NIGHT 1 MAIN EVENT
He was pensive. He had never been in this type of situation before. The outcome was completely foreign, if not entirely unexpected. A major shift in the narrative, nobody saw it coming.
And to think… he was about to give up. Quit. Cry. Scream. Understanding this simply wasn’t for him. It had nothing to do with the size of his heart. Size, in his case, was never a question. You can double check with his spouse. But when you put your nose to the grindstone and go through the merciless trials and tribulations, you’re due for some eventual luck.
Then again, she’d argue they created their own.
The winner of the Almasy Tournament, the one who defeated the previously impenetrable man. He rose up, stuck out his chin, and said “one more time.”
Through their loving and nurturing relationship, his skills blossomed to its fullest. He was the victor; he was the guy. And as he walked backstage, into her ever-so-welcoming arms, she opened them. Without hesitation.
“I knew it,” she said, with a playful giggle and confident chuckle. “We made it. We showed them. We, fucking, won.”
He collapsed into her arms, feeling a massive weight fall from his shoulders. The monkey off his back was an understatement when you lived and died in the wrestling realm. After everything they’d been through, the roadblocks and detours, the naysayers and critics, they persevered. They traveled to the apex by weathering the hellacious gauntlet. Ultimately, they completed the journey. A fast track to the Universal Title and the acknowledgment that they, through and through, were the pinnacle of professional wrestling.
He, the talent, the fighter, the man on the front lines.
She, the mentor, the lover, the one who made it all click.
Cynics believe a wrestling story is never truly finished. With a war on the horizon, the notion of Happily Ever After can be mistaken as an insecure pipe dream.
But with integrity and trust, the Hall’s marched forward. Make no mistake, their story is complete.
Vickie stroked the side of her ALP’s head.
“I have ideas, my love,” she hummed in a confident whisper, her mind drifting through the wonderful possibilities of the future. “It’s time we expand our horizons.”
Because, after all, why should they be selfish? Even if their story is finished, it doesn’t mean they can’t help writing alongside…
FINISH THEIR STORY
A true любовная история
An honest дружба
It feels incredible when good people come together
— — — — —
Vickie Hall’s iPhone 15 Pro
THAT GUY WITH IVON
u upppp Mr. manager friend?-
adorbs lil Vickie texting ur cute lil face!!-
JFC wake uuupppp lol-
did they ever play that song in Mother Russia 4 u?-
ALexei i called u like 14 times & even TEXTED THE BLOODY LYRICS 2 RUN DMC & y u still no answer?-
us managers got2stick 2gether-
hey i was munching on a enchilada thinking off u-
-Enchilada? Is this Vickie Hall?
-Apologies. The security on my phone thought you were a virus.
-It is the afternoon in Russia.
-You were… thinking about me?
i always thinkin bout u alexie dont be silly-
let gurl think-
u r quiet charmer-
lolz now i sound like Ivon-
i no a tiny quaint gurl lookin’-
i was thinkin-
bout u like i said-
cud help u FINISH if youd like-
FINISH THE STORY-
sorrie that came out so wrong!!-
dont want u 2 get that kinda idea LOLZ-
im not THAT kinda gurl-
my story done,, ur story needs revizion-
so i realozed i dont have ivon’s digits!-
help gurl out plz-
waz hoping 2 connect w/ him & ask him 2 dinner-
we shud be supporting each other hear-
biggest time of hour careers ya no?-
-Sure. I can give you his office number.
-Don’t tell him I sent it, understood?
-Also please do not call it many times, he is a very busy man.
alexei alexei ALEXEI-
who do u take me 4?-
i wud never break trust-
u ask me no 2 tell & u shall……….-
totally into the drum rolls rite now-
drum drum drum lol-
translation 2 english 4 u: ur secrete’s safe w/ me!-
-That is quite the relief, Vickie.
need 2 like ask him some stuffff u no?-
really disappinted in jonathan-christopher rite now but story 4 another time-
going 2 ask ivon insteed since he XXX champion-
sorry 2 bother u and have a great morning in Mother Russa!-
it is morning here 2 what a coindicence!!!!-
-I am sorry Mr. Hall is frustrating. Well, I should let you get to your morning.
-Vickie, if you ever do feel the need to vent or… need anything at all, you just let me know dear.
oh gosh golly u really make a gurl feel special have a great morning!!!1-
— — — — —
Ivan Stanislav’s office was a maelstrom of activity, and all Alexei could do was stare. Arina was on the phone. Maksim and Yanukovich were putting up the newest propaganda poster, depicting The Russian Bear, with bicep flexed and Vickie Hall sitting atop it cheering, all in typical Soviet style.
