(The youtube loading message fades from the screen as we see Jeff "Greenhorn" Jorgenson sitting in front of his web cam, seated on an old, ratty couch in front of a bare plaster wall.)
JJ: I just wanted to say that it is wonderful to have arrived in the big leagues! The WFW: NE is the place to be my friends! It was an amazing surprise to see my first opponent here is going to be Golem. Golem, I am a huge fan!!! I've followed your career for what must be years, and it is just an honor to face you. This is exactly what my career needs to send it to the next level, or maybe even two or three levels above that! You sure as heck don't stay on the same rung of that mighty WFW: NE ladder after you've beaten a competitor the caliber of Golem!
(Jeff adjusts the web cam so the frame is centered around him.)
JJ: I don't mean to assume too much here either. I'm not assuming I'll beat Golem. Like I said, Golem is almost a legend! Maybe he is even a legend. But I think I have the right fighting spirit, the freshness, and the will to win that some of the other people here don't have! Maybe Golem still does, but I'm younger, I'm hungrier, and while I may be a greenhorn, sometimes a horn can spear ya when you aren't looking!!!
So that's what you have to look out for Golem, you've got to watch out for the horn of this greenhorn! Most people overlook the greenhorns of this world. But I'm here to show you we're full of as much piss and vinegar as the next guy, and in some cases more! We're just as great as the Golem's of the world, we just haven't been around long enough to have people calling us good, let alone great! But accolades don't make the man, it is all about what happens inside those ropes, on top of the mat and under those shining lights! Maybe the lights don't shine as brightly where I've been wrestling, but you need to claw your way from the bottom before you get under the bright lights of the WFW: NE! Golem, you need to understand how hard I've clawed! This greenhorn is a scrapper, and the second you take your eye off the ball, or when you assume he's out of the game, that's when the greenhorn will strike!
Have you ever seen a hungry man fight for a scrap of food? He'll fight harder than the man who doesn't have that empty belly. And Golem, my belly is empty here in the WFW: NE. I haven't tasted victory or defeat yet. I haven't tasted anything, and I'm ready to. I'm ready to savor the roar of the crowd, the excitement of competing on such a big stage and the thrill of testing my mettle against the best this sport has to offer.
I've got to make a name for myself Golem, because if I don't I could be out of that door as quickly as I was allowed in. I must not fail, or I'll be back driving that van outside from town to town, sending DVD Rs to every promoter who'll hire me. I may not have tasted anything here yet Golem, but I have gotten a whiff of what is to come. That smell was intoxicating! If it means beating not just a man but a Golem, I will do that. I'll take on the Golems, the Minions and the Mansons, anyone I have to to prove I belong.
My name might not be as impressive as yours. Golem is a lot flashier than Jeff. But this is what my parents named me, and I'll make my name at your expense Golem! No one who sees Almost Live will forget the night that Jeff the Greenhorn became a star and started his ascent into the heavens!
(Cue Up: "The Day the World Went Away" by Nine Inch Nails. Fade into Golem, staring out a window into the star filled night sky. He addresses the camera without facing it.)
Golem: After I knocked out Minion at the Superbowl of Wrestling and clawed him to unconsciousness, I went to the back and left. The next day, I get contacted, telling me that the WFW was done. Apparently half the roster was dead, too, so I suppose the timing was exquisite. Maybe that’s why they are forcing up amateurs like Jeff Jorgenson into matches above their talent level, but that’s probably a question for another day. The WFW wrestler refuse dispersed amongst other leagues and….oblivion.
(Golem wistfully scratches his claw across the window.)
Golem: 3 years. 3 years since I stepped into a WFW ring. 3 years since Golem stepped into any ring. I guess that's what being a "legend" affords you. In these financial times, I suppose it's a good thing that I have the resources to make decisions based on personal preference rather than financial need. But then, I suppose that raises the question of why I'm back at all. The accolades, the money, the past titles, they're all pretty much trivial at this point. The only thing left for me at this point is the fight.
(Golem turns towards the camera.)
