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Thread: Michelle von Horrowitz

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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz

    MVH vol. 16 – Wake Up.
    vs Harrison Wake and Dustin Dreamer, with LIGHTBRINGER [CWA Adrenaline Rush, May 2016].

    Nagoya, Japan.
    October, 2012.

    The match with Osuushi, or The Bull, was coming toward her with all the subtlety of a double-decker bus. She was a rabbit in the headlights, blinded by the man’s intensity and ferocity. She had watched him tear the great Iwao Karasu - a man who’d taken her to the limit no less than eleven times - limb from limb just two days prior. Osuushi was no less than a beast, without mercy or honour. Usually, that was exactly the sort of man she would relish the idea of dancing with. But now, with eight days between her and her first opportunity at the Honshū Puroresu Television Championship, it was looking more and more unwinnable with each passing hour.

    After the events of ‘FIRST BATTLE (初陣)’, when Iwao’s bones had been cracked and bruised at will by the three hundred and fifty pounder, she’d found herself floundering in search of a replacement for him. Karasu was meant to be her tag partner at ‘SECOND BATTLE (第二の戦い)’, but they could hardly wheel him down to the ring in his hospital bed. She almost regretted her hard-headed, isolated nature, a nature that had won her very few friends in the back. Potential substitutes had slammed doors on her, laughed in her face, or launched into rants about why they wouldn’t tag with her if she was the last woman on earth. The idea of a handicap match against The Bull and Toshiro Matsui – Iwao’s supposed opponent on the night she was to face Osuushi – was not a pleasant one. She’d lost to Matsui a few nights prior, after all, and the memory of his headbutts still stung her brain and her pride.

    All that was left was a fool’s hope. She’d had a partner in the early stages of 2011, when she’d been rising through the ranks and happily latched onto somebody else’s star to help the ascent of her own. They’d only had a few matches as a team, and both of them knew it wasn’t really going anywhere, but Anzu Kurosawa had been there for her before. The only remaining issue was that Anzu was half the world away, wrestling in Mexico or Cuba or some other Latin American stink-hole. Contacting her was the easy part. Convincing her to fly back to her homeland to confront a beast and a lunatic would be more difficult. But Michelle had no other option, if she intended to even make it to ‘FINAL BATTLE (最後の戦い)’.

    When Anzu had picked up the phone, von Horrowitz found herself stumbling through what she’d thought was a carefully planned soliloquy. After exchanging some pleasantries (a social skill she’d never enjoyed or been particularly good at), she’d meandered her way through the events of the last week. Each time she approached the question, she veered away from it again, as if part of her was ashamed that she was asking somebody – anybody for help. She still mistrusted the idea of a teammate, and showing vulnerability had never been something she’d favoured.

    Eventually, Anzu had to cut her off.

    “When do we fight them?” she asked. It was the first thing she’d said in about ten minutes. Michelle smiled to herself, safe in the knowledge that – with the Pacific between them – Anzu wouldn’t know how happy she’d made her.

    I owe you one.”


    Tokyo, Japan.
    June, 2013.

    She found her seat with difficulty, hidden away as it was in the far reaches of the massive Dome, and scanned the scene. It was like nothing she’d ever seen before. A sea of humanity, to use the old cliché, and it was a stormy one. Thousands upon thousands of people, crammed into every crevice of the arena and alive with activity, all here for the same reason. She’d heard him called ’the greatest Intercontinental Champion in SPJ’s history’, a history that was long and storied and full of great intercontinental Champions. And there he stood, in the middle of the ring with his hands at his side, not an ounce of vulnerability about him.

    She’d heard other things, of course. He came from wealth, and there had always been unfounded rumours that his father was paying for his success. She couldn’t comment on the claim’s veracity until she’d seen him in person, and tonight was the first chance she had to do so. The year had been a busy one. She’d left Honshu Puroresu (HPW) after they’d demanded she give them exclusivity, and when Iwao signed a contract with the island’s goliath promotion she’d turned her back on him, too. She was still wasting her time in Okayama Senshuken Resuringu (OCW), a small-time, regional promotion that she’d once had faith in. Now, looking around at the sheer quantity of souls piled into the building, she realised her faith had been misplaced. OCW would never fill a place like this and – as a direct consequence – neither would she.

    These sorts of thoughts had been plaguing her mind for weeks now. It wasn’t all about winning championships and filling arenas, of course, but visions of insignificance had been draining her drive for most of the year. She was only twenty-three years old, and had beaten some of the biggest and baddest that Japan had to offer, but what was it all for? Her arm, broken four times already in her short career, seared with pain constantly, and she’d begun to forget what muscles felt like without the accompanying aches. It didn’t seem worth it, for a few hundred people in some abandoned warehouse or high school gymnasium. And now, as she surveyed the Tokyo Dome and all its luxury, these feelings were only compounded.

    When the match started, the man they called LIGHTBRINGER was everything she’d been promised. His offense was unparalleled in its versatility. His opponent, some up-and-comer who’d won a contenders’ tournament earlier in the year, couldn’t seem to get into the match. It was more likely that LIGHTBRINGER wouldn’t let him into it. They danced for a few minutes, the Star of Tokyo encouraging chain wrestling and subsequently schooling the young pretender. LIGHTBRINGER seemed to throw him down and drag him up at will, wrenching at each of his joints in turn. And then came the power moves; a fireman’s carry neckbreaker, a tombstone piledriver, and finally a top rope Samoan driver. He was quick, too – aggressively so. His moves were fluid and elegant, his technique flawless. The boy was spent ten minutes into the match. The LIGHTBRINGER lariat had sealed the deal. The cover was academic. This man was for real.

    When the three count was made, the crowd erupted into euphoria. The man himself wanted little of the fanfare. There was something about him that suggested he didn’t do this for the fans. She liked that in a man. ’He’d make a hell of a tag partner’, she thought, in spite of herself. She despised the idea of tag team wrestling. The idea of being reliant of beholden to anyone or anything but herself was repugnant to her. Even when she’d tagged with Anzu, someone she certainly respected and almost even liked, the concessions that had to be made and the compromises that had to be absorbed were too much. She redrafted her initial thought. ’He’d make a hell of an opponent’.


    Orlando, Florida.
    May, 2016.

    A candy-coloured clown they call the sandman…

    The reaction was mixed, as it often was nowadays. The cheers were as unexpected as they were unappreciated. She hadn’t changed one bit – she still looked upon these people with the same blind hatred as she had the week after Global Collision. But, as she’d told Jon Snowmantashi, the cream rises, even in the eyes of the trogs.

    As Roy began to warble about his dreams, she made her way down the entrance ramp. About half way down, she stopped to survey a sign, a large, bearded man shaking it in front of her face. The childish scrawl read ’MARRY ME, MVH!’ Her eyes drifted slowly from the placard to the man’s hopeful face, and then back to the text, and once more to the trog. Suddenly, and rather unpredictably, she burst out into wild, uncontrollable laughter. She held her gut, her diaphragm expanding and contracting at a tremendous rate. She sank to her knees, raising a hand to point a finger at the man’s unremarkable face, the hope slowly draining away and replaced by embarrassment. Finally, she pulled herself back to her feet, stifled a few remaining chuckles, and ripped the sign away from him. She crumpled it into a tight ball and continued on her way down to the ring, shaking her head as she went.

    After Lindsay Monahan had given her a microphone, she waited patiently for her music to die down and allowed herself a moment to soak in the atmosphere. There were still boos – many boos – but now they had to compete for prominence. She didn’t quite know how to feel about that. Eventually, remembering herself, she lifted the microphone to her mouth to impart her wisdom on the mindless, still throwing the crumpled paper-ball up and catching it in the same hand as she mused.

    “Ladies and gentlemen, tonight is not a special night,” she began. “Tonight, your beloved puppet masters have decided to team me with a man I have no interest in and no affiliation with, against two men that I have already beaten. If I were you, paying so much for your awful seats in this stuffy arena, I’d demand my hard-earned green back. But no, you lap it up like nodding dogs, chanting this is awesome and the like when all you’re getting is recycled garbage. Variations on the same uninspiring theme.”

    The cheers subsided a little, the tide not necessarily turning entirely against her but the derision winning out for the time-being. She paused and she smiled. This was familiar. This was comfortable. She threw the ball of paper up once more, catching it again with a flick of the wrist, allowing herself a sideward glance at the announcers table. She meandered over to the ropes and, somewhat unexpectedly, threw the ball at Tim Coleman’s head. It bounced off his temple, causing him to slap at the air as if defending himself against some invisible attacker.

    “But, I’m not here tonight to talk about the shortcomings of bookers. These are inherent, and do not need further analysis. No, tulips, I’m here tonight to address the matter at hand. I’m here to talk to you about Harrison Wake. Two weeks ago in Florida, Tough Guy Harrison and I put on quite the show. A Match of the Year candidate, they’re calling it, and although such plaudits are nothing in comparison to the sweet scent of victory. We pushed each other to our limits, and – through piledrivers onto steel, missed elbow drops onto wood, and botched 450s onto canvass – when the dust had settled and the smoke had cleared, my hand was once again raised. You may have earned my respect, Wake, but that’s all you earned. The spoils were mine.

    “It is my understanding, though, that one defeat is not enough for Tough Guy Harrison. No, the idea of taking a step down in the pecking order is not appealing to our resident Backwoods Badass. And nor should it be – people who accept losing will continue to lose. I expect nothing less from a man so tenacious. So, after another defeat, Wake stood in this very ring, microphone in hand, and confidently challenged me to a rematch at World’s Strongest. I don’t know if Marcus Bennet dropped him on his head enough times to forget what happened the last time, but I fear that the unhinged has finally lost the plot entirely. There will be no redemption, only further disappointment.”

    A small ’BACK-WOODS BAD-ASS’ chant could be heard, but a duelling ’M-V-H’ call rose to meet it. Michelle couldn’t help but think her audience was struggling through the decision as to which wrestler they disliked less.

    “If you want a match, Tough Guy, you’ve got one. But I don’t want any doubt left as to who the better person is. I don’t want to give you any room to negotiate your own position after yet another loss. That’s why my acceptance comes at a condition; two out of three falls. Beating you once is old news. I’m not interested in re-treading the past. When I’ve pinned your shoulders to the mat twice without reply, there’ll be no debate. Cold, hard facts are exactly that, Harrison; cold and hard. But you must confront them regardless.”

    Michelle paused again, realising she’d been pacing, meandering in both thought and action. She forced herself into a stationary position, leant on the top rope and staring directly at the lens. Mockery crept into her town, in spite of the respect that Harrison had earned. It was only her nature.

