Downtown Cleveland, Ohio is rather quiet this morning with most of the public at work which leaves Rush Starling alone and enjoying a walk around the public square area. He’s walking towards the camera in the distance and gives a short hand wave to us as he approaches closer. Starling has a more serious look on his face, still energetic but also composed and focused.
“If there’s two things my father always said that truly stuck, it was to never make promises you can’t keep and to treat others with respect.”
Rushes eyes peer up to the sky as he remembers his dad speaking those words.
“They are staples of life, things that I hold near and dear to my heart. If a man can’t keep his word and can’t treat the people around him with just an iota of respect- then what sort of a man is he really? Liars, cheaters, bullies- they are everything I despise. I stop short of saying that I ‘hate them’ because it takes an awful lot of investment and emotions to hold hate in your heart.”
Rush’s next statement draws a smile across his face.
“Keeping one’s word and treating others with respect, they’re actions that I see in so many of you here in Cleveland! That’s how I know we’re all family because we all hold the same values! In fact, many of my colleagues share those values… but there’s one that just wants to be an outlier.”
Shaking his head in disappointment Rush looks down, then back up at the camera before continuing around the public square.
“That’s why I’m so taken aback by you, Scott Hunter. Every sentence, every trope and reference to pop culture- they ooze with hatred. If only you could turn that energy into something useful… like your skills in the ring instead of tearing down those around you with words. I don’t want to be the one to point it out but you’d likely be more successful.”
Rush puts his hand up and then wags his finger almost as though he is correcting himself.
“But who am I to tell you how to do your business? I’m not the best here in Classic Wrestling, that’s evident by the lack of the REAL Worlds Championship around my waist. I may not be the champion here in Classic Wrestling, but I AM a champion in treating people with respect.”
Starling nods, proud of what he stands for.
“And good sir, for the first time here in Classic Wrestling- I have none for you. I’ve always walked into this business with the aspiration of facing the best wrestlers. Men with heart, passion, dedication to this sport. That I’d treat each and every person with the respect they deserve and have earned. I’ve listened to you, watched you, and am disgusted by you, Scott. Maybe it’s you as a person, maybe it’s the feeling that you have some sort of God complex, whatever it is, it needs correcting.”
Approaching a bench Rush takes a seat as he continues.
“When I acted up, when I talked down to my siblings, my father would give me a correction- a rearing, if you will. A few little cracks with the belt went a long way in teaching a young Starling to fly more straight and narrow. I owe a lot to my father for doing that, for making sure I didn’t turn into an adult man-child.”
A light sigh exits. Like Starling is saddened by the thought crossing his mind.
“It hurts me to assume your parents didn’t love you like mine loved me, Scott. That they didn’t care enough to discipline you and make you fly straight and narrow. Whatever the reason, it’s sad. It breaks my heart, it truly makes me want to extend my hand out and help you, Scott. To bring you where you have enough confidence in yourself that you don’t have to demean others. Maybe then you’ll not only have respect for your peers but maybe even have earned mine. Does that matter to you? Probably not, but it matters most to me because I don’t give up on people. And even you, Scott Hunter, are salvageable. You can learn to have respect for your peers and this business.”
Rush stretches his arms across the bench before pointing at the camera.
“But I feel the only place to start is to do what your parents never did… and that’s to give you a good rearing on Sunday.”