BigDog arrives at the arena in Los Angeles in his Jeep Wrangler. Pulling into a parking spot, he hops out of the Jeep and grabs his bag from the back. As he walks toward the entrance, he speaks into the camera.
BigDog: You know, sometimes I have to laugh. I chastised the Thrillbillies last week for getting a pass into the second round and not really being tested. And then, they're unable to make it for the second round match so Ryan and I advance the same way. I guess I should have just kept my mouth shut.
BigDog laughs out loud before regaining his composure.
BigDog: It's a shame though. After losing to MBE in the Dupree Cup, I was looking forward to getting a chance to match up with them again here in the Tag Team Invitational. Sooner or later, we'll get that chance, but it wasn't to be here.
Moving forward, I see that we're matched up against former EPW tag champions, Blitz. Can't say that I know much more about them than I have about any of our opponents so far, but my partner ought to know them very well considering he signed them to that Empire Pro contract.
Ryan's given me the rundown, boys. One of the most dominant teams his federation has ever seen, and two of the most physically imposing men you'll ever run into on top of that. And as if that weren't enough, they've got one of the better managers in this business guiding them.
Do you know what I think when I look at opponents with that kind of resume across from our names?
I'm giddy as a school girl!
Do you have any idea how long Ryan and I have been looking for competition like this? We have beaten every other team that A1E has put in front of us for nearly a year now, and quite honestly it's been less than rewarding. I'd like to say that I've been pushed to new limits in this tag team title run, but I'd be lying if I said that.
It's no secret to anyone that I'm closer to the end of my career than the beginning. In whatever time I have left in this business, I'm looking to find out exactly what I'm made of. To see exactly how far I can stretch the skills that I've been given, and how much I can achieve.
Running over ill-conceived tag team combinations isn't exactly what I signed up for.
That's what I was looking for when I got into the Dupree Cup, and it's also what I wanted when Ryan and I signed up for this tournament. We both are looking for real competition.
What will happen tonight?
It's hard to say. What I will say, though, is that Blitz is in for the kind of fight they've yet to face in this tournament. Ryan and I haven't unleashed our full potential in such a long time. I'm actually almost curious to see what we're capable of myself. It's almost like a late Christmas present for me.
Are you ready, Blitz? Santa Claus is coming to town!
BigDog reaches the arena door and smiles at the camera before disappearing inside.
“I’m sorry, Mister Johnson isn’t in today,” Laura said to another independent promoter. “Can I take a message? I’m afraid he won’t be in for a few days, he’s got a few things he needs to take care of – yes, that’s right, for MCW. Yes, I’ll pass that along. Thank you.” As she hung up the receiver, she looked over her shoulder at the office door of Leonard Johnson, manager of Blitz, and her boss. She had thoroughly enjoyed going to see the recent match against the Celtic Assassins, and was having a blast with her work. It didn’t hurt that it was well paid. He was a good boss, too – he didn’t overwork her, treated her with the respect you would expect from a man of his age and experience, and was generous with the few requests she made. It was a far cry from the man who stepped in front of the television cameras at wrestling events and scheduled promotional segments.
And it was because of wrestling that Leonard was not in his office. He had decided to keep an eye on the running of the wrestling school he owned, but everyone knew that was an excuse to keep an eye on Blitz. With so much riding on their next two matches, he was understandably a little nervous. In Empire Pro Wrestling, they were set to face off for a chance to reclaim the gold that the Highland Park Social Club had seized just a few weeks earlier. In Major Championship Wrestling, however, was a match that many were saying was the dream match – Big Dog and Dan Ryan from A1E, against a very dominant team. Big Dog himself had admitted that he was looking forward to the match, seeing in it a test, a challenge that neither A1E, nor the teams so far in MCW, had been able to provide. Even though Leonard knew that Max and Paulo wouldn’t slack, he had been less than impressed with their match on Aggression recently, and though confident that they would win, he had to admit that it would be one of, if not the most, difficult matches since the two men teamed together.
“Herr Johnson,” Max called as Leonard watched a tape of their recent match with the Celtic Assassins. “What are the travel plans for the MCW match?”
“Hm? Oh, that, I think Laura’s booking the flight today, she said she’d call when it had been taken care of.”
“You sound worried, Leonard,” Paulo said without looking over his shoulder from the weights he was lifting. “You don’t think we can handle this one?”
“It’s not that. I’m more worried that you two have been letting yourselves slip – you’d never have made it that easy for Irish and Sergeant normally.”
“They caught us on an off day,” the American grunted as he completed another rep. “No chance this time.”
“Don’t get over confident.”