Golem: That's what I will teach you during this fight, Jeff. I will show that it's not about the name or the experience or the love of the game or any of that. It's about the fight. That's all this sport is, was, or ever will be. It's hurting the other guy. It's an outlet for clawed freaks with a bloodlust. Golem will steal from you everything but your will to survive, like husk off the corn. And that's why my age won't matter. It might matter on June 25. And it might matter on June 27. But on June 26, when we meet, you’ll learn why I’m still around, hogging up opportunities that greenhorns probably wish went to them.
(Golem wanders over to a chair and sits down.)
Golem: But it never comes that easily. I’ll be doing this as long as Golem can wrestle and then an extra five years where I just try to hurt people. You got here, Jorgensen, and that’s an accomplishment. But when my knees ache and yours are held together by medical devices, I wonder if you’ll still be so happy you made it. I wonder if you’ll still be so giddy that you drew the short straw and got Golem. Because I am a legend, right? I’m just not the same type of legend that Larry Tact or Manson is. Golem is more a legend in the vein of the Boogeyman. And when all of your fans out there ask you about the battle with Golem, you won’t remember it the way you remember all your previous battles. You’ll remember it in flashes, whispers from your body telling you to stop trying to remember. Because you might have the hunger to succeed in this business. And over the next fifteen years, that might get you somewhere. But in the ring with Golem, the bloodthirsty animal will always kill the hungry animal.
(Golem raises his clawed hand in front of his face.)
Golem: Have I clawed up from the bottom like you have? Not in a long time. Not for three years. It’s certainly time for Golem to claw his way up from the bottom again. You’re right, Jeff. In ten years, when people say your name, supposing you’re still around and memorable enough, everyone’s mind with rush back to June 26th, 2009. Because that’s the day that Jeff Jorgenson got out of his van, into the WFW ring, and then painted the mat red. Golem is going to hurt you. Golem is going to carry you like a lamb at the slaughter. Golem will savor every, long overdue moment of it. And when I’m done, maybe you’ll be a better, tougher man for it. Or maybe, you’ll just quit. No one will blame you.
(Golem turns back towards the window)
Golem: I might not have too much future left. Really, that gives me as much or more motivation to succeed than you. If anything, you should be motivated to avoid this match. You have so much left to fight for, just to throw it all away here. Just like the darkness, you can trust that Golem will always show up when the hour calls for it. And once I get past you, I have a whole slew of old rivalries to finish before I left some greenhorn take my spot...
(Golem turns back to the camera as it starts to fade to black.)
(Youtube’s loading screen fades from the screen and Jeff Jorgenson is seen sitting down in front of his webcam. He reaches towards the camera to adjust it, then seems to change a setting on the computer.)
Jeff: Golem, I was almost shocked to hear your ignorant words. After I said how much I respected you, after how I laid my heart on the line… to hear that was disappointing. You would think if anyone in this world would understand it would be one of the people who inspired you.
I am not someone to be doubted. I trained at the Hacker School of Wrestling. They don’t call it “The Basement” for nothing. It is a grueling experience. Many people would call it traumatic. But those who survived knew the thrill of battle. I am no amateur. I am a man who has studied with some of the greats. That is not to say I do not continue learning. I will learn in this battle, but you will not be teaching me in the way you suggest. Your experience does not make you my superior. It simply means that we have different skillsets as I laid out before.
For one, my experience in the last three years doesn’t consist of faded memories of glory days. I have “clawed” my way to the top, rather than telling stories of how I used my claws. The term “young lion” denotes a certain ability to claw.
You say you will hurt me, but I’ve learned to avoid pain. When pain is inevitable I have learned to endure it. You say I will only remember brutal images, but I see brilliant recollections of the day the young lion tamed the beast.
