If I were a smarter man, this would have been a training montage. And I am not talking any half assed effort, no. Balls to the wall with all the fromage you expect. I am talking about the old guy slapping me in the face and calling me a bitch; Twenty seconds worth of fifteen different exercises in the gym; Jogging up the flight of stairs to some famous landmark with ‘Eye of the Tiger’ playing in the background; and finish that with a roundhouse kick through a wooden board, because damn it, my knee is healed and I am back to do damage.
But I totally didn’t do that.
Rather than pay attention to the media content clause in my contract, I spent my time ignoring this place: The bosses that hate me, the superstars I hate and the Rumor Man that seems anxious to peel away any sort of privacy we think we have; all of it. Hell, apparently I even missed a free cruise opportunity; not like boats were ever my thing, though.
450 Splash? No problem.
Rocking side to side? I’m not keeping down lunch, no matter how hard I try.
Instead of all you can eat buffets and liquor in abundance, I was headlong into the rehab. I was so determined that this setback would be nothing; just another funny feeling in the left knee to get used to. But maybe instead of rehabbing the injury, I was training like normal, or harder. What was another plate on the bar? Evidently, it was just me tempting fate, because fuck if this knee didn’t pop the wrong way. On the flight over I was afraid it would balloon as we glided on through the stratosphere.
Instead of doing things the right way, I was too determined to not make the same mistakes I had the last time glory knocked, I nearly left myself blind. Then I was locked in ten tonnes of steel with five other men and a fork. Now, I don’t even know what match I am in, or if I will make it on this card. This was the doubt creeping in, the adversary we all battle. In even tones he told me, ‘I shouldn’t have even flown in. I ought to have just got a headstart on the sulking and general babying shit back home.’ I want to say I am strong enough to shut that fool mind up, but sitting on the bench in this medical office, so clean and sterile that I can imagine them laughing in chorus at me.
Still, none of that compares to this old feeling I get, this most fucked up normal. It seems I am never quite myself as much as when I am grinning along with discomfort. I welcome pain like some sadist and just say a tiny little prayer of thanks that they haven’t gotten the idea to dress me up like some gimp just yet.
All of this seemed like the wrong way.
But I lament, doing it the correct way seems like an impossibility I chose a long time to never chase. I could have been back underneath the umpteen thread count sheets back at the hotel, like the rest of the boys undoubtedly are this way-early morning. I could have been drifting away in another classical movie inspired dream. But where I am is somewhere between frightened and miserable, perfect time to see the perky blonde holding a mic walk into the room.
In short order behind Ms. Kincaid are her cameraman, whose name I swear to learn one of these days, and Dr. EMO himself acting as the producer.
I suppose I had this coming to me the moment I decided I didn’t want to do the Rocky routine.
Uploaded to WrestleUTA servers at 8:00 am JST Nov 15/15
Acrylic white walls line the background as the shot is pulled tight to the backstage voice of Victory, Kate Kincaid. Her shoulder-blade length blonde hair has been braided to wrap around her head like a crown, and she sports a simplistic mix of makeup: light shadow eyeliner, a touch of color to her cheeks and pink lipgloss. Her warm smile welcomes you, the online viewer.
Kincaid: Ladies and gentlemen, we are only hours now away from the highly anticipated International Affairs event. I will be bringing you updates throughout the day as we lead up to the show, but we are starting this morning with one of the superstars vying for a place as number one contender to the top titles here in the UTA. Quinlan, thank you for joining me.
As the frame pulls back, you are let in on our setting: the medical offices located within the Tokyo Dome. Sitting beside our interviewer with an icepack wrapped around the knee he struck the announce table with during a botched suicide dive in Cairo is Mitchell Quinlan. He wears a pair of black, loose fitting shorts and a red tee decorated with the evolutions of Charizard. His jaw is that same stoic scowl he sported when he wore a mask and answered to Sanctus.
He doesn’t vocalize a response, but just bows his head in recognition.
Kincaid: The last time we saw you on UTA programming you were being helped to the back after having problems with that knee. Can you tell us how the recovery process has been?
Quinlan looks down to the knee he is bending back and forth, then back to the blue contacts of Ms. Kincaid.
Quinlan: First, kudos to the Faithful. I saw the .GIFs, but someone really took it a notch higher, pulling out stuff from my days in Vegas and compiled every time I sailed through the air to connect with the table at ringside. Batman v. Joker; Snoopy v. The Red Baron; Quinlan v. the Announce Table. Heh.
A curt smile parts his lips before he continues.
Quinlan: That night in Cairo was something else; a wicked pain shooting all the way from the knee to my toes and back again. But I was lucky. No serious ligament damage, no structural damage. Since that day, I have been preparing for tonight. Believe that I will be ready, one hundred or not.
Kate can’t help but give an approving smile to the heroic lines Quinlan is speaking.
Kincaid: And how are you today, heading into what may yet turn out to be a sold out Tokyo Dome for the International Affairs event?
Quinlan: Anxious. I’ve been itching to get back, because sitting on the sidelines sucks. We are creatures of habit, and when something forces us away from that routine, something dangerous happens: we think. We reflect.
Perhaps it is because there weren’t too many philosophers on Victory, but the lefthanded speech pattern of the Canadian was puzzling. Clearly she needed him to follow that up with something in American.
