“If I have learned anything in this world, anything about what it takes to survive in an environment that wants you to fail, is that you have to walk along the line of light and dark, of good and evil, of peace and war.
For so very, very long, I tried to find my place on either side of that line. I tried to be good or bad, one or the other, but never both. People will often find that they flitter, that sometimes they want to find the good in humanity, and sometimes they want to watch the world burn.
Most people will wave across that line, taking in elements of both sides. The amount of time you spend on each side come to define you as a human being.
Then there are those that don’t cross the line, they spend their entire lives on one side or the other. Without receiving the balance of the opposing side, they are consumed by the ideology of it. You become a saint, or you become a sinner. Your path to towards the pearly gates certainly becomes clearer the longer you spend that way.
But what if you’re to walk that line, tip-toeing along the razor’s edge of morality? What happens if you become truly consumed by both the light and the darkness, yet neither can touch you.
Many men think that they are one of these people, these true Gods of sanity, yet in reality for them, it’s nothing more than arrogance or naivety.
For weeks, we fought to be the Alpha and the Omega of this company, the best of each. But what if you’re neither, what if you’re 𝛘?”
Realistically, you have two choices when preparing for a fight. You can go at it alone, or you can surround yourself with those who have your back. It seems on this occasion, The Ripper had opted for the latter. So, as he, Claudia and Lexi all sat around a small little table on this balcony, overlooking the desert wonderland that is Cairo, they were chatting away happily, enjoying their little vacation. Well, at least the girls were chatting, Danny was sitting still and silent, staring off into the distance.
After all, he had a lot to reflect on, it had been an interesting couple of months. He’d returned to the ring once again, he’d sold off all his businesses, then there was this whole mess with the attack on Clan Anubis.
It had not been a smooth ride, it all had begun to take a toll on him. In this tournament alone, he had slipped from headline attraction, to afterthought, to spoiler and back to genuine curio.
He would have pondered that thought a little longer, if he hadn’t have been told at that very minute to stop moping. A wink from the steely blue eyes of Claudia showed him that she may have been only messing, but she was right.
For the first time in months, he could genuinely relax. He wasn’t here on business, nor was there any ulterior motive, no, he just got to come to a genuinely awesome place to be, with sights that can never be dull. The master had come to visit relatives, and was currently down in his birth-town of Luxor. This left the three of them to enjoy a little Egyptian hospitality.
A few (secret of course) drinks later, and a wealth of good food, coupled with this environment had left him a little retrospective, and he couldn’t help but wonder what would come next in this ever twisting tale of his....
“I’ve heard it said that I haven’t had the best performance over the past few weeks, I’ve heard it said that Danny B has fallen from grace, that he isn’t the man he used to be.
Do you want to know what I find really fucking stupid about that? Who gave me a chance in the first place? CWF has always been a weird little note in my career, because it doesn’t matter what I achieve, I still never seem to be considered the favourite in anything.
How many people can say that they have won a Tower match? How many can say they’ve won Golden Intentions? The last time a faction mattered here in CWF, it was lead by Chaolin Sahn, and yeah, I was there too. Tag Champion, World Champion, Hall of famer. One of the last relics of the last great era in CWF.
Plus, you can now add Amy Jo Smyth and Freddie Styles to the list of people that have fallen under the Ripper. A list that includes Jace Valentine, Ataxia, Dan Highlander and Elijah.
Literally not one other person can say that they survived Smyth, Styles and Ducey in the tournament, yet I get no respect.
CWF is a weird little place.
Makes no odds really though does it, because these ‘big shots’ that don’t like me, that visibly turn their noses up at me when I walk down the corridor, they would all fall to me as well.
The pieces of this puzzle never seem to connect, but if you think that makes me weaker, less relevant, then you need to take a hard fucking look in the mirror.
Hate me because you can’t beat me, I get it. Hate me because you can’t afford me, that’s normal. Hate me because you can’t be me, now that’s my favourite, also happens to be the most common.
Do you know what it’s like hearing the same jealous insults all the time? The same complaints levied at me? It’s boring. It’s dull, it’s… well, it’s like half the people I have to face between the ropes.
Same troupes, same stories, all wrapped up in a shiny new coat of paint. I’ve seen it all a hundred times before.
