Saturday, September 11th,
St Louis, MO
The Gold Standard Wrestling Academy (GSWA)
9/11 was always a strange day, even for me. My lack of American patriotism is attributed to the fact that I prefer to embrace my Cuban heritage and overall just a self-obsessed mother fucker. However, I’ll never forget the cold numbness I felt that day when I turned on the news and saw those planes hit the twin towers. It was a day that would change the course of history.
9/11 was also the date that myself, Rhys Townsend and Evan Ward controversially announced Ground Zero. Another important branch of my wrestling legacy.
Tonight, on September 11th 2021, it would seem that a similar impact would be felt in the World of professional wrestling. Most notably, High Octane Wrestling.
As I sat behind the desk in my office, sipping some Woodford reserve, I tuned into the post Bottomline edition of Refueled on my projector screen. Like everyone else, I was eager to find out what had happened to Lee, and what the fuck that contract Mike signed was all about.
The image of the contract excerpt sat frozen in time on my screen. The show had likely gone off air by then, but I hadn’t made it past the opening segment. I was staring at the words on the page, contemplating how this would impact what was left of my future in wrestling. There was just one item on the list of objects that resonated with me. I could care less about the HOFC title or Michaels World title shot. They were both as predictable as the sun rising in the East and setting in the West.
- #2: The Best Alliance will no longer be a part of High Octane Wrestling effective upon both Father and Son signing the contract.
I won’t compare this to how those people must have felt seeing those planes flying towards them, but in terms of shaking my World? This landed hard. I mean, what did this mean for John Sektor? Fuck the other BA members, I couldn’t give two shits about Clay, Harrison, JPD, Doozer or even Jatt! I never chose them to be in the Alliance, Lee did and I would have been equally as happy if it were just he and I. What bothered me?
No Best Alliance perks or privileges. I’m not expecting handouts or an easy ride, I just felt assured that with Lee as an ally? He would repay my loyalty and recognise my importance, giving me what I have earned. But who is running the show now?
What does this mean for me?
There was only one piece of reassurance, but it was vague:
“As a parting gift, and listed among these 970000 pages, Lee Best has listed items for the final members of the Best Alliance. These will be presented at specific designated times revealed within this contract.”
A parting gift. That alone tells me that Lee is done. But then I tell myself that he has been ‘done’ so many times before. He has defied cancer, rapings, death, blindness, yet survived!
Yet, both signatures are now on the Bottomline.
There is no sense dwelling on what the negatives could be. I must remain positive. This is perhaps an opportunity for me to cement my Legacy as LSD champion on my own. When you are with the BA, you carry the stigma that everything you achieved was because of the the power behind the curtain. People tarnish your achievements based on that logic. Now I can show the World that I am just as powerful on my own. I took this title from Teddy on my own. I beat Harrison. I beat Zion. I even beat Clay Byrd. All pedigree’s. All top tier competitors. Yet I outclassed them all and I don’t remember a single Best Alliance member either laying down or helping me do that.
Lee and I had a vision of what the LSD title could be. That’s my purpose. I will continue our work alone, in his honour.
My Amazon vid-phone suddenly came to life, causing me to flinch out of the trance of deep thought. I turned to where it sat on the corner of my Brazilian, hardwood, desk to see Regan’s Avatar blinking away. I wasn’t in the mood for talking to her, but I felt the need to answer the call all the same.
As I clicked the green phone icon, her delicate features brought an air of beauty to the display screen. She always looked good. She had been making efforts to sink her claws into me and so far I have resisted, keeping our relationship to purely sex and business. But there was something intoxicating about her. I still didn’t trust her. The P.I hired had been tailing her for weeks and turned up absolutely nothing. She was mysterious in every way.
But was she dangerous?
“Ola, Ms Marsden,” I answered, not even attempting to force a polite smile.
“Hey!,” she replied, sounding concerned. She began scanning her eyes at my surroundings. “Are you in your office?”
“I thought you’d be in Chicago? At the show?” she asked, sounding genuinely confused.
“Yeah, I uhm, well let’s just say I didn’t feel like flying,” I half heartedly explained.
“Oh. Well, if I’d have known I’d have offered to have you round at my place. To watch it together,” she suggested, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.
