I never wanted this for you, Adam.
You brought this on yourself!
The Gold Standard Wrestling Academy (Miami)
2 years ago..
“Stay on him, Goddammit!”
Sektor bellowed instructions at his student from outside the training ring. Adam Ellis was dripping in sweat from a gruelling sparring session with one of the Academies students. He’d taken the student down to the canvas with a heavy hip toss and heard him yell out on impact. Instinctively he backed up to allow him time to get to his feet. Precious seconds were wasted before a sharp kick caught Adam in his gut for his troubles.
A vein was pulsing in the Gold Standards forehead as gritted his teeth. This display of compassion and sportsmanship frustrated him to his very core. It was the very thing he was trying to beat out of Adam, yet there was too much good in him.
Sektor seethed with anger as he watched Adam struggle to get back on his feet. He had been teaching him for months, hoping to turn him into the perfect fighter, but he was still too soft, too compassionate. It disgusted him to see Adam waste an opportunity to finish off his opponent.
“Get up, you useless piece of shit!” Sektor roared, his voice echoing off the walls of the training room. “You’re never going to be a champion if you keep acting like a pussy!”
Adam felt a surge of anger rise up in him. He was tired of Sektor treating him like a punching bag, tired of being told that he wasn’t good enough. He knew he had what it took to be a champion, if only Sektor would give him a chance.
With a fierce determination, Adam sprang to his feet and charged at his opponent. He landed a series of quick jabs to the other fighter’s face, sending him stumbling backwards.
Adam took advantage of his momentary confusion and leapt into the air to deliver a hard forearm to the back of his head. His opponent keeled over at the force of the blow. His legs gave way and he lay sprawled out on the floor.
“Atta boy! He managed to get one over on you, didn’t he? That’s good, that’s really good!” Sektor exclaimed as Adam stepped over the crumpled body. “It’s about time you showed me some of that spirit, you little shit!”
He pulled the beaten wrestler roughly up off the floor and held him up in a headlock. The students eyes were filled with terror as he gasped out for air.
“Oh don’t worry, he’s still breathing, we’re not quite finished yet,” Sektor sneered.
Adam looked down at his opponent whose eyes were already glazing over. He looked pathetic and helpless. Adam wanted to make his mentor proud and do what he knew needed to be done.
A sharp pain shot through Adam’s right shoulder as Sektor’s forearm shot out and caught him in the back of the neck. He had been so intent on beating his opponent that he didn’t even realise that Sektor had leapt into the ring to intervene.
“You fuckin’ idiot!” Sektor snarled. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing? You’re going to get yourself killed by being so damn reckless!”
Adam was still in a daze from the blow to his head. Sektor took him by the back of the neck and dragged him out of the ring. Adam didn’t even have the strength to resist as he was forced to follow.
“We’re done for the night, Hughes. Go get yourself cleaned up.” Sektor ordered.
Hughes, the poor student who Sektor had used a punchbag in Ellis’ training, rolled himself out of the ring and hobbled away. Adam sighed and rolled his head, not ready to give up.
“But I was only just getting started,” Adam protested.
“Tough shit. You still have a long way to go before you’re ready to face anyone in HOW. Tonight’s session is over.”
“I said we’re done, now get your ass out of here!” Sektor barked.
Adam pulled his shirt over his head and stood up. He still had a lot to get used to about this new world and to think that just a few days ago he was fitted for his very first custom ring attire, but this was shaping up to be his toughest challenge yet.
“I’m sorry, sir. I didn’t mean to let you down.”
Adam slumped his shoulders and hung his head in shame.
“Forget about it,” Sektor said in a much softer tone. “If you hope to be a champion you’re going to have to learn to let go of your mercy and compassion. It won’t win you any matches.”
Adam’s head bowed and Sektor thought he could see tears in his eyes. Sektor had no compassion or empathy, he simply saw this as a weakness and it sickened him.
“Shower. Now!” he growled.
“GET OUT OF MY FUCKING SIGHT!”
The screams of Sektor reverberated off every surface in the Academy training center and caused Adam’s blood to run cold.