What I don’t see is a sport based on hurting the other man. This is a sport built upon honor that was slowly corrupted by those that took shortcuts. This is a sport that was built on competition that was slowly turned into a bloodbath. I am not here to injure people. I am not here to screw people over. I am not here to end careers. I am here to wrestle! To hone my craft, to take the skillset I have and put my opponents shoulders to the mat for three seconds, or to make him give up the fight. I know how to engage my killer instinct without being a killer. The word on the marquee does say wrestling after all. At least, it does when a company can afford a marquee. I haven’t seen too many marquees where I have been.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t understand that the person who wants my blood is at a disadvantage. Someone pursuing a simplistic, one dimensional strategy presents even a greenhorn a chance display his skills. Pure, unadulterated aggression and bloodlust does not intimidate me, because I have been taught well. I have been taught how to WRESTLE!
Golem you need to lighten up. To think positively. You are wrestling on television in front of your fans. This isn’t something that calls for the discussion of mutilating the other man. You may be old, and may talk about claws a lot, but be jolly, be more like… SANTA CLAWS! See that’s a joke Golem! That seems like a silly statement, but it is no sillier than a man stating he wants to spill the blood of his opponent for no reason. It is as what an animal does, as you yourself said. An animal lacks the deductive abilities of a trained grappler. It lacks tactics, strategy. It lacks a passion for anything more than survival. Someone who has been away from this game for 3 years does not need pro wrestling for survival. They simply want to act in an animalistic fashion. I’ve faced your type before… but it is sad to see someone I looked up to is just another animal.
Animal I Have Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds ("Welcome to the Rapture Redux")
(Cue Up: "Day the World Went Away" by Nine Inch Nails. Fade into a wooded area, with paths, at night. It's probably a park, but not completely clear from what we can see. Golem walks into shot from off screen. He keeps walking and the camera begins to follow alongside.)
Golem: Ignorance? I offer salvation, and you believe it to be ignorance? Ignorance is going from wrestling school to a stack of mattresses in a shopping mall and then thinking you know more about this sport than Golem. Ignorance is stated off the name of a third rate wrestling school to a man whose had a better career than Hacker could ever dream of having and expecting to buy you some respite. I assure you, that everything Hacker could do to you in his basement will not prepare you what I will do, though it might be traumatic for OTHER reasons. See, I can make jokes, too. But in the end, are the jokes going to help you? Are they going to help me? No. They are just useless filler that afford you a chuckle when you go back through these tapes after our match and realize that everything I said that wasn't a joke came true.
(Golem stops and turns towards the woods.)
Golem: This is where animals belong, right? This is where I should expect to see all the dangerous beasts of the world? And yet, the thing about wild animals is that their first instinct is to run. They aren't dangerous at all until they are trapped. Trapped into a cage with an enemy and they know that the only way out is through that opponent. That's not to say training doesn't help. A pitbull with a lot of fights under his collar is going to maul the pitbull they took out of some guy's basement. And do you know why? Because while everyone might have those instincts, the ability to tap into one's feral aggression is a honed skill. It's one of the reasons I have gotten more and more dangerous as my career has wound down.
(Golem shakes his head and continues walking.)
Golem: I'm about to let you in on a big secret. I am technically trained. I wasn't brought up in some cage where all I know how to do is fight. I CHOOSE to fight that way. A back suplex will never give Golem the visceral enjoyment that scratching at your eyes will. Is that a corruption or even a bastardization of your idyllic concepts of what wrestling should be? Maybe, but they gave Golem a contract, too, so you have other people to blame then me. Everyone knows what Golem is all about. You can see it on DVDs and even VHS tapes, because I've been around that long. The fact is your brand of wrestling is mostly dead. Why do you think Psycho, Minion, and Golem are still here while all your technical brethren save Tact have fallen by the wayside? It's because eventually it just gets too much for technical and aerial wrestlers. If you don't eventually learn to thrive on the punishment, then whatever thrill you may get out of the art of wrestling will be snuffed out like flame under water. And when that happens, what will be left? Is it man or animal? I don't need to or care enough to make those determinations.
(Golem eventually comes to a bench and sits down.)
