STABLE WARS 2006: Stranger X versus Cannibal

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STABLE WARS 2006: Stranger X versus Cannibal

Post  Stan Daniels on Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:57 am

REPOST: FOR LARS

So I have a few Rewrites done by others that I helps out with by saveing them on my Geo Cities account. I thoght while we had some transition time, and others were posting some saved stuff I might as well too.

This one was for 2006 Stable Wars. I had Lars Masked and Stanger X took over. Looking back on this I still don't know how Stanger X lost..

NOTE: if Stranger X would have won this, Stables Wars would have went to Sudden Death as The Blood Brothers and The Network would have been tied. Personally I think that the judges were sick of Stable Wars and knew damn well a Sudden Death meant more work for them. Yeah, I'll keep tellingt myself that.

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Stable Wars 2006 Round 3
FINAL ROUND
Presidential Buried Alive Match

STRANGER X (BLOOD BROTHERS) V.S. CANNIBAL (THE NETWORK)
LOCATION: Warren G. Harding Memorial in Marion, OH.



Unknown Element Enters Battle

UNKNOWN MAN: No thank you.

The stewardess moved off to serve beverages to the rest of the passengers in first class, after the strange looking man in the first seat declined her offer. There were always more passengers for her to serve and she had been moving busily about since the flight began some time earlier. Still, she could not help but to look back at the strange man.

He was obviously different from the rest of first class, this man who seemed neither to be small, nor to be overly large. The truth was not in between however. It was simply a matter of perspective. Each person who looked upon the undistinguished features of the Caucasian passenger saw something unique. His hair was brown, or perhaps a dirty blond, though in certain lights it tinged a deeper, harder brown that bordered on black. His hazel eyes might have been argued as truly brown, were it not for the moments that they seemed green, and the people who would swear that they are in fact blue. His height might best have been described as somewhere between six foot two and six foot eight, with a weight ranging from two hundred pounds to three hundred and twenty pounds. He was the whitest of ghosts, and a tanned Mediterranean Adonis, and everything in between. In truth, the only certainty is that in the wake of his passing there was nobody who could be certain of who it was that was there.

STEWARDESS: Sir, the captain has turned on the seatbelt sign as we prepare for landing. Could you please put your seat forward, and make sure you remain seated until we land in Columbus?

UNKNOWN MAN: Of course.

He was an everyman, and yet no man at all.

For years he had appeared without warning, giving no signs as to his true purpose, and moving the course of apparently unrelated events in a direction that suited him. The events that triggered his reemergence were as ambiguous as his description, and they defied the logic of the finest minds, for no one had yet been able to find the common theme amongst them; save for one. He had an unnatural interest in the world of professional wrestling. He had emerged from nothing to shape organizations from Los Angeles, through Chicago, to Toronto and ultimately New York City. When repercussions arrived, he was simply gone, vanished back into the ether from which he seemed to appear. Once gone, the only certainty was that he would return when least looked for. Though forgotten he was always watching. Closely.

CAPTAIN'S VOICE: Attention ladies and gentlemen, this is the Captain speaking. We will be beginning our descent into Columbus now. The temperature on the ground is a brisk seven degrees centigrade, and by the time we have you at your gate it should be three fifteen local time. Thank you for flying with Hooters Airlines; the OFFICIAL airline of former President Bill Clinton.

He was everywhere and yet nowhere to be found.

As he had done so many times before, he appeared without anything to trigger the event. Something had caught his interest, and like a wraith he was once more there. Where the action was. What that interest was, and how his influence was meant to impact upon it, or it upon him is beyond the deduction of anyone who had crossed his path; and there had been many. Though there were none who had pierced the veil of his secrecy. For all the times he had been unmasked, never had he stood truly revealed. Was he perhaps Soul Reaper, as his first incarnation had suggested? Could he have been NightHawk, as his second emergence implied? Or Dusk, who disappeared like a candle in a hurricane when the Stranger arrived the third time? Was he a performer of truly sensational abilities? Might he be a financier, and the inspiration behind the upstart organization that appeared to bear his namesake? Was he a long forgotten relic of the original promotions, now long forgotten and seeking little more than elaborate revenge?

He was an enigma. Perhaps that was as it would remain. He appeared this time, and brought forth from the industry's halls of legends names that many thought long buried. The SUPERSTAR. The ORIGINAL Rat Bastard. The SON of VIGILANTE. It was no mere coincidence that first Diggzy Brown appeared in CWA to assail and belittle Lars Magnuson. Nor was it simple friendship that drew from retirement Acid Ed to fight at Diggzy's side in a war that only two could hardly hope to win. Two men against the Blood Brothers was a suicide mission. Even for such as those two. Yet they did it, with the type of courage and certainty that can only be born of belief. Belief that they have an ace in the hole. So they fought from an untenable position, right up until the PPV, where Ed knowingly signed a contract that would expose both he and Diggzy to the manipulations of the Blood Brothers. And oh, how they crowed about their cunning victory as Stable Wars approached. Ed feigned shock at the contract, and Diggzy fought kicking and screaming to the inevitable outcome.

Then, with Stable Wars hanging in the balance, it happened as it had so many times before. The Stranger returned, and at his side was the final piece of the puzzle. Son of Vig, the lost soul of the Band of Brothers returned without explanation, at the side of the mysterious Stranger. Suddenly Hairy was gone. Omega had been coerced into leaving the CWA. Ov Terror vanished. All that remained were three old men, suddenly outmaneuvered by a strategist they had never accounted for. And what plans he had for them....

