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Multiversal Championship Wrestling - Chapter One

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This wasn't Sami Zayn’s first time walking out in front of a crowd, at least, this is what he told himself over and over as his opponent’s theme, ‘Sunrise,’ reached a crescendo, nearly drowned-out by the jeers of the audience over which the triumphant roaring of Sami’s adversary could still, somehow, be overheard. This was, however, the first time Sami had ever walked out in front of an audience even close to as massive as this one. This would be the first time that Sami had locked up with a legitimate living legend. 

This would be his first steps out as the latest Multiversal Championship Wrestling Superstar, representing the McMahon’s Omniversal Wrestling Federation in a match against the Panuniversal Wrestling Alliance’s enforcer, Stan ‘The Lariat’ Hansen.

Hansen’s music died down, but the audience catcalls continued. Sami wondered if this would kill the heat from his own entrance. It had been a while since he had performed in the ring unmasked, but his days as El Generico, wrestling his way across various promotions representing backwater timelines, and minor cross-temporal pocket dimensions was over. As of this moment forward, he was MCW and that made him a star.

Sure, some of the audience knew him, but how would they respond to the music? It contained hints of his former theme, but ‘Worlds Apart’ was really something very new. Would they sing along eventually? Would they like it? Was his herringbone driver cap on straight? Did it look stupid?

It was too late for any of that.

The first chords of ‘Worlds Apart’ hit and the audience let out a whoop of excitement, dying down as the stage remained empty, illuminated by flashing, multicolored lights. The tune’s first few bars; the intro; completed, and a nameless vocalist shouted ‘Let’s Go!’

Sami threw himself onto the stage in a one-legged hop with his hands splayed open and the audience flat-out exploded in cheers. The ‘pop’ was more massive than Sami could have ever thought it would be. It electrified his senses and energized him in a way that he was not expecting. His adrenaline began to flow as he did a skank dance to the music; lifting his legs as though he was running while pumping the opposite arm. It was the classic ska dance and it worked with his entrance music, perfectly, as the audience sang along with the chorus. There had been some debate as to whether a ska entrance theme would play to the MCW audience, but all those speculations must have dissipated the moment Sami hit that stage.

He ran down the ramp and hit the ring by sliding under the bottom rope, then he was up like a bolt. He danced in the ring a bit, taking in the audience reaction, and then hit the corner to throw his arms up and received a wall of ovation from the crowd for his efforts.

He noted that Hansen was clearly restless outside the ring, watching the entrance with nothing but contempt in his eye. Sami had heard that Hansen was a tough opponent; stiff, hard-hitting, dangerous; but ‘The Lariat’ didn't fall back on dirty tricks like Flair or enforcers and illegal weapons like Triple H. Stan Hansen had managed to avoid the politics involved with factions, thus far, as well, which was why Hansen was often pitted against newer superstars. It would be as much of an even fight as you could get from a guy with an advantage of 3 inches and 100 pounds, not to mention the 2 inches of reach Hansen had on Zayn.

With the atmosphere being what it was in the MCW, it wasn't easy to find unaligned performers. ‘Factionism’ had become a real problem in the MCW and management was trying to crack down on it, but there were no rules against it, specifically. This meant that the Four Horsemen, the New World Order, and Degeneration X could operate relatively unopposed, with the exception, of course, when dealing with one another.

Sami dropped from the corner and faced Hansen who had just entered the ring, his cowboy hat and vest having been removed, his signature bullrope hung on the corner ring post, and the elbow pad on his left arm adjusted and ready to do some damage. Hansen was a true warrior or the ring; no alliances, no backroom deals, no mercy. Sami could appreciate this kind of wrestler. Stan functioned in much the same way that Sami had always wanted to present himself to the audience.

After some initial testing of one another, Zayn and Hansen locked up. Sami knew he was overpowered, but was able to compensate with his increased quickness. When Stan pushed his advantage, Sami was able to outmaneuver him, making their lockup more evenly matched than Hansen had expected.

‘Come on, kid,’ the Lariat sneered, ‘You think you can take me on? My breakfast was bigger’n you.’

‘I believe it.’ Zayn said with a smirk.

