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SWF Storm, February 7, 2007

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"Tom Flesher."


Ever the businessman, Calvin Szechstein has busted out the pinstriped black suit and gold undershirt for this rendezvous with the SWF Commissioner, and the biggest smile yet is plastered on his face as he steps into Flesher's office.


"How have you been, my friend?"


"Well, Calvin," Flesher says, a bit more preoccupied with his newspaper than the wrestler standing in front of him, "I've been absolutely wonderful."


"Hey, I had a favor to ask you."




"Zack wants to do a rematch between the Cadillac Boys and Wild and Dangerous next week."


"Consider it done."


Calvin looks a bit taken aback. "Done?"


Flesher looks up. "Sure. Why not? You guys got hosed pretty bad at Clusterfuck, you've made me some pretty damn good money, and I've never liked that fake Bond anyway. You can have 'em next week."


Calvin looks around the office, seemingly looking for evidence that he's being set up. "Can I have a title shot, too?"


Flesher looks up and grins. "Not yet, Calvin. Go have a couple Royal Crown Colas," Flesher holds one up and mugs for the camera, "and enjoy Rosemont."


"What's there to enjoy in Rosemont, Tom?" Calvin asks.


"Well, Calvin," Flesher grins again, "you can always check out Music and Lyrics, the new romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, premiering on Valentine's Day, February 14th!"


"I think I might have to go do that, Tom!" Calvin says. "Have a beautiful day."

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“Mr. Charisma” Ben Hardy is standing by backstage, microphone in hand, goofy smile on face and very little thought in mind, so all in all a normal day for Ben.


“This guy has been the talk of the SWF since he… well since he actually won a match a few weeks go” Ben says with a facial expression that reveals that HE personally isn’t really a big fan.


Hardy can only be talking about one man, Matt Myers – the man stepping into the picture as I type this wearing a suit that looks like it came from K-Mart and a huge, ridiculously bad hairpiece, black sunglasses and accompanied by James Matheson.


“Matt Myers has the last couple of weeks of succe… “ Hardy starts but is quickly stopped when Myers puts his hand up to stop the backstage reporter.


He pauses, then sniffs the air for a moment




“Actually tonight we’re in”


“IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE WE ARE!!” Myers yells and then looks straight at the camera while raising an eyebrow “Because the Donald can just buy this place with his Billions…. And Billions of Dollars!!”


“OOOOHkay then” Hardy says while resisting the temptation to roll his eyes. “Matt”


Once again he’s interrupted by “the Donald”


“The Donald has to interrupt you right there Benjamin. Respect the hairpiece and remember the Donald’s name” Myers says while pointing to his polyester hair.


“So… the Donald?” Hardy guesses, hoping to get it right so that he can get this over with, he’s got a whiskey sour and a date with a pornsite he’s looking forward to.


“Yes Benjamin, what can the Billionaires’ Champ do for you?” Myers replies as he pulls his sunglasses down enough to look over the edge of them.


“I just wanted to get your reactions on the ClusterF*ck”


The Donald smiles then he takes his sunglasses off “The Donald is glad that you asked the Donald that question. See MEMPHIS TENNESEE!! The Donald in the main event stealing the show! Laying the Smackdown on these nickel & dime asses like it was going out of business!!”




“Was the Donald in the main event of what’s the second biggest PPV of the year or not?”


“Well yes” Ben Hardy admits


“Then SHUT!! Your hole or Yoooooooooooooure Fahred!!”


“But you didn’t win” Hardy finally cuts through and says.


“No and thank god” Matt says suddenly breaking his “The Donald” character as he looks a bit worried.


“Thank god?” both Hardy and Matheson blurt out.


“Dude seriously” Matt says like that’s some sort of explanation “I don’t wanna die, Drake would tear me limb from limb” Myers explains and then whimpers at the mere thought of facing Gabriel Drake.


“Come on kid, don’t you want a world title match?” Matheson asks


“I… Well… “ Matt bites his lip “Not with Gabriel Drake, no way!”


James Matheson looks both annoyed and disappointed all at once, it’s obvious that Matheson’s ambitions are stronger than Myers. The “Maker of Stars” shuts his eyes and shakes his head while muttering something about a work in progress or something.


“Are you happy fighting part timers like Wayne Blank? Or those destined to be nothing but a curtain jerker like Victor Herzog?” Matheson asks.


“No, no not at all you know that. But… I don’t want to end up a cripple or worse.” Myers explains.


“Hey now, I wouldn’t let that happen to you Matt, trust me” Matheson says as he tries to instill a little confidence in Myers


“Yeah trust”


All three men turn around to see a sneering Tom Flesher rolling his eyes at Matheson’s comments.


“I’m not the one that quit and took a cushy management position” Matheson says, obviously bitter at his former meal ticket for leaving him. “I’m trying to instill some confidence in this guy, some dedication… make sure he doesn’t quit just because he gets a little back cramp”


Flesher doesn’t take the bait, instead he just smiles – the kind of smile that says that he’s got something up his sleeve and I’m not talking about the hand either.


“Myers, excellent job these last few weeks” Flesher says and pads Myers on the shoulder.


“Really?” Myers sounds surprised.


“Oh yeah, fans are really into this ever changing gimmick thing” Flesher says without taking his eyes off James Matheson.


