Los Angeles, California
Wednesday, the Eight of April, Twenty-Twenty
Forty-Three Minutes Past 1 P.M.
“You know what I don’t like? In fact, what I hate? Being blindsided and fucked raw.”
The camera comes to life as we focus in on James who has his feet up on a coffee table and is just lounging on his mahogany leather couch. It’s been a week since March to Glory concluded. A week since the attempted screwjob by Lee Best to lower the odds of 24k winning the five team tag team match. A week for Perfection to sit and stew.
Sure, 24k have the tag team titles but at the end of the day Lee Best flipped their business relationship. If there is one thing that irks Perfection the most, it’s not losing matches or losing titles, it’s people using their powers against him. Sure it’s ridiculous, because if he had the same power he would have done the same thing in reverse. That’s not the point nor is it ever with James Witherhold.
We can see this in James’ face that’s more stern. One half of the HOW Tag Team Championship sits in all its glory next to Perfection’s feet. It glistens under the fresh daylight that is pouring into the sitting area.
“Not many promoters in this industry have the gull or the balls to actually go out and intentionally try and fuck me over. More importanly, try and fuck my friends at the same time. Yet, lo’ and behold, Lee Best manages to pull it off! Pampers us with fancy dinners, flies us around for contract negotiations, gives us a banging nice suite.”
Pursing his lips slightly, Perfection shakes his head.
“For a minute there, I thought things were in our favor. Finally, for once, I was in the good graces of the boss. Then Lee decides to curveball 24k and give into his son’s bitching with a ‘Card Subject to Change’. Adding that 24k start the gauntlet match at March to Glory against each other. He did it just so the odds were stacked against us not for us! Plan didn’t exactly go as predicted huh, Lee?!”
James’ eyes shift over and down to the HOW Tag Team belt that sits adjacent to his feet on the table.
“Either way, we would have walked out as champs. Only difference now is there’s an issue with 24k and you, Lee. But we’ll get around to that when the time comes. For now, it’s important that I stay focused on the task at hand- High Flyer.”
His feet come off the table and eyes go a bit wide.
“Man, where does one even begin to describe you? Imagine surfing the wave of success only for everything to crash down on your dopey little heads, Grateful Ones. Honestly, I never really thought about how it all played out between you and GoD from your perspective, Flyer.”
Perfection’s tone is somewhat light as he is talking.
“Mainly because I don’t give a single flying fuck about you! Not once in my life have I EVER thought about High Flyer or your motivations… but given the occasion, I figured why not? Why not try and look at things from your perspective, Flyer? Put myself in your shoes, if you will.”
His tone has now shifted to a belittling fashion.
“I suppose, if I were in your shoes, I’d first ask myself- ‘why did my friends betray me?’ It’s a hard hitting question when you look back at the history of what some might say is the original throuple. I mean, Lindsay and Dan were essentially family to you. In fact, you three have traveled the same circuits for decades. You really mean to tell me that all it took was a little whisper in their ears by Michael Best to flip them?!”
James’ face pulls back a bit. An ‘as if’ feel about it.
“Of course not! No chance in hell. I may rag on those two but they aren’t persuaded that easily. Something had to push them over the edge, something made them sick and tired of you. Want to know what that thing was, Flyer? I’ll let you and everyone else in on what’s circulating the rumor mill.”
Perfection lets it build a little bit before continuing.
“The reason they flipped on you is because of what you’ve decided to attach yourself to, Flyer. The reason they left you for dead in that ring is because you couldn’t, wouldn’t, and are too moronic to ditch the pathetic ball and chain known as M.J. Flair.”
Witherhold puts his hand up in that signature ‘wait’.
“BUT! Again, I’m trying hard to understand you, Flyer. So I figure there can only be Reason A or Reason B for your lack of hindsight. There is no Reason C. Either A, at almost fifty years old you really think you have a shot at the most prestigious tag team gold in this industry with a twenty-year old or B, you’re a delusional simp. It’s really hard not to just stamp this B and be done with it.”
