The sun is just barely up, and “All Business” Alex Bruder is already on the trail, running five miles before breakfast. In voiceover, we hear him in his standard manner, steady and quiet.
“Life is about choices. Sleep in, or put in the work. Try a little harder, or except good enough. Push yourself, or let others push you around.”
The shot changes. In his kitchen, Bruder is making an egg white omelet, with cubes of grilled chicken and spinach leaves.
“I can see that not all of my choices have been good. I could have walked away after Capital Clash, moved onto other things. Instead I provoked you, KIlgore. I didn’t know how you’d react, never saw the rage you had boiling just below the surface. But just because I didn’t anticipate it, doesn’t mean that I don’t hold some blame.”
Down in his gym now, Bruder is doing some weight training. Nothing flashy, but like his words, measured and precise.
“No, as you said, Kilgore, I poked the bear. But that doesn’t absolve you. I didn’t understand it, KIlgore. I thought the whole ‘Apex Predator’, ‘King of the Jungle’, ‘Papa Wild Thang’ nonsense was just you putting on airs; getting in your opponent’s head, and trying to beat them before the bell even rang. But it’s not, is it? You are feral, untamed and out of control. None of that is on me.”
Still in his gym, Bruder is now sitting off to the side, watching footage of some of his previous encounters with “Feral” Freddy Kilgore. You see him wince when rewatching Kilgore hit him with The Call Of The Wild in their first encounter, the one where Kilgore was triumphant.
“You are a mad dog, Kilgore. Your WIld Hearts may find it endearing, but I don’t. When it comes to an animal that can’t be controlled, you have two choices. The first choice is that you can break them down.”
Bruder is now switching off between hitting a speed bag and heavy bag, working on his footwork and his punching power.
“It’s not often that I’m the better man, Kilgore, but out of the two of us, I’m the only one who can be reasoned with, who knows the difference between right and wrong. At ClassicMania, I won’t be some wild beast, but I’ll damned sure be the better man, and I’ll do what I have to do. Once we’re locked in that cage, I’ll do my best to crate train you. I ain’t going easy on you. I’ll bash your stupid painted face into every single steel bar. I’ll grind your nose in the mat and tell you that you’re a bad boy. I’ll twist you up and turn you around so much that in your fury you’ll end up chasing your own tail. And if you know what’s good for you, in the end you’ll roll over and show old Alex your belly.”
We’ve moved now to an ice bath in which Bruder is lying still as the grave.
“Otherwise, we’re left with our second choice. I can put you down. Inside that steel cage, I don’t have to worry about locking the Cobra Clutch on in the middle of the ring. The ropes won’t save you. The cage won’t save you. And you can rest assured that I won’t save you. You have hunted me for months. You have sought not to defeat me in the ring, but to hurt me outside of it, to end my career, to end me. In that cage, I know you can. In my heart, I know you will, if I give you that chance. You might be stronger than me, and faster than me, and more filled with rage than me, but son, you ain’t as mean, you ain’t as tenacious, and you ain’t as used to playing in the dirt. The cage traps us together. No escape from each other, or from ourselves. I ain’t no beast, Kilgore, and by default I’m the better man. But I ain’t that good. I’ll do what I have to do to win, to survive, and I don’t have the luxury of factoring in what shape that leaves you in.”
Another cut, and “All Business” Alex Bruder is walking down a dimly lit hall away from the camera.
“We all have our choices, Kilgore.”
Smash cut to Bruder’s face, his eyes unblinking, addressing the camera directly for the first time.
“And I made mine a long time ago.”