Aka – The Value of a World Class Loser.
“What the hell was that?”
Sutler brushed his hair back as he stormed off the backside of the entrance ramp, the distant sound of the live HOW crowd rumbling in the background as the HOTv distracted them with a segment. His eyes locked on the pale face of his aunt, Elenore Sinclair-Kael, her poised demeanor unbroken by Sutler’s aggressive tone.
“What was what, love?”
The words slip from Elenore’s ruby red lips like silk drawn across razors, a danger thinly veiled behind each syllable. Sutler paused as he caught the tone, something he had been trained to do early on in his exposure to the Kael Family. He took a moment to recalibrate his approach erring on the side of caution.
“The cheering,” Sutler started in careful not to let his emotions flare up. “I was out there, nobody was cheering me, they aren’t supposed to, but both on my entrance and exit you could definitely hear cheering. Cheering from the speakers out there.”
One of the random stage hands wove past Elenore and Sutler handing the latter of the two a towel. Sutler thanked him before returning his attention to his aunt while draping the towel around his neck.
“We’re helping to generate a positive reaction.” she cooed, her dark lashed eyes fluttering for a moment, a faux innocence woven into her words. “Even if the local crowd doesn’t appreciate you as they should.”
Regarding Elenore with a sideways glance the Sion of Scions shook his head.
“I don’t know what you know about the kind of people that enjoy High Octane Wrestling but they don’t like being told what to do, they certainly don’t like having cheers piped out over them. They’re going to start booing louder just to see if they can over power the sound system.”
A small smirk tugged at the side of Elenore’s mouth.
“Then let them boo. A reaction is better than no reaction, my love.” Before Sutler could answer his Aunt was at this side, her slender arm entwined with his own as she started to pull him with her. “You are due a reward.”
All his concerns about the cheering and the booing disappeared from his mind as he realized he had completely forgotten the reward for victory. His heart fluttered as he was pulled in two different directions. Moving down the back hall away from the HOW stage and into the locker room area he felt both dread and excitement welling up inside his chest.
“Right now?” Sutler managed to sputter out as they approached the mostly abandoned Group of Death locker room. Dan Ryan wasn’t present and Mike hadn’t been around in days meaning that, for the moment, it was Sutler’s.
“Now, later; Here, there.” the pale Ice Queen of the Kael family shrugged, relinquishing her nephews arm as he stepped to the side. “I’ve business elsewhere, I’ve left a car for you to take you back to the hotel. Enjoy the spoils of Victory, my Love.”
The nervous young man did his best to appear confident before his aunt, his chin pushed up as his eyes stared at the door of the locker room. Still, despite his best efforts, his aunt noticed the shaking hand and the beads of sweat forming on his brow. She was kind enough not to mention them, the smirk on her face unchained as she turned and slithered away.
He took in a deep breath, licking his lips as he prepared himself. He pushed the door in and stepped through as his eyes fell upon his “prize”. A handsome redhead who stood a little taller then Sutler, lean and solid. To his side was a petite blonde with a cherubic face and ruby red lipstick.
“..It’s good to be a winner.”
Six Time Academy was a little bit of a shit hole in a lot of ways. It was inside an old church, it was drafty, the plumbing was awful and it wasn’t exactly state of the art. That wasn’t to say it was a bad gym, it just wasn’t the kind of gym you’d expect attached to the name Mike Best or the Best family in general.
..or maybe it fit way too well.
More recently there had been a massive influx of people looking to receive training. Maybe it was due to the rising popularity of High Octane Wrestling which was entering its second year of activity in the Refueled Era. Perhaps it was due to an over budgeted marketing department that was papering the locals with ads to join.
Whatever the reason the bodies flooded into Six Time Academy filling the gym with meat heads and thugs from every walk of life it seemed. Some even looked like they might have been homeless before they were able to suddenly afford a membership at Six Time.
All of these things would come to make sense of course and if you haven’t put it together yet I’m sure we’ll get there together.
For the past three hours Sutler had been hard at work hitting the weights. Unlike his Uncle or even his father, Max Kael, Sutler didn’t have the bulk or power attributed to a lot of High Octane’s top tier talent. Instead the young man ran on the slender side of things with a focus on bursts of speed and flexibility. Much like his biological father, Shane Reynolds, the Son of Scions was much more at home at high speeds, out pacing and out maneuvering his opponents.
To that end much of his training was focused around keeping that lean, tightly packed muscle, both in his core and legs that would allow for explosive power. Against his opponent this week it would be important to keep that advantage.
Darin Matthews was not a new face in High Octane Wrestling even if he had undergone something of a rebranding in the last year. A veteran of the ring, the former Zion shared a style similar to Sutler with a focus on traditional wrestling moves with a little of Matthew’s flair added.
In his mind Sutler was running the tapes through his head, each attack Darin favored, how he prefered to counter, which turnbuckle he liked to use the most. Information was a weapon to Sutler and what he lacked in experience he would need to make up for in guile and cunning. Still, even as he had powered through his work out a thought gnawed at the back of his mind.
“..you are the Son…”
Sutler’s head snapped up as he spied a slender face, jaw slightly ajar as a pair of brown and almond eyes staring in disbelief at him.
“Excuse me?” the Son in question asked in confusion as the Korean man dropped to his knees, bowing his head down.
“You are the Son!’ he then exclaimed loudly causing the others on the gym floor to stop, turning to look in his direction. Sutler’s eyes widened as he saw the man drop to the ground before he felt all the eyes on them. He quickly moved to the bowing man pulling him back up to his feet.
