The UTA universe may think that Jack Hunter is a striking figure in Mickey Mouse ears, but could he walk onto the set of a live action rendition of Snow White and not be questioned? El Trébol had had that thought in the shower earlier that morning in his room at the Art of Animation Resort before his long day ahead of thrilling rides and photo bombs of touring families. It had felt spur of the moment, but then again, it wasn’t. Growing up in Boston, he had had the opportunity to hear one Tom Brady tell the cameras and the microphone the very same thing. So, when Rumor Man Stan came asking what he, El Trébol, UTA’s newest Wildfire Champion, intended on doing next, the answer had been easy: “I’m going to Disney World.”
And so he had.
The Wildfire Championship rested against his leg as El Trébol as he rode, in full lucha gear, the Mad Tea Party ride for the eighth time in a row. The looks the young luchador had gotten as the teacups spun past one another were frequent, but young El Trébol didn’t mind; he was enjoying himself too much to notice.
The ride slowly comes to a halt to let the nauseated passengers a chance to exit the ride, but not El Trébol. He simply shouted, “Again!” like the eight year old child he looked like and waited, feet dangling in the cushioned saucer to begin its rotation once more. Before his wish could be granted, though, a thin man with thick-rimmed glasses came up to El Trébol’s handle looking to spout off something. A phone was in his right hand, the left hand covering the speaker.
“Scott Stevens just invoked his rematch clause, Trébol,” the man said. “Challenged you to a match tonight. He seems to think you were actually backstage.”
“I’m sure he was terribly disappointed to find out I wasn’t,” El Trébol replied as his hand drifted to rest on the gold belt beside him; the words “Scott Stevens” and “disappointed” had recently become trigger words for such an act from the little man.
“The rematch was made for All or Nothing.” The man shakes the phone. “Is there anything you’d like me to post in response to the challenge?”
“Tweet Scott Stevens that I was on vacation.” A hint of a smile is seen behind the little man’s mask. “He of all people would understand that.”
The man nods and disappears off camera. El Trébol pats the title for a moment in silence before the ride starts up again. “I could get used to this,” he finally says to himself softly.
After the first rotation of the pink teacup with the green head sticking out of it, the scene fades to black.
The Plaza Restaurant had one of the best views at Disneyworld to catch the evening festivities dancing across the night sky. And amongst the luxurious décor and the expensive cuisine sat El Trébol in his full lucha suit at a window overlooking the amassing crowds outside. His food sat untouched in front of him and his beverage, a cold glass of Coke—Disney was strict on enforcing the drinking age, it seemed—had left a ring of wetness on the white tablecloth.
“I don’t know what to say.”
The camera picks up the slightest shift of the mask in the reflection as El Trébol spoke, his clothed eyes transfixed on the merriment on the other side of the glass.
“I’d be lying if I told you the man who walked into Victory, the man who was apparently confident in my abilities and fueled to fight for the UTA universe, who was the same man who walked out with the gold around his waist. Don’t get me wrong, I was confident; a man of my stature has to stamp out the barest hint of doubt if he wants to make it. But imagination met reality two weeks ago.”
A pause. The clinking of glasses and scraping of metal across porcelain could be heard in the lull.
“I proved to myself and everyone else that I could compete. And Scott Stevens . . . Scott Stevens gave me a hell of a fight. I’ve questioned his character and joked about his actions, but I won’t ever take away the ability of the man. He pushed me to my limits once and is already pacing in his corner, waiting for that bell to toll for round two; meanwhile the daze hasn’t even cleared for me yet, but it will. I owe that to him, at least.”
El Trébol turns to look at the camera.
“And what a better way to awaken a man such as myself than to thrust him into a ladder match with a prize hanging high above his head, right? Right?” He shrugs. “I can hear the jokes now; in fact, I’ve made a few of them myself. ‘Can he even reach it?’ ‘Will he have to jump at the top?’ ‘Will a step stool even work on a ladder?’ All very valid questions, I must admit.”
El Trébol gestures to his ear facing the camera, circling it with an extended finger.
“Thing is, all of those questions can be derived from the same strand of doubt that I have dealt with my whole life. What is now a ladder was once Sean Jackson and what is this presumed prize out of reach was once the title no longer in Scott Stevens possession. This isn’t about multiple opponents or unimaginable heights: it’s about me. And that obstacle, that little green bump in the road that has seemed to trip up everyone in its path, is something I overcame a long, long time ago.”