    “I’ll even give you an out, Wake,” she said, unblinking and unflinching. “After all, when does a sour patch become normality? First runner-up at the Wrestle Royale. An unsuccessful challenge for a secondary title. Second runner-up in the Steel Roulette. On the losing end of a Match of the Year Candidate. You may decide, when I’m done showing you and your partner why I’ve never been pinned on Adrenaline Rush, that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew at World’s Strongest. That’s nothing to worry about, Tough Guy; it takes a big man to recognise his own shortcomings. If, when you’re staring up at these very lights on this very ceiling, you begin to have second thoughts, all you need to do is say the word. I’m sure Captain Klappton would be willing to wrestle you next week, even at such short notice. Now, let’s get this thing over with.”

    After throwing the microphone in the general direction of Monahan, Michelle took up her favoured position in the corner, almost horizontal with her head against the bottom turnbuckle. She waited patiently for Harrison Wake. LIGHTBRINGER didn’t matter. Dustin Dreamer was irrelevant. There was only Harrison Wake and Michelle von Horrowitz.

    ADRENALINE RUSH - ​match write-up

    Everyone appears fired up for the match – LIGHTBRINGER selects himself to be the legal man for his team and MVH gets onto the apron, Dreamer absolutely demands that he is the legal man but Harrison Wake backs him off and tells him to get out! Some of the crowd aren’t happy with this.

    Jim Taylor: It seems that Harrison Wake wants a piece of LIGHTBRINGER, never mind MVH!

    Tim Coleman: He’s willing to fight anyone, you have to respect that! LIGHTBRINGER is lucky that Harrison is here to prevent Dreamer from beating him down!

    Wake appears to start off by trash talking the High Voltage champion before giving him a shove, LIGHTBRINGER responds with a forearm and they’re off – trading shots until Wake forces him back towards a neutral turnbuckle. The crowd shout as Wake lands a few hard chops in succession that cause LB to stumble forward from the corner – Wake comes forward and looks for a lariat but LB ducks under it and Wake rebounds off of the ropes and is met with a huge dropkick! Wake sits up but is instantly taken back down as LIGHTBRINGER comes roaring in with a sliding European uppercut that only manages to get a one count. Both men get back up and back off slightly from each other but go back at it with exchanging forearms until Wake is the one forced to a neutral turnbuckle this time. LIGHTBRINGER teases huge chops but instead he simply pats Wake’s chest before backing off all the way to MVH and tagging her in – the crowd approve of the mind games!

    Tim Coleman:
    Show off. See that’s why he will lose to Dreamer, he’s too busy trying to please the crowd!

    Jim Taylor: I think you just have a bias problem, Tim! Here comes Michelle - Wake will be up for a fight here!

    The crowd are anticipating a huge brawl here – but every time Harrison tries to get close to MVH, she fires off a stiff leg kick that keeps him at distance. The crowd wince in response as you can hear the thud of each kick – Wake becomes more and more irritated as each kick lands. Eventually he gets fed up and both combatants back up from each other, the crowd want to see a brawl and Harrison taunts MVH, demanding that she ‘fights’ – she obliges as both get ready to run at each other.

    Jim Taylor: Wake isn’t happy that Michelle has taken the tactical route!

    Tim Coleman:
    We’re all here to see a real fight…

    They both rush out, looking to meet head on but MVH dives at the legs of Wake and lands a huge knee chop block that propels him forward. MVH has a smirk on her face as she know she has her opponent outsmarted here and she runs in and delivers a huge shining wizard that knocks Harrison out near the apron. Dreamer hits his partner and the referee notices the tag – he comes bouncing into the ring.

    Tim Coleman: Time for revenge for last week!

    MVH comes for Dreamer but he knocks her down with a forearm – they repeat the sequence before MVH is backed into a corner and Dreamer starts firing off rapid punches followed by chops as MVH starts to absorb a huge amount of punishment – the crowd then boo as Dreamer rakes his thumb into her eye and the referee has to count to four before he backs off. “The King of Chaos” has a couple of words with the referee before he goes back to Michelle who delivers a big kick to the gut that has him recoiling. MVH climbs onto the top turnbuckle and goes for a diving crossbody… but Dreamer catches her! He shows off some incredibly strength as he lifts her up onto his shoulders… he gives a taunt to LIGHTBRINGER in the corner… and then drops her with the Death Valley Driver!

    Jim Taylor: Dustin Dreamer is running the show here!

    Tim Coleman: As he should be!

    He goes for the cover…1..2….NO! LIGHTBRINGER runs into the ring and breaks the pin up – the referee backs him off and the crowd boo as the recovered Wake runs into the ring and stomps on MVH along with Dreamer. They let MVH recover whilst LIGHTBRINGER still argues fruitlessly with the referee… Wake then hits a sickening suckerpunch to the back of the head of MVH which the crowd boo relentlessly… Wake then slithers out of the ring as Dreamer looks to go for a pinfall but MVH places her foot on the rope! The crowd (and her partner) are glad that she had the awareness of mind to be able to put her foot on the rope. Dreamer cuts a frustrated figure as he drags MVH away from the rope and tags Wake back in. The crowd are starting to grow frustrated as Wake stomps on MVH continuously and then places her in a sleeper chokehold on the ground. The referee continues to check on MVH as she appears to be fading - the crowd will her on and LIGHTBRINGER shouts at her furiously to not give up. She starts to get to her feet and elbows Wake in the torso a couple of times before the hold is released. She bounces off of the ropes but is met with a Lou Thesz press and then crushing rights and lefts from Wake that forces the referee to step in - Wake drags the referee to one side and distracts him as Dreamer sticks his foot in between the ropes and presses down on the throat of MVH - much to the crowd's dismay.

    Tim Coleman: Excellent teamwork!

    Jim Taylor: I can't say I'm a fan of it. LIGHTBRINGER and Michelle need to figure something out! We already know that both of them hate the idea of tag teams...

    The next few minutes of the match are spent with Wake mocking MVH and giving her various brutal beatdowns in corners - eventually one in his own team's corner leads to Dreamer being tagged back in, he chokes her in the corner before tagging Wake back in who repeats the same process - they do this in sequence for a few tags until Dreamer is back in. He drags a barely conscious MVH from the corner and goes for the pin but the one nicknamed "Dreamer" is able to show her resilience as she makes a kickout at two. The crowd let a roar of approval and LB slaps his turnbuckle in appreciation and also shouts encouragement at his tag partner. As MVH gets to her knees, Dustin grabs the neck and pulls guard - he has a tight guillotine choke in the center of the ring! He's careful not to blow out his arms as he cranks on it by sitting up and extending his legs - MVH remains calm as the crowd watch with their breath held. She places the hand on the back of Dreamer to prevent him falling backwards and then manages to lift her body out of his guard and into a side control position - Dreamer lets go of the choke as he no longer has the leverage. The crowd clap at the display of grappling chops from MVH as she gets to her feet - she's a bit wobbly but as Dreamer gets to his feet, he is met with a huge busaiku knee kick that wipes him out!

    Jim Taylor: MVH makes the comeback! What a move! Both competitors are down and look like they need the tag!

    Tim Coleman: Harrison Wake is the most dangerous man in this match right now, if he's in, it's over!

    Von Horrowitz slowly slides towards her corner - she's taken a coordinated beating from Wake/Dreamer and it shows! Dreamer is still recovering but he eventually comes to just as MVH makes the tag... he jumps and reaches Wake just in time! LB and Wake enter the ring and charge at each other, LB ducks under and bounces off of the ropes and then takes Wake out with a diving crossbody! They get back up and Wake charges at LB - he gets flapjacked onto the ring ropes and then turns around to be picked up and slammed to the floor. The crowd cheer as LIGHTBRINGER strikes his pose!

    Jim Taylor: I think the end is near!

    Dreamer comes bursting into the ring and clubs the High Voltage champion from behind with a thudding forearm before grabbing him and launching him with a German suplex!

    Tim Coleman: Yeah... for LIGHTBRINGER! Excellent move from Dustin!

    "The King of Chaos" is proud of himself but he turns around only to be met with a missile dropkick from Michelle von Horrowitz that sends him out of the ring - the crowd then get hyped as MVH grabs Wake and hits a double underhook DDT before getting up and bouncing off of the ropes and taking Dreamer out on the outside with a suicide dive! The crowd love it as she removes Dreamer from the equation and leaves only LB and Wake in the ring! LIGHTBRINGER goes for the cover on Wake but he manages to get the shoulder up at 2! LIGHTBRINGER then gets to his feet and tries to signal an end as he grabs Wake into a wristlock and goes for the LIGHTBRINGER LARIAT.... but Wake drills him with a headbutt! The crowd are on the edge of their seats as Wake avoids being put into danger - LIGHTBRINGER is stunned and Wake runs at him as he looks for a Lou Thesz press.... but LB catches him! He hoists him up onto his shoulder and into a fireman's carry - NECKBREAKER! LIGHTBRINGER slides out onto the apron, gets up and hits a Senton Atomico (Slingshot Senton) and goes for the cover...1...2...NO! Wake gets his leg up onto the rope! The fans are disappointed!

    Tim Coleman: Oh sure, when Michelle does it, they like it but when Harrison does it, they hate it! Fickle!

    Jim Taylor:
    I think that's because they want a certain team to win, Tim! Dreamer better look out on the outside, here comes MVH!

    On the outside, the fans are treated to Dreamer being taken out with a running neckbreaker on the canvas which seems to have him wiped out for the time being. LIGHTBRINGER gets to his feet in the ring and climbs to the top turnbuckle - he appears to have a slight argument with MVH as she demands the tag in but he baulks at her... this buys Harrison time as he gets to his feet and joins LIGHTBRINGER up top and they both begin trading shots left and right! Wake looks to have the advantage as he delivers a headbutt that stuns LB - he then taunts MVH... but it's the wrong move as LB grabs him and lifts him onto his shoulders... LANDSLIDE (Samoan Driver) onto the canvas below! The crowd pop huge for the big move, it looks like it could be over now!

    Jim Taylor: He just needs to make the cover! Wait a minute, what is Michelle doing!?

    As LB slowly starts to get to his feet, MVH slaps him and gets the tag! The crowd let out some boos but she doesn't care as she climbs up onto the turnbuckle and points upwards for her signature taunt, some of the fans boo her whilst some cheer as she leaps off and hits the 450 splash! It's surely over - Dreamer recovers on the outside but before he can attempt to get into the ring, LIGHTBRINGER comes flying off of the apron with a dropkick that sends Dreamer backwards and into the barricade as MVH makes the cover! 1...2......3!!!!! "Dreamer" picks up the win for her team! Most of the crowd are happy but some aren't...

    Winners: "Dreamer" Michelle von Horrowitz and "Tokyo Kisai" LIGHTBRINGER

    Jim Taylor: A blatant steal for the victory!

    Tim Coleman: LIGHTBRINGER has a lack of concentration - MVH just had to ensure she could get the job done! We all know LB isn't strong enough to beat Wake or Dreamer anyway!

