Clipped from a news broadcast:
Newscaster: Legendary professional wrestler and promoter, Rieji Okamoto has died today. He was 66 years old.
Yoshio Okamoto: Rieji was never what you would call a top wrestler. He had the dream and the ability, but he never really had that large personality to push him to the top. When he decided to retire, he built Dream.
Newscaster: Dream Wrestle was one of the most popular wrestling companies out there. But not without some controversy.
Yoshio Okamoto: He started Dream Wrestle with Shunsuke Ketamura.
Newscaster: Shunsuke Ketamura was also a professional wrestler who turned businessman after his career was over. The two had very public battles over the direction of Dream Wrestle.
Yoshio Okamoto: Rieji wanted to ensure all the wrestlers that worked for Dream were paid well. Ketamura only worried about the profit. He also wanted to drive Dream into more of an entertainment company while Rieji was happy for it to just be about wrestling. One day, it all came to a head and Ketamura left Dream and started WrestleCraft.
Newscaster: At first, WrestleCraft took off, Dream suffered. But Rieji Okamoto carried on and soon, fans began to return. When Dream Wrestle overtook WrestleCraft, the fans had spoken. Soon it was all about Dream Wrestle. WrestleCraft stayed competitive, but always in second place.
Yoshio Okamoto: Without a doubt that bothered Ketamura. He was constantly trying to get Rieji to sell him the company.
Newscaster: Just last night, suffering a major heart attack, Rieji Okamoto died. It is rumored that his company would be left to his only daughter, Shiori Okamoto.
ONE MONTH LATER
My name is Shiori Okamoto. I have suddenly become the owner of the biggest wrestling company in Japan. Or, I should say what used to be the biggest wrestling company in Japan. My father, the great Japanese wrestling legend Rieji Okamoto, started this company thirty years ago and grew it into the most popular wrestling brand in all of Japan and even around the world.
Dream Wrestling was just that. It was the best of the best competing for wrestling’s most adored prize. The Dream Wrestling Championship.
The biggest names in wrestling came through this company. Even in the midst of a wrestling slump, the television show always did tremendous ratings.
One month ago, he died. He left it all to me.
Three weeks ago, our TV deal was broken.
Two weeks ago, nearly the entire roster walked out.
One week ago, every venue we had booked for the year, cancelled.
Today, I was called by our company’s biggest rival. And I know exactly what he wants to talk about.
Scene changes to a fancy restaurant. Shiori is seated at a table and across is a very elderly Japanese man. “Shiori, we go back a very long time. I knew you since you were a baby. Your father would bring you to the shows. Now, I know that we didn’t get along in the last few years, but I never stopped caring for him.”
Shiori shakes her head, “You left him. You stole most of his talent and then you started your own company to compete with him. You tried to bankrupt him.” She’s getting angry and she knows it so she reaches for a glass of wine and she takes a small drink to try and calm her nerves.
“Look, I know we weren’t on the best of terms as of late, but that was mostly his doing. He made that choice. One thing you don’t know is that starting a wrestling company was my idea. He just got to it first.”
One thing you should know about Shunsuke Ketamura is that he is known to be very ruthless. Some of his business practices have been called into question by Japanese authority. He has just enough of his thumb on everyone who works for him that they will say nothing.
He worked behind my father’s back while working for him in the office. He talked almost every top talent that my father had into leaving the company. Not only that, after my father died, he convinced almost every talent on my roster to go to his WrestleCraft company, telling them I could not run Dream Wrestle.
“Dream Wrestle is done for,” he told them.
And they believed him.
“Look, Shiori, I know you want to do the right thing. You are not your father. There is no way you can run this company. Sell me what’s left of Dream Wrestle and I promise you that you won’t ever have to work again. I’ll give you every yen of it’s value. Today. Let me have everything and you’ll walk away a rich woman.”
I almost believed he was sincere.
