[The New Frontier was in one of its gestation periods, which was probably for the best with ULTRATITLE heating up the way it had been. Speaking of ULTRATITLE, a lot of heavy hitters had been taken down so far in the first three brackets of Round One and so ERIC DANE had been paying special attention, scouting out for any potential future spoilers to his own path to the ULTRATITLE.]
[On top of all that, DEFIANCE had been traveling it’s fair share of bumpy roads in recent weeks as well. Internal issues regarding off-screen personalities had been boiling over on several fronts and then a complete loss of network security had tested the mettle of DEFIANCE’s core staff, and had left its owner with a serious need to work out some aggression issues.]
[Ask Go-Go Spectacular how that was going.]
[FADEIN: Having spent entirely too much time in California at Castor Strife’s Hollywood Hills home/studio recently ERIC DANE had not been in attendance at the TV Tapings for either Evolution TV or Heritage TV. Because of that post-editing had become a nightmare, and he’d had to volunteer himself to come home to New Orleans and get into the editing room with Executive Producer and part time lackey ANGUS SKAALAND in order to get the shows finished and on the air.]
[Evolution was presently in rotation; Heritage was not.]
Angus: [looking up from several monitors]
Oh for fuck’s sake...
[The Defiance Boss looked up from his own work, sound-editing as it were.]
If you’ve got Castor Strife’s entire production company on the payroll, why in Christ’s name have I been stuck inside this studio for the better part of two weeks, working on these shows by myself?
[Eric considered this.]
Because you need to learn to rely on yourself.
[The Motormouth of Malcontent rolls his eyes.]
You know, if you’re gonna go all in-character on me we should probably go next door to the promo-room and you could say something about the ULTRATITLE.
[The Only Star’s nose wrinkles.]
Uh-uh. We’ve got a Television show to produce. ULTRATITLE can wait.
[Seconds passed. Things were edited. The air was tense.]
Ah, hell. It’s stuck in my head now, may as well lay down something for the promos on ESEN. It’s not like they’re not paying us, we should be marketable. Valuable.
You mean something past walking up and saying “Hi, I’m Eric, and I’m better than you?”
There’s definitely something to be said for the direct route. But you know me, Ang, I do so very much love to pontificate.
[The color-commentator’s eyes widen, his work comes to a complete stop.]
No, you? Mr. The Only Star? Mr. 437 reasons why Impulse isn’t a babyface? Mr. Leapfrogged the entire NFW Roster to a Title Shot? I’d have never thought that a man such as yourself would take joy from talking about himself for hours on end.
[He rolls his eyes over-dramatically.]
Keep pushing, I’ll promote you to my sparring partner.
[Angus zipped his lips, physically, and ate the key.]
Alright, come on, let’s put something on tape.
[Without speaking, Angus nodded his approval. Things were saved on computers, and Heritage TV would once again have to wait as something a bit more right here and right now was about to take precedence.]
“In order to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man.”
[FADEIN: Eric Dane.]
And then you went out, and you beat the shit Wesley Paige.
Wesley Paige, who is the absolute antithesis of the phrase The Man, Matt. You already knew that though, didn’t you. You said it yourself before the match ever happened, and you proved it inside the ring.
[He clears his throat. The Only Star is dressed casually for once, an Affliction-styled DEFIANCE t-shirt over dark blue jeans. Nothing special, nothing fancy. Behind him is the red distressed DEFIANCE logo, and in front of him is Angus Skaaland operating an HDTV camera with the red light blinking on the front.]
Allow me to introduce you to the Man as it pertains to your time in the ULTRATITLE.
[The former bazillion and seventy-two time World Champion puffs up, he smiles that classic smile and he pulls those professionally CLEAN heel shades off his face to show gleaming cerulean eyes.]
My name is Eric Dane.
And I’m the last name you’ll have the privilege of having to learn for the 2012 ULTRATITLE. You see, as I tried to explain to my erstwhile opposition Go-Go Spectacular, inside of this tournament you are only the sum of other people’s perception of you.
