Aaron Blackbourne vs. Clyde Sutter
2 RP Limit for singles

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I love AJ Allmendinger.
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Things were beginning to fall apart fairly quickly now, and Aaron knew something had to change.

The longer the war inside his imagination dragged on, the more its effects were beginning to bleed over into his reality. Naturally, costing him wrestling matches was a problem, but it was nothing compared to the storm on the horizon if things continued the way they had been. The more Aaron allowed Nemesis to get to him and continue holding Dylan’s death, regardless of the actual circumstances, over his head, the easier it would become to make that one fatal mistake that would have everyone around him questioning his sanity and ready to lock him away in an asylum until they were assured he was no longer considered a threat to himself and everyone around him.

Doctors certainly wouldn’t understand… even if the line between an imagination gone rogue and actual insanity was becoming blurrier as time wore on.

Cracks were already beginning to form in regards to the artist’s time in SCW. When he lost the TV Title to El Lucho Grande, everyone easily drew the conclusion that Shilo’s brief distraction was enough to do the trick, unaware that there was more going on than Aaron would willingly admit publicly. With his focus temporarily broken, it allowed Nemesis to exploit the opening to make Aaron believe that instead of the luchador, he was about to lock up with the bleeding corpse of the man who took his brother’s life, adding that extra moment of hesitation that ultimately cost him. When he stared down the shot of Shilo on the Tron in the aftermath, he also saw the mortal enemy of his sanity standing behind the entertaining, smirking at his handiwork. He’d broken down for the first time in months in his locker room after all of that, and briefly let his frustrations slip on Twitter following that night in a way that, despite the facts of Shilo’s interference, were easily twisted to try and further corrode his emotional stability even if someone like Sienna didn’t understand the full story, or would likely care if something he could’ve done should he have snapped could’ve been linked back to her in this day and age with how the denizens of the internet prefer to police themselves or present information that could realistically get law enforcement involved.

As far as Nemesis was concerned, that was just the opening act, and being able to briefly wrestle control away from Ferrugo when Aaron had presented the ringmaster with an appropriate rare second opportunity to present himself through his creator in order to draw his attention away enough to allow his chance to pay Shilo back to end in a draw made it clear he was far from finished.

His options for trying to figure out how to fight back against all of this were limited, a side effect of trying to keep the issues under wraps for understandable fear of what could result if the information found its way into the wrong hands. Owen, the most recent addition to his inner circle in regards to this precious and valuable knowledge, was someone he didn’t want to bother about it at the moment considering both his issues with Sienna retaining the World Title at Clarity and his apprehension at the change of format to the usual proceedings regarding that prize at the End of the Year Special courtesy of Kellen Jeffries’ Trios contract, plus he had his own issues he was still working through and Aaron wasn’t going to get in the way of that. He still had his phone conversations with Liane, but he knew he’d feel far more at peace if she were there to physically give him a shoulder to cry on or somebody to embrace when he needed it, something that was still not in the cards for a little while longer while she was still in the middle of her comedy tour. That only left those inside of his head who were already very well aware of what was going on.

Out of that pool, Aaron knew exactly who would likely be his best option to decide his next move.

Needless to say, things hadn’t been too happy back at home base, considering Ferrugo was irate at the fact that Nemesis had proven able to easily create a lapse in his moment of control even if he couldn’t simply take the wheel himself. The mere fact that he HAD been able to intervene was cause for concern, and it wouldn’t be a reach to say that he could do the same the next time Aaron allowed another one of his creations that opportunity or even pull the stunt on the creative soul himself. This was starting to spiral out of control, and Aaron and his forces were going to need one hell of a response if they were going to cut Nemesis’ momentum off at the knees before everything began to snowball.

Regardless of the outcome, their best hope at doing just that resided within the clock tower he was currently ascending.

He silently admitted to himself that rhythmic ticking of the various clocks and machinery that operated them certainly put him in a state of peace he hadn’t truly felt in an eternity it seemed like, something he was grateful for regardless of whether the tower’s master knew it or not. The closer he got to the chamber where he’d be waiting, the more he felt at ease about being able to handle the challenge that still lay ahead. He couldn’t help but think that this was intentional: if one were to visit the master of time, being as calm as possible certainly made it easier to process the fact that he already knew exactly how this conversation would turn out, even if you wouldn’t like what you get from it.

“Welcome Aaron. It’s been quite some time since you’ve visited… to what do I owe the pleasure?”