El Trébol points to the camera.
“And you too, Kendrix, you alone here can look down on me and actually believe for a moment your assumption about my ability. But you’d be lying to us as well if you said anything but me pushing you to the limits with you overcoming me at the end. I didn’t dominate, Kendrix, and neither did you. We were two men on equal footing trying to give the UTA the best damn match possible. They believed in us then and I think they do now as well. Difference is, Kendrix, there are four other men in this match, so you can’t watch out for me forever. Amongst the bodies flying about, ladders will just be standing there, waiting to be climbed. It wouldn’t come as a shock to me if I slip under your nose and do just that; I have a feeling you have a tendency to overlook the little guys.”
Through the window behind El Trébol, the first firework launches into the dimming sky, a dazzling blue that reflects wildly in the glass.
“Especially with you in the match, CBR; I have a feeling you’ll be the guy who diverts Kendrix’s attention long enough to capitalize. That is when you’re not trying your damnedest to win the match for, what again, to prove yourself? The man who is the longest reigning Legacy Champion, the man who could very well be a double champion here in the UTA, that man somehow needs more gratification from the fans? Claude, I applaud your change of heart these last weeks and you have my utmost support as you try to give Kendrix a little taste of humility. But I promise you this: you don’t want this or need this win more than me, CBR. More than likely, I’ll always be crawling some ladder or another in my career while you’ve already known what the view is like from the top. I won’t ask you to give me the chance, not ever, but you’ll also find me extra unwilling to experience it second hand.”
Two fireworks, green and red, twist through the air before parting at the last second, showering the black with bright hues.
“Meanwhile Ron Hall and Cecilworth Farthington mirror one another in this question of what they’re even doing in this match in the first place. I reply, why not? Both men are formidable in their own right—one a Hall of Famer and the other former boss of Wrestleshow—and have proven in the past that they can compete. So I welcome the chance to say I shared a ring with these gentleman, though I will take every opportunity to prevent them from thoroughly enjoying it. That is, unless they enjoy the experience more than the outcome these days; a look at Ron Hall’s win loss record would certainly raise that very question.”
El Trébol shrugs as the night goes dark behind him once more.
“Regardless of the reasoning, I am well aware of the outcome I wish to achieve, and it is with neither of those men ascending the ladder. There are only two sides of the ladder, two positions to be filled by the men who truly want this. And at the end of the day, you can never take away Ron’s legend status and Cecil’s other briefcases, so will they truly ever find themselves their on their ladder. In my own attempt to keep this opportunity from being taken away from me, I will say no and try my hardest to make it so.”
A pause. He runs his finger along the rim of the drink as the fireworks pick up in intensity behind you.
“And then there’s you, Scott Stevens.”
Now gold fireworks. So much dancing above the head of El Trébol, forming a halo around it.
“Fate, destiny, would demand that that other side of the ladder be yours, Scott. It’s only fitting that if either of us were meant to win this match, the other one would be there to look the victor in the eyes.”
A massive firework rockets rapidly northward, carrying with it suspense that mingled with the soft-spoken words in the Plaza restaurant.
“It’s only fair to give you that opportunity, Scott, since you didn’t have it last time. No, last time, you saw only flash of green. And then—“
The firework explodes, the soundwaves carrying all the way to the camera, mirroring the next word out of El Trébol’s lips.
“--Boom. I took all of your fight, all of your talent and ability, everything, Scott. I took it all and still left you lying on your back to look up at best light show of your long and storied career.”
El Trébol nods.
“That’s what I came to the UTA to do and what I believe I’ve done since day one. Yes it’s been daunting, it’s looked impossible at times, but I have given it my all to defy the odds. And that’s all that the Ace in the Hole match is; the path to victory is a little higher off the ground and the opponents more numerous than I have faced here, but in the whole scheme of things, it isn’t any different at all.”
El Trébol finally takes a sip of the coke, shrugging his shoulders.
“But hey, what do I know? I’m just a little guy with a gold belt and a drive to succeed. We’ll all just have to see come Monday night, won’t we?”
And that final statement, the scene fades out.
"The dharma of a champion demands a fight worthy of victory, and not even a bit less."