<i>(We start with a black screen. As quickly as the black screen appeared, it is interrupted by an abrupt burst of static, after which Aaron Jones’ face appears onscreen. Because of the closeness of the shot, there is nothing else visible in the room – the background is black. Jones stares straight into the camera. He starts to speak, but is interrupted by another short burst of static, after which the screen goes black again)
(On the black background, words appear in large white letters)</i>
<b>Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If only I touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
<i>(After lingering onscreen for a few seconds, the white text fades away. As the screen goes black again, there is another burst of static, after which Aaron Jones’ face appears again. After staring into the screen for a second, he begins speaking)</i>
<b>Aaron Jones:</b> Many of the miracles performed by the Son of God during His time on earth saw Him heal the sick, aid the injured and even raise the dead.
On some occasions, His miracles were unsolicited. He saw pain and suffering and took it upon Himself to bring peace to those who wished to be freed of their pain. But on others, He was approached by those who were suffering. Many, knowing His reputation, sought His assistance in solving the problems they could not solve themselves.
But the woman who had for many years been unable to stop her hemorrhaging did not even ask for Jesus’s help. Instead, as He walked through a crowd, she merely touched His cloak and was healed.
You might be tempted to believe the woman was healed by her physical contact with Jesus’s cloak. But as the Son of God Himself confirmed after the woman admitted it was she who touched His cloak, it was not physical contact that healed her, but faith – faith that Jesus had the power to heal. Had the woman merely believed the cloak was magical, she might never have been cured of her ills. But because she had faith in Jesus, she was able to benefit from His miracle.
And so it is—
<i>(Jones is interrupted by another burst of static, after which he resumes his speech)</i>
<b>Jones:</b> And so it is that He will prove to the world at Wrestleverse IV just how great the extent of His power is.
He, of course, does not have anywhere near the abilities of Jesus Christ, nor does He expect to gain a following even remotely comparable to Jesus’s. But at Wrestleverse, He will show everyone that He has one ability in common with our Lord and Savior.
At Wrestleverse IV, He will perform a miracle.
Any observer can see that the odds are stacked high against Him at Wrestleverse. After many weeks of apparent willingness to do right, Anarky, the EPW World Heavyweight Champion, showed his true colors at Aggression 59. First, Anarky abandoned Him in the ring to waste time with Stalker, while He was trapped in the California Clutch after being hit with brass knuckles. Then, like a coward, Anarky attacked Him from behind. Unprovoked. After He was nothing but a fair, just and upfront tag team partner.
So it is clear that Anarky has put his own personal glory first and foremost, his lofty talk about being a changed man proved to be little more than bluster.
In addition, EPW owner Dan Ryan has officially declared war on Him. Though He understands why Dan Ryan’s first instinct might be to be upset with Him, He had hoped that Dan Ryan would use his time in the hospital not to plot revenge schemes, but to reflect on why He did what He did nearly a year ago. Alas, He knew this was an unlikely outcome. Instead, Dan Ryan has used his time off not to think of ways to make EPW a better league – and, by extension, ways to pull the wrestling business out of the swirling cesspool into which it has fallen – but to obsess over ways to hurt Him.
So it is clear than Dan Ryan has put his own personal glory first and foremost, his assumed intentions to run a good business proved to be secondary at best to mute vengeance.
Finally, Dan Ryan announced that he had appointed a special guest referee for His match with Anarky at Wrestleverse IV – clearly someone from His past who likely has, real or only imagined, a score to settle with Him. Who that guest referee might be is anybody’s guess, as many have raised short-sighted dissatisfaction with His all-important crusade to rid this business of those who would destroy it for their own personal gain. He can think of no fewer than eight names off the top of His head, rivals from EPW and from His career before EPW. Nine, if you count a current EPW referee who might already be prejudiced against Him.
So it is clear that His EPW World Heavyweight Title match at Wrestleverse IV will not be called down the middle, and indeed may be officiated by someone wholly unwilling to make the necessary three-count for Him.
A cowardly champion. A power-mad authority figure. A crooked referee. Many would be surprised to see Him walk out of Wrestleverse IV the EPW World Heavyweight Champion, given the long odds He faces. Many would see His triumph at Wrestleverse IV as nothing short of a—
<i>(Jones is interrupted by another quick burst of static, after which he resumes speaking)</i>
<b>Jones:</b> … nothing short of a miracle.
But He is prepared to walk out of that match the victor. He is prepared to walk out of that arena the EPW World Heavyweight Champion.
He is prepared to perform a miracle – to succeed against impossible odds.
And in so doing, He will prove that His cause is truly as noble, that His aims are truly as pure, as He has said they are. He will show that despite Dan Ryan’s claims, He was always in control. He will begin the next phase of his holy crusade to cleanse this business with a miraculous accomplishment that will turn nonbelievers to his cause in record numbers.
But as was the case with our Lord and Savior, the greatest beneficiaries of His miracle will be those who had faith. Those who profess their faith in Him before He performs His miracle will prove themselves truly worthy of the new era He hopes to usher in. Their faith will heal them – and their faith will help heal this diseased business.
There is time yet before Wrestleverse IV. There is time for in-depth thinking, for tough decision. There is time to do what is right by the future of this business.
This message is not just for His opponents, His detractors. This message is for the entirety of EPW. This message is for the entirety of the wrestling business. This message is for everyone.
<i>(The shot cuts to static once again, then quickly restores the image of Jones)</i>
<b>Jones:</b> Put your faith in Him.
<i>(More static takes over the image, this time repeatedly cutting in as Jones continues to stare into the camera. Soon enough, the shot is overtaken entirely by static, after which it abruptly cuts to black)</i>
<i>(After a few short seconds of black, there is another burst of static. For a brief moment, Copycat’s face appears onscreen when Aaron Jones’ was, staring intently into the camera with his dead eyes. A second later, static cuts in again, and then gives way to black)</i>
(FADEIN to an Empire Pro Wrestling banner. Standing in front of it is Anarky, the EPW World Heavyweight Title in his arms.)