Shiori stood up quickly, bumping against the table and her wine glass tips over as the red liquid begins to seep into the tablecloth. “Let me make one thing perfectly clear to you. I will not sell my father’s company. I will run it. I will succeed. I will make it work. Even if I cannot bring it back to its former glory, I will run it the way he ran it. Not the way you run things, Ketamura-san. Understand one thing, I still have those loyal to my father, not just to their own greed. They have promised to be loyal to me. So, you can take your offer and you can go f—”
He suddenly rises as well, “I wouldn’t finish that sentence if I were you, Shiori…”
“Okamoto. You will address me formally. You and I are not friends. You and I are not partners. You have lied and cheated. And you continue to do so. Let’s not have any misunderstandings, there will be no further meetings between us.” Shiori opens her wallet and drops some bills on the table then turns and walks away.
As she exits the building, she walks around to the side of it and leans up against the wall, placing her hand over her chest. She starts to reach into her purse for her pack of cigarettes.
I can’t calm my heart. Perhaps he is right. Perhaps I don’t have the fortitude for this.
Her phone chirps and it catches her off guard, causing her to jump. She drops her purse and everything spills all over the pavement.
It continues to chirp so she finally reaches for it and looks at the text. She lets out a small curse before bending down to scoop everything back into her purse. She picks up her phone.
She fires off a response and then continues to walk down the sidewalk to her car.
As she pulls up to the address she was texted, she looks at the outside of an old run down warehouse. Outside is an older man who smiles and excitedly waves at her. She returns the wave and then continues to look at this building, “What is this?” she asks herself as she turns off the engine and then steps out of her car.
One thing you should know about my uncle Yoshio, is that he’s very childlike. He followed in my father’s footsteps and became a pro wrestler, wrestling up until a few years ago when he was forced to retire due to age. He came to work for my father shortly after. My uncle is a very strange person at times.
He’s yelling very loudly and he’s acting very animated as Shiori walks over to this decaying old building. “Uncle Yoyo, you can’t possibly mean this building?”
“Shiori! Shiori! This is the place I was telling you about! This is what we need.”
He opens the door and with a flourish invites her inside. “After you, boss lady,” he teases as Shiori slowly enters the building. It was largely empty, except for the rats. And the dirt.
The door closes behind them as each one of her steps echoes into the building.
“Look, we put a ring in the center right here. There’s enough room for a second ring if we need to, but I think this will work great as a training center. With nearly everyone walking out, you are going to have to find a way to bring in more wrestlers, Shiori-chan. We are going to have to train them ourselves.”
I knew he had a point. While we could afford the building, we couldn’t afford to bring anyone in to actually fix it up.
“And I know what you’re thinking. Do not worry. I will get this building into shape in no time. I need you to bring in the trainees.”
Shiori glanced over him, almost annoyed that he seemed to be reading her mind. But after a moment of consideration, she nods her head. “Deal. Have someone send the paperwork to the office and I’ll make this happen. On one condition…”
This time it’s Yoshio’s turn to look cautious, “What condition?”
With a smirk, Shiori turns and walks towards the door, “You have to train them.”
But it’s too late as she walks out the door, leaving her uncle standing there with his mouth open. As she turns the corner, she can hear him though as he pumps his fist in the air and shouts, “Yes!” She grins as she gets into her car.
A few days later, she is sitting in her office signing the paperwork for the warehouse that will become the Dream Wrestling Academy. She’s running out of money. She’s going to have to start running shows again, which means she’s going to have to address the talent. And by talent, she means the ten or so mid to low card wrestlers that didn’t walk out on her when WrestleCraft raided their talent.
The problem, she knew, was where are they going to run shows. Every arena that they had booked had cancelled when news of the walkout occured. She needed a place to run shows. She needed to start producing a television program. She needed to do so much to get back to where they once were. But first things first.
