SHOWTIME in Houston
January 14, 2005
(FADEIN: Bill Buckley and Sammy Benson stand, poised for their cue, in an aisleway of a lower section of the Toyota Center in Houston. Camera-hungry fans hug off their shoulders, pandering for a TiVo moment they’ll wear out after the show. Buckley warms at the personal connection to the SHOWTIME crowd, turns and smirks at Benson, who never breaks character, looking as if he’s a ghost at his own funeral.)
BB: Helllllo wrestling fans! This is Bill Buckley along with Sammy Benson and thousands of our closest friends! Welcome to CSWA SHOWTIME! We’re in Houston and excited that you’ve chosen to join us tonight for some great wrestling action!
SB: These idiots may be your people Buckley, but they ain’t mine. Remind me to kill the man who thought this tease was a good idea.
BB: Oh come on Sammy, you could use a new look. You know, as an active member of society. Friends gooooood, Sammy. Friends goooood.
SB: (staring down a couple knuckleheads goading him) Hey look, if one of these small- minded meat eaters wants to serve me 24/7, I’m open to the idea of training them. Contrary to popular opinion, I’ve had a dog before. If you can promise me I’ll have power to mate different breeds, and keep the bitches in line, I’ll consider opening up my heart to a selected few of them.
BB: He’s an American success story, folks. Sammy Benson. Sammy, what a great lineup tonight! Eli Flair meets Dan Ryan for the first time, anywhere! Cameron Cruise seeks to settle the score against Shamon, and Shane Southern, the newly crowned World Heavyweight Champion makes his first title defense against “Hot Property” Eddie Mayfield!
SB: Thomas is able to put on another show and Shamon rears his ugly head again. I mean, honestly Buckley, I thought that trial last summer would be the death of his career. In this league, and with Thomas at the helm, you have to consider a man who beat molestation charges as one of the favorites in the World Title picture. Trust me, it’s only a matter of time before Shamon’s fronting this company.
BB: I sincerely hope not.
SB: You can hope in one hand, and let Shamon have the other. He’s on a SHOWTIME. I assume that still means something to this company. I can remember the time when these felt like PPVs. Maybe not the $34.95 kind, but the $3.95 MA rated miracles that Billy sells bootlegs of back home. But, maybe I’m just stuck in the mid-90s. Seems of late, we’re running one of these a year, and something God-awful happens. Windham and Ryan cripple a young fan in ’03, and last summer Thomas storms back shocking millions of viewers and making his bid for Comeback (censor) of the year. Now, we’re starting off ’05, bathing in the Houston culture. I’ve come to except this won’t die Buckley, but no longer will I let it coincide with my suffering. If death won’t come to the CSWA, then pray that it’ll come to me.
BB: Poetic Sammy, how poetic. Fans, SHOWTIME’S NEXT!
(CUEUP: SHOWTIME theme written and performed by Valerians’ Garden as it plays over a nicely put together graphics opening.)
(SHOWTIME returns with a fade-in to a close-up of M. Harry Smilek, the CSWA's lesser-known interviewer. The camera zooms out and reveals that he is standing in the locker room area, a smoky locker room area. A boombox in the background is playing the Lil’ Jon Crunk Juice CD and Smilek begins waving his tie in front of his face, in an attempt to get some fresh air.)
SMILEK: Fans, you know that I will stop at nothing to get a story. Just last week I tracked down Shamon and got an exclusive. This week, I am trying to get a one-on-one with a man that has shown a lot of interest in the Greensboro Championship lately. At PRIMETIME 500 he answered the open challenge by Jean Rabesque, only to come up short in the end.
(Boogie Smallz enters the room with a lit blunt dangling from his mouth. He is dressed in a casual Phat Farm jean outfit and has his hair ‘froed out.)
BOOGIE: Damn. I thought I smelled sumthin’ funny. (Shakes his head.) Shoulda’ known it was you, Smilek. (Grins and puffs his blunt.) What tha hell you want?
SMILEK: I’m just trying to get a few words from you, Mr. Smallz. Just a couple of minutes, please.
(Out of pity for Smilek, Boogie nods his head and agrees.)
SMILEK: Great! (Smiles.) Now look, we saw you at PRIMETIME 500. Rabesque issued an open challenge and no one was expecting you. So you go out and try to prove yourself to Rabesque, the greatest technical wrestler on the face of the earth. And not only do you fall flat on your face and embarrass yourself, but he totally destroys you. Care to comment?
BOOGIE: (Looking pissed off at Smilek.) Totally destroyed me? Is that how you see it? Is that how tha fans at home felt after tha match? (Shakes his head.) Nah man, I don’t believe that.
SMILEK: They do. I just read a report on the FWrestling website. Or maybe it was the Torch. Either way, you lost.
BOOGIE: (Shooting Smilek an evil look.) That’s not how it went down. Erryone herre damn well knows that I ain’t no b*tch! I answered his lil’ challenge. I slapped him around. I basically made him look like a fool. And then he gets lucky. A blind referee and 3 seconds later…you’ve got yourself a winner.
SMILEK: The old foot on the ropes excuse? Save it Smallz, no one is buying it.
BOOGIE: (Takes a deep breath.) Know sumthin’, Smilek? I am doin’ YOU a favor. I could be talking to Seitzer or Buckley, but instead I let you scoop them and get tha 411 from me. And what do I get in return? You givin’ me grief because I lost tha match?
SMILEK: Well…ummm…yeah. I have to ask those tough questions that everyone else is scared to ask. I’m struggling to keep a job. If I didn’t interview you and Shamon this week, I would probably be standing in the unemployment line.
BOOGIE: Screw that, Smilek. This interview is over.
(Boogie snatches Smilek up by the collar and tosses him out of his dressing room.)
BOOGIE: Cameraman, you stick around. I got sumthin’ to say.
(Boogie puffs his blunt and the cameraman gets focused.)
BOOGIE: Rabesque, are you gonna honestly take that victory like you earned it? (Shakes his head.) I had my foot on tha damn rope and you pull some hoe-(bleep) and accept the win like you really went all out. (Shakes his head.) You disappoint me, Rabesque. I thought you would be more of a man and own up to your asswhippin’. Own up to tha fact that you didn’t beat me and you won on some okey-doke bull(bleep). (Takes a puff.)
See, had it been me that beat you that way…I wouldn’t be happy. I would lobby to the suits and tell them I want a rematch. I would want to prove I am tha best.
But I guess we all see how you truly are. You ain’t ish but a futhamuckin’ scurred lil’ beeyatch! But hey, if you don’t mind folks rememberin’ you for that…then it don’t bother me none. Just know this, it’s far from over. You mighta’ moved on to your next opponent, but you shouldn’t have. Now you gotta deal with me on a whole ‘nother level. If ya don’t know me, ya soon will. Because I stop at nothin’ ‘til I get what I want. Right now, you seem to be sittin’ awful comfortable with that Greensboro title around your waist. A little too comfortable.