ANARKY: “The First was consumed with it. It haunted his every waking moment. The lost opportunities. The schemes hatched… alliances formed, all so he could one day raise this shiny piece of metal above his head and declare himself… the best.
“Me… I don’t even know what that means anymore.
“I was perfectly content to let men like Sean Stevens and First fight their wars endlessly, to prove their worth, to claim bragging rights, to be the best…
“All I wanted was a chance to be the King of the Cage. A chance to enter a contest without strings… a chance for us all to be equals. No history holding us back, no expectations, just one match at a time, the cold steel of the cage rendering us all equally weak and soft.
“Night after night, I survived. I advanced. I became.
“And now… now I find myself defined by the title I never sought. I find myself the target of men who seek to wield influence like Gods. Men who believe only they have the necessary vision to be Champion.
“And me. I don’t even know what it means.
“I didn’t ask for this.”
“It doesn’t matter. We don’t always get to choose our path. I certainly didn’t choose you, Copycat. Not again.
“I might not know what it means to be a champion. And as my opponent’s acolyte points out, I am no saint. They won’t build statues for all the orphans I saved.
“But if you think for one f*cking second that I’m going to sit idly by and let you continue the tradition of the Empire Pro World Heavyweight Title being used a prop for some egomaniac to validate himself and verbally masturbate all over the audience, week after week, you got another f*cking thing coming.
“We listened to that sh*t for over a year with Sean Stevens congratulating himself about how f*cking special he was. And we listened for a much briefer period about The First talking about his destiny and glory and how he was finally the best and he could just prove if it you’d just listen for a minute.
“And now? You think I’m going to sit idly by as a man who can’t even be bothered to wrestle in all of his own matches or do his own interviews calls me self-glorifying?
“I’m not quite sure how broken your mind has to be to equate hitting someone with a belt with personal glory, but I guess these are the kinds of thoughts you have when you decide to devote your life to glorifying Copycat and his message to the heathens.
“Every week, I listen to Stalker explain how I’m unworthy of being a champion because only he gets to decide what matters in EPW. Every week, I have to listen to Copycat’s minion explain how it’s okay to have someone else fight your battles as long as someone else is being tested.
“Apparently, being EPW World Heavyweight Champion is mostly about proving you’re worthy to Stalker and Copycat.
“And Aaron Jones, of course.
“Oh Aaron. I suppose I shouldn’t be disappointed in you. I mean, you’re the kinda guy who sees someone hit the EPW owner with a car and think, gosh, now that’s the kind of leadership we need in Empire Pro.
“So I gotta listen to religious lectures from you about Jesus. Who apparently shares quite a bit in common with Copycat. They’re pretty much the same guy, right?
“I never claimed to be a savior. Hell, I don’t think I even claimed to be a changed man. But like most small-minded pr*cks, Copycat’s too busy judging other people to hold a mirror to his own lofty ambitions.
“He’s going to save us all, is he, Aaron? By acquiring all the glitter and gold? By hitting people with cars? By sending untrained amateurs to do a job he’s too lazy and cowardly to do?
“See, while Copycat was backstage, ‘observing’ me for a ‘test,’ I was out there, making sure you weren’t injured in a match you had no business in. While Copycat went about spreading his message and acquiring a man whose entire job is to talk about how great he is… I’m out there, night after night, busting my f*cking ass.
“You don’t think I’m a worthy champion? Get in f*cking line. Start a club. Get laminated cards for all I care. You can all start the Anarky Isn’t Worthy of Being Champion and I Should be Calling the Shots Club, whose population is pretty much everybody in EPW who isn’t me.
“I don’t need anybody to fight for me. And I certainly don’t need somebody to come out here and tell everybody how wonderful and special I am and how when I’m crowned champion, we’ll all sh*t rainbows and sleep in beds of roses because you had faith in me.
“Copycat’s like most other religious figures. A total fraud so obsessed with himself and his own destiny that he can’t accept that he’s made up of the same decaying matter as everyone else. Equally unworthy. Just a man.
“I still don’t know what it means to be a champion. I don’t know if I’ll ever know. But I do know one thing.
“This title… it’s just bits of metal and leather. Just an arrangement of jewels and insignias. It’s just stuff. It only means what you make it mean.
“Yet the thing itself… is not the EPW World Heavyweight Title. Because the Title is something more than its physical manifestation. It’s a symbol. Of who we are as a league and where we are going.
“I sat by and I watched men like Stevens and First use the title as a tool for self-glorification. And now I sit by and watch men like Copycat and Stalker explain to me how only they’re capable of being worthy of all the glitter and gold.
“And the only thing standing between them and EPW’s greatest achievement is me.
“I am the gatekeeper. The last line of defense.
“At Wrestleverse… I won’t promise victory. I won’t pretend this is destiny. I’ll let my opponent and his acolyte ramble on about it’s their glorious destiny to change the entire shape of Empire Pro in their beautiful, perfect image.
“I’m just a man who went out there, night after night, and found himself thrust into a spotlight he never wanted.
“If you don’t think that’s enough to make me a real champion, fine. But at Wrestleverse, you’re going to have to do a whole lot more than send Aaron Jones and a religious sermon to bore me to death for this title.
“When the bell rings, it won’t matter what Aaron Jones thinks, or if I’m a coward or a saint or a hero, or if you really are the savior of EPW.
“You’re just a man. A man who can be beaten. A man who can end up on his back for three seconds.
<i>(From a black screen, a burst of static heralds the face and torso of Aaron Jones. The camera has been pulled back from its position in his last appearance, and we can see he stands with arms resting on a podium of some sort in front of him. He raises his right hand off the podium and starts to say something, only to be interrupted by another burst of static. Following the static, he elevates the right hand again)</i>
<b>Aaron Jones:</b> Vision.
