(FADEIN to a high-rise building in Hartford, Connecticut, overlooking the city below. Snow falls softly and the city streets are silent from far above. Standing at a window, a beer in hand, is Anarky. A bandage covers part of his cheek. He’s wearing a Parkway Drive t-shirt and ripped, faded jeans.)
ANARKY: “Four degrees tonight. With the wind chill? Who knows.
“How many do you suppose will die tonight, Christian? Five? Ten?
“A city this small, it won’t be many. Most of them won’t be mourned, of course. The dredges of society. Homeless men with drinking problems. The mentally ill, spurned by a society who can neither afford nor tolerate their weakness. Used up veterans who serve no purpose but to remind us of the folly of war.
“Used up. Spit out. Nothing left.
“Like Rezin? Like me? Is that what we are... ?
“Just going through the motions. Defeated and passed up on the battlefield. What good is a defeated soldier?”
(He stops and his lips purse in anger. He takes a long swig of the beer, finishing it. He holds it out in front of him and lets it drop. The camera slows down and follows, watching it shatter on the tiled floor.
Unconcerned, he turns his back from the view, grabs a beer from the fridge, and drops to the couch like a ton of bricks. He cracks it open with a lighter, takes a swig, pulls out a cigarette, and lights it. He takes a deep drag, savoring the moment.)
ANARKY: “What is truth, Christian?
“Is it the words uttered by Impulse, a man consumed with bravado with his victory-by-proxy over me? Is Sean Stevens, a man who talks about love as if he knew it for anyone for himself?
“Is it the words of Rezin, a man who feels nothing but frustration consuming him? A man who has been constantly disrespected? A man who bleeds for this company, night in and night out, only to have him discarded like used toilet paper?
“Is this justice? Is this righteousness?”
(His eyes narrow in focus at the camera.)
“This is not the f*cking truth. This is the lie they keep peddling out like cheap knock-off stereos and self-help books.
“What kind of man are you, Christian Light?
“They tell me you’re an honest, forthright man. A man who with values and principles. A man who stands for something.
“Of course, they said the same thing about Impulse and that arrogant twat’s almost as likable as Jar Jar Binks, but unfortunately, Disney can’t buy him and kill him off, so we’re stuck with him for the time being, I suppose.
“So you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t wait with baited breath for your saving. I’ve heard your pretty little lies before, I’m sure. Maybe I don’t know you, but I’ve known a million like you.
“We’re in the business of hurting people. There are no saints. Only those in denial about what they are.
“We’re just a bunch of glad-handed politicians selling answers to the masses. Telling them to believe in something. Whispering sweet nothings in their ear.
“And for what? A taste of something precious and gold.
“Most men here... they’d stab their own mothers if it got them one step closer. And why? For what? What does it all mean?
“Does gold imbue perfection? Does it validate you in the eyes of fictional gods? Does it prove your worth?
“Does it, Christian? I truly want to know. What lies in the heart of your goodness? What is the difference between a sinner and a saint... ?”
(He finishes off another beer and again drops it on the floor, watching it shatter with indifference.)
ANARKY: “I may not be a saint, Christian... but I am a man. A man with more principles than most of these hypocrites and liars. A man who stands for something real and true.
“I will not abandon Rezin. I will not abandon our truth. Not for one match. Not for something so trivial.
“I can’t sit idly by. I just can’t.
“I promised Rezin. I told him that if he stood and fought... if he conquered his fear... if he reached for something beyond his grasp... that nothing could fail him.
“I failed him.
“I lied. I thought when the moment came... the truth... our truth... it would be enough.
“But the truth is never enough. One moment is all it takes. One flip of the coin. One broken cage door. One mistake.
“And it’s all over.
“They parade you about, another notch in their belt. They bathe in the spoils of war. Showering themselves in pride.
“Let them keep showering. Let them keep bragging. Let them keep lying.
“The truth, my friend... is that I am still here... I... I am still standing.
“I am still the EPW Anti-Champion. True as anything can be. Still here. Still unbroken.
“And I shall drag Rezin, kicking and screaming, with me. I will make my truth his truth. I will not relent. I will not yield.
“I will teach them. I will teach you.
“One moment. One mistake. One flip of the coin.
“It’s all there is. All that’s left.
“And then they will know my truth. As you will.
“There is no justice. No greatness. No glory.
“There is only the cold sweat of the moment. The darkness and weakness inside all of us. Our humanity. Our flawed nature.
“I will not apologize for it. I will not hide it.
“I will fly it above for all to see, a glorious rampart of shame.
“And you will know me. Truly.
“Welcome to the Empire, Christian Light.
“Many will call themselves King. Many will call themselves The Best. Many will give you a bullet list of their greatness.
“I will do no such thing.
“I will come as I am. I will show you me... gaping wounds and all.
(FADEIN to a small room where Anarky sits on what appears to be a rather mangled throne of some kind. It’s misshappen and poorly designed. Pieces of it appear to be hanging off. The thing barely seems held together at all, and even pieces of plywood stick out of it. The EPW Television Anti-Title hangs over his shoulder.)
ANARKY: “How much can you really tell about a man at the peak of his glories? Swimming in the ocean of success and satisfaction? Proudly atop his mountain.
