The backstage conference room of AT&T Stadium is set up for the formal post-event press scrum. A table for the talent to sit and field questions is set up at one end of the room before a backdrop of PRIME and Culture Shock logos, facing a formation of at least two dozen folding chairs occupied by various sports journalism personalities and superfans with VIP access.
The following can be seen in the press pool:
-Tanner Quest, editor-in-chief and head writer for RingDispatch.com
-Reed Schwartzman, relative newcomer to the wrestling journalism scene, and curator of the Dropkick Digest podcast
-Craig Hamburgers, seven-year-old wrestling superfan and moderator of “CHWB” (Craig Hamburgers Wrestling Blog), accompanied by his dad
-Savannah Scandal, head writer for the Scandal Sheet, and occasional contributor to RingDispatch.com
-Felix Mullen, SHOOT wrestling superstar, acerbic leftist agitator podcaster, and host of the Leftist Leaks Dot Org podcast, who is presumable only there at the bequest of Melvin Beauregard
-Dr. Zeke D. Badguy, Esq. Manager, supervillain, lawyer, doctor, lawyer-doctor, dressed like a man who raided his father’s closet when he was a child and never changed
-Astoundingly, Alexei Ruslan is also there, representing the 145 million proud citizens of The Russian Federation and sporting a bandage around his head due to the damage wrought against him in the main event
-Finally, representing the Crownless Kingdom of Japan, Powerslam Anubis, a huge black man wearing a jackal mask and a bowler hat over the top of it, here because the Kingdom were invited to attend the show by Coral Avalon, and somehow found himself in the presser room (possibly because he got lost)
-Also in attendance are PRIME’s resident team of backstage interviewers: Angelica Brooks, Matt Mills, and Simon Tillier
The room is filled with quiet, indistinct conversation, but a hush falls over the press pool when the curtain at the edge of the backdrop ripples and the first star comes out to seat himself at the table…
Originally aired 4/7/23
Reed Schwartzman: Mr. Ward, tough result tonight. If you could, walk us through the final moments of that match. What, if anything, would you have done differently in that last exchange? Was there any way you could have avoided the knee going out?
Matt Ward: Invent time-travel, maybe? Guess I could have kept things on the mat a little more… ground and pound… try to take as much stress off the bad wheel as possible, but a guy like Youngblood, he’s going to zero in on your weakness and he’s going to beat you with it. I don’t think anything is gonna magically make my knees function any better. I’m certainly not getting any younger. Time don’t work that way. People are gonna take advantage of that. I don’t think it’s ever going to not be a problem, so I’m gonna have to figure out how to overcome it.
Felix Mullen: Do you think your sponsors will go running from you to someone with less rust like Tyler Adrian Best after your dismal performance in your first two matches back?
Matt Ward: They’ve already asked me if I can put them in touch with the kid. Wouldn’t reckon a guy that young would have much need for energy drinks though. Me? Flirting with 50 and with a kindergartner at home… I need an IV of the stuff.
Tanner Quest: How would you compare PRIME’s current roster to that of your original run?
Matt Ward: The ReVolution era was a special time and a special roster. Tremendous talent. I always thought, thru all the ebbs and flows, it was the best roster of all the PTC affiliate feds. Troy and Nova and Sonny and Killer. Hoyt, Tsonda, K-Wolf, Youngblood, Snow, big Hess. Guys like Rayne and Dusk and Vashaun and I could go on and on. ReVival era is… I dunno. I don’t feel like i really fit-in with the locker room, despite some of the old faces. I will say, the old PRIME it had its weaknesses. That might be the biggest difference… there’s no ‘bottom of the card’ here. Everyone can go.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes hi my dad says you’re like a legend but why is that and is my dad dumb, thank you
Matt Ward: I dunno how old your father is, but he still sounds wise beyond his years. Way back in the day, I won a few things, made quite the name for myself. Re-wrote record books. But as is usually the case, legends are fun to talk about, remember, there’s usually nothing worthwhile to actually see anymore.
Alexei Ruslan: Matt Ward, also known as Tchu, I have been aching to ask you this serious question: If memory serves, Ivan Stanislav annihilated you back in 2006 and the world witnessed it. Why bother coming back to PRIME knowing that, at any time, history could repeat itself? Are you simply a glutton for punishment?
Matt Ward: I remember crossing paths. Think it was ReV 96. I seem to remember things a little differently though. I don’t recall it being a good night for Mother Russia. Think I dropped your boy on his head. If he has a different recollection, he can come find me and we’ll see who’s rememberin’ things right.
Dr. Zeke: Hello, yes. Question for King Tchu’lla of Wakanda. This is a two-parter. First, why did your many agreements with the Puma sneakers people fail to make you win against the Mean Bastard Man? Second, what exactly is in the oranges, and why are you so obsessed with citrus fruits? Is there a rampant scurvy problem in your secret African nation? Also, I have a business proposition for you about giving me some of your many vibraniums to help construct a catapult for skunks. I will have my people pass contact your many, many sponsors to negotiate.
Matt Ward: Nike is a tremendous sponsor who makes top-of-the-line athletic gear. Orange is a secondary color composed of primary colors red and yellow. It’s also a shade that often blankets the sky at dawn and dusk. The beginning and the end of the day, and please send all business enquiries to my agent. Wherever he is.
Savannah Scandal: Does the outcome of this match mean that Brandon Youngblood is now the top zaddy in PRIME?
Matt Ward: Well, I don’t think this loss erases my three Universal titles from the record books. Or the Dual Halo win. Or the Jewel in the Crown. So I think my spot in the Hall of Fame is safe, though I did tell Lindz we should kick people out when she asked for HoF nominations…so I dunno. But today? Yeah I think Youngblood is top-dog.