He let Stan have a little give, stumbling the larger wrestler as he compensated. Then, letting go of his opponents hands, Zayn pulled his feet from the ground and landed a perfect dropkick on Hansen. This sent Stan sprawling as Sami managed to roll to his feet. Stan lifted himself from the mat, growling.

‘Enough playing around, kid,’ he hollered, ‘Nothin’ like an ass-whoopin’ to welcome a punk to the MCW!’

‘I agree!’ Sami retorted, before landing another dropkick that sent Hansen out of the ring and on to the floor.

Stan struggled to his feet, but even as he managed to get up, Sami was leaping out of the ring in a suicide dive, catching the larger wrestler around the neck for and spinning around to drop Hansen’s head into the floor with a DDT.

The crowd went wild. As Sami made his way back into the ring, he waved his hand in an upward motion, calling for more fan furor. This was the part he loved the most: getting the people excited to see what he would do next. He listened to the count, but Sami was distracted by the excitement of the crowd as their mood suddenly altered.

He started to turn, but found the massive arms of Hansen wrapped around him a brief moment before he was tossed backwards in a suplex. Landing awkwardly in the ring, Sami rolled to try and get his breath just in time to be hit in the chest with Stan’s elbow, further knocking the wind from Sami’s body.

Now it was Stan’s turn to play to the crowd, but they were decidedly less gracious to his taunting. The accolades, it seemed, were reserved for Sami Zayn.

Sami managed to catch his breath and pull himself up on the ropes, but Hansen was already preparing for his signature lariat move. As Sami stumbled towards the center of the ring, Stan ran forward, left arm outstretched so as to impact with Sami’s chest and neck and flip him around before ensuring Hansen could get the three count.

Sami Zayn, however, had scouted the move and was ready.

He ducked under Hansen’s arm and spun up to reverse the move with a clean enzugiri kick to the back of Hansen’s head. This sent the Lariat into the ropes, causing him to bounce back and find himself in a hold with Sami which turned into a reverse STO, slamming Hansen’s face into the mat.

Zayn went in for a pin, but after the referee’s count of two, Hansen powerfully got his shoulder off the mat, thrusting his arms up and sending Sami flying.

Hansen was back to his feet and, without altering his stride, used his momentum to hit the ropes and bounce back. Sami had recovered, but was still reeling when he turned around and found himself hit full force by Stan’s famous lariat. Hansen’s elbow turned Sami ‘inside out,’ flipping his body around, causing him to land on his stomach. Hansen grabbed Sami’s left leg and, turning around to face away from the debuting superstar’ head, he pulled it up into a modified Boston crab that was one of his signature moves.

Pain shot through Sami’s body as he tried to fight out of the agonizing submission maneuver. The more he pulled his leg, the more Hansen pulled back, sending pain arcing through Zayn’s ribs and spine. 

‘Give up, wimp!’ the Lariat taunted, ‘This ain’t called the Brazos Valley Backbreaker ‘cause it guarantees a long and prosperous career in wrasslin’!’

Sami looked up and saw the lower rope, just a few feet away. If he could somehow reach it, Hansen would be forced to let go. He lifted himself as one would with a sit-up, inching forward as his opponent struggled to maintain the hold. If Stan tried to re-maneuver to pull away from the rope, he would lose grip and Zayn would be free, if he didn't Sami could reach the rope and the referee would force him to drop the submission.

Hansen scouted this, perfectly, dropping Zayn’s leg and turning to drop an elbow on his back. The audience booed this lack of sportsmanship, with Hansen reacting in kind and yelled insults to the assembled, confident that his foe was all but defeated.

However, this gave Sami a chance to recover and he was able to stand, despite the fact that he was still dazed. Stan noticed that Sami was stumbling behind him and adjusted his elbow pad, preparing for a second lariat. He ran at Zayn, but the younger wrestler ducked under the devastating elbow, grabbing the Lariat’s leg and spinning him into the air to deliver a powerful Blue Thunder Bomb. Hansen was laid out on the mat, but Sami wasn't done.

Hansen made his way to his feet as Sami called on the audience to cheer him. Zayn Irish-whipped Stan into the corner, then headed to the opposite corner. He called for his finishing move with a massive upward swing of his open palm and then ran at Hansen. The bottom of Sami’s foot impacted with Stan’s face, sending the larger man stumbling to one side before falling on his back.

