Originally recorded 12/16/2022
The conference room of Madison Square Garden is bustling with hushed whispers of conversation. Dozens of folding chairs are filled with members of the associated press (and a few fans with special permissions), set out before a table and backdrop checkered in PRIME and ACE Network logos.
From the back emerges Simon Tillier, looking as nervous as a deer in headlights. He awkwardly leans in over the microphone set up on the table to address the crowd.
Simon Tillier: Umm, yes, hello and welcome, everyone. I’m… not exactly sure how all this is supposed to go. But I think we can all agree that it’s been a long and dramatic evening, so let’s keep this as succinct and orderly as possible so we can all get home at a reasonable hour. One question at a time, please?
The junior reporter shuffles out of view.
1. Ivan Stanislav
Ivan Stanislav and Alexei Ruslan ascend the platform to start the press conference. They wear their typical ring gear, with Stanislav in his shirt, suspenders, and pants while Ruslan wears his brown overcoat and hat. The two Russians balk for a moment as they realize there is no podium, but rather a table and two chairs. Ivan looks at Alexei, Alexei looks at the chair, then he looks at Ivan. Ivan growls to himself.
With a sigh, Ruslan reaches into his coat and produces a banner of Russia, which he drapes over the front of the table so that it rests comfortably. Then, he reaches into another pocket and pulls out a small Soviet flag and sets it on the table. He offers a dazzling smile and speaks first, not sitting but leaning down to speak into the mic while Stanislav stands both emotionless and motionless a few steps behind.
Alexei Ruslan: Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce The Russian Bear, Praporshchik Stanislav. Former OSW and PCW World Champion, holder of countless titles and accolades, and proud representative of the Russian Federation.
He looks back at Ivan and smiles.
Alexei Ruslan: Praporshchik Stanislav, if you please?
Ruslan moves to the side and pulls his hands behind his back, while Stanislav lumbers to the table. He looks down at it and instead of sitting, he grasps the microphone and yanks it upwards, pulling all the cords through the preset holes and stretching them along the floor.
Ivan Stanislav: I would have expected suitable podium for my stature. Not some table. I am not lazy. I do not sit if I can help it. Nor will I break my жопа risking it in that weak, American made chair. Anyway, thank you for the introduction, Alexei Gregorovich. So then, after soundly defeating Mortimer Knightingale, I am prepared to answer any questions.
Stanislav stands there a bit awkwardly, looming over the small table, holding the stretched microphone. Ruslan continues to stand.
Garry Ray-Ray NelsonBolamba: Hi Ivan, I’m yer friend Timo’s new kid, Garry Ray-Ray Bolamba. I’m reportin’ fer the Nelson County Times. How far have ya ever done the yeetin ta someone? Do ya have an Olympic medal in human shotput? Is there such a thing?
Ivan Stanislav: Yes, Garry, I have read your interesting conversations on Jabber. I guess you can call them conversations. As for how far have I yeeted someone?
Ivan cocks his head for a moment and looks over at Alexei.
Ivan Stanislav: Kак далеко я забросил Дитя Чудо? (How far did I throw Kid Wonder?)
Alexei Ruslan: Десять рядов? Тринадцать? (Ten rows? Thirteen?)
Ivan Stanislav: I once threw Kid Wonder approximately thirteen rows from ring into crowd. He was small child who did not weigh much at all. But, I also wrestled in great pyramid once, and threw someone farther while at the apex… but then we get into physics and the like, so I cannot say for sure. Nevertheless, I always seek to better myself. As for human shotput, no this is not sanctioned event at Olympics. However, if it were, you can rest assured I would be gold medalist along with the rest of my countrymen.
It’s Ruslan who inclines his head and points to Tanner Quest.
Tanner Quest: Tanner Quest of RingDispatch.com. Mister Stanislav, you spoke out against the reinstatement of Paxton Ray after he injured Mark Leon on ReVival 17. And yet, you had no compunction about attacking other PRIME employees on your way to threatening Nick Stuart at ReVival 19. Can you explain how these two events are different?
Ivan Stanislav: First of all, it’s Praporshchik Stanislav. I fought in wars and defended my Motherland with risk of my life. Learn journalism and do some research, eh?
Stanislav’s already sour mood only increases.
Ivan Stanislav: As for your “question,” once again you prove that you are moron. There is no equivalence to what I did versus what Paxton Ray did. Paxton Ray sent individuals to hospital. No one was sent to hospital in aftermath of my actions. Those employees simply were in my way and they tripped. I cannot be held responsible for their lack of equilibrium.
Ruslan chuckles and moves forward and lifts up onto his toes to speak into the microphone. Mercifully, Ivan lowers it for his friend.
Alexei Ruslan: If Ivan Sergeiovich wanted to send them anyway, he would have skipped hospital and sent them straight to morgue.
Stanislav doesn’t seem to want to let the point go, however, and before Ruslan can point to someone else, he lifts the microphone and speaks again while pointing at Tanner Quest.
Ivan Stanislav: You parrot lies told by Lindsay Troy and all the others. To even suggest that Ivan Stanislav “attacked” someone is straight from their venomous mouths. Alex is right. If I had attacked them, they would not be walking any longer. If you cannot see how the two events are different, first try extricating your head from your ass. Next!
Ruslan smirks and points at Savannah Scandal.
Savannah Scandal: Hey cutie, I’m Savannah Scandal, creator of the Scandal Sheet. Ivan, how many Olympic gymnasts have you shacked up with? Credible sources have linked you to several prominent athletes over the last three decades.
Ivan smiles at that and chuckles to himself.
Ivan Stanislav: I will not give out names, lest there be any sort of scandals. But any relationship I have had with Olympic gymnasts have occurred after they have finished with Olympics. Otherwise they walk with bows in their legs, eh? DYAAHAAHAA!!
Feedback screams through the sound system for a moment. Ruslan points, somewhat reluctantly, towards Deb Warenstein.
Deb Warenstein: Hiiiiii it’s meeeeeeee, Deb Warenstein! So like, which loss do you think is worse: Russia soccer losing against Germany at the 1912 Olympics or the Soviet Union losing against the United States at the Miracle on Ice, thank you.
Stanislav looks at Alexei and speaks in Russian.
Ivan Stanislav: Какое, блять, это имеет отношение к Колоссу? (What the fuck does this have to do with Colossus?)
Alexei Ruslan: Она молода, так глупа по своей природе. (She is young so inherently stupid.)
Ivan looks back at Deb.
Ivan Stanislav: I do not recognize “loss” during the game in Lake Placid. You see, young Deb, not everyone in world believes it is called “Miracle on the Ice” like you call it. Contrary to popular belief, everyone does not see it that way. It was hockey match. American’s call it “Miracle” because of how lucky they were to eke out a win.
Ivan’s voice starts to become louder.
Ivan Stanislav: For example…
Ruslan tugs on the cord of the microphone to get his attention. It does stop Ivan’s impending speech, who nods.
Ivan Stanislav: ….NEXT!
A greasy teenager in an AC/DC t-shirt rises to his feet. Ruslan doesn’t point to him, because he simply looks like a kid, but he speaks.
Chris Chickentenders: Yeah, hi, the name’s Chickentenders. Chris Chickentenders. I’m only here because Lindsay Troy gave my little cousin a free trip to this show, and the turd needed a babysitter. Anyway, Mr. Stainslob… can you confirm that all Russian dudes over a certain height are required by Russian law to have the name “Ivan”?
Ivan grits his teeth.
Ivan Stanislav: It is Praporshchik. Stanislav. *he inhales* No, I cannot confirm that. It is another lie spread about my country, or just American’s being idiots. Ivan is quite common name in Russia. It is English equivalent of “John” which is common name in those countries.
As the teen named Chickentenders retakes his seat, his presumed cousin sitting next to him, a boy who is clearly no more than seven stands up on his chair.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes my dad says Russia is bad but you like Russia why is that thank you
Once again, Stanislav and Ruslan look at one another. This is easily the most horrible, mind numbing press conference in their career. Ivan looks down at Hamburgers.
Ivan Stanislav: Your father is idiot. I love Russia because it is my home. It is greatest country to exist on this Earth! It has great history. Our people have honor, dignity, and…
Ivan trails off as he realizes Hamburgers is already seated and looking at his phone. He looks over at Alexei, who shrugs, and they both look out at the crowd. Ruslan tugs on the cord again.
Alexei Ruslan: Anyone else? Anything about, say, Colossus? Or perhaps, oh I do not know, wrestling?!
Ivan looks confused, but speaks.
Ivan Stanislav: Well in that case, I just wish to say that I stand with my Russian brothers and sisters, fighting against the fascists. Да здравствует Родина!! (Long live the Motherland!)
Ivan unceremoniously drops the microphone. It thuds loudly through the speaker system, but Ruslan manages to snatch it up for his trademark outro.
Alexei Ruslan: He is unstoppable!! He is indestructible!! He is indefatigable!! This is Praporshchik Ivan Sergeiovich Stanislav!!
He snatches up the Russian flag and the smaller Soviet flag on a stand, and the two of them leave while speaking to one another in their native tongue with bewilderment on their faces.
2. Mortimer Knightingale
Mortimer Knightingale takes his seat in front of a microphone. He is sporting a tank top, an exact replica of the one worn by Kurt Russell in “Big Trouble in Little China”. His right forearm is bandaged up.
Mortimer Knightingale: As some of you may be aware, I was involved in certain personal matters recently which involved a slight flesh wound, so I would like it known that I will not be addressin’ anything about it at this junction. With that, you can start.
Matt Mills: Matt Mills, PRIME—
Mortimer Knightingale: I know who you are.
Matt Mills: This is the first we are hearing of this injury and altercation. What can you tell us about what happened?
Mortimer Knightingale: It’s nothin’. Next?
Garry Ray-Ray Bolamba: What was it like on the moon after Ivan sent you there? Did you bring back any souvenirs? If ya did, can ya smoke ‘em?
Mortimer Knightigale: Go fuck your mother. Next question.
Savannah Scandal: So what’s up with the freaky sex mask? Do you think if it were freakier, you might win more often?
Mortimer Knightingale: Go fuck the guy I just told to fuck his mother’s mother. Next!
Tanner Quest: You’ve been part of the Gamble Appreciation Society since your loss at UltraViolence. How would you describe Tony Gamble’s leadership skills?
Mortimer Knightingale: Better than Hitler but not as good as Bill Parcells.
Deb Warenstein: Hiiiiiiii my dad asked me to ask you for your top 5 mafia movies of the 1990s
Mortimer Knightingale: First of all, there’s no such thing as a “mafia” and “B”, that question is stereotypically profilin’. What, your dad thinks that all men of Italian American descent must love “The Godfather” and “Goodfellas”? What, are we all just goombahs comparin’ tans or some such to him? That is completely farcical. I, myself, happen to enjoy movies involvin’ one Alicia Silverstone or musicals with catchy tunes like the “Grease” or “Guys and Dolls” or “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. And yeah, maybe I have an infinity for bad films in the milieu of Ed Wood or Tommy Wisseau. I am complex individual that does not wish to perpetrate in that negative stereotypin’ such as your father. In closin’, I am not overtly impressed nor appreciative of your father’s clear Anti-Italian notions nor your ambiguity towards them.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes I have a bet with my cousin that your real last name is koalabears would you care to comment, thank you.
Mortimer Knightgale: What is this? Some kind of fuckin’ joke? I get assaulted in my hotel room a few nights ago and I have to be treated like this? Who the fuck are you? You’re a fuckin’ nobody. If you disappeared in the desert somewheres, who’d fuckin’ care? Nobody, that’s who. Not even this asshole cousin.
