Reba McEntyre vs. Leann Rimes by Shiai (26-Dec-99)

The word had begun to filter throughout the country music underground: Reba McEntyre was ready to give up, as she called it, "scufflin'." A decades-long tradition in the music business was for the ladies to settle their differences "country style," and this had evolved into a semi-formal...and very secret...wrestling club. And for the past fifteen years, the woman to beat has been Reba.

Her opponents continually underestimated her. At 5'6" and 120 pounds, Reba always seemed too small to be a true physical challenge. But despite her relatively slight frame, she was solid muscle. And she was no stranger to being tough; before she made it big in music, she was a professional rodeo rider and roper. Furthermore, she's smart as a whip, and she has a knack for out-thinking her opponents. The end result has been a historic victory run.

But now, at the age of 45, the redheaded Okie was ready to give up the wrestling. Although still winning, her recovery after each match was taking longer and longer. It had been a great run, she knew, and it was best to go out on top.

The question now was, who would receive the honor of being her final opponent? Trisha Yearwood had been her most prominent rival for the past year; Shania Twain was also worthy. For nostalgia's sake, maybe Tanya Tucker, who had a great series of fights with Reba in the Eighties.

Yet, music industry consensus soon backed another challenger altogether...Leann Rimes.

It was a popular choice for a most unpopular young lady. The seventeen year old was infamous for her rampant ego and temper tantrums. To be sure, many of her fellow musicians were jealous of her talent and her blazing success, but Leann did nothing to win over any converts to her side. She reveled in her fame, and made a point of belittling just about everyone. Behind her back, folks referred to her as "The Diva." It was NOT meant as a compliment.

One minor act of petty revenge against her by the powers-that-be had been to deny her entry into the exclusive wrestling club, which she was most anxious to join. Now, however, the feeling was that she ought to be allowed that Reba could dismantle her as the crowning achievement of her wrestling career!

None of this was news to Leann. She was fully aware of...and couldn't care less about...what the "little" people in the music business thought of her, and what they hoped would happen to her in a fight with Reba. But Leann aimed to disappoint them.

She was already a bigger selling artist than McEntyre. Beating her in a match would be the cherry on the sundae, and would help consolidate Leann's control of all of country music. Thus, the match was easily arranged, and was scheduled for the last week of the year, Nashville's elite "Goodbye" to the Second Millennium.

The match was held in the spacious living room of the mansion of a major record industry executive; the room was overlooked on two sides by a large balcony, so upwards to forty spectators could watch from above.

Leann entered the room first, to a smattering of polite applause mixed with catcalls, wearing a baby blue one-piece. In the past year, she had shed her baby fat, and she liked to flaunt her newly toned body with leather pants and tight halters onstage, much to the delight of her male fans. She ignored the spectators with her usual air of haughty disdain.

Reba entered to the rabid cheers of the crowd. She wasn't just a star, or simply a winner. She was a warm and friendly person, liked...beloved, just about everyone in the business. When she is on top, she shares her happiness with all. And when she is low, everyone rallies around her in support. When Leann first broke big, Reba sent her a friendly note, offering her some heartfelt advice on how to handle the success. Leann never bothered with a reply.

She wore her favorite dark green one-piece, which, contrasting with her flaming hair, drove home her Scots-Irish roots. She flashed a toothy smile to the crowd above, and gave them a little wave.

The two combatants walked to the center of the room to receive the rules. Reba stuck out her hand for a pre-match handshake. Leann disdainfully cast her eyes down at the open hand and then turned to walk back to her corner. The crowd hissed at this show of bad sportswomanship.

With the signal to begin, Leann regally sauntered over towards her foe; Reba, all sinew and energy, cautiously edged closer to her. Finally, when they were less then two feet from each other, Leann struck. With cobra-swiftness, her left hand darted out, intending to grab her rival's mane of hair. However, Reba was quicker still, ducking the clumsy move and, grabbing Leann by the wrist, twisting the blonde's arm behind her own back.

Leann let out a grunt and gritted her teeth as Reba poured on the pressure. A few folks in the crowd figured the match was already on the verge of ending. They were very, very wrong.

With unexpected expertise, Leann gained the proper leverage to swiftly reverse the hold, twisting out of the hammerlock and applying the selfsame hold on a startled McEntyre. The redhead silently cursed herself for taking Rimes for granted, and then went to work analyzing which maneuver would best let her escape.

