“Fan mail hasn’t been very…. fan-like, if you can imagine that, but I can’t blame anyone other than myself. You have to expect this when you fail your family. Letters like this though-”
He opens the 8X11 folded paper in his hand and begins to read the first sentence.
“‘Rush, I looked up to you and you’re nothing but a sore loser…’ Well, they actually hurt. I’m not sore about Alex Bruder being champion or that he beat me, guys and gals. I’m not sore that I’m not The REAL World’s Champion. I’m proud of what I did and how I got there. The road ahead is not closed, my destiny is not fulfilled, and Rush Starling isn’t going anywhere!”
Rush crumbles up the letter and tosses it over his shoulder.
“With that in mind, I would be lying to each and every one of you if I said I’m not down on myself for losing the first big match of my budding career. In fact, there’s one word that has echoed in my mind since walking to the back at Slam-A-Thon… ‘failure’.”
Nodding his head slightly, Rush crosses his arms.
“It bogged me down, it held me back, it made me not want to show my face. That’s not being a sore loser, that’s being disappointed in yourself. For half a month I sulked, I was depressed, I blamed myself. I read letter after letter from you; the fans. Some of them were uplifting, some sharing the same disappointment that I was feeling, a few bitter and riddled with hate. Each one caused me to spiral deeper…”
He uses his right hand and one finger for each word, as though counting, as he speaks.
His three fingers then pull back into a fist that comes down into his free hands’ open palm.
“Then… all of it was instantly erased! And do you know why? Because of another word that got lost between all my self-reflection… Purpose! And boy-oh-boy, do I believe I have plenty of it! Sure, I could be a giant ball of sadness and pity myself until I decide to call it quits but that’s not happening- not now, not ever! I thought for a moment ‘how can I go on knowing I failed’. The fact is- I didn’t! I’m still here, I’m still wrestling the best in the world, and across the ring from me will be a man who tried to stop me and the man that did! My purpose is simple; to be a symbol! Something for people to look up to! Sure they could look up to our Champion Alex Bruder, they could appreciate his talent, his impeccable ability to wrestle, but he’ll never be the kind of man I am! A person with a good heart, a kind soul, and has a purpose beyond oneself! I’m dedicated to this craft and each of you, he’s dedicated to Alex Bruder.”
Starling is starting to build back his energy.
“Lord Colossus, I apologized to you when I should have focused on Alex. In fact, it was a distraction to the title. I can’t take back the past but I can make my own future and what I said before Slam-A-Thon about a fair fight- I meant it. I didn’t think it would happen this quick… but you know what? I’m glad because I don’t know how much longer I could carry the guilt of not beating you cleanly! I’m confident my partner and I will be able to achieve that!
Looking confident, Starling gives a respectful nod.
“Vito Valentine, I know we haven’t spoken before, but I’ve seen your magic in the ring and I’ve heard great things about you from my good friend Freddy Kilgore. When I say I’m proud to team up with you it’s true, my friend! People will look at our competition and doubt our ability to topple them. I don’t. I look at us and see one thing- an actual team!”
“Not two individuals. Not a self-concerned champion and a self-depraved monster. Two men on the same page who want the same thing- victory! Strength, talent, having the REAL World’s Champion in your corner as a partner- you can feed all that to the birds!”
The excitement begins to pour back through the young superstar as he rubs his hands together.
“Chemistry is what wins tag team matches! And baby……”
Starling winks at the camera.
“We’re ‘bout to go nuclear!”