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UNLEASHED 2013: MAIN EVENT World Title - The First (c) v. Impulse

The Great Eye

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(FADEIN: The First standing behind a table that has a black and a white piece of fabric on it. His face is painted in the Kefka motif he has on a black dress shirt and pants, his personalized ankh EPW World Title rests over his right shoulder.)

FIRST: Two masks, two very different stories. Impulse. (First picks up the Impulse mask and holds it.) what is the story of Impulse? It’s the story of a man living in fear. You wore this mask because you were scared that people wouldn’t give you enough credit for your wins, that your success would somehow be tainted by the fact that you were trained by legends and known to the insiders of the industry. You wore this mask because you wanted to keep the naysayers from cheapening your glory.

Or so that’s the story you tell us all now. Now that you have become a success you are able to tell us all the pleasing story of the history of this mask. Truth is you’re a little man in a giant’s game, same as myself, when somebody fifty or a hundred pounds bigger than you catches you flush, you go down and you’re lucky if you hear the ref slapping the mat to give you the warning that you better get a shoulder up or the game is over.

That’s the truth of this mask. That maybe you had a glass jaw, or maybe you didn’t have the strength needed to hang with the giants and maybe for all your skill and will you just couldn’t cut it in this industry. If so you would have slunk back into the shadows unknown. Nobody but the most dogged of reporters would have hunted down Randall Knox to find out the story of why he wore a mask during his failed run in the industry.

You hid behind a mask because you’re a coward…You hide behind your code of conduct in much the same way. Your losses are washed away because if you ever did bother to stoop to the level of the other wrestlers, well there would be no stopping you, but you’re better than all that. (smiles) Your whole existence is based off a bunch of crutches you’ve made for yourself, ready-made excuses and justifications for any and all shortcomings that could ever befall you.

(First picks up the Dis mask.) This…This is the mask of a man who is willing to roll the dice, willing to risk everything. Willing to live and die on the edge of the blade. You said it yourself when I was hunting down Anarky, that if I fell to him I’d be a laughingstock…I put my career on the line in one match, success and I bring the house down, failure and I’m a disgrace for all of time itself. The mask wouldn’t have hidden my shame, for there were those who already knew who I was before I entered that ring and they would have loved to have told the world about my failures.

Well that and the fact that my wife was hiding under the ring the whole time that would have been kind of hard to explain away. (Shrugs, smirks.)

See Impulse, I believe in being bold, I believe in seizing the moment. I believe that you take what you want you don’t wait for it to be offered to you…What exactly have you done here in the Empire? You held a secondary title taken from a secondary talent, and then you defended it against a bunch of nobodies and finally lost it to Stalker because you bit off a little more than you could chew in a single night.

But that failure wasn’t really a failure was it Impulse? Good old Stalker merely freed you from the burden of honoring a belt so meaningless it’s been vacant for this whole last PPV cycle and nobody’s cared. He allowed you to come calling for my title, of course you really didn’t come calling for it either. You toughed it out to the bitter end in the King of the Cage before failing again, to a tag team that I defeated in the first round of the tournament.

But in the space between starting KotC and falling short at the finish you managed to earn a Cameron Cruise assisted win to get a shot at me. And that is why we’re here, because your buddy Triple X is such a prick that people are willing to forfeit title shots just to get one over on the guy.

For a man who spent so long explaining why he didn’t just go for the title right away, about how he had to pay his dues and truly EARN the right to challenge for my title, you win one singles match since that loss to Stalker and it was a pretty cheap win at that, and now you’re rip-roaring and ready to go to take me on and take this belt from me.

I’m pretty sure that makes you a hypocrite…Not that I didn’t know that about you beforehand but it’s nice to have it spelled out so clearly for the world to see. It’s who you are, a man who likes plausible deniability…Oh I didn’t know Cruise did that, honest I swear…(Sneers)…Who likes the thin veneer of service time to a company to excuse his desire to hold that company’s biggest title. Everything about you is phony…You’re an arrogant man who believes this all is his birthright.

Well I hate to disappoint you Impulse, but my reign doesn’t end in the Ballpark in Arlington. What happens there is I take a piece of your soul…I’m showing the world that the Marathon Man can in fact be slowed down…And even stopped dead in his tracks…I’m hitting you in the head every chance I can get, rattle around that brain of yours a bit, any chance I can get to drive an elbow or a knee into the back of your neck, I’m taking it. I’m going to make you make hard decisions about if you want to be EPW World Champion, or if you want to be able to walk and talk by the time you’re age 50. I don’t have a code of honor, I don’t have rules that hold me back, this is bloodsport, this (holds up belt) is my life. You try to take this from me, you better be ready to hit me with everything you got and then a little more than that, anything less and it won’t be enough.

I play for keeps Impulse, I’ve fought far too long to give this up. I’ve heard you sing the praises of others who have defeated you in the past, but after this night in Dallas, you will sing my praises, you will tell the world about how The First truly is the leader of the Empire and how all you did in that ring against me was for nothing. You will give the interviews about how it wasn’t your night and how I was just that much better and all the rest of it, but we’ll both know that deep down you’ll think I just got lucky, with another chance, you will best me.

And that’s fine Impulse…I’m more than willing to beat you time after time after time until you finally come to accept the truth.

I'll always be better than you…Because deep down…You’ll always be that scared man hiding behind a mask.

(FADEOUT)
 

User Poets

The Shadow Pope
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Angels

(IMPULSE! IMPULSE! IMPULSE!)

"Let me ask you something, First."

(IMPULSE! IMPULSE! IMPULSE!)

"How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?"

(FADEIN...

"Three minutes, Mr. Knox."

Thanks.

There's a press conference scheduled for... three minutes from now, to get people hyped for the Empire's Unleashed.

'Press Conference' is probably the wrong word: there's no press here. Just a bunch of fans.

About a thousand, according to the security team.

And they're chanting my name. Over and over. To be fair, this was advertised as 'Come and ask Impulse questions,' so the place is probably front - loaded with my fans.

Rose is here with me, of course, wearing a variation of her NFW Vice - Champion T-shirt, with 'NFW' taped over with masking tape and 'EPW' written in its place.

And she's written the word '-Elect' below the 'Vice - Champion' part of it.

But we still have three minutes to go.

Use it wisely.)

"You told me something once, First."

At least I assume it was you. Under a Dis mask, it could've been your stunt double. Could've been Disco Dis whose antics we're currently enjoying.

"I'm paraphrasing, of course, but you told me that my first order of business on signing my contract in the Empire should've been to slap Anarky in the face and taken his title from him without breaking a sweat."

"I wasn't sure how to take that at the time, but in hindsight, knowing who was pulling the Dis strings, knowing what I know about you, about Anarky, and about the way this company works, I'm not surprised."

"Have you ever wrestled anywhere but the Empire, First? Have you ever been an actual part of the wrestling industry beyond this company and your neverending quest to become the loudest man on the roster?"

"I mean, I know what you were doing and I know what you were trying to say, but the fact that you were actually telling me that I should take the title away from the man you were aiming for tells me that you see it as a trophy."

"You see the World Championship as a prize to be won and an ego trip."

"Something to take from Triple X, regardless of whether or not you earned it, because he - quite justifiably, particularly in hindsight - disrespected you and showed you that at best, you weren't ready, and at worst, weren't a wrestler at all."

"How many times did he show the world that, First? And what was your response?"

"It wasn't 'Let's see if we can improve our game and come at him again next time,' it was 'Damn it, I deserve this and Triple X just won't cooperate.'"

"Do I approve of his bashing you over the head with the belt, First? Of course not. But I see it for what it was: an act of contempt by an athlete with no respect for you as his opponent."

"But you didn't take it lying down, did you? You got fired up and came back... to lose again."

"Lucky for you, your secretary Jason Reeves was able to give you the help you needed to pull off the upset of the decade, congratulations."

"What's the moral, First? Perserverence reaps its own rewards? Keep plugging away at a better athlete, adding as many different handicaps as possible until you strike it lucky?"

"As much as we agreed on Anarky's less - than - thrilling title reign, the part you seem to leave out is the fact that you caused it. Not even your secretary could help you out there."

"Is that why you pushed so hard for me to face Anarky, First? Because you knew you were out of your league against a real athlete?"

"Of course, you were able to overcome. Two - time World Champion, and we should've seen it coming."

"Because of the second Dis in the match, of course. Because we can never The First in a title match without the whole dog - and - pony show."

"Wait, we did that once, didn't we?"

"When Cameron Cruise pinned you."

"I honestly don't know if that was your intention going into Black Dawn, First, or if it was an idea that came to you when you realized you didn't have the chops to win, but your actions showed a complete disrespect for this company, for the title belt you're currently dragging around, and the entire idea of a Champion."

I take my wrestling traditions seriously, First, even if I don't take myself seriously.

"So, as is your tendency, the Big Match came to pass and you proved yourself inadequate. But did you take it like a man, First?"

"No, you took it like The First."

"Green mist and a beltshot. Evened up the odds just enough so you could manage to pin Cameron Cruise."

"But that's not what I remember, First. What were the words?"

'I'll kill this company if I have to to get what I want.'

(Pause.)

"Like a toddler with a temper tantrum."

(Smile.)

"What's the point of all this, First?"

"You were lauded as the ultimate underdog when you toppled Triple X for your first World Championship, only to lose all that goodwill in a heartbeat when the fans realized exactly what they were getting with you as Champion."

"You've spent every moment since losing the belt to Anarky telling the world 'I don't care about being Champion, all I care about is the belt.'"

And yes, there is a difference.

"Which brings me to me. Was it a mistake on my part to take the slower, more traditional route to a shot at the Empire World Championship when I could've stepped into the ring with Anarky on my first night and relieved him of his burden in twenty minutes?"

"Consider this: my path earned the respect of the Empire's fans and showed this company that I am quite the force to be reckoned with."

As long as there isn't a cage and multiple antagonists afoot.

"Yours has led to you showing us your true colors: an ADD afflicted boy with entitlement issues who's only happy when he's got a shiny belt that he may or may not have earned."