Go-Go was perceived as a spunky young Latina, and she beat it into our heads like a good little catchphrase-spewing upstart about how her will would overcome my years and years of experience at the art of winning matches, and in just under five minutes I embarrassed her right back into whatever backwoods attempt at a wrestling promotion that she came from, never to be heard from by important ears again.
She, much like yourself Matt, was just a gimmick.
Unlike Go-Go, you’ve got some years under your belt. I see you’re something of a franchise name for the Professional RPG Wrestling promotion. I’ve never heard of RPG Wrestling myself, but my associates assure me that you people do not indeed sit around a small table in a dank basement and throw dice to decide who wins and who loses. I’m told, as a matter of fact, that PRW is one of the hot up and coming promotions out there.
I’m told that you helped build that place up, and now you’ve decided that you’re too good for the people you’ve spent your career working for and have turned your back on your fans and your boss and everyone else. As a promoter myself I simply cannot abide by that kind of shady business practice, and I’ve decided to take it on my shoulders to teach you a little respect, so that after I’ve introduced your shoulders to the mat for the required three seconds you can limp back to the PRW as a seasoned [finger quotes] “veteran” of the International wrestling community.
More likely you’ll scrabble back there with your tail tucked marvelously between your legs and cry favoritism after I’ve beaten you on every level that one wrestler can best another at, but that’s neither here nor there.
[He had begun pacing through his rant, and now stopped. He dealt with the camera and everyone on the other end of it with the practiced ease of a twenty year career at the top of the ladder of success.]
So, if you are the sum of your gimmick and my perception, let’s see what we can see. You’ve grown from “Cajun” Matt Caje, beloved hero to the (imaginary) masses, to “The Cure” Matt Caje in what was probably the most underwhelming segment on whatever sad excuse for a “supercard” that PRW could produce.
And your intent?
To cure all of the wrongs in the wrestling business.
[He stifles a chuckle.]
Well then, Matt, it would appear that we’re at an impasse.
You see, history dictates that I am the very vision of your hatred brought to flesh. I’ve lied and cheated my way through my time in this business, I’ve just recently stolen Castor Strife’s production company out from under him as a means to an end. I am that backstage politicking cancer of the locker room that idiots on the internet squabble about for months on end. I am the very living breathing embodiment of the brass ring in this business, Matt, and I defy you to cure me in the middle of the ring.
Cure me of my wicked ways!
I double freaking dare you. I’ve put down bigger, smarter, and much more threatening men and monsters over the last two decades than you could comprehend with a Scientific Calculator and a year's subscription to all of the dirtsheets. I’ve literally made my career off of shutting mouthy pricks like you up by sticking my boot through their teeth and down their throat.
And you, Matt.
You’re a lot of talk and too much posturing, kid. You’re a boy playing at a man’s game. I’ll give you all of the credit in the world for throwing your name in the hat and showing up to the dance, but when it all comes to life in Round Two, none of your effort and none of your talk and none of your posturing will matter past your ring entrance.
Then, my music plays, I walk out, and you cease to matter.
Sure, you’ll get a few cheers. Hell, you’ll get a lot of cheers. Welcome to the big time. But understand now that they won’t be cheering for you because they like you, Matt, they’ll be cheering for you because they hate me.
And that’s the entire point.
I give the fans a reason to spend their money on wrestling, Matt, I give them a target to lock onto and project their hatred at. I’ve made two dozen men millionaires sheerly through t-shirt sales because those fans spend all of their money on t-shirts and action figures in support of them, and do you know why?
Because I know how to do business.
That, and I have zero issues doing whatever is necessary to push business forward. Whether it be backhanded deals or the blatant physical injury of rivals, by trickery, chicanery, or outright theft, I have always and will always continue to work the wrestling business and everyone inside of it in precisely the same way.
That is to say, to my advantage.
[His smile returns.]
So go ahead, Matt, cure me. I’ll be waiting with baited breath to see if you can be that man after twenty years who can do what no other has been able to muster up the guts to do.
Shut me up.
[Hands fold over his chest.]