Sami dropped on his opponent and pulled up Hansen’s leg. The referee dropped and counted.

Three seconds later, Sami had won his first match in the MCW. He leapt to his feet and hit the ropes, his arms in the air as the audience went completely nuts. His music flooded the arena and the wall of cheers hit him in waves. His adrenaline was jacked up, but he could still feel the resonance of pain in his back and legs. He turned back to his opponent. Stan was struggling to his feet and noticed that Sami was looking over at him.

Sami Zayn stepped over to Stan Hansen and offered his hand in a show of good sportsmanship. For a tense moment, Hansen looked to the hand, then to the eyes of his opponent who had beaten him, before batting away the offered hand and rolling out of the ring.

Before Hansen could exit, however, new music replaced that of Sami Zayn’s ‘World’s Apart.’ The familiar audio of hooves on stone leading up the neighing of horses which was then cut with a powerful guitar riff preceded the entrance of three of the biggest superstars in all of the MCW, let alone the PWA.

Ric Flair had 16 heavyweight championship reigns under his belt and was the current holder of the Interdimensional Championship. He was a powerful force in the wrestling industry and a competitive performer, mostly due to having earned the reputation of the ‘Dirtiest Player in the Game.’

Haku wasn't a champion like Flair, but was one of the toughest S.O.B.s ever to step foot in the ring. Tales of Haku’s massive strength, immense durability, and unstoppable combat prowess were legendary both inside and outside the squared circle. There was no one more fearsome, to other wrestlers, than Haku.

Dean Malenko was known as the ‘Man of 1000 Holds.’ This assessment of his capability in submission might have actually been underrated. Malenko could dominate anyone with a wide array of painful maneuvers that could, if he so chose, break bones. As a technical wrestler, Malenko was in the conversation for one of the best of all time.

Collectively, these three were known as the Four Horsemen; despite there only being three of them, currently. They were a force to be reckoned with in the MCW; potentially more-so than those larger factions within the other promotions that were part of the MCW. They had been around for a while and, despite the fact that they had switched membership quite often, the Horsemen had always been able to deal with whatever opposition might try to take them down.

‘Stan, Stan, Stan,’ Ric Flair said from the stage, ‘Look at you now, Stan “The Lariat” Hansen. Oh how the mighty have fallen!’

Haku and Malenko sneered at this and began to walk to the ring, followed by Flair as he continued.

‘You had a shot, didn't ya?’ Flair continued, ‘We came out here and told ya we wanted you as the Fourth Horseman and what did you say, Hansen?’

‘I believe,’ Stan said, having acquired a microphone from the side of the ring, ‘I indicated, in no uncertain terms, where you could shove your offer. And I would imagine, “Nature Boy,” you would probably enjoy it.’

The three Horsemen laughed at this, over-emphasizing the humor of the statement, on purpose.

‘You’re a funny guy, Stanley!’ Flair taunted, ‘No wonder we thought you were Horseman material.’

Sami had stayed near the ring to see how things played out, but now he was starting to get worried he would get caught up in a feud that was really none of his business. Regardless, he stuck to the sidelines, having a feeling at the back of his neck that he might have to be around.

Haku and Malenko rolled into the ring as Ric walked up the steps. In moments, the three of them, were facing Hansen in the ring.

‘You could have been one of us, Stan,’ Flair continued, ‘You, alongside my “Man of One-Thousand Holds” and “The Face of Terror” could have maybe contended for that nice little Panuniversal Trio Title, but no! You had to be the loner. You had to be the tough guy. Well how tough are you, now? Getting beat by a mealy-mouthed punk!’

Hanging around at ringside, Sami was having a hard time not taking this personally.

‘Well, Stan-LEE!’ Flair went on, emphasizing the second syllable in a mockery, ‘We got ourselves a Fourth Horseman on deck, but I thought I’d give you one more chance to join up with the winning side.’

‘Well, Naitch!’ Hansen spat out, ‘You can just go ahead and shove that offer in the same place you shoved the first so their all nice and snug, up there!’

Once again, there was mocking laughter, but only Flair laughed, this time Haku and Malenko just stared at the Lariat.

