The Reluctant Champion

The Reluctant Champion

Posted on September 1, 2023 at 11:02 am by John Sektor




The Gold Standard opened his eyes and found himself in the centre of the ring. He was surrounded by thousands of people, all of them on their feet, cheering and chanting his name. Except it wasn’t his name they were chanting, it was Kost-off…Kost-off…He looked to his left and saw his opponent waiting for him: Zach Kostoff, the rookie son of Legendary wrestler and brawler, Chris Kostoff.

The champion felt a sudden chill of fear roll over him. This was his first HOTV title defence and it should have been easy. He was the better wrestler, the more experienced fighter, Zach’s skill level didn’t even come close to matching his own. He shouldn’t even be in the same ring as him, yet there was something about Zach Kostoff that made him uneasy, a feeling of dread that had built since the first time he laid eyes on the younger wrestler. He looked tiny out there on the mat, dwarfed by the ropes surrounding him, but something about him screamed danger. It wasn’t just the fact that he was the son of a legendary, feared brawler; there was an iota of doubt in Sektor’s mind that told him tonight would be different from all other nights.

Fans of professional wrestling loved stories. What better story was there than a young rookie besting a legendary Hall of Famer and beating him for his title? Sektor had to ignore all of that, because they were only stories, works of fiction. The facts were that this should be a run of the mill title defence to get him off the mark. All he had to do was stay calm and composed, keep everything simple and soon the task would be complete and he could move on.

He tried to move forward to engage his opponent, but his feet were stuck in place. His first step toward the center of the ring caused a crackling sound and his legs disappeared beneath him up to his hips. He panicked, wondering what had happened to him. Confused, he looked down at his legs to figure out what was wrong. They were still there, so he verified that they were moving by wiggling his toes against the canvas. He then examined his two golden knee braces for any cracks or other obvious problems but found none. The lights of the arena sparkled off them as they were polished to a mirror’s finish. The light indicator was green, so there was no reason why he shouldn’t be moving.

He looked up to see his opponent but saw only a clenched firing towards him like Thor’s hammer. He tried to bring up his hands to defend himself but, just like his legs, there were paralysed. He was helpless as the fist hit him square in the mouth and soon he was down on the canvas. He slowly moved his hand away from his mouth which was throbbing as though it had it’s own heartbeat. A single drop of blood splashed into the middle of his hand and a halo of tiny ripples formed around it, their edges fanning out like small waves hitting the shore.

He’d felt that punch many, many, times before. It carried a signature that he could never forget. It was a Kostoff punch, and he knew from that moment that he was truly in a fight!

He looked up at the crowd, trying to find some reassurance, but instead saw only an expectant hush, as if everyone was holding their breath in anticipation of the match.

His opponent stood over him and all he could see was a blurry silhouette of a shirtless man with blond locks. He closed his eyes tightly, trying to clear them. He had to win this, he had to prove to everyone that he still had what it took to be the HOTV Champion. He had to show them that he wasn’t the lazy coward that they were claiming him to be. He had to find the courage to fight, no matter how intimidating his opponent may be.

John Sektor looked back to Zach Kostoff and saw a quiet confidence in his eyes, a determination that made him more than a little uneasy. Sektor had always been a passionate, driven wrestler, but he was no longer sure if his style would be enough to win against this younger, more agile opponent. His body was failing him before the bell even rang. 

He looked up again and his eyes were beginning to focus. The silhouette before him toned down and transformed into the man’s father, Chris Kostoff. His heart pained with fear and he cowered back against the ropes as Kostoff smirked at him, almost pitying him in his eyes. Kostoff laughed gleefully, dropping to one knee so that he hovered close to Sektor.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard your man-pleaser quiet,” he huffed. “Get your ass on your feet, boi!”

Sektor’s body was rendered helpless, like a marionette dangling from strings as he watched in paralysing fear. The most dangerous man in HOW history yanked him to his feet with ease, the sound of bones cracking filling the air like sinister music. Sektor felt his body flail and twist involuntarily, like a rag doll being thrown around by a giant child. Next thing he knew, he was looking at the canvas again, this time between Kostoff’s legs before being somersaulted up onto his shoulders. His world spun around him, like he had been hurled into a raging tornado. He could feel his stomach lurching inside of him as he fought desperately for breath.

His stomach then fired into his mouth like a cannonball as the lights in the rafters flashed further and further away like the lights on a highway. He was going down and down hard, a victim once again of no remorse..


He opened his eyes and was surprised to find he was surrounded by a sea of red. He was floating in an endless pool of water, unable to breath. The walls of his chest burned as the pressure grew larger and larger until he was forced to send frothy masses of red bubbles cascading from his mouth. He tried to scream for help but his words were garbled.Blind panic set in as he found himself swallowing and aspirating the red water. His heartbeat grew louder and louder in his ears. 



His head burst from the water in the hot tub, taking in air hungrily as he was only moments from drowning. He was coughing and spluttering up mouthfuls of water that had accumulated in his lungs. The back of his throat and nose burned from inhaling soapy water and his brain was still not fully awake, causing his primitive survival instincts to kick in. 