(Shakes his head.)
I’ll be seein’ ya, whoadie. Prolly a lot mo’ sooner than you think.
(The camera cuts off.)
Jean Rabesque vs. Troy Douglas
BB: Wrestling fans, we’re back and ready to kick off the action in the ring here at PRIMETIME in Houston. This arena is jumping, and they’re ready for this Greensboro Championship match!
(CUEUP: “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin as the arena lights go dark, just before red and blue spotlights slowly wind throughout the arena. As Robert Plant starts singing, 4 words flash in sequence on the big screen in white..."END...OF...THE...ROAD".)
RJ: Ladies and gentlemen, this first match is one-fall for the Greensboro Championship! First, a native of Greensboro, NC, standing at six-feet-five inches and two hundred sixty pounds, this is TROY DOUGGGGGGGGGGGLAS!
(As Plant sings "All will be revealed", a single loud cannon shot brings the lights back and Troy Douglas emerges from the entranceway, walking down the ramp and playing to the crowd. Behind him, a montage of Troy in the ring plays on the screen, showing him hitting his “End of the Road” double underhook piledriver from the second rope. He rolls into the ring and salutes the crowd as the music changes.)
(CUEUP: “Shapes of Things” by The Jeff Healy Band)
RJ: And now, it’s time for No False Gimmicks… No False Hype. Coming from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and entering the ring at six-feet-one-inch and two hundred forty-five pounds… he is the man who needs no gimmick other than being the reigning Greensboro Champion… this is JEAN RABEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESQUE!
(Rabesque rolls into the ring, pulls off his “No False Gimmicks” shirt and raises an arm to the appreciative crowd.)
BB: Rabesque has been on a roll lately as he’s been taking on all-comers. He’s determined to prove that he’s the dominant man in the CSWA with gold around his waist, whether it’s the World belt or not!
SB: After tonight, that’ll all be a moot point. The pretender champion, Shane Southern, is going to get what he deserves – to be humiliated in the middle of the ring by Eddie Mayfield. And then, if Rabesque wants a piece of “Hot Property” too, then he can get the hell beat out of him too.
BB: O…k. (Bell rings.) Saved by the more-than-proverbial bell. Rabesque and Douglas circle each other in the ring. Troy Douglas is a young man who was part of the “New Blood” group of new wrestlers that former Commissioner Merritt brought in. In fact, Douglas may be the only member of that group still with a CSWA contract after the cost-cutting measures Thomas went to following his reappearance.
SB: Is that supposed to mean that Douglas is something to get excited about? Or just that Thomas forgot about him?
BB: Douglas charges in to lock up, but Rabesque sidesteps him and hooks in an armbar. Douglas powers out and whips Rabesque across. Jean ducks the lariat and comes off the ropes with a bulldog!!! Douglas is down…quick cover, but Rabesque actually rolls through… ANKLE LOCK!
SB: It’s over already?
BB: Troy Douglas quickly grabs the ropes, and referee Ben Worthington calls for the break. Rabesque lets go and backs away as Douglas pulls himself up on the ropes. I don’t think the ankle lock was on long enough to cause too much damage, but Douglas is certainly stepping a little ginger on that right foot.
SB: Are we really sure Rabesque is Canadian? Cause actually running a smart strategy like trying to take the legs out from under a guy who’s taller and bigger just seems a little over the head of the average Canadian. I’m sure you know what I mean.
BB: I have no idea. Wait a second, we’ve got a visitor.
SB: It’s alright, the people at home do. They’re smarter than you are… at least the non-Canadians.
BB: Look out, Boogie Smallz has come out of the back and made his way down to ringside. He obviously wants to emphasize the comments we heard before this match.
SB: I’m just surprised he’s sober enough to figure out how to make it down here.
BB: The two men lock up in the center of the ring. This time Douglas with a quick hipcheck, backing Rabesque into the ropes. Irish whip across… FLYING FOREARM takes the champ down. Douglas in with a quick cradle! ONE………. TWO……… NO! The Greensboro Champ kicks out!
SB: (sings) Oh Canada…
BB: Rabesque rolls towards the ropes, right where Boogie Smallz is! Smallz pulls that cigarette out of his mouth and blows smoke right into the face of the Greensboro Champion, then just steps back!
SB: I wonder what kind of cigarette that is – Rabesque might forget he has a match going on.
BB: Douglas pulls Rabesque to his feet and sets him up… he flips him up for a powerbomb, BUT Rabesque rolls through and over his shoulder! BELLY TO BACK SUPLEX!!! He just put the big man over! And he reapplies the ankle lock!
SB: I’m telling you, I think he’s faking… he’s at least half-Yankee.
BB: Apparently the smoke didn’t phase him! Rabesque wrenches on the ankle lock and turns just a second to look over at Smallz! Troy Douglas is stretching out, trying to reach that bottom rope before the pain forces him to tap out! And Rabesque is wrenching back on the ankle for all he’s worth.
SB: Based on the exchange rate, that means about 130 percent of what he’s worth in Canada.
BB: Worthington continues to ask Douglas if he wants to give it up, but the challenger seems completely focused on trying to reach that one exit he has. He didn’t answer, didn’t shake his head, just pushed himself an inch closer to that rope.
SB: Rabesque looks like he’s really trying to snap that ankle. If this Douglas kid doesn’t give up, he may end up not being able to walk for a couple of months.
BB: Still no response from Douglas to the ref’s questions. His eyes are locked on that bottom rope. And now, finally, he starts to shake his head no to the referee. But that just leads the Greensboro Champ to crank even harder on that ankle! Douglas cries out for the first time. He tries to roll through and break the hold!!! But Rabesque maintains his hold and cranks down even further. Worthington is almost begging Douglas to give it up.
SB: I’m telling you, Buckley. Even if he can get to the rope, he’s not going to be able to walk on that ankle for the rest of this match.
BB: Troy’s fingertips are less than a foot away from the bottom rope, but he just can’t close that final gap. Sweat is rolling off his forehead as he stretches that hand as far as it will go. Ben Worthington asks him again.. and the hand taps down on the mat! Worthington calls for the bell and Rabesque has won this one by submission!!! The Greensboro Champion retains his title, and finally lets up on the ankle of Troy Douglas. He looks over at Smallz who simply puts the cigarette back in his mouth and heads back up the rampway. What a way to start this SHOWTIME!
SB: Jean Rabesque claims he’s the real champion of the CSWA, and if he can do that to Shane Southern, he might just be right.
BB: We’ll be right back with more, including some comments from Hornet!
SB: Well yippie kye yay m…
(CUTTO: Commercial break.)
