Blackfront: And that’s our show for tonight. For my broadcast partner Tommy Ace….
Suddenly, the piano opening to Evanescence’s Bring Me To Life filter through the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Ace: Well, maybe we aren’t done just yet. Who in the blue heck is this?
The big screen shows a pair of eyes, and only the eyes, closed as the lyrics of Amy Lee kick in.
How can you see into my eyes like open doors?
Leading you down into my core where I've become so numb
Without a soul my spirit's sleeping somewhere cold
Until you find it there and lead it back home
Just as suddenly as the music started, the eyes open, ice blue and almost disturbing in their large gaze across the arena’s floor.
WAKE ME UP!
The song continues as a singular light shines on the entrance. The man standing there immediately generates a massive, ground-shaking roar from the UTA Universe.
Blackfront: You have to be KIDDING ME!?!?
Ace: It CAN’T be! Not HIM!
Tommy’s wrong however, as the long, red ponytail gives it all away. Ryan Corey, the often-imitated, never duplicated Nightbringer stands in the spotlight, wearing a pair of blue jeans, a simple pair of Reebok cross-trainers in yellow and dark blue, and an Indiana Pacers jersey, complete with the number ‘23’.
Blackfront: DYNASTY IS IN TROUBLE NOW! IT’S THE NIGHTBRINGER!!!!!
Corey begins to slowly make his way to the ring, slapping fives with the fans as he heads down the aisle. Making it to ringside, he continues in a lap around the guardrail.
Ace: You have GOT to be JOKING, Blackfront! That old fossil? Taking down the golden standard that IS Dynasty? That’s a great joke! You could go on the road with material like that!
Corey slowly makes his way to the ring steps, and as he reaches the top one, asks for a microphone. A ringside attendant quickly rushes one to him, and he steps up onto the apron and into the ring as the fans threaten to blow the roof off the joint. He smiles, and holds the mic in the air, asking for quiet. After a few moments, the crowd settles into a low murmur.
Corey: So this is how the good people of the UTA Universe welcome this old man into an arena, huh?
Again, the crowd goes nuts for a moment before calming down.
Corey: Well, from the bottom of what most think is my barely-ticking heart, I appreciate all the love so very, very much. But, I’m not here to get a rise out of Indianapolis, Indiana tonight….
CHEAP POP ALERT!
Corey: ...instead I’m here to talk to one man. A man who, at your recent All or Nothing show, used the help of a monster named Simon to steal the new UTA World Championship from Will Haynes. He calls himself a mental rapist, but I think he’s just a mental midget...that would be one Sean Jackson. Sean, you told me on Twitter if could, you’d say everything to my face. Here’s your chance, son.
Sean Jackson who had been walking backstage immediately sees everything on the monitor. The look of shock etched all over his face as he can’t believe that an old nemesis is now in UTA. As he turns to look back towards the entrance curtain, he contemplates just walking away. However, he couldn’t help but hear that Nightbringer had called him out.
Taking a deep breath, Sean makes his way towards the curtain. La Flama Blanca and Simon look at each other, questioning if they should follow or not. Jackson throws his hand up saying I got this!
Blackfront: Here we go, looks like Sean Jackson is answering the call.
Ace: Of course he is. Sean Jackson is the world champion and a member of Dynasty. This old fossil is going to regret calling him out.
As Sean Jackson steps out from behind the curtain, the fieldhouse erupts into a strong chorus of boos. He tries to look confident, but the look of trepidation covers his face anyways.
Blackfront: Sean Jackson is stunned…
Ace: Shut up, Ryan Corey has just caught him by surprise is all.
Sean stands there, looking up at the ring as if he’s seen a ghost. He slowly brings the mic to his face. He goes to say something, but the boos cause him to stop. He goes to turn and walk away, but again stops. With his back to Ryan Corey….
Jackson: You’ve got to be kidding me?
Finally, he turns to face Ryan Corey.
Jackson: Seriously Ryan, who did you have to bribe to get into the damn building? I should have known with All Or Nothing happening in that trash dump called St. Louis, your Missouri show me nothing ass would crawl out of the woodwork.
Corey smirks, looking down at his shoes for a moment before looking at Sean.
Corey: Now, Sean...if you remember right, there were two things I told you on Twitter. One was that I don’t lie. I told you I’d find a way to grease the wheels, and at least give you a chance to live up to all your bragging. I’ve done that. The second? Well, once my lawyer and the UTA lawyers get everything hashed out, then, I’ll take that belt off your shoulders and destroy the cancer to this sport called Dynasty.