Scene changes to the lobby of the offices for Dream Wrestle. There are maybe a dozen folks at best standing around chatting to themselves. The elevator door opens and Shiori walks out with Yoshio in two. There is a small platform set up and a podium, which she walks over and stands behind.
“Thank you for coming. I realize that times are rough right now.”
There’s a small amount of murmuring among those attending.
“First, all contracts for those here will remain in effect. But, in order for Dream Wrestle to recover, we are going to make some changes.”
Someone yells out, “If you’re bringing in outsiders to pad the roster, I’m out.”
Shiori shakes her head, “Actually, my plan has nothing to do with that, I cannot promise I won’t sign one or two additional people. But that’s not why I’m here today. In fact, what I’m about to suggest will make you even more uncomfortable, I feel.”
The murmuring among those present began to get louder.
“It’s time to elevate you to upper card status.”
It takes a moment for this information to sink in and then suddenly everyone has something to say.
“I’ve always been a jobber! How can I be a main eventer?”
“I have negative Instagram followers! How is that even possible? And you want me to bring in fans?”
Shiori holds up her hands, “Please. If I could continue I would probably be able to answer all of your questions. I am no fool. I realize that most of you are here because WrestleCraft wouldn’t even offer you money to come to their roster. They took everyone they wanted and you are what I’m left with. I understand all of that. But, some of you became professional wrestlers to be somebody. You’ve never been given that chance and now, I am giving you that chance.”
A Canadian woman raises her hand.
“How do you expect us to overcome the labels that have been placed on us by this company in the past? Everyone sees up and knows that we lose.”
My name is Charlotte Wilson. I’ve been a professional wrestler for about five years. I’ve spent two years in Dream Wrestle.
At the encouragement of my trainers, they recommended that I come to Japan to gain some additional training. They promised me Japan was the best place to become a better pro wrestler.
When I arrived to Dream Wrestle, the training I did receive was amazing, but on the roster, I was never considered even close to top level. The talent pool here was so big, that I found myself floundering at the bottom of the card. To be honest, I was thinking of leaving. Going back home.
But, with this circumstance, perhaps this is my time.
Perhaps it’s finally my time.
Shiori is silent for a moment before answering, “If Dream Wrestle is going to move forward, and I want it to move forward with all of my heart, then every single one of you is going to have to move forward with me. It’ll be rough at first. I cannot even promise to give anyone raises. However, if we can become successful once again, I will take care of you. Every single wrestler that drew money for this company has walked out…”
There’s a collective gasp as everyone turns towards the entrance to the lobby and standing there is a female. A graphic tells us that this is Hurricane RUKA. She walks through the door and past the others and onto the stage.
“I didn’t walk. I did listen to his offer, but that creep gave me a bad vibe. I have decided that I will remain loyal to Dream Wrestle. They were the ones who gave me a chance and Hurricane RUKA will never walk away from that. In fact, I will take a pay cut so that my earnings are no more than the others here. I feel it’s only fair and no one needs to feel slighted. The question remains, which of you will go along with me on this ride?”
Murmuring among those still there rise and then slowly one hand rises up, then another and another until all hands are raised.
Shiori steps out from behind the podium and gives them a bow, “Thank you for trusting me with your livelihood. I will try not to let you down.” She walks over to Ruka and bows to her thankfully, “Thank you very much,” she says.
“I owe your father so much. This is the least I can do,” says Ruka as she returns the bow. “You have my undying support.”
My name is Ruka Shizaki. I have been a professional wrestler for five years. I was this close to becoming the Dream Champion when Okamoto-sensei passed away.
When I decided to become a professional wrestler, I didn’t have it easy. I was awkward and shy. I tripped over my own feet, and when I tried to speak in public my tongue would never cooperate.
Okamoto-sensei spent time with me to help me improve. He showed me how to craft a wrestling persona in such a way that it became second nature to me. He believed in me when no one else believed in my foolish dream.
