If it's been done before... it will happen again
(There was a tapping at the glass, and Stephen looked up expecting to see somebody he knew. Sure enough, it was one of the many familiar faces of Kokomo, Indiana. It was a particularly pretty face that he had been itching to see for months, and almost felt guilty for dropping by his favorite local coffee shop rather than see her first.)
(He was sitting at a table sipping away at his mocha, reading over the day's newspaper. When he looking up, his girlfriend Charlotte was standing on the other side of the glass. Smiling, she waved at him, and he returned the gesture. She went to the door as he came to his feet, and they met each other between there.)
Stephen: Hi, Charlie.
Charlotte: Hey hey... when did you get back?
(He pecked her cheek and pulled away, holding her hands in his.)
Stephen: We came in early this morning... a little jet lagged, so I dropped by here. Great to be back, I missed you.
(He hugged her again.)
Charlotte: How long you staying?
Stephen: Just until the 14th, then Terry and I are driving to Memphis. You're welcome to come.
(She smiled, but he knew her answer already.)
Charlotte: I'd love to be there to support you, but it just wouldn't feel right. It hurts me bad enough watching you in pain on TV... I don't know how I'd react to it if it happened right before my eyes. Never was a fan of sitting in a crowded arena, fireworks going off everywhere...
Stephen: Well certainly Terry could get you a good seat with some of the wives and friends of the other athletes.
Charlotte: Heh... seriously, Steph... I love you, and I support you all the way, but I couldn't sit through an entire show just to watch the main event.
(The young athlete shrugged with a grin on his face.)
Stephen: Yeah, well... just don't miss the fight then!
(She shook her head with another smile.)
(Folding up and tucking the newspaper under his arm, Steph grabbed his coffee with his right hand and put the left around Charlotte's waist as he led her out.)
Stephen: What's been new around here? I've been gone for a while...
Charlotte: I know, everybody's been missing you. Still, everything's same old. Joe's pretty much doubled his comic book collection.
Stephen: Heh... Joe and his Punisher. How was Derek's first year at college?
Charlotte: He came back a few weeks ago... said he had satisfactory grades, so he's looking for another year. He's really aiming to make the football team, you know.
Stephen: Ah, Purdue Boilermakers... great team. What about you?
Charlotte: Heh... not much other than a job at the book store.
Stephen: Well, all is well then...
Charlotte: How about you?
Stephen: Me? Well, not much different from what I've told you on the phone, you know.
Charlotte: Ah, so the same jumping from town to town, ending up in Vegas, and missing me every moment?
Stephen: That's about it.
(Walking along the sidewalk, the two arrived at her car.)
Charlotte: What about your matches?
Stephen: Ah, I'd rather not get into them... this is my R&R, and I wanna enjoy every second without having to worry about my opponents, or my title, or my reputation... everything's insignificant when it comes to my real life, you know?
(With a wry smile as she opened the driver side door, Charlotte's deep brown eyes found his own.)
Charlotte: That's funny... you, a man who preaches on about the respect and honor of the industry, and at the same time sets it off for other things he calls more "important", as though you never remind us all about the many who dedicate their entire lives to a few short years in the biz...
(Stephen shrugged as he got in on the passenger side.)
Stephen: Hey now... for some, it's about that sort of dedication. But I'm not about to make that sort of sacrifice, you know? Sure, it'd be easy enough to dump you, forget about college, and leave Kokomo behind without another thought, but would I be any better off? I think it's perfectly managable to live a happy life and be a professional wrestler at the same time...
Charlotte: Eh, good point. No task is impossible for Stephen the Great...
(She started the ignition, and the two were moving.)
Stephen: "Stephen the Great", huh? That's cute. Which reminds me, Terry's been thinking up ideas for a monicker.
Charlotte: Heh, there's nothing that can describe you, Steph.
(It was then he began to listen to the music playing in her CD player.)
Stephen: This Radiohead?
Charlotte: Yep. Picked up the new album today.
Stephen: Not bad... great band, from England, no less.
Charlotte: So was Pink Floyd.
(Britain will always be known for its music. Britain will always be known for its literature. Britain will always be known for its comedy. Britain will always be known for its history.)
(Britain will never be known for its professional wrestling.)
Charlotte: There's something I've noticed about how you speak about Adam Benjamin.
Stephen: Ah, come on, Charlie... I don't want to get into work.
Charlotte: No, seriously... it might have effects on your personality.
Stephen: How's that?
Charlotte: Well... I've noticed that with many opponents, you may lose your respect... but you always keep your calm, always optimistic and looking forward to the competition. This time, though... it's like you've lost your patience with him. You have confidence, determination, everything needed... but he's getting under your skin, it's obvious.
