The Independent Wrestling Empire is a union of professional wrestling organizations, headquartered in San Francisco, California. The i.W.e. was founded in 1999 by David Harley, the owner of a wildy successful hardcore promotion called the Insane Wrestling Association, who used his bountiful profits to acquire rival promotions Xtreme Hardcore Wrestling and Old Fashioned Wrasslin', as well as a majority stake in the wrestling research company SIMbolic Labs. No longer specializing solely in hardcore wrestling, David Harley rebranded his company as the Independent Wrestling Empire, which has since grown to include seven distinct wrestling promotions from around North America.
INSANE WRESTLING ASSOCIATION (I.W.A.) Where it all began for owner David Harley and i.W.e. legends such as Super Bad Ass Sweet Daddy Jones and Robino, this hardcore promotion has always stuck to its roots and continues to produce stomach-turning bloodbaths to this day. The I.W.A. prefers to perform in parking lots around the Greater Los Angeles area.
SIMBOLIC LABS (SIMbolic) SIMbolic Labs is a privately-funded scientific research institute specializing in the study of anthropomorphic and extraterrestrial professional wrestlers. Footage of their many experiments gone awry is beamed down to earth from the SIMbolic Starship, often seen hovering ominously over the Mojave Desert. The many aliens and animals on the roster battle for possession of the Moonstone, a mysterious meteorite said to bless its owner with formidable fighting spirit and the power to manipulate spacetime.
OLD FASHIONED WRASSLIN' (OFW) Based in Bossier City, Louisiana, this hokey old promotion hearkens back to the good ol' grappling of a bygone era. It hosts a monthly show in the legendary Herringbone Hall ballroom, primarily attended by octogenarians.
BAY AREA SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT (B.A.S.E.) Seen as a feeder fed for the more prestigious promotions of the i.W.e., Bay Area Sports Entertainment hosts its shows smack dab in the center of the baseball diamonds at lovely little Krusi Park in Alameda, California.
LA GUERRA DE SANGRE The i.W.e.'s first venture south of the border, Lucha Libre La Guerra de Sangre is a boutique wrestling promotion based in Ciudad Juárez and presented to the public in the form of a telenovela, Mexico's distinctive spin on the soap opera. Competitors fight for the mask of a recently deceased lucha libre legend, believing it may possess special powers.
DOUBLE BIRD WRESTLING (dbW) With a little financial help from David Harley, revered luchadors Resplendent Quetzal and U.S. Kestrel have struck out on their own to form a federation where animal-themed wrestlers can feel at home, poaching much of the SIMbolic Labs roster in the process.
CALVARY CHRISTIAN WRESTLING (CCW) A comedy promotion began by evangelical i.W.e. star J.C. Lamb in an attempt to spread the gospel to teenagers using the medium of sports entertainment.
La Guerra de Sangre: A Lucha Libre Telenovela "The Funeral of Choque" Season 1, Episode 1 Original Air Date: Jan. 18, 2019
Choque was dead, to begin with.
His funeral was a rowdy and well-attended affair that at times more closely resembled a carnival. At least half the mourners wore masks, and most of the other half were scantily clad women. Nobody’d bothered to wear a suit, or even the color black.
Rudos lined up to pay their respects. The tecnicos were there just to make sure the son of a bitch was actually dead. The closed casket did nothing to put their minds at ease.
In life, Choque had been the most feared rudo in the entire business, a large, lumbering colossus known to tear tecnicos limb from limb. In an illustrious career spanning half a century, he not once ever even hinted at the possibility of a face turn, so dastardly and downright evil was he. He hadn’t lost a single match throughout the 1970s, not once that entire decade. He’d held more titles than could properly be kept count of, and ended his career on a thousand-day reign. It seemed impossible to all in the room that he could ever be pinned for more than two slaps of the mat, much less dead.
