The Gold Standard lays on the surgical table, eyes taped shut and a breathing tube standing erect out of his mouth. The tube trails to a ventilator to the side of his head as an anaesthetist in full surgical attire scribbles some notes as he looks up at the vital’s monitor intermittently.
The operating room is state of the art. It’s modern, sterile and the equipment looks to be the best that America’s richest can buy. Two other scrubbed up people stand over him towards the lower half of his body, one man and one woman. Sektor had booked himself for some key-hole knee surgery in the small winter break from High Octane Wrestling. His right knee had been becoming progressively worse and debilitating. He had done his research some months prior and found who he believed to be the best orthopaedic surgeon in America. It was another example of how he sees himself as the best investment he can make.
“It looks a little swollen,” says scrub nurse, looking down at his knee as she cleans it with an iodine solution. “Should we even be operating?”
“Ideally, no,” replies the surgeon, watching her clean his canvas. “But he was insistent that he needed this done today. Apparently he only has three to four weeks to recover.”
The scrub nurse can’t help but laugh. “Are you serious? That’s crazy!”
“Oh, I’m serious. This guy literally wrestled a match two days ago. He’s been icing that knee and pounding steroids to get the swelling down. He’s either a machine or a fucking basket case. Either way, I get paid.”
The nurse shakes her head as she drops the iodine soaked swab into a kidney dish at her side.
“How we doing, Tom?” the surgeon asks in the direction of the anaesthetist.
“Sleeping like a baby.”
The surgeon narrows his eyes as he looks at the monitor. “Pulse is a little low, isn’t it?”
“Nah, he’s an athlete. His resting heart rate will be much lower. You did attend medical school, didn’t you Pete?”
The surgeon arrogantly shrugs as turns his attention back to his patient.
“Meh, skipped a few classes,” he jokes. “Scalpel please, Laura.”
The nurse hands him the scalpel and without hesitation he makes a small incision at the side of Sektor’s knee joint.
“Let’s take a look shall we,” he sighs, reaching out his hand.
Laura hands him a laparoscopic device which resembles a chrome skewer. He places the tip of it at the site of his incision and pushes it carefully into the joint. He then turns his head towards a monitor above the table and stares at it carefully as he begins to manipulate the scope in his knee.
“Jesus Christ, this a fucking mess. Look at all that scarring,” he narrates, continuing to investigate the joint. “There is literally no cartilage in here. How the fuck did he walk in here today his knee is literally bone on bone.”
“What can you do for him?” asks the nurse.
“Not a whole lot. He needs a total knee replacement. But he knows that pretty much means his career is over.”
“So, what then?” she continues to press.
“Well, I guess I’ll just trim away as much of this damage tissue as a I can and book him in for some artificial cartilage once it’s healed. It won’t do much. The second he takes a bang to it, it will be completely fucked again.”
“Yep. Some people just don’t know when to let go.”
It takes a minimum of six weeks to heal after a knee arthroscopy, and that’s if you don’t need tissue repairing.
I’ve had just under four weeks!
I’ve been putting this off too long, trying to mask the problem with painkillers and injections. I knew my only chance to get something done was during this short break after Iconic. Now I’m about to head into the first round of a Tag Team tournament with barely any training time under my belt.
Adam and I are going to team up for the first time ever. I have to admit, I’m glad I’m wrestling tag matches wounded and not having to defend the LSD championship. That’s called looking on the bright side.
But it’s fine. I’ll find a way to make it work.
That’s what I do.
They say breaks can kill momentum. Some guys decide during a break that they’ve realised just how much this sport can dominate your life. They reflect and decide that they want to extend that time off or, who know? Maybe even retire.
Well not me. Because this IS my fucking life. I had surgery two days after the biggest pay per view of the year and after only three weeks I started training again to get in shape for this tag team tournament.
Commitment mother fuckers.
The doubters will assume that this break? The surgery? The blown knee? They’re all reasons why I’m about to self-destruct and fall to pieces.
Again. Not me! Because I’m a positive son of a bitch these days and I believe whole-heartedly that I can continue the form I was in right up to the moment when I sent a fisher price red neck back to the lower leagues at the biggest pay per view of the year.
Speaking of fisher-price…
It seems we are up against a team from a promotion known as Pro Wrestling Assault. Ivy English who seems to be a terrible stereotype of what middle, white, America thinks a black man is.
His partner? A monster type who literally goes by the name of Genosyde. I had to do a double take when I read that. A black man who is working alongside a guy called Genosyde. Is it Irony or someone’s idea of a sick joke?
Their manager, some carny piece of shit, seems to enjoy blowing smoke up my ass. Apparently he shares my vision for restoring the art of true wrestling. Good for you, man, but the fuck even are you? I haven’t even looked you in the eyes under the bright lights and you have my name in your mouth. Trying to sell your shitty little team to the moon and back when nobody had even heard their names until a couple of days ago?
If I was down with the kids and had “DM’s” I bet you’d be sliding right in that motherfucker trying to wish me good luck wouldn’t ya? Get the fuck out of here son, you’re coming from a shitty little made up promotion into the big leagues don’t even say my fucking name. Don’t even mention your team and ME in the same fucking sentence because I am so far out of both their fucking leagues it isn’t even funny.
I’m John fucking Sektor bitch and I don’t care how pretty you try to package the shit your selling to me, I ain’t buying it. You’re a little cunt trying to make money off the best two wrestling props you could scrape off the bottom of the talent barrel.
Well good luck, sir. You drew the fucking technical wrestling machine. A Hall of Famer. The greatest champion…PERIOD..of all time. I don’t give a fuck about people who have had ten plus title reigns, it just means they lost it as many times. I’ve dominated every fucking devision I’ve stood at the top of.
