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The ticking is always louder in the dark


The REAL Funk U. T-shirt
Aug 26, 2008
(FADE IN: on a comfortable, old timber desk. It’s not flashy like mahogany or cedar. It’s stained pine. It’s topped with pictures of family and paperwork like a desk that gets used. Behind said desk is the former referee extraordinaire GREG HERPIN. He wears a TEDDY ALEXANDER “TEDZILLA” t-shirt with a cartoon TEDDY smashing buildings in a Japanese city over the top of a collared shirt. He rests on his elbows and has a knowing grin on his face.)

“Leyenda de Ocho. May I be the FIRST to congratulate you on your medical clearance to return to competition in the New Frontier. Congratulations, Leyenda. We all know the battle you’ve gone through with your body and the injuries you experienced on behalf of my friend, the Philadelphian Nightmare, Mr. Teddy Alexander.”

(He flashes a grin like he’s the only one in on the joke.)


“I regret to inform you, however, I asked Teddy to formalise his OWN congratulations but he wasn’t very interested. He mentioned some words which are not suitable for most young children… or women… or even the elderly. Probably not fit for people with a heart condition either but the context was he had nothing to say to you. He was of the opinion of, if Leyenda de Ocho has anything to say to me…

“He can ask me inside the ring.”

(HERPIN shrugs.)


“But that’s Teddy. He’s black and white. There’s no shades of grey. You’re pretty pertinent to the fact that if he doesn’t LIKE you… then you’ll understand the consequences of his emotions.

“He wears them on his sleeve.

“Then transfers them down said sleeve through his fist…

“…and into your face.”

(A chuckle escapes the old man’s lips.)


“You mightn’t believe me, Leyenda, but I actually do like you. And all of this?” (sweeps his hand over the desk) “It’s simply business. And in business it pays to have a strong business model. It pays to have goals through planning. It requires continuous improvement and gap analysis. Constant reassuring of your requirements and figuring out if you’re meeting milestones along the way.”

(HERPIN stops for a moment.)


“I’m probably confusing you. Let me put it into sentiments you might understand.” (squints) “It’s like one your video games. You have to progress through certain levels and get certain achievements before you may continue to the next level. You have to defeat ALL the levels before you can get to that point to defeat whatever the final obstacle is to win the game.

“Are we on the same wavelength now? Hmmmm?

“See, Leyenda, while you choose the feathered battle suit to fight against the big boss… I am the man who suits up the big boss.

“I drive him to making the right decisions. I analyse his strengths and weaknesses and it is MY responsibility to make sure he is prepared prior to the battle beginning. Let’s take YOU as an example, shall we?”

(HERPIN drops his attention from the camera to the sheets of paper on his desk. He picks up a blue dossier folder from his desk and holds it up for the camera to see. It has a 4x6 photo of LEYENDA DE OCHO stapled to the front. With a smirk, he places the folder down and opens it up. He takes a pair of reading glasses off the desk and places them on, finding his place with his finger on the sheets of paper.)


“Let’s see here… strengths? Here we go. Strengths. Speed.” (addressing the camera) “You are fast, Leyenda. Very fast. You zip around like a fly buzzing from turd to turd at the elephant enclosure. You’re super fast. And fortunately, Teddy has the antidote to your speed.

“It’s his power.

“And you said it yourself, the moment you get caught in his clutches you can kiss your loved ones goodbye. Because, in spite of your speed, Leyenda, at some stage you’ll have to get close enough to make a shot count. You can’t just fly by sniping with peppery little potshots all night long. You need something of substance because you will not get a pinfall on Teddy by making him dizzy.

“You need to hurt him. You need to incapacitate him. You need to get him on his back for a minimum of THREE – SECONDS! And if you can find something in your arsenal that would prevail that moment then, my dear friend, I would find any which way I could to enforce that skill. Because you’ll need it.”

(HERPIN returns to the dossier, flipping a page over and looking at the back of it. He raises a Eureka finger and smiles at the camera.)


