ULTRATITLE ROUND TWO! This narrator isn't one for hyperbole but wowzers is all I'll say!
Well...it's not all I'll say, but what a start! The first two brackets were full of shock and awe, blood and guts, El Lobo y Loco...just fantastic stuff all round I'm sure you'll agree. And now the chaff have been weeded out it's time to get down to business...and maybe get rid of some more chaff that snook in through the back door that is opponent apathy...
But we're not here to critique round one. We're not here to bathe in the glorious sunlight of victory or the defeat of the school of thought that champions that most dreaded 2012 gimmick...straight-edge...we're here to look forward, we're here to fight on...we're here for our hero, Classy Mike C...and to a lesser extent (at least in this narrator's humble opinion) his opponent for this round, a young soul grabber by the name of Spooky Doom. An altogether different prospect to Johnny Niles.
So why don't we join our hero for the week? After all, I'm just paid to narrate and I'm certainly not paid enough to cover all these words or give my opinion...
We start...in a cartoon. Well not IN a cartoon, unless you're Bob Hoskins that's kind of impossible. More accurately...we start as a cartoon. A campy 1970s cartoon no less, with a rather large nod to a popular studio known for producing series about cavemen and people from the future and bears with a penchant for al fresco dining. The music kicks in...the music is unmistakable...almost.
“Spooky Dooky Doom, where are you? We got some work to do now...”
And on screen come five characters, running in a line before driving around in a van named, imaginatively I'm sure you'll agree, “The Mike C Machine”...
“Spooky Dooky Doom, where are you? We need some help from you now...”
There's a short, geeky women's lacrosse player, a scruffy stoner, an incredibly intelligent dog (what? The thing might be a bit simple by human standards BUT HE CAN TALK!), a rather attractive redhead...and Cartoon Mike C who wears a rather snappy sweater/cravat combo. You can totally tell that cartoon Mike C is banging the redhead...nice work Cartoon Mike C. The cartoon characters run around a fair bit, looking behind objects and eating massive, jaw-defying sandwiches. Meanwhile a cartoon character not dissimilar to Spooky Doom in appearance (same mask, same outfit, over-exaggerated shortness...God bless cartoons) pops behind them, chases them down corridors and is generally a bit of a menace
"If we can count on you, Spooky Doom, I know you'll catch that villain"
I know what you're thinking...if the song is about “Spooky Dooky Doom”, surely he should be the dog and not the bad guy? Just...just go with it, OK?
Anyways, we reach the end of our little cartoon. The five young detectives, now joined by a smaller, even more intelligent dog (seriously, what sort of genetic breeding goes on in Hanna Barbara world?). The smaller dog is wearing a Spooky Doom mask, presumably making him Scrappy Doom, and together they all pull off the bad guy who's been terrorising the abandoned fairground/abandoned hospital/abandoned nail salon's mask (and as one last aside, if the place is abandoned surely the masked man is really only guilty of squatting? Hardly work for detectives). But pulling off the mask doesn't reveal the bad guy's identity as his face is obscured by text. And that text is those immortal words...
THE CLASSY MIKE C SUNSHINE HOUR
Making it's debut on ESEN no less! And now we leave that cartoon paradise alone to give Cartoon Mike C and his ginger goddess some much needed relaxation time. Now we cut to the studio. Now we cut to the real Mike C.
And as is familiar protocol when it comes to the Classy Mike C Sunshine Hour we cut to Mike C sat with a group of multi-ethnic, multi-gender, multi-demographic children at his feet. And I mean multi-ethnic, multi-demographic, multi-gender; there's a black kid, a white kid, a child from the far east and one from the Asian sub-continent. There's a child dressed like a member of the Village People (the Native American...ticks two boxes), a child in a burka and a child in a wheelchair. There's a boy dressed as a girl and a girl dressed as a boy. Like all good children's TV shows, no minority is left out. There's even a little straight-edge kid...although to be fair that might actually be Johnny Niles.
I should probably explain Mike C's penchant for hosting his own “Children's TV shows”. British industry isn't what it once was and Children's TV is probably now the country's biggest export. As a proud Englishman (and a megalomaniac who believes America could learn an awful lot from the rest of the world...) Mike C is keen to champion this. But it's not just Mike C...visit the old coal mining towns in the North East of England that Margaret Thatcher attempted to destroy in the 1980s and you'll find streets full of middle aged men dressed as clowns or wizards or genderless aliens. Honest. Come to think of it that might explain why there's such a high rate of child abuse in England. Still, Mike C's intentions are, at least in his head, noble and progressive...
Mike C is wearing a lovely sweater, black with a big jack-o-lantern embossed upon it and smiles his gappy, crooked, English smile at the camera. A camera that suggests many years of grappling.
Mike C: Hello ESEN! Hello boys and girls!
Kids: Hello Mike C!
Mike C: Welcome to another edition of that most British of exports the children's TV show...and welcome to the Classy Mike C Sunshine Hour.
Don't think an episode has ever got anywhere near to being an hour long...someone should really look at the name...