“Truly, any man can appear great in the right circumstances. His title wrapped around his waist, bragging about his latest accomplishment.
“In these circumstances, all men are the same. Proud and stupid.
“But if you truly want to know him... to see him bare his soul... you must see him at his darkest... at his most humble.
“When he has lost everything. When there is nothing left but the shame and the futility of his failure.
“This tells you everything about him. Men like First and Sean Stevens... men who we hold themselves up to be our Gods... who peddle their greatness like common prostitutes...
“What kind of men were they when things were at their darkest... ? Do you know, Christian?
“I will tell you.
“They were cowards.”
(He finally looks up to the camera and smiles.)
ANARKY: “They seek to lord over me their false accomplishments, sitting upon thrones of lies... they would cast me out.
“But they are unworthy of my crown, Christian. Because their true colors fly for all to see.
“And when I fell, my friend... did you know what became of me? When my so-called failure as a Champion was ended mercifully...
“... I became even more.
“You want truth, Christian?
“The truth is lying broken and battered in the middle of the ring. It’s screaming for mercy. It’s crawling away from the next vicious chairshot. It’s the inescapable cruelty of the cage.
“Virtue is not bragging about your partner beating another man’s partner.
“Words... empty words...
“I am art, my friend. And you... you are my colors... vibrant crimson... and eggshell broken bones... pink flesh... dark, terrified eyes...
“What kind of man will you be, Christian, when you lie on your back, staring up at your God? When the sweat forces your eyes closed and the blood chokes back your cries for mercy? And the only true thing is the pounding of the ref’s hand on canvas, inching your closer to your end...
“Will you beg... ? Will you grit your teeth and bare it for all the little boys and girls at home who look up to you? Will you learn a valuable lesson about yourself?
“Because you will know me, Christian. Whether you ever wanted to or not.
“And I am not a Merciful God. I am not benevolent or generous. I will impart no wisdom to you. You will learn nothing but the vicious truth.
“This Empire... this is my home. My land. So I suppose that makes me the Welcome Committee. How lovely for you.”
(He smiles widens this time, his eyes narrowing in focus.)
ANARKY: “The First pretends to rule it, but all know he is a Paper Tiger. Impulse pretends to achieve all, but he has never proven anything to me. Stevens tells long tales of all the things he’s done which matter not to me, and I should be impressed. Cruise begs us to listen, begs us to take him seriously, his insecurity the greatest white flag of all.
“All are equal in my eyes. All unworthy.
“All have proven nothing.
“There are two types of men in this game. Pretenders...
“... and men who have gone into the ring... into MY ring... and put these shoulders to the mat.
“There are no others. Everything else is excuses or semantics.
“Or in the case of The First, deceit and deception.
“But we cannot hate what is below us, Christian. The world is full of the weak and the lame. Those who would take the easiest route rather than the truest.
“Because the truth... my truth... it is not easy. It is not pleasant. And whatever reputation you think you have is worth nothing.
“Not to me. Not to the ring. Or the cold, hard facts inside of it.
“Or the only title which still matters. Mine.”
(He smiles and pats the title.)
ANARKY: “They told me what a Champion was, and I laughed, because it is another lie they tell themselves to get to sleep at night, another lie they tell themselves as they touch themselves, to forget themselves, to forget their weakness, their vulnerability, their humanity, their moments of crushing self-doubt...
“How can we ever be beautiful if we never look at ourselves in the mirror and admit our ugliness?
“But I know, Christian. I am wise there they are not.
“I know my ugliness and weakness. I embrace it. I bathe in it and swallow it whole.
“And what I regurgitate is beauty and manificent, ugly truth, spiraling out in glorious, blood-soaked patterns of entropy...
“Rezin may be losing his faith, but I shall not. I am not like you.
“I do not relent. I do not yield.
“I do not run and hide when darkness envelopes me. I am the darkness. I am the failure. I am the reminder of everything I’ve ever done and ever will do...
“... I am the anti-Champion...
“... and you...
“What will you be, Christian? Pure and true? Basking in the light, so to speak?
“Because in the end, my friend, all men are the same. All men ache. All men fall.
“When the moment comes... when you look into my eyes and you see no shade of mercy... no man who would give you quarter, even for a f*cking second...
“... all men are equal under the noose.
“Come true to me, friend. Like a babe in the woods in search of succor.
“Come to me and my Throne... and kneel before your Dark God...
“I cannot make beauty without you.
“So do not disappoint me, Christian. Do not do as so many before you have, and come up lame, come up short, when so much was promised.
[We’re inside a cozy-looking room with white-painted walls all around, except for right in front of us. In the background, we can see an Apple MacBook Pro, the 13” variety, hooked up via some kind of black cable to a large-screen flat-panel TV, at least 35-40” in size, playing EPW footage from one of EPW’s pay-per-views, Russian Roulette 2012. The sound is of Dave Thomas making a screaming call.]
DT: Anarky has him…HE DID IT!! ANARKY WITH A CHAOS BREAKER OFF THE TOP ROPE!!! [Huge pop!] DIS IS MOTIONLESS!! ANARKY SLUMPS BACKWARDS LAYING ON TOP OF DIS…WE NEED A REF DAMMIT!!