Ivan stood alone in the main office and gazed at his impressive wall of achievements. It was the story of his life, from Afghanistan to the present. But a gaping hole in the center served as a chapter torn out of his story. The PRIME Universal Title should have rested between the PCW and OSW Titles.
Lindsay Troy was giving him a lifetime to regain what he lost. He pulled his pants up around his thick waist, the red suspenders finally slacked after bearing the weight of his burdens for so long.
Alexei couldn’t shake the sadness as he observed Ivan’s stony expression while fixated on that empty space. Since his birthday celebration, the two had barely interacted beyond public-facing occasions. Post Colossus, Alexei gave him his space yet tried to reach out. Ivan never answered. In a moment of vulnerability, Alexei left a heartfelt voice message for him, not realizing that Ivan had deleted it without listening.
“Busy?” Alexei broke the silence.
Ivan started and turned. He pushed a few papers over a file folder on his desk.
“Always,” he said with a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. More was on his mind. His fingers remained on the papers.
“I can help…” Alexei said softly and shut the door behind him.
The phone rang and Ivan silenced it with the press of a button. She had been calling all afternoon.
Ruslan fixed his tie while Stanislav growled. “Some idiot in the PRIME main office must have given out my number. Vickie Hall is driving Arina, and myself, crazy. Once I find out who did it…”
Tamping down his annoyance, Ivan nodded. “So what do you want?”
Alexei faltered. “I… just… wish you would have informed me about this situation with the Halls…”
“Things are need-to-know Alexei.” Ivan replied dismissively.
Alexei blurted. “Vickie may have uses, but her husband is a waste.”
Ivan settled into his seat and looked at Alexei icily. “That duo left Colossus victorious. Unlike us.”
Ivan frowned for a thoughtful moment. “I am busy, Alexei. Out you go.”
Alexei hesitated, and then slid his hands into his pockets and shuffled towards the door. He couldn’t see Ivan, but he felt ice forming on his shoulders and, with a final glance over his shoulder, Stanislav’s Siberian stare pierced him. He slinked out of the office, heart leaden with regret.
Ivan sighed as the door shut. His outward energy was just a facade for the unease he felt within. Colossus had been devastating. He had been beaten. Bolamba was innocent, despite the narrative he spun, yet Ivan had to lose a friend that day and it hurt.
He adjusted the papers with a shaking hand and revealed the folder once more. A single name was stamped on the front: “KULIKOV.” He stared at the door and shook his head, hoping his fears weren’t confirmed in the folder.
Loneliness bore down upon him like an Arkhangelsk icebreaker.
He stared at his phone. He’d have to settle for lesser “friends” for now. At least until he learned the truth.
Resigned to his fate, Ivan picked up the receiver. He drew it away from his ear as far as possible, winced, and played back the twenty-seven messages awaiting him.
— — — — —
It started off as an honest idea – to help another person and make a couple new, outstanding friends. Befriend the Red Army, ensuring the Hall’s stand beside a serious threat. Let’s spit FACTS, Darin Zion wasn’t pulling his weight. Since he retired from wrestling, neither was Tristan-Crispin Gladhappy. Cecilworth, Jared, even Jiles surrounded themselves with legitimate talent. War in the distance, creeping closer and closer, it was paramount the LOVE CONVOY adapted.
Pink may flirt with red. A hot tub could run off the waters in Lake Baikal. Most importantly, love would be mandatory.
And yet life wasn’t so simple. A curveball had been tossed in the Hall’s direction. Jonathan-Christopher tried to catch it.
Needless to say, it plunked Vickie square in the face.
“No recount,” she laid flat in their bed, eyes locked on the ceiling above. “I can’t believe Lindsay isn’t going to double check.”
She had not bothered to look over at her social support, despite the man on the other side of the bed never diverting his attention. Jonathan-Christopher rested on his left, his eyes doing nothing but scanning and studying his Amazing Life Partner. She’s stuck. Broken record. One track mind. Unable to see her managerial skills brought Jonathan-Christopher to the Almasy trophy presentation. Seemingly powerless to realize the Universal Title was one pinfall away from immortality.
Manager of the Year. It jumped into each and every picture.
No, she won’t drop it.
No, you can’t judge her.
It’s easy to be on the outside looking in. What if that was your rightful award?
He watched her. He’s praying she will feel better but he doesn’t know what to do.
She already told him there’s nothing he can say. No actions he can perform to fix this particular situation. No back rub too sensual. No hug too unwinding.