The eulogy, delivered by the dead man’s son, El Hijo de Choque, was unusual to say the least. A luchador enmascarado following in the footsteps of his father, El Hijo de Choque opted to enter the room with his entrance theme blaring. He was shirtless. Tecnicos in the pews booed and hissed. As El Hijo de Choque climbed onto the stage, a Tecate can whizzed past his head and bounced off of a large framed portrait of his father on an easel, but nobody seemed to find the act particularly disrespectful. A scuffle broke out in the aisle and its participants were quickly pulled apart. El Hijo de Choque egged on his detractors for several minutes with a series of extremely rude gestures, until a tiny, hunched-over old lady in black - his abuela - took to the stage and whispered into his ear to remind him that his father’s funeral was at hand.
El Hijo de Choque composed himself and stepped up to the mic. He cleared his throat. Deafening feedback roared from the PA. The audience flinched. He lead the group in solemn prayer, then spoke a few kind words about his father. It was all very dull and dry until he plunged his hands down the front of his pants and began to fish around for something.
From somewhere deep down in his tights, El Hijo de Choque dramatically pulled out a crumpled scrap of paper and held it high above his head for all to see. Attendees cocked eyebrows quizzically and murmured amongst themselves. Why was he waving that cocktail napkin around and how long has he been carrying that thing around in there?
“Ladies and gentlemen,” El Hijo de Choque growled into the microphone. “This small square of paper that I hold aloft here in my right hand is nothing less than the last will and testament of none other than The Unmistakable, The Unbreakable, The Unbeatable, The Undefeatable… CHOQUE!”
The crowd clucked excitedly. Half of them took to their feet; just the rudos.
“My father!” El Hijo de Choque added emphatically, and everyone rose, clapping and whistling.
The raucous ovation quickly became an insistent chant, everyone in the room all in unison. READ IT! READ IT! READ IT! Even El Hijo de Choque himself joined the chant momentarily, before finally getting around to reading it.
“I, The Unmistakable, The Unbreakable, The Unbeatable, The Undefeatable CHOQUE, leave all my earthly possessions to my wife and seven sons, with one exception. My mask, I leave to the sacred sport of lucha libre.”
The crowd gasped. Did that mean Choque was inside that coffin… without a mask on? He’d retired having never lost his mask in a lucha de apuesta. No one outside his immediate family had ever seen his face.
El Hijo de Choque confirmed that his father was indeed maskless in the casket when he went digging around inside his tights once again. He yanked out the mask and held it high over his head. It was tattered and torn, frayed and discolored. There was such a strong odor attached to it, people in the first few rows could smell the decades of sweat and saliva and blood that saturated the fabric. Or at least that’s what they hoped they were smelling.
Every luchador in attendance, even Choque’s most trusted allies and closest confidants, salivated at the sight of that stinky old mask. In lucha libre culture, masks are considered sacred objects, imbued with certain supernatural powers. The mask of the greatest luchador to have ever lived might as well have been the Holy Grail. Their minds reeled, imagining what immense and extraordinary powers that mask might bestow upon whomever possessed it.
El Hijo de Choque continued to read. His old man had managed to fit a fair bit of text onto that teeny tiny napkin.
“In my lifetime, I was the most dominant wrestler to have ever set foot in the squared circle. The greatest luchador who ever lived. In my absence from this world, I wish for my mask to be given to whomever is still the greatest luchador left among the living.”
The crowd roared. Muscular men in masks jumped excitedly onto their chairs. They shook raised fists triumphantly, ran up and down the aisles, rolled around on the floor. Everyone knew what was coming next, and El Hijo de Choque gave it all the flourish it deserved, delivering the final lines of the letter in a snarling, spitting bellow.
“I know of only one way to determine who is indeed the greatest luchador left living. A battle of blood! Una guerra de Sangre! Un… TORNEOOOOOOOOOO!”
Not long after the announcement of El Torneo por la Mascara de Choque, downtown Juarez was plastered with flyers every which way you looked, and it was clear that famed promoter David Harley had a finger in the pie.
La Guerra de Sangre: A Lucha Libre Telenovela "Conclave" Season 1, Episode 2 Original Air Date: Jan. 19, 2019
When he heard the news, David Harley placed a couple calls and boarded a private jet bound for Juarez just a few hours later. He felt he owed it to the old codger.