“Ah, I’m afraid I wouldn’t have been much company. I haven’t made it past the opening segment yet.”
Her smile turned sympathetic. “Yeah, I can imagine. That’s actually why I was calling. To see if you were ok?”
“Oh I’m fine!” I stated confidently. “Just processing the information is all.”
“No more BA? That’s quite the bombshell,” she said, stating the obvious. “What does this mean?”
I hesitated to answer, trying to remain nonchalant. “It means what it says. The BA is no more. So we will all go our separate ways but my personal objectives remain the same. I know how to stand on my own two feet, that was never an issue for me and I am stronger mentally and physically than I ever have been.”
Regan’s expression turned awkward, as though she was holding something back.
“Yes but, what does that mean for us?”
“Us?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Financially,” she expanded, raising her chin and adjusting her shoulders, as though turning on ‘business mode.’
“It this all you care about? Money?” I spat, shaking my head with disgust.
“Of course not!” she gasped, doing a fine job of sounding innocent. “But if there is going to be a financial consequence because of this I need to know about it. We are business partners after all.”
“Yes, so you keep reminding me.”
“I mean, all those ‘unofficial’ bonuses Lee gave you for being in the Alliance? How much of a loss are we looking at?”
“I don’t know. Nor do I care, because that’s your department. Why don’t dust off your calculator and do some sums?”
Regan closed her eyes, bowing her head shamefully.
“I’m sorry. This isn’t the time for this conversation. The money can wait. How are you?” she again asked, giving me another sympathetic pout of the lips.
“As I said, I am fine.”
She nodded, accepting my reluctance to go any deeper with the conversation before suddenly narrowing her eyes as though a realisation had just occurred.
“So you haven’t seen the rest of the show?”
“Not yet,” I replied, taking a slow sip of bourbon.
“Then you won’t have seen the bonus segment. Relating to those perks, the contract mentioned for the final BA members,” she continued, practically licking her beautiful lips.
I felt my eyes instinctively narrowing with intrigue. “I did not..”
“Would you like the spoilers?”
“For God’s sake’s woman stop toying with me!” I groaned, losing my patience.
She smirked and put on her reading glasses. I instantly felt some movement in my pants as she activated my slutty secretary kink.
“Ahem. ‘John Sektor will defend his LSD championship in an Iron Man match at RATR. This match will showcase the true technical prowess of the Hall of Famer and if he retains he will move on to ICONIC in a match revealed in another section of this contract.’”
Still smiling seductively, she slipped off her glasses and watched me intently as I stroked ‘slick Daddy.’
I could feel the hunger burning inside me. An Iron man match at Rumble at the Rock. The ultimate showcase for a technical genius. Lee knows me so well. It was the perfect gift. But who will be my opponent?
I couldn’t wait until Rumble at the Rock. I needed to stay warm and keep competing and defending.
“Who am I facing next week?”
She seemed caught off guard, as though not expecting these to be the next words to leave my mouth.
“Uhm, nobody. You’re not booked.”
“Again?” I gasped. I chewed my lip and felt a surge of anger. “And so it begins..”
“What’s wrong?” she asked with concern.
“Nothing. Listen, thanks for the information but I need some time to process all of this,” I explained.
“Is there anything I can do?” she asked, sounding almost desperate to be involved.
I was preparing to say no when an idea suddenly popped into my head.
“Actually, there is. Can you organise some filming equipment to come here to the GSWA? I wish to send a video for the next edition of Refueled. I have some things to say. And I also wish to let it be known that I plan on defending my championship on the show thereafter.”
“It’s done!” she said confidently.
“Thank you. Good night Ms Marsden.”
“Good night, Mr Sektor..”
Monday, September 13th
St Louis, MO
“LISTEN UP! He, will be arriving any minute. You do not cheer! You do not clap! You do not turn your heads to look at him! You do not SPEAK, unless spoken to…”
Inside the main training area of the GSWA, the twelve recruits stand in front of the ring in three rows of four. They are all different shapes, sizes, colors and ethnicities and there is even a female amongst the ranks. Whilst they differ in physical appearance they are all uniformed in the same plain grey training shorts and tees, with the except of the girl who is wearing a vest top.