("One minute, Mr. Knox.")

"The point, First, is that fifty thousand fans are going to pack the Stadium in Arlington and will spend the entire night on their feet waiting to see what they all came to see: me, taking the Empire World Title from around your waist."

"They're coming to see me take the belt away from a man that most of the industry would agree has no legitimate claim to the title."

"They're coming because they've known for two years that this moment was inevitable."

"Most of all, First... they're coming to see me win the World Title because the Empire fans deserve better."

Better than you. Better than Anarky. I'd say better than Cruise but in his defense we never got to see where he'd take things.

"The Empire fans deserve a Champion who carries himself with dignity, who will restore the prestige to a title that has gotten itself passed around by charlatans for far too long."

(SFX: "Revolution Baby" by Queen V, as the fans outside got even louder in chanting my name.)

"Do you hear that, First?"

"It's the sound of the future."

"It's the sound of Unleashed."

"It's the sound of a bowstring being pulled back for two full years, and suddenly being let go."

"I'm coming for your title belt, First... and as with all things that matter most..."

"I did it my way."

(FADE as I turned around, took Rose's hand, and we walked out onto the stage for our press conference.)
 

The Great Eye

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Re: Angels

(FADEIN: The First standing outside the Gulu Gulu Café in Salem. He’s in the same outfit as before, face still painted like Kefka, belt slung over his shoulder.)

FIRST: Before EPW, I joined a company called UWC. I had spent a year on the indy scene before that. I had maybe half a dozen matches in UWC, likely even less than that before I won the UWC World Title. I’m sure you would think the opposition I faced then wasn’t very stiff, some wet behind the ears punk stepping into some fly-by-night company, he couldn’t have fought anyone of importance to win some meaningless hunk of tin…It was a three way dance for the belt and the two men I beat were IrishRed, a man who was something at some point but is now nothing to nobody…And the other guy…Well that was our boss here in the Empire, Dan Ryan.

See at a really early point in my career I learned a lesson, if you want something…You go for it. You keep defending your tentative and cowardly approach to earning a title shot as if it is a badge of honor that you wear. You claim these people cheer for you because you did everything in your power to avoid challenging for this title…You’re lying to yourself and you know it…The people cheer for you because you’re a guy not even a buck ninety fighting the giants of this industry and still coming out on top. They cheer for you because you’re clean cut and above board and people like the idea of a man with honor and purpose in his life. People want to live vicariously through you…The man who made his skill and will count for something in this business when they can’t get ahead in their go nowhere 9-to-5 life.

If you came in, slapped Anarky in the face, they would have cheered, if you beat Anarky, they would have roared with approval…But you claim you held back because you wanted to go a more traditional route…Tradition is a crutch. It’s doing something because it’s the way things have always been done. It’s why gay people in most states in our beloved union are second class citizens, because we have people defending “traditional” marriage. You call yourself the leader of the revolution, yet all I see is a follower to conformity.

Speaking of your traditional path to the title, you spend a damn long time talking about how I didn’t earn and don’t deserve this title, when you are only in this match because Cameron Cruise gave you that extra little push to get you over the top. I would have expected a man so honor bound as yourself to be at least a little conflicted about stealing a victory over a best friend, but you seem to have no problems with how you got here…Then again you’re the one who is positive he’s wearing the white hat here, you’re the one who is sure his cause is noble and just, and truly any man with such a mindset can not be in the wrong. You’re here to end my corrupt reign and restore order and honor to the Empire.

(First laughs)

There is no order or honor here, there never has been, this is a sport where the rule aren’t rules, they are merely suggestions, the closed fist, hair pulling, eye gouging and choking is merely cause for the ref to yell at you to quit doing those things. If the ref gets knocked down, he doesn’t get to have replay aid him in figuring out what happened, seldom does a second ref take the first ref’s place...This sport is a war…It’s not for the faint of heart, it’s survival of the fittest. You fight by your code because it allows you to look down your nose at those who don’t believe in it, it’s what allows you to wake up in the morning and feel superior to others. Some use religion or wealth, you have the code.

Trust me when I say this Impulse…I don’t care about your code in the slightest. If the ref went down and you grabbed my belt and cracked me upside the skull and pinned me for the three count, I wouldn’t celebrate after the match that I had broken you or that I’d exposed the code as a lie and you as a fraud. I’d take no solace in the fact that you had done things you vowed never to do to achieve victory over me. I would merely be upset that I was no longer EPW World Champion…

And I am EPW World Champion, you can claim I’m not a champion because I don’t stand for mom, the flag and apple pie, but it doesn’t change the fact that I hold the title and if you don’t like it…Well here is your chance to do something about it.

The question is…Can you do anything about it? Can you beat me? You seemed insulted when I said I’d destroy EPW to get what I wanted…That this was unbecoming of me and the act of a child throwing a temper tantrum…I’d say it was the act of a man who was going to get what he wanted by any means necessary. That’s what I do Impulse…There is NOTHING I will not do to defeat you…Whatever you think is the more craven, ruthless and unsavory action I could perform, rest assured I’m planning on doing FAR WORSE…Because this is my life, that ring we are getting into is my home, and this belt is my property, and I don’t know if Texas is a Stand Your Ground state or not…But rest assured I will do whatever it takes to put you down.

To beat me, you’re going to have to be willing to pay a price for the rest of your life…Beating me will mean a lot of the sand left in the hourglass that is your career will spill to the bottom…You might have fought bigger, stronger men, but you’ve never fought somebody as fanatical as I am…We live on this earth for such a fleeting moment and then we’re gone, we have such a short window of time to leave a mark, any mark on this planet…You can’t understand it, you can’t see things the way I do, the way I know them to be true…That to be free of all restraint, to be untamed, unrelenting, unforgiving, is truly the only way to be alive.

You've never been alive...You've never been free...That's why you don't stand a chance against me...And when it is over, and the mob jeers me, when they boo and hiss and throw trash and have a fit at the fact that I remain their champion…I will drink their hatred, I will bask in their rage…I will in that moment truly be alive…Their hero, their avatar will be broken at my feet…They will have worshipped a false idol, the golden calf that led them to ruin.

For I have come from the mountain top with the truth. I carry the One Commandment that is the only thing anyone should care about…Your traditions, your code, the rules you follow are all meaningless in the face of its simple unflinching truth. For whatever being it is you worship, they spoke to me a single word that I now repeat to you and to the world…Take notes, it’s important…

Win.

(First slowly raises the belt over his head. FADEOUT.)
 

User Poets

The Shadow Pope
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Devils

(FADEIN on a large room, filled to the brim with people. They’re all making lots of noise.

Something about a pulse.

The room has plain white walls and tons of light, it would appear to be ideally suited to some kind of photo op or video. Ironically, there’s a table set up on the opposite end with a pair of microphones sitting on it, and a pair of microphones in the crowd. Kenny Lombardo, the voice of Empire Pro Wrestling, is waiting for something.

For a pulse?

In… pulse?

Impulse.

They want the Number One Contender.

Good for the tension level of the room, the Revolution began.

Revolution, baby, that’s my sound. Impulse was out first, with Calico Rose right behind him. She waved to the crowd, very energetically, while Impulse was a little more composed.

Smile and nod. Don’t give anything away.

The Number One Contender is wearing a long sleeved gray shirt under a black T-Shirt declaring Phil Atken as Heavyweight Champion of the World. Calico Rose is a little more direct: she had made her own shirt a while back that she’s apparently modified: this names her as EPW Vice-Champion – Elect.

Go figure. )

LOMBARDO: If everyone can take their seats, please?

(We all did.)

LOMBARDO: Okay, Impulse and Rose have said they want to answer as many questions as they can in the time we have, so I’m going to ask you for a few ground rules. Please limit yourself to one question per trip to the microphone, and please limit your questions to the scope of Empire Pro Wrestling. Impulse, Rose? Anything to add before we begin?

IMPULSE: Nothing much, just glad to see everyone here.

ROSE: If anyone out there has a shotglass and something to put in it, I’d be eternally grateful.

(A ripple of laughter went through the crowd.)

LOMBARDO: Okay – I see we have a question already?

QUESTION: Have you talked to Sean Stevens since Aggression?

IMPULSE: I haven’t. I can get it – he was upset about the way the number one contender’s match finished, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed over the way he handled the finish, as well as the subsequent match for the King of the Cage. I understand it – Cruise screwed him – and I think we’re both to blame for the King of the Cage because we ended up so focused on the triangle match that we didn’t have much time together to discuss our strategy for the cage.

I mean, with that in mind we were both exhausted already from wrestling each other and Cruise so that was strike one before the opening bell even sounded. Bad feelings from the way the triangle ended was strike two, and Dirk Dickwood Presents being as on as they were… we were out.

I hope there’s no hard feelings. If there are, though – we’ll just have to settle it in the ring.

QUESTION: Speaking of the number one contender’s match, how do you respond to The First’s comments that you didn’t earn the victory because of Cameron Cruise shoving Triple X’s foot off the bottom rope?

(He laughed.)

IMPULSE: How can anyone respond to that? Do I wish that Cruise hadn’t done that? Of course. If I’m going to win a match I want it to be completely clean and completely on the level so there’s no question who won. I want to lose the matches that I’m going to lose the exact same way: that’s just me. No questions over who the winner is, or should be. Do I think Triple X deserves a shot at the World Title just the same? I do. Will I offer him one if I take the belt from The First at Unleashed? Soon as he wants one. But as far as a cheap win is concerned… well, was I robbed when I pinned a lifeless Cameron Cruise for a three count, only for Trip to have draped his foot over the rope? I don’t think so: that’s part of the game in a three way match. It’s a part of the game that I don’t play, but it’s part of it nonetheless.

QUESTION: This question is for Calico Rose, actually.

ROSE: Yes, my love?

QUESTION: There’s reports of you bringing cookies and cupcakes and stuff like that to the NFW locker room. Are you doing the same in EPW--

LOMBARDO: I don’t mean to interrupt you, sir – but per my instructions I’d ask that you stay focused on EPW.

