No air cleared...
* Larry Tact / Fanatic RP for C10.
We arrive at the platform of the #7 train, a longtime staple of New York City transit. It is still daylight, but clouds cover the sky in varying shades of gray. Because the 7 train is one of the few subways that runs above ground, we can see some of the city behind the platform. It is clear we are at the second stop from the Flushing, Queens end of the line, known as “Mets-CitiField.” And, true to its name, just beyond the platform is the home of the New York Mets, the new throwback brick structure ballpark built over the older Shea Stadium parking lot. Meanwhile, stepping into view on the platform are two who represent the past and present generations of New ERA of Wrestling: Fanatic and Larry Tact. The Elite Enigma, donned in blue costume with orange ‘infinity’ Mark on the face of the mask, and around the costume, props himself on the platform railing. Larry Tact stands at the forefront, dressed in a blue #29 Ike Davis official Mets jersey, and blue Levis 569 jeans.
LARRY TACT: “Over the past couple weeks, it seems as if there’s been a running theme going through New ERA of Wrestling. No, scratch that… over the ENTIRETY of Season Two, there’s been a running theme. And that theme appears to be… disrespect. There has been a lack of respect for Shawn Hart, a man who has been on the top of the mountain twice since New ERA returned. He was practically treated as a transition Champion by Mr. Entertainment, who, to be fair, probably would have done the same with anyone that held the title, once he took his shot. Unfortunately, ‘the Phenom’ couldn’t quite strike back definitively, and that lack of respect went unanswered… unavenged… unrefuted…”
“Another case where there has been some disrespect is with, Suicide. Because while the man, the myth, the legend may not realize it… his return is, in fact, a pretty big deal. Or at least, I thought it should be…”
“A legend who some new blood do not completely understand, but the best in the business will never forget.”
“A myth of the Burning Hammer that does justice… the ’Drivers that come, one after another, without one being repeated because of how many he can execute, and without reprieve in their assault… a Screwdriver rarely seen and carrying a definitive significance, with its appearance.”
“A man of innovation, of unique character, and of mysterious intentions. A man I could call friend.”
He holds up his hands.
“What happened to all this?”
“It seems as if Marcus LaRoque, himself has decided to put all this aside, and instead throw ‘the Man, the Myth, the Legend’ into the pack with little to no fanfare. Suicide is just a legend of the past… a myth left uncovered… and a man to be given nothing but the toughest of competition, right from the start of his reemergence.”
“Of course, for Suicide, maybe his response has been in the ring, which I feel is fitting. I’m not surprised at all he’s earned himself a shot at the New ERA Championship. But for some reason, nobody has bothered to notice. The Mysterious Wanderer has, essentially, flown under the radar.”
He shakes his head.
“I can’t say the same can be said for the Tact Legacy. Instead, my brother and I have, for the ENTIRETY of Season Two, been nothing but criticized and ridiculed. Whether it’s the usual suspects like Cameron Cruise, to the New ERA Champion, Mr. Entertainment, there’s been all this chatter about my brother and I. Everything from my not being a proper manager, to people not wanting me to be a manager. From accusations that it’s somehow illegal for my brother to have a manager speaking for him, to the thought that he’s not handling things the ‘right way.’ I don‘t think the theme of disrespect that the wrestlers of New ERA have decided to run with, this season, has been epitomized any better than with the treatment of the Tact Legacy.”
“And you know what? There’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. As I‘ve said in the past… The best get ridiculed because they are the best, and it must be taken in stride.”
“After all, it’s what Champions have to handle. This is all just another means of preparation for my brother, and something I’ve had to deal with throughout my career. Whether it’s been from those I’d expect, or not, everyone has managed to get their shots in at me during my time in this industry. And in return, I’ve made a career off of proving people wrong and giving them humbling consequences for their words and actions.”
“So with everyone eager to critique mine and my brother’s performances this season-- as in, our perfect performance-- I wasn‘t surprised when Shawn Hart and Suicide decided to get their knocks in, too.”
