We find ourselves backstage at some point during the course of PWA-02 Night Two, the hustle and bustle of goings on being ignored as we focus our attention on one man walking down the hallway…a man we have been previously unfamiliar with.
El Gran Azul.
A man in a blue lucha libre mask reminiscent of luchadores gone by, packing up his belongings in what appears to be a rush to get out of the building after his brush with the business earlier on. His attempt to join in on the open challenge laid out by The Anglo Luchador came up empty-handed, so now the Great Bluchador is fully prepared to move on with his life…but before he gets a chance to head to the door, he’s intercepted by the arrival of a visibly frustrated, nearly angry, Xander Azula staring the luchador down.
“The hell are you doing in Mexico, Horace?”
The mention of his “real” name takes the luchador aback slightly, before he shakes his head and shouts in Spanish toward the Fighter.
This just sets Azula off, a snarl on his face as he snaps back.
“Don’t you olé me, you little shit! I tried to do you a favor by bringing you here for War Games, but noooo…you goofed around and got yourself left behind! So, I’m gonna ask you again…what are you doing in Mexico, Horace?”
Eventually, the luchador gives up the facade as he lets out a sigh before responding.
“I just wanted to have a bit of fun, man. I heard this other show was happening, and I figured hey, a couple days of training somewhere around here would be sufficient to make a name for–”
He stops himself for a moment, realizing the near-irony of being questioned over his presence, and immediately turns it back around on the Fighter.
“Wait a sec, what are you doing back in Mexico? War Games was last week, wasn’t it?”
Xander cuts him off with a nod and a quick reply.
“Yes, but after a stop in Chicago we’re back on the road, heading through South America for the next few weeks…but as soon as I heard you were hanging around here, I knew I needed to take a detour and come grab you before the cartel did or some shit. So congrats, El Gran Azul, you’re my new lucha buddy on the road for the next few weeks…because I’m not going back home to drop you off before we finish the tour. When this whole event is done we’re heading to the airport, so make sure your things are ready to go.”
Xander turns around to leave, but is stopped by one final question by the wrestling fan-turned-luchador.
“What’d you mean, when the show’s over? Why not now?”
Xander turns back to his temporary travel partner with a smirk on his face.
“Oh, I got some business to handle, amigo,” Xander replies with a slight chuckle. “I’m about to get some revenge for those Moscowverse fuckers missing my birthday party.”
With that, the Fighter heads off, leaving us with a visibly confused luchador shaking his head as he finishes packing his things for the trip ahead. Suddenly, the hallway gets very loud and very busy as several PRIME and HOW competitors can be seen rushing down, making their way to the ringside area for the inevitable brawl during the main event…a fight that El Gran Azul chooses not to engage in.
After all, he is a relatively free agent in the business, meaning he can take his talents wherever he chooses…a thought that draws a smile we just manage to see on that mask as he walks away from the scene of the crimes about to go down.
Apparently there have been some questions about War Games and last week’s Chaos, so before I get into the weeds on why I’m gonna tear Brian Hollywood a new asshole I will go ahead and hash this out.
Any champion worth a damn knows that holding the title comes with certain perks, certain discretions they can make in regards to how they conduct business…and the REAL World’s Champion is no different.
I consider myself a fighting champion, but even I know that I don’t need to put the belt on the line every time. Just look at the mess from War Games, will ya? Did you really think I would put my championship on the line, when I could’ve easily lost without so much as taking a pinfall or being forced to submit?
Get the fuck outta here.
I pick and choose my battles much more carefully than that, which is why I also had zero desire to defend it against the debuting Scott McKlayn last week on Chaos. The very man who got the proverbial “rub” from facing yours truly, and as fate would have it, now gets a crack at Steve Solex next week for the High Octane Television Championship.
Good for you, Scotty! Best of luck, may you pull off the upset against Steven Soliloquy, and may you proceed to leave me the hell alone…because for now, I turn my focus to the future.
Since I apparently have to spell it out for some folks, here’s the breakdown: I will defend my title when I am good and goddamn ready to. Will I defend the title against Brian Hollywood when we face off in Ecuador? No.
You wanna know why?
Because he hasn’t done shit to earn such an opportunity. What’s the last great thing you’ve done around here, Brian? Nearly beat Christopher America for the title? Well tough shit, I did beat Christopher America. We are not the same.