Golem: It's strange, you know? So many people fear the woods at night. They either fear animals or muggers. But I assume even the muggers fear the animals, so why would they be there? It wouldn't even be possible to mug someone, since all their targets are in cities, because they are afraid of muggers and animals in the woods at night. It's funny, you know? Their fear keeps them away from this peaceful, pristine area and actually pins them inside a much more confined space with dangerous men. So where are all the dangerous animals? The point is, Jorgenson, don't fear the animal. Embrace it. It's the only way Golem will have the opportunity to pad his already impressive resume against you five years in the future. "Young lions" shouldn't use arm drags. "Young lions" should stop talking about technical prowess and start gnashing their teeth with rage. The most dangerous animal in the world is the man who isn't bound by honor or wrestling skill sets. The only limitations he has are what he can physically dish out and what he can physically endure. You'll be pleasantly surprised by Golem's pain threshold.
(Golem gets up and walks towards the camera.)
Golem: Because in the end, isn't man the most dangerous game? This part, the preface before the fight actually begins but long after the hunt has already started, it has its own unique type of thrill to it. It allows me to even the playing field a little bit. Maybe that's sporting of me. Maybe it's even honorable. I am kind enough to tell you everything that Golem is going to do to you in that ring beforehand. I'm also kind enough to do it with minimal interruptions of jokes. I'm not just another animal. I am the most dangerous animal that this sport has ever seen. Golem will do things to you that respectable people like yourself won't even want to say out loud. It was the great philosopher Mike Tyson that said, "I don't try to intimidate anybody before a fight. That's nonsense. I intimidate people by hitting them." Truer words have never spoken. You see, I don't care if you go into our match with your big boy pants on and you think that there is nothing different about Golem. About halfway through, however, when you realize that your small packages and your schoolboy rollups just aren't getting the job done, while Golem desperately claws away at your face, hopefully you'll remember my words. Hopefully you'll be able to use the deductive abilities you're so proud to have and realize that I was right all along. Maybe then you can give me the fight I came back to wrestling for, before you inevitably pass out from blood loss. If that happens, maybe I won't be forced to annihilate you post-match with my claw and whatever debris suits my fancy at the moment.
(Golem shakes his claw in a "I don't think so" fashion.)
Golem: ....I wouldn't hold my breath on that last part, though. I am just a big, dumb animal after all.
(The latest youtube video loads and we see Jeff “Greenhorn” Jorgenson. Jeff is in front of the web cam in track pants and a sweat drenched t-shirt.)
Jeff: Golem, I’m putting your angst out of my mind. I know where you come from, I know what you have to say. I’ll let it dwell here for a bit longer, but it is no longer relevant to me, or our match.
Our MATCH. Not a fight, but a match. A match with rules, norms and traditions associated with it. This match does not take place in the woods. It takes place in the middle of four steel cables, or maybe four ropes. I haven’t yet stepped into WFW NE’s squared circle, so I’m not quite sure what they use. I’ve worked with both in the past. I’ve even experienced garden hoses covered in duct tape. Each has its own subtle differences.
Subtlety probably isn’t your strong suit. There isn’t much subtlety in quoting Mike Tyson. It is funny how you say you do not care what pants I bring, or if you intimidate me. If you don’t care… who so many words? Why such a long winded diatribe of angst, anger and violence? Why not save your energy, since you seem to have so little left. You continue to tell me how long you’ve been in this game, how there might be so few grains of sand in the hourglass. Then you tell me about how all of your old wrestling buddies and enemies are still in the game, how they are violent, brutal and sadistic and how my kind has no place.
In fact, to you I am over my head. I’ve been forced into a place above my talent level. This seems to offend you. In between 3rd person references to your glorious self, you dismiss me at each turn. As I’ve said before, I would rather be overlooked. I would rather you play your one dimensional game and let me work the levels I learned in the training facility you laugh off.
I guess you have to do that, because I don’t exist in the past. I don’t live in the shadows of yesterday like these Tacts, Minions and Psychos. I am stepping from the shadows into the spotlight. I am grappling to win, not just a match but to win back professional wrestling for the wrestlers and the fans.