James wags his right index finger. Not today. Today we’re diving in on this.
“However, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, Flyer, and go with Reason A. Maybe you have the eye for spotting talent. Maybe you see something deep inside M.J. Flair… something former ICON and now… FORMER… HOW Tag Team Champion Dan Ryan, the supposed guru of talent acquisition, doesn’t see. Come on, even Lindsay Troy, the beacon of femanist bullshit and bringing up young female talent, saw nothing in M.J. Flair. That’s what I hear anyways.”
His hand rests on his chest reassuringly.
“And my sources are golden, believe me. Given that information, I would have also beat the shit out of you and left. I guarantee, Flyer, both Dan and Linds had private conversations with you multiple times about their concerns about M.J. What jacks me up about all this is that you put your loyalty to Dan and Linds to the side in order to form a relationship with M.J.”
Witherhold’s hands come up to his face essentially saying ‘what the fuck?’
“Maybe you really are a simp. Maybe I have this all wrong. I would never, EVER, cast my boys in 24k to the side for mediocre talent! Seemingly, you did. You thought trading off Dan Ryan and Lindsay Troy for M.J. Flair was a great deal. Now, you’re stuck with the kid you probably regret not aborting.”
James stands up from his couch and begins to walk as the camera lets him pass before panning behind.
“Part of me thinks you’re too stupid to even see what’s happened. Too dumb and narrowsighted, while trying to chase your youth vicareously, to see it started your invetiable collapse.”
He walks behind his wet bar that is well stocked before reaching for a decanter of what appears to be whiskey.
“Don’t worry, Flyer, that’s why I’m here. After March to Glory, I actually had a chance to watch the tag title contendership match, as there were no TV’s in our ‘luxury’ makeshift prison cell at the Coliseum. Anyway, I saw something in you, Flyer. I had to watch your match five or six times to confirm it but… there it was.”
He pours his drink neat.
“That thousand-yard stare that screams ‘regret, binge drinking, depression, and insecurity’ is about all that’s left of your rapidly dwindling career. A man holding on to a literal thread. It is sad as fuck, as the kids would say. Hit me right in the pity feels. Hell, I think even if you were to go solo, you’d be the star I know you are. Not this… shell of what once was.”
Perfection’s hand sweeps Flyer away like trash with a flick of his wrist. He makes his way back to the couch and takes a seat, swirling the whiskey in his left hand.
“What’s even more sad about all of this is that it was completely avoidable. Think about it, you dopey fuck. All you had to do was kick the lipstick lesbian off to the side and join Lindsay on ‘Dan Ryan’s Magical Coattail Express’. But because you didn’t want to play third wheel, here you are. Teaming with a broad that’s sinking your name ID faster than the USS Indianapolis, winning a tag team contendership that will be squandered; not because of you, Flyer, but because of your partner, and if you were to leave HOW suddenly… there’s nothing to show for your efforts.”
Perfection looks over at the belt.
“I obviously don’t have that problem looming in my future, do I?”
There’s that fucking smirk that makes us want to punch the screen.
“All you have right now is one thing, Flyer.”
He points the drink towards the belt before taking a small sip.
“A contendership- after I bend and break you at Refueled XXI you then get to limp your sorry ass into the ring and challenge 24k some weeks later. Think about that. It’s nothing to snuff at. Maybe GoD forming was a good thing, look how far you’ve come since then, Jack.”
Witherhold shakes his head. A smile snaking across his face.
“You got your ass kicked in a packed arena… TWICE. Did jack shit about it because you knew damn well you couldn’t. Yet somehow… in some strange fashion, you want to get in that ring with ME!?!?!”
James asks the question so honestly and sincerely you have to ask ‘why?’
