We find Joshua Tucker sitting in the locker room with a dead stare at the doorway. He is leaned over with his elbows resting on his knees, his fingers interlocked and his right leg bouncing repeatedly.
After a moment Solomon Caine walks into the doorway and Tucker springs to his feet and begins to walk towards Caine but stops in his tracks as Caine shows him a phone with video feed of Cincy sleeping.
Tucker: I’m growing tired of these games with you, Caine. There was no need in taking my damn cat and making her a part of this.
Solomon Caine: I told you Tucky-boy, you need to learn. I keep trying to get through to your thick skull and nothing works. So I had to take things into my own hands, to make sure I wasn’t wasting my time.
Tucker: I already agreed to wait until Lution. You didn’t need to steal her for reassurance.
Solomon Caine: Reassurance? I didn’t think you wouldn’t show up at Lution, Tucker.
Tucker: Why did you take her then? What other twisted agenda do you possibly have that could involve my pet.
Solomon Caine tilts his head and gives a weird look to Tucker.
Solomon Caine: Have you not listened this whole time you thick-skulled dipshit? You need to lose the losing record and learn how to win for once. To be ruthless, to do whatever it takes. To stop wasting all of your potential on the “right thing” and those good-for-nothing fans. And since you continue to refuse to listen to me, I decided that I would get some leverage. So if you want your little cat back anytime soon, you’ll have to smarten up and do whatever it takes tonight. You’ll have to win.
Tucker shakes his head and paces back and forth for a second.
Tucker: So not only do you STEAL my cat, but you are using her to basically blackmail me for a win? Your criminal resume is really growing, are you planning for life after OCW?
Solomon Caine: I’m planning to make you a star Tucky-boy. This is all for your own good, even if you don’t realize that. Let’s face facts, when’s the last time you won a match around here? Even got close? I can’t say I remember, do you? In that case, let’s make some damn good memories out there tonight. Let’s see that potential on display, that aggression! I could teach you so much, but if I’m gonna do that, I need you to show what you got.
Tucker: I have no doubt that you could teach me a thing or two about this business, but your methods are unnecessary to the least and for that I will never give in. I will work with you tonight because I CLEARLY have no other option, but don’t think for a second I’m on your side.
Solomon Caine: I don’t care if you think you’re on my side, Tucker. Once you smarten up, you’ll know that there’s no better choice.
Caine walks off-camera. Tucker shakes his head and kicks the steel chair as the scene fades.
SOLOMON CAINE & JOSHUA TUCKER
We cut backstage to Everrett’s locker room, but the room looks slightly more decorated than in previous weeks. A decently sized banner is placed along one of the walls with the ‘International Powers’ new logo featured on it. Antonio Everrett is taking Parca through some warm up routines before his International Championship defence against Alex Asher.
Everrett: Feeling the pressure tonight, yeah? They call us the international powers now, don’t want to ruin it before it’s even begun.
Parca is jumping rope as Everrett is about to pick up some pads.
Parca: Pressure? No.. Asher deserves this chance. He fought hard, put the time in, and now he gets his shot at the champ. I don’t know if his shot will workout for him but he deserves it.
Parca stops jumping rope as he looks over to the International Championship on the table..
Parca: Tonight.. I’m just going to have to be better. Because I want to keep this championship with me. But, you on the other hand my friend. How’s things with Terra?
Everrett gives Parca a half-arsed chuckle..
Everrett: Not sure if you could really call it a ‘thing’ but y’know, it could be better. She hasn’t been talking to me because she thinks I’ve let Sparks get to me, the same way Doc did. I mean, she’s not completely wrong but I was hoping she’d still be here to steer me back. Unfortunately, I think I’m on my own for this one, y’know?
Parca pats Everrett on the shoulder as he pulls up his knee pads onto his kneecaps.
Parca: Y’know amigo, I understand things are tough with your woman. But, you gotta realize sometimes our emotions cloud our judgment. You’re a champion, but you also are a good man. Talk to her, let her know how you feel see where it goes!