David was picked up in an old white limousine sorely in need of maintenance by a dangerous-looking man named Cortez who easily had ten pounds of gold necklaces on. They drove to a rundown apartment block in a slummy part of the city and picked up a masked man wearing the striped shirt of a referee who was waiting outside for them. Then they went to a ritzy Hilton a few miles away and picked up a man in a crisp white suit and fedora and another man in a mask, this one far older and flabbier than the first, who wore a black tracksuit. Those two chewed on enormous cigars and were clearly already drunk and got along splendidly with one another.
The limousine drove on to a nondescript office building inside a rusty industrial park on the outskirts of town. David consulted a piece of paper with a set of keys taped to it and decided this was the right place. They went into the building, took a rickety rattling old elevator to the fifth floor, went down a hallway lit by a single bare bulb dangling from the ceiling on a frayed wire. The last door on the right was the one they were looking for. A little jiggling got the keys to work. The door groaned as it opened.
The room was sparsely decorated, to say the least. Five folding chairs. A card table. A large glass ashtray. An old chalkboard on a rolling wooden easel. A couple old nubs of chalk. A rotary phone just sitting on the floor in the corner. Dust caked the windowsills. The paint on the walls was peeling badly, the ceiling yellow from thousands of cigarettes. It would wear the stain of a couple hundred more before these five men were through.
David tried the phone and miraculously it worked so he placed a couple calls and a few minutes later a teenage boy arrived with grocery bags filled with Tecate and cartons of cigarettes, a legal pad and a Sharpie. Everything they’d need. David tore a piece of paper into little strips and used the marker to write on them. He snatched the hat off the well-dressed man’s head and filled it with the small slips of paper, swirled them around. He held the hat out to the elder masked man in the tracksuit, who reached in and removed a scrap and examined it grimly before approaching the chalkboard...
Those ZDM boys pulled up in a battered pickup truck, El Descosido driving. There was plenty of room in the cab but his brother Cicatrices and cousin Exposito sat in the bed of the truck anyway. El Descosido could hardly have parked more askew and was halfway onto the curb in a clearly marked towaway zone, but still deemed his parking job worthy enough to turn off the engine and leave her right there. They clambered out of the truck and ran into the office building, looking for this chalkboard everyone in Juarez was talking about.
It was on the fifth floor, that much they knew. There was a line of luchadors waiting for a very unreliable-looking elevator in the lobby, so the three masked members of Los Zapatos de Madera took the stairs instead. About halfway to the fifth floor they encountered a beautiful woman in gold spandex descending the stairs ahead of them. Or at least they assumed she was beautiful; the black and gold mask obscured her face entirely, except her eyes, mouth and chin. But those all looked pretty good and her slim, athletic body certainly checked out as well.
For whatever weird reason, she couldn’t seem to keep her eyes off of Exposito as she approached. Cicatrices jealously punched his cousin on the shoulder. The corners of the lady’s mouth turned upward in a wry smile, and she seemed to purposely brush against Exposito as she passed. Exposito wondered if she might be attempting to seduce him. His cousins were sure she was.
Nevertheless, they had business to attend to. The big, brawny El Descosido had to hoist his much smaller cousin by his armpits and carry him up the last flight of stairs to prevent him from turning around and chasing after the mysterious woman. They exited the stairwell into a dingy hallway, at the end of which was a chalkboard on an easel, illuminated by a single flickering light bulb. They raced to it.
Cicatrices arrived first, quickly found his name on the bracket and gasped. It took El Descosido considerably longer to find his own name even though it was the one directly beneath Cicatrices’, and when he did he gasped as well and the two brothers turned to face each other with identical expressions of great dismay. When Exposito found his name on the chalkboard, he gasped similarly to the others but looked over his shoulder toward the stairwell instead.
They all held this position for a while, eyes wide and mouths agape. A good thirty seconds passed in stunned silence. Then all at once the three lunged for the office door just a few feet to the left of the chalkboard, hammering on it angrily with their fists, shouting Dah-veed! DAH-VEED! DAH-VEEEEEEED!!!
“What the hell do you want?” a muffled voice shouted through the door. David Harley.
“There must be some mistake, Dah-veed!” El Descosido yelled.
