The scene comes in on a particularly nice board room, warm lights beaming down upon light oak. There is a large conference table in the middle of the room, an intercom upon it for those times in which all the necessary cogs can't be in the same place at once. Upon the wall, large wooden letters stand out, lights behind them as they proudly advertise "WWJ". About the long table are top of the line office chairs, each of them as comfortable as one would expect from a home recliner. Several of these seats are occupied by men in high-end suits, fanciful ties around each of their necks as they sit in silence, gazes turned toward the man standing at the head of the table.
"Gentlemen, I've brought you here today to discuss a very pressing matter."
The man's face has a rather serious demeanor, as does the power stance he puts off in front of his employees. The sharp red tie between his black blazer and his baby blue shirt screams for their attention as prevalently as the sternness of his features.
"As you are aware, we here at Weinstein, Weinstein, and Jewzowski represent a multitude of clients - among them several businesses. One of these accounts, which I would like to bring your attention to in partic..."
The man's voice fades off as he turns toward the opening door. Another man in a suit, this one sporting an entirely unconvincing combover, slips in through the opening, a reddening to his cheeks expressing his humiliation in being late to another board meeting. He quietly takes a chair as the leader of the group sighs, shakes his head and continues.
"One account, which I would like to now bring to your attention.. is that of a sports entertainment company known as XWA."
The meek latecomer raises his hand half-heartedly. His superior notes it after a second and hangs his head slightly.
The man adjusts his tie and clears his throat before speaking to his annoyed employer.
"That would be the wrestling company, right?"
Another heavy sigh begets the response.
"Yes, Mike, that's the wrestling company.."
The man gives a brief smile of appreciation for the clarification and puts his hand back down.
"Now, as I was saying, XWA is a wrestling or sports entertainment company we represent. Recently, the company started back up and part of this resurgence of sorts has been a wealth of new talent that they've taken on board. As is standard protocol with this account, I've had John and Amy assessing the potential risks of these new hires in order to determine the fair value of our services to the XWA."
The boss pulls up a brown box and sets it on the table. He reaches into it and begins removing manilla folders, each containing a multitude of papers inside. One by one, he slides them to those in attendance, shooting a thinly veiled glare of disappointment towards the last to show.
"In the course of this work, Amy has brought to my attention one particular hire that has stood out to her."
The man with the red tie walks over to the door calmly and lowers the light switches beside it before producing a small, thin remote from his right pocket. He points it up toward a projector suspended from the ceiling and, with a click, it comes to life. An image is produced upon an unfurled white screen: a bearded man with hatred in his gaze and blood streaked down his features.
"This, ladies and gentlemen, is Vladimir Strife. He is a recent hire of the XWA with almost a decade of experience in professional wrestling. He worked with the companies ASWF, SCW, and GHW, during which time he achieved a great deal of success before leaving the latter of the three to form his own company. Said company was active for a number of years, acquiring somewhat of a cult status in the pro wrestling world for being a more... adult-oriented form of entertainment. That company eventually failed after the passing of a partner, at which point Mr. Strife went on to work for, confusingly enough, a different entity also known as the XWA which some of you might be familiar with from our attempts to initiate litigation against."
One of the previously silent men at the table speaks up with a look of confusion on his face.
"I'm... I'm not sure I understand, sir. The XWA has a substantial number of employees with quite a few new hires included.. why exactly are we discussing this one? Or any of them for that matter?"
The leader taps his remote lightly across the desk and smiles.
"Thank you, David. That's a very good question. The answer, however, is a bit more complicated. Amy has brought this particular member of the XWA to my attention because she believes he poses a particularly high liability to the company and, thusly, our law firm."
David again fills a momentary silence with his lack of understanding.
"Well, he's a wrestler. These guys typically do pose a greater liability. I thought we had addressed this by charging them a more.. premium.. rate."
