It was a beautiful day outside the Shinjuku Granbell Hotel, the place that Carmen Jennings had stayed at since we arrived here in Japan. The living conditions aboard the U.S.S. Octane was less than favorable. Sure it was the place where the majority of Team Best Alliance had made their base leading up to War Games but I didn’t feel like living in Rumble at the Rock conditions before the event even got here.
Inside Carmen’s room I was seated in a cushioned wooden chair that was tucked away in the corner. In front of me was a small circular table and on the other side of that was another cushioned wooden chair where Carmen was seated. On the bed is where Madison was seated Indian style as she stared at the television in front of her. She had a controller in her hands and was playing the original Super Mario Bros. game on her NES Classic Edition.
Madison was dressed in a full body Pikachu suit as she shouted while playing the game. Carmen had her cell phone held into the air and pointed towards me. After everything that happened the other day I figured it was time to address some more of my opponents for War Games. Carmen pressed the record button on her phone as I began speaking in her direction.
“It’s common knowledge that the first two men to enter the cage to start the War Games match will be Teddy Palmer for the Local Grapplers. He will face Clay Byrd representing Team Best Alliance and they’ll fight until one man is eliminated and the other is crowned the HOW LSD Champion. After that Jatt Starr and John Sektor will enter the cage to defend the HOW World Tag Team Championship belts against the two men I want to talk about now.”
I paused to lace my fingers together on top of the table in front of me as Madison shouted.
“Hurry up, get that mushroom!”
Madison bounced on the bed a bit and continued to mash the buttons on the controller as I started to speak again.
“Conor Fuse and Dan Ryan are the pair that has been chosen to try and wrestle away the tag titles from the Best Alliance. Now I understand why Conor volunteered for this seeing as how his record in tag team matches isn’t spectacular. He also has an underlying grudge with Jatt Starr. You’re a funny little guy Conor, I’ll give you that but if you honestly think anyone in their right mind believes that you’ve been living in a retirement home on the weekends. All because you wanna put ‘grandpa’ Jatt there someday then you are definitely dumber than you look. Our shows are on Saturday’s and we travel so clearly you’re full of shit.”
“Take that you stupid goomba!” Madison squealed.
“I actually thought you’d never become a member of the Grapplers but here you are fighting for a section of seats in an arena like it actually means jack shit. When before you were mouthing off to Mike Best about how the mere sight of Lindsay Troy disgusted you because eww cooties. Bragging about how you were a virgin living in your parents basement and how you masturbated… a whole lot. So I guess good job of leaving baby gravy all over the Grapplers locker room. However now after all that boasting you find yourself permanently seated under Lindsay Troy’s skirt. You’re so much better than letting someone not even as good as you lead you around.”
“Woo hoo I got a star, I’m invincible!” Madison added as she raced through the level.
“You let her lead you and Jeb into the HOFC cage on the go home show and what happened? The three of you got wrecked, absolutely destroyed inside the cage. She picked you to get in there with me and I made you Bend the Knee. All because she still hasn’t forgiven Mike Best for dumping her like last night’s curry. Not to mention she let your weakest team member go last, some fucking leader, huh? You and Sutler would have been such a better ‘co-op’ but you picked the wrong side. So if you manage to beat Starr and Sektor, I’ll make sure to take that barbed wire wrapped controller and shove it up your ass. Then I’ll unleash some Unscripted Violence and drop you head first right onto that tag title belt.”
“Barbed wire wrapped controller up the ass? Ouch, maybe I need to send the poor boy some lube?” Madison interjected.
“Then there’s Dan Ryan, the self-proclaimed Second Best wrestler in HOW. You overgrown man baby. You fucking toddler on steroids. I’m seriously shocked you let Lindsay Troy of all people decide that you’re going to be one of the first few wrestlers to enter War Games and compete for the tag titles. I figured you’d be all balls to the wall for a chance at the HOW World Championship belt now that Mike Best isn’t stopping you from winning it.”
“Damnit, I already know the princess is not in this castle!” Madison grumbled at the television screen.
