A journey is defined as the act of travelling from one place to the other. At its core, it has a beginning and an end, everything in between being a triumph of discovery. Some journeys are physical, like the one the UTA roster would embark upon to Japan on fifteenth November; some are metaphorical, like the journey of a young boy with dreams aplenty into manhood with distinct focus and direction; others still, are mental, symbolic affairs. Such was the journey that one Claude Sebastien had been on since twenty fourth of January twenty fifteen.
A lot had changed since then - new superstars had entered, old superstars had left, the landscape had changed but the world was coming full circle in the United Toughness Alliance...
The scene opens to the sound of metal crunching against metal and thick plastic. The camera is focused downwards, facing dirt on the ground, footprints staggered across it's mildly wet surface from the recent rain. Empty pockets lay scattered around as do blemished and chaotic patches of grass, clinging to life in the barren soil. As the camera turns upwards, the location becomes clearer and the sound more obvious.
A selection of scrapped cars are seen piled on top of each other in a sea of worn blue, red, black and grey, the rust and elemental damage clearer on some than others. A shallow howl of wind escapes past the audio of the video stream as your lord, hero and God of Kings slowly comes into view whilst the camera turns.
Wearing a pair of black and yellow sneakers and dark blue jeans, Claude Baptiste Ranier is dressed in far less cordial attire than the audience is used to, an emotionless scowl across his face as the camera zooms slowly into his hand, which presses it's palm against a red button, stopping the sound and movement of the compactor to stop. The screen zooms out once again slowly, the words of the Canadian Star spilling out before his face returns to view.
CBR: From the minute you entered the UTA this moment was bound to come...
His face, back in view, threatens to upturn his lips into a smirk but maintains its stoic expression, eyes glued to the lens.
CBR: The moment, John, when your little Chicago marching band first appeared, making a mockery out of the greatest federation on the planet by sending out a midget Mike Best in the All or Nothing match in March we knew what you were about. To his credit, though, that little thing made more of an impact than the real man ever did.
The first signs of a smirk, quickly washed away. Ranier wears a dark grey hoodie over his sternum, zip opened and a black sleeveless vest underneath. His right hand is curled around a steel pipe, hanging loose by his side.
CBR: And then you John, with all that pomp, crashing our moment. You, John, getting eliminated by a cake maker...the world certainly took notice. And that was it, wasn't it? You wanted to get noticed and realised that in the land of giants, David needs more than a slingshot. You looked around John and saw the elite of this business...you saw Dynasty.
The edges of his lips curl upwards, but Claude remains focused on the camera, letting the pipe swat idly in his hand.
CBR: You saw the three men who had it all...leagues ahead from that Indy federation you called home for ten years. And so, the inevitable happened and you predictably huddled in the warmth of Mike Best's ego with your friends and hoped the shadows would go away. But they didn't John...
Ranier leaves the large yellow compactor and slowly walks past a selection of crushed vehicles. One hand shuffles into his pocket, the Canadian leaves his gaze on the camera, looking down at the ground as he walks.
CBR: And the same words came out of your mouths that we've heard a thousand times. We heard it in September twenty fourteen when the Shoot Kings told the world they would end Dynasty. We heard it again after Seasons Beatings in December twenty fourteen...this time The Spawn...we heard it from Chris Hooper…Yoshii...Will Haynes...Gentleman Jack...and then in March twenty fifteen, we heard the same dogmatic rhetoric that symbolises limp impact from your over zealous mouths.
Claude stops, leaning his elbow back against a broken car, one foot jutting out in the dirt and resting comfortably against the metallic jagged surface.
CBR: It may not have been you who said it John, but the Machine...the new force in UTA...was here to end Dynasty.
Lips curl further into a smirk, Ranier blinking once as he lets a slow breath escape his lips.
CBR: And John, a mission statement is fine...Steve Jobs had one in nineteen eighty when he launched Apple...“To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.” Thirty five years later, success. Google had another, “to organise the world’s information to make it universally accessible and useful”. Success. You see, John, people don't buy what you do, but why you do it…
Claude looks away for a moment, pausing before piercing his eyes back at the lens.
