Well now, things got interesting this week, didn’t they?
Apparently, as always, the mere idea of stepping foot inside the ring with a quantifiable legend like myself brings even the craziest of the crazies out of their colorful little world and into my universe of black and shades of grey.
Fortunately for me, that’s just how I like it.
Jack Hunter himself street fighted his way back from the brink of oblivion just to make sure he got his face time in for the one time in his career he’ll ever be mentioned in the same sentence as Eric Dane. Skylar Montgomery… well, he’s fucking retarded, but he put his big boy pants on and said a few words.
We can’t hope for miracles, yanno?
B.R. Ellis decided that somehow doing favors for ten years gives him some kind of nudge over me because… fuck, I dunno, because reasons I guess. You dangle that twenty pounds of gold in front of people and no matter how far they are from actually being a contender, you can get them pretty good and riled up.
Just look at this Amy Harrison snatch.
Here I am a twenty year vet, six time World Champion, double Hall of Famer, and she’s got the sack to ask me why I think I deserve a title shot? And that’s not the worst part, the little piece of trim thinks that somehow beating Bobby Dean and Maria Van Whoeverthefuck puts her not only at, but above my level.
I couldn’t make this shit up if I wanted to.
The more I’ve thought it over, the more I believe that I should send Michael Lorenzo a Thank-you card, maybe even a nice basket of fruit. He’s given me the best possible warm up match for the World Title, a gauntlet full of stupid little people who need to be put in their place firmly and with a steady hand.
So here I am, trapped in my least favorite big city on the planet. There’s nothing to like about London; it’s rainy and foggy and the buildings are all five hundred years old and there’s a funk hanging over this place that you just can’t shake. Say what you will about New Orleans, but at least they keep the street sweepers going twenty-four seven.
I’ve ducked and ditched every promotional spot they’ve tried to hook me up on here in London because of how much I hate the place, but I’d been owing Stan Davis a sit-down interview for a few weeks now. I figure I’ll let him cash in now, get his little podcast off the ground, and I can focus on making examples out of four people come Monday night.
We’re set up in a small studio in the O2, him with a laptop and his fancy equipment and me with my rocks glass half-full of scotch and a G-pen.
Don’t look at me like that.
I know only douchebags vape.
It’s either this or the smokes, and I promised my doctor I’d stay off the smokes.
So I take a long drag off of the portable vaporizer. It tastes purple, not like a cigarette at all. As I’m sitting here contemplating the various pros and cons of burning tobacco or flavored water vapor I can hear Stan’s tinny voice piercing the veil.
“Alright, Eric, are you ready?” He asked.
“Always,” I reply. “The only thing I’m better at than talking is beating up chumps who think too highly of themselves, Stan the Man, and I’m not scheduled for the ladder for another couple of days yet.”
He chuckled. I stopped myself from rolling my eyes. Stan’s good people and there’s nothing wrong with developing professional relationships. That’s what my therapist tells me. Oh, I didn’t tell you? I’m seeing a therapist now about my episodes. No, we’re not going to talk about that today, so don’t ask.
“We’re gonna keep it short and sweet, but this is gonna be the anchor segment on my podcast this afternoon. So, let’s sell some tickets, eh?” Stan was trying to be personable. I wanted to punch him in his face.
“Fuck it,” I said. “Let’s sell some tickets!” The color drained out of his face.
“You won’t say that in the interview, will you?”
Jesus fucking fuck. “Come now, Staniel, you know I know better. Let’s get rolling, or casting, or whatever-the-fuck you call it, kay?” He nods.
Stan puts on his fancy-pants headphones and I do the same. For a split second I imagine he’s going to turn a Playstation on and we’re gonna play a spirited round Madden when I notice his super awesome recording equipment comes with little plastic microphones attached to the headphones. I can’t help but to chuckle.
A moment passes.
Stan strikes a few keys on his laptop and away we go.
“Aaaaaand we’re back, wrestling fans! Once again it’s Rumor Man Stan here for the Rumor Has It! podcast! With me now I’ve got a man who needs no introduction-”
I cut in. “I bet yer gonna give me one anyway!”
“-he’s a multiple time former champion including six, count ‘em SIX World Titles, more regional and independent Heavyweight titles than we’ve got time to list, and is a member of both the NeWA and WfWA Halls of Fame! Not only that but he is the founder and CEO of DEFIANCE Wrestling, and let’s not forget his latest run as a member of the UTA roster where he’s shown dominance in his time here, and in just under six months he’s the name on the lips of everyone who’s talking about the World Heavyweight Title and La Flama Blanca’s next big challenger!”