(CUTTO: HORNET in the media room as his Greensboro home. He’s obviously been released from the hospital recently, as the plastic bracelet on his right wrist shows. He’s wearing sweatpants and is bare-chested as he lays on the leather sofa. White bandages wind around his forehead, with bloodied gauze underneath in places where deep wounds caused by a branding iron at PRIMETIME 500 are still healing. Another set of bandages are wrapped around his chest, attempting to help heal a bruised sternum caused by Timmy Windham.)
Timmy, Timmy, Timmy. Even I have to give it to you. Or to Mickey Benedict. Or to Stephen Thomas. Or to whoever it is that spent the time to drill that plan into your retarded little mind.
Maybe it was even dear brother Mark. Or brother-in-law, as it appears.
Whatever the case, I have my own thoughts on exactly where the plans were laid, and exactly who executed them.
That’s right, my own. Solo. Alone.
I haven’t heard from Dan Ryan. He’s too busy talking about how he expected to get screwed by Thomas – then jumping into the ring at Thomas’s beck-and-call. Then again, I can’t really blame him: he’s under contract like the rest of us, and he’s got the chance to get in the ring with one of the best in Eli Flair.
Speaking of Flair, I haven’t heard from him either. Or from his lovely and talented manager. Not since she decided to read some private concerns I sent her on national television for a competitor. Concerns about one Craig Miles. She made sure to let me know that my concerns certainly weren’t hers or Eli’s.
Nothing from the ‘other brother,’ who’s decided to show his face once again. Although thankfully he’s not blaming me for any abortions. No… instead of his ongoing crusade concerning his ‘brothers,’ Troy’s decided to let us know that “Mr. CSWA” is back and better than ever… and just one more ‘champ that didn’t lose the title,’ although he’s gotta go back to 1996 to pull that one outta the hat. But that seems to be popular lately…. And yet I’m the one that gets tagged with that one too, right?
I haven’t even heard from the woman who loves to shove her nose in everybody’s business. That’s right, Lindsay, I’ve missed you. Joey Melton gets used and abused by the ‘new regime,’ what else do you call getting thrown in the ring to be humiliated by Craig Miles, and yet we haven’t heard a word from the “Queen?” Not even to wonder how the other guy who took a beating at the hands of the Windhams is? No worries, Lindsay… although I’m sure if I had told you my concerns that Thomas and Benedict and Miles are trying to force me out of my contract, then you would’ve been sure to tell me how paranoid I am.
And I haven’t even heard from the new triumvirate. Not a word from Thomas and the front office, except a note telling me I’m expected in the ring in Oklahoma City. Not a word from Benedict to gloat or threaten. Not even a word from Craig Miles to tell me how he’s going to make me hurt like he did, or how I’m just a small part of his mission to make the world realize that he’s not really a selfish, corrupt, possibly psychopathic has-been, but a well-meaning, deserving savior of the masses longing to be free.
Maybe Lindsay’s right. Maybe I am paranoid.
Or maybe not.
(Hornet picks up a remote control next to him and hits play as the camera turns and zooms into the LCD widescreen on the wall.)
Shamon vs. Cameron Cruise
BB: Well here it is folks. A match that can easily be a main event anywhere…
SB: But I guess we’ll all just have to settle for it as an opener. This could be a main event anywhere? Ummm…Buckley? Have you been digging through my briefcase again? Did you get a hold of the flask that had my Pappy’s moonshine in it?
BB: Don’t be ridiculous, Sammy. Take a look at these two kids. You’ve got Cameron Cruise on one side. CSWA veteran. Former Presidential Champion. Wait a second… Pappy?
SB: Forget it. And Shamon?
BB: Well… that’s another story.
SB: (Chuckles.) I thought so.
BB: But don’t get me wrong, Shamon is still one heck of an athlete. Did you see him figure skating last week? Simply magnificent.
SB: I think the only thing Shamon has going for him is the fact that he used to roll with Eddie Mayfield. That and his hair style. Maybe it’s the malt liquor talking, but I dig the blonde curl.
BB: If anyone out there is listening…please help me. Please.
(The camera zooms in on Cameron Cruise, already in the ring. His music cuts off and “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson cuts on, the Shamon techno-club remix. As Shamon walks to the ring, he sprays activator in his hair and shakes his head around. While he makes his way to the ring, the walkway beneath him lights up with every step, similar to the special effects from the Billie Jean video.)
BB: Folks, I’ve just been handed a note that Shamon has signed a special manager for tonight. Apparently in conjunction with the Create-A-Dream Foundation, Shamon is making one young man’s dream come true to appear here on CSWA television.
SB: Wait a second. You’re telling me that some terminally ill kid is going to be down here at ringside?
BB: That’s right.
SB: Just keep him away from me. I can’t stand the stench of death.
BB: Oh good grief.
(Shamon reaches the ring and looks up the ramp. He motions for someone to come down the ramp and out comes his special manager for the night, little Mattie Cundiff. Mattie is wearing a Shamon t-shirt and a foam finger with a glitter glove over it. He appears to be around 12 years old, but is obviously short for his age. When he reaches the bottom of the ramp, he hugs Shamon, and then takes a deep breath off of his inhaler. Shamon pats him on the head and starts dancing. He tries to get Mattie to join in, but young Cundiff doesn’t have the strength.)
BB: What is the meaning of this? We came to see a match, not Solid Gold. If Shamon could somehow transfer his dance ability into wrestling ability, it would be a deadly combination.
SB: Yeah, he’d be great at Bar Mitzvahs.
(Shamon sprays his hair a few more times and takes off his multi-zipper jacket. He puts the jacket over Mattie’s shoulders and gives him the honor of wearing his coat.)
SB: What a beautiful gesture. He is leaving that young man with a memory that will last a lifetime. Shamon probably better wash that coat if he’s gonna wear it again though.
BB: A memory that will haunt him well into his adulthood. The boy will probably have nightmares. Let alone the intimacy issues.
SB: He’s terminally ill. Do you honestly think he will make it to adulthood?
BB: You’re despicable.
(Shamon steps into the ring and starts dancing. He does a zombie stomp similar to the one in the Thriller video and makes his way over to Cruise. He does a few funny arm flaps, grabs his crotch, and screams. Cruise looks at him as if he has lost his mind.)
BB: Shamon is trying to tell Cameron Cruise that he is misunderstood. He outreaches his arms and is attempting to give Cruise a hug. Cruise sidesteps it, ducks under Shamon’s arm, and then delivers a push-kick to Shamon…sending him into the ropes.
SB: Shamon looks like he’s about to have a tantrum.
BB: Shamon is calling for the mic. I hope everyone doesn’t rush for the exits at once….
(Shamon grabs the mic from a ringside attendant.)
SHAMON: Why Cammy? Why? I was trying to be your friend and instead you treat me like a social leper.
(Cruise shrugs his shoulders and nods.)
