(FADEIN: Just after dawn – Greensboro, North Carolina. If there was one constant at One CS Towers, the first man in every morning was none other than Chad Merritt – President, CEO and Commissioner of CSWA. For 15 years, no matter the headquarters – Merritt prided himself on being the ‘early bird’. This morning, dressed in a sharp black suit, baby blue tie and black shoes – Merritt walked briskly with his briefcase in hand. He walked through the lobby passing by the front security desk with the CSWA logo backdrop behind it.)
(CUTTO: Merritt walking out of the elevator. The penthouse is dark, so Merritt flips a switch, turning the lights on. As he walks forward towards his office, for the first time in fifteen years – somebody is already there.)
(CUTTO: Merritt’s office – Merritt comes walking through the door, a raised eyebrow.)
CM: Could’ve sworn I locked this last night.
V/O: Maybe you should fire your chief of security.
(MERRITT looks up. He’s not a happy camper at what he sees. CUTTO: ‘The Wolf’ MIKE RANDALLS sitting in the Presidential chair, leaning back and his feet kicked up onto the desk. Beside his feet are a stack of papers. He’s wearing a short-sleeved collared shirt, blue jeans, tennis shoes and a black cowboy hat. He’s grinning at MERRITT…)
CM: I don’t know HOW you got in here. All I do know is get out before I call ALL of security.
(RANDALLS’ grin fades away, he kicks his feet off the desk and nods)
MR: I understand, Chad. I actually came here to apologize.
CM: (taken aback) You what?
(RANDALLS stands up and gets out of Chad’s seat, then walks around and sits in his guest chair)
MR: Its your seat, I’m sorry. I’m not here to cause trouble.
(MERRITT walks around, putting his briefcase on the table – all the while eyeing RANDALLS suspiciously.)
CM: Keep talking.
(RANDALLS smiles - he knows the word ‘apology’ was one Chad’s favorites)
MR: I didn’t let you have a chance to let you speak on your behalf at Primetime. Given the circumstances, I hope you understand that I was out there to prove a point. However, I’m man enough to try and believe that you did not intend for me to injure Tom Adler. Just remember the last words I remember from the last ANNIVERSARY show were the ones on how I SHOULD view you as a threat to myself.
(MERRITT nods, a little surprised.)
CM: Well, in the last year – things have changed.
MR: Have they, Chad? (RANDALLS leans forward) I understand why I shouldn’t be trusted. Don’t pretend that you SHOULD be. You’ve done as much wrong to this league as I have. Don’t misunderstand my words that I won’t fight for you. If bringing me back was to restore some honor to this league…then you AND I will have to prove it to those that matter – the locker room and the fans. While I won’t fight for you, Chad…we can fight together.
(MERRITT rolls his eyes. Here come the demands.)
CM: Mike, I don’t have time for this. If you think that after one night I should…
MR: I’m not asking for you to believe in me, yet. I’m asking for the chance to PROVE it. You failed me in that regards already this week.
CM: Yeah, just what I needed to sign – Guns against Randalls. If you haven’t heard, health insurance costs have sky-rocketed.
(RANDALLS leans back, shaking his head disapprovingly.)
MR: I knew it would come to this. You see that stack of papers, Chad?
(MERRITT looks over to the stack of papers, picks them up and starts reading them)
MR: On Showtime, I will announce that those are signed by yourself as well.
CM: (still reading) Are you crazy, Mike? You’ve got one for every day. (MERRITT flips though the pages, his eyes getting wider) Jesus, every show. Oh Christ, you’ve got the whole roster filled out.
MR: I am willing to do WHATEVER it takes to prove why I’ve come back, Chad. Are you willing to do WHATEVER it takes to prove that you respect this league’s HONOR more than its profit margin?
(RANDALLS stands up, MERRITT is still reading the documents)
CM: Jesus Christ, what are you doing?
MR: What I should’ve done a long time ago. I am not the same man I once was Chad. If I cannot be trusted for what that’s worth, than I shall EARN it.
CM: (looks up) I see you had Ivy look at these, her fingerprints are all over this. (laughs) You’re starting to think ahead, I see.
MR: (smirks) Yeah, let’s just say my trust has to be earned as well. (the smirk vanishes) Its your choice to fight alongside in the battle, Chad. There’s only one name I care about on those documents right now, and I’ll be back at 4:30 today to see if its on there. Oh, either way – people will find out about this in Seattle.
(RANDALLS turns around and heads for the door, as MERRITT just shakes his head reading through the papers.)
CM: You’re gonna be the death of us both, Mike.
MR: Well enjoy your 10:30’s with Teri, while they last.
CM: (looks up) How did you know about those?
MR: Just a guess.
(RANDALLS grins, letting himself out the door. MERRITT looks down at the papers in front of him not knowing what to think. In his hands, he not only held the career of one man…but quite possibly the greatest challenge ever presented in the sport of wrestling.)
"Not Your Ordinary Welcome"
(CUTTO: Mark Windham’s personal dressing room. Windham is in black warm-ups and a white Nike T-shirt sits on a sectional couch, while a CSWA trainer massaging his left calf. The World Title belt lays disheveled to the left of Windham on the couch. Windham eyes the start of the show on the TV monitor.)