<i>(Jones raises his left hand to same height as his right)</i>
<i>(Jones brings the hands together)</i>
<b>Jones:</b> Two sides of the same coin.
<i>(Jones brings the hands back down to rest on the podium)</i>
<b>Jones:</b> A man tosses the coin and takes the chance, presents his belief. Will he be hailed as a genius or derided as a madman?
Anarky has long enjoyed using the word <i>delusion</i> and its many creative variations to describe His attitudes and opinions. Seldom has there been any similarity between His worldview and Anarky’s, and Anarky’s defense has always been to cast Him as a lunatic for believing what He believes.
But the creed to which He has sworn Himself is of far greater importance than any He has adopted in the past. Before, Anarky accused Him of delusion for His belief in Himself as the greatest this business could offer, for His ego, for His adherence to the wishes of the fans, for His quests for gold, glory and respect. Anarky believed it to be folly that He would consider His lofty and self-important goals so achievable – especially if the obstacle between Him and His attaining these goals were Anarky himself.
Now, He has dedicated His every move, His every thought, His every waking moment to saving this business from this current generation of competitors who would as soon leave it a smoking, lifeless husk as get out of bed in the morning. He has decided that His top priority should not be His own glorification, but the continued survival of this industry that He cannot bear to see demolished. He has thrown His weight behind the preservation of the future, not the fleeting preservation of the present – a goal all of us would do better to adopt.
Many, unwilling to change their wicked ways, call this delusion. Wiser souls might be inclined to call it—
<i>(Jones is interrupted by a burst of static, finishing his thought as the image returns to normal)</i>
<b>Jones:</b> —inclined to call it vision. I certainly have.
But His approach will be different. He could make such a definition now – but He will instead wait until Wrestleverse IV to assign a definition. And He will make this definition not with words, but with actions.
When we review history, there are men we remember as prophets and men we remember as lunatics. In most cases, there is very little difference of opinion – either a vast majority believes a man to be a visionary, or a vast majority believes him to be a deluded fool. But in their own time, these men saw greater difference of opinion, because humanity had yet to see whether their proclamations had truth to them.
At Wrestleverse IV, He will prove wrong those who doubt Him and reward those who believed in Him. In a match specifically engineered to ensure He fails, He will instead triumph – over Anarky, over Dan Ryan, over the special guest referee, over all those who doubt the veracity of His word.
Often, the only difference between vision and delusion is success. And He has put too much work into proving the ultimate truth of His word, the ultimate purity of His all-important quest, to let it be damaged by men who refuse to believe anything that threatens their steadfast faith in their own relevance.
He will prove to the world that it is He, and not his self-absorbed detractors, who truly understands this business, what it stands for and what it needs to survive. He will prove to the world that it is He who can pull this industry out of its downward spiral before it is too late to save it. And He will do this by crushing, in one fell swoop, His most vocal opposition.
It is almost certainly too late for them. But there is still time to be counted among those who will be rewarded when He is successful at Wrestleverse.
Stand up. Be counted. Support the survival of this business.
Put your faith in Him.
<i>(A few bursts of static herald the fade to black. Just before static overtakes the screen entirely, Copycat appears at the podium in the place previously occupied by Aaron Jones. Then, static – and darkness)</i>
(FADEIN to an enormous stage with a huge banner which reads VOTE FOR ANARKY 2011, and under it, A Message You Can Pretend to Believe In. In front of it stands Anarky, dressed in a 3-piece suit, his hair pulled back in a tight ponytail, with his skull facepaint on. He stands in front of an audience of nobody and speaks into the microphone.)
ANARKY: “Ladies and gentlemen... I want to thank you for having me here today, in the wonderful town of Greensboro, North Carolina, home to something-or-other, and of course, Successful Local Sports Team! Go team!”
(Piped in crowd noise via speakers.)
ANARKY: “But I am not just here to pander to your local sports team and generate cheap favor from the crowd. No. Today, we are here on much more serious business.
“My opponent believes that EPW is sick. He thinks Empire Pro... is diseased. We are in a downward spiral, he'd say if he ever spoke on camera. The entire league, nay, the entire sport is at risk of being demolished, his unpaid assistant without a hint of mental illness says.
“Have faith, his acolyte says.
“But this isn't a country built only on faith, good sirs. No. This is a country built on the backs of hardworking Americans who sacrifice everything so that you and I can enjoy the many freedoms this great country has to offer.
“No, my opponent doesn't love this country... he thinks he's better than us. He thinks we need him. He thinks that he's the last hope and savior for professional wrestling everywhere.
“We didn't land on Empire Pro, EMPORE PRO LANDED ON US!”
(More piped in crowd noise. He raises his hand to stop the noise, which abruptly stops.)
ANARKY: “Thank you. Thank you.
“I have been lucky to serve this wonderful league for a few months now, and it has been my honor to serve the great people of Greensboro and across these wonderful states, each and every last one of them.
“I consider it a great privilege. But my opponent believes I am not worthy. He believes he must ascend to this position through the Hand of Destiny.
“I know it's difficult to avoid the lure of the sweet whisperings of a ref's son with all of his promises, but I promise to you, right here, and right now... if you elect me for one more term, I promise to continue to hurt people and support the ever-growing emergency medical community as I always have throughout my long and illustrious career.
“Thank you and God Bless Empire Pro Wrestling!”
(The lights suddenly go down except for a single light on Anarky, his smile vanishing.)
ANARKY: “Men of power and persuasion come in many different flavors, don't they, old friend? From the smooth-talkin' huckster to the faith-healin' frauds...
“I didn't come here to sell anybody any false promises. I never said I'd be someone you could be proud of. I'm not a role model, Copycat.
“Quite honestly, I don't give a f*ck if you believe the sh*t coming out of your mouth or not. You might have literally lost your sh*t. You might be usin' ol' Aaron Jones like a common prostitute just for the sport of it.