This is not a blood sport.
We have traditions, but instincts. And we have fans. There might be people crammed into backyards or armories who want to see nothing but blood, but on the stage I am about to take, there is more. And there aren’t just people who want wrestling to be that continuous circle jerk you want it to be. It is not an insult that someone new is put into the ring with you Golem. Just because someone is new to you doesn’t mean that they are unskilled, untrained and unworthy. Pro-Wrestling must continue to evolve to survive. It can’t exist in evolutionary seclusion where the same group of guys yell at each other and engage in fisticuffs again and again.
The fans eventually filter out when they have seen Golem and Minion battle for the 100th time. They change the channel when they hear Golem talk about Tact for the 1,000th time. I guess when you haven’t fought in three years you don’t have much to talk about other than your glory days. You just expect that you will use blood to grease the tracks and your train will be back on schedule.
But don’t expect to be on or close Golem! I turned on the radio today and they say to expect delays. In fact, a Greenhorn may divert your northbound express to a slow, southbound local.
Do you know why violence doesn’t always trump technical ability? Because I am here. The WFW NE knows it cannot keep trotting out the same old sadists in this day and age. The new era would come to an end quickly. So there is a need for fresh blood, for young lions. A young lion is more dangerous when he doesn’t have to use his claws Golem. He knows he has those claws, but he keeps them in reserve, for when the time is right.
So it is time for me to stop spouting words. I am not going to heed the advice of Mike Tyson, because Mike Tyson was never known for his mind. Words have their place, but the time for words has ended. At the same time, Mike Tyson is 15 years past relevancy. It is fitting you would quote him, because you are only concerned with the past, with people, places and things that only exist in memory. Sure Mike Tyson still exists in this day and place, but the Mike Tyson you are thinking of is gone. The Golem you keep talking about is also gone. I don’t discount him, but no one is ever the same man he was in the past. But you keep trying to recapture that. You assume I am the same person I was in the past, an unskilled, unmolded piece of flesh at the Hacker School of Wrestling. You assume anyone who challenges you who isn’t someone you know is in over their head.
But I am here to make a stand. To make a difference. To make a name. Every hand I slap as I go around ringside is a new person I will draw energy from. Only a few of them will know who I am, but out of habit they’ll reach out, and I’ll reach out to them. I’ll fight for them Golem, I’ll fight for pro wrestling as they want it to be. My friend, I am here to take up the mantle of professional wrestling as a sport!
I’ll be fighting at a level I never have before… at least I hope so. I just ask that everyone out there come out and support me. Because I’ll need your support. If you are tired of the same men you’ve seen circle jerk for the last 10 years, support me. If you are tired of people who think pro-wrestling fans are nothing more than blood thirsty buffoons, make your voice heard. I can wrestle alone, I can fight without back up, but I don’t want to. I love this sport because of everyone out there, because I was once you. I wore the face paint. I had a replica belt, I even had pajamas. I want to show everyone out there that your dreams can come true, that the glass ceiling is just glass and nothing more, and that the times are changing!
(Fade into a room in Golem’s estate which features nothing but a light in the corner and a wall of books. Golem paces impatiently in the middle of the room.)
Golem: Haven’t we discussed this already, Jeff? I don’t want to circle the same topics as you. Topics such as your quick and radical transition from devoted fan to corrupted and self-important youth. Topics such as your apparent disdain for the art of wrestling and all its bloody culture. So I’ll take your advice and avoid grudging you through any extensive trips through my past. Instead, I will take you on a journey. A journey to your future.
I understand that you’re new and great and here to stay and yadda yadda yadda. That’s great for you….do you like dogs, “Greenhorn”? As you’ve probably gleaned from previous conversations, I like dogs. I think dogs are interesting. They are tiny barking mirrors of people. They go through all the same stages of development that people go through. And while I might be an old dog who is too stubborn to learn any new tricks, I don’t fear the puppy. Puppies are mischievous, but unwise.
(Golem glances out through the door into the hallway. There is a staircase leading to an upstairs.)