[Before we get much further into the call, a large white-skinned hand reaches out and makes a couple of tapping motions on his laptop. The TV screen comes to life with a mouse, and the mouse cursor pauses the action right before the match’s most critical moment.]
[It’s at that moment when the camera pans out quickly and sitting in a leather office chair is the challenger for Anarky this coming show.]
[As he spins around to face his audience, we see Christian Light is dressed somewhat casually, with a gray Champion’s sweater and dark blue jeans. His feet are bare and his toenails are well-kept, much like his blonde flattop and blonde goatee. He leans back he rests his head and neck on an orthopedic pillow whose off-white exterior is in stark contrast to the black chair and the room’s white walls all at the same time.]
"The Last Nighthawk" Christian Light:
Do you remember Christmas morning, Anarky?
I didn't exactly have a ton of traditional Christmas mornings. My aunt always found it appropriate to decorate the house for a birthday party, bake a fiber-bran cake, and sometime in the evening we'd sing the Happy Birthday song to Jesus. A little weird, yes. Does it cut some of the excitement from the holiday? Yeah, sure. When you're 13, there's something a bit off about a piece of fiber-bran cake and a glass of milk when you compare it to the rest of your friends getting new clothes and new toys. But I do remember one Christmas that was a bit more traditional. And I do remember the one thing that was different from the birthday-style celebration - that being the anticipation. The excitement from which there seemed like no end. You couldn't think about anything else but that morning. Food didn't matter, rest didn't matter. It was all about what would be waiting for you when your parents finally woke up and you got to go downstairs.
[Light pauses to roll his neck, eliciting an audible popping noise.]
When I came to the Empire the first time, my results were displeasing. They left a bitter taste in my mouth. I was so focused on helping someone that had, now that I look back on it, clearly checked out of the business that I lost sight of the match in front of me. There were a couple of times where I had victory well within my grasp, only to lose focus on the match and have to focus on keeping my team together. In the end, that lack of cohesiveness cost me the match, as it should when you're dealing with two wrestlers the caliber of Impact and Sean Stevens. When that happened, I thought I was done here.
But then Boogie Smalls opened his mouth, and said some things that went far beyond the bounds of what quantified as normal fare, even for this business. He made it personal.
So I came back one more time to defend my honor and the honor of Defiance. I wasn't going to just stand by and let this man disparage me like he did. Unfortunately, that didn't end exactly the way I hoped, although it took a full $25 of Home Depot's finest to keep me down.
Once again, I thought that was it for me and the Empire.
Until Dan Ryan came calling.
He made mention of a newly-opened roster spot that he needed to fill, one thing led to another, and here I am.
[A smile and an extension of the hands to the side for a second before letting them fall.]
And thus the anticipation. Thus the excitement.
Aside from a one-off in two thousand seven, I've always wrestled within the same group of people. Obviously, some come and some go, and you get some new blood that way. But this is the first time in a very long time that I've been an outsider coming into a fed with plenty of established stars.
It’s like I'm running down the stairs as a kid to a world of unknown, exciting new things, all while wondering which present I'm gonna open up first.
In this case, it looks like I got the one wrapped in black paper with an anarchistic design on it.
[Light leans forward slightly, being careful to hold his neck steady.]
Much like you have heard things about me, Anarky, I've heard things about you. But unfortunately, they're really not all that flattering. I’ve heard people say obsessed with the anti-Championship. I’ve heard people say that you’re not what you used to be when you were World Champion. I’ve heard people even go as far as to say that you’re delusional in your unusual beliefs.
Maybe there’s a part of you that thinks I believe that. That I buy into the whispers that even a newcomer has heard around the locker room in his first couple of shows. Maybe you even think I’m going to look down upon you, or treat you with some kind of disdain.
Most of that is likely because you don’t know me very well just yet. So let me introduce myself.
[Leaning back into his chair, Christian allows his neck to relax back into the pillow as much as possible while keeping a good posture for the camera.]
My name is Christian Light. Some call me The Last Nighthawk. Some call me The Master of Wrestling. But Chris is fine by me all the same.
I live and breathe this sport. Since I was about eight years old, every step I've made has been designed to either get me one step closer to this business or keep me around in this business for just a little bit longer. And every time I step into that ring, I have two goals, and in no particular order, here they are.
Number one, I go out there to give the fans a show that’s worth every penny of their entertainment dollar that they’re spending, no matter which federation I’m in. After all, I remember saving my pennies as a kid to come out and see the big-name promotions when I was a kid, and I remember how bad I felt the one or two times those promotions brought a stinker through.
And number two...I’m out there to be the best in the world at what I do. Defiance, EPW, WWA, NWA...it doesn't matter where I've been or where I’m going. I want to be able to say I did everything I can to win every time I step into the ring. Sometimes that means winning. Sometimes that means taking a step back in the pursuit of gladiatorial perfection. Much like an expert glass-blower, not every piece of hot glass takes shape into a masterpiece...but that glass-blower will keep working, keep forming the glass over and over again.
And when he achieves perfection...that is the moment when he is truly proud to be alive.
[A small smile creeps up on the face of the Last Nighthawk, which he holds in a pause for a second before continuing.]
I also believe rules have a place in the context of our sport. Without rules, how would we prove who is greater than whom? It’s only in leveling the playing field for all involved that we can truly find out...on any given night...who the better fighter is.