“Jesus Christ, Stan, if I didn’t know better I’d think you was sweet on me.” I chided.
“Eric Dane, everybody! Eric, welcome to the show!”
“It’s good to be here, Stan, keeps me out of the general public of this God-forsaken city.”
“You’re not fond of London?”
“Clearly.” I took a gulp from my scotch. The bottle was on the desk between us should I end up needing a top off. “Never stops rainin’ out here. And it stinks.”
Stan could hear the sound of the locals turning his podcast off and decided quick to steer the subject to wrestling. Everybody loved an Eric Dane promo, didn’t matter who it was against.
“Monday Night you’re set to Run the Gauntlet.” Now he had my attention. “Nobody figured any of your opponents would show face before the match and even still the Vegas odds have you crushing all four of them. Now, I’m not one to gamble, but if I were, tell me why I’d bet Eric Dane against four other wrestlers?”
“Easy, Stan. You always bet on Eric Dane. Think about it, The Chamber Match wasn’t that long ago and I put away seven much more talented wrestlers, two of them current champions in the UTA in John Sektor and Colton Thorpe. Why should now be any different?
He didn’t hesitate to take the bait.
“Speaking of Colton Thorpe-” I cut him off again.
“Let me just stop you there, Stan. Before you jump into Rumor Man-mode and start telling the entire internet whatever crap comes across your newswire, Colton Thorpe and I are friends. Nothing more. nothing less. I’ve said in the past that he reminds me of a young Eric Dane.”
“But you practically retained the Wildfire title for him two weeks ago!”
My eyebrows scrunch and one cocks high.
“I did no such thing, Stanford, and I’d appreciate you not pressing the subject, if you catch my drift. Have I given Colt a few pointers here and there? Absolutely. It’s called giving back to the business and it’s what’s expected of veterans like myself. But we ain’t tag team partners, man, that division doesn’t even exist anymore.”
Stan takes my verbal barrage in stride and continues without missing a beat.
“Alright then, let’s talk about the tag titles. More specifically your friends in Team Danger.”
I’m not exactly here to talk about Ty, Stevie, or the belts they retired. I guess it doesn’t matter though, five more minutes and this is a done deal and I can go back to the bar in my hotel.
“What about them?”
“Well, Walker has gone back to New Orleans if my notes are correct, but Greer’s going to stick it out here in UTA. Now, Greer’s been known-”
Again I cut him off. Much as he’s trying to get the good stuff out of me, I’m not really in the mood. That and I don’t like to be led around by the nose in an interview.
“Stevie’s a former World Champion. He’s a former King of the Deathmatch. The guy is a fuckin’ beast in the ring with or without Ty. He’s still my enforcer, and he still is the best man for the job. Anybody that thinks otherwise can come talk to me after they’ve swallowed a Hellfire Lariat or two.”
Stan takes a moment. He doesn’t want to piss me off and lose the rest of the interview, but he also is smart enough to know that I’m at my best verbally when I’m at least a bit annoyed. He’s damn fine at his job, and I allow him to continue.
“Well, that about covers the small stuff, why don’t we move it along to the Gauntlet? Michael Lorenzo pretty much has already made you the #1 Contender to the World Title, but he’s booked you this Monday night against four people. Thoughts?”
“Sure,” I start. “Plenty.”
I finish the drink.
“For starters Michael Lorenzo is a smart man. What better way to showcase your top talent than by putting him in four matches in a row, am I right? I mean think about it, you put those four idiots together and you’ve got the makings for a late-night sitcom, there’s not a real championship contender in the whole lot of them.”
“So you’re calling this a ratings move?”
“Feature Eric Dane and then put him in a World Title match, it’s tried and true television Stan. The guy couldn’t be booking this any better if I were writing his notes for him.”
“Then you’re looking forward to the Gauntlet?”
“Of course I am! When else will I have a chance to show off against four different kinds of opponents in one night? Maybe I’ll remember some of the old tricks that got me here while I’m working through them. Hell, maybe I’ll even break a sweat.”
Stan chuckles, I join him.
“B.R. Ellis says that he’s going to put everything he’s got into this match, and he’s going to be the New Star in the UTA when he’s done with you. What do you think about that?”
I shake my head, almost unable to keep a straight face.
