Ascension 105: Veejay vs. Tony Mancini (Gold Rush)
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July 14, 2000 (Tony's 10th birthday)
The camera turns on and we see a young Tony playing in his father's study with his father and uncle Sal when his older cousin Vinnie walks in and gives both men a look that causes both men to stand up and walk towards the door.
Angelo Mancini: Anthony go downstairs and spend time with the guests, it is your birthday party after all, don't you think you should at least go say hi?
Tony silently gets up and puts his toys away before following his father and uncle downstairs. They drop Tony off in the parlor where friends and family are all gathered before heading down to the basement. After a few minutes his mother calls him into the kitchen.
Priscilla Mancini: Anthony could you help me get the food ready to out?
Tony goes into the kitchen and helps his mother by getting her ingredients from the fridge and utensils from the cabinets. The time flies by as mother and son enjoy working together and the next thing they know everything is done and people are sitting at the table.
Priscilla Mancini: Anthony go tell your father and uncle dinner is ready and everyone is waiting for them.
Tony Mancini: OK mom I'll be right back. He's in the basement with uncle Sal and my cousin Vinnie.
Tony quickly goes to the basement and opens the door. As he walks down the stairs he hears his father talking in a hushed whisper.
Angelo Mancini: Did you think we wouldn't find out Sally Boy? You disappear for long periods of time and our soldiers start getting picked up by the feds.
Tony goes down the rest of the stairs and peeks around the corner. What he sees changes his life forever. His father is standing over a bloody man kneeling on a tarp while his uncle and cousin hold him by the arms.
Sally Boy: Please Don Angelo, I didn't know he was FBI I swear. He never told me what he did for a living.
Tony watches as his father balls up his gloved and punches the man square in the jaw, causing him to go limp in the hands of the two men holding him.
'Don' Angelo Mancini: You know I don't like people lying to me . I don't make idle threats or accusations so we're gonna try this again and if you keep lying to me I'm going to start breaking things, things I'm sure you'd rather keep whole.
Sally Boy starts squirming but Sal and Vinnie hold him tight and eventually he gives up and goes limp again.
Sally Boy: Please Don Angelo don't do this, I'm not lying. I swear on the Holy Mother I didn't know who he was.
Tony hears his father sigh as he nods to Vinnie who in turn grabs a rag from a nearby table and shoves it in Sally Boy's mouth while Sal forces him to stick his finger out. While this is going on Tony looks at his father whose expression doesn't change from the blank stare he's had since Tony started watching. The next Tony hears is the sound of a finger breaking and Sally Boy screaming into the rag shoved in his mouth.
'Don' Angelo Mancini: Why are you making me do this Sally Boy, on my son's birthday of all days? I'm going to have you listen to something and we'll see if your story changes.
With that Tony's father takes a tape recorder out of his pocket and presses play.
'Don' Angelo Mancini: I forgive the lying Sally Boy. I don't like it but I can understand wanting to protect your family. The only problem is that you put my family in jeopardy to do it and you never mess with a man's family.
With that statement Tony watches his father fit what he later learned was a silencer to a gun and shoot Sally Boy in the head. The body jerks once and then lays still. Angelo hands the gun to Vinnie who puts it, the gloves and the brass knuckles in a small bag.
'Don' Angelo Mancini: Vinnie I need you to take care of the trash here and let everyone know the consequences of talking to the feds. Me and Sal gotta get back upstairs to the party before people start wondering where we are.
Vinnie nods and starts wrapping the body up in the tarp he's laying on as the other two men turn around and head toward the stairs. Tony snaps out of the trance like state he was in during all this and quietly runs back upstairs before his father catches him and finds out he saw everything that happened.
Present Day (The morning of Ascension 105)
The camera comes into focus and we see blonde bombshell Stacey Madison sitting in a chair looking over her notes for her upcoming interview with WZCW newcomer Tony Mancini and mumbling to herself.
Stacey Madison: How did I get stuck with interviewing the musclebound guido? They should have given this assignment to Leon, he's used to being on the bottom. I should be interviewing champions and company veterans not the new guy.
A noise causes her to look up from her notes and she sees Tony Mancini talking to his bodyguard Gino Rizzoli about some dream he had the night before. When he sees Stacey he gives her a smile and starts talking as he sits in the chair next to her.
