No. Hard as it is to comprehend in today’s World of airborn luchadores and chair-wielding bump-machines, Richard’s nonchalant style of wrestling was once the universal norm. He didn’t need to refer to himself as “Old School”, because, at the time, what he was doing wasn’t old at all. It was, in fact, state-of-the-art. Fresh. Dare I say – he was considered “New-School”.
He sighed. Boy, how things had changed.
His two oak-toned eyes glared at the images beaming out of the TV screen. They had seen a lot in their fifty years on this Earth, yet what they currently observed before them was a struggle to comprehend:
A young-looking, frail-framed male – clad in an extravagant mask and a UCW T-shit – dove gallantly over an official UCW ring’s top rope, landing onto another similar looking lad, who – quite obviously – waited to catch him on the outside.
They called it a plancha. He called it bullshit. It made no sense to him, at all.
‘Why had the art of professional wrestling become nothing more than a glorified circus show?’ he asked himself – no doubt, not feeling too dissimilar to the great Stu Hart when he exclaimed “that’s a great way to break your neck”, after watching a clip of his grand-nephew, Teddy Hart, perform a triple-jump four-fifty moonsault… Or something along those lines.
Ricky Rust, however, was hardly quick-witted or half as nifty with words as Stu Hart was – and, so, simply settled on exclaiming: “Fucking hell, that’s stupid”.
“Heh” – It was somewhere in between a giggle and a laugh. Simon restricted himself from all-out cackling, as he didn’t wish to seem as though he was in agreement. “Now, now, Ricky. Don’t be like that. I know it all looks very different to what you’re used to, but it’ll grow on you. Trust me.” He assured; but his heart wasn’t really into it. Deep down, he knew that what he was saying wasn’t entirely true.
Simon Isosceles was merely a sports agent. And not a professional wrestling-specific one, either. Ricky Rust was simply one of the many clients contained within his black book. In actually fact – Simon never really understood what the appeal to wrestling was; but – being dedicated to job, and loyal individual – he put his all into catering for Rust’s need.
Never-the-less, he was merely a sports agent – yet, even he could sense that UCW wasn’t really the right place for “Mr. Old School”, Ricky Rust.
But he had a way of being forever optimistic.
“That’s just the lighter guys’ division. There’s more on the tape, y’know.” He chirped; piping up again, and trying to drag Ricky into a similar mind-frame. “There’ll be som’in’ you like. Dave said there’s some technical stuff at the end.” Ricky wasn’t buying it.
Plonking himself on the cream, leather sofa beside the twenty-seven year veteran; Simon snatched the remote controller and jammed down on the fast forward button. The duet sat in silence for a moment, as the images on the screen whizzed forward at a faster pace than they already had been.
“Here it is” Simon began again; releasing the forwards button, and letting the UCW promotion tape return to it’s usual pace.
Ricky watched as a round grappler – boasting a pair of shorts and matching kickpads – snatched his opponent’s thin arms into a Full Nelson. Then, proceeded to pop his hips forward, arch his back and heave his foe backwards… sending him over his own head… and … landing right on his neck.
“Ooh” Ricky couldn’t help but release an audible gasp. He promptly filled the now empty space in his lungs with silvery nicotine smoke.
As the sound of the tape’s commentators nattering away about “Dragon Suplexes” and “Stiff American Strong-Style” buzzed irritating on his eardrum, Ricky casually exhaled; before dryly stating: “So that’s what passes for technical wrestling these days”.
He put the cigarette to his lips once more.
“Oh, come on Rick. Show some enthusiasm. This is probably an old tape, anyway. UCW’s probably different, now. Probably more…y’know… your style” Was Simon’s last ditch attempt at getting Ricky interested.
And “…Probably” was Ricky’s flat reply.
The conversation was over. No more was, or could, be said to attempt to change the aged wrestler’s mind.
That’s just the way Ricky Rust was – Ridged. Deeply set in his ways.
But he was going into UCW. Underground Championship Wrestling. A place that claims to be “A break from Tradition”.
And as Simon settled into the sofa to watch the rest of the tape; he couldn’t help but wonder if a man like Ricky could ever bring himself to adapt.
‘He better’, Simon thought. Because if he couldn’t…He wouldn’t even stand a chance.