Chris Chickentenders: Uh hey man, would you have any solid advice for a young, impressionable teenage man-to-be who is trying to be taken more seriously by his peers, but keeps getting made fun of because he has a ridiculous last name?
Mortimer Knightingale: Ridic….? Are these serious fuckin’ questions? Look, someone gives you a problem, for whatever the reason….got a funny last name, you shop at the dollar store for groceries, you’re too fat, you’re too skinny, whatever the fuck….all you need is a pair of gloves and two sets of brass knucks. Next time some prick gives you shit, you put the knucks and gloves on, make like you’re tyin’ your shoes, and BAM! Uppercut to the fuckin’ jaw. They’ll go down like a sack of potatoes. Now, you might not be the confrontin’ type, so find some degenerate scumbag with a couple of equally scumbaggery friends and hire them to kick the shit outta the bullies mockin’ you. Have’em bring back the shitstained underwear as proof that the job has been sufficiently carried out. And rest assured, they won’t fuck with you again. Anything else? No?
Mortimer Knightingale rises up and walks off the stage without saying another word.
3. Dangerous Mix
The Dangerous Mix of David Fox and Mushigihara make their way to the press table, still in ring gear and looking like they just had a hell of an encounter, because they, well… did. With a smile and groan, the two wrestlers take their seats, as David Fox points seeming at random to a reporter.
Tanner Quest: After several attempts, you finally scored a win over the Masters of the Multiverse B-Team, who you’ve been rivals with almost all year. Where do you have your sights set for 2023?
David Fox: Great, honestly! It woulda been a little sweeter to actually pin one of them proper, but a win’s a win, so I’ll take it.
Mushigihara: As for where we’re going in 2023? Well, I think it’d be pretty nice if David and I made a run towards those PRIME Tag Team Championships, whoever’s holding them when we get to that point. It won’t be an easy road, but I think we can do it.
Garry Ray-Ray Bolamba: We all felt that blastwave in the arena, how did ya make it out alive?
The camera dramatically zooms in on David’s face as he gives a somber reply.
David Fox: I did things no dog should do. They will haunt me forever.
A mild chuckle comes from the press, as the next question arrives.
Deb Warenstein: Hi, I’m confused, are you two lost? This isn’t DEFIANCE.
Mushigihara: Nope! We’ve been here since Tag Team Survivor and liked it here so much that we’ve stuck to it.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes mushimushi do you remember me it’s me craig hamburgers and I remember you, how does it feel to win thank you
Mushigihara smiles from ear to ear at the sight of one of his favorite people, and leans into the mic.
Mushigihara: Craig! How are ya, little man?
The eager young journalist cadet smiles back and gives an enthusiastic thumbs up.
Mushigihara: Gotta say, winning is pretty great, Craig. In fact, me and David like it so much that we’re going to try and do it more often.
Chris Chickentenders: Uhh, hey there Munchy and Dave. Good to see ya again. So, like I said, I’m kinda new to PRIME, but you guys seem to be pretty familiar with the place. So what’s the inside scoop? Who are the badasses, what are the mysteries, and where are all the hot chicks?
David chuckles and shakes his head.
David Fox: Your guess is as good as mine, Chickenman, we just barely touched down on this place too, and we’re still figuring things out.
Savannah Scandal: So, Mushigihara…who are you giving the ol’ OSU to while you’re in town? I happen to know that several Rockettes have come through your hotel.
Mushigihara simply raises an eyebrow and blushes.
Mushigihara: …I don’t even have a hotel room here, I drove in from South Jersey.
Dr. Zeke: Hello! This is a question for Devin Fox! Why did you kill that pigeon? Does Lizzy Horse and her bird force know about this, and is there any chance that you might have to spend time in bird jail for your crimes?
David Fox: What the hell are you talking about?
Dr. Zeke: Yes, hello! Another question for Devin Fox. Can I get Kathryn Shaw’s phone number?
David chuckles and shakes his head.
David Fox: Believe me, old son, if I had her number I wouldn’t be sharing it.
The Mix chuckle amongst themselves, as we cut.
4. MOTM B-Team
The Masters of the Multiverse B-Team make their way toward the conference table, both men noticeably limping after everything they went through earlier. Kenny Freeman and Randall Schwartz take their seats, awaiting the many, many questions that are coming. Oh lawd, they comin’.
Tanner Quest: Are…are you okay?
Kenny and Randall just stare at each other for what feels like forever…and then shake their heads, silently responding in the way one would imagine given the circumstance. Quest acknowledges that this is all the response the B-Team will give, and takes a seat…only for one very loud, boisterous young gentleman to stand up and ask the next question.
Garry Ray-Ray Bolamba: So, I ain’t never seen two boys absorbed before. How did you make it outta the belly button? And when did that occur? Did Bobby Dean need surgery? Did they do the bypass while he was at it?
Kenny just looks at Garry with disgust, only for Randall to chime in with an angry look on his face.
Randall Schwartz: First of all, Kenny and I are doing just fine, thank you. Second, any questions about Bobby Dean can be directed to Bobby Dean. Next question.
Garry is beside himself at this, but is told to sit down as another young gentleman stands up, ready to present the next question.
Chris Chickentenders: Dudes I laughed so hard when that lardass landed on top of you guys I nearly peed my pants but what actually happened was I spilled some Mountain Dew on them. Can you show us to a universe where I can just watch that happening over and over?
Randall glares at Chickentenders, but Kenny raises a hand to stop him.
Kenny Freeman: Entertainer, I got this.
Kenny stands up, still looking beat-up as all hell from earlier as he speaks up with a stern tone of voice.
Kenny Freeman: Mountain Dew is a fake gamer drink, first of all. To answer your other question, shut up…and I cannot stress this enough…a you face.
This raises quite the commotion amongst the reporters in the audience, but Chickentenders eventually stands down before taking his seat. The moderator points to an older gentleman next, a man looking like he just came out of a ditch to get to this press conference.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes which team do you think I’d be on if i master the multiber thank you
Kenny can simply be seen muttering to himself, something that looks like “goosfraba” as Randall interjects.
Randall Schwartz: Well, the thing about a multiber is that if you don’t clean it out at least once a month, it starts to grow mold and mildew. If you can master that, you definitely deserve to be on the P team. Next!
Satisfied with this response, Mr. Hamburgers takes a seat as a woman next to him immediately stands to attention.
Savannah Scandal: If you fool around with an alternative version of yourself, is that considered sex or masturbation?
Kenny just throws his hands up in dismay at this, rising from his seat and walking off as another woman stands up, clearly with a burning question.
Deb Warenstein: (to Randall) Why do you look like a sad extra from a Pirates of the Caribbean movie?
Randall looks genuinely hurt by this question, pausing for what seems like an eternity before finally responding, his voice quivering.
Randall Schwartz: Hey, twenty bucks is twenty bucks. You try to make it in this biz without selling your soul for a spot on a blockbuster franchise.
With that, Randall runs off crying, indicating that the B-Team are done with this portion of the press conference, much to the amusement of the peanut gallery of reporters.
5. Nate Colton
Nate Colton enters the room, flinching a bit as the camera go off. Freshly showered after his match, he’s wearing his street clothes except for two things. The first is his ring jacket, which is buttoned up. As he approaches the table, he undoes the snaps of his jacket to show off the other item–the PRIME Five Star Title. He unsnaps that as well and sets it on the table before sitting down.
Nate Colton: Hi, everyone. Just want to say before we start how excited I am to be a part of this. Ok, who’s first?
Dr. Zeke: So, you are a champion now? Is that what I’m meant to understand?
Nate Colton: Yes I am. First championship of my career, actually.
Dr. Zeke: Well, good for you, I guess.
Tanner Quest: At the end of your victory tonight, Brandon Youngblood intercepted FLAMBERGE rather than attempt to break up your pin of Rezin. Do you find that his decision taints your championship reign at all?
Nate Colton: You know, I haven’t had much time to think about it. I just played the hand I was dealt, same as anyone else would. And you could get caught up in the what-ifs all day. But I fully believe that I deserve to hold this title. And if anyone disagrees…well, they know where to find me.
Garry Ray-Ray Bolamba: I reckon borrowin’ yer shoe helped ya win, can ya go over how that affected ya in the lead in ta the match? I really liked yer dog. He was very nice and enjoyed the head scratches. Is she the BIIIIIITCH?!
Nate Colton: They always say “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone,” and that’s definitely true for my shoe. It helped me focus on what was important, like being able to walk around safely and not get kicked out of stores. I asked that to the match by blocking it distractions and keeping my eye on the true goal, and now…I have it.
He pats the faceplate of the Five Star Title.
Nate Colton: I’m glad you got along with Sparky. He’s a good dog…and a boy, so y’know, not a bitch.
Deb Warenstein: Hiiiiiii Nate, that belt is super cute, I was wondering if you could ask Blake if he’d go to my school’s Valentine’s Day dance with me.
Nate Colton: Hi Deb. Umm…I guess I could ask him? He might be busy with college though.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes how did you get so cool and strong and your sister is strong too I want a strong sister but my dad says his tadpoles swim sideways now I don’t know what that means can you tell me that too thank you
Nate Colton: Both of us got to be cool and strong by working really hard and eating all of our vegetables. Ummm…not sure I can help with the other one, but it sounds like something your dad should talk to a doctor about.
Matt Mills: Now that you’re a champion in PRIME, who do you expect to be your first challenger?
Nate Colton: I couldn’t even begin to guess. There’s so many great wrestlers in this company. Whoever it is, I expect to get their best…and they should expect the same out of me.
Matt Mills: Follow-up question. Would you consider any of your opponents tonight in line for a challenge?
Nate Colton: Of course. I came to PRIME to test myself against the best in the world, and those guys definitely qualify. No matter how I feel about some of them personally, I can’t deny that they’re all great fighters. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of them challenge for the Universal before too long.
Chris Chickentenders: Dude, clearly you’re in a position to be a chick magnet right now. What’s your secret? I haven’t been on a date in at least three months, and she called that one off after I demanded she name her favorite Pantera song.
Nate Colton: I think it helps if you don’t make demands of women. It’s not a great look. Really, just try to be respectful and genuine, and the right person will find you. She might not even have a favorite Pantera song.
Chickentenders leaves the podium…and Nate scowls as soon as he sees the new interviewer.
Savannah Scandal: So exactly how big is–
Nate Colton: Don’t speak to me.
Savannah gasps in shock that is extremely genuine. Extremely.
Savannah Scandal: I’m trying to do my job; I don’t see why–
Nate Colton: You know goddamn well why!
Scandal shrugs and leaves the podium, and Nate scowls at her until the final member of the press approaches.
Angelica Brooks: A lot of people saw big things in your future–and one of your opponents tonight, Brandon Youngblood, was one of them. Some time ago, he christened you “the Next Diamond.” How did you feel about that at the time, and how do you feel about it now?
Nate Colton: It’s funny. I was blown away when it happened, absolutely honored…but I didn’t like using it. Felt like I hadn’t earned it, y’know? Even when other people started picking up on it, I still thought I needed to prove that I deserved to carry that title.
Angelica Brooks: Do you think tonight’s victory was the proof you needed?
Nate Colton: I mean, I just won my first title by beating three of the best PRIME has to offer. If that’s not enough, I’d sure as hell like to know what is. But yeah…I think I proved what I’m about, both to PRIME and myself.
No one else has a question. His work here is finished.
Nate Colton: Just want to say, this was great. Thank y–most of you for being here. Drive home safe, and Happy Holidays.
