It's rare that I post an out-of-roleplay note, but given the odd circumstances around this card, I thought I would, if only for posterity.
Basically, you already know the 'results' from this card. It's already been announced on FWrestling.com that "Thomas" has 'taken over' the league. This card focuses on some of the 'whys' and 'hows' of it, rather than on any in-ring action. In-ring action is mentioned, along with match results, but the event is actually written from the "Merritt" and "Thomas" points of view.
This card is meant to be a lead-in to CSWA PRIMETIME: LABOR DAY LAYOUT.
The Louisiana Superdome is always a fun place to come. Home of the two Dean Smith-era National Championships by the Tar Heels, the Dome has always held a special place in his heart. Merritt arrived in the “Presidential” skybox just as the start of the show kicked off, as usual. Despite all the running around beforehand to make sure things are ready for a show, it’s tradition for him to sit down in time to hear Bill Buckley issue the traditional, “Hello wrestling fans!” intro.
What was he forgetting? The taped announcement disbanding the Unified Tag Team Titles was done. That one wouldn’t make the <> X-Change happy, but until Ivy could hunt down and recruit some new tag team blood, it just doesn’t make sense to focus on the lagging division.
The plans for PRIMETIME 500 were coming along. NCN was thrilled with the prospect of getting an additional two-hour special, especially with the Main Event he was cooking up.
The “New Blood” experiment had gone better than he could have hoped. Even with Suicide’s coming departure and the continuing efforts to keep egos like Christian Sands muted, there was at least the fact that the ‘talks’ with Mittens T. Cat had led to less humping of people and inanimate objects.
And most importantly, the Miles threat was gone, at least for now. As Eli caught Autumn in the Fallen One and went for the final cover, Merritt realized what he had forgotten.
The car was out of gas. He couldn’t believe it. After everything he’d been through, after all the trouble to get this far, and now this. Just one more thing to chalk up on Chad’s tally. As he walked the final half-mile to the SuperDome, he thought back over the last four years… once again thinking about how he should sue the makers of “Castaway” for stealing his story. If they thought making “Wilson” a volleyball instead of a midget was going to get them out of it, they’d have another thing coming to them.
But first things first. Chad. The man who did this to him. The man who once admitted to having dreams of pushing his own business partner off the Titanic had gone too far. He should have known what was in store when Chad offered him a “getaway vacation” as a going-away present after he sold the controlling interest in the company and decided to focus on other CS Enterprises’ divisions. But no, that wasn’t enough for Chad. Instead, the company plane Chad so conveniently set up for him to take had mechanical trouble over the Pacific. In the end, the pilot was lost somewhere in the wreckage, and Thomas found himself marooned in the middle of nowhere with the Red Midget, who insisted on being called Lyle Tallman, as if he were a real person.
No matter. Just a quarter-mile now. A few more steps and the sweet dish of revenge would be served. It had been easier than he ever imagined. And if there had been a couple of bumps along the way, that was to be expected. They were minor irritants in the grand scheme. But he still couldn’t believe how complacent Chad had gotten: years ago, he never would have missed the signs; the innocuous-looking inquiry into the insurance payments for the past three years, the petty-looking lawsuit filed by a former Board of Directors member, the surprise marriage of one of his employees… He’s gotten soft. And now he’ll pay the price.
Nathan Cross and Jean Rabesque. One of the best burgeoning feuds for the Greensboro Title in a while. Rabesque had done wonders for the title, and Cross has continue his slow push through the months, keeping his name in front of the fans and using ON TIME to his advantage. As the match between the two continued, Merritt’s thoughts wandered momentarily.
The Presidential Champion and so-called “President” had taken advantage of distractions too many times over the last few months. Even with his partner in crime, Miles, gone, Eddie Mayfield had made himself that most dangerous of employees: one with his own agenda, his own mind, and his own fan following. His latest stunt in Little Rock was his way of getting back at Merritt for refusing to extend Miles’ contract. To which Chad responded by booking him in a Triple Threat match for his title against Steel Viper and Cameron Cruise…with JJ DeVille as the special ref.