Oh and Matt, cage is spelled with a G, not a J. You’re doing it wrong.
The night before the second round of ULTRATITLE matches was ominous; perhaps too ominous. Despite the predictions of the best weathermen in the area, the forecast of clear skies was proven more than wrong by the unyielding torrential downpour attacking the area like an aqueous legion. The rain made for terrible driving conditions, so under order of those running the tournament, participants were retained to the vicinity of the mid-star hotel they were put up in. Few ventured outside on this night, but for Matt Caje, staying inside was out of the question.
The rain calmed his overactive mind and made it easy for him to focus. He'd need to focus, for the man he would face the following night had decimated his opponent almost as fast as Caje had his own. Eric Dane was, by all rights, a man who had found the cure without Caje's help. He didn't fight for honor, he fought to win, as Caje did – and CMC would need to stay on his toes if he wanted any chance to beat the veteran.
::As the scene opens, Matt is seen sitting on a bench in the courtyard of the hotel, just protected from a soaked near future by an overlap of the roof of the building. As he watches the rain pour down before him he savors the sweet smoke of a fresh-cut Nicaraguan cigar, having tipped the hotel desk clerk a crisp 50 spot to turn a blind eye to the flagrant disregard of the building's 'no smoking within 20 feet' policy. As he gently takes a puff of the vice hand-rolled by the less fortunate, a door to his side swings open violently.::
Voice: There you are!
::Having not paid any attention to the entrance, Caje now turns his head to see the yellow figures of a reporter and a second camera man. Both men are wearing rain ponchos; the reporter sports a matching yellow seafarers hat that would be the envy of even the Gorton's fisherman. The frantic reporter steps out into the rain, propping open an umbrella over the camera with one hand and stabilizing his microphone near his mouth with the other as the light wind attempts to rip it from his grasp. He continues.::
Reporter: Matt, I'm with the ULTRATITLE Tournament's official website. I was wondering if you'd seen the video released by your opponent Eric Dane this week. Have you seen his verbal attack on you?
::Caje exhales a breath of tobacco smoke and flicks ashes from his stogie onto the ground before standing. He takes a moment to ponder the interviewer's request, smiling for a moment in reminiscence. Finally, his mouth delivers an answer.::
Caje: I have.
::The reporter sighs in disbelief, not satisfied with the utter simplicity of The Cure's answer.::
Caje: I think he needs to fire his research team. You know what? Why don't you just hand me this microphone...
::Caje rips the microphone from the reporter's hand.::
Caje: ...and run along?
::Not wanting to test the mettle of Matt Caje for himself, the journalist scurries off without hesitating. The cameraman begins to follow.::
Caje: Ah-ah-ah... not you. Unlike my friend, Eric, I don't exactly have the luxury of a production team. You stay.
::The cameraman does as directed, stopping dead in his tracks under the lip of the roof. The viewer's line of sight immediately switches to the perspective of this camera. Caje begins to speak to his opponent.::
Caje: You know, Eric, you and I aren't so different.
::Caje's smile grows wider, almost to crap eating grin status.::
Caje: You seem to misinterpret my mission here. I'm no moral crusader. You said you were going to fight dirty? Well, I happen to have a few tricks up my sleeve myself. For instance, after studying tapes from your past, I know that you have terrible knees. I'm not above stomping them until they break, Eric, and I intend to do so. I won't hesitate to gouge your eyes, bite you, or pull your hair – I might even kick you in your swollen geriatric testicles a few times if lack of attention amongst the officials allows for it. Expect the turnbuckle pads to disappear early, and expect your bloodied face to be bouncing off of the steel beneath soon after.
::Caje's eyes roll back in ecstasy, his mind enjoying the thought almost more than his cigar. He takes another drag and returns it to his side.::
Caje: I admire your resolve to win, though. That you don't care about appeasing the desires of the fans, your lack of respect for the prestige and honor of this tournament... you don't need to be cured. Perhaps beating you will be purely for my enjoyment? Perhaps not.
