice was full of sarcasm, yet his eyes began to become filled with passion, the tone of his voice changes as well.
I _WILL_ defeat you Kin Hiroshi, unlike you I don’t just claim to put the work in, I actually do it. Unlike you I still have the talent to step into the ring and make a name for myself. Which is extremely unfortunate for you, because I _WILL_ make an example of you by defeating you in the middle of the ring. All of those in the UltraTitle will take notice after I’ve defeated you. You mean nothing to me Kin Hiroshi, and deep down inside you know for a fact that it will take me making a mistake in order for you to defeat me. _YOU_ may have the name recognition but _I_ am the one with everything going for him.
What do you do with your days Hiroshi? Do you sit on your couch and stare at titles you won years ago? You know that CSWA belt you have above your fireplace? Is that what your life has been reduced to? I’m sure it has, because it’s all you really have.
Marcus nods his head as he continues.
You don’t have a career, your legacy is tarnished, and do you even have a family? All you have is one belt sitting above your fireplace, that’s _ALL_ that is left of Kin Hiroshi and his wrestling career. Yet, you are the one walking into the UltraTitle with this sense of entitlement, the sense that this is owed to him, the belief that everyone is beneath you, the naïve opinion that you are going to defeat me….Let me ask you this…
…Are you a fool?
His words were said with extreme sincerity; in fact his body language is currently all business. You must be Hiroshi to honestly think that you’re going to come straight off your rent-a-cop duty and defeat me in the ring….in this tournament. Maybe another day and another time you may have been able to pull that off, just not now…not in this tournament. This means more to me than you could ever quite comprehend. I know you’ll see this and you won’t take me seriously, you will just pass me off as some punk…
Which is perfectly fine, your opinion of me is irrelevant. As far as I’m concerned the only thing that matters to me is the state you leave our match. I will put an end to your delusions and show you that your aspirations of winining the UltraTitle…
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