Days away from the end of the International Tour and the roster was quite expectedly exhausted. Nine countries in nine weeks takes its toll and everything would come to a head on November 15th live at the Tokyo Dome. Eric Dane would finally get his opportunity to silence La Flama Blanca, arguably the greatest champion in UTA’s illustrious history; Thorpe and Murray would go to war; the old would take on the new as Hopper stood firm one more time against Dynasty and of course, the future of the Legacy Championship was at stake.
Six AM. Early by anyone’s standards but for Claude Sebastien, he'd already been awake and busy for nearly two hours. The sun was still someway off, shedding its hints of light across the city landscape. The white peak of Mount Takao in the distance with its never ending gaze across the city looked scornfully down at a world that came alive...where only two hundred years ago a small village named Edo (“Gate of the Inlet”) had become the largest city in the world.
Claude slowly walks over a selection of crushed leaves, an idle tree standing to his left as he looks down over the Sumida River and over the skyline of what now, ostensibly is a city of rich contrast. This is a world where the old wages a losing war with the new every year, where nearly every building has been produced after World War II but the culture has been savaged by centuries dichotomy. People bow politely, eat sushi with their fingers and hold themselves in impeccable grace whilst shovelling plate loads of grease down their throats and laughing as young girls parade themselves around in school uniforms for the amusement of married men.
Ranier retrieves a handkerchief from his suit jacket pocket, raising it to his brow and gently wiping a bead of sweat from his eyebrow. It's warm, but not hot, as Tokyo descends into the end of Autumn preparing for what is truly a picturesque winter each and every year.
CBR: Tokyo. Home of the tamagotchi. You know you can rent a capsule here...a capsule, to sleep. The world’s smallest hotel room. What a very strange place and yet, there is something magical about this city.
Claude steps forward, leaning his elbow against the tree and removing his shades. Evidence of an early morning workout are still there, the rented Porsche behind him laying in wait on the road and the reddened neck beneath his washed hair.
CBR: Puroresu. That's what they call what I do, what...WE do John. A sport deep in history but only in the last fifty years in a form that we might call wrestling. We all know the history of Japanese Wrestling and what it means as an alternative to the UTA’s of the world, but when we do battle in the Tokyo Dome on Sunday we unwillingly pay homage to this nation of contrast.
He stops, resting carefully to the side and placing his hand into his chino pocket, the navy blue jacket hanging loose over a blue shirt opened at the collar, the Breitling Cronomat watch hanging tightly around his left wrist.
CBR: And why John...why should you be more scared, more nervous going into Sunday than you have been the past six months in UTA...or even your entire career? Why is a match for your title such a big affair...such a dangerous proposition? It's because of me John...because of who’s itching to take that belt back from you.
Claude lets out a slow sigh, closing his eyes for a moment before they reopen and adjust to the slowly waking morning. In the distance, standing over two thousand feet in the air, the Tokyo Skytree seems to come alive in the rising blue.
CBR: I've been here since Wrestleshow Seven John, since February twenty fourteen - nearly two years ago. On that day too, a bum from Chicago named Bobby Dean tried to derail the God of Kings and lay helpless and beaten on the floor as a result. And since then, well...it's been a litany of success.
Ranier raises and lowers his shoulders in a stretch as he looks off into the distance aside the camera.
CBR: You know me for my time putting together Dynasty, but before I had Sean Jackson and Perfection at my side I was unstoppable. Bobby Dean, Esteban Awesome, Max Burke...I ran through them all before chopping the future World Champion Yoshii down without breaking a sweat. Log Habben, Fizz and another World Champion Dr Emo…
Claude breathes slowly in and out, the breath making a small steamy cloud as it exits his lips.
CBR: Will Haynes, who you all talk about so eagerly as a game changer around here, Dan Benson too. I beat them all John. I won that title BEFORE Dynasty and didn't need my running buddies to make sure I got my shot. I took it John. I took the belt from the cold, lifeless hands of a sumo giant and didn't let it go until I was forced to by upper management.
He blinks and looks at the camera.
CBR: Because yes, I am the best in this business. I say that without a single doubt in my mind, no one on this roster comes close to CBR and no one ever will. In all, I've beaten thirty two people in this place...from the mighty Bronson Box to the legendary Chris Hopper. From The Second Coming and Zhalia Fears to your precious Chicago World Champ Scott Stevens.
Claude shoots a smirk at the camera, nodding respectfully.
CBR: And with all due respect brother, I did what Alex Beckman, Mike Best, Eric Dane or John Sektor will never do...I pinned La Flama Blanca one two three in the middle of that damn ring.
He winks, before returning his head back to look over the horizon.
CBR: But of course, Sunday is not about history. It's not about the fact that CBR has been in more wars than anyone in the history of this company. It's not about the fact that I held your belt for almost a year and defended it consistently like a man. It's not even about the fact that I founded the greatest faction this world will ever know and dismantled your precious machine.
Claude looks down a moment, pausing as the wind grows cold.
CBR: It's about the future John. It's about the next five years of the UTA and beyond and old man, you simply don't have what it takes to carry this business on your back like I can.
Ranier places his second hand into his pocket and shudders a moment from the cold. He steps back and forth before standing still, shoulders tensed.
CBR: You're stepping up in class on Sunday John. No longer is it Abdul Bin Hussain or Blackbeard, Joshua Jones or Ruster Reno. You're not in the ring with a gimmick or a tag team specialist or an actor or any other damn sideshow this business has to offer. On Sunday John, you're in the ring with CB fucking R and I will rip that good fucking standard apart like paper and grind you into the dust.
Claude turns, his shoulders going limp once more, facing the camera with focus, determination and confidence.
CBR: It's not enough that you are a Chicago World Champ or you beat a team of Ring King rejects to win that belt. It's not enough John. This is the United Toughness Alliance. Mike Best knows it, Beckman knows it, Cecilworth knows it and you'll learn it...Dynasty runs this world and you...well, you're just living in it Sektor.
A grin fades away as Claude walks off from the camera back towards his car.
"I'll cut him down to size. Be sure of that."
- La Flama Blanca