"And this, ladies and gentlemen, this my friends is the Sanctuary...the heart of the Edfu"
The accented words echo across the great walls of this reinforced room. Artificial lights cascade over the illuminated surfaces, etched with ancient and somewhat worn pictures. The footsteps of onlookers scurrying for position in front of the Middle Eastern man, his heavy set moustache every bit the cliche of this old world reborn.
Guide: It took the ancient Egyptians of the Ptolemaic period almost two hundred years to build this temple my friends. And over two thousand years later, isn't it incredible how firm it still stands?
The rhetorical question is met by a sequence of snaps and a few whispered exchanges, cameras chiming off their melodies to capture every last detail and decipher what's worthy of a Facebook post or snapchat at a somewhat later date. Eyes not pressed to lens are busily focused on the man, his black hair thick and unkempt in line with the generous stubble struggling for life around his jaw. The crowd is diligently lapping at every word he says. All that is, except one...
Guide: This temple was built to honour Horus. The God of Kings, the Falcon God. To my people, he represented war, hunting and the sky.
The man steps down from his makeshift podium and walks eagerly up to a large statue of a falcon, looking forward coldly, bleakly in the claustrophobic room. His white cotton shirt open at the collar, the guide looks back at the crowd and points with an open palm.
Guide: It is said that Horus was born to the goddess Isis, after she fashioned a golden phallus for her dead husband Osiris, killed by her jealous brother Set.
At the back of the group, busy soaking in the words and colours of this ancient place, stands the figure of a real golden God, that is to say a self-fashioned one, the Canadian Star, CBR. Wearing a light charcoal suit, buttoned at the abdomen and a pink shirt, opened twice at the collar in this heat, Claude stands the picture of decadence. His Baume & Mercier Clifton Black Dial watch, hanging off his wrist with its gauche leather strap, Ranier's hand is buried in his pocket, a pair of Maui Jim lighthouse sunglasses over his eyes.
Guide: After years of fighting, the legend goes that Horus challenged Set to a race with boats made of stone. The problem was, ladies and gentlemen, Horus tricked Set; his own boat made of wood, painted to look like stone. Set's boat sank and Horus had his revenge, winning rule over all of Egypt.
Hair combed into a ponytail at the back, his lightly tanned skin providing a backdrop to shadows from the pale light, careful not to be too bright as to damage the ancient stone. Claude looks to his side, free hand hanging loose by his side as he glances over old statues and broken carvings, the words of the guide floating over his ears like a mild breeze. CBR is in this world for an altogether different reason...
Guide: And so, the first Pharaohs came to be born of Horus and despite many, many attempts to purge his lineage from the earth, it is said that descendants of the falcon God still walk among us. The blood of a God could very well be here, standing next to one of you perhaps!
A smirk rises in the man's face, as his arm raises as if to accentuate the point, a snigger and selection of breathless laughs arising from the crowd, looking to their left and right, except that one...Ranier...who simply stands, confidently, defiantly. In his own shallow mind he is that God. Not an Egyptia, something altogether more tangible and immediately dangerous to those on Wrestleshow.
Guide: Now, ladies and gentlemen, if you will just follow me...we have...
The words grow quiet, distant, as the group descends an adjacent hall. Claude remains, the picture of regality, slowly taking his glasses off and placing them gently into his suit pocket.
CBR: The God of Kings...
The words, tinged with the echoes of an accent long outlived and moulded by a life in the USA, break the growing din, other tourists making their way around the sanctuary in awe.
CBR: A God, insulted by a lesser man only to come back and exact revenge, taking back what's his and asserting his dominance. Reminds me of...well, of myself; and a certain moustached coward furnishing himself with my belt!
Claude glances momentarily at the camera.
CBR: You know, that guy we haven't seen since Ring King...
Doing his best to hide the desire to smirk, Ranier walks slowly on the polished concrete surface laid over ancient stone to make this tourist attraction palpable. He runs his hand over a metal barricade, designed to stop the eager fingers of children from diluting history.