STEWARDESS: Enjoy your stay in Columbus sir.

UNKNOWN MAN: Thank you.

He was a man of few words, but the arrival at his destination snapped him out of his introspection. True he had already achieved the first critical step in his stratagem; the usurping of the Blood Brothers place at Stable Wars. That was merely the distraction though, for what he truly sought required even more. It required the reborn Band of Brothers to win Stable Wars. This would mean a showdown with seven foot monster Cannibal of the Network. A victory over Cannibal would push the Band of Brothers from the back of the pack where the Blood Brothers had languished into a dead heat with the Network and force a showdown for the title. That was all that mattered. That would accomplish his purpose.

He strode to the counter, ever watchful for the presence of his opponent. They both knew that the final conflict would be at the Harding Memorial in Marion, Ohio, where regardless of which of them arrived first, an all out battle to the finish would ensue. A Buried Alive match, in which the two men would vie to entomb each other within the same sarcophagus that was used for Harding himself, although first one of them would have to remove the bones. The Stranger was prepared for this, as gruesome as it sounded. He had done worse in his time. There were few things that the Stranger was not prepared for. The appearance of a seven foot man, dressed as an attendant with the rental car company was one of them. His long, luxurious, flowing locks, and the way that he preened them erased any doubt that he was in fact Cannibal.

CANNIBAL: Good afternoon sir, do you have a reservation?

UNKNOWN MAN: Of course, its right there.

The Stranger leaned forward and pointed at the name half way down the reservations checklist. Cannibal was only half observing the list, as he seemed to be scanning the airport, as though he was looking for somebody else. The Stranger smiled. He had never understood why it was that masked wrestlers traveled adorned in their performance attire. They might as well have worn a sign advertising their identity and asking to get attacked without warning. Cannibal nodded, and picked a set of keys out one of the drawers.

CANNIBAL: There you go sir, now if you'll just sign these release forms? That's great. Where are you off to today?

UNKNOWN MAN: Marion.

CANNIBAL: Terrific. I hear there's......well not much to see there really. All the same, enjoy your trip.

UNKNOWN MAN: Thank you.

Cannibal paid almost no attention at all as the Stranger walked out of the airport terminal and headed straight towards the reserved cars. His attention was on the rest of the passengers that were milling about.

CANNIBAL: Cannibal, you cunning bastard! There's no way he can get a rental car now. You'll take him by surprise and lay him out long before he reaches Marion.......OH. CRAP!

Cannibal looked up and watched as the red taillights of the rental car roared out of the parking lot. The mysterious man in the driver's seat raised his hand and waved backwards at nobody in particular. Perhaps he knew that Cannibal was watching. Perhaps it was just a coincidence. Cannibal stood watching for a short time longer, and gradually the sinking feeling in his stomach made it abundantly clear that he was prepared to second-guess himself. Walking slowly back over to the list of rental reservations for the day, he looked over the list. When he had shown up there had only been two names left to pick up cars on that day. Cannibal looked at the name of the man who had just rented one of those cars.

CANNIBAL: Steve Tranger. Well that's weird, because all those forms got signed with just a simple X.

Cannibal paused and looked at those forms again. Then back at the name Steve Tranger. Ever so slowly he put four fingers down and covered the last four letters in Steve's first name. He glanced over the paper at the name now. Then he looked at the signatures on the paperwork. Then back at the name on the reservation list, and finally at the paperwork again.

CANNIBAL: ****! S.Tranger, with the signature of X! ****! ****! ****! Well there's no point in waiting around here any longer, is there?

Cannibal throws off the shirt he was wearing to try and blend in with the airport employees. The stunning yellow of the Budget Rent-a-Car polo's made his hair absolutely light up. Maybe a part time job there when the wrestling business slows down wasn't such a bad idea. As he prepared to head out with the last set of keys, one of the other employees shouted at him.

BUDGET EMPLOYEE: Hey! You can't leave while I'm on break!

CANNIBAL: I quit!

BUDGET EMPLOYEE: But my break's not over for four more minutes! Seriously, what kind of guy quits on his first day and doesn't even let his trainer finish his break?

CANNIBAL: ............

BUDGET EMPLOYEE: Is that really who you want to be when you grow up? THAT guy?

CANNIBAL: No.

Cannibal sounded almost embarrassed with himself. The seven foot monster of a physical specimen was being belittled by a teenage employee at a dead-end job. Still, he was right.

BUDGET EMPLOYEE: Four more minutes. Then you can quit!

CANNIBAL: Fine.

BUDGET EMPLOYEE: Sweet! I'm playing W[.]N Stable Wars 2006. I've almost figured out how to use Acid Ed's secret move; the totally original, unbelievably devastating, and completely unique ACID CUTTER.

CANNIBAL: Man, that move hurts SOOOOO bad.

The kid who bossed Cannibal around ignored the comment that was made under his new employee's breath. He didn't really care what Cannibal had to say, just as long as he didn't leave before the break was over. All the while the mysterious Stranger rolled along the road, headed for one of the least interesting shrines to a President ever. Of course the well informed phenom knew better than to believe the public hype that was thrown around casually about the deceased President. Contrary to modern teachings, and slang journalism, Warren Harding was completely innocent of the affair best known as Teapot Dome. Though scandalized by the great oil baron conspiracy that found its roots in his cabinet, the only true failure of Harding was his weakness for the flesh of a young intern. A failing that would haunt Presidents for decades to come.