Week after week you do the bare fucking minimum to skate by in this business, and it bugs the hell out of me. It drives me up a wall, and I’m hitting the damn brakes right this second.
A couple weeks back it was you who took the pin against El Hombre Blanco, forcing me out of my rightful place in the War Games match to unify my belt with the HOW World Championship…and that stuck in my craw ever since. I’m taking my frustrations out on you, Hollywood, beating your ass from pillar to post before I put you down for good.
I’m going to apply the same brute force I did back when we faced off in HOFC, because I’m just angry enough about what you did to me that I’m willing to be a little more violent…a little more brutal, just to make a statement at your expense.
Because I’m tired of circling the drain by facing you once again, Brian…and I’m gonna flush you down like the big ol’ piece of shit you are on Sunday.
And after that?
I will turn my attention back to where it belongs…to the STRONK Daddy holding what belongs to me. Because unlike you, and unlike STRONK, there is but one man who deserves to be called the best in this company…the best in this business, even.
And you’re lookin’ at him.
Of all the hotels in the city, why would Xander and his Eternal Circle crew choose to stay at the Alpachaca? Well, as it turns out…being the REAL World’s Champion may come with its perks, but not being recognized by HOW as the right and proper champion means not getting the pay raise that comes with it…and the Circle’s budget has shrunk dramatically over the past few months. Still, the Fighter and his entourage seem content with the affordable room and board, a chance for Azula to keep his focus squarely on getting ready for his match in the coming days against a former World Champion…even if it’s a man that hasn’t quite seen that same luster in quite some time, Xander knew deep down that overestimating Hollywood again would be one hell of a blunder.
After all, detractors have not quite finished shutting up about his loss to Scott Stevens a while back, and they’ve been having an absolute laugh riot over the past week after the loss to McKlayn. These were mistakes the Fighter would rectify down the line, but right now he needed to focus on such a basic task as checking into the hotel. Standing around thinking about a million things at once is not his wheelhouse, not by a long shot…taking action is.
“So what’s the plan, anyway?” asks Thomas Crowne as he stands beside the Head Disciple, carrying two suitcases with a duffel bag slung over his shoulder, looking like the tourist he is in that moment of time. Xander just turns to him with a nod and a smirk on his face before responding.
“Pretty simple, really. I go in, I beat Brian Hollywood, and I move on. Nothing fancy. If I can help it, I’m not even sticking around the arena after the fact, I’d much rather–”
“No, ya goof, I mean about our travel pal back there. Was it really a good idea to have him hanging around with us for the next few weeks?”
Thomas motions toward the rental car, where El Gran Azul can be seen struggling with the luggage from the trunk despite the best efforts of Mysti and Vagn Dahl to assist him. Xander looks on with a sense of mild concern, but ultimately just shrugs his shoulders.
“Hey, it’s an extra pair of hands, and at least with the mask on he can pretend to be of some assistance to us on the trip,” the Fighter finally replies, before giving Crowne a glare. “And don’t call me a goof again.”
Thomas looks taken aback by the reply, eventually just giving a nod of acknowledgement before heading to the main lobby of the hotel. Xander follows close behind, and after a short pause we see the rest of the crew follow suit. Once inside the lobby, Xander handles the check-in process as one would expect, before the group is given keys to the room. As the group makes their way to the room they’re staying in for this leg of the journey, Xander considers for a moment just how grueling this road schedule might be.
First time in a hot minute he’s had to go this far out from home base, and with the added pressure of proving himself as the REAL World’s Champion? Xander is gonna need all the rest he can get…and it won’t come easy, when a bumbling idiot has joined the group. Still, it could be worse…he could be Brian Hollywood, a man seemingly on the run from who knows what. An international man of mystery such as he will be no match for the storm that’s to come…but for now, Xander arrives at the hotel room, opening the door as he and his group enter, dropping the bags on the floor in the process.
Xander, naturally, plops himself on the nearest bed to take a seat…which turns out to be a big mistake, as the bed immediately starts to sag under his weight. Xander’s eyes open in surprise as he shakes his head with a sigh and a chuckle before responding.
“Well, you get what you pay for. Love me a good three-star hotel!”
The rest of the crew, worried at first about the response from their champion and hero, have a good laugh at this before Vagn shuts the door to the room. This leads to the beginning of what appears to be a very interesting conversation between the group…but it looks as though we are being given the shaft on this situation, because instead of listening in on the discussion we are forced to fade to black, leaving way more questions than answers in the process.