// THE MEN'S LOCKER ROOM SAYS YOU DO GO DOWN EASILY \\
INT. HOTEL – DAY
Knocks at the door. They're heavy, loud, but not harsh. The rhythm they play against the wood of Sian Ryder's hotel door negates any severity their force could have had. With caution in her step, she approaches the door. She wasn't expecting anyone, hadn't called room service. Maybe it was Duncan...no, he would've called before arriving. She grabs the door handle, muscles aching just at that. Workout was rough today, left its mark on every limb. Pulling open the door is a task, but she pries it open and--
“BIG LAD HUG,” a familiar voice exclaims. A voice she hadn't expected to hear. But Sian doesn't have a chance to think before she is yanked into a tight embrace. Big arms practically pull her through the doorway and almost off her feet, Sian wrapping her arms around the wide figure just to hold on for dear life.
“I've missed you Sian! I mean it's been like a month but I still missed you dude. Fight Club hasn't been the same.”
The arms tighten around her, her aching muscles throbbing even more at the added pressure. Sian manages to pry an arm between herself and the giant accidentally-murderous human teddy bear before he can squeeze more air out of her, finding freedom as her feet hit the floor again.
“Good to see you too, Soren,” Sian says as she takes a step back. She looks up at her friend and former tag team partner, finding him with his usual goofy, big smile and messed-up hair. His grin is infectious, Sian feeling the corners of her lips turning up into a smile of her own. She hadn't expected him – is shocked he's even there – but she appreciates the sight nonetheless. “What're you doing here?”
“Big Lads Wrestling reunion!” Soren points to his t-shirt: 'BIG LADS WRESTLING FAREWELL TOUR 2018 – SOREN ARMSTRONG AND SIAN RYDER'. “And Valentine's Day is coming up. I can't miss our third year in a row!”
“So,” Sian begins, ushering Soren into her hotel room and shutting the door behind herself, “you came all the way from England just to spend the third Valentine's Day in a row with me?”
“Of course!” Soren throws his arms out, grinning so hard his eyes are shut.
“That's...depressing but also nice, I guess.”
Soren drops down onto the bed and takes a moment to look around, bright eyes searching around like an excited puppy. When his gaze meets Sian again, his eyebrows shoot up and he reaches into his hoodie pocket, producing a piece of folded-up paper.
“I got a ticket for Empire – this is gonna be the best Valentine's Day we've ever had!”
Sian smiles as she joins Soren, sitting beside him on the bed. “You gonna propose this year?” she jests.
“Maybe...if you win.” Sian can only roll her eyes at the statement, her body falling back with them as she hits the bed, legs dangling over the edge. Soren follows her down, gasping as he slowly descends beside her. “I can jump the barricade and propose in the ring.”
“Or get dropped by security; how romantic.”
“It brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.” Soren pauses and then glances over at Sian, saying after a prolonged pause, “why are we lying down?”
“I laid down and you followed me.”
“Oh.” Another silence and then, “why are you lying down?”
“Because I'm hurting.” She takes a moment to stretch her neck, feeling the muscles loosen and then tighten like a spring. “I was up at five working out, didn't get much sleep either.” That much was obvious from Sian's bloodshot eyes, which Soren seemingly only just notices as he stares at her, mouth agape.
“I couldn't do that, man.”
“That's why you were always the sidekick.”
At that remark, Soren shut his mouth, eyes narrowing at Sian. But even then, she can't take him seriously. Not when he looks like he has a grin ready to break out across his face at any moment. “I wasn't the sidekick,” he says, scratching at his beard. “I was the uh....mentor figure dude.”
“Explains why you spent most of our matches on the apron hyping us up.”
“Exactly! I was just mentoring you.” That smile is back, Sian mirroring it. “And I can mentor you at Empire. I'll just shout over the crowd.”
“I'll keep an ear out for you then.”
“Keep an eye out for me too – I brought a sign.”
Before Sian could quell her laughter, Soren had launched into a full story about his sign, which led to a tangent about his flight, then another about something else, and another...and before they both knew it, the day was gone. The stress was gone.
FADE TO BLACK
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INT. GYM – EARLIER THAT DAY
Dark and early. Beyond the large windows in the gym, the sun is only just rising; leaving shadows in its wake. Inside the gym, metal structures and machines are illuminated under a sterilised glow. Sian occupies one of the pull-up bars, the area around her desolate. She pulls herself up, completing chin-ups, silently counting. When she physically can't strain her biceps any more, she drops to her feet, takes a moment to stretch her arms.