“Thanks, you know I’ve really been getting into it lately too”


“Yeah that’s great” Flesher says, not really paying attention “That’s why we have decided to expand it a bit”


“Expand?” Matheson asks, his Spider-senses are tingling.


“Well originally you didn’t have a manager… I think it’s only fair that we expand it to include him” Flesher says.


“Includes me how?”


“Well let’s just say that if he’s the Donald, then you’re Rosie”


Matheson turns pale at that mental image.


“It means that whatever gimmick he’s playing – YOU are in on it too. No more “Plain old” James Matheson at ringside, you’ve got to get in on the act.”


“But… “ Matheson obviously doesn’t not look forward to having to play dress up.


“The fans will love it, it could be what takes this kid to the top” Flesher says and points to Matt. “Who knows there could be a world title match in his future”


“Oh no!” Myers blurts out, a comment that makes Flesher laugh.


“Come on Tom” Matheson pleads, but deep down he knows he’s screwed – Tom Flesher isn’t a kind, no one knows this better than James Matheson.


“Keep up the good work and well who knows maybe I’ll think about you challenging Clark or WC… maybe” Flesher says and then turns around.


“Cool” Myers says with a hopeful expression on his face.


“Or there is always the Hardcore Division” Flesher says offhandedly before he turns the corner.


Myers eyes bug out at that comment, it’s not an option he looks pleased about at all.


* Fade to commercial *

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“I’m telling you Megs, it’s gonna be-”


Landon Maddix stops short as he opens the door to the Galacticos dressing room. There, sitting on the bench and looking straight at him as if waiting, is his tag team partner. His co-champion. And the sixteenth man to be tossed out of the Clusterfuck last week, the Clusterfuck that Landon went on to win.


“Evenin’,” Michael Stephens nods. Landon cautiously nods in return, well aware that the Englishman has never been known as a good loser. Especially not since, for the first time ever, he’s now lost on two successive Pay-Per-Views. Granted, ‘losing’ is something of a loose definition when it comes to the Clusterfuck, since Stephens wasn’t pinned - unlike Jay Hawke - and shares that privilege with eighteen others, but the fact remains; in the record books, only one winner will be shown. And that winner was Landon Maddix.


Oh, and Spain beat England 1-0 at Old Trafford earlier today. That probably won’t help matters.


“Hey,” Landon says, looking at his tag team partner. Stephens is sitting oddly, an oddly pinched expression around his eyes. “You alright?” La Cucaracha asks, frowning. Stephens smiles humourlessly.


“I got chokeslammed clean out of the ring by that bloody psycho,” he snorts, “suffice to say, me back ain’t feeling as good as it might. I should be good to go for next week though, if I need to.” Landon nods and, not sure what else to say, turns to put his bag down while Megan slips quietly through the door - blonde she may be, but she’s smart enough to spot a tense atmosphere when she’s in one.




Maddix turns around, and finds to his surprise that Stephens has stood up and is now a couple of steps towards him. Mike stops before he gets too close though, and extends one black-nailed hand.






“Congratulations mate,” Stephens sighs, “look, don’t get me wrong, I wanted to win that bastard, but if it couldn’t have been me…” he grins slightly, “I’d want it to be you.”


“Just as well,” Landon preens slightly, shaking the proffered hand, “since it was.”


“Well, yeah,” Stephens says. “Listen, I want to get that World Title back, I want it back around my waist… but more than that, I want it off Gabe’s, know what I mean?” He tilts his head slightly quizzically, looking at Landon. “I’m amazed he got by JJ to be honest, there’s no way he’ll slip past you. I mean come on, you’ve beaten him once anyway… even if you did have to run away to do it,” he finishes, grinning again.


“You’re never gonna let that go, are you?” Maddix sighs.


“Until I’ve beaten him too? Probably not,” Stephens admits. He turns around and moves slightly stiffly towards where he was sitting when Maddix came in. “Anyway, what with you now getting that World Title shot you’ll probably be focused on that, which means I’m going to have to carry your arse even more in our tag matches…”


“Don’t make me start throwing things at you,” Maddix warns, pulling out one of his Angle awards.


“Bring it, bitch,” Stephens grins, before his expression sobers. “Hey… you haven’t seen Janus around anywhere have you?”


“No,” Maddix shudders, “thank God.” His eyes narrow as he studies the Englishman. “Hey, you’re not-”


“I’ll seeya in a bit,” Stephens says, heading for the door, “try not to gloat too much, aight?” He points at Megan. “Megs, you make sure Gabe don’t sneak up on him, that bugger’ll probably try and jump him from behind, and I don’t trust Ol’ Big ‘Ead here to keep his eyes open.”


“Mike-” Landon tries again.




“…damn,” he finishes as the door closes behind his tag team partner. He throws his hands up in despair and sits down. “Great. He finally drops out of the World Title picture, and now instead of settling down and concentrating on keeping our Tag Titles he’s off to pick fights with seven-foot Australian psychopaths.”


“Come on,” Megan says, trying to sound encouraging, “maybe he only went out of the room because he heard Janus wasn’t around? I mean, maybe he’s trying to avoid him, not look for him?”