A part of Aaron couldn’t resist chuckling when he reached the very top and heard Zeitgeist addressing him almost immediately, well aware he was coming. The entity was calmly sitting at a table that hadn’t been here on any previous visits, a second chair set up across from him that he offered to his creator. As Aaron took it, he wanted to assume the reason for the slight alteration in decor was due to the fact the entity seemed preoccupied with fixing the pocket watch he was currently fixated on, though the convenience of being able to sit down and have a face-to-face conversation where all parties were relaxed made him think otherwise. Still, he watched in silence for a moment at Zeitgeist fiddled with the gears within the small mechanism, the subtle change in tempo to his motions being a clear indicator that he was expecting Aaron to talk even if he already knew what was going to be said. Aaron, however, attempted to pose a different question to kick things off.

“If you already know why I’m here, then why make me answer that question?”

“It’s more for your well-being than anything else, believe it or not. Even if I already know the answer to why you’re here, wouldn’t you feel better getting it off your chest regardless?”

Aaron couldn’t argue with that. Being able to vent about things was always far healthier than keeping them bottled up inside… a life lesson he still had trouble adhering to, admittedly, and that small reminder had him blushing in embarrassment for a brief moment.

“I’m here in regards to Nemesis… the fact that things are starting to turn in his favor is a significant problem for all of us, including you. At Clarity, he was even able to briefly strip Ferrugo of the control I gave him, just long enough to cause me to end up in a draw with Shilo and resolving nothing on that front. Between that, the nightmares and visions he keeps haunting me with that I would’ve had enough trouble contending with without him being attached to them, his increased efforts to get to me… I really need-”

“I hate to cut you off Aaron, but I’m going to abuse the powers you gave to me upon my creation to deny the request you’re going to ask of me.”

Aaron was taken aback as Zeitgeist nonchalantly shot down his impending request. It wasn’t the fact that he already knew what was coming that got him, considering who he was talking to, but the fact that despite knowing full well that even he was going to have problems if he existed in a world where Nemesis ran the show that he was still going to abstain from taking a side in the war and participating at all was quite shocking, to say the least.

“But… why-”

“Because, believe it or not, you don’t need me, Aaron. As much as I know I really shouldn’t be sharing the future with you, I know full well that my assistance in this endeavor is not necessary in order for you to achieve victory. If anything, your odds of putting an end to the Nemesis problem with what you’ve already assembled couldn’t be greater.”

“I’m… sorry if that logic is a bit hard to follow, considering what he’s been able to do lately is surely a sign that he’s regaining strength and reaching perhaps his most dangerous point since the ordeal with my family and everything they demanded of me that created the rift we only just repaired this year.”

Zeitgeist closes the pocket watch, seemingly finished with its repairs, and lets it rest on the table as he rises to a stand and walks over to the large time globe positioned in the center of the room. The moment his hand makes contact with it, Aaron begins seeing visions of the past cycling through at a speed that’s just fast enough to run through them all in short order, but not so fast that he can’t take a brief moment to recognize exactly what the significance of each memory truly is. It’s almost like watching a perfect montage of every high point he’s managed to achieve this year, both inside the ring and out.

“Nemesis is a tricky entity to contend with, that I can, unfortunately, agree with you on. But he is far from unbeatable, and every positive moment that he’s been unable to take away from you this year is proof of that. When you consider everything that’s been weighing heavily on your mind, especially losing your brother near the start of the year, and the fact that you’ve still fought on every step of the way no matter what Nemesis tried to convert it into or how others tried to spin it in their favor. You’ve shown composure and inner strength that most of those men and women could only dream of having, including the abilities to admit to your shortcomings and problems that they would never have the heart to do out of fear for the image they’ve built. To call such a creative individual the most real and relatable member of the SCW roster would sound like an absurd statement, but it’d be the one with the most supporting evidence.”

Aaron nodded, a smile slowly coming to his lips at this realization. The things he’d been able to do this year that would’ve seemed impossible otherwise, like the opportunities he’s earned or the respect and praise he’s garnered from veterans and legends of the business, or being able to fight through the pain of losing his brother or rebuild the fractured relationship with his family… very few others would’ve likely been able to pull this off if they were in his shoes, and that was a testament to the inner strength he possessed.

“If anything, your real problem lies in the fact that your time here is limited.”

That’s where Aaron’s smile faded, a look of confusion quickly replacing it.

“What do you mean?”

“Aaron, it’s no secret that you love living inside your head as much as you do contending with the real world. The difference between these two concepts, however, is that this is a world you can only bring yourself to under specific circumstances. Scenarios such as simply sitting alone and forgetting the very concept of time by thinking, a state that others would perceive as you just staring blankly off into space, or the ability to lucid dream as you sleep… they are your gateway to the world you created, and that time is always limited I’m afraid. You have all the tools you need to be able to subdue your problem, especially your recent union of two powerful entities that even I was honestly surprised at, considering the low odds of that being the timeline fate decided to choose, but you cannot effectively lead your army into battle if you cannot remain here for long enough to see the battle through to its conclusion.”

