When you think of Freddy Kilgore, the word “serenity” is likely one of the farthest descriptors from your mind.
And yet here he is: on the top of a very tall mountain in an unidentified location soaking in the sunlight. He sits, cross legged, on top of a large rock. Behind him, the craggy face of a wall of rock with random patches of grass growing here or there. In front of him, a sharp drop with a lush green valley enveloping the entire horizon.
Kilgore’s eyes are closed. His breathing is measured. The bombastic, larger-than-life megastar is nowhere to be found. Instead we see a sculpted warrior at peace. A man enjoying the silence. A competitor who knows that every now and again, one must reconnect with the natural world.
And if you’re quiet enough… if you’re ready for it… the voices of the forest will tell you what you want to know.
Tell me, baby, he says to no one at all. What do I have to do?
The birds stop chirping. The wind stops blowing. Time stands still as somewhere from deep inside the place that most of humanity long ago forgot about, the old gods whisper back to Papa Wild Thang in a voice that is raspy, elderly, charming, child-like… all things at once and yet also nothing at all.
“Five competitors you must conquer.”
As the old gods speak, Kilgore’s cloudy mind clears and forms a picture of each of his opponents at Slam-A-Thon.
“Vito Valentino.” Valentino, walking the streets of the big city.
“A lost soul struggling for identity. Mind clouded by the busy noise that only a sprawling metropolis can bring. A complicated and conflicting upbringing. Use his lack of focus to your advantage – wait until you see the hesitation in his eyes… and strike without mercy.”
“Randall Schwartz.” Schwartz, walking to the ring and sneering at the fans in disgust.
“The… entertainer. A persona. A fabricated being. If you can remember that you are watching a display of inauthenticity and synthetic humanity, your show of undeniably real power will expose him for what he truly is.”
“Shujin Yama.” Yama, standing in the classic sumo “ready” position with an angry snarl.
“A warrior to be sure. Yet even the mountain has cracks. You must be like the mountain lion – fear not this mass of potential destruction. Scale it. Own it. Make it your own. Stand firm and even Yama will not be able to budge you.”
“Jack Fargo.” Fargo, doing push-ups at the gym in his wrestling singlet.
“Disciplined. Talented. Prepared. The last one of the group you should ever turn your back on. Fargo thrives on being underestimated. This is the first warrior you must conquer. Don’t hesitate – remove him quickly.”
“Carlos Ruiz.” Ruiz, standing in front of the Classic Wrestling backdrop and cutting a promo.
“Ruiz, more than any other, is in touch with his true nature. Quick. Agile. Self assured. Ruiz moves like the wind and snakes like the river. To face down Ruiz, you must be in all places at once. See every angle. Anticipate even the most unpredictable movements before they come.”
“Can you go there, Wild Thing? Are you prepared to let go of yourself – to tap into that place so few are willing to go? Are you the warrior you claim to be, Freddy Kilgore?”
“Then prove it.”
Kilgore’s eyes snap open. Somehow, during his walkabout, it has become night time. Beads of sweat run down his face. He looks confused for just a moment… and then his face melts into steely resolve. He smiles.
He leans back.
And he howls into the night.