Posted on 03/18/23 at 10:52pm by Mushigihara
Event: ReVival 25
“So, Henry, how have things been since the last time we spoke?”
Peter Cianciolo sipped a cup of coffee as his colossal client Henry Yamazaki reclined in the office couch, sighing deeply.
“Not so well,” Henry slowly replied, with a long pause before continuing, “we didn’t win that title match.”
“I’m so sorry, Henry,” Peter nodded, “but there will always be another opportunity, right?”
The low growl in Henry’s throat told the whole story, prompting Peter to put pen to pad almost right away.
“See, that’s the thing. Not long after our match, the management of PRIME Wrestling, that’s the company David and I work for, announced they were going to shelve the entire tag team division and deactivate the championships. That was quite possibly our only opportunity to become Tag Team Champions, and we came up short.”
Another pregnant pause.
“And on top of that, David’s been thinking about retiring from the business completely.”
Peter’s eyes flared open as he started taking notes; David hadn’t mentioned any retirement plans in their previous appointments, so maybe this was a newer development. “So where does that leave you, Henry?”
The big man simply shrugged and chuckled like a man who is so overwhelmed that laughing is his only recourse.
“Absolutely directionless,” Henry said, choking back tears, “I have a match against some next-generational talent with a big mouth and a knack of pushing the right buttons; he’s been hitting nothing but bullseyes ever since, and now I gotta go into this show in San Antonio and prove that I’m not just some also-ran by smashing him to pieces in the middle of that ring!”
Peter stared at Henry, before wheeling his chair over to the water cooler and pouring a cold cup for his client and handing it to him. Henry accepted through leaking eyes, and knocked it back as if it were a shot of something harder.
The Icebox Wrestling School
Ryan Andersen may have been all smiles as Saturday morning drills began, but as his assembled crew of students gathered in the ring, he was deeply despondent and morose. For reasons best not expounded on, the school he and his brother Mark founded many years ago had been reduced to operating a “Pro Wrestling Workout” class to people who had no ambition of making a career in the business.
In the Philadelphia area professional wrestling had become something of a safe space for the artistically and theatrically inclined, as well as the LGBTQ+ youth, and while Ryan was happy to provide such haven, he also knew that not being from that particular crowd meant he could only do so much to nurture any aspirations of making a living in wrestling, if those students even wanted to do so. He could train them and get them in shape, but he felt unfit to be a proper “mentor” to them, because he did not share their experiences and lives.
This silent pity party was accompanied by the noise of wooden planks under foam and canvas, rumbling with the shifting of his tumbling students’ body weight, which was soon joined by the faint buzzing of a silenced cell phone on a counter some thirty feet away from the ring where class was being held. Nobody seemed to notice except Ryan, who simply brushed it off as he barked instructions to his trainees, until…
God dammit. The office phone.
Only a few people know the office phone number, and just as many people know to only call it if he can’t answer his cell.
It stopped. Maybe whoever’s calling will leave a voicemail and he can get back to them later.
Or maybe not.
Ryan shrugged and focused on his class. They were doing corner-to-corner tumbling drills, and he’d made sure to lay some extra foam on the boards to keep the trainees from hurting their backs. He was watching their progress to see when to step up the intensity of these workouts, and-
Why was the ringing cutting out?
Whoever was calling had a bug up their ass. Ryan could tell they were hanging up and dialing again just to get his attention. Must have been important. Probably Mark asking him to watch the kids while he and Erika went out on a date or something.
“I’ll be right back, folks,” Ryan called out to his students, “just keep up what you’re doing, paying attention to your bodies and slowing down if you’re tired or short of breath, OK?”
Ryan casually rolled out the ring and grabbed his cellphone before heading to the office, where the landline kept ringing, stopping, and ringing again.
“Alright, alright, Christ,” Ryan groaned to himself, looking at the office phone and seeing a blocked caller ID.
Ryan looked at his cell, only to see “Unknown” where the number should be. With a shake of his head he answered the ringing desk phone with his standard greeting.
“The world famous Icebox wrestling school, co-founder and senior trainer Ryan Andersen speaking.”
“Ryan. We need to talk, and you will listen to me.”
A woman’s voice. A woman he recognized all too well.