Now, being that you’re wrestling under the name Anarky, and your finisher is called the Chaos Breaker, I’m sure you have a different opinion, and I can respect that. It takes different types to make the world go round, you know?
[Light puts his hand to his chin for a second in though, before he takes it off and holds his right index finger up in the air.]
Also, very important...I’ve learned in my travels that one’s brain is his most cherished resource when one uses it to think for themselves. For that reason, I don’t tend to go solely off of other people’s opinions, since I have plenty of thinking time between inter-city travel and the odd hospital visit.
So when people call you crazy, I don’t tend to pay that much mind.
Here’s what I do pay mind to.
You show me respect as a competitor of the squared circle. That is appreciated. I plan on paying you the same respect in deed. After all, it’s not every day that a man walks into a seven-way elimination style title defense and walks out the victor.
You also seem to seek truth.
[A thoughtful moment of pause. As he pauses, it’s now we notice a young child, no more than 4 or 5, dressed in a pink Hello Kitty shirt with curly blonde hair wander into the screen. It’s clear she’s curious about the whole setup, and it’s also clear that Christian has no idea that she’s there.]
For now, I’ll leave that one alone. I’d rather not dull my excitement over being in the ring with one of the Empire’s top competitors by engaging in a philosophical debate that will probably end with us in disagreement.
There will be plenty of time this week for the seeking of truth, be it mental or physical.
I’d rather take this time to get to know the man known as the Anti-Champion. To get to know the man I will do battle with for the first time ever this coming show.
[Light makes a motion behind him, to his laptop hooked up to his TV. The TV is now on Anarky vs Dis]
As you can see, I’ve got film aplenty to take in. So I’m going to get to work.
I do my best film study when I’m hyped about my match, after all.
See you soon, Anarky.
[As Christian smiles, we hear the sound come back on again, courtesy of a 4-5 year old child finding the play button.]
DM: Pat Jones needs to get into the ring and make this count, Dis is OUT COLD!
MN: He’s DEAD! His neck got broken! I hope you monsters can sleep at night knowing you supported this!
[Christian turns around, surprised, and finds the young lady smiling at Christian. He tries to resist the urge to smile back, but he’s cracking a slight one.]
Marissa, didn't I tell you to go to bed? Come on, let’s get you tucked back in you little rascal.
[As Christian picks up “Marissa”, the playback of the match continues.]
DT: Pat Jones is crawling back into the ring [Crowd buzzing, some of the crowd is looking off to the side] THE COUNT!!
[We start the fade as Light walks off-shot to the right.]
(FADEIN to a exquisitely decorated study. Books cover the shelves and a magnificant, multi-layered chandelier sits overhead. An enormous bay window overlooks a deep green, immaculately kept yard. Sitting at a table, sipping out of a tea cup, is Anarky, decked out in classic English garb, wearing a full suit and white tie. His hair pulled back in a ponytail. He smiles brightly at the camera.)
ANARKY: “Christian, old chap! Welcome! Can I call you Chris? Of course I can, you’re my new bee-eff-eff.
“Fancy a spot of tea, lad? It’s the finest English Breakfast Tea that Twinings has to offer.
“Or perhaps a krumpet? They’re store-bought, however. Not quite as good as my dear old mum used to make. Sadly she perished in a terrible Christmas Tree Fire, which you so recklessly reminded me about with all your nostalgia.
“Luckily I was acquitted of all charges. I suppose you and I both had rather atypical Christmas experiences, didn’t we, old friend?
“Oh golly, I am having such a lovely time. Are you having a lovely time?
“I know you are! We are going to be the best of friends, I can already tell! Sure, to a normal man, the fact that you intend to collapse my spine with suplexes and crush my skull with a forearm may seem like a bit of a downer, but we’re grown men!
“Just like you went out of your way to make sure you knew about all the horrible things people apparently say about me and then pretend not to listen to them. That’s awfully kind of you, friend. It’s so kind of you to say so. You’re truly above the influence.
“It’s not very often that we have the one and only Master of Wrestling to grace us with this divine presence. I mean, THE Master. I’d ask for your autograph but my manager says it’s tacky. He’s such a Debbie Downer, am I right?”
(He takes another sip of the tea and smiles a little too wide.)
ANARKY: “You know, Chris, I admire you. I know how difficult it must be for you to carry such a burden in this sport. When monsters like me are constantly trying to push you past your principles.
“You have such courage... to follow the rules when you’re a mere 6 inches taller and 50 pounds heavier than a guy like me. Such bravery. Where did you learn to fly the straight and narrow?
“I mean, me, I’m a coward. Sure, I’m not smarter than anyone, or faster, or stronger. But that’s no excuse to choke a man, is it? No, certainly not.
“But you! You’re a true ‘Murican Hero, aren’t you.
“You just want to give the fans a good time. And in this economy. My golly, Chris, they don’t make ‘em like you anymore.
“And of course, to be the best in the world. How admirable.
“How... f*cking... normal.”
(His smile fades and he puts down the tea cup. He reaches into his pocket, pulls out a dirty flask, pours a glass of some unmarked liquid into the tea cup. He takes a sip and smiles.)
ANARKY: “I suppose there isn’t much sense in denying what we are, then, is there, Chris?