“It doesn’t say much for someone who thinks they are the Second Best wrestler in HOW to be trying to ride a video game nerd’s coattails to a Championship belt. However I get it, it’s not like you’ve exactly been lighting the world on fire lately. Losing matches to both Sutler and then Sektor. Maybe it’s a payback thing for letting an aging drug addict hand you your ass on live television? I guess if it’s not a frail old blind man, you just can’t get over the hump, huh Dan? You were one of the biggest threats on the Grappler’s side along with Teddy Palmer.”
Madison growled in frustration at the game as I leaned back in my seat and raised two fingers into the air.
“The top two threats on the 214 side and in all of her brilliance Lindsay Troy decided to make the two of you go the distance if you want to become HOW World Champion. What a selfish cunt she is. Teddy might be able to pull it off but you Dan? You don’t have the stamina or endurance to do it. That much was evident from watching your last two matches. I guess Lee was right in comparing you to Kostoff but I see it a little bit differently. You got the body of Kostoff but it’s more like you’re the illegitimate love child of Chris Kostoff and David Black. Just an absolute abomination that has been unleashed on the world of professional wrestling.”
My facial features twist into an expression of pure disgust as I lower my two fingers before continuing.
“The plain black boots, the plain black tights, and no personality to be seen whatsoever. You’re definitely the love child of Kostoff and David Black. Sure, if you stick around long enough you might get into the HOW Hall of Fame but much like David Black no one gives a fuck about you, you boring motherfucker. Being all emotionally constipated over your daughter and going all ‘Hulk Smash’ isn’t a personality. And it’s sure as fuck not going to help you win War Games on Sunday. You better pray to Xander’s goddess that Conor happens to figure out how to beat Jatt so at least then you’ll be able to hide your shame behind one half of the HOW World Tag Team title belts. Since of course you’ve proven that John Sektor has your number.”
“Final level, let’s fucking go!” Madison cheers from the bed.
“This David and Goliath shtick you two have going as a team is already lame and it hasn’t even started yet. I just can’t wait for Dan to claim he got even with John Sektor when in reality it’ll probably be Conor pinning Jatt. That’ll just be Dan Ryan doing Dan Ryan things. So focus hard on StarrSek because the consolation prize of the HOW World Tag Team Championship belts is the only chance you two have of leaving War Games with gold. You try for more than that? Then for you two it will be nothing more than…”
“Game Over!” Madison celebrates as she tosses the controller down.
Carmen stops recording and places her phone down onto the table as Madison hops off the bed. She turns off the NES Classic Edition and the television before raising her arms into the air to stretch.
“Well, that was fun but I think it’s time I get ready for my convention.” Madison says as she lowers her arms and heads toward the bathroom.
“I guess that just leaves just the two of us.” Carmen mused as she rested her elbow on the table and placed her head in her palm.
“Dressing down my opponents is one thing but I feel like I really need to prepare myself for the horrors that War Games has in store.” I said with a heavy sigh.
“Let’s hit the gym and get you in shape for what is to come.” Carmen suggested.
“Are you offering to help me train for the War Games match?” I am amused at the notion.
“Again, former HOW ICON Champion sitting right here.” Carmen said as she cut her eyes over towards my direction.
“Alright fine, let’s do it.” I said as I got up out of my seat.
Carmen grabbed a hold of her phone and slid it into her pocket as she got up. We each grabbed a hold of a duffle bag and headed out of the room towards the nearest gym.
Teddy Freaking Palmer.
What can I say about you, buddy?
Before that I want to ask you a couple questions.
Did you get those biceps from shoveling snow constantly all those years in Canada?
Why did Silent Witness have a Zebra’s ass growing out of his face?
When you go down on Lindsay Troy’s HPV riddled vagina, do you eat around the genital warts?
That last one might be a little bit personal but let’s focus on what’s important here. You’re the reigning and defending HOW LSD Champion. You’re entering the War Games match first to defend that title against the monster known as Clay Byrd. And if you manage to defeat him? You retain that title and could definitely go all the way and win the HOW World Championship belt.
You are the #1 threat on Team Grapplers.
You’ve been an absolute monster lately here in HOW. The undefeated guy that has beaten everyone he’s stepped into the ring with. So tell me, why aren’t you the Captain of your team? I mean you’re the co-founder of the Grapplers. You carried Lindsay Troy to a reign as the HOW World Tag Team Champions. Until ultimately Ray McAvay lost those belts for your group. You’re the one with Championship gold around his waist, so why is everyone taking orders from your girlfriend?