“Selective hearing. That's the issue Fatal Destiny seem to be suffering from. That or they have so much shit in their ears from being up each other's asses that they can't hear much of what I've said. Didn't expect anything more though. After fighting Celes last week and hearing what she's been saying now, I didn't expect either of Fatal Destiny to hear what I'm saying and act on it. No I expected them to pick and choose what they want to hear and then make up the rest based on it. It's a shame because maybe if they listened and changed, they'd be in a better position. But as of right now, after hearing what they've had to say, the only position they're going to be in is under my boot.”
Sian looks to the camera, half-smile half-snarl emblazoned on her face.
“Let's start with Karina, the bigger disappointment between you two. Not that I expected better. She's been a constant disappointment long before this week. Where were you, Karina? Was your train running late or was it just running on you? Don't act offended. You're part French, you're used to going down easily. Or so I've heard.
We'll see on Empire how easily you go down though, because I don't want to believe that the shit you've been saying this week is an indication of what's to come in that ring. I've experienced too much disappointment this week to be crushed by it in the ring. Then again, if all you can really say with confidence is that I don't look attractive, then I guess I should prepare myself to be let down. This isn't a popularity contest. When we get in that ring it doesn't matter who looks attractive, who has more support. All that matters is who has the drive to win. I can't say I've seen any of that from you, Karina. You sounded more prepared to fight me last week. What happened? You realise what kind of a force I actually am? Did you see what I did to your friend and realise that I'm not somebody to fuck around with? You don't have to be ashamed to say it. You're scared.
That's why you're down-playing me, calling me the weak link. I know I haven't done much in EAW when compared to someone like Remi, but if you think I'm gonna let the team down then you should be looking at yourself, Karina. You should be looking at Fatal Destiny. Because when I look at you two, I don't see a strong link. You know you're right; you and Celes are equal – equally shit. Equally arrogant. Equally delusional. Equally stupid to be coming out here and acting like I'm not a threat in this match. Unlike you, I'm not here to make up for some loss. I'm not here to grab at any bit of momentum I can get to make myself relevant. I'm here to do what I did last week and win. I'm here to dominate, just like I did against Celes. I don't have any burdens on my shoulders. All I have is nothing to lose. Nothing to lose and another step to gain by stomping over you two towards greater heights. You ever think about that? Course not. You don't think about the fact that I'm not here to settle for anything. You don't realise that I'm here to win everything.
If you did realise that, you'd be taking me a lot more seriously. You'd be listening to me. I have to know: are you deaf? Didn't I say that I'm not gonna lie down for you? Yet you still want to say that I should “let you pass me in the rankings”. A joke. Just because I'm new here doesn't mean I need to step aside for anybody. You think I need to earn my spot? Then let me earn it against you. I didn't come here to make way for those who need to tell people to step aside because they can't take what they want by force. I came here to fight the best and to beat the best. To become the best. I wouldn't expect you to get that though, Karina. Because whilst you settle for second chances, I'm striving towards breaking new ground. I'm working towards firsts and onlys. I'm storming towards the once in a lifetime opportunities because I don't need to settle for second chances.
Karina you didn't need to tell me that all you see me as is an egotistical cunt. I could tell that's all you see me as because you aren't taking me seriously. That's a mistake Celes made and look what happened to her. Same old routine from Fatal Destiny – why am I not surprised? Unfortunately for you two, though, I'm not just some egotistical little girl who doesn't understand what she's doing. I act this way because I know what I'm capable of. I know that I can go beyond anything and everything you two have done. I have the drive, the ambition, the confidence. Things that those quitters you talked about from Battleground wished they'd had before they up and left. I'm so glad I didn't come through Battleground. I'd rather be dropped in the deep end and show everyone that I can swim rather than be put in the kiddie pool so I can waste all my potential away.