Mike C: Now today I need everyone here in the studio, and watching at home, to be extra brave...no, don't worry, I haven't been replaced in the second round by Johnny Niles and his facsimile brand of straight edge...we need to be brave today because we're going to be talking about DEATH!
There's an audible gasp from the children.
Kid 1: Why should we be scared of not being able to hear?
Mike C: Eh? No, not DEAF...DEATH!
Boom boom. If wrestling matches were decided by multi-dimensional play on word jokes...well, that one probably would have seen Mike C go out in round one.
Mike C: We're here to learn about what happens when you die. Now I'm sure you're mummies and daddies are full of trepidation when such a subject arises but not me, not Classy Mike C. I'm not afraid to tell you little scamps just how it is. You see death is what happens when you die. Or when your Mummy and Daddy die. Or when your Grandma or Grandpa...well, you get the idea. Death is where everything ends.
Kid 2: But Mike C, my Mom told me that when I die I don't end...I go to heaven!
Mike C: Aww...you're “Mom” told you that? Well kid, you're “Mom” is either a liar or an idiot...or both...which one is it?
Kid 2: My Mommy is a night time dancer.
Mike C: Really? A “night time dancer”? I like you kid, tell Mommy to call Mr. C and discuss getting to heaven some time...but anyway, when you die there is nothing. You're soul doesn't row you across a lake to the Emerald City, you don't go through some pearly gates and meet the childhood dog you thought might be able to fly if you attached it to an airfix model and through it up high enough...I miss you Smokey...nope, none of that happens. But you know what happens the least? You certainly don't get your soul harvested by a surprisingly stocky midget luchador with an impressive family history...
Ah Spooky Doom...I wondered when we were going to get onto him...
Mike C: Now I know that all you little tinkers like watching the ULTRATITLE, don't you?
Mike C: And we all know you like the characters who do lots of fancy moves and where fancy outfits that you can recreate by putting your little tighty whiteys of your face, don't you?
Mike C: And I guess that means you all like Spooooooky Dooooooom, doesn't it?
Mike C: Aww, well isn't that sweet? Now, what if I was to tell you kids that Spooky Doom was a lying little con-artist bent only on stealing your hopes and dreams?
The kids seem a little confused. I don't think they've got the knack of abstract concepts like hopes and dreams, after all they all seem to have grown up in America.
Mike C: Because that's what Spooky Doom is concerned with kids. Sure he pretends to be some sort of, let me get this right...rock 'n' roll, progeny-of-a-zombie-biker, grim reaper-type thingy...but really he's just the same as all those nasty teachers who tell you what you can and can't do. He's just the same as the mean old man who lives down the street that shouts at you when you leave a flaming bag of poop on his doorstep. He's just the same as that nasty Priest that installed a shower in the confession box. Basically kids he's a right naughty little bastard. And he won't stop until he's not just ruined ULTRATITLE for you, but also ruined your fragile little minds.
Most of the kids seem bored by this point. The little “Village People” child is teaching the deaf kid the YMCA. The black kid and the kid in the wheelchair are playing tic-tac-toe. The kid in the burka and a little orthodox Jew kid (complete with beard and sideburns...how the hell does he have a beard?!) are holding hands. How sweet. Nevertheless Mike C seems unaware of their indifference.
Mike C: Kids if you learn one thing today...and judging by the general intelligence in the room you probably will only learn one thing...it's that fostering souls is not a viable profession. Become a doctor, become a lawyer, become a “night-time dancer”...but don't try and be a grim reaper-type thingy. Now get out of here you little scamps!
Mike C rubs the head of one of the children (or sombrero, it was the Mexican kid...) in a proud, kind uncle kind of way and they all scamper off cheering. Mike C offers a whimsical smile to the camera, pauses, and then...zoom. Serious face. Ever the master of the seamless edit.
Mike C: Spooky, Spooky, Spooky...it may surprise you but THAT was for your benefit. I know, I seem like a pro, but it was all a work. I'm not a part-time kids TV presenter, just your regular advocate of Great British industry.
See, I told you; Britain's number one export.
Mike C: But Spooky, I'm hoping you learned a little something from that. Round one was a blast, you got to beat Johnny Nobody and I got to beat Johnny Niles, or it might have been the other way round...I forget. But Spooky, you and I both know that this is when business starts. In many ways you're a lot like those multi-demographical infants, and not just in size...and yes, I know, a height joke...very easy. But to be fair that little deaf kid had a mean kick on him not dissimilar to your's...just ask the sound guy. But they're similar to you in an even more obvious way...like the kids you live your life in fantasy. It's sweet, it really is, that you saw your big, bad, balding uncle get killed and resurrected and killed and resurrected and still believe it. It's sweet that you've decided that you're the guy to avenge him. But you know what else it is? Pathetic. Oh, and borderline mentally ill. But mainly pathetic. You really think that you're purging the souls of this industry? You really think you have some undead crap going on? Pathetic.
Withering from Mike C. Gone is the friendly Sesame Street kinda guy and you can smell what's coming...the anti-American, self-righteous kind of guy...oh wonderful.
