The ocean spray whipped against Little Washu’s face, sending her long pink hair fluttering in the wind as she tried to pay more attention to the large aircraft carrier in the distance than the sound of rattling beer cans behind her. She wasn’t used to being a passenger in any kind of vehicle, much less a small two-person speedboat. But looking over at the psychotic grin of the denim-jeans-clad speedboat driver didn’t exactly fill her with confidence. She would have given anything to reach the carrier in the distance via one of her little floating devices instead, but she felt like if the wrestlers she would be entrusting this new experiment in would have to get to the ‘arena’ this way, she might as well try it.
“So what’s this wrestling federation you’re talking about?” the driver, Revy, said while tossing back another cold one. “I mean, wrestling isn’t exactly my thing. Anything where I have to go in there without my guns isn’t something I’m comfortable with. But it might be fun to watch. Especially since I’m gonna be making all these trips to the mainland.”
Little Washu perked up a bit, thinking about the success of the epic ‘experiment’ that was the EBW. “It started out as an experiment. A little late-night ‘what if’ session between myself and a friend of mine, Sasami. It ended up with me constructing a dimensional generator and drawing in women from different worlds and existences, stripping them of all their supernatural powers, and seeing just how their personalities would clash. It was Extreme Bishoujo Wrestling, and for over 30 episodes it was a constant reminder of what professional wrestling used to be.”
Washu smiled, thinking back on several years ago, when she first fired up her Dimensional Generator. “I met so many fascinating people back then when I booked that show. Ayumu “Osaka” Kasuga, a little spacey and simple girl who ended up showing the world what true heart was... Asuka Langley Soryu, a bitter pilot whose pain and enmity was her own undoing... Sailor Saturn, the young and pure-hearted leader of the Outer Senshi whose fall from grace nearly broke her soul... Lain Iwakura, the goddess of the “wired” who won a mid-season competition to become a superstar... the Devil Lady, a former supermodel turned hulking, behemoth beast struggling with her own humanity... and I was even able to rediscover a relationship with my own daughter, Ryoko Hakubi, a salty space p...”
Washu quickly hushed up, remembering Revy’s bio and thinking it might be better not to mention that Ryoko was a pirate. It was a magnificent time, Washu spending her time setting up matches and allowing these women to weave multi-threaded, intricate stories under the guise of a wrestling federation that encouraged the kind of violence that the wrestling world had stopped using since. Of course, as Washu had access to all kinds of science, patching up the girls was no problem, and allowed them to get more “hardcore” than one might expect.
“But the thing about EBW,” Washu continued as she grabbed one of Revy’s beers and took a long sip, “was that I still had several ideas that I didn’t get to use. Singulary, for one, where all the title holders would eventually merge into one title to see who the true champion was. A show where stipulations were dictated by the fans like Taboo Tuesday. And different titles based on different physical characteristics. So I started up an abbreviated experiment called Anime Queens Pro Wrestling.”
Revy obviously wasn’t happy that Washu was chugging one of her own beers, but as they got closer to the aircraft carrier in the distance, she didn’t have a whole lot of time to argue, so she just allowed Washu to continue talking.
“AQPW was more of a clearing house for ideas than anything. But through it the world got to see the story of Milfeulle Sakuraba, a sweetheart of a girl whose good luck and determination allowed her to defeat a golden galactic goddess by the name of Sailor Galaxia, and eventually have a final epic showdown with Chiri Kitsu, an obsessive-compulsive ultra-violent and then-undefeated maniac. It wasn’t as epic as EBW, but it was good for what it was. One EBW vs. AQPW crossover later, I sent everyone home and shut down the dimensional generator for a few years. I almost forgot about it, to tell the truth. But recently I think I’ve found the perfect mix of personalities and a new outlook on this medium that might allow me to do several more seasons. That is... if I can find the free time.”
Revy parked the speedboat next to the behemoth aircraft carrier as several workmen lowered a rope ladder, allowing Washu to climb onto the titanic structure. As an afterthought, Washu finished her beer and reached into her pocket, pulling out a $100 bill and tossing it to Revy with the empty can.
“Beer money.” Washu said with an adorable smirk, holding up the six-pack she took while Revy wasn’t looking. Revy cursed under her breath, half-considering licking a few shots at the tiny genius before peeling out back into the ocean, towards the mainland in the distance. Washu glanced around the aircraft carrier, seemingly upset at seeing that all of the workmen were armed with automatic rifles, and that there were still a couple of stealth bombers and a few missile-armed helicopters on deck. This isn’t a military operation, Washu thought. This is a wrestling federation.
In a stark contrast to all the weaponry and machinery stood a woman whose skin and hair were a pure, pale shock white. The cryptic expression on her face somehow complimented the pale white slacks, button-up shirt, suspenders and tie she chose for this meeting. The only color on her entire outfit came from the red-and-black Nintendo “POW Block” tie tack she wore.