CBR: And this Wrestleshow, next Monday, a new challenger will be decided to face the Legacy Champ, the man who considers himself a hero on his own against the evil tide...a man without friends, without allies now that that little uprising from up north has been muted.
Claude looks up a large stone sheet with writing upon it. Not the old hieroglyphics, but a strange mix of Latin and symbol. The eye of Horus stares down, almost petulantly.
CBR: And at the end of the night, here in the land of kings, a match will have been made to decide the future of that title. Be it at International Affair or somewhat sooner, a war will break out between that man or woman and John Sektor. Just imagine the possibilities, the opportunities...
Ranier stops and turns back to the camera following him. He rests his left hand on the edge of the steel and leans against it lightly, testing for its rigidity and strength before letting his full weight press down.
CBR: Imagine...Zhalia Fears versus John Sektor. The shining light of the UTA, the symbol of innocence against the synonym of excellence. The little girl, lost in the woods of her own mind taking on the reformed invader, fresh off the failure of joint attempts to unseat the power of Dynasty in the UTA.
Claude lifts his left hand, the watch reflecting the light coming through a side hallway into the room. His eyes blink once, twice, letting the moment sink in before continuing.
CBR: Zhalia Fears has proven she has what it takes to hold gold before, but why should you care? I wouldn't blame you for looking past her John. The fact is, the young woman's mind is awash in a new world of vulnerability.
His shoulders roll mid sentence, finding the need to stretch.
CBR: Finding herself the latest victim of that masochist traitor Sean Jackson, one eye on the prize won't do it here Fears, you need focus, belief...it's a foregone conclusion that Sektor's not preparing for little white rabbits.
Claude turns to the side, beckoning the camera to follow down a hall of shadow. Ranier makes echoing steps along the thick ground as he walks slowly past murals and inscriptions that likely had a myriad of meanings to the local population at the time, yet now just look pretty to the majority of limited attention span travellers.
CBR: Or maybe Abdul Ahad? Wouldn't that be a sight? The fallen man, cast out of the UTA following his inability to beat Dan Benson for a shot at that very belt - MY belt - redeems himself by winning a chance almost exactly a year later. Almost poetic isn't it?
The Canadian continues to walk, his voice muffled by the acoustics of the long hallway, the light becoming clearer, brighter at the end of the open cavern.
CBR: The beaten, broken Captain Ahab, coming back from the dead. Working, training, fighting for his shot and holding aloft the Legacy Title to cement his spot in the business today. Abdul Ahad versus John Sektor would have other connotations too...
Ranier lifts his hand beside him as if reeling off the opportunity for this match to be significant.
CBR: Revenge, vengeance and violence for his fallen namesake and would be compatriot Bin Hussein - one Arab falls, another rises...but has John Sektor sifted through the tapes of twenty fourteen? I'd probably wager not. His return against me is the only evidence you need that that's not the match we will see for the belt.
Claude glances back at the camera with the risen smirk on his face as a group of small kids run past, their father chasing whilst trying to pretend to be interested in the cultural significance that so fascinates his wife.
CBR: And Kendrix, my friend, my brother. I have no doubt that one day you'll be a main event star. Challenging for titles all over the world and making even the top names of the UTA cower in fear. John Sektor versus Jesse Kendrix one day could be a World Title match, but not this week...or next week...not in the Canadian Star's place of business.
They reach the end of the hall and the origin of the light is exposed, coming through large open slits in a high stone wall. Ranier waits for the camera to turn up, pressing his elbow against the jagged curve of the rock.
CBR: I have no doubt that Jesse beats Ahad and Fears, and I look forward to testing myself against you brother. It will be match of the night, a real fight between warriors. You're a star in the making Kendrix, but the real fight for this shot, somewhat unfairly, opens the show.
Claude starts to walk down the wide opening towards the front entrance to the temple, where dozens of foreigners flood in aimlessly, eyes aloft and blinking in the unforgiving sun.