Mike C: Spooky, you're everything that is wrong with America and everything that is right about pretty much everywhere else. Deluded, unnecessarily cartoonish...as I showed before, slightly deformed, just like America you're a laughing stock. Now as a wrestler, from everything I've learned on the world wide web, I respect the hell out of you. I read about your achievements, I listened to the podcasts extolling your virtues and I checked out the youtube videos...including quite a few of weird fan boys in home made outfits, the kind of guys that no one talks to at the costume party. Quite rightly you're very highly regarded in this tournament. But I don't care about respecting you I care about beating you. I'll be driven on by my lust to improve this country, I'll be driven on by my lust to improve you, and I will educate you in that ring.
Children's TV Presenter, Wrestler, chef of excellent roast potatoes and now educator...is there anything he can't do?
Mike C:Spooky when I moved to America many aeons ago I was excited about the prospect of wrestling in the biggest and best country in the world. And you know what I found? An empty shell of despair, lies and disappointment. You did the right thing by leaving this 50 state flea market for Mexico but the fact remains that you are deeply rooted in the Stars n Stripes. You're the kid who plays dress up way into their twenties, the moron who believes everything they see on TV, Rock n Roll Soul Grabber...and I'm pretty sure I'm now just quoting Poochie the Dog from the Simpsons word for word. You may be heralded, you may have the interweb geeks salivating at the prospect of you going all the way, but they'll be disappointed and so will you. I didn't make much noise in round one, I went about business in my way and got the job done. Round two is when people start to take notice, round two is when I claim the first big scalp. I assume that your mask has a scalp?
If Mike C knows what a scalp is then he's being sarcastic. If he doesn't then maybe he's not such a good educator after all...
Mike C: I cannot wait to wrap those freakishly powerful legs of yours into the Classyleaf...and quite rightly that's been recognised as not a TEXAS Cloverleaf but a BIRMINGHAM Cloverleaf...or a DUNDEE Cloverleaf...or a CHESTER Cloverleaf...for sake of argument let's just say a BRITISH Cloverleaf. I cannot wait to beat the odds and go through to round three. And I cannot wait for America to wake up, realise that false idols like Spooky Doom are ultimately going to be the Doom of this industry and move on. You may "harvest souls" Spooky but last time I checked I didn't have one...so good luck with that.
Mike C looks away from the camera and the lights die down (God bless those high school drama lessons). Spooky Doom may be the favourite but a gauntlet was laid down here today and I'll be damned if any of you guessed it would be through the medium of Children's TV. Now we wait, now we ask...Spooky Dooky Doom, where are you?
Fade to... Vienna, Austria. Inside a lecture hall at the Academy of Greater Science, labcoat wearing scientists are behaving most chaotically. Shouting their heads off, knocking down carefully balanced stacks of research papers, some of them even throwing chalk at each other! Utter bedlam occupies the amphitheater-shaped room as a lone grey haired professor at the bottom of the pitched floor ineffectually pounds at his desk with a gavel.
"Gentlemen," he pleads as his voice goes unheard, "stop this madness at once and listen to reason!" Meanwhile, sissy-slap fights break out across the aisles, the host of scientists assembled for this presentation having lost all measure of composure. The solution, therefore, is to pound on the desk even harder. "You are all behaving like petulent little children", he shouts over the din of bickering to absolutely no avail. Bracing himself, the despondant professor attempts one final try: "there is absolutely no excuse for this dispute! I am certain there's a perfectly rational explanation for Spooky Doom's supernatural skill!"
"You can't have a Grim Reaper... thingy at the ULTRATITLE!" responds someone from the upper levels of the lecture hall, angrily waving a handful of papers. "It has to be purely scientific!" Someone grabs him in a headlock, shoving documents into his face: "if you'd just look at my theorem, you'll find I provided a perfectly good hypothesis-", but he never finishes his sentence because another scientist beans him over the head with a clipboard. The camera pans around to show us how all these brilliant minds have their own opinion on how a Spooky Doom would work or not and nobody ever listens. Utterly defeated, the old professor slumps back into his chair, serving himself a drink from a liquor bottle stashed away inside a hidden cabinet from his desk.
Spooky Doom emerges from double doors at the top of the room, the light behind him sheating him in a luminescent aura! Doves appear, angels sing and everybody gasps. Have you played the music video yet? Play it, right now. Resplendent in his bone colored and lime-trimmed sleeveless hoodie, the Undead Superstar captures everyone's attention through sheer presence, forcing all to freeze mid-dispute with a startling declaration!
Spooky Doom: "Spooky Doom is a scientific and a supernatural phenomenon. A superphenomenon!"
The scientists immediately stop fighting and start comparing individual notes. Speaking in hushed tones in front of the legendary luchador, they clear the aisle before him as he triumphantly makes his way down the many steps leading towards the center of the amphitheater.
Spooky Doom: "Mass. Not to be confused with weight, mass represents an intrinsic property of a body which regardless of it's attraction to another body (ie, gravity), never changes. Much like my body: Lord knows I've tried everything to grow an extra inch or two but no amount of weight training or hot yoga makes any difference... However, those efforts were not in vain as they've created these 89 kilos of compact power that stand before you. With muscle denser than regular body tissue, you'll understand how this lil' Grim Reaper thingy carries more impact than wrestlers twice my size."