Adam had a look of hurt in his eyes as he looked at his mentor. Sektor’s face was a frightening shade of red as he breathed heavily. Ellis felt a shot of anger in himself as he staggered over to the locker room and slammed the door.
Sektor scowled at the freshly slammed door, his knuckles crunching in their clenched fists. Soon his face softened as a shred of remorse washed over him. It wasn’t something he was overly used to. He didn’t like people in general and had evolved throughout the years into a merciless and savage man. Adam had softened him, ever so slightly.
With a heavy sigh the Gold Standard grimaced and squeezed his own forehead with one hand, massaging it with his fingers as though trying to massage away the conflict.
A little while later, Sektor opened the door to the locker room to see his young apprentice slumped on a wooden bench in the locker room with his head in his arms and resting on his knees. He was fresh from the shower, with only a towel shrouding his lower half. Sektor exhaled through his nose and allowed the door to close behind him, looking at Adam with a soft expression.
“I know you think I’m too hard on you-,” he began, standing tall across from Adam. “-but I have to be, Adam. If you want this. If you really want a contract in HOW, then you’re going to have to learn to do things the way I do them.”
Adam remained quiet and kept his head buried.
“So is it? Is this really what you want?”
Adam looked up at his mentor sharply, eyes wide.
“Of course it is! You know it is,” he pleaded.
Sektor smirked, looking proud but also relieved. Slowly, he approached his young apprentice and took a seat next to him.
“Believe it or not Adam, I’m trying to protect you,” Sektor explained, resting his elbows on his knees.
Sektor laughed out a sigh.
“HOW is a dangerous place. Fuck, that’s an understatement. There is no wrestling company in the world more dangerous than High Octane Wrestling.”
Adam frowned with a stubborn look in his eyes. “I’m tougher than you think,” he replied.
“You’ll have to be more than tough if you want to survive,” Sektor continued. “People die, in HOW. People get hurt all of the time. There have been countless times when I’ve sensed my opponent is trying to end my career. Because it’s fucking dog eat dog in there and only the strongest make it out alive.”
“I’m not afraid,” Adam defiantly replied.
Sektor smiled. “I know you’re not, son. That’s why I chose you. You’re fearless and you got a lot of heart. But that damn moral compass of yours needs to go!”
Adam closed his eyes and bowed his head a little. Sektor knew how much of a struggle it was for his young apprentice. Everything he believed in and was brought up to feel and honour? He was asking him to bury it and turn himself into a polar opposite of himself.
“You have to learn to be ruthless, unrelenting, fucking sadistic! Skill, heart, ability, technique, speed…they’re just what it takes to make it as a wrestler. To make it in HOW? You have to be so much more and that’s what I have to teach you.”
Adam nodded but refused to lift his head from his sullen position. He knew the gravity of the task ahead of him and it weighed heavy. Sektor slowly lifted a hand, hovering it over his shoulder before pulling it away.
“Don’t beat yourself up kid,” Sektor eventually said, looking the other way. “Rome wasn’t built in a day. But if you’re serious about making it in HOW? Then there’s only way we can do things -”
Sektor turned his attention back to Adam and waited for him to look at him. As he did he prodded a finger deep into his own sternum.
The Gold Standard Wrestling Academy (Miami)
Sektors eyes burned with intent as he circled the young Academy student in the ring. Simon, Sektors personal trainer and physio was acting up as a make shift referee for this training session. Sektor waited hungrily for the rookie to make the first move which he soon did. The two locked up in an arm and elbow tie up, the sound of flesh on flesh slapping around the room.
Sektor made short work of manoeuvring the rookies head under his arm, squeezing his neck like a python as thick, wormy, veins bulged out of his forearms. The rookie bent his legs and tried to remember his reversals, digging his heels into the canvas as he forced the veteran back to the ropes. He tried to use the ropes for momentum to push himself free but Sektor went to his knee and applied even more pressure. The rookie had enough wits about him to keep hold of the ropes to force a break.
“Let it go, John, he got the ropes!” Simon ordered.
