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Shadow Soldier


Hex Angel

"Round and round and round we go, Windham... same old song, different band."

FADEIN: Eli Flair, sitting on the meager balcony of the Greensboro apartment that he and Poison Ivy had rented for eight years now, to make their CSWA stints less of a hassle. The strap of a title belt whose face plate is turned away from the camera lay almost forgotten in his hands.

"There's only one tired and broken man involved in this match, Mark... and it ain't me. Silence is Golden, Mark... and after Ivy and I switch- hit against your skull, I didn't want to waste my breath until knew I'd have an opponent at all. Nothin' to feel ashamed or insulted over... Ivy and I don't pull punches, and a lesser man would probably be takin' a day or two off."

"The Lost Soul, of course... is goin' above and beyond. Some things never change."

"Merritt wants to cut my pay, he's welcome to do so. Merritt wants to fire me, he's welcome to do so. I do things the way I always have - my way. It's made me a lotta money, and it's made me one of the more memorable names in the history of this business. More to the point... it's the only way I know how to play the game."

"So I really don't have anything to lose, Windham... and I play for keeps."

He laughed.

"But what, exactly, are we playing for? What's at stake? For me, this match is just business. The 'revenge' factor was dutifully and pleasantly dished out with a pair'a big wooden sticks. But this is wrestling, and you can't do that two weeks before the Dance and expect a night off."

"This is about Eli Flair and Mark Windham wrestling each other on the biggest show of the year. It's funny how the last time the CSWA celebrated an Anniversary, we hadn't ever wrestled each other, and were both in very familiar situations. I stood across the ring from your brother, you stood in the ring with GUNS and Mike Randalls."

"And now look at us. Familiar. Old enemies, they're callin' us... and we've only had two matches against each other in our entire careers. CSWA time notwithstanding... I doubt either of us gave the other a second thought before the second of the two."

"Who's Mark Windham to me? He's a man who won a CSWA World Championship despite the fact that his personal life was a shambles. He's a man who defeated everyone in his path, despite the fact that he was mentally and emotionally torn to shreds."

"He's a man that, here in 2004... is like staring into a shattered mirror of who I was in 1999."

"That's what you are to me, Windham... you're a frightening reminder of how close to the edge I came. You're a frighteningly familiar man to me, one that I nearly became."

"I found something to live for, to fight for, Mark... and despite the conflicts we've had, I've always hoped that you'd do the same. I can't pretend to know what happened between you and Jewels, other than the fact that she's obviously not what you need. I can't pretend to know what happened between you and Sunshine - none of us do, except for the fact that she went home."

"Something's out there, something you can hold onto and live for. Maybe it's someone... but I hope you find it."

"And don't call it pity... call it concern from someone who knows how it feels."

"You're not just another name, Windham... nobody with the name Windham is just anything. And after the wars I fought against Troy... the battles I've fought against you... it's safe to say that I'm the last person who should refer to you as 'just' anything."

"So what's this all about, Windham?"

"One last dance."

"Just one more fight."

"There's no retribution to be had, Windham... this entire ordeal has cost you and Ivy each a good, good friend. This entire ordeal has cost me a World Title and a momentary loss of focus."

"Not that I would've beaten you, Windham... because who really knows? All I know about our second match is that we both should've known that giving your brother the Power of the Referee when we're in the ring was a bad idea. But besides all that, this match is here to prove a point."

"Are you happy with the final moment of this personality clash being two abrasive New York rats swinging sticks at your head? Would I have been happy with the final moment of this clash being you laying out my best friend with a steel chair?"

"That's the beauty of this business, of this SPORT, Mark... the utter simplicity of its rules and politics, that - in theory, you can always take your problems to the ring and solve them. In theory, everything can be solved with a three count or a tap out. In practice... someone's always turning out the lights."

"I was hoping you'd realize on your own, that turning out the lights ain't my style. I've always been man enough to stare my enemy in the face before I take 'em out. Even Deacon, back in the days of the ClaimStakers... he knew I was out there, and he knew why."

"Your heart's telling you that you have to make the legend say 'I Quit.' My heart's telling me that if I don't stand across from you one more time - if we don't finish what was started nearly a year ago... then neither of us will ever be able to move on from it."

"There is no possible way I can go home a lesser man, Windham... or a greater man. The measure of a man cannot be taken inside a wrestling ring."

"If the only way you can find redemption is in my destruction... then I have a world of disappointment in store for you, Windham. You've already beaten me. Twice. But you have never... you will never... make me say those words."

"It may help you to hear... that even before CSWA15 begins... that Mark Windham is already the toughest son of a b*t*h I've ever stood in the ring with. But when the match is over... when we all shower and stitch up and go home... where's the measure of a man then, Mark?"

"You're trapped in a shadow, Mark... blinded by the light. Can you find your way out?"

"Well? Can you?"


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