You all might think I’m boring, arrogant, unjustified in my claims, but the fact is, I go out there, I whoop ass three ways from Sunday, break a few bones, claim a few souls and walk out, knowing full well that I used fifty percent of what I am capable of to destroy someone giving it one hundred and ten percent.
I don’t need a gimmick, I don’t need a play, the simple fact is, I’m just better than you.
This time, I get to finish a job I was too distracted to do first time round, and show someone brand new that when you cross the path of a real tough guy, your pretending is just that, a farce.”
It’s kind of recommended around these parts that you don’t go wandering off into the desert at night, but as we have already established, in his world, rules are like bones, made to be broken.
Besides, how many places in the world can you feel the sand beneath your feet in the shadow of one of the seven ancient wonders? Exactly. He walked a very straight line, careful not to deviate, and extra careful not to wander away from the lights of Cairo, which would serve to be his guiding light home.
The tourists were still fluttering around, he could see them in the distance, it’s a sight he’d seen many a time, when alcohol doesn’t really flow, the westerners of the world find themselves with an inordinate amount of time on their hands. Often times they use this time to get themselves into trouble. It’s a fascinating viewing experience, but this night was not about the stupidity of others. No, being immersed back into the world of Professional Wrestling had exposed him to more than his annual share of this. No, this evening was about reflection. Thinking of where had been, where he was gonna go next, and crucially, how he was going to get there.
Whenever he walked the streets of Cairo, he thought about how this desert oasis, which had no reason to have ever existed, flourished into one of the most interesting and brilliant civilisations ever known to man. So damn fascinating in fact, that two thousand years after its decline, people still study it, yearn to know more about it, obsess themselves with it.
Against every odd imaginable it flourished. Yet, they never knew just how great they were, because they had no comparison point. If they had, then maybe the Greek and Roman invaders would have never stepped across the borders and changed it forever.
Of course, when you know you’re better, there’s only one thing you can do to any pretenders. Let them get close, let them think that they have something special, then you take their skull in your hand, and you smash it against the wall. You smash it and smash it smash it and smash it until you’ve painted the most perfect picture, a masterpiece of violence, a dichotomy of destruction. You fuck them up until they cry out for mercy. You brutalise them, you eviscerate them, you grab their soul in the palm of your hand and you shatter it into a thousand pieces. That’s when you walk away. You don’t need to win when you remove the chance to lose.
If only they’d have done that to Cleopatra, the world would be a different place right now.
He walked and he walked, taking in the crisp night air, enjoying every sensation running through his body right now. The light might be missing from the sky, but in this moment, with the world around him feeling as perfect as it could possibly be, the light was alive inside his soul, and as a human being, there is no greater prize to seek.
Karera wa anata o Kyūseishu to yonde imasu ka? Sate, watashinonamaeha danī Bdesu. Hajimemashite.
In case you aren’t quite the son of Nippon you think you are, let me spell this out for you. It’s nice to meet you saviour. My name is Danny B, welcome to your end.
I’m gonna be straight with you kid, my knowledge of you is… weak. See, in my very busy schedule, I only have time to pay attention to those that interest me. During the tournament, that meant focusing on my group only. Now that we have seen the last of that though, you have my attention.
I first heard your name, I looked up. In case you don’t know, I’m quite the fan of Puroresu. My first thought was that I would actually be able to step into the ring with someone that valued the hard hitting style that has been a favourite of mine for a while. I mean you’re big enough to punch me around the ring like a ragdoll right? What can this Hollywood blonde do when faced with a hoss like you?
Well, that’s a problem I have overcome more times than you’ve come up with a catchy bible quote. I hope you were paying attention to our side of the tournament, because you would have seen me decimate Jeff Jackson. The Judge had the size and strength to take me apart piece by piece, but I outwrestled him, I outsmarted him, and I embarrassed him.
Now, from my limited social interaction with you, I have easily come to the conclusion that you certainly won’t be able to outsmart me. That’s a given. So, can you outwrestle me? I’ve yet to meet anyone who can, so that’s out. So, what do you have? Size strength and quirky personality? Well, ain’t you special?
You know what I did like about you for about a split second though? When you decided that Superman was lazily written. I liked it because of the irony. A lazy caricature of a wrestler has the gall to call something else lazily created.