In front of them is Chris Taylor, who was the one dishing out his instructions in a broad, British, accent. He is short in stature but makes up for it with a stocky frame, large chest and broad shoulders that any football player would be proud of. A thick mop of jet black hair dons the top of his head which is accessorised by a grizzly black beard with sprinkles of salt in it.
“Remember, this is a facking privilege to be here! DO NOT FACK IT UP!” he instructs, eyeballing each one of them as though he wants to beat the shit out of them.
The sound of the academy doors flinging open suddenly rouses a flicker of excitement and anxiety from the awaiting cadets. The hollow sound of footprints on the hard gym floor echo around the acoustics of the wide open space.
The Gold Standard makes his way towards the ring, dressed in his own brand of training gear with the LSD title proudly accessorising his right shoulder. He stands in front of them, sneering at each of them with a face as hard as stone.
The silence is agonising as he walks up and down the line, taking a closer look at the recruits on the front row. His eyes deviate as he passes the girl, wandering down to her chest and back up to her eyes with a sparkle.
“Before we begin,” he says quietly. “You have all been briefed on the rules of this course, including the living arrangements?”
There’s an uncertain pause.
“Am I talking to my fucking self? Have you been briefed?”
“Yes-sir…yessir…yes..sir..” replies a disorganised response from each of the cadets.
“From now on you will respond to each of us as ‘Coach.’ Understood?”
“Let me make things a little clearer for you all,” he continues, standing in front of the middle of the pack. “The moment you entered through those doors?” he asks, pointing towards the front entrance of the academy? “You surrendered your human rights.”
A couple of uneasy glances are noted by Sektor, whilst Chris merely smirks.
“You belong to the academy. You are all starting as a blank canvas. A fresh slate. Which means, at this moment in time? You are nothing! I don’t care who you were before. I don’t care if you were the prom king. I don’t care if you were a state champion.”
He leans in on the girl, who has an athletic physique and short blonde hair. He leans into her neck, whispering into her ear so that she can smell his breath.
“I don’t care if you have a pussy! We do not discriminate here,” he growls, sniffing softly before pulling back away. “You are all, equally, worthless.”
He stands back in front of them, taking a good hard look to see if there are any early signs of anxiety. The expressions on all of their faces look slightly concerned.
“From now on? You have no name,” he explains, smirking at his own initiative. “In a moment, you will each step forward in turn and be handed an armband with a number on it. This will be your new name.”
“.you gotta be shitting me,” one of them mutters to the other under his breath.
Sektor’s neck snaps in the direction of the whisper as his dark Cuban eyes pierce the soul of the culprit. A tall, chiselled, young man with a shaved head and strong jaw.
“Problem?” Sektor asks.
The man seems caught off guard at first, but not wanting to lose face with his peers, decides to act cocky and shake his head nonchalantly.
Sektor marches straight over to him, standing nose to nose uncomfortably.
“No, coach,” he replies, with an air of disobedience.
Sektor nods knowingly, as though making a note of his face and putting a pin in it to come back to later.
“Get your fucking numbers!”
They each take turns, as instructed, stepping forward to receive their armband from Chris. Once they all have their numbers on Sektor stands in front of them once again.
“Your name will be earned upon completion of this course. IF you complete it. Because I guarantee most if not ALL of you will either quit, or fail. I will be hard on you. I will be hard on you because I want to see what you are made of. You will hurt. You will suffer. You will bleed. You will cry. You will HATE me. But that is ok,” he smiles, relaxing his shoulders slightly. “I am not here to be your friend. I am here to break you all down so that you can all find out who you really are. And what you are truly made of!”
His expression is as serious as ever as he regards each one of them.
“You are free to leave any time. If you wish to withdraw yourself from this course all you need to do is remove your armband and hand it to one of the coaching staff. Is that clear?”
“Good. Number SEVEN? Step forward,” he instructs.
The man whom Sektor chewed out for speaking under his breath looks down at his armband and glances at the man to his left. Wanting to maintain his confident demeanor, he steps forward with a strong posture.
“They say number seven is a lucky number,” he says with a smirk, which quickly fades in a sinister glare. “Not for you. Get in the ring.”