“Which brings us to this week… Cyberstrike 10...”
“For starters, we have Ulysis… and thankfully, it seems Spectre has been kept under wraps, and we are seeing Suicide. But quite frankly, Ulysis, that’s a good thing. Because it’s the side of you that once believed you would go into each match, and win or lose, whatever happened, you wanted to be challenged. You wanted to show your opponent that you were real. And you might even be willing to reach out and shake your opponent’s hand.”
“Suicide you once hoped that whether your opponent liked you or not, that they would be forced to show you the respect you deserved after the match. But as I’ve learned for years, and you should know already, what is respect really worth in this sport? How many people really showed you that respect you used to think you would earn out of them?”
“No, over the years, the way I see it is this: in wrestling, respect is just another word for manipulation. The only real respect you can believe is the one that comes with being a Champion. The kind that can‘t be denied.”
“And then one question can lead to another. When I see Suicide coming to the ring, a man who I have known for over a decade… a man I called friend… and I’m having to block a Burning Knuckle with my hand… what does the respect of Suicide mean? After I landed on the pro circuit, I remember hearing you say that I was one of a very few who you could respect. And while that meant something, now, in hindsight I wonder if I should have taken that show of respect only that far… as a show. It didn‘t matter back then, because it would be a while before we crossed paths in the ring. But each time we have been on opposite sides of the ring, it seems to become clearer that ‘the Man… the Myth…. The Legend‘ may have a problem with not treating me as anything more than the kid he knew back in the indies. Well, Ulysis, we‘re now a decade-plus removed from those days. And yeah, I have changed. Maybe it‘s time you accepted that it isn‘t something wrong with ME… but something YOU are resisting. But go ahead, Ulysis, and tell me why I’m wrong, why I’m not seeing your point. Make like I‘m still the guy who needs to learn from you.”
He looks down at the jersey for a few seconds, then back up.
“Thing is, whether you respect me or not, I’ll be ready to bring the challenge you so desire. The problem won‘t be on my end. It‘s whether you‘re willing to accept what‘s coming at you… or if, against your better judgment, be unable to resist seeing the kid that you can preach another lesson to.”
“Shawn Hart, on the other hand, you never tried to preach to me. You and I? We’ve never had much trouble throwing down.”
“I guess we’ve been able to have that clean break, make that transition to the pro circuit, without a problem. We know the score between us, and the last one went my way. I opened this incarnation of New ERA by beating you, and set you off on an unsteady tenure here ever since. I don’t think we hate each other, though. I think we just understand there’s no way we’re going to let each other get in our way. And when two people with that mindset come together, well, something’s got to give.”
“This week isn’t much different, except you’ve decided to take it upon yourself to get involved in the current events between Suicide, Chaos, and myself. I don’t know which Shawn Hart we’re going to get, but I don’t need to. All I need to know is that Shawn Hart is involved, and that means I can’t let him stop me. Because I’ve never been able to tolerate the thought, I think of it like an eyesore on the Tact Legacy. And on the pro circuit, when the time has come to prevent that eyesore, I’d always been up to the challenge…”
“And then that one time came.”
“You finally broke through a couple years ago. And then I didn’t get a chance to get it back, the title or the chance to set things back to form. The way they SHOULD be, with MY hand being raised over you. That’s why I challenged you in Season One, Shawn. I had to set things right… and I did.”
“But I guess you decided that disrespecting me in Season Two would be your form of getting one back. You come out and involving yourself in what’s been going on, of late. I don’t know for sure, but again, now that you’re here, Shawn, I can’t let you get away with one. There will not be another eyesore.”
“And while I’ll be ready for PrimeTime, to put a more definitive point to all this, this week isn’t the time for that. THIS week, I’m not alone.”
Fanatic steps off the railing and stands next to Larry Tact, who nods and continues.
“This week, the Tact Legacy is represented in full force. And for Ulysis, Shawn, all of New ERA… for the WORLD watching… it will be a reuniting in the ring, a decade-plus coming.”
“Which means Cyberstrike 10 will be…”