    On the outside, LIGHTBRINGER simply grabs his belt and looks up with a disapproving glare in his eye. MVH doesn't care much though as she stands on turnbuckle and celebrates her win.
    Last edited by SuperSaiyan; 06-19-2016 at 01:34 PM.

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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz

    MVH vol. 17 - Grand Stage.
    vs Harrison Wake [CWA World's Strongest, May 2016].

    The scene is still. Dewdrops hang from the vibrant, summer leaves. Clouds are tinted grey. A slight breeze rolls through the picture, branches dancing and whistling and creaking. The largest - an old, proud oak - sits alone on top of a gentle hill that dominates the foreground, casting shade over one of the slopes and the eight men that walk through its long grass. Their heads are bowed, their backs sheltered from the peeking sun by the dense mass of wood and leaf.

    Slowly, the camera glides over the scene, until the figures meandering up the hill become clearer. They are dressed in black, hooded cloaks, and their faces are obscured by masks of the same colour. Some represent tragedy, others comedy, but at this point the opposite sides of this duality march together, in time and as one. On their shoulders is a casket without a lid.

    They stomp ever-upwards, the long, untamed blades of grass gently waving in the wind, towards two women stood at the trunk of the oak tree. They too are dressed in mourning black, with veils hiding their faces. One is tall and young, her long, black hair thrown back by the breeze. The other is old, short, and fat, grey hair sitting in tight curls atop her head. Both stand stoic and emotionless. In front of them is the grave.

    When the bearers arrive, they slowly lower the coffin into its pit, thick arms controlling the structure until they no longer have the strength. It falls with a thud. They turn away wordlessly, marching back in the direction that they've come, a solemn danse macabre in the silent, summer light. The two women creep towards the hole, bending over to pick up a handful of dirt. They reach over the gaping earth and allow the soil to fall. They don't speak. They don't cry. They only turn and leave.

    The camera creeps towards the grave, peering into it and blocking the rest of the scene from the viewer. All that is left now are the walls of the hole, brown and cold and unforgiving, and Michelle von Horrowitz staring up at the lens.

    "I wanted to speak to you all about a vision I was afforded in dreams," she begins, her eyes open and unblinking. "But I have done this many times. I fear that my word alone is no longer enough. It is not being taken for what it is worth, and my word is worth everything. So, I thought it might be an idea to show you."

    The camera slowly inches downwards, into the earth, narrowing in on Michelle. Her hands are resting on her abdomen, her fingers interlocked. She looks comfortable. Almost relaxed.

    "These images, of a hill like this one and a tree like this one and a grave like this one, have come to me a number of times in the past week. Ever since Adrenaline Rush, in fact, when I almost single-handedly defeated both Dustin Dreamer and Harrison Wake. The King of Chaos and the Backwoods Badass. But both Kings and Badasses fall to the one, true Dreamer, and the night through which she dances. Almost every evening I have watched the coffin brought up the hill to be placed in the grave, and each night I observed my own eyes staring back at me, open and alive but contained in this hole. These are not empty visions. I understand this better than anyone."

    Still we are meandering down towards the buried, the hard soil creeping past the camera as it silently glides. There is no other movement. The hole a self-contained universe with Michelle von Horrowitz its only inhabitant. Nothing else mattered, nothing else existed, but her and the words that she spoke.

    "This scene does not foreshadow my death, tulips. I am not checking each direction twice before I cross the road, and I still go out in thunderstorms. When Death comes for me I shall greet him like an old friend, but I know that this day is in the distant future. No, tulips; this scene symbolises stagnation. It is the slow rotting of a corpse that relates to me and my mission. When the body is buried, it is fresh, and only the deadness of the eyes lets you know that there is nothing behind them. Over time, the forces of nature erode and devour, until what is left is nothing like the thing that once was."

    She pauses for effect, allowing her audience to find their way through the maze of language she's just laid for them. The edges of her lips curled upwards, a mere suggestion of a smile creeping onto her countenance. She enjoyed picturing the trogs struggling through the upload. Fuck them. She wasn't speaking to them. She spoke to Wake, and to Snowmantahi and McGinnis, and to Richman.

    "And like time erodes the integrity and the familiarity of a corpse, my missteps have eroded the integrity of my mission. When I arrived in CWA, I spoke about the company's new dawn, a dawn that I would usher into being. The revolution needs a figurehead, and I had appointed myself as the one to don the white armour and go once more unto the breach. But, alas, each defeat has dragged me closer to the grave. Each failure has subjected me to another squandered month. I cannot drive the train from its rear. Nobody can. The world looks on to McGinnis and Snowmantashi for direction whilst I must prove myself against lesser men. This is stagnation and it cannot be explained or excused.

    “My opponent for the World’s Strongest pay-per-view is a man I would almost say I admire. He and I did go to war three weeks ago, and it took everything I had and then a bit more to finally put him away. My limits were reached, my respect was earned. A rematch with Tough Guy Harrison is the best I could hope for; the most impressive message I could sign my name to at this juncture. We have been evenly matched throughout much of our CWA career, though it’s true that he’s walked these halls longer than me. The final two in the Wrestle Royale, where I emerged triumphant. Third and fourth in the Steel Roulette, where he outlasted me. Our battle on Adrenaline Rush three weeks ago. The question asks itself, the answer needs to be given at World’s Strongest. Who is the better wrestler?”

    She allows herself a stretch of the arms - to suggest that signs of life still yet remained - as the camera glided on regardless. It was as if it were trapping her, almost crushing her. She refocuses on the lens, doing her best to eliminate these fears.

    “But this question comes with caveats, my little tulips. You begin to ask yourselves about the circumstances of these encounters. Third and fourth in the Steel Roulette, behind who? Snowmantashi and McGinnis, of course. The final two in the Wrestle Royale, but only after Snowmantashi and McGinnis had beaten the shit out of each other for the World Championship. A match of the god damn year candidate on Adrenaline Rush, but the episode doesn’t end with Michelle von Horrowitz standing tall over Harrison Wake. No, it ends with Darling Jonathan and the Man-Baby making eyes at each other. Let’s face it, Harrison; we play third and fourth fiddle in a band of two.

    “The opportunity that comes with this is obvious for all to see, I trust. Jon and Jonathan cannot dance forever, one would have to assume, and soon enough another challenger must emerge. We enter the coliseum this Sunday, not so much as enemies, but rather as rivals. Claims must be staked, Harrison, and at World’s Strongest I intend to make mine at your expense. I am aware, of course, that your answer to this almost writes itself. Even you must see it, Tough Guy, and if you don’t I’m sure that Mia does. It’s true that I’ve lost at every single pay-per-view that I’ve fought at. Five-Star Attraction, Retribution, even Wrestle Royale, though the phoenix did rise later that night. Nobody is more consistent than me week in, week out, but I’ve yet to prove I can win the big one.”

    She expected Harrison to throw this in her face because it had been so a number of times before. As far back as in France, working at some two-bit Marseille promotion, she'd managed a single championship reign totalling eleven nights. She'd earned an opportunity at the promotion's top prize, nothing more than a regional heavyweight belt, after a handful of weeks tearing her way up the card. The man she was due to face, Le Bourreau, no-showed the event and she was handed the title by default. Less than two weeks later, the former champion had decided to show for his rematch and she'd choked, crashing and burning from the top with an attempted 450 before offering herself up to his Death Valley Driver finisher. The pain of being dropped on her head was nothing compared to the pain of being a champion without a single defence.

    The accusations - that she would snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when it really mattered - had hounded her from Europe to Japan. It had come to a head in Nagoya in October of 2012, the night she was due to face Osuushi, or The Bull. She had peeked at the arena during the opening bout, a sea of people rocking back and forth like the tide. They were intimidating in their quantity alone. She had vowed that day to never again look before it was time. No good could come of it. The people were there for many reasons, but for the first time in her career she was the main attraction. The call had been sent down with a runner mere minutes before the show began. They were to go on last. The weight of expectation hung heavily on her shoulders.

    The people were only so interested because of the build, and she had contributed very little to that. They had come to watch the latest matador stand in the way of The Bull. His tear through Honshu Puroresu (HPW) had reached almost legendary status. He was unbeaten since entering the company, a total of eight months, and he'd beaten forty six different men in that time. Eleven by knockout. The advertisements had taken the narrative up of a beast that no man could defeat, so a woman had been offered up instead. The Bull's manager had dredged up memories of Marseille, and similar crushing defeats in Berlin and London, and judged Michelle - among innumerable, unrepeatable things - a secondary player. It had stung, but the onus was upon her to correct him.

    Within the grave, the camera finally reaches its destination. The shot is taken up by Michelle von Horrowitz’s profile, unblinking and solemn. The brightness of her green eyes offset her ghostly pale skin, staring at the lens with clarity and intent.

    “It all changes tonight, Harrison. A two out of three falls match favours conditioning and technical prowess, two things I proved I have over you in Jacksonville. You can huff and you can puff but you can’t blow the house down, and if it takes an hour again then it takes an hour. I have all night. This stagnation must be stayed, a message must be sent, the ceiling must be smashed. Regardless of respect, even admiration, Harrison, these things can only come to me if they are denied to you. There is no luck that can be wished to you on Sunday, no glory waits in Miami. It has already been decided.”

    When she walked out beneath the lights in Nagoya, the audience ceased to exist as individuals. They had become one, all sound produced combining into a ball of energy and adrenaline that seeped into Michelle. She must have walked down the ramp, but she couldn't remember doing so. When she climbed through the ropes, thirty thousand people screaming for the opening bell, it had seemed like she'd always been standing within its ropes.

    The Bull lumbered to the ring more slowly, but with an intensity that she couldn't place and had no hope of describing. He wore black trunks and black boots, fat rolling over stubborn patches of muscle, and his eyes were alive. There was no malice in him, save that felt towards a thoughtless animal that rips into its prey. He was only what he could be, what nature had made him. As he rolled into the ring and got to his feet, eyes only for Michelle, the ominous nature of the event's name became more real. The ‘FINAL BATTLE (最後の戦い)’ was here.

    The match had started in the way she had hoped. He was quick for a man his size, as Iwao - her oldest friend in the industry who found himself on the shelf thanks to his tussle with Osuushi at ‘FIRST BATTLE (初陣)’ in Yokohama - had warned her, but she was quicker. She danced around him, retreating to the outside at any opportunity, giving him reasons to be frustrated. She thought that eventually her superior conditioning would begin to show, and then she could tear him apart. But she needed to be patient, and careful; one or two power moves from The Bull and it was all over. She limited him to a few scoop slams here and there, and a vertical suplex at the twenty minute mark drove the air out of her, but for the most part she was evasive. When he tried to throw her up into a fireman's carry she would slip out the back after a pair of hard elbows (with a loaded pad) and return to the leg.

