<i>(We fade in on a clip from the Karl Brown-Tony Davis-Aaron Jones match at Aggression 72</i>
MN: Uh, guys? Do you see what I see?
DT: What are you – oh my God! Aaron Jones is – OH MY GOD! OHHHHH LORD! AARON JONES JUST FLEW OFF THE TOP ROPE WITH A FLYING CROSS BODY ONTO KARL BROWN AND TONY DAVIS, AND ALL THREE MAN ARE IN A BAD WAY!
MN: Suicidal! Kid, that’s how you get a man hurt out there –you try to go for something bigger than you’ve ever really done, and now look at the wreckage!
<i>(The footage picks up, fast-forwarding through Jones’ two pin attempts before going back to normal speed)</i>
DM: Aaron Jones just came as close as he’s gotten to a W here, fellas, but it isn’t enough yet!
<i>(The footage pauses. The camera zooms out to show the image projected on a TV that sits atop a rolling cart, which is itself located in the locker room we’ve been seeing a lot in Jones’ promos. After the zoom-out stops, Jones walks around in front of the camera and stands between it and the TV)</i>
<b>Aaron Jones:</b> I don’t think it’s possible to measure how “close” I might have been to winning at Aggression 72, but I have to admit, it’s nice that some people think I’m making progress.
Especially since, at Unleashed, I experience for the first time something I assume is a rite of passage in this business: the mystery opponent.
Anybody who’s anybody, it seems, makes his first appearance either as a mystery opponent or by jumping someone from behind. That makes my opponent at Unleashed a special case, I guess, because he’s done both.
Aggression 71 wasn’t the first time outside interference has cost me a match. That milestone came at Black Dawn, when Steven Shane attacked me as some sort of mute revenge for what Copycat did to him over a year ago.
It wasn’t the smartest strategy, but at least it made some sense. Even if I hate Copycat much more than Steven Shane does these days, I was technically involved in his getting injured.
With my opponent at Unleashed, there was really no motivation for attacking me. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. He wanted to get the attention of the EPW World Heavyweight Champion, and in his mind, the easiest way to do that was to attack the champion’s opponent.
I get that. It’s a tried-and-true strategy.
And I can’t blame the guy for wanting to make an impact. If he’s to be believed, he’s a veteran of the sport who’s never found his way to EPW – both good reasons to make as big a splash as possible, as early as possible.
You grow up around this business, you get used to certain approaches. There’s a lot I’m still learning, so I’m trying to look at these things scientifically.
I can see why my opponent at Unleashed would want to make an impact. I can see why he would do what he did to make that impact. I can see why he’s going into Unleashed as an unknown quantity.
But getting attacked for no reason other than being the opponent of the EPW World Heavyweight Champion…
I’ll be honest. I didn’t appreciate it.
Nor do I much enjoy my assailant’s ignoring me afterward. Nor do I much enjoy his essentially overlooking me in his grand scheme to quickly rise to the top of EPW.
Again: I understand these things. But no matter how detached and scientific an approach I take to my EPW career, I know I can’t let this mystery man think he can treat me like a demonstration board.
OK, whoever you are – I know what you probably think of me. I know what you, and likely everyone else, think the odds of my winning at Unleashed are.
And I know better than to trust to the potentially encouraging words of commentators who think I’m on the verge of picking up the first solo win of my career. I knew the road would be rough when I decided to take it.
But don’t take any of that to mean you shouldn’t come to Unleashed expecting a fight.
Because regardless of what opinions you may have about me, regardless of the grand plans you have for your run in EPW, I will give you one.
You’re not the only one looking to make an impact here in EPW. I’m still looking for my big moment. Maybe it’ll be at Unleashed; maybe it won’t be for another year.
Believe me when I tell you, though, that I intend to give you no less than my all at Unleashed.
You’d best hope that it’s not enough to ruin your moment.
<i>(Jones storms over to the camera and turns it off, cutting things abruptly to black)</i>
<i>(We fade in on a close-up on, of all things, a Dis mask. The camera stays on the mask for a second or two before zooming out, showing that it sits propped up on a table in the gym we’ve been seeing a lot in Aaron Jones’ promos. The camera zooms out just enough to show a chair next to the table, after which Jones comes around to the other side of the camera and sits in the chair)</i>
<b>Aaron Jones:</b> Funny thing about masks like this one, mystery opponent – it could be anybody under there.