“The scouting report says stamina, Leyenda. You have been a proven stayer. I’ll grant you that. You’ve proven you can hang with some of the strongest candidates on the Frontier. That’s true.

“You proved all that prior to your recent injuries.

“See, Leyenda, it doesn’t matter what the doctor says. He can tell you that your bones have healed and your muscles resewn themselves. That the tendons and ligaments never suffered any permanent damage. The internal bleeding has gone away and all of your organs are facilitating your lifestyle as he expects them to do so.”

(A solitary finger raises into the air to call out a point.)


“But what about your brain? Your mind, Leyenda? Have you undergone psychiatric evaluation to ready yourself for what’s coming? Have you spoken to someone? Gone through what it was like to be ON – THE – SHELF for so long? Hmmm?

“See, you might be able to wrestle against Cojones Mercado no problems at all, in Dallas, but he’s no Teddy Alexander. The problem you will face, Leyenda, is sheer panic. We’ve briefly touched on it before, however when Teddy manages to get you in his vice-like grip it will be painful. He’s a brute. He’s a beast. He’s a monster. He’s the KAIJU, Leyenda. And there will be sheer panic coursing through your mind the moment he gets a hold of you again.

“Will he smash me through the steel steps? Will he Ragekill Driver me right through a turnbuckle? Will I EVER… walk again?

“Your stamina might let you stay in the contest for an amount of time but as the fatigue sets in, and the pain beings to resonate in your limbs and your body and your bones, and your legs tease they’re giving way that’s when your mind wanders. And then it wonders. And then it doubts. And then it panics. And you’ll come to the realisation that you’re standing in front of nearly three-hundred pounds of pure RAGE and you might never see the light again.

“You might have your physical faculties reinstated, Leyenda, but your mind? That’s the trick. Are you mentally prepared for what is in store for you when the Number One Contender to the New Frontier Wrestling Triple Crown Championship comes knocking on your door? Will those moments back at the Random Rumble haunt you? Will they incapacitate you? Will they freeze you in fear for your life?”

(HERPIN clucks his tongue.)


“It’s only a matter of time before we find out.

“Leyenda, at Reloaded you were witness to the ferocity of Teddy Alexander. You sat there, at the commentary stand, watching all of the insanity that the New Frontier has to offer. The monstrosity of what it all constitutes to become under the President, Eddie Mayfield. You watched as Teddy RETAINED his title as the first contender to your belt.

“And that moment your fate was sealed. You knew he was coming for you. But now it’s undisputed. There’s nobody between you, Leyenda de Ocho, NFW Triple Crown Champion, and Teddy Alexander.

“YOUR number ONE contender.”

(HERPIN grins that shark-like grin he was becoming famous for.)


“And by whatever means necessary, you better figure out a way you walk out of that contest, Leyenda. You better start thinking of ways to get yourself out alive. Call on Eddie Mayfield and his electrical engineers. Call on K2. Langston. Windham, even. Your Chromatic Dragon friends. WHOEVER YOU NEED because the end is coming.

“The clock keeps ticking and it echoes so loudly in the darkness, doesn’t it? It’s a reminder that we’re all human and of our mortality. That we have an expiration date. Some of us expire quicker than others. Some of us bite off more than we can chew. Some of us are DUMB and run with bulls. Others change the radio station in the bath tub.

“YOU hold a Championship belt the Spinal Smash Monger wants.

“You’re a pre-emptive nominee to the Darwin Awards, Leyenda. And you’re the dumbest of them all.”

(GREG holds up the sheets of paper from within the blue dossier.)


Smarts wasn’t listed as a strength, Leyenda. And you keep going out of your way to prove it.

“How you still retain the title eludes me, Leyenda. I’d have thought you’d be forced into a defense by now. Maybe I’m right about Eddie. Maybe you being posterised as his pop-culture icon for this generation of wrestling fans protects you from ever having to defend that belt properly. But can you hear him now, Leyenda?

“That’s the sound of Eddie Mayfield smacking his lips. He’s salivating at the prospects. Revelling in the infamy of Teddy’s quest at the chance of losing you.