“Yeah, and maybe he’ll stop for a Jack Daniels on the way,” Landon grunts, then cheers up, “but hey, what am I worrying about? I’m the Number One Contender! By From The Fire, I’ll be World Champion for a third time!” He stands up and reaches into his bag for his Tag Title belt. “Come on Megs, let’s go and speak to my adoring public!”


The Dynamic Duo heads for the door. However, caught up in the excitement though he is, Landon doesn’t forget to look both ways before heading out. He knows first-hand exactly what sort of man Gabriel Drake is, and he didn’t need Stephens’ warning.

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There's a hero

If you look inside your heart

You don't have to be afraid

Of what you are

There's an answer

If you reach into your soul

And the sorrow that you know

Will melt away



As "The Game" by Disturbed powers through The Pyramid, the crowd are on their feet, for number fourteen! A former Clusterfuck winner being replaced by another, Landon "La Cucaracha" Maddix!


"From Huron, South Dakota by way of Madrid, Spain... one half of the SWF Tag Team Champions... LLLAAAAANNDDOOOOOOONN "LA CUCARACHA" MMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAAADDIIIIIIIXXXXXXX!!!"




Maddix comes thundering down to the ring at top speed, diving into the ring and popping right up to his feet. Obviously, you'd expect his first target to by Zyon.



You'd be wrong. Instead, Landon turns his attentions to Zack Malibu, the man that cut his attempts to be the first man to win both the Clusterfuck and the OAOAST's Lethal Rumble in their career short at the final hurdle.








Landon flips the unsuspecting Malibu up and over the top, looking over the ropes with a satisfied smile.


"And what an impact Landon makes, just seconds after coming in!"


"Oh, here we go." groans King. Again. "Call me when somebody I like comes in or someone I don't like goes Mak, I'll be daydreaming about cereal."



And then a hero comes along

With the strength to carry on

And you cast your fears aside

And you know you can survive

So when you feel like hope is gone

Look inside you and be strong

And you'll finally see the truth

That a hero lies in you



Suddenly a little more relieved with life, Landon realises where his partner's true loyalties lie and thanks him for not turning on him for a former lov... tag partner. A high-five is offered.


And rejected.




The trademark lopsided grin of Michael Stephens has disappeared. Instead, he looks at the only opponent currently left in the match, exactly like he is. An opponent. Maddix's eyes bug out as he realises Stephens is serious as he begins to stalk towards him, pointing to an imaginary watch on his wrist and telling him to hold on until number sixteen comes out. But Stephens isn't waiting, keeping on stalking towards La Cucaracha. Making the belt motion around his waist, Landon tries in vain to remind The Englishman as if needed that they're partner. But Stephens just keeps on stalking forward...




...until, faced with no other choice, Landon lunges out with a boot to the gut!





It's a long road

When you face the world alone

No one reaches out a hand

For you to hold

You can find love

If you search within yourself

And the emptiness you felt

Will disappear



Janus climbs up the ring steps, in over the top rope, surveying the field. Stephens is down. Hawke is down. Johnny, MANSON, ditto. Akira Kaibatsu is beginning to recover now, pulling himself up via the ropes. And there's Landon Maddix, of course, frozen in fear on his knees and begging for mercy as Janus stalks towards him. Janus, predictably, shows no mercy what-so-ever. Reaching down, they grab hold of Maddix around the throat with one gigantic hand, hauling The Next Generation to his feet...




...off his feet...







...and DESTROYS him with a CHOKESLAM!!




Landon goes limp in the centre of the ring, as Akira steps into The Hell Machine's eyeline.



And then a hero comes along

With the strength to carry on

And you cast your fears aside

And you know you can survive

So when you feel like hope is gone

Look inside you and be strong

And you'll finally see the truth

That a hero lies in you



"He caught him! The Wing Span is locked in!"


"And there's nobody to save!" King cheers. "Oh, it's all too perfect Mak, I think I may weep!"


Unable to get the accompanying arm trap body-scissors fully locked in thanks to the positioning of Landon's free arm, Hawke settles for what he's got a tugs away on the hold with his teeth almost grinding through each other with determination. The already weakened arm is the arm caught, which makes Landon's pained yells that little more painful and little sooner than usual!


"LAN - DON!"

"LAN - DON!"

"LAN - DON!"

"LAN - DON!"


The crowd will Maddix on as he begins to crawl towards the ropes. There's the small matter of Janus to be dealt with yet, but that's the least of La Cucaracha's problems now as he starts to shuffle upwards. Hawke wrenches on chickenwing a couple more times, before attempting again to trap the arm...




...failing and giving Landon a free couple of seconds to inch towards the ropes!


"Are you weeping yet, King?"


"If Maddix doesn't tap soon I might be. It's a matter of time if Hawke gets the body-scissors on though, trust Maddix to screw up a perfectly good hold."


"LAN - DON!"

"LAN - DON!"

"LAN - DON!"

"LAN - DON!"


Still the fans are hopeful, but Landon has stopped crawling. The pain is becoming too much now and as Hawke gives one last pull back, he looks up at Janus, the big Australian threatening to tear the ropes off of their stantions as he continues to struggle to free himself...



...his struggle unsuccessful...





...and he can only watch on fuming, as Landon hand hovers over the canvas...





















Oh oooh

Lord knows

Dreams are hard to follow

But don't let anyone

Tear them away, hey yeah

Hold on

There will be tomorrow

In time

You'll find the way





"No... please, no..."


