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Tremble Before His Might.

The God-Beast

May 7, 2012
The City of Brotherly Shove
July 23, 2011. The Sapporo Pro Wrestling dojo. I was on a tour with SPW, and made it a point to visit the dojo, partly to watch the young talent the company took under their wing, but mainly to touch base with an old friend of mine.

Alex Markham was edging towards the age of fifty, but looked as raw and intimidating as ever. Known as “The Sentinel” for much of his professional career, the six-foot-one, two-hundred-forty pound former Air Force brat was a lifelong journeyman who finally found his home here in the often-wintry Hokkaido prefecture of Japan, where he became a local icon for his slavish work ethic, hard-hitting wrestling style, and his humble nature. Today, he was watching his students work on specific moves, looking upon the ring with interested detachment. I was looking also, while making small talk with my former tag team partner.

“So, you’re in charge of all these guys?” I asked, looking around at the different shapes and sizes of the men in training. “Not always,” he responded with no inflection to his voice, “sometimes Shinichiro will take a look in and impart some wisdom, y’know? He’s more used to their style than I am.” Shinichiro Kazama founded SPW sometime in the early 80’s as his own career inside the ring was winding down. As one of the pioneers of the “lucharesu” style of wrestling based on his experiences travelling through Mexico and Japan, he made SPW THE definitive lucharesu promotion, and even now it still enjoys a cult following in Japan and abroad. So it was no surprise that many of the wrestlers training here were tiny things compared to me and Alex… but there was one aspiring star who stood out.

He looked to be about six-three, six-four, maybe three hundred ninety pounds, with a hefty shape to him, almost like a sumo wrestler. Despite his audible panting and grunting, he moves quite smoothly, considering his bulk. He was in the middle of a quick mat exchange with someone who looked not even half his size, and was holding his own.

“So who’s the big guy?” I asked. “Him? That’s Eiichiro Yamazaki,” Alex replied, “he’s trying really hard and has been impressive as he can be, but he gets winded easily. If he lost some weight and improved his conditioning he’d be a monster.” He sighed. “But you know these ex-sumo wrestlers, so set in their ways…”

I thought long and hard on Alex’s remarks on the big man. Then I got to thinking… what if I took him under my wing and put him on a little excursion…?


[Fade from black.]

[We’re looking at a non-descript, old-fashioned wrestling backdrop, what basically amounts to a plain black curtain with a poster for the BattleMania event stuck on it. In front of the simple display stands a well-dressed Caucasian man; he appears to be in his thirties, around six feet and two-hundred twenty pounds, his blond hair slicked back. His black suit is practically flawless, a Chesterfield coat adorning his torso, but probably the most defining feature of this man is the mahogany cane he grasps by the handle with two gloved hands. The man draws a deep breath before addressing us.]

Unknown Man:
Since word broke out about BattleMania, many wrestlers from many promotions in many parts of the world have come out of the woodwork, seeking to test their skills against the best and the brightest, to stake their own claim to greatness, and attain fame and fortune.

[He speaks with a firm baritone, and smiles.]

Unknown Man:
My client, on the other hand, is here simply to crush anyone who stands in his way… and with twenty-nine other wrestlers awaiting him, he will have no shortage of victims.

[Moving his cane to one side, the well-dressed man makes a welcoming gesture towards the camera.]

Unknown Man:
My name is Edmond Villanova Fairbrook Dante… but you may simply call me “Eddie Dante.”

[Dante’s warmth slowly evaporates, his free hand clenching into a fist and his smile fading.]

Eddie Dante:
I’m not entering BattleMania myself; I’m at an age where my physical capabilities just aren’t at the level expected to handle a competition of this caliber.

[In the background one hears heavy footsteps that only grow louder until a large figure enters the view; wearing a black-and-gold mask with an insect design and a black robe with gold trim around the shoulders, the monstrous hulk looks at us as menacingly as he can. Given that his mask obscures his features completely, including his eyes, that’s pretty goddamn menacing.]

Eddie Dante:
And that’s where Mushigihara comes in. We represent DEFIANCE Wrestling out of New Orleans, but at BattleMania, wrestlers the world over will bear witness to his power and learn, first-hand, why he is also called the God-Beast.


[Short. Gruff. Terse. “Osu” is a Japanese word often used in martial arts; usually to express a readiness to learn or teach, or to encourage a student to push themselves, it can also be used aggressively, almost like a Japanese “come at me, bro!” I’m sure you can figure out how the big guy uses it here.]

Eddie Dante:
What he lacks in understanding of the English language, he more than makes up in brute strength and explosive power; he not only benefits from my tutelage, but he also trains with the Japanese Olympic weightlifting team, and has perfected the techniques of that sport, which he has brought into this one in the form of his dreaded military press slam…

[As Dante mentions said wrestling move, Mushi lifts his arms in a matter resembling a “raise the roof” gesture, or more appropriately, lifting an invisible barbell over his head.]

Eddie Dante:
...which, by the way, he can do for multiple repetitions. If you thought being tossed over the ropes was hard, imagine how it must feel being launched from the apex of a press lift. And judging by the number of smaller competitors, especially women… well, let’s just say that the vast majority of the competition in BattleMania will be but mere weights to be lifted… and thrown.

[Mushi nods and chuckles under his breath.]

