It has been roughly twenty-four hours since War Games in Mexico City, a night that did not go smoothly for Xander Azula…so, the moment the show ended, and STRONK was crowned the new HOW World Champion by being the sole survivor after putting down Conor Fuse, the Fighter immediately got back on the road with his Eternal Circle crew. Taking the occasional break, the group now finds themselves not quite near the border as Xander sits in the back of the rental van, reflecting on the night before…on his failure to make it as far as the titular War Games match itself, because of the actions of one Zach Kostoff.
Thinking back to how the son of the HOW legend kept him from getting into the ring and breaking up a pin that scored El Hombre Blanco the victory forces the Fighter to shake his head, still clearly frustrated by the early end to his evening…a frustration that previously reared its ugly head that night, when Azula went after the luchador with a spinning backfist after the bout. Needless to say, this gives the Fighter something to smile about in retrospect, as the van pulls up at a rest stop…a makeshift one, at that, considering all that’s here is a patch of dirt off the side of the road and a porta-potty.
Xander steps out of the van, quickly pulling his cell phone out of his pocket as he dials a number to make a call, knowing full well he’s going to deal with the rare roaming charge later…but, in the Fighter’s mind, this call is worth that bit of hassle. The phone rings a couple times before someone seemingly picks up on the other end, though we are left to connect the dots on a one-sided conversation as we only hear from Azula himself.
“Hey, I need you to keep tabs on someone for me, can ya do me that much?”
A moment later, Xander follows up on the inquiry with a response to one from the other side of the call, nodding his head as he speaks again.
“Yeah, that guy…I lost track of him at the border, and I will try to find him on my way back into the States, but I’ve already been given the heads up that I’m needed in Chicago next Friday…so I can’t spend a whole week lookin’ for the guy, ya know?”
Xander takes a pause for the cause, listening to what the person on the other side has to say before nodding again with a smirk.
“I know, search and rescue ain’t your thing…but babysitting a wrestling fan ain’t mine either. Right, appreciate that, thanks. If ya see or hear any updates keep in the loop!”
With that, Xander ends the call and pockets his phone just as Mysti approaches him, a look of concern on her face.
“Any luck on the search?”
“Not quite,” Xander replies, shaking his head with a sigh. “I have someone working on it, though. Here’s hoping Horace hung around the border for a few days and waited for us, huh?”
They both get a good chuckle at the thought, before Xander speaks again.
“Still, I gotta refocus and regroup. My night didn’t go so well, but I can’t let that get that to me. After all, I got the belt in the van as we speak…and STRONK may be the new HOW World Champion coming out of War Games, but I am still the REAL World’s Champion.”
Mysti nods in acknowledgement, silently allowing Xander to continue living with that idea in his head. The past few weeks have been increasingly difficult for the followers to point out the truth to their Head Disciple…and, in fairness, Azula has shown some of the most tenacity he’s ever had in the company since the night he took Christopher America to task and briefly got to hold the #97RED belt in his hands. So, to the Eternal Circle, if the delusion is keeping their leader’s mind sharp, why risk throwing it away?
“Besides, now that War Games is over, the big man has a big ol’ target on his back…a target that I plan to be the first to shoot my shot at. Not being in War Games ended up being a blessing in disguise, my dear…see, STRONK won that match but he never beat ME. So, that’s a path I need to make steps toward if I’ve ever seen one…and I will do whatever is necessary to line myself up for that opportunity.”
“And that starts in Chicago?”
“Exactly,” replies Xander to the inquiry from his beloved, his smirk now becoming a proper grin as he nods. “We get back into the States, and then we head straight for Chicago so I can start walking the path to becoming the undisputed champion.”
Xander stops right there, noticing the door to the porta-potty opening as Thomas Crowne steps out, the junior member of the Circle conversing with Vagn Dahl before Azula shouts to them.
“Alright fellas, time to get back on the road! We’ll see if Horace pops up on the way back, but it’s full steam ahead to Chicago otherwise.”
The pair give a stern nod of understanding as the group heads back to the rental van, and moments later they pull away from the rest stop to get back to their return trip from the excursion to Mexico.
Welcome to HOW, Scott McKlayn.
Let’s get a dumb remark out of the way first…oh lord, another Scott joins the ranks. There, done and dusted, that was easy.
Seems to me like you’re coming into this company with very little fanfare, something reserved for a man you know quite well in Raziel Reynolds…which is as much time as I’m going to spend talking about ol’ Raz, if I’m being honest.
After all, he’s not the one stepping into the ring with the REAL World’s Champion for his debut match…you are. A second-generation athlete in the business, and yet that last name is not one I’m familiar with. Hard to follow every facet of the business in sixteen years, you see. But, as it happens, following in the footsteps of those that comes before you is never easy…especially when you step into the deep end of the pro wrestling pool that is High Octane Wrestling.
And oh boy are you about to start sinking.
I’ve had a nice long road trip coming back from Mexico to think things over, and the more I think about it, the more I come to recognize the season of chaos that awaits. See, I’ve stepped up to the challenge of one Christopher America, beating the seemingly unstoppable HOW World Champion to put a wrench in his plan to go back to back from one War Games to the next as champion.
Setting aside the actual winner of this year’s match for a moment, I need you to take one good, long look at the REAL World’s Champion coming to Chicago, fixing for a fight against one of the newest members of the roster.
A fight that I plan to win.
Put on your boots, it’s time to go to work. When this is all said and done, I will make it crystal clear that I’m gunning after the so-called new World Champion…and you will be the first step on that path. Congratulations, couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
See you at the Best Arena, Scotty.
Somewhere in Chicago
It is unclear where we are exactly, aside from the busyness of a cafe in the foreground and the Chicago skyline in the background as Xander is spotted on the phone once again…only this time, he doesn’t look so happy.
“You saw him where?”
A murmur from the other side of the call makes the Fighter roll his eyes.
“I have no idea if he has any actual training, but that man shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a wrestling ring. Good lord, man…keep me posted all the same, I’ll come grab him after I get done in Chicago this week.”
Xander hangs up the phone with a sigh as his Eternal Circle followers approach, a cup of coffee being handed to him by Mysti.
“Seems like there’s trouble, buddy.”
“Our pal Horace was seen wandering around Mexico,” replies Xander as he takes the cup from Mysti, taking a quick sip before continuing. “Something about mixing up dates and going to the wrong event at the Arena.”
Xander takes another sip, motioning for the group to make their exit as the Fighter is left to deal with that somewhat random development ahead of his next match…wondering just how to handle this on top of everything else, as we fade to black.