DarK_RaideR Posted July 24, 2018 Author Share Posted July 24, 2018 <p></p><div style="text-align:center;"><img alt="sFlfWPy.jpg" data-src="https://i.imgur.com/sFlfWPy.jpg" src="<___base_url___>/applications/core/interface/js/spacer.png" /><img alt="3nSIDdW.jpg" data-src="https://i.imgur.com/3nSIDdW.jpg" src="<___base_url___>/applications/core/interface/js/spacer.png" /></div><p></p><p></p><p> This time Maeda didn't have to knock. I invited him for our promised chat as soon as the final show of the Grand Prix was over.</p><p> </p><p> <em>"You seem to be in a good mood, Maeda-san"</em> I pointed out, before offering him a seat and something to drink.</p><p> </p><p> <em>"Putting together the Grand Prix is no small feat, my friend"</em> he said with a smile of obvious satisfaction. <em>"You've pulled it off nicely, had us all guessing till the end. I was pretty sure myself that Miura would make it to the final. He could use the exposure, after all."</em></p><p> </p><p> <em>"Miura hasn't even hit his peak yet"</em> I bit back with a smile of my own. Despite our friendly tone, we were both aware of what was really being communicated here. <em>"And besides, Yoshizawa left him to find his own footing as a singles competitor. That gave me ample excuse to make him come close, but not all the way. He'll have his chance eventually. Couldn't risk having our Grand Prix winner signed by a bigger company like we lost Findlay."</em></p><p> </p><p> Maeda's expression got a little softer. Despite losing the smile, that was actually a good thing. <em>"You played it safe then. And what about the Tag Team contenders?"</em></p><p> </p><p> <em>"Loyalty should be rewarded. It's all we have in times like these, with everyone hitting us from all sides. Besides, now I've also secured the main event for Test of Champions. Funakoshi and Torii won't be leaving us for another company."</em></p><p> </p><p> Maeda nodded. It was all good, but he wasn't hearing what he wanted to hear. <em>"And who will face Team Taku at Test of Champions then?"</em> he asked again, this time blunt.</p><p> </p><p> <em>"I have a few ideas"</em> I said to buy myself some time. <em>"The obvious choice is to replace Findlay with Brody. American Demolition Mk. II or something. Smith is still in it so the TagMania win doesn't feel like it was in vain; they have a right to fight for the titles, even if tarnished. They're both big gaijin. My only concern is Brody was an utter disappointment in the Grand Prix."</em></p><p> </p><p> <em>"That he was"</em> said Maeda with a serious tone. <em>"Perhaps you shouldn't have had him finish with more points than Matsuzawa."</em></p><p> </p><p> There he was. That's where he was getting to all along.</p><p> </p><p> <em>"Brody is a gaijin monster heel, Maeda-san"</em> I said, trying to sound more confident than angry or defensive. <em>"A terrible one, but a monster nonetheless. He couldn't finish last and neither could Matsushita, even if they both sucked. It would destroy their credibility forever and there's not much else they could do to hope for a repackage. Same thing with the A Block. Suzuki is good, but he's fresh here; he finished low, but came away with a title shot. As for Okimasa, I'll agree he did better than his point total would suggest, but he was stuck in there with the stars and the veterans."</em></p><p> </p><p> <em>"And what are the other options besides American Demolition Mk II?"</em> the sly fox turned things around again. There was a certain irony to the tone he used when uttering that team's name. It probably felt like a cheap knock-off to his eyes, but there was only so much I could do in our position. <em>"Shiga and Miyake have great chemistry, but I can't justify them getting a title shot out of nowhere. Besides, Miyake is still a young lion, as soon as people see the matchup they'll know he' the one who'll take the pin. No, that's a plan for long term development, use Shiga to teach Miyake."</em></p><p> </p><p> Finally, ideas were starting to flood my mind. <em>"Another option is to put Matsuzawa or Okimasa there. Use the tour to try out combinations that might work, besides the ones they teamed with for TagMania. Make up for keeping them down in the Grand Prix. If not..."</em> I turned to face him in the eye <em>"I really want to deviate as little as possible from the original plan, Maeda-san. American Demolition won TagMania and American Demolition should be the ones to wrestle for the title, even if they do so with a different lineup. If Brody can't be trusted, Animal Harker will have to step up."</em></p><p> </p><p> <em>"Why not just bring the Berzerkers back for the match?"</em> he asked me, as if he didn't even register my suggestions. <em>"They're better workers and more popular in Japan."</em></p><p> </p><p> I knew it was a trap.</p><p> </p><p> <em>"Because the Berzerkers made it to the finals and lost to American Demolition"</em> I responded confidently. <em>"Hand them the shot and it's like you're rewarding them for failure. Any credibility Smith and American Demolition got from winning the tournament disappears."</em></p><p> </p><p> <em>"Very well"</em> he conceded. <em>"But this is a great opportunity to scout the international market, mind you. Lot of good talent to be brought in.</em></p><p> </p><p> I had won. I knew I had. <em>"You mean like the Ring Generals I brought in for TagMania? I am well aware, my friend. You of all people know best, there's a method to my madness. We've earned ourselves a first crop of loyal young lions and thanks to the tournament, we know Okimasa and Matsuzawa can be the midcard backbone to fill the gap between the rookies and main eventers. Now it's time to deal with the gaijin; rid ourselves of dead weight like Brody and bring in some fresh faces. I promise you this, Test of Champions will be truly worthy to its name."</em></p> Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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