Dan Ryan stands near a window looking down from somewhere high up on the Greensboro Marriott. Let's call it the eleventh floor.
Ryan is at a three-quarters angle, and looks unflinchingly through dark sunglasses at the town below.
Ryan: "So, the stakes have been raised a bit."
"Instead of a World Championship, I'm lured here with the promise of a possible shot at the Unified World Title instead."
Ryan sighs and shakes his head.
"I can't say exactly what that means to me."
"It's been two years now. Two years since I won a championship in the ring that I would eventually lose in a conference room."
"It's been two years since my name was thrust upon the scene and I was taken seriously after months of doubt. Two years since despite a six-time World Championship resume, the wrestling world finally began to take notice."
"It's funny how things have changed. But certain things haven't. I continue to be doubted. I continue to be ignored."
"I also continue to be right."
"I never came to this company for acceptance."
"I came to this company as a gigantic '**** you' to the people in this business who would discount the contributions of other wrestling organizations to the welfare of the sport in general. I came to show them all that the 'big fish in a little pond' analogy doesn't always apply."
"I came to show them that some people don't need the CSWA to be big."
"But it's undeniable that it takes the CSWA to seem big."
"August 8th, 2003 didn't make me a great wrestler. Arguably, it may have made me a big star."
"The danger to Stephen Thomas is that someone outside of his idea of a proper Champion is probably one of the most likely to walk away with the belt."
"Thomas worked about as hard as a man can to make sure I was nowhere near his title picture."
"He tried to make me quit."
"He stripped me of the World Title on the same weekend that I learned that one of my best friends in the business - Rob Sampson - passed away unexpectantly."
"A falsely contrite email from his secretary apologizing for the timing was the icing on the cake."
"But Stephen Thomas doesn't know me the way Chad Merritt did."
"Merritt knew that despite my entering this company in a quest to embarrass it, that I have inside me the sort of mettle, the sort of determination, the sort of never-say-die attitude that defines what a true champion is all about."
"That's why Merritt always succeeded where Thomas fails."
"It's always about business. Always about business."
"And it's no different in the present day is it?"
"I stand here after a meeting with Thomas on the precipice of another quest....for what I can't define right now."
"Is it revenge?"
"Is it vindication?"
"Belts are won and lost with such frequency in this business that title reigns are but a speck on the timeline of a wrestling company's existence."
"Steve Radder I can say nothing about. Aside from sharing some past associates I know nothing of the man."
"I've seen the video just like everyone else."
"But Steve, you're not even registering right now."
"I have plans of my own that must be seen through. Who's to say if they involve another reign at the top? Nevertheless, they don't involve losing to you."
"They never involve losing, Steve."
"But then I suppose I'm stating the obvious eh? It would be quite unique for someone to come out and talk about expecting to lose."
(The camera fades in on STEVE RADDER standing in front of a “CSWA Unified Title Tournament” backdrop, wearing a long-sleeved golf shirt, and a pair of jeans.)
STEVE RADDER: Dan Ryan. I don’t think we’ve ever really crossed paths before, and if we did it must not have been that memorable … but at any rate, despite all of that, we’ve been thrown together with the only thing we have in common being a desire to climb to the top of this tournament and win the Unified Title … or do we even have that in common?
(He continues, with a puzzled look crossing his face.)
STEVE RADDER: Why ARE you even here, Ryan? Why are you involved in this tournament? How do you expect to prevail when you say yourself that you’re not necessarily fighting for the Unified Title? That you have some “GRAND MASTER PLAN” that’s bigger than what the 16 of us are involved in? We do have one thing in common, Dan, there’s no doubt of that. There’s no animosity between Steve Radder and Dan Ryan. There’s no hating happening, nothing on the level of The Worm, or “Powers”. A difference comes up, Danny, in that my fight IS with YOU while your fight obviously isn’t with me … but we’ll get to that later. My fight’s with you, Mr. Ryan, because you’re In The Way. You’re in the way of redemption. You’re an obstacle in my path, nothing more, nothing less. I’m assuming that you’ll be at least a bit of an obstacle, y’know, since you’ve been a Champ before, but we all know what they say about what happens when you assume, and Troy Diggity, clearly the smartest man in existence has made it perfectly clear that they’ve been just giving the belt to anyone lately.
(RADDER raises his left index finger and points at the camera, briefly showing an almost horrific scar that seems to run the entire length of his hand, and more, though after a couple of words, he balls it into a fist, pauses with almost a grimace on his face, then lowers his hand.)