I hope you can understand why I made the leap of logic I made. A guy in a Dis mask attacks me, and just a few weeks later, I end up in a match with an unspecified opponent who brings out the Dis mask for his very first promo.
You did say you aren’t Dis, but come on – nobody’s really Dis. It’s always just another guy – or girl, I guess – under the same mask.
I thought you meant you pulled the Dis stunt to get everyone to notice you, but you weren’t going to stick with it. That both you and the man in the Dis mask have stated interests in the EPW World Heavyweight Title didn’t help.
So you’re not the guy who attacked me for no reason. You’re a different guy, who’s chosen to remain anonymous for different reasons.
<i>(He nonchalantly swats the Dis mask off the table)</i>
<b>Jones:</b> Still, you and the man in the Dis mask have more in common than just your anonymity.
You’ve both decided, for one reason or another, to use me to make your first major impact in EPW.
It’s not hard to understand why. I have a reputation for being easy to beat, and I’m not known for swearing bloody vengeance against those who wrong me. Really, if you’re looking to pick a low-risk target, it makes sense for it to be me.
I can’t say I’m thrilled about that fact, but I know my limitations, and there’s no point getting upset about it.
Even knowing all that, though, I have to say – this 100 percent certainty thing? Not the smartest move you could be making.
I still have a lot to learn about this business, but I know this: Making those sorts of broad guarantees is a surefire way to embarrass yourself.
Now, I’m not claiming you’ve gone and jinxed yourself, or anything like that. Even without knowing who you are, the odds tell me you stand a pretty good chance of winning.
But if Unleashed turns out to be my moment, rather than yours – if this is where I break my career-long losing streak – then all the momentum you hoped to have is gone in an instant.
And since, as it turns out, you aren’t the guy who jumped me from behind at Aggression 71, I have no reason to wish that on you.
You said you hope I make my impact someday. And I appreciate that. Really. It’s much nicer than what most of my opponents say about me.
But if my moment is ever going to come, and I’d like to think that it is, who’s to say whether it comes a year from now, or whether it comes at Unleashed?
I won’t be upset if I don’t make the kind of career impact that Sean Stevens made. Or the First, or Cameron Cruise, or Impulse, or Anarky, or maybe even whoever you are.
But I do intend to make an impact, and I don’t intend to stop working toward that moment, no matter how long it takes me.
Bring all the confidence, style, strategy and momentum you have to Unleashed. I don’t expect anything less.
The certainty, though…
Not that you’re likely inclined to take advice from me, but if I were you, I’d leave that at home.
You bring it with you to Unleashed, it’s only going to get you in trouble.
Take it from a guy who knows what it’s like to be in trouble.
<i>(Jones gives a wry half-smile as he gets up from the chair and walks around to the other side of the camera again. A second later, we cut to black)</i>
POSTED FOR MYSTERY OPPONENT
I can hear the resignment in your voice.
"I have a reputation for being easy to beat."
Have some self respect.
All I'm hearing from you is that you're hoping to be beaten less convincingly than I'm telling you you will be.
It's a sad state of affairs when I have more confidence in your abilities than you do.
You could win this match.
You won't, but you could.
What's funny is that you remind me of me.
For most of my career, I was never afforded the appropriate level of respect.
I was viewed as a 'good hand' who would always get the job done and who could always be counted on to have a good match.
"You deserve a break, but I won't give it to you."
Do you know what I did?
I didn't wait for someone to give me a break, I took it. And I became Champion.
I was called a nobody, and I smiled and agreed with them.
And then I smashed them.
And I told them that I was nobody, and if they were nothing to me, that made them less than nothing.
There's a lesson to be learned there.
You've got all the tools to make it, Aaron - and you're starting off well with the right attitude. You're realistic about your current level of skill but determined to get better and make your mark. That puts you ahead of at least ninety percent of this business. And I believe it, too: you'll have gold around your waist before it all comes to an end.
But... and I'll say it again.
Your rise to the top will have to wait until after Unleashed.
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