This is what I know for sure:
Perfection absolutely loves to hear the sound of his own voice.
Not that I’m one to talk, everyone knows I can go on at length about just about anything. Especially as it pertains to the wrestling business and my place in it both as a legacy and an active competitor.
The difference is, when I go spouting off at the mouth I make a serious effort to know what I’m talking about. I trade in fact-based wordplay meant to confuse and demoralize my opponents to the point of making mistakes inside the ring. Mistakes that I can and will capitalize on because just as I’m a bastion of banter; let me also remind you that Eric Dane is the best wrestler in the World.
Nevermind the broken down body.
Don’t look at those shoddy knees, held together by duct tape and Spanish moss.
Forget about the fragile psyche that ends up broken more often than not almost to spite my personal success. These things are to be kept hidden behind the curtain, as it were.
What matters is that I’m the best, and I’ve got the hardware to prove it.
It’s not because I know the most holds and counters either, because I’m pretty sure I don’t. It’s because I know how to generate opportunities for myself and then I’m smart enough to take advantage of them. So, as I said on television a week ago, I am who I am because inevitably I make sure that no matter what happens I am the smartest man in the room at any given time.
Not to mention in any given room.
Perfection, on the other hand, he just goes on and on and on and fucking on until you’ve forgotten what he’s talking about and your eyes go crossed. You know, the more that I think about it, maybe he’s got something with this.
Maybe talking at his opponents until their synapses finally just stop firing out of sheer rebellion is all a part of the plan.
I don’t think so, though, and here’s why. No matter how close he ever gets to almost sounding like a rational human being conveying complex thoughts to other human beings through use of language, he always manages to fuck up the one word that he can’t stop saying over and over again.
That stupid catchphrase of his.
“For grammar's sake, James, ungrateful is a fucking adjective.”
A sigh of relief follows, I’ve been waiting to tell him that for seven months now.
“You can’t refer to someone as an adjective, it’s not how language works you dumb fuck. You know, the next time you lose your smile maybe you ought to take some of that market crash money that you define yourself with and take a remedial English class, it’ll help out in the long run ya know.”
This seems almost too easy. It’s disconcerting.
You see, Perfection is precisely the type of opponent that I can’t stand. He’s not so useless and devoid of talent that I can half-ass or even three-quarter-ass my way through the process and pick up the easy win, but at the same time he’s not good enough to get me motivated enough to be as my best.
And that’s the trap, you know.
Maybe not for Perfection, but there’s always Sean Jackson, slithering around in the background waiting to take his shot. Hiding in the weeds and hoping upon hope that I slip up and have an off night that could lead to him cashing in that Ace in the Hole.
So here I am, not falling into the trap.
Sure, I was due in Chicago yesterday for some boots on the ground promotional work in hostile territory. The thing about that is, I reminded myself that I’m the World goddamned Champion and it’s no longer my job to put boots on the ground for the UTA or anywhere else. I put asses in seats just by having the name Eric Dane, and when a guy like Perfection is next up on my docket it’s so very hard not to just phone it in.
The thing about that though, my ego just won’t allow it.
“I want you to take a real good look at something, James.”
Effortlessly I slide the Heavyweight Championship of the World off of my shoulder and I thrust it dangerously close to the camera lense in front of me. Its jewels and precious metals no doubt glistening in the lights and distorting on your television screen.
“Do you see this?”
There is no doubt in my mind that I have his attention.
“This is the UTA World Heavyweight Championship.”
Menacingly I press closer into the camera with it.
“This is not the UTA Championship that you’ve held twice, oh no. That outmoded piece of tin was retired the last time you vacated it at All or Nothing. This is the symbol that that UTA has moved on past the doldrums of its early past, and it belongs to me.”
Pulling the belt away and backing up to my usual place I let a smile form easily on my face as I replace my most precious of preciouses over my shoulder.
It just feels right, that supple cherry-brown leather strap resting over my shoulder while the gold and platinum and rubies and diamonds of its plate forever herald the arrival of a Champion.
“It doesn’t belong to you, it has never belonged to you, and so long as my knee-braces continue functioning and I continue to be a part of the UTA roster, it will never belong to you. You’re the two time champion of an era that this company would like to forget. An era where men like you and Yoshii and Abdul bin Hussain were the best prospects that anyone could muster up to come down to South Florida and work for the Wingates.”
Nevermind that the two belts kind of sort of share a lineage, I will not be compared to a man who shops for his suits at the Men’s Warehouse.
