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Thread: The Tiger and the Cub: Anthology

  1. #1
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    The Tiger and the Cub: Anthology

    OOC: if you are curious as to what KAIZEN has been up to, read on.
    _______________________


    Prologue




    The following is a Wrestling Voyeur Report on Super Puro Japan’s “Evolution 6.4” show in Osaka, Japan from WVR’s June 5th issue:


    "While the eyes of the wrestling world had been transfixed on Germany for FWA’s “Back in Business XI”, widely regarded as the premier wrestling event of the entire industry, Super Puro Japan’s “Evolution 6.4” show on June 4th in Osaka produced a couple of seismic shifts in its own right.

    The largest shock came in the main event, where injury replacement Kyoji ‘Itsumade’ Taniguchi (SSD) ended the almost two-year SPJ World Heavyweight Championship reign of Naota “BURNING” Kotani (Tiga-gun). The result stunned the audience of almost 8000 in Osaka-jo Hall to near silence, as Taniguchi had been seen as nothing more than a late fill-in after original challenger SHIRO (PANKRASH) had been forced to withdraw after suffering a separated shoulder during the pre-Evolution tour. In the near-30 minute match, Taniguchi managed to escape Kotanis ‘Burning Hammer’ multiple times before landing a shock ‘Inseki’ Package Piledriver after catching the former champion showboating on the second rope. The contrast between the despondent corner Tiga-gun corner of Kotani was clearly in sharp contrast to the raucous celebrations from the SSD corner. Taniguchi, who had long been seeking a breakthrough singles victory after falling short in both the finals of the 2014 Young Lions Cup and the 2016 SJP Cup, now not only brings the SPJ WHC belt to SSD, but also brings back the first singles belt to the gym since 2014. While an agitated Kotani demanded an immediate rematch in the post-fight press conference, there has been no word from SPJ as whether Kotani or SHIRO will get the first shot at Taniguchi at their next featured show “Asakusa Road” on July 24th.

    In the co-main event, highly-hyped and viciously outspoken mega-prospect Asen “Ichi the Killer” Ichimaru (X-Blood) incredulously lost the SPJ Intercontinental Championship to Mexican challenger “King” Iñaki Gomez (Team Tribe) via submission. Seen as nothing more than an exotic challenger to Ichimaru, the crafty veteran Gomez instead flipped the script on Ichimaru, turning the match into the longest match of Ichimaru’s career. In the end, Ichimaru faded late and Gomez locked on his patented ‘Reverencia’ Bulldog Choke to submit the exhausted champion. As Gomez is currently freelancing in Japan, SPJ has been forced to watch Gomez bring the SPJ IC Belt back to his home promotion Pan-American Wrestling (PAW) in Mexico before arraigning for Gomez to return and defend the title at “Asakusa Road”. Sources close to X-Blood Gym stated that Ichimaru may now try to force his way into the WHC picture, as he holds a win over Kyoji Taniguchi in the 2014 Young Lions Cup Finals."

    ___________________________________________________________________________________________



    #1: Jules Blanchette





    June 10th, 2016 – Aichi, Tokyo, Japan

    Jules Blanchette takes a deep breath as he walks through the Tiga-gun Gym doors in Aichi. He brushes his blonde locks out of his eyes and looks around. The gym is much different from when he, MINORU, and Shinya “Mad Dog” Nobu first purchased it. Back then, it was nothing more than a refurbished warehouse, with hastily painted-over white walls and a couple of practice bags and wrestling rings in the middle. Jules, MINORU and Mad Dog had put those rings together themselves, with their own hands, built it up with nothing more than their SPJ savings and a vision of a better, more evolved gym for modern puro. Everything now is sleek, modern, and state-of-the art. In that way, the vision had been fulfilled.

    Jules steps into the gym; as soon as students catch sight of him, they swarm him excitedly, with squeals of “Jules-san!!” followed by excited greetings. Jules smiles and replies to them all, nodding along as they point out to the multiple pictures of Jules which can be found lining the gym walls. Its been six years since “Handsome” Jules Blanchette retired from wrestling. He had been living a quiet life in Tokyo with his wife and his family, enjoying retirement and spurning the spotlight outside of the sporadic appearance on a game show or two. After the bitter split between MINORU and Mad Dog, he had separated himself from the day-today running of the gym, content to let MINORU’s staff handle things. But the first ever foreign-born SPJ World Heavyweight Champion and founding member of Tiga-gun was only absent, not forgotten. No matter what, the blue-eyed boy originally from Napa, California would always be welcomed with open arms and admiration in Aichi.