Hawke goes flying backwards and the back of his head clatters into Janus' shins just for good measure. Covering his head with his hands, Landon quickly retrieves Hawke, managing not to get any more than a grazing kick from The Hell Machine as he drags Jay out of range, hooking the leg...












...Janus makes one last effort to escape the ropes...













...leaning back...



























"YES!" confirms Mak, the sound of a headset being slammed into the announce table ignored by The Franchise. "HISTORY HAS BEEN MADE!! LANDON MADDIX, FOR THE SECOND TIME, HAS WON THE SWF CLUSTERFUCK!! AND WHAT A REACTION!"



And then a hero comes along

With the strength to carry on

And you cast your fears aside

And you know you can survive

So when you feel like hope is gone

Look inside you and be strong

And you'll finally see the truth

That a hero lies in you





A sudden burst of confetti begins to shower the arena, as Landon rolls to his knees. Fists clenched, Landon holds his head in his hands and the blood vessels burst to the edge of his skin as he punches the air! Sexton Hardcastle interrupts the celebrations and raises Landon's arm in victory, The Next Generation climbing to his feet with him.


And coming face to face with Janus, the Aussie still tied up, but Maddix still not fancying his chances if that changes and deciding to exit the ring while the going is good.



Through the confetti filled air jogs Megan Skye, leaping into the arms of Landon and clearly reminding him, 'two times, two times'. The crowd give another loud cheer for the joyous celebrations in the aisle, as another explosion of confetti is set off in the rafters.





That a hero lies in you


That a hero lies in




Cut to the ring, where Landon Maddix has all of a sudden appeared, the crowd in mid-booming reception for the FIRST-EVER two-time SWF Clusterfuck Winner! Landon watches as the cheesy video package fades away, wiping a tear from his eye as Megan nods and applauds.


"LAN - DON!"

"LAN - DON!"

"LAN - DON!"

"LAN - DON!"


"Thank you all!" announces the World Tag Team Champion, sans belt, beaming away with a smile from ear to ear. "Thank you. Ladies and gentleman, the word 'historic' is one which our society tends to over-use."


"'Our society'!?" groans The Suicide King, who surprisingly decided not to leave during the video. "Who the hell does he think he is, The President?"


"Hush!" snaps Mak Francis in response.


"But this past Wednesday... slash Thursday... slash Friday night, true SWF history was made. True history, the likes of which nobody expected to witness. For the first time, a Clusterfuck winner repeated their success and booked themselves a second trip to From The Fire's main event. Winning the Clusterfuck once is an achievement in itself. One which only six men have accomplished in SWF history. But twice? Until now, unheard of. So, I feel completely justified when I say that I'M ON TOP OF THE FREAKING WORLD right noWii"




"I outlasted nineteen other men," boasts Landon, perhaps forgetting he entered from number fourteen, "making that thirty-eight in total. Not to mention all the people I outlasted in 2006."


"How the hell does he figure that!?" snaps King, hissed down again by Mak.


"So, I guess you might say that I am 'Mr. Clusterfuck'. A title which, besides the obvious female attention it's going to garner me on my MySpace account, goes to show that when it comes to Clusterfuck matches, there's nobody better. It's just a shame really that it only comes around once a year. Otherwise, I'd be virtually unbeatable around here." Landon rethinks even as he's talking. "More-so. I'll admit, when I saw Janus looming down that aisle, I began to doubt myself. And he put in one hell of an effort, before he ended up tied in the ropes. I'm sure Janus has other issues on his mind though, besides me..."


Landon seems more wishful than anything, really trying to hammer that particular point home.


"...so, good luck to him. Now, I could come out here and boast all day about my monumental victory."


"He's not kidding either." admits Mak.


"But, there'll be plenty of time for that when I'm old, broken down and doing public appearances and Q&A sessions. Right now, I want to concentrate on the next step. Which is From The Fire... and the SWF World Heavyweight Champion, Gabriel Drake!"




"Yeah, boo." agrees Landon. "You know, there's going to be plenty of talk in the next few months about how last time I went to From The Fire after winning the Clusterfuck, I lost. And a lot of talk about how I'm the only man who ever did that. Well, nobody ever lost at From The Fire... but nobody ever got a second chance either. From The Fire 2005 is in the past. Put to bed. I spent the rest of 2005 suffering from it and the first half of last year trying to wipe that entire match out of my memory. And I can guarantee you, I will NOT go through that torment again!"


Suddenly more serious, Landon points his finger in the direction of the hard camera. Almost as if he's directing his words straight at Gabriel Drake.


"Losing at From The Fire stalled my career for almost a year. Hell, let's be honest, it turned me into a shell of myself. And Gabriel Drake, that will not happen again. The good Lord has graced me with a second chance and I intend on taking full advantage of it! I spent the past month on the road to the Cruiserweight Title, I've spent the past six months holding this Tag Team Title. But as of right now, my focus is placed squarely on you and your World Heavyweight Championship. Question is, how focused are you? Or, more importantly, is your focus on the right Tag Team Champion?"


"Referring of course to Michael Stephens." Mak needlessly points out.


