Men at Work

Men at Work

Posted on August 1, 2023 at 11:43 am by John Sektor




Subject: Arrangements

Attachments: Files attached


      As discussed over the phone, please find attached travel arrangements and boarding passes for the teams transfer to Melbourne. I will be arriving the day after via private jet. We begin preparations the day after my arrival! I know the team will be jet-lagged but please ensure our rented facilities are set up and ready so as not to delay training. 

There will be a package arriving at the academy today containing two very important items. Please ensure these are brought with you to Melbourne as they are imperative, not only to our preparations, but also the match itself. You will know what I mean when you open them.

We don’t have a lot of time to get the machine running, but it has to be firing on all cylinders to accomplish our mission. I have confidence in my team!

Safe travels my friend.

Muchos gracias,

              John Sektor




The Gold Standard had only just stepped out of the shower yet his hair was already drying in the humidity of the Gulf tiger. He stepped onto the balcony of the penthouse suite of one of the most luxurious hotels in Dubai, only a white towel around his waist shielding his modesty. In spite of his luxurious surroundings, and his warm shower, his chest felt heavy as he sat down and looked out over the city. The sun was touching the horizon now, tinting it a gold that would turn to red and fading orange soon. 

Part of his tension stemmed from being confined to a pressurised cabin for 14 hours onboard the private jet Lee had chartered for him. The amenities and comforts of the private airline had been incredible, but there comes a point during a 14 hour flight when a plane simply becomes a plane. The walls began to close in, the recycled air became dry and was affecting his sinuses and the aching in his lower legs was becoming unbearable. He was relieved to have reached their layover in dubai. It would have only taken 30 minutes to refuel the jet for the final stretch of the journey down under, but the pilots needed proper rest and so did he. 

Tension was also building in his mind. 14 hours left alone with nothing but your own thoughts can be dangerous for any man. He had archives of matches on an external hard drive and he had spent some time watching various matches Rhys Townsend had been in. He studied and studied but surmised that he wasn’t getting any new information. He had fought both with and against the man for many years and first hand experience had taught him everything he needed to know. Anything new that Townsend added to his arsenal between now and 97RED he would have to figure out on the fly. He trusted his skills. He relied on his experience. His body? That needed to be tested. 

He enjoyed the past couple of months, perhaps a little too much. He’d gotten too relaxed and was enjoying the freedom that came with his special contract he had negotiated with Lee. As much as he enjoyed his time at Lee’s home in Miami, it was time to switch off from all of that and tune in to the wrestling business again. Sektor had begun to feel the weight of it all coming down a little too quickly. He was suddenly beginning to obsess again. His meticulousness and attention to detail had him spiralling into a frenzy of panic, wishing he’d began to prepare much sooner. Townsend had been competing almost every week, and likely streets ahead of him. He’d had ONE tag match and had been stiff as a corpse for almost an entire week after taking his first competitive bumps in over a year. The doubts begin to multiply, it’s human nature.

He didn’t want to lose this match. He didn’t want to be beaten by Rhys Townsend. Above all else? He didn’t want to submit, and he did NOT want to submit to Rhys Townsend. 

So 14 hours spent with his thoughts had him recalling things that Rhys had said over the past couple of months. The more he thought, the more he analysed and the more he analysed the more he over analysed and soon he was beginning to read between lines that may never have been intended to be read. Such is the paranoia that can grow and fester like an acute fungus when a man is trapped in a pressurised cabin with his own thoughts. 

First he dwelled on something that may not have even been intended to make him bite. It was a reference Townsend had made about Ground Zero. How he, Ward and Witness had founded it. He fought every urge not to bite or allow himself to take what he thought was an obvious bait attempt to rattle his cage. He wanted to scream at Townsend that Ground Zero wouldn’t have even made it off the ‘Ground’ had it not been for Sektor’s name and charisma to add legitimacy. That Silent Witness wasn’t even in the original Trio. That the name itself  wasn’t even created by any of them, but by some creative genius behind the scenes who had the vision to spot an opportunity for them in New York as they unveiled themselves. None of the actual wrestlers involved in Ground Zero could ever take credit for the name. They took a suggestion, ran with it and took all the credit. 