“I can’t fight my own brother!” Cicatrices cried.
“I can’t fight a girl!” Exposito exclaimed.
There was a long, thoughtful pause. A very long, presumably very thoughtful pause. The ZDM boys were beginning to feel hopeful, until they finally heard David Harley’s muffled voice again.
La Guerra de Sangre: A Lucha Libre Telenovela "All's Fair In Love and Lucha" Season 1, Episode 4 Original Air Date: Jan. 23, 2019
The show opened with a tear-jerking montage of some of the greatest moments of our dearly departed Choque’s career. Fans in the stands wept openly, bemoaning the loss of the greatest rudo to have ever heeled it up in a wrestling ring. A pair of sultry ring girls sauntered around the arena, carrying long flagpoles on the ends of which flew ornate banners bearing the image of Choque’s masked, angry face. The ring announcer, Lingua Larga, led the crowd in a moment of silence, and not a peep was heard from a single soul in the arena, so deep was their respect for Choque. One could have heard a pin drop, as they say.
But the moment that was all over with, the crowd - hungrier for hard-hitting lucha action than they’d ever felt before - erupted into a raucous cacophony of cheering and chanting, and El Torneo por la Mascara de Choque was officially at hand!
MATCH #1 Sicomoro vs Avispon de Alameda The Tree versus The Bee
BETWEEN MATCHES El Hijo de Choque would not stop pestering David Harley about it backstage.
"Come on, padrino, tell me who my mystery opponent is!" he demanded. "I wanna know whose ass I'm kicking later tonight."
But David wouldn't budge. He was, however, beginning to look a little nervous.
"What is it, David? You afraid this guy's gonna no-show?" El Hijo de Choque asked. "I been backstage all night long and haven't seen no faces I didn't recognize, and everyone here is already booked, so I know he's not here yet. You sure this dude's gonna make the match?"
"Oh, I'm sure," David said flatly. "He'll be here. I can absolutely guarantee you that."
MATCH #2 Exposito vs Lady Caliz Love at first fight?
After the match, Exposito limped gingerly backstage, forced to wade through a barrage of jeers and insults from the fans who all found it oh-so-hilarious that he’d lost... to a girl!
Exposito was relieved when he stepped through the black curtain and all the fans’ judgmental eyes were finally off of him again. Waiting right on the other side of the curtain were his cousins, El Descosido and Cicatrices, whose unfortunate match against one another was next. El Descosido clapped his hand on Exposito’s shoulder, rubbed his neck a bit, reassured him that it hadn’t been that bad, he’d win the next one and nobody’d even remember this match in about a week.
Cicatrices, on the other hand, was laughing his ass off. He tried to bite his lip and suppress the snickering, but he just found it too damned funny. “You got whooped by a woman, yo,” he reminded his cousin. “Bad. Real bad.”
And with that Cicatrices let loose a deep belly laugh, slapped at his thigh, and really just rubbed it in about as thoroughly as one could. Exposito looked as if steam were about to erupt from his ears. Eventually, he’d had enough. He shoved Cicatrices with all his might - which really wasn’t very much might at all - and Cicatrices nearly stumbled through the curtain out onto the entrance ramp. He caught his balance and gave Exposito a shove in return. They got into each other’s faces, nose-to-nose like a baseball umpire and a coach arguing after a close play. El Descosido pulled them apart.
“We’ll settle this later,” Cicatrices said menacingly.
“We will indeed,” Exposito said. And as Cicatrices turned to leave, Exposito continued to mutter under his breath. “And maybe a little sooner than you think, pendejo.”
MATCH #3 El Descosido vs Cicatrices Brother against brother
Cicatrices felt pretty woozy and needed a good bit of help from the stadium staff in returning to the backstage area. His elaborate costume was completely shredded in the back and caked in coagulating blood as a result of his having fallen onto that barbed-wire baseball bat about a half-dozen times. The fans gave him a respectful ovation for his valiant effort in the match, and many of them were still shaking their heads in disgust at how his cousin Exposito had betrayed him. Cicatrices was doing the very same thing.