Tony Mancini: When they told me I had to do an interview for my match they failed to mention it was with the most beautiful woman I've ever laid eyes on.
At a loss for words Stacey just stares at Tony as he takes her hand and gently kisses the back of it.
Stacey Madison: It's nice to see there are gentlemen still in this world. I had almost lost hope.
Tony Mancini: You have my parents to thank for that. They instilled into me at a young age that a man treats women with respect and I must say in your case it comes naturally.
He flashes her another dazzling smile, causing her to look down at her notes in an attempt to hide a slight blush.
Stacey Madison: You're the newest member of the WZCW roster so I just wanted to get your thoughts on everything so far.
Tony Mancini: You mean after I jumped through all those hoops just to get a match in the company? It's gone pretty good so far. I should be 2-0 instead 1-1 but because of a completely biased referee I lost my debut.
Stacey looks through her notes and silently reads a few lines before looking back up.
Stacey Madison: You mean when the ref took away the foreign object you were going to use against Doe?
Tony Mancini: Those were for my protection Stacey. You know what kind of man Doe is, why wouldn't I have the means to defend myself at the ready?
Stacey nods her head in agreement but instead of continuing with that she moves on.
Stacey Madison: What do you have to say to the allegations that you're using WZCW to take your father's criminal enterprise national and bring in new people to the "Family"?
Gino shakes his head while Tony stiffens in his chair and gets an angry look on his face.
Tony Mancini: Just because we're Italian and live in New York City we have to be Mafia is that it? Well let me say for the record that none of that bullshit is true. My father is head of the biggest waste management firm in the Tri-State area and you know what I am, a WZCW Superstar. There is no Mafia, There is no Mancini Crime Family. We are hard working people who have earned our money through decades of hard and honest work since my grandfather came over from Pisa in the 1930s.
Stacey puts her hand on Tony's forearm in order to try to calm him down.
Stacey Madison: Relax Tony I never said I believe the rumors just that people are saying them. I have just a few more questions and then we're done.
Tony takes a few deep breaths and visibly relaxes as Stacey moves on to the next question.
Stacey Madison: As you know the talk of the internet is the 2016 Gold Rush Tournament and how the winner gets a shot at the WZCW World Championship. They're also expressing their outrage that a nobody rookie got put in the tournament in the first place.
As he listens to Stacey Tony smiles wider and wider.
Tony Mancini: Right place, right time Stacey. Both Gino Galluci and Casanova were going to be in the tournament but they left WZCW. Management had no choice but to put me in and you know what I did? I proved to everyone that I belong in this tournament by breaking elegANT in half with a W.G.T. and extending his losing streak just like I said I would.
Stacey Madison: And what about your opponent tonight in the quarter finals, Veejay? Last year he made it all the way to the finals of the Tournament before losing to Dorian Slaughter so he knows what it takes to get there.
Tony Mancini: Veejay huh? My mom is a huge fan of his movies I can tell you that much. As for me I tend not to pay attention to Hollywood pretty boys who think they can fight.
Stacey looks at Tony with a puzzled look on her face as she sets her notes in her lap.
Stacey Madison: He's proven he can fight since the tournament finals last year by stepping in the ring with everyone WZCW has to offer and just last week he beat Logan McAllister to advance to the quarter finals tonight.
Tony bursts out laughing at hearing Veejay beat Logan to advance in the tournament. After a bit Stacey starts smiling as well.
Tony Mancini: Logan McAllister? Let's take a look at a couple people that Veejay has faced in the recent past in pretty important matches. Titus Avison at Ascension 102 and Eve Taylor at Meltdown 126. A former WZCW World Champion and soon to be Eurasian Champion as well as the current Elite Openweight Champion. These two matches would have put Veejay directly into the title picture but he choked and lost. That's ok though because he beat Logan McAllister, a man whose biggest claim to fame is being one-half of a tag team with a man who doesn't know if his name is Armando or Eddie.
Stacey tries to respond to what Tony is saying but he doesn't notice and continues talking.
Tony Mancini: I beat a former Elite Openweight Champion in elegANT to get to the quarterfinals while Veejay has done nothing but choke in important matches. I promise you Stacey that I will follow in the footsteps of Eve Taylor & Titus Avison and beat Veejay in another important match.