When Okamoto-sensai passed away, I was heartbroken. Not only for the loss of a teacher, but the loss of my position. I realize that it’s selfish, but I had worked so hard to become Hurricane RUKA and my moment was right at my fingertips and suddenly it was snatched away.
After meeting Ketamura-san, I almost accepted his offer with promises of fame and fortune and a chance at the championship, but as I talked with other Dream wrestlers who were being signed away, I realized they were also getting the same promises that I was.
I knew that Ketamura was full of shit.
As I watched news highlights and they would show Shiori Okamoto on TV, she was so sad. I knew she wanted to keep Dream Wrestle alive. I knew that she was going to need all the support possible. Not only that, I knew as the only top wrestler in Dream Wrestle, there would be no other option but for me to become champion.
Growing up, I never really knew much about my father. My mother would always tell me that he was a wrestler and even let me watch him on TV at times when I was old enough.
But, then she got sick.
My dad put his wrestling career on hold to take care of her.
He had no idea what he was going to do when she finally passed. He was a single father now. All he knew was professional wrestling. At the age of six years old, I looked up at him and told him he needed to wrestle.
“Isn’t that your job?” I asked him, having no idea what it actually entailed other than seeing it on the television.
So, together we went back on the road. He would teach me during the day and wrestle in the evening. I got to ride on the bus with all the other wrestlers and they became my family as well. By the time I was an adult and it was time to go to college, he was starting to feel the results of years on the road, taking bumps.
As I went off to the University of Tokyo for college, my father continued to wrestle. Once I received my business degree, that was when he finally felt free enough he could retire. Since I was able to go to college through a national grant, he was able to save up enough money to begin Dream Wrestle. I used my business degree to help him out in the office, but honestly, I didn’t pay much attention to the actual wrestling aspect of it.
As Dream Wrestle grew into the most beloved wrestling show in all of Japan, I was ensuring it’s financial success through sponsorship, merchandise and other contract negotiations.
When my father complained of aches and pains, I always just assumed it was due to his career as a wrestler. I should have stressed that he saw a doctor and that is something I will always carry with me.
But, I didn’t and now he’s gone. It’s up to me to pick up the pieces of what’s left of this company and try and bring the name of Dream Wrestle back to its former glory.
Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what it’s going to take. Our money is running dry, the talent is mostly gone and the means in which to make money are starting to dry up.
As Shiori flips through some pages her uncle YoYo had printed out from potential candidates for the wrestling school, the phone rang on her desk causing her to jump.
After letting it ring a few times, she finally has calmed herself enough to answer, “Dream Wrestle. Okamoto speaking.”
“Ah, Okamoto-san, this is Emi Matsumoto speaking from channel 15. We understand that your contract for your program has not been renewed and we are wondering if you would be interested in being broadcast from our channel.”
This was a curious call. Shiori responds. “That’s correct.”
“We’ve been following your story and I think we can help, if you’re interested. You see, we are looking for new content for our network. We would like to find a way to boost our ratings, but unfortunately we don’t have any money in our budget to pay for programming.”
“I see,” Shiori responds, “Please continue,” she requests, unsure of where this might be leading.
“So, we’d like to make you an offer. We would be willing to split ad revenue during your broadcasts.”
It wasn’t much, to be honest, but Shiori knew that she hadn’t much choice in the matter. Wrestling without some TV time was a sure fire way to go under and quickly. “I understand.”
“There’s something else. We understand that you no longer have any arenas willing to book your product, so we would like to extend the use of one of our studios as a permanent location for Dream Wrestle. We would hope that you’d be able to start going back into larger arenas, but until then the studio is yours.”
It was really the last piece to putting everything together. Channel 15 wasn’t top tier by any means. The programming was mostly low-rent. Aimed to the lowest common denominator. But if they could get the word out, then Dream Wrestle could be back into the homes of its fans.
The sound wakes her up from her daydream before she realizes that she’s still on the phone. “Yes. I’m here. Split the ad time and use of a studio. I would like one more clause. In one year, we would like the option to reevaluate our contract with you.”
