(It was one a.m on a Friday morning, September 16th. It was a cool night, around fifty degrees. It was perfect football weather, perhaps a bit too cold for baseball, but both were blowing up in Beantown right now. It kept people distracted from the harsh realities of their fantastic city.)
Man: "I'm looking for Warren Engel."
(The receptionist at the Mass General hospital looked up at the man, who was roughly six feet tall and hadn't shaved in weeks. He looked lost, and yet overtly concerned. He was quite good-looking and the receptionist was having a busier early Friday morning than usual. A couple of GSW's, OD's, and the like. You know how it gets. She smiled and looked at the computer.)
Receptionist: "Room 612. And you are?"
Man: "His brother."
Man: "No, Joseph."
(She nodded her head and looked at the computer screen again.)
Receptionist: "It's a little late for visitors, but I don't see the harm. Take the elevator up to the sixth floor."
Joseph: "Thank you."
(He lowered his baseball cap, making his way to the elevator. Six floors later, the doors opened on his desired floor. He walked down a hallway, making a left as the arrows on the wall dictated. Another left and he was at room 612. And there he was.)
(He entered the room, removing his baseball cap. His hair swooped down near his eyes. He parted his hair to his left, and his eyes were nearly filled with tears. Warren was still in his coma after the damage he sustained by his older brother Matthew.)
Joseph: "I didn't mean for this to happen."
(Warren was dead to the world, but this man felt like he was listening. He sat at the edge of his bed, his cap in one hand and the other hand reached over on the other side of the bed for support. He lowered his head for a moment.)
Joseph: "It's not going to hurt anymore. I promise. You had a goal, Warren, and I intend to finish it. For you."
(The man got off the edge of the bed. You've seen this scene before. Warren was being kept alive by machines. Machines have a knack for getting turned off. Warren's rate of survival? Not good.)
Joseph: "It is time, my friend."
(A respirator to keep his breathing. A machine to pump his heart. He had a tube down his throat. But in a matter of seconds, all of those were removed by this man. This man who claimed to be family.)
(The man went out of the hospital room, declining to take the elevator and taking the stairs instead. Warren didn't last long without the machines and even though the hospital staff tried their best to revive him, they were unsuccessful in keeping him stable. He was lost, but never forgotten.)
1..414...807...[redacted for privacy purposes]
Nurse: "Hello? Mr. Engel? Yes...I know how late it is, but I have some bad news for you. Your brother...I'm sorry to have to tell you this. Your brother passed away minutes ago."
Boston, later that day
Matthew "Virus" Engel: "I'm not here to educate you. I tried that last week with an opponent who appeared to not need it. The results were disgusting, disappointing, and downright ridiculous. I meant it when I said Danny Monroe is levels below me, but when you underestimate your opponent and your head isn't fully in the game, that man has an easier time to rise up to the level you think you're comfortable with winning at. I didn't bring it. He did. End of story."
(You're not used to seeing me this way, at least not for awhile. I'm sure the news story has leaked out about my brother. God help me. God help the man who did this. The scene is a busy street in Boston. I was tracked down by a PWA camera crew, asking me to fulfill my contractual duties in the events leading up to my match this weekend. A match that will see the birth of another great tag team. I'm in cargo shorts and a Stanford college t-shirt. I haven't shaved. Hell, I haven't even showered or gotten a lick of sleep.)
Matthew "Virus" Engel: "Maybe you will learn something. I don't know and I really don't fucking care, Mr. PWA. You'll have to forgive me if I'm not a huge fan of your work, playing some overrated and overused angle to get change here and try to win over that crowd. If the rumors are true, the man behind that mask wouldn't have needed to stoop to this kind of level. His presence and charisma alone does all of that work for him. But shit... if you're just a lookalike? A wannabe? You've got your work cut out for you in more ways than one.
Because Vic Wagner, after taking brutal losses to Matt Stone and Bubba J in back to back nights - something even I've never done - is hoping to God that you're actually Jethro Hayes so you two can stand a single fucking chance in this match. And really, that's what it comes down to. If you're really him? Then this is going to be a fight, and it's going to be a ground-breaking tag match that will set the scene for the challengers to those tag title belts around the waists of two washed-up legends that are in way over their head.
However, if you're really sticking to your guns and your magic tricks, that you're really not the Southern Hero, well there isn't much I can do for you. There isn't much I want to do for you, other than beat your fat ass silly in the middle of that ring and get a much needed victory for myself and Corey Lazarus so we can move on to whatever other bullshit team Robinson throws our way in our path to becoming PWA Tag Team Champions.
People say I'm bored.
And you know what? They're wrong. I've got a lot going on, both here in the ring and at home. It's a solid argument to say I've been distracted since what I did to my younger brother, since my loss to Panzadise. The only redeeming event I have is making sure I didn't fall from the top too hard with a decisive victory over TMB. I wanted that same result last week and I didn't get it. Again - they can chalk it up to current events with my family, my rumored fall from grace within the community, or the assumption that I was very very bored.
People can come up with all the excuses they want for me and they're entitled to that, but my job is making sure they're just that - excuses. My job is to turn whatever this is around and beat you to fucking death with it. I'm Matthew fucking Engel. I don't lose. I win - a lot. I beat peoples within an inch of their lives and I have a knack for sidelining iconic figures from the past and present of this community. My name is synonymous with fear and success.