‘Well, we kinda figured that’d be your answer, Stan.’ Ric mocked, ‘An’ we weren't gonna take you up on it anyways!’

With that, Haku and Malenko were on Stan Hansen, smashing fists into his body and pushing him into a corner. Hansen tried to fight back but found that he was unable against the relentless assault of the powerful wrestlers.

For a moment, Sami considered walking away. He didn't want to make enemies of the Horsemen and he certainly didn't owe Hansen anything, but there was something else about this. He saw these bullies attacking someone with overwhelming numbers and that was against everything he wanted to represent in the MCW. He had to act.

Flair had just joined in on the beating as Sami hit the mat and rolled into the ring. He took an assessment of the Horsemen, who were all focused on their attack on Hansen and paying Sami no mind. If assaulting someone three-on-one was villainous, ignoring Zayn’s very presence was nearly as bad. They didn't have the respect for Sami to even acknowledge he was there.

He was about to force them to, at the very least, recognize his presence.

Sami lept into the air and landed a dropkick to Haku’s head that sent him over the top rope and to the floor. As Flair and Malenko started to react, he delivered a STO to Malenko that caused him to roll from the ring after landing on his face. Flair, however, was ready to hammer into Sami Zayn as Sami was still recovering from the pair of moves he had just laid down.

‘Hey!’ Hansen said, causing Flair to turn around.

He hit the Nature Boy with a lariat that flipped him around so that he landed on his feet. Flair stumbled into the corner, where Sami then landed a Helluva Kick to his head, dropping him to the mat where he had the wherewithal to roll out of the ring, where his allies were.

Sami turned to Hansen, prepared for anything, but after a tense stare between the former opponents, Hansen put his hand out and the pair shared a moment of respect for one another as Sami’s hand shook the Lariat’s . The moment, however, was short-lived as the Horsemen had recovered and were returning to the ring, surrounding Zayn and Hansen. It was clear that this was going to be a fight with the odds on the side of Flair and his allies.

Without warning, the sound of glass shattering prefaced the appearance of ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin. The assembled fans exploded with cheers as he walked down the ramp with purpose, the powerful guitar riff of his entrance music, ‘Glass Shatters’ resounding through the arena. Austin let loose a hail of insults to anyone within earshot as he made his way down the ramp, rolled into the ring and joined Hansen and Zayn in facing off against the Horsemen. The odds were now even.

After a tense moment, however, more entrance music resounded. Horns dropping down a scale as percussion accented the forceful hits of brass preceded an excited alveolar trill which led to an explosion of cheers as John Cena left from behind the stage. He greeted the audience with his usual respect as they shouted ‘John Cena sucks!’ in time with the music. He smiled at the assembled in the ring before running forward and sliding under the bottom rope. He stood with the same motion and faced Ric Flair, clearly indicating that his arrival was in support of Hansen, Sami, and Austin.

There was a powerful combination of boos and cheers from the audience, which slowly morphed into competing calls of, ‘Let’s go Cena!’ and ‘Cena sucks!’ Regardless of opinion, Cena, who had a mic in his hand, was clearly loving every moment of it. He smiled at all of them, devotees and detractors alike, taking in the sheer passion of the response. The din was massive, but it dissipated as he brought the microphone to his mouth.

‘Seems ya’ll always like havin’ an advantage in numbers!’ Cena said in reference to the Horsemen he was now facing, ‘And yet, here we are looking at different odds, man. Something new for you, ain’t it?’

Flair and the other Horsemen stood silent, facing off against the four adversaries that now presented themselves.

‘Shoe’s on the other foot, it seems.’ Cena added, ‘Although, I can’t help but notice that you boys can’t seem to count. See, you call yourselves the “FOUR Horsemen” but I only count…’

He paused to take a mock assessment of the men he was facing off against.

‘One,’ he said indicating Haku, ‘Crazy-ass haired, yellin’, screamin’ sumbitch who is, LEGIT, one of the toughest bastards to step in this ring.’

‘Two,’ he said as he pointed to Malenko, ‘Stone-faced, emotionless technician who can demonstrate pain; sheer, agonizing pain; like no one I’ve ever come up against.’

‘And three,’ he said, indicating Flair, ‘“The Dirties Player in the Game,” “The Nature Boy,” “The Alimony Pony,” and all that. But that, that’s only THREE! Ain’t there supposed to be more of ya?’