Eddie Dante:
And certainly, there ARE a few “name players” in BattleMania we are interested in facing, mainly our DEFIANCE contemporaries in the form of Eugene Dewey and Samuel Tiberius Turner II. Young Turner because he’s made quite the impressive turnaround in his career back home, and changed his outlook on wrestling and life; after Mushigihara wins BattleMania and we establish the House of Dante to overrun this industry, young Turner will be invited to prove himself a worthy asset for our cause. I, for one, look forward to the possibility of the God-Beast locking up with him. Mushi hasn’t had a worthy opponent in quite some time.

[Dante grins and balls a free hand into a fist.]

Eddie Dante:
And then… there’s Eugene Dewey, the reigning FIST of DEFIANCE.

[He stops for a moment and shakes his head.]

Eddie Dante:
I must apologize; the FIST of DEFIANCE is the name of both the second-tier championship in DEFIANCE, as well as the wrestler who holds it. Dewey has held the FIST, and BEEN the FIST, for over a year’s time, and during his reign he has had the kind of battles that elevated said championship to the level of a SECOND world championship. No brands necessary, no roster splits; just one humble company along the Gulf Coast that can claim two of the best wrestlers in this business.


Eddie Dante:
Now… in DEFIANCE, Mushigihara and myself have been campaigning for opportunities at championship gold, but facing and eliminating young Dewey? Well, that would certainly set a precedent for his contendership, now wouldn’t it?

[Mushigihara, standing tall behind his mentor, is making the classic “title belt” gesture at his waist.]

Eddie Dante:
But of course, it would be foolish to focus solely on internal matters in an event such as this, not when there is an entire wrestling BUSINESS to take over, and judging by the videos sent in by the BattleMania competition… eh. There won’t be a terrible lot of opposition standing in our way. I looked up a good number of the wrestlers awaiting Mushigihara and all I found were websites for unrelated wrestlers and… the singer of a band called… Paramore?

[Picbases are bad and you should feel bad.]

[Dante shrugs.]

Eddie Dante:
Truth be told, the only opponents outside of DEFIANCE that look like they’ll be anything resembling a challenge are the “legends” of the business; Derecho, Shawn Jessica Hart, Mike Best… but those men are, in one way or another, tied to the past in this business, mere falling stars about to encounter an all-consuming black hole. Complacent in their successes, sated, even.

[Shaking his head, Dante grins and taps his cane to the ground.]

Eddie Dante:
Not a good approach against a hungry competitor like the God-Beast here, a monster who is beyond such simple-minded labels as “good” and “evil,” an unfailing, unflinching, unfeeling force of nature who will stop at nothing until the world of professional wrestling falls under his power… and BattleMania is where we will BUILD THE FOUNDATION for the House of Dante, on the broken backs of twenty-nine men and women who tried to topple the God-Beast…


Eddie Dante:
And were smote in grand fashion. We look forward to the wave of destruction we will cause, but until then…

[Dante taps Mushigihara in the chest, signalling him to leave; the pair exits stage left, leaving a vacant backdrop as we fade to black.]


March 9, 2013. Philadelphia, PA.

I was sitting with the tag team I had been tasked with building; in front of me was “Jersey Devil” Troy Matthews, a talented man whose insecurities and self-doubts had done more damage to his career than any injury, who had been fired by DEFIANCE and only allowed to return as part of the company’s fledgling Trios Tag Team Division.

At his side was his girlfriend he’d picked up from his own sojourn of SPW some years ago, Saori Kazama… the promoter’s daughter. Next to me, Eiichiro Yamazaki, now a good seventy-five pounds lighter than when I’d first laid eyes on him in Sapporo, though infinitely stronger from the muscle mass that replaced much of the flab he’d shed. As his grasp of English was still limited, Saori served as interpreter between the two of us, but especially between him and Troy, who had taken a liking to the “big goofball.”

“Now, I’m not saying that ‘top-notch athletes’ wouldn’t work as a gimmick,” Saori said, “but we need to look at things realistically. Eiichiro doesn’t fit the traditional definition of ‘athlete’ in America. And you’re… how old, Ryan?”

With a groan, I mumbled, “Thirty-seven next Sunday.”

“Yeah, we’re not gonna turn heads acting like we’re some kind of Masters’ division,” Troy quipped, “maybe if the big guy here was the silent, scary type, and you were the brains of the team, dude? Why not… acting like some cultured sophisticate and him being the Punjab to your Daddy Warbucks?” I had to say, I was kind of impressed. “‘Cause you know, that’s kind of a stock character, the well-to-do, cultured type with a strong silent bodyguard.”

At the time, I’d been touring Mexico under the name of Eddie Dante; I loosely based my shtick down there on Edmond Dantes in the Count of Monte Cristo, my favorite novel and quite possibly the finest piece of literature ever written in any language. So it was settled; I would be the suave, debonair Eddie Dante, with a suit and cane, and Troy would be a sort of protoge… kind of like when we came up in training together. Saori would be the manager of the trio, and of course, Eiichiro Yamazaki would be the muscle. But he needed something for him to stand out, too… like a snappy name. Snappy, but not stereotypical. Saori and I brainstormed for sometime, but then…

“I remember now!” Saori would exclaim, slapping the table at the same time, “Eiichiro was a sumo wrestler, right? He even had his own ring name!” She turned to the big man and said something to him in Japanese, to which he responded, “Aaaaahh… Mushigihara. Ore wa… Mushigihara.”

That August, we would hold the DEFIANCE World Trios Tag Team Titles around our waists. Before the year was over, we would split up… but that’s a story for another day.

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