Sean blinks a couple of times, still shocked that Ryan Corey is standing in an UTA ring. With the UTA world championship draped over his shoulder, he grips it tight.
Jackson: You know, that sounds about right. The old geezer Ryan Corey, thinking that he can just waltz into UTA and get a damn title shot at a championship belt Dynasty has made relevant for almost 10 months.
He points towards the ring, the veins popping from his neck.
Jackson: Well you can wish all you want to Ryan, but the fact of the matter is that there is a pecking order here and you aren’t in it. There are true challengers to my championship who are better qualified than you ever could be. Serious challengers like Leyenda De Ocho, like Nigma, or even Midget Mike Best.
A smile begins to form.
Jackson: Hell Ryan, you probably couldn’t even beat the women here in UTA. So don’t even step into that ring, thinking that you could ever stand toe to toe with me. For you see Ryan, I’m not that same kid from the NeWA who couldn’t get a fair shake from Don Owens, from Boaz City, or any of the other owners and promoters who couldn’t wait to treat you as some false celebrity.
Corey can’t help but chuckle, since midget Mike Best did get an elimination in the big match.
Corey: Sean, you’re as delusional as you’ve always been, ever since you were a punk kid latched onto the coattails of Terry Norris and Bobby Blood back in the WWA, like you were back in TSW, what with your Brylcream Chairshots and the like. You can stand there and pretend like I’m no threat to you, Sean, but the thing of it is, I can see your eyes right now, and you and I both know better than that.
Ryan pauses for just a moment, thinking about his next words.
Corey: Here’s what it all boils down to, Sean. The infamous bottom line, the real deal, the coup de gras, as it were. I’ve known you since you first stepped into this sport, kid. I was in the room, if you remember right, when you signed that first contract to work with Terry and Bobby. I was in the room when you signed your contract to work the Midwest territory Corey Harding had established. For a short time, I was even in the NeWA while you were doing all the same stunts you did back in the day, taking every shortcut and back door imaginable to get where you wanted to go. That’s your story, Sean, like it or not. That’s Dynasty’s story, Sean, like it or not.
Ryan pauses for just a brief second. Sean begins to speak, but Corey holds up a hand, and almost miraculously, the wordy Jackson actually doesn’t talk.
Corey: Here’s MY story, Sean. While yes, I’ve run in a couple of packs before, for the most part, everything I’ve ever done in this sport has been on my own. I didn’t need anyone to win eight World Championships in my career. I didn’t have a single person watching my back down in Mexico, when a seven-foot, three-hundred pound plus monster of a man named Victor Mandrake spent the last two-thirds of his career doing everything he could to force me out of this sport, and no one to cover for me while dozens of others have tried as well. I didn’t have any backup the night I fought Eric Dane in a cage over in England for what at the time was the richest prize in our sport, and I didn’t have anyone in my corner three years later when I beat Matt McClain at his own game for the same title again.
Ryan’s face is starting to turn a bit red now, as he’s beginning to really feel it.
Corey: I’ve single-handedly fought against stable after stable after stable, Sean, and not once have I not finished the war on top. Not once. I’ve been in the ring, as you know, with some of the best that have ever stepped between a set of ropes. Dane. Michael Lennox. Ulfric. Mike Bell. Mandrake. And the list of names could go on and on and on, all night long, Sean. You know it, and I know it. But that’s not why we’re here, is it? All that, it’s all water under the bridge right now, what was. I’m here for what IS. What IS, Sean, is a cancer called Dynasty running around this company, doing whatever they can get away with, stealing wins and taking food from the mouths of people far more deserving that the three of you will EVER be. What IS, Sean, is you, using that poor unfortunate soul Simon to do the dirty work for you at All or Nothing before you threw Will Haynes over the top rope to become the FIRST UTA World Champion. That speech you gave about how you and Dynasty made that belt relevant? Hogwash. That title’s barely two weeks old, Sean. You know what’s going to make that title relevant? Do you Sean?
For the first time, Corey takes a step forward, closing the distance between the two.