“I might not be a great company man. Dan Ryan isn't going to throw me a f*cking picnic anytime soon. And I've had my issues following the rules, certainly. I'm sure I will again. Sometimes someone's just gotta get hit with a chair.
“But I'm getting' real tired of listenin' to you tell me about how f*cking worthless EPW is. How this whole place would go to Hell without you. How we're strangling ourselves with own entrails, and only the Great Copycat can save us now.
“You and I aren't exactly old friends. But this ain't really all that personal.
“I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm going to enjoy it. A lot.
“The last few months, dealing with you and your silly bullsh*t, well, it hasn't always been altogether pleasant. I mean, Aaron Jones is a nice kid and all, but he can't wrestle worth sh*t.
“No. There's no test. There's no disease. You aren't going to save us from anything because there's nothing to save us from.
“It doesn't matter what I do. Your test is designed to fail me. They always are. The only answer you can see, the only solution you'll ever know, is the one with you on top. Lying in the sun, your glory shining out for all the little peons to see.
“You've always been an egomaniac. It's just one of your many irritating qualities.
“And you know what I think?
“I think Empire Pro's had plenty of ego already. I think the last thing the EPW World Heavyweight Title needs is to be strapped around the waist of some self-serving pr*ck who can't even be bothered to grace us with his infinite and glorious presence.
“I'm not good enough EPW World Champion for you, or anybody else, I know. I'll never be Sean Stevens or Michael Westcott or Lindsay Troy because I'm not one of the cool kids.
“I can live with that.
“But if you really want this title... if you really want to spread your message to the masses... if you really wanna change things...
“You're going to have to get into that ring and earn every f*cking second of it. And it's going to take a whole hell of a lot f*cking more than Aaron Jones' faith in you to walk out of WrestleVerse IV the new World Champion.
“You don't even respect this league, or its title, and you certainly don't respect me.
“But you know what?
“At WrestleVerse IV.. in front of thousands in attendance... and everyone else at home...
“I'm going to show the entire world that this title... the EPW World Heavyweight Title... it f*cking means something. And I'm not going to let some cheap charlatan and his little sidekick run their mouths without consequence any longer.
“A reckoning is coming, gentlemen. I have been kind. I have been patient. I have been fair.
“Empire Pro Wrestling's legacy hangs in the balance. Will we finally be purged off the face of the Earth by his glorious eminence... ?
(FADEOUT as he smiles and the final lights fades to darkness.)
<i>(From a black screen, static again heralds in the figure of Aaron Jones. Again, the background is so dark and de-emphasized that nothing can be seen but Jones himself, who still stands at a podium. The camera has pulled back again, though, showing Jones’ entire upper body and the upper part of the podium. Static intercuts the opening moments as Jones stares into the camera)</i>
<b>Aaron Jones:</b> All men have—
<i>(Jones is interrupted by static, continuing after it subsides)</i>
<b>Jones:</b> —have ideals.
Give a man even the slightest degree of familiarity with a topic, and he will soon paint a mental picture as to how that thing should be. He will hold fast to that vision, clearly predicated on his own personal biases though it may be, and defend it with whatever arguments he needs to repel those who see things differently.
The wrestling business is no different; all competitors have ideals as to how the industry should be. Impulse wants pure in-ring competition to supersede all else. Stalker pursues a world suited to his own nihilistic tastes. And Anarky just wants EPW’s top title to be kept away from men who mental states fail to meet with his approval.
The detractors of His vision would have you believe He dreams of a future where all competitors are His clones. It is a seductive argument to use against a man whose battle against an unsustainable status who threatens so many who have grown complacent in their destructive selfishness. It comes as a threat to the listener’s freedom and individuality, values they are most apt to cling to.
And it is a lie.
He has no desire to march forth from EPW with an army of look-alikes sworn by duty to obey His every word. This has never been His stated goal. To make this business a shrine unto Himself would be a mockery, a sham – a betrayal of everything He stands for. What a cruel joke it would be if He, after cajoling others for the destructive power of their selfishness, committed the ultimate act of selfishness in trying to make all bend to His will.
Jokes were once an important part of His modus operandi, yes. But His work is far too important to joke about now.
The simple fact is that He has no desire to see an army of Him laying waste to this business. His only goal, the goal for which He sacrificed all else, is to save this business, to pull it back from the brink before it topples into the abyss. And He realizes that a diversity of styles and opinions is crucial to the industry’s survival.
This is His strong belief. Anyone who tells you differently is lying to you.
He asks not for universal conformity. He asks only for adherence to one simple principle – to not sacrifice this business for one’s own personal glory.
So many of you would never seek to destroy a business that made you a household name just to keep your name in that household a few moments longer. But that is the pervading attitude among members of the EPW roster. They do not claim to be destroying the business, and some may even be unaware of the damage they are causing. But make no mistake: They are set on a path that would cause irreparable damage to the industry, and they refuse to turn away from it; they believe it is their right, as successful and sometimes beloved wrestlers, to do with the future what they will.
Though each man has his own variations, the—
<i>(Jones is interrupted by static)</i>
<b>Jones:</b> —the No. 1 ideal of each is a business in which he is on top, no matter the cost. And it does not matter if anyone or anything remains when they are finished.
That is why they are threatened by His words. That is why they tell terrible lies about His true intentions. That is why they seek to tear Him down, to place obstacle after obstacle before Him, to stop Him from achieving that which He has set out to achieve.
That is why Anarky abandoned Him at Aggression 59 and subsequently attacked Him from behind. That is why the special guest referee at Wrestleverse IV has been hand-picked and, no doubt, instructed to display prejudice against Him. That is why Dan Ryan has declared war on Him.
They are threatened by what He represents: a threat to their ideal. And they will defend that ideal with whatever arguments – and actions – they deem necessary to stop Him.