No, the Stranger was not one of the great uninformed. One did not become a master of manipulation and strategy without seeing through the thin veil of the truth to the deeper facts beyond. Harding was the first President to openly favor the vote for women, and while it would not happen more many years to come, his position was groundbreaking. Until the untimely smear campaign run against him with the great unwashed as the backdrop, he maintained one of the highest approval ratings ever. Only a fool would approach his tomb without the proper respect and reverence for the life of faithful service he performed for his country. The Stranger was no such fool.

The drive to Marion was no simple matter, and the Stranger remained focused, and attentive at all times. He was headed due north up Highway 23. It did him little good in the end. Still only half way to the town, and his goal, his car was broadsided by a speeding LeBaron. In an act of self protection and defensive driving the Stranger pulled hard on his steering wheel, veering away from the impact even as it was occurring. The result of the incredible reaction time was perhaps the difference between death, and mere incapacity as the Stranger's car careened off the freeway and into a drainage ditch. The Stranger's head bounced off the steering wheel, opening a wound on his forehead and shaking him severely. He thought first of his motor capacity. The act of thinking assured him that his mind would survive. He wiggled his toes next, ensuring that his extremities remained responsive. Finally he checked his fingers. Once he was certain that everything was still functional, and that he could discern no punctures or grievous injuries, he focused his blurred vision on the LeBaron, which was already recovering from the impact. It had avoided much serious damage when the Stranger veered so quickly. Maybe that explained why the Stranger saw a hand reach out the window and wave at him as it sped off towards Marion, and a clear cut advantage in their showdown.

Apparently four minutes was not enough of a head start.

Pt. II : The Mark of The X


The Mark of The X

The Stranger watched for only a few moments, and then turned his attention to his rental car. It was a write-off; completely destroyed by the crash, and the subsequent impact with the ditch. He looked down the road, and knew that he was not going to get there in time to stop Cannibal from doing anything stupid with the bones of the President. He wasn't certain that there would have been any way to stop Cannibal from doing anything stupid anyways, but it had been worth a try. The man probably wasn't well enough informed about the President to understand that he owed the man some reverence. The Stranger also expected that Cannibal didn't know about the tomb's other, less famous, inhabitant. Which was going to play into the Stranger's hands.

UNKNOWN MAN: It would appear that the time for discretion is long since past.

Walking into the woods that were scattered along the highway, the mysterious Stranger found a densely populated area and vanished amidst the trees. A passerby who stopped to investigate the scene of an unpopulated accident would later remark that he found a pair of men's jeans, a long sleeve, casual black shirt and a pair of leather shoes in a forest nearby while searching for a possible victim of the crash.

None of that would matter to Cannibal of course, who was nearing the town of Marion, and leaving the accident scene at Delaware State Park far behind. It certainly wasn't that he was a bad person. Quite the opposite, Cannibal remained a pillar of the wrestling community, and on most occasions went out of his way to do the right thing. However, in the heat of the battle known as Stable Wars, and under enormous pressure from a stable that was not as morally sound as he was, Cannibal was prepared to cross a few barriers in order to secure victory. He had overtaken Stranger X's car while it was on a stretch of highway that had ample area alongside for a car to run harmless off the blacktop. He had also ensured that no traffic was either gaining on them, or coming at them when he made his move. That would have demonstrated a stunning lack of concern for the safety of non-combatants. It would also have been unnecessary. Cannibal was completely certain that he could accomplish his goals without crossing too many ethical barriers, including the desecration of the president's bones. Unlike the men competing at the other site, Cannibal was aware that they would not need to actually dig up the President. That was the plan anyways.

Cannibal pulled into town, and immediately headed straight for the memorial. He knew very little about the mysterious Stranger X, but he knew that the man had demonstrated incredible resources. He clearly had connections both within in the industry, and influential ones well beyond the borders of the industry's traditional channels. Somehow he had managed to secure the release of Son of Vig from his military duty at exactly the right time to see his plans come to fruition. Haley had pointed that out to Cannibal when she warned him of the danger he would face. Cannibal, as was often his way, tried to lighten the topic and downplay the threat of this mystery man, but Haley would have none of it. She insisted on sharing what little knowledge that she had with Cannibal. A man with resources was a man to be feared she insisted. She was right. Parking the car Cannibal exited and approached the memorial. It was late in the day, bordering on the onset of night, and the town was slowly emptying as its inhabitants wrapped up their business. That was for the best, since what the two men would be doing in town was unlikely to make them particularly welcome.

