Death Is Only The Beginning
A WWE wrestling fanfiction
By: Jay 2K Winger
Disclaimer Stuff: The characters herein are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment (and don't get me started on how much I dislike the fact that they Got The "F" Out), and are not used with the intention of making a profit. This story is written to explore a few little concepts I thought up in regards to the storyline in question, as well as to explore some other aspects of their characters.
Teaser: The Dead Man will not rest in peace after being buried alive by his brother. A fictionalized version of the current Taker/Kane storyline, with a look back at their histories.
EPILOGUE FOUR: IT ALL BEGINS... AGAIN.
Smackdown, 4 Days after Wrestlemania
He manifested in the arena basement, Paul Bearer standing faithfully by his side. It was already being said that after his defeat of his brother at the billionaire's spectacle, he was not going to appear again. Nothing could be further from the truth. He might have become something less mortal and more otherworldly, but regardless of what he became, the ring was and forever would be his yard.
His duties would take him elsewhere more often, and so perhaps he wouldn't always be there, but it was his choice, his decision where and what to do. No one could tell him any different. Not the rulers of the eight realms of reality, not the guardians of those realms. The Powers That Be could always try to influence him, but he was outside their command. They could ask him to do something, but they could never order him.
Besides, there was something he had to do here tonight.
He had observed the events that transpired on Raw, and was pleased to see that Chris Benoit had finally vindicated himself in front of his critics and the naysayers. He was pleased to see that he was going to be a dominant champion, and not in the vein of the arrogant, blueblooded brute who'd held the title before him. But what had really caught his attention was the speech from the billionaire, the promise to shake things up and make old things new again and new things newer and all the usual double-talk that came from the mouth of Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
However, this time, he knew that McMahon was serious, earnest about changing. The fact that he had carefully kept himself from getting involved in any of the events of Wrestlemania was proof of that. In the recent years, McMahon had done everything short of booking himself in every match to put himself into the show. Whereas this past Sunday, all he had done was show up to give a heartfelt thank-you to the fans. Perhaps the billionaire was turning over a new leaf.
Not likely, perhaps, but still, it was a possibility.
What had brought him to Smackdown, however, was the madman who ran it. Paul Heyman, styled the 'mad scientist of sports entertainment,' was admittedly, a creative genius, and a fiendishly diabolical businessman. Already that night, he'd driven a wedge between the Self-Proclaimed World's Greatest Tag Team by booking them against one another. He was not happy that Heyman had broken up his Acolytes, who -- despite the distance that had grown between him and them over the years -- remained loyal to him. Heyman was promising to make everyone's lives on Smackdown a living hell for walking out on him and Brock Lesnar the week before.
There was no love lost between him and Lesnar, this was true, but a man with the cruel streak that Paul Heyman had should not be in a position to control men's lives the way he did. He'd taken to calling it "Paul Heyman's Smackdown" to differentiate it from the general manager who'd come before him, but lately it had taken on a more possessive quality than that, as though Heyman thought he actually owned it and everything in it.
He'd have to show him what he thought about that.
"It looks to me," Paul Heyman snapped, "like English has become a second language here on Smackdown." He stood at the end of the entrance aisle, looking at the celebrating Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio in the ring. The two Latino superstars both glared at him, while the Boston crowd around them booed the general manager's words.
Heyman's words were filled with venom as he went on. "I hope, for your sakes, that the both of you are gone after next Monday. You'd better pray you're both gone from my show next Monday! I hope that I can say 'hasta la vista' to you two after next Monday, because if it were up to me, I'd have both you AND your families deported!" The crowd was beside itself with anger at him as they booed him. "Do you know who I am? I'M PAUL HEYMAN! I'm the general manager of Smackdown!" He fixed his beady little eyes on Guerrero and Mysterio and added, "I'm going to reform Smackdown, and there's not a man alive that's going to stop me."
He tossed down his microphone and started back up the aisle, when he heard it.
Heyman froze, eyes going wide as the lights turned purple. The crowd leapt to its feet and cheered as the two Latinos in the ring backed up a step. Heyman shook his head. "Oh, no, oh, no, no, no..."
Thunder and lightning crashed inside the building as the screens all began to flicker with the eerie, spooky images of the haunting video. Heyman was backpedaling furiously to the ring. Smoke was beginning to fill the aisle as the music began to swell up. "No, no, what are you doing here?!" Heyman shouted. "You're not supposed to be here!"
For there, in the entranceway, stood the Dead Man, the smoking swirling around him. Beside him was his faithful follower, Paul Bearer, who gazed back at Heyman with a cold, malicious glee in his eyes. The Undertaker slowly walked down the aisle, Bearer in tow, his eyes not visible under the brim of his hat, but Heyman could feel them boring into him.
