We are in the Trump Tower in downtown Chicago. Perfection is in the Grand Deluxe Suite as the camera is moving towards the number one contender from the back. He is overlooking the city from the main window in the sitting area standing tall with his suit jacket open, no tie, and a glass of Laphroaig whiskey in hand. The camera stays behind him, adjusting to peer over his shoulder to get a shot of James’ reflection and the city streets.
“The Windy City…pathetic isn't it? A metropolis with so much potential squandered by corruption. Every single ward and alderman is probably on ol’ Rahm’s take. You probably won't believe it, Ungratefuls, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel was once a ballerina. Can you imagine taking orders from a pixie?”
We can see his eyes rolling.
“I couldn’t. Yet, there’s something more troubling than ‘The Tiny Dancer‘ being your overlord. I've been here two days and alI I can think about is how there is no hope for Chicago. Not because of their ‘Footloose’ mayor but because they refuse to change despite that over thirty people were shot since Monday with two dead. Despite the cop that shot a teen sixteen times or that their city is billions of dollars in debt, they wallow in their ignorance!”
Perfection places his hand against the glass looking down at his highball of whiskey. The camera moves from his reflection out to the city below from over his shoulder.
“The public will never wake up…never change the city for the better or their own preservation. They’ll continue to elect scum and degrade their own homes into worthlessness.”
Looking out towards the city the camera refocuses on his reflection. We can see his eyes scanning below, a sorrow almost pulsing from his face.
“It's frightening if you sit back and really just think about it. That people will just allow a cycle of failure…a culture of corruption to continue. To live day by day with their complacency and ignorance. Shit…you know what Ungratefuls, looking at this city the last forty-eight hours has really made me think. It's given me time to reflect.”
Both hands cusp the whiskey glass, his head still looking down at it.
“Just a few weeks ago I had someone walk up and ask me after International Affairs if I had learned anything after I refused to resign my contract in June. The first thing I thought was ‘the balls on that person to question what I learned or haven’t!’ It really put me off in that moment. I ignored them, I never gave them an answer or ever really gave it that much thought. ”
He looks back up towards the city streets below bustling with traffic.
“But now…looking at this city…witnessing the corruption. A city where the Ungratefuls didn’t learn the lessons of the past and continue down their path of self-destruction. It made me realize a few things- it makes me want to tell you the truth...”
Raising his head up he briefly makes eye contact with the camera through the window reflection.
“Maybe...just maybe….I did learn something.”
James turns just slightly exposing one side. His head turns over to the camera as his free hand slips into his suit pant pocket pulling the jacket back with it.
“Almost exactly one year ago I was in this exact same position. The Number One Contender to the biggest belt in the wrestling industry...on the cusp of becoming heir to the throne ONCE AGAIN! A feat that’s not easily accomplished in this sport. I put away wrestler after wrestler, built a legacy of destruction while giving every ounce of what I have into what I love!”
Taking a deep breath he begins to walk towards the camera which backs up.
“A year ago, I stood across from what was then a great challenge not just in the ring but mentally. I had lost the UTA Championship in Mexico, I was at the lowest point in my career...the depression I had from losing turned to anger. I funneled it...I used it to focus on the one thing I knew would take me to the highest of highs!”
Perfection takes a seat on the edge of a white chaises lounge seat.
“The anger I had for my failure turned to thirst for greatness which could not be matched! I had Yoshii dead to rights in MY ring a year ago at Seasons Beatings for MY UTA Championship! But instead of getting the job done right, Ungratefuls…instead of leaving not a single iota of doubt or even continuing to funnel my aggression...my WANT...I opted to allow my friends to help me.”
He moves forward slightly his elbows planted on his knees as both his hands grab around the whiskey glass.
“I had Dynasty ensure my victory and when I did that...“
James begins to shake his head low in disappointment.
“I ensured an asterisk next to my title victory over Yoshii. In fact, there have been many times I’ve had that asterisk planted beside my name because of the antics I chose to engage in.”
Lifting his head up he looks at the camera straight on.
“I learned, Ungratefuls, that there are things I might even regret...things like winning with that asterisk. What do I mean by that? I’m glad you asked. I depended on others at times to generate those priceless ‘victories’ for me…and I’m not ashamed to admit it.”
Crossing his legs, with his free hand he slicks his hand through his hair.
“Such as allowing Wingate to hand me the Wildfire Championship. I let him give me that belt other than competing for it because he wanted to avoid a contractual court battle with me. I could have just came off suspension and let bygones be bygones. Instead, I wanted blood and eventually before those thirty days expired, I got what I wanted.”
Pointing to himself he sighs just enough for the camera microphone to catch it.
“Not because I was the best, which I was...and could have proved, but because I raised hell that Wingate wanted nothing to do with. That’s another asterisk.”
Perfection begins to reflect and as he does he begins to nod. The silence is awkwardly refreshing.
“I should have faced Sektor right there on Victory...I should have won that belt and proved my right as the Wildfire Champion! I didn’t and again I took the easy road...I took the quick path to success that some would say was undeserving.”
Again he points towards himself.
“Do I regret that? Of course. Skipping over the challenge and keeping my health was a priority but in the bigger picture, beating a legitimate man like John Sektor would have been a greater feat than becoming the Wildfire champion again via handshake.”
Witherhold smiles nodding, a sense of calm and understanding coming across.
