Appearing in "In This Corner"
- 🢐 Vance Astrovik 🢒
- U.C.W.F. (Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation) (First appearance)
- Sharon Ventura (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "In This Corner"
Now a member of the stunt motorcyclists known as the Thunderiders, the Thing practices with the group on his specially designed motorcycle. However he is far from happy about this new job. The only reason he took it was because he wanted to be near the adventurer known as Sharon Ventura, the woman who closely resembles Tarianna, the ideal woman he made up on Battleworld. However Ben took the job not realizing that he was going to be Sharon's replacement. Even during a practice run where the members of the Thunderiders form a human pyramid on top of the Thing, Ben can only think of Sharon and about how he is stuck now that he is locked into a contract with the Thunderiders and all the money they have put into his new motorcycle and promotional material. After practice, Ben confides in Vance of his feelings, pointing out that this is all boring for him since after joining the Fantastic Four he enjoys nothing more than a good scrap. Vance convinces Ben that he should follow his convictions prompting Ben to hit the locker room. There he is about to quit when he spots a poster advertising his membership in the Thunderiders, but when Cowboy asks him how he is doing, Ben can't help but tell the truth. However, after talking over it with the other Thunderiders, they agree that Ben's heart just isn't in it and let him free from his contract and even let him keep the motorcycle they built for him.
After hitting the road for some hours, Ben and Vance pull into a Holiday Inn for the night. That evening Ben catches an advertisement for the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation, which boasts no strength restrictions. When Vance hears this announcement, he thinks that Ben would be a great addition to their roster. While the thing simply brushes this off and goes to bed, he can't help but think that Vance might have the right idea. Three days later, Ben and Vance are in Las Vegas where the Thing signs up to audition for the UCWF. There he meets UCWF owner Ed Garner who is more than happy to have a former member of the Fantastic Four try out for the group. Ben is then led into an auditorium where men line up to lift massive weights. As contestants are being ruled out, the Thing goes up and not only beats the record but is able to lift all the weights no problem. Another contestant that makes it into the roster is a mohawked strong man calling himself Dynamite Dunphy. The next test is to see how they all fight together in the ring, this is another easy contest by the Thing who takes on all the other wrestlers at once without any trouble. With his team of wrestlers assembled, Ed Garner congratulates the group for succeeding and informs them that the first fight will be between the Thing and Dynamite Dunphy. As the wrestlers leave the office, Ed pulls Dunphy aside and offers him a large amount of cash if he throws the fight against the Thing in order to boost publicity.
This is overheard by Vance who is standing by Garner's office window and he tells the Thing. Ben comes storming into Garner's office just as Dunphy refuses to take the money. Ben then demands Garner to confirm or deny Vance's allegations or he walks. Garner confesses, while Dunphy explains he wasn't going to accept the bribe. When Ed tries to bribe Ben instead, Ben is about to walk out when Vance reminds him that this is the third time he's going to walk away from something. This convinces the Thing to stay on, and both he and Dunphy agree to fighting a fair fight. When Dynamite leaves the room, Ben grabs Garner and warns him that the UCWF is going to be run as a clean operation or it's not going to go at all.
Garner agrees and soon the first UCWF match is set for two weeks later. In front of a packed house the Thing fights it out with Dynamite Dunphy. Dunphy is able to hold his own against the Thing, but when he suggests that the Thing was thrown out of the Fantastic Four, Ben gets mad and fights back at his full strength, easily knocking out Dunphy and winning the match.
The Thing In the wrestling ring? Well, even a super hero has to earn a living. And they're lining up from here to the bleachers to face off against him!
- At this point in time, Ben was recently involved in the Secret Wars in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1–12. After which he decided to stay on Battleworld because he believed that that planet allowed him to change back and forth between his human and Thing form. He was there from Thing #11–22 when he sacrificed his ability to return to human form to stop Grimm the Sorcerer. In Fantastic Four #277 and Thing #23 Ben learned that not only that his teammate Johnny Storm is now dating a woman who everyone thinks is Alicia Masters, but also that Reed Richards knew that Ben could change back and forth any time he wanted for some time prior to the Secret Wars. Some additional facts:
- Johnny isn't really dating Alicia Masters, as revealed in Fantastic Four #358 she is really Lyja, a Skrull spy who took Alicia's place circa Fantastic Four #265.
- Reed was aware that Ben could change back and forth at will in Fantastic Four #245. Although Ben thinks he's lost his humanity for good following the events of Thing #22, this is also proven as false as seen the next time Ben is restored to human form in Fantastic Four #326.
- Sharon Ventura resembles Tarianna the woman that Ben dreamed up on Battleworld and adventured beside from Thing #12–22. When they defeated Grimm the Sorcerer she ceased to exist as she was a product of his imagination.
- Ben found Sharon last issue working with the Thunderiders and joined the group only to find out that he was replacing her.
- Unexplained here, the reason why the wrestlers who make the cut into the UCWF (except for the Thing) have augmented strength is because they had underwent treatment by Power Broker, Inc. as explained in Thing #33.