“Who in the fresh pounding hell is Alexis? I don’t know who she manages, what she’s accomplished and why she was picked over little ol’ me!” Vickie snapped. They were supposed to use pillow talk to chat about Ivan, war, and the Red Army.
“There’s always next year.” Make no mistake, this was what Jonathan-Christopher wanted to say. He just doesn’t have a death wish. Instead…
“Honey,” he creeped up ever so softly, “I wish I could fix it.”
“Well clearly you can’t,” she clapped back so hard, her voice almost physically pushed Jonathan-Christopher further to the side of his bed.
Her eyes didn’t budge. Her body couldn’t move. She festered. She boiled and bubbled.
“I will get my revenge,” the tone of her voice started to calm down, octave by octave. “We have the right team in front of us. I drafted extremely well.”
Jonathan-Christopher nodded in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, she would see him agree through her peripherals.
“I got Matsui,” she began, mocking a line from the movie Knocked Up, “speaks no volumes to the murderous row of fucking champions I hand selected.”
What was once anger had turned into spite and an over abundance of confidence.
Her eyes slowly peeled away from the ceiling.
“Jonathan-Christopher,” she started with a pondering little chuckle, “revenge is a dish best served old.”
Was she referencing Ivan’s age? Did she even know the correct saying?
Her eyes narrowed. “I already have reservations at our most romantic spot, and I’ve invited Ivon.”
She lifted her body off the mattress. It was time for her to write down this plan, step-by-step. A plan that would take the Hall’s, and others, into the United Kingdom and back with everything they desired.
“Jonathan-Christopher, you’re not great at first impressions. We only have one shot to win the Russian Bear over.”
And that grin. That sadistic, evil grin.
“So don’t fuck it up.”
— — — — —
The way to a man’s heart was through his stomach and dinner was a step in the right direction. Clutching a bouquet of red and yellow roses and a bottle of vodka against his chest, Ivan checked his massive phone to make sure he had the correct address.
The coordinates were accurate.
Arina confirmed them.
He sighed and straightened his red uniform and fixed his gold buttons. He adjusted his medals and flexed his huge feet in his leather boots. Part of him wished Alexei was here, but the doubts and fears in Ivan’s mind forbade him from coming. So, he gripped one of the doors to the restaurant and entered.
There they were. Pink to his red. She waved aggressively in his direction while her husband offered a nervous, wan smile. This trio should have never been in league with one another and yet, somehow this strange alliance had been formed.
Ivan held out hope Jonathan-Christopher wasn’t completely shattered. He was a good-looking young man, with strong physical traits and natural talent. Even Ivan couldn’t deny Jonathan-Christopher had him on the ropes once or twice last year.
But his wife was the true force. There was something attractive about her, but in a disturbing manner. It was likely she had gone under the knife at one time. Her entire persona seemed fabricated, yet there was an underlying sense of authenticity. With a glance, Ivan saw how thoroughly broken Jonathan-Christopher was and he selfishly lacked the motivation to help the boy. No reason to jostle the balance between the couple. Whatever that was.
After all, Ivan had lost two matches in a row. He could not risk a third. The Bandits, for all their foolishness, were no laughing matter. If food was the way to most real men, Vickie was the way to Jonathan-Christopher.
“This,” Ivan said as he approached the two lovebirds’ table, “is… quite a place.” He smiled and lifted the bottle of vodka and roses. “For beautiful lady.” He said politely.
Vickie extended her dainty right hand. Reaching the bottle wasn’t going to happen, so Ivan stretched his arm further. She snatched the vodka with an “ahhh” sigh of relief, inadvertently ignoring the roses.
She would twist the cork off herself, but her Mr. Burns-like strength allowed her to do nothing of the sort. She merely placed her fingers around the cap and squeaked out a cry for immediate intervention. Jonathan-Christopher took the bottle, twisted the top open, and handed it back to Vickie. With a slight roll of his eyes, Ivan dumped the roses in the middle of the table.
“So divine, isn’t it, Ivon?” Vickie could barely control herself. “KFC is my favorite guilty pleasure!”
K.F.C. – Kentucky Fried Chicken. The most romantic place in the world!
Stanislav looked around, silently. Was this a joke? A trap? Was someone waiting to jump out from behind the large cardboard sign promoting two KFC Wraps for five dollars? Jonathan-Christopher confirmed his worst fears.
“She loves coming here,” JCH chuckled, with a mild sense of uneasiness in his voice, suggesting he could potentially understand how strange and unromantic this American fast food chain seemed to the naked eye. “We dine here once a week.”
Lenin help the boys’ bowels.
“Now, Ivon,” Vickie began again, almost as if the lead into her banter was a signal for Jonathan-Christopher to stay quiet. “You’re probably wondering why I asked you here. Well. Hey.”