You’ve done well to create something that stands out amongst the crowd, but when you stop and think about it for just a second, your entire schtick is basically crazy American who believes he’s funny imagining the most asinine situations possible to give him some personality.
The reality is, behind the mask, behind the gimmick, you’re dull as all fuck. You’re utterly delusional, and in a way that’s entertaining. In a small, insignificant way, kinda like what your career amounts to when you stop all this fucking blustering.
You’re not always wrong though, sometimes you say something insightful. Remember when you spouted that it’s the men that hold the trophies that matter? Isn’t that going to be proven so very correct at the end of Genesis?
See, you think that this is your genesis as a star, the night that the world bows to the saviour, but when all is said and done, you are going to need to be saved. This won’t be a contest where you can shake your head when people show respect, because you have none. I don’t give a flying fuck what you think of me, and I don’t give a shit what Duce thinks of you. When that bell rings, there will be no pleasantries from me, no shaking of hands. If I have it my way, three seconds into this match, I will dropkick you in the skull so hard that you forget how to speak English.
You need to see the light kid, and as the only man in this match that didn’t make his name because Daddy did it first, I will happily enlighten you. You’ve had some tough competition so far, and credit where it is due, you have done alright for yourself. You wouldn’t be in this match with me if you hadn’t. But this challenge is a whole different level.
You’re gonna be in there with not just a great opponent, but an elite level opponent. And because I don’t think you’re smart enough to figure out which I mean, I’m the elite.
There’s going to be no boring, long winded bullshit speech that will save you on this occasion, you don’t get to play the big strong bastard you think you are, your manufactured quirks mean nothing to me, you have nothing that I need to be afraid of.
Let me provide you with that enlightenment I was talking about. You need to make up your mind about which way you want to be taken. Are you a comedic fighter, that relies on unexpected behaviour to get ahead, or are you a big bad bruiser to be feared? You try so very, very hard to be both, but succeed in neither. It’s do or die time in your career, it’s time to decide just what you want to be remembered for, because if you come into this match without choosing, there’s one thing you’re gonna be remembered for. Being the third wheel in the best match on this card.
Pureitaimu wa owarimashita. Ima koso tatakai no tokidesu.
Oh, and if you touch my hair I might actually commit a murder. Just sayin’.
You know that moment when you wake up and you’re not sure how you got there? For most people that happens when you’ve had too much of the bubbly, for some unlucky few, the first thing you see if the bright fluorescent lights above a hospital bed. For the man in question, the moment he awakens and isn’t entirely sure how he came to be there, he habitually jumps up to defend himself, such is the unfortunate reality of his existence so far.
Doing so however, proved not to be the smartest move, as the moment he was up on his feet, the pain struck. A deep and excruciating throbbing at the back of his head told him all he needed to know. It impaired his vision somewhat, but not enough that he couldn’t get a grasp of his surroundings.
It seemed to be a basic bedroom. He clocked a worn-out bed and a broken desk before his attention turned to the window. Determining that he was alone in the room, he unsteadily took a few steps towards it. It was barred up, there was no way it could be used as an escape. Looking through the glass on the other side of the bars he could determine two things. Number one, it was night outside, meaning that this was either the same night, or he’d been out for a while. Number two, he was still in Cairo. He’d been enough to recognise it, even if it was off the beaten path. At this point, you start trying to piece together what had happened, how you came to be in this situation.
Sand, peace, then… nothing.
There were no lights on in the room, nor was there any noise coming from outside the door. Trying it was likely to be a mistake however, it would only alert anyone on the other side that he was no longer sparko.
He collapsed against the cold, stone floor. He knew that he couldn’t lose his mind in this situation, he would need his smarts if he was to figure out what he was doing here, and how he was ever going to get out. It was as he was trying to calm his nerves that he heard the voices for the first time. At first they were nothing more than distant rumblings, but with every passing moment they came closer. Soon he could pick out the individual speakers. One had that unmistakable speaking pattern of the arabic language. The other however, he was also speaking arabic, but the accent wasn’t local, in fact, it took a second to realise why it sounded strange. British.