Does Lindsay wear the pants in your relationship?
It’s clear that Lindsay is nowhere near as good as you are in the ring. So why are you letting Mommy call the shots? You seemed so sure of yourself when you stood face to face with the current Champion Cancer Jiles. Yet the moment Lindsay comes around you’re as timid as a newborn puppy. You’re the last ditch hope for the Grapplers ever winning War Games. Dan Ryan is on a losing streak, Lindsay isn’t over Mike, and Arthur Pleasant won’t shut his mouth long enough to do something impressive. You’re the guy that’s supposed to beat everyone…
Only you didn’t beat everyone, did you?
Everyone saw the match aboard the U.S.S. Octane. Sure, you retained the title but you didn’t actually beat Clay Byrd. You hit the guy with everything you had. From the ring post, to the steel steps. DDT on the floor, chair shots, you literally threw the kitchen sink at the guy. Sure you brag about the fact you took the Texas Lariat and still managed to grab the bottom rope at the last second. However, remember Clay took your best shot too. Harrison might have pulled the referee out of the ring but the big man got back up and continued to take the fight to you. It was at that moment wasn’t it Teddybear?
That’s when desperation took a hold and you threw Clay off of the ship because you knew you couldn’t beat him.
The match was called and your Champion’s advantage meant you retained the title before Harrison dumped you off the side of the boat. Look at you now, all piss and vinegar because you couldn’t beat Clay. You shouldn’t be dwelling on the past about some bitch that beat you and stole your spot in last year’s War Games match. You don’t think you need the HOW LSD Championship? Think again, pal. Either you win the HOW LSD Championship belt or you’re the first person eliminated from the War Games match. That would be embarrassing, wouldn’t it? The great Teddy Palmer, the ace of the Grapplers side. The first person eliminated from the War Games match.
You got a tall task ahead of you Teddy.
If you beat Clay, even though you couldn’t a few weeks ago.
Then you have to deal with the likes of Jatt and Sektor.
And after that it’ll be people like Harrison, Sutler, and yours truly that will be entering the match fresh.
You have very lofty goals Sir Ted and you’re a safe money bet to accomplish those goals.
But if you make it to the end?
You’ll have a whole new mountain to climb.
A former LBI winner.
A former War Games winner.
A former three time HOW World Champion.
And trust me Teddy, I’ll have no problem making an undefeated monster like yourself Bend the Knee.
See you in the cage Ted.
Teiken Boxing Gym in Shinjuku City was the destination that Carmen and I had reached to do some training. There weren’t many people in the building so we had the boxing ring to ourselves. I was dressed in my wrestling gear as Carmen had on a pair of black tracksuit pants with white stripes down the legs. She had on an older pair of black sneakers and a matching black sports bra. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail as she did some warm up stretches.
“Don’t take offense if I have to rough you up a bit here today.” I said while doing some stretches of my own.
“If you’re the kind of boss that has to rough up his employee just to feel good about himself? Then that’s just money coming out of your pocket.” Carmen replied.
After all the stretching was done we met in the middle of the ring. I raised my hand into the air as if to ring an imaginary bell as we began to circle each other. It didn’t take long before we locked up the collar and elbow tie up in the center of the ring. I used my obvious size and strength advantage to push Carmen back into the far corner.
Before I could make a move Carmen reversed position and pushed me back into the turnbuckle. Carmen quickly transitioned from the collar and elbow into a side headlock. She shifted her hips and took me over and down with the mat with a side headlock takedown. I felt the sting of my back hitting the canvas as Carmen tightened her grip on the side headlock on the mat.
“This makes me feel like Zeb Martin, being in the ring training with someone who hadn’t been in the ring in a long time. Only unlike him, I know exactly what I’m doing inside of the ring.” I groaned as Carmen tried to cut off my air supply.
“Are you sure about that? So far this has been pretty damn easy for me. You’re going to totally fall on your face at War Games.” Carmen teased.
I began to pull myself up to my feet as Carmen kept a grip on the headlock. I hit her with a couple of forearm shots to the ribs then pushed her off into the ropes. Carmen bounced off of the ropes but I hit her with a shoulder block that sent her down to the canvas hard.