Double bicep pose QED's the previous statement, Spooky Doom resumes his march down the steps. Yes he's short, but comparing him to all the intellectuals in the room reveals just how much broader he is compared to the average man. Appreciative female scientist takes a fleeting look at the masked luchador passing her by. "That (m)ass!", she exclaims for the camera, adjusting her spectacles.
Spooky Doom: "Acceleration. It's what brought me to this game. An innate gift from the darker powers that never let's up, never gives out. Check out the latest edition of IWF's Chain Reaction to see how I move, but just try to match my game and they'll be calling you "Gassy" Mike C. You're welcome, by the way; softening up your first round opponent and giving you the easy bye. I swear that between the two of us, no one could tell who started with the lamer creampuff. Regardless: mass, acceleration, put them together and what do you get? The hardest hitting force in the world."
"It's a scientific fact: every time that I fly, I become this irresistable juggernaut of destruction. And lucha training means never hesitating to throw your body mass and everything else that makes you what you are into your battles. Know what inertia is? The quantitative resistance of an object to change in its motion. Roughly translated into wrestling terms, it means not stopping 'til I run right through everyone at the ULTRATITLE! Spread the word: I'm throwing some mad science at "Classy", keep up with the lesson or Spooky'll school ya, be calling you Mike C minus!"
Camera pans away for a moment to find two scientists discussing between each other. "My goodness, with such a studied understanding of physics, it's a wonder Spooky Doom doesn't have a Ph.D by now!", states the first one. "It's all because Marvel Comics threatened to sue us if we'd ever offer Spooky his rightfully earned degree! You imagine how much they'd lose in copyright clauses?", answers his collegue. Pan back to Spooks.
Spooky Doom: "But I still wasn't satisfied. So I researched some more into what lucha libre truly meant: turns out it's not all flips and dives, it's actually a complete school of professional wrestling which includes... that's right, scientific wrestling. When they told me I'd be fighting Classy Mike C from Manchester, I expected some sort of English technical wrestler raised on Wide World of Sports. Would've been cool but nope, not even that. Apart from a TEXAS cloverleaf hold that's not actually from Texas (you know there's such a thing as a British figure four?), what I saw from the USPW was cheap shots and brawling. So tell us "Classy Mike C"; now that you've passed the preliminaries and all that, what is it you have to offer to the ULTRATITLE? Phoney baloney political campaigns? Monty Python sketches? Yo, nobody ever told you foreign comedy acts never took in America?"
Having made his way down to the front of the lecture hall, Spooky serves himself a chilled drink of his own from the reserves of the old professor's stash. Sitting on the desk, the Deadkid addresses the camera casually, but directly.
Spooky Doom: "Fact is, I don't hate the whole "Classy Anarchist" deal you've got going. I've got this mental picture of masked rioters in top hats, the Clash played on the oboe, those big red A's in a circle but drawn into a coat of arms... Then I realize I'm imagining something way cooler than what you actually are. Because at the end of the day and as much as you want to convince people otherwise, you are still the English toff looking down on America, insulting our way of life just to get a rise."
"Now I love America, but I traveled for so much of my young life that I can't consider myself an American as much as I'm a citizen of the world. Made my bones in Mexico, won tournaments in Japan and saw the world through the ICWF and SPW... I'm a pro-wrestler, for Pete's sakes; guys like us go through airports on a daily basis! You think you're at this little corndog stand where you can insult the rubes and collect a paycheck stretching out the local hayseeds? Jolly African-American please, this is the ULTRATITLE! The whole US vs UK thing is played out and I'll be damned (already am but that's a job requirement) if it's the kinda spirit that leads anyone to victory at the grandest tournament of our generation. We're all fighting for the title of greatest wrestler in the world and Classy Mike C over here dresses up in Union Jacks and watches Teletubbies! No seriously, get bent and get outta my way."
"You might be good enough at taking care of guys who've just laced up their first pair of boots and built their personality from watching tapes of their favorite wrestler, but now you're facing the Spooky Doom, Grim Avenger of Lucha Libre! Set out to finish the business his uncle started before he watched too much MMA and decided he was a shootfighter or something! I go out there in the ring and hit people with as much force as can be deployed by either human or inhuman being, then claim the poor victim's souls and go on my merry little way. Tough job but it does come with a few non-negligeable perks, namely how every so often I cross these chumps stuck fifty years in the past, trying to impress fans with their own customs and their craaaaaazy passports. Or to put this in another way..."
He picks up the glass of whisky, swirling the contents with an easy smile shining through the mouth opening of his mask.
Spooky Doom: "I don't always expose wrestling clichés, but when I do, it's to show there's always room for innovation in this sport."
"And that's the difference between merely "classy", and being known as the most interesting luchador in the world. Stay thirsty my friends."