There’s a pause on the other end of the line. She could hear talking, but it’s jumbled, as if someone was covering the microphone. Finally, Emi responds, “That sounds fine with us. We will draw up the paperwork. Please have your legal representative go over it and if you are satisfied, please sign the agreement. How soon do you think you would have a show?”
Now, that was the real question.
CHANNEL 15 – STUDIO #4
The one good thing about taping in a permanent studio is that everything can be set up and not having to take it down after each show. After the last show, the set was loaded into a truck and never taken out. She was able to get a hold of the original set crew and offer them enough to bring the truck and set everything up. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t need them after for a while.
As she watched them unload the truck and begin to set up everything, she took a seat and scrolled through her phone. She had already called her legal counsel, who reviewed the contract from Channel 15 and stamped his approval on it. He also drafted contracts for all remaining talent. Her father always worked with a handshake deal and because he treated everyone with respect, they rarely left. The mass exodus that happened after his passing was a devastating blow to the company. So, the days of handshake agreements were going to have to become a thing of the past.
She knows it’s not how her father would do business, but if he had the talent that belonged to Dream Wrestle would still be there.
FUTURE LOCATION OF DREAM WRESTLE ACADEMY
Uncle Yoshio had hired a few of his friends to come in and work on the training facility. There wasn’t much to do in repairs, but the place hadn’t been used in years, perhaps even a decade so everyone began to pitch in and clean up the place.
Meanwhile, Shiori was looking through applications for the wrestling school.
TAYLOR VON LUE
Due to her impairment, a voice actor has been hired to read Taylor’s words as pictures of her childhood are shown on the screen.
My name is Taylor Von Lue. I was born without hearing. It was a devastating blow to my father who only wanted the best for me as his daughter.
However, I was not one to let my lack of hearing deter me from doing what I loved to do and that was sports. Starting with T-ball, then soccer, then karate, then swimming and basketball.
But, I always loved combat sports. When I heard about an opportunity to come to Japan to learn professional wrestling, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
As we see Taylor standing on the sidewalk, the camera pans around to see that she’s standing in front of the Academy building. She takes in a deep breath and she walks up to it, opens the door and disappears inside.
Images of Mariana Marcedo’s childhood begin to display on the screen as her voice narrates the voiceover.
My name is Mariana Marcedo.
Growing up, it seemed I was never good enough for my mother who was constantly disappointed in the decisions I made.
My father was supportive when he could, but he often found himself having to side with my mother.
It all exploded for the final time when I told my parents that I wanted to be a wrestler. My mother was beside herself. Wanting me to become a doctor, a lawyer.
“Something respectable.” Her words.
I knew the only way to be who I wanted to be was to go out on my own.
I never expected myself to end up in Japan.
The camera pans around behind Mariana as she looks up at the dilapidated building, perhaps wondering what she’s gotten herself into as she steps up to the door and opens it, disappearing inside.
Pictures of the next trainee, Michel Flynn are shown as he voices over.
Hello, my name is Michel Flynn. I am twenty-one years old and I come from Montréal, Québec, Canada.
Like most young people from where I’m from, I grew up a huge fan of the Montréal Canadians. I actually had aspirations to play for them at one point, but missed out on being drafted when I was seventeen. I kept playing hockey for the next couple of years, hoping I would be able to work my up through the minors, but found one door after another shut in my face. it was very discouraging to me, but then I happened to bump into a few wrestlers in a gym I was working at. They were very impressed with my physique and athleticism and suggested I get into pro wrestling.
I love pro wrestling. In 2016 I attended my first wrestling show in Montréal and I was immediately hooked. Ever since those wrestler spoke with me, I have thought of nothing else but becoming a wrestler. Many people have told me that I won’t make it, much like in professional hockey, but nothing would make me prouder than to be able to get into the ring and prove to everyone who ever doubted me that I am a world class athlete and that someday I will be a world champion!