SHAMON: How could you make me look bad in front of the Create-A-Dream foundation boy? He looks up to me and you are ruining this child’s fantasy! (Pauses as the fans boo. Shamon, almost teary-eyed, says one final comment.) I promised him we could make S’mores and play Connect Four if I won and you are tarnishing his final wish. Damn you, Cruise. Have you no pity?
(Cruise nods his head, as if Shamon’s words got through to him. He walks over to Shamon and outreaches his arms, as if he is going to hug him.)
BB: Cruise has listened to Shamon and is going to patch up this animosity that existed between them. This is a beautiful gesture that should teach young Mattie Cundiff a lesson.
SB: I think I’m gonna puke. Must have been that pint of Brass Monkey I drank on the plane. I’m starting to feel woozy.
(Cruise walks over to give Shamon a hug, but instead he slaps him across the face. Shamon quickly grabs his cheek and starts pouting, on the verge of tears.)
SB: My stomach is starting to feel a little better.
BB: He just slapped the juice off of Shamon’s curl! I hope the front row brought some tarp to cover up from that one. This is almost like a Gallagher show, with so much flying into the audience.
SB: Either that or you feel like your on a movie set with Ron Jeremy and Seymour Butts.
(Cruise shoves Shamon into the ropes, but Shamon has lost his will to fight. He is more concerned with protecting his hair and his face. Cruise is yelling at Shamon to fight, but the Smooth Criminal is shaking his head no.)
BB: These people paid to see some action, not this drama.
(Shamon wipes his eyes and looks over at his corner. He sees Mattie wearing his zipper jacket and balls up his fist. Cruise begins laughing and turns his back to Shamon, as if he is a joke.)
BB: Shamon has stopped pouting and he is looking pissed off. Cruise is posing for the crowd and doesn’t realize that Shamon is ready to pounce.
SB: He looked over at that kid and gained inspiration.
BB: Shamon is charging for Cruise, who has his back turned to him. OH! Cruise still doesn’t notice him and Shamon just went headfirst into the corner. He’s somehow flipped himself upside-down and gotten tangled into the ropes.
SB: What a douche.
BB: The little boy is trying to untangle him, but doesn’t seem to be strong enough to pry him free.
SB: (Yelling.) HEY KID, USE THE HAIR!
BB: What was that?
SB: I’m trying to liven things up. This match has gone on for 5 minutes and the only contact that has really occurred was that slap to Shamon’s ugly mug.
BB: It looks like Mattie heard you and he just ran his fingers through Shamon’s hair. He’s now greasing the ropes near Shamon’s feet.
SB: Uh oh, looks like Cruise heard me screaming too.
(Cruise turns around just as Shamon becomes on tangled. He looks confused and shrugs his shoulders. Cruise walks over to the corner and helps Shamon the rest of the way up.)
BB: Cruise is being a good sport about this. He’s making sure Shamon is alright and turns to walk away.
SB: Cruise with a sucker-punch to Shamon! Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!
(Shamon hits the mat hard and Cruise turns his attention to the Create A Dream child.)
BB: Even Cameron Cruise must have some type of heart. Don’t tell me he is going to drag this kid into the ring.
SB: The kid is on the ring apron, he’s threatening Cruise. I say hit the kid!
BB: This is awful. He’s dying and I am sure his final wish isn’t to be attacked by Cameron Cruise.
(Shamon is able to recover from the punch and save the child from the possible attack. Shamon jumps on Cruise’s back and puts on, what looks to be, a sleeper hold. Mattie hops off the apron and grabs Cruise’s ankle; which trips him up and sends him to the canvas.
The boy scurries around ringside looking for something. Shamon goes over to the ropes to get the kid’s attention. Cruise begins getting to his feet and sees that Shamon has his back turned to him, Mattie is trying to find a weapon for Shamon and tosses him an aluminum can.)
BB: Mattie tossed an aluminum can to Shamon?
SB: Maybe he’s parched?
BB: Shamon smiles and waves at the child. He looks down and reads the can label.
SHAMON: (Screaming in the ring.) PEPSI!?!?! AHHHHHHHHH!
(Shamon tosses the can in the air and turns around. He gets kicked in the gut by Cruise and winds up in a Reality Check.)
BB: REALITY CHECK! ONE! TWO! THREE! I guess we found out Pepsi was Shamon’s kryptonite. I wonder why…
SB: Need I remind you of the ‘84 Victory Tour?
BB: Oh yeah, how could I forget. I had front row tickets in Greensboro before the commercial ‘incident.’
SB: You mean the one where the King of Pop set his gherri curl on fire and rolled down the steps screaming?
SB: I’d pay to see that again.
BB: I’m sure you would. Cameron Cruise gets the win, and he’s pulled little Mattie Cundiff into the ring with him and put him on his shoulder.
SB: The kid looks like he’s tearing up. As do many of the fans from the sad display we just saw in the ring.
BB: You’re all heart. Folks, when we get back, we’ll be moments away from the Main Event and finding out if tonight is the night Eddie Mayfield becomes the World Champion.
(Cruise made his way back to the lockerroom. Ready to go home and sleep the rest of the day off, he opened the door to his room and thrust it open the rest of the way, the door banging against the wall. As far as he was concerned, his next two days were his to catch up on some much needed sleep.)
VOICE: OW!! Watch it!!
(Cruise spun around at the sound of the voice, for it to reveal none other than his opponent's number one fan, Mattie Cundiff.)
CC: You again??!?!?!! What do you want now, kid??
MC: You can cut the theatrics Mister Cruise, no one's around. Besides, you're the only person I know that will let his wife take care of his lockerroom itinerary and assign himself at the far end of the hallway. You have what I asked for??
CC: (looking outside once more, for personal assurance): Yeah I got it. Couldn't you wait until I got back to the motel or me to mail it to ya?? Why the rush??
MC: Just one of the perks of the job, Mister Cruise. Let's just say I've got more than just a one or two clients that need my service.
(Cruise nods, reaching into his handbag, pulling out an envelope and an autographed picture.)
CC: Two grand and an autographed picture of Joey Melton. Count it if you wish, the money is all there.
(Mattie's face lights up like a light bulb as he catches sight of Melton's picture. Carefully setting it down, he quickly counts up the money and pockets it, satisfied. Turning to leave he goes out the door, but Cruise stops him.)
CC: If you were playing a character....then what's your real name?? What do I call you??
MC: (Pausing a second, Mattie leans backward toward Cruise.): Lou.
CSWA World Championship
Shane Southern vs. Eddie Mayfield
(CUTTO: Footage from PRIMETIME 500, Joey Melton vs. Shane Southern for the CSWA World Title.)
BB: Southern..........Cajun Leg Sweep! Shane runs for the ropes, shoots off, LOU THESZ PRESS! But the force takes Melton over! Joey’s got the pin!!! ONE..... (Melton reaches back to grab the ropes for leverage.) TWO...................................... (Young stops the count, seeing Melton cheating, he kicks at Joey’s arm breaking the hold.) Southern rolls Melton back over! ONE.........TWO........................NO! Again......incredibly close to the World Title!