I mean bragging about Battleground? You've done so little on Empire that that's all you can fall back on? Most people from Battleground aren't even around any more and the ones who are aren't exactly World Champions yet. Your best representative is the rejected Blue's Clues presenter with the New Breed title. “Can you say my name? Do you know where my Russian hooker is? Which bed was I lying in when she pissed on me?”. Yeah, that's the best representation your prized run on Battleground has: the Pissual Prophet and whatever number of quitters you fought before coming to Empire. Being the best of Battleground is like having an STD; you earned something but it's not something to be proud of. Let's just be real, Battleground was a breeding ground for pussies. You either fought quitters, losers, or the rare exception that stuck around long enough to see some success beyond developmental. It was a place for people to tread water. Otherwise known as a waste of time. I don't think anybody is looking back at Battleground as if it was the peak of their career. Except for you, Karina, since it's one of the only places you've had success in EAW. If all you have to brag about is the impact you made on Battleground, then go follow Battleground into the dirt.”
A pause, a smirk as Sian comes to a realisation.
“I think I get it now. You're not just scared, Karina, you're bitter. You're bitter that somebody with as much potential as me wasn't sent to Battleground to waste away like you were. You're upset that someone who doesn't have an attractive look can still be seen as the future whilst you – you with your blonde hair and your perfect body, has to settle for scraps and second chances. You're miserable at the fact that I'm taking on opportunities in a way you can't. Maybe that's why you took so long to talk. You were being kept up every night crying over the fact that someone new has come in to do everything you can't. You're bitter that the world isn't yours like you were led to believe it was. That's why you told me to step aside, it's why you shrug me off. You don't know how to deal with me. You don't know if after this week – after this defeat – if there'll be anything left for you to take. It must break you up inside knowing that someone like me is set to take over this brand.
Well I won't cry any tears for you Karina. Because you had your chance and you blew it. But at least you can still go on to blow something else and get a rise out of somebody important who'll throw you a bone. You don't have to fade away like all those people you brag about beating on Battleground did.
As for you, Celes, I was waiting for this. I was waiting for you to snap and go off the fucking rails. Jumping to conclusions yet again; it's the Celes special. I knew that if I broke you down enough you'd be talking all this shit, making up bullshit and losing yourself in your delusions. When did I ever say that nobody could beat me? When did I ever call for everybody to bow down to me? I can acknowledge that I'm nowhere near the fame of some people here. Doesn't mean I can't be confident. Doesn't mean I can't come out here and say what's on my mind. Maybe Empire isn't used to hearing somebody new be so confident. What a shame. But don't take my confidence as me calling for Sienna Jade to get on her knees – a position I'm sure she's comfortable in – and hand me the Unified Women's World Championship. I know I have a lot of steps to take to get to that point. And I know that you're one of those steps.
I can show respect to people and also call out their shit when I smell it. I can respect that you're gonna go out there on Thursday and give me a fight since you're all fired-up, but I can also point out how fucking dumb you sound when you dismiss me. I can say that you've gotten all in your feelings and twisted words because you have. I point out that you're overlooking me and you twist that into me calling you nothing. I never said that. I at least called you a stepping stone, which is something. You're gonna have a purpose. Who am I to decide that? I'm the person who beat you last week. I'm the person you and your partner are overlooking. I'm the person you aren't prepared for. Whilst you focus on Remi, you're ignoring the threat I'm bringing into this match.
You're hungry? So am I. I showed that last week. I've been saying that every time I open my mouth. But you just hear arrogance. You don't hear the ambition. You don't hear determination. No it's much easier for you to ignore all that and just write me off. Well Celes you can't write off bruises. You can't write off defeat. You can't write off another lost chance because you decided not to take me seriously.
What's worse: pride or ignorance? I'd rather be proud of who I am and what I can do than live in ignorance to everyone around me. I'd rather brag about myself than stay silent like a good little girl, like all these other newcomers have done who have failed. It's paid off so far and yeah it's early days, but just look at some of Empire's success stories. Serena Bennett, Raven Roberts, Astraea Jordan back in the day...they all got success off of the back of the right attitude. An aggressive, determined, ruthless attitude. So you can shame me all you want for how I act, Celes, but I know something you don't. I know the secret to success. I know how to build a legacy here. I know what I need to do to win.
And I'm gonna do it and I don't care if you don't like it. I'm not doing it for you. I'm not even competing in this match for Remi. I'm doing it for myself. You won't see me bend or break. But I've already seen you do that. I've felt you break in my hands, Celes. The same future awaits Fatal Destiny. Your fates are in my hands. Your destinies are fatal. They're gonna die by the hands of change.
They're gonna fade in my chokehold.”
Sian turns back to the pull-up bar she had vacated as we
FADE TO BLACK