Authors: Jim Eldridge
The harsh lights shone down on the wrestling ring, picking out the three huge muscular figures pacing around inside the ropes, each watching the other two warily.
The event had been billed as the Battle of the Giants. It had begun with nine wrestlers, all massive and powerful, with three in the ring at a time for each bout. Now the winners of the three earlier bouts were building up to the finale of the Battle: Genno the Giant, who really was a giant, towering head and shoulders over his two opponents; Billy Bigfoot, a yeti, covered in thick fur from the top of his head to his feet; and Big Rock, the Wrestling Troll.
The crowd was roaring encouragement, chanting and singing their names, while some waved home-made signs and pictures of their favourites.
âGenno! Genno!' came the chant from one section of the crowd, while another group chorused: âBilly Bigfoot is the best! Billy Bigfoot is the best!'
The only two yelling out in support of the Wrestling Troll, Big Rock, were his young manager, Milo, and his thin little assistant trainer, Jack.
âCome on, Big Rock!' yelled Jack. âYou can do it!'
Big Rock was definitely the outsider in this contest. Genno and Billy Bigfoot were big stars on the wrestling circuit. Big Rock was becoming more famous, but he was still not as well known to this crowd as either of the other two. Milo's decision to put Big Rock into this contest had been part of a plan to spread his name and reputation, to build him up into a Championship contender.
Plus, there was the money to consider. This Battle of the Giants was a âwinner takes all' contest: the winner took the whole prize money, a leather bag filled with gold coins. Money had been scarce for some time for Milo and Jack and Big Rock. A win here would mean a change of fortunes for them, as well as giving a huge boost to Big Rock's wrestling career.
âGenno! Genno!' The yells from the giant's supporters grew louder and louder, and as they did, so did the shouts from those backing the yeti: âBilly Bigfoot! Billy Bigfoot!'
Still, all three wrestlers stayed near the ropes, eyeing each other up. It was Big Rock who made the first move, jumping into the centre of the ring and turning to face Genno, and then Billy Bigfoot.
âHe's taking a chance,' whispered Milo nervously. âIf they both rush him, he'll be squashed!'
âI think that's his plan,' whispered back Jack.
Milo shook his head.
âYou call that a
?' he demanded. âBeing squashed by those two?'
âWait and see,' said Jack, his eyes fixed on the ring. He was sure that Big Rock was going to try a strategy that he and the Wrestling Troll had worked out during one of their practice sessions. The problem was, they'd never tried it for real. Certainly not against powerful opponents like Genno and Billy Bigfoot.
Big Rock stood in the centre of the ring, waiting. And then he turned towards Genno and blew a loud raspberry at the giant.
Immediately, Genno's supporters erupted into angry shouts at seeing their hero insulted this way. Genno, certainly, was upset by it: he scowled, his huge face creasing and looking like an angry squashed doughnut.
Big Rock then turned towards Billy Bigfoot, and this time he made a fart noise.
The yeti's fans yelled out loud at this, and it was possible that Billy Bigfoot might also have been scowling, if anyone could see his face beneath his fur. All that could be seen of his expression were two large green eyes â and they certainly looked angry right now.
There came a growl from Billy Bigfoot, and he leapt forward towards Big Rock, his long arms outstretched and his huge paws closing in on the troll. At the same time, Genno jumped up into the air and aimed himself in an arc towards Big Rock, his massive feet heading at speed for the troll's head.
For a second it looked as if it was all over for the troll: he was going to get crunched by the yeti, smashed by the feet of the giant and sandwiched between them.
Instead, Big Rock suddenly did a roll to one side and then bounced back to his feet with surprising agility for someone so big.
In the centre of the ring, Genno and Billy Bigfoot met at a crunching speed, colliding with the force of their two separate attacks. The leather-hard soles of Genno's feet hit Billy Bigfoot in the chest, while Billy Bigfoot's head smacked hard into the giant's stomach.
The two huge figures collapsed in the centre of the ring, tangled up in each other's arms and legs, momentarily stunned by the impact of their collision. Both were lying on their backs, semi-conscious, with their shoulders touching the canvas.
Immediately, Big Rock leapt on top of both of them, his weight holding both wrestlers down in their dazed state as the referee began to count:
âOne. Two â¦'
Too late, Genno and Billy Bigfoot realised that they were about to be counted out on a pinfall, and they both struggled to lift one arm each into the air; but they were so tangled up and the weight of each wrestler so heavy that, along with the weight of Big Rock holding them both down, neither could force an arm up and a shoulder off the canvas.
âThree!' shouted the referee.
Big Rock scrambled off the two wrestlers, and the referee grabbed one of the troll's hands and raised his arm into the air.
âI declare the winner of this Battle of the Giants to be â¦ Big Rock!'
The crowd went wild. There was some booing and angry shouting from some of Genno's and Billy Bigfoot's supporters, but gradually a new chant could be heard, building up, getting louder and louder as the crowd expressed their appreciation for a great victory: âBig Rock! Big Rock! Big Rock! Big Rock!'
Milo and Jack turned and grinned at each other.
âWhat did I tell you?' beamed Milo. âI knew he'd win!'
That evening, Milo, Jack and Big Rock sat on the grass and looked at the shiny coins poking out from the open leather bag. Even Robin, the old horse, had stopped grazing and joined them in looking at the cash.
âMoney!' sighed Milo happily. He jerked his thumb towards their caravan, which was resting lopsidedly on three wheels, with a large boulder under the axle where the fourth wheel should have been. The fourth wheel was leaning against the body of the caravan. âWe can get a new axle pin for the broken wheel.'
Jack looked in awe at the money in the leather bag. He'd never seen so much before.
âWith that, we can get anything we want,' he said. âWe can buy Big Rock a new costume.'
âI like my old costume,' said Big Rock.
âYes, but it's got a lot of holes in it,' said Jack. âYou're poking through bits of it.'
âSew patches on,' said Big Rock.
âIt's already got lots of patches on,' Jack pointed out. âIn fact, there are more patches on it than there is original costume.'
âEvery patch a memory of good wrestling,' retorted Big Rock.
âOkay, we'll get some more cloth and sew more patches on,' said Jack resignedly.
âGood,' said Big Rock.
âA bale of hay,' sighed Robin happily. âNot that I'm not happy with what Jack cooks for us, or grass, but sometimes the best thing a horse can have is a beautiful bale of sweet hay.'
âAnd you shall have it,' said Milo. âBut first, we need to get the caravan fixed. I hear there's a blacksmith in a town about five miles away, so, first thing tomorrow, me and Robin will go there for a new axle pin.'
Next morning, Milo set off riding Robin the horse, heading for the town and the blacksmith. Once the pair had gone, Big Rock and Jack set about training. First they did the warm-up session, with stretches and press-ups and cartwheels to prevent any muscle strain.
Then they ran through Big Rock's favourite holds: the Half Nelson Driver, where Big Rock flipped his opponent upside down and dropped, driving his opponent's head down onto the mat; the Cobra Clutch Bulldog, which also meant getting hold of his opponent, spinning them upside down, and driving their face into the ground; and the Brainbuster. The Brainbuster had a few additional elements, like Big Rock putting his opponent in a headlock, but in fact all the moves were very, very similar with the same ending: the opponent ended up going head first into the ground.
They also tried other throws and holds, like the Mountain Bomb, in which Big Rock flipped the opponent back-first down onto the mat, before pinning them down for a fall; and the Half Nelson Legsweep, which was all about Big Rock catching his opponent off-balance and sweeping one leg away from under him, so they'd fall to the ground.