“You are a monster who crushes people’s skulls in with his forearms and pretends it’s supposed to make you a hero. And you want to be so very, very good at violence, that they heap rewards and acclaims upon you.
“Such is the glory of your ferocity, that they would pay you millions of dollars and throw women at your feet. Not that a saint like you would want them.
“I know what I am.
“I am the will of the people. I am their unsatiated bloodlust. I am their desire to destroy a world that has taken everything from them.
“Fat, dumb, and happy on their couches, filling themselves with processed sh*t, and they have nothing to fight for, nothing to live for, mindless automatons punching clocks, wanting something, anything that reminds them of what they once were...
“But they have me. I am what’s left of their instincts.
“I’m not bigger or stronger than anybody but Aaron Jones, and even he’s probably a bit brighter. By any reckoning, I should probably get my ass whipped pillar to post every time I step into that ring.
“So what does a man like me have left? Why should I play a game meant for me to lose? A genetic lottery I failed at birth.
“Rules were meant to be broken.
“The universe cares not whether we are true to ourselves or an arbitrary set of rules established by men who sell your blood for 25 bucks a ticket.
“If I have to gouge out your eyes to keep you from breaking me in half because you’re twice my size, then f*ck you, I’m gonna do whatever the f*ck I can.
“We aren’t role models. We are vicious gladiators paid to beat the living sh*t out of each other.
“You can sell hard work, determination, and believing in yourself to those little f*cking brats, but I know better. Why don’t you level with them? Tell them that if they aren’t a genetic freak like you, then they’ll probably be stuck in some dipsh*t job they hate for 40 years until they drop dead of an aneurysm.
“Unless they’re willing to be me. To cross the barriers that you will not. To embrace what I am. What you cannot admit you are.
“We are creatures of violence. We did not become teachers or doctors or astronauts. We do not create or heal. We are destroyers. We are held up like Gods because we draw blood the quickest... the best.
(His smile widens at this thought as he takes another sip of the “tea.”)
ANARKY: “Study your film, Chris. Take it all in. Consume my past.
“You cannot know me by the films you watch or the stories you hear in the locker room.
“Men talk. It’s what they do best. But me, Chris? To truly know me... to know my truth... ?
“You need to get into that ring. You need to experience it. To feel it. To breathe me in..
“Do not worry, old chap. You don’t know me yet. But you will. And I, too, will come to know you. To take your precious halo and pull it down and remind you what you are.
“Do you know to destroy something so beautiful and naive?
[The landscape has changed drastically from the last time we saw Christian Light. Gone are the couches and the TV, replaced with a long oak-colored board-room table and a white board taking up almost all of the gray wall behind Defiance’s Master of Wrestling. Nothing is written on the white board, but the shelf of the white board contains several different colored markers, all capped, and one eraser that looks relatively fresh.]
[As to Christian Light, he leans back in a boardroom chair dressed in a white faded Defiance Heritage League T-Shirt and a pair of black track pants. He holds a closed bottle of Poland Spring, which he points at the camera before he speaks again.]
“The Last Nighthawk” Christian Light:
I mean, really, here I thought I was paying respect to someone who, aside from a couple of philosophical differences, was one of the boys. I don’t know if I’d ever use the term “stand-up guy”, but from a professional perspective I thought you were OK.
But then you had to go to the teapot.
I mean, you’re not kidding when you say you don’t know me yet; if you did, it would be club soda with a twist. Or at least some water.
[A smile from the Master of Wrestling as he puts the bottle of water he was holding down on the table in front of him.]
All kidding aside, let's talk truth, Anarky, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal. After all, I did make that promise to you that I’d get back to it.
Before men like Columbus, Amerigo, and Magellan, the truth was that the world was flat.
Before the American Revolution, the truth was that no one could defeat the British Armed Forces.
Before Darwin, the truth was that man was made by God himself and placed upon the Earth exactly as Genesis described.
Before Barack Obama, the truth was that a non-white man could never be President.
Humans always speak in truth, don't we? Outside of maybe academics, it's not often that you hear someone come out and say that what they're saying isn't the truth. Often we as a people confuse absolute truth with relative truth.
I think that’s the case here.
Take, for example, this whole size argument.
[A pause as Light grabs the water bottle back off the table and twists off the top.]
You say that in order to survive in this business, due to your size difference compared to me, that the truth is you need to break the rules. That’s ridiculous on two completely unique levels.
Someone your size needs to take shortcuts?
Wait a second...isn’t Impulse about your size?
Actually, he’s smaller than you.
And he follows a code that forbids him from using shortcuts, even when it’s as legal as a headlock and it’s in his best interest. Despite all that...all traits that you would call weakness...he’s getting a shot at competing against the man that beat you for the World Title...who’s also 20 pounds lighter than you.
We can go around the ESEN-affiliated feds and easily find a dozen successful wrestlers your size or smaller that don’t need to cheat to win matches. Just in EPW and Defiance, we have Claira St. Sure, Heidi Christensen, Tom Sawyer, Impulse, Karl Brown...heck, you could probably throw Sean Stevens into that mix too; he’s about in your size and weight class.
You know what the difference is between them and you, besides the massive bad attitude?
They have preparation, discipline and sound technique.
