Strength in Numbers

Strength in Numbers

Posted on September 8, 2023 at 11:55 pm by Xander Azula

Nationwide Arena
Columbus, Ohio

“I knew I shouldn’t have come to Columbus.”

We find ourselves just outside the home of Chaos 41, not long after the explosive final moments of a show that saw Xander Azula put out a call to action for his REAL World’s Championship, only to have that answered resoundingly by Steve Solex. We see Xander still very much bandaged up, holding a comically large ice pack to his head after the assault by STRONK to close out what fans saw inside the ringside area…but here, we see a man still shaken by the audacity a certain Hall of Famer had to attack him backstage as he looks up at his crew standing beside him.

“Didn’t I say as much? I specifically remember thinking this was a bad idea, I could’ve made my challenge from the comfort of home, but no…someone around here said going to Columbus to address my enemies directly would be more beneficial.”

Xander shifts his focus between Vagn Dahl, Mysti, and Thomas Crowne, before pressing on.

“And which one of you tried to lie to me, hmm?”

Without a moment’s hesitation, Dahl and Mysti point their finger–and the blame–squarely at Crowne, who looks taken aback by the betrayal.

“Hey! I was just trying to motivate you, Xander. There are folks in that locker room that seem to have zero respect for you, and calling them out from a pre-taped promo was not going to cut it.”

This causes the Fighter’s eyes to widen, a slight smirk on his face as if impressed by the gumption shown by his most junior recruit.

“Oh, is that so Thomas? I hope you remember that next month when you face Kenny Freeman in Fuerza. Let’s see if you can handle THAT challenge, sir.”

Thomas just shakes his head with a sigh as Xander continues.

“Now, let’s get the hell out of here. I wanna catch my flight and get home, before somebody else decides to come jump me.”

With that, the group take hold of their gear and make their leave as we fade to black, left to wonder what will happen when Xander Azula takes on John Sektor for the HOTv Championship next week.

Hello, John.

Welcome back from your what, second retirement in the past year or so? Third? You’ve come a long way from trying to take Adam Ellis under your wing, that’s for sure. Making your grand return once more to HOW, picking up the High Octane Television Championship against Shane Reynolds just three weeks ago. You’re a hard working man, Sektor, and I can respect that…but that’s as far as the respect goes.

See, one thing you’ve held true to in the past two years that I’ve been in this company is that you are not above doing whatever it takes to prove yourself loyal to Lee Best, regardless of what form his Alliance might take. Every time I see Lee enjoy himself, it puts a sour taste in my mouth…and I’m finally spitting it out the only way I know how.

By going after each and every cog of the Machine until I can tear the whole thing apart from the inside out. You can thank Steve Solex for making sure that mission is clear, thanks to his attack on me last week. As a REAL champion I now when it’s time to fight, and the time is officially upon us. I’ll deal with him in due time, but right now my eyes are set on you…and that HOTv title in your possession.

I’m a man out for revenge, you see, and while a pound of flesh would normally suffice for this Fighter, I just can’t be complacent with that anymore…not when I’ve got the likes of Benny Newell calling me a nerd for no other reason than my mindset is not in line with those who follow Lee’s orders. Rather than take potshots at a man who might not fight me outside of XPRO, however, I will simply let my fists and feet do the talking. I’m a Fighter, not a nerd.

Big Match John handled his business in Columbus last week, proving that there was no strength in numbers when Brian Hollywood and Scott Stevens both had a chance to take the man off his throne so early in his reign. But unlike Hollywood and Stevens, the only numbers I find strength in are the amount of punches I’m laying into that skull of yours…the number of times I can punt you square in the gut while you’re down…and the three count I hear from the referee when I pin your shoulders flush against the canvas.

Because the moment Solex cracked that steel chair against my back, I realized exactly what needed to be done. I remembered who the hell I was…and that’s a real fuckin’ problem for you when we head to Charleston Civic Center. Those country roads are taking me home alright, right to a victory over the Golden Standard himself…and that really is the place I belong. West Virginia’s about to bear witness to a massacre at Chaos 42, and when it’s all said and done I’ll be at the top of the mountain as the new High Octane Television Champion.

Let’s see what a man of your ilk can really do when up against a Fighter ready to take what belongs to him. That title, the honor of putting down another Hall of Famer in this business, and a heaping helping of respect as I start to reveal all the flaws in the Machine.

Might wanna consider bringing some Best Alliance pals along for the ride, see what strength you can get in those numbers…before I Charleston Chew you up and spit you the hell out.

Academia Fuerza
Long Beach, CA

“You’re damn right I’m mad. I got rattled right in the BACK with that chair, and you know I’m gonna get mine the next time I see Solex…that’s not a threat, that’s a damn promise.”

It’s been a couple days since Chaos 41 but Xander Azula is still fuming over what transpired, something he’s made quite clear to his class of trainees at the tail end of a particularly grueling session. For over an hour this man has made the group run laps around the academy, made them do basic drills on the wrestling mats, and a ton of calisthenics…and all for the sake of getting them prepared for the hardest part of their career. The crushing realization that not every student is going to make it past this stage. It’s a lesson Xander came to grips with, and as he approaches the coming battle against John Sektor it becomes clear that he may in fact be taking some of that frustration out on his students in the process.

Xander is interrupted before he can go on a full rant about the business by the voice of fellow instructor Axel the Shark, quickly dismissing the class for the day before confronting the Fighter on his choice of training method, a gruff tone in his voice as he speaks.

“What the hell is wrong with you, Xander? You can’t put these guys through the wringer just ‘cause you’re angry, man.”

“Why the hell not, Sharky boy?” Xander reacts with a glare at the masked trainer, never breaking eye contact once as he presses on. “If I can’t get these guys as angry as I am they’ll never learn…and then they’re gonna get torn up by this business. You’ve seen first hand what it does to guys like us…we can’t let the ones coming up suffer.”

Axel just shakes his head at this, disappointed in the attitude his friend has been showing as he responds.

“If you’re that angry about Solex, and Lee, and that whole crew in HOW, you gotta train yourself harder. Don’t take it out on the students. Get YOUR act together, sort YOUR mess out, and get ready to take YOUR frustrations out on the people that actually deserve it.”

Xander pauses, letting that sink in before reluctantly nodding in agreement.

“Sektor,” Xander finally replies. “And after him, anyone else who stands in my way of getting to Steve Solex.”

“That’s the ticket. Speaking of Solex…you DID tell everyone you were defending that title of yours next Fuerza show, is that still the plan?”

“Damn right it is,” replies Xander with a nod. “If he wants to prove himself a REAL man like he keeps saying he is, he can get the hell out of his comfort zone and face me here for the REAL World’s Championship. I’ll show him exactly what his skills mean when he can’t get the help of the Best Alliance.”

Axel simply nods in acknowledgement, stepping away as the Fighter turns his attention to a nearby punching bag. Xander’s face droops slightly, before turning into a snarl as he approaches the bag…taking a right jab at it, followed by a left hook. He repeats the process over and over, trying to let out the pent-up frustration the only way he knows how before he has to face the oncoming storm of John Sektor. Xander finally tires himself out, letting out a heavy sigh before walking away as we fade to black.