Nate stands up from the table and picks up the Five Star Title. He holds it up towards the press, then looks at it again. A stupid grin spreads across his face, like he still can’t believe it. Finally, he slings the belt over his shoulder and leaves.
6. Brandon Youngblood
After a period of a few minutes, the next figure for the press conference appears. Brandon Youngblood makes his way in, a dress shirt clinging to his frame as well as a pair of tailored slacks. The first few buttons on the shirt are left undone, the sleeves rolled up above his powerful forearms. Water bottle in hand, he takes a quick sip before taking a seat, then taking the microphone into his hand.
Brandon Youngblood: First of all, want to congratulate Nate Colton on becoming 5 Star Champion tonight. I go back with his father, and the man served as a bit of a father figure when I was coming up. I didn’t want that at first, but Jake…he kept pushing through…saw something in me. Couldn’t tame the young bull. But I appreciate him and his words and his faith in a lot of ways. It’s helped me find a blueprint on being a better man as I’ve gotten older.
Brandon Youngblood: I can’t think of a more worthy competitor to hold the 5 Star Title going in to the second year of PRIME’s ReVival than Nate. He put in the work. He deserves this. Also want to congratulate Lindsay and the rest of the staff within PRIME as a company. It’s crazy to think that, within a year, just how quickly this promotion has become the center of the entire industry all over again. From taking over the MGM Grand, to selling out Madison Square Garden two nights in a row…the deals with ACE Network, to going national with touring, including running major stadiums. I’m proud of what this company has achieved in such a short time…and to know I have played some role in that, however big or small, after being out of the sport for so long…it means a lot. Just wanted to say that before we start.
From the heartfelt words of the Ace Of The ReVival, we get the soothing tones of Nelson County’s Slap Fighting King, and recent inheritor of the Bolamba Legacy, Garry Ray-Ray Bolamba.
Garry Ray-Ray Bolamba: ARE YOU THE BIIIIIIIIIITCH NOW? IF NOT SHOULD YOU BE THE BIIIIIIIIIITCH?
For a moment, Youngblood’s expression is blank.
Brandon Youngblood: Julien can call me whatever he wants. I don’t care. But one thing he can’t call himself anymore? 5 Star Champion. Actions have consequences. Tonight, he had a front row seat to see just what those consequences were. And if he has a problem with that? I ain’t a hard man to find. Maybe next time, he’ll think about who he targets to try and make his name.
He leans back in his chair.
Brandon Youngblood: Hope your new dad gets you keys or whatever to the jet. Anyways…next question.
Next on the docket is Tanner Quest.
Tanner Quest: You had a very impressive start to the year, after winning the Almasy Invitational and holding the Universal Title for several months. But the results have gone against you since then, with only two singles wins to your credit after Great American Nightmare. How do you plan to turn your fortunes around?
The question draws a bit of scowl from the Tower of Babel. His tone denotes his intensity.
Brandon Youngblood: Getting healthy and getting focused.
There’s a momentary pause before Brandon continues.
Brandon Youngblood: Look, I’m going to be blunt and honest, because since returning, that’s been my way of handling things. I don’t like the concept of the question, Tanner, but that don’t mean there ain’t truth within it. So I’m going to elaborate. Give people a greater assessment than I ever really have. You good with that?
Tanner can only nod in response.
Brandon Youngblood: When I lost the Universal Title to Phil Atken, I think most of the wrestling world would call that a bit of a shock. Something unexpected. And it wasn’t exactly clean, right? There’s a question lingering out there about Julien…FLAMBERGE…pulling the rope away from me when I was about to grab it to break up The Shotgun. I didn’t lose the Universal Title on my own. Phil Atken didn’t win the Title on his own. But the match itself? The physicality, the violence in it…it was the culmination of Phil’s life’s work. All the shots against whether he belonged. All the slights and the ways the sport of professional wrestling spit on him, kicked him when he was down, dragged him through the mud…
Youngblood shifts in his seat before recentering himself.
Brandon Youngblood: But what I will say is, even if the question still lingers, whether people…whether I…question just how clean it all was…Phil Atken hits harder than anyone I’ve ever faced in this sport. His elbows, his kicks…he shattered my face. Broke my nose bad. Real bad. And while I hit him back hard, brutalized him…both of us…we took something out of each other we probably will never get back. It’s probably why he wasn’t able to fully defend himself weeks later when Cancer Jiles and Julian Bathory jumped him. From those blows, maybe he already had a bad concussion he hadn’t all the way healed from. But I know that, while I was cleared, part of that had to do with being ignorant. Being stupid.
A quick swig of water.
Brandon Youngblood: I rushed back. I’ll be honest about it now. From surgery, from the internal injuries from the blows…I rushed back because I wanted to get the Universal Championship back. I wanted back in the fight. And it’s cost me. I never let myself fully heal. And in PRIME, as much as I want to think that I’m the standard, the best, the reality is…if you aren’t your very best, you can get caught. The road ain’t been easy. Caesar…Nova…he had a statement to make after damn near two decades. And he made it. Anna Daniels? We went to a draw, but I’ll be honest and say I didn’t feel my best. And then there’s GREAT SCOTT…who wants to put up that he’s the Youngblood Killer…it’s the health…but it’s also something more…
He scratches his goatee.
Brandon Youngblood: Focus. Nova, I understand. But I lost focus. I wouldn’t have opted out of my contract originally if I hadn’t lost focus. If I wasn’t unsure of the direction things were heading after what happened to Jon and what happened with the Love Convoy. Someone I love was affected by all those incidents of a very real, very raw level…and I was still trying to pick up my own pieces…and now I’m seeing the inmates running the asylum? So if anyone thinks that if those circumstances weren’t there…that if I wasn’t looking to smash Darin Zion and Jonathan Christopher-Hall…that some piece of shit like GREAT SCOTT has a chance? Has a prayer? Pfft.
He shakes his head.
Brandon Youngblood: You want to know how it gets turned around, Tanner? Refocusing and redoubling my efforts. Removing the obstacles. Not taking the work for granted. And even as I’m trying to put it back together, the men competing for the Tag Titles tomorrow night? I beat them. Bobby Dean on his very best night? Beat him. Larry Tact after going to war with Dusk? Put him down. So I am going to spend the time before we tour again getting right, getting healthy, and redoubling my efforts. That’s how I turn my fortunes around.
The intensity abates, but only because of the next question.
Chris Chickentenders: Hey, yeah, um… I’m confused, when did they start letting grandpas wrestle?
Brandon Youngblood: When Wether’s candies got so damn expensive. Next question.
It only continues.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes what’s the farthest you ever threw somebody I bet it’s soooooo far thank you
Brandon can barely contain his chuckling.
Brandon Youngblood: Well…Craig…I love your name by the way…anyways…if I’m honest with you, I don’t really think about throwing people far. That is something I think Ivan Stanislav is more focused on. I more think about how far I can drive them when I suplex them. And if I have to think on that…Culture Shock had Cancer Jiles eat a few of those Randallplexes, and if I had to guess, there’s this thing called the Kola Superdeep Borehole. I think if we hadn’t reinforced the ring that night, Egg Man would have gone deeper than that.
Youngblood smirks widely as the next question crosses the plate.
Savannah Scandal: Does your girlfriend keep in touch with any of her old boyfriends? I know there were a lot of them…
The smile completely fades as he seethes.
Brandon Youngblood: Fuck you.
He jabs his finger in her direction.
Brandon Youngblood: I’m not letting pieces of shit like you continue to shame and demean and run through the goddamn ground Amy Campbell. What she did was her fucking business, with consenting adults. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care. I’ve never cared. What I care about is how people like you have used this to create an image and tarnish and destroy just what she was accomplishing in this sport when she was fully active within it, as well as the legacy she left behind. How hard she worked. How dominant she was. She is PRIME’s forgotten Pillar from 2005. In Sin City Championship Wrestling, she was the greatest Universal Champion the company ever knew. And to distill her record, her accomplishments, her talent, into some bundled up slut shaming bullshit? Fuck you. People have tried to do this forever with people like her, with people like Karina Wolfenden, with people like Lindsay Troy. The record speaks for itself. Go take you slut shaming bullshit somewhere where it’ll play, because it ain’t playing here.
He takes another drink before continuing.
Brandon Youngblood: Oh, and just so the world knows, Amy is making her first excursion to Japan in quite some time. Bang! Pro Wrestling. So if people want to see the evolved Red Raver, the one that spent the last few years grappling and leading the way for women in the European and British wrestling scenes? You’ll get your chance. And by the way, Savannah, get fucked.
And from vitriol, the head of the Pink Posse, Deb Warenstein.
Deb Warenstein: So I asked my Instagram followers who their favorite Zaddy was and right now you’re tied for first place with Sonny Silver so my question is what are you willing to do to claim Zaddy of the Year for 2022, thank you.
Brandon Youngblood: I don’t know. That’s a tough one. I mean, Sonny is a damn handsome man. But I’m nothing if not competitive. So after everything settles down, everything gets squared away, I think, with Christmas just around the corner, I think I’m going to have to actively campaign for this thing. And I got a secret weapon, Deb. Me and my handsome little man…my pupper…he’s a rescue pug…his name’s Cheddar…me and Cheddar are going to go do some Instagram live’s making Christmas cookies…maybe do some caroling. Can raise some money for some of the local charities out where I live in Eau Claire. Maybe that will put me over the top. But we shall see…maybe Cheddar will come out and win Zaddy of the Year instead…and that’s an award I’d gladly come up second in if that’s the case.
Like a banshee from Hell comes the next question.
Dr. Zeke: Hi! Professional journalist Dr. Zeke D. Badguy, Esq. with a question for the Hiptoss Pope. Ready? Okay.
Dr. Zeke clears his throat.
Dr. Zeke: Points A and B lie on a circle with radius 1, and arc AB has a length of pi divided by three. What fraction of the circumference of the circle is the length of arc AB?
Dr. Zeke: Are you not the one from the math dungeon? Did I get that confused?
Brandon Youngblood: Math is dead here. I’d like to say it had a good run, but frankly, it didn’t. Nobody liked it. Nobody liked the books. Nobody liked the puzzles. Nobody liked the gremlin men who made it their life’s work. So in the world of PRIME, math is dead. And if it isn’t, then I want booked against it, so I can suplex it to death in 2023.
From there, a question from Angelica Brooks.
Angelica Brooks: Brandon, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask a question about the odd video that played directly before the 5 Star Championship Match. The video came with an ominous statement from a figure that has been gaining traction as The Orange. In the video, The Orange seemed to make a direct reference to you. What are your thoughts on this?
Brandon Youngblood: I didn’t get a chance to watch it when it happened, but people have been filling me in since. Asking what I know. Asking if I’m watching my back. When people come in to PRIME, and they set their sights on making the biggest impact, seems like I am their target. That just throwing my name down is enough to get buzz.
A final swig of the water bottle.
Brandon Youngblood: My spirit ain’t broken. And won’t be broken. PRIME is what it is in the ReVival because of me. So if it’s someone from the outside…if it’s someone already here…if it’s someone from the past…come ready. Come prepared. Because whoever you are…whoever they might be…I’m ready to fight. I’m ready to hunt. And I’m ready to show that this diamond here? He’s tougher than the rind. Thanks everyone. Have a great night.
And with that, Brandon rises from his seat and makes his exit.
Loud French rants fill the air before the human spewing them makes his way into the room. FLAMBERGE has had time to shower and change into a champagne-colored suit with a teal button-up, top several buttons undone. He’s wearing Vuarnet branded amber and blue sunglasses (with polarized lenses, of course – it’s bright buildings like this). FLAMBERGE takes his seat in a huff, settles himself for a second, and leans into the microphone.