"You see, Michael Stephens didn't win the Clusterfuck. I did! I'm sure you'd have preffered it the other way... infact, he probably would have too, but that's besides the point. The point is, all that matters from this point on is you and me! Everything else is just a side issue. This grudge you've got with Mike? Side issue. Your spell in prison? Side issue. I get that you're an angry man and that you feel Mike's done you wrong in the past. And let's face it, he's a pretty pro-active personality when he wants to be. But trust me, you don't want to overlook me. I beat you before, at the biggest show of the year no less. Don't think I can't do so again. Because as big and as bad as you are, I'm The Baddest Clusterfucker On The Planet!"




Re-lightening his mood, Landon turns himself away from the cameras and back to the fans.


"Now, we know who and we know when. But as far as how, what stipulation I'm going to choose for our match... that's a work in process. Maybe I'll choose to make it a Clusterfuck Rules Match... whatever the hell that would mean. Whatever I decide on though, you can be sure that the second time will be the charm. Landon Maddix, Clusterfuck winner might not have got the job done in 2005. But Landon Maddix, two-time Clusterfuck winner is going to walk out of From The Fire, three-time SWF World Heavyweight Champion! From The Fire... PREPARE FOR LANDON...




...uhm, AGAIN!"



There's a hero

If you look inside your heart


Mariah Carey's "Hero" plays again, Landon making full use of the sickly sweet song to pose on the turnbuckles, making the ominous "belt motion" around his waist.


You don't have to be afraid

Of what you are

There's an answer

If you reach into your soul

And the sorrow that you know

Will melt away


"Ugh, make it stop already!"


"Landon Maddix, going to From The Fire again!" announces Mak. "And he's determined to make even more history, apparantly."


"He just wants more accolades to brag about. That's all titles are to him, fuel for that overbearing ego of his. I mean, it's bad enough that we're going to have to hear about him winning the Clusterfuck again every Wednesday for the next God knows how many years. With the World Title on his shoulder again, he'd be unbearable." King rethinks even as he's talking. "More-so."


"It's a very real possibility. Landon is on the road to From The Fire again and you can bet, there's going to be plenty of twists and turns on route. It's going to be an interesting few weeks leading up to the Pay Per View, that's for sure."

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“Go away, I’m-”




“-oh, it’s you,” Tom Flesher sighs, looking up to see Michael Stephens entering his office. “What do you want?”


“What’s the deal with Janus?” Stephens asks without preamble. Flesher quirks an eyebrow questioningly.


“Are you talking in general terms, or about his apparent psychotic illness, or-”


“Who put him in the Clusterfuck?” Stephens cuts him off, “and since there’s only really a choice between you an’ Peters, I’ll make it easy for you; was it the same bugger what gave me Number 1?”


“I don’t have to answer that,” Flesher snaps. “Now sit down.”




“Sit down, you egotistical limey,” the Superior One spits, pointing at the chair in front of him. Stephens snorts and throws his weight down, then raises both feet and crosses his legs with his boots resting insolently on Flesher’s desk. Tom looks at them, then sighs.


“I imagine you looked back at the tape of the Clusterfuck match,” Tom begins, and takes Stephens’ silence as agreement, “and you’ll have heard Mak Francis speculating - speculating, I might stress - that Janus was some sort of ‘last line of defence’ against you getting another title shot. Now, I won’t say that my old tag partner doesn’t have good insights sometimes, but that wasn’t one of them.” Flesher leans forward, staring into Stephens’ face. “I didn’t seek Janus out to get him into the Clusterfuck to get at you. Neither did Joe. Janus came to me and asked to be entered, and since I was reduced to people like Myers and Jimmy fucking Liston, I said yes. And before you say anything, he entered at twenty through the same random numbering process that everyone else went through-”


“Everyone except me and Zyon,” Stephens corrects him, “we got the special treatment, right?”


“I warned Zyon not to open that sphere,” Flesher points out, “it’s not my fault if he wants to take Joe Peters at his word. As for you,” he continues, “yes, I didn’t want you to win the Clusterfuck. I don’t like you, and I have no doubt whatsoever that the feeling’s mutual. I also think that you’ve been up to something ever since you’ve come back. You’ve been too squeaky-clean and you’ve been ass-kissing the fans like there’s no tomorrow. And yes, I used my position as Commissioner to give you Number 1 in the sincere hope that you wouldn’t make it right through the field, because I'm

well and truly sick of seeing you around the World Title.” He sits back again and folds his arms.


“I also gave you the best damn excuse someone can have for not winning the Clusterfuck, which means those morons out in the stands are still going to believe in you. Coming in first with Janus coming out last, targeting you, and you still nearly make it to the Triple Threat?” He shrugs. “Your fan club will still love you.”


“What, so I’m supposed to thank you?” Stephens snorts, “I don’t suppose it’s crossed your mind that with a decent entrance number I might have actually won the bloody thing rather than being knackered by the time Janus walked his overlarge arse out there?”


“Not really, no,” Flesher says, “you’d have run out of tricks to pull and allies to stab in the back before the end of it.” He look at Stephens thoughtfully for a moment, then shrugs. “You’re being ‘phased out’, you know.”


“Say what?”


