Land of Shadows (1.04) Shadow of the Icemann (Part 1) Jun 1, 2019 19:30:16 GMT -5 Grimm, The Anarchist, and 1 more like this
Post by Stormm on Jun 1, 2019 19:30:16 GMT -5
Tuesday, September 5, 2006
“There’s never going to be a worse opponent that I have to face in a semi-final match than this. Are you kidding me, Icey?!” An irate Justin Michaels shouted at Pure Class Wrestling’s owner, Luis Malave. The doors had just opened and the line of fans had just begun to pile into the Pure Class Arena for Trauma 59. This would have normally been when he showed up for each event, but Stormm had gotten there early, just to express his displeasure.
“I don’t know what to tell you, Justin, they’ve advanced through the tournament just like the rest of you. What would you have me do?” Luis explains back to the Force of Nature with a deep and soothing, yet forceful tone.
Unwilling to listen, Stormm scoffs. “They’ve advanced because it’s always a handicap match. Even if it is ‘just’ Jackle and Menace, it’s still two guys versus one in a singles tournament. How fair is that?”
Unbuttoning his suit jacket, Luis pulls the chair out from his desk and calmly sits down, propping his feet up on the desk. “Have all their matches been unfair to their opponents, or have each of those matches been an opportunity for their opponents to prove something?” Titling his head with a cocky expression, he raised his eyebrows as if to add more emphasis to the question.
While the sentiment was not hostile at all, Justin felt attacked and unheard, and stormed off. He was looking for an easy solution that was not given to him, so the only thing he could do was go back to his locker room and prepare for the impossible task. Winning a two on one handicap match in a tournament that would propel him to where he felt he already deserved to be.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Sitting in a black fold-out chair in his locker room, dripping in sweat with a towel wrapped around his neck, Justin’s face was buried in his hands, while his elbows rested on his legs. He was exhausted, disappointed, and frantic. The second Living a Legacy ever had just concluded, and the Force of Nature had lost the Icemann Invitational finale to Andreas Lasiewicz in a very suspicious manner
A knock to the door brought Stormm’s gaze out of the palms of his hands, and before he could say anything, the door opened. Luis Malave could only take one step inside the locker room before Justin was on his feet. “What the fuck was that? A time limit draw, then the mush-mouthed excuse for a President can’t even bother to announce the match is being restarted himself? He did that on purpose so the drunk son of a bitch could jump me and get the win didn’t he? He knew Andreas was about to tapout, and did what he could to prevent it!” His anger towards Pure Class Wrestling’s president, Alejandro Walker, was very apparent.
Luis nodded in agreement. “You’re not wrong, Alejandro’s actions seemed very biased tonight, and it’s unacceptable.” His statement seemed to diffuse Justin’s anger slightly, but Luis couldn’t help but throw in some silver lining wisdom for his own sake. “But for someone who is still a champion in this company, it’s hard to ignore how petty your thinking is right now.”
Looking at the Genesis Championship belt sitting in Stormm’s locker, the owner’s comment only added to the frustration, rather than taking away from it. “That’s not the point! I’m Genesis Champion because you stuck me in that division after losing that initial World title match. Winning the invitational was supposed to put me back in the spotlight where I belong, and Walker took that away from me!”
Choosing to look past the entitlement in Justin’s words, the man Luis placed in charge of the W in PCW had still let him down that night. “I stand by my decision in having you fight for the Genesis title after you lost to Ace Anderson. But as far as tonight goes, I’ll make it right.”
With a nod, Luis excused himself before the tension in the locker room got any greater. Taking what little solace he could in those last four words, Stormm let out a heavy sigh as he walked back over to where his gear was, picking up the Genesis title with both hands. Looking at his blurry reflection in the big, silver, center medallion, he considered everything he’s done and been put through since he signed with the company. However, his fury blocked out any possibility of seeing the bright in his first nine months in PCW, and he dropped the title belt to the concrete below.
...Shadow of the Icemann (Part 1)...
A gentle breeze rolled through the city of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on that warm, sunny day. The leaves in the trees rustled in the wind and muffled the sounds of constant traffic all around. Sitting in a rental vehicle deep in the heart of a cemetery were Justin and Lindsay Michaels, dressed in their Sunday best, even if it was the middle of the week. Justin looked nervous, while Lindsay, with a hand on the back of his neck, tried to comfort him.
“I don’t know why this is so hard.” He admitted, staring at the final resting place of Luis Malave. “It’s not like he’s going to jump out at me in some final ‘aha’ moment, or anything, like the last thirteen years have been some big lesson.” Justin continued. “Not that that would be the worst thing that could happen when I go in there.”