His ideal is simple: the preservation of the future of this business. He seeks only to save it from a selfish generation of competitors who would destroy for no more than personal gain.
At Wrestleverse IV, He will display the strength of His ideal, and the fallibility of His detractors’ ideals. At Wrestleverse IV, you will see how truly powerful He has become.
But you need not wait until Wrestleverse IV to be convinced. There is still time. Though the business will see great benefits after He vanquishes His foes and becomes EPW World Heavyweight Champion, it is those who believed in Him who will be truly rewarded.
Trust in His vision. Trust in His ideal.
Put your faith in Him.
<i>(Jones continues to stare into the camera until an abrupt burst of static turns the screen to black)</i>
<i>(Seconds later, another burst of static gives way to a split-second image of Copycat standing at the podium where Aaron Jones once stood. Once the split second is over, another burst of static takes the screen back to black)</i>
(FADEIN to the balcony of a hotel room somewhere in Greensboro, North Carolina. Anarky stands next to the railing, staring down below at the city. He smokes a cigarette, taking a long drag and exhaling with a sigh of relaxation. He takes a swig of beer with his other hand.)
ANARKY: “Everybody’s a critic.
“The real lie of this business is something they tell to the rookies as they cut their teeth out there in the ring. They whisper sweet nothings into their vulnerable ears. They promise the world. They can never deliver, because the world isn’t theirs to give.
“They tell you that someday, if you try hard enough, and you push far enough, you can make it. You can be The One. You will raise the title above your head and the crowds will chant your name and the women will beg for you and you will find a place in the business not just as a man, but as a superstar. You will have earned their respect.
“Truth is… it don’t matter what you do or what you accomplish. I could go undefeated for three years running and Copycat ain’t gonna come out here and shake my hand and tell me what a hero I am. Dis ain’t gonna stop running his mouth. Everybody’s still gonna tell you what you did wrong and if there ain’t anything, they’ll sure as sh*t make something up.
“That’s the luxury I have in this business. I don’t have to pretend anymore. I don’t have to act like there’s some great honor in all this, or that if only I did things a little differently, everybody would finally respect lil’ ol’ me.”
(He stops and takes another swig of beer, and closes his eyes for a moment, letting it wash down his throat before he speaks again.)
ANARKY: “Fifteen f*cking years I’ve been in this business. Lacing up my boots, night after night. Putting everything on the line.
“How much of my life have I sacrificed for this sh*t? To fill the bloodlust of the fans? To tear down every egomaniac and pretender to the throne? Just to hear a man scream?
“Yet fifteen f*cking years later, I have to have Aaron f*cking Jones explain to me what’s wrong with this business, about how I’m not good enough for it, or how my ideal or vision aren’t up to his. I have to hear about how Aaron Jones thinks the only person who can save this business is Copycat.
“And apparently what’s wrong with the business is the self-glorification of the self. So does Copycat go after the most egotistical members of Empire Pro Wrestling? Does he attack Michael Bastard or Stalker? Does he deal with Steven Shane, a man so dismissive of his opponents, he can barely be bothered to notice if they show up? Or Cameron Cruise, who toots his own horn so loudly it usually leaves a mark?
“No. Of course not.
“Cause in the end, Copycat, like all great hypocrites, is only consumed with one thing: all that glitters and is gold. It’s the same reason Dis spent 5 minutes talking about me when I’ve never crossed paths with the man – or woman.
“If Copycat wins at Wrestleverse IV… what will happen then? Will the Heavens part? Will he melt the gold down and use it to feed the homeless? Will he at least use it to take personal responsibility and pay Dan Ryan’s hospital bills?
“Let me ask you a question, Aaron.
“What the f*ck did I do? Huh? What’s my great sin?
“Did I hit someone with a car? Did I send an untrained child to get himself nearly killed in the ring with professionally violent people? Did I consider myself so important that I couldn’t even be bothered appear on camera?
“No. My great sin is that I sought one ounce of revenge against Copycat for all he’s done to me. Because I hit him with a belt – not a car. This is my great sin. This is why I must be punished.
“This is your great vision. This is your paradise. Where a man can nearly kill another and he becomes a savior, and I… I am the villain. I am the monster. Because I hit a guy almost twice my size with a small piece of leather and metal. And I didn’t even brag about it.
“Like I said, I don’t really give a f*ck if you really believe this sh*t or not, Aaron. I don’t care if Copycat does, either. I don’t care if it’s all a big f*cking joke. It makes no difference.
“If you think beating me for the EPW World Heavyweight Title is going to save this business once and for all, and you can actually say that without a hint of irony knowing full well how f*cking tragically stupid that sounds… by all means. Try.
“Spread your wings. Show me your great power. Convert the Heathens.
“Forgive me, Copycat, for I have sinned… it has been forever since my last confession.
“My sin is wrath. For at Wrestleverse… I am going to inflict my vision upon another man. It’s a vision of simple men doing what they get paid to go. It’s a vision of people who don’t owe Copycat sh*t.
“It’s a vision… an ideal… of a world that doesn’t really give a f*ck if Aaron Jones or Copycat live or die because, quite frankly, Empire Pro and the entire wrestling business will go on long after you’ve decided whether or not it’s worthy of you.
“You think Empire Pro is dying slowly… and I see a place more competitive, more stocked with talent, filled with more legacy and skill than the next best league by far. You see nothing.
“The business? It doesn’t need you, old friend. It doesn’t need me, either. We’re just pawns in the grand scheme of things.
“Sadly, one of us has deluded themselves into overstating their role… one of us thinks we are Chosen.
“Well this ain’t the f*cking Matrix and you ain’t Keanu f*cking Reeves. You don’t even know kung fu.
“You’re just a guy who can’t stand looking in the mirror and accepting that he’s really just made of flesh and blood and bones that break and dreams that go unfulfilled.
“I want to say I’m sorry, gentlemen. I want to say this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you, or that I believe you deserve to truly save us all.