Cannibal looked around somewhat casually, trying to appear as though he was not out of place. At seven feet tall it was a ridiculous sight. There is no way for a man of his stature to be inconspicuous. Perhaps Demonica Vile was right when she suggested that she should accompany him for this confrontation. Not only was she a fierce fighter, but she seemed somewhat comfortable with the idea of hanging around a graveyard. Gothic lesbians are strange that way, or so Diggzy Brown had told Cannibal at the last Stable Wars event. Giving up on the concept of being stealthy almost as soon as he started, Cannibal proceeded to the memorial's entrance. The walkway leading up to it was surrounded by a finely manicured garden, complete with the perfect lawn and the site was truly inspiring. A ring of stone columns provided the outer boundary of the memorial itself, on the top of which sat rings that framed the columns. They stood a towering fifty feet high, and reminded Cannibal of the Parthenon and it's classical architecture. Inside the memorial it had a solid back wall, carved out of white Marble, much as the pillars that surrounded it were. A hip high steel fence ran the circumference of the exposed part of the inner courtyard, so that visitors could view the tombstones from afar, but not approach them. This would be a tremendous site for a match, though in typical Stable Wars fashion it would demonstrate incredible disrespect for the history and the culture of America. Looking around, Cannibal was consumed by the opportunities that he could see laid out before him. His mind was focused on the advantage he would hold if he could somehow get the drop on his opponent when Stranger X arrived and entered the memorial! The way that shadow and light played within the stonework created just the right about of disorientation for him to take advantage of.

STARNGER X: One warning.

Cannibal was startled, though he managed to contain his reaction to simply jumping backwards out of the shadowed inner circle of the tombs, and into the waning light of the late evening air. True he bumped his face ever so slightly, on a sign which stood beside the pillars he slipped through, as he stumbled backwards but that was hardly worth noticing. Inside the memorial, amidst the dancing shadows of the tombs something stirred, and stepped forward, following Cannibal out into the night.

CANNIBAL: What the hell are you talking about? Are you talking about that thing with the car because.....

STARNGER X: SILENCE!

Cannibal frowned and braced for the fight that he knew was only moments away.

CANNIBAL: Listen, I don't know who you're used to pushing around little man, but when I get pushed I tend to push back.

Stranger X moved, and Cannibal tensed. Instead of a fist though, he saw only a hand, holding a small mirror. Cannibal took the mirror and lifted it up. Glancing carefully away from the Stranger, he first checked his hair, almost mocking his opponent. Before he could hand the mirror back though, he saw the mark across his face. The brief and slight impact with the sign had left a long diagonal smear of dirt and grime running from above his left eye, over the bridge of his nose, and down below his right eye and onto his cheek. He looked at the Stranger, now realizing that his opponent had shed the normal attire he was wearing back at the airport and had dressed for wrestling. Or fighting as the situation might better be described. The Stranger wore a full bodysuit of black, accented in crimson, with some key distinguishing features. A padlock at the front of the collar of his tunic seemed to bond his mask to his chest, making it irremovable. The black mask on his face had only an opening for one eye, though the eye beneath appeared to be blind, as it was white with little coloration of any discernable nature in the iris itself. Where the other eye should be was only a crimson X. Cannibal began to understand his opponent's warning.

STARNGER X: One Warning. One Mark. That is my law. Nobody survives a second mark.

Cannibal stared at Stranger X silently taking it in. The Stranger spoke once more, as though to drive his point home.

STARNGER X: Nobody.

For a long moment, Cannibal stood there staring at the smaller man, almost as though he was testing his will. If that had been the case, neither man would have been found wanting, for each had come prepared to do whatever it took to achieve victory. Then, almost in an act of total defiance of the implied threat, Cannibal checked his hair again as he answered.

CANNIBAL: So that's your thing is it? That whole 'One Warning' thing? I mean's it okay for the regionals, but it won't get you to the nationals or anything.....

Cannibal never finished his mockery, as the mirror he had been holding in his hands while he checked his sensational hair shattered in the middle. Suddenly a stinging sensation raced through his face and his eyes went wide as he watched the Stranger withdraw his hand back between Cannibal's own hands, each now holding what remained of the shattered mirror. Cannibal could see that the Stranger's hand held a shard of the jagged mirror, and he could feel the slow steady trickle of his own blood as it took the paths of least resistance in its descent along his face. Cannibal didn't need to look into the remaining pieces of the mirror, he already knew what type of wound he had suffered. The freak that stood across from him had slashed his face, opening a cut and marking his face with a second mark, creating the impression of an X. He had crossed the boundary beyond the moment of the second warning, and there was no turning back. Which was fine.....so long as his hair remained intact.

Cannibal instantly let out a scream of primal rage and slashed at the smaller man with the two pieces of mirror in his hands. Stranger X leaned backwards to avoid the slashes and kicked out with his combat boot, catching Cannibal flush in the stomach and knocking the wind from his body. The pieces of mirror slipped from his hand as he doubled forwards, and Stranger X stepped in to drive a knee up into Cannibal's face. The resulting impact sent Cannibal in an arc backwards, landing on the ground outside the memorial. Stranger X simply turned around calmly, and walked back inside, vanishing into the early evening dusk that played games with their vision. Cannibal's eyes flared open, and he took three deep breaths as he fought to gain control of himself and of the pain that had already shot through his massive body. Haley had been right. The man was dangerous, and there was no denying that. But like Haley, the Stranger had underestimated the sheer power that this Samson-esque figure could bring to bear. So long as his hair remained intact. Surging to his feet he moved towards the Memorial, preparing to break through the pillars of marble and bring it down on the head of his opponent if that was what was required of him.