“Size matters.” I said as I looked down at Carmen on the mat.
I took off and bounced off the ropes as Carmen rolled over onto her stomach. I ran over her and hit the other side of the ropes. As I rebounded off Carmen got up to her feet then leapt into the air and hit me with a Lou Thesz press that sent me crashing down to the canvas. There is an awkward moment where the two of us are just frozen there in silence as I become increasingly aware that this woman was mounted on top of me. We just stared at each other in silence for a few more moments until Carmen rears back and hit me with a forearm shot to the bridge of the nose.
“Ouch, what was that for?” I asked in pain.
“You were totally staring at my chest!” Carmen growled.
“Was not, I was looking into your eyes.” I replied sheepishly.
“You were looking about eight inches south of where my eyes are, you pervert.” Carmen said as she got up to her feet.
“It’s not my fault you had those things in my face.” I tried to defend myself as I grabbed the bridge of my nose in pain.
“That’s why I popped you on the nose. I figured I needed to do something before I felt something poking my behind.” Carmen crossed her arms over her chest as I pulled myself up to my feet.
“It’ll take a lot more than some cleavage to get me that excited.” I clarified as I continued to hold my nose.
“Let me see if it’s bleeding, you idiot.”
Carmen walked up to me as I moved my hand from my nose. There was no blood to be seen which brought an evil smirk to Carmen’s face. She rears back and hits me with a swift kick below the belt that drops me to the canvas like a sack of potatoes.
“Why, why did you kick me in the dick?” I moaned in pain as I held my privates.
“That’s payback for making me massage all of those sweaty Sumo people the other day, you bastard!” Carmen declared triumphantly.
I used the ropes to slowly pull myself back up to my feet. The radiating pain between my legs made me completely forget the pain from the shot to the bridge of my nose.
“This pain? This is exactly what I need to prepare me to run the gauntlet at War Games. I need to out work seventeen other wrestlers in that match if I expect to become a two time War Games winner.” I state while trying to steady myself on my own two feet.
“What did you have in mind?” Carmen inquired with a tilt of her head.
“Go look under the ring and find any weapons that you can.” I said while pointing toward the outside of the ring.
Carmen nods her head then steps through the ropes to exit the ring. I leaned forward and tried to breathe through the pain as Carmen searched under the ring. After a few moments Carmen pulls out a baseball bat and a toolbox. She slides them into the ring under the bottom rope before climbing back in herself.
“Are you sure you really want to do this?” Carmen asked with a twinge of concern in her voice.
“In 2016 I endured much more than this and only ended up being the runner up. I need to be prepared for anything, so let’s go.”
I straightened my back and raised my hands into the air. I folded my arms behind my head as Carmen reached down and grabbed a hold of the baseball bat.
“You’re going to need to keep your mind sharp as you fight through the pain. Tell me more about this Zeb Martin guy while I beat the ever loving fuck out of you.” Carmen advised.
“Zeb? The so called Catfish Whisper, or as I like to call him, generic redneck #72. The guy is most certainly the Steve Solex of his team and that’s saying something when you’re on the same team as Darin Zion. Can someone, anyone, tell me the last time that Zeb Martin actually got the pinfall in a match here in HOW? The guy did nothing but play medic for Conor Fuse and Lindsay Troy in the HOFC cage aboard the U.S.S. Octane. That is until he got practically destroyed by the boot of Cancer Jiles not once but twice.”
Carmen swings for the fences connecting with my midsection with the baseball bat. The shot drops me to my knees on the canvas as my eyes bulge from the pain that courses through my body.
“Fuck!” I screamed as I pulled myself back up to my feet.
My natural instinct is to wrap my arms around my midsection but I just stiffen my back. I raised my arms back into the air and folded them back behind my head as I remained focused on Zeb Martin.
“However I guess total destruction is a slight improvement for Zeb considering for one HOFC match the man had his little sister cut a promo for him. Fucking precious, maybe in the next HOFC match he has, he’ll let his sister step into the cage and fight the match for him. She’ll probably stand more of a chance at victory than he does the fucking man child. Maybe if he wasn’t too busy using his dick as bait to catch Catfish, he would find a way not to be a total failure as a wrestler here in HOW. Then again mastering the English language should be his first priority.”
