Charles Koch Center
News traveled really, really fast of the arrival of Scott Stevens on MVW programming a couple nights ago, but Xander knew he couldn’t let it distract him from the task at hand. He had one more lesson to learn before heading to the Ukraine for War Games, and he was prepared to excel at it…at the expense of “No Frills” Chris Escondido. While his opponent started off strong, Xander managed to really find his footing as he thought more and more about what this match meant to him.
For one thing, an opportunity to show he was just as good in singles competition as in tag team action. For another, a chance to prove he could be more than just an extra body on his squad…precisely the opinion he has of at least one member of The Best Team, as they’ve been known the past few weeks.
So, winning tonight’s match was extremely important, to say the least…and win he did, besting Escondido with the Fist of Eris for the pinfall. As the referee raised his arm in victory, Xander turned to his coach Joe Bergman…who simply gave a knowing nod to his student, allowing him to soak in the moment as the crowd in Wichita showed their support.
This was a feeling Xander was not used to, he couldn’t even remember the last time a crowd cheered for him in such a manner; sure, he’d heard this sound when he and Joe won their matches, and maybe to some extent back when he and Zion teamed up during the Maurako Cup…but this was his moment, and these fans appreciated his efforts.
It was a feeling he found himself wrestling with as he got to the backstage area, his Eternal Circle followers applauding for him upon his arrival. Just a moment later, he’s greeted with a pat on the back by Bergman.
“Great job out there, Xander. I’d say you’re ready to take on the world now…more specifically, to take on The Board. Go get some rest tonight, and enjoy your trip to the Ukraine. I’ll be rooting for you to take down that corporate machine.”
He makes that last statement with a smile on his face, one that Xander reciprocates.
“Right, thanks a lot Coach. Looking forward to getting out there and, well, hopefully hitting a few good elbows…maybe even one well-placed fireball for good measure…and actually surviving War Games this year.”
Xander and his followers turn to head toward the exit, when the Head Disciple stops to turn his attention one last time to his trainer, his coach…quite possibly, his friend.
“Say coach, do me a favor will ya? If, uh…if things go horribly sideways with War Games, put in a good word with me with McAvay or something. I have a vested interest in dealing with the Dark Overlords of Wrestling.”
Joe just chuckles at this, giving a slight nod.
“I’ll see what’s feasible, Xander. Good luck out there.”
Here we go, folks.
It’s the home stretch before War Games, and I can feel it in my bones.
The excitement, the nerves, the thrill and anxiety…all at once, coursing in my veins.
It’s been a bumpy ride to this match beyond, but here we are.
Teams have been drafted, shuffled around, and had replacements tossed in all around.
But it all boils down to a conflict as old as time.
The office, and those they try to keep down.
Clay Byrd has been trying to drive this point home for some time now.
Steve Solex and Steve Harrison have been by his side, the Highwaymen looking to make a statement ever since they banded together.
Conor Fuse is…the champ.
It’s weird to be on the same side as the World Champion this year, but the fact that seven men are all going after his head—and his title—makes him the priority here.
Darin Zion and Sir Simon Sparrow have a statement to make that’s all their own, but knowing them, they will do what is right because they’ve been in this predicament before.
Zion in particular being the one rooting Fuse on most of all, and Sparrow being a man who knows what it’s like to ride into war with the champ.
Bobbinette Carey is looking to get in on this, by defeating Harrison for the LSD Championship. Needless to say, there’s some tension as to how things will play out.
But me, personally?
My eye is on getting through this, if nothing else.
Because last year I couldn’t even do that much.
Being in this match opened my eyes to a revelation, one I’ve been fighting against the entire year since.
That this whole system needs a swift kick in the ass.
Lee Best assembled his finest Alliance to take on the 214 last year, but in the end it was a man outside of that who actually won the thing.
The man who would be crowned champion.
Unfortunately, Lee didn’t take kindly to that man’s refusal to join his side…and when that title was off his shoulder, that man went away.