“I don’t give a shit how much flip-floppy bullshit you do! I can give a literal shit If you say you’re ‘erratic, a sociopath, and have zero regard for your own body’. I will break you in MY ring. In MY sport. Maybe, just maybe… when I start breaking you, you’ll have that spark of insanity.”
Witherhold looks at the camera sincerely.
“You know what, Jack- I want that. I don’t want a thousand-yard stare High Flyer stepping in the ring. I want you to show up, I want you to snap, I want that challenge!”
That’s not a lie at all. James truly wants the challenge, he wants the best the business can provide.
“Even if you do, even if you put your hardest effort out there on Saturday and bring out the pure maniac in you… it doesn’t change a goddamn thing!”
James sets his glass down and points his finger at the camera.
“Look, let’s not beat around the bush here. I know you’re anything but dumb, Flyer, and I know you must see the writing on the wall. Maybe you’re just playing willfully stupid and ignorant. I’m not trying to be rude, I’m trying to be honest. Even if you beat me. Big fucking ‘if’…”
Now Perfection is starting to cut it close and spit the truth while returning to his drink.
“You’ll never have the name in the spotlight like I do, you won’t have the cars, the women, no matter how hard you simp, or the sex appeal. You’ll just be a man who’s lucky enough to share the ring with one half of the newly crowned HOW Tag Team Champions on Saturday in Rosemont!”
Witherhold sits up high and tall. Ego inflating every bit of him.
“Case in point: the majority of the roster, GoD, and especially 24k, see you as nothing more than a man grasping for a career lifesaver right now. I mean, really, Flyer; where can it really go from here?”
Curiosity makes Perfection’s eyebrow rise.
“I’ll tell you what. What’s actually going to happen is, I’m going to wrestle my first singles match in almost five long years. Five. Long. Years. You should be honored. You should be thanking HOW right now that MY first match is with you!”
Perfection gives a slight nod.
“Hell, Jack. I know I’m ready for it. I’ve been waiting for it! I’m not the only one. Of course everyone loves the Hollywood Bruvs, they adore Andy Murray, but they want to see yours truly- One. On. One.”
“The crowd is going to erupt in excitement to see ‘Perfection’- the greatest wrestling tactician in the world – BAR NONE! I’m going to pick you apart limb by limb, Jack. No partners. No stables. Just you, the canvass, and myself grinding your fucking face into it!”
James rubs his knuckles into his other palm as though mimicking the act.
“The world will watch with baited breath for me to cover you- one, two, three. I’ll have my arm raised high, I’ll walk back to 24k’s suite in the ‘Triple One’. Maybe I’ll pop some victory champagne, sign a few 24k shirts for the Grateful Ones, and celebrate two sweet 24k victories in one night with my bruvs.”
Perfection raises his glass and gives us those pearly whites.
“All the while, you’ll walk to the back defeated, just the same as M.J. Flair and question ‘why’ and ‘how’. Why did you decide to team up with this child, and how the hell are you going to beat 24k?”
He shakes his head with authority.
“You won’t, plain and simple. Not in our singles competition. Not when you try to take the HOW Tag Team Championship. Teams like yours, forged in desperation, FAIL. 24k aren’t a team built out of desperation to try and get a few more miles out the ol’ tank. I’m here to win. I’m here to be the best goddamn wrestler on the HOW roster, and to do so while making lives like yours miserable, Flyer.”
He sets the drink down. James’ fingers interlace and he leans toward the camera.
“I’m not here to merely fucking exist, to make friends, to do it for the love of ‘it’. Competition is what I want! Prize is what I’m after! A HOW legacy is what I’ve come to establish!”
He points down.
“That started when I beat Stevens and Mamba. When I survived an entire gauntlet with my partner, my friend, Andy Murray. When we won this piece of beauitful, shiny, fucking gold! It continues with a single’s win, and then a successful tag team title defense, while you’ll be right where you were at the start of all this, Flyer.”
James points at the camera.
“Looking at that dopey cunt M.J. Flair and asking ‘why’?”