But the blonde wasn't about to give her that chance. With one hand, she grabbed Reba's hair and yanked; with her left foot, she swept her foe's legs. With a thud, McEntyre landed unceremoniously on her butt. A backheel kick to the jaw put her flat on her back, stunned.

Grabbing the redhead's wrists and planting her own feet on Reba's hair, Leann yanked her opponent's arms up. Reba yelped as searing pain blazed across her scalp.

Leann then released her in order to grab her by the hair to drag her back up to her feet. But Reba was far from finished. She unleashed a punch that drove deep into the blonde's belly, followed by a stiff uppercut that caused Rimes to stagger backwards, dazed.

Now it was Reba's turn to take the little upstart to school! She quickly had Rimes hollering with a series of holds. The blonde lacked the experience to counter them; the best she could hope for was to endure the assault and mount an attack of her own later. In the meantime, tears streaked down her cherubic face, her black mascara leaving dark trails. The spectators loved every minute of it!

Ultimately, McEntyre paused to survey her handiwork. Blocking out the pain, Leann struck back with a series of fists to the redhead's belly and face. Slowly, Reba sank to one knee.

Both women were breathing hard and fighting against exhaustion; their slick skin mottled with scratches and nascent bruises; their hair messy and wild. They couldn't continue this inhuman pace much longer.

The blonde snared her rival in a Boston Crab, bending Reba backwards painfully. McEntyre tried desperately to straighten out her legs and break the hold, but Rimes had her too securely. Applied long enough, the hold would most likely drive Reba into either submission or unconsciousness. But Leann wasn't interested in either...yet.

Rimes released her opponent and rolled her over onto her back. But as the blonde reached over to straddle her prone rival, Reba caught her with a kick to the belly. That gave the redhead the chance to get back to her feet. As Leann moved closer to her, McEntyre lashed out with another kick, this one going high, the ball of her foot catching Rimes perfectly in the mouth. A small trickle of blood appeared from the corner of the blonde's mouth.

The advantage was up in the air again. The two crashed together bodily, their hands clasping together for a test of strength. At roughly the same size and weight, neither could easily overpower the other.

Their eyes locked together, narrow slits of determination. Their grunts and groans mingled. Their muscles rippled as they strained against the other.

Gradually, Reba gained the advantage as Leann slowly moved backwards. But then, just when it seemed as if the blonde was doomed, she tapped into some unknown reservoir of strength, and soon it was the redhead who was being pushed backwards.

With her own burst of power, Reba began to muscle back. And she might well have overpowered the blonde once and for all, had Leann not shifted tactics by brutally lifting her knee hard into the redhead's crotch.

Reba's body went slack as, with a howl of agony, she fell to her knees. Below-the-belt blows weren't illegal in these "Anything Goes" matches, but they were considered bad form nonetheless, and were seldom used by anyone. But Leann didn't give a damn about such things. She came here to win.

She scooped her hapless opponent up in her arms and brought her back down again to the floor with a bodyslam. McEntyre's body trembled with pain. The spectators gasped in shock...they had never seen Reba in such dire straits.

Refusing to quit, Reba achingly got to her hands and knees. But she was running purely on instinct, her brain too foggy to let her think straight. Her defeat was now a foregone conclusion.

It was time now for Leann to not only beat her rival, but to humiliate her. This would serve as a message to anyone who would dare challenge her in the future.

The blonde mounted her foe's back as if she were a horse and taunted, "You used to bust broncos, didn't you? Tell me, cowgirl, how am I doing?" With a cruel laugh, she grabbed Reba's hair like reins and rode her as McEntyre crawled about on all fours, too dazed to realize what was happening.

When she had finally tired of this humiliation, Leann stood up and signaled to her manager, who was sitting above in the balcony. Opening up his attaché case, he pulled out a length of cord and threw it down to Rimes.

The blonde waited a few moments, giving Reba just enough time to shake her head clear, so that she would know exactly what was happening to her, but would be helpless to do anything about it.

Finally, Rimes struck. Like an expert rodeo roper, she hog-tied Reba's wrists and ankles behind her. The redhead struggled, but the bonds were too tight. She was trapped.

She was beaten.

A few of the spectators went to Reba to free her and help her back to her bedroom. Her held down, her long hair covered her face, but her sobs were audible to all.

The rest of the crowd, however, understood fully that the balance of power had just shifted. These men and women who, just minutes before, had jeered Leann Rimes, now crowded around her to offer their congratulations.

Leann basked in their adulation as a queen takes in the cheers of her loyal subjects.

And indeed, she was now the Queen of Country.

The End