    Weakening the base had been her staple for years, especially when she'd haphazardly come across someone with skill in the ring in Europe or Asia. It had brought down dozens of huge men. But The Bull was carved out of granite, and she kicked herself stupid against his sturdy base. He kept on coming at her, stubborn and brainless as an ox, and sooner or later he'd hit something big. She decided it was time to go all in - that he was as weak as he'd ever be - and floored him with two Busaiku knee kicks and a drop toe hold into the exposed turnbuckle. It was enough to keep any normal man down. But her 450 had missed, the big man rolling out of the way at an impossibly late instant. She had fought to her feet, only to be thrown back down with a power bomb. She could just about remember the second, but she left the scene before the third and fourth.

    Le Bourreau in Marseille and Osuushi in Nagoya had played on her mind for months afterwards, and the thought that the same thing was happening in the CWA had not escaped her. It wasn’t just important that she beat Harrison Wake. It was essential. The integrity of the remains depended upon it.
    Last edited by SuperSaiyan; 06-19-2016 at 01:52 PM.

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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz

    MVH vol. 18 - Old Debts.
    vs. Taylor Toxic and Raquel Wednesday, with Anzu Kurosawa [FWA Back in Business, May 2016​].

    As she tore another handful of bread away from the loaf and threw it onto the surface of the lake, she was only partially aware of the myriad of everyday scenes going on around her. A few yards to her left, a family did its best to restrain their youngest from diving head-first into the pond. Behind her, a boy tried to steal a kiss from a new girlfriend, though she was having none of it. Away across the lake, a pair slightly further on in their relationship ate sandwiches from a picnic basket, staring off into slightly divergent directions as if they'd ran out of things to say to each other. A man walked his dog along the western path. A youth bought a shit bag of shit weed from a muscular, bald man in a grey hooded sweatshirt. As a half-dozen ducks circled the latest crust that had been deposited into their lake, she was only partially aware of these everyday scenes. Michelle von Horrowitz was alone, but for her memories and the birds.

    She watched each ripple expand, gently forming a series of concentric circles that were propelled outwards towards the banks. They would die away before getting to their destinations, but the next piece of bread would form another set of hopeful waves that would eventually fade into nothing in turn. Each ripple was its own life, short and pointless like the rest of them. Concentrated into a few moments, they would rise and fall again like each human would over decades. Staring into them, with the cold, Berlin air pressed in tight against her skin, scenes of her own life began to disturb the surface of her mind.

    She was here for Anzu, of course, and nothing else. She had a sister in Berlin, but they'd seen each other a few months prior, when Bella von Horrowitz had visited New York during the weekend of CWA's Five-Star Attraction. She wasn't one for superstition, but she associated Bella's face and Bella's voice with the crushing defeat she'd been handed by Jon Snowmantashi. This visit was not to tighten familial bonds, but rather to pay old debts. Harrison Wake and the World's Strongest PPV would be waiting for her in America, but for now all thoughts lay on Anzu and Berlin.

    They had met back in 2008, when Michelle was just starting out in Japan. She didn't know anybody, not even Iwao, the man who'd guide her through life on the islands. She'd been working on the European independents for about eighteen months, and had been offered the opportunity to fly out to Nagoya to work a few shows for a regional promotion there. She'd won her match on the first night against some weak, green girl from Osaka, and was reclining in her corner of the large, communal locker room, basking in the glow of her glorious self. Suddenly, the great Anzu Kurosawa had barged in, screaming and blathering in her native Japanese.

    Michelle lit another cigarette in the Berlin park, watching the birds peck away at the last remaining crumbs. A larger, cleaner, almost prouder bird floated a few yards from the pack, refusing to debase herself in the scramble for food. Her mind was drawn back to Nagoya and 2008, and her first impressions of Anzu. As a veteran wrestler who had fought all around the world, Anzu was afforded her own private locker room with all the seclusion and comfort that came with it. She was visiting Japan on a homecoming tour, culminating in an appearance for Honshu Puroresu, one of the nation's biggest promotions. These dates in Nagoya for this shit-stain company were little more than warm-ups.

    Anzu had a tag team match scheduled, where she was due to team up with some newcomer to face Tsuki no On’nanoko, the promotion's 'Women's Champion', and her hench-woman Kurētā. According to a nearby wrestler who happened to speak French, Anzu's rookie teammate had failed to show up, and Kurosawa was ranting in pursuit of a replacement. Anzu didn't have the most ingratiating personality back then, so nobody was forthcoming and the veteran quickly disappeared again. She had a match against Tsuki for her championship in three nights time and something about her manner suggested she didn't like the idea of a handicap match. Michelle had quietly sauntered to Anzu's private locker room, knocked three times, and casually offered her sword. She wasn't usually one for allies, but she'd seen Kurosawa fight. Some allies are worth having.

    They'd won the match in about eleven minutes, Michelle hitting a 450 on the champion before the legal woman - Anzu - leapt on her for the cover. It's wasn't victory-theft or anything; the veteran had expressed nothing but gratitude, and had even gone as far as to offer Michelle her championship shot. She'd politely declined. Even that far back, Michelle saw little point or use in women's championships.

    After that night she didn't hear from Anzu for six months, until February of 2009. Michelle was still scrubbing out a living in her Nagoya backwoods promotion and making occasional appearances for Okayama Senshuken Resuringu (OCW), a company no bigger but with at least something resembling ambition. It was whilst at OCW that she first fought Iwao Karasu, in the main event of one of their fortnightly shows that sold two thousand tickets, her biggest audience to date. But Honshu Puroresu was always the eventual aim, and it was Anzu that helped her achieve it. She needed a tag partner for a series of five matches for a HPW tour, and Michelle was only too happy to escape the gymnasiums of Nagoya and Okayama.

    She'd been given a full time contract with HPW off the back of it, and had even been allowed to keep her OCW dates for a while. The partnership with Anzu had gone nowhere particularly exciting, and they sort of drifted apart when Kurosawa left again for Mexico or Colombia or whichever dessert she was set to appear in next. They had one more tag match in 2012, when Michelle had been desperate. She'd bitten off more than she could chew with a three hundred and fifty pounder named Osuushi, or the Bull, and her only option had been to call the closest thing to a friend she had in the business. Anzu had flown across the Pacific to help her that night, even in a losing effort. It felt only right to repay the favour; the Atlantic was the smaller ocean, after all.

    Inside the ring, the duo had never accomplished much. Outside of it, though, they could fill a library with memoirs. Most of it would only be interesting or even intelligible to those that were involved, but to Michelle it seemed that most of her Japanese memories took place during that four-week HPW tour. Anzu seemed to collect mugshots, and whilst Michelle was no stranger to a bar fight herself, their attitude towards them differed drastically. Michelle preferred solitude, especially whilst drinking, but was more than willing to defend herself if someone recognised her and fancied a pop or refused to take no for an answer. Anzu, on the other hand, openly courted confrontation.

    Michelle thought back to a night in Nagano, where she and Anzu had been drinking in some quiet bar near the arena after the fourth match of the tour. They'd decided to head into the city centre, and hit a place that had been recommended by a youngish barman who seemed to know what he was talking about. It was quiet (late on a Thursday), but a group of young, Japanese girls had gathered around a thirty-ish looking Latino with a pot belly, a greying beard, and sweat patches. He was holding court on some topic or other, and Michelle had attempted to drag Anzu into a quiet, shadowy corner of the room. Kurosawa had waved her off and taken position on a bar stool within ear shot of the group.

    "And when you're there in the ring, chicas," the man was saying as Michelle sheepishly sidled up next to Anzu at the bar. They ordered a pair of Jameson's as he's continued. "And you stare into the eyes of the bull? That is the only time a man can truly feel alive. At all other moments he is a ghost, a shell! When you are in the ring and you stare into the eyes of the Bull, that is when a man is a man. We matadors are a- -"

    Here, Anzu took her first sip of the amber, and instantly blew it back out of her nose onto the bar. She let out a thin, high giggle, and then shook her head. The man had stopped talking to stare over at the two of them.

    "You are not a matador," she declared triumphantly.

    The man blinked at her, and stood from his seat. Only then did Michelle notice the two younger men either side of him.

    "I was the matador," he insisted.

    "I have lived in Mexico and Brazil and Cuba," she began, draining her glass and placing the empty in the bar. "I have watched the bullfights in Spain and Santiago. I have known matadors. I have loved matadors, and I say that you are not a matador."

    The young Japanese women that surrounded the man shuffled uncomfortably from foot to foot. They moved a lot faster when he lunged at Anzu. His friends followed, and Michelle was forced into the fray. Thirty seconds later, Anzu was sat on the matador's back, waving a red serviette in front of his eyes.

    "Michelle, my sword," she was shouting. "I've left my sword in the hotel!"

    In the park in Berlin, the ducks had lost interest in Michelle. She had no more bread to give them and they began to paddle away. The sun was creeping towards the horizon. Evening was beginning to take hold. With a sigh, she pulled her coat tightly around her and meandered off towards the address she'd been given. It was a small office space a few hundred yards from the park, and Michelle took one last deep breath amongst the greenery before she plunged out into the concrete maize that the city had become.


    She’d be forgiven for thinking that she’d come to the wrong place. The building looked unspectacular and unoccupied, as if it had stood without being noticed for centuries. She pushed open the door, expecting nothing but an ocean of cobwebs behind it, but what she saw was a clean, almost-sterile office space. There were a few unfortunate souls working away their Saturday afternoon, filing things away and standing at photocopiers, and when she asked at the desk for Anzu she did so with a sense that this was the wrong place. ”No,” she imagined the receptionist saying. ”We sell boxes, not anzus.” The old, sort of frumpish woman nodded and smiled, though, and led her to a room at the end of a short corridor.

    Inside the office, four people sat around a table. One of them was an old, white guy, face riddled with wrinkles, pockmarks, and the other clear signs of a long, hard life. The second was slightly younger but no less haggard. He was Japanese and the only one to look up when Michelle entered the room. There was also a younger, Chinese woman with a stern face and an ash tray full of cigarette butts in front of her. She was quietly working her way through another. Anzu was the fourth, sat in a bright, purple tracksuit with a foot propped up on the desk in front of her.

    “Ah, Ms von Horrowitz,” the oldest one said, still staring down at his newspaper. He waved his hand in the vague direction of his counterparts as he introduced them. “My name is Ethan Rose. This is Tatsuo Kawaguchi and Hua Ji-Shen. I believe you know Anzu Kurosawa. Please, take a seat.”

    Michelle did as she was asked. She exchanged a sheepish smile and an awkward wave with Anzu. She hadn’t expected this many people. She’d seen the handlers before, though they’d never formally been introduced. Tatsuo, the Japanese man, had been with Anzu when they’d met in Nagoya, and had translated their first conversation. Hua had been there during the HPW tour, and both of them had come to watch their confrontation with Osuushi. They hadn’t seemed to do much but skulk around the ring and take notes, but now – sat in what was essentially a conference room, complete with a spreadsheet chronicling Anzu’s matches, a flipchart listing audience trends, and a screen with a video paused on the FWA logo – she began to realise that Kurosawa’s relationship with them was a little more intricate than that.