I go where I wish. I do what I wish. You do not dictate my path.
The Smackdown GM gawked as he heard the words in his head and hurriedly climbed up the stairs and climbed into the ring, running to Guerrero and Mysterio, who backed into a corner. "Guys, guys, come on, help me out here, please!"
"Help you, vato? A moment ago, I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but a moment ago you said you wanted to deport us," Guerrero told him with a smirk on his face.
"I-I-I take it back!" Heyman said desperately, looking over his shoulder as he saw the Undertaker pause at the bottom of the ring steps. He turned back. "Please! I'll do anything! Anything!"
Mysterio shook his head. "No way, hombre. I know better than to tangle with the likes of him." He pointed behind Heyman.
The overweight GM whirled around, reeling back as he saw the Undertaker standing in the ring, slowly removing his leather trenchcoat. Paul Bearer took it and folded it over his arm. Wordlessly, the Undertaker reached up and removed his black cowboy hat, revealing his eyes rolled back in his head as he stood before them. Guerrero and Mysterio both huddled behind Heyman, as though cowering.
"Please, please, let's discuss this!" Heyman cried. "I mean, it's my show! I could help you!"
Your show, yes. But my ring.
Heyman looked back over his shoulder. "Guys, come on! Help me out here!"
Yes, why don't you help him out, boys? Send him over here.
With eager grins on their faces, the two Latino superstars did so, shoving Heyman directly into the Undertaker's waiting hands. Screaming in fear, Heyman was hoisted up and turned upside down, moments before the Dead Man lifted him up and dropped to his knees, delivering the infamous Tombstone piledriver. He folded Heyman's arms over his chest and pressed him down, rolling back his eyes and slithering out his tongue.
Remember this night, Paul Heyman. Remember that you do not control everything on 'your' show.
The Undertaker rose to one knee and stretched out his hand in triumph. His path had been laid out before him, his reign as Big Dog of the Yard had begun...
Well, thanks to all of you who stayed with me all this time while I wrote this. I had a great time writing it all.
I first came up with the idea to write all this while talking with some fellow wrestling fans at work. We were just debating on how to better do the 'messages from beyond' by Taker when I just decided, "You know what? I'll just write what's happening, and put my own additional twists and turns into it." And so I did.
Obviously, I've borrowed ideas from many other sources for all of this. The title, of course, comes from The Mummy, and I've taken inspiration from Feardotcom (the white rubber ball) and of course, Nightmare on Elm Street. ("One, two, Taker's coming for you...") I took a few inspirations from The Ring ("Seven days...") and Wishmaster ("That which is eternal cannot die...") as well.
The Eight Realms of Reality came about as a result of a separate idea in my head, an idea for something I actually plan to write for a novel. In the original form, it was only five realms (mortal, spirit, void, heaven, hell), then became seven (chaos and void), and then I just decided to add one more realm to the mix (purgatory). As for the guardians of each of the realms, I took some inspiration for those as well.
Papa Legba is actually a figure in the Voodoo religion, the god of the crossroads between humans and the Loa (spirits), so having him be the guardian of the spirit realm fit.
Leviathan's name, of course, comes from Christian mythos, as the demon of the deep, but his placement as guardian of chaos comes more out of Hellboy. Leviathan's appearance is influenced by that, Lovecraft, and also Neil Gaiman's Sandman. (The maw-eyes are inspired by the Corinthian from Sandman.) I was partially tempted to have a reference to Hellraiser as well, but opted not to.
Rafael and Gabriel, typical angel names of course. Placing Gabriel as the Left Hand of the Lord of Heaven was inspired by, yeah, Van Helsing. Azrael is of course a fallen angel of considerable repute (though for what depends on your source). I decided to just go with a typical fallen angel background, and not get into characters named Azrael, like in the Batman universe.
The guardian of order's appearance was inspired by the Auditors from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels. (See Reaper Man, Hogfather, or Thief of Time for Auditor appearances.)
I won't specify who the guardians of the mortal realm and Void are. If you're a wrestling fan, you should have figured it out already. If not, I'm not gonna help ya. Ditto for who the gathering forces finally manifested as. You should know who it is. I put out obvious clues and hints without out-and-out saying who they were.
I was originally planning to just wrap this up with the events in Epilogue Four, and not include any of that mess about the guardians of the realms and all that, but I liked writing this so much that I planted seeds for potential follow-ups. As of this writing, I don't plan to write a follow-up or sequel to Death is Only the Beginning, but I've left things wide open for me to do so. Obviously, if someone wants to write something set within the world I've set up with this story, I welcome someone to do so. E-mail me first, of course, and I'll see if I can't help paint in any details I might have left out.
Thanks for reading and reviewing!
-=Jay 2K Winger=-
June 7, 2004