Post by Devon Ryder on Nov 1, 2021 16:02:54 GMT -5
*Fade in. We open on a wide, crane shot of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, famed home of the Indy 500 and many other motor racing events in US history. The place appears relatively empty, likely a result of COVID restrictions having an impact on the availability of tours when no events are being held, but as we quickly zoom in - or, rather, cut to a camera inside the arena - we see there are at least two people currently present. One is PWS: Apex's resident militant Canadian, Devon Ryder, and the other is as-yet unidentified, but they're sitting inside a brilliant white Tesla that's currently zooming around the track. Ryder leans against the fence, clad in blue jeans and a black t-shirt bearing the slogan "Canadian: Like an American, Only Better" along with his red "Canadian Hero" jacket over top, watching this car as it makes laps of the famed speedway course. He smirks as he sees the camera approach, then stands up from the wall and begins striding up the steps of the bleachers, speaking into the camera as he moves.*
"Ah, Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Home of the famed ‘Indianapolis 500’, perhaps among the most famous motor racing events in history. It’s the largest sporting venue in the entire world, a staple of Indianapolis’ cultural identity, host to over one million visitors every single year...and a monument to the very worst of American consumerist excess."
*Ryder reaches a spot near the middle of the bleachers, then lowers himself into a seat close to the aisle. He turns to face the track we saw the Tesla take off down just moments ago, and the camera spins around so it's now face-to-face with the self-styled Canadian Hero.*
"This place is a scar on an otherwise beautiful landscape, an altar to the exploitation of the natural world in the name of capitalism and greed. Think of how many trees needed to be felled in order to make way for all this track. How many animals were displaced from their homes so that YOU could sit in luxury, indulging in the spoils of our carbon-harvesting crusade? This place did unfathomable damage to the environment when it was constructed, and continues to do so with every year that it continues operating. Think about it. How many races are run here every year? How many cars, powered by outdated and malignant fossil fuels, run this length of track? The CULTURE that auto racing cultivates in the mindset of its fanbase may be one of the most single-handedly damaging effects of American industry on any future our planet may have had, a massive stumbling block on the path to averting the coming climate catastrophe. But that may not be the worst of it..."
*Ryder pauses here, frowning softly. His eyes harden and his expression becomes deadly serious.*
"The Indy 500 - and motor-racing more generally, especially in the United States - IS a sporting event, yes, but first and foremost it is a business, with all the corporate interest and conservative economic protectionism that entails. The sponsors, the managers, the avaricious overlords who stick their hands in the pockets of the people and make their wallets fat with the proceeds of this disgusting display of gasoline-guzzling, air poisoning eco-terrorism, will NEVER allow the kinds of sweeping changes necessary to regulate this industry strictly enough to heal our wounded planet. They would never agree to political reforms or introducing electric-powered cars into their retinue, because it would somehow ‘taint the experience’ of what the Indy 500 is supposed to be. It would run antithetical to the image they’ve built up. And they’re not the only ones. It seems fighting tooth-and-nail against environmental policy is your government’s bread and butter these days, with the former president striking down nearly all of the protections your country had enacted until that point, including gutting the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency, pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords, ordering data on climate change ACTIVELY DESTROYED, and subsidizing the coal industry, possibly the ONLY fossil fuel even WORSE than oil and gas! You elected this imbecile, and over half of your country’s politicians - and a frightening number of citizens - still support these barbaric, backwards measures. It’s disgusting. It’s terrifying. It may be something your current leader has reversed, trying desperately to drag this country kicking and screaming back into the 21st century, but I fear the damage may already be irreparable. I feel filthy here…"
*Ryder’s brow furrows and his face contorts into a disgusted and angry frown. It doesn’t last long, however, as the Canadian Hero shrugs his shoulders and offers a derisive smirk, along with a shake of his head in response.*
"But it's a feeling I'm getting used to. The more news that comes out of America these days, the less surprising it becomes. You’ve shown most of the world your true colours through your actions in recent months, particularly with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. THAT is why I think climate change is an issue beyond the United States’ capacity to handle, THAT is why I truly don’t believe you’re able to make the kinds of changes - the kinds of sacrifices - you will need to make to beat this thing. Because we’ve seen how Americans react when you try to take something away from them. When you ask them to change their behaviour in favour of the health and wellbeing of society at large. Perhaps it isn’t all of you, I’ll grant that; it may even be a minority of the total population as a whole. But it is enough of you that it poses a very real danger. And you continue empowering those who seem to share such a selfish and short-sighted mindset."
