He gestured grandly at the hostile crowd, soaking in their cheers and boos. Half of them hated his guts, but that didn’t matter; it was good for business, and he was all about taking care of business in the ring. He’d gone over with the crowd, again, and was now assured of main-event status, no more mid-card matches next time!
It was when he climbed down from the ring that he began to suspect something was wrong. The audience’s attention had become focused not on his trademark exit, but on his ride-the classic car that he drove into the ring. It was starting to change, its outer skin reflecting the audience’s mood. Looking with increasing concern at the car, he began to realize that making main-event status came with a price. That price was the chameleon he drove, and now it was showing its true colors, and his.
You signed a contract, he heard a voice say. Creative wants you to stay in character…It was good for ratings, good for the pay-per views. Heel or face, he was the “franchise.”
It was time to get in the ring.
“The fans love it,” they always told him. “You drive out in that thing, they mark out. It’s what’s gotten you a shot at the title and main-event status.”
“But I feel like it’s taking something from me…”
“Of course it is. It’s a symbiotic relationship. You feed it, it feeds off the crowd energy, it gives it back to them.”
“It’s part of the promotion,” his agent reminded him. “There’s always a trade-off.”
Yeah, he thought. But what?
His opponent came down to the ring-another mid-carder, but one who’d been upgraded from tag-team status, at least his usual partner wasn’t with him. He wondered what kind of a deal he’d get to be put over, and what would happen to his partner. Last he heard, his was working in Japan, as part of the developmental territory-at least, that was what he’d been told.
But that no longer mattered. He had to make this his time, and it was time to work the crowd.
The cheers swept over him like a wave, but even as he performed his moves, he couldn’t help but feel that they were going to someone else.
Learn more about Matthew Spence