CBR: And that, Sketor, is why you failed. On eleventh of May twenty fifteen, only five months ago, Mike Best proudly proclaimed your mission statement...and I quote; “we’re here to destroy Dynasty”.
Slow, sarcastic clap…
CBR: Well done...Beckman is done, Best is crying somewhere in Chicago, Cecilworth has a desk job and you...YOU John Sektor...well, actually, you defied them all.
Claude slowly lifts off the car, gently swinging the steel pipe in his fingers up and over as he walks over to another car, red, scratched, and makes his way around its side.
CBR: You see John, I saw through Beckman...a child who could never commit, never see things through and ran from the first sign of difficulty. I saw through Cecilworth...a joke, comedic value with a sprinkling of unused potential lost in a sea of laziness. I even saw through Mike...a desperate old man clinging to his ego with severe Daddy issues and a legacy based on lies. But you John...you surprised me.
Ranier runs the edge of the steel pipe over the side of the car.
CBR: Every car John...every MACHINE has its components. It has its delicately crafted, perfectly painted symmetric frame. Mike Best. He looks the part, acts the part...but in a world where he's not handed gold, ultimately falls prey to his own mediocrity and useless nature.
Pipe comes crashing down over the frame...violent sounds are heard cracking as dents appear in the car. The side top and hood are smashed aggressively until a pause...the tip of the pipe running over the now jagged edge, breaths escaping Ranier’s lips as the exertion catches up with him.
CBR: Then...then there are the windows. Transparent, hollow, brittle coveting up obvious holes. Cecilworth John...he adds shine, but…
SMASH! The glass sprays everywhere as the windscreen crumbles. A car door window next, the steel sending it flying and then the back seat window.
CBR: ...obviously only there for show. But then, John...then what helps the car move..what keeps it fast...the wheels. Cased in tyres and aggressively smashing the road, unceasing, untiring until they are spent and discarded. Ales Beckman. Energetic, fast, durable, but ultimately expendable.
Claude kicks the wheel with his sneaker, before bringing the pipe down over its rim. He spits down at the tyre and shakes his head, slowly walking back to the front of the car.
CBR: All exemplary pieces to a hollow story John. The hollow story of a machine. But then, we’re forgetting what drives it...what creates the motion for the wheels, makes wind crash against the glass and brings that delightable chassis to hungry eyes. It's you John…
Ranier gently pops the hood, which rises loudly with a screech after the abuse to reveal the engine beneath.
CBR: You, John Sektor, the engine. Week in, week out you carried those average bastards across the UTA. You made the impact, floored a world champion, won a belt that meant something. But in all that, you let Mike Best take credit. You let the old man with nothing be the mouth piece of your success. You let Alex steamroll her way through the undercard whilst you beat seasoned veterans. You let Cecilworth prance around like a donkey whilst you worked your way tirelessly up the care.
Claude claps again, this time earnestly.
CBR: It was you, John...you that made Dynasty take notice. When you beat Abdul, took out some of the top guys to win that belt...defeated serious guys with nothing to gain in those matches. You worried us. And now, you're here...I'm here, we’re here and that…
Ranier points the steel pipe at the camera.
CBR: That belt...is here. You could be a future world champion Sektor. Hell, I even almost respect you...almost. But, you have something of mine and I want it back.
Claude brings the pipe down hard against the engine.
CBR: I MADE that belt, I want it back.
Crash again, bits of metal flying.
CBR: I BUILT my legacy, I want it back.
Violent smash again into the parts.
CBR: I MADE this business...it's mine and hell, I want it back.
Ranier smashes the hood down over the engine and leans forward, eyes wide and look vicious.
CBR: You're good John, but I'm elite. You're talented, but I'm unbeatable. You're a great wrestler...I'm the fucking God of Kings! There's NOTHING I won't do, NOWHERE I won't go and NOBODY I won't decimate to reclaim my throne. You're sitting on it John...bad luck, I'm taking it back.
"I am a failure. I am a failure if judged by the black and white of wins and losses."