Michel stands in front of the wrestling school and then disappears inside.
Photos of a young man growing up are displayed as the voice of Ethan Hagan narrates.
My name is Ethan Hagen.
I wake up every morning regretting the choice I have made that have led me here. I’ve worked all my life and have barely anything to show for it. I’m not depressed or anything but I just wish I made more of myself, went to college, trained at an earlier age and actually tried to accomplish something great.
I was born in a small town in the UK and moved to the US at around the age 13, that means all the friends I made disappeared and it was a struggle for me to settle in my new school, I was the strange British kid and was often left alone.
Wrestling has always been my escape, watching people overcome the odds and win gave me great hope and something I wished to emulate. When I started a cleaning job at a wrestling school I’d start early and finish late just so I could watch them train. I managed to get a second job which allowed for me to actually join in with training one day a week.
I have never competed professionally in the ring and don’t know if I ever will. I guess some dreams remain in your head.
While the camera focuses on Ethan, he looks up at the training school, wide eyed. He takes a deep breath and reaches for the door, opening it and walking inside.
Images of Nikolina flash across the screen as she speaks.
See where it says my name is Nikolina Zhivkova? Yeah, ignore that, the name is Nicki. I only had to be Nikolina for my family and my dance instructors, and I’d prefer to keep it that way.
All my life, I’ve had to live like a split person. While my parents for the most part understood that I wasn’t the typical girl, they begged me to act that part for the sake of tradition and my elders. As a child I respected this, practiced a religion I don’t care for, wore dresses and danced, but now that I’ve come of age, I finally decided to end the charade.
So respectfully I left home this year and openly pursued different dreams, at the cost of being shunned. With my best friends I play bass in a band now, I kiss whoever I want, and since April I’ve been training to kick ass and become a professional wrestler.
I was taken to many matches as a child and wanted to be just like all the bad guys, tormenting those who stood for justice and the antiquated truth. That love never died and now I’m ready for it to become my reality. So after my trainer had a falling out with his original Japanese wrestling home NAPW over their own traditionalist nonsense, he contacted Dream to see if they would accept me for my excursion, which they did with open arms.
A shot of Nikolina standing on a sidewalk is shown. As it pans around to show the school, she steps up to the door, opens it and steps inside.
Ian Dream’s childhood float by the screen in video format as he speaks.
My name is Ian Dream. I’m the son of Hall of Fame wrestler Daniel Dream.
However, I’m not one to let myself be in the shadow of my father. I had started training and even had my first try-out match.
I always loved combat sports, just like my father. So when I heard about an opportunity to come to Japan, the same country he trained in, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
As we see the face of Ian Dream, as with all the others, he walks up to the door of the school and steps inside.
Pictures of Eric flash across the screen as he begins to speak.
My name is Eric White. Professional wrestling was never my dream job. I watched it as a kid.
Played some hockey in high school, wasn’t that great. Two years in the Army after high school. Then modeling, IT, painting, roofing. Can’t seem to hold a job down for long. Partying, that I have a decent committment to.
Girlfriend took a job in Tokyo, so we came together but now she’s pressuring me to find work. Steady work. She wants to get married. Settle down. Wants me to stop drinking so much. I got reaquainted with wrestling through this show Dream Wrestle and thought it was fun.
Saw an ad today clipped to a street sign that offers a chance to become a pro wrestler and next thing I know, I’m standing in front of this school.
She wants me to get a job. Well, I guess I’m gonna get a job.
He walks up to the door, opens it and steps inside.
FUTURE LOCATION OF DREAM WRESTLE ACADEMY
Inside the school, the seven students stand in a line in front of a very old wrestling ring. There have been some improvements to the school since it was purchased, but there is still plenty of dirt and things that need to be taken care of.
“So, you want to become pro wrestlers,” the words come out in very broken English. As the camera pans down the line of students once it reaches the end, Yoshio Okamoto is standing there looking at them.