Your names? They don't even add up to mine. They're far from adding up to mine and Corey's. You two were thrown together at the last minute so Robinson could give us a challenge. You're far from being a cohesive unit, and Vicky is having a worse month than I am. You two are going to fall this Sunday, right on your fucking backs, and Corey and I are going to do what we do best - put on an amazing match and get the almighty win. Wins is what it's about boys, and you two are about to understand that perfectly this weekend as we leave you in the dust trailblazing our way to Good versus Evil to beat the ever-living piss out of the NAP."
(I stop walking for a moment. The street is getting busier, nearly five o'clock on a Friday. I look into the camera.)
Matthew "Virus" Engel: "Honestly, take off the fucking mask. We're all tired of it. Show us who you really are and stop hiding behind the same facade that Mark McNasty and countless others have used for all the years this business has been mainstream. Is that who you want to be compared to? The faceless pussies of this industry? Mark McNasty? Hell, even Rob Robinson and that cunt Not-Stryker? It's ridiculous, is what it is. How can I sit here and appreciate getting respect from a man who can't even look me face to face and tell me you think you can beat me? How can you convince the PWA universe that your team is going to come out victorious when no one can read your facial expression, look into your eyes and see if you're just blowing hot air or really acting with confidence?
Oh, I get it. It's the mystery. We just don't know. We don't know who you are, what you've done. All I have to rely on is a bullshit win over Panzadise - yes, this is me questioning your only win because no matter how you spin it, Dise never lost that match and kept himself in it like a real champion would, but with you having the referee in your back pocket he got screwed - and you getting lost in the shuffle of Not-Stryker pinning Monroe.
Well fuck that, I say.
Don't list off my accomplishments and try to suck my dick at the same time, motherfucker. You haven't earned that. You don't deserve that spot across the ring from us, because not only are we two Hall of Famers but we're fucking brutal competitors. That man next to me? Yeah, we were at each other's throats for years. We hated each other for awhile and we engaged in some exceptionally violent matches over a silly thing like him hanging out with my sister and getting her loaded with Jager. But we've come a long way since then, been on the same side about most issues as of late, and now... honestly... we've come together - two men that know each other well and know how to execute perfectly in a tag team environment - to dominate this so-called tag division in the PWA and give those titles a boost in prestige across this community.
I can do that. I did it with the man you're rumored to be. Same history. Brutal feud, which I'm on top of it. Two men who know each other well executing perfectly in a tag team environment. Do you see the pattern? I brought Jethro amazing success and fortune as Second 2 None; I brought him even more glory with the PWA and AoWF Tag Team Championships. I'm perfectly capable of leading a team with another Hall of Famer at my side into nothing but perfection and glory. I will do it again. Nobody can say the same for you, because most of Vicky's losses prior to the month of September came in the tag team environment. Mr. PWA - for all intents and purposes - has zero experience in this kind of atmosphere. This brings full circle my argument that neither one of you stand a chance against us nor should you have even been given this opportunity.
We should have gotten Hell and High Water, or whatever New Age Pussies mix they wanted to conjure up.
But instead we get you two: one of you opens up this week by insulting the other and questioning the other's abilities and focus. Do you really believe that's the great start of this week you were looking for heading into this weekend? Do you honestly believe you have any momentum going for you two? I'm really anxious to hear what Wagner has to say about you, Mr. PWA, because if I were him? I'd knock your fucking teeth out and feed you to the opposing team, you piece of shit.
And while the respect route you've taken, praising my accomplishments all the while planting your fat lips on my proverbial ass, would have worked on most superstars that would have just said their thanks and moved on... you should know me better than that. I'm here looking for the kill and it's that kind of mentality that is going to push me and Corey past you two. There isn't any nice guy this week; no words of wisdom or talking of anniversary dinners. This is all business because I won't step into that ring another night and not hear my name announced as the winner. I'm through with that shit.
You go ahead and tell your partner he isn't good enough; tell him he might as well take the fall in this match so you're not to blame. That's a pretty shitty move, but I can understand your rationale behind it because Vic Wagner has been off his game since his controversial win over Stone at Manitoba. Who knows what kind of challenge he'll be for us; he's your wild card, the man that will make or break this match for you. While you remain consistently boring and average, you need Vic Wagner to rise above you and take this match by the horns. If he doesn't? If he fails to bring any sort of a challenge to the ring, a ring that Corey and I have dominated for collectively almost two decades? You won't win. You'll be far from it.
So I'd be a little bit more encouraging towards the man who you've decided to put the weight of this match on, if I were you. But I guess it goes to show your inexperience in all of this, right? Corey and I will have equally the weight of the match between us and we both execute with precision and intensity to ensure that this match doesn't go any other way except ours. That goes without question.
You want to let your partner take the blame for everything? Keep him excluded from the match without even giving him a tag? Try to take us both on? You're more than welcome to do so, Mr. PWA. Prove whatever fantasy stripes you think you've earned in your very short time here. Prove whatever right you think you have in believing that I need to earn your respect and appreciate your over-flattering admiration. Remove your tampon from your gaping vagina and go after us as hard as you can, because when that bell rings and I hear Corey's name and my name announced as the victors of this battle, I will look down at your broken body, give you a sadistic smile in response to the overwhelming pleasure I receive from destroying someone who worked so hard to defeat me, and then kick you in the face after telling you 'I told you so, bitch'.
Those will be my exact words."
(My phone goes off. It's not a phone call, but a text message. I didn't even bother to tell the camera crew to stop recording. Whatever.)
"It's out now. The public knows about Warren. You need to lay low until I can figure out what the Boston DA is going to do." - Joe
Matthew "Virus" Engel: "Good job containing that, Joe. Fuck."
(I grip my phone as hard as I can, my face covered with anger and frustration. I disappear into the Boston crowd.)