“Don’t ask me, it’s Peters’ wording,” Flesher shrugs. He picks up a piece of paper from his desk, although he doesn’t let Stephens see it. “This came through from him yesterday. Basically, it means that Joe doesn’t want to see you in so many main events unless they’re recognised title matches, he’s not going to authorise any new merchandise made for you, the video packages and so on will be reduced… he wants you out of the fans’ minds as a main event player, and now you’ve lost the title and not won the Clusterfuck, he reckons he can get away with it.”


“Tom,” Stephens says in a level voice, “you recognise that Peters is out of his bloody mind, right? I’ve been doing nothing but make him money since I came back! He’s had the T-shirts flying, ratings are good, buyrates are good…” the Englishman pauses, seemingly thrown by the weirdness of it, “…I mean, it’s not like I give a shit about that stuff, but that’s all Peters cares about!”


“So it seems,” Flesher agrees, “but it also seems that he thinks he can make enough money off people who don’t decide to up and leave the company for ten months at a time to afford to move you down the ranks so that it won’t matter if you take it in your head to do it again.” He shrugs. “Which puts me in the delightful position of being able to book you without worrying about a backlash from Joe.”


“This place has always been a meritocracy Tom,” Stephens says, a note of warning entering his voice, “that’s why you’ve done so well out of it. Bloody hell, if I win matches I should get rewards, title matches, that sort of thing!”


“I’m not saying you won’t,” Flesher replies, “but you might find it a bit harder to get into the matches that will get you those rewards. Face it Mike - I don’t like you, and Peters doesn’t see you as the invaluable cash cow anymore.” He smiles, but not nicely. “I don’t think things are looking good for you.”


“I hope you’re thankful to Matheson, Flesher,” Stephens spits, kicking his chair away from the desk and standing up.


“Excuse me?”


“Matheson,” Stephens repeats, “remember him? Cos bloody hell, if he hadn’t drawn you up an iron-clad contract, you think you’d be sitting there now with your bad back? Nah. Peters would’ve chucked you onto the unemployment line soon as look at you and leave you to try and get back in when you were fit enough to work again. As it is, you owe your current career to a loud-mouthed bastard currently managing Matt Myers. Think about that.” He turns to leave, then turns back.




“What about him?” Flesher asks, clearly slightly needled by Stephens’ comments.


“Where is he? Is he here? Is he a part of the fed again, or was that a one-shot?” Stephens asks. Flesher shrugs.


“I don’t seem to have found any paperwork saying that he is yet, but,” he gestures at his overflowing desk, “as you can see, I’ve got a lot to go through. The best approach might be to ask him, if you can find him,” he adds.


“Flesher, you’re about as much use as a chocolate kettle,” Stephens tells him, heading towards the door. Just as he’s about to leave a thought strikes him and he looks back over his shoulder. “So who’s Peters’ newest money-making venture then? Who’s getting the merchandise push and all that bollocks?”


“Someone loyal to the company, who has been reliable and always available for any eventuality,” Flesher replies, but Mike clocks the fact that the Superior One doesn’t seem that happy with what he’s saying.


“You got a name for me, Tom?”






“New Number One Contender,” Flesher says, shuffling paperwork and not looking at the incredulous Englishman, “one who’s beaten the World Champion before, too. Popular with the fans, largely due to his recent run of tagging with you,” he continues, “but young, not stale at the top, and with the dual benefit of not only being American but appealing to the Hispanic audience as well due to his Spanish heritage.”


“Landon,” Stephens repeats, seemingly unable to take it in. “Mr. Cheat-to-win, cowardly run-and-hide, the guy who went around trying to injure half the roster last year? Tom, he cheats at Solitaire! He wouldn’t know an adverb from a pronoun if one of them jumped up and hit him! And that’s the guy Peters wants as the face of the fed?”


“He’s your tag partner,” Flesher says mildly, “haven’t you got anything good to say about him?”


“He’s a bloody good tag partner,” Stephens replies, “but… Jesus Christ.” He cocks his head to one side. “And you’re happy with this, are you?”


“I don’t have to be happy with it,” Flesher snaps, “I just have to make the matches and run things while Peters gets on with trying to sucker more money out of the fans. Now get out of my office.”




“Get out.”


Stephens sighs and walks out the door, closing it behind him. Flesher looks at the door for a moment, then back down at his desk.


“The sooner we get the both of them out of the company the better…”

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As Storm returns the camera pans the ring, which is covered in bright red carpet and furnished with a luxurious couch and matching love seat. On the side of the ring facing the entranceway, there are two tall columns joined by an arch; stretching between the columns is a thick velvet rope. In the center of this somewhat elaborate set is a lone microphone stand.


“It’s time for another episode the hottest interview segment on SWF television,” greets Mak Francis, as if reading from a cue card, “the House of Marvelous! King, I understand that Wild and Dangerous will be the guests here tonight!”


“Well, just this once, I’ll give them a pass,” says the Suicide King. “They did the SWF proud by sending those OAOAST losers packing, so just this once, I’ll refrain from saying what I really think about them!”


“Refrain from saying what you think about them?” chuckles Mak. “You were doing everything but waving pom-poms and cheering Wild and Dangerous from the sidelines last week!”


“Hey!” snaps King. “Haven’t you ever heard the expression, the enemy of my enemy is my friend? Well, that’s all that was; I wasn’t pro-Wild and Dangerous as much as I was anti-OAOAST… And now that that’s over with, I can get back to hating them, like I usually do… but I’ll still give them their one free pass!”


