(CUTTO: Billy Buckley, with another fan near the back of the lower level. She’s a woman of about twenty one, dressed in a mix of Ivy-chic and country girl.)
Billy Buckley: It’s been a great night, and our PRIMETIME moments have reminded me, at least – that it’s been a great sixteen years here in the CSWA. I’m standing here with Naomi Briggs, who has our next moment! How are you enjoying the show, Naomi?
Briggs: CSWA RULES! WOO HOO! It’s great, Billy! The show’s been amazin’ so far!
Billy Buckley: And your PRIMETIME moment?
Briggs: It didn’t happen on PRIMETIME, hun… it was FISH FUND Thirteen, when Deacon came back!
Billy Buckley: These are supposed—
(Naomi takes a step closer to him and hugs his arm)
Briggs: C’mon, darlin’… it’s okay t’bend the rules for lil’ old me, right? If it’s okay t’do so for Mr. T up in the offices, right?
(A slow smile creeps over Billy’s face.)
Billy Buckley: Roll ‘em.
(CUTTO: FISH FUND XIII -- August 3, 2002)
(Joined in progress – Eli Flair is in the ring speaking to the fans)
ELI: I’m thirty years old, people. I’m an eleven- time World Heavyweight Champion. I’ve wrestled the best that the world has produced, from Degadeth to JT Tyler to Mike Randalls to Hornet to Mark Windham to Troy Windham to GUNS to Eddy Love, to Kevin Powers, and everyone in between. (He gestures to the video wall) I’ve got the girl. And I’ve even got the gold… as, shutdown, temporary or permanent notwithstanding… I’m still the fWo Hardcore Champion. Everything seems to be in its place… everything seems to be as it should be. I have every reason in the world to take this moment to announce my official retirement from the ring.
BB: Pipe down! These fans are certainly not happy about this!
SB: No way, Buckley! NO WAY are you gonna take this moment away from me!
ELI: Of course, since I have yet to act rationally once in my life… ain’t no way I’m checkin’ out now.
(The fans give off a massive pop at this statement, broken up by the sudden playing of the "Imperial March” from Star Wars – as Commissioner Merritt entered the arena, making a beeline for the ring. The reaction of the fans is lukewarm – nothing too brutal but very few of them are overtly happy to see him.
Merritt hits the ring and stands in front of Eli Flair for just a moment, before asking Rhubarb for a microphone of his own.)
MERRITT: When you asked me for some microphone time tonight, Eli… I told you it was a go as long as you kept it clean. I thank you for that, but I also assumed you’d be getting to the point before Fish Fund FOURTEEN. We've already had enough blowhards give us their bloated opinions tonight.
ELI: It’s real simple, Merritt. I’ve been to the top of the business before… and I want to be there again. I want a title shot.
(Merritt circles him in the ring once, looking him over.)
MERRITT: Is that a fact? Tell me, Eli… why should you get one?
(As Merritt passes in front of him, Eli puts a hand on his chest, stopping his pace.)
ELI: How ‘bout starting with the fact that the last time I was in a title match of any kind in the CSWA, I was hurt, and losing the World Title. And I manage to be the only one to have never gotten that elusive rematch.
MERRITT: I don’t recall you asking for one.
ELI: Fine, fair enough. I want the World Title rematch that I never got. If I don’t get it then I want a match where I can earn one.
MERRITT: Lookie lookie, someone has a massively overblown sense of their own importance, don’t they? You put me through hell with your **ahem** wrestling style costing me money in FCC fines. There was a little incident where you, Randalls, and Hornet decided to take me head- on, and look where it got you. Give me one good reason
ELI: How ‘bout this? Because there’s not a single person in the locker rooms that’s proven they have what it takes to hang with me. Because you’ve got NOBODY who’s proven they can keep up with me, much less BEAT me.
VOICEOVER: You might need rephrase that statement
(A Mediterranean accent booms over the intercom. A few from the crowd respond, those in the “know”, but many are confused by the hidden speaker.)
(Eli Flair smiles with the knowledge of this surprise.)
(The lights go out. The pop gets bigger.)
(A slow Gregorian chant begins to build. The crowd’s roar is deafening.)
(Lights line the curtain as 2 robed individuals split it wide.)
(For the first time in over a year, the crowd expects to see the man called DEACON.)
BB: I’m in utter disbelief. Deacon can’t be back!
(Through the curtain rolls the man called Deacon… in a wheelchair. The crowd’s cheers die down as they see this former Man-Mountain gliding onto the top of the rampway in an oversized wheelchair. Deacon is wearing a large hospital gown as well as a microphone headset so that he isn’t expected to hold a microphone. The crowd was hoping for a return to his past glory, and this is evident. The cheers turn into polite applause, the kind you see when an athlete makes his way off the field after he is injured. Deacon smiles and begins to speak in his Broken English / Mediterranean accent.)
DEACON: You might need rephrase, cause someone was back here ALWAYS ready to ‘hang with you’. You gave me first push, Eli. It was your star that shined from history. It was my star that began to shine. It was our stars that tore house down every time we … ‘hung’. And stars have gravity, Eli. They keep t’ings in alignment. They pull t’ings from where they are to where they need be. And Eli, I know where I need be.