The shock took him aback a little, but luckily his senses caught up to him just in time. He shuffled along the floor to the spot from which he had awoken and lay back down, closing his eyes but opening his ears. With a second to spare, a lock clicked in the door, and it swung open, scraping along the stone floor as it did so. Two sets of footsteps entered the room. One of the two came over towards the supine body of the Ripper, stood over him for a minute before kicking him between the ribs. It took everything he had not to react, but he did it, and a moment later the man turned his back on Danny, looking towards him comrade, who by the sounds of things, hadn’t moved.
“Hal taetaqid 'an hdha yakfi lijadhb walduk?”
The next voice didn’t belong to the man in the doorway, it came from further away. It didn’t matter though. It could have been a thousand feet away, he would have heard it clear as day.
“I am indeed interested…”
Anubis’ voice reached the Ripper’s ears, and he couldn’t help himself, he opened his eyes just a crack. The master dominated the doorways to the room, but he wasn’t alone. His eyes were focused right on the other man in the room, the Brit. He might have been facing away from Ripper, but Danny recognised him. Alcis. Anubis’ oldest son.
In that moment, the whole horrible situation became clear. The attack on the family. Alcis was behind it the whole time…
Ducey, Ducey, Ducey, what can I say about you that I haven’t already said? So far we have already constructed the most talked about match in the tournament, and it was back in show one. Since then, not a single soul was able to touch us.
The thing is, it hasn’t sat right with me since then. I have jumped all over the fact that the ending was bullshit, and it was, but let me take it back before that happened. How had I not managed to put you away before that moment? Why had I allowed it to reach that suddenly imposed time limit?
Because I was off. I was struggling, I wasn’t me. See, I had forgotten what it takes, what it took me to become the best that there is. See, Ducey baby, ask your mate Fred. Eventually I remembered, eventually, I stopped looking for the answer because it came to me.
I’m not called the motherfucking Ripper for the fun of it.
See, when I came back to CWF, I was living on a memory, a memory of how I used to be the best in the world. What I had forgotten was how I became that way. I’d forgotten that at the time, while I was carving out that untouchable legacy, I wasn’t concerned with how I was remembered, or how my matches were raved about, no, I cared about one thing, getting between those ropes and putting down every arsehole that had the bollocks to step up to me. I knew I was better than every single person in the world, and I bloody well acted as such.
Things had changed when I faced you, I was so consumed in trying to be the best again that I forgot the fundamentals.
Arrive, break limbs, leave.
See, I watched you through the tournament Duce, hoping that one day soon I would get the chance to repay the debt I owe you, but even I didn’t think that it would come this soon. Thing is, I watched, and I saw something very telling. See, while I grew in stature, while I started to become the son of a bitch that earned his place in the CWF hall of fame, you… well, you stayed the same didn’t you? You put in the same level of performance week after week. It’s good, but it ain’t great.
You hit your top level at the start didn’t you Duce, and while I grew and became better, you plateaued. You found your spot, your niche. Without someone like me around, you were hot shit. Now, you’re just the shit under my shoe. It will break your little fanbase when I crush you, I know that, you have all of the underprivileged, underpaid and undervalued smarks up your ass. It’s a good spot. You’ve proved yourself a good little hand, especially amongst this small pond, but now it’s time to step aside, allow the elite to step in and run the show.
Look kid, i might sound like I’m coming across a little harsh, and well, that’s because sometimes the truth stings like a bitch. Frankly, I think you’re one of the best the Federation has to offer, and besides maybe Silas, certainly the best that I haven’t beaten yet. That says it all really doesn’t it?
I want to say that based on the previous result, and your progress in the tournament so far, that I would look forward to this match. The reality is, I don’t. I know I can beat you, the fact that the record book doesn’t reflect that means the square root of jack shit to me.
I could go after the obvious traits, I could pick on your speech, your culture, anything. Cheap heat would be easy as shit with you, but what’s the point? You’ve seen what I can do, and despite the cool demeanour and collected mannerisms, you’re shit scared of me, and I don’t blame you.
You know as well as I do, that this muh’fuckah can bring the juice, and you want a revelation? It’s simple, when all is said and done, it’ll be your juice that paints tha canvas a deep shade of crimson bitch.