“Well, after a big win at Cluster(bleep), I’m sure that Wild and Dangerous have a lot to get off their chests,” says Mak, “so let’s get right to it!”


With that, Notorious BIG’s “I Love the Dough” heralds the arrival of Michael Anderson, who limps out onto the stage, hopping spryly on his cane, and dressed in a red Armani. As always, Anderson is accompanied by the massive Tracey Bruner; the bodyguard is wearing a charcoal Armani, and a matching hat, his coal-black eyes obscured by sunglasses.


“Ladies and gentlemen,” booms Funyon, “please welcome: Sir… Marvelous!” Marvelous’ ridiculously insincere smile threatens to crack his face in half, as he makes his way to the ring. He limps up the steel steps, and then waits on Bruner to get up to the apron and hold open the ropes for him before he enters the ring. Once inside, he then waits for Bruner to unhook the velvet rope before he passes through the arch and picks the microphone up from the stand as his music fades out.


“Welcome,” drawls Anderson, “to the House of MAAAAARVELOUS! The highest-rated fifteen minutes in all of professional wrestling! I am your host, Sir Marvelous!” Most fans have gotten used to Anderson’s glad-handing by now, but his self-aggrandizement is nonetheless met by an underlying current of boos.


“My guests tonight have been on quite a tear since returning to the SWF,” continues Marvelous. “They recently defeated two of the OAOAST’s top superstars in a tremendous Pay Per View match at Cluster(bleep). Ladies and gentlemen, please give a big House of Marvelous welcome for the four-time former SWF Tag Team Champions… Wild and Dangerous!”




“Manifest” by Gang Starr begins to play as Wild and Dangerous makes their way out to the ring, each wearing their new “I’ve got Five on it!” t-shirts, now available at SWF.com. They enter the ring and then wait for Bruner to allow them to pass through the velvet rope before they step through the arch and take their place besides Anderson as their music fades out.


“Good evening, gentlemen!” greets Marvelous. “As we all saw, you two had a very impressive match last week on Pay Per View, where you successfully defended the integrity of the SWF against those second-rate wrestlers from… that other place…”




“Look,” says WC, surprising everybody--his partner included--by snatching the microphone, “Dere’s really not’ing t’be said; dey gave us a good fight, but everybody knows dat de SWF has de best tag teams in professional wrestling!”




“But we’re not here t’talk about dem,” continues Wildchild. “We’ve got bigger fish t’fry! Tell ‘em, Johnny!”


“That’s right!” exclaims the Barracuda, leaning into the microphone. “You know, ever since we reformed Voltron, we’ve run over every team that’s been put in front of us… except one. And the way we see things, especially after proving last week that we’ve still got it, we feel like it’s time to take back what belongs to us!”






“First of all,” continues Johnny, “let me send my personal congratulations to Landon Maddix for winning the Cluster(bleep) last week. It’s an incredible accomplishment by any standard to win that match once, but to win it twice? Jesus Christ, son – hell of a good job there!”


“Stomach curling…” Suicide King mutters as he grabs his stomach.


“Landon, I hope you do realize, though, that now you’ve got a date with one terrifying son of a bitch!” the Barracuda continues. “That man, Gabriel Drake, manhandled your partner last month! If you want to be able to go in there and finish what your partner couldn’t, you’re going to need all the time that you can to prepare for that awesome challenge! You can’t afford any distractions when trying to get ready to face a monster like that…”


“So, de way we see it,” interrupts WC, “we’re gon’ do you a favor by takin’ de tag titles off your hands!”






“Well, well, well,” Marvelous interrupts. “It seems you boys are ready to take the good fight to those Skinny White Guys. I mean, you’re pumped and you even made t-shirts, but I have to ask; what makes you two think you’d even be able to ‘lighten’ Landon’s load--as you so eloquently put it Mr. Dangerous—when you couldn’t get the job done last time?”


Johnny and Wildchild’s heads both swivel towards Marvelous, their eyes wide, and the crowd tosses some boos out. Marvelous puts a finger up to let him continue. “Hear me out now,” he pleads. “I am no representative for the Galacticos and I’m certainly no fan, but it’s my duty to educate everyone watching and to keep them informed.”


“Drill them, Marvelous!” King cheers. “Drill them!”


“The last time Wild and Dangerous made a drive to become five-time Tag Team Champions it didn’t end so well. In fact, it ended a little bit like this,” Marvelous says as he turns towards the giant Smarktron and points at the screen. “Roll the tape!”




Wildchild glances over at the Galacticos corner to check on Michael Stephens; the World Champion has one leg in the ring, apparently about to try and break up the cover but perhaps deciding he wasn’t needed. Wildchild decides to deal with Stephens when the time comes, but for the time being he needs concentrate on Maddix. As a result he drags the winded La Cucaracha up to his feet and hooks his arms into Landon, then twists around and takes Maddix up onto his back…


“Wild Ride!” Mak shouts.


