Saturday June 6th
Iowa City, IA
“Where the fuck is he?” Sektor sighed impatiently, checking the gold watch on his wrist.
The LSD champion was in the back of a cab out in front of the hotel where he and Adam had been staying. He found himself gazing at rain as it patted against the window, providing a soothing melody. He found himself relaxing for the first time in months, as his brain had seemed to be full of noise since the turn of the year. His daze was soon broken by the sound of the opposite door opening. Turning his head sharply, he gazed at a sodden Adam Ellis with bemusement.
“Sorry I’m late,” he panted, slamming the door shut.
Sektor raised a brow and turned his head slowly forward. “Drive!”
Adam sensed where Sektor’s mood was at and decided to speak only if spoken to. The Gold Standard soon turned his head and began studying was his young protégé was wearing and he wasn’t pleased. Adam had donned a pair of ripped jeans, white tee, sneakers which used to be white and a worn leather jacket. The champion, of course, was dressed as such. He was sporting a slate black Gucci suit with a wide collar shirt and freshly polished wing tips.
“This is how you dress?” he asked, giving away nothing with his expression.
Adam took a second to analyse his attire. “Y-yeah?”
Sektor stared at him in silence for a moment, allowing the young man’s discomfort to elevate.
“Look at me,” he said sharply, gesturing at his own clothes. “This is how a champion dresses.”
Adam smirked. “But I’m not a champion,” he replied.
Sektor’s eyes creased in the corners. “Are you being smart with me?”
“If you are not a champion,” he asked, glaring wide-eyed at his partner/student. “Then why the fuck are we competing together in this tournament?”
Adam looked confused. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”
“You think this makes me a champion?” asked Sektor, holding the LSD title up in front of him. “This? This is a trophy. A symbol of accomplishment. I, am a fucking champion. I walk like a champion. I talk like a champion and I fucking dress like a champion!”
His stern look is reciprocated by a knowing nod from Adam.
“You want me to change?” Adam eventually asked.
“No. I want you to start believing,” replied his mentor bluntly.
The two shared an awkward silence for some time before Sektor finally broke it.
“Who’s the blonde?”
Adam was already looking worried, and was wondering how long it would be before Sektor brought up the picture of him and Tori captured on a dirt sheet.
“That was Tori McGill. I’m surprised you didn’t recognise her,” he explained.
Sektor grimaced as the mere mention of the name McGill made his skin crawl.
“We’re just friends.”
“You fucking her?”
Sektor laughed. “It’s ok, kid. I don’t expect you to be celebate. I’m not that much a fucking hipocrite. You’re free to finger bang whoever you want.”
Adam’s cheeks blushed as he clearly carried a torch for her, and wasn’t keen on the manner of which Sektor was speaking.
“Just don’t get too attached.”
“Like I said, we’re just friends..”
Sektor turned his head sharply, a look of warning in his eyes.
“We are in the semi-finals of a tag team tournament. Two wins away from you being one of the fastest champions in the history of HOW. If you’re in that ring and your mind starts drifting to her panties for ONE second..”
“LOOK,” Adam interrupted with a little grit to his tone. “We are just friends! And I am one hundred percent focussed on my career. Have I not proved that already?”
“Kid, It’s my job to make sure your head is in the game. If I didn’t grill you about this shit then I’m not doing my job as a mentor,” explained the LSD champion.
Adam nodded appreciatively. “I know. But look, we were just talking when that picture was taken. In fact, she was just giving me some advice..”
“Hiiiiijo de puta,” Sektor sighed, holding his forehead as though a migraine was brewing. “First you take advice from McAvay, now you’re taking advice from a woman?”
Sektor pinched his eyes as he shook his head. It was bothering him more and more that he was being influenced by people other than himself. He saw Adam as a blank canvas when he took him under his wing and he was becoming increasingly protective over his project.
“Well, maybe not advice, just a little reassurance..”
“Reassurance? About what? You haven’t lost a match yet. You have the best wrestler in the fucking world as your tag team partner and coach and you are one match away from reaching the finals of the Maurako cup in debut year in a big time promotion. Your confidence should be through the fucking stratosphere,” he barked, glaring at his student with disbelief.
Adam’s eyes looked sombre. “Look, it’s a big step up from where I came from. I’m still young and when I look around at these other guys in HOW I feel like I’m out of my depth.”
Sektor’s expression softened as he listened. He tried to think back to when he was his age in the wrestling business. Sektor had always been confident and driven. In fact, he was the exact opposite of Adam who, above all else, is one of the most humble individuals he has ever met. Sektor was arrogant and cocky to the extent that it often cost him matches in the early days.
“Perhaps I’m being a little hard on you. I can teach you skills and I can teach you tactics and I can help educate you. But I can’t change how your mind thinks. Perhaps confidence born from success isn’t such a bad way to develop. Just start believing in yourself a little more. When you get in that ring? You’re a GOD as far as you’re concerned. No one can touch you. You’re the best in the world, the future of the sport. All these things are what you need to believe.”