ROSE: No, that’s cool. I haven’t really been baking for EPW, and that’s mainly because there hasn’t been a need. The Windhams were trying to destroy a company, and everyone who was there really felt the pressure. I thought everyone needed a little pick – me – up, and so I appointed myself the Morale Officer. The difference with the Empire is that Dan Ryan has a good hand on his company and he doesn’t let cancers like that into his company.

Now, that being said – if anyone asked for something I’d probably acquiesce.

QUESTION: The First recently brought up the topic of masks: the one you wore the first year of your career, as well as the mask he wore as Dis. Do you have any reply to the accusations of cowardice that he levied at you?

IMPULSE: That’s a matter of opinion: his just happens to be delusional. But in all seriousness, I don’t remember his exact words: something like my mask was a sign of cowardice because if I failed at wrestling I could go back to real life without anyone knowing what kind of failure I was, while his run at Dis was all – in, and he was banking on being able to beat Anarky or risk total humiliation.

ROSE: Wouldn’t the fact that he unironically wears makeup be total humiliation?

(Laughter ran through the crowd.

IMPULSE: The short answer to that is that I never wore a mask in the Empire, so why is it a concern of his. The long answer, though, would be that my early career has nothing to do with a mask. I could’ve stepped into the ring and wrestled under the name Randall Knox, showing the world who I was and success and failure would’ve meant the exact same thing. Did I want to succeed? Sure. If I failed, would I be disappointed? Of course. But even if I failed completely, I’d be able to say that I gave it my best and wouldn’t have to wonder what if.

It’s a smart move for The First to say something like that because you can’t prove or disprove a thought. I know my motivations but all I can give is my word. Just like I can’t prove his thought process behind wearing the Dis mask, and he can’t disprove what I think. But I have to ask him – if his goal is to target Anarky, even if he wants to wear a mask to hide his identity – why was it Dis? Why didn’t he go nondescript?

I mean, I have my opinion. I wore a mask because I wanted my talent to speak for itself: The First became Dis specifically for the rest of the Empire to pay attention to him. That goes back to the point I’ve been making for a long time now – The First isn’t a Champion, he’s a guy with an ornament that likes the attention the ornament gives him.

QUESTION: Are you worried that he’ll have a backup plan in place?

IMPULSE: Backup plan?

QUESTION: Well, he won the belt from Sean Stevens with help from Stalker, he won the belt from Anarky under the Dis mask with Muse backing him up, and he won it from Cameron Cruise after blinding him and whatnot: he always seems like he has a plan. Are you worried that The First will arrange things so that you won’t get a fair shot?

IMPULSE: I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t in the back of my mind, but what can I do about it? I can prepare for every possible angle of attack from everyone except The First, which would leave my back to him and leave me as easy pickings. I can’t prepare for everything, so I’m just going to do what I do and prepare for my opponent: I trust Rose on the outside to keep me aware of anything that happens as far as extracurriculars are concerned, but my preparation has to be focused on my opponent: he’s the only person that I know for a fact is right in front of me.

QUESTION: You’ve made comments to the extent that The First isn’t as big a name as he could be because he’s only wrestled for EPW. Do you really think that’s a fair assessment?

IMPULSE: No, let me clarify. I think he’s a decent enough athlete, I think he gets some kind of reaction when he comes out to wrestle, but if you listen to him talk about himself you’d think he just won the Ultratitle over Hornet, Castor Strife, Mike Randalls, and every member of the Windham Family. You could make the argument that he’s as well-known as he is in the Empire because he’s been here for a decade; familiarity breeds recognition. I’ve been to the top of a few companies in my day and am literally one step removed from being recognized – on the record – as the undisputed best wrestler in the world today.

You can make the argument – it’s debatable how valid it is – that The First built his entire reputation in this sport by getting lucky one time, and stealing a moment two other times. The difference between us is that I don’t go for the big moments unless it can be said that I’ve earned it.

Sometimes that means pinning our Imperial leader Dan Ryan in the middle of the ring; sometimes it’s as simple as winning a match designated as a number one contender’s match.

QUESTION: What do you predict will happen at Unleashed?

ROSE: Drinks for everybody!

(Laughs)

IMPULSE: After I win.

(Beat.)

Really nothing else to say about it. The First says I’ve never fought anyone as fanatical as he is, I think Castor Strife would beg to differ.

QUESTION: The First did make a good point when he said that you wrestle by a code – by definition that means there’s things you won’t do to win a match, while he’ll do anything. Don’t you think that would put you at a disadvantage?

IMPULSE: No.

(Beat.)

ROSE: Did you want to elaborate on that?

IMPULSE: No, not really.

(Laughter swept the room.)

ROSE: May I?

IMPULSE: Be my guest.

(Rose leaned in and looked around for the person who originally asked.)

ROSE: RK doesn’t have a code.

QUESTION: If I can rephrase?

LOMBARDO: Certainly.

QUESTION: You have certain tendencies when you wrestle – you don’t use foreign objects or illegal holds, you don’t take unfair advantages and whatnot. The question was, since there’s things you won’t do to win a match and The First has no self – restrictions. I guess the real question is, if the opportunity arises The First will take a shortcut to victory. If the opportunity arises, are you prepared to do the same?

IMPULSE: This is a perfect example of a man taking a tiny detail and blowing it up into a defining characteristic. You a Star Trek fan, sir?

QUESTION: Somewhat.

IMPULSE: The last one they did, the reboot – they had Sulu flipping all over the place with his fencing sword because, I don’t know, the guys who did the film said ‘Sulu fences, let’s have him fence.’ That happened on one episode of the original series because he was drunk. I don’t use weapons or foreign objects because my wrestling ability is enough to overcome any opponent. I don’t look for or encourage any kind of outside interference to give me an advantage, because I don’t think I should win a match I can’t win on my own. The First is just the latest in a long line of narrow – minded, two dimensional thinkers who seem to think I carry around a notarized list of Thou Shalt Not’s, and check it twice before taking any action, and if I don’t then I’m a hypocrite.

It’s like he thinks I’m a robot and he’s trying to trap me in a logic loop. It’d be funny, but he’s serious about it, which just makes it tragic.

QUESTION: The First has brought up the fact that you previously broke your neck, several times now. How is your neck, and will that old injury be on your mind as a potential target?

(Impulse looked up, as if asking for patience.)

IMPULSE: Here’s where a lesson in anatomy could’ve done him well. What I had was a hairline fracture of my C2. Technically a broken neck, but in reality I needed to give it some rest and some time, and there hasn’t been a single problem for the entirety of my Empire career. It’s a non-issue and it’s not going to cause a problem.

QUESTION: How would you respond to The First’s assertion that you’re a follower to conformity?

IMPULSE: Laughable.

ROSE: I don’t know what you mean. What kind of conformity?

QUESTION: I believe he was making reference to the way Mr. Knox consistently talks about a Wrestling Revolution, but is a wrestling traditionalist.

ROSE: Oh yeah! The gay marriage thing.

(She turned to Impulse.)

ROSE: I still don’t know what that was all about.

IMPULSE: To answer Rose’s question quickly, The First was equating working hard for my breaks in the wrestling business with denying equal rights for everyone.

(He shrugged.)

IMPULSE: The First is kind of an idiot.

(Another wave of laughter went through the crowd.)

IMPULSE: But to really answer that, I mean, the implication is that The First is the true rebel and renegade because he’s out there on the edge doing his own thing. In the land of, in his words, no rules, only suggestions, of hair pulling and eye gouging and choking… I’d say a wrestler who doesn’t do those things is the real revolutionary one.

ROSE: Counterculture to the counterculture.

IMPULSE: Besides that, I already break all the rules I want. I beat as many people as I want in the face with bricks, I lie as much as I want, steal as much as I want, and kill people as much as I want. Which is to say I don’t want to do any of it. It’s incredible how hard of a concept this is to some people.

LOMBARDO: I think we’re about out of time. One more question.

QUESTION: Do you regret not entering EPW with a direct challenge to Anarky’s World Title?

IMPULSE: No, because I’m here. I’m not the Jim Morrison, we want the world and we want it now kind of guy. I have a deep respect and appreciation for this sport, and I know that – win or lose – if you walk into a World Title match without having earned it, you fans will collectively turn your backs on it. It’s important to me, not only to do business the right way, but to do what I can to be an example of doing business the right way.

The First wants to say the only thing I’ve done, singles – wise since losing the Intercontinental belt to Stalker was win a Cameron Cruise assisted pinfall over Triple X. Well, the only things the First has done since then, singles – wise, has been to lose the World Title clean to Cruise and steal it back from him, and pin a woefully still-unprepared Aaron Jones. We can trade career highlights and lowlights until we run out of skeletons and it won’t do anything but waste TV time.

Only thing, I didn’t need multiple tries to get a win over Sean Stevens or Cameron Cruise.

(He stood up as a bunch of last minute questions were shouted out, but Impulse took Rose’s hand, gave a wave… and walked into the crowd.

Apparently, the press conference would continue in a somewhat informal way.)
 
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The Great Eye

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Re: Devils

(FADEIN: The First standing in front of building with a large sign reading “Witches Wrestling Academy” in front of it. First is in his ring gear, “First to Three” wife-beater, black gi pants, ring boots, face still painted in the Kefka motif, hair a mess of colors with a lot of green in the black. His custom EPW World Title strapped across his waist.)

FIRST: Eddie had to retire, the concussions got to the point where no doctor would clear him, and even if they would, he didn’t know if he really wanted to keep going, living in fear of getting your bell rung is murder when you’re in the ring, you can’t fight scared. So he did about the only thing he could do and opened up a wrestling school, about the only skill set he’s got in this world is teaching folks how to do what we do. The opening class signed up, nine guys and a girl they are all upstairs getting put through their paces even now. I bet three of them quit after day one. Eddie’s old school that way, gotta weed out those who don’t really want it…Your esteemed “Tradition” at its finest.