…but Landon has other ideas. The Tag Champion kicks his legs and manages to unbalance himself, toppling down to land on his feet behind Wildchild. Wildchild turns around, eager to re-establish control over his opponent but Landon jabs his fingers towards the Bahaman’s eyes…


…and with amazing speed Wildchild ducks out of the way and grabs Landon’s hand, then Irish whips the startled Dakotan into the far turnbuckles! Maddix hits hard and Wildchild winds up, then charges straight at him and launches himself into the air, spinning through for another Blue Crush…


…but Landon ducks to one side at the last moment! The amazingly agile Wildchild manages to land on the second buckle rather than crash chest-first into the corner, but this doesn’t avail him much in the long run as Landon simply lashes out and slams a forearm into Wildchild’s back. The Bahaman Bomber winces and Maddix repositions himself to take the challenger onto his shoulders in a powerbomb position, then starts to walk away from the corner.


“Wildchild’s in trouble!” Mak shouts.


“Good!” King shouts back.


Johnny Dangerous is still dazed on the apron after the Blockbuster and the Crash Landon 05; Michael Stephens meanwhile is still able to move, and the Sensation runs down the apron to the neutral corner which Landon has just plucked Wildchild from, then climbs to the top rope. Wildchild starts firing punches downwards at Landon’s head to try and gain his freedom from the persistent La Cucaracha…


…looks up…


…and sees 218lbs of English straight-edger flying at him.






“Powerbomb and neckbreaker drop!” Mak yells as the arena erupts, “that could be it!”


Landon, head ringing from Wildchild’s punches but still able to register what he has to do, leans forward into a cover with Wildchild’s legs cradled one over each shoulder. Michael Stephens gets up to his feet even as Brian Warner dives to count…







…Johnny Dangerous scrambles into the ring to try and break up the count…










…Stephens launches himself into a soccer tackle, scything the Barracuda’s legs out from under him…











“Ladies and gentlemen, here are your winners and STILL~ SWF Tag Team Champions,” Funyon booms, “Landon ‘La Cucaracha’ Maddix and Michael Stephens… THAAAAAAAAA… GA-LAC-TI-COOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSS!”




“Now you see,” says Marvelous. The house lights come back up and now you can clearly see the look on Wildchild and Johnny’s faces, and they are a little bit more than annoyed. “Wild and Dangerous, you two may have started off strong. In fact you did start off strong. You two beat everything in your path on the road to another World Tag Team Championship, but when it really mattered, when all the marbles were on the line, you two folded like lawn chairs!”


“You can’t expect them to never loose,” says Francis. “It happens to the best of us!”


“What the whole world wants to know now,” Marvelous continues. “Is what makes you two think you can even take that load of Landon’s shoulders? Each of you has fallen to both Landon Maddix and Michael Stephens on numerous occasions. Hell, Johnny here lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Stephens at Genesis Five! Wildchild, you lost to Maddix a few weeks ago!”






“This crowd is starting to grow weary of Marvelous’ bashing on Wild and Dangerous,” Mak observes.


“Who cares?” replies King, “the man speaks the truth!”


The crowd is pretty heated but Marvelous just talks through them; “If you can’t beat these guys as individuals, what makes you so sure that you can beat the both of them together?”


Finally, Johnny reaches out and snatches the microphone out of Marvelous’ hands, causing a tremendous cheer to erupt from the crowd!




“Marvelous!” the Barracuda growls. “You’re lucky you’ve got Tracy here or you’d be smiling through shattered teeth right now!”


“Oh, real tough there Johnny,” says King, but the crowd continues to cheer for Wild and Dangerous.


“Me and Nic here, yeah, we might have fallen when we last challenged for the Tag Team Championship and it kind of reminds me of a story. You see, a long time ago, back in 1971 to be exact; a boxer, who was a former World Heavyweight Champion and had been out of action for three years, decided to come back to the sport he loved. He beat everyone in his path and then finally challenged the reigning Heavyweight Champion in Madison Square Gardens. Unfortunately, he lost that match. However, he didn’t stop there! He didn’t give up! He could have just decided that he didn’t have it anymore and quit, but he didn’t. He went back and fought hard to get another chance, and when he got that chance to challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship…he won. That man’s name is Muhammad Ali…”




Johnny pauses for the expected crowd pop. When they settle back down he continues. “Like Ali, we could have given up after that first match. We could have decided that Wild and Dangerous, while great Champions in the past, simply couldn’t cut it anymore. We didn’t, though, because we’re fighters and we know that Wild and Dangerous as Tag Team Champions isn’t something to remember…it’s something to witness!”




“Galacticos, you may have knocked us down but now we’re back up, and we’re better than we’ve been in a long time!” shouts Johnny. “And now, Galacticos, we’re knocking at your door! If your man enough…you’ll answer!”


With that Johnny tosses the microphone out of the ring, leaving the crowd on their feet and giving Marvelous no opportunity to cut in again. Wildchild and Johnny then turn to exit, walking under the arch and waiting for Bruner to unhook the rope so they can make their way out of the ring.


“Wild and Dangerous have thrown down the gauntlet!” exclaims Mak Francis. “They known that the Two Skinny White Guys had their number the first time but they’re coming back for the sequel!”


“Oh, my God,” King cringes, plopping his head down on the announcers table.


“I can’t wait to see what kind of response, if any, the Champions will give Wild and Dangerous,” Francis continues, “If we’re lucky we might even get that tonight. Stay tuned and find out!”


Wild and Dangerous head up the entrance ramp, slapping the hands of the isle-sitters with high-FIVES on their way towards backstage…






As we:


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