FLAMBERGE: Before we begin here I would simply like to state that the fact that the Youngblood chose to start the shit with me at the last one of these presseurs and is nowhere to be the seen right now tells you everything you need to know about the man he is. Begin.
QT “The Rock” Reese: This question is for FLAMBERGE. The Reese wants to know how it feels to have lost your title to an even bigger candy ass than yourself?
FLAMBERGE: The way I have been raised since I was a boy was to understand that if a man steals the article spécial from you, it becomes the job of you to steal back. We will see if the coward staff that continues to stack all of the deck against myself will book the match, mais sinon, someone around here will pay the debt owed to me by the Colton and the Youngblood.
Tanner Quest: Do you think your entry into the Belmont Classic affected your performance tonight? Or perhaps did your focus on this match influence your early exit from the Belmont?
FLAMBERGE: I think the Colton Family Conglomeration of the Bitches is the influence that caused my so-called “early exit” from the Belmont, and I think the Colton Family Conglomeration’s CEO Brandon Youngblood is the effect that caused tonight. But it is no matter, for this is what I am to now expect every time when I seek the fair fights, as it is obvious to anyone here that I should be considered the PRIME Rookie of the Year, the instant top talent, non?
Chris Chickentenders: Dude, someone better call the hospital, cause that haircut is what I’d call a FLAMBERGENCY! Why don’t you go with something more metal-looking, like what I got?
Chris runs his fingers through his greasy, shoulder-length mullet. FLAMBERGE gently pats his fiery vertical stylings.
FLAMBERGE: My stylist is too talented to waste time making styles like yours.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes I mean oui I mean what are the things you say on tv sometimes, my dad makes me wear earmuffs a lot when you talk so do you have a poop mouth or something and why, thank you
FLAMBERGE: Well mon fils, I call Nate Colton a biiiiiiiitch, mostly, and the rest I keep in the French, my first tongue. “Putain” and “merde” are great words to start with, they’re our fuck and shit bread and butter.
Craig’s dad (standing behind him) instinctively puts his hands over his son’s ears as soon as he hears the words Nate Colton. Seeing that young Craig couldn’t understand him, FLAMBERGE looks Craig’s father dead in the eye and mouths out: “BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITCH!”
Deb Warenstein: Hi will you please settle a debate between Craig and Chris because I am super tired of hearing them argue and you’re French and thus an authority on the subject… which is the superior french fry: waffle cut or crinkle cut.
Craig Hamburgers: Waffer-fwy!
Chris Chickentenders: Shut up, turd! Crinkle cut RULES!
FLAMBERGE: Thank you for remembering my country’s most important contribution to our société globale, and to answer your question, the Shoestring shape provides the superior crunch-to-bite ratio. And Craig?
Craig Hamburgers looks up again as the Frenchman winks at him.
FLAMBERGE: Baise Chick-Fil-A.
His father did not earmuff him in time for that one; Craig turns and asks “there’s a chikflay BASE??”
Garry Ray-Ray Bolamba: I DO NOT SPEAK FRENCH SO I AM VERY SORRY THAT YA MAY STRUGGLE TA UNDERSTAND ME. I WILL TALK REALLY LOUD AND SLOW FOR YOU MR FLAMBERGE OUT OF ONLY RESPECT AND LOVE. WHY DID THE YOUNGBLOOD GRAB YOUR LEG? IS HE THE BIIIIIITCH NOW? WHO IS THE BIGGER BIIIIIITCH, NATE COLTON OR THE YOUNGBLOOD?
FLAMBERGE: It is the same as the child’s riddle about which weighs the most, a ton of the bricks or a ton of the feathers…they are both equally massive in the amount of which they are the bitch despite the two different forms of the bitch.
Dr. Zeke: Yes, hello! This is a follow-up question to what the Son of Jet Man asked. How many I’s are there in ‘the biiiiiitch’? Is there a style guide somewhere? Is the Associated Press involved?
FLAMBERGE: How many I’s?? As many I’s as it takes for you to get the message to stick inside ton petit cerveau. Many many I’s for someone like you, obviously.
Savannah Scandal: I have two questions, FLAMBERGE. First, are you single? Second, are you busy after this? To be fair, I don’t actually care about the first question.
FLAMBERGE: VERY. Busy.
Without another word and having fulfilled his contractual obligations to appear at the presser, FLAMBERGE scoots his chair back and rises to his feet at the same time, sending the chair crashing to the ground as he books it out of the press room.
“The Escape Artist” Rezin wanders into the room, still sweaty from in-ring action. One of his brand new “Fire Wrestle With Me” t-shirts cut into a muscle shirt hangs loosely from his torso, and a lit joint hangs from his lips.
Rezin: Waitaminnit… this ain’t the exit…?
He balks the moment he sees the assembly of press seated before him.
Rezin: Ahh fuck… it’s one of these things…
With a groan, the Goat Bastard snags one of the assorted mics and sets himself lotus posture onto the table.
Rezin: Okay, gang, here’s the deal… I just lost a match, and my buzz is officially kilt. Now this ain’t my first rodeo, so for the sake of time and brevity, why don’t we just get the stupid questions outta the way first, which would mean…
He scans the press pool.
Rezin: Ah, yes, Miss Warenstein. I believe that means you’re first up.
Deb Warenstein: I don’t have any questions for this uggo, I’m just really glad Nate Colton beat you okay bye.
Rezin: Like, okay, bye, omg, wtvr, thanks Deb. I ain’t all that glad about it myself, in case ya gave a damb, but it’s good to know that my penchant for failure can still please the vapid and superficial of the world. Good luck with the wrestling career, by the way, though ya might wanna see an ortho and get that overbite fixed first. Would hate for ya to get it caught on the ropes, ya know?
Chris Chickentenders: Um… hey, Rezin. I take it you had a bad night?
Rezin: Whoa-whoa-WHOA, now, hang on here! I thought I said “stupid questions first”, but then here emerges THIS fuckin’ Einstein among men, with his superhuman deductive abilities! PLEASE, Detective Columbotenders, tell us… how EVER did you figure that one out?
Chris Chickentenders: Well, uhm… first of all, thank you for addressing me by my proper title of “Detective”, as I have a burgeoning private eye business back home. Secondly, Einstein wasn’t a detective; he invented atomic bombs, Terminators, and the electric guitar. Thirdly, dude–
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes hi rezin do you remember me it’s me craig hamburgers, my dad won’t let me watch twin peaks yet is there another thing you think I could watch instead until I’m old enough or until chris watches with me thank you
Rezin: Course I remember ya, kid; your name always gets me hungry. In any case, a pup like you couldn’t do much worse than Gravity Falls. That show is like Baby’s First Lynch Film! The gateway drug to a larger and grander world of obscure cinema addiction!
Dr. Zeke: Hello! Question for Leland Cooper. (clears throat, leans forward, tries to whisper) Can I buy drugs from you, and do you have anything that would help with erectile dysfunction? Devin Fox is getting me his sister’s phone number, and I need to be ready.
Rezin: Well, my legal-savvy friends inform me that it’s somewhat “incriminatin’” to announce that I’m open for business. On that note, ain’t no way you could meet me in the parking lot after alla this, cause I totally won’t be there. Totally. But now, if erectile dysfunction is what’s griefin’ ya, might I introduce you to the drunken mob of Kat Denningses I got out back? I mean, there’s a good chance they’ll kick your ass and stomp you in the nuts, but it’s kinda worth the risk, right?
Garry Ray-Ray Bolamba: Where’d you find all those feral Kat Denningses?
Rezin: Well, as part of the agreement with her attorneys, I’m allowed access to her various stunt doubles from Two Broke Girls, Dollface, and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist for paid gigs, such as tonight. In exchange, I revealed to them the location of the remains of the original Andrew W.K.
Savannah Scandal: How many restraining orders has Kat Dennings filed against you?
Rezin: More than I can recall, sadly. Weed’ll do that to ya. What I can tell ya, though, is the flavor of her pepper spray.
A debaucherous grin spreads across his hex-stricken face.
Rezin: Battery acid, with just a hint of oregano. Tres bien.
He performs a chef’s kiss, lost in what we’d presume to be intimate memories of having a lachrymatory agent sprayed in his eyes.
Tanner Quest: Rezin, you recently had an impressive run with the Five Star Title before losing it to FLAMBERGE. After failing to regain it tonight, do you still have your sights set on that title, or do you have other goals in mind?
The Goat Bastard sobers up.
Rezin: Well lemme say this… while I could care less about bein’ a champion again, it’s gonna be something I know I’ll unwittingly chase in an effort to get what I actually want. Right now, my main innerests lie in settlin’ up with Nate Colton, that damb HOOSIER that put me on my back out there.
Angelica Brooks: Does that mean you plan on staying in contention?
Rezin: As I’ve said many times, I don’t make plans, and I don’t make predictions, so we’re just gonna have to wait and see what happens on that front.
He hops off the table and begins pacing back and forth before the small gathering of journalists and VIP fans.
Rezin: What I can tell you however is that I’m DAMB driven to keep this fire burnin’, cause tonight was a wakeup call! A realization that in my stellar rise in this acclaimed company, I had grown comfortable and complacent
His whiskered face curdles into a sneer.
Rezin: And that ain’t me. Hungry is what I wanna be… cause bein’ hungry is me at my best! And right now, I’m hungry to remind all you–Craig, earmuffs buddy–right now, I’m hungry to remind all you narrow-assed muthafuggas in PRIME that this ol’ dopesmoker’s gotta plenty of BANG left in this bomb!
The Escape Artist rises up and storms out of the room… via the broom closet. Perhaps as not to expose his mistake, he elects to stay in there for the remainder of the event.
9. Jared Sykes
The next person to stumble into the press area is likely the last person who should be there, but Jared Sykes has never had a monopoly on rational thoughts. Given the speed at which he’s moving and the physical state he’s in, the Dragonslayer looks more apt to be harrowing a mall full of post-apocalyptic survivors. Both hands are wrapped, one from the bite he suffered and the other from a nasty attack with a gator tooth, and the tee shirt he’s pulled on shows obvious spots of blood seeping through. He doesn’t so much sit in one of the available chairs but collapses into it. For a moment he’s quiet, head down on the table.
Jared Sykes: Maybe… maybe we never do that again.
For someone who’s tried so hard to avoid any sort of public interview for the last year, he’s surprisingly laid back. Later, when he realizes the situation he put himself in and the potential minefield it could have become, he’ll chalk it up to the endorphins playing havoc with his decision-making.
Tanner Quest: You just finished… quite honestly, one of the most brutal matches I’ve ever seen. What makes you think you’ll have anything left in the tank tomorrow night, let alone enough to defeat 2Become1?
Jared Sykes: I, uhh… Right, that’s a thing, isn’t it?
He fumbles for a moment with a bottle of water, grimacing as he fights with the cap before pulling it free and taking a long drink.
Jared Sykes: Honestly, I don’t know. I’m supposed to get a proper check-up in a few, you know? See if there’s anything seriously wrong with me aside from, you know, the obvious.
There’s a light chuckle from the gathered media. Sykes puts one hand over the microphone and gestures towards the person standing just off to the side. Justine Calvin had followed her partner since he made it backstage, but decided against joining him at the table. What he says isn’t picked up on any of the audio, but it’s enough to get her to join him at the table.
Jared Sykes: Tomorrow’s a big deal, though. It got personal with those guys, all because of an accident. And then…
Justine Calvin: Chocolate and nails.
Jared Sykes: Yeah. But it’s not just that. We’ve got a chance at history, yeah? I don’t think anyone else has four defenses in this division. Maybe I’m wrong. It’s been kind of a night.
