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[A very slow fade in. A shot of the inside of Chicago’s United Center. The arena floor is at the midway point between removing the basketball court and setting up for HSW’s Thursday Breakdown. Half of the wood floor is up, both backboards are folded up and pushed off to one corner. Meanwhile, the ropes and posts that will make up the ring are sitting off to the side. A team of 20 or so staff, some from the United Center, some from HSW, scurry about, attempting to complete their various assignments. From our vantage point, somewhere in upper reaches of the loge seats, we can see it all. We can also see, off to the corner of our screen, the back right shoulder and cowboy hat belonging to Jesse Falcone. His focus appears to be the same as our camera, the work below.]
Jesse. Not a particularly awe-inspiring sight, is it?
[He does not turn to speak to the camera. Instead we continue to peer over his shoulder as the arena is slowly assembled and disassembled.]
Jesse. But then again, if we look at it closely, there is a lot going on that we can learn from.
[As if in an attempt to understand his words, the camera zooms in slightly. Not all the way, but at least 10 of the 200 or so rows of seats that were once in view are now gone. Jesse’s voice stays with us as he apparently moves with the camera, following just behind.]
Jesse. One being torn down. Another being built.
[Ten more rows disappear.]
Jesse. Much like the HSW. You see, to build it right, we’ve gotta tear down what’s already there.
[Ten more rows.]
Jesse. And build up something we can use. Something we can be proud of.
[Now the camera begins to continue zooming in at a slower pace. Whereas before is was 10 rows and freeze, now it is a constant, more deliberate pace, until our view is eventually that of merely the arena floor itself.]
Jesse. I’ve noticed we’ve been clearing away most of the deadwood lately. People like Q have decided the pressure is too much. The competition too strong. So they walk away. I say, good riddance.
[Slowly the image on our screen begins dissolving into a montage of photographs of the late Richard Bradley. A few still shots of him in the ring. A series of photos from his latest, and tragically, his last promotional shoot. These images each slowly fade into the next while Jesse continues talking. All the while in the background, the ring is assembled.]
Jesse. Then we have Richard Bradley. As I watched his comments the other night, an anger began to boil inside of me. Here was a man who had proved nothing, yet who had the balls to challenge my abilities. Yes, Bradley, wherever you are, you had managed to get under my skin, which was, I’m sure, your goal. But then I had to sit and watch as you ended your life in a frightening and cowardly way. I just hope wherever your soul winds up, it finds peace. As a God fearing man, I won’t tarnish your memory. What’s gone is gone.
[The last image, that of Bradley standing proudly and confidently with his valet, holds for a few moments and then slowly fades into oblivion. Once again, were are witness to the assembling of the ring.]
Jesse. I find it fascinating watching people work. I mean real work, like these guys here. They are building something. Creating something special. To you, it may look like just a ring. To them, and to me, it is something more. It is a canvas. And on that canvas, in two days time, I will paint a masterpiece for all the world. And I will dedicate this masterpiece to the fans of the HSW.
[As if echoing his words, the hard canvas ring covering is stretched out over the ring’s base, and pulled tight as the crew attempts to tie it down.]
Jesse. Eight men. One night. On the line, the right to be called the first ever HSW Heavyweight Champion. Only a truly great artist can create a work that is worthy of such a title. And I am that artist. Some of my opponents think that using a bigger brush will accomplish the job. Or that using darker colors will reveal a deeper beauty. They are wrong. They know nothing about art. They know brawling, and anger, and bravado. They do not know what it takes to create beauty. The strokes of my brush will be smooth and fluid, and they will leave in their wake a portrait of a true champion. Because to have the heart of a champion, you must also have the eye of the artist.
[The ropes of the ring are hung and the crew begins to see the end of the tunnel. Their work is almost done.]
Jesse. Cut Throat, I have beaten you at your own game. I know I will beat you at mine. Syco or Manchild, whichever one of you manages to stay focused long enough to overcome the other, it really doesn’t matter. Your minds are not in the match. Your desire to be champion is nothing more than fragile ego. You are both too stupid, or perhaps too crazy, to even think of beating me. Thanks to you three, my road to the finals is clear.
[The workers struggle to tighten the ring ropes, as one of the turnbuckles snaps under the pressure. There is a loud chorus of profanity as they realize they must do it all again.]
Jesse. As for the four that will fight for the right to face me, well, I really don’t care which one of you survives. Cain, you’ve lucked out, yet again. Like your previous two opponents, you’ve managed to draw someone who’s heart is clearly not in the game. Whether Q shows up or not, I imagine he will not take much to defeat. So that leaves you with either Snowblinder or Tank. Personally, I’d pray for Tank. He’s nothing more than yet another blowhard with a big mouth and the ability of a rat. He should be a cakewalk, for either of you. As for the big ugly guy, well, he could cause problems. But again, his desire is weak. You can see it in his eyes. He doesn’t want to be champion. Not like I do.
[The ropes finally secured, the crew begins to celebrate as the bulk of their work is done. While there still remains the setting up of ring announcer’s tables, and various last minute touches, the ring is assembled, and every trace of the basketball court has now vanished. All that stands is a ring.]
Jesse. And there it is. Simple and perfect and empty. Like a canvas crying out to be used. And it will be. On Thursday night, I will create the greatest work of art the world of wrestling has ever known. I will become the HSW World Champion. Because of all the struggling artists in the HSW, only I possess the skill to create a masterpiece.
[Slowly our view fades away. The image of the empty ring burns into the blackness of the screen for a few moments, before fading away.]
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