Who The Hell Are You?

* * * * *

[Voices in the darkness.]

“Are we ready?”

“All set.”

“Okay, boys, I’m gonna knock.”

[Human knuckles rapping on a wooden door – a very distinctive sound. We hear this a few times and then silence. We’re still only looking at a pure black screen, although a chyron caption pops up.]

Saturday, March 31, 2001
08:07 A.M.
Motel 6 – Eugene, Oregon

[Then the voices again.]

“Try it again.”


[More knocking, this time a little more rapid and with a little more force. Then silence. After what seems like an eternity…]

“Maybe the dude’s not in.”

“It’s 8 am. Where would he be?”

“Out for a mornin’ run?”

“Shut up, Mark.”

[And yet more knocking, although this attempt is considerably harder and louder than the previous two. As our picture begins to ever-so-slowly fade up from dead black, we hear yet a new voice, this one sounding a little bit muffled.]

“Yeah, yeah, keep yer hat on.”

[As our picture begins to take focus we can clearly see that our shot is aimed at a plain white door with a number “312” tacked on it. At open the picture is rather dark, but that all changes in a second when the door is opened just a crack from the inside. Suddenly a rather bright spotlight is flipped on, engulfing the scene in artificial illumination.]



[The voice of the person behind the door is heard once again, this time letting out a surprised yelp as he is nearly blinded upon peering out. Not a good way to start the day, no doubt.]

“What the hell’s goin’ on out there?”

[The door opens up just a little bit wider and for the first time we see the man who we expected to see from the very beginning. Standing there in all his early morning glory (which begs the question… what’s the story morning glory?) is “The Prodigal Son” himself, Scott Cruise. The 32 year old wrestler has obviously just awoken as his eyes are squinting against the light despite the fact that it’s really not all THAT bright (granted, it is being shined in his face); his hair, short as it is, is slightly mushed up on its right side, and he generally has the look of someone fresh from bed. Plus… he’s got that ‘tude.]

Cruise: Who the hell are you?

[And so it begins… Scott Cruise, fresh from the relative obscurity of Japan has his first official run-in with an NWC camera crew. No, not the polite little studio chaps he worked with the other day, but rather the more annoying guerilla warfare types that make the NWC unique. And from the look on our boy’s face, it’s pretty obvious he had no clue this was comin’.]

Cruise: Well… are you three just gonna stand there gawking at me like a couple stoned night owls or are you gonna tell me, A – just what the heck you want, and, B – why yer pointin’ that damned camera at me?

[He gets no immediate answer. Squinting even more, he plunges ahead in his questioning.]

What the Christ time is it?

[Finally one of the previous three unseen voices speaks. For clarity’s sake, this would be Glenn Hofer, producer for this little number.]

Hofer: It’s about 8:10, Mr. Cruise.

Cruise: In the *morning?*

Hofer: Yessir.

[Scott’s eyes go wide for a second, the shock of the moment still not quite settling in.]

Cruise: Mister, you got about 20 seconds to tell me who you are and what yer doin’ before I take that camera from the mute there and beat all three of ya upside the head with it.

Hofer: Umm… certainly. We’re from NewFire Productions.

Cruise: Who?

Hofer: NewFire Productions. We handle the promo recording for PSW among others. We’re handling all S.M.I.T. promotional work.

Cruise: Okay. I got that. So what the hell are you doin’ poundin’ on my door at 8 am on a Saturday?

Hofer: We’re here to shoot you.

[Bad choice of words.]

Cruise: WHAT?!

Hofer: A PROMO! We’re here to shoot your *promo*.

[The look of sudden horror that had stricken Scott’s face slowly fades away, although he still looks like he’s half asleep.]

Cruise: Well what in heaven’s name are you doin’ *here*? I shot a promo the other day in Portland. Why’d you come to my hotel room?

Hofer: Umm… well…

[It seems Mr. Hofer doesn’t quite know how to answer that one. Scott’s growing annoyed.]

Cruise: Wellllll…

Hofer: Mr. Cruise, it’s customary for NWC promos to be shot on the run, very “reality based”, if you know what I mean. Myself and my crew have been assigned to you for the duration of the tournament.

Cruise: Okay, this is all makin’ a *little* bit of sense, but that still doesn’t tell me why you just woke me up and are pointin’ that damn spybox at me NOW. It’s 8 am on a Saturday, I was sound asleep, and any fool can tell I’m not exactly “promo ready” at the moment.

Hofer: I suppose so. But our orders are to follow you around and shoot you continuously.