When he finally got backstage he tried to get into the dressing room he was sharing with El Descosido and Exposito, firstly to change out of his bloody wrestling tights and secondly to kick both of their asses, but found the door locked. There were two sheets of paper taped to the door. One read: NO CICATRICES ALLOWED. The other read: HELP WANTED: Looking for a new member to join ZDM since the last guy just didn’t work out. Open auditions will be held next week. For more information contact El Descosido or Exposito.
MAIN EVENT El Hijo de Choque vs ? ? ? The mystery opponent is finally revealed
For the second time that night, you could have heard a pin drop. But this time it was for all the wrong reasons. That snake, that scoundrel, that dirty rotten bastard David Harley had done what he always did. He’d gone into business for himself. And in the process, he'd humiliated a heartbroken son chasing after his dead father's legacy.
El Hijo de Choque was out like a light. Medics rushed the ring, slapped ice packs all over him and waved smelling salts under his nose. David Harley tried to get out of Dodge before anyone even had time to realize what had happened, but the crowd wasn’t going to let him get away that easy. Tecate cans flew. The booing rumbled the arena. Security had their hands full stopping fans from hopping the railing.
A large group of luchadors came running out from backstage, pretty much the entire roster. Half of them ran to the ring to check on El Hijo de Choque. The others surrounded David Harley near the top of the entrance ramp, pushing and shoving and shouting and spitting at him. Suddenly a fist flew in from out of nowhere and cold-cocked David Harley and he crumpled to the floor. Security swarmed around him, pushing the luchadors away, and they grabbed him under his arms and dragged him backstage through the curtain.
It took a moment for the smoke to clear, but when it did, the crowd’s raucous reaction really tore the roof off the joint.
That fist belonged to Lady Caliz, who - according to the tournament bracket - would be David Harley’s next opponent in El Torneo por la Mascara de Choque...
Friggin awesome show. This promotion is already climbing my list as one of my favorite feds. Your storytelling is top notch and the matches were all fun watches. I'm heartbroken that ZDM (at least in its current form) is already no more but excited to see how Cicatrices enacts his revenge...
News from around the i.W.e. with your host "The Brainiac" J.P. Berkel
Original Air Date: Jan. 25, 2019
It seems David Harley has scampered away to the safety of San Francisco after his dastardly antics at the opening night of El Torneo on Wednesday’s episode of La Guerra. Probably a wise decision, seeing as though he’s suddenly the most hated man in Mexico. I’m not so sure the people of California like him all that much more than the Mexicans do, but at least he’ll be able to live long enough to see his next match if he stays north of the border. David was seen hopping off a private jet and stepping into a limo at SFO and although he was wearing Ray-Bans, they weren’t nearly large enough to cover up the black eye he was sporting. Really, a rather impressive shiner. It remains to be seen if the thrower of that suckerpunch will face any consequences for their actions. That said, I know David personally and if I had to venture a guess, my forecast for the future would be partly cloudy with about a one-hundred percent chance of severe consequences.
i.W.e. World Heavyweight champion Bradley Banks seems to have misplaced his fiancee once again, and it is rumored that the noxious scent of Euphrosine Beauchamont’s migraine-inducing eau de parfum has been detected wafting from the locker of J.C. Lamb, wrestling’s most overtly (and obnoxiously) Christian performer. Long assumed to be abstinent, it seems unfathomable that J.C. Lamb of all people might be rolling around in the hay with Euphrosine, but that noxious lavender aroma is pretty unmistakable.
Although they still haven’t come right out and said it, it seems more apparent than ever that Ziegenfuss, Crookshanks, and Hammerskin - collectively known as BROEDERBOND - are some sort of Nazis or something. That sort of behavior simply does not sit well with the i.W.e.’s most patriotic trio of hard-working, red-blooded Americans, Manifest Destiny. Stablemates Ricky Heller, Bob Highwater, and Sgt. Barksdale have vowed to put an end to this menace once and for all, and a three-on-three tag match between the two groups is one of the first confirmed matches on the card for i.W.e. Shangri-La later in February!