(As the patented CSWA laser light show comes to a close, BILLY BUCKLEY and RUDY SEITZER make their way to the commentator’s table.)
RS: The Key Arena is on its feet and ready to kick off this edition of CSWA SHOWTIME! I’m Rudy Seitzer, here on SHOWTIME for the first time, joined by Billy Buckley.
ByB: Maybe I’m joined by you, ever think of that?
RS: We’ve got four big matches on this edition of SHOWTIME, but none is bigger than the Main Event for the World Championship! It’s Mark Windham defending against the man who won the top contender’s spot by virtue of his big battle royal win at BATTLE of the BELTS, Dan Ryan.
ByB: The Living Legend and the Ego Buster go one-on-one for the first time, LIVE!
RS: Also on tap for tonight: the <> Cutters and Dawn of a New Day finally meet up in this incarnation of a feud that’s been going on for years. “The Strongest Arms In The World” meets up with the no-gimmicks-needed of Jean Rabesque. And the Unified World Tag Champs The Professionals meet up in a non-title grudge match against Ryp Fandango and Cameron Cruise, who both have a reason to want to get their hands on Miles, Mayfield, et al.
ByB: Et al? Since when did you start speaking jibberish?
RS: And by jibberish you mean Latin?
ByB: Whatever. Point being, the audience has a sixth-grade understanding at best… and you’re throwing around ‘et al.’
RS: Folks, while Billy and I argue about your intelligence, we’ll pay some bills with this commercial break. We’ll be right back with the start of SHOWTIME!
(CUTTO: Return to Windham’s personal dressing room.)
WINDHAM: (jerking his leg out of the trainer’s hands) What the hell is this?
TRAINER: If it stiffens up on you again page me...
(Mark jumps up, knocking the trainer aside, and takes the door in two giant strides.
(CUTTO: Backstage. Internet Post. Bill Buckley and Sammy Benson sit at the Internet table with a CSWA intern conducting a live net broadcast of the show.
BENSON: (headset on, staring at a computer screen) This is what I love Buckley, the ability to do a show AND look at pics of Brooke Burke simultaneously.
BUCKLEY: Sammy you do that anyway.
BENSON: True, but here I get digital quality breasts enlarged in a separate window. Out there I’m forced to stare at the wallet size prints I had developed from the roll I burned of her walking her kid last April in front of a Starbucks.
BENSON: Okay Buckley, I had to scale a security fence to nab the shots. Is that what you want to hear?
(Windham storms the post, fuming.)
WINDHAM: What are you two doing out here?
BUCKLEY: Sammy! Folks Mark Windham just dropped by...Heather set the Champ up with---
WINDHAM: You guys need to be out there!
BUCKLEY: (hits the mute button) Lineup’s changed Mark. Seizter and Billy are the-
BENSON: Merritt thinks Buckley’s overexposed. Twelve years too late if you ask me. Chad’s been getting complaints for years about Buckley. Stanford actually did a research study on it, and found that a controlled group of ten forced to watch Buckley week in and week out were more likely to develop prostate cancer than---
WINDHAM: Shut up! It’s SHOWTIME! I’VE GOT A MATCH! I’ll be damned if the B Team is goin’ call one of my title defenses!
BUCKLEY: Mark, relax...it’s just a change...
(Windham waves off Buckley and runs off in the opposite direction.)
(CUTTO: Merritt’s Key Arena Office. Chad is typing furiously at his laptop behind a makeshift desk. Phone rings.
MERRITT: (picks up phone) Merritt. Talk.
(The door is kicked open. Windham marches to Merritt’s desk and throws the World Title down.)
MERRITT: Right. What do they want to get him out of the contract?
WINDHAM: (knocks the phone off the desk) You’ve got a problem.
MERRITT: (receiver no longer in his hand) Hang on a minute. What can I do for you Mark?
WINDHAM: Well, you can get Buckley and Benson to where they’re supposed to be.
MERRITT: What’s Sammy done now...honestly...I wonder why I re-signed---
WINDHAM: SEIZTER AND JR.? What the hell are you trying to pull?
MERRITT: What are you talking about Mark? Is the point here a secret?
WINDHAM: I’m talking about you underselling my World Title reign! I’m the World Champion Merritt and I want the royal treatment! As long as I’m headlining you don’t undersell the event!
MERRITT: That wasn’t the reasoning for the switch. Look, Seizter and Billy need work. I’m tightening the payroll. If you don’t have something to do, you’re going to be gone. Can’t afford to go to Buckley and Benson night and day.
WINDHAM: Right. I don’t give a crap how you use them. But you’re not gonna take the shine off a card I headline. Understand? I’m the World Champion. I expect the red carpet rolled out for me just as if I was...Hornet. Get Buckley and Benson out there for the Main Event, or I’ll...take care of my own addiction tonight.
WINDHAM: (walking out of the office) Get’em out there or I walk. Look at that payroll again Chad. Who else do you have right now? (smiles) SELL ME MERRITT!
(Mark slams the door behind him. Merritt leans back in his chair and sighs.)
MERRITT: Gets more like Hornet everyday.