Seated aboard an American airlines commercial jet, the Legacy champion, John Sektor sits with his head turned towards an empty seat separating him from the window. Only one side of his face is visible, but it's enough to show the deep look of thought written on it.
"Thirty-five thousand feet in the air and headed towards a territory unfamiliar to even me, a seasoned traveller, and I find myself staring idly at the empty seat next to me."
His head remains still and his eyes stay fixed on the leather, cushioned seat, vacant and cold next to him.
"I can take little solace in the fact that not as many people wanted to travel to Egypt at this time, with the threat of war and terrorism ever present. The simple fact was, the reason the seat is empty, is because I am now alone, and no longer apart of a team."
His head bows ever so slightly, seeming almost defeated.
"Ring King," he begins, still gazing down at the empty seat to his right. "That was the last you all saw of me, and it left me sidelined with loss of movement and sensation in my right arm, thanks to a well placed fork to the shoulder by Eric Dane."
The champion begins to smirk as his eyes drift up and out of the window, with nothing but the darkness of the night sky above the clouds staring back at him.
"I had to sit at home and watch as everyone else in the company began to travel the globe, beginning the next chapter in their UTA and wrestling legacy's."
The sadness creeps over him, and before he realised it, he begins to stare at absolutely nothing, reliving the pain of being rendered useless.
"Not working means a loss of money, loss of momentum, and most importantly? A loss of spirit," he growls, allowing his head to rest against the seat. "Finishing runner up in the chamber match may not have been the result I wanted, but I felt a change in me that night. I felt a burst of new confidence, pride and a drastic change of mental direction shift in my psyche."
He smiles for a brief moment, before blinking his eyes and looking uncomfortable. It's as though spending over a decade hiding his emotions from the world, has created an unsettling feeling when he realises that he enjoys hearing the crowd get behind him.
"It's weird for me to admit it, but I know the fans had a lot to do with that change," he struggles to admit, nodding slowly and rubbing the ole' moustache. "I was one of the first two entrants into the chamber, and after taking heavy shots, bumps and injuries, I somehow made it all the way to the end."
Sektor cocks his head to the side with a smirk, happy to come to terms with the fact that sometimes, as humans, we need a little encouragement and acceptance from an outside source.
"It was the support of the crowd, that night, which dragged me through it. Their voices sung in unison were a deafening reminder of just how powerful having thousands of people in your corner can be," he adds, again nodding with admittance. "For the best part of my career I had turned my back on them, and gone out of my way to chastise them from myself. Now I'm left wondering, why?"
He looks at his watch to check on how much flight time he has left. Long haul flights like these are a killer. Still another ten hours to go. Plenty of time to remind himself of what his intentions are moving forward in his career.
"As I sat at home, I began to keep focus on my drive to be the best Legacy champion I can possibly be, and recover as quick as I could so that I could rejoin the tour. La Flama Blanca hasn't had a match since Ring King either, but at least he was showing up to every show to remind everyone who the World champion is," he says with a heavy sigh, the frustration on his mug abundantly clear for all to see. "But I couldn't do that. I just had to wait patiently and feel the Legacy title getting colder and colder on my shoulder. It made me sick, but what could I do?"
He curls his lip with a bitter taste in his mouth. There's nothing worse than being a champion and not being able to represent week in and week out, but the focussed look on his face says that's all about to change.
"So as I worked hard to get back to fitness, my motivation to elevate the Legacy title became stronger than ever. Then one day I received a phone call which knocked me for six:"
Sektor pauses, taking a deep and heavy breath as he prepares to say his name.
Sektor refuses to show any sadness for a man who's spent longer as his enemy than as his friend. He sits himself up straight, posture strong and confident.
"His opening line was, 'I'm done..'" the champ says with a gasp of laughter."That was it. He didn't elaborate much further, just went on to tell me that he was stepping away from wrestling for a while and considering his options for the future. He wished me well and told me that he'd stay in touch. But that's the last I've heard from him."
With a raise of the eyebrows and a shrug of the shoulders, he seems to accept the facts which have been put before him.
"So I guess that's it, right? The end of the Machine?" he asks, pausing as he feels the sting those words have on his own pride. "Beckmans gone. Mike's gone. And Farthington has taken on a role of authority. So The Machine is finished.."
Letting out a long, deliberate and sarcastic sigh, he appears to be trying his hardest not to laugh.