Sektor did as he was told and quickly turned on a sixpence to clap the young rookie across the jaw with a stiff right hook.
A collective gasp could be heard as the onlooking students from the outside covered their mouths in horror. Simon quickly positioned himself between Sektor and the student to protect him as he held his face on the canvas.
“The hell are you doing, man? You can’t hit him like that it’s supposed to be-”
“I told you! This is a simulation,” Sektor ordered, turning around to look at the onlooking students. “This is as real as it fucking gets. No more of this this pansy ass sparring shit. You want to train to be professional wrestlers? Well this is professional wrestling mother fuckers and it hurts!”
The stunned cohort glanced at one another but daren’t walk away. Sektor, pumped up and ready for blood, turned back to Simon and his opponent.
“You wanna continue or not?” he asked, pointing at the student.
Simon kept his back to Sektor and tried to warn the student with a look but the student pulled himself to his feet with a look of intent. Sektor smirked.
The rookie lunged at Sektor with a forearm which almost connected. Sektor ducked underneath it and slammed a forearm of his own into the kids lower back, causing another meaty sound of flesh on flesh to sickeningly echo around the training room.
“GAAARRRGH!” The rooke yelled.
His back straightened in shock from the shot but, before he could recover, the HOTV champion was airborn and nailing him between the shoulders with a dropkick. This sent him sprawing into the corner turnbuckle. Like a wild animal Sektor chased after him, laying relentless kicks into his back. Stomp, after stomp, after stomp until Simon began counting and forced him to move out of the corner.
Sektor narrowed his eyes at Simon, not too pleased with how he was shielding the boy by standing in his way. He held out an open palm towards the champion to tell him to hold whilst he checked on the rookie.
“You alright kid?”
The rookie nodded, holding his lower back but glaring at Sektor.
The rookie charged at Sektor, attempting to take him down with a running clothesline. However, Sektor was prepared and quickly sidestepped, delivering a swift kick to the back of the rookie’s knee. The rookie fell to the ground, clutching his leg in pain. Sektor didn’t give him a chance to recover and dragged him back up to his feet, placing him in a standing headlock. The rookie tried to fight out of it, but Sektor’s grip was too strong.
Simon watched in horror as Sektor continued to dominate the rookie, his face turning red as he struggled to breathe. Sweat dripped down Sektor’s face as he squeezed harder, refusing to release the hold. The rookie’s eyes began to roll back as he started to lose consciousness.
Suddenly, Simon had enough. He stepped forward and grabbed Sektor by the shoulder, trying to pull him away from the rookie. Sektor turned to face him, his eyes blazing with fury.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Sektor barked, his grip tightening even more on the rookie’s neck. “I’m teaching this kid a lesson. You want to be a pro wrestler? You need to learn how to endure pain. You need to learn how to fight till the very end. You need to learn how to survive!”
“That’s not teaching,” Simon replied, his grip on Sektor’s shoulder firm. “That’s torture. You’re not helping this kid, you’re hurting him. Let go, dammit!”
Sektor glared at Simon for a few seconds, his eyes practically burning holes into him. For a moment, Simon thought he was going to attack him, but then he slowly released the rookie and stepped back.
“Fine,” Sektor said, his voice low and menacing. “You want me to stop? I’ll stop. But don’t expect me to go easy on any of you. This is wrestling, not ballet.”
Simon knew that Sektor was right, but he couldn’t let the rookie get hurt anymore. He had to step in and put a stop to the madness.
“Enough, Sektor. Let him go,” Simon said firmly, his hand on Sektor’s shoulder. “He’s had enough.”
Sektor hesitated for a moment, his eyes still locked onto the rookie’s limp body. Finally, he released his hold and stepped back, breathing heavily.
The rookie lay on the mat, unconscious. Simon rushed to his side and checked his pulse, relieved to find it steady. He looked back at Sektor, who was still seething with anger.
“What the hell is wrong with you, Sektor?” Simon asked, his voice shaking with emotion. “You could have killed him.”
