Sipping gingerly from the cup, Bayley took in the sweet aroma of her pumpkin latte. It was certainly that time of the year again and, as the orange and yellow leaves fell around her illuminated by the setting sun, she couldn’t help but smile to herself – life was pretty sweet. She was training with the WWE in the Performance Centre, regularly appearing on NXT, and making new friends and fans on a near daily basis. Some guy on the internet had even said she was the MVP of the show recently, which had given her a thrill that was yet to wear off. Yes, certainly she had everything going for her, and whilst she wasn’t going to rest on her laurels for an instant it was sometimes nice to fantasise about just how far her career could go. She’d long coveted the Divas Championship, and since she’d been given a taste of what it was like to compete for it a couple of months previous she hadn’t stopped feeling like it would one day be hers. As she basked in that thought, something snapped her out of her reverie – she thought she’s seen a movement in the shadows, under the trees across from her, but as she squinted through the half-light there seemed to be nothing there.
‘Hello?’ she called out, timidly. ‘Anybody there?’
Stupid, she thought. If there was anyone there, would they really respond? It was probably just a bird. She turned on her heel and started for home, waving at the people she passed on her way.
The next morning, Bayley was making her way to the Performance Centre for a day of training, another pumpkin latte in her hand, when she heard a nearby wheezing, groaning sound. Worrying that it might be a man in trouble, she looked around her – it had come from the same trees she thought she’d seen a movement last night. Today, in broad daylight, she felt confident enough to make her way into the undergrowth. She pushed the low branches aside and peered into the gloomy shadows and could just make out a strange box under the diminished foliage. Approaching the box, it revealed more of itself to Bayley – it was a little over two and a half metres tall and about one metre square. Painted in a deep royal blue, it looked a little out of place amongst the rich autumnal colours; even more so when Bayley read the sign that said it was a police telephone box. Hesitantly, she rapped on the door, sure that this was where she had heard the sound coming from.
‘Is there anybody in there?’ she called, her head resting against the door.
The door swung open and a head appeared, wearing a broad black Stetson hat.
‘Yes, er, hello there, how are you?’ said the head.
‘Oh my God!’ exclaimed Bayley. ‘I know who you are! You’re Mr Hendrix! But why are you hiding in this tiny blue box?’
‘Well, it’s The Doctor, actually, and this is a TARDIS.’
‘Yeah, Dok Hendrix! Come on, we all know who you are! You’re famous!’
‘No, no – it’s just The Doctor’.
Bayley paused, taking in the windswept blonde hair, the black Stetson placed far down covering a well receded hairline, and the scarf, coarse and woollen, hanging carelessly from his neck. He certainly looked like the Dok Hendrix she knew from watching WWF Action Zone as a child, but there was something different about him.
‘Look, I’ve come to get you, actually. See, I’m a time traveller, well, more time and space, really, but primarily I work with Triple H and he sends me to pick up NXT graduates and take them to the main roster. It’s quicker if I travel like this though – less traffic jams and I get to see the stars. Anyway, we’d like to call you up to the main roster, so that’s why I’ve been following you. Do come inside, and we’ll head off as soon possible.’
Pulling her parka around her, the bristly fake fur brushing her cheek and making her nose twitch, Bayley looked back up at the old man. Was this really what had happened to Big E Langston and Bray Wyatt before her? They had sort of just disappeared one day and shown up on the TV. But still, the main roster…the Divas Championship…her dreams
‘Anyway, are you coming or what?’ The Doctor cut through her daydream.
‘Yes’, she said, excitedly. ‘Of course I’m coming.’
And she stepped inside the blue doors, The Doctor pulling them shut behind them.
Bayley’s eyes, wide as saucers, took in the control room of the TARDIS. ‘How is it so big?’
‘It’s…complicated. To do with space and time and wibbly wobbly, jiggly wiggly…stuff. And bananas.’
‘Always take a banana to a party, Bayley.’
‘Right…what does that big red light mean? Ooh, it’s flashing!’
‘Oh…oh no…that means trouble.’
The Doctor walked briskly over to the console, leaving Bayley to fully take in her surroundings. It looked like how she imagined the inside of an octopus skin would look like – bright blue with odd barnacle-like bits sticking off of it at odd points. The central console looked like something from Minority Report crossed with the Edwardian times – high tech, but with heavy metal levers and handles, which The Doctor was now frantically pulling and twisting.