I’m not going to stand here and outright lie to people; being smaller in the wrestling business is not a simple task. I've been in the ring with people Dan Ryan’s size or bigger, and it’s not easy or fun. But if you’re self-disciplined...or you've got a manager that keeps you on point...then it’s completely doable.
But you’re not interested in any of that, are you?
You’ll stretch your arms out to reach up and gouge my eyes out, but you won’t lift your arms for any resistance stretching.
You’ll strain your whole mind trying to come up with some way to steal a win, but you won’t waste a single cell of your brain on perfecting your technique so you can thrive for a man your size and age.
So when you talk about the perils of being smaller than me, you’re really talking about you feel you’re inferior in just about every aspect of wrestling and you have no interest in trying to get better.
And we haven’t even gotten to the best part yet!
[Light pauses to take a sip of his water before he puts it down on the table.]
Let’s assume that, somehow, everything I just said is false. Let’s assume that sheer size trumps all and everyone knows that the only way you can negate size is by breaking every rule known to man. If you follow that logic to its conclusion, then eventually everyone in the business with more than a year’s experience would be leading with eye gouges and finishing with barbed wire baseball bats, because that’s the only way the “big men” would be able to compete. Adapt or perish, right?
So everyone cheats. Great.
But I’m bigger, stronger, have a longer reach, and may even be faster than you. How do you propose you’re going to outcheat me when you either can’t reach me or can’t catch me?
There’s only one right answer to that one, and it’s going to sound awfully familiar, since I just talked about it a second ago.
Preparation, discipline and sound technique.
All the cheating in the world isn’t going to help a guy who’s face-down in the middle of the ring with a Waitagame armbar locked into his good arm.
[A pause as The Last Nighthawk runs his left hand through his blonde flattop.]
And in case you haven’t figured it out yet, that’s what I think the difference will be when we get in the ring.
Preparation, discipline and sound technique.
My truth is, I know I have it. Thriving like I have against some of the same names I mentioned before requires it.
My truth is, I choose to make that my weapon of choice against you.
Just like I choose to conduct my career according to the rules of each match.
[A pause for Light to take a sip of his water. He places it back down on the table before he continues.]
Angel, Boy Scout, role model...all names I’ve heard people call me. But really it’s all come down to one simple philosophical decision for me.
I choose to think positively.
When I look at a man who is sitting front-row at a show, I don’t automatically see someone who’s in his own personal hell trying to run away for a fleeting moment. I’m sure somewhere, there’s someone like that who exists...maybe even that man...but it’s not the first thought that comes to mind. What I see is a man who has come to enjoy himself for a moment. He may be perfectly happy and successful in his own life, but he’s the kind of person who saw wrestling for the first time when he was 12, and he was hooked for life. He loves cheering the good guys and booing the bad guys, and when he has a son or daughter one day he’ll bring his son to the shows and give him that same experience that he grew up with.
So I choose to give that man a reason to cheer. I choose to entertain him in the best way I know how...by being an example that the lawful can make it. That people who follow the rules can thrive in this world if they set their mind to it and work hard at their craft.
I can’t say how people take my life choices. Clearly you’re not too fond of them. But if I can give the fans...heck, even any of the boys and girls in the back even a small speck of hope that they can take to their everyday lives...well, to me that’s the best possible way I can give back to the business.
[A visible inhale, then an exhale. Light wipes some of the sweat off of his brow before continuing.]
That’s my truth.
But your truth is that if you cannot see the good side in humanity...then that is your own cross to bear. Someone who can look himself in the mirror and call himself a failure is someone that has some perception issues, and it’s your choice as to whether you want to fix them or you like them just the way they are.
Your truth is, you’re going to try and turn this match into a pier-six brawl. Go ahead. Do your best. If you manage to make it so, then something went horribly wrong in my gameplanning and I need to go back to basics when this show is over.
Your truth is that you’re going to try and spread your message to Rezin through, among other actions, what you do in our match. I figure he might be joining us at a critical point in the match, but don’t worry, I can smell him coming from a thousand paces, so I’ll be ready for him.
But despite all that, the absolute truth is this won’t be a match about who can swing a better fist. This will be me seeing if you still have what it takes to put down someone who could tie your limbs in knots while blindfolded.
Hopefully you’re up for it. I’d enjoy the challenge.
But if not, I hope there’s no mirrors in your locker room.
Because the truth is, I’d hate to hear what you’d call yourself if you lost this one.
(FADEIN to a simple, dark, featureless room. Sitting on a stool is Anarky. The EPW Television Anti-Title is slung over his shoulder. A series of notches are carved into the side, and otherwise it seems to be covered in various graffiti and Sharpie markings. It barely resembles the original TV Title.
A lit cigarette dangles from his hand. He lifts it up and takes a long, slow drag.)
ANARKY: “Whether we admit it or not, life isn’t easy. From the first, screaming, chaotic moments, until the final embers of life drift away from us... to live is to to struggle.
“Some have it easier than others. There is almost nothing similar in experience for an upper middle class white American and a starving child in Botswana, inflicted with a terminal illness before he drew his first breath of air.
“Life has no rules. We do what we do to survive.
“Men make laws, but they are merely ideas, floating in the ether. What is just and what is lawful are not the same, truly.
“But a man must have a code. Even me.