Adam nodded with purpose.
“I’ll get there..”
Some time later..
The LSD champion and his apprentice had arrived at a small convention centre in Iowa city and were sitting behind a table in a modest sized room. The room was buzzing with excitement as a hundred or so fans had acquired tickets to come and meet the pair ahead of their Semi-final match which would take place the following night. For Sektor, this was contractual obligation to promote the match and brand but Saturday was his rest day, so it wasn’t conflicting with his busy schedule.
Adam looked excited to be amongst the fans as he enjoyed the energy they gaze. Sektor’s face told a different story as he took a drink from a bottle of water before placing it down next to the LSD title which was on display in front of him.
“Okay guys!” called the voice of the event coordinator who was standing next to them with a microphone. “Sektor and Adam have kindly agreed to a little Q and A session before we do some signings and pictures so if you would like to ask one of them a question, please raise your hand and I will work my way around with the microphone.”
The co-ordinator was a balding man with a long salt and pepper beard, wearing an official “March to Glory” T-shirt as advertisement. Sektor was of course wearing his suit as he didn’t care about selling merch.
Every hand in the room shot in the air with a rumble of “me-me-me’s” as the coordinator worked his way into the crowd. He offered the microphone to the mouth of a young emo looking boy.
“Err, yeah I was just wondering how your knee is doing Sektor?”
Sektor shrugged calmly. “My knee is good, thank you for asking,” he began, earning a slight chuckle from the crowd. “You know I’ve had a couple of weeks to recover before this match, whereas before I was wrestling every week so it was very difficult to manage the injury.”
“But, I’ve been having daily physio. I’ve had cortisol injections, testosterone injections, which are entirely legal by the way,” he was quick to explain. “You see, as I am getting older it seems my testosterone levels aren’t what they once were. Not like the young buck sat next to me. So I have had some supplements to help bring those levels up which will help with the recovery of my knee. Other than that? Daily cryo sessions, lots of training and to be honest, my knee is feeling in the best condition it has since the beginning of the year.”
He paused and took a breath as the ever present concern over his knee was as apparent in the crowd as it was in his mind.
“I know there has been alot of talk over my knee injury. Is this the end for John Sektor? How long can he go on? All of this is nonsense. I am a professional wrestler. Competing with injuries is nothing new in our sport and pain is second nature. So don’t worry about my knee. It will take a lot more to stop this machine I assure you.”
The crowd applauded him as he said this and Sektor allowed himself a smirk as he took another sip of water.
The microphone was then passed to a portly young man with a scruffy ginger beard.
“Yeah, uhm, are you ever going to respond to Pleasant’s challenge for a rematch or are you just gonna keep ducking him?”
Sektor frowns as the room responds unanimously with exaggerated ‘Ooooh’s.’
“I’m sorry, ducking him?” he asked, looking around the room with a bewildered smirk. “Where the fuck do you find these fans, man?”
Sektor shook his head as he gathered his thoughts.
“So because I take a week off I’m ducking people now? Jesus Christ. I am not ducking anybody. I heard his challenge. He will get his response and, of course, if he is in a position to challenge for the LSD title? Then I will give him a rematch. But right now he is booked at March to Glory, and I plan on being there also, in the Tag team finals, which should be the focus of this event right now, so please, no more questions about Arthur fucking Pleasant.”
Sektor had a bitter taste in his mouth as he gave the fat ginger kid one last snarl. The mic then got passed to a young girl with auburn hair.
“Hi, my question is for Adam,” she began, bringing a smile to the young up and comer. “How does it feel to be so close to winning the Tag Team championships?”
Adam took a second to compose himself, glancing at Sektor who was telling him with his eyes to be confident.
“Well, honestly I haven’t paid too much thought to it. Of course, I dream of winning the titles with Sektor, but I’m just focussed on this next match and getting the win. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. So one step at a time, you know?”
Sektor gave him a subtle wink to let him know that was a good answer.
“I also have a question for Adam,” called a voice in the crowd with some bite to it. “How does it feel to be in Sektor’s shadow?”
Sektor opened his mouth to bite back but Adam raised his hand just enough to let his mentor know that he could handle this.
“It feels great actually,” replied Ellis confidently. “I am in the shadow of one of, if not, the greatest wrestlers of all time. I am getting first hand training, knowledge and experience from a Hall of Famer. What’s it like in the shadows you lurk in?”
Even Sektor laughed at Ellis biting back.
“Right now I’m still finding my feet here in the big leagues and Sektor is helping me do that. I have no doubt that one day I will be ready to step out on my own two feet but, until that day comes? I’m more than happy to ride this guy’s coat tails.”
Sektor gave him a hearty pat on the shoulder as he finished saying this, giving the rookie some encouragement.
“How confident are you guys of beating Darin Zion and Xander Azula this week and making it to the finals?”
The LSD champion made a conscious effort not to seem over-confident as he straightened up to gather his thoughts.