Cannibal stormed through the pillars, his eyes dashing wildly from left to right as he searched the shadows for the man who had already drawn blood. In the brief moment of calm, his eyes focused on the tomb of Harding, which remained undesecrated, and that of his wife as well. They were undisturbed, and yet something about them felt....wrong. Cannibal could not explain the feeling that swept over him, almost as though his entire nervous system had been hardwired into his sixth sense, though that was a ridiculous explanation. He had only that brief moment to think about it anyways, as before he could investigate any closer a boot landed firmly in the middle of his back and sent him heaving forwards towards the graves themselves. All that stopped Cannibal from being laid out atop them was the four foot high retaining fence designed to keep tourists from approaching the graves. The fence dug deep into his stomach, and forced the oxygen to race from his lungs as though it were fighting for its own survival. Cannibal struggled to turn over, his weight still resting firmly upon the steel. Cannibal's eyes searched the circle of pillars once more, certain that they would betray his attacker, who had thus far used shadows and mind games to maintain an advantage that he would lose when they faced each other head on. Cannibal was comforted by that thought.

The Network powerhouse pulled himself slowly to his feet and wandered forward a few steps, searching the dark corners and places where he suspected that the Stranger would attempt to attack him from next. He could have slipped behind the wall of marble behind the monument for cover, or he might have been simply hiding behind the pillars that were all about.

CANNIBAL: COWARD!

Despite the good nature of the perennial protagonist, the disconcerting mix of the Stranger's tactics and the tone of his threat had changed the typical demeanor of Cannibal. When confronted with situations that required him to leave behind the better aspects of his nature, he was certainly capable of complying. His original plan had been to arrive early and scout the Memorial, building up a strategy of how to use his surroundings to give him a distinct advantage when it came to the Buried Alive Match that would close out the challenge. However, before that, Cannibal figured that he and the Stranger would be able to set aside their differences and agree on how best to carry out their match without upsetting the resting place of the President or his wife. Then Cannibal realized that it was too late for any mutual attempts at common sense, and soon it would be too late for common sense itself. It remained for him to sort out the President's resting place, while the Stranger hid amongst the maze of pillars.

His jaw set in determination, Cannibal turned and walked to the gravestone, climbing carefully over the barrier fence, and walking as considerately as he could over the ivy that covered the inner courtyard's floor. He stopped in front of the gravestones that were laid out on a raised dais in the center of the tributary memorial. Behind the dais was a beautiful tree, which cast shadow over the resting place at the height of day. It was a Japanese maple, according to the signage.


With a great heave, Cannibal put his massive strength to work shifting the black granite gravestone of President Harding. The groan of effort that escaped his body seemed to be Herculean in proportion, and at first nothing happened. Then, ever so slowly, the tombstone began to shift, finally gaining momentum as Cannibal continued to exert his will over the slab. Cannibal showed no sign of stopping until the gravestone had been all but removed, and clattered to the ground causing a horrific ruckus, and echoing through the still night air. Cannibal stared down, not pleased with himself and feeling more than a little like a grave robber. What in the devil's name had Davros gotten him involved in now? He looked down at the ivy that he had taken great care not to crush underfoot as he walked.

CANNIBAL: So much for not destroying the inner courtyard.

Cannibal looked into the grave, where the special coffin lay perfectly preserved, as though it had weathered all the decades since its internment without effect. With a frown of personal disgust with what was required of him, Cannibal set about doing it anyways. Even as he moved though, his eyes searched the shadows all around, looking for another sign of the Stranger. Something was wrong, that he had gone almost four minutes now since the last attack. He had not followed up on his initial success, and had in fact abandoned that tactic as quickly as he had engaged it. Cannibal's mind wanted desperately to search the facts for an explanation, but his wisdom knew better. To be distracted, no matter the worth of the results, was to court disaster. No, he remained focused on pulling the coffin from the tomb. One single, last necessary evil to put an end to the farce that he had been forced into.

VOICE: Sir? Sir please put that down.

Cannibal froze as he turned ever so slowly to spy the young, rookie officer who had drawn his gun and had it pointed directly at him. Cannibal was frozen in place.

ROOKIE COP: Sir, I said put that down, and please back out of the grave! NOW SIR!

Pt. III : The Haunting


The Haunting

The situation moved rapidly beyond a controllable misunderstanding, and Cannibal knew that he was up the creek. The rookie took a single look at the size of his perpetrator and determined immediately that he would be wise to call for immediate back-up. Reaching for the short-range radio that was strapped to his shoulder; he never saw the blur that moved out of the shadow to his left.

Watching the rookie make things more difficult for his opponent was a perfectly acceptable strategy, so far as the Stranger was concerned. The problem was that once he called for back-up, the area would be under constant surveillance afterwards, and Cannibal would likely be in jail. That meant that the Stranger would be unable to defeat Cannibal and secure the points that his plan required. A draw served his interest not at all. So, despite the fact that Cannibal had not yet completed his tasks, the Stranger moved once more, striking like lightning. His fist gripped the rookie's gun, even as his left hand yanked the cord from the radio on the officer's shoulder. The rookie started to twitch his finger, and close it on the trigger, but through a perfectly timed application of pressure the Stranger had cocked the gun back, ejecting the cartridge that was in the chamber. The proper application of pressure kept the chamber locked open, preventing it from reloading, and thus stopping the officer from firing. Stranger X stepped in under the officer's gun hand, and then spun his arm around behind his back, disarming him all in one fluid motion.

STRANGER X: One warning.

Even the law was not above the warnings of the Stranger. He struck the officer with such force that it knocked the young man to the ground unconscious. Such was the force of the blow that bruising, in a straight line from the left temple to the right cheek, appeared immediately. Without another thought to the young officer, the Stranger turned the gun on Cannibal and motioned for him to continue.

