“All Business” Alex Bruder’s face takes up the screen, staring just to the side. As is his wont, he takes his time gathering his thoughts before speaking, his eyes still not meeting the camera. When he does speak, it is once again quiet and deliberately paced.
“I had a plan. A good plan. And it was working.”
A short pause, and he turns his head, still avoiding the camera’s direct gaze.
“I had Vito in the Cobra Clutch. I had that match won, and I had my Real World Championship defended. All I had to do was keep it locked in until he was out, the bell rang, and the official pried me off of him. That’s all I had to do.”
“I know I’d told him that I was going to keep it locked in until he wouldn’t be able to fight again, but that was just to get in his head. I’m a professional athlete, not a thug. My work is violent, but it’s still just work. I felt the man go slack in my arms, and I took my foot off the gas. That’s all “Metro” needed to turn the table. That’s what compassion for your competition gets you in Classic Wrestling.”
Bruder exhales, turning again so that we now see only his right profile.
“He beat me, fair in the middle of the ring. I won’t say otherwise. I’m not happy; who would be? But I met the man in the ring, and I gave him my best, and it wasn’t my night. I’m not angry, though, just disappointed. I had a plan, and I didn’t follow through.”
“I could whine and cry, like “Metro” did. I could stomp and pout and beg for a rematch. That’s not my way, though. I’ll get my title back just like I won it the first time, by taking out every man who stands in my way. Classic Wrestling made a mistake in putting me in this four way match for the number one contendership. Three men will have to pay for tthier mistake.”
Finally, Alex turns to face the camera head on, his eyes staring through the screen.
“Bradlee Nelson, one of the Surf Express Bro. Son, you might be better prepared for the mess of a four way match than anyone. Tag matches are busy, and you know to keep your head on a swivel. Those instincts will serve you well. But you’re not used to being on your own. You’ll be in shark infested waters, son, and very…much…alone.”
Daggers shoot from his eyes, and while it would be great if he could just go back to avoiding our gaze, that doesn’t look like it’s in the cards for now.
“Dash Dackson. Love the spirit, kid. And that was a hell of a win against Chest at In Your Haunted House. Your little robot gets in my way, I’ll tear it apart and sell it for scrap. That’s your only warning.”
He’s got to blink some time, right?
“The Undercover Lover. Your stock is certainly on the rise. You’re a match away from a shot at the Real World Championship, and you know better than most how much ladies love their jewelry. I’m sure it would go a long way with your outside pursuits. Now me, I don’t have outside pursuits. I’d just remind you that candy’s cheaper, and you’ll get to keep more of your teeth.“
At long last, “All Business” stops, and closes his eyes.
“It won’t be easy. Four men wanting the same thing. You’d have to have eyes in the back of your head. Knowing full well that the instant I get one of these men in the Cobra Clutch, the other two would be fools not to break it up. What kind of tactics do you use, what sort of strategy do you draw up to face off against three other men?”
A second passes.
Another. Bruder’s eyes shoot open, his eyes cold and steady.
“Nelson, Dackson, Lover, all three of you are coming off big wins, and I’m coming off the biggest loss of my career. But a loss is wasted if you don’t learn something from it. So no more plans. I am not a thug, but I employ violence to earn my pay. I do it without a second thought. I do it without remorse.”
“I employ violence!”
And just as quickly drops to a whisper.
“And it’s time to get to work.”