She’s as much of a fashion plate as she is a shrewd businesswoman, Washu thought as she remembered reading this woman’s bio. And the fact that she was bat-crap crazy would only help add to the intrigue. At least this woman was used to being in charge...
“What’s with all the hardware, Koko?” Washu asked.
The woman, Koko Hekmatyar, seemed a hair insulted at the question, her creepy-yet-cheerful smile fading to a serious expression. “We’re drifting in the middle of the China Sea, a region currently disputed between China and Japan. War could break out at any time. This is purely for defensive purposes, I assure you. And just because I’m taking time out from my own operations to head up this show doesn’t mean I’m completely putting my own personal business on hold.”
Washu sighed... she knew and trusted Ayeka to run EBW, and pose a McMahon-like antagonist to her daughter Ryoko’s Austin-like rebellion. And Relena Peacecraft was a politician with true people skills, a fair choice to run AQPW. But with a borderline-psychotic arms dealer with a God complex running her new federation, she was going to have to keep a closer eye on things.
Washu sighed, shrugging it off as she regarded Koko. “Fair enough... let’s hammer out the particulars before the wrestlers show up tomorrow, alright? And maybe have something to eat? I’m starving.” Washu held up the six-pack, to which Koko’s creepy and cheerful smile returned, the pale white arms dealer clasping her hands together cheerfully.
“I can’t wait to show you my operation,” Koko said proudly, leading Washu below deck. She led Washu past several different dorm-like rooms, all rather simple but rather comfortable. Someone would have a comfortable time living here for a few months.
“As you can see, I took your suggestion of keeping the roster small to heart”, Koko stated. “Other than the employee quarters, there are sixteen rooms for wrestlers. Ten rooms for singles wrestlers, four rooms for two tag teams, and two more that serve as kind of flex-spots either for two singles wresters or a third tag team. If someone new wants to join, someone’s got to leave. EBW had over fifty wrestlers before everything was said and done, didn’t it?”
Washu nodded, appreciating the cleanliness and comfort of the rooms. “Yes, but EBW was 27 episodes with a six-episode mid-season side-story. AQPW, on the other hand, was only 6 episodes. This time around, I’m splitting the difference. I want you to produce 13 episodes, with “PPV” events on episodes 1, 7, and 13, and special super-show events on episodes 4 and 10. And nobody who held a title in EBW or AQPW is allowed to come back. In fact, I want to see a completely new roster. There are way too many women out there who deserve a chance at glory, so many that I’m pretty sure we’ll never get to them all, no matter how many ‘experiments’ I author.” Washu put up her fingers in “air quotes” when speaking about Pay-Per-Views, because thanks to the WWE network, there really wasn’t any more pay-per-view market for wrestling shows, as they put all their shows on their online network along with all of their other exclusive content.
Koko nodded in agreement, leading Washu further down into the sprawling aircraft. As armed guards defended the entry into the engine room, Koko led Washu down to a massive arena-like room. There was a “Gorilla Position”, a backstage area where wrestlers prepared, mended their outfits, got last-minute instructions, spoke to other wrestlers and medical personnel, and got ready. Koko whistled a little tune, somewhat surprising Washu, until she saw Koko sashay over to the entrance curtain.
Is she whistling herself some theme music? Washu questioned. She followed the mad arms dealer out, looking around at the setup. There was no giant video screen above the entrance stage, but with them taping the shows instead of showing them live, there wasn’t much of a need. There were cameras already set up around the empty arena, and as Washu followed the arms dealer down the long metal entrance ramp, something in the middle of the ring shocked her a bit. A decision Koko had made without her knowing, one that would severely affect things.
“You... went with a six-sided ring?”
Koko nodded, calmly walking up the entrance stairs and sliding in, “running the ropes” on the odd six-sided ring. “I thought it was something different. Other federations have used six-sided rings in the past. It’s distinctive, don’t you think?”
Washu sighed, obviously unhappy with the decision. She looked back up at the entrance stage, noticing that instead of having the announce table next to the ring where it traditionally was, the announce table was located on the far side of the entrance stage. Another aesthetic change from EBW and AQPW that Washu wasn’t exactly pleased with.
“Do you have the belts?” Washu asked, mentally forcing herself to relinquish control and let Hekmatyar run this federation as she’d hired her to.
Koko nodded, executing a textbook Baseball Slide out of the ring mere inches from Washu’s face. She reached underneath the ring, where all the weapons were stored, and pulled out a series of six gold wrestling belts. Washu nodded, holding up the largest, most intricate and expensive one that, oddly enough, had the design of a “POW” block from Super Mario Bros. 2 US on it.
“One of the few things I liked about AQPW was having many belts that symbolized different things. The title scheme of this federation is going to be reminders of the past, back when wrestling was king. Wrestling’s finally out of its dark period in the US, with a slew of new wrestlers and some really compelling storylines and impressive wrestling, but throughout time, the main prize in any federation is their Heavyweight title. You like the retro design? That POW block obviously symbolizes this federation’s initials, as well as showing a retro flair. This is the POW World Heavyweight Title.”