“Everyone hold out your hand. Just one.”
One by one, each student extends their hand out.
Then YoYo begins to walk down the line and as he does, it’s obvious that he’s placing something in each student’s hand though we cannot yet see what that is.
When he finally gets to the end, Taylor is the last one there. He looks at her for a few long moments then continues to address the team.
“Today we will learn the lesson of pride. Having pride in one’s work is how you become the best. Having pride in doing the right thing is how we get along. Having pride in such a way that anything less than perfect is unacceptable. But, pride has its limitations. Too much pride can lead to resentment and anger. It will dissolve a team faster than almost anything and as of this moment, this is what we are. A team. In order to succeed in this business, you have to be part of a team and that team needs pride.”
He has started walking down the line and as he gets to the other end, Taylor is there. “Taylor-san, are you understanding what I’m saying?”
Taylor nods her head, but otherwise doesn’t respond.
“Ah, very good. Today we will learn teamwork, hard work and dedication to the sport,” he continues, as he walks back down the line.
Ian clears his throat nervously, “And what does that have to do with the paintbrushes in our hand?”
YoYo grins widely, “I am so very glad you have asked me this question, Ian-san. Because not only are we going to have pride in ourselves, but pride in our institution! And as you can see, this institution needs a bit of work so before we do any training, we must create a place we can be proud to train in, so everyone grab a ladder and let’s get to work!
DREAM WRESTLE MAIN OFFICE
Shiori is standing in front of a white board as she has the names of her wrestlers on magnetic strips as she seems to be trying to create a wrestling card for the first show.
At the top of the board is the name Hurricane RUKA and next to that is a big fat question mark.
In order for this to succeed, I’m going to need to put on the best possible card. If I botch this first one, there may not be a second.
She starts looking at the other names, mostly lower card wrestlers who she will eventually need to slowly move them up the card, but that will not happen overnight. She starts moving names up to the top, then shaking her head and moving it back down.
Scene changes as we hear the clacking of heels on the tile floor and then we actually see the heels as they step in rapid form.
Back to Shiori, who is very frustrated at the moment as she realizes she doesn’t have what she needs.
This isn’t going to work. I have one star and no one will buy that any of these others will give her a challenge.
More video of someone walking, though we can only see her feet, as her heels continue to clack against the tile.
Shiori walks over to her desk, she sits on the edge as she tries to think of something that she can do. Out loud, perhaps without even realizing it, she says, “I have nothing…”
“That’s not entirely true…” says a female voice as Shiori turns to look at who it is.
Her eyes go wide, then she asks, “How are you here?”
“Oh, you’ll love this story…” is the response.
DREAM WRESTLE STUDIO
SIX WEEKS LATER
The studio that Dream Wrestle was given might hold a thousand people. When the main event was announced for the return of the promotion, the tickets went quickly. The mystery opponent stipulation worked well. On the day of the first show, there were very few seats open by the time the first match started.
Scene shows, clips of each match as they occur in rather quick succession. While some of the faces were familiar, they weren’t actual name wrestlers so the crowd was soon starting to get restless by the time the ring announcer made the announcement that it was time for the main event.
My name is Madoka Kawada.
I went to school with Shiori Okamoto. I probably wouldn’t even be here on this Earth if it weren’t for her and her father. We met in grade school and as time went by we became best of friends.
However, during high school I met a boy. It’s a typical story with a typical outcome. Things got physical, I got pregnant, the boy abandoned me and my father threw me out.
It was lucky for me that my best friend Shiori was there for me. Her father took me in, cared for me until I was able to give birth and give my baby to a family who could care for him.
With nowhere else to go, Shiori spoke to her father on my behalf to find me a position in Dream Wrestle and so I helped with odd jobs here and there until the ring announcer for Dream decided to retire.