She leaned forward. Nobody else in KFC was paying attention but that wasn’t going to stop her from insinuating this was an entirely private, intense matter of business.
“WarGames. Revenge.” She retreated to her chair but pointed an index finger at her and then that same finger at him. “For both of us.”
Ivan settled into the half booth that faced the Halls. He stared at Vickie curiously. After all, her husband had won, no, dominated the Almasy and was set to challenge for his title. “Whatever do you need revenge for?”
Vickie shuddered at the thought of it. Her mind didn’t want to go there but she couldn’t help it. She kept asking herself not to think about it and yet, funny enough, that was her thinking about it.
“Alexis Russellan, the woman who won Manager of the Year!” She leaned forward for a second time, once again expressing this would-be top secret information. “I don’t know who she is! When the winner was announced, I saw a name that wasn’t mine, FREAKED OUT and never checked again because, you know, PTSD!”
The stunned silence from the Russian side of the table didn’t seem to register with Vickie Hall. She truly wasn’t aware that Alexei had won the award!
Still, intelligence and wisdom weren’t necessary for someone to be dangerous. She was kinetic energy. A live wire, capable of causing destruction with a flick of her mercurial temperament. Stanislav knew a master manipulator when he saw one, whether from experience or his own tendencies. Still, her scope was focused on her husband, and that made pink and red work.
“Yes, Alexis, that сука.” Ivan replied mechanically.
He looked at Jonathan-Christopher. Surely the boy was smart enough to understand the ridiculousness of the situation. But he was staring at his wife. Hopelessly. Thus, the opportunity arose.
“I tell you what, Mrs. Hall,” Ivan leaned forward with glinting, ursine eyes, “after we are victorious at Forty-Two and then WarGames, myself and Alexei can help find evil Alexis for you.” He bared his teeth with a grin. “And we make her pay.”
Eyes wider than an anime cartoon, the Woman of Wonder literally couldn’t find the words.
A simple nod. Why didn’t JCH fucking hatch this plan of action? He had a whole month!
“Therefore,” Ivan said in a low voice, planning to move this along, “I insist I lead our team at WarGames. It would be first step towards absolute victory and Manager of Year 2024. I would not let you down.” He cut his eyes towards Jonathan-Christopher. Let the boy know any failure would be on his head.
Now, charm her. “You know, in Russia, your name is ‘Viktoriya,’ which means ‘victory.’” A pause. “Can I call you that?”
“You can call me anything you’d like,” it was a sharp and fast response, one that caught her Amazing Life Partner off guard. It clearly made the tournament champion uncomfortable hearing his woman so free with her boundaries to a person she barely knew. “As for your request of leadership…”
One minute. It’s all she required for judgment. Plus it didn’t hurt Stanislav’s chances that her anger had reached maximum levels, fuming at JCH for not speaking up when she asked for an award recount in Lindsay Troy’s office. The narcissism of it all. She helped him win the tournament. He didn’t do shit for her in return.
“You are a former Universal Champion and kingdom come of PRIME,” whatever that meant, “you would be a fine, fine leader for my honey bunch of oats to follow and learn from. It is decided.”
She giggled. “Oh that sounded so Game of Thrones, didn’t it? Isn’t this fun, Ivon?”
Stanislav knew it was best not to linger on the unstable behavior of Vickie Hall. After a brief moment, he smiled and redirected the conversation. “Thank you, dear Viktoriya.” He shifted to more pressing business. There was work to do. “Then let us talk strategy for Coral Avalon and Tony G–”
She had to interrupt. “Sorry, my newest foreign friend,” she interjected. “I have to take a tinkle. Please, excuse me and feel free to speak strategy to Ivon-Christopher,” her high pitched voice and over the top facial expressions might have suggested she’s an idiot but she most certainly could play by the Russian’s game.
With that, Vickie slid her chair back and crotch-tucked towards the little girl’s room, leaving an awkward silence between both parties… and an extreme amount of fear on one specific side of the table.
“What can I say? She has a weak bladder,” Jonathan-Christopher tried his best at breaking the silence.
With the human static gone, Stanislav shoved the roses out from between them and they fell to the floor. Colonel Sanders’ table creaked as he pressed his hand atop the plastic surface and leaned forward. Time to inspire the boy.
“You love your wife?” Ivan asked coldly.
“Yes…” came a meek response from Jonathan-Christopher.
“Losing to fools like Gamble and Avalon will make Vickie leave you like this.” His fingers snapped like a thunderclap. “So you be quiet and listen to Uncle Ivan…”