Corey: It’s when I’ve finally gotten the ink dry on a UTA contract after all these months of haggling, EARNED a shot at that belt, and done exactly what I told you a few days ago I will do. Beaten you, and the rest of Dynasty, on my own, relieving you of that title. Giving that title meaning by being a fair and fighting champion the people out there can appreciate. Giving the men and women in the back a champion they can be proud to say represents the company they work for, a champion they want to get into the ring and fight, because they know there’s not going to be two or three other people coming behind them to alter the outcome of the match. You talk about relevance like you understand the term, yet you don’t know the first thing about it. Sean, I was relevant in this business long before you got here, and to this day, I am STILL relevant, because I have to travel all over the world to find people willing to get into the ring with me. When you can say, Sean, you’ve been in this sport for twenty years and you are STILL not only a household name, but a figure respected and revered AROUND THE WORLD...then, Sean, and only then will you truly understand relevance. That title doesn’t make you relevant. It’s how you defend it from here on out. I know you, Sean. Just like you did to win it, you’ll take every possible back door, every possible shortcut, use every possible trick you and Marshall Owens can come up with to keep it on your shoulder.
Now Sean has had enough of the skewed perception that Ryan Corey is giving. Yes, there is some truth to what was being said, but he would be damned to let the world according to Ryan go unanswered.
Jackson: Listen here Ryan, you don’t have a damn clue what you’re talking about. You mention Victor Mandrake, Eric Dane, Matt McClain as well as that piece of crap Mike Bell. But the fact of the matter is I’ve too faced them all. Yes, you had your moment in the sun when every promoter couldn’t wait to give you exactly what you wanted, all the while ignoring guys like me. When I first got into wrestling, I had to muddle around as some camera holding lackey for Terry Norris and Bobby Blood. They didn’t win their first damn match until I joined the team, their first of multiple world tag team champions didn’t happen until I showed them the way.
Sean moves the championship belt from one shoulder to the next, making damn sure Ryan sees it.
Jackson: You go on and on about everything you’ve accomplished in this sport, knowing damn good and well that none of the promoters gave me anything. When I finally had enough and started to branch out on my own, with a future shot at a world championship, I had it stolen from me by a man named Jason Jousma. I sat out, for two years because of a knee injury and when I finally did come back, I was once again cheated by owners and promoters who only wanted me to forward the career of others.
Sean points out towards the fans.
Jackson: And all because of idiots like these people who never wanted me as their champion. The main reason why owners and promoters like Brad Batee in the NeWA purposely stole two world championships from me…
He then motions behind him.
Jackson: The reason why James Wingate brought in Spectre to not only steal the UTA championship from me at Black Horizon, but the UTA tag titles as well. So don’t stand up there with your twisted view of reality and make this sound like it’s our fault. Wingate is just as much to blame for the formation of Dynasty as these idiot fans are, which means he’s just as much to blame for what happened at All Or Nothing. But I can tell you this much Ryan, and you can take it to the bank. For all your talk of Victor Mandrake, for all your talk of Eric Dane, Mike Bell, Matt McClain….
Now it’s Sean’s turn to smile.
Jackson: Here you are, in Wrestle UTA chasing the REAL world champion. Just like it should have been all along. Here you are, trying to convince yourself that it’s the early 2000’s and you somehow stand a chance against a man who has now held world championships in every organization that he’s been a part of….
Sean begins to pace back and forth on the stage.
Jackson: A man who has made a living now at retiring people over the last couple of years. A man who will in due time, retire you if you don’t get a brain between those ears and walk out of Dynasty’s company on your own.
Corey makes a point of laughing right in the view of Sean Jackson.
Corey: Your company? Dynasty’s company? Like you’re paying the bills around here, booking the shows, arranging for the venues, all that stuff, right? You and your buddies Perfection and Eduardo doing all that leg work for everyone, Sean?
Corey pauses and as Jackson brings the mic up to his lips, Ryan cuts him off before he can utter a word.
Corey: I didn’t think so. And spare me the whole “We run this company” schtick. It’s old and played out. Just like your whining, Sean. Oh woe is poor baby Sean! Look at how The Man has held down poor little Sean! Why won’t those big meanies give me what I want? Why won’t those men with all the money and all the power give in to my petulant fits and two-year-old temper tantrums?!? You haven’t changed a bit, Sean. You still, to this very moment, feel like this sport OWES you something. You still feel like you should be able to write your ticket to do whatever you feel like, all because you have some talent. And make no mistake, Sean, I call it like I see it. You DO have talent. I’ve never once said less. But you accuse me of being in that turn-of-the-century mindset, when you’re the one standing on that stage, making all the same damn excuses you made over a decade ago! When, oh when, Sean, are you going to man up?