“We’re not, Herr Johnson,” the German replied. “Groβ hund und Herr Ryan are going to be a challenge, but not one we cannot overcome, du meinst dass.”
“But look here,” he pointed at the screen. “See? You were sloppy. You may have won but you were sloppy, and you’re not going to have that luxury this time. This isn’t Golem and X-Ecutioner where you can finish them off by turning one mans submission hold against his partner – you’ve got to make sure there are no mistakes.”
“Leonard,” Paulo called, sounding a little peeved as he rested the weight. “They’re going to make mistakes too. All we’ve got to do is catch them when they do and BANG! A finals match to destroy another NAPW team in.”
“Just make sure you catch them.”
[FADE IN. Leonard Johnson, manager of Blitz, is standing, alone, in front of a Major Championship Wrestling logo. He’s dressed casually, wearing a smart polo-neck t-shirt instead of his usual suit and tie, but he seems a little uneasy. He doesn’t look haggard or tired, but that might be the effects of the make-up and lighting positions that are all the rage in wrestling promos these days. He speaks fairly firmly, yet with an air of civility and respect]
LJ: Semi-final time. And what many are calling the match of the tournament is just a few days away, as Dan Ryan faces the most dominating team under an Empire Pro Wrestling contract – a team that has made it’s way to the semi-finals of a major tournament that another team under his employ could not be bothered to turn up to the first round of. Still, I’m sure watching Joey Melton get destroyed by a clown is more entertaining and will rake in higher ratings than Max and Jecht easily reclaiming the World Tag Team Titles this pay per view, so I should let that slide. Besides, he’s done a great impression of James Irish thus far, so I cannot say much to him until someone presses the volume control on his remote control.
However, his partner, Big Dog, has graced us with an appearance. I must thank you for your kind words, and for actually saying something of half-substance. I say half-substance, because, whilst you used more words than the Celtic Assassins did, your points can be summarised too easily.
Point one – the tournament so far has been a disappointment to you.
Point two – you’ve dominated A1E’s tag team division for a year, and it’s boring you now.
Point three – you want a challenge.
Point four – you think Blitz might actually be that challenge for you.
Now, since three of those points are in fact nearly identical, you’ve said two things. That’s three more of merit than any team thus far in this tournament, but it hardly amounts to real substance from a man who’s supposed to be a legend in this business.
To be honest, I expected more from you. I’ve been watching tapes of you from over the years, and you truly have been a force to be reckoned with, with razor-sharp wit, skill in the ring, and intelligence above the average for professional wrestlers. And to break the ice, you give us that.
You want a challenge, and hope a team that your partner has told you about can provide it.
Are you sure you’re not phoning it in? Are you sure you haven’t gotten so used to running over every team you meet that you’re overestimating your own abilities and underestimating Max and Jecht?
I sincerely advise against it. It will end up with you soundly defeated for the first time in many a year, and I don’t think for someone who’s saying he wants to see how far he can go with what he’s got, to take three steps back, is a very useful thing.
Because whilst you are towards the end of your career, Max and Jecht are in the prime of theirs. They’re both in their early thirties, and, injuries willing, have another ten or so years at the top. Whilst you sit there looking to fulfil your potential in this one match, to show yourself how good you’re not, they have everything to gain from this match. No-one really is considering that they’re going to be able to topple the mighty team from the minor leagues.
[There’s a cough off camera, as if to say “WHAT?!?!” Leonard quickly addresses the cougher before talking to the camera again]
LJ: Yes, I called A1E the minor leagues. Both Big Dog and Dan Ryan have been around long enough to expect that kind of thing from someone in a different company. It’s why you don’t go around insulting the company that pays your cheques. To lower Empire Pro Wrestling to the minor leagues would be something only an idiot would attempt. Take Troy Windham as an example if you want to know what I’m talking about.
Now, Big Dog – I fully expect you to have a lot of bark and bite left in you. I know full well this isn’t going to be an easy match for Max and Jecht, hungry as they are, because I’m not stupid. I’m rightly one of the top managers in the business, because we don’t underestimate. Max and Jecht will respect you before and after the match, no doubt.
But don’t for one instant think that they’re going to respect you during it – because respect all too easily leads to fear, intimidation, and to self-doubt. Rather than looking at you as Big Dog and Dan Ryan, champions, or Big Dog and Dan Ryan, legends, they’re going to see you for what you are.
Big Dog and Dan Ryan. Opponents. Opponents to be dominated. Opponents to hurt. Opponents to beat into submission.
Big Dog and Dan Ryan – the same as every other team that gets in the way of Blitz.
To Dan Ryan, I hope you shake off being mute soon. I know the pay per view is taking up your time, but don’t be a James Irish.
