It’s another hot afternoon in Cleveland.
Gruff Myers dabs at his wrinkled and scarred forehead with a hankey before folding it shoving it into his back pocket. He crosses muscular arms over broad chest and stands expectantly, in the heat of the afternoon, dead in the center of the parking lot behind the Classic Wrestling studios. Flanking him on either side are two good ol’ boys, each wearing a CLASSIC SECURITY t-shirt and the gaze of a man who’s ready, willing, and able to get or give a good ol’ fashioned passionate ass-whippin’ should the need arise.
Gruff: If this goes sideways, you boys are on Hazard Pay for the day.
There isn’t time for them to register the Commissioner’s sentiment before the parking lot begins to rumble. The two muscle-bros share a glance that’s interrupted by a rusted-out late-seventies model Ford Bronco swerving hard off of one road onto another before jerking almost sideways as it careens into the parking lot. The tires bark as they find purchase and the vehicle swerves back the other direction, squaring up to the trio of men standing like megaliths in front of it.
Gruff Myers doesn’t so much as flinch as the tires squeal and gravel flies and drum brakes strain to stop the otherwise out of control big-body Bronco. Once the smoke clears, the driver’s side door explodes outward and King Kong Frank unfolds himself from the driver’s seat and sets first one, then another bare foot down on the sweltering blacktop.
Frank’s bushy brows furrow as he speaks.
Frank: You boys look like y’all done seen a ghost.
He snorts, reaches into the back seat of the old Bronco, and pulls out a mason jar. He twists off the cap and takes a long pull of the hot corn whiskey.
Frank: Go on then, spit it out.
Gruff: It goes like this, Frank. I can’t have you an’ that Lord Colossus runnin’ ‘round here every week tryin’ to kill each other and causing more damage to the studio than a rabid squirrel trapped in an attic!
Frank: And so?
Gruff: And so these two gentlemen are going to accompany you inside the building, they’re gonna show you to yer private dressin’ room for the night, and they’re gonna stand outside the door and keep guard until you go out for your match to make sure that nobody goes in or out without my express permission!
The Amazin’ Appalachian’s face curls into disgust behind his bushy brows and wiry beard. Gruff was expecting this. He can feel his men tensing for a fight behind him and he says a silent prayer that Frank likes him just a little more than he dislikes Lord Colossus.
Frank: I ain’t no lady, Gruff, an’ I don’t need no protectin’!
Gruff: Oh, I ain’t tryin’ to protect you, Frankie my boy, Colossus either! I’m trying to protect the property of Classic Wrestling, the safety of the employees therein, and the integrity of this great sport that you an’ me both have been doin’ longer than anybody wants to count.
The Smoky Mountain Mastodon snorts again, considering.
After another tense moment, Frank acquiesces.
Frank: Fine. But iff’n I see one stitch’a that freak’s spiked underwear tonight, I’mma tan his doggone hide somethin’ fierce!
Gruff: You leave Lord Colossus to me.
The Big Burly Barefoot Brawler nods to Gruff and shoulders his way past the goon squad. The two of them both turn on a dime and catch up to him as quickly as possible.
Gruff: Hey Frank, one more thing!
Frank stops and looks back, a scowl already developing on his face. Before Gruff can catch up to him and say whatever else, the scene slow-fades into blackness before giving way to the Classic Wrestling logo…