*Ryder locks eyes with the camera, his serious expression giving way to another arrogant, superior smirk.*
"But honestly, that’s not all that surprising either. Consider, for a moment, what the average American values. What you are taught to appreciate both in school and by society in general. How deeply embedded is ‘personal freedom’, or ‘liberty’ in the collective American consciousness? How long has ‘socialism’ been built up as the boogeyman, with BASIC EMPATHY and care for others being cast as antithetical to the American values of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps and carving out a slice for you and your own? Selfishness has been baked into the core of the American Dream. Personal autonomy at all and any costs has become a central facet of the American cultural identity. In Canada, we are just the opposite. Canadian schools teach children to care for one another, our society is built on the idea of a social safety net for those who need it, of welcoming immigrants and making Canada a mosaic of different peoples, ideas and cultures, embracing that we all have something of value to add to our society. Canada pollutes the environment; we HAVE motor racing speedways, we USE oil and natural gas in many places to power our homes and drive our economy...but the difference is, we also care about each other and our collective health as a society. In 2015, a study was conducted by Pew Research that surveyed 40 nations around the world to get opinions on climate change. In every single category, Canadians scored higher than Americans in terms of the percentage of our population who cares about climate change as an issue, and are willing to make changes to our lives to fight it. We consistently scored at or above the global median, whereas only 45 percent of Americans said climate change is harming people now, and only 41 percent identified it as a ‘serious threat’. Compare that to over HALF of Canadians who said the same thing, and the more than 80 percent who support limiting our country’s carbon emissions! For anybody who thinks that Canada is just ‘America lite’, that there is no real, tangible difference in our cultures, this should be irrefutable PROOF that we are NOT the same, that one IS truly, measurably better than the other!"
*Devon Ryder pauses here, his smirk long since vanished, taking a deep breath in an attempt to get his anger under control. The Tesla far below whizzes by again, nearly silent from this distance, and the camera turns to film it as it passes. When we turn back to focus on Ryder, the Canadian Hero has a sad, wistful smile on his face.*
"Canada is not perfect in our fight against climate change. Projects like the Keystone XL and Trans-Mountain Pipelines continue to be ongoing battles and sources of controversy across political lines in our great nation. But we are IN the G20 climate summit. We SIGNED the Paris Climate Accords. We are actively fighting to reduce our emissions by even more than is currently recommended to stave off the apocalypse a little while longer, we pride ourselves on our use of renewables like hydroelectricity and our federal carbon tax, truly putting a dent in this country’s ability to pollute and destroy our beloved ecosystem. In so many areas, our country - our natural beauty - is protected by law. My parents grew up in London, a city outside of Toronto that’s been colloquially - and for a while, officially - nicknamed ‘the Forest City’, because of its abundance of trees and natural woodlands that are protected areas by order of Canadian law. Leveling those forests to make way for something like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway would be unthinkable in London, and if proposed in most of the COUNTRY it would be met with fervour and political backlash. We CARE about our environment, we care about EACH OTHER, and even though we aren’t perfect we are actively trying to improve the way that Canada produces its electricity, with an eye on the long-term health and sustainability of not only our economic interests, but our PEOPLE as well. Which is more than I can say for you."
*Ryder flashes a self-important smirk to the camera, pausing for a moment to let his words sink in. When he resumes speaking, his expression changes to one that’s slightly more serious.*
"Not every American is brainwashed by their selfish, myopic sense of civil religion, of course; I’ve said before no culture is a monolith, and there are a great many of you who SEE how flawed your system is, and have chosen to fight against it to make the world a better place. Take my opponent tonight, for example; Tyson Sykes. Tyson, you’ve spoken before about your goals in joining ANTITHESIS, you’ve told us why you listened to Jonathan Sanders when he pitched you the idea for the team, and explained away your violence as a necessary evil in the course of fixing a broken world. I understand that motivation, Tyson. Really, it’s an admirable goal...but it’s a foolish and misguided methodology."
*Ryder pauses again, giving the camera a lopsided, sympathetic smile before he continues.*
"You’re trying to fight hatred with hatred, Tyson, and that’s a battle you’ve lost before it starts. ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness’, if I may quote Dr. King, ‘only light can do that.’ There IS much darkness in this world, I just spent minutes lamenting exactly that, but your aggression won’t help to change it. You need to be the light, Tyson - to lead these people by EXAMPLE. As Dr. King stood up against injustice not from a position of antipathy, but compassion and education, so too must WE work to EMBODY the change we wish to bring about. Now, that does not mean you need to let go of your rage; indeed, anger can be a powerful tool for motivating real change within a system. But you need to find a way to redirect that fury, to channel it more positively into something you can USE rather than a wanton force of blind destruction. Anger is useless if it does not have a target. Dissatisfaction means nothing in the absence of a goal. You will never fix a system if all you do is tear it down. You CAN NOT make progress if you’re looking to the past. Violence only begets violence, Tyson, it will never bring you peace. Don’t perpetuate this vicious cycle. Don’t give in to your pollution. I KNOW you have it in you. You can do better - you can BE better - you just need somebody to help you see that. So allow me..."