STRANGER X: Finish. Then we will begin.

Cannibal glared at the Stranger, but despite his massive strength he was not invulnerable. Few men were. He put his back into moving the coffin once more, though that did not keep him silent. Nothing ever seemed to do that.

CANNIBAL: You could at least help.

STRANGER X: No.

CANNIBAL: I didn't think so. You hardly appear the type.

The Stranger answered with silence. That was his way. Explaining the cunning of his strategy might tip off his opponent as to what else might be in store, and that was simply unacceptable. There was no need to Cannibal to know that the Stranger had planned their encounter, even the arrival of the off-duty officer playing the role of night watchman, almost exactly as it had occurred thus far. Part of that strategy included Cannibal physically exerting himself long before the true fight began. The Stranger watched impassively as Cannibal moved the coffin carefully out of the grave and slid it across the now crushed ivy on the ground. He huffed one last time and moved it into a protected position behind the Japanese maple that grew in the courtyard.

CANNIBAL: There.

Cannibal waited, half expecting the man underneath the mask to shoot him in anonymity, but that did not happen. Instead the mystery man pulled the clip from the gun, and dropped the gun onto the concrete around him. A moment later and he shattered the gun, driving the heel of his combat boots straight through the barrel. Then he casually tossed the clip into the open grave. It could be buried with whichever one of them fell. Cannibal watched it all happen, maintaining a controlled expression and trying to determine what his opponent's strategy was going to be. It proved more difficult than it should have, and Cannibal quickly gave up trying. He had regained his breath after the exertion had left him drained, and that was what truly mattered. The Stranger saw this as well, and motioned for Cannibal to advance on him, that their final showdown might begin. Cannibal smiled.

CANNIBAL: At last.

Cannibal fought back the urge to charge wildly across the courtyard, leap over the grave, and the fence and engage the Stranger immediately. It was not a bad idea, but there was a better one. He moved slowly, and stalked around the courtyard towards his opponent, his eyes always remained focused on the prize. The Stranger simply awaited him. After only six seconds they stood face to face, once more taking the measure of each other. Once more it was Cannibal who moved first. This time though, the advantage was his.

Cannibal's elbow and forearm shot up, and caught Stranger X in the chin. It staggered him, the sheer force of the blow, and the emotion that was released with it. He half turned away from Cannibal, and took two steps, but then planted and retaliated with a blistering punch that he followed through with his elbow. He clipped the Network enforcer with the former, and caught him flush with the latter. Cannibal almost moved, before he recovered and smiled at Stranger X. His left hand slowly dragged over his face, wiping the blood from it, while his eyes promised a thousand pains to this upstart who had appeared from nowhere to challenge him.

CANNIBAL: You'll have to do better than that mystery man.

True to his nature, the Stranger remained silent, but took Cannibal's words to heart. He followed the elbow with a knee that he drove into the iron vice known as Cannibal's abs, and then followed it with an overhand smash from his thick, hardened gauntlet when Cannibal doubled over. Rather than dropping to a knee, Cannibal spit out some blood, and then snapped back into a completely vertical position and glared down at the Stranger.

CANNIBAL: More. You'll need much more.

The next swing the Stranger took was caught in the open palm of the towering man who opposed him. Rapidly Cannibal closed his hand over the Stranger's fist and then yanked him forwards, off his balance, and heaved him up into the air. The press was as perfect as any that perhaps had ever been. Cannibal was no longer in a mood to toy with the mystery man, and immediately walked out from under the press, allowing the Stranger to drop like a sack of potatoes, slamming into the ground only a foot from the steel fence which had actually been his target. The Stranger shook out the pain, but Cannibal did not allow him to recover, opting instead to drop a knee into the small of the man's back. No matter how large or how small, every opponent would eventually succumb in a match where there back was injured. Those are the simple facts that were learned by a man who achieved so much in his career that his peers voted him into the Hall of Fame. Cannibal of course was more concerned with his future than with reflecting on awards, and so he dragged the Stranger to his feet and whipped him into one of the marble pillars that encircled the inner cloister. The impact of flesh on marble had a slightly sickening sound to it, and Cannibal smiled as the Stranger staggered forwards in an almost drunken manner. One quick scoop and Cannibal dropped the Stranger with a sit-down spinebuster that threatened to drive both men through the concrete base of the memorial.

CANNIBAL: Where is all the bravado now Stranger?

He knew of course that his opponent was in no condition to answer. Inside a ring that sequence of moves would have taken the fight out of almost anyone that Cannibal had ever faced. There, amidst ropes of stone and turnbuckles of steel it was a foregone conclusion that the mystery man was battered beyond response. Cannibal reached down and grabbed Stranger X around the lock that hung at his neck, using it as a handle to pull the man along the ground to the steel gate. Once there, he lifted his opponent up once more, and when the man stood wavering against the fence, kicked him square in the chest, which caused him to topple violently over the fence, and spun him around to land on his neck.

CANNIBAL: This is all over now you know. The match. Stable Wars. Your career.

