Masked Menace by Jackflash
Some say that the mystery has gone out of pro wrestling…that Internet and smarky fans have torn away the veil of the imagination and exposed too many secrets. But there were still a few mysteries left to be had. First and foremost of those in the Hollywood Wrestling Alliance was the mystery known as “Arabesque.” When the masked grappler made her first appearance in the league several months earlier, some fans confused her ring name with some sort of Middle Eastern gimmick but were quickly educated by the newcomer to the fact the name was from a ballet move. Taken in the sense she was using it, it meant she was complex…and she was, displaying an impressive knowledge of moves that belied her statement that she was a rookie.

But for all of her technical skill, she was best known…and feared…as a rulebreaker. Arabesque took a special delight out of torturing her foes in the ring, flaunting the rulebook and humbling proud women in the process. And for her grand finale, she would wrap her python-like legs around her victim and squeeze until her opponent submitted…but even then the masked woman would not release them, not until they begged for mercy. Arabesque was cruelty personified.

Gretchen Mol may not have been much more than a mid-carder in the HWA, but she had her loyal fans and admirers. What’s more, she had something she could brag about for she’d never - not once - ever submitted a match. She’d lost more than a few to pinfall certainly, but never by surrendering verbally or by tapping out. So when Mol was booked to face Arabesque, the HWA publicity machine went into action, touting this as the ‘Battle of Wills’…would Mol retain her pride and not submit, or would the rulebreaker be the first woman to break her?

And for Gretchen, this match promised to be the first big opportunity she had been given in a year. Twelve months earlier, she had come close to greatness when she and tag team partner Neve Campbell challenged Tag Champs Kristanna Loken and Shannon Elizabeth for the belts. And Mol and Campbell seemed well on their way to scoring the upset win when fate dealt the duo a bad hand, in the form of a mistimed Missile Dropkick from Gretchen: instead of nailing Elizabeth, the statuesque brunette managed to slip out of Neve’s grasp and it was Mol’s own partner who bore the brunt of the kick. Loken and Elizabeth had quickly seized the advantage and got the pin…

…then Kristanna, who had a violent history with Neve, took further advantage of her downed rival, savagely attacking her. EMT’s rushed to Campbell’s aid once her attacker had finished her handiwork, carrying the bloodied wrestler out of the ring on a stretcher and sending her to the emergency room. Neve Campbell retired from the HWA that night, and literally went into self-exile. Gretchen still regretted the events of that dark night, but she knew she had to put it behind her and move on with her career. Beating Arabesque would send a strong signal to the wrestling world that Gretchen Mol was ready for the big time at last.

Mol was announced first, and she jogged down to the ring brimming with confidence, dressed in a light ocher-colored two piece suit and blue boots, slapping the outstretched hands of the spectators. Next came Arabesque, garbed in her customary black dominatrix-style one-piece, black leather domino mask, black embroidered stockings with garters, and black ballet-style slippers. She pointedly ignored the fans as she strutted down the aisle to the ring, her eyes fixed upon her opponent every step of the way.

The introductions complete, the bell sounds and the two wrestlers begin to circle. They lock up and struggle against one another for a few moments, until Gretchen suddenly shifts her weight and hiptosses her foe to the mat. However, the masked brunette gracefully tumbles with her momentum and springs up to her feet. And in a blur of motion, she kicks back her right leg, slamming her foot into Mol’s abdomen.

An elbow smash further stuns the blond, and from this point on, the match is entirely in the mystery woman’s favor. Mol is helpless as Arabesque batters her from pillar to post with a savage intensity rare even for her. And the brunette takes particular advantage of her foe’s resolve not to surrender by subjecting her to a variety of agonizing submission holds; Gretchen fights back the pain and refuses to give up, but each hold does its damage.

Ultimately, Arabesque goes for the kill. Wrapping her sculpted legs around the blonde’s midsection, she tightens the pressure. Mol gasps and mewls as the vise crushes her, but her desperate efforts to pry the powerful limps snaked around her waist are futile.

After several minutes, Gretchen suddenly lets out an agonized scream. Calmly, Arabesque says, “That was one of your ribs finally breaking. Twenty-three more to go.”

The referee is literally begging Mol to surrender, but she continues to defy the inevitable. Finally, however, the pain becomes too much to bear, and the threat of serious and permanent injury looms too greatly. Tears of shame rolling down her cheeks, Gretchen rasps, “I give up!”

“Why?” the masked brunette coolly asks.

“Wh-what?” says a confused Mol.

Slightly irritated, Arabesque replies, “Why are you submitting to me?”

“Ohhhhhh,” Mol gasps as her opponents gives her ravaged ribs a tighter spasm. “Be…because you’ve beaten me…” she says with a hoarse whisper as breath comes hard.

“Tell everyone why is that?” comes the query.

“You…bitch…” Gretchen hisses thru clenched teeth. When Arabesque gives another pulse to her ribs, Gretchen comes undone. “BEcause…you…you’re…the better…wrestler…” she wheezes between gasps for precious air.

“Very good!” Arabesque says as she releases her scissors and unwraps her legs from her foe’s waist…only to then snake them around Gretchen’s head! Ignoring the official’s threats of disqualifications, the masked woman squeezes until Gretchen’s body goes limp as she’s rendered unconscious. Releasing her rival at last and rising to her feet, Arabesque demands a microphone. Standing in the center of the ring with a foot planted firmly on the rapidly pumping chest of her breathless, beaten foe, Arabesque says nothing for nearly a full minute while she basks in the bloodthirsty cheers of the spectators, thousands strong, cascading down upon her. Finally, she raises the microphone up to her ruby dark lips.

“You cheer me,” she says tersely. Then, with her free hand, she pulls the mask from her face, solving one more mystery of pro wrestling. Arabesque is…Neve Campbell!

“You cheered me before,” Neve continues brusquely. “A year ago when that bitch Kristanna Loken nearly crippled me. You cheered for HER…encouraged HER to hurt me. For eight years, I fought in this ring, always trying to uphold what was right and fair, always be the ‘Good Girl’. I thought you respected me for that…but you didn’t. All you wanted was to see me hurt. The more I bled, the happier you were. Well, I learned a lot that night…mainly, I learned that good girls finish last in the HWA. And you know what else? I learned that being a bad girl is a whole lot more fun.” With this, the fans again begin to cheer! Looking down at the unmoving figure underfoot, Neve sneers, “You let me down a year ago, Gretchen. I’m just glad you played your part so well tonight. You see, I owed you for your ineptitude and tonight was payback.”

Looking back to the crowd, but speaking to the one person who is NOT in attendance, Neve adds, “Oh, and Loken…I still owe YOU as well. First thing tomorrow morning, you’ll find a signed contract for a Stretcher Match. You can either put your signature on it and make it a legal fight, or just wait for me to find you in some alley and take care of it that way.”

For the first time since Arabesque’s arrival in the HWA, a smile crosses the face of Neve Campbell. “Oh yeah,” she breathily says. “Being bad is a WHOLE lot more fun.”