Face it, Eric. What you lack in youth, I have. On top of being out of your prime you're big and slow, I intend to use that to my advantage. Experience? You're going to bite off more than you can chew if you walk into the ring expecting an easy bout with some greenhorn. Since 2001 I've been beating the best of the best in this industry. I've fought everywhere from Madison Square Garden to a makeshift arena within the Roman Coliseum in a fight that spilled onto the very streets of Rome itself. I've amassed nine top championships in four companies. It's not quite your record, I'll admit, but your title history isn't going to save you from getting kneed in the face in our match.
::Matt flicks the cigar again, expelling the ashes accumulated in his preoccupation.::
Caje: Wesley Paige is weak, but he didn't lose because he's weak. He lost because I am strong and it would serve you well to not forget this. Paige was merely the beginning of a body count that will lead me straight to the ULTRATITLE finals. I believe on values I can come to respect you, but your underestimation of me – that I can not forgive. For that, I will make you pay – for that, you WILL take The Cure.
::Caje pulls his cigar upward to about an inch and a half from his face, dangling it for the world to see. By now, he almost disregards the patter of the rain against the tin above his head in lieu of focusing on the task at hand.::
Caje: Your time in ULTRATITLE, Eric, will prove to be quite like this cigar. Until now, you have been allowed to enjoy your time here. You took slow, satisfying drags of the introduction banquet, complete with buffet. You took in the aromas of your first match, savoring the smooth finish of Go-Go Spectacular's failure. You've enjoyed the way the attention fits between your fingers like a glove, Eric, for it has been more than you've gotten in a while. Unfortunately, now you're walking in the rain and believe me, The Cure will rain down on you like a typhoon.
When The Cure hits your precious cigar...
::Caje looks lovingly at his little cylindrical slice of heaven for a moment. Suddenly, his face takes on a sadistic grimace and he shoves the tobacco stick out from under the safe haven of the awning. Within seconds, the battering rain knocks the orange hot ember from the cigar's tip. He pulls it back in, displaying the sopping, smoking extinguished black end.::
Caje: ...your enjoyment – your time here, it will be abruptly washed out.
::Matt glances at his cigar again. His lip quivers into the position of a puppy face for a moment before shrugging and tossing the waste aside. He smirks.::
Caje: Eric, we both want the same thing, but your flame will go out when we meet. I personally promise to you that I will not only beat you, I will actively pursue to end your career. Not because I carry some sort of vendetta against you, but simply because I can. That said, I offer you the same proposition I did Wesley Paige. If you decide to withdraw from our fight, I will think no lesser of you for it. Fight and lose, possibly more than the match, or stay on vacation in your little studio and save your decrepit body to stand in the ring another day. That is your choice, make it wisely.
If you still intend to meet me in the ring, then I suppose I will see you there. Until then... go to hell.
::Caje begins toward the door to let himself inside. He stops himself and turns back toward the camera, nodding his head and slowly wagging his finger.::
Caje: Oh, and thank you for your spelling lesson. I'll have to take your word on the 'g' thing – after all, you spelled 'loser' 'D-A-N-E', and that sounds about right to me.
::Caje turns back toward the entrance. He fishes through his pocket to find his key card. He scans it and is met with a beep and unlocking sound from the door. Caje moves into the warmth of the hotel and begins heading for his room, presumably to plan for his impending match as the scene draws to a close.::
“It’s been said, over and over, that you get back out of this business what you put into it. That is to say, you reap what you sew.”
[That idiot Cancer Jiles is hallucinating, there is no potted fern sitting in the corner of the DEFIANCE promo booth. Specifically it’s a ficus, there is no corner, and it isn’t a booth. The man is an admitted DRUG ABUSER, he isn’t to be trusted! Next he’ll be droning on about the “good ol’ days” or whatever.]
I’m here to tell you people, that’s a line of bullshit if there ever was one, and anybody trying to feed anybody that line is selling something. One doesn’t get out what one puts in, one gets out what one takes for himself.
Cases in point:
Matt Caje is taking a break from the ULTRATITLE.
Eric Dane is taking Matt Caje out of the ULTRATITLE.
