"Come on people, the opportunity doesn't get better than this."
I pause as three little words enter my mind.
Location, location, location.
It is drilled into each of us at an early age, pick your spot wisely and when the opportunity presents itself....
You strike hard.
"I have followed Dane's career since 1999, which means I know him better than anybody on the roster..."
Something Eric Dane wouldn't dare dispute.
"And that makes him ripe for the picking in Atlantic City."
Because the Only Star has weaknesses, glaring weaknesses.
He said it himself, his knees were held together by duct tape and Spanish moss...
He had to...
He could no longer hide the bubble wrap sound while walking.
"Of course, the knees aren't your only downfall Eric. There's the women, the booze, drugs, ego..."
I let the word ego linger a bit. When dealing with someone like him, you don't spend much time on the obvious. You attack him where it hurts.
"Yes Eric, your ego."
I unleash that million dollar smile because only I know the true chink in the World Champion's armor.
"I know that comes as a shock, but give me a minute and I promise that everything will come into focus."
In case you haven't noticed, Eric needs to be the center of this universe. He needs to be the focus of our attention, for it feeds the addiction.
He wants to be needed, an indispensable asset to the company that employs him and will do anything to ensure it.
"Your ego wrote a check that Colton Thorpe couldn't cover, and now that he is on the shelf, and out of a job..."
That is what happens when you obsess over your ego.
You begin to miss things.
People start disappearing.
"Only Bobby Dean remains to protect you?"
An individual obsessed with his own personal demons, just like the previously employed Madman Szalinski.
Now my thought process comes into focus. When going into battle, you don't strike an enemy when they are strong, you catch them when weak. Seasons Beatings was out of the question because Eric expected it...
But Atlantic City...
Everything needed to blind that monster ego.
"Giving me the perfect opportunity to strike."
Dane once claimed he was the smartest man in any room, that he could generate opportunities and capitalize on them. But for all his hard work, all his promises, all that remained was Bobby Dean.
Two stables, in a span of six months, up in smoke.
"Can you see me coming Eric?"
Of course he can't. The UTA World Champion can't see anything beyond the bright lights of Atlantic City. The moment he arrives, the attention turns towards the devices that feed his ego.
"Or are you too focused on finding that plus one in preparation for Will Haynes?"
I can see him strolling around the Boardwalk, looking for his perfect prostitute. A whore that will allow him to snort cocaine off her breasts and slurp liquor from her navel.
What better way to forget losing to a man who...
How did he put it again?
Oh yeah, Eric once said that Will Haynes couldn't see the forest for the trees. That he didn't have the "it" factor.
"Lord knows that must work on you champ. The knowledge you have to stand across the ring from a man who allegedly didn't know the business, but had the tools to beat you anyways."
If that wasn't enough to make him swallow a bullet, then losing to him again in Atlantic City would definitely do the trick.
Outside of Bobby Dean, the UTA World Champion was all alone. No Madman Szalinski, No Colton Thorpe, Ty Walker or Steven Greer. There wasn't even a Bronson Box to keep him company. The only two people who remained from Dane's past was Jeff Andrews and yours truly.
Now it was my turn to explain shit. The great Eric Dane, multiple time champion the world over, was now one loss away from the grave. His psyche would be so damaged that he would do it just to stop the pain.
"And he did beat you."
Sure, I could stay on Dane. But there's a flip side to this story and he definitely needs addressing. Yes, that is you Mr. Haynes.
My mind goes back to that awesome night in St. Louis, the night of All or Nothing where the real World Champion stood over the broken body of Will Haynes.
"Isn't that right Haynes?"
I nod, completely happy with where this is going. If it ties Dane's stomach in a knot, forcing him to down a bottle of Pepto, then it would be well worth it.
"In one of the biggest matches of your career, you showed Dane was human. You proved he was all hype and no substance, forcing him to change how he approached his matches and for that..."
I want to clap for the guy, I really do. But he is a do-gooder and just like Dane, I want him flat on his back when the cash in is complete.
Now I know a common mistake is when people try to design fool-proof plans while underestimating their opponents. They walk into the situation like a cabbage, all head with no brains and everything falls apart. So in putting this together, I need to make sure all bases are covered.
So I did what any rational thinking person would do. I put my hands together and began clapping.
"I applaud you."
Sure, I was hiding my true intent. I wanted Haynes to feel confident, to go all in for that world championship. That way, when I walked out of Boardwalk Hall as a UTA World Champion for the third time, everyone could celebrate my coronation.
"But Will, just between the two of us..."
There has always been a level of respect for Will Haynes. No matter how many times he was stabbed in the back, he never lied or turned on the fans. Sure there was the feud with Mikey Unlikely that almost cost both careers, sure there was the moment when Coleslaw was hospitalized...
In turn, his conformity was rewarded with adulation.
While I am in line for my third UTA World Championship.
"Neither of you can walk out of Atlantic City as the World Champion."
So let me explain myself. Even though I don't like him, I can respect him. You don't beat people like Haynes has, without being good. He is definitely someone not to sleep on, no matter what the World Champion would have you believe.
However, there's another reason I must thwart your World Championship chase.
"Dane for obvious reasons..."
It goes deeper for Will Haynes.
"But for you, it is totally different. It is different because you still fail to give me credit for winning All or Nothing last year."
Yeah, that is still a sore spot for me. I had Haynes beaten before Simon ever stepped foot in the ring. He was down, courtesy of the high knee to the back of his skull, which put him out. But Mr. Haynes continues to play selective memory.
"You keep telling people I had Simon come to the ring to screw you out of the World Championship, which couldn't be further from the truth."
It should be noted that Simon screwed you over on his own. At no point did I need or want his help in defeating you, because until he came out to the ring, I had the finish well in hand. You were down, victim to the high knee and the finish was a foregone conclusion.
Because of those comments, I must humble you. My journey, inspired by your very words, has now brought me to the cusp of being the very first three-time winner of the UTA World Championship.
"So I tell you now, and in front of the entire world, I will not leave Atlantic City without the World Championship. When the opportunity presents itself, I will come down to that ring and I will cash in my briefcase..."
I spit the words out, defiantly.
Of course I do, because there are still people out there who doubt me.
"Once again, robbing you of the UTA World Championship..."
Just like last year.
"All by myself."