You know what would happen if I walked into this building and told those ten kids that they should get in the ring right now and have a battle royal, and the winner would get a shot at me for the EPW World Title? Those kids would tear each other to pieces for the right to beat me for this belt, and the winner of that battle royal would come at me with fire in their eyes because one lucky shot, one fluke inside cradle and they would be EPW World Champion…Not a single one of those people in that class right now is worried about service time…They want their dreams to come true and if they could come true today, why not take it?

See that’s what makes you practically not even human in my eyes…What kind of person defers their dreams? What kind of person pushes back success on their calendar? You either have to be a soulless emotionless machine that merely checks off a laundry list of preset plans, or you’re an arrogant son of a bitch who just figures that when he feels like it, he can do it.

I’m guessing you’re the latter of the two…You’re so cocky you believe you’re going to be EPW World Champion, the only question is when, you decided to lollygag your way to a title shot because you’re so friggin’ good just walking in and taking it would be boring…

And you do it all with a broken neck…Your hubris is truly amazing…If we could harness your ego into fuel we would solve the energy crisis and likely end global warming tomorrow….

Or maybe I’m wrong…Maybe you are the robot.

Service time…

(First shakes his head.)

Eddie’s done…I’ll be done soon enough…So will you...Life is short…Our careers even shorter…Damn you’re a fool impulse…It’s all about service time and the fans to you…You need one to placate and appease the other…The truth is that’s nonsense and you know it…When you came into the Empire it’s likely there was maybe ten or fifteen percent of the crowd who felt you were a foreign invader to the Empire coming to ruin everything…The rest of the crowd said “Impulse is in EPW! Gosh golly, this is amazing!” And those people wanted to see you beat the piss out of all the big baddies in the company, knock the stuffing out of Anarky and take that title…

Instead you defeated the legendary Michael Bastard and then spent a long time doing nothing fighting nobody…Because you had to put in your time…The fans who love you and adore you, who wanted to see you dominate…Got to sit around and wait forever for you to do anything of note…After beating Copycat, Anarky was doing nothing, fighting nobody, going nowhere…EPW needed somebody to rise up to challenge him…To defeat him…Where were you?

Oh right, still earning that all important service time…

You and EPW should be on your hands and knees thanking me for putting on the Dis mask…Which I did because I wanted attention…Good of you to figure that out, I think I’ve only said that about two thousand times, but I’m glad it sunk in…I paint my face for attention, I color my hair for attention…I do this all for attention because in this business you better be getting people’s attention or the promoters will look elsewhere. I put on that mask because nobody else in this company had the nerve to stand up and fight…I did it and I took care of business…

In short, you’re welcome, it was my pleasure.

There was a man who as early as 2004 was nothing but a state senator. Won election to the Senate that year, served there for all of four years before deciding to run for President. Pretty thin resume for somebody seeking the highest office in the land, maybe he should have waited his turn, put some more time in, you say that when people reach for things before their time the crowds turn on them…Maybe they would favor a former first lady from a political machine, or a very long time Senator from the other party…Nope, the new guy won, and he’s still our President, won over 51% of the vote both times, few have ever done that…He did not bide his time, he didn’t wait…He seized the moment when it was presented to him…

Tom Brady, won the Super Bowl his first year as a starter, Derek Jeter won the World Series in his rookie year. I could go on and on about the list of greats who didn’t wait around for their moment and just won the whole thing on their first try and their fans didn’t revolt against them in a fit of rage…Fans just want to win, your fans want you to win…I don’t know how big your rabbit ears are that they you can’t even tolerate one boo in the crowd…

Must you win every heart before you win the title Impulse? Shall you walk the whole of the Ballpark and shake every hand, sit down with every hater you have till you sway them to your side?

I’ll let you in on a secret Impulse…They cheer for you and they boo me because they love you and they hate me…It’s really that simple…Nobody looks back on the day you beat Steven Shane and thinks to themselves that it really changed their outlook on who you were that you managed to fight that titan of the squared circle and come out on top.

Now let’s just pretend for a moment that your totally insane theory of fan support is one hundred percent true, that you really did have to just hang out here for a year or so before you could get Joe Six-Pack and Judy Punch-Clock to jump out of their seats and cheer when “Revolution Baby” hit on the PA. That if you didn’t do these things and walked out to that ring, slapped Anarky in the face, got yourself booked in a match with him for the EPW World Title and then kicked him in the head and pinned him one two three in the middle of the ring…That as you got up from making that pin the crowd jeered you and pelted you with garbage, that Tony Fatora could barely be heard making the announcement that you were the new EPW World Champion over the deafening chants of “Impulse sucks!”

Lemme think about that…

(First tilts his head and looks skyward.)

Are you fucking kidding me? You didn’t try to win the EPW World Title as fast as you could because you were scared the people would boo you? You held your career in abeyance for over a year because you were scared you wouldn’t get the proper crowd reaction for your world title win? How arrogant can you get? The EPW World Title isn’t worthy of being held by you if the masses don’t also kiss your ass and proclaim your greatness…You could not be bothered to perform at the high level your skills allow to perform at if you could not be assured that the cheers for you would be the loudest anyone’s ever heard.

You are really a piece of work…

You ever see My Cousin Vinny? Not even talking about the scene where the girlfriend testifies about the tire marks, which won Tomei the Oscar cause it was awesome…But the ending when Vinny’s all mad that he won the case, but he needed his girlfriend to help him do it, and she says “Imagine that, you win case after case but after each of them you have to walk up to somebody and say thank you…What a fucking nightmare!”

That’s the hell you imagined that would happen if you had won the EPW World Title from the jump, that the crowd would boo you…Then they would boo you when you beat me in the Dis outfit, boo you when you kicked Stevens in the head and beat him…That the crowd would resent and hate how great you are and how dominate a champion you were…

Give me a break…

If that did happen…You know what happens to winners? People start cheering for them…People back a winner…By the end of his run with the belt, the crowds would boo Stevens at the start of the match, but by half-way through that match the crowd would turn and at least half the crowd would back him, because people love a winner, they are bandwagons and front runners…It’s the nature of humanity…

So even if you were right about the masses resenting you quickly climbing to the top of EPW…They would have gotten over it soon enough when you stood over your latest defeated foe and screamed at them like Maximus “Are you not entertained?! ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!”

You would have held the crowd in the palm of your hand, the hotshot who came in and took the Empire by storm…Fear kept you from doing it, that’s the only possible answer I can see…Fear of failure, fear of rejection whatever it was, it held you back…You’re a scared man Impulse, that much is clear…

The funny part about all of this is that your deep concern for placating the fans…Will in the end mean nothing…If you did get your storybook victory over me and the Ballpark did roar in approval in such a way that you would deign to accept the EPW World Title…That love is fleeting…You might keep it for a year, maybe two…But sooner or later the crowd will bore of you…They’ll want a title change, they’ll want some new hotshot or some old standby looking for another shot at glory to knock you off…It’s the way of the mob, fickle, impossible to please forever…

And that’s what makes you so pathetic, that you NEED them on your side, that you FEAR them turning on you, that you have spent your time here in the Empire not trying to win my title and be the champion of this company, but that you’re living in fear of rejection of the mob if you move to fast or take an untoward step towards glory they disapprove of…

You’ve invented a prison in your mind that you’re living in where you have to do right by others before you can do right by yourself and as a result, you’ve done nothing…All you’ve done is given yourself a shot at me…Lots of people get chances to win this title…Most of them fail…

And you have now finally put yourself in a hell of a spot…Cause those fans you care so much about, who you have spent all this time working to win over and get them to support you…They want results, they haven’t waited around all this time just to see you fail when you finally got your shot at me, a man you’ve talked down and insulted, declared weak and not really a champion…You’ve talked a big game and now you have to back it up…

See for all the things you think the fans care about, the one thing I KNOW the fans care about is winning the big one. You come up short in the big matches and you start getting the choker label…Start being talked about as the guy who can’t win when it matters most.

And that is your fate in the Ballpark impulse…I want you to look at all the kids in the Impulse masks who are crying, all the guys in Ed Hardy T-Shirts who were rooting for you who are all bummed out…I want you to truly feel how gutted that whole building is because you lost…And I want you to know that it’s all your fault…You built this up, you told everyone “Wait baby, I need more time, I need to make sure you really love me before I do this.” And finally you got everyone all hot and bothered for Unleashed when you were finally going to give them all some hot World Title Winning action…And in the end…Nothing…50,000 fans given a case of blue balls…It’ll be the second saddest time in the place since Lincecum and Wilson shut down the Rangers and got the Giants a World Series…

(First smiles.)

It’s going to be so delightful feeling the energy of the crowd changing as the fight drags on. From “Impulse has got this.” To “This isn’t going as planned but I’m still confident in Impulse.” To the ugly turn towards “Oh crap, First’s really bringing it tonight, come on Impulse, get up! Rally dammit!” and ending with “Shit Impulse lost…Ah screw that guy…Triple X would have beaten First.”

You’re easy to replace as the hero.

You will be replaced as the hero.

Evil…Evil endures…

I am eternal…

I am The First…The EPW World Champion…

And I’m better than you…At Unleashed…I prove it…

(FADEOUT)
 
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User Poets

The Shadow Pope
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Puppets

(FADEIN...

On The First.

At least, it resembles The First. Mostly. The face is all painted and the little clothes are gothy and whatnot.

But our Champion looks a little stiff.

Suddenly he does a dance, all stiff legged and stone - faced, and we pull back to see that The First is actually a cleverly painted and decorated puppet.

'The First' did a little dance in front of his tiny Empire Pro banner.)

"Thank you, The First."

"I was curious what you'd do with my press conference, and I'm happy to say you didn't disappoint."

(First-puppet put his hands in the air and waved them like he just didn't care.)

"It's a vicious cycle, isn't it? I say something and you refute it. I make a point and you counter it. Wash, rinse, repeat."

It's boring, The First. It's the same thing everyone does.

(First-puppet puts both his hands to his mouth in surprise.)

"Which is why it's completely logical that it's the course you've taken."