[Scott rolls his head in disgust and begins to wipe the fog away from his face with his left hand. At this point he’s still leaning out the half-opened door.]

Cruise: Aw, Christ. What the hell have I got myself into. Well s[bleep]t, I suppose now’s as good a time as any to get up. Why don’choo boys come in and make yerselves comfortable… I’ll try and wake my ass up.

[Speaking of his ass (well he WAS), it’s at this point that Scott throws the door the rest of the way open and turns away from the camera, allowing us to get our first full shot of him as he peddles off across his motel room towards what we assume is the bathroom, granting us a stunning view of his naked ass as the sheet he apparently had wrapped around his waist falls away. The shoot slowly fades to black.]

* * * * *

[Another caption lets us know that this promo ain’t over yet. No sir, not by a longshot.]

Saturday, March 31, 2001
09:27 A.M.
Motel 6 – Eugene, Oregon – Room 312

[As we fade up from oblivion, we once again are greeted by a shot of Scott Cruise. This time the athletic looking Texan is leaning back on his bed, a stack of pillows behind his head keeping him upright as he slowly shovels what appears to be Chex cereal into his mouth. He slobbers the milk for effect and speaks with his mouth half-full.]

Cruise: So tell me somethin’… Glenn is it?

[We don’t hear an answer, but Scott apparently gets an affirmative nod from off-screen because he continues on.]

Why in the name of God didn’t somebody, you know… like CALL me and let me know you guys were comin’?

Hofer: A believe they tried, Mr. Cruise, but were unable to reach you. You don’t have an answering machine.

Cruise: Well no s[bleep]t, Sherlock, I’m livin’ outta my damned suitcase. I told them I was gonna be in a motel, didn’t they think to leave a message with the front desk?

Hofer: I… I don’t know, sir.

Cruise: Oh, and please stop with the “sir” and “Mr. Cruise” crap. My name’s Scott. The only people who ever call me Mr. Cruise are cops and lawyers, and I hate both kinds. If you three monkeys are gonna be followin’ me around all day then we should at *least* be on a first name basis.

Hofer: Sure thing.

[More slurping sounds as Scott downs some cereal.]

Cruise: So let me get this straight… you three are gonna tape my every move from now until I get punked outta this tournament thing, and yer gonna take bits and pieces to send back to the studio for use as “promos” on some network?

Hofer: Exactly.

Cruise: Well this may sound like a dumb question, but what the hell for?

Hofer: To ahh, *hype* your match.

Cruise: Hype my match? What is this, The Real World? Dude, who in their right mind would wanna watch promos for some meaningless opening round match of some small-time tournament like this one? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for promotion and all, and this tournament is a great opportunity and everything, but we’re not exactly talking King of the Ring here. Doesn’t this seem a little, I dunno… *excessive* for a regional deal?

Hofer: Perhaps. But this is pretty much standard operating procedure for the National Wrestling Council, Mr… Scott. It’s the way they work.

Cruise: [in mid chew] Really? Damn, has it really been *that* long since I’ve been part of this scene?

Hofer: If you don’t mind me askin’, how long were you in Japan?

Cruise: Since ’94. I mean, I been *home* a buncha times since then, but not as part of the business. Hell, that match in Portland last night was my first gig on U.S. soil since summer of ’93, I think.

Hofer: Well the business has changed quite a bit since then.

Cruise: Well, yeah, I know *that*. I follow the trades, I’m not *that* out of touch. I just didn’t know they took the promo thing so serious.

Hofer: It’s become quite a big part of the business.

Cruise: I guess. I can’t imagine you guys come cheap.

[Having finished his cereal, Scott slides off the bed and shuffles over to the small kitchenette where he dumps the bowl into the sink and hits it with a quick blast from the faucet. Turning back towards the camera, he stands with his hands on his hips and just kind of stares at us for a bit. For the record, the 6’2″, 242 pound Cruise is dressed in a gray t-shirt with a navy blue, zip-up wind breaker over it and a pair of matching blue, wind breaker, running pants. His short, black hair still looks a little damp, the obvious result of a recent shower.]

Cruise: So now what? I suppose I should say a few words about good ol’ Dez Bradley, otherwise this entire thing is pretty useless, eh?

Hofer: If you like.

Cruise: Well, truth be told I ain’t got a whole hell of a lot to say to the guy. Ya see, it goes like this, Dez… I saw your little ditty, and while I suppose that should have prepared me for the arrival of these goons… no offense, guys… the fact is it didn’t. I just figured that was yer way of doin’ business. Oh well. As for what you had to say, well in some ways you were right, and in some ways you were wrong. Dead wrong.

