Sometimes the world notices what we do, sometimes it simply forgets. Sometimes we feel the need to hide ourselves away to make a point, or other times to act under alias. But sometimes, just sometimes, we can make an indelible mark on this planet so great, that the axis stops for the moment and all eyes turn to you - to what, who or where you are and the impact you've made on history. All of this, though, has to be earned and all of this, is bred of a moment backed by consistency. And all of this...it's there for the taking with hard work and guile.
We open to the sound of a busy afternoon, a car horn in the distance playing over the hum of city goers and market stalls shouting to sell their pound of beef. The faint melody of Spanish music sings over the din, from some bar or restaurant or maybe just a regular busker on the street trying to scrap coin together for another sangria. The sound of a cart rolling over cobbled stone is closer, the heavy steps of the man behind it coming into view with a selection of oranges, papayas, bananas, mangos and chironjas; each grouping neatly packaged in a cling film wrap upon a foam base. The old wooden cart, with its packaged goods, price checking tool and the man pushing it forward with old sandals and shorts, a Manchester United top and headphones in his ears are a stark reminder of the dichotomy of old and new in this city, this island - the forgotten lost child of the United States.
The camera pans round, the cobbled streets flanked by colourful housing and shops. Steam is seen rising from a fryer filled with churros as greedy locals and a contingent of tourists wait upon its golden fruit. Pan further still and we see the man amongst all the chaos. But this time it's different...
Claude Baptiste Ranier stands, his red and black t-shirt coated with a thick denim jacket, the Cargo pants, thin and loose around his legs allowing space to breathe in this eighty nine degree Fahrenheit temperature in the city of San Juan. Claude wears a pair of yellow and brown havainas over his feet, stepping idly onto the cobbled stone as he slowly starts motion. Passers by and workers glance oddly every few moments - not because of his reputation in this part of the world you know; indeed, Soccer is the sport of the day with a tinge of baseball, another encounter between old and new.
No, far more startling to the average oblivious man is the mask. As Claude walks, a white hockey mask covers his face, the slit created for his eyes clear and open with small holes for breath just below. Some diligent audio editing works it's magic as the hum of the city grows quiet, the camera zooms in and the sound of palm striking palm in a slow clap fills the scene. The clap continues, slow and methodical as the Canadian Star maintains his position, the words eventually coming out like an echo from under the thick mask.
CBR: Well done...
His head starts to nod slowly up and down, stopping after two or three repetitions.
CBR: Well done indeed Sanctus Quinlan. That was quite a feat you put on running around school with children.
The camera zooms a little further, so Ranier's eyes are visible through their opening unto the world, you can guess his expression with them furrowed and narrow. The clapping stops...
CBR: You truly went out of your way to mimick the legions of also-rans who've been repeating the same broken record for over a year.
The ordered chaos behind him is seen in the lens but mildly out of focus as Ranier's head, hidden in white stands still, focused.
CBR: First we were formed to keep the belt on Perfection, then the Legacy Title on me, Sean Jackson's World Strap and now La Flama Blanca. Good job Mitchell, well scripted.
The crunch of dried leaves and small bits of plastic is heard, betraying the fact that CBR is starting to walk, the camera backing away to give room.
CBR: I'm underestimating you, am I? Looking past the great Mitchell Quinlan - what a travesty. Yeah, I watch tapes too my little masked friend and the picture you paint of immaturity choking the bottle neck secretly made me smile.
His eyes change as if to extenuate the fact that lips are turned upwards, the words muffled by the material in front of his mouth, yet deep with the reverberations inside the mask.
CBR: It was a beautiful little analogy to justify hate and jealousy; a wonderful diatribe of rhetoric as to why we've ruined opportunities, rises, pushes and dreams. Your little cave paintings with Jackson's middle finger were simply an enlightened moment of genius.
Claude's voice raises in the last few words of that sentence, his hand raising to chest level with an open palm as if to accentuate the word, lifting out and into the the air before landing back down by his side.
CBR: And there we are, the creepy selection of bullies as you so eloquently suggest taking lunch money from the kids who are just trying that little bit harder to impress Mummy and Daddy with a B plus before their careers drop into the abyss and they simply stop showing up.
The view of a light blue house on the side is seen in the backdrop of the camera as the pair continue use to move. Ranier lifts his left hand and taps the side of the hockey mask.
CBR: Is that why you wore one of these Quinlan? Is it why you dropped back into the UTA, the Phantom of the Wrestlezone to try and make a stand against injustice? Is it why you were just another Paladin banging your holy shield making noises that no one could hear...scratch that, that no one gave a damn enough to listen for?
His palm lays flat on the side of the mask as Claude stops his walk.