    But Jules hadn’t visited today to reminisce about the good old days. He had come specifically because things hadn’t been going good at all.

    Tiga-gun, once the hot new gym in puroresu, had suffered a string of setbacks. First, the controversial quitting of the gym by Constance Canale a.k.a “La Volpe III” under a shroud of secrecy and rumors had shook the gym. Canale, along with KAIZEN, Rui Lopez, and Maya Ushida, were supposed to be Tiga-gun’s ‘Golden Generation’, the first batch to be trained completely in the TIga-gun way from start to finish. They all were supposed to have enough potential to take the wrestling world by storm.

    And now this. Rui Lopez had retired, career ended by knee injuries before it even began. KAIZEN, having had initial success after his controversial jump from SPJ to FWA, was now AWOL and seemingly missing, reported to be in a contract dispute with FWA. Ushida had been missing for years. On a learning excursion in England, he had one day checked out of his hotel and simply disappeared. With the loss of this supposed “Golden Generation”, X-Blood had within the last year replaced Tiga-gun as the ‘it’ gym in Japan.

    Blanchette shakes his head as he passes by a picture of upperclassman KAIZEN and underclassman Ushida on the Tiga-gun wall.

    You two were supposed to be the pride of our gym.

    And now Kotani has lost the World Heavyweight Championship. Jules had long known that Kotani’s relationship with Tiga-gun was at best superficial. But the loss of the title, to SSD no less, a gym who was openly courting the now-freelance Canstance Canale, was yet another unacceptable smear on the gyms name. Jules had always trusted MINORU’s judgement. The moment he had taken MINORU’s side against Mad Dog, he had placed himself as a firm believer in MINORU for better or worse.

    But today, Jules Blanchette wants assurances. He wants answers.

    Jules makes a beeline for MINORU’s office after the chit-chatting is done.

    “He ain’t here today, mate.”

    Jules turns around to face the only person in the gym taller than he is, former SPJ IC Champion and current Tiga-gun strength and conditioning coach Tau’a “Goliath” Whitlock. The two smile and embrace briefly.

    Jules: “Good to see you, Tau’a. Still big as fuck, eh?”

    Tau'a: “Still looking like a pretty boy, Jules, ya haven’t aged a day. I don’t know what I wanted to do more just now, hug ya or punch your beautiful mug.”

    “Haha, so aggressive! Seems retirement isn’t sitting as well with you as it is for me.”

    “You damn right. It sucks, mate. I’m itching to get back in the ring once my neck heals up.”

    “If you want revenge, go to America and sign with CWA.”

    “Nah mate, I don’t care that much about LIGHTBRINGER no more… besides, now ain’t the best time to leave…”

    Both men fall silent. Neither are sure how to characterize Tiga-guns recent struggles.

    “Well, the boss is out today doing media, and Eamon’s back in France for a week or so, so, uh…”

    “Damn, I picked a bad time to drop by. Is Kotani here?”

    Tau’a scoffs.

    “That little bitch hasn’t been in since losing the strap.”

    Jules sighs.

    “… not surprised.”

    Tau’a suddenly gestures for two people in the back to come out.

    “Recruits!! Meet Jules Blanchette! Check it out Jules, this is our newest class. Maybe you can teach em a thing or two before you bounce, no?”

    The three recruits, all dressed in generic black Tiga-gun tees, bow and introduce themselves to Jules. One is wearing a yellow and black luchador mask.

    The two unmasked recruits, both with shaven heads, speak first, in stuttering Japanese.

    “Good Afternoon, Mr. Blanchette! My name is Kazuhiro Endo! I am 19 years old! My background is freestyle wrestling!”

    “Goo… Good Afternoon, Mr. Blanchette! My name is Goh Hashiura! I am 17 years old, My background is karate!”

    The masked recruit bows and stays silent. The other two recruits look at each other and Tau’a with panicked eyes.

    Tau’a laughs a little.

    “Oh, uh, this masked one, this is a newer guy which joined late. He’ll be with this class learning the basics and all for a little bit. He had a stint in FWA’ development territory, so he thinks he's hot shit, hahaha! His name is El Hijo Del Quesadilla. A shy one, so don’t mind him.”

    Jules stares down the silent masked recruit, who drops his eyes and looks at the floor. Tau’a gives Jules a knowing smile and nod.