The towering giant reached down and pulled the Stranger to his knees by his mask. Rather than pulling him right to his feet, Cannibal opted instead to just drive his knee directly into the Stranger's face. Four times. When he let go, his opponent appeared all but vanquished as he tumbled backwards once more, this time lying motionless on the edge of the dais. Reaching down, Cannibal wrapped his hand around his opponent's throat and lifted him into the air. There he held the limp form of Stranger X over the grave of the President and fought off the urge to smile. He had not yet achieved victory, regardless of what he thought. The chokeslam that followed shook the very foundation of the dais, and threatened to crack the base of the sepulcher. Stranger X moved no longer, and Cannibal could not fight the urge to stare down at him a moment longer. He seemed.....different from the powerful force he had been at the last Stable Wars event. Cannibal knew that he should be straining his muscles to lift the granite slab into place and seal the man in, thus securing victory, but he could not force himself to look away from the man laying in the bottom of the grave.

CANNIBAL: He seemed.......stronger before. More....dangerous.

Cannibal snapped his mind back to the present and moved to lift the granite back into place. It was incredibly heavy, but he had a strategy. He would turn it end over end, which would bring it to rest against the lip of the grave. Then he need only lift it higher on the other end and he could slide it forward and win the match. The muscles in his neck strained, and perhaps that is why he didn't sense it at first. As the sweat dripped from him, he noted a slight change in the air, almost as though the wind had dropped a few degrees, and the chill mixed with the sweat of his exertion threatened to touch his very core. It as akin to an arctic winter for a brief moment, after which Cannibal could physically feel the hair on the back of his neck standing on end. The chill that ran down Cannibal's spine stopped him in mid progress, just as the black granite gravestone's first end came to rest against the lip of the grave. Standing slowly, Cannibal turned, and noticed that the previously overcast night had given way to the light of the moon. The chill intensified.

Cannibal looked around and froze as he thought he saw somebody watching him from the memorial steps. Cannibal glanced back, but nothing was there. Then his eyes darted quickly left, and he swore he had just seen something slip behind one of the pillars. He looked quickly to the Stranger, who lay immobile in the grave. When he lifted his eyes once more, Cannibal found himself standing face to face with a middle aged man, though he had heard no sign of anyone approaching.

CANNIBAL: JESUS!

The shout slipped through his lips and he recoiled from sheer shock, being completely startled by the person's presence. He stepped backwards even as he shouted, and almost tripped amidst the ivy that now seemed to cling all about his feet. A glance down allowed him to ensure that he did not stumble, but when he looked up, a lump rose in his throat. Nobody was there. The chill that once traveled only along his spine now reached into his very soul. The President's Memorial was haunted! Cannibal was certain of it. Nothing else could explain it. He glanced again at the Stranger, almost certain that it had been his doing. When he saw that the Stranger still lay, hardly moving yet, at the bottom of the grave, that certainty vanished. Almost fearful to lift his eyes again, Cannibal reached down and picked up a rock from amidst the ivy. He looked up, though this time the image was not there. Turning slowly, he checked all about. Nothing. Had it been all in his mind? Perhaps the Stranger was playing with him again? A light show! Maybe a light show, set to start on a timer!

Cannibal toyed with wild ideas, clinging to each for only long enough to discredit it. He knew in his heart that no simple answer would explain.....he froze. Looking once again to the south, towards the steps to the Memorial he could see a figure walking away, down the steps. Cannibal took a step, but never removed his eyes from the figure, which seemed almost to shimmer like a mirage. He hurled the rock that was in his hand, and though it fell short of its intended mark, it clattered along the ground right up to....and through the feet of the figure. Perhaps not directly through the feet. Maybe Cannibal had only perceived that way because of the shadows of night and the light of the risen moon. Perhaps they played tricks on his mind, and the rock had tumbled harmlessly under the man's stride as he departed.

Cannibal was almost convinced of this when the figure turned, and the man they refer to as The Awesome swallowed his heart. There, looking back at him from under the rays of the moon, his face drawn and hollow, his color bleached, stood Dr. Flavergoose. If he had a moment longer, perhaps the slightest of seconds to look upon his long lost friend, he would have cried. Shamelessly, as a man who has lost his mentor. Time, of course, never allowed him that option, and the fates pulled the curtains made of cloud over the moon at that precise moment. The area all around the Memorial was cast into shadow and darkness, and the figure faded into that darkness. It took moments for Cannibal's eyes to adjust, and when he did the chill in his spine was gone. So too was any sign of the apparition he had seen.

CANNIBAL: I am SO....out.....of.....here!

Pt.IIII : The Road to Sudden Death

The Road to Sudden Death

He turned to heave the grave shut and end the confrontation with Stranger X, but found instead that the grave sat empty. No body lay in it. Spinning Cannibal was stunned once more to find somebody standing inches behind him without warning. This visage though was not the deathly specter that had stunned him before; this was Stranger X. An elbow slammed into Cannibal, who was still reeling mentally from the surreal moments that had just transpired. Then another elbow hit his solar plexus and doubled him over. A knee crashed into his jaw, but before it could send him flying a fist caught the side of his head and spun him as well. The blows rained down on him, faster and harder than they had previously, and Cannibal knew that something was different. The Stranger who had been as a rag doll before him was gone, replaced by something more akin to a force of nature. Knees and elbows and fists struck him from all angles, allowing him no moments to recover, nor any time to catch his bearings. The attack had him disoriented, and the cryptic moment preceding it had him emotionally spinning. All that remained was his massive physical advantage, and that too was being taken from him.

