#TheCrosses

Roleplay Roleplay by KURTIS RAY
On Wed, Dec13, 2017 1:53am America/Phoenix
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#TheCrosses
(The unmistakable, slightly-grainy quality of a cellphone camera comes to life, revealing a fairly large, somewhat dilapidated building. There is various signage identifying the building as a bar, but the bar sign itself has been replaced with a gaudy marquee sign identifying the building as "The Crucible." There is a surprising number of vehicles present, from motorcycles to pickups to porches and so forth. One car looks somewhat out of place, it being a late-eighties model Mercedes that is dented and rusted.)

V.O.: ...And lo the journey down memory lane continues.

(Kurtis appears from off-screen, moving over to the rusting Mercedes. He rests a hand on one of the fenders, stroking it almost fondly, at least until he yelps and pulls his hand away.)

KURTIS: Jesus! I think I just cut my finger on this thing. I hope I don't need a tetanus shot....

(Kurtis scrutinizes his hand for a moment, finally satisfied that he hasn't injured himself.) 

KURTIS: Alright. Probably gonna edit that out, guess we'll see.

(Kurtis turns his attention to the camera.)

KURTIS: So after my little trip down memory lane last night, I checked into a room at the Rio Grande. Being that it was only an eleven hour drive to Dallas, I figured I'd drive there to save myself on a plane ticket. And when I was driving to Dallas, I remembered the best route there took me though Las Cruces. And so I figured I'd share with you another one of my greatest hits, so to speak.

(Kurtis turns his attention back to the car, touching it a little more gingerly.)

KURTIS: I dunno how much of my little story from yesterday you guys remember, but I did mention living in my car before I became a pro wrestler. This right here is the place where Kurtis Ray was born. I ended up here after kicking around Albuquerque for a while. Really I just kinda ran out of gas here, but it all worked out. And I was alright with it for a while, since Las Cruces is about twenty times the size of T and C.

(Kurtis checks the door, surprised to find the car unlocked. The inside is in pretty rough shape, but the drivers seat is mostly intact. Kurtis sits down in the car, resting his hands on the steering wheel and adjusting the mirror.)

KURTIS: This car was my pride and joy. Pops bought it for me when I turned sixteen, and it took me all over New Mexico, parts of Arizona, Nevada, and a couple times as far as California. Before I started wrestling, this was all I had. It was the only thing I had left from my dad. But after living in it for a few weeks, me and Monica here were not on the best of terms. Blah blah, someone tried to mug me, promoter saw me punk him, and then that was that.

(Kurtis climbs out of the car, closing the door behind him and  adjusting the camera so it's pointed over toward The Crucible.)

KURTIS: We've been here a couple of times before, but what you see today is my past resurrected. Back then it was a biker bar, but after I bought it earlier this year and hired some promoters of my own, it's been revived into The Crucible, and the home of a wrestling promotion I started. This is the kind of place where the next generation of great superstars will claw their way up the ladder to success. This is the fertile soil where we will sow a generation of heroes that will respect where they came from and the business that gives them their livelihood.

(Kurtis picks up the camera, opening the door and entering. He turns down a hallway marked 'performers' and, after a chat with one of the security people, cracks open a door to reveal a surprisingly well-attended event where two men are brawling in the ring.)

KURTIS: These are the kids that are gonna put me out of a job one day. The skinny one is Killer Connor; he's the reigning champion. A few months ago he was a terrified kid, but now he is legitimately one of the most promising performers on our roster. 

(Kurtis shakes his head, allowing the door to fall closed.)

KURTIS: I bet you're all wondering what this has to do with anything, right? Well here's where we get to the interesting part. Because I am perfectly aware of some stuff Syndicate had to say about me earlier today. Saying I was right, and wrong, and how I was a bad wrestler because I was phoning it in. There's a reason I called this place The Crucible. I mean, it's got some alliterative cohesion with Las Cruces, but this is the place where I was changed from a scared kid who was desperate for money and a place to stay to the first version of the Hype Train you all know and love.

(Kurtis walks back down the hallway, keeping the camera focused on himself.)