Ya gotta love that little dweeb JJ. The rating for his surprise Main Event against Troy had pushed ON TIME to its all-time high. With him as part of the Main in Jacksonville, along with the other power-packed matches…PRIMETIME should be a blockbuster.
All the hard work was finally paying off. The threat of “New Blood,” while menacing to some, seemed to actually be bringing up the workrate, and the expansion of talent allowed Chad to book ON TIME and PRIMETIME separately, leading to a better schedule overall.
All this hard work, indeed. Speaking of which, inside the ring, it looked like Cross was about to capture the title as he brought Rabesque down with a huge flying bulldog from the second rope. But the tricky little Canadian kicked out at two-and-a-half and quickly rolled outside. As Cross came to the ropes, Rabesque proved tricky indeed, yanking Cross’s legs out from under him and slamming the right left down over the apron. A lariat led to piledriver which led to everyone’s favorite Figure Four leglock and finally to a submission by Cross.
To Dream The Impossible...
Thomas could feel the excitement building inside the arena. It was if they could feel his return and were feeding off of it. Little did he know that the first and largest cheer he heard was for the hometown hero, Shane Southern, stepping into the ring for his Top Contenders match against US Champ Hornet.
It would take some time to get reacclimated to life within the company, running the company, but from what he had seen already, several changes were long overdue. The roid-raging World Champion needed to be replaced with someone who could draw money, the tag division needed to be overhauled…and as he passed the hospitality table, he realized business number one would be to hire a new caterer. His wife would second that motion.
It was still hard to believe that he was actually married to Hortense…yes, THAT Hortense, the woman who made a living out of being a lead singer of the LOVE Sisters and a posterwoman for the Fish Fund and its continuing campaign to bring plastic surgery to those women desperately in need. Unfortunately, Hortense had never seen fit to avail herself of the Fund’s funds, so to speak.
But she had been the answer to a dream. Not like his dream to be naughty with several supermodels at once, or even that weird dream involving Justine AND Jason Bateman. But just when it looked his plans were stalled, there she was, like an obese cloud blotting out the sun… but obese cloud or not, she had the last 3% of the shares he needed to match Chad’s company holdings. A whirlwind courtship, a piece of costume jewelry passed off as a family heirloom, and a quickie wedding in front of a Nashville judge… it all brings us, brings him, to this point, this one moment in time…that changes everything.
Merritt watched on as Hornet hit the dreaded Hornet Splash, followed by Southern narrowly avoiding the even more dreaded Scorpion Deathlock. Both men were something of a dilemma. Hornet, the devil he knows… the man who made him more money than any single star, but had no doubt cost him as much as any…not to mention the gray hairs. And then Southern… a man who could be the new Franchise, the go-to guy, if he could only figure out where his loyalties really lie. His hold over both men was tenuous, and yet, they represented two of the best of the old guard, so to speak.
Merritt shivered, and not because of the right hand Southern delivered to Hornet in the corner. After sixteen years, you develop something of a “Spidey-sense,” something that tells you when some part of the intricately developed planning that goes into making a television show is going to change, and usually not for the better.
His call down to the road agents revealed that everything seemed calm. Ryan and Adler were both still in the building and gearing up for their Main Event match. Inside the ring, all seemed well, as Southern ducked a clothesline attempt and turned so quickly, catching Hornet with the Party’s Over superkick to become the Top Contender.
The second call of the night went to long-time CSWA VP and Security Chief Gregg Gethard, who, once he appeared to wake up, reported that all was clear.
All clear. The first time he’s seen Gethard in four years, and the man acts like he never left. Oh well, with Gethards, it’s always best when they don’t get too excited. The phone calls over the past couple of months had greased the wheels, not to mention the discussions about how Gregg’s ten percent ownership of shares in the CSWA could be making him more money if the league was more stable.