CBR: Were you trying to make a point Mitchell? What was that point? Was it when you were being thrown around like a toy by Eric Dane? The masked crusader trying to speak in intelligent mystery as a man of the people. It was supposed to be the moment everyone took notice in, wasn't it Quinlan? It was supposed to change the game...
Ranier lifts his right hand, fingers around the bottom of the mask as he pushes upwards, letting it lift over his face and rest on his head. For the first time we see the focus, the narrowed eyes and upturned lips, never blinking never flinching as he regards the camera with a stare to break mountains.
CBR: Anyone can wear a mask, and there are many reasons. Some like La Flama Blanca wear them for honour - for meaning and tradition. Others, like "Twin-Cee" as you called her so lovingly, wear them to remain anonymous, so the world outside doesn't stifle their dreams.
He peers forward into the camera, taking the mask entirely off of his head and holding it up a few inches from the camera.
CBR: And others still, wear it for ego. A meaningless prop designed to get over, because that's what it was, wasn't it Sanctus? You came, you failed and reinvented yourself. Saint Us and all of that crap was supposed to mean something, get attention, give you opportunities but it failed again.
Claude's smirk raises up from the ash of his solemn expression, breaking the statue of a focused stare.
CBR: It was a way for little Mitchell to feel wanted again. With his sword of righteous rebellion and words of wisdom he was going straight to the top - only problem is no one agreed. So little Sanctus got frustrated didn't he? He cried into his mask and asked "why don't they like me", throwing tantrums and smashing glasses.
The camera zooms out slowly as Ranier's head lifts back up, straightening himself as he continues to walk. The mask lays in his right palm, left hand over its face as he moves.
CBR: And so almost as quick as it had appeared, the mask was gone and Quinlan was back, tada! What a great trick to the boredom of everyone and surprise of no one it was all over. And you, Quinlan, have the audacity to call me a teenager?
Claude slowly shakes his head as he stops again pointing forward past the camera. The cameraman slowly turns, the sound of Ranier walking forward growing until he is in picture just to the right. In the distance at the end of the alley is a large white building and fanciful gate.
CBR: La Fortaleza. The home of San Juan and one of the oldest serving government buildings in all of the Americas. Funny though, isn't it, that we're here for Wrestleshow. Episode forty five, ninety weeks being top of the world and the UTA rolls into Puerto Rico.
He looks back at the camera, his arm falling back by his side.
CBR: Funny because this is a city that confused itself too. They called it Rich Port, Puerto Rico whilst the island was San Juan Bautista - but somewhere along the way the names got swapped. Left in the shadow of the great American cousin, Puerto Rico always suffered for identity and place.
Claude slowly steps in front of the camera, the smile wide on his face as he blinks in the light of the oncoming sun, squinting a little as he holds gaze of the lens.
CBR: Sounds a little familiar doesn't it Sanctus? Lost in the shadows, seeking identity, flailing for purpose. Fitting then that a loss here to CBR on Monday might cause another dramatic metamorphosis. What next? Quincey the revolutionary? Mitchell the Meerkat? Or maybe you'll form a tag team with Apollo Cain and call it "what if"?
The smirk starts to dissipate.
CBR: And you see that would be fine. But for the fact that you compared the UTA World Title to a little blonde girl. The greatest prize in our industry reduced at the whim of a man with no name to a teenager with tits. Good job white knight...
Claude lifts the mask and looks down at it, leaving the camera for a moment.
CBR: You know I don't give a damn why you put on the mask and I don't give a damn why you took it off five minutes later. I don't care that you left after one match and I couldn't care less that you spewed verbal diarrhoea on Twitter.
He looks back at the camera, the mask still in his hand handling loosely as a gust of wind blows the hair from his face.
CBR: I haven't survived for nearly two years by being average. I didn't hold a title for half of that time without having a modicum of talent. For you, Mitchell Quinlan, to so easily brush aside CBR as a jock's sidekick shows a lack of intelligence and a limited appreciation for the industry you aim so helplessly to change - and even I, thought you were better than that, forgive me.
Stepping forward, he flings the mask to the side, hearing it land on the cobbled floor harshly.
CBR: Sure, ignore my past because past achievement is clearly no barometer of future success. Gloss over the fact that I've beaten more athletes than anyone else in this company. Make light of the fact that I pin my colours to a group I established and surround myself with champions.
Claude looks down to his left, a disgusted look on his face. He uses his boot to fling the mask further before withdrawing his gaze back to the camera, stern and focused.
CBR: With your narrow view of the world you're in danger of missing the point entirely. My name's Ranier and I'm the Canadian Star. I built the ground you walk on and created the legacies you scramble to touch. I am this business, I am the elite - we might be Dynasty but I'm C-B-fuckin-R!
"It's time for everyone to stop dreaming and come down to earth. It’s… My… Time."
- La Flama Blanca