Running her fingers up and down the back of her husband’s head and neck, Lindsay smiles. “Just relax, babe. The worst thing that can happen is you not getting a chance to say what you have to say, and stressing about it more than you have for the last year.” Her gaze continued to go back and forth between Justin and that of the mausoleum erected for Luis to spend eternity in. “How long do you think it took them to build this thing, anyway?” She legitimately asked, looking at the monstrosity erected in the middle of the cemetery.
“I’m not convinced that this wasn’t built before the actual thing was, or at the very least, the same time.” While spoken sarcastically, he truly believed that the tenth scale variant of the Pure Class Arena they were looking at was the inspiration for the real thing.
“Can you believe anyone would want this?” Lindsay asked back.
The rushed question drew a jerk reaction from Justin, who turned his head to look at his wife in shock. When her gaze came back to meet his, he tilted his head and furled his brow. “Really?”
Realizing just who she was talking about, she reacted accordingly with a nod. “Yeah, no, it makes sense.”
Making light of the kind of frivolous person Luis was in life had lightened the mood enough, and given Justin the courage he needed to get out of the car. “Give me twenty minutes or so, and then you can bring it in.”
“Are you sure you want to leave it here?” Lindsay questioned. Not saying anything, he just nodded and got out of the car.
With each step closer, the concrete colossus towered over the Force of Nature even more. The mausoleum even made several of the trees in the cemetery seem small. If that wasn’t a metaphor for the kind of person Luis was, or the way he made others feel in his presence, it was irony at its finest.
As Justin approached, the gold and silver lining in the blue marble accents laid into the cement became more apparent. Outside of the crypt were remnants of previous visitors, among the usual offerings of flowers were ticket stubs, photos, and even replica title belts.
The entrance itself was on lock down, to keep the graffiti and other means of defiling the structure that littered the outside from making their way inside. However, several keys were given out as part of the Icemann’s will to allow certain PCW talent and executives, as well as close friends and family, access.
These were no ordinary keys, however, but instead an encrypted keycard in the form of miniature Pure Class Wrestling Hall of Fame plaques. When placed on the door around the right spot, close to the company’s logo, the mechanism built in opened the door automatically.
Justin smiled as he listened to the sound of the crank slide the door open to reveal an even more elaborate interior. As he stepped inside, the same blue marble he noticed accenting the the exterior was also used for the entire floor of the interior. Not only that, but the ten pillars around the inside are the same material as well. To add to the grand entrance, motion sensors triggered the solar powered arena lights.
In between each pillar, on either side of the “arena” are eight statues of various women on what appear to be poles, honoring the Icemann’s chain of Chick ‘N’ Strip gentlemen’s clubs. “No surprise there.” Justin chuckled to himself.
In the center of it all was nothing more nor less than what you’d expect: a wrestling ring. The majority of it was constructed in concrete as well, but the ropes were real, taken straight from a PCW ring. And then, in the middle of the squared circle, was where Luis rested, in his concrete and marble tomb.
For the final touch, a front row of seats surrounded the ring on all sides, except for where the ramp from the entrance lead to the ring. Despite the fact that Justin knew he was in a graveyard, there was still a feeling of familiarity about it.
More flowers and trinkets were spread throughout the seats and inside of the ring from those who have had access for the last fifteen months since Luis’ death, less than on the outside, but still a fair amount. Taking a seat in the front row, Justin still needed a moment to take it all in and finish gathering his thoughts before stepping into the ring. Not unlike a typical night inside of the real Pure Class Arena.
“I’m sure you already know this, but it goes without saying, the place hasn’t been the same without you, and even more so since last March.” Standing up from his seat, Justin starts to make his way inside of the ring. “I know, I know, can’t dwell on these sorts of things, and whoever is in charge deserves their chance to prove themselves… but you saying stuff like that when you were still here meant a lot more when there was always that possibility of you coming back.”
Climbing through the top and middle ropes, on the backside of the ring, like a typical Stormm entrance, Justin smiled. Out of nervousness, perhaps, but truly out of joy, regardless. “You’ll be happy to know there are still people who run their mouths when they shouldn’t, and others who don’t speak up when they should. Also people earning what they want, and wanting what they don’t deserve.” Out of stubborness, he holds back tears as every muscle in his face tenses up. “Yeah, I’m more than likely at least one of those things, if not every one of them.”
Placing his right hand on top of the tomb, Justin’s head immediately dropped. “I guess you can say, as different as it all feels, everything has stayed the same. This business is consistent if anything.”
As the tension filling his body began to fade, the Force of Nature was able to relax. A long, drawn out breath accompanied that feeling as his gaze turned to the ceiling for just a moment, still fighting back his emotions.
