Massacre #61 - The Right Thing To Do

The final stop before Legends XXI sees David Michaels defend his newly won World Television Championship against Mark Storey.
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Rob Chapman
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Characters Handled: Rob Chapman, Ethan Cross, Jace Albright
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Massacre #61 - The Right Thing To Do

Postby Rob Chapman » Tue Dec 15, 2020 4:55 pm

(Immediately following It's WHATEVER.)

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As the promo for Legends comes to a close, fans watching at home are treated to a slick transition before landing in the backstage area where Laura Stark is standing by with the man who just laid out Jace Albright, guaranteeing Rob Chapman a match at XWA Legends with his fellow Hall-of-Famer, Dan Bennett. That man is Ethan Cross. Rather than the typical interview set, the two of them are actually standing in front of the office of XWA General Manager, Dean Richardson. Presumeably, Ethan has either just come from his office, or was on his way there when he was headed off at the pass with a microphone. Eitehr possiblity is a likely one.

It's hard to gauge from Ethan's stature. With his denim jacket slung over one shoulder, like one might hold a championship belt, his eyes hidden behind a pair of five hundred dollar sunglasses, and an expression of total, stoic indifference on his face, he, along with the rest of us, wait patiently for XWA's senior interviewer to hit him with the question that's probably on everyone's minds after that segment. Why?

Laura Stark
"Fans, I'm standing by with a man who hasn't been seen in the XWA for nearly a year, Ethan Cross. Ethan, the last time we saw you, at Legends, 2019, it was in the corner of Jace Albright when he took on Albion Gale and Dave O'Connor for the Supreme Championship. It's been well established that the two of you are close friends. Why attack Jace tonight?"

Laura pauses, and holds out the microphone for Ethan to speak into. The XWA Alumni turns to look at Laura Stark, completely disregarding the microphone for a moment, and slowly lowers his sunglasses in order to make eye contact. Ethan's face says it all. 'Really?' Gingerly, the Englishman removes his sunglasses completely, folding them closed, and sliding one arm down the front of his shirt to tuck them on. He turns his head part-way toward the microphone, holding eye contact with Laura as he does so.

Notably, something in his voice is... off. It was off earlier, too, but in all of the chaos, it wasn't something anybody really stopped to question. Now, it seems unusual.

Ethan Cross
"Why attack Jace? Did you see what he did to Rob? Did you see what he did at XWA: On A Boat? Did you see what he did two weeks ago?"

Ethan pauses, holds both of his hands up as if being confronted, and then takes a deep, calming breath.

Ethan Cross
"Okay, sorry. I'm gettin' a little heated at the moment. This whole dang situation has me twisted up. Jace Albright is a man I've known for many years, and for all those years, I've called him a friend and a confidant. Even if you take the wrestling history out of it completely, Jace and I have always been close. I know that's why you're confused, but the answer as to why I did what I did tonight is a lot simpler than you probably think it is. I laid out Jace because, in that moment, I had a choice to make. A very simple, very moral choice. Right and wrong. No matter how close Jace and I might be, or unfotunately, now, might have been, I knew that Jace Albright didn't go out there to do what he thought was right. He went out there to get paid. Jace Albright, through no fault of his own, spent the last year and a half caught up in the politics of wrestling, and it left him disillusioned. Everything that happened to Jace seems like it's left him bitter. Maybe even a bit nihilistic. What I heard tonight, when Jace was addressing Rob Chapman and Dan Bennett? That wasn't passion. It was gaslighting. And it was gaslighting two weeks ago, when he went out to the ring and spoke his mind. Admittedly, he fooled me last time. He got himself into a place, mentally, where he could say the words he was saying with drive, and conviction. But tonight?"

Ethan pauses, turning to look at the camera with an expression of disappointment.

Ethan Cross
"Tonight I just heard a petulant child sulking because they didn't get their way. And that's weak, Jace. That's not the man I helped train."

Ethan pauses again, and turns to face Laura Stark again, tightening his grip on his jacket.

Ethan Cross
"Yes, I've known Jace Albright, pretty much from the moment he decided he wanted to become a professional wrestler. But I've known Rob Chapman a lot longer. I've known Rob Chapman since I was a sixteen year old kid who stepped into the Two Worlds Wrestling Federation the summer after I graduated secondary school, with delusions of my name in lights, because I could do a few flips and a few kicks, and hit a DDT real good. I got to know Rob real good. When my contract with the 2WWF came up, while I was out on injury with a cracked shoulder blade, he offered to take a hit to his salary in order to keep me on the payroll. What you need to understand is that this was 2009. Rob wasn't a big name then. We're talking about a fifty percent pay cut to a guy who was barely making more than what Terrence Ainley or Jasin Smith make now in 2009 dollars. When I chose to let my contract run out, he got me in touch with Izanami Mikoto. Between the two of them, I was taught everything I know about humility, and about second chances. When I healed up, I left to go wrestle in Japan. When the legs finally gave out from 2WWF a year later, I helped land Rob work in a little independent I was part of called Colarado River Wrestling. I knew he could at least make what he was making when I'd last seen him, and his son had literally been born a couple of months before we made our debut."