"And," he adds, before pausing and letting out another deliberate sigh. "I guess Dynasty has won, and have lived up to their truth that Dynasty cannot, be stopped."
He smirks out the corner of his mouth.
"They lose Simon, but Dynasty lives on. They lose Perfection, and his smile," Sektor adds, not able to help himself. "and Dynasty lives on..they even lose Sean Jackson, and Dynasty lives--the fuck--on!"
The Gold Standard nods slowly, finishing with a twist of my head. If he was wearing a hat, he would probably tip that too.
"And what of 'The Machine?'" he asks, showing a hint of genuine embarrassment. "We voiced our mission statement through the silky words of Mike Best, and told the World that the Machine is going to roll through Dynasty and destroy them forever!"
His teeth grit together, forced to clench through the combination of anger towards Dynasty and embarrassment of The Machines failure.
"And now, Dynasty are laughing their asses off whilst Mike goes chasing tail and I'm left here to fend for myself," he again sighs. "Maybe we were foolish to think we could take them down? Throughout my career I have come across powerful cliques in various companies, banding together to make sure that they all get the highest pay and best opportunities. To this day, I've never seen a well organised 'clique,' be beaten."
Sektor turns to look out the window, staring at the frost on the outer glass sparkling yellow and red as the lights of the plane catch them.
"So I guess it's over, and the Machine has finally stopped running.."
Slowly, he begins to shake his head, turning for the first time to face the camera and show the world his shit-eating grin.
"WRONG!" I exclaim, clearly and firmly. "Because I, John Sektor, The Gold Standard and United Toughness Alliance Legacy champion, am still here!"
His eyes glisten with pleasure as he glares into the camera, enjoying the moment.
"What you all fail to realise, is that the 'machine,' isn't just a name for a team. NO!" he barks, wagging his finger like a teacher lecturing a class. "It's a philosophy. It's a ethos. It's a mentality of the will to survive, and the desire to keep going. You see.."
The champion leans forward over his seat, and into the aisle, his mouth tightening as he stabs himself in the chest with his own index finger.
"I AM, the Machine!"
He slowly sits back into his seat, allowing that statement to sink in to whoever is listening. He then shrugs calmly and loosens his shoulders as he looks around the plane.
"I embody every word we have spoken since our inception here in UTA. As much as I respect my brothers and sisters, I do not need them to continue," he says clearly and with zero malice in his tone. "I came to the UTA by myself and was doing just fine. It's sad that Mike and Alex are gone now, but it is what is."
Sektor clicks his mouth and flutter his eyebrows, as if to say 'meh.'
"Suppose you're all still giggling and wondering how I plan on defeating Dynasty all by myself. I mean, Chris Hopper's tried it and is still trying to this day. But, eh," he strains, his face painful as he pauses. "He doesn't have that killer instinct that I do. I may be softening a little, but at my core is still the John Sektor who will do whatever it takes."
With that, he holds up a finger, asking for a second as he stands himself up on the plane. He reaches into the overheard storage and fishes out the beautiful title that is the Legacy championship belt. Sitting himself back down, he smiles down at his title with pride.
"I also still have this," he states, holding up the title for all to see. "And I know, I know, Dynasty have held the World title for, what, well over a year now right? Doesn't matter whether it was Perfection, Sean Jackson or LFB, it's all Dynasty..right? And the World title, will always, be more prestigious than the Legacy championship.."
He wags his finger, squinting his eyes as though he has an alternative line of thinking.
"Maybe to us. Most certainly to me, I mean I won't deny that I consider the World title to be ultimate prize, because of course it is."
He runs his finger over his moustache before placing the Legacy championship over his shoulder.
"But to the fans, and the critics, the title with the most prestige, is usually held by the person they most respect. And gentlemen, I may have been gone for a short while, but I need only poke my head behind the curtain to earn back more respect than any of you have as champions combined!"
His final words growl out of his throat with venom, as very stern and serious look cements itself on his face.
"Mark my words, I am coming back to not only the greatest Legacy champion of all time, but the greatest--champion--PERIOD!"
He pauses on this statement for a while, holding the look of content on his expression.
"Now I know CBR had plenty to say about the Machine, and me in particular last week," he continues, trying to mask his resentment with a forced smirk. "He's absolutely loving it isn't he, considering he wasn't able to get the job done against Beckman in the Ring King final.."