(The backdrop behind Puppet-First drops to reveal a sign that says 'Cafe du Pretentious' in fancy, swirly letters.)

"This is the part where I'm supposed to justify myself to you, The First, but the fact of the matter is that I don't give a flying fig if you agree with me, disagree with me, or decide that I'm the worst thing to ever happen to this company."

That honor, actually, still falls on the first Dis.

"You made it clear when you were under the mask that you didn't like how I did business. You made it clear ever since that my respect for the traditions to this business is completely foreign to you."

Of course, if The First doesn't like it, it must be wrong.

"Time has borne me out so far, The First. I did things my way and I'm in the Main Event for Unleashed. Now, you've charged me with arrogance over working my way to a title shot instead of demanding it."

"Fine."

"You're an athlete with no sense of history and no sense of tradition in this sport, so I never expected you to get it. What you call a weakness, I call a strength. What you call an excuse, I call business."

(Puppet-First puts his fists up and gets ready to fight. Without a bit of awkwardness, the backdrop changes to a black curtain with bloody-smear lettering that spells out 'Sad Gothy Club' in red letters.

Sidebar: When did you learn how to handle a puppet?

"Yesterday," said Rose.

You did all this since yesterday?

"You said we needed to make a First puppet, so I practiced."

Incredible.)

"There's someone like you in every wrestling promotion in the world, The First. You make it to the top with no regard for the people who came before you, or the people around you. Survival of the Fittest, you'd probably call it. Taking care of Number One, you'd probably call it."

"I'm not going to tell you what I call it, because you don't care. And I don't want to hear you defending your lifestyle yet again, because I don't care."

(Puppet-First sat down, looking at the floor of the stage, dejected.)

"The fan support matters because the fans support what I do. If they didn't, I'd still do what I do because it's what I believe in."

Do you get that?

"Your theory of fan support ultimately being a zero sum game is fatally flawed, The First. I beat you for the Empire Pro World Championship, the fans cheer. I hold it for two years, three years, however many years, the fans want something different."

...

"If that's what they want, that's what they want. But someone would still have to beat me for it."

Just like someone will have to beat you for it, and somehow escape the ring before you can spit mist in their face and call for an immediate rematch.

(Puppet-First stood up and looked around, and a bit of green liquid was poured on top of him. Improvisation.)

"Both our respective methods have gotten us to this point, The First. You're coming into this match as the conquoring Champion and I, as the upstart challenger, and one of us will walk out with your Empire Pro World Championship belt."

"Could I have been here a month ago, a year ago, a career ago if I took the shortcuts that you praise? Probably."

"But if the price I have to pay for not compromising my integrity and what I believe in in this business was a little bit of time? That's no price at all."

Again, what you call a weakness I consider one of my strengths. Hard to argue with the results to date.

"You may be right, that the Empire - that the wrestling business in general is a lawless hive of chaos, where the rules are only suggestions and only the strong survive. And you may even be the puppet master that stirs the chaos here in the Empire,"

(Puppet-First 'flexed' his 'muscles.')

"But I'm the Eye of the Storm, and I'm where chaos goes to die."

It's what I do, going against the grain and all.

"So we shall see what we shall see, The First. Are you a betting man?"

"Of course you are. You're betting the World Championship that you're a better wrestler than I am. But that's not the real question."

"The real question is, what do you do when everything you are, everything you've done, everything you believe... fails you?"

(Puppet-First slowly fell backwards, like a tree getting chopped down.)

FADE
 

The Great Eye

I came to cut you up
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Re: Puppets

[FADEIN: The First standing in front of a banner hyping Unleashed, the ballpark in the background, Impulse and The First in the foreground, Cruise and Stevens behind them, Boogie, Light, The Dragons, DDP and others filling in spaces. First is in his ring gear as before with the EPW World Title still over his shoulder.]

FIRST: I thank you for making me the latest in the long line of people you have used a toy or some other such device to create a strawman to argue against…I’d have felt cheated to have not had you lean on that crutch in our little war of words. I feel honored to be a part of the group now…I do like that you picked a puppet for me…

We’re all puppets…Some of us just see the strings better than others. I saw them oh so clearly that night when I was defeated at Black Dawn and Lindsay Troy ran out to steal the show…I saw all I’d worked for, strived for, fought for taken from me in the blink of an eye…Losing to Trip was no big deal, that was a time when he was really good in this business…But being replaced…Knowing that Dan Ryan couldn’t wait to get rid of me, that he was so desperate to have somebody, anybody but me as the standard bearer of this company…That cut to the bone…

You asked me what would I do when all I believed in failed me. I’d wake up the next morning and make plans to do something about it…It’s happened more than once in my life…That night I gave up on trying to please the fans, they didn’t care about me as a person, they just wanted somebody to beat the big bad guy…I gave up trying to please Dan Ryan…A man who seems to live only to turn his whole locker room against him, how many guys are out to destroy this company again, 14? I lost count a month ago…I gave up doing things for anyone but myself and the results have been pretty amazing…

But that’s wasn’t the first time everything I’ve ever believed in failed me…And really it wasn’t the worst time either, cause I was a made man then, I was big time, popping crowds huge, being the guy with the long line at my autograph booth and all the rest of it…But before the big time, before the fame…I was nobody, Felix Red’s busboy…We broke up cause Felix and the drugs were getting bad as was his life story and I got a match with JA…Big time JA…I threw everything I had at that son of a bitch and I lost…

(First punches his fist into his palm. He winces.)

That one…That was the one when I started to doubt myself, that was the one that was hard to get out of bed the next morning…I knew I could take that son of a bitch and prove myself to the world…And I didn’t, I failed…I really thought about just giving up the sport…Then Felix said he was clean and he wanted to make another honest go of it with the Forsaken, I didn’t even know if I wanted to do that, my head was in a bad place…And next thing I know we’re getting a shot at the EPW World Tag Team Titles…Maybe it was the bribe Ryan offered Felix to try to just be sober at least half of the time…I don’t know…But in the end, we went out to that ring and crushed those fools, got those belts and it all snowballed from there…

You’ll never get me to that dark place I was in after JA beat me…To break me now would take more than me losing a match and even if somehow you did send all I ever knew and believed in crashing down around me, I’d recover and come back stronger and better than before…It’s the way of life…You said I’d call it Survival of the Fittest…

You’re right…That’s exactly what it is, those who can adapt survive, those who can’t perish…You aren’t looking like the kind of guy who adapts to well…The code, the stick up your ass about putting in work before living up to your level of talent…It’s the same thing you with you time and again…You are painfully predictable my friend…

And you just don’t understand this world…You don’t get life itself…You say paying a little bit of time is no price at all? Impulse, we all only get a little time…Kings and serfs, rich men and beggars, we all only get a small bit of time before we shed this mortal coil…Nothing can change that, nothing can stop that…And you willfully give some of the little time you have on this earth spinning your wheels, you’re happy to have done so?

Princess Bride, sure you’ve seen it…And lord knows I’ve gotten into a bit of a movie groove in these promos…But it fits what I’m trying to say…When Westley gets hooked up to the machine and the guy says he’s sucked one year out of him…You’re both Westley and the man using the machine…You took a year of your career, of your life away from yourself and yet you smile over it…

(Shakes head.)

I wanted you to beat Anarky because you’re a star, I wanted to fight you because it would have been important…I wanted to fight you because Dis Vs Impulse would have been important, would have made history…And I wouldn’t have minded the pay-per-view bonus either…But you had to fight Copycat and Larry Tact…Such a pressing need that was that history could wait till you took care of that urgent business…

You failed me, you failed the sport you claim to honor, you failed the fans…Destiny cried out for a champion, for a hero to rise up and claim the moment, and you ran like a coward…

But now there is no running, only Mr. Slow and Steady has to put up or shut up…You claim your path works…Well now you have to prove it…

Beat me and it all seems worthwhile, the supposedly honorable, traditional way of doing business works for you and you’re revered as the humble hero…Fail and you’re nothing more than another man who couldn’t hack it in the Empire…

I don’t doubt you have the talent to beat me…But I just don’t see the hunger in your eyes…I don’t see that fire, that willingness to crawl across broken glass because you NEED this…I listen to you, I watch you fight and I feel like I’m watching a man just doing his job…Just working hard, going along to get along…

This isn’t my job…

This is my LIFE…

Understand that when you get in the ring with me…Understand where the fire inside me comes from and know that you’ll have to do something really special to put that fire out…

We’re going to war…And the only goal is to destroy the opponent…No price is too high, no sacrifice to great…

I will win this match…No matter the cost…

Can you honestly say the same?

(FADEOUT)
 

User Poets

The Shadow Pope
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Serious

(FADEIN... on The First.

He's got a sneer on his face, and he's very shiny and very still.

It's a life - sized cardboard cutout. There's no title belt with it, which can somewhat narrow down the timeframe for when the cutout was printed.

Everything else around is dark, until I sidled up next to the cutout and put my arm around the neck. I was wearing a black T-shirt with a taped fist in the air, and I had a day's worth of additional stubble on my face.)

"I was gonna have a conversation with you today, The First... at least, with your cardboard cutout. I was gonna ask the hard hitting questions and laugh maniacally when the cardboard didn't answer."

"But I think I'll refrain today. I don't want to make fun of you, and I don't want to disrespect you. Believe it or not, that's the last thing I ever wanted to do, Brian."

"Can I call you Brian? Call me Randall, it'll make this a lot easier."

"Do you know why I didn't wrestle Anarky?"

"It's really simple: I hadn't earned it."

"I can see you rolling your eyes already."

"You talk about the Empire Pro World Title almost with reverence, Brian - you respect the office of Champion even if you don't respect the Empire."

"I appreciate your acknowledgement of my talents in the ring, but was your ideal Face of the Empire really a guy with no experience carrying a company, whose entire legend to that point was built in a different organization, and dubious at the time, at best?"

"We have the same beliefs about skill in this sport, Brian: skill does not always equate victory. The most talented wrestler is not always the best choice for the main event."