He turns towards his partner.
Jared Sykes: I’m… I’m asking a lot. I know I am. But I’ll give everything I have.
Garry Ray-Ray Bolamba: So, when ya did the actual murder in the ring, do ya end up bein’ wanted after that or? How many stars do ya have in GTA? Also, would you like to explain the intense trainin’ we went through, and thank all your coaches, especially your slappin’ coach?
A genuine laugh from Sykes dissolves into a groan, because the same muscles responsible for laughter have also been thoroughly pulverized with gator teeth.
Jared Sykes: Hi, Garry.
Jared Sykes: So, I don’t remember doing much slapping, but you do have a point. The last few months have been pretty rough, and there are… well… yeah, I owe a lot of people for things they probably don’t even realize they did. I don’t think it’s any secret that things had been, well, rocky for a while, but without Cal…
Her hand finds his on top of the table, giving it a light squeeze. A playful grin finds its way onto Jared’s face.
Jared Sykes: Also, definite shout-out to my slappin’ coach for showing me a few, well, let’s say “more advanced” techniques. Can’t get into those here, because we’ve got kids present.
Justine very obviously mouths the words “oh my fucking god.”
Jared Sykes: Five stars in GTA, by the way. Six if we were in Japan.
Deb Warenstein: So I saw this video on TikTok where a lady was doing this dance called the Tootsie Roll and I feel like that’s from your era so if you’re not too dead will you please demonstrate it for everyone? Also, Paxton Ray is an uggo, thank you for beating him.
Justine, only seconds removed from wanting to perform her own murder, bursts into laughter.
Jared Sykes: I, uhh… I don’t think…
Justine Calvin: I’ll make sure you get a video before the weekend is over, Deb. I’ll DM it to you on Jabber before I upload it to YouTube.
Jared Sykes: Wait, what?
Chris Chickentenders: Dude, maybe I’m late to the club, but why does everybody hate that Paxton guy? That dude looks like a badass! He should be in the next Fast and Furious movie, if you ask me!
The eyes of everyone in the room are suddenly laser-focused on Chris Chickentenders. Both people at the table stare slack jawed, like animatronics who’ve suddenly had their power cut.
Justine Calvin: (whispered to Jared) Is he serious right now?
Jared Sykes: Are, uhhh… Huh. So, okay… Let me see how to explain this, because like I said we’ve got kids here.
He finishes the first bottle, and unscrews the cap from a second.
Jared Sykes: Paxton hurt someone I’ve known for a very long time… hurt a guy who was a pretty popular figure in the sport. That person won’t ever wrestle again. That’s… I think that’s really all I can say without getting too graphic, or… Look, I’m sorry, but it’s still kind of a touchy subject, so I don’t really know if…
Justine Calvin: If Paxton Ray was in a Fast and Furious movie his car would crash into a sewage treatment plant and overflow with shit before it fucking exploded.
Jared, wide-eyed and thoroughly unsuccessful at covering the microphone, can clearly be seen mouthing the word “Kids!”
Justine Calvin: And that would still be too good for him.
Savannah Scandal: You’re in the running for Ass of the Year from several major organizations who rate… that sort of thing. Where would this accolade rank among your career accomplishments?
There’s a long pause where nothing is said.
Jared Sykes: No. Just no.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes why did you wear a blueberry mask all that time you’re SO AWESOME thank you and good job fighting the bad man thank you
Jared Sykes: That’s… that’s a bigger one than I think you realize.
His partner knows, which is why her chair is suddenly closer to his. This is the line of questioning he’d been trying to avoid for ten years, and yet there it was, and from an innocent no less.
Jared Sykes: So, the blueberry thing goes back to when I was a kid. It came from a book that my mom used to read to my brother and I. Over the years… I dunno… I guess I started using it as a disguise.
Deep breath, Jared.
Jared Sykes: A long time ago there was an accident, and I stopped doing this afterwards. I didn’t know if I would be welcomed back, so I hid. I hid for a long time. I guess… I guess it was time to stop hiding.
Again, her hand finds his.
Jared Sykes: Thank you, Craig. I, umm… I appreciate it.
He downs the last of the second bottle.
Jared Sykes: Alright, I’m gonna go fill a bathtub with frozen peas. Guess we’ll do this again tomorrow?
And with that, he forces himself to his feet, and the pair make their exit.
Originally recorded 12/17/2022
The conference room is set up the same as last night. This time, head official Timo Bolama appears from the back to open the presser event.
Timo Bolamba: Okay everybody, same deal as last night. Before we begin, though, I want to make it absolutely clear that no members of my family or progeny are in tonight’s press pool. Thank you.
The Samoan Slicer lingers for a moment to stare down a red-faced Gary Ray-Ray Nelson from across the room before disappearing around the back wall.
Into the press room walks the PRIME Intense Champion, the Anglo Luchador, cleaned up, wearing a new lucha mask, a custom shirt that reads “MORE LIKE DROOLOSSUS, HAHA CANCER,” and blue jeans. His Intense Championship is strapped around his waist. He waves to the photographers before unstrapping his belt, placing it on the table in front of him and scooching his chair in so that his body is flush to the table.
TAL: Alright guys, glad I could be here to be part of the press junket for my first ever Colossus. I have to say it was a great experience overall. I’ll be documenting it on my YouTube channel via a GoPro video I’ve been shooting yesterday and today, but I’m not going to be filming you guys here because you all have faces for radio.
TAL: Sorry, that was more of a joke suited for a rudo. You’re all lovely people, even you, Dr. Badguy. Anyway, let’s get this started.
Tanner Quest: Congratulations on another successful defense of the Intense Title. But there seems to be a perception building that your championship means less than the Five Star Title, even though the belts are meant to be on equal footing. How do you feel about that?
TAL: I mean, the Intense Championship is often seen as a “shortcut” title, right? People think that you can just swing a bat or a chair or live megafauna at someone and become the champion. It’s not a celebration of wrestling, blah blah blah. I’ve heard it all. Every time, my answer is the same… you stand in the ring and let someone punch you in the face with a fist wrapped in a chain and tell me how “not wrestling” it is.
TAL: Like, I’m sorry if you don’t have to spend months in a poorly ventilated space learning how to do intricate holds, which, for the record, I fuckin’ did. Most deathmatch wrestlers can outgrapple you in the ring. That’s a fact. But let’s be real. How many wrestling promotions through history have had champions who didn’t know a headlock from a handjob and got by on their brawling ability?
The fire in the champ’s eyes grows.
TAL: Most people who say stuff like that would wilt if they were hit with a regular punch, let alone with a weapon. And if you want to talk about the quality of the competition, well, that’s not on me. I fight whom Lindsay Troy and Killean Sirrajin and whoever else in the office is making the matches put in front of me. If you want to tell me Balaam or Tact or Mephisto – a SHOOT Project icon by the way – or Gamble – a fuckin’ Hall of Famer – aren’t prestigious enough? Whatever. But they were all tough battles, talented fighters, and they belonged. If you’re looking for more making air quotes with his hands “prestigious” challengers? Fuck it, I say bring ‘em on. Let me fight FLAMBERGE. Let me fight Youngblood. Let me fight Jiles. I don’t give a shit. Hell, I owe Daniels a title shot. I’ll show everyone how much “less” this title means where it matters.
Chris Chickentenders: Until today, I never knew there was a whole title dedicated to badass wrestling. So how does it feel to have held such a badass title for so long, even though you are not anywhere close to being badass? That Paxton dude seems like a better fit, if you ask me.
TAL: Do you want to just take this title and give it to that rat bastard? Seems like it. I mean, I thought I still smelled his carcass on the canvas when I was out there tonight. I’ll fight him if that’s what you want, but don’t you think the guy who just lost the biggest match in his career shouldn’t be next in line? Ah whatever. To answer your question, I feel sore, I find it harder to get out of bed in the morning, and every time I complete a successful defense of this, my doctor sends me a sternly worded email telling me I should just relinquish it and retire. But above all else, I feel proud to be the guy who took up the mantel of this title and this division as the next guy up after Seymour. Next question.
Deb Warenstein: Since you successfully defended your title, is your New Year’s Resolution to be less of an insecure baby on Jabber and if not, why?
TAL: You know, I’ve been nothing but kind to you since you’ve gotten here, right? Everyone can agree on that?
A muffled row rises up from the press pool as if they can’t get into agreement.
TAL: Oh whatever, anyway, yes, I’m working on myself now, and I am trying not to leave the space in a huff and instead of being, as you call it, an “insecure baby,” I am planning on trying to set an example for the other wrestlers, managers, and various miscreants that Lindsay allows to use the platform.
The luchador stares a hole right through Dr. Badguy.
TAL: I wasn’t always like this, you know. It’s been a rough year readjusting to life on the road. I think you’re going to see a better me on the platform that like maybe three or four of you in this room can use. Thank you. Next question.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes I think you could be my favorite wrestler here if my dad didn’t make me wear blindfolds when you have the blood happen so can you convince my dad to let me watch you fight more thank you
TAL: Mr. Craig Hamburgers’ Dad, bleeding is objectively the coolest thing you can do in a wrestling ring. Please let your son observe the coolest thing that me and my peers can do in a wrestling ring, thank you.
Savannah Scandal: Do you wear the mask in bed? Or…does your wife wear it?
TAL: The only mask I wear in bed is a CPAP, and what I do with my wife when we are getting intimate is between me, her, and possibly a third party whose identity is none of your business, thank you. Next question.
Dr. Zeke: Hi! Question for Tom Luchador. We saw you swinging a sword tonight, yes? Very dangerous things, swords. My question to you: do you think now that you have defeated the Smile Man that Lizzy Horse will get you the fork that you’ve been asking for?
TAL: I’m sorry, did you just call Lindsay Troy Lizzy… Horse… you know what, forget it, I’ve seen and heard much crazier but no, I doubt she will actually be the one to give me what I want anyway. But now that I have used a sword in a match, I feel that chapter of my life is closed, and I no longer require or desire to use one in a match going forward. Next question.
Gary Ray-Ray BolambaNelson: Now that you’ve acquired a sword, will you be collecting other medieval weapons?
TAL: That’s a good question, dear nephew. I’ve found that most medieval weaponry is bulky and not nearly as sleek befitting the style of the kind of luchador I have become. Like, can you imagine me with a jousting lance? It’s just all wrong. I feel like someone bigger, like Nate Colton, should petition to be able to have a lance or a spear or halberd, for example. In fact, let Nate Colton use a halberd.
The luchador clears his throat.
TAL: However, I do find something oddly therapeutic about swinging around one of those maces, you know, the spiky ball on the chain? Those things are badass. I think I’d like to have one of those be my goal weapon in 2023, but I feel like if I did a full court press asking people to let me use it, it’d just feel put-on and cheap. So if I get to have one, I get to have one. If not, no sweat off my back.
The champ looks around, seeing no more hands raise.
TAL: Well, if there are no more questions…
Jax Mollineaux: Hello, LUCHADOR, I am Jax Mollineaux, INDEPENDENT RE…
TAL: Like I said, if there are no more questions, I will be on my way. Thank you for your time, and I’ll see you all again here in a PRIME setting on January 27.
The luchador gets up and exits, stage right.
11. Tony Gamble
Walking through the door, dressed to impress with a drip Starbucks would love to bottle up and sell, is Tony “The Grin” Gamble. He saunters over to the table and takes a seat.
Tanner Quest: Since forming the Gamble Appreciation Society, you’ve given your charges very little to appreciate. How do you plan to turn those fortunes around?