With no one around who could, the microphone was thrust in my hand and next thing I know I was inside the ring and stumbling through my lines even though they were written right on the card. As time went by, I got better until I didn’t need the information written down for me.
Here I am years later, loyal to my best friend, of course, even though Ketamura tried to lure me away with money, I would never do that to Shiori. Ever.
Madoka stands in the center of the ring as she announces.
“This match is one fall. The winner of this match will receive a shot at the Champion of Dreams on the next show.”
FLASHBACK TO A FEW WEEKS AGO
Shunsuke Ketamura is seated for dinner at one of his typical fancy restaurants. As the waiter brings his food and sets it in front of him and then refills his wine, a surprised Ketamura looks up as someone sets a purse down on his table.
As Shiori Okamoto sits across from him, a bemused expression crosses his face. “Have you interrupted my dinner to finally allow me to buy you out?”
“Not hardly, Ketamura,” she says as she reaches for his wine bottle and helps herself, filling an empty glass and taking a drink. “Actually, I’ve come to serve you notice. You signed my Dream Champion to a contract. What you don’t know is that when someone wins the Dream Championship, my father always ensured that they signed an exclusive Dream contract. The only talent that ever has to sign an agreement to stay until they’ve lost the championship. So, I’m going to give you 30 days to produce my champion, or my lawyer will draw up papers to sue for breach of contract.”
The grin slowly fades from Ketamura’s face. “You would regret crossing me, Shi–”
“You will address me formally,” she demands again. “As I said, send me back my champion or I will see you in court.”
“Fax me a copy of this contract and if it is indeed valid, then I will comply with your wishes,” he says nonchalantly, almost dismissively as he tries to wave her off.
Shiori Okamoto stands up and walks over to stand beside him, “I will not let you defeat me, Ketamura. The legacy my father built will live on.”
Without looking up at her, he responds, “The sooner you come to realize that just like your father, his legacy is also dead, the better it will be for you.”
A flash of anger crosses her face and she reaches down and dumps his plate of food right onto his lap. He leaps up to his feet as the hot food lands on his pants and he turns to her, his arm raises to strike her.
But she stands her ground.
And they have the attention of everyone in the restaurant.
He slowly lowers his hand and adjusts his suit as waiters rush over and begin to clean up the mess. He stares daggers at her, “You have no idea what you are doing, little girl.”
“I’m no little girl any longer. You would be wise to remember this.” And then she turns and leaves the restaurant.
Back at the studio, the ring announcer has just announced the stipulation for the match, as the winner gets to fight the champion.
“Introducing first, she is everyone’s favorite natural disaster! This is Hurricane Ruuuuuuuuuuuka!”
As her music hits, Ruka slides onto the stage and takes a bow. She then jogs down towards the ring, high fiving the fans as she goes by. She takes a lap around the ring before rolling inside and striking a pose.
This is my time, she thinks to herself as she looks out to the gathered crowd with a smile on her face. It’s finally my time to shine.
Backstage, Shiori is watching the monitor as she knows that the show is about to explode. Her phone suddenly rings and she looks down at it. Caller ID tells her it’s Shunsuke Ketamura. She knows exactly why he’s calling and she just grins. She reaches for the phone and brings it up as if she were going to answer.
After a moment’s hesitation, she puts the phone on silent and sets it back down on the table, then turns her attention back to the monitor as she cues the sound guy, “Go.”
The ring announcer waits for Ruka’s music to fade “And her opponent…”
Dramatic music hits as the crowd slowly gets to their feet.
We see Ruka still smiling in the ring, but as we change focus to the stage looking out to the ring, a figure steps in front of the camera with her back towards our view.
Another shot of Ruka almost immediately, the smile that was on her face fades quickly. Shots of the crowd see surprised faces turning to each other and then excitement as whoever is standing there is very familiar to this crowd.
The last image we see is only that of the lipstick painted smile of this mystery opponent as the words appear on the screen.
TO BE CONTINUED IN