It took him a good while to settle down, catching his breath as he surveyed his surroundings. The dream, or nightmare, was still fresh in his mind as he examined the hot tub, the almost empty bottle of whisky and the TV which was tuned to HOTV and showing ‘OFF-AIR.’

His heart thudded in his chest as he tried to control his breathing. He could feel the vibration all through him, whether from the cold water or because his adrenaline was still coursing. The noise of it seemed to drown out every other sense; he hadn’t heard anyone try to rescue him, nor had he noticed when they stopped trying. His head was still empty, unable to realise that the mammal who could have helped him was an Orangutan by the name of Clyde, and so he just sat there and closed his eyes, waiting for everything to come into balance.

He cupped his forehead, trying to think onward. He was beyond confused about what had happened and what the dream was all about. After several minutes, he stood up. His body felt stiff and bruised from lying in the water so long. He carefully stepped out of the tub and pulled a white bath robe off a peg on the wall, wrapping it around himself tightly and hugging his body for extra warmth.

Wet footprints followed him through the house as he made his way to the kitchen. He needed a strong coffee to wake his brain up and shrug off the hangover which he could feel manifesting like a storm cloud. The bright halogen lights hurt his eyes as they came on automatically, sensors picking him up as he entered the kitchen. Everything in the house worked on a SMART system. All he had to do was ask for a coffee machine to kick in and so long as it was loaded up it would begin to pour him a steaming cup of Joe. But this was Sektor, a man who hadn’t left the 80’s and he preferred to do things the old fashioned way. 

The smell of steam and coffee beans filled the kitchen. He swirled around the pot, waiting for the dribble coming from the spout to become a steady stream. As he watched it splash into the glass carafe, he remembered why he ended up in that state, getting too drunk and passing out in the hot tub. The taste of whisky lingered on his palate and churned in his stomach. He shuddered to think how lucky he actually was to have not been found dead in the hot tub, bloated and macerated after days of floating there. The maid wasn’t due to come until two days from now.

What a way to end a legacy – he thought. 

It all started with an interview with Adam Ellis. His former student who he thought still harboured some respect for him. Sektor was fond of Ellis. Yet there he was, listing all of the people who he credited his success and development to, but neglecting to mention Sektor. He felt the anger surging inside him and soon he was reaching for the bottle and ignoring the glass. 

He couldn’t focus on any of the show and was just drinking and dwelling on Adam’s interview. 

Why did he not mention ME!

Did I mean so little to him? 

Was this a deliberate act to try and hurt me? 

These were all questions that ran through Sektor’s head, but what he landed on was that it was a deliberate attempt to bait him. He didn’t know why exactly. Perhaps it was because of the ‘good luck’ message he sent. Had that been enough to derail his focus and cost him his title opportunity? Surely not. Sektor had trained him to be mentally stronger than that. 

As he poured the thick mug of black coffee it dawned on him what the dream was about. Zach Kostoff was another young and up and coming wrestler, just like Adam. For whatever reason he had insecurities about the generation gap. He feared his own age and mortality and hated the thought that he would soon be surpassed by someone younger. 

As he lifted the coffee to his lips he paused, lowering it back down as fear began to swim circles once again in the pit of his stomach. He imagined losing to young Kostoff and what that would mean to his legacy. If he had lost to Shane Reynolds or Rhys Townsend nobody would have batted any eyelid. They’re both Hall of Famers and veterans and very good at what they do. There was no shame in losing to them.

But a rookie? 

The fear turned to anger. Kostoff had no place in the ring with him. He hadn’t earned anything yet here he was with an opportunity to cause such an upset that it could literally end Sektor’s final run before it even truly began. 

He found himself reluctant to face him. Why should he risk defending his championship against someone who hadn’t even earned an opportunity? 


A hotel in Columbus


Sektor attempted to ward off the impending match by occupying himself with time in Lee’s home gym. He plugged in his headphones and maxed out on his workout routine, trying to distract himself from having the same nightmare over and over again. All of the old feelings of self-doubt, insecurity, and paranoia had returned, even though he’d beaten Townsend and Shane Reynolds. He was feeling anxious ahead of his first title defense against a rookie who hadn’t been able to win a single match, but still Sektor was hesitant and felt reluctant to even show up. 

The tinted SUV stopped in front of the nicest hotel in Columbus, which was booked for the Final Alliance and those that Lee preferred. He straightened his black shirt and ran his hands over the sleeves of his white jacket. After making sure he had a firm grip on the HOTV title, he tilted his head from side to side, preparing himself for what lay ahead.

The EPU agents opened the door for Sektor, who was received by a loud cheer from the handful of fans on the steps of the hotel. Apparently, some of his die-hard supporters had found out where he was staying and decided to wait there to get a glimpse of him. He flashed them a smirk over his shoulder as he strolled in proudly with the HOTV championship resting on it. One fan got too close and ended up eating a palm-shaped shove from one of the agents that sent him sprawling down the stairs. However, Sektor pretended not to notice and continued nonchalantly toward the lobby.