Stephen: With a rehashed promo every day, could you blame me?
Charlotte: Well, I don't know... I'm not in your line work. But I know you, and in any situation, you usually keep yourself together.
Stephen: Hmm... maybe this industry is really starting to change me.
Charlotte: Oh, I hope not... I think it's nothing out of your control. Just get a grip on yourself... or you might let yourself open. It could easily grow into a weakness, so remember that next time you decide to shoot a promo.
Stephen: Okay, Charlie... I'll remember that. Which reminds me... now that I've bumped into you, I've gotta reschedule my day.
(From his pocket, Stephen retrieved the cell phone Terry gave him. He punched in the number, and after a few rings, his manager answered.)
Stephen: Hey Terry, it's Steph... look, I was thinking we could maybe push back the training a few hours.
(After that, he took the phone away from his ear for a moment to protect his brain from getting blown out by Anderson's angry shouts. Then he went back to continue the conversation.)
Stephen: Well, wait, hold on... no, let me explain... I'm with Charlie, I wanna spend the day with her.
(He rolled his eyes at his manager's response.)
Stephen: No, we won't be getting any of that on, Terry... look, just a few hours, it's not like I'm not in perfect shape... well, if the promo's going to be tonight, then we'll just shorten the workout.
(Terry protested on the other end.)
Stephen: Look, Terry... that's the way it's going to be... okay, Terry? Can I ask you something? If I cut off a few hours of training from one day, does that mean I'm going to lose this match?
(After a moment's silence, Terry gave the answer.)
Stephen: That's what I thought. Okay, I'll see you later today then... bye, Terry.
(Hanging up, Stephen looked back to his girl with a smile.)
Stephen: Got that taken care of. We've got the day to ourselves until seven.)
Charlotte: Great. What do you want to do?
Stephen: I don't know... pizza sound good?
Charlotte: You've been away for months, and the first thing you want to do with your girlfriend when you get back is go out for pizza?
Stephen: Hey, you got any better ideas? We live in Kokomo, Indiana!
(She laughed again.)
Charlotte: Alright... pizza it is.
(Scene begins with b-roll footage with dramatic music playing along. We get a shot in slow motion as Stephen Waltz makes his debut entrance to the ring at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, January 28, 2003. Terry Anderson slowly comes out of the way to reveal Stephen Waltz in his traditional navy blue singlet and letterman’s jacket, stepping out onto the ramp with both arms raised into the air as the fans greet GXW’s new talent. The voice of the same man begins commentary.)
Waltz: My childhood dream was to accomplish something no ordinary man could do. I wanted to be remembered for all time for my incredible feats. As a kid, I knew I had a knack in physical activity. I was the natural jock growing up. I did football, I did wrestling, all pushing to that one opportunity I was looking for. Then one man happened into my life who showed me the way to the top of my mountain. Terry Anderson made my goal clear… and that is to become one of the greatest professional wrestlers to ever grace the ring.
(We get a few more slow motion shots revealing some of Waltz’s more memorable blows, such as hitting Jay Styles with Terry’s patented Idolizer, hitting Derrick Rodgers with the inverted powerbomb, dropping “The Marauder” Eric Gibson with a Northern Lights Suplex, knocking Troy Douglas over the head with a trash can lid, and many others.)
Waltz: Many say I took to professional wrestling naturally when I came to GXW. I couldn’t agree with them more, after reviewing how far I’ve come in such a small amount of time. After repeated wins and taking my first title, I realized that I have the talent and ability to take me to my goal. I know I can win matches, and take titles… and I can go beyond that. All it takes is the drive, motivation, and endurance to carry me there.
(Cut to an image of Stephen Waltz sitting by himself on a stool in a darkened room, illuminated from a single white skylight above him. The full moon of the evening casts an ivory light over his hunched figure, giving him a look of mystery and power.)
Waltz: I came here to GXW for more than meeting people, making friends and enemies, and winning titles… I came here for more than becoming a legend, or being remembered and respected by every wrestler out there. I came to this industry to fight, and most of all… to prove myself.
(The lights in the room fade in, revealing more of the interior. Seated in red and blue trainers, Stephen is before a GXW backdrop. On his lap is the GXW Television Title, the first time it’s been seen by anyone since it was taken from “The Truth” Tommy Rage at the Nutter Arena in Dayton, Ohio. He looks up and into the camera, with his same youthful and confidence look. He smiles a little, and begins to speak.)
Waltz: I want everyone know, from the fans who tune in every week to watch me perform, to guys signing the checks and wearing their ties in the offices, to every self-absorbed and self-centered professional wrestler in the locker room, that I will reach my personal goal, and there won’t be a mind that doesn’t know it. I’ve taken one belt…
(He holds up the belt to the camera, looks at it for a second, and sets it down again.)