This time I tightened my abs but the shot from the bat still brought me down to my knees. I coughed up a bit of blood onto the canvas as I gasped for oxygen to my lungs. I knew I needed to keep going if I wanted the last person standing at War Games.
“Get back on your feet!” Carmen demanded.
This was it, it was starting to feel like the 2016 War Games match all over again. I pulled myself up to my feet then once again raised my arms into the air and folded them behind my head. Leaving my battered ribs exposed I continued my rant about Zeb Martin.
“And what is it with this fool always having to remind us that he’s a Watson Mill kid? Over and over again like it’s supposed to mean something to anyone in HOW. Oh no, look out here comes the Watson Mill kid! Beware, he probably ate mud as a child! Fucking pathetic, I’ve been in the ring with Zeb before. I’ve taken his finishing move, he hit me with Hook, Line, and Sinker and guess what? I got back up. I took Zeb’s best shot and it wasn’t enough to beat me. So what do you think is going to happen at War Games? Another beat down for the Hillbilly.”
This time the third shot only makes me double over in pain. I growl through gritted teeth and my nostrils flare. I was getting used to the pain, one could even say that I was starting to enjoy it. I straightened back up with an evil smirk that was plastered across my face.
“Zeb has no idea what he’s doing in the ring and he has the nerve to train someone else like he’s even held a singles title in HOW. My advice would be to head back to Mayberry Zebediah, the big city life of HOW just isn’t for you. Better to have been there to give Pawpaw a great big old hug and enjoy his company while he was still around. Maybe then you can finally step into the ring and show Jenny Apple Panties what not to do now that you finally confessed your feelings for her. Best to do it now before War Games because you’re liable to get sent back home in a body bag. At the very least missing a limb or an eye.”
Carmen drops the baseball bat then opens up the toolbox. She rummages through its contents until finally settling on a large metal wrench. I can tell the wrench has some weight to it just by the way she’s holding it. Carmen looks at me seeking my approval for what’s about to happen. I nod my head as if to tell her to bring it on. Carmen gets a running start then leaps into the air then hits me full force on the forehead with a shot from the metal wrench and it floors me.
The shot to the head has busted me wide open. I can feel the blood start to pour down my face and into my eyes. Yet the only thing that is running through my mind is trying to get my body to move. So yeah I got busted open. So yeah I’m bleeding. So what? This is the War Games match that I’m preparing for here today. I’m going to have to deal with a lot more than this in that match. I managed to pull myself up to a seated position as Carmen kneels down to check the damage.
“I think that’s enough for one day.” Carmen suggested.
“No, I can keep going.” I protested.
“That gash on your head looks pretty bad and you might have a concussion.” Carmen tried talking sense into me.
“That’s nothing compared to what might happen in the War Games match. I’m good to keep going.” I said stubbornly.
“All we’re doing is making Ray McAvay’s job that much easier.” Carmen commented while reaching for a towel inside the toolbox.
“Fuck that guy.” I argued.
“Sorry, just not my type.”
Carmen used the towel to wipe the blood away from eyes as Madison made her way up the ring dressed as Sailor Mercury from the Sailor Moon franchise.
“Just what kind of training is going on here?” Madison inquired.
“I thought you had a convention to attend?” I asked a little puzzled.
“It was lame, no one there spoke any English so I left. Don’t go changing the subject, I’ll ask again, just what kinda training is this?” Madison asked forcefully with her hands placed on her hips.
“I was practicing getting hit with weapons in preparation for War Games. We were just about to continue.” I explained.
“Getting to hit you repeatedly with weapons like you were a piñata? Oh I want to play!”
Madison hopped up and down before grabbing a steel folding chair then slides it into the ring under the bottom rope, I pulled myself back up to my feet as Madison stepped into the ring. Carmen grabbed a hold of the wrench and stood in front of me. Madison grabbed a hold of the steel chair and stood behind me. I took a deep breath then raised my arms into the air and folded them behind my head.
Madison was the first to tee off with a shot to the back with the steel chair. I arched my back in pain as Carmen took flight with another shot to the head with the steel wrench.
It wasn’t the most conventional training but if it made me a two time War Games winner?
I was all for it.