Fact is shitbrick, no stoppages are going to save you this time, no corrupt politics, no bullshit saves, no, this time when I leave you laying on the floor, you’ll have lost.
How is that knee by the way? Would you honestly be able to hold up if the knee bar was locked in again? No? Didn’t think so.
Bring your A-game fucker, because I so badly want to take everything you have to throw at me, and I want to absorb every blow, every strike, every last drop of blood, sweat and tears, and when you have given every last little thing you can, I want to snap you, break you, end you for good.
See Duce, you lack the one thing you really need to step up to a Demon of Death. That darkness inside your soul, that evil pit of nothingness that consumes you, allows you to break beyond the realm of human ability.
I will never tell you to forfeit, but I will tell you to prepare. Prepare for the fight of your life, because, and you better mark these words kid, if I leave you able to walk, then I would have failed, and I don’t like to fail.”
The sun was just starting to create a pinkish hue along the horizon as they sat outside the house. Both looked as though they’d certainly had a rough time of it. Scrapes and bruises covered their hands and faces, both men looking a little worn, a little tired.
The reality was that the adrenaline was subsiding, and the weight of the situation was settling in. For months and months they had been travelling around the world, searching, looking for some kind of idea as to who, and why. Now, both questions had been answered, and the answer was simple, by family, because of family.
Nary a word was spoken between them, there didn’t need to be. It had all been said when it mattered, when the chips were on the table, when the lives were on the line, the choices were made. A choice that showed The Ripper that loyalty is everything, and he repaid that loyalty in kind.
Nothing needed to be said. As the sand blew up around them in the morning wind, the master and the pupil sat either side of a doorway that neither wish they had ever walked through. The world had just changed before their eyes, and for two men that thought they had seen it all, they both just learned a very valuable lesson. You can never know everything.
I know what you’re thinking, so far, I’ve treated you as individuals haven’t I? I’ve tried to enlighten Hoyt, and get Duce to embrace the darkness. Frankly though, even if you both listened, and you should, it still wouldn’t be enough.
Remember what I said right at the start? You both tried to become the Alpha and the Omega, and you both failed. All the while, I started caring, and then came to realise that I don’t need either of those titles, because I embody something else altogether. Chaos.
Think about it, every match I have, every stint in this company, chaos follows me everywhere I go. See, people think that chaos is wild, will destroy everything in its path. People see it as the personification of anarchy.
But it doesn’t have to be. When you control chaos, you control destiny. No mere man can stop guided chaos, and luckily for me, you’re both just men. Yes Hoyt, despite your blustering, you are still just a man.
If either of you think that my focus will be on one or the other, you're tremendously mistaken. The crimson crosshairs are centred on both of your foreheads, there will be no favourites in this.
See, both of you have the idea of being champion in the back of your minds. Ducey will value the prestige of being a representative of the brand, and Hoyt simply needs the validation. I don't.
I don't give a shit about validation, and I don't give a shit about the brand. That belt means nothing to me. I'm not in it for the glory, I'm not here for the prize, I'm here to take each one of you apart piece by piece, limb from limb. I'm here to barter you and bloody you, I'm here to cause destruction unlike anything either one of you sheltered cats has ever felt rain down upon you.
Whatever game-plan you've got, whatever you think your strategy would be, throw it out the window. It won't help you when you're in the ring with me.
Duce simply doesn't have it in him to delve to the depths needed to keep this beast on the ground, Hoyt doesn't have the enlightenment to understand that there is no way to out think me.
There's gonna be no uplifting speech about how this is my moment, because it isn't. You two will be the ones in the spotlight, you two will be the ones people remember, you'll be the ones that are in all the press releases, because the same question will loom over both of your heads.
Once the Ripper has finished with you, will you ever the same again?
CWF was once defined by the brutality I laid down anyone who dared to step in my ring.
Hall of Famers and legends alike have been left beaten and bloody at my hands. This time, the genesis isn't the start of something new, but a return to a better time, a time when the Golden Warrior reigned over this kingdom with a bloody fist.
There's no need for a saviour, no need for a hero. I beg you to bring the fight, I implore you both to bring everything you have. I want no excuses, no doubt in anyone's mind.
You two are nothing special, simply the first in a long line of victims in a rain of chaos.
Live fast. Live forever."