    “Endo! Hashiura!! Follow me!”

    Yes, Sensei!!

    Tau’a takes the two young recruits and jogs off with them. Before going, Tau’a turns around and whispers to Jules.

    “I’ll let you two catch up. Queso-whatever, come work out with your classmates when Mr. Blanchette is done with you.”

    Jules and El Hijo Del Quesadilla are left alone. As soon as everyone else is out of the earshot, Jules switches from Japanese to English.

    “…seriously, is all the staff in on this???”


    El Hijo Del Quesadilla remains silent.

    Jules looks at him incredulously.

    “What the hell are you doing wearing that thing...

    KAIZEN?"

    Last edited by KAIZEN; 07-04-2016 at 10:37 PM.

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    Re: The Tiger and the Cub: Anthology

    Good stuff. Glad I can still get my KAIZEN fix. Interested to see where this is going. Also, loved the Pan-American Wrestling reference.

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    Re: The Tiger and the Cub: Anthology

    #2: Constance Canale-Ballestros/LA VOLPE III

    _____________________________________________________

    Tokyo, Japan – 1:05AM


    She stretches out one leg.

    Then the other.

    She cranes her neck backward to where the top of her head can almost touch her foot.

    Then shes off.

    Cardio has forever been an inarguable staple of those who wished for longevity in combat sports. But Constance Canale-Ballestros has never been fond of the early morning group runs that many other dojos espoused upon their charges. She prefers to run at night.

    She likes trudging through the darkened pathways dotted by the intermittent lights. She likes the cool crisp breeze whipping against her face. She likes to be alone with her thoughts, to put her burdens in perspective while soldiering on down the road.

    Constance runs with her iPhone in her hand. The cord bounces up and down, occasionally tugging at her sports jacket, but Constance doesn’’t mind. She always wants the right songs to fit the mood of her running. She wants the freedom to change it in an instant. The right music to along with her rhythm, her pace. It makes everything feel complete. It makes it feel easy.

    As she prepares to speed up, she scrolls through her playlist looking for the right song to take off to.

    No.

    No.

    No.


    She keeps clicking.

    Constance wants to go fast today. She wants to sprint. Its been a stressful period in her life and she just needs to let go. Quitting Tiga-gun, competing as a freelancer, working with SSD… it had all been a blur. The relationship between her and SSD had not been made official, but she had been training with SSD for almost a month by now. Everyone in the industry knew that the Ishihara brothers had made the offer. SSD wanted La Volpe III. To turn them down, especially after the leaked departure from Tiga-gun, would be career suicide.

    Constance Canale-Ballestros, the third bearer of the La Volpe mask, would be the next piece in SSD’s glistening crown.

    SSD was riding high. They had the SPJ Heavyweight Champion. They had the CWA High Voltage Champion. SSD was right up there with X-Blood as the hottest property in Japanese combat sports. Once upon a time, that had been Tiga-guns spot. But Tiga-gun had nothing now. Nobody knew where KAIZEN was. Naota Kotani had been less than gracious in the aftermath of his loss to Taniguchi.

    It was supposed to be me and him. Me… Kai… Uchida… Anthony…

    We were supposed to be the ones to take Tiga-gun into the new era…

    We…

    Us…


    Constance catches a lump in her throat and suppresses it. She takes off in a sprint. She furiously clicks on the ‘next’ button, looking for the right song that would make things better.

    No…

    No!

    No!

    NO!

    She finally settles on the techno-strains of Avicii. The computerized beat syncs with her steps on the ground.

    Constance calms down. The street flies by underneath her feet. Shes making good time.

    Theres someone on the road up ahead. Constance finds that strange. This path is usually only known to athlete types, and she had never encountered someone at night here.

    As she gets closer, she sees that the man is wearing black sweatpants and a black hoodie, with a yellow and orange luchador mask on. She stops running. Her muscles tighten up. Even though Tokyo is one of the safest cities in the world, Constance prepares for a fight.

    Whoever you are… I’m not afraid of you.


    As Constance stops, the man turns around and faces her. Constance doesn’t recognize the lucha mask, but immediately recognizes the sweatpant/jacket combo from her own days at the Tiga-gun dojo.

    Is… is this guy a Tiga-gun dojo student? The hell is he doing out here?

    The man speaks.

    “I was hoping you'd go on one of your runs today... Connie.”

    Constance immediately recognizes the voice.

    “Wha… Kai? Is that you?? Wha-you've been in Tokyo all this time??”