“We are always confident,” he began. “If any of you know anything about me it’s that I go into every match knowing, not thinking that I am going to win. Doesn’t matter who it is. Zion and Azula have had some good performances and they look to work well as a team. I think our group was much tougher than theirs was. After all, they only had to wrestle two matches to secure their group, we had to win all three.”
“Zion, I always say he has a lot of heart in the ring and he fights hard. But I have beaten him twice already in recent times. Azula? I’d say overall his form has been poor, but perhaps he is now finding some success as a tag team. In the end? I would rather not talk too much about how we are going to beat them or anything like this. We will do what we have done all through this tournament and we will show you.”
Sektor’s demeanour matched his words, calm and calculated as he answered the question objectively. The mic was then passed again to a middle aged virgin of a man in a Lindsay Troi t-shirt.
“No!” Sektor said with some authority. “Not him. Not with that fucking shirt on.”
The crowd laughed as the mic passed again.
“You mentioned that you guys had a tougher group and I find that interesting because Zion has actually spoken recently about how they have gone through the toughest group in this tournament. What do you say to that?”
Sektor scoffed. “I say he’s fucking deluded. I have said that about Zion before, he lives in his own fucking world were not even his imaginery friends want to talk to him. What else did he say?”
Sektor calmly and curiously waited for the response as he took a long sip from the bottle of water.
“Uhm, he said he would end Ellis’ career if he had to. That he wasn’t afraid to dangle your daughter in front of you like a carrot. That he’s desperate and will screw you over if he has to..”
Sektor looked dumbfounded as he looked around the room before finally turning and looking at his own tag partner.
“He’s lost his fucking mind..”
There was some laughter in response but Sektor wasn’t laughing.
“I don’t even know what to say to be honest with you. Only that the key word was desperate, because he was desperately trying to think of something remotely intimidating to say.”
Adam leaned into Sektor’s ear. “He also referred to Azula as a kid, even though he’s like thirty five and only a year younger than he is.”
Sektor dismissed this and looked back at the crowd.
“Let me tell you about Darin Zion. This is an honest assessment from someone who knows what they are fucking talking about, ok?”
The crowd listened in silence as Sektor was talking.
“This guy has all the physical attributes, the skill, the experience, the knowledge to be a huge success in this industry. But he’s missing one thing. FOCUS!”
He allowed that word to breathe for a moment before continuing.
“He’s about to face the greatest technical wrestler of all time and his talented protege, and what does he do to prepare? Runs around playing fucking fantasy games with a weirdo? Pretending to travel through portals to other dimensions, or universes…Adam, help me here what is it..” he asked, turning to his partner.
“Right. The fuck is that?”
His eyes were wide as saucers as he glared around the room.
“When are those two in the ring tomorrow night? They are going to be in there with two wrestlers. Pure, technical, methodical wrestlers who will be scientifically taking them apart piece by piece. That is what we bring. WE, Adam Ellis and John Sektor are turning up to execute a masterclass of pure wrestling and take this one last step towards the finals at March to Glory. Let’s stop with this fucking Multiverse nonsense. This is what pisses me off about this sport and what it is becoming. All these so called fucking sociopaths and psychopaths like Arthur Pleasant and JJR. Grown men playing with portal guns. It’s shit like this that I’m not competing with Jatt in this fucking tournament!”
The co-ordinator moved to extend the microphone to someone else but Sektor threw up his hand to stop him.
“No more questions.”
There was a genuine passion and anger about Sektor as he reflected on all of the elements that went against his wrestling beliefs.
“There is one more thing that Darin Zion lacks and this is motivation. He will tell you that it’s not true and that he is motivated to finally beat me but that’s horse shit. He lacks true motivation.”
“Once upon a time it was my wife and children who gave me purpose. They were my fuel. Their existence motivated me to want to leave a legacy behind for them. I’m not talking about money or anything material; I wanted to leave them with an example of how to exist in the world – to show them what hard work could bring them. But now? Now my legacy lies with this young rookie on my right.”
Adam smiled as Sektor gave him a look.
“The lessons I have learned have been valuable and have come the hard way. I’m anxious to pass them on because I don’t want him to have to start, like I did, from the bottom. That is why we make mistakes, so we can prevent the next generation from making them and allow them to make new ones. At the same time, I know that I wouldn’t be doing him any favours by handing them to him on a plate. I don’t want to rob him of the satisfaction of seeing what he can achieve on his own.”
“I have achieved all I need to achieve as a competitor in this industry. My legacy will remain intact. But I have not gone through hell and back not to pass that on to someone else. Everything I do now is to teach him!” he said, pointing to Adam. “I lead by example and he will follow in that example and become the next generation’s greatest wrestler. Of this? I have no doubts and this is why I know we will beat Zion and Azula tomorrow night, and why we will go on to become Tag Team champions of the world.”
“Zion has had his chances and he’s pissed them up the wall. Adam Ellis?”
The room stood in silence as they listened.
“He’s the future..”