Another pause, this time longer.
“Wrong, wrong, wrong-wrong-wrong, wrongiddy fuck wrong.”
I’d known from the get go that Perfection was an idiot. What I hadn’t been privy to is that he would go off the deep end and and try to actually evolve from his usual genericness into something a bit more plausible once he finally stepped into the ring with some actual competition.
The problem with that is that he’s wrong.
On so many levels.
It’s almost funny, really, how a guy with his resume could so fully and totally fail to grasp the situation he’s found himself in. Maybe it’s desperation. He’s realized that he’s bitten off more than he can chew, and instead of spitting some out to make a more manageable bite, he wants to change his perception of the concept of food.
Blows my mind, it does.
“Put an asterisk in front of my name in the record book. Hell, put two. Put three, Jesus, I don’t give a fuck about an asterisk and neither does anyone else. And do you know why nobody gives a fuck about asterisks James?”
Of course he doesn’t.
“Nobody reads the goddamned record books!”
“Outside of dweebs on the internet, nobody even writes the record books. It’s not a thing that matters in the sport of professional wrestling. As you are quite aware, no matter how much you want to change it so that you can have a new edge going into this title match, this business isn’t even about Wins and Losses.”
GASP~! Say it ain’t so!
It’s not fake, is it?
Of course not.
It’s not even preordained.
What it is, is complicated.
“Case in point, nobody remembers that I lost to Will Haynes a couple of months ago. Sure, it bubbles up in conversation now again when the internet nerds get involved, but in real life the only thing that anybody remembers is the fucking beating that I put on Sanctus the next week.”
Again I pause, pondering if I’m wasting my time.
I can only explain this so many times before I wash my hands of it all.
“And they remember that because it was the start of my ascent to the top of the United Toughness Alliance. First it was Sanctus. Next it was the Chamber, a match in which I dominated and pinned over half of the field myself. After that it was Tokyo and La Flama Blanca, my signature win that was slap full of asterisks. AND NOBODY CARES, JAMES.”
Nobody but you.
“What they care about is the spectacle that was Eric Dane’s first UTA Pay-Per-View Main Event. What they remember is the stifling of everything that your pal Eduardo tried to throw at me. What the record book of public opinion will immortalize forever is the visual of me, standing above the fallen La Flama Blanca, the Year of the Luchador ended at my hands, and Madman Szalinski raising my arm in victory.”
“Maybe there were some shenanigans involved, but who really cares, yanno?”
Do you know? Do you really?
“As I said, it’s not about the wins and the losses, it’s about moments. Moments that stick in the craw of the average wrestling fan for generations to come. Bigger than moments are Eras. Eras, you see, are a series of moments strung together, cut and pasted happily onto a BluRay disk so that long after you’re body and mind have become incapable of creating these moments the UTA can continue to make money off of them.”
I could make a pie-chart.
Maybe I should.
Some kind of a visual aid could be useful to my plight.
You’d think a guy like Perfection who’d made his money on the stock market and through real estate ventures would understand on some level how a business like ours works.
Well, you’d be wrong.
“There’s a reason that men like myself and Sean Jackson can go anywhere on the planet and be a top guy in under six months, but guys like Cayle Murray spend their whole career trying to figure out how to break through the glass ceiling. Fighting the good fight gets you nothing but outnumbered, outsmarted, and outclassed. There’s a reason Cayle isn’t the Wildfire Champion.”
“There’s a reason Sean carries that Ace in the Hole briefcase.”
“There’s a reason I hold this.”
I hold up the World Title belt, again, to drive my point home.
“It’s not how you play the game, James. It’s not how many pats on the back you get from your boys in the back after the match. Do you even have friends anymore? Are you sure you’re not choosing to have people interfere in your matches anymore out of some kind of newfound respect for yourself, or because you just can’t talk anybody else into doing your dirty work for you?”
Think about that one, Perf.
Don’t even answer me, just make sure you understand.
There’s a difference between making a choice to change, and working with what you’ve got handy. There’s a story to be told in the deposed former Champion losing his spot in the group he formed and working his way back to the top with nothing but sheer grit and balls, but that’s not the story you’re trying to tell us, is it?
You actually want us to believe that you’ve made a choice to do better.
Well, son, I don’t believe you.
Neither does anyone else.
“I’ll tell you what, James. If you’re gonna try to walk this road, I’ll have my assistant send you Jeff Andrews’ cell number. He probably won’t answer because he’s surly that way, but if he does and he’s drunk enough to entertain you for five minutes, ask him what happens to people who try to play stupid games with me.”
“Hell, ask him what happens to people who play serious games with me. Give him a couple days, let him rest his jaw - or hell just have him send you a picture of his face. It’s a story that tells itself.”
The thought of smashing Jeff’s tooth out of his head brings a smile to my face.
Even more so the idea of mangling that perfect smile of Perfection gives me a special feeling on the inside. One thing that nobody in the UTA outside of Jeff Andrews understands is exactly how much I get off on kicking a guy in the head until he has no choice but to understand my point of view.
That, or lie to me convincingly enough that the pain stops.
“At this point Jimmy, nothing you’ve got to say registers as important to me.”
“So go ahead, make a huge effort to change your ways and quit racking up the asterisks beside your name. Try and convince Cayle and Thrill and Jeff to have your back even though you didn’t have the sack to help any of them while they were getting their brains beaten out of their ears last week at Victory.”
“Meanwhile, I’m gonna jab a thumb knuckle-deep into your eye socket the first chance I get. I’m gonna drag you around the ring by your hair, and I’m gonna choke your little neck in the ropes until the referee gets to four and swears he’ll disqualify me.”
“And right at that crucial moment, I’m gonna pull back harder because I have zero compunction getting disqualified for choking you until you realize how ungrateful you’ve been for oxygen your entire life. If I get you in a chinlock, you can expect a nasty fishhook in your stupid stinking gullet!”
Are you starting to get it?
I don’t care!
Not only that.
It doesn’t matter!
“I’ll pull your tights to bring you into position for a roll-up, and I’ll throw my feet on the ropes for maximum leverage! If that doesn’t work I’ll throw salt in your eyes and pay off the referee! I’ll pay off the time-keeper, the ring announcer, and the fucking State Athletic Commission.”
“And once Wrestleshow 50 is in the books, I’ll walk back to my locker room with the World Title still strapped securely around my waist. Give me all the asterisks and disqualifications you can muster up, I’ll take them all on, and do you know why?”
Of course you don’t.
You’re too stupid for logic.
“Because when it’s all over with, the guy with the big belt cashes the biggest check.”
I’m red-faced and raving, I can feel the blood boiling under my skin. Perfection can try and look down his nose at me and compare himself with me all in the same breath and he can go fuck himself.
James Witherhold is no Eric fuckin’ Dane.
That he continues to try to compare himself to me is going to be the reason that he leaves OtherShow with a Season’s Beating that ends in a hospital stay instead of just a count to three.
“Take a good long look, James. I wear a watch that I could trade for your house. I drive a car that could have bought me a small airplane. I drink the finest scotch, and I have a 3 Star Michelin rated Personal Chef. I am everything you’ve ever wanted to be and I can tell you exactly how I’m gonna beat you and you’re still second rate enough to let it happen.”
“I am The Only Star in the UTA, James.”
“I am the UTA World Heavyweight Champion.”
“And for you, James…”
The smirk is so wide it hurts my face.
Yeah, I went there.
“Nobody else in the UTA could be a better first defense for a new World Champion.”
Not even Lew Smith.