SB: I’m an old man Buckley my heart can’t take this. Nor my liver! Though that was shot going in.
BB: Both men slowly to their feet.....trading blows! The World Title hanging in the balance! Southern getting the better of the trade off! Melton’s knocked off his feet! (As Melton falls back he grabs Young by the belt and throws him through the ropes and outside to the floor.)
SB: Blasted Young! I hate to say it, but this company hasn’t had a strong ref since Manual Juarez!
BB: That’s enough! Joey...struggling to his feet....but the damage is done, he’s bought himself some more time with Youn-----what???
(Southern turns his back to Melton, reaches in his tights and pulls out a pair of Brass Knuckles.)
BB: South....Southern just pulled a foreign object! Southern just pulled out a foreign object!! What the hell? HARD RIGHT HAND WITH THE KNUCKLES! Joey’s rocked...Melton is rocked! DISCUS PUNCH BY SHANE SOUTHERN! And Joey’s out!
(Young, having managed to brace himself on the previous fall, climbs back in without much time lost. Southern hooks shots the knuckles into the stands.)
SB: I can’t believe my eyes! They burn Buckley! They burn!
BB: Shane covers Joey, I don’t think Troy knows what’s happening, ONE.............TWO......THREEE!!!! We’ve got a new CSWA World Heavyweight Champion and it’s Shane Southern! SHANE SOUTHERN IS THE NEW WORLD CHAMPION!! What’s happened here?!
SB: Highway robbery! Buckley I feel dirty.
(Young reaches over the top rope to get the World Title from Rhubarb then awards it to Shane Southern. Southern on one knee looks at the belt like he doesn’t believe it’s his, kisses the Golden plate, and then calmly rolls out of the ring.)
BB: Shane Southern...has finally won the CSWA World Title...but not without....controversy!
(Lindsay Troy rushes in to tend to Joey Melton, still out cold and bleeding profusely. The crowd’s in shock, the majority pumped they’ve witnessed a title change, but an eerie feeling’s washed over the Auditorium, as if nobody’s been able to process what they’ve seen.)
SB: (crying) Joey no..........not the World Title.....Buckley Nooooooooooooooooo! It can’t end like this. It can’t......
BB: Good grief man get a grip! Fans, we need to break. The Main Event still to come! Hornet, Timmy Windham, and Dan Ryan in a Branding Iron match! Shane Southern...World Champion... believe it!
BB: Welcome back to Houston, wrestling fans, as we continue CSWA SHOWTIME! It’s Main Event time, Sammy! And for the third time in the past few months, Shane Southern and Eddie Mayfield will square off in the middle of the CSWA ring. The past two times they faced off for the right to become the top challenger for the most prestigious title in all of wrestling, and but tonight it’s for the World belt itself!
SB: Well said, Buckley.
BB: That’s it? Just “well-said Buckley?”
SB: What do you want out of me? I’m ready to go. I can’t wait to see Shane Southern get exactly what he deserves for cheating Joey Melton! Melton broke his back getting that title, and to see Southern steal it in the manner that he did, broke my heart, and I’m sure millions of others just like it!
BB: Shudder at the thought that there are more people like you out there. Watching, even…
SB: I love you too.
BB: If you watched PRIMETIME 500 you saw Shane Southern defeat Joey Melton for the World Title, finally cementing his status as a CSWA legend. But Eddie Mayfield, well….he bought his way into this match!
SB: He paid the price as well Buckley! He gave up something very near and dear to his heart!
(CUTTO: More PRIMETIME 500 footage.)
(FADEIN: Up in the Presidential Skybox. THOMAS sits at his desk, chin buried into the palms of his hands, a stack of contracts, video tapes and DVD clamshell boxes all over the table. Mickey Benedict is nowhere to be found, at the moment. A tinny buzz chirps from somewhere on the table, and THOMAS, bleary-eyed, starts digging through the debris in front of him, and finds the speakerphone.)
SECRETARY: President Thomas. . . (Muffled noise) Eddie... What? Fine. PRESIDENT Mayfield is here to see you.
THOMAS: Sonofa... (Sighs) what does he want? Doesn’t he know we’re in the middle of an event here?
SECRETARY: Sir, he's not going away... and he's taking all of the good candy out of my dish out here...
THOMAS: I don't want to see his dumb a-
(Suddenly, the door bursts open, and 'Hot Property' EDDIE MAYFIELD kicks the door open, his cheek full of food, and carrying a nice-sized gift with a big bow on it! MAYFIELD is wearing jeans, a Jacksonville Jaguars jersey on with Byron Leftwiches number on it, and a Carolina 'HEELS' baseball cap. He plants his ass in one of THOMAS' luxury guest seats, then props his Reeboks on the desk! THOMAS knocks them off in one swift motion!)
THOMAS: The HELL do you want, Mayfield? Can't you see I'm busy?
MAYFIELD: (Crunching) Damn, you need some new candy out there. Who the hell eats rootbeer barrels? They're nasty as sh[BLEEEP!] Thomas. Jesus! And this is the GOOD stuff? (THOMAS glowers!) Ok, listen man. PRIMETIME 500, I don't know if you were'nt paying attention, but Hot Property is NOWHERE on that card, and YOU know that EYE know, that EYE am the only thing that matters in this pit of a company, that would FEED THEIR A-LIST WORKERS ROOT BEER, F[BLEEEEP]ING, BARRELS. So here’s the deal, Thomas – assuming you scrounge up enough money to another card - you need to do the right thing like Spike Lee, - EYE WANT A TITLE SHOT. I want Southern in the ring… next card… no special refs, no crap… a straight up title shot.
THOMAS: You know what, Mayfield -YOU may think you're the cat’s pajamas, I know that YOU don't make the calls around here - YOURS TRULY does that. I know that you don't have a pot to piss in, and for you to come in here and demand ANYTHING from me, let alone a TITLE SHOT, is laughable. Matterafact, let me take a second to laugh out loud at this.
(Chuckling. MAYFIELD takes his gift and opens it, and throws it on top of his desk! From inside it is an unnatural glow!)
MAYFIELD: How's that for a bargaining chip?
(THOMAS' laughter stops - IMMEDIATELY! He looks down inside the box, his face highlighted by the glow, and his eyes get wide with wonder!)
THOMAS: How... how did you... what...
MAYFIELD: You get me in that CSWA World Championship shot straight-up against Southern, and you can call what’s in that box... heh. (Pulls out a Camel and sparks it, getting out his seat) your very own Christmas Miracle. Make it happen, Thomas.