Cena turned to those wrestlers on his side of the ring.

‘Meanwhile, over here,’ he paused for effect, ‘We got the new kid, “The Underdog from the Underground,” Sami Zayn, that’s one!’

The audience offered cheers and applause at the mention of the debuting superstar before Cena continued.

‘We got the original cowboy, “The Bad Man from Borger, Texas,” Stan “The Lariat” Hansen, and that’s two!’

Once again, the audience offered ovation, although not as much as Zayn’s, Sami noted. Cena kept going.

‘And we got “The Bionic Redneck,” “The Texas Rattlesnake,” “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and he’s number three!’

The audience response was massive; a wave of sound that struck the ring and reverberated across the building. Of course, Cena wasn't finished yet.

‘And then there’s me!’ he said, instantly eliciting a mix of boos and whoops of support, ‘What is it they call me? “The Champ,” “The Face That Runs the Place,” “The Leader of the Cenation,” “The Doctor of Thuganomics,” and I may not be all those things, all the time, but right now, man, I make number four!’

The Horsemen sneered at Cena.

‘And I came out here because I just had to show you what the odds should be; what they should look like; what they look like every damn time you Horsemen walk out to the ring. And I know you didn't see me coming! Because, I know you stepped to “The Lariat,” here, and offered him a place in your little club, and I know you made a formal request for my boy, “Stone Cold,” hell, I'm sure if you stick around long enough, Sami here would be next on your list, but what about ME?’

Cena showed anger, here, snapping on the last word.

‘Ya’ll can see crazy hair?’ he continued, indicating Haku.

‘Ya’ll can see smiles, here?’ indicating Dean Malenko.

‘Ya’ll can see a couple’a different flavors of redneck?’ he continued, indicating Hansen and then Austin, ‘Classic and Bionic?’

‘Hell, ya’ll can see this kid, can’t you?’ he said, indicating Sami.

Sami was excited. Here he was, after winning his debut match, and he was in the ring with some of the living legends of the MCW and on the winning side of a powerful stand off. Still, something seemed off as Cena reached the crescendo of his promo.

‘But what about me, Ric?’ he said as he lifted his open hand, palm facing him, fingers splayed out, in his signature gesture, ‘You can’t see ME!’

From his vantage point, Sami was the only one to see it. John seemed as though he was going to wave his hand in front of his face in the usual, derisive gesture, but something changed, this time. His hand was open, his palm was inward, but just before he waved his hand from his usual ‘Can’t See Me’ taunt, he turned to Austin and dropped his thumb and Sami immediately recognized why, but shock kept Zayn from responding until it was too late.

He was making hand signal of the Four Horsemen.

Instantly, Stone Cold was on John Cena’s shoulders and then thrown off, Austin’s back hitting the mat with a massive impact as Cena delivered an Attitude Adjustment. Malenko was on Sami as Haku fell upon Hansen, both of the Horsemen raining blows on their respective targets. After a handful of strikes, Haku threw Hansen to Cena who laid him out with another AA. 

Sami was attempting some form of offense, but Malenko had him in a head hold and then lifted him off the ground and dropped him on his head in a brainbuster. Dazed, Sami tried to get up, but when he finally got to his feet, Haku hit Zayn with a side kick called a ‘savate kick.’ This landed him in the center of the ring, on his back, dazed and hurt.

Cena stepped over him, the familiar, four-fingered hand signal of the Four Horsemen held above his head. Cena then leaned over Sami, waving the gesture in front of his own face so that Zayn could see it. Cena then leapt over Sami, hitting the ropes, made a gesture of wiping off his own shoulder, then dropped a fist; the ‘Five-Knuckle Shuffle’ on Sami’s face.

As Sami began to lose consciousness, he could hear the booing of the audience and couldn't help thinking one thought over and over.

Why, John, he thought, Why?!

Andre walked through the parking area for arena vehicles, towards the limo that had brought him from the airport. The man towered over everything; coming in at 7-foot-4-inches with a weight that exceeded 500 pounds. To Andre, the world was tiny; unable to accommodate even his most basic needs. Even the most simple pleasures were a struggle.