To Big Dog – hope that you haven’t asked for too much, and are able to do what only one team has been able to do in over three years in a straight tag match.
[FADE IN to a match in action, as Max and Jecht take time out of their preparations to work an independent show. The two behemoths are in full control as Leonard Johnson looks on from ringside, playing the crowd as he calls to his charges. Our commentator is Sonja Di’Anno]
SD: NO! Paul Levesque in to break up the three, but Jecht comes charging in with that tree-like clothesline! It’s just got to be a matter of time before Levesque and Higgenbottom can’t go any more. Michael’s still got some fight left in him though, slowing Max down with a thumb to the eye! The referee getting Jecht out of the ring, and that was out of character from Michael, but I guess desperate times call for desperate measures. Tags in Paul Levesque again, Levesque holding Max… could we see some SCM? NO! Max moves out of the way, and Higgenbottom nailed Levesque! Max picks Higgenbottom up… HURLS him to the outside with a gorilla press! Just listen to this crowd come alive, Michael almost ended up in the third row! Levesque back to his feet, blindsides Max as he’s turning round. Paul Levesque with an Irish whip across the ring, reversed by Max… HUGE sidewalk slam! Picks Paul up, slings him into the corner – Jecht coming into the ring illegally, but I don’t think the ref’s going to risk disqualifying him. With Levesque up on his shoulders… BLITZKRIEG! This one’s over.
Three. It was academic there folks, as the Rocking Generation just got outclassed in the last few minutes! Leonard Johnson looks happy out there, and the fans are cheering undoubtedly one of the greatest teams in the business today. Sorry to say, our guys didn’t stand a chance, but take nothing away from Max and Jecht. I pity any team that has to wrestle them. When we come back, it’s main-event time, as Catweazel takes on the legendary Jagjit Singh Hans.
[CUTTO: The backstage area, where Leonard is talking to the promoter, Charles Anderson]
CA: Great match out there tonight, really showed the fans something.
LJ: Thank you. It’s what they do.
CA: I must say I’d like to make them regulars here, they’re good for business.
LJ: I don’t think you’d find too many teams in your budget who would want to wrestle them, it’s hard enough sometimes getting them bookings because once they’ve been at an event for a company, that company finds very few teams willing to face them.
CA: I’m sure we could find plenty of good quality opposition.
LJ: Why don’t you give my office a call sometime then? We can discuss this further. If you’ll excuse me though, I need to go over the travel plans before we get back to the hotel.
CA: Of course.
[Charles walks away swiftly, as Leonard mutters something under his breath before entering the locker-room, quickly closing the door behind him. FADE OUT]
Leonard sighed as he gathered his thoughts. It was mere days away from the semi finals of the MCW Tag Team Invitational, and yet, he did not feel as excited as he usually did before leading Blitz to a big match. He thought maybe it was because he was getting older, maybe the big matches were losing their shine. After all, with Blitz being the team to beat in Empire Pro for so long, it would be understandable that things would feel pretty samey after a while. But, it felt different – in all his years, this was the first big match that he hadn’t felt particularly excited over. What this felt like was a slight disappointment if anything.
Maybe he’d built the opposition up in his mind to the point that anything they said or did would have no impact on him whatsoever? After all, with all the stories he had heard about Dan Ryan, the wrestler, and Big Dog, he’d expected something ground-breaking. He expected to be able to engage in a battle of wits with two masters of the game, two people who had seen and done it all, as he himself had. He expected to watch tapes of their most recent matches, and be amazed at the skill and precision of legends.
Instead, he had been greeted with the same things he experienced time after time after time. One partner spoke, the other said nothing. The one that did speak said very little, and did nothing to promote the match at hand as being the match to see before you died. Leonard was firmly of the philosophy that each and every match should always be promoted to the best of the abilities of those involved, even if it was the opening match of the card – then, the wrestlers involved should always give it their all, to make sure their match is spoken highly of for years to come. The only way to work was at your best. Anything less, and you may as well not turn up.
Was that it? Were the two legends phoning it in, expecting the fans to turn up just because their names were on the marquee? Whilst a number would, and the match would undoubtedly be a sell-out, Leonard always wanted to try and make sure – he wanted to have to move the event to a bigger venue to meet demand and stop a potential riot, because that was the mark of success. That was the mark of a legendary encounter before the bell even rang – that was what being a part of the business was all about for him. Never settling for ‘just enough.’
“Maybe they’re hoping that less is more?” the receptionist had said when he’d called Latham’s office asking what was going on.
“Less isn’t more. Less is less,” he’d replied (had he been inclined, he’d’ve finished the line from the song with “the more’s the better, the most the best”). “Can you ask Latham to see what those two are playing at? I specifically asked before the Celtic Assassins match that the other teams show professionalism, and with how long those two have been in this business I’d’ve expected better.”