“Hey, Kyle and I still hate each other, so you’ll be happy to know those ratings are still skyrocketing. We share the same title reign record too, now. It’s unfortunate, but no champion reigns forever.” The smile on his face got bigger as he continued to feel more relaxed in the situation, and he removed his hand from the tomb. “It happened at Mass Destruction. 463 days for the both of us. I’m sure everyone was excited to see new title holders after that long.”
Making his way to one of the corners of the ring, Justin hoisted himself up, and perched on the top turnbuckle in true Stormm fashion. “Dominator took the North American from me, and Gerard Angelo the World from Shane. I may have made an appearance on stage at the end of that World title match too, but not to try and insert myself into the picture right away like everyone thought.” He laughed. “Honestly, I wanted Kyle to retain, so I could be the one to take it from him after earning a shot at it for the first time since, well, you know all about that already.”
Gulping down the lump that appeared in his throat, Justin took a moment to himself to look around and continue to take it all in. The quietness surrounding him while inside of any ring was rare. “But, we still get the old timer whose learned from his mistakes versus the young blood who is still in the process of making ‘em. Whether he knows he’s burning those bridges right now or not, or if he even cares.” Nodding to himself, the Force of Nature pressed on. “Honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that we hate each other, we’re one in the same, and could probably get along. But I’m stubborn, and he couldn’t care less about me as a person, let alone what I represent in the ring. That, and we’re facing each other in the semi’s of your invitational, so burying that hatchet is not going to happen anytime soon.”
The concrete turnbuckle was far less comfortable than the padding of the real thing, so he was forced to leave his perch sooner than expected, and started to pace around the ring. “It definitely would have been a better story after all we’ve been through, said, and done to each other over the last year and a half to have had us on separate sides of the bracket, and face off in the final, but it’s still on the big stage, for a chance at a chance, so it’s nearly as interesting as it would have been otherwise. We still stand in each other’s way of getting the World title back, regardless of how long its been for each of us since we held it for the first time.”
What Stormm had been fighting back the whole time finally was too much for him, and a few tears broke through, which he caught with his thumb and forefinger from his left hand before they made their way down his cheeks.
“That’s kind of why I’m here Lou. You had done so much for me, and played a pivotal role in me realizing my potential in PCW since I won the invitational the first time, but I still treated you like shit, and thought way too much of myself.” He sighed again, once more fighting back the emotions, and coming close to losing that battle. “Whether my lack of success in the four other invitationals that I’ve competed in since that first one has anything to do with this or not, I feel the need to get it off my chest once and for all.”
The entrance to the mausoleum remained opened, and would until the motion sensors inside no longer recognized someone being there, but a shadow emerged from outside, and joined Justin in all its elaborate splendor. Carrying in something special to the Force of Nature, his wife, Lindsay, entered.
“For some reason I was expecting the inside to have a little more, “class”, than this, but that was my fault. But, honestly, given everything, it’s still pretty tasteful.” She joked, and looked up at her red-faced husband from outside of the ring. “You okay in there? Almost done?”
He nodded, and exhaled every emotion in a single breath. “Yeah, perfect timing, just about to finish up here.”
Extending her arms upwards, Lindsay lifted Justin’s offering to Luis up to him, and he grabbed his 2006 Icemann Invitational trophy out of her hands. He took one last, long, look at it before placing it right next to the tomb, a couple more tears escaped as he took a few steps backwards. “I don’t expect what I’m about to say to grant me any wishes, or let me have something I want without earning it, but I don’t think I can earn what I want without this gesture, or without apologizing.”
Looking over his shoulder, back at Lindsay, seeing her tear up didn’t help his case any. Taking a seat in the front row, she watched on as her husband continued to get the monkey off his back.
“We weren’t always the greatest to one another, but you had at least said sorry, in your own way to me, and I never got that chance. So, Luis, if this is the last thing I ever get to say to you, I just want you to know that I appreciate everything you’ve done for me, and I really am sorry for forcing you to push me as hard as you had to all those years ago.” A whimper from outside of the ring from Lindsay didn’t distract Justin from finishing what he had to say, otherwise, he may not have gotten the chance. “That trophy is just as much yours as it is mine, and hopefully I’ll find it within me to beat Kyle next week, and go on to beat Dominator or David Hunter in the final to win another one.”
Reaching out, Justin lightly pounded his fist on top of the tomb before exiting the ring through the top and middle ropes in the same way he entered. Though, before stepping down off the apron, he found it inside of himself to choke through a few more words. “Rest in peace, brother.”