*Devon inhales sharply and takes a moment to collect his thoughts. He clasps his hands between his knees, forearms resting just barely on his thighs. He looks into the camera with an expression of genuine sympathy, frowning and tilting his head gently to one side as a father speaking to a wayward child.*
"You’re not a bad man, Tyson Sykes. You are not the ‘villain’ you present yourself as. You’re scared, angry, and lashing out against a deeply flawed society that failed you and left you behind. I understand that. I’ve seen that happen EVERYWHERE, not just in the United States. But in Canada, there may have been somebody to help you. Our society is...kinder. More compassionate, on average. You wouldn’t have to spend so long alone inside your head, Tyson. There are resources for troubled people, paths within our system for those who seek to make a difference. Instead, you’ve been discouraged. You've spent all your life being told that you were 'wrong', ‘overreacting’, 'evil', being made to feel like a monster because you saw the faults within your system and DARED to call them out...so eventually, perhaps you started to believe it. But I see more than a monster when I look at you, Tyson Sykes. I see MORE than the man they call 'the Ripper', more than an enforcer for Jonathan Sanders and his off-brand Manson Family...I see a damn phenomenal professional wrestler. I see a man who by rights should have been in the PWS World title picture from the moment he set foot in this company, and ESPECIALLY after those in power saw what he’s capable of in the ring! I see a poor, misguided soul - a man who could’ve been a working-class hero of the people - ensnared by his own desperation to prove that he deserves his spot. To prove that he deserves gold around his waist."
*Ryder leans forward in his seat, resting one hand on his knee as he speaks seriously and intensely into the camera.*
"So tonight's your chance to prove it to me, Tyson. To prove it to EVERYBODY watching in the arena and at home. When we step into that ring, I want you to bring the Ripper. I want you to tap into all that misdirected anger you so badly need a target for and show us ALL why you deserve to walk out of Crusade as the PWS: Apex United Champion. I know you want it, Tyson. A chance to shut my mouth. I know how it must gall you, knowing where I come from. Knowing how much better things can BE up there. You know it’s not utopia, but damn if it’s not close, eh? You’ve seen a glimpse of the ‘better world’ - the better SYSTEM - that you and ANTITHESIS claim is what you’re fighting for...and it’s only made you angrier, because now you know it’s possible. I’m the example, Tyson. The living, breathing, maple syrup-bleeding proof that your dream CAN COME TRUE. So why the hell hasn’t it? If there is PROOF that this can work, that a country can implement these policies and survive or even thrive, why would your own homeland be so stubbornly against making those same changes for itself?"
*Ryder sighs, softly shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders as he leans back in his seat.*
“The truth is, I don't have that answer. Honestly, I wish I did. But what I do know is that you absolutely deserve that spot across the ring from Cleo Phillips at Crusade. In terms of sheer pro-wrestling ability, I don’t think I could ask for a better opponent. Your skillset speaks for itself, Tyson, I’ve seen enough to know that’s true. But I hope YOU have seen enough of ME to know that, when we square off tonight, you'd better bring your A-game...because I deserve it too."
*Devon takes a moment to stare directly down the camera lens when he speaks those final words, letting his point sink in. Once it has, he springs to his feet and begins to walk back down the steps towards the racetrack, the camera moving with him so it keeps his front in frame.*
"Tonight will be one more opportunity for me to lead this movement by example, a chance to cement my OWN legacy here in PWS: Apex, to elevate myself above the riff-raff and prove, unequivocally, that Devon Ryder is someone worth paying attention to. Tonight is my chance to reach a much, MUCH wider audience, to champion this movement as an ACTUAL. CHAMPION. To finally BE the Hero that I claim I am. And this is an opportunity that I will NOT give up without a fight."