"And let's be honest: if I came into this company and immediately said 'I'm taking over this dump' and did it, not only would the fans not accept it but they'd abandon the company, and I'd be the man who put the Empire out of business."

"Perception is a powerful thing, Brian. Listen to the fans during my debut match, compared to the way they sounded when my hand was raised against Cruise and Stevens. They cheered me then, politely and reserved, because they knew I'd give them a good match. They cheer me now, without hesitation, because I'm one of them."

"That's why it took Joey Melton, an actual legend in this industry, three years to become the Empire World Champion."

"It's Gladiator all over again, Brian: The Empire is the People."

"That's something you've forgotten."

"That's also why Impulse against Dis was a losing proposition: because Dis is nothing. Dis is an empty shell, as effective or ineffective as the personality that inhabits the mask."

"The First was an interesting Dis. Lindsay Troy was not."

"Do you see how it matters who's behind the mask?"

"Besides, Brian - wasn't it more fulfilling for you to take the Empire Pro title belt back from the person who took it from you to begin with? I dare say so."

"Destiny cried out for a Champion, Brian? For a hero to rise up and claim the moment?"

"If this is truly a zero sum game like you've claimed, if all of the fan adulation I currently enjoy is inevitably going to leave me, then why does it matter? If it's a crazy, eff'd up world and we're all just barely floating along, then why does it matter who the Champion is?"

"Except that you're willing to do anything to hold onto the belt."

"Except that you point blank said you would shut this company down if you didn't get your rematch against Cameron Cruise."

"So you care, Brian. You care, which invalidates your entire point."

"I don't consider your career and your chances invalidated, just because we're entering the same building from two different parking lots. You're willing to do anything to win this match: you're willing to lie, cheat, steal and kill to remain the Empire's World Champion."

"It's admirable, in a somewhat depressing way."

"I'm willing to do anything to win this match either, Brian. Except compromise my dignity, or compromise my belief in what a wrestling match - the wrestling sport itself could be at its best."

"Does that put me at a disadvantage? Maybe."

"But I've found that winning isn't as important as how you win. You want to win with mist to the face and a belt shot, that's how you roll: I'm not here to judge. I simply hold myself to a higher standard."

"Does that make me better than you?"

Smirk.

"All it means is that my victory... will be that much sweeter."

Fade.
 

The Great Eye

I came to cut you up
Joined
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Messages
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0
Re: Serious

FADEIN: The First sitting on the bench steps next to the Bewitched Statue in downtown Salem, he’s in his ring gear as before.)

FIRST: Brian…A name, a name you use for mockery, to score cheap points, to emulate those before you…Tell me, does stealing such a tactic from Cameron Cruise fill your heart with joy? You talk about earning things…You haven’t earned “Brian”, Cruise hasn’t earned it either…It’s why I humiliated him the way I did…I showed him up because people who overstep their place in this world get slapped down…Maybe if you and I engage in a struggle for a good few years longer I could come to a point where I’d accept such a comment from you as a sign of begrudging respect…But we’re far from that moment.

There is another name that escaped your lips earlier in our little debate…I’d kind of hoped it wouldn’t but it being you it seemed it would be inevitable…I wanted to ignore it, to pretend that Pandora’s box had never been opened, but after listening to you, trying to understand you…I came to the realization that the name means everything when it comes to you…It is the very basis of your existence.

Castor Strife

Don’t think you’ll be calling him Mr. Palazzo anytime soon…Think you would have to much respect for the man you measure yourself against…You finally beat the man that haunted your steps, it’s why you call yourself the best in the world…It’s what gives you that pep in your step, makes you feel like you can talk down to me…

Because me, the Empire, my title…It’s an extra credit project for you…You spent this last year not trying to get the fans to back you, or to show how much you respect this sport…You put in that time because you had to do something to make it so that you could feel emotionally invested in this place…If you just walked in and crushed Anarky it wouldn’t have meant anything to you…The crowd would have roared, the fireworks would have gone off…And you would have felt…Nothing…

That’s why your whole career in the Empire was just a mimicry of what you did in Castorland, win a secondary title, hold it for as long as you can, lose it and then move to the main event and go for the big prize…You followed the exact same blue print because that’s the Impulse way, it’s how you do business…You did it all so that maybe when you won this title (taps belt) It’ll matter to you…It’ll mean a little something more than a bigger paycheck and a larger share of the Pay-Per-View Bonus…

But I listen to you and your pat answers, your cynical digs at me about my tactics and my name and I understand that you’re the cardboard cutout, you’re the puppet…You’re the one mouthing a lot of empty platitudes you don’t really mean because in your soul…This is just another day at the office…The thought of being EPW World Champion doesn’t get your heart racing…It’s just a task, a goal you set out to achieve one day, like learning to play the guitar or visit Paris…It’s just something to cross off the bucket list…

Well you might be able to play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the six string and you and Rosie might kiss under the Eiffel Tower…But you’re not beating me for this title…This title deserves better than you, needs somebody better than you…It needs somebody who won’t throw it in the back of their closet and forget about it…

That’s what this is about…I NEED to win this match…No matter how many times you kick me in the head, no matter how many times you twist my joints, I won’t quit, I can’t quit…Every time you drop me, I’m going to kick out…Every time you look into my eyes, you’ll see a rage and a fury that’s barely even human…

You put a rich man in a cage with a starving man and tell them that they gotta fight and the winner gets food that night…Well my money goes on the hungry man…

In our fight, I’m the hungry man…I’m the one that can’t leave that ring a loser without having everything I’ve worked for thrown down the drain…You got no skin in the game, you lose this and it’s no big deal, you’ll still have your trophy from when you caught your white whale. You can still break out that video distorted title you’re so proud of…

And the best part about all of it is that I’m going to give you the excuse, I promise you I’ve got something really fun cooked up for you, it’s going to be the talk of twitter when it happens and it’ll dominate all the talk shows the morning after Unleashed…You can have that same wry smile you had when you got hit by the taser from Cat and her and Stalker swindled you out of the IC Title. You can give everyone the big shoulder shrug and tell ‘em all that maybe if that mean old First had just fought on the up and up, it would have been a much different result.

I'm going to give you the out you want...I'm a nice guy that way.

(Smiles)

See you and I can talk about the fans and if they truly embrace you…But the fans are just the weak-willed mob that gets told who to cheer and who to hate, you feed them a line of bullshit and they’ll swallow it…

It is how a mean spirited sarcastic asshole like yourself gets to be a hero…It is why after I beat you they’ll hitch their wagons to Cameron Cruise or Stevens or whoever it is that the Empire decrees as the next hero who’ll save the Empire from me…

But you’re all going to fail because in the final hour when it comes down to will…Nobody wants this more than I do…Nobody…Maybe one day in the distant future that will change…But not anytime soon…

You might have caught your white whale…But you won’t catch me…

So go ahead and call me Brian

Call me a cheat and a scoundrel.

But after Unleashed, you and everyone else will STILL call me EPW World Champion.

(FADEOUT)
 

User Poets

The Shadow Pope
Joined
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Website
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Masks

"This is why I don't try anymore."

(FADEIN...

Sitting at a bar with a nearly full pint of dark in front of me. It's St. Patrick's Day, and the place behind me is packed.)

"Honest criticism about the people whose actions impact me are turned around and used as 'proof' that I'm a no good son of a gun. Because it's all for fun until I say your name."

"Didn't realize I had that kinda power."

"Of course I don't, you said so yourself. I'm on autopilot, none of this even matters."

(I looked to my right.)

"Well? You can't have it both ways."

(And I was sitting with the cardboard cutout of The First. Somehow, there were two empty pint glasses in front of him, with a half - empty one closest to his

'hand.')

"I'm open minded, The First. I'm flexible and I try to meet my opponents halfway. I'm of the mind that we could all be right with what we say, just from a

different point of view. Maybe there was something else to Anarky that I wasn't seeing: I'd have given him every chance to show it."

There wasn't.

"Maybe there was something else to the Dangle Twins and Jared Wells' assertation that, even though he'd been absent from this company for who knows how long, he was

going to walk in the door and just 'take' the Intercontinental Championship."

He couldn't.

"And there's you."

"Brian."

(Pull back, the cardboard The First has a piece of paper with an angry face drawn on it taped over his head.)

"I'm sorry, The First. I asked you something a long time ago, would that make The your first name? T. First Champion? First initial?"

"I asked you to call me Randall for a reason: so we could get rid of the pettiness and talk as equals, but that didn't happen, now did it?"

"Because of names."

"Because you hold yours so close to yourself that you can't bear to have it spoken, like a modern day Rumplestiltskin still trying to spin straw into gold."

"This company deserves a better class of wrestler than the ones who only pay attention when they're addressed. Nark, Cruise, Wells, Rezin, The. I've been accused of being everything from a hypocrite to a fraud to a mean spirited, sarcastic ass."

"Do you know what that translates into?"

"'I have nothing to come back on you with so I'll just call you mean.'"

"Is that a fair assessment?"

"Of course, you had something. You had 'CastorLand'.

(I shook my head and looked at The First Cardboard. He had finished his pint and ordered another one. On my tab, to boot.)

"Nobody would argue with you, The First: this is the Empire. Only the Empire matters here. How dare I even think of breathing a half syllable bout anything that happens in 'Castorland'."

"Except for the fact that, you know... you did it first."

"I have far too much respect for this company to declare, assume, or imply that things I've done elsewhere translate to status and opportunity. As I've said before, maybe I could've walked in and taken the World Title from Anarky in my debut match. Would never know, because that's not the right way to do business."

"Neither is a broken neck and a fractured skull."

"I had a hairline fracture in my C3 or my C4 three years ago. One of those injuries that never really caused any problems but needed to be dealt with. Calico Rose fractured her skull when she was put through a table by a gang of talentless hooligans. But that's not new information for the Empire, The First. They already know all about it."

"Because you told them. Because you ripped Pandora a new one months ago."

(The First Cardboard now has a look of surprise taped over his face.)