Three men in matching blue and black uniforms broke into the SIMbolic Labs Starship while it was refueling at SIMbolic’s top secret base somewhere in the vast expanses of the Mojave Desert. The intruders vandalized the main research laboratory, smashing test tubes and microscope slides, and are said to have spray-painted the letters “E.P.” all over the place. It is not currently known who these men were or why they attacked the facility, and an internal investigation by SIMbolic is ongoing.
Six months after sustaining a head injury in a match against longtime nemesis Robino, four-time former i.W.e. World Heavyweight champion and Illinois native Brad “B2K” Kuelman is still speaking in an odd, pseudo-Australian accent, to the mild annoyance of everyone around him. While his behavior as of late is at least a little less erratic than it has been over the past few months, he still seems a little off. In the locker room, great debate has raged among the other wrestlers over whether he’s going for an Australian accent, or something more New Zealandish or perhaps even slightly South African.
La Guerra de Sangre: A Lucha Libre Telenovela "The Interview" Season 1, Episode 5 Original Air Date: Jan. 25, 2019
The remaining members of ZDM, those dastardly cousins El Descosido and Exposito, couldn’t believe their luck. Since he’d decided to skip town after his shameful behavior at the opening night of El Torneo, David Harley had allowed them to make use of the squalid little office space he kept in Juarez. It was just an empty room with a card table and some chairs in it, after all.
They’d been conducting interviews all day for the open position in ZDM, and to be blunt it was not going particularly well. They'd had far more mini-estrella applicants than expected. Indeed, nearly all of them had been midgets, and the ones that weren't looked even less like respectable luchadors. Things were looking grim.
The next applicant would be arriving shortly. His would be the last interview for the day. In the meantime the ZDM boys sat in their folding chairs on either side of the card table, twiddling their thumbs and not really saying much of anything to one another.
Footsteps. They could hear them shuffling up the hall. Each step accompanied by an odd sound. Toca toca toca toca toca. Exposito and El Descosido straightened up in their seats. The footsteps stopped right on the other side of the office door. A knock. The cousins looked nervously at each other.
“Come in,” Exposito finally said, nowhere near as tough-sounding as he would have liked.
The door swung open. An odd-looking, buck-toothed gentleman in sparkly pink tights stood in the doorway clutching a carton of Jumex. He had a vivid shock of magenta rushing through his oily hair. He didn’t walk so much as waddle to his seat, and made a strange, soft noise with his mouth every step he took.
Toca toca toca toca.
The three men looked at one another. No one spoke for a long awkward moment. El Descosido finally broke the ice. “Who… are you?”
“Me llamo Toca,” the man answered immediately in a high, staccato voice. “Tocapelotas.”
“Toca...pelotas?” Exposito repeated, not really a question but sort of sounding like one.
The ZDM boys weren’t sure what to ask him next, and took so long in thinking up something that Tocapelotas asked a question of his own first.
“You like Jumex?” he said, raising the carton he had in his hand.
The ZDM boys were dumbfounded. Flabbergasted. They had no idea what to do. Exposito finally found some words to say. “Um… yeah, I guess.”
“Me too,” Tocapelotas said and a quick smile flashed across his face.
The three men sat in uncomfortable silence for an entire minute. Exposito shuffled his feet. El Descosido scratched at his goatee. Tocapelotas took a sip of Jumex.
“Well it was very nice meeting you,” Exposito said abruptly.
Tocapelotas stood up. “Si.”
El Descosido said “I guess we’ll give you a call sometime. Maybe.”
“Si,” said Toca. "You call Toca sometime." He turned and left. Toca toca toca.
El Descosido looked as though he’d seen a ghost. Exposito leaned back in his chair and covered his face with his hands. They were beginning to suspect that Cicatrices might prove harder to replace than they had originally anticipated.
Post by Senator Phillips on Jan 25, 2019 19:59:59 GMT
This is some phenomenal stuff. The entire aesthetic from the graphic design to the legend infused lucha of La Guerra de Sangre, this all comes off as a very well lived in and meticulously crafted world of its own, and I'm really enjoying every new promo and development that comes along. The Funeral of Choque is one part that truly stood out as setting one heck of a tone.