    “I assume you’ve been told who you’re here to fight?” Ethan asked, turning over the page of his newspaper. Michelle noticed that it was written in German.

    Yes,” she said, meekly. She felt uncomfortable and shuffled her weight uneasily around her seat. “Taylor Toxic and Raquel Wednesday.

    “And what do you know about Taylor Toxic and Raquel Wednesday?” he asked.

    That their names are Taylor Toxic and Raquel Wednesday,” Michelle answered, deadpan. Anzu smiled, but the others continued without response. Ethan read, Hua smoked, Tatsuo stared.

    “They are members of a stable with Dinorah Redgrave, a former FWA Women’s Champion and the number one contender to Bell Connelly’s title,” Ethan continued. Michelle had heard of Redgrave, and of course she remembered Connelly. No doubt Bell remembers me, too, she thought, the memory of an ankle lock and three taps on the canvass flooding back to her. “They are not afraid to break the rules, and aren’t above sneak attacks. They have a gang mentality about them. Toxic is the brawler, though Raquel is a vicious striker as well. Wednesday is more of a submission specialist. Toxic will just try to bludgeon you into defeat. But the most important thing about them is their loose morality. They won’t think twice to bend and break any rule that they can. And what do you think is the best strategy against such women?”

    I’m sure you have some ideas,” Michelle answered, sitting back in her chair. She intended to watch some of Toxic Wednesday’s matches later on in the day. She didn’t need some old man to tell her about strategy.

    “Taylor Toxic and Raquel Wednesday may be submission specialists who hit hard and play dirty,” Ethan replied, looking up from his newspaper for the first time in the conversation. His eyes were big and black, like a frog’s. “But so are you. Anzu’s career is at a critical point where messages need to be sent. You will confront Toxic Wednesday head on, fighting as they fight. You will wear them down and beat them at their own game, and when they are broken, then you can do as you will with the remains. Our strategy is simple; to do exactly what they do, only harder, more often, and better. Do you understand?”

    Michelle blinked. It was hardly an intellectual tour de force. She was sure she could keep up.

    I understand,” she said. There were a few moments of silence, during which Ethan continued with his newspaper. “That’s it? No pre-match promo? No backstage interview?

    “We have prepared a video package,” Tatsuo began as Hua stubbed out her cigarette. She opened her packet and lit another. “Chronicling your history with Ms Kurosawa and her battles with Ms Toxic and Ms Wednesday. It ends with Anzu’s demolition of Olga the Ogre last week on Fight Night, and the narrator discusses that assimilation with the barbarians is the best path to victory. It’s from the Art of War. You know, Sun Tzu? We’re really rather proud of it. Would you like to watch?”

    Michelle stole a glance at Anzu. She had gone whiter than Ethan.

    No,” Michelle said, a little abruptly. “No, thank you.

    “Well, I think all that needed saying has been said,” Ethan interjected, rising from his chair and stretching out his hand. “Ms von Horrowitz, I’m sure that we can rely on you. We shall see you tomorrow.”

    She shook his cold, clammy hand and regretted it immediately. Anzu stood too and accompanied her from the room, and the two shuffled uncomfortably outside of the office as people filed their files and copied their copies. A fat, sweaty man waddled right up to them to use the water cooler that Michelle was leaning on. It seemed to take forever to fill his cup, the water dribbling out of the drum as she stared down at his reddening bald patch. Eventually, he took a sip, smiled at them both, and left.

    Will you have time for a drink before you leave?” Anzu asked, her hands in her pockets. She didn’t seem happy. “After the match?

    Of course,” Michelle answered. There was always time for a drink. They shared a nod and Michelle turned to leave, getting a few paces before Anzu called her back.

    One more thing,” she said, opening the door to the office as if intending to make a quick getaway. “They want you to do Fan Access tomorrow.

    Last edited by SuperSaiyan; 06-19-2016 at 01:52 PM.

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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz

    MVH vol. 19 - Meet the Press.
    vs. Ariel Justice [CWA Adrenaline Rush, June 2016].

    Michelle von Horrowitz had faced her fair share of what you might call hard times. Struggle, worry, and anxiety often greeted her like old friends, usually when she felt most comfortable or on the verge of personal or professional development. Standing outside the door of her Aunt Maude’s living quarters as a small child, knowing that the woman lay dead within the walls. Climbing into the ring with Osuushi and staring into his big, black eyes as he lumbered from foot to foot. Sensing her world championship match against Jon Snowmantashi slowly slipping away from her. All of these moments had been brutal, crashing like waves against the calm shores of her being. But this was different. She was about to conduct her first press conference.

    Michelle had been trying to compose herself next to an exit, warming up her lungs with a Camel and watching a thick, grey cloud temporarily obscure the yellow sun. She sucked hard and long at the filter before throwing it away, exhaling a thick plume of smoke, and pushing her way back into the corridor through a fire exit. She stopped before the only other door and took in a deep, anxious lung-full of the hallway’s stale air.

    The fact that she’d never been asked to do anything like this before was no accident. Her natural habitat was below the radar, and for the first couple of months here she felt certain that management, not to mention the established veterans, had no idea who she was or what she did. That all changed with the Wrestle Royale, of course, and since then there’d been a steady request for interviews from various journalists, bloggers, and podcasters. She’d managed to ignore them until now, but finally management had begun to insist. Her star (or, rather, their star) was rising and, for some reason that always escaped her, dancing to the press’s music like a cymbal-wielding monkey went hand-in-hand with a place on the upper mid-card.

    The room itself was rather large, with tacky, 1970s carpeting the dominant feature; discoloured and worn out in various patches, vile in its insistence on browns and oranges and yellows. There were no windows, leading to a stuffy, enclosed atmosphere. She stared at the men and women who were garrisoned with notepads and recording devices, all of whom turned around to stare at her as she entered. She counted them up; sixteen in total, plus a couple of security men and some CWA officials making twenty three. Apart from arenas, she couldn’t remember the last time she had been this close to this many people. Silently, staring down at the haggard carpeting and stuffing her hands into her pockets, she moved around the mass of writers, giving them a wide berth, and took a seat alone on the raised stage before them.

    There was a moment of silence. It’s the deep breath before the plunge, as Gandalf once said. And then it began.

    “Michelle… Gary McGary here from PWOutsider,” a man in the third row started. He had a Hail the Club t-shirt on and raised his pencil as he spoke. “Last weekend at the World’s Strongest pay-per-view we saw you and Harrison Wake battle for almost an hour once more, this time in a two-out-of-three falls match. There was something about that match that suggested closure. Are you done with the Backwoods Badass?”

    “I think he’s probably done with me,” she replied, tapping her fingers on the desk and staring at Gary McGary. “There’s only so many times you can lose against the same woman and retain your credibility as a, how did you put it, a badass. I can fight Tough Guy Harrison again, and I can beat Tough Guy Harrison again, if that’s what they decide is best. But there are plenty other men to beat, plenty other statements to make.”

    “Jonathan Basingstoke-Fontlewinkle of The Gentleman Smark podcast,” a second man began, a black suit on his back and a sort of spiv moustache on his face. He stood up as he spoke and held his recording device up towards the dais. “It sounds to this humble reporter as if you have something in mind. Or someone in mind. Care to elaborate?”

    “Well, Jonathan,” she began, leaning forward and regarding his pale, thin face. He was gaunt in spite of his youth. “That’s no secret. I’ve said it every single week since the last time I faced him, and – if you insist – I’ll say it again today. Jon Snowmantashi. But my ’prized whale’, if you’ll forgive the rather literal metaphor, is busy for the foreseeable future. There is only one man that I’ve faced and haven’t beaten. More importantly, there is only one man who has pinned me. I want Jon Snowmantashi, with or without that championship belt on his shoulder, but it appears I must wait until he is finished with his hard-headed, futile crusade against McGinnis and his goons. And so I wait, patient as ever, treading water and tearing through whatever they give me in the mean-time.”

    “Jared Cunté,,” another man – young, heavy-set, perspiring slightly under the moderately bright lights – interjected. “In the last two weeks we've seen you twice on FWA programming, once to save Anzu Kurosawa from Taylor Toxic and Raquel Wednesday on Fight Night, and then again in a successful tag team outing at Back in Business. Can we expect to see this again? Do you have one eye on a move to the Clique Wrestling Alliance’s biggest rivals?”

    “No,” she replied, rather simply. There was a pointed silence, in which the reporters stared back at her, almost in demand. She sighed and leant back, tapping the heel of her foot against the chair and watching the hands of a clock move solemnly, inevitably onwards. “Look, I have no interest in the FWA, or its champions and their championships. I went to Berlin to help out an old friend and to pay off an old debt. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve already beaten the best of FWA, past and present. In my third match in CWA, I pinned an FWA hall of famer. The very next week I snapped their Women’s Champion’s ankle and watched her tap the mat in desperate defeat. No, I have no interest in the FWA. The CWA is my home and the CWA is my battle.”’s Jared Cunté nodded and then sat down, a look of vague disappointment on his face. Several others raised their arms or stood up or spewed out their vapid questions. Who is your dream opponent? What’s your locker room ritual? When did you decide to move to America and join the CWA? They were questions she had no interest in answering, and that you have no interest in hearing the answers to, I’m sure. Things like this – press conferences, interviews, and the like – they only distracted and confused her true purpose. This was The Circus, and she had no real interest in any of it, but she’d yet to find employ in a promotion that didn’t insist.

    Take this press conference, for instance. It was creeping onwards towards the twenty-five minute mark – about half the time it would take her to have match with Harrison Wake, or to beat Anna Malikova four and a half times – and not one of these pen pushers had thought to ask her about the immediate future. They knew as well as she did that her next match was against Ariel Justice, and that she’d agreed to give them half an hour of her time, but - as she meandered her way through her answer to which OCW, HPW, or SPJ wrestlers would you like to see make the jump to American soil? – none of them had even brought up her name. Perhaps she’d make it through the entire thing without having to address her. Or perhaps not.

    “Marianne Yeltzov, from the Rosie the Wrassler podcast,” a woman began, clearing her throat and holding her pen and notepad to the ready. “Next week on Adrenaline Rush you go head-to-head with Ariel Justice, in your first all-female match-up since your very first contest in CWA. What are your thoughts on Justice and the match? I assume you see the inherent similarities between yourself and your opponent?”

    “Well, of course,” Michelle began, looking over at Yeltzov whilst the rest of the reporters began to pack away their things. They didn’t seem interested in Michelle von Horrowitz versus Ariel Justice. Why should they be? It was throwaway and thrown together, and she hadn’t given them any reason to care. Truth be told, there was no reason to care. Justice was nothing but a stepping stone.