But he didn’t bite. He shrugged it off, content with his belief that he was the heart and soul of Ground Zero. That it’s greatest venture was when he was at the helm and how subsequent reunions failed to gain popularity. 

He believed in Ground Zero, once upon a time. He believed in the cause which was to make HOW about professional wrestling. He has since realised that the reason why HOW is so special is because of how diverse it is. He appreciates that there needs to be a flavour for every palate. Ground Zero failed to beat the Best Alliance because the Best Alliance is simply the backstop of the corporation, and you can never beat that. To achieve his vision all Sektor needed to do was win the LSD championship and rebrand it as a technical wrestling title, which he did, and broke records with it. 

Sektor grew. Sektor became wise. Sektor accepted the inevitable and adapted. 

Townsend did not. 

As he sat on the balcony, watching the sun slowly go down on the horizon, he still struggled to reassure himself. He glanced down at the glass of single malt in front of him. Just one glass, he thought. Just enough to take the edge off, to calm the nerves and relax the body so he could get a restful sleep. Not enough to impact on any training or performance. Just enough. 

As he sipped he thought about something else Townsend had said. The suggestions of his laziness compared to Townsend’s recent work ethic. Townsend was rolling up his sleeves and working up a sweat to get a future title opportunity, and Sektor didn’t doubt that it would come for him. Sektor, on the other hand, was of the belief that he himself was working smarter, not harder. All he needed to do was complete this one task and enact revenge on Townsend on behalf of Lee for what he did to him at War Games. Sektor was confident that completing this contract would earn him a future opportunity, without having to work any harder than he’d have to. He never considered that to be lazy until Townsend called him out on it. As already mentioned, he thought he was simply being smart and taking advantage of the privileges that he had. After all, this was America, a land of opportunity – but where the privileged always prevail.

Still, what Townsend said ate at him, bore its way into his soul. Sektor and Townsend shared many ideologies about wrestlin so to be called lazy, hurt. His chest quivered as he took a deep breath and sighed it out, closing his eyes as he took a shaky sip of the whisky. 

Hijo de-puta!” he grunted to himself. 

His lips pulled back over his teeth after swallowing the malt, eyes mirroring the burning glare of the sun. The sun, however, was beginning to fade. 

“Don’t let him get into your head, John,” he tried to reassure himself. “You know him. Don’t let him work his mind games on you.”

His attempt at reassuring himself proved futile as he found himself standing up and marching into his suite, pacing around the room because he was struggling to process his feelings. 

Lazy..” he scoffed, glaring at his own reflection in front of a tall mirror and pacing back and forth. He glared at himself with such disgust, but even he didn’t know exactly whether he was disgusted with Townsed, or with himself. “Who is HE, to suggest that I’m lazy?”

He was losing his grip on himself. He’d been down that rabbit hole so many times that he knew the warning signs. He was overwhelmed. He was trying to justify his recent efforts to himself but found himself talking to aloud like a raving lunatic. 

“What the fuck has he done to promote this match, eh? Every week I’ve been the one selling this match, hyping it up, making fucking video’s and everything! What’s he done? Bury it and shrug his fat shoulders and yawn like he’s fucking bored by it? By Me! Telling the world that facing the greatest technical wrestler of all time in a submissions match for fucking bragging rights is boring? That’s how you promote a match?”

He was irate at that point. Looking at himself long and hard he eventually closed his eyes and began to try and calm himself, rationalise with himself. 

“You’re just tired,” he sighed. 

But he wasn’t tired. Far from it. His adrenal glands had given him an almost lethal dose and he needed to burn it off or else have a panic attack. He had no hope of getting any rest that night. He opened his eyes and looked around at his surroundings, shaking his head. All of a sudden the claustrophobia he thought he’d escaped when he stepped off the plane was back. 

“I need to get out of this fucking room..”