Corey pauses, tapping his temple with his right forefinger, the mic in his left. He gives everyone that ‘EUREKA!’ look.
Corey: I know, Sean. How about right now, tonight, right here in this ring. You told me on Twitter if you had a chance you’d...what was it again? Oh yes, knock me out and end me. What’s holding you back, CHAMP? What’s keeping you from being a man of your word, and coming down here and proving to your Dynasty friends and the rest of the world just how much better you supposedly are than me?
Ryan pauses, watching Sean pace back and forth in a lather on the stage, debating with himself out loud on the virtue of walking down to the ring or staying put.
Corey: I know what it is little man, and so do you. You know that in a fair fight, one on one, even on your BEST day…..You. Can’t. Beat. Me. You know that, when the lights are hot and that title’s on the line, if it’s you and me in the ring, and Dynasty can’t help you...you know what will happen. You will be the first FORMER UTA World Champion. Because for all your banter, all your talk Sean, you are the same little kid you were way back when holding a camera for Terry and Bobby. Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. But, I’m a man of my word. You said you’d come knock me out, I’ll stand here and give you your shot, kid. Let me invite you down here to the ring, Sean, so you can take your best shot. Or, CHAMP...are you scared you’ll swing for the fences and miss?
Corey walks to the corner, setting the mic down on the top turnbuckle, waving Sean down the aisle.
Blackfront: He just called Sean Jackson’s bluff!
Ace: Jackson’s not bluffing, you buffoon, he’s setting Ryan Corey up for the butt-kicking he so richly deserves.
Jackson continues to pace on the stage, his face twisted in rage, clearly conflicted about what to do. Corey sees this, and steps to the ropes, leaning over and turning his cheek toward Jackson, tapping it with a finger in a dare.
In a slow motion step that brings the crowd to it’s feet, Sean takes that first step down the ramp.
Jackson: So let me see if I’ve got this straight. Ryan Corey, the Nightbringer himself waited all night, waited for JUST the right moment to pop in and issue the challenge. Answer me this Ryan, why did you feel the need to wait until AFTER my tag match in order to issue this challenge…
After taking a couple of more steps, Sean stops, causing the cheers to switch to boos.
Jackson: Could it be, that just like always, Ryan Corey doesn’t do anything unless it benefits Ryan Corey first. Now I’m sure you would love for me to come down to ringside, to step into the ring and engage in an encounter that would surely give you some instant credibility in this company. But Ryan, I’m the world champion here and I don’t step to the sounds of a has-been like yourself.
Sean immediately begins to step backwards towards the entrance stage.
Jackson: I don’t jump when a nothing happening, Missouri nobody invades the UTA and demands something of me. You see, the way it works in this company, ingrates like yourself stand in line and pick at the scraps we leave behind. This isn’t the early 2000’s when fossils like yourself called the shots, this is 2015 and now WE run the show.
Now it is Sean who has the epiphany. He sees Ryan Corey, standing in the ring, goading him to enter. Yes, the same Ryan Corey that Sean Jackson watched before he too, finally broke into the business.
Jackson: Wait, that’s it...isn’t it? You now have to stand in the line of the old folks home and wish that guys like Perfection, La Flama Blanca, Simon and myself would leave table scraps for the rest of you relics. Well Nightbringer (sarcastic), you’re all alone now. The only thing you can bring yourself is false hope, because it will be a cold day in hell before you can ever sniff this championship belt.
Now back on the stage, Sean shakes his head in bitter disappointment.
Jackson: Look at you, standing there thinking that the same old ploys of yesteryear is going to work. Well I have an idea Ryan, why don’t you go look for Victor. Maybe he’ll give you whatever it is that you need to fill that emptiness in your life. Maybe you can go check into some other minor league organization to revive the Nightbringer name, because Ryan…
His eyes narrow, the voice now dry and cold.
Sean: If you stick around in UTA, you WILL feel the high knee to the back of your skull and the night will arrive. But it will be at a time that benefits me, and it WILL be at a time where you least expect it. That’s a promise.
Corey walks back over to the corner, picking up the mic.