“But let’s face it.
“One of us has to tell the truth sooner or later.”
(FADEOUT as he smiles and puts his cigarette out under his boot.)
<i>(A burst of static brings to us another image of Aaron Jones standing before a podium. This time, the camera is back far enough that we can see nearly the entire podium – if, still, nothing else around it – though it bears no distinguishing features of any sort)</i>
<b>Aaron Jones:</b> We are all—
<i>(Another burst of static briefly interrupts Jones)</i>
<b>Jones:</b> —all tested.
Day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, we face tests administered to us by the relevant forces in our lives – teachers, doctors, loved ones, bosses, friends, God.
Though these tests are intended to gauge what we have learned and what we are capable of, they also provide us new opportunities to learn and to hone our skills. In fact, if we are to prepare for the next test, it would be prudent of us to study those we have failed and seek the correct answers where we have been wrong.
This is what He did.
When He saw that His efforts to heal the wounds of this business were insufficient, He did what was necessary. He sacrificed the legacy He had worked so had to build for Himself in order to focus exclusively on the noble and selfless goal of wresting this business from the clutches of those who would destroy it for their own selfish gain. And He has seen success – in the hearts of those who believe in His message, in the faces of those who have taken notice, in the suffering of those who opposed Him.
Though He is supremely confident in the overwhelming truth and the overpowering strength of His message, He realizes only time will tell whether it is truly able to penetrate the thick shell of selfishness surrounding so many of the top names in this business today. But regardless of outcome, there is no denying that He took His failures and, though supreme self-sacrifice, endeavored to turn them into soaring successes.
<b>Jones:</b> —passed that important test.
But some refuse to learn from their mistakes. Dan Ryan is among them. Anarky is among them.
When they fail tests, these men do not seek to learn why they failed, and how they might overcome in the future the hurdles that tripped them up in the past. They blame not themselves, but the individuals and forces administering the tests – believing any test that could possibly fail them must be flawed, for their superiority supersedes any measure of mindset or ability.
It is not, to hear these men tell it, they who were wrong to fail the test, but the test that was wrong to fail them.
Anarky believes His test had no merit, that it was designed from the beginning so Anarky would ultimately fail.
But He has an alternate explanation.
It is not unthinkable that Anarky could have proven himself worthy of the respect he believes he deserves. In fact, in recent weeks, it had seemed to Him that Anarky had turned over a new leaf – that, while not inclined to believe in every message He sent out, Anarky would at least carry forward in the manner of a man who does not wish to destroy the business that made him famous.
Yes, it is likely that He still would have been chosen to challenge Anarky for the EPW World Heavyweight Title at Wrestleverse IV. Yes, it is likely that both men would have fought tooth and nail for the right to walk out of that match the EPW World Heavyweight Champion. Yes, it is likely that in the heat of battle, any positive opinions He and Anarky might have held for each other would have given way to bad blood. And yes, it is likely that the night would have ended with Him holding the championship belt high.
But match or no match, champion or no champion, Anarky would have shown Him that he is truly capable of living up to the ideal He has set. No matter who won the match, the loss would not have been devastating to his opponent.
And not only that, but the show of goodwill – such as it might have been – could have been inspiring to others in the EPW locker room who might otherwise be inclined to continue doing nigh-irreparable harm to this business for the sake of their own inflated egos.
But Anarky panicked.
Anarky came to believe there was no way he could pass the test He was administering. Anarky chose to deliberately fail the—
<b>Jones:</b> —the test, believing that committing a cowardly sneak attack on Him would provide a tactical advantage. Anarky, for all his venomous bluster, was frightened of what might happen to him if He deemed him unworthy.
Anarky will deny this. But why else would he choose to attack Him unprovoked, when it was clear He had no intentions of attacking Anarky?
Anarky gives the explanation that his attack was in response to wrongs done to him. But what wrong has been wrought upon Anarky by Him? Yes, He put Anarky in an uncomfortable situation by choosing not to tag with him many weeks ago. But He did this for a purpose, and since then, He had been nothing but respectful and open to the idea that Anarky may be the kind of champion this business needs.
But Anarky chose to sacrifice that goodwill, and he sacrificed it out of fear. What could otherwise have been an inspiring battle has been poisoned by Anarky’s actions.
And if this is the man who is to lead EPW as its champion, he will only continue to poison EPW – and the industry as a whole – with his actions.
But EPW’s champion need not be poisonous. EPW’s champion can instead be virtuous.
There is still time to cast your lot with virtue, rather than with poison. If this business is to survive, it cannot be poisoned. It must be haled by a man with a vision, with a reverence for the future and the determination to bring it there.
Have faith that this business can be saved. Have faith that it is virtue that will bring it back from the brink.
Put your faith in Him.
<i>(Jones remains at the podium, staring into the camera, until static overtakes the image onscreen. For a moment, another image fights through the static – Copycat standing at the podium, as Jones was. But a split second later, static overtakes everything again, quickly cutting away to black)</i>
(FADEIN to an empty gym. The lights are off, and light only peers in from a few windows near the ceiling. ANARKY stands in the middle of the ring, gazing towards the turnbuckle.)
ANARKY: “This is not a test. There will be no final grade. You will not be judged. Your actions will not be weighed.
“When you die, it won't matter what business you tried to save. You're dust. Nothing.
“I'm not going to be lying on my deathbed thinking to myself... did I really prove to Copycat that I had the interests of the entire sport in mind at all possible times and never ever once use money to benefit yourself in any conceivable way?
“I got regrets, same as anybody. But you? You won't be one of them.
“There are no new leaves to turn over. I am not a changed man. I am just a man. And men change. It's inevitable.
“It matters not whether Copycat and Aaron Jones approve of who I am. Whether I measure up to their standards of excellence. The tides won't care. The moon won't cry for us.
“Even the fans won't truly care whose blood is spilled as long as the canvas is decorated in somebody.