Waltz: …and I’ll hold onto it for what I hope to be a successful reign. I intend to win many more, and go up against several other champions. I’ll have feuds, and alliances… I’ll be stabbed in the back, and there will be times when even I have to play the cutthroat. All is normal in the world of wrestling, and I intend to be a part of it and stand out from the rest, no matter what.
(He holds out his hands in a questionable shrug.)
Waltz: Does that mean I have what it takes to get there now?
(He shakes his head.)
Waltz: Hardly. Only through experience can I get there. It will be a journey of excessive obstacles and challenges, but everything takes me one step closer to the end. After that, it doesn’t matter what belts I hold onto, but the many belts I’ve held in the past. It doesn’t matter who I fight, but every guy I’ve beaten in my career. It’ll be a great place to be… known and respected by all, and to be remembered forever in wrestling history. But I’m hardly there…
(Holds up the belt again.)
Waltz: I’ve just reached the first step. And already, there’s one man who intends to push me off the ladder going up, who thinks he stands as the monkey wrench in my universal plan…
Waltz: He goes by Adam Benjamin… he prides himself as a British wrestler, and proclaims his style to be superior to anything else out there. He’s a man who claims to hold all the determination and motivation to take my belt and set me back on my long road to the top, as we’ve heard through his promos throughout the week.
(He shakes his head in disapproval.)
Waltz: Benjamin, I really don’t see why you want to make this a war of words. It was you who came out first, insulting the American way of life and misinterpreted me every step of the way. Because of your excessive television appearances, I’ve had to come out more than once to not only defend myself but help you realize that you aren’t better than me and you can never be. You’ve distracted me from valuable time getting ready for this match, or being with friends and family back home. So this will be the last time you hear from me, and I hope I don’t even hear so much as you NAME until we go toe to toe in the ring. Tonight, I’m going to tell you exactly how it is, not from my view alone, but from everybody who isn’t you, or the small fraction of the earth’s population that supports and agrees with you on your every word. So, pull up your seat, turn up the volume… and let’s get started.
(Stephen throws the Television Title over his shoulder, and begins.)
Waltz: This belt over my shoulder was rightfully earned back in Dayton. I intend to hold it there on my shoulder for a long time. There are several signs that tell us all that it will survive you to see the next challenger I face. You know why you’ll never take this belt from me, Benjamin? It’s because I’m stronger than you… I’m more motivated… and plain and simply, I want it more. You can hate my country, you can talk of your own like it was the Mecca of professional wrestling, you can call my trainer old and you can call me as green as the grass on a warm summer day… but take the title? No, you can’t do that, simply because I won’t let you. Your motives are all based on the words you say… but I don’t live by words. I live by action.
(He glances at the belt, then back to the camera.)
Waltz: In the short time I’ve been in GXW, Adam… in the short time I’ve been in this INDUSTRY… already I’ve accomplished more than the typical wrestler could dream of. I’ve proven myself of having the potential to be one of the greatest ever, and I’ve shown everyone I have the talent to be a reliable threat in this federation. I’ve done more here in the five months I’ve been wrestling than you will EVER be remembered for.
(He narrows his eyes.)
Waltz: The reason why, Adam… is simply because though you say you’re motivated, you don’t have enough fire in that trim belly of yours to keep you up to par in this sport. You take the term “motivation” very loosely. It’s more than training every day and keeping your body perfect. Look at me… I do just as much as you do in preparation. It’s a lot more than fighting for your own. I fight for myself… and so much more. I don’t want just the title… I want the memory. I want my opponent to remember the night I beat him, and for my future challengers to take that into account when they step into the ring against me.
(He brings down the title in his hands, looks at it, then goes back to the camera.)
Waltz: You would wonder why some of the greatest and most feared wrestlers are the ones without the belts. Look at DreamMaker for example… look at Kendall Codine, and “The Apocalypse” Gabriel Poe, and “Mr. Main Event” Rob Sampson, and “The Ego Buster” Dan Ryan. No belts hang around their wastes… but you know that if you stepped in the ring against any of them, you’d be in for one hell of a night. That’s the status I’m trying to achieve. There’s so much more than being champion, and if you can’t see it, then you don’t deserve to accomplish anything here in GXW.
(He shakes his head, seemingly in pity.)
Waltz: Do you still see yourself as more motivated than me? You, who claim to fight only for yourself… when I do everything for so much more. I want to go out there to compete not only to further myself in my journey to the top, but to please the paying fans. I want to impress the fed owners, so they can book me on bigger and better events. I want the respect from every wrestler who watches me compete that night, so they know they’ll consider me as a valid threat when I step into the ring against them down the line. And, of course… I do it for me…
(Closing his eyes, he nods with confidence.)
