Chasing Infinity: The Caged Animal Jan 6, 2019 23:31:10 GMT -5 Alex Richards, Bonnie Blue, and 1 more like this
Post by Teo Blaze on Jan 6, 2019 23:31:10 GMT -5
“Only at the end does the beginning seem significant.”
As the scene slowly fades in from black, the first thing that makes itself known to the viewer’s ears is a faint and distant sound. It is a sound that seems to come from a great distance away, and yet with every passing second it grows louder, as though it is coming closer.
What fills the screen as the image becomes clear is a whirling cascade of yellow sand, blowing across a windswept desert floor, a near-mirage of glassy particles carried by an ever-present and howling spectre.
Though it is the dead of winter, the heat coming off of the desert floor is palpable through the screen, palpable waves of blistering energy manifesting in barely visible waves. Even without being there, one can practically feel the punishing heat.
As the viewer takes in the sight, however, a second sound joins the swirling winds, a much fainter sound, but a sound that is more...unnatural, a scraping, sound, as though something metallic is being dragged along the desert floor. It seems to echo over the desert floor, a peculiar and strange rhythmic noise.
However, before long, the source of the sound becomes clear as the camera slowly pans around to reveal a strange sight indeed.
Standing in the desert, barefooted in the sand, wearing nothing more than a pair of torn blue jeans is the Television Champion, Teo Blaze. But to merely say he is standing is a gross understatement, as the Television Champion, for the Television Champion stands surrounded entirely by a long chain-link fence. His scarred body is covered in sweat, and his hands are wrapped around the opening as he leans against his confinement, breathing heavily.
Yet even despite the obvious pain that wracks his body, despite the immense heat that radiates from the cruel desert sands, the Television Champion’s face does not carry a face of anguish nor a face of pain, indeed he stands leaning against the walls of his prison with a smile on his face…
But while the Champion has become known for carrying a wicked smile, for hiding his true intention behind twisted grins, this is something different. This smile seems every bit as genuine as it can possibly be...but it is a dark grin, the look of a demon fascinated by a peculiar nightmare. His muscles are taut as his grip against the fence tightens, and his rhythmic breathing gives way to speech, it seems to echo from somewhere deep within his body.
Teo Blaze: ...You know, they say that a caged animal is when that animal is at its most dangerous.
The champion cocks his head slowly to the side, pressing his face against the jagged fence, his eyes locking directly with the camera.
Teo Blaze: And I can think of no better way to describe Samuel McPherson than that of a caged animal.
I have thought long and hard about my One opponent this year, and it has spurred me to a realization, something that the more I think about it, the more clear it becomes.
In Samuel McPherson’s mind...this is a match that he must win.
Teo continues turning his head almost unnaturally to the side, the smile seeming to grow on his face as he does so.
Teo Blaze: You see, Samuel McPherson is not in a good place at the moment, and that’s putting it about as kindly as I possibly can. He has found himself, by virtue of dumb luck and by virtue of partnering himself with the biggest joke of a wrestler on the entire roster, in possession of not one, not two, but three infinity stones.
And what Samuel McPherson is slowly beginning to realize is just how damn lucky he is to have held onto those stones as long as he has.
Teo lets out a laugh that borders on a cackle before snapping his head back into the chain link fence.
Teo Blaze: You see to talk about Samuel McPherson is to talk about the Monstimals, for you see dear Samuel has spent the last few months as your WCF Tag Team Champion…
A team that has quickly earned a reputation as the most pathetic team to hold the belts, possibly of all time. The Monstimals have spent a majority of their title reign dodging challenges from contenders to the point where it has become a running gag.
Should I remind the people at home of just how long the Guardians rightfully demanded a tag team title match against the Monstimals after beating them clean as a sheet in the center of that ring? Should I point out that when a no-name team issued an open challenge to the WCF tag team division, that the Monstimals didn’t even respond? Should I point out that they only managed to defend their championship exactly one time in the last few months, in a triple threat where they had to steal the pin from the Very Big Spaniards? The fact that the Monstimals then went on to lose their tag team championship clean as a sheet to Estrella Luiz and Edwina Lockheart, who between them have won less than half of their combined matches in the WCF?