PA: “Good evening, Mr Sektor. We are pleased to inform you that we are now beginning our descent and making our approach into Melbourne. We ask that you remain seated and seatbelt fastened until we have completed our landing procedure. The local time is now half past nine and the temperature outside is a cool 53 degrees fahrenheit. Once again, on behalf of the crew on board, we would like to thank you for choosing us to fly. We hope we’ve made your flight as smooth and comfortable as possible. Have a safe trip and enjoy your time in Melbourne.”

Sektor smiled to himself and closed his eyes softly with relief. It was the message he’d be waiting for, when finally this journey was coming to an end. 

“Thank fuck.

He had slept for a good half of the flight from Dubai, having not slept a wink the night before. After he’d thrown on some clothes and fled his hotel room he hit the main bar strips in the city centre. He tried to get drunk enough to quiet his mind but no amount of alcohol was having any effect. Queer thoughts danced in and out of his mind and he couldn’t settle. He wasn’t in the party mood so ended up just walking, and walking until finally he reached one of Dubai’s famous beaches. He couldn’t appreciate the colors of the sand and water, with it being dark, but he stood and listened to the tide ebbing and flowing for what seemed like an eternity. It was there that he finally found some peace, with the sounds, feeling of the breeze in his hair and smell of the sea air reminding him of home. 

He had been exhausted both mentally and physically, but the captain’s announcement had injected some energy into his bloodstream, causing him to look out of the window with the first expression of joy he’d had since leaving Miami. He could see the Australian landscape below which confirmed that his sentence in solitary confinement was almost up. 

“ you come from a land down under?” he began to sing quietly, under his breath and tapping the armrests of his seat. 

WHERE WOMEN GLOOOOOOOW AND MEN PLUNDER!” he yelled, out of tune but full of vigor, as though he was on a radio show and randomly blurting out lyrics or something. 

One of the stewardesses popped her pretty face around the curtain towards the front of the cabin, a slight look of concern on her face. When she noticed Sektor smiling and relaxed she returned the smile. Sektor just gave her a filthy wink. 

..can’t you heaaaar, can’t you hear thunder,” he sang more quietly, trailing off towards the end. 

He found himself growing unusually excited. Perhaps, he wondered, the dread he’d experienced over the past 24 hours was so consuming that he was just glad to be landing in his destination and getting to work. He knew once he got in the gym his mind would find that steely focus to block out all the negative thoughts. 

Something else then crossed his mind. What were the people like here down under? The Aussies? The fans? It occurred to him that his career had taken him all over the globe but that this was, in fact, his first time going to Australia. He began to imagine how excited the fans must be. His fans. He wasn’t usually one for pandering to them, but he had barely been around wrestling in almost 2 years. Aside from his brief appearances in South America, he had kept himself out of the limelight and was basically continuing his lifestyle like he had in semi-retirement. It would be nice, he thought, to interact with some of the fans, especially here. 

He laughed to himself, wondering what was coming over him. He usually hated fan interactions, appreciating them from a distance like when they chant his name, or sing his theme music or pop when he does something slick in the ring. He just shrugged, accepting that he had perhaps just missed it. 

He waited patiently for the feeling of the plane’s wheels slamming into the runway, feeling the same relief he always felt when the plane completed its journey, incident free. Once it had taxi’d to its stopping point the seatbelt sign went off and he practically sprang out of his seat, excited to grab his bags and get to work. 

The two stewardesses stood smiling from ear to ear, dressed immaculately in their uniforms and faces pasted in makeup. Sektor had behaved himself throughout the flight, not making any predatory advances or crude remarks. In truth he had been too busy trapped in his own head to pay much attention to them. 

“Thank you,” one of them said as he neared. 

“Enjoy your trip!”

Gracias,” Sektor smiled, taking a long hard sniff of the free air as he stood in the doorway of the jet. “I just hope I can make it out of the airport without being mobbed!” he snorted, laughing to himself. 

He was beginning to convince himself that their would be hoards of fans waiting for him at the arrivals gate, ready to clamber over the top of one another for a picture or signature. 