‘Got to make a stop – trouble on Titan. Hope you don’t mind a slight delay on getting to Raw, it’s not like creative have plans that can’t change at the last second anyway’
‘Titan? Where’s…’ but the rest of Bayley’s sentence was cut off by a loud hiss of steam emanating from the central console as she heard that familiar wheezing, groaning sound again and an odd feeling in her navel, as if someone was stirring her intestines around with a pair of chopsticks.
‘Hold on to something!’ The Doctor screamed, as everything started to shift. ‘This is going to be a bumpy one!’
The TARDIS landed with a soft thud on a lush green lawn, and Bayley tumbled out of the door, retching. The Doctor followed behind, adjusting his Stetson, and gazed up and the building in front of them. The tower of Titan rose into the clouds like an erection between breasts, the tip vanishing into the mouth that is space. The crumbling façade had given way to the brickwork underneath, leaving the towers looking shabby, dishevelled and somewhat past their best.
‘What’s in there? What are we looking for?’ Bayley gasped.
‘Not sure. Hopefully it’s not TripBot again; he’s a persistent thorn in my side.’
‘Yes. Triple H, but as a robot. Triple H couldn’t do everything he wanted at once, so he made a sentient robot version of himself. It all worked fine until one day he got an Independent Web Circumcision virus. The IWC rebooted his systems, and he went from a perfectly well adjusted version of Triple H to a monstrous parody, one that could never be beaten and had a nasty habit of literally burying young talent. Needless to say, it didn’t work out to well. I think Daniel Bryan’s still in the mental hospital recovering – can’t have been nice, spending a week underground…’
‘I thought he had a sex accident with Brie Bella?’
‘That’s the official line, but the unfortunate truth is TripBot put him six feet under. Luckily, he’s a vegan, so he could survive eating the roots of dandelions. Anyway, we had better go and check this out – looks quiet at the moment, but who knows what we’ll find in there.’
The heavy double doors opened with a creak as Bayley and The Doctor entered the towers and started to make their way up the spiral stairs. Bayley groped for the handrail and found it, rough and splintery, off to her left. They climbed higher and higher, until Bayley felt herself become woozy with the thinning air. Finally, after what seemed like hours, The Doctor came to a halt. Stood before him was a sturdy, metal door, dented by what looked like sledgehammer impacts, and beyond that emanated a stale, damp smell. The door was marked with the word ‘Storage’ in bold red paint. The Doctor pulled it open and revealed a long, dark corridor.
‘I can’t see a thing. What’s stored here, anyway?’
‘Old supplies, costumes, accessories…quite a few items of interest, actually. A lot of them are just spares or things that were only really needed once or twice and then disposed of. Hang on, I’ve got a screwdriver here somewhere, should be able to do something about the light situation with it.’
The Doctor was frantically patting at the pockets of his long, blue coat, until he finally found what he was looking for – he pulled out a small, silver shaft with a light blue point on the end and held it up to the light switch.
‘Now…lefty loosey, righty tighty’ said The Doctor, as he started to turn the screws in the plastic casing. After a bit of fiddling the corridor suddenly lit up and hundreds of brown, hairy creatures all shot out of the passageway and into the side rooms.
‘What were those?!’ Bayley yelped, as she took two steps back trying to avoid the escaping hairballs.
‘Spare beards. For if Daniel Bryan ever wanted to shave – they could just glue one on for a show. They never got used. TripBot should be along here somewhere’, The Doctor said, pointing down the hallway towards the doors at the very end. ‘Last time I stowed him back there, in the furthest room. Chained him up and everything.’
As The Doctor strode ahead, Bayley tip-toed down the corridor, gazing around and taking in the sights – all of the history of the WWE, everything she’d dreamed of since she was a child, was here, laid out before her. The Women’s title that LayCool had split between them was hanging from the wall, the symbol on which Undertaker had tied Stephanie McMahon was propped in a corner, and Big Show’s dignity was suspended from the ceiling like a drape…the lineage of the WWE was right there at her fingertips, and she smiled to herself as she turned back to The Doctor, who was frantically trying to jemmy the lock to the door.
‘Bloody screwdriver’, he muttered to himself. ‘Must get one of those ones with interchangeable tips…ah, there we go’.
The lock clicked, and the door opened. Reluctantly, The Doctor and Bayley stuck their heads through the doorway. The eyes scanned the room and fell open a chained version of Triple H at the end of the room, his head lolling to one side.