We would like to remind you that Spooky Doom is 22 years old and this is perfectly okay behavior for him. As the lil' Phenom makes his way back up the stairs, you can find him signing autographs from grateful scientists on their research papers and generally exchanging some sweet high fives. FADE OUT
Fade to... A splendiferous birthday party; with cake and presents and My Little Pony balloons! A lavish occasion for a very special girl, with the parents going so far as to hire an amateur magician to provide entertainment. Now the children appear to be around the age of ten, all currently assembled in front of the magician in question, marvelling at the amazing tricks and spellbinding illusions that he performs. Look at him pull a never-ending string of flags from his collar! Be astonished as he links and seperates otherwise solid steel rings! Why he even pulls a rabbit out of... get this, his hat! This could very well be the bestest birthday party ever but for one single kid seemingly unimpressed by the performance.
Kid: "It's all fake! There's no such thing as real magic! Those flags he pulled are lined in a hidden thread within his vest, the rings are gimmicked so as to pass through each other when hit at a certain angle and that hat has a special false bottom. See? I'm way too smart for him! Trying to pull a rabbit on somebody in 2012, who's he tryin' to fool? You're not just fake but lame as well!"
And the birthday girl goes very sullen.
Kid: "He's not even a real magician, he's just this college student who missed his final exams and doing this job for the summer! I saw him before at the supermarket, he's nothing but a stocker who probably learned how to do these tricks on the internet, didn't you? FAAAAKE! When he says he's doing this for the children, he's lying because he wouldn't be here unless Suzie's parents paid him!"
And the magician goes very sullen.
Kid: "This isn't even a real birthday party! We're just an ensemble of actors hired to provide the illusion of a birthday party for, of all things, a WRESTLING PROMO! I mean, how fake can you get? Suzie and most of us kids all come from the same casting studio but the adults were recycled from the guys who played scientists in the previous promo! Talk about cheap! Nothing here is real, everything's fake and the only thing even remotely noteworthy would be the production values. No really, quality work from the light crew, I appreciate fine gaffing."
Sullen looks from everyone, except from the light crew who give a thumbs up from behind the scenes.
Kid: "None of us are even real, that's what so crazy about it! We're all just fictional characters on the internet, lines of text on a forum board; I DON'T EVEN HAVE A NAME! Forget about fake, what the hell's going on around here? Couldn't the guy writing these words think up a better name for me than just "Kid", or am I that unimportant? Hey, wake up; we don't exist, none of this is real, if we do exist it's only in the reader's imagination and we'll be forgotten as soon as the next promo comes up, then it'll be as if we've never lived at all!"
And then a sixteen ton weight dropped down on everybody.
Fade to... A desk in the middle of the meadows. With a desk lamp, a desktop computer and even a microphone despite the fact there's no electrical outlets anywhere in sight. An elegant desk, no doubt about it, hazel-tinted hardwood and last century design but still a desk in the middle of nowhere. Sitting behind the desk is a man in his underwear.
Man in his underwear: And now for something completely different.
Fade to... The darkness of a cemetery, the ground stirring with evil intent. Storms brew, rain pours down from above and lightning flashes across white marble; the name illuminated on the tombstone reads "SPOOKY DOOM". Suddenly, a gloved hand bursts through cold black soil clawing at the air! Does the Deadkid reject his eternal slumber? For this is indeed the hand of Doom, Spooky Doom, rising from the grave and struggling for his very unlife! A hood appears, stained with dirt as the luchador gasps for breath. He emerges from the wet earth, a mask coming into view, black etched with jade flames as Spooky pulls himself from his own grave. For a few seconds nothing is heard apart from heavy breathing through the storm, until thunder booms and Spooky speaks!
Spooky Doom: "Woah, what a strange, enigmatic dream!"
Spooky Doom woke up in a cold sweat. Though not as nightmarish as his recurring dreams where he stood helpless to save his uncle from being crucified to his own symbol by a bunch of souless monsters, there was nevertheless something quite surreal about this dream. Maybe there was some hidden meaning, a special relevance towards his upcoming match against "Classy" Mike C being imparted from the ether... Who could say?
"You okay Spooks? You're on in five!" Spooky looked around himself: he was at the ESEN studio offices, biding his time until the next available recording. He just fell asleep waiting for his turn, that's all. Quick check in front of the mirror: white sleeveless hoodie sparkling, mask grim and foreboding, little ghosts on his bicep bands facing the right direction; gosh darnit if he weren't the best dressed Grim Reaper thingy at the ULTRATITLE! Now it was time to work his magic for the camera, and as soon as the technician gave the word, Spooky Doom was on.
Spooky Doom: "Think you got the world figured out, say there aren't any mysteries left? Guess again, you're dead and the Spooky Doom took your soul just like that. BOOM!"
"Here's the deal: those who claim to know all of life's wonders are often the ones most full of shit. They're not necessarily bad people, just afraid. Their souls are filled with fear, fear of looking foolish, fear of not being in control... ultimately, the fear of one's own impermanence. DEATH. Weak men can't face their fears so they hide; what appears as an attempt to convince others of their own invulnerability hides the fact that the person they most want to convince is themselves."
"HEY LOOK AT ME BEING ALL PHILOSOPHICAL AND SHIT! NO REALLY, WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND HERE?"