For instance, it’s all well an’ good that yer comin’ home to Seattle for the first time in awhile. As a guy who’s spent the better of his adult life livin’ as far away from home as possible, I can appreciate that. Hell, the last two months I’ve been at “home”, and it was a damn good feelin’, no question. But see, the problem with your little theory is that you seem to think bein’ home’s gonna be an advantage to you. Well, unh unh, bucko, don’t work that way.

Ya see, I’m *used* to livin’ on the road. I been travellin’ for the better part of the last decade, livin’ outta suitcases and crashin’ in crap motels, not just here in the states, but all over Europe and Japan as well. And trust me, you ain’t lived until you’ve tried to get a good night’s sleep in one a them tubes over in Japan. Ya see, those people, they ain’t so big on “space”.

So this is just like any other day to me. Any other city. Me bein’ out here on the road ain’t gonna effect my performance one bit, so you can pretty much put to rest that idea. In fact, if anything I’d say the shoe’s on the other foot. Bein’ home, you’re the one who’s gonna have to deal with all the distractions. Friends, family, catchin’ up and all that. Trust me, if what you said was true and you ain’t been home in three years, and yer ma’s anything like mine… yer gonna have a *lot* of catchin’ up to do.

Me? Hell, son, I just gotta work. Life on the road can be a bitch, but it’s great for focus. I’m a road dog, Dez, so this… this *is* home for me.

[As Scott continues to speak, he begins to do some light stretching exercises to help loosen himself up for his apparent upcoming jog.]

As for the rest, yeah well, I can see you ain’t much for confrontation, or makin’ some big boasts. Which is fine by me, ’cause the truth is I’d just ignore ’em anyway. I’ve heard it all before, so there ain’t nuthin’ yer gonna be able to say to me to shake me up. As they say, I’ve been there, and I’ve done that. And if there’s one great truth I’ve learned about this business in the last ten-plus years, it’s that everybody’s got opinions, and almost *none of ’em* are ever in sync with mine.

See, Dez, I came here for one reason and one reason only – to take my rightful place among the legends of this business. Yeah, I know you ain’t never heard of me. Can’t say as though I’m much surprised, considerin’ almost none of the guys who work here in the states ever take the effort to learn about what’s goin’ on overseas. So, no, I’m not surprised word of my accomplishments hasn’t trickled into your little ear just yet. Fine, that’s a-o-k with me, junior. The less you know about me, the better off I am. But without getting into details, I think you need to know that I am not another one of these star-reachin’ wanna be’s that this tournament is littered with. I know you may think I am, but I’m not. And just because you haven’t seen or heard my name before, well, that doesn’t exactly put me in the company of all these indy guys with their month old resumes and fresh-from-the-school attitudes. I been around, and I’ve paid my dues. Sure, now that I’m back in the states I’ve got to start from the bottom again and earn my place, but that was expected. And unlike the rest of these scrubs, it won’t take long for me to earn that place.

It’s like that with any skilled veteran. You come in, you pay a few quick dues, then you assume your rightful place in the line. These new guys, they ain’t got jack to stand on just yet, and they’re lookin’ at this tournament to give them credibility. Well not me. This tournament is a warm up. A quick two-step before the big dance, which in my case happens to be in New York. That’s where I’m gonna really earn my place. In the meantime, I get guys named Dez and Tatum and Parallax to keep me amused and help me brush up on my skills.

So, yeah, you don’t know me, but guess what… I don’t know you either, and on top of that, I don’t *care*. What I do know is that I’m better than you and I can beat you. And I know this not because I’ve seen you work or heard tales of your abilities, but because I know how good *I* am, and I know what I’m willing to do to be the best. And there just ain’t know way in hell I’m gonna get beat by a guy who’s idea of dreamin’ big is to one day be the next Ebola Zaire.

‘Cuz ya see, *him* I’ve seen… and him I could beat with my eyes closed, whether he’s takin’ a s[bleep]t or not. So you… well you’re obviously not up to snuff.

[The camera follows Scott as he passes in front of the lens and opens the door to his motel room, stepping out onto the welcome mat and preparing to sprint.]

Ordinarily this is the point where I’d ask ya to impress me… but you’ve already blown any chance of doin’ that.

[A smile, almost to himself.]

Ebola Zaire.

What a rube.

[And just like that, off goes “The Prodigal Son”, jogging through the parking lot and out onto the main room. We fade, because frankly, there’s nothing better to do.]

* * * * *



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