(MAYFIELD walks out the room. humming 'We are the Champions' as the Secretary walks in, and the camera pans back over to the desk. We see THOMAS hunched over the box and slowly, carefully, removes the contents of that box - The CSWA PRESIDENTIAL CHAMPIONSHIP! THOMAS sputters to himself, and wipes a line of drool from his chin.)
THOMAS: ...My... my precious......
BB: Thomas’ love for the Presidential title has been well documented over the years. It’s just a shame to see him openly bribed on network television!
SB: Oh please, like it’s the first time!
BB: Good point.
(CUEUP: “Voodoo Chile” by Ben Harper)
RJ: Ladies and gentlemen, tonight’s MAIN EVENT is one fall, no time-limit, there must be a winner for the WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE! First your challenger, making his way to ringside, he stands at six-feet-one-inch tall and two-fifty pounds even. He’s from Jacksonville, Florida and is a former CSWA Presidential Champion, and World Tag Team Champion. You know him as “HOT PROPERTY”…. EDDIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE MAYYYYYYYYYYYYFIELD!
(Mayfield jogs out of the stage entrance to the delight of the Houston crowd.)
BB: Eddie’s waged a war of sorts on Southern the past couple years! He’s waited for this night his whole career, to win the CSWA World title, and you know he’d love nothing more Sammy than to beat Shane Southern to do it!
(CUEUP: “Ain’t Goin’ Down” by Garth Brooks)
RJ: Making his way to the ring, standing at six-feet-three-inches and two-hundred-sixty-five pounds, hailing from Bourbon Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, The NEW CSWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, SHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANE SOUTHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHERRRRRRRRRRRRRRNNNNNN!
(Southern slow walks out of the entrance, World title coolly slung over his left shoulder.)
BB: Shane Southern steps into the ring for the first time as CSWA World Champion, Sammy, how that must feel to the man who’s been close so many other times in the past couple years.
SB: Don’t bother me Buckley, I’m too busy hoping a blow dart shoots in from the stands and takes this fool out.
BB: Mayfield…Southern, there must be a winner, and it is underway! There’s the bell, and the two long rivals lock horns in the middle of the ring! Southern tips Mayfield back a foot, then tosses him into the ropes! Eddie off, the World Champion catches by the right arm and whips Mayfield over the top turnbuckle!
SB: Wow! A ten second DQ! A subtle ploy by Thomas to cap the show with fifteen minutes of commercial time!
BB: If the blast he took to the ribs via the turnbuckle didn’t break a rib, the fall to the floor must have! Southern full of confidence in his first SHOWTIME since winning the title!
(Southern leaps over the top rope, body pressing Mayfield on the outside!)
SB: The CSWA World title changes men, Buckley. You won’t find anyone in this business brave enough to dispute that fact. Hornet was a man when he won the title in June of ’88. Now, well…the right lighting makes all the difference in the world!
BB: Southern launches Mayfield into the security railing! The bad blood between these two men predates the shirt my partner’s wearing. Southern popping Eddie’s head against the top of the post!
(CLOSE-UP: Mayfield teeters against the railing, he’s kept from falling over by a group of overzealous fans, each mugging for the camera and massaging Eddie’s body for encouragement.)
SB: This shirt cost me $150 bucks Buckley. Thank you very much.
BB: Much of that cost went to the archeological dig I’m sure. Southern with a knife-edge chop! Mayfield again rocked on his heels, Shane whips Eddie back first into the ring apron, Southern’s there for the rebound, BULLDOG!
SB: I need what I wear to express my personality Buckley! You, as much as you’d like to, you can’t censor me! I WILL NOT BE SILENCED LIKE THE THOUSANDS OF LOST VOICES OVER THE YEARS!
BB: Shane rolls Eddie under the bottom rope and climbs into the ring himself. The champion showing in the earliest stages of his title reign he will not abandon the style of wrestling that took him to the dance! Shane whips—NO---reverse by Eddie, and Southern’s sent bracing for impact as he meets the turnbuckle! Mayfield charges! Southern boot to the face!
SB: What do you mean he hasn’t changed? This is the first time in ten years he hasn’t molested a newborn baby on the way to the ring, or arranged for a marriage proposal to flash during the introduction of his match. The man’s made Tom Hanks look like a bad ass.
(Southern hops to the middle-turnbuckle, Mayfield stumbles back, Shane grabs him around the neck…leaps off...)
BB: INVERTED DDT! Southern planted the challenger hard into the mat, and now Worthington covers! One………….two………..no! Mayfield kicked out at the absolute last second!
SB: President Mayfield understands running a good campaign is part of the show. He’s a showman Buckley! You should see the video from his 8th grade class production of Grease! He had Sandy really believing she was a dirty (censor).
BB: That’s enough! Shane rolled outside, on the hunt for something Sammy, I’m not sure…
SB: A chair you idiot! A table…a loaded glove, or kitchen knife. I told you….the belt HAS changed him!
BB: BASEBALL SLIDE! Hot Property interrupts the search! Mayfield knife-edge chops! Southern rolled back in and Eddie covers, one……two….the champ’s up! Wishful thinking on Mayfield’s part if he thought it was over there, but Sammy as a former manager you know better than anyone you have to test the waters.
(Elbow drop by Mayfield. Southern reaches for his forehead in anguish.)
SB: Oh, seventeen years into our partnership and NOW you set me up. It’s a little late for that Buckley…in the absence of a thoughtful partner I’ve had to paint myself as a drunken fashion menace.
(Mayfield drags Southern to his feet. Shane jabs Eddie in the gut. Both men trade measured blows.)
BB: Then, well done. Shane getting the better of the rate of exchange between the two! Whips Eddie into the ropes, SPINEBUSTER! The former Presidential champion stabs at his back. The man who’s never been beaten for a title he owns, may be closer to seeing the title shot he bought at PT500 end in bitter disappointment!
(Southern again brings Eddie up, whips him across the ring….)
BB: Southern catches his prey…WHIRLY BIRD SLAM! The champ covers, ONE…..TWO……FOOT ON THE BOTTOM ROPE!
SB: This is still the first Act Buckley, relax. Eddie’s yet to break a sweat. I however have. It’s hot as hell in here. Somebody tell Thomas A/C isn’t negotiable.
BB: Shane backs a weary Mayfield into the corner then sets up on the top turnbuckle! Southern levels Eddie with a wicked short right hand! To the middle-rope…
SB: Closed fist! With the Presidential title Eddie wield the power to have a man deported for such a tactic! You can’t make money without spending money, Buckley! Mayfield gave up the power of a God to make a weak mortal look foolish on his level.
BB: Southern’s not looking foolish by any means Sammy, FRANK’N’SOUTHERN FROM THE ----Eddie blocks! Mayfield, the veteran, bolted himself onto the top rope and watched Southern miss.
(Shane to his feet in a flash. Another closed fist shot to Eddie’s jaw, just as he was about to hop down.)
