ALEX AUSTIN is walking around the track inside a gymnasium somewhere. His hands are in the pockets of a gray hoodie, and a black skullcap covers his head. Briefly he removes his hands from the pockets to crack his neck before returning them. The look on his face confident, but not cocky. Mildly intense, even.
I spent a lot of time thinking about what I would say once the cameras were on. How I’d open. Searched for an appropriate metaphor, a comfortable cliché, something to break the ice with. But that’s got nothing to do with why I’m here, so I’m just gonna come out and say what I need to say. I’m Alex Austin, and I AM the next NLW World Open Weight Champion. Shocking? Probably not, but you’ll come to find I only speak in guarantees.
Unlike the rest of you, I didn’t come here to rise up the ranks, or to make any meaningful contributions to “professional wrestling.” I came to win NOW. And to be honest, I don’t give two craps about this sideshow spectacle. I’m what people in the know call a SUBMISSION-GRAPPLER. NAGA, Grappler’s Quest, Mundials, the NCAA Wrestling Championships. This is where the real grapplers compete. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Greco Roman, Judo, Sambo, CATCH…athletes from all these time-honored forms of wrestling the world over gather to compete in multiple organizations for next to no money except what the sponsors will pay them. It’s through this system that we establish who the best grapplers are. The Marcelo Garcias. The Jacare Souzas. The Roger Gracies. The Shinya Aokis. The Alex Austins.
That’s right. I’m a multiple time Grappler’s Quest and NAGA champion, and have been invited TWICE to ABU DHABI. Do you know what that is? It’s the most prestigious grappling tournament in the world. Only the best of the best are invited.
It’s funny, though. When I look at a list of champions over the past few years, the guys who’ve won at Abu Dhabi, at Mundials, at NAGA...I see Garcia, Gracie, Austin. But you know who I don’t see? Magnus. Impulse. Eddie Patton. I don’t see Duke Mackey, or Eli Whateverberg, and I sure as hell don’t see anyone named Zesty.
Let me tell you something you already know. Pro Wrestling’s lineage is from broken down vans in the middle of nowhere, at cut-rate payouts that barely pay for the rent or pain pills. And if you’re REALLY lucky. If you’re one of the BEST, you get to ply your fraudulent craft for the big bucks, in the big cities. It’s a bastardized…a really, really bastardized version of what athletes like myself have dedicated their lives to, and anyone who has ever claimed success in this sideshow shadow art of yours, “pro-wrestling,” is a LIAR.
Go ahead, name your legends. I don’t wish to give others free advertising on NLW’s TV time, but I think you know who I’m talking about. Name anyone you like, past or present, who had any modicum of success in that ring, and I’ll tell you what an F’N joke they are. Champions, legends, mid-card, chump, makes no difference to me. They’re all different punchlines to the same joke.
It’s not that I need your titles to complete my trophy wall. Instead, I’m here with not a SINGLE MATCH to my name, to show you what a real championship caliber grappler can do in that ring. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a brawler, or a powerhouse. But whether it’s Magnus, Patton, Impulse, WHOEVER- you get in the clinch with me, I WILL take you down and I WILL submit you, no question. Then it’s just a matter of what you’ll do for money when I’ve exposed your craft for the fraudulent gypsy art that it is. Open Weight? I DEFINE Open Weight. Pound for pound, nobody stands a chance against me. Piss your pants over Magnus all you want, it’s true, and it’s only getting truer every match I have.
First up, “The Stones” Frisco Jones. They say you can’t squeeze blood from a stone, but I’ve got a sensei who says he’s awarding me a black belt if I can break your arm, Stones. That’s something I take very seriously. Good luck to you.
Me? I’m called “Experience.” And what you see before you can’t do justice to the real thing. My skillset, the professionalism with which I execute a gameplan, it’s really something you have to experience to truly be in awe. I don’t know you, Jones. I’m sure you’re a very nice guy. But do you belong in a match with me? Absolutely not.
Don’t take it personal. I’m Alex Austin, and that’s the sort of thing that comes with the territory of being Alex Austin. Lots of fakers out there, mostly guys like you and the rest of NLW. Alex Austin is the real thing, and when the REAL THING steps into your backyard…well…
The whole damn place might just burn to the ground.
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