"It's not about truth or lies or being right or wrong in discerning the real from the illusion... It's about strength. Strong men can accept anything this world throws at them and still come out a winner. Weak men... can't. They need answers, they need explanations, they need everything to make sense to them. Mike, I don't know what the C stands for but it sure ain't Control because you lost that ever since your first step into the wild and wonderful world of professional wrestling."
"Spooky Doom is real. I'm an honest-to-goodness, government-licenced, genuine, certified lil' Grim Reaper thingy. And "Classy"? I've come to claim your terrified little soul. Look at me Mike: I'm the only one with the strength to pull through the ULTRATITLE tournament."
Despite how we're in the same ESEN studio that so many other participants have used, underneath the same ULTRATITLE banner so many others have been videotaped against; Spooky Doom manages to give off an energy unfound by anyone else. He's excited, possessed even, filled with manic intensity. And he's loving every moment of it.
Spooky Doom: "You're probably asking yourself exactly WHY is there a Grim Reaper after your soul, and I suppose that's a fair enough question. First thing first, don't ever tell a child how he should grow up. Childhood is precious like you wouldn't believe. Children are blessed with the choice between all the millions of paths of life in the universe, and all you see of value is a suit. Me? I grew up watching my uncle lying in a coffin, shaking in deep shock, dying for no reason at all. I took a vow not to let these monsters who buried my uncle win. You know what that makes me, Mikey?"
"IT MAKES ME THE GODDAMN BATMAN, THAT'S WHAT!"
"Meanwhile, you've somehow figured out that Spooky Doom sounds a lot like Scooby Doo and commissioned a freakin' CARTOON SHOW to point it out. Throwing money out the window much? I guess it's a step up from Teletubbies but you're still playing kid games to me. As opposed to actually inspiring them. Here's the kicker, England used to produce some quality television: like Blackadder, the Young Ones and maybe even Monty Python. These shows captured the imagination of a nation because of how silly they were, and I hope one day some courageous pro-wrestler isn't afraid to incorporate some of that trademark silliness into a promo. Then again, that kind of self-referential humor isn't for everyone, the whole thing would end up pretty metaconceptual and might only confuse the fans..."
"REGARDLESS! You'd want these children to grow up to be as cold and miserable as you are and I'm gonna stop you. Last I checked, I'm not the one telling kids which profession they should follow; cripes, you're no Classy Anarchist, you're a Fascist Anarchist, no better than Thatcher herself! So if nothing else, get this: Spooky Doom isn't just about claiming souls in the night, I also inspire by my words and my actions inside the ring. Far from being a simple-minded bruiser, I'm a luchador. Those kids you mentioned look up to me and know that there's more to wrestling then delivering pain, more to life than following the guidelines. Yours or Thatchers. I can only hope each and every one of them grow up to be as unique as me. My words for them: forever further yourselves, challenge the world; all I can share with you is my own strength to boldly smash through adversity. Leap into life like a luchador. With everything that makes you what you are, never holding anything back."
"But for you, "Classy" Mike C, I have a special message. See, since you said that you didn't have a soul to harvest, that makes me especially interested in you since I specifically gather the souls from those who have none. Yeah I know, you're probably thinkin' how that doesn't make any sense but I did touch upon it during that hype program and possibly during my first round promo against Carl Brigsby. In any case, seems like this Spooky Doom has his work cut out for him in Round 2. For the ULTRATITLE. For the children. For the sake of la lucha libre."
That's when Spooky Doom woke up from his bed, staring around him- Nah, I'm just funnin' with ya. FADE OUT
Are we in Vegas? Well, no. Is ULTRATITLE heading to Vegas? I don't think so. Am I talking about Rod Stewart's latest show there? Not quite. But if you get the chance check out the world's most famous Celtic fan and former Faces frontman. Wonderful live show.
The reason it's getting so exciting in Vegas is the bookies' odds are jumping around like a post-menopausal Rod Stewart fan when he does “Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?”. That's right, they're taking bets on ULTRATITLE (unless your name is Chad, whoever he is. I believe his picture is up behind every counter in the city above the words “DO NOT LET THIS MAN PLACE BETS ON ULTRATITLE!”.)
Now I'm sure you're familiar with me by now and if you are you'll know that I'm The Narrator. Not just any “The Narrator”...Classy Mike C's “The Narrator”. And it doesn't matter or do or don't what you think...or something along the lines those jibberish words (a little insider one for the “Guerilla” marks out there)...I'm here to report on ULTRATITLE. And right now the buzz is how the odds are closing on a round two upset. Who for? Who else...Classy Mike C.
Going into this round Classy Mike C (or my paymaster, depending on how cynically you're viewing this) was a rank outsider. Everyone loves Spooky Doom don't they? Spooky D, the lil Grim Reaper thingy, nephew of the redneck shoot fighter...everyone loves him. And before round two everyone had him marked down for an easy trip to round three, right? Well, like I said, the odds are narrowing on that one.