BB: Southern’s gonna try again! (Eddie jabs a thumb into Shane’s throat.) Eddie, BULLDOG FROM THE TOP! We could have a new champion right there, Worthington in prime position, ONE…..TWO….kick out by the champion!
SB: And these fans couldn’t be deader! This is what happens when you let Melton get robbed of the belt he rightfully still owns! After Joey, everything else is just an intermission!
BB: These fans have been louder than they’ve been at any other point tonight! And don’t get me started on Melton’s title reign! Mayfield yanks Southern to his feet and buries a knee into Shane’s stomach! A series of left hooks!
SB: He can write, and ring toss with the left hand as well!
BB: Eddie whips Shane off the ropes, Southern slides through Eddie’s legs! From his back Southern pops Eddie with closed fist! Both men carefully to their feet! The World title hangs on every move! Eddie knee to the gut! Mayfield throws Shane into the nearest turnbuckle, then backs up and charges in with a head full of steam Mayfield…MISSES! The champ out of the way in the nick of time and Eddie’s left painfully straddling the middle turnbuckle!
SB: A sex tape in the making! Southern in his element!
BB: Stop it. Shane sneaks behind Eddie, hooks him under the arms, GERMAN SUPLEX!!
SB: Well, what would you call that move Buckley! Don’t hamstring me.
BB: ONE……….TWO….Eddie lifts the left shoulder up! A second Act in the making, Benson you said it. Southern with a handful of hair takes Eddie to his feet….low blow by Mayfield! Stalling Southern’s momentum.
SB: They’re making sweet magic together! Let’s respect their privacy.
BB: Mayfield beating Southern across the head! Vicious shots from the former US and World tag team champion! He’s done it all in the CSWA but become World Champion! Is tonight the night Sammy, the CSWA anoints a new Wrestling King!
SB: Good lord willing!
BB: Eddie tosses Shane into the ropes, SPINNING FLIP KICK BY SOUTHERN! Where did that come from?
SB: From out of his (censor). First he cheats to win, now he’s pulling things----
BB: Sammy! Shane pushes Mayfield into the ropes, knife-edge chop! Southern whips, no Eddie reverses, and whips Southern across the ring, FLYING CLOTHESLINE! And both men fall to the floor!
SB: This is where we’re going to find out if Southern has the stomach to play the game. Titles are won between the lines so to speak. Mayfield’s as resourceful as they come.
BB: To put it mildly. Eddie and Shane exchanging jabs! Mayfield rakes the eyes and sends Shane headfirst into the security railing! Southern checking himself for the second time in this match to do a blood test. Not cut yet, but Mayfield has it on the menu I’m sure. Scoop by Eddie….and rams Shane’s exposed back into the iron post! Come on Worthington!
(Eddie rolls Shane back into the ring.)
SB: All you need to know about Southern’s attitude change, the man lacked the heart to pull the trigger on anything that could have turned the tide in his favor.
BB: Double Axehandle by Mayfield that sends Southern gasping on one knee! Eddie sitting over her, plowing away with right hands! Wearing the champion down…Mayfield can taste the World title now! INVERTED BOSTON CRAB!
SB: I can taste it too! But in my mouth, Ivy’s wearing the belt!
BB: Inverted Boston crab into a rocking cradle submission move! Southern howling in pain!! The crowd on their feet…will Southern give up the title that alluded him for so long?! I don’t think he can Sammy!
SB: He should have taken the chance to cheat Mayfield blind when the opportunity was presented!
(Mayfield tipping Shane back and ramming his head into the mat while in the submission move.)
BB: Mayfield tires of waiting…he breaks the hold. Scoop….backbreaker! Eddie covers, rather confidently I might add. ONE…..TWO……….SOUTHERN’S UP! Mayfield no time spared has Shane up, shoulder thrust into the turnbuckle! Southern’s entire mid-section just caved! Eddie shoots him across the ring, FLYING ELBOW!
SB: I’m starting a petition for Melton to face Mayfield in his first title defense! Let’s see Eddie beat the Real World Champion!
(Body slam by Eddie.)
BB: Eddie wraps his hands around his waist…he knows! These fans do as well! Southern’s reign shortening by the second, Eddie off the middle ropes…LION SAULT!
SB: I hate to say I told you so…
BB: Oh right.
SB: But, I told you so! Southern’s a gentleman at heart who was racked by guilt over his deplorable actions at PT500! Conscience, Buckley, that thing will drive ya nuts.
BB: Marlon Brando next to me all these years, and I never knew. Clothesline attempt by Eddie, Shane ducks, KNIFE EDGE CHOP! Body slam by Southern! A second wind from the champion and not a moment too soon…knee drop! And now it’s Eddie with a blood test, wondering where the title scent went.
SB: Cute, Buckley…cute.
BB: Shane rakes the eyes with two hands!
BB: Powers Eddie back, sends him running across the ropes, SUPER KICK to Mayfield’s gut! Off target but it does damage! Back drop by Southern, no! Mayfield flips over and rushes Southern to the ropes, roll up attempt, but Southern hangs to the top rope and Eddie falls backwards! Clothesline attempt by Mayfield, Shane ducks….leaps to the middle rope….INVERTED DDT OFF THE MIDDLE ROPE!
SB: Good grief.
BB: Southern to retain!! ONE………..TWO………..THRE—NO!!!! I don’t believe it! Mayfield slid his right shoulder off the mat! How is he still in this match? Southern can’t believe it!
SB: Act three. Now it’s do or die Buckley.
BB: Shane with a look of disgust at Mayfield slips through the ropes and climbs the top turnbuckle. Eddie stirring….but can he hold off Southern once again! The World champion’s perched on top rope….Eddie to his feet, but he’s looking the wrong way, Southern flies….FRANK’N’SOUTHERN---SIT-OUT POWERBOMB BY MAYFIELD! EDDIE COUNTERED! EDDIE COUNTERED!! Sit-out powerbomb!!
(Crowd starts to chant, “Eddie! Eddie!”)
BB: Mayfield on his rear next to Southern, bobbing his head in acknowledgement! Eddie off the ropes, slow methodical steps….ELBOW DROP!! Mayfield was damn near ten feet in the air! Southern’s out! Southern’s out! But, the former…well, everything in the CSWA goes to the top!
SB: Mayfield/Melton! Mayfield/Melton!
BB: Eddie flips off Southern’s unmoving body! NEW CHAMPION RIGHT HERE!!!
(As Mayfield stands on top of the turnbuckle, a stream of fire lances up from the pyrotechnics tube attached to it, running up behind him.)
BB: WHAT IN THE WORLD?
(Eddie’s startled. In shock….he turns and catches another blast in the face.)
BB: WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING HERE!?
SB: (worried) Marvin..cut the damn pyro! CUT IT!
(Eddie stumbles off the turnbuckle to the mat. He manages somehow to stay on his feet, his hands over his face. The crowd’s stunned.)