*Having reached the bottom of the steps, Ryder hops over the fence next to the Speedway Museum/Winners Podium section of the track and makes his way towards the open racetrack. Standing on the sidelines, where the winning car would come in to be elevated to the podium, he stops beside a barricade and turns back to the camera, his expression incredibly determined.*
"So I hope you're ready, mon ami, because just as I have asked you to give me THE Tyson Sykes, tonight you will get THE Devon Ryder. For as great a wrestler as I know you are, I want YOU to know that I am even better. I’ve been in PWS: Apex less than six months and I’ve already proven that I can hang with the best of the best that they can throw at me. I'll fight you to your limit to prove that point tonight. I will wrestle you like you have NEVER been wrestled before, and when the dust finally settles, I'll pull you into the light and PROVE you’re not a monster by giving you the one and only thing that every self-described 'villain' really needs: a conquering. Canadian. Hero."
*Ryder lets his signature smirk bloom across his face now, as the brilliant white Tesla we saw earlier rockets down the track, gradually coming to a stop directly behind him. The driver’s side door opens revealing the same beautiful woman we’ve seen in his last few promos - presumably Ryder’s partner - who then steps out of the car with a smile and leans against it waiting for him. The Canadian hero glances over his shoulder at her then returns his gaze to the camera, smirk widening.*
"See ya at the finish line, eh?"
*With that, the familiar opening riff of the Guess Who’s "American Woman" begins to play over the scene as Ryder pivots on his heel, striding towards the Tesla and kissing his girlfriend on the lips before he steps inside. She walks around the car and gets in the passenger’s side as Ryder pulls his door shut, and the Tesla speeds off down the famous Indy 500 track as our video fades out.*
OOC: Been a rough few weeks with mental health, this is my first time online for more than five minutes in a while so I apologize for the rp. But Didn't want to no show.
"Alright - let's cut the bullshit and get right down to brass tacks shall we?"
The scene opens to Tyson Sykes standing in front of a plain black background in his wrestling gear, staring daggers through the camera.
"Devon Ryder. Look, I'm going to lay this down right now and be as clear as possible. A lot of people take what you have to say as an insult. They take it personally. They hate what you say about them, and why?
Because it's the truth. America? It's a dumpster fire. If you don't believe me, wait ten years when the history books are teaching our children about Pres. 45. America was built off the sacrifice of those unwilling to step over each other. It's built off of false promises made to its people. It's built off fake niceties and if that doesn't work? Well then the problem just magically goes away without another peep from the problem starter.
America is the definition of a parasitic society, and no matter what we say? There's not a damn person left alive with any morals who can say they're proud to be one. But guess what bub? American isn't the issue. You know what the issue is? America... Canada... Russia... China... Indonesia, Cuba, The Dominican Republic, God damn Djibouti. It's all the fucking problem... because WE are the problem. Humans. We're all fucking trash - and no matter what pretty flag flies over it - we all live in a junkyard that we created.
So you can sit all high and mighty on your throne of phony self importance as if you're any different than any other pile of scum walking this Earth, and you can stand there looking like you have a stick shoved up your ass because you're standing with your imaginary back bone - but at the end of the day if it looks like garbage and it smells like garbage, shit it's probably garbage. And Devon? You reak just as much as the next guy.
But there's good news, my man. Right now? It doesn't matter who you are. What country you're from. What national anthem you jerk off to. None of that shit matters man - because this is professional wrestling. So you can come out here looking like the Geico gecko in a Wish leather jacket and make all the speeches you want. Shit, I think it's pretty funny when you do to watch all the selfish bigots try and pretend they're not exactly what you say they are. But at the end of the day, all the false bravado and the messiah complex is only going to bring you so far. 'Cuz you may think you're from a superior place, but when you get into that ring you're exiting Canada. You're exiting the United States. Shit you're exiting the fucking Earth - because that ring is MY world. And just like America - just like Canada - just like everywhere we humans reside... this ring only knows one thing and that's pain. Suffering. And broken dreams.
I understand you're coming in with a chip on your shoulder big enough to feed Mike Dunn, but you haven't even scratched the surface of getting on my level. I've defeated nearly everyone they've thrown in my path, and let me tell you the same thing I've told everyone since day one Devon. Whether there's a W or an L next to my name when this match is over? I promise you - it'll always be the opponent who loses. Winning to me isn't getting a pinfall or submission. That's just a fun little ribbon on top. Winning to me is watching the blood drain from your body. Watching you limp to the locker room. Watching the agony on your face as week after week you attempt to recover from the torture that I put you through in one match.
I don't give a fuck about America - but come Riot? I'm going to treat you like the political structure treats every single American. I'm going to chew you up and spit you out - I'm going to get the fight of your life out of you and after I get what I need out of you? I'll toss ya aside and wait for you to die. We live a life of monsters and villains Devon.
It's easier if you just accept that and act the way they'll tell others you do anyways."