‘Ab…’ it spluttered, before dying once again.
‘Looks like it’s misfiring, fortunately, and hasn’t run riot here yet. I should be able to…Bayley, what are you doing?!’
Bayley had dashed into the room, all thought of this being an evil, robotic version of Triple H gone from her mind. One of the legends of wrestling was right there in front of her, and she couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a signature hug. She stretched her arms wide as she ran towards the restrained robot.
‘BAYLEY! NO! You’ve got independent circuit experience! He’ll sense it on you and fire up’
But it was too late – Bayley wrapped her arms around the waist of TripBot and rested her head upon his chest . ‘Mr H!’ She exclaimed. ‘Mr H, it’s so good to meet you!’
The robot’s head stirred, and its jaw fell open. ‘Abeyan…’, it stuttered, before its eyes lit red and its hands started towards Bayley’s neck.
‘Bayley, move!’ The Doctor screamed, and his companion took a step back – but too late.
‘ABEYANCE!’ The robot screamed, rearing its ugly head and powering itself out of the chains that had held it so tightly.
Bayley didn’t need telling twice – she scarpered and The Doctor grabbed her hand as she came through the doorway.
‘Quick, in here.’ He motioned to one of the side rooms and they dove for cover, cowering behind a palm tree from WrestleMania 28.
‘We should be OK here,’ The Doctor whispered to Bayley, ‘nobody could see past these things in 2012, so I doubt TripBot can see past them now. We need to do something, though – we can’t have him just roaming the corridors, there’ll be bedlam. I know for a fact there’s some of RVD’s old singlets in here somewhere that will end up torn to shreds’
‘Could we use that?’ Bayley raised a finger to point at a small cage in the corner of the room. ‘It looks like it would hold him pretty well…’
‘That? No, I don’t think that would work – it’s the cage they kept Chyna atUnforgiven 1998, so it’s nowhere near strong enough to hold him. We need something to slow him down, then I can chain him back up. Or something to put him to sleep…’
‘A Miz match?’
‘Don’t think we’ve got any videos of those, they were all deemed too deadly to be converted into digital files. If they got into the wrong hands the whole universe could suffer. No, we should try and fry his circuits with something.’
‘What about that?’
The Doctor turned his head to where Bayle had gestured – and saw the answer to all of the problems. There, in the corner of the room, was the beer truck from the March 22nd, 1999 episode of Raw. How it had got there, he had no idea – there were a lot of stairs to navigate with a truck of that size – but he was thankful for it now.
‘Yes, that will do perfectly! Oh well done Bayley – quick, I’ll get the hose, you distract TripBot so I can spray him.’
The Doctor scuttled across the room and slid behind the truck just as TripBot came to the doorway. He groped for the hose and found it, praying there was still some sort of liquid in the tank. He turned it on and nodded at Bayley. The NXT star popped out from behind the tree and waved at the mechanical version of WWE’s COO, who turned to face her with another scream of ‘abeyance’. Bayley grabbed a fatty deposit from the bag next to her marked ‘Kassius Ohno’s liposuction’ and threw it towards the robot, distracting him completely. ‘Now Doctor!’ Bayley shouted, and he sprayed a gush of beer onto the back of TripBot, sending him flying into the wall. The Doctor hosed him down against the wall with fire in his eyes and the light in TripBot’s eyes flickered momentarily and died.
‘Thanks goodness for that,’ The Doctor exhaled, rolling the hose back into the truck. ‘Let’s get him chained back up and then we can drop you off for Raw. Just in time, too.’
****Bayley walked into the arena that night with a spring in her step. Looking at the board, she was scheduled to debut against Tamina Snuka. Far from her favourite wrestler – far from anyone’s favourite wrestler – she knew, but she was thrilled to finally have the opportunity. She looked back over her shoulder at The Doctor, leaning against the TARDIS, and waved. The Doctor tipped his hat back at her, and as she turned to walk away he saw the real Triple H approaching.
‘How’d she do, Michael? Hardly seems to be a scratch on you this time.’
‘Very well – used the old beer truck and Kassius Ohno’s fat deposits.’
‘Huh – not one we’ve seen before. She’s smarter than she looks, isn’t she?’
‘Yes she is sir. Yes she is.’
‘We’ll soon sort that out. Have yourself a rest for now, we’ve got another one for you to go and fetch in a couple of weeks. It’s about time we tried getting Sami Zayn up here again.’