Golem: Have you ever seen a puppy when it first encounters stairs? Its first response is fear. It is unwilling to go up and down the stairs. It requires its master to carry it up and down the staircase. This closely mirrors you as you were working your way to the WFW. You weren’t capable of reaching the next plateau without Hacker and his precious training to hold your hand and carry you there. You understood that you weren’t intelligent enough to handle the problems before you, but that’s okay, because you had a safety net. However, the puppy’s next stage of development comes when it tackles those stairs for the first time. The puppy tears up the stairs at rocket speed, with no concern for the consequences and feels like a conquering hero when he reaches the top. Then…he looks down.
(Golem turns back to the camera.)
Golem: You see, when you’re young you can’t see the forest for the trees. You think you know what it is you are doing and why you are doing it. But your understanding is so brutally and fundamentally shortsighted that when you reach the top, you realize that you never really developed any plan to get back down. So the puppy sits down on its hind legs, whimpers like the stupid animal that it is, and waits for its master to come up and take it back to the safe ground. You see, if puppies have one strength it’s getting themselves into trouble. But, Jeff, the funny thing is that you can’t get past that stage of development without going through it. And right now, you’ve rushed yourself to the top of the ladder. You don’t have any way down. The good news is that Golem is here to lend you a hand.
(Golem goes to the bookshelf and begins scanning the shelves.)
Golem: I’ve told you before that Golem will terrible things to you at Almost Live. Horrible, despicable things. But it seems that you don’t seem to understand what all that really means. The YouTube feeds with your double speak will quickly be replaced by bloody YouTube videos of your WFW audition tape against Golem. Right out of the box, you completely misunderstood how Almost Live was going to go down. That was evident from your initial comments regarding how you don’t stay on the same rung after you defeat Golem. There you go again, climbing up stairs without considering the fall back down. But come with me and see how it ends.
(Golem grabs a particular book and holds it up to the camera.)
Golem: Ah, the Virgin Suicides. A great if somewhat simplistic book. In fact, some of its genius comes in the fact that it taunts its readers with the conclusion right from the start. You know there are going to be virgins and you know those virgins are going to commit suicide. The fun is the journey, not the conclusion. There are obvious parallels to our encounter. You see, as you bash yourself into the rock face that is the one they call Golem, you have to understand that the cost will be high and terrible. That’s a fact, and it’s really unrelated to whether or not you can get my shoulders down for three seconds or not. I am not the Cherry Popper; I am not the uncorker of dreams. Golem is the destroyer of worlds, the new and next great disappointment in the unfolding darkness. Because you can pretend that this isn’t your first rodeo or that the aesthetics of the ring and the tightness of the ropes will all play some big factor in the match. You can even call your fans to help you, ask them to lay hands upon you and pray for your safe return.
(Golem shakes his head disgustedly)
Golem: None of that will matters. None of that has ever mattered. You know why you’re here? You aren’t here to replace Golem. You are here to be fed to Golem. When the crowd gets sick of me injuring Wrestler A, WFW satiates them by handing me Wrestler B. And when you are used up and unwanted, they will throw you away and give me Wrestler C. And so the cycle will continue, until I retire or get bored or just break everybody. All are acceptable outcomes. Because, like in The Virgin Suicides, there is no perfect answer. There is no happy ending, not even a full explanation of why it is the way it is and why you were thrown to Golem before you even had a chance to hit the ground running. There are only questions and facts and a doomed and damaged future.
(Golem puts the book back and turns to the camera.)
Golem: You can ponder the relevancy in all my metaphors and allegories and offhand quotes. You can stare at each puzzle piece confused and wonder what it’s supposed to be. And later, when you evolve behind a puppy, Jorgenson, you’ll begin to see the picture fit. You won’t need me to put it all together for you. You won’t need me to rip you down from atop the ladder in order for you to get down. And that will be a proud day for you. But for me? I’ll just be done and onto the next one. Maybe at that time, they’ll call your number again and we’ll see just how eager you are then.
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