"You can talk all you want about how all I care about is 'Castorland', The First, but the facts speak for themselves: you've brought up those details at every possible opportunity because there's nothing you can say about my Empire career other than 'He's on fire unless he's in a cage against multiple opponents,' none of which apply here. I said his name because you broke the seal on the outside walls, The First, and in my opinion either all of it is acceptable or none of it is acceptable. We're either both guilty of a 'Castorland' Vacation, or neither of us are."

"But you're the one who sent the Wish You Were Here postcard."

"The fact that you would sit there and say that all I cared about was my Great White Whale, and that I couldn't care less about the Empire World Championship shows just how narrow - minded and short - sighted you've become. My world will not end if you win this match, The First: neither will yours. It'll be a disappointment and a setback, but we'll both live to fight another day. That's the reality of it with all emotion removed."

"You'd like to have people think differently, wouldn't you? That the belt means more to you than anything under the sun, that you'll defend it to your dying breath, and that I'm looking at it as a trophy on the wall, to be stared at for a half second as I walk past it in my palatial... two bedroom apartment."

"Strike that, reverse it. Thank you."

"I remind you which of us left a championship vacant so as to not be handed something that he hadn't earned, and which of us threatened to shut the company down if he didn't get what he wanted after losing it clean?"

"How's that irony taste, The First? You are what you hate about you, and I am everything you wanted to be but can't."

"Put a hungry man against a rich man and promise a meal to the winner and you'll see the hungry man win every time? What about when the hungry man has gorged himself on the main event so completely that it's not about winning and losing anymore, but simply about who can sit at the foot of the buffet the longest?"

"I'll give you a hint - wrap it up, because it's just about closing time."

(The last bit of my drink was drained.)

"And don't forget to tip, because your tab is long overdue."

(Pull back to show The First Cardboard with another angry face, several empty glasses in front of him, and - we assume - the bill for the night's drinks.

Fade.)
 

The Great Eye

I came to cut you up
Joined
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Messages
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Re: Masks

(FADEIN: A tight shot of The First’s legs, he’s standing on a white X on a street.)

FIRST: Power’s a funny thing, what men will do to obtain it…What they’ll do once they have it…Abe Lincoln said if you wanted to test a man’s character, give him power…I guess I’d have failed old Abe’s test as it were…Since I’m such a bad person with my antics while EPW Champion…

Anyhow, I’m not here to talk about Abe and his wisdom…

(The camera pans back to show First is in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. He’s in black jeans and a black “First to Three” T-Shirt. Sunglasses on, face unpainted.)

I’m here to talk about the last man from my beloved Commonwealth to be President…He died right on this X…I really don’t know much about what happened, America’s too new for my tastes to get interested in it really…But when I was in the sixth floor museum I was hearing about the man sitting in front of JFK. He got shot in the chest, and then he was pelted by stuff flying from JFK’s head afterwards. And that guy decided to run for President…

Can you imagine that? To have been nearly killed, and to have been soaked in the gore of a man who was killed while serving as President and then one day you wake up and say “I want that job!” that’s just nuts…

That’s what power does to people…Makes them overlook an event that awful, that tragic just so they can grab power for themselves…

Like how the most honorable and noble man alive wins a tainted decision in a three way dance, and he scores the fall over his bestest friend in the whole world, and he tells the guy to eat shit…I won you lost, get over it pal…If you don’t like it we’ll get in the ring and I’ll kick your ass again…

That’s all it took for you to turn your back on Triple X…Just the chance to gain some power…

My commonwealth hasn’t done so good in the President business since JFK either, ran three guys for the office and had them all come home losers…The last guy, Romney…You really remind me of him a lot Impulse…He was slick, so damn slick…Had an explanation and justification for everything he said…

You tell me you just wanted us to be equals, honorable men having an honorable discussion when you called me Brian…As if we were not equals before…You are so deeply hurt that I took offense to this harmless gesture that you made in good faith, it wounds your heart to have me act as I do in response to what you said…

(First shakes his head.)

And you expect me to believe this…You expect me to say “Oh I’m sorry Impulse, I was mistaken for thinking you were just being an asshole when you were just trying to elevate the level of discourse in our conversation.”

Or maybe you just thought I wouldn’t notice you were pissing on my leg when you told me it was raining…

See, I understand who and what you are…you’re a man who has all the answers…There is nothing I can say to you that you won’t have a reply for…Some brilliant turn of phrase or cutting remark that’ll put the ball back in my corner…I mean I have to sit here and listen to you explain how noble, how honorable, how great a man you were that you refused to be handed back your IC Title after Dan Ryan offered to give it back to you…But I’m a big jerk for demanding a return match for my World Title after I was beaten by Cameron Cruise…

Now forgetting the fact that I let Cruise win so I could humiliate the man…Let’s remember what really happened with you and your former title…It was the burden keeping you from going for the big belt…You told me all about how you had to honor that belt by defending it, not by stepping up and going for the big gold…No, that wouldn’t be right by the IC Title…So you got to keep fighting the Jared Wells’ and Steven Shane’s and Larry Tact’s of the world…

Until fate in the form of a few thousand volts finally set you free…You were unshackled from that title and now allowed to finally go after the real gold in the Empire…Don’t act like you wanted to hold that title for one second longer than you did…I saw the fruit basket you mailed to Stalker after he beat you. The card reading “Thanks for beating me, sorry you got fired ” was a nice touch.

That belt was just your introduction to the league, your shield against your own arrogance. You wanted to show us all how hard working and humble you were, how you were not the sort to just storm in and demand a title shot…We were supposed to all be thrilled you were carrying that title…

Just like when Romney was leading my commonwealth…He was just looking to move up to the big job in DC…Same with you…He just wanted to be “Governor Romney” when he ran for President…Like how you wanted to be “Former IC Champion Impulse.” Before you got into the ring for belt you really wanted…Everything carefully calculated and planned out, every move set up with the next one in mind…

But like old Mitt, you had to do things you most assuredly didn’t like…He was for things before he was against them, he had to change his mind if he wanted to get that nomination…And you know what he did…He did whatever those crazy people told him to do so he could earn their vote…There was no depth he wouldn’t sink to…No previously held position he wouldn’t disown just to get a little closer to winning…

He was, in short, a man with no core…No soul…Just like you….That I called you out for being a bitch because you let a company profit by airing the video of your girlfriend nearly being killed...And you come back and proudly show off the leash that company has now put around your neck...It just proves everything I've ever said about you...You're a company man who'll tolerate any insult, endure any slight so long as you get your prize at the end of it all...

That you would have the nerve to claim I was the one that motivated you to brandish your leash here in the Empire is beyond laughable…You couldn’t wait to show it off…Tell the truth, had you even showered after the match when you filmed that promo and mailed it into the EPW front office?

It’s just who you are…But just like Mitt your big day is coming…Folks say the incumbent is beatable, his has a name people make fun of and he doesn’t look like the champions of the past…But at the end of the night…More of the map will be my color than your color…I’ll still have my power…I’ll still have my belt…

And you’ll just be another loser who took a shot and missed…Relegated to the dustbin of history…

(FADEOUT)
 

User Poets

The Shadow Pope
Joined
Jan 6, 1995
Messages
2,192
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Age
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www.valeriansgarden.com
Last Words

(One last word. No frills or extras, ready: GO.)

“So this is it, The First.”

“All the rhetoric comes to an end, and all the creative uses of the English language abruptly stop.”

“We’re going to go to that ring, and we’re going to see which of us has the talent to win.”

A fallacy: if we didn’t both have that talent, neither of us would be here.

“The irony is that this is more than an athletic competition, The First. This is more than who has the skill to win the match, more than the punch you landed or the kick that connected.”

“Which of us has the will to win?”

“Neither of us are going to muscle the other. If it came down to mat wrestling, I’d have the edge – but it won’t. You’d find some way to even the odds with a chair or a kick to the crotch, or a rake of the eyes, or something of the sort.”

You’d use that as a reason why you have the will to win over me. You did use that.

And you’re wrong.

“But the fact of the matter is, as you’ve proven yourself over the course of the past two title reigns, you’re dishonest and unreliable, therefore I’m looking out for it. If I’m expecting you to screw me out of my shot, obviously you’ve lost the element of surprise.”

We could keep going with this.

“So which of us has the will to win, The First?”

“Is it you?”

“Three years ago, I’d have said yes. You refused to give up after losing, again and again, to Triple X. You formed Hope as antimatter to the Anthology that Trip had taken over. You really did represent the underdog to the Empire’s fans: the neverending optimism that the odds could be overcome. You meant a lot to people.”

“Your success meant a lot to me. I was one of those guys. Not a World Title contender, that was still over a year away, but the very fact that you were my size and were carrying a wrestling promotion on your shoulders meant that I could do it, too.”

“Of course, as luck would have it, you lost the belt to Nark the show before my debut, and left the promotion as a result.”

“I applauded your return as Dis. As little as I thought of the ongoing saga of a man in a mask playing off the legend of who used to wear it, in retrospect I thought it was a brilliant way to mess with Anarky: a man with all the talent in the world and complete lack of ability to either enjoy it or use it constructively.”

“It wasn’t until Cameron Cruise beat you that I saw the truth.”

That’s the difference between us: I allow my point of view to update with experience and the passage of time; you’ve been hanging on the same rhetoric for almost two years and it was old hat then.

“You’ve accused me of plotting my career here in the Empire completely devoid of any emotion and spontaneity: that I’m following the path that I carved out elsewhere. To a certain extent, you’re correct.”

“I entered this company with the same ambition as I entered the other two companies I’ve worked for: with the intention of working hard, making a name for myself, and taking the opportunities as they come.”

“Was I on schedule to win the Intercontinental Title from Michael Bastard? I was given the opportunity to become his number one contender in my second singles match, why would I refuse a match?”

“Do you know what happens when you say no to the boss in this business, The First? I could tell you stories from Castorland but I won’t. Suffice to say, I enjoy working here, so I took what Dan Ryan gave me and I came out of it with gold around my waist.”