Sektor didn’t answer, his eyes still fixed on the rookie’s body. Simon knew that he had to get him out of there before things got worse.
“Pathetic,” Sektor spat, shaking his head at the fallen rookie in disgust.
Simon ignored him as he rolled the kid onto his back, checking that he was still breathing. Sektor turned to look out at the rest of his students.
“Fucking pathetic!” he yelled, scowling at each of them in turn. “Each and every fucking one of you, is pathetic!”
He stood front and centre, planting his hands on his hips like a drill sergeant.
“In the three years that this Academy has been open, how many of you have graduated?” he asked, raising his eyebrows before furiously yelling. “FUCKING NONE!”
They all looked scared and dejected, afraid to even look at him incase they caught his eye.
“How many of you have even had a competitive match? Again, none, because none of you are good enough. Not a single fucking one of you has shown me that you have even an ounce of what it takes to make it in the ring.”
He shook his head and lowered his eyes in bitter disappointment.
“You know, I gave up trying to find someone who was just like me,” he calmly began to explain. “There is no one in this world like me. But I believed that I could mould someone. I thought I could take a blank canvas like Adam Ellis and paint a masterpiece.”
Genuine sadness washed over him as he comforted himself by brushed his moustache.
“But I was wrong. And now I look at all of you, hoping that amongst you there is one, JUST – one of you who has what it takes to be my new apprentice. To do what Adam couldn’t and carry the torch from me. When I hang up my boots I want to watch the next model of John Sektor carry on with my life’s work and pick up where I left off. But, maybe I am wasting my time.”
He turned his head slightly, noticing that the student he almost killed was now responsive and taking on water with the assistance of Simon. He curled his lip and sneered before straightening his back.
“Okay,” he said, strolling up and down the ring and looking at the rest of his students. “Who’s next?”
The rest of the students looked at each other hesitantly, unsure if they wanted to step into the ring with Sektor after what they had just witnessed. But one student, a young woman with fiery red hair, stepped forward.
“I’ll go,” she said, her voice steady and strong.
Sektor raised an eyebrow, looking her up and down.
“You sure about that, sweetheart?” he asked, a smirk playing on his lips.
The woman nodded, determination in her eyes.
“I’m sure,” she said. “I want to learn from the best.”
Sektor chuckled, a deep rumble in his chest.
“Alright then,” he said, stepping forward. “Let’s see what you’re made of.”
The woman stepped into the ring, taking a deep breath to steady her nerves. Sektor circled her like a predator, his eyes taking in every inch of her body. For a moment, she felt a surge of fear, wondering if she had made a mistake.
But then, something inside of her clicked. She remembered why she had come here in the first place. She wanted to be a wrestler, to learn from the best. And Sektor was the best. She wasn’t going to let fear get in her way.
She charged forward, surprising Sektor, and tackled him to the ground. He grunted in surprise, but quickly regained his footing, pushing her off of him.They circled each other again, looking for an opening.
The woman threw a punch, but Sektor dodged it with ease. He countered with a kick, but she blocked it. They went back and forth like this for a few minutes, neither of them gaining the upper hand. But then, the woman saw her chance.
Sektor had left himself open for just a split second, and she took advantage of it. She landed a solid punch right in his gut, causing him to double over in pain. She followed it up with a kick to his head, sending him staggering back.
Sektor was impressed. He hadn’t expected her to be so skilled. He grinned, feeling the adrenaline rush through his veins.
“Alright, that’s what I’m talking about,” he said, raising his arms.
“Let’s see what else you got, honey.”
They continued to brawl, both of them using every move and trick in their arsenal. The other students watched in awe as the two of them battled it out in the ring, neither of them giving an inch.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Sektor managed to pin the woman to the mat, his arm around her neck in a sleeper hold. She struggled against him, but it was no use. She was starting to lose consciousness.
Simon stepped forward, ready to intervene, but the woman shook her head. She wasn’t ready to give up just yet. She summoned all of her remaining strength and managed to flip Sektor onto his back, breaking free from his hold.