“See, Christian, you talk about preparation, but it’s clear you haven’t done any if you think I’m going to cry for Rezin to come save me.
“I, too, have a code, and while I may throw a few closed fists and gouge a few eyes out and pull some hair, I stand alone.
“Apparently all that film study hasn’t taught you a f*cking thing. So let me help you understand what kind of man I am.
“I don’t ask for help. I don’t take shows off. I don’t beg for title shots. I don’t brag about being the best or a legend. I don’t make fancy titles for myself like Master of the Universe. I don’t take cheap wins. I don’t quit, ever.
“And I don’t give a f*ck how you think I should act.
“You like Impulse? Great. Go give him a f*cking handjob. I don’t give a sh*t about his code, he’s still a f*cking pr*ck and I’m shocked that anybody can listen to him talk about how great he is for more than 2 minutes without wanting to cave their own skull in just to stop the ever-flowing stream of bullsh*t he calls a promo.
“And First? Oh yeah, he’s a few pounds lighter, and not above using his wife to win a match, but hey, at least he’s, uh, not that big. I’m super jealous.
“See, Christian, if you were really listening, you’d realize that I don’t cheat to win because I need to. I do it because it’s fun and I like hitting people with chairs. Especially self-righteous people who think their sh*t doesn’t stink.
“And I mocked you because I find it adorable that a genetic freak would come out here and lecture me about how I’m SUPPOSED to fight. I mean, listen, it’s super super brave of you to be so f*cking huge and demand everybody play by the same rules as you, but, uh, well, f*ck you.
“I mean, f*ck, I’ve heard about beating a dead horse, but f*ck, man, did we really need to spend ten minutes so you could analyze this whole ‘Are bigger wrestlers really better’ thing? Yeah, I mean, obviously I’m not a f*cking moron, I understand that regular-sized wrestlers have managed successful careers. I am just amused by the hypocrisy of a genetic freak like yourself telling me how I’m supposed to play by the rules you want me to. I give so many f*cks I can fit them conveniently in my pockets.
“I don’t give a sh*t about your dainty self-respect. And I sure as f*ck don’t care about your preparation, discipline, and technique.
“Hell, you’ve already shown me that all your so-called preparation and video watching didn’t give you a f*cking clue about me. Or did you not expect me to call you out on your bullsh*t or notice that you have no f*cking idea what you’re talking about?
“You hurt people for a living. That’s it.
“You can sit here all day and night and try to convince yourself that you’re inspiring Little Jimmy to believe in himself so he can grow up and learn to hurt people, too, but I’m not buying this sh*t.
“I don’t need your f*cking respect. I don’t give a sh*t what you or anybody else thinks about me. You and Impulse can do whatever you want. If you want to live by some archaic code and pat yourselves on the back for beating the living sh*t out of people in a very particular way, then congratulations. Let’s throw a f*cking parade, St. Light. I know a guy who can get ticker tape real cheap.
“And what, I’m supposed to be impressed by some douchebag’s ability to garner a title shot?
“If I wanted a f*cking title shot, I’d just take one. I am owed one, you realize. Or did your hours of tape-watching not indicate to you that I never invoked my rematch clause? Do you even own a f*cking television? Or is this just some mantra your read on the Internet?
“It sounds to me like your preparation mostly consists of getting into semantic arguments about a bunch of sh*t I don’t care about. Cool story, bro.
“Yet I don’t take that title shot which I rightfully earned. Do you know why? Can you imagine?
“Because the EPW World Heavyweight Title is the ultimate prop used by insecure pr*cks seeking validation. It’s a toy used to prove their worth. And it’s been sullied by men like The First, who would do anything to keep it. Men who imagine the belt defines the man.
“It does not.
“The man defines the belt. I defined the belt. I stood for something.
“But it wasn’t enough for men like Impulse or Stevens. Because at the end of the day, the only person who measures up to them... is themselves. Surprising, right?
“It’s an Empire with twenty Kings... each self-anointed, each more self-righteous than the last.
“Go ahead and call me a failure for admitting my weakness, Christian. I am not offended. I am honored to be the only honest man left in this business. Surrounded by egomaniacs and frauds.
“These are your heroes. These men who exist only to glorify themselves. To create giant statues of their own greatness. So we can all listen to their verbal masturbation at the start of every show.
(He wears a fake smile for a moment and then puts the cigarette out underneath his boot. The smile vanishes as quickly as it came.)
ANARKY: “So I made my own rules. I create my own Kingdom. My own anti-Title.
“You keep repeating your mantra. Preparation. Discipline. Technique.
“You keep thinking positive. Maybe re-read The Secret a couple of times. Really visualize what it would be like to pin me. Re-watch that episode of Oprah a couple of times. Little Jimmy is f*cking inspired as sh*t, man.
“But there are other truths, too, my friend.
“Things you can’t understand. No matter how much video you watch. Which, clearly, is not that much.
“You think I’d hate myself if I lost this match?
“You don’t know me at all.
“I go out there and I bleed the f*ck out. That’s what I do. Win, lose, draw. I got no regrets. As long as I f*cking leave it all out there.
“You think the fans wanna watch two giant guys suplex each other all night? You think anybody pays top dollar to see you and some other dude compliment each other while you trade Russian Leg Sweeps?