When Tony pauses to take a breath Stacey takes the opportunity to get a few words in.
Stacey Madison: While what you're saying does have merit I do have caution you, do not take him lightly or you can kiss getting on the Gold Rush card goodbye.
Tony leans back with a look on his face that says despite what Stacey is saying he's not at all worried about losing to Veejay which makes Stacey roll her eyes.
Stacey Madison: If you beat Veejay you make it to the semifinals and face either Matt Tastic or VEE A.D.Z. If you could choose your opponent who would you rather face?
Tony leans back in his seat and has a whispered conversation with Gino before answering.
Tony Mancini: Everyone is expecting me to say VEE A.D.Z. aren't they? Well everyone is wrong. I want to face Matt Tastic. The man has won every single title this company has ever had and is a sure fire Hall of Famer. If I beat Tastic what better way to show everyone that no matter how I got into the tournament, I belong here.
Gino looks at his watch and whispers something in Tony's ear that causes him to abruptly stand up.
Tony Mancini: Well Stacey I've enjoyed our interview but I've got some things I need to take care of before Ascension tonight.
With that said he quickly leans down, kisses Stacey on the cheek and hurries off, talking quietly with Gino as the camera pans back to a bemused Stacey Madison before fading to black.
Some 8 months ago
Chauhan mansion, Mumbai
Veejay stood in front of two portraits hanging from the wall. He stood there, staring at them, lost deep in his thoughts. Thoughts that pleased him, that tormented him, that soothed him, that tortured him, all of them were weighing heavy on him.
Veejay: Isnít she beautiful?
Saffronís was startled as she wasnít counting on Veejay knowing of her presence. Veejay, however, kept staring at the portrait.
Veejay: You know, when I was small, every single night, sheíd tell me a story. She wouldnít leave till I was asleep. Boy, was I a difficult child to handle! She used to tuck me in till I was 10! But she still continued doing it. Those stories! Once she told me a story of a ghost. I was so afraid that I couldnít sleep, I wouldnít let go of her! She stayed awake all night just so that I could sleep. In fact, she would always do that. I found it out later.
Saffron rubbed his shoulder. She could feel the emotions building up in his voice.
Saffron: She must have meant a lot to you.
Veejay: She was everything to me. My father was away most of the times, and I wasnít very good at making friends. She was all I had. She was my whole childhood. She would play all those silly games with me. She will put up with all my charades. I never saw her angry with me, even after all the complaints sheíll receive from everyone. She always believed in me. Sheíd always tell me, ďSon, you have greatness written in your destiny.Ē
Saffron: Everything considered, you havenít done badly for yourself.
Veejay: I donít know. I may have all the name, money, fame, but sheís not here to see it. And to be honest, whatever I did over the last few years, my movie career, me signing with me fatherís rival production company, all of it just to spite my father. He took my mother away from me! I wanted to take everything away from him.
Saffron: Youíve said it so many times? What exactly did he do to piss you off so much?
Veejay: I never wanted to talk about this, but youíve earned the right to know. Honestly, even I donít know the whole story. All I know was my father had said some things in the local papers which pissed a community off, you know how it happens here. There were protests all over Mumbai over what he had said. But instead of facing up to them, he ran. He went away to the US to shoot a movie. Meanwhile, unrest grew. And one day, a mob attacked our mansion. They pelted the whole place with stones.
An uneasy silence followed. Veejayís voice crackled for a bit.
Veejay: You know, my mother hadnít set foot outside the mansion for over 15 years. But that day she did. She faced up to them. She appealed to them for peace. Even in that moment, she took my dadís side, saying that his words were misinterpreted, that he wasnít the monster the paper were trying to make out of him, that he was a good man. The mob didnít listen.
Saffron: I am so sorry, Veejay!
Veejay was choking.
Veejay: By the time I reached home, she had been in coma for four days. She didnít open her eyes. I never got a chance to say goodbye.
Saffron embraced Veejay. She patted her back.
Veejay: There was a big hole left in me in that day. I lost all hope, engulfed by darkness. All these years, Iíve wandered around. Legions of fans swarmed me wherever I went, yet, I was so alone. All this success, all this fame, meant so little to me.