    “Justice is a figure that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently,” she continued, ignoring the other, disenchanted reporters and focussing entirely on Yeltzov. “And I’ve been watching her matches carefully, too. When I first began to wrestle the way I wrestle and speak the way I speak, I hoped that this would happen. In fact, I knew it would. Women remained an untapped resource in our sport, and promotions continued to limit their roster pool to half of the population, until I proved in one night in the Wrestle Royale match that this was a bullshit, patriarchal position. I applaud Ariel’s ambition, and I even respect her for following me unto the breach. But this won’t stop me from destroying her. More women in wrestling is a great thing, but if one should come between me and what I’m trying to do here? Well, I guess you can all watch for yourselves next week.”

    “But what about the differences?” Marianne continued, fully aware of her peers checking their watches and rolling their eyes, but ploughing on unfazed. “The contrast between yourself and Justice is plain to see, both in the ring and outside of it.”

    “I have noticed this, yes. At least inside the ring,” Michelle responded. “She is taller than I am, probably more powerful, too. She may think that this gives her an advantage, but I am used to going into matches in such a position. My whole strategy, everything that I do within those ropes, is predicated on going into the match as the smaller wrestler. Perhaps even the weaker wrestler, if we’re talking about strength alone. But Justice is stubborn. She refuses to adapt her style for the environment that she is entering. She thinks she can apply the same skills that made her a fierce competitor in the world of women’s wrestling to her life in the CWA. This is almost admirable, but I fear for her. I really do.”

    “And outside of the ring?” Marianne Yeltzov went on, insisting on this becoming a one-on-one interview. “You speak at length about your opponents… You indulge in a certain… psychological warfare… You’re fond of telling us that you’re the best in the world… We haven’t really seen very much of that from Justice. Do you think that makes her something of an unknown?”

    “Yes, of course it does,” Michelle responded, checking the clock. She still had two minutes to fill, but that seemed like too much time to address Ariel Justice in her entirety. “As I’ve said, I’ve studied her tape, watched her matches, and listened to her interviews. And what do I have to go off? A couple of losses to Elijah Edwards and a fifteen-second interview before her first match. Ariel Justice says nothing because she has nothing to say. You’ve all seen what I’ve done here. I beat the entire roster on my first pay-per-view. I’ve pinned our current World Heavyweight Champion, not once but twice. I’ve tapped out Bell Connelly, I’ve pinned WOLF, and I’ve destroyed Drew Connor. I say I’m the best and then I back it up, each and every week, not just when it really matters. And Ariel knows this. When you face Michelle von Horrowitz, you face all of her, whether it’s a house show, Adrenaline Rush, or Five-Star Attraction.

    “This is not the week that Ariel Justice arrives. This is not the week that she announces herself. This is the week that she realises just how far she has yet to go.”

    With that, she stood up to leave, nodding at Yeltzov before she went. At least she was tied down to the here and now, unlike the rest of the reporters. Michelle didn’t like to look backwards, and her future planning was generally focussed on what could be done in the present. Jon Snowmantashi was always standing upon the horizon, blocking out the sun, she knew there were miles to go before she could face him once more. She had to keep winning, and winning well, no matter who they put in front of her, if the late-blooming flowers of her Retribution were eventually to come through.
    Last edited by SuperSaiyan; 06-19-2016 at 01:33 PM.

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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz

    MVH. vol 20 - Half-eaten Sandwiches.
    vs Mark Merriwether [CWA Adrenaline Rush, July 2016]

    The painting was old, unimaginative, stained by both age and a lack of care. The yellows of the sand were patchy and uneven, the whites of the waves stark and unreal. The blues of the sea, though, still stood firm, untouched by the years that the painting had been hung upon this wall. She assumed it had been there for years, but seeing as this was the first time that she had regarded it she couldn't say for sure. She didn't know whether the tide was coming in or going out, but that didn't matter. The coming and going off the tide was just a game, pointless and zero-sum, limited to a strict set of boundaries that the sea had no will to push past.

    Michelle asked herself how long she'd been staring at the old painting of the older sea, and had no answer. Michelle asked herself how she'd got to this corridor in the first place, and had no answer. Michelle asked herself where she was, and had no answer.

    She stared off towards the north end of the corridor, the rest of the walling bare and a ninety degree left turn visible perhaps twenty metres in the distance. She began to walk towards it, running the knuckles of her right hand against the wall as she did, the concrete coarse against her pale, white fingers. The carpeting, wallpaper, and ceiling were all the same deep red, constricting and contracting around her as she moved down the corridor. She seemed to be travelling upwards, too, dull aches in her calf muscles hinting at an incline. When she reached the turning she placed her hand on the angle, feeling the need to suck in a couple of deep breaths before she moved on.

    Around the bend, she found a man sitting at a table, leant back in a relaxed and comfortable manner in a high-backed chair. He tapped his fingers idly on the surface of the makeshift desk, and as she approached he slowly moved into focus. He had no eyes and no nose, but the thin, pursed lips of a small mouth occupied the normal position. His head was hairless and a sleek, black suit fitted him well. On the table sat three objects; a small, unused notepad, a pencil, and a large platter of sandwiches, each of which had been bitten once and then placed back into the pile. When she reached the desk, she stopped and stared at the man. For a moment he did nothing, but eventually, with a sigh, he leant forward to retrieve the pencil, proceeding to scratch 'Michelle von Horrowitz - 07/03/2016 - 08:58:21'. Afterwards, he placed the pencil back down, continuing to stare at Michelle with no eyes.

    "Where am I?" she asked, staring off at the far end of the corridor, where another left turn waited.

    “Don’t you know?” the man answered, his voice meek and unassuming but still dominated the corridor. Then, he motioned towards the sandwiches. “Are you hungry?”

    Michelle shook her head, and something within her suggested she should get away from this man. Without another word, she moved to the end of the corridor, turning left and finding another hallway exactly like the last. Hanging up half way down was another painting, again of the moon shining down upon the still sea. She couldn’t be certain, but here it seemed that the waves had invaded further up the shore, the white foam waves encroaching on the foreground. The frame seemed to be older, more worn by age, but the artist stayed the same.

    She moved onwards, turning another corner, and waiting for her was the same eyeless gentleman that she’d just abandoned. Or, a second exactly the same as the first. She looked down at the pad as the man began to scratch a second entry into the log, exactly the same as the first – ’Michelle von Horrowitz – 07/03/2016 – 08:58:21’.

    “Where am I?” she asked again. She would’ve still refused him eye contact, even if he had eyes to make contact with.

    “You used to know,” he replied. Again he nodded towards the platter. “Please, take a sandwich. They’re good. I’ve tried them myself.”

    She stared at the man’s blank countenance for a few beats before pressing on. Around the corner, she found exactly what she expected to. Another framed picture was pinned to the wall, and in this image the waves had forced their way to the top of the beach, to the point where the sand was no longer visible. It looked tumultuous, the indifference and treachery of the sea captured well in the brush strokes. It gave her a headache. She turned another corner, ever onwards and ever left-wards, and her old, faceless friend awaited her once more. He lifted his pen, writing ’Michelle von Horrowitz – 07/03/2016 – 08:58:21’ beneath the two pre-existing, identical log entries.

    “Where am I?” she asked for the third and final time.

    “You will know again one day, I’m sure,” he answered, with finality. There were more sandwiches on the plate than before, as if they were reproducing. “You should take some food for your journey. You’re almost there.”

    She stared at the man for a few moments, tracing her eyes from the greying crown of hair around his ears, passed his feature-less face, over dishevelled clothing and finally to hands worn by age. He was unremarkable and without authority. She had no reason to trust him, or to follow his instructions, or to respect his pointless words. She turned away, walking back in the direction that she’d come, seeking only escape. As she turned the corner, the inner wall began to fold and give way, collapsing into nothingness, revealing a vast, drastic landscape before her.

    And, in the far distance, a lonely mountain reared up from the earth like a stallion. It dominated the horizon, massive and inevitable.

    And then she awoke.


    The camera pans across the faces of audience members as we return to the arena, anticipation and excitement upon their faces. The masses of Canada were here to see their favourite stars, the men that they pinned their hopes on when their own lives were hopeless. The heroes of this world would descend the ramp and they would scream their name, the bright lights of the ceiling reflected from their suits of white armour. They waited, and they watched, and they listened, ready to pledge themselves to the man who would be King.

    ’A candy coloured clown they call the sandman…’

    For the most part, this was not one of their heroes. Michelle von Horrowitz wore no suit of shining white armour, and inspired no love from the people. Instead, the reactions she evoked were generally bred of mistrust, filled with mixed emotions and trepidation. They could cheer her, but she resented giving them something to cheer her for. They could boo her, but she had shown them too much talent for that to be done sincerely. Whenever she spoke within a CWA ring, which was admittedly quite infrequently anyway, she would stare out at the faces of her audience as they filled with wild frustration. They knew the words she spoke were true – perhaps even more-so than the words of proper heroes – but she said them in such a hateful and spiteful manner that a crowd would look for any reason it could to dismiss them. Today would be no different. Every day is the same as the last; long and hard and like Sunday.

    As a small ‘MVH’ chant began to circulate, she climbed through the ropes and listened carefully. She could make out the form of the three initials that they chanted, fighting desperately for prominence amongst the overwhelming hostility like a child held beneath the waves, reaching for the surface. They did not anger her, or disappoint her, or sustain her. The chant was as irrelevant as the people that produced it. She did not speak for these people or to these people - they were as dispensable and interchangeable as her opponent for the evening.

    “My silence can be kept no longer,”
    she began, after collecting a microphone from Lindsay Monahan. There was no need for elaborate metaphors or dreamish narratives. She had something to say, and it needed to be blunt. “My tulips, for as long as I can remember I’ve done precisely the same thing, week in and week out. I am bored of it. I am sick of it. So God knows how you all feel. I come to this ring, or I stand in the back next to Michelle Kelly, or I go to a nearby park to cut a soliloquy in the twilight. I declare myself the best physically, the best psychologically, the best full fucking stop, and then I climb through these ropes and I prove it. They feed me a different man to emasculate, a different hero to cut down. Whether it’s Harrison Wake or Jonathan McGinnis or Johnny Vegas or Mr Enigma, the result is the same. I come, I win, I leave. And then I wait. I wait not for recognition from my peers, and not for the love of you people. Your love is unclean. I do these things because I have a duty, a god damn right, to lead this company into the new age. An age where we don’t rely on stupid men and old men and fat men. An age where we can look at our champions, and the lineage that they’re a part of, and say with confidence and clarity that the Clique Wrestling Alliance is the premier wrestling organisation in North America. No, the God-damned world.”

    The crowd are on her back already, the standard ’BORING’ chant climbing above the woman’s supporters. A lazy ’WE WANT WRESTLING’ chant rises up in answer, quickly gathering momentum before it is all that can be heard within the Toronto arena.