Aaron spat out a sigh and involuntarily grabbed at his hair, realizing the truth to Zeitgeist’s statement. The eye-opening revelation presented a very real problem he hadn’t considered but needed to address if he was to truly resolve this problem once and for all.

“You’re right… damn it… I can’t just lay in bed and sleep for however long it takes to end this, my body would never allow it. And even if I take the precautions of isolating myself while being watched by those who know the whole story, there’s no telling how long it would actually take and I can’t simply ignore every other obligation I have for the sake of securing my mental well-being once and for all. How in the hell would I be able to pull this off?”

He looked to Zeitgeist for the answer, but the time lord simply shook his head, knowing he could not willingly divulge that information no matter how much even he wanted the Nemesis threat resolved. However, Aaron did notice the way he was shaking his head was making subtle nods towards the pocket watch, almost like he was at least leaving Aaron a clue as to how he could pull this off. Slowly, he reached over and took the trinket before opening it, left with a sight that he would need to figure out to perhaps have the answer he so desperately needed.

The face of the watch had been modified, revealing to him an hour hand frozen in place, pointing to the addition of the number thirteen to the time it was meant to tell.

The longer I’ve been here in SCW, the more I’ve come to realize that not a lot of people really know who I am. As a result, they tend to assume things about me because the human mind demands answers to questions in response to an innate fear of the unknown.

After almost three full years around here, I think I’ve simply grown used to it by now.

I understand that I’m not everyone’s proverbial cup of tea. By nature, I’m a caring individual with a strong compulsion to do what I feel is right, and there are those out there who laugh at that very notion, or believe that it makes me weak. Beyond that, I’m someone whose mind works very differently from many others and prefers to express himself artistically as a means to bridge the two planes of existence I tend to reside in, and many out there feel threatened by the idea that what I represent could have huge implications for the future. It’s an unfortunately common belief that people deeply fear change, and even in SCW the very idea that things could be very different from the constant chaos and lawlessness that once dominated every second of TV time has many, from the likes of Infamous and the Beauty Factory who thrive under those circumstances to people like Clyde Sutter who believe they can only function properly in that environment, scrambling for answers to maintain the status quo.

Don’t get me wrong… I don’t mind a little chaos, and disagreeing with it needing to exist goes against some of the principles of creativity that I’ve built myself upon, but do we really want to see nothing but blindside attacks, attempts to injure people and ignoring those who have either proven themselves worthy or are willing to step up and challenge the way things are week after week after week? At that point, it’s no longer chaos… it’s simply formulaic and hard to watch.

I’ll be the first to admit that things haven’t been going as well for me lately as I would’ve liked. After all, I’m no longer standing here addressing everyone as TV Champion, and I certainly came out of Clarity not only lacking that very concept but also not entirely in one piece. But if I stood here and complained about any of it, what would it actually do? I’m not getting any sort of immediate title rematch, not that I’d want to go that route anyway, and I’m well aware that the same people who usually fall back on these kinds of tactics would waste no time in trying to tear me apart because I’ve ‘finally shown my true colors’ because they refuse to see beyond the color palette that paints me as a hero or a golden boy that benefits from being somebody Sasha likes. I doubt it ever occurred to any of them that maybe, just maybe, Sasha respects the fact that no matter what creative endeavors I take along the way, I still get in that ring and prove myself without question at the end of the day. I haven’t personally talked with her since clearing things up at the start of the year regarding my Adrenaline Title shot when the champion was drafted to be part of Tactical Warfare, and I certainly haven’t gone to her to ask for any favors or opportunities. But of course, that doesn’t change the fact that because of the way I conduct my business and did support her back in that little war, I have to be one of her favorites and am treated as such.

I’ve always been someone who prefers to earn their keep, and that’s something that transcends the wrestling business. It’s simply a principle that was instilled in me growing up by everyone around me that the only way I was ever going to make it anywhere was to keep working to improve myself until I could reach what I was after. That very reason is exactly why I’ve been stating time and time again that, personally, I don’t feel I’m ready to take a crack at the World Title yet even if I truly don’t agree with whoever is currently holding that belt. After all, as has been so ‘eloquently’ pointed out to me time and time again, my third reign as TV Champion was no different than my first two since I failed to keep hold of the title for more than a two week period. As for who I lost it to… I apologize to El Lucho Grande for the frustration I’ve shown in the aftermath. You did defeat me, and you’ve been proving why you deserve to hold that title since that night; it’s just been difficult to stomach my reign being ended because a certain someone can’t let go of his showman’s beliefs even long after he’s hung up his boots. But has it stopped me from continuing to move forward and prove myself again? Absolutely not, just as the belief that Grande doesn’t deserve to be a champion purely because you hate the way he and his friends act means you’re blind to whatever work they put in to prove themselves as well. After all… inside that ring, everyone has a fair shot.