Fortunately, the MCW valued Andre the Giant enough to make his life as easy as they possibly could. Part of this was providing transportation to and from every venue, as well as the largest suite in every hotel they booked for Andre. Between the accommodations and the fact that as much food and drink as he could consume was always available to him, meant that the man referred to as ‘The Eighth Wonder of the World’ was well-treated by the MCW, no matter what specific promotion he was working for.

The Giant’s tracksuit was soaked through with sweat left over from his earlier performance as he considered the joy of sitting down in the hot tub he had already requested be waiting for him when he arrive at the hotel. His gym bag hung, tiny in his massive hand, barely a conceivable weight to the massive man. He sighed as he neared the place where the limo was to pick him up.

They were late.

The lights were dim and it seemed that none of the usual staff were around. As Andre looked around, he suddenly became very aware of how quiet it was. He froze, listening for a moment to the air around him before dropping his gym bag and turning, raising his fists.

‘Your instincts are still there, old man.’ Said the man whom Andre was now threatening, ‘Maybe you’re not as past your prime as they say you are.’

The man who had appeared was nearly as tall as Andre and close to as big and strong. He wore black jeans and a black t-shirt with the arms cut off and a specific logo in white, on the chest.

‘Big Show.’ Andre acknowledged the man, not dropping his stance.

‘Relax, Andre,’ Show said, taking a few steps to one side, ‘You act like we’re not friends, pal.’

‘We’re not.’ Andre said, narrowing his eyes, ‘I wouldn’t trust you t’ water m’ plants.’

‘Well, I’ve got kind of a black thumb, to be honest,’ Big Show said, continuing to walk around the Eighth Wonder, ‘So I can’t blame you there.’

‘What d’ you want, Show?’ Andre finally asked, bluntly.

‘Can’t a guy come by and say “hi” to an old pal without suspicion?’ the Big Show said, opening his palms to feign innocence.

‘Any one who wear’s dat,’ Andre said, indicating the logo on Show’s tee, ‘Can’t do an’ding wid’out suspicion.’

‘Come on, man.’ came another voice.

Andre wheeled around to see a heavily-muscled bald man with dark skin and menacing eyes had come up from behind him. Standing nearly a foot shorter than Show, Bobby Lashley was wearing black shorts but with a tank made from the same shirt as Show was wearing.

That same logo was adorning it.

‘Don’t make this harder than it has to be.’ Lashley completed the thought.

‘Or do.’ Spoke another voice as Kane appeared from the darkness, his mask hiding his scarred face, but that same t-shirt stretched across his massive chest.

Kane had never been the same since his brother; the biker known only as the Undertaker; had disappeared following his shattering defeat at the hands of the Four Horsemen. It made a sort of sense for Kane to ally with the group represented by that damned logo.

When the fourth figure approached, Andre already sensed him, turning. Big John Studd cracked his knuckles, white tights beneath the t-shirt and a snarling grimace on his bearded face. Studd was no surprise to Andre and he decided he would take him down first as he assessed the best way to get out of this bad situation.

Then he heard the fifth opponent approach. The Eighth Wonder of the World turned and his heart sank.

She was nearly as tall as Show and built for raw power. Until a year ago, she had dominated the female promotion of Panuniversal Women’s Wrestling before it was folded into the greater whole of the MCW and the rule opposing gender-specific matches was abolished. Andre had helped to train her and taught her all he knew and, in return, considered their friendship something of value.

And yet, here she was: the tallest female wrestler in the Multiverse.

Her face was a mix of determination and trepidation. Andre could see that she didn’t want to go through with this; at least, not all of her did, but cut and tied to stretch across he ample chest was that same shirt with that same blasted logo.

nWo. It read, simply.

‘Isis?’ Andre said, through his anguish, ‘Why? Why would you side with… with dese…’

‘Opportunists!’ Came yet another voice.

At a safe distance from the inevitable melee came a man with perfect hair, a trimmed beard, and a lapeled jacket adorned with dollar signs over his ‘nWo’ shirt.

‘DiBiase.’ Andre spat at the so-called ‘Billion Dollar Man, ‘You tink you c’n buy ev’r’one, but you can’t!’

Ted DiBiase threw back his head and laughed.