“Sound familiar? The fans liked watching you lose to Sean Stevens and wanted to be there in case you ever won, so it made good business sense for Dan Ryan to give you shot after shot.”

After shot after shot after shot after shot after shot after shot after shot…

“Did you ever think to yourself that maybe you weren’t good enough to beat him? I’m sure that thought crossed your mind at least once. Did it ever stop you from saying yes to the matches that Ryan gave you?”

“And then we both lost our Championships at Black Dawn: mine to Stalker in a cage with an assist from Caitlyn Daymon, and yours to Cameron Cruise… due to a clean pinfall.”

“You can spin it however you want, that’s what you do. You’ve spun my title loss into another calculated move on my part to hold a secondary belt for X number of months and then put it aside to go for the World Title since that was on the schedule.”

“You’ve also spun your own loss into an intentional act on your part to embarrass Cameron, ten short minutes later.”

“Well.”

“If you spin things far enough you can call Mother Teresa a selfish, self – centered attention whore whose only mission was to guilt people out of money. You can call Mister Rogers the first kiddie diddler because he had puppets in his basement and encouraged youngsters to be his neighbor.”

You can say that, you know, if you’re an idiot.

“You can spin anything any way, The First – but it never alters the truth.”

“The fact that I’d have been perfectly happy still defending the Intercontinental Championship right here and now, and I would be if Stalker hadn’t pinned me. There are no rules in a cage match, he won the belt from me that night.”

“I refused to take it back when Dan Ryan fired Stalker, because it no longer belonged to me. I realize that’s a foreign concept to you because your life begins and ends with a gold belt around your waist, whose only cost was your integrity.”

If you ever had any.

“For that matter, who would you have seen face off with you in this match? You continually talk about how I’m only here because I won one match since losing the Intercontinental Title.”

“That’s true. And Dan Ryan happened to make that one match for the Unleashed title shot. Again, do you expect me to not take a match because… well, I don’t know the reasons there.”

“And who else deserved to be there? Triple X and I were in the King of the Cage finals, having knocked off – amongst others – the Current and Former World Champion, and the Rebel Fleet.”

You know, Anarky and Rezin, the guys who are against the Empire, and… forget it.

“So you make it interesting with Triple X and myself, and you up the ante by putting Cameron in with us, winner take all.”

“And I’m a hypocrite for taking the win.”

“At that point, I was in a no – win scenario with the boys that don’t like me anyways. I keep the pin, I’m a hypocrite for not winning one clean. I don’t keep the pin, odds are Trip and Cruise see me as the threat since I nearly won the match twice, and they pair up to put me out and I’m an idiot for not taking the win at face value.”

“How I see it is that Cameron Cruise lost that match just as completely as I won. He was an equal part of it, he had just as much chance of winning. What did he do with his presence? He caused Triple X to be pinned.”

Some people are just destined to be Best Supporting Actor.

“I could’ve asked for the match to be restarted, except for the fact that we were out of TV Time and the bell had sounded. I did petition Dan Ryan to see what could be done to give Triple X a fair shake, and I was told that the match would stand, the decision was final, and my options were to wrestle for the World Title at Unleashed or go home for good, since I’d technically be no – showing a match that I was advertised as being part of.”

First rule of this business, The First – never disappoint the fans.

“I did what I always do: I moved forward. Either I win this match and give Triple X and Cameron Cruise title shots to make up for Cameron’s idiocy, or you win and you keep on ducking the real contenders until such time as you can get an extra edge on them.”

“And for all this, you call me a hypocrite.”

“Congratulations, you’re parroting the same thing everyone else in this industry who doesn’t have the vision to see a man who actually is what he says he is. You’re proving yourself to be about on par with Anarky in the ‘I know how to talk on camera’ sweepstakes.”

If only you had something original to say, I’d still actually respect you.

“So what’s more likely, The First – that I’m a calculating, career – minded hypocrite who has apparently only acted in that fashion once in his Empire career, or that you actually don’t give two specks of fleas about the Empire itself? That the company could crash and burn as long as you have the gold belt?”

“Something more than one crackpot’s opinion would seem to be on my side. Stalker helps you win the belt, then fails to help you keep it. Muse, a mask, and the legend of who used to wear it wins it back for you and a temper tantrum gives you another shot after losing it.”

“I don’t need to interpret this for the fans because all the evidence is on tape and can be reviewed on EPW On Demand.”

“So which of us has the will to win, The First?”

“It’s not about the punch you didn’t land or the kick that didn’t connect.”

“It’s about who will do what’s right for the Empire.”

“The biggest obstacle that a Champion has isn’t a showdown with their number one contender, or a one fall match against multiple opponents. The biggest obstacle is hubris.”

“Simple pride.”

“When you believe yourself to be bigger than the company you represent, the company finds a way to get rid of you.”

“I dare you to name one exception.”

“You said it yourself, The First – you’re willing to do anything. Is that willing to do anything for the Empire, or is it simply willing to do anything to keep the gold belt around your waist?”

“Don’t answer: we already know the truth.”

“I can see it when you talk, you try to paint me as the bad guy, you try to paint me as some kind of egomaniac who feels he’s owed the Empire’s World Title, when your actions and your tone tell a different tale. They tell all of us about a formerly humble non – professional who, one day, started to believe all of his press and started to believe that the good of the Empire was less important than the World Title being around his waist.”

“And that spoke to me, The First. It told me that your time is up.”

“How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”

Laugh.

“It depends on the tune.”

FADE
 

The Great Eye

I came to cut you up
Joined
Jan 29, 2004
Messages
1,337
Points
0
Re: Last Words

{FADEIN: The First in the backstage area in the Ballpark in Arlington. First is in his ring gear with the EPW World Title around his waist. Behind him are four large men who have their faces painted black and white in various different styles.)

FIRST: The hour draws near…Soon the man who made the Empire wait for him will no longer be able to put off his moment of reckoning…Soon you and I will have to get into that ring Impulse…Soon all the talk and hype will die away and what will be left is what you and I do in that ring…Moments will last for forever, decisions we make will be debated by the masses for weeks and months to come…Why did Impulse work the leg, why did First try that high risk move…The second guessing and speculation will be ever present…

And that’s what makes it so exciting isn’t it? We define reality in this night, we are the actors on that stage doing what others can only dream of…Doing what so many people wish they could…We live lives that are the dreams of the common people…We’re titans upon this earth…

But none of that matters when the breaks go against you…as great as our life is…To be in the public eye means you must suffer the losses along with basking in the glory of the wins…The hero and the goat are often separated by only a split second here and there…

You know all this…It’s why you’ve avoided it…It’s why you’ve spent your time doing what you’ve done…You say you are who you say you are…Buddy, you’re a piece of work…You I’m parroting talking points others have used before me…I think it’s more folks are telling you the truth and you just refuse to listen…You refuse to look in the mirror and see what everyone else sees…

You think you’re a hero, a champion…And to the masses you are, but to those in the business, you’re just another punk…You can back it up in the ring for now so your ego is tolerated, but rest assured the hatred people have for you is real and it is powerful…People resent a man like you Impulse, they know you’ve conned the public…But they see through it…They see your soul just as I do…And it’s black and miserable…

But I’m the karma that’s been waiting for you all this time…What happens in that ring tonight, it’s the payment for all those bills you’ve been avoiding paying…Tonight I’m the hand of justice bringing forth my verdict upon your dream of being EPW World Champion…

For the crimes of hubris and vanity…You are guilty

For the crimes of spinelessness, of subservience in the desire to gain power…You are guilty.

For the crimes of strawman arguments and blame shifting…You are guilty.

Your punishment will not be swift…No, I expect it will take me a long time to properly beat and injure you in that ring, to make you bleed, to make you suffer…I figure you’ll give as good as you’ll get to, a cornered animal fights hard and you’ll be no different…

But I’m going to break you, don’t worry about that Impulse…This is a fight that I’ve been training for…For a long time…I’ve watched you from afar for years, I admired you, respected you…And really that’s the worst part about all of this…You failed me…You failed me because the Impulse I’d invented in my mind was such a better man than the Impulse I’m stuck talking to today that it makes me sad I ever thought for a minute that man existed…

I wouldn’t say you broke my heart, but you did sprain it…

But even now, fool that I am…Well I’m going to let you in on a little secret Impulse…I didn’t go to Eddie’s wrestling school to inspire his students and motivate them to be all they could be…I went there to find a few big strong guys and offer then a trip to Dallas…Backstage access to Unleashed…And you know what’s the best part of this trip they are on?

(The men pull out tickets from their pants pockets.)

Four ringside seats to the big show…That’s living the good life…They’ll get to take in all the action up close and personal…They’ll get to cheer and boo with the rest of the crowd…They’ll get to watch all the actions…And then in the main event they’ll get to see me and you fight it out for the EPW World Title…

Now I can’t promise you that these guys WON’T jump the railing and beat the shit out of you if the chance comes…I mean, they ARE just spending the night as fans here at an EPW Pay-Per-View so one would really hope that they wouldn’t do such a thing…But if such a thing DID happens…Well, in the spirit of why you started calling me Brian and all the rest of it…It would really make me oh so very sad if they did somehow tarnish our match by…Say…Triple Powerbombing you through the broadcast table…

STUDENT: Nah Man…We got this thing set up…You ain’t gonna BELIEVE it…He’s gonna be dead or in a wheelchair after we drop him…

FIRST: Whoa whoa whoa! Guys guys! I didn’t hear any of this! I’m just here to have a good honest fight with Impulse…

(Smiles)

See that’s the difference between us Impulse…I don’t lie about who I am…I’m going to beat the shit out of you, and these men if they even get a chance to lay a hand on you…Are going to make sure you never walk again…Call me a coward, call me a scumbag, tell me how I dishonor the title…But the difference between me and you is that after Unleashed…I’ll still be able to walk…

To dear Rosie…Sorry your meal ticket is about to become a quadriplegic…But hey, we can still debate the career arc of Birthday Massacre right?


(FADEOUT)
 

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