Sektor lets out a hiss through his teeth as he slips the title off his shoulder and onto his lap.
"Still, it seems the 'greatest' Legacy champion of all time wants to take back his title," he says, eyebrows raised. "Well, I got absolutely no problem with that. If CBR manages to hold off those other five competitors next week, then I can think of no better way to cement my Legacy and stature as champion, than by beating the longest reigning champion."
The excitement is abundantly clear as Sektor is practically licking his chops at the thought of going one on one with Dynasty's own, CBR.
"You know what? The hell with it," he continues, throwing out his arm as though he's pitching for the Red Sox. "If CBR doesn't earn himself a Legacy title shot? Then once I'm done defending against whoever did, I will personally give him his own shot at this title."
He nods and holds the title up to the camera one more time, before turning back and placing it on the empty seat next to him. He smiles at it, as though symbolically he is no longer travelling alone.
"But first things first, I have a mountain to climb," he continues, his expression now more serious. "And his name, is Brother Judas.."
Right on cue, a small rumble of turbulence rattles the cabin on the plane, causing even Sektor;s eyes to bulge.
"Heh," he laughs nervously. "Anyway, as I was saying. In my return match I face over seven feet and over three-hundred pounds of physiological violence."
Sektor chuckles to himself.
"What a way to come back from an injury, right?"
He runs his hand semi-nervously through his hair, still convincing that he still has that underlying confidence that can tackle any situation put in front of him.
"Now I don't know a great deal about this guy, or the Good Reverend--and I don't know what 'Truth' they're trying to speak," adds the champion, looking genuinely confused by their cause. "You guys seem to like using fear and creepy riddles to gain a psychological advantage over your targets."
He pouts his mouth, nodding as though he seems to view this as a viable tactic.
"I can relate to that. I've been known to get inside my opponents heads many a time. Matter of fact, I enjoy it!" he laughs. "Hell, not so long ago I had Abdul bin Hussains manager locked up a storage unit, and I was cattle prodding the shit out of him on live Tv!"
Sektor is literally belly chuckling at this point as he recalls the fun he had with Rafiq. Eventually he tries to calm himself by letting out a joyous sigh.
"But, what I know for sure, is that this guy has the physical tools to not only put my shoulder to the test, but my entire body. And I cannot think of a better way to tune up for a pending title defence, can you?" he asks rhetorically. "Of course, that's if I'm still able to stand after it."
His manner is so blasé, as though he entertaining the idea of being crippled by Brother Judas doesn't faze him.
"This is what it's all about though, for me. Challenging myself. Keeping myself tested and pushed to the limit, so that even at this stage in my career and can continue to prove and be the best that I can possibly be, and that's my truth," he explains. "This match may not be for the title, but I'll be treating it as such. Simple matter of the fact is, title match or not, I am still the Legacy champion and a loss is just NOT acceptable!"
There's a flash of anger in his eyes, inspired by the contemplation of losing.
"I tune into Victory, and I see Colton Thorpe elevating the Wildfire title. I see Eric Dane keeping people interested in the World title, and I see challengers like Cayle Murray and Bobby Dean on the tips of everybody's tongue. It's great to see, but fucking difficult to take when you know it's down to your own failure in the chamber that Dane got the first pick of the crop."
An agitated hand rakes back through his thick mop of black hair.
"Then I tune into Wrestleshow, and the only interesting thing going on there is Sean Jackson and his briefcase. Where is the leader? Where is the spotlight superstar to spearhead the brand and give the fans someone and something to cheer for?"
A look of despair creeps over him as he his head bows down. It then comes back up with a fake look of realisation.
"Of course, that's when I realise, that it has to be me. I, am the Legacy champion. I, am the veteran who came to this company to grab it by its balls and give it the shake up that it needed. I was getting there, but there's still a lot of work to do."
He nods, accepting the challenge of being the number one guy.
"But I will get there. The UTA needs me, and I will not fail. The Machine has been taken in for a service and now it's running better than ever. Wrestleshow forty-six?" he continues, raising an eyebrow. "I roll into Cairo and stand face to chest with that monster.."
He leans forward, face fueled with intensity and desire.
"And the Golden era of John Sektor...begins!"
"I know you’d all like us to be at each other’s throats… but who cares what you mouth breathers want? I know I don’t..."
- La Flama Blanca