Freddy Kilgore stands, not moving, with his gaze transfixed on something in the distance. The camera is shooting him from a low angle giving us the impression that his massive frame is towering over us. He’s dressed in his ring gear, but it’s dark – in fact it appears to be the dead of night. The only light comes from a crackling fire that is off screen, but we can see the orange hue dance off Kilgore’s muscular frame and we can hear the embers growl.
In the distance, an owl hoots.
“The new must replace the old.”
Kilgore continues to look off camera as he speaks. As opposed to his usual yelling and frantic promo style, Kilgore is subdued. Almost thoughtful.
“This is a tenant of the wild that will never be usurped. Our young must be carefully guarded, instructed, and nurtured until maturity. This is a primal instinct ingrained in every living being – even in one such as Freddy Kilgore, baby. And then one day, our young must step up to replace us. To challenge us. Not out of malice, but of maintaining the order of the universe: the young must supplant the elder. The cub must rise to take control. The baby bird must fly away from the nest.”
Kilgore pauses for a moment before continuing.
“My opponent, Rush Starling, knows this all too well. For Starling comes from a lineage of wrestling royalty. Starling is a pup that was raised by a clan of warriors, and now he steps up, aiming to himself join the ranks of the fierce competitors that is his legacy. I respect that, Rush. I know all too well the weight of expectations. And while you will indeed be the warrior you so desperately wish to be someday – I can see it in your eyes, you’ll make it…”
Kilgore looks down into the camera for the first time. The light from the off-camera fire glows off his face paint.
“You’re not there yet.”
Kilgore’s voice becomes more slightly more animated.
“You, Rush Starling, wear your family obligations around your neck like a weighty chain. You are being dragged down by the crushing force of your own legacy. You find yourself consumed with your destiny – you are not focused on the here-and-now. I’ve got some bad news, baby: you think yourself as the adult lion ready to challenge for the title of King of the Jungle, but you are instead the cub that has been cut off from his pride. And I, am the hungry predator waiting to swoop in.”
Kilgore holds both his hands out in front of him like he’s holding an invisible basketball. His cadence is ramping up.
“Baby… you ain’t yet been tested. You’re a LITTLE BOY who is obsessed with becoming a MAN. And this Sunday, you’ll be standing in the ring across from an apex predator, Starling. FREDDY KILGORE is not consumed by obligations! FREDDY KILGORE is focused – and tested. FREDDY KILGORE has climbed to the highest mountain top, FREDDY KILGORE has swam to the deepest depths of the oceans, FREDDY KILGORE has STEPPED UP TO EVERY CHALLENGE AND CHOPPED THEM RIGHT DOWN THE HIERARCHY!! LAST TIME I WAS IN THE RING, FREDDY KILGORE EVEN MANAGED TO SLAP A MASTER OF TIME INTO NEXT TUESDAY!!”
Oh, he’s feeling it now, baby. The hands are going wild as he speaks – practically yells.
“RUSH STARLING, THIS SUNDAY, IT’S BACK TO DRAWING BOARD, BABY!! YOU WILL NOT BE MAKING A NAME FOR YOUR FAMILY OFF FREDDY KILGORE’S BACK!! THIS WILL BE ANOTHER LESSON ON YOUR JOURNEY TO MANHOOD, AND YOUR TEACHER’S NAME IS PAPA WILD THANG!! YOU DO NOT YET HAVE THE CALL OF THE WILD BEATING IN YOUR HEART, AND FERAL BLOOD DOES NOT FLOW THROUGH YOUR UNTESTED VEINS!!! WHEN YOU STAND IN THAT RING, SURROUNDED BY A FERAL HORDE OF CRAZED CHEERING WILD HEARTS, YOU WILL REALIZE HOW OUT OF YOUR DEPTH YOU TRULY ARE!!! YOU WILL REALIZE…”
Kilgore stops, pausing. His chest heaves from all the yelling. Sweat trickles from his brow. He looks into the camera and we can see the blazing fire dancing in his pupils. In the distance, we hear a wolf howl. Kilgore smiles.
“Not every little bird is ready to fly, baby.”