Our shot fades into a view of the Fountain of Eternal Life in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. The area has a single occupant admiring the piece and it’s Rush Starling. His casual attire is what instantly points him out. A pair of khaki shorts and a simple red polo. Starling turns to face the camera well enough for us to see him but also admire the fountain in the background.
“Magnificent and truly a nod to the great ingenuity of the people of Cleveland. It’s bigger than I imagined, actually!”
Starling’s head turns from the fountain and to the camera.
“I wondered as a kid what it would be like to be a ‘giant’. Truthfully, I was always mesmerized and taken aback by men of your size and stature, Lord Colossus. Probably because I was a little pipsqueak tagging along with pops as he traveled town to town. How could you not be impressed by a fully grown man that you’re kneecap height with?!”
With that Rush claps his hands together and looks almost as excited as a kid.
“It would make any growing boy’s jaw drop! Heck, mine still does from time to time!”
Starling allows himself to relax a bit before continuing.
“But…. I’ll never forget the anxiety I would have seeing my dad compete; standing, starstruck by these larger-than-life figures. Watching my father battle against men that were much larger… it makes you question if eating your fruits and veggies would even get you THAT big or strong. It would make me wonder if he’d leave the match unscathed.”
His body language shifts dramatically. Rush looks down instead of at the camera and although relaxed we can gain a sense of great sadness overcoming the semi-finalist.
“More often than not, he didn’t. My father lost to behemoths like you, Colossus, a few times in his career- it was brutal. I feared that it may be the last time I’d see him wrestle, but you know what? He pushed through.”
Rush smiles and lifts his chin. His attention back to the audience watching.
“He licked his wounds and a couple weeks later was back at it- fighting. He said, after being defeated by a ‘giant’, one of the hokiest lines I can remember- ‘It’s not the size that makes them better, it’s my lack of ability’. Of course, back then I thought my father had all the ability in the world but looking back- he didn’t. He was missing those key pieces of this sport that could have altered the course of our history forever.”
The young man takes a few moments to reflect on everything he’s said. He places a hand over his heart while nodding with gratitude.
“I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to share that memory, Lord Colossus. The chance to understand why my father failed. It’s not about how big you are or strong I am. It’s not about what you may do if and when you get your hands on me.”
Rush smiles even harder.
“It’s about WHEN my family rallies behind me in the Classic Studio- the ability THEY give me to push me to the next level! My family, well- they want our legacy to continue, Colossus! And that’s why it’s up to me to not fail my father! It’s up to me to win for my family and honor what he has passed down!”
Starling now turns so he is fully facing the camera.
“Colossus, Wehzl, I think what I’m getting at is this- my family back home, my family here in Cleveland. They all realize that being a ‘giant’ isn’t about how big or tall you are… but how much love and passion you bring to the table! And in case you don’t know it, Colossus… my family and I are bigger giants than you’ll ever be!”
Our protégé begins to walk towards us.
“This isn’t just about me anymore, Lord Colossus. It’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than us! It’s about the REAL World’s Championship! It’s about family, it’s about legacy, and when that bell rings… I no longer have a weight on my shoulders…”
Rush looks up towards the sky. His finger pointing up with his arm just halfway to the chest. He then lowers his head back to the camera with passion in his eyes. Starling briefly turns the pointed finger towards the lens. A smile of confidence is given as he says while exiting-
“Because I have giants lifting me up.”