Blood flowed from his face, and he breathed through his mouth because his lungs were desperate from oxygen. Suddenly he felt an arm wrap around his head, and he was flung forwards, and down. Down into the granite that would eventually cover the loser he fell, his head smashing into it and opening from ear to ear. His hair was matted, and then he felt a sharp pain. Then another. And another. He rolled over, and dropped to his knees as he did. A quick glance, through blood and sweat, and he realized that he was on his knees in President Harding's grave. He would have scrambled out of it much faster had something lying on the concrete base not caught his attention first. There were pieces of......blood covered hair!

CANNIBAL: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

At the sight of his own hair, torn from his head by the heartless, methodical assailant he knew only as Stranger X, the fight seemed almost to leave the giant man. The shock to his system was complete as he struggled to his feet. He looked wildly about for his opponent, eyes crazed and bloodshot from his injuries. He saw nothing, though a shadow moved over the courtyard rather rapidly. Not a shadow his mind screamed at him. NOT A SHADOW! He looked up and saw a man, flying through the air, spread wide for impact. While he had rolled about, the Stranger had found a way to scale the memorial, and had flung himself from its uppermost tier.

In the wrestling world, the greats had fought and battled from some towering heights. Twenty foot steel cages and thirty foot Hell in the Cell matches were commonplace amongst the most daring, and those with the highest pain thresholds. Fifty feet in the air was another issue entirely.

Cannibal had no time to react as the sailing figure hit its mark perfectly, slamming into him like a runaway locomotive. The two men crashed backwards into the grave, though Stranger X was ricocheted clear of the grave by the sheer impact and momentum he carried. Then everything went black for both men.

VOICE: X! X wake up!

VOICE 2: Look at them. Jesus, this place looks like a war was fought here.

VOICE 3: I'll take a look at him and make sure he's alright. Then I'll make sure Cannibal's gonna make it too.

VOICE: Why?

X managed to open his eyes, though the pain that racked his body was intense. Perhaps the worst he had ever endured. He saw Son of Vig leaning down over him, and he was working on the lock at his neck. X heard the lock's release mechanism give, and as he felt the lock being slid out of position, he reached down and grabbed SoV's hand. It startled him, but he did not recoil. Field duty in the war had brought him too much experience for that.

STRANGER X: No. Leave me.

SON of VIG: I will not! You could be bleeding internally. You could still die! Ed! Diggzy! I'm going to need help here!

STRANGER X: I will be fine. I will.....survive.

He started to sit up, but Son of Vig moved to push him back down. His eyes opened wide when he realized that he couldn't and the Stranger simply removed the hand that was in his way, as casually as one might move a child from their path.

ACID ED: X? You okay?

DIGGZY BROWN: You look like ****!

STANGER X: Tend to Cannibal. I require no attention.

Son of Vig was already looking at Cannibal, and he gives the thumbs up, even as Ed and Diggzy glance over.

SON of VIG: He's alright. He lost some blood, and he's going to have the mother of all concussions, but he's going to be fine.

STRANGER X: Then we finish this.

He stood and waved the others off. Despite their efforts to assist him, he refused the help. He explained as he worked that Cannibal had fought valiantly, and deserved to be bested not through conspiracy, but through combat. As he had been. For them to so much as help lift the granite headstone would sully that, and dishonor the match. Ed laughed, but it was a hollow, empty laugh. Somewhere inside of him, he felt a ringing sense of recognition at those words. As though he had heard them somewhere before. As the granite slid into place, securing the victory for the Stranger, Ed whispered with Diggzy. The SUPERSTAR nodded and whispered back to Ed. They were caught up completely in their own conversation when Davros walked up the steps to judge the outcome of the match.

He glanced at Diggzy, Ed and Son of Vig, but all three men held up their hands to indicate that they had not been involved. Davros glanced next at the Stranger, who seemed somehow....different than when he competed at the last event. Of course at the last event he had been unmasked as Lars Magnuson. Then again, he had once been unmasked as Soul Reaper. Remy had once worn the uniform. As had Myth. So many men had masqueraded as the Stranger that Davros had never quite figured out if a true Stranger even really existed.

It didn't matter.

DAVROS: Harding's bones?

The Stranger pointed, rather than answering. Davros looked over to see the coffin lying under the Japanese maple, and nodded.

DAVROS: I take it Cannibal is inside the grave?

STRANGER X: He is.

Davros looked around thoughtfully, and was nothing short of impressed that they had managed to fight to the finish, follow his instructions and not create a national incident while doing it. The Memorial would even look as good as new by morning. Assuming that the clean-up crew he had hired to take care of it showed up on time. They were supposed to have arrived before Davros.

DAVROS: Has anyone else been here yet?

He glanced at the unconscious form of the policeman who had been pulling night security.

DAVROS: Other than him I mean.

The Stranger shook his head.

STRANGER X: Nobody.

DAVROS: Huh. I guess I'm on clean-up duty then. You'd better get out of here.

SON of VIG: Already two steps ahead of you!

ACID ED:Get set for Sudden Death Davros!

Davros waved the comments away, and watched as the men walked down the steps and out across the fog covered lawn. They were out of sight quickly, though their voices carried back on the crisp, clean night air.

DAVROS: Damn....

He looked around the Memorial, cast seemingly in the sole patch of moonlight that escaped from the clouds. There was something very unnatural about the place.

DAVROS: ...this place is creepy!

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Stan Daniels

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