Teo chuckles to himself, smiling that crooked grin as he presses into the chain link fence even harder, so hard that a small red trickle begins to cross his forehead.
Teo Blaze: You see, even talking about the Monstimals, even listing the facts about their team? It sounds like an insult.
Just describing the way you won the fucking championship sounds like a bad punchline to a worse joke, Samuel.
But I don’t have to twist that knife.
Teo’s voice drops to barely a whisper, and as the camera slowly zooms in, his voice carries with it a coldness, a low pitch.
Teo Blaze: You see Samuel, when it comes to the Monstimals, I don’t need to dissect your run… the results speak for themselves. Despite the fact that you and that walking failure you handed a tag team championship to holding those belts hostage for several months...when it came time to pick the tag team champions of the year?
The Monstimals weren’t even nominated.
Teo’s face twists into a cruel expression, as though he has just told the punchline of a long joke.
Teo Blaze: Think about that for a moment, Samuel. All that work, all that hiding, months and months of desperately clinging to that tag team championship, doing everything in your power to keep from putting it on the line..?
Gone, like a puff of smoke. Like a bad memory. A stain on the championship that will soon be washed away.
Teo turns away from the fence and begins to pace, letting his words sink in for a moment as he slowly walks in a long circle.
Teo Blaze: It’s almost lamentable, isn’t it? There was a time when Samuel McPherson was thought of as the next big thing in WCF, as the one to watch, as a talent who was on his way to being the biggest thing in the company…
And the moment he has a chance to hold onto a championship, the chance to prove everyone right about this kid, that he’s truly as good as they say...and what do we get?
What is our reward for that faith in Samuel McPherson, how is our excitement, our championing of this monster of a man rewarded?
Teo pauses, and bends down, scooping up a handful of yellow sand. He slowly stands, looking down at his hand, the grains falling through his fingers in a small stream that is carried by the wind.
Teo Blaze: But I hear the excuses already. The justification for months of abject and total embarassment.
“It’s not my fault, after all Raab was the one pinned time and time again, and I, Samuel McPherson, haven’t lost hardly any matches one on one!”
Even as the words leave his mouth, Teo breaks into raucous laughter, wiping a tear away from his eye before continuing.
Teo Blaze: Let me ask the question, since winning that second infinity stone all those months ago, on the same night I beat the same Alex Richards that embarrassed the monstimals a week prior...who have you beaten?
An aging Marc Mayhem on his way out of the company? A Marc Mayhem who isn’t even appearing at One this year?
Kennedy Matthews? Well that would have been an impressive feat before I did it four times.
Estrella Luiz? The same Estrella Luiz who took those tag team championships from you and Raab?
Not exactly the most impressive pedigree, is it?
And what else do you have for bragging rights, Samuel? What have you done with your time in between those...victories?
Loss after loss, embarrassment after embarrassment, dragging down the tag team championships like an albatross.
You know what I’ve been doing, Samuel?
I’ve been facing a murderer’s row of talent week in, week out. One-on-one, no excuses, noone to blame but myself, no Raab to jump in and save my stones if things went wrong, nobody having my back if someone like John Rabid decides to throw me through the equipment, just me and my championship.
And that...that, Samuel?
That is why anybody with eyes is picking me to walk into One and beat you senseless, wrap you around those ring posts and leave you for dead in the center of that ring.
And you know what else? I think you realize it, Samuel.
That’s why I call this match a must-win for you. That is why I call you a caged animal. But your cage is not one of iron or steel, no. There is nobody who walked up and threw you into a prison, who slammed a door in your face. You have nobody to blame for your cage Samuel...except yourself.
Teo reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small piece of paper, folded over itself. The paper is obviously aged, once white and crisp, its edges are now yellowed and frayed. He turns the paper over and slowly begins unfolding it.