Yes, he was frustrated.
Fortunately, neither Max nor Paulo, otherwise known as Jecht, were prone to letting these kinds of things get to them. They were busy preparing for the match as if it were any other. They had studied tapes, both of their opponents as singles wrestlers in their prime and of them as a tag team. They maintained their stamina and strength by training several hours a day, and concentrated on their in ring abilities by accepting independent bookings. Neither man could be said to be particularly excited about the upcoming encounter, but neither were they taking it for granted. It was simply another match. Another pair of opponents. And they would go through them all the same. It was nothing personal – it never got personal in the ring – it was just business.
“The tickets are booked are they?”
“Yes, Mister Johnson, you’re booked on the nine a m flight to Heathrow. On the return flight you take off at two forty three in the morning local time.”
“Thank you.” Still, silence from Latham’s office. No packages in the mail, no nothing. It was looking increasingly likely that the offence that so upset Big Dog about his match with the Thrillbillies was going to come at least partially true – Blitz were, it seems, going to progress to the finals without being tested.
“You have had a call from Charles Anderson though.”
“Tell him I’m out of the office.”
[FADE IN. Leonard Johnson is once again in front of an MCW logo, looking rather peeved – about what, we shall soon see]
LJ: So, it’s come down to this. We are hours away from what should be the biggest spectacle in tag team wrestling, the clash of two of the most dominant teams in the history of the industry, and it’s looking increasingly like one half of the opposition is going to be making this a very, very lopsided match!
And then there’s Dan Ryan to consider. Is he even going to show up? Who knows. No-one seems to be able to get in touch with him, not even his own office staff in Empire Pro Wrestling. I had thought this was going to be an opportunity for Dan and I to have friendly competition, but he seems to be running scared. I hope I’m wrong, because I’ve heard such great things about Dan as a wrestler – maybe he’s more concerned with an upcoming street-fight for control of his company than he is the chance to show the world his supposed greatness. But as good as his partner is, Big Dog does not stand a chance going one on two against Max and Jecht.
You’d think you’d be aware of that seeing as how the current World Tag Team Champions needed to pin me to take the titles in a six person match. Sadly however, this is set to be a bigger embarrassment for A1E than losing to New ERA in the Dupree Cup was.
I asked for a challenge after our destruction of the Celtic Assassins, and I get this. Where are the talented tag teams that were invited to this event? Have they been abducted by aliens? Please, someone, tell me, because I’m at my wits end.
Big Dog wants competition. That I understand. Big Dog hasn’t been challenged in oh so long. That I understand. Big Dog is Big Dog.
Yes, I understand that. But why should the fans care about this match? The outcome is pretty much determined. This is going to be a match, like his against HAL, that Big Dog won’t win. He and Dan may have steamrolled over everyone in the minor leagues, but as has happened time and again in this tournament, the teams that have a lot of hype surrounding them, the teams that consist of two singles wrestlers trying to combine their collective legacies into a tag team, have all fallen by the wayside and embarrassed themselves.
Beast and Adam Benjamin?
Cameron Cruise Project?
Silver and GOLD?
The one had communication problems where both showed a total lack of professionalism. The second would rather help orphans, which, whilst a noble cause, showed a complete lack of professionalism and regard for the fans. And the last?
Did any of those three teams think themselves that important that they couldn’t be professional?
Do Big Dog and Dan Ryan think themselves that important, do they believe their own hype that much, that they’re already supping champagne?
Are they that far into their comfort zone that they feel like they have no need to try?
Because if that’s the case, the fans are going to be sorely disappointed. That’s why Max and Jecht have been so successful – they refuse to quit. They refuse to listen to the hype, and they NEVER UNDERESTIMATE.
They’re going to go out there and give it their all. They’re going to go out there and be the professionals that they are. They’re going to go out there and go straight through the first mistake you two make.
And you two? You two are going to be left embarrassed in the middle of the ring for even thinking you stood a chance with the attitude you have. Your pride is going to be your downfall.
I hope the New and Improved DX provide better opposition than you do – it’s the only way the trophy Max and Jecht are going to win is going to have any real meaning behind it.
FWrestling.com was founded in 1994 to promote a community of fantasy wrestling fans and leagues. Since then, we've hosted dozens of leagues and special events, and thousands of users. Come join and prove you're "Even Better Than The Real Thing."
Add Your League
If you want to help grow the community of fantasy wrestling creators, consider hosting your league here on FW. You gain access to message boards, Discord, your own web space and the ability to post pages here on FW. To discuss, message "Chad" here on FW Central.