Waltz: I do it because someday, I want to look around and see that there isn’t a person who can prove himself better than me. I want to be a legend… I want to fulfill what I take as my destined path. You think you can beat that sort of motivation by one day being champion? Forget it. Professional wrestling isn’t about titles… it’s about the professional wrestlers busting their butts every day to prove themselves better than the rest. It’s about surpassing the status of legendary, and becoming something that everyone knows for sure, and even simple-minded people like you will see that to be up to the challenge of fighting me, you’d better have an equal if not greater motivation.
(He shakes his head.)
Waltz: You want to be a champion, but you don’t even know what it means to BE a champion. The entire point of taking a title as simple as the Television Title is to grow from being champ, and moving on to the next best thing. You do that until you get to the top. And then, there’s no point in being champion… it’s about being better than the men with the gold. Look in the record books, and see all the names with their short lived title reigns and mediocre careers. Champions come and go, but legends stay for all time. This belt…
(He holds it up to show the camera.)
Waltz: I hold onto this, and I’m willing to do anything to see you never hold onto it, because your goals are set too low. The point of being a champion is to USE the title, not flaunt it. That’s not my opinion… that’s the opinion of any great wrestler out there in the world. Remember that after the consequences have fallen into place, because someday it might set you on the right track, and you’ll see yourself improving as a competitor. At this stage, your motives of going title by title to what YOU define as “legend” is simply foolish to think about. You want nothing more but to bring a little short lived attention to yourself. You’ll have your highlights, here and there… but nobody will remember you, except on paper.
(Shakes his head, looks away.)
Waltz: Judge not, lest ye be judged… a saying I’ve been brought up on. You think my manager is a joke? You imply that I’m a loser simply because I, a young upcoming star with little experience as a wrestler, settles to take a few pointers from the man who led him this far? Many young athletes work hard over long periods of time, and never see themselves on TV… whereas Terry has brought me here on his back, and for that I’m thankful. I’m never one to like getting far without putting in all the necessary effort… but my performance in the ring makes up for it. I’ve proven I can wrestle with the big boys around here, and the belt I hold is proof of that. I’m due for a little more breaking into the industry, but I’ve proven that I’m better than many of the other hopefuls around here, you included. Don’t criticize me for getting this far because of a little help, considering you were given quite a favor by being given a title match on your second show. Don’t rip on Terry, because he’s done more than you could ever dream of, and one day I intend to do the exact same.
(He holds the belt up for the camera to see.)
Waltz: Take a look, Benjamin…
(He holds it closer, blocking himself out.)
Waltz: Take a look at all that you’re fighting for, that you could easily sum in two words: Television Title. See what you think you want only for yourself. Look at the object of your desire that has been around the waists of so many forgotten soldiers before either of us. Remember this, cause it will be the last time you see it for a while… now let me show you something else.
(Sets the title aside and sits forward in his seat.)
Waltz: I’ve looked at you, and you look fine… but it’s not how well built you are, or how intense your eyes look. I want you to look at me not see how “motivated” I am… but to see what you’re fighting. I’m not a title… but I’m the reason you’re in this match. You won’t remember Onslaught as the night you had the chance to be champion, but couldn’t take it… but as the dreaded evening where you stepped in the ring against me. I’ll help you forget about your motivation of being champion, and I’ll show you where it counts. It’s in the ring… it’s about who you fight, for how long, and how hard. It’s about the smell of victory, and the memory you carry with you for all time…
(He brings the belt back onto his waist.)
Waltz: You want to know what I intend to bring at Onslaught? Then let’s forget the words, and get to the point. I’ve been here longer, and already more people take me seriously. You stand around and hype yourself about your upbringing and so-called motivation, but I live it. I do it every time I step in the ring. People know I’m motivated because they’ve seen me that way, not because I’ve said it like you. I’ve proven myself before, and I will do it again when I meet you in the ring.
(Nods with his usual confident gaze.)
Waltz: Ready, Benjamin? Do you want to know if I’m ready? I’ve been prepared to do more than beat you. I’m ready to do more than win… I’m going to be one of the greatest Television Champions to ever grace GXW. I’ve been ready for this before you signed your contract. I’m more than ready to remain champion; I’m ready to fight, and to win. Bring you’re A-Game, Adam Benjamin… cause I’ll be bringing much more than that.
Waltz: Do yourself a favor, and do what I would do if I was in your situation. Tonight, before you go to bed… pray to God you still have a career by the time I’m finished with you.
(With a final nod, Stephen takes his title, throws it over his shoulder, comes to his feet, and walks out of the frame. Scene ends.)
Ryan - Ian, how do I get to the morgue?
Ian - Just drive away from the YMCA.