Once there, he stopped in his tracks and glanced around casually while ignoring the concierge’s greeting. He subtly nodded towards one of the EPU agents without making eye contact.

“Leave my bags behind the desk would ya? I’ll check in later,” he ordered, fixing his eyes on a particular sign in the hotel lobby. “I’m going to the bar.”

He heard the EPU agent 10-4 his request and proceeded, unaccompanied, into the bar area. To his surprise and delight it appeared almost empty. A couple of business type people sat alone with laptops drinking glasses of wine at tables. 

He placed the HOTV title down neatly on the bar and smiled pleasantly as the bartender approached. 

“What can I get you sir?”

“Two fingers of your finest single malt, por favor,” he requested, showing the bar tender two of his fingers. 

“Absolutely, sir. Would you like me to open a tab on your room?”

“I haven’t checked in yet. You can charge it to my bosses account, Lee Best,” Sektor suggested, glancing at his watch to check the time. 

The bartender pecked away at the keys of his computer, presumably verifying that Lee actually had an active account with the hotel. 

“Can I take your name for reference please, sir?”

Sektor stared at the bartender, trying not to be offended. He was holding a HOTV championship in front of him and yet the man still had no idea who he was.

“Sektor,” he eventually scoffed. 

The bartender thanked him and proceeded to pour him a glass, placing it down in front of him


The Gold Standard let out a slow sigh of relief, looking forward to some light relaxation before tomorrow’s final preparations. He swirled the crystal whisky glass carefully in his right hand, lifting it to his nose and sniffing to see if he could detect all of the notes that it had to offer. Just as he was about to take a sip the bartender broke his concentration;

“What can I get you, man?” 

Sektor turned his head and rolled his eyes as Blaire Moise, Hall of Fame interviewer, stood next to him at the bar. There goes my peace and quiet – he thought. 

“I’ll have a large glass of rose, please.”

“My pleasure, Ms Moise.”

“..yeah, you fucking recognise her don’t ya you little prick,” he mumbled to himself. 

He tried to pretend that he hadn’t noticed her, but was certain she had noticed him. He focussed on drinking his whisky and looking away from her, hoping she’d take the hint and leave him be. 

“Hi, John!”

*sigh* “Blaire..” he groaned. 

“Fancy seeing you here,” she joyfully continued. 

Hmm. Of all the bars in all the world, huh?” he sarcastically replied. 

There was a brief pause as Blaire received her drink and thanked the bartender, taking a little sip before subtly reaching into her purse. Sektor was watching her carefully through his peripheral vision. He could see her placing something down on the bar and soon he was looking at it. It was her phone, the screen lit up with a big red button which presumably was to begin recording. 

“Seen as we are both here, could I get a few words on your title defence tomorrow night?”

“Don’t you ever take a night off?” he growled. 

“C’mon John, you know me. I’m a reporter. As long as there’s a story I’m working..”

He smirked and shook his head. Blaire was one of the few people in the company who he could actually tolerate and probably the only reporter who ever existed that he didn’t completely hate. He was always charmed by her good looks but even more beautiful nature. Like all of the wrestlers over the years, he’d tried multiple times to tempt Blaire into bed, but she was having none of it. Perhaps it was for that reason alone that she was one of the few females who he actually felt some grain of respect for? 

“If you ask me John, this match could use a little hype..”

“Well that’s the point, isn’t it?” he snapped. He couldn’t help it, she had, as always found the magic button to push to provoke a reaction from him. He watched as her brows raised with curiosity and her polished finger creeped towards the record button on her phone. 

He sighed and rolled his eyes, motioning for her to record. 

“You wanna know my thought’s on this match? Fine! I think this match is a fucking joke. Zach Kostoff does NOT deserve this opportunity and I don’t give two fucks who his father is or was. He hasn’t won a single damn match. In fact? He had a shot at this title already against Shane and LOST! I beat Shane, so why the fuck should he get another chance?”

Blaire pouted her mouth, almost nodding in agreement. 

“You seem pretty upset,” she suggested.

“I’m not upset, don’t put words in my mouth,” he warned. “I’m angry. Angry that I’m standing at the top of a division as a champion, yet it’s been opened up to ridicule by allowing bums to compete for the title. Because that’s what he is, he’s a fucking bum! And I sit in front of a camera and tell the world that I’m going to make this division better. That I’m going to make the division stronger than it’s ever been and THIS is how we begin that journey?”

Blaire chose not to prod any further, waiting for Sektor to organically continue talking as she sensed he was on a rant and ready to spill information which may not usually spill. 

“I decide who is worthy of a shot of this title. ME! John Sektor, because I am the fucking champion and it’s my right.”

He fizzed with anger as he took a big mouthful of whisky into his mouth. 

“So what does that mean for tomorrow night?”

Sektor laughed, resting his head on the arm that held the whisky glass and glancing at the interviewer. 

“Sorry sweetheart. But you’re just going to have to wait and find out..”