BB: Southern…I don’t think he knows what happened. This is..unthinkable. We need medical attention for Eddie Mayfield RIGHT-----SUPERKICK BY SOUTHERN! Shane…come on…. Eddie’s out! Southern covers….is Worthington actually going to count?? Ben…
SB: Yes, Buckley….it’s over.
(Worthington counts one, two, three.)
BB: Shane Southern has won. And the entire city of Houston can’t believe it. Southern, Sammy did he see what happened to Eddie…I’ve never seen anything like this.
SB: (in a somber tone) Sometimes fans in the wrestling business things go wrong and the people we care about most get hurt. Let’s just say a prayer for Eddie Mayfield right now.
(Just as a bewildered Rhubarb Jones hands Southern the World title through the ropes, the crowd starts to boo heartily.)
BB: CRAIG MILES??
(Craig Miles, having crawled from under the ring, climbs the ring apron with a chair in one hand, and two lit Newport’s in his mouth. Miles relishing in the downpour of disapproval lends back into the ropes, facing the camera side crowd and with a Miles Wide Smile displays his black t-shirt that reads, “Trash Collector.”)
BB: Craig Miles! Craig…Craig Miles was behind all of this! Eddie Mayfield’s career could be over! We need medical attention right now for Eddie Mayfield, and we need security to come out and take the this piece of (censor) out of the ring!
(Miles and Southern face off in the ring. After a brief staredown, Miles takes one of the cigarettes from his mouth and places it between the champ’s teeth. Southern inhales, basking in the moment, and then begins to savagely crack the chair over Eddie’s back.)
BB: Southern’s out of his mind!
SB: And partnered with “Cocky” Craig. You've gotta be kidding me... Hornet was right for once.
BB: Eddie Mayfield’s in no condition to have to go through this…. Craig Miles, that bastard’s enjoying this, look at him! (Miles leans over the rope, begging for the house mic.) Don’t give it to him Rhubarb, don’t you do it! Don’t let that maniac on the air!
(Miles threatens Jones, but Rhubarb turns and tosses the mic in the stands.)
SB: Southern’s gone too far, Buckley. They both have. I…I’m ashamed of my profession tonight.
(A beaten, and bloody Mayfield gamely reaches for Miles' alligator skinned boots. There’s no strength in his arms. It’s a hollow effort. One that amuses Miles and Southern to no end.)
BB: Southern drags Eddie to his feet…his limp body…Mayfield’s hurt badly! Damnit we need medical attention! Miles taking uncontested cracks at Eddie’s exposed ribs! Sick! Sick! DOUBLE POWERBOMB ONTO THE CHAIR! Sammy do something…
SB: You’re out of your skull Buckley. I’m not going near that ring!
BB: We’re low on air time. We can’t go off the air like this…
(Paramedics and a host of workers from the back rush to ringside, as Miles pulls a wad of dollar bills from his pocket.)
BB: Craig Miles….disgusting human being that he is….what’s he doing with that money!
(Miles fans the wad of bills for the camera to see, the stoops and shoves it into Mayfield’s mouth!)
SB: I think that’s real money Buckley….
BB: Are we still on the air?? Hello?
(CLOSE-UP – on the wad of bills stuck inside Mayfield’s mouth.)
Thomas walked gingerly down a back hallway of the Toyota Center cracking a rolled event program in his hands, the release of nervous energy creating a rhythmic echo that vibrated off the walls and awakened astute minds to his presence. They’ve watched him teeter closer to the edge since assuming ownership. Personally handling ticket sales to the Houston show, and cold calling members of the media to drum up interest. The CSWA was back. Thomas felt if he said it enough, enunciating clearly to ensure he was heard, his boast would be true.
Weeks earlier Stephen told the company’s workers, family members, and the public at large that former co-owner Chad Merritt was the weak link in the company’s chain of command. Merritt was the anchor sewing misfortune into the fabric of the CSWA. Considered for sixteen years to be the soul of the legendary Greensboro based promotion, Thomas fingered Chad as a ghost of collapses past. Too haunted by change to embrace the new market, the company was choking under Chad’s leadership, coughing on the shadow of its former glory. A brilliance Merritt raised like a good son, but Thomas dreamt of a change as he’s tied his self-worth into proving he could run the CSWA alone as vengeance for the league surviving without him. It’s Thomas’ ship to pilot now; his direction that must steer the CSWA from the iceberg destined to bring the legend to its knees for the final time.
He turns a corner, now out of sight from eyes probing for the first hint of weakness. Thomas eases back into a wall, letting the structure relieve him temporarily of his stress, and anxieties. How Chad did it alone the last few years, Stephen won’t ever know. It’s been harder than he could have possibly imagined. Maybe a year from now he’ll look back at how insecurity nearly befell him and, if not laugh, then get drunk on a toast to the company’s renewed success.
Stephen drops the program in an empty trashcan inside his makeshift office and eases the door closed behind him. The phone on his desk rings, and after letting it ring multiple times in hopes the caller would lose interest, Thomas slumps into his desk chair, allows a smile to captivate his face and answers.
“Chris Stanley from NCN.”
“Chris. Hey! What can I do you for tonight?”
“You can start by telling me what the hell happened out there tonight.”
“A man was freakin’ burned on live television tonight, Stephen. Now, I don’t know if that’s your idea of family programming, but we have sponsors to answer too, let alone our viewers.”
“You’re contractually obligated to deliver a TV-14 rating. What you gave us tonight crossed the line. We’re not in the business of watching grown men get burned alive, Thomas.”
“Chris…Miles was out of line. You have my sincerest apology. I’ll deal with Craig. It won’t happen again. You have my word. If you need me to make a public service announcement, something for the kids….I’ll do it.”
“I’m optioning out of the last year of the contract. Tonight allows me to do it. You know it does. Stephen, I’m sorry. My father taught me years ago never to get in business with someone you can’t trust. Right now, we can’t trust you. You’re off the network.”
“Don’t do this to me, Chris.”
“Great show tonight, boss.”
Kerry Allen, former CSWA standout in the early 90s and now a road agent, slaps Thomas on the back as the CEO of CS Enterprises stands in the doorway of the locker room. Stephen’s face, robbed of its color only minutes before, is expressionless. He has watched silently as the men and women under contract to him, some who have given their entire careers to the CSWA, stirred with optimism after a stellar show. It’s the closest-knit family in the business. If you need anything, you ask. The CSWA is a gang. If you’re in, you’re in for life. Thomas watches the people who have made everything possible the last sixteen years and he wonders how he’ll tell them there’s no show next week. How he’ll tell them, it’s over.
What do you say when you’ve been proven wrong? When you gambled with the futures of too many families and lost it all.
“Thanks Kerry,” Stephen weakly embraces his employee and turns to walk away.
He staggers down the hallway with nothing to say. Nothing that felt right anyway.