Teo Blaze: You had all the tools in the world for success, Samuel. You have size, strength, power, you have skills that people all around the locker room would kill to have.
But the one thing you don’t have, Animal...is the goddamn common sense to look in the mirror and realize when you need to make a change.
As Teo speaks, he finally finishes unfolding the paper. It is a small flier from years ago, advertising a match featuring a luchador in a gold and white mask defending the people’s championship. As Teo looks at the flier, it begins to tear further from the sand and the heat, practically falling apart in his hands. As the wind catches it, it finally falls to pieces, flying over the yellow sands and into the distance.
Teo Blaze: You have such a narrow view of the world, Samuel. You squandered your talent, betrayed your own partner and coveted the tag team championships. You were so focused on things being exactly the way you wanted them, on forcing the Monstimals to exist that you didn’t see just what you were giving up.
Your body may be strong, Samuel, but your mind is weak. Your heart..? It’s like that of a child.
With all of this talent, you steal. You hide, you only face those who over whom you have clear advantages. You only fight those smaller than you, slower, weaker. You rely only on those talents that come naturally.
Teo turns towards the camera, staring directly into the eyes, as though he is speaking to the viewer.
Teo Blaze: And now..? Now you’re trapped. Now you have to walk into One and face me.
You have to step in between the ropes with someone who has spent his entire career taking on bigger and stronger, on someone who has made a legacy of surviving challenges that would break any other man.
My strength was not handed to me by genetics, Samuel. There was never anyone to save me from losing these infinity stones. Each and every week, bar none! I have had to walk through those ropes with someone who is hungry, someone who sees the chance to upend me, someone who wants to prove the hype is only that.
And week after week I have shown the world that my skill is real.
No matter how many bumps, no matter how many bruises, no matter what pain I am put through, no matter who it is! I have invited them to give me their damnedest, and I carry every scar, every broken nose, every drop of blood spilled in the name of these championships as a trophy!
But it has not come easy. I have earned every single win I have ever gotten in this company, and I have damn sure earned every single loss. My legacy is based on my deeds and nothing more! Your legacy? Your legacy is that of an ego-driven failure who relied on others to carry him to victories.
A man who traded in treachery and deceit and scorned the very things that could have carried him to the heights he yearned for. A man so blinded by his own ideas, so arrogant that he didn’t even notice just how good he had things.
As Teo speaks, he turns and reaches down to the ground. He brushes the sand aside to reveal, just below the surface, the shining gold of the Television Championship. He lifts it up and places it over his shoulder as he turns toward McPherson.
Teo Blaze: I have always held that this championship is the truest measure of a man’s character, Samuel. When you are put in a position that any one, on any week could take it from you, that every match becomes a potential failure, when the eyes of every member of the WCF Galaxy are on you with a microscope, that your true character is revealed.
Teo looks at the championship contemplatively.
Teo Blaze: I have turned this into the most sought-after prize in the entire WCF, and I have elevated every single person I have stepped into that ring with.
You? You lost it after two weeks and never came close to it again.
I like to think in that moment, you realized just exactly how much this prize demands of a person...and you walked away.
Teo turns and walks towards the cage, Championship over his shoulder.
Teo Blaze: At One, Samuel?
We are chasing infinity.
But the simple truth of this match...is that we make our own cages.
As he speaks, he places his palm on the cold steel.
Teo Blaze: Your fear, your treachery, your cowardice have caged you Samuel.
With an almost imperceptible effort, he pushes on the metal, and with a groaning creek, the entire wall seems to shift in place before falling with a titanic crash on the desert sands, an eruption of yellow accompanying the sound.
Teo looks at the scene with a grin as he reaches into his pocket, where he withdraws the three infinity stones he has been carrying. He looks deeply into them, his face reflecting off of the shining gemstones
Teo Blaze: But you can’t cage a wildfire.
With that, Teo turns and walks barefoot into the desert, away from the broken cage...and towards infinity.