CBR: Bronson Box. Now, there's a competitor and what a match that could be. Defiant versus Chicago, Wargod against Gold Standard. July twenty seventh, twenty fifteen - these two giants of wrestling faced off one on one to an inconclusive match. The coward Mike Best, involving himself to stop what proved to be a brutal contest. Who knows Box, if Best wasn't there, maybe you'd have won? And maybe John, you may not have walked out that day.
Ranier presses his palms together as if relishing the thought, rubbing hands tightly as he continues to walk forwards, head turned away from the camera still, that keeps pace behind.
CBR: It's a fight everyone wants to see, a battle that fans and wrestlers alike would be chomping at the bit for. But WHO are they kidding? There's only one winner of that match and however it's won, his name isn't Bronson. It might be a great fight, but there is little chance the title changes hands when Box meets Sektor.
Claude comes to a halt near the entrance, turning back to the camera with a light grin on his face, half in shadow from the tall wall to his right.
CBR: And Chris Hopper. The King of Cool. Count of Fisting Monte Carlos Christie whatever the hell his moniker is beyond old man of the business. Now, THIS would be a match. Hopper is no stranger to titles, not phased by pressure. A huge name of the past against a name of the present. The would be face of the business against would be face of the business. All the hallmarks of what could be a war for the ages.
His head lowers a little, eyes still looking up into the lens, portraying a sadistic look against the shadow and sun.
CBR: The power of the Icebreaker against the Stretch. Brawn against technique both clambering to be atop of the mountain for another shot at my brother Eduardo. But Chris...don't you remember? You had your shot. Twice...once against me and again against Blanca, both times you failed. Why would you deserve another shot and why would the result be any different?
Claude lifts his head back up and slowly withdraws his sunglasses again. Unfolding the frame, he hoists them back onto his head and turns to face the entrance, the oncoming sun awashing his cheeks with bright light. Carefully, Ranier steps out of the temple and down the stone steps, onto the warm, hard dust and sand of ancient Egypt.
CBR: No. Whilst each of these men possess their own qualities, their own achievements and own challenge; there is only one man that John Sektor fears. Only one man who's matches he's been watching again and again since his so called injury...it's a match that's been inevitable since the day the Gold Standard stepped into a UTA ring.
Claude crunches his heel against debris as he walks along the stone path in the sand, back straight and proud defiantly facing the sun.
CBR: John Sektor came in and made claims - technically superior, master tactician, ring general - all accolades reserved for the Canadian Star. He came in and beat stars, rising to the top from the bottom and winning a belt at the first time of asking.
Ranier stops, turning back to the camera and leaning forward, inches from its lens as he lifts the glasses down over his nose for a moment.
CBR: Does that remind you of someone? Rising up from the bottom to become legend? Quietly masterminding victory after victory whilst letting his stablemates take all the heat at the front? The engine room of a group. Yeah, right...thought so.
Claude shoots a grin at the lens as he leans back to a straight standing position.
CBR: The truth is, CBR versus John Sektor sells tickets. That match alone headlines any Pay Per View. The fact that it would be for the Legacy Title? Simply irresistible to wrestling purists. The two most elite wrestlers on the face of the planet facing off for a belt that represents substance over style and sheer wrestling ability.
He flicks the dirt with his shoe as his eye remains trained on the camera through the tinted lenses on his face.
CBR: The belt that I never truly lost and he never truly won, to cement someone's legacy in this business forever. Claude Baptiste Ranier has only ever fought for ONE belt and Claude Baptiste Ranier has NEVER lost a fight where he fought as a challenger. I am the logical choice to unseat Sektor, I am the ONLY alternative to break his grip on that belt and end the machine.
Claude shakes his head slowly.
CBR: CBR IS the Legacy Title, I live and breathe it, and on Monday night I show WHY I deserve my spot in the annals of history in the UTA. Box, Hopper, you're both historied students of the sport, but I AM that sport. Zhalia and Kendrix, maybe one day...perhaps one time you will ascend to greatness. But at Wrestleshow, MY show, CBR proves once again why The Canadian Star...IS the only option and why his legacy is that or the GOD of Kings.