    “You want wrestling?! YOU WANT WRESTLING?!” she continues. The volume of the repetition is so sudden and uncharacteristic that the chant is broken up, only the most ardent von Horrowitz detractors daring to continue. “Who do you think it is, you fucking trogs, that gives you wrestling?! When Jon Snowmantashi decides that he needs a night off, AGAIN, who is here to pick up the slack? When the Tag Team Champions spend half an hour running their mouths about something that literally nobody cares about, who is next up to put on a match of the fucking year candidate? When Jonathan McGinnis refuses to let one of his matches reach a proper conclusion, who reminds us all that the CWA can be a true sanctum of sporting competition? FUCKING ME, that’s who! I’ve wrestled on every single episode of Adrenaline Rush this year, and we’re half way through it. And why do I do this? Because it’s the right thing to do, obviously. And you tell me that you want wrestling? The fucking gall. You people make me sick.”

    There is some applause, particularly in lambast of the Indy Club, but for the most part the Canadian crowd grows quickly defensive. Only her most loyal supporters remain, but that was more than she wanted, anyway.

    “Last week on Adrenaline Rush, Isaac Richman came down to this ring and decided to make a match. He put Elijah Edwards and myself in a triple threat for a championship. And, to be honest, on the surface that sounds agreeable. As much as I hate to commend such a person, Elijah Edwards is maybe the only other person on this fucking roster who has competed with as much consistency and regularity as myself, albeit against weaker opponents. He’s earned a shot at the top prize, more-so than the Man-Baby, who doubtless will get yet another opportunity to wage his impotent war upon the calm shores of the Indy Club. But no. NO! Elijah and I are not to be in the world championship match next month, as he could argue he deserves and as I know that I deserve. You all know it, too. Each week I’m out of the championship scene is another week that McGinnis slides towards being a paper champion. He is not the best until he has defeated the best. I am the best, and he has not defeated me.

    “Instead, we are given a chance at the High Voltage Championship, held by that proud, arrogant man who calls himself LIGHTBRINGER,”
    she goes on, her rage still palpable but a little more focused. She is openly pacing the ring, now, irritated by the company and the crowd, a bundle of energy just waiting to be let loose on Mark Merriwether. “The undefeated LIGHTBRINGER, I should say, and my one-time tag partner. The time will come when my words are pointed at the Tokyo Kisai, but that time is not now. The same goes for Elijah Edwards. I don’t even wish to talk to Mark Merriwhether, whoever the fuck he is. I speak only to CWA management, and my message is clear. Next month, I’m taking this second-rate belt from the waste of your new poster boy, and I’m walking straight through the fucking exit with it. I’m done with the disrespect, the underestimation, the blatant, festering misogyny. You don’t deserve Michelle von Horrowitz. You deserve the slow, pathetic death that you’ve been sliding towards for years. I’m taking your belt and I’ll defend it wherever I choose. Whether that’s HPW or SPJ in Japan, or PAW in Mexico – hell, even FWA. Anywhere but here.”

    The crowd are close to silent, perhaps even dumbstruck. From the back, a scream of ’JUDAS’ is heard, and then all hell lets loose. The hatred comes on like a tidal wave. Plastic cups begin to hit the ring. The CWA faithful chant the company’s initials in accusation. Michelle stands unfazed, unmoving, a smile on her face and the microphone raised for the final blow.

    “You know my plans. They will not change. I am taking your belt and I am leaving this piss-hole. And if you want to stop me? You’ll have to send better men than Mark fucking Merriwether to do it. Let’s get this over with.”

    She throws the microphone at Lindsay, taking a seat in the corner with her head propped up against the bottom turnbuckle. She waits once more, the animosity gathering and building around her as if she were stood in the eye of a storm.

  6. #26
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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz

    VOLUME 21



    11th July, 2016 – Air Canada Centre. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    “You know my plans. They will not change. I am taking your belt and I am leaving this piss-hole. And if you want to stop me? You’ll have to send better men than Mark fucking Merriwether to do it. Let’s get this over with.”

    She throws the microphone at Lindsay, taking a seat in the corner with her head propped up against the bottom turnbuckle. She waits once more, the animosity gathering and building around her as if she were stood in the eye of a storm.
    14th July, 2016.

    Dear Ms von Horrowitz,
    CWA-NW Talent Office. Seattle, Washington.

    We are writing in regards to your recent appearance in Toronto, Canada on an episode of ‘ADRENALINE RUSH’ for ‘CLIQUE WRESTLING ALLIANCE’ (CWA). Specifically, we write in response to your plans to defend the CWA High Voltage Championship on our programming at ‘PAN-AMERICAN WRESTLING’ (PAW), should you be successful in your challenge at the forth-coming ‘KINGS REIGN SUPREME’ super-show.

    The pro-wrestling audience here in Central and South America would welcome you with open arms, should you decide to go through with your plans. We were surprised to hear that you have never performed in Mexico, or in Latin America in general, and we have a series of challengers that we think are worthy of stepping into the ring with you, pending your approval.

    We do, however, find it highly irregular that you are not contactable by phone or by email.

    Raoul Almodovar.
    (Chief Talent Scout, PAN-AMERICAN WRESTLING)

    17th July, 2016 – CWA North-Western Headquarters. Seattle, Washington, US.

    It was the first time I’d had cause to venture into the corporate swampland of our dear little promotion. The executive wildlife – malignant suits who filed and networked and photocopied without ever making eye contact – generally did their best to ignore me, which was a mutually agreeable arrangement. I sat behind the desk, staring through the huge windows that made up the western wall of the office. We were high up, looking down upon the Seattle sprawl. The Space Needle jutted out proudly in the distance, a gaudy, phallic sentinel standing guard over the city.

    In front of me, a man whose name I couldn’t remember – Gregory? Graham? Something oh-so-vanilla like that – paced in front of the window, muttering his way through a soliloquy regarding responsibilities and contractual obligations. He was heavy-set and balding, and had removed his jacket to cower from the heat some time ago. Gentle patches of perspiration had formed beneath his arms. He had a funny habit of placing his thumbs behind his braces as he spoke, flicking them against himself as he finished each of his dull, unremarkable points. I wondered if he’d ever had an original thought in his life, if any measly morsel of his being wasn’t manufactured.

    “It’s just something you have to realise, Miss von Horrowitz,” he said, picking up his coffee cup and placing it down again without sipping. “You can’t always do whatever you like. You have a contract here. You can’t just up and leave whenever you like.”

    I thought about this in silence for a moment.

    “I think you’ll find,” I began, carefully. “That I can do whatever I like.”

    Gregory/Graham looked as if he intended to start his response a number of times, but on each occasion he’d climb back down before the first words passed his lips. Eventually, he sat down and looked over at the other man behind the desk. He was thinner, gaunter, with an entirely bald head and a sinister-looking beard. Like Ming the Merciless. Never trust a man who looks like Ming the Merciless.

    “Miss von Horrowitz,” he began, leaning forward in his chair but remaining seated. His eyes were piercingly blue. “I think what my associate is trying to say is that, should you fail to appear in the weeks following Kings Reign Supreme, the company will sue. Yours isn’t the most lucrative contract in CWA, sure, but you will still be in breach of it, and I doubt you can afford to buy yourself out. I know how much you earn, after all.”

    “Well, Mr Whatever-the-Fuck,” I began, yawning and placing my hands behind my head. In fairness to Ming, he didn’t flinch. “You may know how much I earn, but do you know how I live? Of course you don’t. If you did, you’d know I was a woman of simple pleasures. A bottle of Jameson’s, a box of cigarettes, and I’m happy. You pay for hotels, travel. No extravagance required, besides a return trip to Berlin earlier in the year. But the FWA gave me a huge cheque to make up for that, anyway. I haven’t cashed one of your cheques since February. I have them in my bag, if you’d like to see. And as for my contract, I signed for one year. That only leaves a couple of months after Kings Reign Supreme. I can afford to buy myself out and still have more money left than I could ever spend.”

    “Miss von Horrowitz,” he said again, his grating formality as deliberate as the rest of his demeanor. “Even if what you say is true, we still have the moral argument. Just think of everything the CWA has done for you. You’re a household name. To leave with the High Voltage Championship, should you take it from LIGHTBRINGER, would be to bite the hand that feeds you. You’d be spitting in the face of your fellow wrestlers, the Board, the fans…”

    “What the CWA has done for me?I scoffed, louder than I intended. The larger man recoiled, nervously rotating in his chair as I continued. Ming remained resolute. “What about everything I’ve done for the CWA? I’ve plugged holes bigger than the one in the o-zone layer for months. They asked me to waste my time with Enigma, with Wake, with the Echo, just so there was something worth watching on the show, and I went along with it. The people wanted to see McGinnis and Snowmantashi. I understood. But they’ve been at it for months, and literally nobody cares any more. You should have thought about all of this before you spat in MY face, asking Michelle von fucking Horrowitz to slum it in the midcard in some thrown together triple threat. You’ve made the match, you’ve sold pay-per-views on it, and now you can’t just cancel it. You have to lie in the grave you’ve dug for yourself.”

    Ming reclined in his chair as I stood, nodding his head and interlocking his fingers. He was the type of man who prized himself on being unflappable, but I could see through it. I saw his soul through his eyes, and a storm was raging. All that needed to be said had been said. Well, almost everything.

    “And it’s Ms von Horrowitz, you fucking troglodytes.”
    20th July, 2016.

    Ms von Horrowitz,
    CWA-NW Talent Office. Seattle, Washington.

    ‘HONSHU PURORESU (HPW)’ was pleased to hear of recent developments on ‘ADRENALINE RUSH’, a production of ‘THE CLIQUE WRESTLING ALLIANCE’. The HPW board are unerring in their desire for Michelle von Horrowitz to return to the promotion for her potential forthcoming defences of the CWA High Voltage Championship. HPW is confident that Ms von Horrowitz, a student and graduate of our school, will have the number of Elijah Edwards and LIGHTBRINGER, who came through the ranks of one of our rival promotions.

    This being said, HPW would request that Ms von Horrowitz agree to exclusivity in the great nation of Japan. It is our understanding that you have also expressed an interest in defending the championship in SPJ, and you spent many years in your early career performing for OCW. HPW would hope to be the only company promoting Michelle von Horrowitz in the country. In return, the HPW board of executives would negotiate appearances or title defences in our sister promotions in Russia (CZB – Чемпионат железа борьба) and China (WSW - 冬季風暴), as well as our partners ’London Brawling’ in the United Kingdom.

    As we did many times whilst you were under contract with our company, we yet again request that you provide us with a phone number or email address. It is good, professional practise.