Tony Gamble: First thing I’m going to do is make sure that my “charges” are given a proper acknowledgement. It’s obvious you’re not a true fan of PRIME, or you would know that my associates are part of the Gamble Adoration Syndicate. They are a tag team in training that will be coming to a PWA ring soon, and eventually to one of the PWA affiliate organizations soon after that so I’d appreciate them being given a little more respect. As far as how I plan to turn things around… again, do you even watch our shows? I highly doubt it, or you’d know that except for that first three way match where I had obvious ring rust… I have stepped into the ring and put on stellar matches that came down to the wire against some of the hottest names in PRIME. I may have come up on the losing end of those matches, but trust me when I say that just being back in the ring after so long and being able to compete at the level I am is a win in my book. Next question…
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes I’d gamble your real name thank you
Tony Gamble: It’s your money, you can gamble it any way you want. Right now, I’m wishing I had gone with my gut instead of Jiles… really thought he could pull out the win this time. Anyway, who’s next?
Deb Warenstein: I was just wondering if it’s true that you’re really Joe Pesci because, like, I don’t think either of you have ever been spotted in the same place at the same time.
Tony Gamble: You know, sweet cheeks, I’m gonna have to plead the fifth on that one. A youte like you may think it’s cute to ask a question like that, but I recognize a short joke when I hear it. Now if anyone has a serious question… Yes, you there, on her back.
Savannah Scandal: We all know chicks dig scars. What I want to know is, how has it affected your tongue work?
Tony Gamble: Hasn’t affected it at all. As a matter of fact, a few years after I got the scar, I upped the ante and learned how to say the alphabet in five different languages. I’ve actually been complimented multiple times for the way I roll my R’s, as I’m rolling them.
Gary Ray-Ray Nelson: Mr. Gamble, yer always very nice on the Jabber and have been a great friend ta me on the platform. Why do ya think everyone says yer an asshole? I think yer funny. Also, what’s it like havin’ a giant man sit on yer face? Have you thought about an OnlyFans? I hear the photos are passin’ ‘round circles.
Tony Gamble: You think I’m funny? Funny how? Do I amuse… Oh, wait, I’m not Joe right now. Anyway, you’re right, I’m not an asshole. It’s kind of a curse, actually. I say something, and just because of who I am people automatically think the worst or twist my words into some condescending insult because they can’t see the genuine emotion behind my words. As far as an OnlyFans account goes… you’d be surprised at how much people will pay to watch you pour milk on your toes.
Chris Chickentenders: Um hello, Mr. Gamble, sir, my name is Chris Chickentenders…onio. Chickentendersonio, that’s it. Anyway sir, would you require any assistance around the casino? Perhaps someone to serve drinks at a private card game? I think I’m your man for the job.
Tony Gamble: I am not Joe Pesci! I don’t own a casino, or sweet up card games in the basement of Louie’s mom’s sister’s house. However, if you have $99.95 cash and would like to join the Gamble Adoration Syndicate, you can see me later tonight and I’ll direct you on where to sign up. Anyone else, because the Hall’s are having a victory party and I heard through the grapevine that it’s an open bar.
Dr. Zeke: Question for Guy Smiley! When can we expect you back on Sesame Street? Those game shows aren’t going to host themselves, you know.
Tony Gamble: Not sure what a guy smiley is, but I’m guessing you’re trying to be funny so ha ha, ho ho, please stop you’re killing me.
With that, Tony stands up and walks away while shaking his head.
12. Coral Avalon
Coral Avalon walks into the room next, dressed for the occasion in an old, well-worn “Blue Rogues” T-shirt, vintage 2007. Avalon carries a bottle of water with him as he sits down at the table. Many hands are raised from the moment he sits down.
Coral Avalon: Hey, guys. My name is Coral. I’m a professional wrestler. I’ll, uh… go ahead and answer this right now, Coral Avalon is indeed my real name.
Many hands are no longer raised after this statement. Coral is visibly bemused by the sight of this. He points at one of the remaining hands up.
Deb Warenstein: Hi Coral!!!! Now that you’ve conquered the Bear Man do you think Sid will be over his fear of bears?
Coral Avalon: Hi, Deb! Yeah, uh… somehow, I doubt I’ve cured his fear for bears because I defeated the Bear Man in a professional wrestling match. Unfortunately. But, hopefully, it’ll at least get him to at least stop talking about bears at all times the next time he visits the school.
Coral looks around and finds his next question.
Tanner Quest: For all your success around the world, you’ve struggled in PRIME, at least in terms of singles competition. Do you think of tonight’s victory as a referral of that trend?
Coral Avalon: There’s a bit of a nuance between working in Bang! and working in PRIME, I’ll admit. The level of athletic competition is similar, I think, but some folks in PRIME try to win regardless of the rules and it’s on me to be wary of that. Since the competition level here is much higher than anywhere else in the country, I try not to let losing set me back that much mentally.
Angelica Brooks: What was your game plan going into your match with GREAT SCOTT?
Coral Avalon: GREAT SCOTT is a tough nut to crack, man. He’s unpredictable, dangerous, faster than he looks, moves like he doesn’t follow any laws of physics that you or I know, and I think I’d get tinnitus if I stood around listening to him talk face-to-face. So my game plan was pretty simple: turn his physics into my physics. Thankfully, I succeeded.
The next person who stands to ask a question elicits a smile from the Crownless King, recognizing him from some antics the two got into just before Colossus.
Garry “Ray-Ray” Nelson: Mr. Avalon, how much did my successful super secret spy mission Rescue Mr. Avalon from Cleveland affect yer matches?
Coral Avalon: Obviously, I couldn’t wrestle the match if I was still in Cleveland, so I’d say your mission was… hang on, the other reporters should make a note here… a huge success. Thanks, Garry.
Coral gives Garry a thumbs up.
Savannah Scandal: Which member of the Colton family would you and your wife most like to have a threesome with?
Coral doesn’t even hesitate in his response.
Coral Avalon: No. Next question.
He points at the first person that stands up with their hand raised. That person is a child.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes did you ever meet King Arthur what was he like thank you I love knights
Coral Avalon: Well, I like to think I’m a King Arthur. But no, I haven’t met the real deal. I’ll keep an eye out for him for you, though.
Chris Chickentenders: Hey man, can you tell that Sid guy that his cologne can go eat my butt? I’ve been wearing it for weeks, and still haven’t got any chicks.
Coral Avalon: Maybe it’s more of a skill issue? I don’t know, I admit my success with women is pretty one-note. I found one I really liked and then married her for fifteen years.
Dr. Zeke: Yes, hi! I have many questions for Mister Arthur Crown. First, when do you plan to update the menu at your golden buffet restaurants? Will it be done in time for the holidays? There is a little matter of endless shrimp that I would like to discuss. Second, I have been to the google box, and the only reef anywhere near Seattle is a building that sells magic plants for hippies. Comment?
Coral blinks a few times to comprehend all that had been asked of him, trying very hard not to question the press credentials of… well, most of the people who’d asked him questions by this point.
Coral Avalon: Okay, whoever keeps putting “Golden” in front of my name, you’re a champ and I think that’s funny. But I can’t really give you any answers about the restaurants seeing that I’m not responsible for them in any way. Uh, as for the other thing, aren’t those magic plants for hippies all the rage these days? Sorry. Answering a question with a question. That’s rude of me. Anyway, let’s just say that my parents had a very line-of-sight means of naming their children, and move on.
Matt Mills: And what’s next for you after Colossus?
Coral Avalon: Well, I’m getting shawarma with the Rogues. …Oh, you mean in PRIME?
Coral looks around at the room. Savannah Scandal still sits there expecting an answer to her question that he’d already dismissed. He ignores her.
Coral Avalon: Well, obviously, I want to get a shot at the Universal title next year. I think everyone in PRIME wants that opportunity. In my case, I’d been chasing such a lofty ambition for my entire twenty-year career, and I think it’s time I picked up the pace.
Coral nods, and stands up.
Coral Avalon: Thanks, everyone, for your… colorful and unique questions.
13. Sykes & Calvin
For the second night in a row, a corpse shambles his way into the backstage area where members of the press (and Dr. Zeke D. Badguy, Esq.) have gathered. The difference is that tonight Jared Sykes doesn’t need to ask Justine Calvin over, as she’s with him the entire way. The two are only minutes removed from their record-setting fourth defense of the PRIME tag team championships.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes hi jared sykes it’s me craig hamburgers do you remember me anyway how hard was fighting twice thank you
Jared leans forward onto the table. It’s been a painful weekend, one that his body won’t let him forget for some time, but it’s hard to not smile in the face of Craig’s question.
Jared Sykes: Hey, Craig. You asked me the blueberry mask question last night. I remember. Umm… Pretty tough, actually. Fortunately I had some help tonight – and last night, too. To be honest, I’m not really sure I did anything noteworthy tonight. This one was all Justine. She did all the hard work. I was just sort of there.
Justine Calvin: I mean you did try to commit that one murder. The whole “powerbomb a guy into non-existence” thing.
Jared Sykes: Oh. Right.
Chris Chickentenders: Yeah, um, dude, I’m just saying, wrestling twice in two nights feels like you’re kinda overcompensating to be a badass.
The question draws a chuckle from Jared. Justine simply shakes her head.
Jared Sykes: Not trying to be. Just the way the situation played out, I guess. I don’t think either of these were really avoidable, not with the way things had been going lately. Pax’ wasn’t going to stop until he got what he wanted, and the Halls, well…
He shrugs, and falls back into his chair.
Tanner Quest: Are you concerned at all about the long-term effects of your matches this weekend?
Jared Sykes: In truth, I hadn’t thought much about it, but…
Justine Calvin: I am.
The next exchange, though it happens in front of a room full of reporters, is between the two people at the table. Eye to eye, only a few feet apart.
Justine Calvin: What? We’ve talked about this before. You don’t always have an off switch, so you put yourself in these situations where you think you’re doing the right thing, but what you don’t think about is what it costs, whether it’s what it does to you physically and mentally, or to the people who want to keep you around. You dodged a bullet last night, Jared. That could have gone so much goddamn worse than it did. And then tonight… again, could have gone so much worse.
Jared Sykes: But it didn’t.
Justine Calvin: And one day it will. What happens then?
Jared Sykes: I don’t know. Like I said, I don’t really think about it all that much.
Justine Calvin: I need you to start. Like… I need you to, because…
What she catches out of the corner of her is the fact that, yes, there are dozens of people watching what should otherwise be a very private exchange.
Justine Calvin: Oh. Right. Sorry.
Deb Warenstein: Hiiiiii you two are super cute, when is the wedding and Justine can I please serve as your stylist, thank you
It’s difficult to see, given that they’re both still showing signs of exertion from the match, but both Jared and Justine instantly flush red at the question.
Jared Sykes: We, uhh… we’re…
Justine Calvin: We haven’t… you know…
Jared Sykes: I mean it hasn’t come up, or…
Justine Calvin: Right, and… you know, if it does…
Jared Sykes: Yeah, ummm…
Justine Calvin: And it could…
Jared Sykes: For sure…
Justine Calvin: It’s just… you know…
Jared Sykes: Hasn’t.
Justine Calvin: Yeah.
Leave it to a teenager to reduce two fully-grown adults to a pair of stammering children.
Justine Calvin: But, umm, if it does… I’ll keep you posted. Oh! And I haven’t forgotten about the tootsie roll video.
Savannah Scandal: Jared, how do you feel knowing that your lover and tag team partner has also been swapping steamy texts with Bex Savage of the New World Trash? Is she seeing anyone else behind your back?
Justine Calvin: What the…?