Antonio: I’ve been trying man, but she keeps on slipping away. Maybe it’s just not meant to be, y’know? Maybe it’s a sign I should follow this path by myself.
Parca: Amigo, Parca clicks his tongue a few times. no, no, no! You must FIGHT! And show her the love, the passion, the feelings! You can do it, I know you can. You’re one half of the International Powers after all! Parca then winks at Everrett.
Everrett: Hey, I don’t even know if she likes me like that mate-
As Ev is about to go on, Parca interrupts him.
Parca: Actually amigo.. What did you do in the first place to make her ghost you?
Everrett: Well.. I mean.. It depends what you define as ‘ghosting’ because she didn’t really ‘ghost’ me she just.. Isn’t taking my calls back. I just think she’s mad at me how I’ve handled the whole Sparks situation. She thinks I’m going back to my old ways but I really can’t help it, Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that.
Parca: Hmm, sounds like to me.. That you got yourself of a little bit of a pride issue my friend.
Antonio: Wait what? What do you mean pride issue?
El Parca lifts his mask above his eyebrow so Ev can see he’s raising the eyebrow.
Parca: Mate.. did you see how you just reacted to me? Clearly you got yourself a bit of an issue y’know? Not saying that you’re in the wrong and that she isn’t.. BUT! Talk to her friend, let her know how you feel and show her you are not who she is thinking you are.
Antonio: I mean, I’ve been trying to call her like at least three times a day, I think she would’ve picked up at least one time if she was interested in talking right now…
Parca leans forward putting his head in his hands.
Parca sighs as he lifts his head up to reply.: Antonio.. Why must you resort to your phone? For god's sake man use your head!! Go to her! Tell her IN PERSON.
Antonio contemplates to himself for a second, but eventually nods his head in approval.
Antonio: Alright, I will. Good luck tonight, mate. If Terra leaves me in a puddle of my own piss then you won’t be seeing me later tonight for your eventual celebration, yeah?
Everrett chuckles and pats Parca on the shoulder and walks out of the room confidently as the scene fades out.
VALKYRIE vs. EVELYN PARKER
Backstage, Christian Shepard is walking the halls of the arena. The public halls, mind you--fans are turning his way with cameras, not a few approaching for autographs, to which he mostly smirks and accepts. His Pride Championship shines on his shoulder, perfectly-maintained. He moves on, still riding the high of public appreciation, until his attention is caught by a fan giving a very enthusiastic thumbs-down.
He frowns, turns to look again, and the camera does with him. We see the fan more clearly--he’s a teenager, quite portly, pale skin bursting forth from his Hollywood USA t-shirt and genuine Cort Marshall style denim jacket. In fact, he is decked out in merch, either for Cort or OCW in general.
The only non-branded item on his person is an extra large Super Gulpp:™: soda cup clutched in his left hand. Truly the lifeblood of our sport.
He too sees Shepard’s look, and only thumbs-downs even harder. Shepard approaches, but the rotund ginger child refuses to be intimidated. He points to his shirt and nods, then points at Shep and shakes his head.
Shepard: Kid, did your grandpa dress you, or do you just have terrible taste?
Kid: It’s alllll me! I’m Cort’s biggest fan!
Shepard: That could certainly be true.
The kid seems to miss the intended insult and continues.
Kid: It is! I even got the rare Rest Hold Instructional Videotape--SIGNED!
Some of the crowd “oooh” at this.
Kid: Only 500 made!
Shepard rolls his eyes.
Shep: Look, the only tape you should be watching is me. Watch how I claimed this title my first night back in this company. Watch how not a chinlock or abdominal stretch could stop me--and in fact, watch how I can do even those better than he did! Face it, you’re cheering for the wrong camp.
Kid: Nuh-uh! He lost but he’ll be back! You’re just mad cause there’s nobody here wearing YOUR shirts!
Shepard looks around, irritated, only to find… well, the kid wasn’t quite right, but there are precious few wearing any of his merch at all.