A voice echoes out, traveling far and wide like soft susurrations inside a whispering gallery.
You once told me that pride was gonna kick me in the ass someday, Alex.
Those haunting words pierce through an empty, black screen devoid of any signs of life. Once more, they are heard. Distinctly.
And It hurt.
But It made me better.
A better wrestler.
A better student of the game.
A better man.
Thank you, Alex.
Finally, a cold opening to a man in a black singlet with a heart in the middle of his abdomen, wearing the red mask of… Undercover Lover?!
Wait. It’s… Vito Valentino! His five-year old niece, Madison, picked out this costume when they went to Ames™ to choose their respective get-ups for the incoming Ween of Hallows. Her costume? None other than King Kong Frank. HOW DARN ADORABLE IS THAT?!
“GRRRRRRR!!” she shouts at every opportunity as they trick-or-treated until 8PM on this special, early edition of a night dedicated to the little ones getting to trick or treat without danger lurking around dark corners. The voice-over continues.
It was a hard lesson learned when you submitted me in that tournament. Zero excuses, there. I underestimated you, plain and simple. I focused too much on how you reeked of the same characteristics of the typical try-hard: throwing lies and rhetoric out at every opportunity. I should’ve seen through that, though, and understood how that isn’t all that you were. Or are still.
Despite your lack of character and decency, you had me dead to rights in one of the most painful submission holds I’d ever felt. At the time? And maybe even to this day, you earned my respect for it. But time is a great thickener of the truth. And like any warrior with the courage to battle back up to the ledge from where he fell? I’m back, with one important advantage: I know how to survive your best move.
Another heart-melting “GRRRRRRR!!” and Madison hops through the doorway to the home with her Uncle. While her parents enjoy themselves at a Halloween party, Vito makes good on his promise to babysit the gorgeous little monster. After all, it had been a while since he last made his way out to New Jersey to see his brother and family. There’s no place left on Earth he’d rather be than right here.
Undercover Lovertino adjusts his hilariously stupid mask and sits down at one of the chairs at the head of the table.
Now? I got you backed up onto the same ledge. Sad part is this is actually the first time you’ve been here. Three months into your pathetic title reign and you’ve defended it not ONCE. All Business? A joke that draws silence. I’m gonna make you regret restin’ on your laurels like that, Alex, and I’m gonna make sure you realize that by the time you’re submittin’ to the Metro Avenue Deathlock.
Madison dumps out the pumpkin basket full of candy onto the kitchen table.
You ready? Now, think before you answer. ‘Cause it’s pride revisited between us, champ. With the shoe on the other foot as I drop you colder than the ice in your veins.
Undervito Lover smiles as he watches his niece count the pieces of candy.
Here’s where I kick your fumbling feet out from under you and watch you dangle.
One hand grabbin’ at those loose blades of grass. The other holdin’ onto a championship you’ve taken for granted… as most cowards who’ve slinked into a place of prominence often do.
Do you reach up and let go? Or do you cling onto it so desperately that you neglect to brace yourself for the inevitable fall?
Vito watches his niece nom-nom into a bite-sized Three Musketeers. Taking one for himself, Madison’s mouth falls agape with mock betrayal as Uncle Vito removes his mask, chewing the chocolate nougaty goodness.
There’s only one way this goes.
Vito “Metro” Valentino, the REAL World’s Champion.
You refused my hand, Alex. So allow me to return the favor by reachin’ down with my hand… and relieve you of a burden you were never ready to carry: and that’s bein’ the face of Classic Wrestlin’.
They share a loving laugh as the scene slowly begins to fade, leaving us where we began: with the voice of Classic Wrestling’s next Real World’s Champion.
Alex Bruder: Now leavin’ the METROpolis, haunted by the ghost of his past.
Fade to victory.