(One of the robed individuals walk back through the curtain. They hand Deacon a pair of crutches, which he uses to stand up from the wheelchair. The crowd pops!)
BB: Deacon did it! I’ve seen him overcome plenty of physical trials, but this is truly amazing.
(Deacon begins walking down the ramp toward the ring.)
DEACON: I need to be in CSWA. I need drive to keep going, and CSWA help give me that. I not know if President Merritt need a man such as I, but I know I need to be here.
(Merritt puts the mic to his mouth.)
MERRITT: The office is full, but maybe we could find you something to do around here.
DEACON: Somet’ing? I have … idea. You know my thoughts on faith. You know that ‘faith is the evidence of things unseen.’. Well, I in rehab for months now and they tell me that I improving, but I not see enough evidence for me. Well, I t’ink it’s time some evidence shows itself off. I t’ink maybe we could…
(Deacon makes it down the ramp to the ring. He stands beside it and looks out to the fans. POP!)
DEACON: I t’ink maybe we … Eli & I … could … tear house down
(Deacon tosses his crutches aside. He stands upright.)
BB: OH MY GOD!
(Deacon tears his hospital gown off, revealing baggy white pants with gold crosses emblazoned down the length of the legs on either side.)
BB: OH MY GOD!
(Deacon rolls under the bottom rope and into the ring.)
(Deacon gets into a smiling Eli Flair’s face. He smirks as the crowd goes insane.)
DEACON: (whispers) just for ol’ times sake.
(Eli and Deacon both glance toward Merritt. He shrugs his shoulders and then steps out of the ring.)
ELI: I guess that’s a yeah.
(Deacon nods his head. He takes off his headset with the parting shot.)
DEACON: Let’s see what I got.
BB: HE’S BACK! THE DEACON IS BACK IN ACTION! FOR OVER A YEAR, HE HAS BEEN OUT OF ACTION, SUFFERING FROM M.S. NOW, HE’S IN THE RING!
BB: Sammy? You alright? You’ve not said a thing since he walked out.
SB: (quietly) shut up, Billy.
BB: … I guess we have an impromptu match to call! Commissioner Merritt has left the ring, and Eli Flair and Deacon are staring each other down in the middle of the ring for the first time in almost three years! Deacon is in a wrestling ring for the first time in TWO years! Listen to these people, Sammy!
SB: I don’t hear what I don’t want to hear.
BB: Deacon looks as if he’s in incredibly good shape, Sammy, and Eli Flair has removed his shirt, showcasing an equally impressive physique. I suppose the only question mark is how Deacon’s wrestling skills have held up in the past two years.
SB: Y’see, Buckley… that’s where you come off as completely oblivious.
SB: Deacon might look like he’s in good shape, but the guy’s got MS. And Eli Flair is covered with tattoos and scars. Flair no more has an impressive physique than I do. And Deacon is more likely to stumble in pain than he is to win another World Title.
BB: Say what you will, Sammy, but I disagree.
SB: Well what do you say, Buckley?
BB: Just have a little faith.
SB: You’re a riot.
BB: There’s no referee, I don’t think we even HAVE any left, but we’ve got Eli Flair and Deacon circling each other, both appear wary of making the first move.
SB: So Flair’s gonna beat up the gimp?
BB: The two men lock up--- WHOA! Deacon just muscled Flair backwards into the ropes!
SB: And that man wants a title shot?
BB: I think Deacon caught Flair off- guard with that display of power. Listen to these fans chanting for Deacon!
SB: Isn’t that what caused all the problems last time?
BB: Point taken, Sammy. Eli looks like he’s having a good time, however – he’s got a smile on his face. And Deacon looks like he’s trying to SUPRESS a smile. This is what it’s all about, Sammy. The two lock up again, but Eli lowers his balance and gets the leverage!
SB: What’s it all about? Your ADD must’ve kicked in again.
SB: You started to say something and then stopped. I hate when you do that.
BB: Did I? Oh well, you’ll have to live with it. Eli backs Deacon into the corner, and will we? Yes, a clean break from Flair.
SB: I bet that woman made him soft – he’s just not a fighter anymore.
BB: I don’t even have a chance of saying something, do I?
BB: Deacon lunges forward to lock up with Flair again – NO! Drop toe hold from the former Champion, and he locks on an anklelock! Deacon reverses it, and kicks Flair off! Flair off the ropes, but Deacon nips up!
BB: Eli and Deacon just look at each other… THERE IT IS, SAMMY! ELI AND DEACON SHAKE HANDS!
(CUE UP: “Alone I Break” – Korn)
BB: This exhibition appears to be over, Sammy… but I can’t imagine either man being more pleased. We see Eli Flair make his return to a CSWA ring, and we see Deacon make his return to this SPORT. After the travesty we saw after the United States Title match… I’m not ashamed to say this makes me feel proud of the men in this sport.
SB: That’s… kinda creepy.
ByB: We'll have our final moment of the night just before tonight's final match. But first, I'm being told that the "President" himself, Presidential Champion EDDIE MAYFIELD has been spotted backstage!