SterlingApril 17, 2018 at 8:23 am
Black and white footage, seemingly aged by time itself, flickering and blemished, loops from start to finish and back again, start to finish and back again. Sterling and Erin Gordon tumble over the top rope to the outside, causing the ref to count to 10… then Sterling and Phillip Donovan tumble over the top rope to the outside, causing the ref to count to 1. Again and again, the footage loops and with each playing, the blemishes becomes more apparent until the blemishes themselves become flames and the film reel erupts into a short-lived but bright fire, warping and writhing into nothingness.
Sometimes, mistakes have a weird fuckin’ way of repeating themselves as if some patterns are just destined to repeat forever. Usually, we can put a stop to that, if we’re strong enough and willing enough. It can be a real kick in the dick when something catches you off-guard, especially when it’s something you’ve worked at time and time again, specifically to make sure that doesn’t happen. Still, sometimes these things will just find a way to happen and you have to crack on, regardless. It’s those little teaks you have to make to your game in the early days that can see you have either a very short or a very long career and, you’d better believe it, I’m not here to fuck around for a little while.
A rubber-gloved hand drops a syringe into a stainless steel kidney dish. A stethoscope presses against flesh. A bright flash illuminates an x-ray of a human head and neck.
Yeah, I’ve made fuck-ups here and there, but it’s still early days. I’m talking to you, Katsuro-san. You think the logic is that your performances, overall, have been better than mine and that’s why you got a title shot before me. Ultimately, you think that’s their logic – you don’t present your own. You don’t come out and say you KNOW your performances were better, regardless of wins and losses. No, you hold back and you speculate about other people’s thought processes which, if anything, belies your own lack of confidence. Really, that’s a fucking shame, because you’re pretty talented, but that isn’t what’s holding you back.
No, Katsuro. What holds you back is the whole Bushido Buntai thing putting untold pressure on you. You have the weight of a whole organisation, a whole league just resting precariously on your shoulders with pay-masters and overlords criticising every little thing, tearing you apart. Then there’s Oppenheimer. I mean, what the fuck is that guy? Is he an agent, a manager, a lawyer? From my point of view, it doesn’t really matter, but he’s a big old roadblock in your connection with the EWA and the EWA fans. To em, though? It doesn’t matter because, come Live From Toronto, you might have Oppenheimer on retainer but the only retainer you’ll need will be the one stopping your teeth from falling out of your skull.
Maybe, following your logic, I didn’t beat you badly enough last time to earn a title shot. I don’t see it, but there could be truth in there. If that’s the case, then it’s a failing I have to address and, if so, then I guess I should be thanking you for highlighting it. Yeah, someone at the top could have their little doubts, but I’ll be taking the opportunity to beat you beyond all reasonable doubt and take your Championship with me. I’ll take it right to the finals of the Path of the Warrior and I’ll take it with me to Fight Night because -PLOT TWIST- I’m pretty damn close to finalising an exclusivity contract which will put me right where I want to be. You see… the Network Championship isn’t a destination where I can lounge and squander time and resources like some supposed Champions, but it’s a milestone on a much grander journey.
Don’t waste your time thinking about how you’re going to defend your Championship from me because, ultimately, you can’t. I’ll bounce your face off my fists and the ring itself so many times you’ll probably forget you ever were Champion to begin with. Instead, Kitty Kat, worry about if and how you’re going to win it back from me at some point down the line.
A clock ticks. A heavy bag swings. A clock ticks. A dumbbell is pushed high into the air. A clock ticks. An empty, dirty plate and equally dirty cutlery and tossed into a steel sink. A clock ticks. A sneaker slams into the pavement and springs away. A clock ticks. The lights of the EWA Jumbotron flicker into life, a simultaneous and blinding burst of brightness.
I have to be completely fuckin’ honest here when I say I thought I’d hear more from Phil. I thought I’d be hearing excuses about why he couldn’t put me away like he did the fist time. I really thought I could almost hear his squeaky little voice on the wind bitching about the training montages in my videos. What do I hear though?
That’s a surprise, but it’s almost a relief. I mean, you’re in this match in name… but mind and body? I dunno about that. I had to get my neck and my back checked out after that bit of a fall, but I’m right back in the mix and, probably… arguably… provably… stronger than ever. Where are you, man? Should we be concerned?
I mean… Katsuro and I have been debating which version of you would turn up in Toronto and now we’re starting to wonder if you’ll even turn up at all and that sucks for two fucking reasons, Phil.
One, you stand to gain as much from this as I do – The Network Championship and a spot in the second stage of Path of the Warrior. Two, you also stand the chance to prove to guys like me and Katsuro that you’re not the lazy, inconsistent prick we’ve all seen you to be over the years. You have a chance to come out fighting and walk away with it all, but I keep on paying my 7.99 Combat TV subscription and I look on there two or three times a day for something from you but I keep getting that 404, man. To say there was tumbleweed would imply there was something in the empty space, but no.
They say silence can speak volumes and, I guess, it does. You know what it says right now? It says you’re not really here. It says you’re half-assing shit and you don’t give two fucks, but the biggest thing to remember with this is that it’s you actually being consistent for the first time ever. How so? Because nobody’s hearing from you in the run-up to Live From Toronto and you can be damn sure nobody’s hearing from you afterward.
Say what you want now, come late into the game with all guns blazing, but everyone watching you… everyone in the EWA… everyone sat at home… everyone in your own little Loser’s Clique… They know it’s just an after-thought… A knee-jerk reaction because you’re been pushed. That KNOW it’s not genuine… that YOU are not genuine.
Sing, Donovan. It’s time for the Fat Lady. It’s time for the Swan Song. You’re fucking done.
A cleaning spray squirts onto a yellow cloth which, in turn, is run along the surface of a pane of glass, squeaking as it cleans. The cloth pulls back and a squirt of the cleaner hits the glass, the clothe quickly wiping it away as we pull back to see it is the front of a glass cabinet, the inside of which bears a gold plaque reading “EWA Network Championship” set in front of a grand crimson cushion, just waiting for that belt…
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