“Wake the f*ck up, friend.
“You need me. Without me, you’re nothing.
“I am their bloodlust. Their rage. Their desire to see something spectacular.
“It’s not 1955 anymore, my friend. If you wanna go into a time machine and pretend that’s the kind of world we live in, go right ahead.
“But right here, right now... I am the present. I am the Empire.
“Broken tables and bent chairs and smeared blood and saying f*ck a whole lot cause why not.
“You don’t have to accept the truth, Christian. That’s the beautiful thing about it.
“Whether you believe it or not. It’s still there.
“I know who I am. And I know what I’ve done. And if you think there’s one f*cking thing you can do about it that’ll change me... that’ll make me regret who I am or the choices I’ve made...
[Dressed in a Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux road jersey and blue jeans, The Last Nighthawk stands before the camera, with an Empire Pro Wrestling logo behind him.]
“The Last Nighthawk” Christian Light
A few days ago, you decided to call yourself a liar.
Now, you swear up, down and sideways that you stand alone and you need no one. That you have your own code.
Pardon me if I don’t run out and put all my stock in the code of a self-professed liar.
Excuse me if I don’t believe for a second that you meant “want to” rather than “have to” when you talked about needing to gouge my eyes out to save yourself. That sounds a bit like survival to me.
And even if the code holds firm…even if you’ve decided that you’re telling the truth this time...if Rezin decides to make his way down of his own volition and interfere, I’ll bet you dinner at Ruth’s Chris you won’t send him away.
Because that’s the kind of cold, dark, unfair place you wake up in, isn’t it?
Or is that actually crossing the line on your side of the tracks? You can swing a chair at my knee ax-style because it’s fun, but no no no, we can’t have anyone come down and help you, because that’s where you draw the line.
Give me a break.
There’s a part of me that almost wished you’d stop talking, because every time you open your mouth I feel like I’m watching a Cymbalta commercial just to find out that you’re that persistent little black cloud that does nothing but annoy everyone until you turn into a black hole and suck everyone down to your level.
Everything just gets lost in the swearing, the hopelessness, and the booze.
And it’s sad, because every now and then, you come out with this thing that’s like, ‘Wow, that’s actually not a bad thing in principle. It just needs to be brought back a little bit to the center.’ Example...I wish that everyone felt the way about their title that you do. I wish people were interested in working up their own legacy and, in turn, defending the honor of their title like you were. The more I watch what The First does, the more I’m embarrassed by him as World Champion.
The man makes the title, right?
But then I have to think to myself, “Why hasn’t Anarky done anything about it yet? I mean, he’s got a rematch clause in his pocket right next to some ticker tape and those other things that shall remain nameless. Why hasn’t he cashed it in?”
The whole thing about the World Title being a joke? Well, if it’s true that the title makes the man, then whatever happened in the past wouldn’t matter, because the second you beat The First for the title, you’d have a clean slate with which to bring the title back up to the level of the man who holds it.
A prop for the insecure?
That sounds like an excuse to me.
And then it hit me.
You don’t want the World Title back.
You spend a full minute and a half talking about all these people who surround us...these twenty kings and “Impulse talks too much” and all that...and it’s now become clear to me that you want nothing to do with the men who would pursue the World Title...and by association, would pursue you...because then you’d have to deal with them.
Sooner or later, you’d be forced to play by their rules. And that’s no fun, is it?
As EPW Anti-Champion, you’d rather sit on your throne of bones in your empire of dirt and try to suck people down to your level like the black hole that you are. And by and large, there aren’t too many of “those people” who really care, because they’re all focused on...what was it you said? Building monuments to their greatness? Talking about themselves?
Whatever it is, you get to avoid that world. You get to sit in your own anti-world, with your own anti-title, and make your own rules. And them? They don’t have to exist, aside from the verbal barbs every few seconds. That whole Impulse thing must have struck a nerve, huh?
And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. Well, the whole thing with Impulse you may need to work out on your own time, but the Anti-Title thing, perfectly within your rights and privileges as champ. Personally, I wish you’d just come out and say “I want nothing to do with any of those people or their title,” instead of finding roundabout ways of saying it.
But then again, you are an admitted liar. So I guess that roundabout truth is progress, right?
Y’know, ‘Nark, friend, we've been talking about a lot of abstract things for the last few days, and it’s gotten a little on the heavy side. Personally, I could do this back and forth for weeks on things like how one determines if a rule is just and what to do when you find an unjust rule, and the true nature of mankind.
But I think it’s about time we roped it back around.
No more moral or ethical debates.
Let’s bring it back to the ring.
You’re going to try to turn this match into an all-out brawl. You’re going to try and turn this into punches and kicks and weapons and whatever else you can to suck me down to your level. And chances are, if you succeed...if you bring me down to that type of match, I don’t give myself much of chance of pulling this one out.
So I've got to do what I've said I need to do. I’m going to try to keep this match in the ring, by the rules, and most certainly weapon-free. If I can do that...if I can make you wrestle my type of match...then my chances of winning go up dramatically.
Will it be The Last Nighthawk who imposes his will in the ring?
Or will it be the black cloud of negativity that permeates everything it hovers over?
Come Aggression 72...the whole world’s gonna find out.
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