Jared Sykes: (under his breath) Oh no.
Let’s put this in perspective. Justine Calvin is a woman who spends her free time with a man known for dressing like a blueberry, commandeering forklifts, and thinking that mannequins make crackerjack wrestling partners. She does this willingly, so her tolerance levels border on the superhuman. But this question, especially in light of what she’s just had to endure in the ring, blows that all away. In seconds her anger has redlined.
Justine Calvin: Wait, “seeing anyone else”?! What the hell is that implication? There hasn’t been anyone at all, so fucking forget this “anyone else” shit. Do you… do you even…
She cuts off her own sentence, the words turning into a growl. Jared, well-meaning dumbass that he is, tries to calm the situation.
Jared Sykes: Let’s just move on, and…
Until the sealed water bottle comes sailing across the room, flying just past the head of Savannah Scandal. This must be the sort of thing that she’s used to, because it doesn’t seem to faze her very much.
Justine Calvin: There is no one else. Not that it’s any of your goddamn business, but there has never been anyone else. I understand the concept of friends might be lost on you, given that you’re, well, you… Actually, you know what? Someone go see if they got right of all the nails that Zion is taking a nap in, because I feel like I’ve got another fight in me.
Jared Sykes: Cal…
Justine Calvin: This bitch…
Jared Sykes: Cal.
It’s hard to read Jared’s expression, what with all the marks left on his face from his battles over the last twenty-four hours, but whatever Justine sees there is enough to cool her off. At least for now.
Justine Calvin: Get fucked, Savannah.
Matt Mills: In regards to tonight’s win, I was… ummm…
His question dies under the stare of a green-eyed murder valkyrie.
Justine Calvin: Matthew.
Matt Mills: Y-yes?
Justine Calvin: I have a question for you.
Matt Mills: Oh… kay.
Justine Calvin: I want to know where this Gary person is who works in your rumor office, and I think you want to tell me, don’t you, Matthew?
At the back of the room, a man in his early twenties throws down his notepad and runs from the room.
Justine Calvin: That him?
Matt Mills: Yes.
Justine Calvin: Okay. When you guys get together later, make sure you tell him that I know his face now.
Gary Ray-Ray Bolamba: If Baby Got Back comes on, does Jared pop lock and drop it? Has he ever starred in a rap video?
Justine Calvin: So, in order, no and no.
Jared Sykes: Well, there was that one time.
For the last few moments Jared’s head has been down on the table, braced on his left arm. He looks up slightly after answering to find his partner looking back at him, a look of amused confusion on her face.
Jared Sykes: Kidding.
She puts a hand on his shoulder and nods in the direction of the exit. The message is simple: let’s get the hell out of here. With a herculean effort and more than a little help, Jared pulls himself out of the chair and the two make their exit.
14. Darin Zion
Members of the ring crew shuffle into view, dropping a Darin Zion cardboard cutout behind the conference table.
Gary Ray-Ray Nelson: So yer a Ford man? No wonder ya lost.
Tanner Quest: You were unsuccessful in capturing the Tag Team Titles tonight, despite the fact that Jared Sykes had gone through hell last night, plus a major psychological advantage from your numerous attacks on the champions in the last several months. How does 2Become1 regroup from this loss?
Savannah Scandal: Your teammates in the Love Convoy: Jonathan-Christopher Hall, Vickie Hall, Tristan-Crispin Gladhappy…Fuck, Marry, Kill?
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes hi darin my mom says you make her feel like she’s watching her stories what do you think she means by that she said something about love lust thank you
Chris Chickentenders: Hey man, just wondering, did you have any tips on how a stud like me can pick up some chicks?
Deb Warenstein: Why?
Long, awkward silence follows.
Deb Warenstein: That’s all I have. Just “why?”
Dr. Zeke: Question for Dizzy Goose! Hi! Yes, so, which one of you is responsible for driving the Sex Bus? How do you manage to do this without a steering wheel, I see they keep getting ripped out. Do any of you have a CDL? Also are any of you licensed to drive a truck?
The ring crew returns to remove the cardboard cutout.
Next up is the Boss Lady herself. The Queen of the Ring glides gracefully into the room and takes her seat at the table.
Lindsay Troy: OK folks, I gotta make this short and sweet because I have a Colossus Afterparty to oversee. Anyone in the room who’s 21+ is invited to The Standard after the presser wraps. Who’s up first?
A little boy jumps up onto his chair and waves like a lunatic.
Craig Hamburgers: LINDSAY TROY YOURE HERE ITS ME CRAIG HI LINDSAY TROY I KNEW YOU WOULD WIN FIGHT KICK FIGHT LETS HUG
There’s good-natured laughter from the adults in the room. Troy smiles, being very familiar with Craig from DEFIANCE’s press conferences.
Lindsay Troy: There’s nothing I’d like more right now than a Craig Hamburgers hug.
She beckons the precocious youngster to the table, and he scurries over. The Queen drops to a knee and gives Craig a big hug, then whispers something into his ear. He nods his head emphatically and Troy beckons for another chair to be placed next to her.
Lindsay Troy: (sitting back down) Craig’s going to sit here and direct traffic for me. OK bud, who’s next?
Craig beams and points to a man in the back.
QT “The Rock” Reese: This question is for Lindsay Troy. You run around here, lookin’ like Wednesday Addams as a grandmother, so the Reese wants to know if you’re plannin’ on wrestling more often and hogging more of the spotlight that could be on me!
Troy scrunches her nose in confusion.
Lindsay Troy: Didn’t Dexter Jacobs turn you into a cabin or something? Y’know what? Whatever. I already know how this goes. I’ll start to answer and then you’ll interrupt and yell IT DOESN’T MAT—
QT “The Rock” Reese: (interrupting) IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU’RE GONNA KEEP WRESTLING!
The Queen looks from QT, to Craig, to the assembled press pool, then extends a hand in Reese’s direction as if to say, There you have it.
Craig Hamburgers: THAT WAS A DUMB QUESTION AND ALSO YOU LOOK LIKE A WET MACGRUBER ANYWAY HI YOURE NEXT.
Craig points to Tanner Quest.
Tanner Quest: Who on the PRIME roster would you most like to face off against? Who do you think would give you the biggest challenge?
Lindsay Troy: Hi Tanner, thanks for being here. I could give you some names, but I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up because it’s not my intention to keep competing in PRIME on a regular basis. I’ll never rule it out completely, especially with PRIME being a part of PWA, however the match tonight with Craig was a special circumstance. I’m content with my focus remaining behind the scenes and doing whatever I can to ensure we remain the number one promotion on the planet. If another special circumstance happens to occur, then I’ll revisit my involvement at that time.
Craig Hamburgers: I HOPE YOU GET TO FIGHT KICK FIGHT THE CRISPY MAN THAT WOULD BE AWESOME BECAUSE HE’S SO ANNOYING OK HI DEB, DEB’S MY BABYSITTER SHES THE BEST!
A young, wavy-haired brunette in the second row stands up. She flips her hair over her shoulders and beams brightly.
Deb Warenstein: Hiiiiii it’s meeeeeeeeeee! Lindsay I love this new journey for you and Wade, are you going to have a double wedding with Jared and Justine and if so can I please handle all the social media for the event, thank you!
Deb flops back down to her seat while the Queen purses her lips together in an effort not to smile. She takes a moment to stare down at the table and shake her head, then looks back up at the teenager.
Lindsay Troy: I don’t have any comment on that at this time.
Deb Warenstein: (pouting) AWWWWWWWWWWW
Craig Hamburgers: DEB IS A VERY GOOD JIBJABBER IVE SEEN HER SHES FUNNY ESPECIALLY WHEN SHE MAKES FUN OF BALD TEACHER MAN OKAY THE LADY IN THE BACK YOU ARE VERY SPARKLY YOU GO NEXT
That’s Savannah Scandal, wearing a deep V-neck dress with sequins. She’s also wearing a jackal’s smile.
Savannah Scandal: Would you describe Wade Elliott as your side piece, or your main ho?
Lindsay Troy: I’m not answering this question either.
Craig Hamburgers: WHATS A SIDE PIECE IS THAT LIKE THE SIDES YOU GET WITH A CHIMKEN SANDY FROM CHICK FLAY I LIKE THE WAFFLE FRIES THEYRE THE BEST!
Lindsay Troy: Umm…I’m going to let your father answer that one after I have a talk with him about his choice of fast food chicken.
The Slap Fighting Champion of Nelson County decides he’s next and shouts his question from his seat.
Gary Ray-Ray Nelson: Now that yer involved in a love triangle between Cancer Jiles and Wade Elliott, when will Days of our PRIME start and who will be cast in the leading role? How do I get a job in it? Do ya think my Dad’s cute? He paid me money ta ask that. I’d pick Team Jiles. Thanks.
Lindsay Troy: What the–?
She is utterly befuddled and just a smidge embarrassed.
Deb Warenstein: Ew, why would you pick Jiles, his hair is greasy and weird. And Timo’s not your dad!
Craig Hamburgers: WHATS A LOVE TRIANGLE IS THAT LIKE THE–
Lindsay covers Craig’s mouth and whispers something else to him. The boy nods his head up and down, and Lindsay removes her hand from his face.
Craig Hamburgers: LINDSAY TROY SAYS THATS ANOTHER QUESTION FOR MY DAD OH BOY I CANT WAIT TO ASK HIM ANYWAY MY DUMB COUSIN HAS A QUESTION.
Chris Chickentenders: Um…
The Lady of the Hour is also familiar with Craig Hamburger’s cousin, Chris Chickentenders. So familiar, in fact, that she shoots him a death glare. Chris immediately clams up.
Chris Chickentenders: Yeah, uhh, nevermind. Thank you for the free trip, Ms. Troy…
Lindsay Troy: Good thinking. Anyone else?
A man in the fifth row shoots up from his seat.
Dr. Zeke: Greetings, Lizzy Horse and her bird force! I have a question. Here is my question. Are you ready? This is it. Here goes. Now that Tom Luchador has gone to Gunface Wrestling and reclaimed your dignity from Jace Harley Angel…
Can I have a sword?
Lindsay Troy: No. And with that, I’m done. Craig, thanks for your help.
Craig Hamburgers: YOURE WELCOME LINDSAY TROY I WANT TO DO THIS AGAIN SOMETIME YAY!
Craig hops down from his chair and walks back to his original seat while Troy leaves the room.
The Lost Soul stepped into the makeshift conference room and looked around at the journalists (a word that could be used questionably for some of these). Dusk made his way to the table and sat down, took a deep breathe in, and grabbed a bottle of water.
Dusk: Before we start, let me say this. It’s been an honor and a privilege to spend as much as my career in PRIME and to be inducted into the PRIME Hall of Fame. Getting to step foot in the ring with Lindsay Troy for my final match was phenomenal and I think we had an amazing match.
He then took a small sip of water.
Dusk: Let’s do this. First, you.
Tanner Quest: Hi, Tanner Quest here. You’ve just finished a long and storied career. What would you say is your biggest regret?
Dusk: Biggest regret? It’s really hard to say simply because I’ve accomplished so much in my career and especially in my time here in PRIME. I think my biggest regret is not taking time this go around to really meet everyone and get to know them. I would’ve loved to spend more time with Hayes Hanlon, Anna Daniels, Nate Colton, and the likes of them. We’ve got a great group of people coming up.
He then took another sip of his water.
Dusk: Little one down front.
Craig Hamburgers: Hi, I’m Craig Hamburgers. I’m sorry you had to fight Lindsay Troy because she’s the best fighter alive did you think you had a chance and why, thank you
Dusk: No need to apologize, I put myself into this position.
