Johnny Boy’s Wrasslin’ School
Charleston, South Carolina
The Lariat happened in the blink of an eye, Clay had spun into it. Setting his opponent free from one of his boots as he flipped end over end to the side of the ring. The Monster from Plainview was scarily quick over a short distance. He sprinted over onto his opponent, and brought his massive bear paw’s down over and over again. A slender man clapped and shouted as Clay’s first two blows came crashing down across Clay’s young opponent’s face.
As the slender man made eye contact with Clay, the warning signs had already went off in his brain. This was a full blown emergency and he dove into the ring. He hadn’t seen that kind of fury possess his giant friend since he was a young man. He couldn’t stop Clay from delivering four more teeth rattling shots to the young blonde boy’s skull. By the time he was able to stop the Behemoth his black and red striped jumpsuit was covered in the young man’s gore.
The Behemoth sat with his knees pinned to his opponent’s shoulders, his hands, chest, and beard covered with his own grisly work. His jaw was clenched, his eyes were wide and determined. Through the shrieking ringing in his ears he finally made out a familiar voice screaming.
“STOP CLAY! HE’S JUST A FUCKIN’ KID!” The slim man in the jumper shouted as he grabbed The Monster’s arm. Clay swatted him away like an annoying insect. The man in his mid fifties careened across the now macabrely decorated canvas. He scrambled to his feet, the panic of his friend actually committing a murder racing through his mind. He heard another smack, but he wasn’t watching The Behemoth’s work. He charged in tackling Clay, at least giving the other people sitting around the ring enough time to scramble in and stop Clay.
Clay struggled, wildly flailing, it took seven men to hold The Behemoth down. The slender older man sat on Clay’s chest hugging him. His head buried in the crook of his neck, whispering in his ear, pleading.
“Clay… It’s okay buddy, it’s over… you can stop now… it’s over…”
He repeated the phrase twenty times as soothingly as he could, taking a page out of Big Tex Robert Byrd’s playbook, he ran his hand through Clay’s hair as easily as he could. The Monster finally calmed down, the shallow adrenaline fueled breathing stopped, replaced with progressively deeper and calmer breaths. Each one brought The Behemoth more and more back to reality. Finally the man pulled his head from Clay’s shoulder and grabbed him by the face.
“You back with me?” The man asked, as he looked for the return of his friend in his pale blue eyes. He tried not to look at his blood stained beard, he looked past the tragic scene painted across the canvas. He looked for any human response from The Demon of The Plains.
“Get them the fuck off me,” Clay said through gritted teeth. The elderly man in the jumpsuit nodded as he stood up, he quickly took the men off of Clay’s left arm. Clay pulled the arm in close to him. The shooting pain in the joint had helped bring Clay back. As the men climbed off of Clay they swarmed their downed friend. The young man had managed to crawl out of the ring in the commotion and was now laying on the floor.
The bloody smear across the mat, and the tooth in the corner were the only evidence of the scene which had taken place in the ring. The small man in the jumper slid out of the ring and quickly packed Clay’s bag. He left out a black towel and a black t-shirt for his enormous friend. He knew the building was a powder keg, the smallest spark could set The Demon from The Plains off, the tiniest remark, anything.
“LEARN TO WALK IT BEFORE YA FUCKIN’ TALK IT!”
“Son of a bitch…” he muttered as he sped up the process, throwing the black and red High Octane bag across his shoulder. While picking up Clay’s cowboy hat with the other hand. He scampered over to The Behemoth, pulling him away just as Clay sent a loogie flying through the air into the crowd of men surrounding the young man.
“We gotta fuckin’ go Clay,” the man said as he shoved the towel and shirt into Clay’s chest. With his now free arm he hooked Clay’s right arm, he was conscious enough to avoid the left arm. The two men hustled their way out of the beautiful new wrestling school they had just sullied. As they hit the parking lot, and the South Carolina humidity the man finally had enough gumption to ask Clay a question.
“What the fuck happened in there?”
“Kid disrespected me Claude, the little shit disrespected me…”
McCalister Field House
Charleston, South Carolina
The Citadel’s “Dawg Pound” had been surprisingly quiet for a college campus’ workout facilities. The normal hustle and bustle of a division one sports program would have had graduate transfers and students who lived off campus crowding the facility. The Citadel being a military school kept all the cadets on campus during the year, which meant during the summer most of them returned home.
He’d only seen a few athletes and coaches milling around the building. He’d had a particularly bulky graduate transfer spot him while he worked out. The program’s facilities were nothing like the University of Texas’ but they had done the job. The Behemoth exited the sports complex, waiving to the EPU guards as he walked by. A few nods to the show support staff unloading, and Clay found himself face to face with “The Coach.”