“I remember when that guy started, it was a couple of years after I broke in myself. His daddy was some kind of Muckity-Muck on the Texas scene in the seventies and he started breaking little Brad in when he was real young. I remember he used to beg to referee the matches when he was fifteen or sixteen, just to get the experience.”
“And then I hit the big time, and I never heard the Ellis name again.”
“What he doesn’t understand, what he can’t understand is that when your name is Eric Dane you get the best a person has every single time you step in the ring. I’ve taken the best from legends, hall of famers, and hundreds of guys who are just flat out better than B. R. Ellis. Beating people at their best is what I’ve been doing for twenty years while he’s been counting the lights, just happy to be on the show.”
“I fully believe he’ll throw everything he’s got at me, and he’ll put every last bit of heart, soul, and effort into the match. Three minutes or less later and the bell will ring, he’ll roll out and somebody else will roll in. It’s the way of the universe, Stan, and it’s not gonna change on Monday night.”
“Alrighty then. Jack Hunter had a lot to say about you.”
“Let me stop you right there, Stan, Jack Hunter does not count. He’s not a wrestler, I’m not even sure he’s a human being. What he is, is a lawsuit waiting to happen when it comes out that he’s not even trained and somebody like me beats him half to death. Hunter goes down the quickest, and with any luck at all I won’t have to hurt the kid to do it.”
“Moving right along, Skylar Montgomery made a surprise appearance on the reality TV show Cheaters. After a fair amount of Skylar being Skylar he did have a few words for you.”
“Did he now?” I couldn’t possibly care any less about Skylar Montgomery.
“He said he was going to out-cheat you to victory.”
i laugh, heartily. An awkward moment of dead aid passes as I cover the microphone and attempt to regain a bit of composure.
“Lemme guess, at some point he cut himself up, too.”
“Well, yeah, he did actually. With a broken light tube.”
I shake my head again.
“Let me put it like this. I’ve wrestled in more deathmatch tournaments than Skylar Montgomery has had matches. I survived the hardcore boom in the nineties, I survived the deathmatch boom in the double-oughts, and I’ve bled more guys than I care to remember just for the sake of winning a match.”
“If that little boy comes at me with a light tube, I’ll shove it up his ass. If he thinks about bringing thumbtacks, I’ll make him eat the whole bag. Unlike young Mr. Hunter, I’ve got zero compunctions at all with beating Montgomery to a bloody pulp. He’s an embarrassment to Victory, and I am not the kind of man who takes kindly to being embarrassed.”
“I see. Well that just leaves-”
I can’t help it. Eric Dane is my name, and interrupting people is my game.
He nods. “That’s right.”
“I might be getting old, but I’m not out-dated like Chris Hopper. I don’t have a problem beating up a girl if she should so decide to get into the ring with me. I can’t imagine she’s too happy about this whole thing.”
“Actually, she seems to be taking this very seriously.”
“Really now.” My interest is slightly piqued. “What’s she say?”
“That you have no right to come to the UTA demanding title shots, and that you need to get in line behind people like her who’ve beaten Bobby Dean and deserve a title match.”
My eyes go wide. I almost don’t know how to take this.
“She understands that I pinned Bobby in Chamber Match, right?”
“I don’t think so.” Even Rumor Man Stan can’t keep a straight face now.
“Bobby Dean pisses his pants when he hears my name. Beating him isn’t exactly hard or a big deal. I mean, congratulations on not getting lost in one of his fat rolls, but don’t come at me like sitting on top of that fat fuck for three seconds puts you on my level.”
“Actually,” Stan cut in for once. “She says she’s better than you.”
There is a pregnant pause.
Eventually I crack up. Stan isn’t far behind me. This is the most ludicrous thing that either of us have had to process in the past few days and it takes us a couple of minutes to work through it.
“Look,” I say as I catch my breath. “Confidence is king in this business. But there comes a point when it’s not confidence anymore. It’s delusions. That little yoga-twat is about as good at wrestling as I am at yoga, and she thinks she’s better than me? Alright, you know what, that’s cool. You keep saying that to yourself sweet-tits. When you wake up in the hospital, I don’t wanna hear any bullshit about how the Big Bad Eric Dane took advantage of iddy-biddy Amy Harrison.”
It takes Stan a bit longer than me to catch his breath.
“There, heh-heh… There you have it folks, Eric Dane!”
He continues giggling and I crack a smile as I pour myself another drink. I decide to let him keep recording for the time being, but I figure we’ve pretty much hit the high notes here. Watch out for at wrestleuta.com in case anything of worth gets said from here on out, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.