A twitch of panic breaks the facade as Number Seven reluctantly heads towards the ring. He climbs up onto the apron whilst Sektor casually waltzes up the steps, wiping his feet before ducking under the ropes. Number Seven waits nervously and patiently as Sektor delicately folds the leather straps of this LSD championship and lays it down in the opposite corner of the ring. With his back turned to Seven, he speaks.
“Take off your shirt.”
The whites of Seven’s eyes grow as he hears this instruction. Taking his time to peel off the shirt to reveal a fairly impressive physique. Sektor turns and looks him up and down before walking slowly towards him.
“Go to the corner,” he says, pointing at the corner behind Number Seven so that he would be facing the other recruits.
Sektor briefly looks out over to the rest of the pack, who are watching on with nervous expressions.
“The minimum standard I expect is obedience. You have all been gifted a rare opportunity to be trained by the greatest technical wrestler of all time…SO DON’T FUCK ME AROUND!”
A few of them visibly flinch with the sudden increase in Sektor’s booming voice. Sektor’s lip curls with disgust as he leaves a lingering look at them, before turning his attention back to Number Seven.
“Hold onto the top ropes,” Sektor explains.
Seven swallows hard as he begins to anticipate what is about to happen. He does as he’s told, resting both arms on the ninety degree angle of the ring ropes and gripping them tightly. Sektor places a finger under his strong chin and lifts it up.
“This is what you wanted. Remember, it will only get worse..”
Seven’s lip quivers as Sektor smirks at him, before gritting his teeth and reeling back, sending a hard chop right across his bare chest.
Seven screams in pain and hugs his chest. Sektor physically rangs his arms away from him and places them back on the ropes. His chest already a bright pink.
Another scream as the sound of flesh meeting flesh echoes around the gymnasium. Again, Sektor forces his hands away from his chest as he instinctively protects it.
The faces of the others are a shared picture of discomfort, as they try hard to hide their emotions. The girl, who is wearing the Number Four, is quivering with empathy as her eyes glisten.
Seven falls to his knees, clutching his chest as tears roll down his cheeks. Sektor picks him up by his arms and physically stands him up, typing his hands behind his back so that the rest can all take a good look at the damage.
His chest is already starting to bruise, with two thick welks forming in the centre with a small area of the skin split and bleeding.
“This? This is nothing! This is the tip of the fucking Iceberg ladies and gentlemen. If you want to pursue a career in this sport? Then pain needs to become your friend! It hurts. Fucking get used to it or get the fuck out of my academy!”
He releases his grasp on Number Seven and shoves him forward.
“Get back in line!”
Seven’s eyes stay pointing down to hide the tears and shame as he exits the ring in discomfort.
“Would anybody like to hand me their armband right now? Because that was fucking nothing compared to the hell we are going to put you through?”
He gives them some time to consider this, looking around at them as though hoping that at least one of them would throw in the towel. To his surprise, they all stand firm and silent.
Sektor retrieves his LSD champion and places it over his shoulder. His hand trembles from the repeated impact that it had dealt on Seven’s chest.
“You may all look at me and think that I am the polished article. Because I am a champion? Because I am a multi-time World champion? Because I am a Hall of Famer? Because I have been doing this for over twenty years at the highest level? But you would be wrong. You see, the second we think we have made it? That’s when it’s time to hang up the boots.”
He lifts the LSD championship in the air so they can all take a good look at it.
“This? This, like all of my championships, have cost me. They have cost me years of my life. They have cost me a family. They have cost me my health and at times even my sanity. You see there is a steep price to pay if you want to become a champion. So as you progress through this course you will need to constantly ask yourselves. Is it worth it?”
He glares at each one of them, lowering the title back onto his shoulder.
“If the answer is no, then do me a favour and don’t waste my time. Rip off you fucking number and walk away. There is strength in knowing who you are. There is no shame in quitting. I do not expect any of you to make it to the end. But if any of you do? Then perhaps you may follow in my footsteps, and what it feels like to be a champion.”
He pats the LSD championship slowly.
“This is everything. I would die for this. I defend it because I believe that it belongs to me! This is a part of me and when someone tries to take it from me I will fight til the fucking death to protect it!”
He taps the temple of his forehead, signalling where his true power stems from.
“That is a champion’s mentality.”