The now dented rear panel reflected the sun into The Monster’s eyes. He approached it, checking the cables to make sure they were secured into their outlets correctly by his friend on the audio team. He hoped he had remembered to leave the air conditioning on, the blistering sun at noon in the south east with the added humidity was brutal. It wasn’t a dry Texas heat like The Behemoth was used to.
Clay entered the motor home through the side door, the cool air as he opened the door caused his arm hair to stand on end. He tossed his black and #97RED High Octane Wrestling gym bag through the door, then hunched himself over and entered himself. As he made his way in, he immediately went to reach for the radio at the front of the camper when he heard a voice behind him.
“It was hotter than the Devil’s Dick when I got in here…” The sound of the voice brought a friendly smirk to The Behemoth’s face. It had been four months since he had heard the voice.
“Who the hell let yer old ass in here?” Clay said with a laugh, turning to see his old friend sitting in the only non-factory installed chair Clay kept in the RV.
“You left it unlocked.” The two friends shared another laugh and a brief hug. Claude pat Clay on the back twice as the two separated. “Been awhile, really like what you’ve done with the place. The family photos over here are great.”
Claude said as he pointed to the pictures pinned to the bulletin board in the RV. Clay shrugged his shoulders, slightly embarrassed that someone else had seen his obsession. “Just need the extra reminder sometimes…”
Claude rolled his eyes at The Behemoth’s answer. He’d seen the obsessiveness take his friend throughout the years. The wars the smallest perceived slights started in the wrestling business always ended in bloodshed. “I told you it was a bad idea to come here.”
Claude pulled the chair back up, his hips ached and he needed to sit to relieve the pressure. Clay ignored his friend’s statement. The words the two shared four months ago kept him away from the conversation. Changing the subject The Behemoth asked “So what brought ya ta Charleston?”
“The fuck do you think brought me to Charleston? You’re just having the most important match of your career, against Max Kael’s adopted psychopath of a son… I’m here to help…” Claude continued on. “Plus I heard you were living in a fucking RV.”
“Funny.” Clay said with a chuckle, spinning the captain’s chair at the front of the motor home around and having a seat. “Can ya hand me that,” Clay asked pointing to the high end sling on the ground beside Claude.
“Farthington really did a number on you, huh?” Claude’s concern at seeing the sling was apparent. He looked over at Clay, worried about his friend. Claude was like a second father figure for The Monster from Plainview. He’d taken care of Clay when he first hit the road, showing him the ropes like Clay’s father had shown him. The business was circular like that, each generation showing the next one the ropes. Until recently he had been Clay’s most trusted confidant, but he was left behind at the school in Texas to train a new generation of men at The Byrd Ranch.
“Ya, shootin’ pains stopped though, figured I needed ta work it out a bit ta keep it from gettin’ stiff,” Clay said knowing the response. Clay had known Claude his entire life, the two men shared a bond like brothers. Claude could see the pain on his friends face as he labored to put his arm into the sling.
“Didn’t help did it? Ya ain’t quite a spring chicken anymore Clay,” Claude let the jab hit The Behemoth before he smirked. His own body had given up on him a decade and a half ago. He had never taken care of himself the way Clay had though.
“I still ain’t as old as you…”
The two men stopped and laughed, it had been awhile since The Behemoth had engaged in a truly friendly conversation. The Alliance were associates, they weren’t friends. The group could barely tolerate each other, let alone consider each other hermano’s as Sektor would say. He missed it, the light hearted jabs, the smiles, the laughing.
“So what’s on the docket tonight?” Claude asked after finally composing himself.
“Was gonna rest up, relax a bit…” Clay said pointing to his arm in the sling.
“Before the biggest match of your life?” Claude questioned his friend. It was unusual for Clayton Byrd to ever consider relax and rest, finding the sling on the ground was the normal. Finding a sleeping Behemoth in an RV wasn’t close to what he expected. After hearing his friend was living in a motorhome he had begun to worry about Clay. Clay shrugged his shoulders and winced as his elbow began to seize up from the work out.
“You have to keep that thing stretched out Clay, I know just the thing that’ll help it out…” Claude said with a sly grin. This idea was also going to improve the big mans spirits, hopefully put him back into the right place mentally.
“Whaddya got in mind?” Clay knew Claude was up to something. The two had a borderline telepathic connection at this point in their lives.
“Remember when you were first getting started and we used to go to a local school to make an extra hundred bucks wrestling the locals?” Claude’s plan had come to fruition. He hoped the nostalgia kick was enough to motivate Clay.
“Ya already booked me fer it didn’t ya? Fuckin’ carny shit…” Clay shook his head as his old friend scooped up his gym bag heading for the door.