Corey: Are you done? I mean, seriously, are you done with your little schpiel? Old, washed up, has been, yadda yadda yadda. Heard it for a decade now, Sean, and it still rings as hollow coming from your mouth as it has from all the others. Yeah, I’m not a young man anymore, Sean. Big deal. Forty-two years old. Still standing, still at the top of my game. No, Sean, I’m not trying to fill a void in my life. Unlike you, I have plenty in my life. I have my wife, my children, Camp Nightfall, a wildly successful career and a legacy in this sport unmatched by anyone. I don’t need to revive, as you say, my name because it’s never died, Sean. See, kid, what I did wasn’t a ploy to get instant heat, or to take advantage of a situation. Yeah, you wrestled a match. A match where half the time you stood on the apron and left Less-Than-Perfection do all your dirty work. I’m not blind, and I’m also not dumb. I know it’s been at least, now, a good fifteen to twenty minutes since your match. I also know that, as a pro, you’re in terrific, world-class-athlete caliber shape. So, I also know you’re ready to go if you have to….but here’s the thing, Sean. Here’s what always has and always will separate you from me. Our roles right now reversed, I wouldn’t have hesitated to walk down that aisle in front of you and jump right in front of your face. You? You stand there, your integrity as a champion, your courage as a man, challenged, and you find yourself unequal to the task.
Corey smirks right at Jackson, knowing that he will have touched a nerve in Sean’s psyche. As his face goes redder, he remembers that as the champion, he has to keep his cool. He can’t let NRC know that he’s getting under his skin. There’s also the heat generating through the Indianapolis crowd, this pro-NRC crowd that somehow he has to set back to nothing.
Corey: No, Sean. You call yourself the Real World Champion, but all you are is yet another dime-store chump with a big mouth, unwilling to back it up. What’s the matter, Sean? Are your friends not out here to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself? Scared that this old man is going to make you look bad in front of the whole party? All I’m giving you is a chance to back up all that bluster you put over Twitter a few nights ago, that’s all. I guess it’s true, Sean. The more things change, the more that remain the same. And you’re the same mewling kitten you were holding those cameras, unwilling and unable to prove to the world he’s a full-grown man. Come on down, kid. I’ll even let you have the first shot. I’ll just stand here, and you can punch me right here in the face with everything you’ve got, and I won’t lift a finger to stop you.
Corey looks at Sean’s face go a deep red, and he knows he has him right in the palm of his hand.
Corey: Are you a man, Sean Jackson....or are you still that camera-toting child you keep proving yourself to be? Show me, Sean. Show the world, right here on world-wide television, which one it is.
Corey drops the mic, and stands center of the ring, his hands behind his back.
Sean grips his world championship, but then turns ever so slightly over his shoulder as if someone is whispering something to him. At that moment, a smile forms again and he faces the wrestling fans.
Jackson: Okay, okay. How many of you intransitive pieces of Indy garbage wants to see Sean Jackson take Ryan Corey up on his offer?
As the fieldhouse erupts, both Jason Blackfront and Tommy Ace are on pins and needles. Everyone is readying themselves for this epic battle that the fans are surely to call for.
Jackson: So you really want to see Sean Jackson put that old geezer out of his misery? You really want to see me murder an old man on television?
He takes two full steps and stops.
Jackson: Well too bad, because it isn’t going to to happen. Not here and not in front of a bunch of hacks who wouldn’t know the difference between a wrist lock and a wrist watch. Sorry NRC, but I’m going to do something that nobody else ever had the guts to do. Tell you no.
With that Sean Jackson drops the mic and walks behind the curtain, much to the displeasure of the fans. But just when you think it is over, the curtain again moves and out steps Marshall Owens.
Marshall: Oh and Mr. Nightbringer. My client meant that with all due respect.
Marshall too, drops the mic and disappears behind the curtain, leaving Ryan Corey standing in the ring.
Ace: Ha ha HA! Look at the intelligence of our UTA World Champion! He’s not going to let Ryan Corey leapfrog the line and get an opportunity when there are so many others more deserving!
Blackfront: Did you listen to him at all? He didn’t ask for a title match, he just wanted Sean to back up all his talk on Twitter!
Ace: Yes, at the expense of possibly being hurt, or worse yet, having been forced into a title match against Ryan Corey! Sean Jackson is simply too smart to allow that to happen. Good for him, and good for Dynasty!
Blackfront: That’s not how I see it, but we’ll have to agree to disagree. For my colleague Tommy Ace, this is Jason Blackfront. Good night from Indianapolis!
- Kentucky Tarzan