This Was Me.
Art by Peter Stoller
At the height of his career, Parondor was the most feared wrestler on the Reckless Carnage Wrestling Federation, the hardcore extention of the Wild Side Wrestling Federation. His matches were violent, often including chairs, tables, ladders, thumbtacks, barbed or razor wire, and broken glass; even fire, explosives, electricity, and other things sure to make the wrestlers scream in pain (more specifically, what looked like they SHOULD howl) were used. To complete the fearsome reputation he had, his billed height of 7'6" was no exaggeration.
Because of all the brutal, sometimes horrifying matches he participated in, he became known as The Indestructible.
But his career exacted a toll on him: Parondor's body began to fall apart. When he turned 40, Parondor finally was forced to face the inevitable. Slowed by his failing health (arthritis exacerbated by his gigantism and a heart ailment being the worst of his problems), and aware that his constant pain was clearly visible to his fans, Parondor realized he would have to retire soon.
The end came sooner than expected. At Splatterfest, the WSWF:RCWF flagship special event, Parondor was scheduled to fight in a 6-fur Elimination Table match for the RCWF Championship. The match featured a number of tables, all rigged with something (such as barbed wire, electricity, mild explosions, thumbtacks, etc.). Some, always one less than the number of participants, were rigged with red lights and an alarm; whoever went through one of those was eliminated (and often felt themselves fortunate). The last fur standing was the winner; this time, it was Parondor, He stood tall over his defeated foes, giving his trademark 3 warcries, but this time, the third came out as a pathetic mew as Parondor's body gave out and collapsed.
Had it been any other wrestler, this would have been seen as a thoroughly tasteless storyline, but since it was the ailing Parondor, the crowd reacted with speechless horror, instantly convinced this was no act.
After spending weeks in the hospital recovering, unable to get his full strength back, and realizing that he would never be taken seriously as a wrestler again, Parondor knew that his career was over for good. At WSWF: Lords of the Ring, the most prestigious WSWF show of them all, Parondor publicly announced his retirement to a crowd glad to see him go but sad he had to leave.
Here, it's been a few years after his retirement. He and his daughter Killeana (the reigning WSWF Female's Champion) are walking through the WSWF arena gallery, with posters of all the wrestlers who have wrestled for the WSWF. He pauses in front of his own poster, and remembers a time when he could get out of bed without help. Killeana, who was 10 when the poster was originally made, also remembers what he had once been.
A little bit of an afterward: after his retirement, Parondor found continued employment as an assistant trainer/coach to other giant wrestlers in the WSWF. The job was not offered to him solely out of a need for such a trainer. Dreysanius also wanted to show the cougar gratitude for years of service and that Parondor was not
persona non grata in the WSWF.
Parondor understood the gesture, and was glad to take it. The fact that he virtually vanished from the public eye gave him some much-appreciated privacy.
I met Speet at AC 2006, and discussed the picture, which he found rather unusual, as it featured a disabled fur and diditigrade shoes. After AC, I paid him for the picture, and he proceeded work. The picture was finished October 16. 2006.
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