“POW: Platinum Otaku Wrestling”, Koko replied with a cheerful grin and a little golf clap.
Washu nodded, laying the WH title down and picking up two identical yin-yang adorned belts... identical, that is, except that the black and white parts were transposed on each of the belts. “The other major title staple is the Tag Team titles. Awarded only to the best team in the federation. Due to the problems a certain standard wrestling rule caused in EBW with Di Gi Charat and the unfair dominance the New Day experienced with the rule in the WWE, I’m abolishing the “Freebird Rule”. Only two people can hold these belts. But this time, if two singles wrestlers want to contend for the belts, they’re free to try to earn a shot. Due to how thin the tag team roster is going to be this time around.”
Koko nodded as Washu smirked, remembering how incredibly upset a certain Underground Student Council was that three people couldn’t hold a two-person title this time around. Koko’s attention, however, seemed to be on a pair of seemingly opposite belts. One was a bright red, elegant and classy with regal designs, and one was a broken and fractured mess barely held together by duct tape. “Those two belts”, Washu explained, “signify the hottest time in wrestling history, the mid-to-late 1990’s. A time when the world was watching wrestling, before Vince McMahon bought out the competition and was content to put out crap for a decade. There were two belts that only existed during this hot period in wrestling. The European Title and the Hardcore Title.”
Washu held up the royal red belt first. “This is the European title. It’s going to be contested in matches with no stipulations. It’s meant to signify pure wrestling. Technical skill, holds and actual wrestling prowess. On the other hand,” Washu remarked, holding up the battered title, “This is the Hardcore title. Meant to signify ultra-violence. Only defended in no-rules matches, violent and bloody brawls.”
Washu put the belts down, picking up the last one, a belt with a giant blue “X” on the front. “And this is a title that signified the short boom period in NWA-TNA, before a certain orange demon ended up effectively killing it. The X-division is for smaller wrestlers and will display high-flying aerial acrobatics.”
Washu handed the belts to Koko, who admired them for a few seconds before handing them off to an armed workman for safe keeping. “I’ve got most of the first episode’s card set”, Koko stated. “The shows are going to be shorter than they were in EBW, so it’s just going to be those five title matches. I’ve got the World Heavyweight, Tag Team, European and X-Division matches booked, and those ten women are going to come in from the mainland sometime tomorrow. The last six spots are going to be filled by six last-minute additions that will be arriving the next day, and they’ll be competing in a six-person match for the Hardcore title. Since the women will be living together in this aircraft carrier, it’ll be foolish to have a 24/7 rule this time, but the Hardcore title will be defended far more often than the other ones, including on the regular shows. I’ve got a little something special planned for our second PPV as well. I’m also going to serve as the commentator. I figure, if Vince McMahon could do commentary while he owned the WWE for several years, why can’t I do it for 13 episodes? It’ll be far more useful for me to have that access to instant replays as well. Hence why I moved the announce table as well... can’t have the owner getting taken out by a botched table spot, can we?”
Washu nodded, the design choice making sense now, grabbing the six-pack she took from Revy and tossing a beer to Koko Hekmatyar. She deftly snatched it out of the air, Washu herself taking one as the two toasted the birth of Platinum Otaku Wrestling. Maybe this one’s going to be in good hands, she thought as she looked at the pale-white snazzy-dressed arms dealer.
“To Platinum Otaku Wrestling”, Washu toasted. “Third time’s a charm. Now, how about that dinner? A little genius gets hungry cooking up such extravagant plans.”
Koko sighed, her phone ringing as she pulled it out, glancing at the caller ID. “Sorry, I have to take this. My men will lead you to your room, dinner should already be ready. Feel free to spend the next couple of nights here so you can greet the wrestlers when they come in tomorrow. Ciao!”
Koko waved goodbye with that creepy-yet-cheerful grin as she scampered off, and Washu found herself being led by a cadre of armed guards back up past the engine room into the dorms. Idly, Washu thought about the initials of this new federation... POW, Platinum Otaku Wrestling. But with all this weaponry and an arms dealer at the helm, she almost felt like the other definition of POW.
A prisoner of war...
Back at the wharf in Mainland China, Revy took her loot and a couple of six-packs and hopped off of her speedboat, taking notice of a rather odd collection of women standing on the beach. She noticed them, mostly because the slender woman on the pier was using high-tech binoculars to keep an eye on the aircraft carrier in the distance.
This was quite a motley crew. All four were dressed in similar military-like special-ops outfits, somewhat reminiscent of The Shield. The military woman, or at least the one Revy assumed was military because she seemed to be the only one comfortable in her outfit, was flanked by three other women... a very young child, an absurdly busty woman, and some kind of grinning idiot.
“So,” Revy stated, tossing a beer to the military woman. “You four here for Platinum Otaku Wrestling?”
The military woman grabbed the beer, putting her binoculars down and glancing at Revy. The military woman’s ice-cold demeanor was unmistakable, even staring down the gun-toting psycho.
“Not just yet.”