Laughter mixed with screams fills the air. Beet red, Ken Roddy and Joe Jitsu, Classic Wrestling’s Black Belts hurry out of a very plain looking storefront, just below a sign identifying the establishment as “Whips and Giggles”. Both men are dressed casually, in fluorescent tank tops and jeans, and both seem a little taken aback.
“Sorry, Joe. It’s possible that this wasn’t Cleveland’s number one BDSM Fan Club.”
Ken shouts back in bemused shock. “Google with the safe search ON next time!”
The two men hustle away from the perfectly reputable private gathering of consenting adults. As they get a little distance, Joe continues. “Not my scene, but those were very nice people. A lot like our upcoming opponents. Lunchbox Larry is a stand up guy. Clean cut, hardworking, and handsome. And Bobby Dean…well, what can be said about Bobby Dean that he hasn’t said about himself already?”
Joe claps Ken on the shoulder as their stride slows. “Our second match in Classic, and we’re up against another pair of former tag team champions. I’m psyched! Are you psyched? Because I’m psyched!”
“Psyched I am, Ken. Not only are they a great tag team, but Bobby Dean was mere seconds away from being the Real World’s Champion! This is a huge challenge for us, but I think it shows how much potential we’ve shown in such a short time, that we’re even put in this position.”
As they walk, they seem to be moving away from the nice neighborhood of oddly named social clubs to a rougher area. Graffiti has started popping up on the walls, newspapers blow past, and in the distance street thugs are gathering, wearing cut leatherjackets, studded gloves and carrying chains. Truth be told, they’re not dressed all that differently than the folks at the club, but their demeanor is far less inviting.
“Psyched though I may be, Ken, I have some concerns. First off, we may lose, and that’s always a bummer.”
Jitsu nods along as Ken continues. “And what if we’re too awesome again, and through the sheer power of our skills at unarmed combat, we drive a wedge between another team? It could happen to anyone once, but two starts looking like it’s on purpose.”
Joe agrees. “Gonna get a reputation! Hai ya!”
“Hai ya indeed! I think we need a plan. It’s just like Master Spreeng told us when we graduated high school.”
Confused, Joe replies with “‘I can no longer in good conscious continue to charge you the minor rate?’”
“Yes, but also this. ‘You can guide your opponent’s response, but never fool yourself into thinking you can control your opponent. At the end of the day, each man is responsible for their own actions.’ We’ll get in the ring with ‘Beautiful’ Bobby Dean and Lunchbox Larry, and we’ll put our best foot forward – (“FLYING FORWARD”, adds Joe) – and then we’ll see where we land.”
The Black Belts suddenly freeze, and start looking to their sides, as they can hear footsteps approaching in all directions. From the shadows, a dark voice menaces in sing song, “Black Belts, come out and play. Black Belts, come out and plaaa–aaaaaaaay!”
Joe drops into a fighting pose. “We’re doing this again? You’re not even the weirdest thing we’ve seen tonight. Looks like we just found more people who like to get beat up for fun.” Ken brings his right leg straight up almost to shoulder height, and then slowly arcs it back to the ground as he crouches low. “That wasn’t our scene, Joe, but this is.”
Some of the same thugs we’d seen before step out of the shadows, and into a ring of light cast by a nearby streetlamp. Clad in black leather vests and fingerless gloves while clutching pipes and broken bottles, their surely hideous faces hidden behind masks, four ninja thugs approach our heroes.
“Are we going to do this one at a time, or all at once?”, taunts Ken Roddy.
“We’ve learned our lesson, Black Belts. You’re getting all of us at once!”, sneers the lead ninja thug.
“Seen that already too!” shouts Joe.
As the two groups merge, one of the pipes is thrown into the streetlight. We are now robbed of seeing the majestic craftsmanship of these modern day warriors, and instead hear intense smacks, grunts and groans, followed by the unmistakable sound of four ninjas disappearing in puffs of smoke. Somewhere, a foley artist cries.
Joe Jitsu sighs wearily, “Next time, let’s stay in.”