    With thanks,
    Kyuzo Kimura.
    (Head of Talent Relations – HONSHU PURORESU)

    25th July, 2016 – The Stampede Corral. Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

    The show may have finished, but the fun goes on. As Michelle lurks within one of the exits, surrounded by CWA fans with her hood up to conceal her identity, a special attraction “dark match” is reaching its conclusion in the ring. With the Women's Wrestling Classic fast approaching, management has decided it prudent to showcase some of the talent that will be involved in the tournament. Georgie Calloway, some local heroine who had given an emotional speech about her dead Daddy and how the tournament provided some hope of redemption for her, had been put up against Beth Sokurov, a Soviet nobody. Calloway seemed to have the advantage, teeing up her trademark Spear… but as she charged, Sokurov utilised her ‘Now You See Me’ technique, evading the attack and sending poor Georgie face first in the turnbuckle. Sokurov dragged her to her feet by the tights, booted her in the midsection, and nailed her with the pedigree. The three count was academic.

    It was at this point that Michelle hopped the barricade, just as Beth Sokurov took her leave and stamped up the entrance ramp. She rolled beneath the bottom rope and waited patiently for the Canadian to rise. Calloway was ignorant to her presence, more concerned with coordinating her feet into a position where they could support her weight. She turned right into the Busaiku Knee Kick, crashing back to the mat once more. The crowd soured on the scene instantly, the cameras – sluggish after the culmination of this week’s Adrenaline Rush – perked up to focus in on a close-up of the assailant. Michelle von Horrowitz stood, a rare smile on her face and her arms raised either side of her, her trademark ‘Pro-Wrestling Jesus’ pose.

    After barking at Lindsay Monahan, she is handed a microphone and a steel chair, the former of which she places in the corner for later. Throwing the chair down on the mat, she hoists up Georgie Calloway’s dead weight, executing a double arm underhook DDT, sending the local hero’s head crashing into the steel. With the rookie lying face down and motionless on the mat, she nods in a contented manner at nobody in particular, before retrieving the microphone and taking a seat upon the top turnbuckle.

    “You know, I used to think that the Clique Wrestling Alliance, and those in positions of authority here, just don’t listen to the things that I say,” she begins, staring around at the assembled audience. Some, her most ardent detractors, have got up to leave, whilst others have stayed to boo. “But now I know the truth, and that’s not right at all. They do listen to the things that I say. They just choose to disregard them, and do precisely the opposite. How many months have I been here? Ten? Eleven? And how many times have I called Women’s championships and Women’s tournaments utter, contemptible bullshit? To be the best in the world, you need to be able to stand with anyone that could be put in front of you. Heavyweights and cruiserweights, male and female. If you cordon yourself off in your own little division, craving safety over competition, you end up with silly creatures like this one tripping over her own boot laces. This is not a petting zoo. It’s a jungle.”

    She hops down from her turnbuckle, walking across the ring to stand over her fallen prey.

    “But I shouldn’t expect anything more from the cretins that run this place. They are, after all, the same people who put me in this afterthought-extravaganza with LIGHTBRINGER and Elijah Edwards next Sunday. I’ve spoken about my problems with this booking at length, and others have spoken about it more, so I don’t see the point in re-hashing my plans. You know what they are. They haven’t changed. All that remains to be done is to rip that belt away from its paper champion. This Sunday is the precipice, my dear tulips.”

    To her credit, Geogie Calloway shows signs of life. Her limbs have gradually become responsive, and at length she begins to make her way to her hands and knees. Michelle, unmoved by the effort, simply scrapes the sole of her boot against the local’s head, sending her back to the mat. She repeats the motion whilst continuing her monologue.

    “I call LIGHTBRINGER a paper champion because, well, that’s what he is. He may be something somewhere else. In Japan, the name that he uses is regarded with respect and with honour. This means nothing to me. All he has done here is graciously accept the meager offerings being fed to him. Dustin Dreamer? Johnny Vegas? These are victories that we are meant to take seriously? This man beats Elijah Edwards a couple of times and all of a sudden he’s the second coming? Let me remind you, boys and girls, that I defeated the entire fucking roster on my first pay-per-view. I’ve pinned WOLF, I’ve tapped out Bell Connelly, and our current World Champion succumbed to me on two separate occasions. I went to war with Mr Enigma and Harrison Wake, and both bowed down to my will. We’re meant to respect that little charade you call an undefeated streak? Come back when you’ve beaten somebody, anybody, worth beating.”

    She allows her words to sink in whilst busying herself in removing the middle turnbuckle cover. She places the microphone on the top one so that her words are still audible.

    “At least Elijah Edwards challenges himself. I mean, his crusade against the Club is doomed to fail, of course, but it shows a sort of charmingly futile ambition. He refuses to play it safe. I once thought I could respect a man like LIGHTBRINGER. He wasn’t the worst tag partner I’ve ever had, not by a long shot. But in truth? He allows himself to be used as a pawn, without even realising it. I see it all now. Clear as day. LIGHTBRINGER fits the corporate mold perfectly. In some ways, he is the second coming. Of Snowmantashi. The Man-Baby’s heart hasn’t been in it for a while, and it doesn’t surprise me to see the powers that be lining the Kisai up to take his place. Krash and Cyrus have joined the queue, too. Throw in Darling Jonathan and you have five men that are variations upon precisely the same theme, competing in matches that we’ve all seen before, even when we haven’t.”

    After placing the microphone on the mat she lifts Calloway’s dead weight, pulls her over to the corner, and plants her face-first onto the exposed steel with a drop toe hold. She turns her back on the rookie to retrieve the mic, refusing to further acknowledge her presence in the ring.

    “But I mustn’t neglect Double E. I want to quote to you what a very wise person once said about Edwards, less than a year ago. ’Elijah Edwards is a man blinded by hypocrisy, floundering in the torrid guidance dished out to him by his manipulative little pipsqueak of a manager. Rollings is a cretinous leech driven by money, and a man like that is to be neither trusted nor admired. Edwards’ association with this creature only highlights the magnitude of his double standards. He paints a mundane picture of himself as a respectful, honourable soul. A general solid guy. Yet he buys into the spin of a squalid little runt like Rollings, eyes wide and starry at the merest suggestion of accolades, wealth, and power. Edwards is full of the ugliest of lusts, and unintentional vanity is just as bad as deliberate.’”

    She pauses at the quote’s climax, lowering the microphone to unleash a wicked grin. Georgie Calloway lies forgotten about and twitching in the corner.

    “Do you know who said that? That was me, my dear tulips. The week before the Wrestle Royale, when I stamped my name on this company by sheer force of will. I repeat it now because it is still true today, and Elijah Edwards is not worth wasting original thought upon. He has many qualities that one might deem admirable. He is relentless, and, as I’ve already discussed, ambitious. But he is also deluded. He did not keep his championship because he could not keep his championship. He hasn’t torn apart the Club because he cannot tear apart the Club. And he will not defeat Michelle von Horrowitz because he cannot defeat Michelle von Horrowitz. I present these things as facts because they are so.”

    After checking upon Calloway and content that she’s incapacitated, Michelle moves to the opposite corner and climbs to the second turnbuckle. She extends her arms to either side of her and allows the crowd’s hostility to wash over. She smiles, as if refreshed by the waves of angst and mistrust. The silence endures, and then lingers, and then stagnates. Eventually, with the camera focused upon her euphoric face, she concludes.

    “I’ve already said that to be the best you need to show yourself willing and able to confront all foes. Heavyweight, cruiserweight, male, female, brawler, technician. LIGHTBRINGER has shown himself unwilling and Elijah Edwards has shown himself unable. I am the only competitor on this roster to consistently do this, week in, week out, for almost a year. No weeks off. No vacations. No excuses. And yet I’m still told to eat scraps at the kid’s table. And so, I’m leaving, with your precious High Voltage Championship, along with its holder’s reputation. And there’s not a god damn fucking thing any one of you can do about it. We’re standing at the Edge of the World. Throw yourselves over, tulips. You haven’t got a chance.”

    The footage fades to black with Michelle still atop the second turnbuckle, her eyes closed, soaking in the atmosphere. The next day, it would be announced that Georgie Calloway had withdrawn from the Women’s Wrestling Classic.
    27th July, 2016.

    Ms von Horrowitz,

    We are writing to express our interest in your recent comments with regards to the CWA High Voltage Championship. However, it would of course be our ultimate goal to retain your services on a full-time basis, as is the case with all of our talent. We would hope to honour your status as High Voltage Champion and, in time, potentially unify it with one of our own championships.

    However, all of this would be contingent on you providing our offices with a phone number or an email address. It is unprofessional and archaic to have to communicate through the mail.

    With regards,
    Mike Mundane.
    FWA Talent Officer.

    29th July, 2016 – Ellesmere Island, Qikiqtaaluk, Nunavut. Quebec, Canada.

    The snow was thick on the ground, and she held her coat around her as tightly as she could. The man who’d agreed to bring her to this place – Onatok, a middle-aged inuit man from the nearby settlement named Griese Fiord – sat nearby, eating the raw beans that he’d carefully wrapped up before they’d left the village. The snow pressed through the thick trousers she’d bought especially, leaving her damp and cold and genuinely dissatisfied. But the mountain that reared up ahead of her was everything she’d thought it would be.

    She’d seen a picture of it in the bus station upon arrival in Montreal: Barbeau Peak, a lonely and dominating pyramid of rock, covered with snow, hostile and unforgiving and inevitable. It was the one she’d seen many times before, in her dreams and nightmares alike. She was sure of it. And now, sat at its feet, damp and cold and genuinely dissatisfied as she was, she felt, well, at least she felt something…

    Truth be told, the shadow of the hill engulfed her, and – as she shivered with her back propped against Onatok’s tent – she felt as if the mountain knew she was cowering from it. It had been this way in her dreams, too. Each time the formation of rock had reared up before her like some angry stallion she’d been feeble and deferential. It seemed eternal, and now that she sat upon its foothills that feeling was only compounded.

    Michelle was snapped from her malaise by a bark from one of Onatok’s dogs. Another pissed against the side of his sled, ricocheting down to cut through the snow. She must have jumped at the noise, the first to break the utter silence in a while, for Onatok let out one of his strange, low giggles.

    “The dogs are bored, Shivers. They don’t know why they’re out here, either,” he said, in his monotonous fashion. He’d taken to calling her Shivers, which she wasn’t crazy about. “Up past the mountain there is a settlement named Alert. Five people live there, left over and forgotten when the Cold War petered out. Alert is the northernmost settlement on Earth. That’s where you are, Shivers; the Edge of the World. You’ll find nothing here.”

    “That is here,” she said, nodding towards the mountain. It didn’t acknowledge her. It didn’t need to. “I mean to climb it.”

    Onatok let out another low giggle, unable to contain himself.

    “You have a match. In two days’ time, I believe,” he began, slow enough for her to understand. He clearly didn’t think she was particularly intelligent, and – when it came to mountaineering – he was probably right. “Even with dogs, sled, the Barbeau Peak cannot be climbed so quickly. If it can be climbed at all. The snow is deep and cold, and you have been shivering for hours already.”

    Michelle stared at the peak, as insurmountable now, sat just a few miles from it, as it had been in her dreams.

    “Not today,” Michelle conceded. “But soon.”

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