LSD: mother-fucking check!
Now? Now I’m going to dominate the Tag Team division with a truly gifted up and comer. Not two side show novelty acts that you spent ten hours convincing yourself that they were both cracked ideas.
I’m talking about Adam Fucking Ellis. A young man with more heart than you have brain cells and he’s being moulded by my hand, in MY image.
John Sektor 2.0!
I’ve trained with him or an entire year, literally throwing my fucking playbook at him. I’ve taught him almost everything I know and he’s studied my every move. So don’t be thinking we won’t have Chemistry in Philly, hermano. He and I are gonna be like two fucking clairvoyants, telepathing the shit out of each other.
I don’t care how good you tell me or the rest of the world how good your boys are. Scaring mask face and all. I say they aint worth shit until they step up the standard bearer. You want to know how good your little team is? No problem, amigo. I’m gonna rip them apart and show you what they’re made of.
St Louis, MO
The Gold Standard Wrestling Academy
I watch as Adam stretches one of my students in my ring, whilst I white knuckle the ropes as my knee pulses with pain. He’s adopted the orthodox STF as his own version of the Sektor Stretch. I had hoped he would call it the Ellis Stretch but that’s his choice. I’m not one of those asshole managers who wants to shit on someone’s creative freedom.
The student taps like a little bitch whilst his partner is still doubled over in his corner, completely blown up. It was like he had spent the winter break smoking fifty cigarettes a day.
I duck under the ropes and hobble my way over to my young apprentice, trying not to look to0 pleased with him. Still have to keep the rook on his toes, you know?
“Nicely done,” I say, glancing at the other two pathetic excuses for wrestling students. “Go hit the showers. You’ve stunk up my ring for long enough.”
Call me sadistic, but I feel all warm and fuzzy inside looking at their sad little dejected expressions as they tuck tail and leave.
“How’s the knee?” Adam asks, obviously noticing my John Wayne approach.
“It’s fine. Little ice and lots of painkillers will settle it.”
“You sure you’re okay to compete?” he asks, looking a little too concerned for my liking.
“The fuck? Who am I?”
He sighs. “John, fucking Sektor..”
“Damn fucking RIGHT I’m John fucking Sektor. Not only am I okay to compete but I’m ready to carry your ass through the first match in this fucking tournament. Shit, if I didn’t know better I’d think you were trying to suggest that I may hold you back..”
His eyes bulge at the accusation, hitting the panic button.
“No! I didn’t mean that at all, I just..Listen, whether you like it or not that knee hasn’t healed yet. I think it would be smart if I did the lion share of the work in this match and..”
“Shut up!” I bark, having heard enough of it. “Listen up, this is the game plan.”
Limping to the centre of the ring I point to the corner nearest Adam.
“That’s our half of the ring,” I begin, moving my finger to the corner diagonally opposite. “That’s their half.”
“Not to sound like a smart-ass, but I do know the basic rules of a tag match,” he replies.
“Shut the fuck up and listen. I’m telling you the basics because that’s exactly what we are going to do. The basics! And that is all we are going to do. Nothing complicated. Neither of us know how this is going to go. This is our first outing as a team.”
“Speaking of which,” he interrupts, with a little too much excitement in his tone for my liking. “I’ve been thinking of some names for our team.”
“Jesus Christ,” I mutter under my breath, just loud enough for him to hear as I rake my fingers over my face.
“How does this sound..”
“How about John Sektor and Adam Ellis! We’ll talk about fucking names when we actually raise our profile to a point where we actually fucking mean something. Don’t start thinking that just because you’re in a team with the Gold Standard, that you’re instantly top shit. No one in the world knows who the fuck you are, save for some kid who Sektor thinks may have what it takes.”
He does the cold silent thing he does often when I scold him like that. I don’t even feel mean. If I’m not drop kicking him back down to earth every five seconds then I’m not doing my job properly.
“Now, may I please continue going over the fucking game plan?”
“Sorry. Please continue,” he quietly replies.
“Thank you. Very fucking kind of you,” I sigh, shaking my head as I attempt to continue my pep talk. “As I said, their half-our half. We keep the match in our half as much as we can. We tag frequently to keep us both fresh and we try to maintain control. No risks. No showboating. He scientifically wear these two punks down until we see a window of opportunity to put them down for good. This is day one of your HOW career. The most important thing is getting the win.”
“You make it sound so easy.”
“Well it’s not. It all likelihood this very simple plan is going to out of the fucking window and the whole match will erupt into chaos. It will probably feel like a grenade has gone off next to your head as you look around dazed and confused trying to assess the situation,” I explain.
A slightly nervous look appears on Adam’s face. So I place a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
“That’s where your training comes in. Don’t be afraid to listen to your instincts either, that’s what they’re there for. Use your brain, but if your gut wants you to make a decision then fucking roll with it.”
“What if it’s a bad decision?”
“Then at least you fucking made one. I’d rather that than you clam up like some virgin when you touch her thigh with your pinky..”
He laughs, probably out of fear of what the repercussions would be if didn’t. I like that.
“Point is, don’t psych yourself out. Forget the big bad Genocyde and Princess Ivy. You’ll be your own worst enemy if you get over excited and allow the occasion to get to ya. Be objective. There are two dudes who some snivelly little cunt of a manager is trying to push in front of you on the HOW career ladder. They stand in your way and you will do whatever it takes to remove them from your path.”
His expression turns stern. Either the penny had dropped or he was brewing a steamer.
“One goal at a time. Don’t look past this match. I’ll talk shit about these two clowns all day but I have no fucking clue how good they are. We get past these two first. We a long way from the straps partner. But we can get there..”
I smirk and nod as I begin to picture it myself.
“One match…at a time!”