Both of them were up on their feet and Sektor cocked his head to the side. He was impressed. This time he lunged at her, trying to catch her off guard. She managed to catch his arms in a tie up but he was too strong, quickly overpowering her and laying a knee into her gut.
She squealed in pain but soon silenced as further knee to gut pulled the air from her lungs. He grabbed her hair illegally like a savage animal and delivered a wicked eupean uppercut, almost taking her pretty head clean off.
Her eyes rolled back but Sektor wouldn’t allow her a second to recover, spearing her into the corner. Pain was written all over her face as he almost broke her in half. He stood up and pulled back a fist but to his surprise she caught him square in the nose with a palm strike that sent him staggering back.
The crowd around the ring popped with excitement as Sektor’s legs buckled slightly. Unbeknown to him, blood was beginning to trickle from his nose. The girl saw her opportunity and stepped forward, laying a forearm strike across his jaw, followed by a second before following it up with a standing drop kick that sent him onto his back.
The crowd of students cheered loudly. The master wasn’t the fan favourite in this match, but instead the underdog and they all wanted to see her kick his ass.
She screamed as though a wild beast had taken over her, throwing herself on top of his chest and raining down punches to his face. He brought up his hands to shield himself as the crowd cheered her on.
Eventually he managed to pull his knees up to his chest and wrapped his legs around her head, locking in a triangle choke hold. The crowd groaned.
“Give it up, sweetheart,” he groaned. “It’s over!”
Her body squirmed like a rabbit in a trap but she finally gave in and tapped on his arm. He immediately let go of the hold and rolled away. He was first to his feet as sweat gushed from every pore on his body. His chest heaved and he knew he’d had a proper workout. He watched her carefully as she dragged herself to her feet and dusted herself off. Wiping his nose he finally saw the blood and raised his eyebrows.
“You’re good,” Sektor said, a grudging respect in his voice. “I’ll give you that.”
The woman nodded, a small smile on her lips.
“Thanks,” she said. “I learned from the best.”
Sektor chuckled, shaking his head.
“Don’t get too cocky, kid,” he said. “You still have a lot to learn.”
The woman nodded, knowing that he was right. She had a long way to go before she could call herself a true wrestler. But for now, she was just happy to have survived her bout with Sektor.
Simon walked up to her, a look of concern on his face.
“You alright?” he asked.
The woman nodded, still catching her breath.
“Yeah,” she said. “I’m good. Thanks.”
“Of course she’s alright,” Sektor smirked. “She’s a fucking warrior. Unlike the rest of you pathetic excuses. Look at you all. All of you tough men, completely outshone by a woman!”
The rest of the students, all of whom being men, looked at one another uneasily. Sektor turned to the red headed girl.
“I don’t mean that disrespectfully.”
“Don’t worry, I’m not offended,” she said, puffing out her cheeks as she felt a headache forming.
Sektor narrowed his eyes at her with intrigue.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“Number seven, sir.”
“No, I didn’t ask for your number. You’re name, number seven. What is it?”
Her mouth hung open in disbelief. Sektor had stripped them of their names the second they signed their contracts at the academy. They were nobodies. Nothing but numbers and would remain that way until the day they proved themselves.
“My n-name?” she hesitated, quickly swallowing hard and trying to look strong. “It’s Eve, sir.”
Sektor smiled and held out his hand.
“Congratulations Eve. You’re my new apprentice.”
Eve was in shock, her eyes wide as saucers.
“What?” she asked, her voice barely a whisper.
“You’re the only one of these idiots who has what it takes to be a real wrestler.”
Eve stared at him for a moment, frozen in place. Her hand trembled as it reached out towards his, finally grasping it and feeling his firm hand squeeze.
“I-I don’t know what to say,” she gasped in disbelief.
“I don’t want you to say anything,” he warned, releasing her hand. “I want you only to listen and do exactly as I say.”
She nodded firmly, wiping away a tear and trying not to show how emotional she was.
“I’m ready to do whatever it takes.”
“We’ll see,” Sektor laughed. “But remember, if you really want this? We have to do things, my way!”