I'm not sure how a few words can make a difference but they do. Maybe it was the wisdom Mike C imparted on those children. Maybe it was the conviction with which he addressed Spooky Doom. Maybe it was the fact that Cartoon Mike C was able to nail a hot cartoon girl like “Daphne” and anyone capable of that deserves kudos. But whatever the reason people are now starting to have some faith in Classy Mike C. People are starting to believe that Spooky Doom could be round two's Dan Ryan or “Triple X” Sean Stevens...minus the bye.
But unfortunately you people aren't here to have faith in me. My odds of winning ULTRATITLE remain at 10,000-1 (and I'm happy to take anyone up on that bet). So why don't we join our hero? Yes, let's join Classy Mike C...and let's hope he's not going all “Teletubby” on us this time...
Phew. We're not joining Classy Mike C in a cartoon world of wonder and poorly spoofed kids TV. We're joining Classy Mike C...in bed...and he's fast asleep.
Wait a minute? Didn't Spooky Doom dream something recently or...
Well yes. He did. But Classy Mike C is in bed and we can't do anything about that. His slightly weather beaten face actually looks sweet amidst the sheets and he's clearly deep in the land of nod. If only we could join him...if only we could witness his dreams...if only...
Wow. Here we are. For the visually impaired watching imagine a “Saved By The Bell” style cut to a dream sequence (blurry waves on the screen, fuzzy pink border). For the hearing impaired imagine harp music playing as we close in on Mike C's peaceful face. For those who've lost their sense of smell try and remember what a big whiff of cheese smelt like. Are we there? Great.
We seem to be at a USPW House Show. Judging by the recent form of USPW we're the only people there, and we're apparently “in a dream”, but what the hey! Someone's got to be there!
It seems to be a celebration of the USPW ULTRATITLE competitors. Troy "The Baller" Franklin has just gone over Grilled Cheese in a squash match (if we're lucky then later he might act out his favourite scenes from “Friday”) and according to the dream programme in our hands earlier we wold have seen first round eliminations battle each other as AJ Johnson defeated Jay Connor (he probably didn't promo for that match either). Later on we're going to get a glimpse of Cyanide Harvey and his brother Crysis face the USPW Tag Team Champions, The Bruised, so let's hope that our hero doesn't wake up before that. But right now that familiar music kicks in, "I'm So Bored With The USA" by The Clash, and the USPW World Heavyweight Champion Classy Mike C heads to the ring.
Well, I say familiar music. It's “I'm So Bored With The USA” by The Clash...on the oboe.
Mike C's a heel but they cheer the hell out of him anyway...that's how wrestling works right? Or at least how it works in one's dreams. Mike C rolls into the ring and does a few snappy poses before calling for a microphone.
Mike C: USPW, make some noise if you hate America!
The dream fans make a lot of noise. Mike C's not normally so blatant in his hate speeches, so this has got to be a great opportunity for all the pop psychologists out there to get into his psyche.
Mike C: So USPW it seems that the competition here ain't good enough so I'm having to kick arse in the ULTRATITLE tournament!
The fans cheer once again. Dream Mike C sure is popular.
Mike C: And my next opponent is some loser called Spooky Doom! You think you're tough Spooky? You think that soul snatching gimmick is cool? You hang around with all them scientist chaps chatting about how you're supernatural? Well I think you're a right bastard! And in round two I'm gonna kick your arse and then go on to win the tournament! And you'll have to like it or lump it!
The fans go wild as Mike C's peculiar oboe music kicks back in. And then...and then...and then...
Thank God. Mike C wakes up and sit bolt upright in bed. A cold sweat drenches his face (and his sheets it appears...let's hope it's a cold sweat anyway). Unlike most professional wrestlers who we all too often find in bed when delivering something to camera Mike C does not have some young, buxom, stunningly attractive woman lying next to him. Presumably, unlike other wrestlers, Mike C can't be bothered hiring a model to pretend he's some kind of super stud.
Or maybe he's just crap with women.
Mike C wipes the sweat from his brow (the cleaner will have to deal with the sheets) and nods a slightly confused nod to the camera in acknowledgement (as if he didn't know we were here...). Mike C clambers out of bed and stumbles towards the couch under his bay window (why do people have couches in their bedroom?). Mike C makes himself comfortable before looking to the camera.
Mike C: Oh ULTRATITLE, don't bother calling in advance. Don't bother waking me, don't bother trying to set something up. Just stalk me until you get an opinion or a sound bite, that's fine...
God I hope he's being ironic. I'd hate to work for someone with no self-awareness. Someone who doesn't acknowledge that there's a “fourth wall”.
Mike C: Still, it's good you're here. I just had the most dreadful of dreams.
Mike C winks at the camera, a wink so fast that you're not so sure it actually happened. Phew, it seems that Mike C knows we know that it was all a work (but does he knows that we know that he knows that we know? I guess we'll never know).
Mike C: You know what I dreamt ULTRATITLE? You know what I dreamt?
Yes Mike C. We know what you dreamt. We were there. It was like a low-budget Inception but we were there.