“Listen, Aaron Jones. I understand you think Copycat is a fine, upstanding citizen. A real swell dude. Fine. I get it. Who you hang out with is your problem, not mine.
“But am I just supposed to f*cking apologize for hitting my opponent with a belt, a man who has been a major pain in my ass for about a f*cking DECADE, and I'm just going to what, trust that he's a changed man and only has my interest and EPW's interests at heart?
“Okay, Aaron. Let's call that Option A. Believe Copycat is truly the Messiah of all of wrestling, and that I literally need to have faith in him, and he has some really good plan that's going to save us all from, uh... well, I guess that's not entirely clear, is it?
“But me... I think I'm going to choose Option B.
“Option B is that I go out there and do what I do best. And do you know what that is, Aaron?
“See... I love guys like Copycat. Guys with big plans. Guys with agendas. Intricate timelines.
“I think it's beautiful. I especially enjoy the magical sounds of plans being crushed by a senseless and chaotic universe.
“Because we are swimming in a sea of chaos and entropy and my opponent thinks that this is all part of the plan. He looks at the wreckage around him and thinks, there must be a way. There must be something I can do. I can save us.
“But there is no happy ending, old friend. You should know that by now. All your well-laid plans... worth nothing.
“In the end, it won't matter, because here... in this ring... this is the final arbiter. This makes us all equals.
“There are no saviors between the ropes. No gods and demons. Just flawed men, kicking and clawing their way like animals. The jungle defines us. We aren't philosophers, we're gladiators...
“Do you not see its beauty? Its simplicity? Are you so consumed with yourself and your vision that you can't see how lovely our sport truly is?
“Train hard for months and months, get ready for fight night, come in contact with a small child, get passed an illness, a step late, a moment too slow, an opportunity lost forever.
“You see something like this Aaron, and you think it's an obstacle. A test. An opportunity to prove yourself.
“It isn't. Sometimes, sh*t just happens. The universe doesn't give a f*ck if you learn a valuable lesson from every sh*tty thing that happens to you. It won't matter. You're just a bunch of decaying matter anyway. You've got a half-life.
“In the ring... in our little universe... it's just like out there... chaos reigns supreme. It doesn't matter if I'm really better than you. If I'm worthy.
“I only need to be good for three seconds. You only need to f*ck up for one. Are you so perfect? So without flaws? Can you promise me you'll always be perfect?
“Or can you never make promises in a world where a ring rope could give way at any second... “
(He walks up to the ropes and runs his hand along them, smiling as he does so.)
ANARKY: “There is something beautiful happening here. In between all the bullsh*t and messiah complexes. There are truths in that ring.
“But they don't belong to you, Copycat. You have no answers for us. You are just another in a long line of those who cannot accept the reality of their absurd existence. Another man spinning tales to avoid the crushing weight of the void.
“Fear not, my old friend. Long after you and I are dead, the idea of Empire Pro may still live on. Maybe just an idea, maybe as something evolved. It's not your place to decide.
“I don't need your carefully constructed explanations about how I'm a coward or how I should just trust you or I may or may not measure to whatever it is you expect me to be.
“I'll never apologize for being whoever the f*ck I want to be. If I wanna wear the belt naked in the shower and sing a song about how I'm the greatest f*cking wrestler in the history of the whole motherf*cking universe and everybody in every other league can suck my ass, then I will.
“After all, what I do in your parents' shower is my business, not yours, right?”
(He smirks and turns his back to the camera, slowly walking back to the center of the ring.)
ANARKY: “You look at Empire Pro and you see a diseased animal... a thing which needs your guidance and hand. A thing which cannot survive without your coddling. A ravaged prostitute.
“I see men driven by things I can only begin to understand. Men who would do anything to prove their worth in the ring. Men who want to be part of the chaos that happens here, in our little universe.
“Maybe that's not good enough for you, Copycat, or you, Aaron. Maybe we'll never be pretty enough for you.
“Maybe I'll never be a real Champion, if I can even begin to understand what that means.
“But I think that's okay. I don't need all the answers. I don't care if it's perfect.
“In that ring, I will be born again. I will find every answer I need. I will know everything about myself, my business, my legacy, my career, than I ever need to know.
“It isn't about whether or not I chose this path, or wanted this title, or any of that.
“I might not be the Champion you want, gentlemen. I might not know how this story ends.
<i>(We open with a black screen – no images, no background noise. After a few seconds of nothing, an abrupt burst of static heralds the appearance of Aaron Jones onscreen. The camera has retreated even further; not only is the entire podium before which he stands visible, but we can even see a little bit of the raised platform on which it rests. Still, the background is so dark as to have no distinguishable features beyond Jones’ face)</i>
<b>Aaron Jones:</b> What makes a man a hero?
<i>(A burst of static briefly interrupts Jones, then restores things to normal)</i>
<b>Jones:</b> –hero? Though the heroes we can most readily name are the fictional ones, we are forever looking for ways to apply that term to real life.
Soldiers. Police. Firefighters. Parents. Teachers. Blood and organ donors. Everyone’s a hero in someone’s eyes. Someone commits an act that benefits others for apparently selfless reasons, and we trip over each other to apply the “hero” label. And there’s nothing wrong with that – no sin in recognizing those who help others selflessly.
Yet it isn’t those everyday heroes we remember when we hear the word. No matter how many people in our daily lives we or our friends and acquaintances might refer to as heroes, our first thoughts when the term is used turn to the sensational. Many of those immediately associated heroes are the fictional type, no doubt. But every so often, a real example sneaks its way in.
These are historical figures widely renowned for their valor, selflessness and courage. They are military generals, political uniters, religious figures, pioneers, scientists, rebels against unjust causes, stalwart promoters of righteous causes.