“He declared it to the world it won’t happen on BRAWL. It will happen on Reloaded. When he gets the bigger pay check. That’s when this happens. And whether that’s in Jacksonville or whether it’s Jekyll Island or he holds his wad until we arrive at Futureshock 2 in Baltimore, Maryland, it doesn’t matter.

“Coz thy deed is done.

“And you’re just another dead man walking.”

(HERPIN throws his head back and cups his hand around his mouth.)


“DEAD MAN WALKING!” (he calls to the left) “DEAD MAN WALKING!” (he calls to the right)

(HERPIN turns his attention back to the camera.)


“Teddy doesn’t need to say a thing. His actions speak louder than words and you’ll see that when the time comes. When he’s given the green light. When you become the red flag… AGAIN!

“That ticking is just… getting louder.”

(With a nod of his head, HERPIN stacks the paper on it’s end and places it neatly back into the blue dossier and closing it as we fade out.)



Main Event Caliber
Apr 16, 2012
St. Louis, MO
The new Boss

“You’re right about one thing, Greg.”

[FADE TO: Leyenda de Ocho, on a stool in a dark room. Little Mac gear – pink mask, pink full-length tights, Triple Crown Championship tight around his waist with the faint tones of the Little Mac/Doc Run Through NYC Music resonating from the smartbelt. A bare bulb over head, giving him a dusty spotlight that sheds just the faintest hint of box outlines in the room around him. He wears a heavy bandage around his shoulder and chest, and gently rubs his right knee as he speaks. ]

LDO: “It’s a question of mentality. What about my mind? Am I the kind of man who can experience the kind of shell-shocking, body-rattling, legitimate injuries a Teddy Alexander can dish out and really go out there with full confidence? Is my brain too bruised to know better? Am I doomed to fail? It’s an incredibly fair series of questions.

All my life, all my CAREER, I’ve been the protagonist of some 8-bit adventure, some perennial heroic underdog that has to follow a logical quest, a logical progression, and beat ‘the game’, whatever that game was. And it’s super, super easy to think this is the same case – the monster, the Philadelphian Nightmare Teddy Alexander makes an epic and imposing final boss, right Greg?

But I’ve had a lot of time to meditate and evaluate things over the last few months – especially as I’ve recovered from the litany of injuries you gave me. Why did I let myself fall into that trap? Why am I this underdog, this little guy in an uphill battle forever and ever until the end of time?

It’s a question. Of mentality.”

[Neon blue lights in the room illuminate around him, revealing the faint outlines of a sea of arcade cabinets of varying condition. The music from his smartbelt continues, and LDO looks hard into the camera.]

LDO: “The biggest epiphany I’ve had since becoming a champion is that I AM NO LONGER THE PURSUER. I am the PURSUED. Which means…I am not Mario, Link, Sonic…I am the Final Boss. I am Little Mac in Championship Mode. I am Donkey Kong at the top of the mountain.

See, Greg…Teddy has had the advantage all this time. I kept viewing him as the next great hurdle in my life, when really – EYE…am the next great hurdle, in HIS life. HE needs to beat ME, because I’M the man who took the mighty and powerful Rook Black, the Five Year Champ, the KING of mind games, and pinned him 1-2-3 in the center of the ring. I am NO LONGER WILLING to play into your games, Greg – injured or not, I am the hurdle, not the hurdler. I’m the Boss, not the Player One – I’m the grand champion of the Triple Crown, and I will defend it with every fiber of my BEING.”

[The machines around Ocho erupt – Pac Man, Super Mario Bros, Street Fighter II, Punch-Out!!, Q-Bert, Marvel vs. Capcom, NBA Jam, a sea of other cabinets – all illuminated in a wave of light and sound and energy. Ocho raises his arms slowly, soaking in the power of the room.]

LDO: “The game has changed, Teddy Alexander. I am bent, but not broken. I am hurting, but not eliminated. Cajones Mercado, believe it or not, is a talented man – and I’m going to show you all just how unafraid I am. How ready I am for Teddy.

And what it takes to be the Final Boss.”


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