This year, the GOD of HOW and his Son have compiled a formidable squad, and all in the name of silencing those who challenge them…and taking the #97Red for their own, once again.
That’s why it’s so important for our little ragtag group to shut them up.
That’s why we have to take a stand.
Because Lee Best doesn’t get to be right this year.
And Mike doesn’t deserve the satisfaction of having a winning squad.
So, we won’t let them.
We will fight…and we will win.
We are the brave, and we will make War Games our home.
Outside Chișinău, Moldova
The arrangements allowed to Xander and his Inner Circle were sparse, to say the least. Unable to land any closer to the Ukraine in light of recent events, and with relatively little time to head to Kyiv, the group landed in Chișinău International Airport and were already on their way, being given a ride by some kind locals in exchange for one of the decorative robes the followers had on hand. Xander offered his, recognizing the great need for a quick and efficient trip to the Ukraine.
The group found themselves sitting in the back of a rundown truck, but Xander didn’t care. His heart, and his mind, were focused on the battle ahead. As such, he kept silent throughout the trip, even as his crew talked amongst themselves.
Tired from the training, and the jet lag of his travel into Europe, Xander began to fall asleep…but, as tends to happen with these situations, that seemed to be just when they arrived as far as they could go.
It was the bombs that tipped them off. One loud one in particular, quaking the ground near the truck. The locals thanked Xander for his robe, stating this was where the group would need to find their own way, and so the Inner Circle went forth. All the while, the only war on Xander’s mind was the one he was about to enter.
Let’s get right down to it, shall we?
This whole fiasco starts and ends with The Board.
Mike Best getting his buddies together to clinch even more control of HOW upon his retirement.
Don’t try to convince me otherwise, Mike.
I know how these things go.
I’ve seen stuff like this before.
Even with all the changes that came to this match, your boys managed to stick to their plan.
Christopher America, a man who had all the pieces fall into place to qualify for this match.
A man looking to prove his best years have not completely passed him by.
I won’t lie, Chris, I’m actually quite honored to be going up against a man of your talent and reputation at War Games.
You managed to pretty much prove that you’re about as good as you once were, extenuating circumstances notwithstanding.
That will make it all the sweeter when I help put you and your pals down in Kyiv.
I owe it to Joe Bergman to see that you don’t make it out of War Games in one piece.
No crooked ref is gonna stop what’s coming to you, just you wait.
You’re a very, very prideful man Chris…and pride comes before the fall.
All this patriotic talk is great and all, but I trust the MERCDAD far more than I trust a man who practically dips himself into an American flag before going out to wrestle.
It’ll be fun finally shutting your damn mouth after all the shit you’ve been spewing this past month.
The only man I know more guilty of talking too much trash for his own good is Jace Parker Davidson.
King of Self-Promotion himself.
A man who has talked and talked and talked for weeks leading into War Games, with so little to show for it.
The fact that you beat me in Madison Square Garden just motivates me to push harder, Jace.
And I’m gonna push so hard that you’re gonna find yourself knocked out cold.
But don’t worry, I’ve got something to warm you back up.
Ray McAvay sends his regards, you prick.
And that leaves just one target in my sights.
Welcome to the big leagues.
Welcome to your first War Games.
I’m sure your dad, your grandpappy, and the rest of The Board have already brushed you up on how things are looking to go.
But I’m gonna drop a bit of reality for you.
A heart to heart, really.
When I look at you, and I look at your dad…yeah, I see the connection.
I see where you get your heart, your talent, and your ego from.
But it doesn’t change the fact that you were handed this spot because of your bloodline.
And being given a spot puts you about on the same level as Scott Stevens, in my eyes.
And above all else, that makes you my biggest concern.
This isn’t some “paying your dues” bullshit, either.
I reckon you’re already doing that.
But you literally didn’t beat a single soul to get in this match.
The cost of not earning your way in is coming out of your hide, when we step into War Games.
And you can put that on your TAB.