KURTIS: Syndicate, buddy, you focus an awful lot on what you view as failure. But I don't think you've figured out what my deal is. You've talked about how you keep reinventing yourself. You've talked about how you're more motivated than anyone else, more driven. You said I was insulting you for being too driven to succeed, or too invested in the WWX. That is not something I have said. I've said you were too invested in yourself and too caught up in the prestige of being the champion. 

(Kurtis shrugs, pushing open another door and walking to the outside. The sky is filled with stars, but Kurtis takes a seat on the stairs outside of the makeshift arena.)

KURTIS: One thing that bugs me is that you said I phone this in. I know it pisses you off that I can have some fun and still be able to keep step with 'the greatest wrestler in history.' Do you honestly wonder why it is that I want to beat you, Syndicate? Can you honestly listen to the constant stream of self-indulgent nonsense you spew at every opportunity and wonder why you don't have any friends? I never said I didn't want validation. Of course I crave validation; anyone who can honestly say they don't is probably a psychopath. You're so tied up in whatever your stuff is right now that you're going to hear whatever you want from what I say. So let's stick to facts.

(Kurtis sets the camera down far enough that he's mostly in frame and holds up one hand with a finger up.)

KURTIS: Yes, I drink. I'm almost thirty-five years old and I'm lonely. I use drinking as a coping mechanism. But it doesn't change the fact that I am every bit as good in that ring as you are. I had a couple of off months, and after you took the title back I didn't manage to win it back. That was a different version of Kurtis Ray. That was the Kurtis Ray that abandoned the hype. Now I'm the Kurtis Ray that has embraced the hype. The hype leads me. As long as someone's making noise, I know I'm doing the right thing. As long as I believe the hype, you will never be rid of me and you will certainly never destroy me.

(Kurtis raises a second finger.)

KURTIS: Next up is your comment about phoning it in. That is possibly the most infuriating thing you keep saying about me. You said it months ago before I won the title from you, and you're still under the same misconception now. You think I was phoning it in when you, me, and Rayne tangled for your title a couple of weeks ago? Cause if you do, you just pretty much acknowledged that me 'phoning it in' was almost enough to beat you. I take this business every bit as seriously as you do, Syndicate. The difference between us is you strive to be great and I strive to DEFINE great.

(Kurtis raises a third finger.)

KURTIS: You questioned my resolve because 'I haven't destroyed you yet.' You're right Syndicate. I haven't. I haven't destroyed you. I've had opportunities, but I always held back because I thought there was some part of you that was worth redeeming. That there really was a seed of greatness in you that needed a chance to bloom. But you know what, buddy? As much as I hate to see it happen, I don't think I have much choice at this point. You want to question my resolve, man? I've already beaten you to the point you couldn't. I put up enough of a fight that you stole a quick pin on Rayne after that stooge Darkness busted up my rhythm. You say if you lose the title you'll keep coming back until you get it back? That just makes me sure that beatin' your punk ass at Ravage and then going on to take your belt at Holiday Hell is the best possible thing I could do, because if you actually put some effort forth instead of the same tired garbage week in and week out, that might just be the best way to lure out that Syndicate deep down inside of you that I think people could be proud of, and actually respect.

(Kurtis puts his hand down, laying back on the stairs and stretching out.)

KURTIS: However it comes to pass, you're going to get a reality check on Ravage. I'm not coming to Ravage to phone it in, I'm coming to Ravage to whoop your ass. I'm not coming to make jokes or spout off pretty words, I'm coming to beat your ass. You're going to make me suffer? Sunshine, plenty of people have made me suffer. You're a broken man and that's your most dangerous quality? Kiddo, you don't even know the definition of broken. You're not even in the same dictionary. You're just a punk kid trying to intimidate me. To get in my head. But we all know who is in who's head right now, don't we?

(Kurtis smirks.)

KURTIS: This weekend, the age of Hype begins and the age of Syndicate shuffles off into obscurity. To steal a catchphrase...

(Kurtis grins widely at the camera, a mischievous glint in his eyes.)

KURTIS:  Welcome... to Hype Central Station! Choo choo!

(Bulls on Parade starts to play on a nearby Radio and Kurtis looks surprised for a moment before dissolving into peals of laughter.)

KURTIS: That was AMAZING. Holy crap. I'm gonna catch the rest of this wrestling show. See ya next time, Universe.

(The scene abruptly cuts to black.) 

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