Ethan pauses to take a breath, and looks up at the ceiling before looking back at Laura. He's already started on the history, so he may as well close the chapter.

Ethan Cross
"And that's all before 2018. Before any of the business with his mental health took place, and before I had to take over running the C4 Academy. I know in my heart that Jace is wrong. When I heard him trying to bully Rob out of a match at Legends? I realized I was standing on the wrong side of the line. No matter how good of a friend Jace has been over these last five years, it doesn't mean I can turn a blind eye to this for the sake of maintaining that friendship. Especially when it comes at the cost of another friend's career and happiness. I'm not that ignorant, and I'm not that selfish. So I did what I felt was the right thing to do when I had the opportunity to make a difference."

Laura Stark
"It sounds like you have a lot of history with both men. It also sounds like you have a plan in mind. Hitting Jace Albright over the head with a bottle isn't going to keep him out of Legends. If anything, after the changes we've seen over the past few weeks... it'll just piss him off."

At that, Ethan smirks. Just a little bit. He nods his head in agreement.

Ethan Cross
"You're exactly right, Laura. I do have a plan. It's a very simple plan, but one I think you're going to like. Two years ago, me and Jace Albright opened the show at Legends. A match that Jace himself has referred to as, not only his own breakout match, but also mine. So, Jace, since you feel so passionately about that match, and you feel so bad about how it went down, you're gonna get the chance to do it over. For the second time in history, Jace Albright and Ethan Cross are gonna open the show at XWA Legends. And this time, it's gonna be in my hometown."

The crowd in the BattleZone POPS for the announcement, excited over the moon at the prospect of another show stealer between Jace and Ethan! Laura, on the other hand, looks puzzled. For more than one reason, in fact. XWA Legends is set to emenate from Manchester, England this year. Confirming her suspicion. But, his voice...

Laura Stark
"Speaking of that match, two years ago, the stipulation for that match, as per our former General Manager, Bella Quinn, was that if you lost, you could no longer compete on XWA Supershows... and-"

For the first time, Ethan cuts Laura off, because he knows exactly what's coming, and he intends to address it now.

Ethan Cross
"Jace won that match. Right again. And he's since lambasted that stipulation as a stupid decision from a bad General Manager, but here's the thing... it's not 2019 anymore, Jace. I've been wrestling in Japan. The same place you took your ball and ran off to after Albion Gale won her belt back from you at XWA: On A Pole. You've seen me wrestle, and more importantly..."

Ethan trails off, and inclines his head toward the door to the current General Manager's office.

Ethan Cross
"Dean Richardson has seen me wrestle. And he and I go way back. All the way back to 2009 when he and Joey Miles called my first televised professional wrestling match. I've got other friends in this company, Jace. People who have my back in a way that Bella Quinn never had ours."

Ethan turns to look directly into the camera again, which begins to zoom in on his face.

Ethan Cross
"You can claim all the credit you want for my being here this week, and you can say that you were going to try and reinstate my XWA career. Even a few short hours ago, I took it as little more than a gift from a friend. But now I see it for what it truly was. A means to an end. Something for you to use to try and shame Rob Chapman into getting your way, so that Troy Spencer writes you another big fat check. You wanted me back so bad... here I am. At Legends, it's going to be you, and me. Again. No stakes, no seconds, no bullshit. Just you and me, one on one. Mano a mano. Whatever the outcome, the winner will be the winner for the right reasons."

Laura Stark
"Thank you so much for your time, Ethan, and I look forward to seeing you wrestle at XWA Legends."

Ethan Cross
"Thanks for having me, Laura. I missed these."

As Ethan unclips his sunglasses and begins to slide them back on, Laura smiles, only to follow by giving him a more pressing look.

Laura Stark
"One more question, if you don't mind?"

Ethan seems intrigued, and raises a single eyebrow at the interviewer. He has a feeling he knows what it's going to be. Laura's been off-put by something for this entire interview.

Ethan Cross
"What's that?"

Laura Stark
"It's your accent. Aren't you English?"

Ethan smirks.

Ethan Cross
"Acting lessons. Call me the Tom Holland of Professional Wrestling. Gotta live the gimmick."

Ethan slides his glasses down long enough to wink at Laura Stark, who, fairly, stares back at Ethan rather incredulously. For a moment, it appears she's going to press the issue, but, realizing that this interview may cut into match time if it goes much longer, she relents. For now. Instead, she gives a laugh as Ethan slides his glasses back up and walks out of frame.

Laura Stark
"Over to you, Sanction."
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Rob Chapman
Win/Loss Record (2005 - 2020) | 74 - 48 - 2

Jace Albright
Win/Loss Record (2018 - 2020) | 8 - 5 - 0
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Gopher
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Re: Massacre #61 - The Right Thing To Do

Postby Gopher » Wed Dec 16, 2020 2:01 am

The fucking accent.

I was just gonna comment that alone, but I should also probably say that this was excellent and I'm loving the direction the Ethan Cross character is going. I hope we're gonna see more of him in the future.
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