“Did I learn anything when I was away? When I walked out of the UTA in June? Sure. To say I didn't would be a lie...it would be complete denial and that would lead to my downfall much like this city that refuses to learn.”
James stands up and begins walking towards the kitchen area.
“All of us in this industry are blinded at one point or another by the allure of being the best and having the top belt…the UTA World Championship…to back it up. Sometimes doing things we never thought we could or would do. People have gone to extremes to take their wins even without the ‘Crown Jewel’ on the line. They’ve done it to prove that they aren’t just another number on Wingate’s growing collection but an actual force in one of the most challenging sports on our planet competing in the biggest company in this sport!”
Standing over the sink he lifts his whiskey glass and begins to slowly pour out the fine liquor down the drain.
“Shock therapy matches, wrestling sometimes twice per night, even going into cage matches or being set on fire like that poor bastard David Hightower; none of that is taboo. However, cheating or skewing fate into one's favor somehow is. It's the asterisk.”
He stops pouring leaving only a shot left. Both his hands are pressed against the countertop as he leans forward a little. Perfection’s eyebrow is slightly raised.
“I’ve learned a lot...sometimes it may not show...but trust me, Ungratefuls, I have. A year later...after the mistakes I’ve made...I stand against a new challenge- a greater challenge.”
Biting his bottom lip his hand goes back into his pocket. He stops the biting while his eyes dart away from the camera before turning back to it.
“Eric Dane isn’t just the UTA World Champion...he’s a legend in his own right. Multiple world championships and accolades across some of the most formidable wrestling companies. It’s what he’s done here in the UTA however that makes The Only Star a true threat to ME regaining MY UTA World Championship!”
His hands leave the countertop and from a distance curve in towards his chest.
“In some ways, Ungratefuls...Eric Dane is much like me. He won the chamber match, a grueling test of one’s will, strength and endurance. I can’t express how difficult it is to win that match, but to become the SECOND man to accomplish such a feat...it’s truly remarkable…"
For a brief second James gives us that snarky smile.
“Being the first is more remarkable...but to each their own. While Eduardo chose to ignore that feat, Ungratefuls, I noticed. I watched from home as Eric defeated John Sektor, the man that was poised as the biggest challenge in my career. Dane had his arm raised and became the biggest threat to the UTA World Championship…to the UTA period.”
James gives a slight nod.
“He defeated La Flama Blanca...my former protégé. Dane took him the distance and in the end Blanca...much like I taught him, decided he wanted to retain with an asterisk. Management had other things in mind obviously and wouldn’t you just be damned...Eric-effing-Dane decides he wants to slime his way to a UTA World Championship as well!”
Perfection huffs and begins to laugh a little before pointing at the camera.
“That’s the problem with men like Eric and ‘Yours Truly’, Ungratefuls. We settle for the cheap win...the cheap dig. If I was in his shoes I would have done the same thing...what a better way to screw La Flama Blanca out of the UTA World Championship than to have Madman Szalinski scurry down the ring and make the call.”
He begins to clap slowly smiling. Perfection is actually truly impressed by it.
“It was priceless! I can just imagine what La Flama Blanca did after he lost...I’m half surprised we haven’t found his body hanging stiff in a closet by now. It’s truly a shame when a man of his growing caliber...who really wasn’t ready to be at that level and caught Sean...falls victim to believing he’s ready for the ‘big time’. He wasn’t ready...he isn’t like Dane and I, Ungratefuls.”
Shrugging his shoulders he picks the glass back up.
“Let’s be frank, the only time Eduardo faced true...REAL…competition besides ‘Yours Truly’ was when he faced Madman at this exact supercard a year ago...and fell short. THAT’S the man Eric faced for the UTA World Championship! Hell, Eric should have won without having to rely on Szalinski.”
His free hand comes up in an “oh well” gesture. At the same time James turns and begins to walk out from the kitchen and back towards the main window overlooking the city.
“He should have and could have won without having that asterisk planted next to him. He could have learned from my mistakes...yet he didn’t. He wanted to continue the same trend...the same ol’ same ol’. Well, I’ve grown tired of it…”
In a quick motion Witherhold turns towards us, his free hand shooting his index finger towards the floor.
“I’ve grown tired of having that asterisk placed next to my name! I have grown tired of people like Cayle Murray questioning my legacy because I decided to win the ‘wrong’ way at times! No, Ungratefuls, this time...I’m doing it…right. I’m doing it the way I should have done it in my Ironman Match against Madman Szalinski...without ANYONE to help me! I am going to beat Eric Dane with MY talent...MY skills...MY unbreakable desire to be once again UTA World Champion!”
James begins to take a few quick breaths calming himself.
“I am going to prove it without a shadow of doubt. Not because I have the numbers...but because I have the wit!”
He turns towards the city, the camera once more focusing on Perfection’s reflection. His eyes piercing through us and a burning desire in his eyes.
“I am going to beat Eric Dane without any underhanded tactics! I AM going to become the UTA World Champion for a third time at Seasons Beatings...and then...maybe...just maybe...you’ll be grateful!”
He takes the shot that’s left in the glass and let’s out a low ‘ahh’ following. He points the empty glass towards the window.
“This city can rot...my legacy however….WON’T! Hell...it’s about to have a complete reboot!”
"What say you to a bout of spirited competition?"
- Gentleman Jack