Kincaid: What do you mean when you say reflecting? How is that dangerous?
Quinlan hops up from the bench to stand beside slightly startled, yet still entirely professional Kate Kincaid.
Quinlan: Well, when I look back on what I’ve accomplished in my half year with the world’s largest promotion, I cannot help but track my progression from saint, to devil for a night, to a damned ghost that couldn’t affect a thing. I start to see patterns in the business, most of which point to the death of the honest man. You need to either be the coward hiding behind a posse to hold the title, or be the ruthless sociopath in the process of building your own posse to wrest that great shiny for yourself. Still can’t really believe I am routing for Dane in that one.
It is almost tangible, the gears turning between her ears as she fills in faces with the vagaries he offered. Kate pulls back the microphone to ask her next question.
Kincaid: That is the main event of the evening, but what about your match? What do you have to say to your competitors?
Quinlan, perhaps tired of standing, or more likely believing that sitting propped up on the bench made him look cooler, took his weight off of his feet.
Quinlan: And who would those be exactly?
Kincaid: Fears, Stevens and Perfection.
Quinlan: If it turns out I have escaped whatever maliciousness head office wishes to place on my head and am still in that cluster of contendership, I know I will have my hands full against those men and lady. One was the longest running UTA champion, another the current top title holder over in Chicago and Ms. Fears was fingertips away from being Ms. Ace in the Hole. Game competition, certainement. One that I will be ready for, if I get the opportunity.
Kate seems hesitant at first to bring up the rumors that are swirling about the still unfinalized final card for the huge network event, but Quinlan has opened that door wide.
Kincaid: So you have heard the rumors then? What would it mean to you if you were removed from that match?
Quinlan: Any of three things, sadly. None of which bode all that well for yours truly. Either I get placed somewhere else on the card, and I still get an opportunity to go out there and perform. This is the best of this series of worsening outcomes. I do not get moved to the front of the line in title rankings, but that is not everything. It is hardly even a guaranteed title shot. I want those three to understand that. Finishing where you finish does nothing if you do not continue to put the work in. Lose momentum, get complacent and don’t be surprised if you slip to second, third, fifth away from that title.
A runaway train of ‘logic’, Quinlan chuckles before continuing.
Quinlan:How cute is that, though, by the way? That they think they can separate us and split up the titles as if this were some feudal shit. By the end of this match, we’d all be given fiefdoms to care for and stick to. They might be forgetting that regardless of the reason, every member of this roster is fighting for that top spot. It means more money, more infamy, more competition, a greater chance to be something of a role model to the faithful, more exposure to prove that you are without doubt the toughest son of a bitch going in this industry.
Kincaid blinks in astonishment, having managed to pull out more words from the otherwise reclusive superstar than just about any other aired footage. And with this little rant, she needs to pull him back to her original question, which apparently had more outcomes.
Kincaid: You said that was one of three results. What do you think the other two would be, then?
The Man without Any Mask flashes some teeth and shakes his head, ashamed to have wandered away from his line of thinking.
Quinlan: Apologies, but you are right. I may be left off the card, in which case, I will be most disappointed. With the decision maker for not giving me the chance, and myself for not kicking and scratching to make myself a place here. Thirdly is the rumor that I am sure you really wanted to talk about, am I right?
Legitimately unaware of whatever it is he is trying to hint at, Kate bites down on her lower lip, shaking her head in confusion.
Kincaid: And what rumor would that be?
Quinlan: The third outcome of me not being in this match, the all too real possibility that I have been flown halfway across the world to get released. Hell, seems even if I do compete in that fatal four way elimination match up, I may still be on the chopping block. A sad reality of a bloated roster I will fight fiercely to dance away from, but what am I in the face of dollars and cents?
The scene takes on a feeling something like that of a funeral visitation. The only one in good spirits is the man that might be walking the plank by this day’s end.
Quinlan: But if this is to be the end of my career, there will be no way I let my submission victory over Lance Marshall stand as a lone highlight. With no offense intended to Mr. Marshall and the men and women that formed me in that crucible with that Vegas outfit. Tonight, no matter where I end up on this card, scheduled or not, I am out to make a moment worthy of remembering. And all the time in the world to recover from whatever injury it risks?
Now in a fog of awkwardness as Quinlan espouses his schemes to make International Affairs a monument to his career, youth and health, Ms. Kincaid is all too anxious to try to wrap this interview up.
Kincaid: Any words you want to leave, as you call them, the Faithful with as we are just hours away from this anticipated night?
The smile, grin or any real expression fades from Quinlan’s mug and for the first time, he looks directly at the camera.
Quinlan: For however long I do this, it will always have been my pleasure to perform before the Faithful, my brothers and sisters. For whoever, or whatever I focus my braveheart at, be ready for a fight. I am not here in Japan to think about tomorrow. I am all in for tonight; trust those words.
And while Ms. Kincaid folds her hands before her, the usual close out for these types of shoots, it is the buzzed bald man in the white coat walking in from frame left that holds the filming for another thirty seconds. Held out in his right hand, a plastic and metal clipboard.
Quinlan: Well, what’s the word, Doc?
"As for me… Thanks to a stellar marketing team, whom I pay very very well, people demand Mikey Unlikely each and every week. The signs in the crowd, the shirts on the people, the shout outs on my the anticipation for my movie!"
- Mikey Unlikely