Like their modern-day and fictional counterparts, these heroes are driven by an urge to do right and a willingness to sacrifice for their causes. But there is one facet they must have that their counterparts can do without: a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Superman rescues those who would be harmed by evil forces, but he is far more powerful than those evil forces could hope to be. A police officer may keep you safe from a criminal, but that police officer has been trained to deal with situations just like the one you were facing.
Historical heroes are able to hold onto their renown because we remember them as being up against forces that should, by all rights, have overcome them. David overcame Goliath, and he established a template that countless others have followed on their way to the history books.
Those who would oppose Him, try to stop Him from achieving victory and taking another step toward completion of His all-important work, would do well to take note.
At Wrestleverse IV, He faces tremendous opposition. Every aspect of His match with Anarky for the EPW World Heavyweight Title has been established with the intention of stopping Him. Those who would allow this business to continue its gradual decline, thanks to the attacks of this selfish generation of competitors who would destroy it for their own personal gain, are willing to go to any lengths to stop Him from spreading His message.
Do not be deceived by the lies of Anarky, or the manipulations of Dan Ryan. Listen to, but do not heed, the words of His opponent at Wrestleverse. Dan Ryan and Anarky seek only to preserve an unsustainable status quo that benefits them at the expense of others.
Anarky may believe he has the power to halt the sweeping changes He seeks to enact. Dan Ryan may believe he can stand in the way of His purifying fire. But at Wrestleverse IV, they, and all those others who would seek to prevent the healing He is bringing to this diseased business, will learn the fruitlessness of their efforts.
They believe their efforts to keep Him down will only pay positive dividends. But they are misguided.
For when He triumphs over all of them and holds the EPW World Heavyweight Title aloft at Wrestleverse IV, He will have proven Himself against nearly unstoppable opposition. He will shatter the faith of the wicked, who believed His way to be wrong and inevitably hopeless, and He will prove to those who believed in Him that they were right to align to His cause.
By attempting to destroy Him, His enemies are only setting Him up to be a bigger hero than any of them could have fathomed. Their doomed endeavors to stack the odds against Him will only make His victory all the more compelling.
There is still time.
There is still time to show your belief in His cause. There is still time to defy the trend that has overtaken this business, and to rise up against those whose self-centered pursuit of personal glory threatens to crush it. There is still time to pledge your opposition to the forces opposing the future of this business, and your support for His noble crusade.
There is still time. Put—
<i>(Jones is briefly interrupted by another burst of static, quickly returning to normal)</i>
<b>Jones:</b> —Put your faith in Him.
<i>(Jones continues staring into the camera silently as static slowly creeps into the image onscreen, gradually overtaking it entirely. For a split second, the static disappears, replaced with an image of Copycat standing before the podium. Then, static once again overtakes the screen, slowly fading to black)
(After a few seconds of black, a burst of static brings in a new image. Copycat still stands before the podium, but the camera has been pulled back significantly – showing rows and rows of head-and-shoulder silhouettes from an audience watching him. A second or two later, another burst of static pulls us back to black again)</i>
(CUEUP: “Your Hand In Mine” by Explosions in the Sky.)
(FADEIN: to a locker room. Anarky sits in front of the mirror, makeup lying open in front of him. He stares at himself for a moment before he begins to apply the white base of the skull.)
ANARKY: “Moments of anticipation are slowly slipping away from us now, old friend. Opportunity becomes the past quicker than you can blink. And all the talk… all the plans. They fade away. And all that is left is in the ring with you and I. Again.
“The great unknown is waiting. Despite the conniving machinations of my opponent, I don’t know who the ref is. I don’t know if I’ll get slapped with a quick three-count and disgraced in the center of the ring by some petty enemy from my past. From your past. From Dan Ryan’s past.
“I don’t know if Aaron Jones will try to hit me with a ring bell, or if Copycat is playing us all for suckers, including Jones himself, in a vain attempt to crown himself the new King. To unseat the Sad King, as Dis says.”
(He stops and contemplates this for a moment, evening out the white of his skull facepaint with great care before switching to black and coloring in the eyes and lips.)
ANARKY: “The world waits with baited breath. Will the reluctant champion survive his first, and perhaps greatest test? Will the Word of Copycat be spread out before us all?
“Do you feel like you’re in control, Copycat? Is everything going according to plan? Are all the pawns in place on the board? Do you have me right where you want me? Backed into a corner? Desperate?
“And for what? So you can rid the world of egotistical wrestlers? It’s as if you went to a zoo and demanded it have no animals… you cannot blame an elephant for being an elephant. We exist in a world of enormous personalities… men who wield their egos like weapons.
“It’s as if after all this time, you still barely understand this business… do you even enjoy it? Is there any thrill left for you?
“Because I can still feel it building in my stomach now. After all these years… the anticipation still gets me. The butterflies swirling around. Clammy hands.
“People sacrifice everything to be where we are, Copycat. Wrestleverse. Main Event. EPW World Heavyweight Title.
“This is it. These next few moments will define our legacies forever.”
(He finishes up on the skull facepaint and stares into the mirror for a few seconds and takes a deep breath.)
ANARKY: “They want me to be more proud. They want me to brag about how I’m the best. They want me to be their kind of Champion.
“But I can’t be their kind of Champion. I can only be my aged, bitter, cynical, f*cked up self.
"Into the great unknown. And what awaits on the other side, no man can say.
“But if I’m still standing when it’s all over, Copycat. If it’s my arms raised... and my name announced over the loudspeakers… if it’s my bloodied body still ticking..
“I will be the kind of champion I want to be. And if that’s not good enough for Empire Pro?
FWrestling.com was founded in 1994 to promote a community of fantasy wrestling fans and leagues. Since then, we've hosted dozens of leagues and special events, and thousands of users. Come join and prove you're "Even Better Than The Real Thing."
Add Your League
If you want to help grow the community of fantasy wrestling creators, consider hosting your league here on FW. You gain access to message boards, Discord, your own web space and the ability to post pages here on FW. To discuss, message "Chad" here on FW Central.