“Oh gosh, well hopefully with it being night time there won’t be as many?” suggested one of the stewardesses. 

Sektor rolled his eyes and smiled at her patronisingly. “Th-at won’t stop them..” he laughed. “Anyway, my boss has organised a security detail to escort me, so I should be ok,” he winked, before joyfully skipping down the steps of the plane towards the ground. A brisk breeze ran across the open space as he made his way over to the terminal building, ready to check his passport and head to his ride. 


He made it through passport control relatively unscathed, although the Australian officer was staring at him for a good thirty seconds before finally waving him through. If his first impressions of the Aussies were based on the airport staff then he would have considered them to be a bunch of miserable cunts, but then all airport staff are like that, and who could blame them? 

As he headed under the sign for ‘nothing to declare’ he arrived at the arrivals gate. He smiled as the screams of joy came crying out, though only from a few. He dropped his bags on the floor and spread his arms, figuring he’d the least he could do with acknowledge them after waiting around all that time for glimpse at the Gold Standard.

His cheeks blushed and his mouth gaped as he watched a young girl run towards the small group of people who were cheering. His face felt flushed and warm as he realised that the cheers were someone else and looking around he realised he was posing like an idiot for absolutely no one. He was mortified but found himself also sad that no one had bothered to come to the airport to see the Grand Slam winner.

Sektor?” a deep voice called. 

“Ci?” he answered excitedly, feeling momentary relief as he shot his gaze towards a tall man of a stocky stature, much broader than he was. 

“I’m your security detail sir, would you care to follow me?”

It was a kick in the nuts and only fueled the embarrassment. He wanted the ground to open up and swallow him. He didn’t answer the security guard who had approached him with his EPU credentials subtly displayed in his hand before leaning down to grab his bags. 

“Let me get those for you,” he said, sensing that something was bothering Sektor. 

“Thanks,” Sektor sighed, through cold expressionless eyes. 

The EPU agent was dressed in plain clothes, likely informed by Lee to do so so as not to draw unnecessary attention to Sektor. Ironically it was the lack of attention that was getting to him. 

They headed out of the airport in silence and Sektor climbed into the back of a black SUV with blacked out windows. Looking out of the window he could see families leaving with suitcases, smiling and full of love for one another. Sektor looked at them with troubled eyes. He felt rejected. Maybe they just didn’t know he was arriving today, he tried to kid himself.  

Once again he was struggling to process his emotions.  Did he need their love? Was that it? His parents hadn’t loved him. His ex wife didn’t love him. His own daughter, flesh and blood, didn’t even know who he was any more to love him. The love from the fans filled that void but he had never appreciated it before. So where were they now? Did he have no fans here? Were they all going to be rooting for Townsend and booing him out of the building? 

His mind began to drift away again, mulling over the last nine weeks or so, trying to find some sort of key that would make everything clear. How could he go from a carefree, life loving, laid back party boy to a stressed and anxious ball of insecurity? Trying to get that straight in your mind was like trying to swallow a doorknob. There had to be an answer, he thought, an explanation that would allow him to reject the ugly notion that he was completely shitting himself. 

“Get a grip of yourself!” he growled, banging his fist down onto the plush leather car seats. “Fucks the matter with you? This isn’t you!”

“You say something, boss?” asked the EPU agent from behind the wheel, glancing up at Sektor in the rear view mirror. 

Sektor scowled at the agent. “No..”

He was back in that plane. Back in that hotel room in Dubai. Back to wandering the streets except tonight it would be Melbourne. He knew rest wasn’t going to come. He wasn’t going to be blessed with sleep and his body was out of sync anyway with the jet lag and he needed to keep his mind busy. He needed to do the only thing he knew what to do in these situations. 

Picking up his phone he began to scroll for his ‘recents.’ He held it to his ear for a moment before a groggy and weary voice answered on the other line. 

“Oh..did I wake you?” he answered sarcastically. “Well too fucking bad! Get up!…we got work to do.”