The room erupted into laughter.
Dusk: With that being said, I definitely thought I had a shot at defeating Lindsay and there were times in that match where she had to dig down deep to stay alive in that match. We gave it our all in the ring and left it all out there. I thought I had that chance simply because I know Lindsay in that ring and we both know it could’ve gone either way. Alright, over there.
Chris Chickentenders: Hi, I’m Chris Chickentenders. I asked this last night, so I’m just gonna ask again here: What is with this company’s obsession with grappling grandpas?
Dusk took another sip of his water.
Dusk: Definitely don’t think there is any obsession here. The reality is that fifty today is not the same as fifty thirty years ago. We eat better, we train better, and we have a better understanding of our bodies than we ever did. I think we’ll see more people wrestling later into their life than ever before and I’m happy to show that it can be done.
He then pointed at Deb.
Dusk: You’re up.
Deb Warenstein: Deb Warenstein here. My grandparents want to know when the AARP Magazine with your cover story will be out on newsstands
Dusk: Soon. You’ll see me eating a hot dog with ketchup on it on the cover. Alright, over there.
Savannah Scandal: Savannah Scandal. What effect have your Beetlejuice pants had on your sex life?
Dusk took a sip of his water.
Dusk: What is with these names and some of these questions? None. Next.
Gary Ray-Ray Nelson: How DID you get red eyes? I know how I get red eyes, and I don’t think you do the same thing I do?
Dusk shook his head.
Dusk: No comment.
Dr. Zeke: Yes, hello. I have a question for Misty Maloof! You are familiar with the workings of this company, yes? Okay, given that knowledge, what exactly does Mel B. do here?
Dusk: I have no idea what Melvin does around here. I kept trying to figure it out and I kept getting yelled at. So I don’t really know.
Dr. Zeke shakes his head.
Dr. Zeke: Oh, you misunderstand me. I was asking about the Spice Girl.
Dusk: On that note, ya’ll have a great evening.
Dusk then stood, grabbed his water, and walked to the exit. He took a deep breath in as he exited, leaving PRIME for the final time.
17. Hayes Hanlon
From stage left, the newly crowned PRIME Universal Champion makes wake to the table with a noticeable limp, clad in the usual slacks, dress shoes, and black-button down with the sleeves rolled up. Most notably? The Universal Title slung over his shoulder. He sits gingerly before placing the belt on a stand, the gold gleaming out to the reporters and question-askers.
Gary Ray-Ray Nelson: Mr. Hayes. Ya won the big one, the real question of questions. Disney World, or Disney Land? And why is Disney Land the wrong answer?
Hayes Hanlon: (Laughing that this is his first question) The answer is definitely Disney World, but not until this leg heals up. No way I’m checking out Galaxy’s Edge with a limp.
Tanner Quest: Hayes, you’ve had one of the most impressive rookie years in the history of PRIME, and possibly in all of wrestling. How do you plan on maintaining, or even building on that momentum going into 2023?
Hayes Hanlon: (Rubbing the back of his neck.) Man, that’s a really good question. I guess at this point I just gotta go out and wrestle, y’know? I’ll be honest, though, my first thoughts after winning were pretty stressful; about holding onto this thing, having to defend it, prove I earned it, and all that. But a couple guys, I won’t say their names, reached out with some good advice: they told me not to worry about any of that, and just enjoy it. So, I guess I’ll do just that.
Deb Warenstein: Hi Hayes, that belt is also super cute, what are the chances of you and Nate doing a photo shoot with your new titles?
Hayes Hanlon: (Another laugh, along with the rest.) Man, I dunno! Nate might look better wearing the Five Star strap than I did! Can we talk about that dude, by the way? Not one loss since June! Nate comes from serious wrestling stock and has done nothing but prove it, so yeah, he can hit me up any time about a photo shoot.
Chris Chickentenders: Dude, I bet you get this all the time, but that mustache is badass! When mine grows (which should be any month now), I’m totally gonna comb it to look like that!
Hayes Hanlon: Hey thanks, man! Definitely pick up some light ‘stache wax when it grows in, and make sure that thing covers our upper lip. Anything else kinda spits in the face of good upper lip-holstery. Next?
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes congratulations and do you think a mustache is the source of your powers because if they are I’ll tell my dad to grow one so he can impress my mom thank you
Hayes Hanlon: (Smoothing out his ‘stache.) I’d like to think a lot of practice and dedication is my main power source, but hey, I could be wrong. Maybe I just have this guy to thank. Okay, let’s get another one.
Savannah Scandal: Now that you’re the Universal Champion, will you be charging more for mustache rides?
Hayes Hanlon: Ookay, I see where this is going. Thanks for your questions, everyone.
The Champ stands from the table, the media pile not satisfied with his answer. He turns to leave, then pauses, shifting and leaning back down to the mic.
Hayes Hanlon: But Universal Title or not, mustache rides will always be free.
He grins as he gets a rise out of the collective. They clamber to try and squeeze a few more questions in, but the Event Horizon just smiles and waves an appreciative hand before collecting his Universal Title, slinging it over shoulder, and heading back stage left.
18. Cancer Jiles
As the new UNIVERSAL Champion, Hayes Hanlon, is leaving the presser he can’t help but to notice a flood of media personnel rushing past him. As more and more come, the young, virile, and proud champion overhears parts of their conversations…
“What do you think he is going to say?”
“I bet he quits again.”
“Someone said Bobby and Mayhew were carrying him, and that he’s refusing any medical attention.”
“Two words. Melt. Down.”
“That is one word.”
To determine the length of the smile on Hayes’ face one would need to use a tape measure instead of a ruler. Being so, he happily turns on a heel and goes to walk away. However, when he does turn, he sees his handiwork lumbering towards him.
Hayes Hanlon: Great.
Jiles has certainly looked better.
The former champion has yet to wash the stench of defeat from his body, and is still wearing his wrestling gear. His hair for the first time ever is noticeably disheveled. Nothing crazy, but to his standards, yes. His T-Shades are more like L-Shades. His head is sunken low, and he’s got a Bandit under each armpit to help him gingerly inch forward.
Hayes Hanlon: Hey, watch your step.
The Champion faux cringes.
Hayes Hanlon: Too soon?
Surprisingly, the Bandits don’t break from their stride. Jiles’ COOLYMPIAN reserve won’t allow it. Nor will his beaten, defeated, and near lifeless body. Instead, he and his crutches just keep on crutching along until their dramatic arrival to the COOLOSSUS press conference. Once they are there the awaiting media/firing squad collectively gasps at the sudden state of decay KING COOL is in.
Then, after the awkward silence that follows in the wake of the gasp, whispers start to fester among the masses.
“OHMYGOD he looks like a corpse.”
“Weekend at Coolies, am I right?”
“I don’t think I’ll ever get over how fat Bobby Dean is.”
“Where did Doozeryhew just go? I could have sworn I just saw him.”
“Guess he doesn’t need a security detail anymore. HA.”
“Talk about going from hero to zero.”
Bobby and Fred gently plop Jiles down in a chair for all to see. Exasperated, the COOLympian takes a deep and painful breath. He then leans back, and motions for the charade to begin.
QT “The Rock” Reese: This question is for Cancer Jiles. What the hundreds………….and hundreds of the Reese’s fans want to know is if you think you deserve an immediate rematch for the Universal title?
QT anxiously waits for Jiles to start speaking…
Cancer Jiles: Yo–
QT “The Rock” Reese: IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU THINK!
Unamused, Jiles labors forward to speak into the microphone.
Cancer Jiles: Very good. Very, very, good. Next question.
Tanner Quest: Since you won the title at UltraViolence, you seem to have focused your efforts on antagonizing Lindsay Troy more than addressing your actual opponents. Do you think this contributed to your loss tonight against Hayes Hanlon?
A long, drawn out pause from the begotten.
Cancer Jiles: Maybe. I don’t know. I do know that when you are me, and you are the Universal Champion, your actual opponent isn’t just the crumb standing across the ring from you.
Cancer Jiles: Let’s just leave it at that.
Jiles hocks one up and spits right there on the table for all to see, and see they do. The lunger is charcoal black; and would lead you to believe that a chisel is needed to remove it from the surface.
Bobby shakes his head in disbelief.
The Artist formerly known as Doozer does the same.
Cancer Jiles: Next question.
Deb Warenstein: Hiiiii is that your real hair or is that a toupee?
Still very unamused, Jiles leans back in his chair and whispers something to Bobby. Whatever he says happens to make his rotund friend chuckle, so go on and sprinkle a drop of levity across the guillotine blade.
There’s hope after all.
Cancer Jiles: I’ll tell you, but first you have to tell me which parts of you are real or not.
Cancer Jiles: Didn’t think so, next question.
Craig Hamburgers: Hello yes is cancer your disease or is cancer your zowdak sign I’m a pie seed fish burgers, also why eggs thank you.
The COOLYMPUS native grunts in agony.
Cancer Jiles: Are these my flowers for carrying the MAIN EVENT for an entire fucking year? Jesus. Good thing I am a company man. Umm, let me think. Yes, I’ve just diagnosed myself with brain cancer after suffering through your presumably Athens accent, and not only am I an Ares, but I was also at his secret bat mitzvah. Don’t tell Zeus. Next question.
Savannah Scandal: Who do you hope to hook up with at the Colossus after-party?
Another grunt of disbelief.
Cancer Jiles: If I were going, Plastic Debbie, but I’m not. Next question.
Gary Ray-Ray Nelson: My Mom really thinks yer great. She says the man with the blonde hair in the glasses is really suave and may be my real father. Can you confirm or deny these rumors? Where were you May 7, 1999, and why was it Nelson County Kentucky? Thanks.
More grunting. More disinterest. More misery crawling across Cancer’s sorry face.
Cancer Jiles: You look like a garden snake that just swallowed a golf ball. My suggestion to you is you call Larry Bird about it. Next question.
Chris Chickentenders: Dude, I never knew your name before tonight, but I can say undeniably that you are the coolest and most badass human being I have ever seen. Can I PLEASE have your sunglasses? If I looked that cool, ALL the chicks be flocking to me!
Jiles’ hair begins to flash white, as if he were shedding his skin, and as if his skin were his hair.
Cancer Jiles: Didn’t know my name, yet you still came to the show named after me? I wonder, why did you come then? Free hotdog? Anna Daniels t-shirt? Old MGM comp? Maybe it was to see a tag division that will probably be disbanded soon? Better yet, maybe you came to see Mom beat up on ole Cousin Dusk? Loser. Sorry little crumb. Get the fuck out of here with all that nonsense. Next question.
Dr. Zeke: Yes, hello! This is a question for Cranky Joel. What was your relationship with your mother like that you feel the need to call a woman your age ‘mom’? Is this a weird sex thing?
By now Jiles’ hair is glowing white. His teeth are locked together. His body is failing him and he’s close to that post death bowel vacation.
But he persists.
Cancer Jiles: I’ll have you know Capricorn Jiles is a saint. Next question.
Dr. Zeke: Follow-up question for Cranky Joel! You have carefully crafted this image around being hip, and neato, and whatever else the kids say these days, yes? Now that you don’t have a belt and suck again, does that mean you are done ruining eggs for everyone?
Annoyed beyond belief, Jiles finds the strength to stand. Not only that, he, his shades, his new white hair, and his seemingly newly acquired Old Man strength power chop the table he was just sitting at directly in half. It was made out of wood, so clean break. Plus Bobby was resting his belly on it for the entire sham of a PC so it was already in a weakened state.
However, theatrics win the day.
Cancer Jiles: I’ve only just begun to ruin. No more questions.