Saffron: Youíre not alone, not anymore. I am there with you, always. We have a future together, a future built for us.
Veejay: Are you sure about it? Bad things happen to people around me.
Saffron: Donít worry. Youíre moving away from everything bad. Youíre moving away this mansion forever.
Veejay looked around the hall for a while.
Veejay: You know how difficult it is to simply leave this place? Itís all Iíve got of her. All those memories of her, the only happy moments of my childhood.
Saffron: I know! But lifeís all about moving on. Sheíll always be with you, you know that. Donít make this place an anchor for you. Itís time you let it go. Let go of the anger, the hate that youíve harbored for people, and especially for your father.
Veejay: After everything he did, he doesnít deserve it! He doesnít deserve my forgiveness, and he sure doesnít deserve peace!
Saffron: Itís not for him, itís for you. This is to bring peace to you, Veejay. You keep this mansion, and his memories will keep haunting you forever.
Veejay paused for a moment. He looked around the hall, like he was soaking all of it.
Veejay: May be youíre right. Maybe, I should let all of it go. The memories of this place would always stay with me. Her memories will always stay with me.
He turned around only to find Saffron sitting on one knee with a ring in her hand. Veejay was taken by surprise.
Veejay: WÖWhat is happening?
Saffron: Just adding to the memories of this place for you. Vijay Pruthvi Chauhan, would you marry me?
Veejay: Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!
He lifted Saffron in his arms and kissed her with all his passion.
Veejay: You just made me the luckiest man on this earth! Iíll never let anything happen to you.
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, CA
Veejay is sitting outside the room where Saffron is kept. A few people who recognize him try to talk to him, but he politely turns them away. He stands there outside, looking at Saffron who is in induced coma. The memories all come flushing back to him.
Dilip: Damn tabloids!
Veejay is startled by this sudden outburst. He turns around only to find Dilip fuming.
Veejay: What happened to you?
Dilip: I am fed up of all the bullshit these people print these days.
Veejay: What did they print now?
Dilip: Theyíre questioning your decision to participate in the Gold Rush tournament, painting you in a bad picture. Theyíre calling you selfish for participating.
Veejay: I canít blame them. I myself am not completely sure if what I am doing is correct.
Dilip: It doesnít matter. Youíre doing what you should do.
Veejay: I donít know. Tell me honestly, do you think I am being selfish? I mean, my wife, the woman I love more than my life, her life is hanging by a thread, and I am slugging it out in that ring to get a shot at the WZCW World Heavyweight Championship. Am I not the most selfish man on this earth?
Dilip let out a wry, tired smile. He looks into Veejayís questioning eyes.
Dilip: What the hell! I promised Saffron that Iíll not tell you this, but this seems as a good time as any.
Veejay: What are you talking about?
Dilip: Saffron told me not to tell you she was pregnant because she wanted nothing to distract you from your mission to win the WZCW World Championship. She had told me that once Gold Rush gets over, sheíll surprise you herself.
Veejay: IÖ I donít know what to say.
Dilip: See my point is, she knows how much winning the world title means to you. Despite her not wanting you to wrestle again, she stood behind you so that you can go on and achieve your dream. She knows how important it is to you. She told me how you couldnít sleep when you lost a match. Iíve seen it for myself how much you put in to prepare for a match. She just wants you to do what she believes you are meant to do.
Veejay just looks away, speechless.
Dilip: That woman inside wants nothing but for you to succeed. And if you give up now, youíre not only giving up on your own dream, but her dream too. If you stay here and donít step in that ring, youíll ruin everything that youíve worked so hard to build up again.
Veejay: Do you think I can do this?
Dilip: It doesnít matter what I think. I know the fighter you. Iíve seen you win matches no one thought you could. So, donít give up. It shouldnít matter who comes. Let Tony come at you, let Garth come at you, let Ramparte come at you, Let Matt come at you, and let Vee come at you. Get inside the ring, let them all line up, and then kick everybodyís ass. Youíre a fighter, and thatís what you do. You fight! Besides, I am here and I have everything under control. You can always count on me.
Veejay: You know, I donít know what Iíd do without you. Sometimes I feel I donít appreciate you for what you do for me.
Dilip: Thatís because youíre an asshole!
Both laugh for a bit.
Dilip: Go get Ďem all, for her sake!
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