“You know it! My old friend Johnny has a ‘wrasslin’ school down here, told him I could get The Best Alliance to come out!” Claude shouted as he exited into the South Carolina heat. He looked behind him to make sure The Monster was on his way out as well.
“One problem, ya don’t look the part,” Clay said pointing to Claude’s clothes. The Behemoth held up one enormous finger and walked off towards a High Octane Wrestling semi truck. He emerged a few moments later laughing with a man carrying something in his good arm.
“The fuck is that?” Claude shouted as Clay approached him, throwing the clothes into Claude’s arms.
“Best Alliance jump suit, courtesy of Miracle Enterprises… don’t take the tags off… Harrison will get all pissed if we don’t bring them back,” Clay said with a smirk as Claude ran up into the RV to change. A few moments later he emerged, clad head to toe in Best Alliance gear.
“If I had a pair of sunglasses I might be able to pass as Jiles…” Claude said pulling his hair back. The two men laughed, Clay following Claude to a rental car.
“Got a pair of Jiles glasses in the front pocket of the gym bag…” Claude spun around looking shocked at his friend.
“For what?” He asked while laughing.
“Borrowed ‘em last time Mike Best concussed my ass…”
Johnny Boy’s Wrasslin’ School
Charleston, South Carolina
Clay had a small crowd of students around him while Claude worked over the wrestling school owner. The two argued on what ‘The Best Alliance’ meant while they talked about the fee. The Behemoth had already entered the ring in the gym and started the routine. He’d spar with the kids for a bit, probably knock a few loopy with some lariats and they’d walk off with a pocket full of money. The owner of the school would get a great story to tell recruits, everyone would be happy.
Clay played with his first opponent. Grappling with the kid, performing some fundamental technical wrestling with the young man. After a few minutes Clay sent the kid into the ropes, and sent him into the shadow realm with a spear. The crowd of students shouted and laughed at their friend who rolled out of the ring holding his ribs. One of the kids, blonde hair, good build, was laughing especially hard.
“HAHA! Guy who lives in an RV just blew you up!” Clay rolled his eyes and motioned for the next student. A slender kid jumped at Clay from behind hitting him with a double axe handle across the shoulder blades. ’Smart kid’ Clay thought to himself, but after a few moments he had dispatched a nineteen year old with a discus punch. Sending the slender young man flying through the ropes to the outside.
“OOOOH! Teddy Palmer didn’t fall for that one!” The young blonde kid shouted, picking his friend up smiling. The Monster from Plainview once again shrugged it off.
“Hey Johnny, who’s the smart ass?” Claude asked the trainer he had just shaken down for two thousand dollars.
“Dylan Craig, kid wrestles down at The Citadel. Pretty tough, won states here a few times. Dad’s a military guy, made him take a scholarship there instead of South Carolina. What’s up?” Johnny asked, running his hands through his slicked back greasy hair.
“Kid’s got a mouth on him,” the two said as another student went flying. This one having been military press slammed to the floor.
“Come on! This guy isn’t shit! Just a bunch of promises he can’t keep!” The kid said sarcastically to his friends. He sent another kid into the ring, this one exited in under ten seconds. A simple right armed half lariat sent him skidding out of the ring.
“Big fella’s gettin’ agitated… Might have to call it early…” Claude stated as he clapped and cheered Clay on.
“Don’t you fuck me Claude, I ain’t giving you another dime.” Claude hadn’t intended it to sound like a shake down, he’d noticed Clay flexing his hand into a fist over and over again.
“Just go in there and grab that left arm! Farthington almost ripped it off!” The young man egged his friends on. He wasn’t nearly stupid enough to climb in the ring with The Monster from Plainview.
Before he could turn around his friend was back at his feet. As the next comment was about to leave his lips Clay shouted. “C’mon blondie, get the fuck up here.”
The alarms were going off in Claude’s head, but he had known Johnny for the better part of twenty years. He knew this school meant everything to him, and that the two thousand wasn’t a small amount for his friend. Claude stepped up to the ring to try to calm The Behemoth’s ire. “C’mon kid, the big fella asked for you.”
Claude looked at The Monster with a smile, and a wink. Clay nodded, as the two began to wrestle. It was rudimentary, he let the school’s best student put him in a head lock, let the kid save a little face. Then the kid transitioned.
The alarms turned to a red alert as the kid tried to apply the Sutler Effect to Clay, “Look I’m Sutler Kael!” The collegiate wrestler shouted, right before he was thrown across the ring like a rag doll. Claude’s eyes went wide. He heard Clay under his breath “This fuckin’ little shit…”
Claude closed his eyes and said a prayer.
Ya think yer funny, don’t ya kid?