"Well, they certainly do, David, and we do thusly. This guy, Vladimir Strife, though.. Amy seems to have reason to believe that he poses a particularly concerning one. Uhm.. with that, I'm going to go ahead and turn over the reigns to her so that she can better explain her concerns. Amy?"
The boss turns towards her and she nods, standing up from her seat as he steps off to the side of the room to watch.
"Thank you, sir. As you know, I've been handling this account since we first took it on. This particularly hire, however, gives me cause for concern. If I might go into a bit further detail.."
With a click of the remote, a picture is brought up of Vladimir Strife sans bloody face, to familiarize the members of the board with his features.
"Vladimir Strife. First of all, if I may say so, is a performer who has achieved a very unusually high level of success. He won his first 59 matches without a single loss to his record and has lost only a mere four times in a career that spans over a hundred matches and nearly a decade. He is a multi-time 'champion', which denotes a competitor at the top of the pack as you may have figured and has been entered into multiple Hall of Fame records. By all means, he is truly a legend in his craft. He is primarily known for his work in what are known as 'Hardcore' bouts. These are contests in which rules are stripped to a bare minimum and wrestlers are permitted to incite greater violence upon one another, including the use of weapons. Steel chairs, ladders, tables, garbage cans, etc. Within the industry, Mr. Strife has been known to take this sort of leniency of the rules to much further extremes.."
David again feels like the pieces aren't adding up and voices his concern.
"Again, we have had many clients in this field and this company particularly of which the very same thing could be said.."
"Yes, but Mr. Strife has been quite.. creative.. with his use of this. He has been seen to use weapons ranging from the basics like that but also razor and barbed wire, baseball bats, potato peelers, glass, thumbtacks.. even fire.."
"..As have others.."
"Which brings me to my next point.. that this behavior is not confined to Mr. Strife's matches. He has a lengthy history of assault, battery extending beyond his colleagues to include non-wrestling staff members: announcers, commentary, stage hands, security... so on and on. I know that we, again, have witnessed such behaviors in other members of the XWA, so please bare with me. One of the things that has flagged Vladimir as a particularly high liability to me is the severity of his crimes from there..."
A click of the remote pulls up a picture of a beautiful, thin blonde woman laying among shards of broken glass.
"This is Elizabeth 'Lizzie' Morna. An interviewer and ring announcer for EVPW, the company which Vladimir was co-owner: Vladimir and her were close friends up until he threw her through the glass door of his co-owner, known to us as KingBear. There was nothing done on the end of Ms. Morna, no incitement or antagonizing. Vladimir would later state that he committed this act to exact retribution on the co-owner, whom was also close with Ms. Morna."
Once more it clicks and a young, hip star appears on the screen.
"Alexander Stall. Another colleague of Vladimir's. Vladimir pierced Alex's shoulder with a power drill during a contest, incurring an injury upon him that Alex never fully recovered from and effectively forcing him into retirement. Vladimir would later also break into Alex's home and assault him with an electric guitar."
Another click, a dark haired man who is clearly also a wrestler appears.
"Metal Dragon. Stage name, obviously. A co-worker and stable mate (for those unaware, that is what they call members of the same team in wrestling), Vladimir savagely assaulted him backstage and put a noose around his neck, whereafter he attempted to hang Metal Dragon - only failing to do so thanks to the intervention of other EVPW stars."
Click. A younger, wild looking man wearing a shirt exclaiming that he is "Mr. Fuckin' Satisfyin".
"Jerry Nate. A young man who made it large on the scene and was heavily influenced by Vladimir Strife in his youth. During a particularly bloody contest, Vladimir inflicted such injuries upon Jerry as to cause internal bleeding. It is unknown as to whether or not this was intentional, but the part that makes this particularly disturbing is that Mr. Strife then denied medical staff access to Jerry whilst he was bleeding from the mouth in alarming quantities until the contest was over and he had won it, repeatedly taunting Mr. Nate that he had no problems allowing him to die in the ring if he refused to surrender.."