Thomas’ sense of direction hadn’t failed him yet, as he navigated the back hallways of the SuperDome. He had managed to make it in to the most secure part of the arena, with Gethard’s help. A few more hallways and an elevator ride would take him to the confrontation he’d been waiting for, dreaming of.
It was the one thing that kept him going on that cursed island…. Making Red’s life miserable had just been something to pass the time while he searched for a way back to the life he had known before. But that life was about to become something more, something better then he could have hoped. In one fell swoop, the last four years, the misery and despair could be forgotten.
It would be even better than the sweet moment when Joey Melton came traipsing over the sand dunes with a cheap-looking cruise liner cocktail waitress at his side. He had promised her a “From Here To Eternity” moment on a secluded beach, away from the resort on the other side of the island where the cruise ship pulled in for its overnight layover.
To think that had he and Red actually explored more than the mile or so of coastline they lived on for so long, they might have realized that the current-side of the island had a full-service resort… Well, no matter….
The Main Event introductions underway, the two men in the ring, but the feeling just wouldn’t go away. Even after the first punch thrown by Dan Ryan and the first suplex hit by Tom Adler… something just didn’t feel…right.
A call to Teri Melton back at the office revealed nothing out-of-sorts. No red flags, not even another attempt to hack into the CS Enterprises internal network. One final call to his office voice mail revealed nothing but a blank voice mail from a Greensboro number.
For the first time he could remember, Merritt turned away from a Main Event, just as Adler took control and seemed moments away from winning the CSWA World Championship. He walked across the suite, ignoring the bar and the rest of the amenities in the suite. Instead, he headed for the elevator and went to press the button… but before he could, the door began to open.
As Thomas rode up the elevator, he reached into his coat pocket for the small sheaf of papers. He had rehearsed the speech in his head over and over again. It was nothing as simple as “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die,” but he still thought it had it’s own charm.
He would walk up behind Chad, who would assume it was only one of his lackeys coming up behind him. Then he would toss the papers down in his lap and deliver some biting sarcasm as Chad scanned them and realized that his time as the sole power in the company had come to an untimely end. It was the least he could do for the man who left him on an island with a midget for years.
Unfortunately for Steve, things, as usual, didn’t go quite as planned. As the elevator doors opened, Chad was standing right there.
“Steve,” he asked, his eyes widening slightly. “Is it really you? We all thought you were dead!”
“Oh, I bet you did,” Thomas responded. “I bet you thought a lot of things.”
Behind them, thousands jumped to their feet as Adler hit a series of suplexes and wrapped up Ryan, only for him to kick out just before the final count. A quick roll-up got another two-count for Adler.
“What are you…,” Merritt said, noticing the documents, “…talking about?” Merritt, noticing the particular look of legal documents, pulled the folded sheaf out of Thomas’s hands. He opened them quickly, scanning the first page. “You can’t be serious.”
“You don’t have any proof.”
“I don’t need proof. I’ve got stockholders. Thirty-eight percent of them, to be exact.”
“Almost as convenient as that plane crash.”
“You can’t really believe….”
“I’m not an idiot, Chad.”
“I never really thought you were…until now.”
“It doesn’t really matter what you think…not anymore. And more importantly…”
Before he could finish the point, the elevator doors closed. As the car began its descent downward, the noise of the crowd outside the glass was rising to the fever pitch as they realized the end might be near. It’s funny how a crowd can sense the end, even if the dictates of ‘television time’ aren’t in play.
Merritt stepped over to the bar, filling a glass a third of the way full with Jack Daniels pulled from underneath the marble top. As Dan Ryan muscled his way out of a german suplex and caught Adler with a reverse dragon suplex of his own, Merritt downed the double whiskey. And as the referee’s hand came down for the third time, and the decibel level reached the highest of the night, Chad Merritt threw the empty glass against the closed elevator door, leaving a spray of glass across the immaculate hardwood floors.
The elevator doors opened for a second time. The car was empty this time. Taking one final look at the crowd outside the glass, Merritt turned, grabbed the bottle of Jack and stepped into the empty car.