The endless stream of memos, the endless stream of pokin’ and proddin’… it must be hysterical ta be behind a keyboard chucklin’ away with yer make believe job as director of Human Resources.
Ya do know what yer pokin’ and proddin’ though right?
It didn’t take a twenty four hour snuff film marathon ta turn me inta a monster Sutler. It didn’t take gettin’ fuckin’ kidnapped by my family, it didn’t take some Cthulhu Lovecraft cult bullshit ta make me an enormous mean angry fuckin’ man.
I was born like this Sutler.
I was born fuckin’ angry. I killed my own mother when I exited the womb, the first time I bloodied a kid’s nose I was fuckin’ three. That little son of a bitch took my toy hammer, and I took it back and beat the fuck out of him with it. I’ve had a burnin’ fuckin’ anger in me since I was a child. That thirst? That fuckin’ hunger? It’s my best friend, it’s driven me my entire life. It’s pushed me every step of the way, my rage has been my fuel.
And I have a lot of fuckin’ fuel kid.
I’ve been ridiculed since I came ta High Octane, first it was my fuckin’ voice, then it was my hat, then it was the duster. I’ve been poked and prodded, I’ve been told I’m not good enough ta win anythin’ ‘round here. Yet I keep winnin’ kid, I keep findin’ myself in positions like this. Ya wanna shit on the fuckin’ enhancement talent I train wrecked? Ya wanna say everythin’ has been easy fer me? This is High Octane Sutler, there’s no such thing as a free meal. Ya should know that better than anyone kid, I mean Bobby put yer shoulders on the mat fer a three count.
This ain’t a fuckin’ game kid. This isn’t where ya and the Fuse kid get ta handle yer beef with a game of Mario Kart, this is gonna be a fuckin’ battle Sutler. This is gonna be a fuckin’ war. I’ve invested my blood, sweat and tears inta this fer over fifteen fuckin’ years. Fifteen years ta get me ta this point. I’ve waited fifteen god damned years fer a world championship match. My entire career I’ve tied myself up in blood feuds fer everythin’ but a fuckin’ strap that said I’m the best in the fuckin’ world.
Now I get ta step inta ring fer that #97RED one with some cocky punk shit who plays make believe monster. Do ya play it with yer adopted sister when the lights go out in yer stupid Arkham mansion bullshit? A kid that’s enraged me by ridiculin’ everythin’ I fuckin’ care ‘bout. And I get ta take the one fuckin’ thing he cares ‘bout.
Do ya have any idea how fuckin’ happy that makes Sutler?
I get the chance ta take my pain out on ya. Every bit of furry, every bit of ridicule I’ve endured over the last month and a half. I’m goin’ ta use it, I’m goin’ ta let that hunger fuckin’ consume me in that ring and I’m gonna fight like a fuckin’ wild man. I’m gonna fight like The Behemoth I am, the fuckin’ Monster I am, the fuckin’ Devil I am, and I’m gonna take yer fuckin’ precious lil title from you.
‘Cause that’s all I know Sutler. All I know is the fuckin’ violence, I’ve lived it my entire life, from the gridiron ta this fuckin’ career. Every moment of my life has been one type of vicious form of destruction or ‘nother. And I’m gonna bring ya the violence, ya think all the videos they made ya watch changed ya? Sutler, what I’m ‘bout ta do ta you belongs right beside it. When I grab yer fuckin’ skull and squeeze till yer fuckin’ forehead caves in, I’ll make sure Mina gets a fuckin’ DVD of it. I’ll even make sure they paint yer likeness right fer the Kael hall. Lookin’ like a broken jar of fuckin’ Ragu.
I’m gonna ruin all of Mina’s bullshit plans, I’m gonna ruin yer stupid dead adopted fathers plans, I’m gonna ruin fuckin’ everythin’. I’m gonna ruin my revenge ‘gainst Ted, I’m gonna ruin it all fer that fuckin’ strap and I don’t fuckin’ care. ‘Cause I fuckin’ want to Sutler, and yer one hundred and eighty seven pound ass can’t fuckin’ stop me.
I’m goin’ ta end yer life because it will bring me fuckin’ pleasure. I’m goin’ ta take yer title because it’ll make me happy. I’m goin’ ta do it all because yer grandfather put this plan in motion.
I’m goin’ ta kill ya at Refueled Sutler Reynolds- Kael, and I don’t mean like yer little bullshit seven year old piss pant threats. Actual fuckin’ murder. Because I’m an actual fuckin’ monster.
See Ya Soon Kid,
Get that #97RED belt ready.
Tell Mina the red lipstick makes her look like a fuckin’ whore.
I asked Rum, he said Lee hates Skittles. Bad choice.