I could go on at length about those two sentences, but I think they’re both pretty much foregone conclusions at this point, am I right? So instead of beating that dead horse again, I’ve decided that I’ll spend my alloted promotional time making delightful ponderings and anecdotes about the ULTRATITLE at large.
[He clears his throat.]
So how about those guys from DEFIANCE?
My good friend and the Executive Vice-President of Operations of all things defiant, Jeff Andrews, has walked into this tournament after I benched him in DEF to take an office job, and he’s taken that frustration out by kicking the dogshit of the walking wrestlecrap that is Dr. Curiosity.
And you guys ain’t even seen him get all SURLY yet.
On top of that Pete Whealdon went out and beat up a mentally challenged guy. I can’t say that I’m particularly proud of that, but then, I’m not the guy who let the gimp into the tournament in the first place. That kid’s blood is on Chad Merritt’s hands all day long.
Speaking of the mentally retarded people competing in ULTRATITLE, apparently Cancer Jiles made it to round two as well. I can’t say I’m surprised, the guy’s slipperier than goose-shit and as Jeff Andrews can tell you from experience, the guy knows how to win matches. Won’t matter that much, though, if his egg-throwing ass makes it to the fourth round, he’s gonna get himself a big ugly dose of reality when I drop him on his head until his shoulders are compacted into his shoes.
But that’s a story for later.
[The Only Star swallows back a bit of bile and continues.]
And before anybody brings it up, no, I didn’t hire Cobra to put Dan Ryan out of the ULTRATITLE in some kind of perverse recreation of The Hydra. What happened is that Dan Ryan decided he was too good to pay attention and got himself beat by a guy who I publicly trolled for a year, convinced that not only was I a big giant snake but I was immortal and his God, and then bounced his head off the concrete and fired him live on Pay-Per-View.
Am I disappointed? Maybe.
Do I care? Nope. Let it be said, though, I’ll give Spike Saunders a lifetime contract in DEFIANCE if he brings me that snake’s blood-covered mask on a silver platter. That’s a standard contract, though, and a standing invitation to the entire roster of the ULTRATITLE. If he happens to make it to the finals and I get to stand across the ring from him and give him his revenge, well, let’s just say I do live in New Orleans, and I don’t have a problem in the world with skinning a snake the hard way.
[Unconsciously he’d been emphasizing with his hands. It was a habit that annoyed him in other people, but there was just something about Cobra that annoyed The Defiance boss to no end.]
As for Eugene losing to Troy Windham?
I mean come on, it’s Troy freakin’ Windham. Nevermind I put that overrated ass in a neck-brace just a few short months ago by cracking him over the head with a Halliburton full of his own money.
Still and all, though, nobody expected the kid to beat Troy, and he didn’t. I’ll say this much, though, knowing the kid the way I do, I know that loss ain’t gonna sit well with him, and I know that the payday for a rematch could be on the hefty side, should Troy Windham ever want to set foot in a DEFIANCE ring and test his mettle.
[I’m serious, Troy. MONEY! You know you like it.]
Also, in non-defiant news, there’s apparently been a few little controversies in this here edition of the ULTRATITLE. First and foremost that Blaine Hollywood versus Zero debacle. I can’t say much about Blaine, I like his dad though, but that Zero...
I don’t know, he’s got the most perfectly manicured face of anyone in the entire tournament. I’m not a gay man myself, but if I were I’d probably **** that face until I loosened some teeth. I mean you can just tell he spends hours in front of a mirror with a razor, nah-mean?
And then there was the Sean Stevens incident.
[Eric Dane is not impressed.]
I am not impressed.
Not the fact the he lost to a reject from a Kid Rock look-a-like contest, I expected that. No, I’m not impressed with his winning of some phantom battle royal in Rio de Janeiro that managed to get him a slot in Round 2.
Come. On. Man.
You seriously wanna be the guy that got beat by Jason Murray and then went on to continue in the tournament anyway? How low class is that? Probably about as low as that scuzzy excuse for a bar that his wife runs in New York.