“In the year since you’ve held that belt a lot has changed in the UTA though, hasn’t it? The entire roster has turned over twice save for a scant few. Champions and attractions from across the world have come to town, had a cup of coffee, and fucked right back off to wherever it was that they came from in the first place. Hell, James, you yourself have taken your ball and went home what, two or three times just in the last six months.”
My eyes roll as if they had minds of their own.
“That just goes to show that you, just like La Flama Blanca and everybody else who claims to have made the UTA what it is today, are nothing but a bunch of big fish running around scared because they’ve lost their little pond.”
The truth hurts, I know that. That’s why occasionally, at times such as this, I feel like I need to spoon-feed the information down somebody’s throat for the absolute knowledge that they and many like them just plain don’t get it.
Here I am, I’ve cancelled a promotional effort because I can’t be bothered to care about Perfection until he manages to say or do something that catches my attention, and I still make an effort to take time out of my schedule to make sure everybody is on the same playing field.
Informationally speaking, that is.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I know that even though Perfection doesn’t actually deserve a shot at my title, it would benefit me to not look past a man with his weasley nature. That’s how championships are lost. It would also behoove me to remember that Sean Jackson will be there, watching and waiting.
I’m repeating myself to myself now, but it’s worth the doing.
I will not be defeated.
Not in my first defense.
Not by a man with a briefcase.
Not before All or Nothing, that’s for damned sure. But that’s getting quite a bit ahead of myself. First thing’s first as always is the next man on my calendar, and this week that man is Perfection.
“Do you know what else drive me up a fuckin’ wall, James?”
It’s a rhetorical question.
“Young guys like you, walking talking and living by the rules that I wrote twenty years ago on how to thrive in the wrestling business, and then not even having the courtesy to thank me for paving the way for you. Third rate generic copies of Eric Dane seem to grow on trees around these parts, and it’s getting to the point where I’m tired of pointing it out.”
Somewhere Perfection is guffawing, too dense to realize that his entire schtick reaks of The Only Star and too boneheaded to admit it when presented with empirical data to back it up.
“Now go on, James, go on and tell me how you’re different. You wear what you think are expensive suits and you throw your cash around in a very measured way, you fake flamboyance better than anybody I’ve ever seen. But none of that is gonna get you through this one Jim. You’ve got nothing on me, and you never will.”
I’ve got the experience.
I’ve got the brains.
I’ve got the backup.
I wear better clothes.
I drive nicer cars.
And my friends know that when I tell them I’ve got their back I won’t watch them get get stomped out twice in twenty minutes without lifting a finger to help.
That’s right, Perf, I know what you’ve been up to…
“And don’t think hiding behind Cayle Murray’s skirt is going to save your ass when the Big Bad comes calling at Season’s Beatings. My good friend and associate Colton Thorpe assures me that Cayle Murray won’t get involved with my match, no matter how much he might want to, because he’s got some kind of code of honor that he hides behind when the business starts to get a little messy.”
Absently I paw at the whiskers on my face, the first hint of my beard regrowing. I have a flash-memory of staring into a mirror and looking back at a face that was ten years younger. Mentally I push it away, now isn’t the time or the place to go back to that.
“Think about it Jimbo. I made it a point to neutralize Jeff Andrews, a guy who’s got one hundred percent less time put into UTA than you do. I did that because I recognize Jeff as a threat. You, on the other hand, I assume you were at a franchise restaurant somewhere running game on some underaged hostess instead of standing by your word and watching Cayle’s back.”
“And I was right. The Pantheon put boots to Will Haynes and Cayle Murray, and Perfection is nowhere to be found. Lorenzo fucks around and makes a tag team match out of the affair that we ignore after ten minutes and we go to stomping on them again, because we felt like it, and there was no backup to be had for poor little Cayle and Will.”
The smirk widens.
“You didn’t even rank enough to be neutralized.”
I give him a knowing wink.
“How does that make you feel, James?”
I hope it burns you up.
I hope it gives you a set of balls.
I hope that you show up so full of piss and vinegar and bad intentions that you trip over your own laces getting into the ring. I hope that you can get yourself hyped up enough to even sniff my level come OtherShow 50. The monicker of Seasons Beatings turns out to be quite apropos, Janes, because I’m gonna beat your face into mashed potatoes and then I’m gonna drop you on that bleached blond head of yours and while you’re spending the next several hours in nighty-night land counting the fuckin’ Tweety Birds, I’ll be having a quiet meal alone that costs more than your annual salary.
Tell me I won’t.
"Well I am back again folks! One more Wrestleshow, and one more win for the Unlikely one!"
- Mikey Unlikely