STEVE RADDER: You, Mr. Ryan, mention yourself that it’s not very original to say “I want to win”, or “I will win”, or the always-classic, “I’m going to beat you into a bloody pulp”, and you’re right, it’s not, and most of the time, it’s unlikely the person talking actually believes the crap coming out of their mouth. Daniel, you’re missing the point that the shtick you’re talking about isn’t exactly a breath of fresh air either. People … legendary performers like Troy Windham fancies himself to be … have been trying to take Merritt down for years. YEARS. It’s been done to death. It’s boring. That makes you boring. “He wronged me, I hate him, screw the boss” is so run-of-the-mill that fans are going to start booing it because it stinks worse than Teri Melton’s panties. Is he the best? No. Is he taking advantage of you, me, and anything that can be bent at the waist? Maybe. Does he disrespect the work done by “other promotions”? Who knows, and let me tell you something else, Ryan, the whole “coming to another organization to destroy it from within” isn’t exactly a new idea either, not an original, baby, and for that matter, it’s been done by people I respect a pile more than I respect you. I choose to take advantage of the shot I’ve been given, the chance to do what I should have a long time ago just as much as Merritt’s taking advantage of the butts Steve Radder is putting in seats. Because Steve Radder means showtime and Merritt knows is as much as his fans do.
(RADDER smiles and holds his arms out at his sides for a short while, letting them fall back after a couple of moments.)
STEVE RADDER: All that aside, Dan Ryan, this isn’t some kind of cry for you to pay attention to me, to respect me, to validate my existence by acknowledging it. The attention is what “ended” my career last time, and to be honest, Steve Radder is perfectly happy having things remain as they are. Having YOUR goal be some undefined revenge against your boss that EVERYONE is looking for. Keeping your eyes off the prize. You don’t know what this means to me. For me. It’s only after you’ve lost everything, Dan, that you’re free to do anything. Not my words. Still true. Steve Radder will be there at Primetime, ready to begin back down that path to redemption. Danny-boy, THIS is a show-down.
DAN RYAN sitting behind a royal oak desk in an ornate office. Light streams in from behind and just to the left and the reflection of a little red blinking light on the camera offers the only other light.
Ryan furrows his brow and looks straight on.
Ryan: "Do you know where I'm from, Steve? You probably don't. It's not particularly except this situation reminds me of someone I used to know."
"I'm from the South, from Texas to be specific. Yes, some people talk funny down there so I'll save everyone the trouble of making the joke right up front."
"But there was this older lady that was a friend of the family who used to look at people like you with this look on her face kinda like someone just asked why it's so hot in Texas."
"I sense that were she here today she might say something like.....'Steve, I'm not sure you're paying attention all that well, sugar.' "
"Now Steve, try to keep up."
"I don't mean to be condescending at all, because I recognize this as a simple error on your part - but the Merritt thing? That happened over a year ago - BEFORE I was champ. The Thomas part? That's going on right now."
"Are you clear on it a little bit better now?"
"I never really tried to take Merritt down or destroy the company from within - that was the Intruders' schtick. I made it my mission to embarrass this company, not destroy it - and that's exactly what I did."
"And what I did? It was exactly what you'd call 'scripted' either. Ask Merritt about his reaction when his World Champion was at the end of a bloody beatdown on GXW Television at my hands."
"If your final answer is that he wasn't thrilled, you just won the million dollar jackpot."
"I don't do schtick, Steve - but business is business."
"There's nothing so grandiose going on as me sitting back evilly rubbing my hands together in glee at a master plan coming together. But I do have my own goals, Steve. I do have my own reasons for what I do."
"I'm just not stupid."
"It might be normal to you for me to explain everything in detail. It may seem like the thing to do to play a role and gloss over reality in order to entertain you and satisfy your desire for basic professional wrestling etiquette in promotional pieces."
"If you don't respect me Steve, really that's just fine and dandy - cuz last time I checked not too many people were sporting Steve Radder posters on their walls and begging the likes of you to do anything except fill out the roster of a World Title tournament anyway. It's your problem, not mine. And it simply means you aren't smart enough to know what you're getting into."
"I wipe my ass with the people you respect."
"And if my only immediate goal is to wipe the mat with you because you've gotten on my nerves, that'll have to do for now."
"You don't know anything about losing everything. You don't anything about losing anything real."
"If you'd been anywhere near the wrestling business for the last three years you'd know better than to say stupid s**t like that to me."
"I'll take this tournament if I want to, if it fulfills the purpose I have for myself. And I'll be happy to introduce you to a big fu**ing plate of reality in the first round."
"Just do me a favor and call me Danny-Boy one more time. I can't get enough of hearing that every week of my life from every opponent I ever face."
"Don't suppose to know where my eyes are - don't presume to know what I'm thinking or where I'm going or who I am - because you haven't a fu**ing clue."
FWrestling.com was founded in 1994 to promote a community of fantasy wrestling fans and leagues. Since then, we've hosted dozens of leagues and special events, and thousands of users. Come join and prove you're "Even Better Than The Real Thing."
Add Your League
If you want to help grow the community of fantasy wrestling creators, consider hosting your league here on FW. You gain access to message boards, Discord, your own web space and the ability to post pages here on FW. To discuss, message "Chad" here on FW Central.