Click. A beautiful, athletic blonde woman in wrestling gear, a world title around her waist.
"Amanda Hallsworth. Also a stable mate of Vladimir's, Mr. Strife accosted her in her personal lockerroom after a show. He made several sexual advances towards Ms. Hallsworth and when she did not respond favorably, he assaulted her... and then raped her. The two had been allied for over a half year without incident prior to this."
Click. Another young woman with bright blue eyes and dark, almost jet black hair.
"Haven Cassidy, known by her stage name 'Wolverina'. Nearly a year and a half following the incident with Ms. Hallsworth, Vladimir attacked her in a dark hallway, drug her into an empty lockerroom, where he also raped her. The two had had minor encounters previously, including Vladimir attempting to convince Ms. Cassidy to commit suicide."
Click. A large man with a warm smile standing next to Vladimir.
"KingBear. He was the co-founder and co-owner of EVPW alongside Vladimir Strife, as well as his long time partner and his brother-in-law. Vladimir, on live tv, mind you, incited several altercations with KingBear. On one instance, he broke into his house and threatened KingBear with a loaded shotgun, even firing a shot into the wall of his kitchen before knocking him out with the butt of the firearm. Weeks later, he kidnapped KingBear before crashing his vehicle head on into another, causing grievous injuries to both of them."
Click. An older picture of a clearly inebriated man shows.
"Bud Wyziner. A star with the GHW company. Having no previous interaction or altercations, Vladimir brutalized Bud in a hardcore contest to such a staggering degree that he experienced a heart attack. He passed away the following day."
Mike's hand is covering his mouth, which is agape with horror.
Amy nods her head and turns off the projector.
"Now, it is certainly not uncommon for members of the professional wrestling scene to have violent backgrounds and histories. It is a known part of the territory. Given the severity of these incidents, however, I have consulted with several psychologists from across the country and had them review the information that we possess on Mr. Strife. All four of them have concluded that, in their expert opinions, the established pattern of violent and criminal behavior on the part of Vladimir - particularly the way in which they seem to have elevated over time - indicates that he extremely likely to repeat such behaviors or potentially ones that would be an elevation from those..."
Amy stands at the head of the table and sets the remote down upon it.
"I believe with absolute conviction that this man poses the greatest liability of any of these wrestlers we've seen by a long shot. Yes, this is a world of violence and their very lives are steeped in violence, but time and again Vladimir has been shown to display savagery with little or no provocation, unlike many of his peers who do so either out of pride or necessity. He is a sociopath if I've ever seen one and all of the evidence suggests that it is not a matter of IF he will present violent, criminal behavior again, but when... and the caveat to this all is that he is in a prime position to do so. Vladimir has just been assigned a placement in a small hardcore tournament where rules will be heavily lowered, allowing him to go as violent as he chooses without interference from security or the staff of XWA... We need to act on this immediately.."
"Thank you, Amy."
Amy takes her seat once more as the head cheese turns the lights up and takes his position at the end of the table.
"So, after reviewing our options, W.W.J. has decided that our best course of action is to limit ours and XWA's responsibility in any future actions of Mr. Strife by taking proactive measures to deter him. Namely, we will be assigning to him a .. well, a handler of sorts. Someone who will follow Mr. Strife everywhere he goes and monitor his actions; do their best to minimize the liability he poses."
Mike, from the back of the room snickers, drawing the attention of the rest of the people.
"Good luck finding someone to sign up for that.."
The boss smiles knowingly.
"We already have, Mike... Congratulations."
As the middle aged lawyer sits there with a slack jaw, unable to come up with the words to express what is going on in his mind, his boss walks out of the room, followed shortly thereafter by his colleagues, Mike trailing far behind.
"Wait... wait.. what? WHAT?! You can't be serious, sir!"
~The End - To be continued in another thread~
Matches that occurred on our 2016 event The Good, the Bad and the XWA!
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