“Woah, woah, come on, man, why do you gotta do that?”
He flashes a nervous smile at the others who are staring before returning his attention to the unexpected fan.
“You are the Son of Max Kael, the Lord Supreme Dictator.” the man replies, averting his eyes though he does seem to be in shock that he has been physically touched by Sutler.
“Uh.. sure I am but that.. Doesn’t..”
Sutler pauses as he realizes that everyone on the gym floor has stopped what they are doing. Silence washes over the two of them as Sutler takes a step back, thoughts of Darin Matthews pushed deep into the back of his mind as he felt a sudden surge of fear. The mob of maybe thirty men and women all seemed to crowd together, their full attention turned toward the center of their worship, Sutler Reynolds-Kael.
“Guys, look, I don’t want any trouble.”
“Trouble? No, no!” the original man shakes his head, his hands held up as if to indicate that he means no harm. “We are here to make sure you are safe. You are precious to me.. To us!”
The others nod enthusiastically, strange, far away smiles washing over the faces of the collective that has amassed before Sutler. This did nothing to dissuade any of the concerns and fears that Sutler held as he stared at the collection of strangers in front of him that seemed to believe he was precious to them.
“That’s a little much.” Sutler bluntly stated with a look of disbelief on his face. “How can I be previous to you, I don’t even know any of you.”
A chuckle echoes through the group as they trade knowing looks. With a shake of his head the Korean man takes a step toward Sutler, a smile spread like jelly across his face.
“But we know you! And just like we served the Father, we will serve the Son because you..YOU!” another disquieting chuckle escaped the man as he clasped his hands together. “You are Sutler Reynolds-Kael, First of your Name.”
“Long Will You Maim!”
The collective in front of Sutler spoke in one voice with one will before they raised their left hand to cover their left eyes. The Son of Scions suddenly became so much more aware of just how much shit his father left behind for him to deal with.
Max Kael was never a very thankful person.
For example he was never thankful for Darin Matthews.
In any other place you’d be a hell of a talent, Darin. That’s not a shot at your skill, it’s more of a testimonial to what it takes to succeed in High Octane Wrestling. You’ve proven it yourself, you have six thousand nine hundred and fifty six titles from every sideshow attraction desperate enough to bring in a recognizable name.
On the road the name of Darin Matthews has some respect on it.
I know you don’t really ever get shown that respect in HOW, I know you’ve had to force that kind of respect from the guys and that it hasn’t always worked out well for you. My father hated you, Darin. He hated you for a myriad of reasons, some of them I am sure were not even real but I just want to focus on one reason because I think it’s important.
He didn’t think you had any worth.
There was nothing about you that seemed to serve any purpose other then to self-aggrandize and wander around HOW like some worthless child. You were incapable of following any of his advice, wasted opportunity after opportunity and failed to improve. The best, most interesting parts about your life were created by a time traveling lunatic so, yeah, it is safe to say my father despised you.
Where is the value in Darin Zion to a man like Max Kael.
What did he ever get out of defeating Darin Zion? My Father was a Hall of Famer and a Legend by the time you rolled into High Octane Wrestling trying to be the next Mike Best. Every time Max Kael stepped into the ring with Darin Matthews or Zion or whatever you were calling yourself the only person who was risking something was Max Kael.
He hated facing you for that reason. He hated the idea that if you did manage to defeat him he would lose a massive chunk of his viability and you would squander it like a heroin addict after winning the lottery. He hated that you never grew, never changed, never became a better opponent. Man, did he think you were a pathetic curtain jerker who should have been fired years ago but for some reason Grandpa has a soft spot for whatever stale, overcooked toast is rattling between your ears.
But hey, look on the upside, my Dad is dead and you’re alive so what the fuck does he know, right?
Not me though, Darin.
I see you, I get you and I appreciate you.
See, unlike my Father, I haven’t accomplished anything in High Octane Wrestling. I don’t have an impressive series of wins, a collection of titles and records with my name on it, I don’t have a Hall of Fame watch.. Well.. actually I do but I had to dig it out of Max Kael’s urn so I’m not sure if it counts.
You are one of the many, many Rites of Passage I get to take here in High Octane Wrestling. You’re my Gabby Jay, a little Super! Punch-Out reference to all you old ass mother fuckers out there, and I fully intend to get the most I can get out of it. I won’t just ignore you or brush you off, Darin, I won’t write off our match as little more than a filler match or an opener.
I’m going to defeat Darin Matthews and take my first step toward reaching the #1 Ranked position in High Octane Wrestling.
Just like my Father.
Just like my Uncle.
I have loftier goals then opening shows, Darin. I’m not going to wait around for my big break, I’m going to take it each and every time I walk down to that ring. Unlike you I’m not going to ruin my name to the point where I have to change it to catch a break.
It’s fine though, Darin, we need guys like you in the world. We need people to work at McDonalds so poor people can afford to feed their families. We need janitors to clean the shit out of clogged toilets. We need losers so that there can be winners and that, Darin, is your value, the value that Max Kael could never see in you.
This is not to say that you are not talented, as I said at the top of all of this, outside of High Octane Wrestling, where the talent gets thin, you’re actually pretty dangerous. Hell, even in High Octane Wrestling you are dangerous in your own special way.
That said I’m going to show you how dangerous I am. I’m going to show you what you could have been ten years ago if you had my talent and skill. I’m going to show you why I didn’t have to spend months working mud shows before I stepped into a High Octane Wrestling ring.
And afterward I’ll have done something that my father, Max Kael, never could.
Get some value out of defeating Darin Zion-Matthews.