That’s exactly why I wanted you in a match Clyde.

If there’s any one thing I’ve gathered from listening to everything you and your manager had to say, it’s the fact that the only thing either of you recognize is whatever short term information you can spin into the story that best fits your narrative to make up for everything that you don’t know about me. Now, I could forgive Clyde for this error since he’s made it abundantly clear he’s only here to hurt people and collect a paycheck, so not caring about details that will inevitably lead to his downfall sounds about right. Mr. Van Stanton, on the other hand, has no excuse because it’s his job as Clyde’s manager to be able to prepare him to not walk into those kinds of traps if he wants to find the opportunities he’s constantly complaining aren’t being given to him. If Clyde keeps falling short no matter how much harder you claim he’s worked than everyone else just to get noticed, then what does that say about you as his manager for being unable to correct the problem? I know it’s easier to simply pass the blame on to everyone around you, but how long do you think Clyde would actually be willing to buy that excuse before even he wises up to the fact that maybe [i]you
are the problem?

But no, we’re just going to stick with the narrative that Clyde’s been working twice as hard as me to keep painting this portrait that my success has only been because I’m supposedly one of Sasha’s favorites… ignoring the fact that I wasn’t put in the Chamber over Syren despite defeating her, or the fact that my first two TV Title reigns were when Mr. D was still the one in charge, or the fact that the other two title opportunities I’ve had this year aside from the TV Title were either earned by winning a number one contender’s match or because I stepped right up to the champion and challenged them face-to-face when he could’ve very easily done the exact same thing. Even ignoring the fact that I’ve been in SCW longer than Clyde has, how can we possibly overlook the small little detail that despite admitting he’s been kicked out of wrestling schools he still earned an SCW contract without any prior experience in the business, compared to someone like me who spent roughly half a decade busting his ass and proving himself all over the world before the big leagues came knocking with a contract offer. That alone tells me you were noticed right away Clyde, despite any problems you may have presented, and what do you have to show for it?

Title opportunities you’ve fallen short on but will never admit to, sneak attacks you’ve relied on because you couldn’t get the job done face-to-face, and matches you’ve straight up abandoned because it was easier than having to admit later that you couldn’t back up all that big talk.

You guys made the mistake of reading from the same script that so many others have recited to me so much more convincingly, and if this were an audition for a role in a play I would have to turn you down because you’ve given me no reason to think for even a second that I might not be up to the very challenge I proposed one month ago. I’m no stranger to how someone like you operates Clyde because no matter how angry you are at this false belief that I’m being handed everything on a silver platter while you’re being ignored, you’ve done absolutely nothing to prove you deserve whatever you’re asking for. I’m sure even Mr. Van Stanton can answer this one… what would stand out more to a wrestling figurehead needing to decide who to give a major opportunity to: attacking a man with a pipe and putting him on the shelf, or beating him in the ring and proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are, indeed, better than him?

You have that very opportunity this week Clyde, just as you’ve had that opportunity ever since you took to gloating about the way you put Alistaire on the shelf all because it’s painfully clear that somewhere deep down, you know you couldn’t beat him at his own game. You could’ve made a statement when you had a non-title match against the man who should still be Adrenaline Champion right now in Asher Hayes or backed up all those claims of how much harder you’ve been working had you actually seen your tag match against Peyton and Glory through to the end. Is it an opportunity you deserve? Who’s to say, really, but how many times do you think you’ll be given these opportunities before you realize something has to change if you want to change the image you’re seeing through those rose-colored glasses?

When Breakdown comes to Salt Lake City, I know I have a statement I need to make. I need to prove that I can truly rebound from the previous shortcomings I’m man enough to admit to, I need to make it clear to people like Shilo that I’m more than capable of succeeding without the games they’re prone to playing when they can’t get the job done when it truly counts and most important of all… I need to make you understand that no matter how much you want to threaten me or perceive someone who is beyond your current level of comprehension, I am not afraid of you. No matter what you do to me or claim you can do, I know I’ve been through worse and still continued onward in pursuit of my own goals and dreams. I don’t need to make baseless threats Clyde, because I know exactly what I need to do in order to beat you, and the more confident you think you are because you believe in the fable you’ve written for yourself about me?

The easier it will be for me to rewrite the ending you imagined when you least expect it.

Alistaire, I hope your recovery is going well… this one’s for you, pal.[/i]
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