‘Oh, Andre! I know I can’t buy you, pal!’ the billionaire said, ‘If there’s one lesson I’ve learned from dealing with you, it’s that not everyone’s for sale!’

As he talked, he walked around the outside of the five powerhouses that surrounded the Eighth Wonder. Each of them, in turn, exchanged a look with the Giant; Big Show was seething jealousy, Lashley wore a confident smirk, Studd grimaced down his nose, Kane’s dead eyes showed only hateful wrath, and Isis the Amazon, the former protege was caught between psyching herself up and pity.

Andre hated pity.

‘So, I decided I needed a different approach, Andy!’ DiBiase continued, ‘And that’s what the New World Order is all about: something different!’

‘Man’g’ment’ll neveir let a faction like dis happeen!’ Andre contested with his low bass growl, ‘Dey will spleet you up!’

‘Didn’t you hear, Gi-ANT!’ Ted shouted, emphasizing the second syllable in mockery, ‘nWo ain’t just no damn faction no more! We’re almost a promotion in our own right! We got real power! I ain’t just relying on the mercenary whims of some thugs, I got me some real allies, now!’

‘Andre has allies, as well!’ the Giant hollered, looking to the Amazon, as he did.

‘Oh, yeah?’ the Billion Dollar Man jabbed back, ‘Like who? I don’t see Macho Man or Piper around here, tonight, wonder why? I don’t think Lita, Alundra, or Gail Kim are gonna do much good against this crew! Or maybe you’re thinking of yer buddy, Steve Austin or the Face that Runs the Place, John Cena!’

He chuckled as he stopped circling, pulled a cigar out of his jacket, cut it, and lit it with a gold lighter, pulling in a long drag before letting it out in Andre’s direction. He then smiled a wide, predatory smile.

‘Oh, but that’s right!’ DiBiase sneered, ‘You ain’t interested in watching the show once you ain’t in it, are you? Not a great attitude An-DRAY! Maybe you might miss something important!’

Unable to contain himself any longer darted forward, swinging a massive hand at Andre, but the Giant was ready for anything and managed to get out of the way, moving with a speed and athleticism that defied his size. Big Show followed up with a massive fist; his WMD signature move; which glanced off the side of Andre’s head, failing to fully connect, but creating an opening for Big John Studd’s meaty forearm club to land in the center of a reeling Andre’s back. The Giant lifted his head, only to look Isis straight in the eyes as she began a regretful rotation, turning away from her mentor and striking him with a spinning back elbow.

Andre was left reeling, but he could sense his attackers back off. Attempting to regain his footing, he looked up just in time to see a charging Bobby Lashly who landed a spear maneuver with his shoulder blade direct to Andre’s gut. Pushed back, all five attackers were on the Giant, hammering him with ten immensely powerful fists. Any lesser being would have been annihilated by the barrage of blows from the five powerhouse athletes.

This, however, was the Eighth Wonder of the World.

‘No!’ shouted the Giant, throwing out his massive arms and puffing his huge chest.

All five attackers were sent reeling and both Bobby and the Amazon ended up off their feet. Andre turned towards the cigar-smoking Ted DiBiase.

‘Whoa, there, partner!’ the Billion Dollar Man cackled, ‘It seems you got some fight in ya, don’t you!’

He took a step back as Lashley and Kane were able to move between DiBiase and Andre.

‘Well, I think we can do something about that.’ He continued, ‘See, the nWo, being a promotion, and all, has all sorts of divisions. We got little groups of people who deal with all sorts of inconvenient elements. Some of ‘em take down unruly teams, others ambush champions that don’t want to play ball.’

Studd and Isis had moved up behind Andre, and had each grabbed an arm as Show got his elbow around Andre’s immense neck.

‘These folks, right here?’ Ted persisted, ‘They do something real special…’

Andre found himself in a vice-like grip as the three wrestlers tightened their holds. Lashley had picked up a nearby folding chair and Kane a two-by-four, and they moved in to finish it.

‘They slay giants.’ DiBiase said.

The sounds of massive objects striking the body of Andre continued. The dark of the parking area seemed to descend on the scene as the Million Dollar Man took a long pull from his cigar, framing his menacing face in crimson fire, for a moment, before fading to black with a sadistic chuckle.