Vito Valentino, on his knees inside the entrance to a hospital room, has a ”Classic Buddy” underneath him. The tag from KB Toys is still clipped to its ear. Metro’s palms remain pressed into the soft, squishy fabric on its forehead as the camera reveals the likeness of the number one contender for the Real World’s Championship, Lord Colossus.
The Plush Lord even has his trademark black, studded getup on its soft and squishy likeness; yes, it’s as demented looking as it sounds.
“Ade doo-ay damballa!!! Give me the power…. I. BEG. OF. YOUUUUUU!!!”
We zoom out and see an eight-year-old boy hooked up to a plethora of wires and machines. The boy’s hair is patchy with a condition called alopecia; one of many side effects from cancer treatment. Despite being terminally ill, he has a bright smile on his face and the Real World’s Championship across his little shoulder courtesy of the Real World’s Champion himself.
“Sorry Ian! I thought I could bring Lord Colost-“
Vito stops himself. PG, Vito. PG.
“-Lord Colossusususususus’ little Classic Buddy alive so you could hit ‘im with your finisher and beat ‘im like I’m gonna do at Capitol Clash! That reminds me, what’s your wrestlin’ name, kiddo?”
Ian’s smile is infectious. It’s obvious just how thoroughly entertained by Vito’s efforts he is.
Ian excitedly makes a crunching sound with his fists. Though severely weakened and immunocompromised, he still manages to yell this with the strength and courage of an entire roster full of wrestlers.
Vito looks surprised as ever and chuckles.
“WHOOOOOAAAAAA! Awesome! Where’d you come up with that?!”
Vito can see the name on a Classic Wrestling roster one day. He’s sure of it.
“I thought of it because… because, um, when I get better from being sick and kick cancer’s butt? I’m gonna be so strong that I’ll be able to break some iron!”
Vito gets a little choked up after hearing his goal. He motions for Ian to come over and give him a hug. Ian wraps his arms around Vito instantaneously, sending goosebumps up his hero’s arms. Kissing the kid on the forehead, Vito caresses Ian’s head and gives him a wink. Meanwhile, in the corner of the room, so as to not get in the way of his son’s Make-A-Wish, Ian’s Dad is a mess. Tears stream down his face as he silently cries, stifling the sniffles and wiping away the tears as best he can.
With Ian next to him, Vito speaks directly to the camera as his emotions run rampant.
“You ain’t ready, LC.”
He chokes back tears while looking back at Ian. Ian, in turn, gives Vito a thumb’s up.
“You got this, Vito!!!”
Vito winks back at him and looks back at the camera again.
“You think bein’ Champion is all about bein’ the biggest and scariest? Nah, bro. I’m tellin’ YOU it’s NOT. It’s only a fraction of the job– nay, HONOR, ya ginormous, funny talkin’, lump of psychobabble. The other parts? It’s bein’ a role model to all those kids out there. Kids who might not have much time left in this world who-“
Vito tries to maintain his composure.
“…who want to go out knowin’ their heroes are doin’ them proud. Like Ian here.”
His voice breaks, but again, he tries his best to stave off the emotions.
“When I lost my Dad at Ian’s age? Only thing that got me through it were my heroes. Only thing I looked forward to was askin’ Mom if we could go get the newest wrestlin’ magazine. ‘Cause I knew it’d show my heroes crushed the bad guys.
Bad guys like you.
So you know what the headline’s gonna read for Ian after I slam you and tie you up in the Metro Avenue Deathlock? It’s gonna read somethin’ like this:
“METRO CONQUERS A COLOSSAL CHALLENGE!”
But that’s not all. See, there’ll be a picture, too. And it’s gonna have MY hands raised in the air, MY foot pressed down against your massive chest, and the Real World’s Championship wrapped around MY waist!
Hit ‘im with it, Ironbreaker!
Ian mean mugs the camera before saying his hero’s catchphrase.
“Welcome to the METROpolis, dumb-dumb!”
Vito high-fives Ian, who then gives him a great big hug. Placing his hand on the back of his head, a single tear falls down Vito’s right cheek. The Real World’s Champion closes his eyes, imagining what it would be like to hold his own Dad like this once again.