Speaking of annoying people who I’d like to smash, what’s up with Joe the Plumber showing up to work on heroin? Okay, I know that’s either not really what happened or it actually is what happened and nobody wants to say anything about what used to be NFW’s posterboy, but I was looking forward to fuckstarting his early retirement.
Whatever, I’m sure he’ll randomly show up again somewhere and he’ll burp and fart his way into a ring and if I’m anywhere near it, I’ll hit him in the face with a shovel.
[He begins pacing a bit.]
A lot of different angles are at play here, boys-
[All of a sudden and with very little in the way of a heads up Angus Skaaland pops into the frame. His body language is all askew, and the boss’s eyebrows rise in frustration.]
Angus: STOP THE BOAT!
Are you serious? I’m in the middle of a take here.
[Angus pants, heaving in the oxygen to try and catch his breath.]
It’s Caje! He finally decided to show up!
Nah, fwrestling.com. I’ve got it on my iPhone!
[The DEFIANCE commentator and producer reaches into the back pocket of his cargo-shorts and produces the device. A few taps later and The Only Star becomes a singular audience to what The Cure finally had to say.]
[Three minutes pass.]
I didn’t say it was any good, I said it was there.
He got bum-rushed by a TV reporter for the website? I thought the website did radio podcasts. This guy doesn’t rate ESEN coverage?
Don’t look at me, I don’t write this shit.
Whatever. Is the camera still rolling? [Angus nods.] Well cut all of this in post, I’m gonna pick up where I left off.
[He tosses the smartphone back at Skaaland.]
[Skaaland exits stage left. The Only Star turns back to the camera, his head shifted to the side in an almost amused fashion.]
You’re wrong about two things, Matt.
Number one, you and I are nothing alike. You’re a little boy who got mad and threw a temper tantrum when things didn’t go his way and that million dollar career never materialized. Myself, on the other hand, I’ve been the man since before you started in this business, I’m the man right now, while you’re struggling to matter in a very small company that has obviously surpassed its use for you, and I’ll be the man long after you’ve decided that discretion is the better part of cowardice and you go back to whatever counter-jockey job you had before you ever wandered into my domain.
This isn’t about tenacity and it isn’t about physical condition. Mind you, I’m in the best of my life, but in a five minute thrashing cardiovascular health isn’t really going to come into play. This is about being the best wrestler IN THE BUILDING each and every time you walk into an arena to work a show. This is about being the ULTIMATE of CHAMPIONS. This is about the complete dominance of one of the strongest fields to ever grace the tournament brackets in any sport, let alone wrestling.
And that’s the other thing you’re wrong about, Matt.
[The Only Star’s face twists into a sneering grin.]
I have no disrespect for the ULTRATITLE, none whatsoever.
This championship represents yet another cornerstone in the legacy of my career. I want nothing more than to honor it by reveling in the mediocrity of the preliminary rounds of the competition, that’s you, and bathing in the blood of all of those so unlucky as to have drawn my name in the third bracket.
That’s also you.
You think in the near two decades I’ve been doing this that I’ve never faced a knock-off of myself who DOESN’T GET IT enough to realize that it’s not about cheating to win, it’s about making a statement, carving a niche, and defending a legacy against would-be usurpers such as yourself by any means necessary? Take a look in the archives, son, I ripped Alex Austin’s face to shreds with a spike just a couple of months ago in a SUBMISSIONS MATCH just to prove a point.
What do you think I’ll do with a whelp like you?
[He shrugs with a knowing smile.]
I hate to be use a cliche here, but suffice it to say that there will be a woodshed involved. And when this is all over, when my hand is raised in victory and I start the march into the third round while you take a Greyhound back to whatever American Legion Hall that PRW runs its shows out of, for a split second even you will understand.
It’s not about you.
It’s about me.
It’s always about me.
[XTREMECLOSEUP: The face of The Only Star, a smirk plastered from ear to ear. He takes his time, eating up every spare second of television time remaining.]
And Matt, you can’t spell your own name right, you don’t honestly expect that anybody believes you’d get mine right, do you?
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.