Mike C: I dreamt...that I was generic. I dreamt that I was the kind of guy who marches out at a house show, assumes that anybody watching gives a crap and proceeds in launching a boring tirade at my next opponent...at Spooky Doom. Now that scares me, not so much that I'd eat whatever cheese it was that gave Spooky Dooky Doom those crazy dreams he had the other day, but it scares me. Because in spite of what my old friend Spooky says I abhor cliché, I abhor repetition...I abhor being generic.
Well...I get the generic bit but the Classy Mike C I know repeats himself like the dickens...
Mike C: Spooky, Spooky, Spooky...
Mike C: It's all starting to get fun isn't it? I make a kids TV show for you, you have people debate the very fibre of your existence at me...or something like that. You have a nap, I have a nap. It's like the irresistible force meeting the immovable object, only with the irresistible force thinking he was Batman and the immovable object being the world's best roast potato chef. And quite frankly I can't wait for round two. You see I noticed something after my first round match, something that troubled me. There was an awful lot of buzz on the internet about this tournament and you know what the prevailing opinion was when it comes to me and you? Spooky Doom...and I remind you all that this is the same Spooky Doom who defeated what can only be described as a “local talent” in the first round...was the one to watch in this tournament, a dark horse, a potential star of the future. And Classy Mike C? Well, apparently I beat Johnny Straight-Edge with ease...but I'd need to “step it up” for round two. Now forgive me if I'm wrong but is that not a little short sighted? I mean sure I beat Johnny Niles without leaving second gear...but by comparison I'm going to run Spooky Doom over with a monster truck!
The point is a good. Classy Mike C having a monster truck toy to hand is not. Him mimicking it running over Spooky Doom is even worse.
Mike C: I have to commend you though Spooky. You clearly came into this round thinking “oh boy! An easy match and then Orphan!”. But you've learnt that I'm more than that, and try as you might I think it scares you a little bit. You've fallen back on that classic, not-at-all clichéd argument...the guy is English ergo he must be a toff and he doesn't seem to like America much, what a cliché! But I've never been a cliché Spooky and I'm afraid I never will be. You're right on one thing, I am English...
No **** Sherlock...
Mike C: ...but I'm not some toffee-nosed Lord. And you're right, there's an awful lot I don't like about America...I don't like it's attitude to the rest of the world, it's stubbornness when it comes to change, it's imperialism and it's backwards social values...and it's not just because we did all that 100 years ago in Britain and you copied us! But you need to realise something; I'm not here to condemn America, I'm not here to come over and go all Thatcher on you, singling out the poor and destroying your communities. I'm here to help you...all of you. I'm here to set an example of how society can work, how change can be for the better. And I'm here to do it via the medium of Professional Wrestling...and to an extent Children's TV, but enough of that for now.
Thank God, I couldn't bear another “educating”.
Mike C: It is an interesting point you raise...cliché...but it's not me who should look in the Mirror. I like you Spooky Dooky Doom, I really do, but by God do you sound familiar. The “rock 'n' roll” attitude, the witty quips...sans the wit...the messages of hope and following your dreams...you ARE American Wrestler 101. You can take a template and dress it up in a mask and a hoodie and say that it claims souls but the template remains, the status quo is unaltered and your day-glo message of love and hope remains hegemonic. Put it this way, you might not be able to polish a turd but you can certainly roll it in glitter! Spooky Doom...glittered turd...
A lovely image I'm sure you'll agree. Pass the sick bucket.
Mike C: Spooky...you want to know why I'm so cynical and why I tell kids exactly how it is? Because when I grew up I had no one like me. I grew up in the world of eating vitamins and saying prayers, living the dream and the underdog winning...I grew up in a world where children thought that some blue guy and five little kids with magic rings could save the earth...and it's all a load of turd...not even glittered turd, just plain old soggy turd. Life is hard and chances are you won't win and I wish I'd known that from the start. I wish that I'd known that I'd have to fight every battle for myself and that life wouldn't just hand me my dreams on a plate. I didn't have an uncle to hook me up with the top wrestling schools, I had to work to get to where I am. I'm not here to fill everyone with joy and hope, I'm here to make them better people. When we enter that ring Spooky, you'll be well aware that I'm not the underdog any more. And you know what? So will everyone else. I cannot wait until the day after when in offices up and down America Pervy McCheatsonhiswife, Johnny Steals-Stationary and Fat Joe Slob gather around the water cooler...and bemoan the fact that I ruined their ULTRATITLE brackets! I will save America Spooky...and who knows, maybe when I do so you'll see that I'm right...because then I will have saved your soul.
After a moment of staring intensely into the camera (a professional wrestling staple...not a cliché...honest...), Mike C gets up and smiles.
Mike C: Cut!
And lo and behold the walls come down. Not literally of course, but on screen come the sound guys, the director, the production people, even the “gaffer” and the “best boy”...not a clue what a either of those actually are but they always have one in film credits.
So he was in on it all along eh? Wow. But that's neither here nor there. The gauntlet has been laid down and a match that seemed like a foregone conclusion a few weeks ago might just be a little more exciting than that...hooray.
Anyway, we're fading to black now so time for me to wrap up before I get cut o...
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