    “I’m a trainee now. I’ve started over. Back from the bottom.”

    Constance looks at the figure in disbelief. El Hijo Del Quesadilla takes slowly takes off his mask to reveal KAIZENs weary face underneath.

    “I… is everyone in Tiga-gun in on this? You didn’t say anything to anyone, you just dropped off the face of the earth!!”

    “Yeah, well, I’m here… only the coaches know. I just, I Just wear this and I stay silent.”

    “Well… good for you.”


    Her initial shock, surprise and relief turns slowly into anger. She turns her music back on and tries to start running again.

    “If you’ll excuse me now…”

    “Wait. Please.”


    “You have some nerve trying to talk to me like this. What happened to fucking emo boy his red hair huh? Grew out of that phase?”


    “Don’t leave Tiga-gun”


    Constance freezes in her tracks.

    “You’re right, Connie. You have every right to be angry at me. I stabbed Tiga-gun in the back. I stabbed you in the back. I failed the gym. I failed you. I became sick with power, consumed by fear.

    Forgive me. I ruined everything.”

    Constance’s hands ball up into fists. She refuses to look KAIZEN in the eye. KAIZEN keeps talking.

    “I know I fucked everything up… that’s why I’m starting over from the bottom. I thought I was god’s gift to Tiga-gun but I’m a fuck up, Connie, I’m incomplete. I’m not the one who can lead Tiga-gun out of this mess that I helped make. It can’t be me. It can’t be Uchida, wherever he is. It has to be you.

    Please… Connie… don’t punish MINORU and Tiga-gun for what me and Kotani have done. I’m nothing more than a trainee now. Tiga-gun needs you. It's not too late for you to come back, right? You’re the one who can-“


    “Shut the fuck up.”

    KAIZEN is silenced by Constance. She turns around to face him, fists balled up and eyes wild with fury.

    “You fucking think that an apology is going to magically fix everything?? You think just because you thought up some sweet words and that now you wipe mats, you think you can make things a-ok just like that?? Just pretend everything you said, everything you did, just pretend that none of that happened??”

    KAIZEN takes a step back. Constance continues in a low, yet deadly serious voice.

    “Let me tell you something, Kai… just because you’re fine with where you are now doesn’t mean everyone else is fine. You can’t just jerk people through your shit and just expect everyone else to be happy and fall in line with you. What about my feelings?? What about my goals, my career in SPJ, my relationship with MINORU, and Kotani, and Tiga-gun?? You tore it all apart!!! YOU FUCKED EVERYTHING UP! And if you think a simple 'whoops my bad' can undo everything, then you need a fucking reality check!! This isn't just a game, this isn't just a sport or a job, this is my life you were fucking around with!!!”


    KAIZEN hangs his head. The lump in Constance’s throat returns, but he keeps her composure.

    “I am joining SSD not because of YOU, don’t flatter yourself like that. I am joining SSD because that’s whats best for me and my career, for my future. I don’t need people foisting the hopes and dreams of anything on my shoulders. I never asked for that… I just…

    I just want to be happy. First Anthony… then Uchida… then you…. I’m sorry, Kai…

    Just being in Tiga-gun reminds me of how everything fell apart. It makes me feel like shit.”


    “…. I’m sorry you feel that way.”

    "Yeah. I'm sorry too."


    Constance turns around and sticks her earphones back into her ears.

    “You still have my phone number, right?”

    KAIZEN looks up.

    “Uh… yeah. You didn’t change it, right?”

    “Nope, same one. Keep in touch, Kai. Even though I’m not Tiga-gun anymore, keep in touch…

    …I mean it.”


    "Wai-"

    She doesn't KAIZEN respond. Constance takes off.

    She tries to pick up the pace immediately. She’s already lost a lot of time with that useless chit chat.

    What a waste of time, what a waste.

    The lump in her throat won’t go away.

    She wipes her eyes and furiously jabs her iPhone looking for a song to play.

    No…

    No…


    The iPhone swipes to the calming string instrument sounds of renowned soul musician Raphael Saadiq.

    ....Good.

    She continues running into the night, down the darkened yet familiar path. The water coming down her face occasionally obstructs her breathing.

    The words of Raphael Saadiq, however, helps Constance carry on.

    This road is strange, so strange, strange my dear…

    You know it really hurts inside!

    Sometimes…

    And no matter how good you are to people you know…

    They'll make you cry sometimes.

    Sometimes…


    ...yeah.

    Sometimes.

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