Listen, I came back to test myself specifically against the guy. You could see in the ReVolution era, the immense talent he had. Three 5-Star Championships. The close call in the Halo… he just never quite put it all together. The run he’s had in the ReVival era is an all-time great run. And he’s firmly established himself as one of the best to ever step foot in a PRIME ring. He’s the Wrestler of the Year. He got so good, I think he might have gotten bored. But he’s focused now. He’s a machine. Give me Youngblood Vs anybody and I don’t know how you bet against him. Was an honor to go to battle against him.
Powerslam Anubis: Greetings, o woeful Monster-sponsored mortal. The great Powerslam Anubis has noticed your plight, and wishes to inquire if you believe that knees should be the first thing to go in the next stage of human evolution.
Matt Ward: Yes. Fuck ‘em. If you can put me in touch with someone who can maybe do like a bionic knee, that would be great. Speaking of which, if nobody has any other earth shattering questions, gonna limp off stage and go ice those knees down. Thanks, gang.
Mortimer Knightingale, sporting his teal and white “G.A.S.” tracksuit, enters, the ALIAS Championship is draped over his shoulder. He places it on the table in front of him and takes a seat.
Dr. Zeke: Yo, ‘ey. This is a question for Marty Krawczyk. Is it true that punching women half your age is the way to show your love and affection these days? I am very old, and when I was young we would dial up our best gal on the rotary phone and go down to the corner store for five cent egg creams. Also is it true that you are now wanted for emotional terrorism?
Mortimer Knightingale: No and no.
Alexei Ruslan: Mr. Knightengale- Have you healed from the severe beating that Ivan Stanislav gave you at Colossus 2022? Signs of brain damage can manifest in mood swings and sudden bouts of uncontrollable anger. Perhaps sucker punching a woman is a result of your loss to Ivan was one such symptom? Thoughts?
Mortimer Knightingale: Ivan Stanislav throws like like this neighbor of my Aunt Ronnie’s, Dagmar, she was from Scandinavia or somethin’, she had these huge bazongas which made throwin’ somewhat difficult. In other words, Ivan throws like a seventy year old Swedish lady with saggin’ boobs and a hip replacement. Fuck him.
Reed Schwartzman: Controversy surrounding that finish aside, this is a big win tonight, Mr. Knightingale. What are your plans with the Alias Championship?
Mortimer Knightingale: The plans, of which, you are referencin’ have yet to reveal themselves to me but rest assured, I will prognosticate the multitudes of ideas that I am confidently sure will come flowin’ to me in some capacitory measure over the course of the next couple to few days, after which, will be revealed at the next Revival.
Felix Mullen: When are you going to be a real man and rise up against the chains of capital dragging you by your neck? Although it’s clear in this case, your boss, Tony Gamble, is doing all the work. Talk about a first!
Mortimer Knightingale: I don’t know what kinda pervy, kinky stuff you think I’m into with all that shit about bein’ chained around my neck bullshit, but it ain’t true. Not that I’m judgin’, what consentin’ adults do, that’s their business, and if it makes’em happy, ah salute! But, yeah, I ain’t all into that S and M life. The second part of the question, I remember that the first movie I saw was “The Last Starfighter”. It doesn’t hold up from a visual effects standpoint, but that was a first, as it were.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes i think your name is horace knightingale and you’re from mortimer north dakota, true or false and why, thank you
Mortimer Knightingale: Fuck you and fuck your mother. Next.
Savannah Scandal: Do the ladies like it with the mask on, or off?
Mortimer Knightingale: Like what? You talkin’ sex here? I wouldn’t know with any specifiocity since donnin’ the mask at how the ladies would react since there has not been any sexual congress, i.e. penile contact, with any particular person in more than eighteen months, which is longer than I have had a mask. Now if that’s an offer…. I ain’t some easy lay, you’re gonna need to wine and dine me a bit….
Powerslam Anubis: O woeful mortal Mortimer. MortMort, if you will. The great Powerslam Anubis judges you. The weight of your sins would surely shatter my scales should I attempt to weigh them. I would need a great many feathers to balance those scales. My question to you would be… do you have any idea what the feather market is like these days? How dare you.
Mortimer Knightingale: …the fuck? What’re you on, cuz it ain’t Canubis. I got no fuckin’ idea what you’re talkin’ about so….yeah.
EMINENCE (JARED SYKES & JUSTINE CALVIN)
Next in front of the firing squad are the first, last, and only tag team champions of the ReVival. Jared Sykes and Justine Calvin, collectively known as Eminence, take a seat behind the microphones. Both belts are presented on display, and keen-eyed observers will note that the strawberry sticker that once adorned one of Jared’s sideplates has been removed.
Also of note is the tee shirt that Justine wears, one bearing the name of their team and the words she said earlier in the broadcast: And Only. It was probably a bit presumptuous to have the shirts printed, but the NFL does it every year for Super Bowl losers, so yeah.
The questions begin almost immediately.
Tanner Quest: Congratulations both on your incredible reign as tag team champions…and, as I understand, your recent engagement. What is your biggest challenge as both a tag team and a romantic couple?
Jared Sykes: I mean the short answer is probably “me”, right?
There’s a light chuckle in the room as Justine starts nodding.
Justine Calvin: No argument here.
Jared Sykes: So, while that aspect is probably still one hundred percent true…
Justine Calvin: It is.
Jared Sykes: Right. But beyond that I would say it’s been trying to find the balance between who we are as a team, and who we are as people. Work-life balance, I think they call it.
Justine Calvin: And then lately trying to figure out what the “work” side of that looks like after tonight. I know that nobody’s going anywhere, but it’s still a big unknown, right?
There’s a brief pause as the two exchange a glance. Justine turns back to the crowd, grinning.
Justine Calvin: No, but seriously, it’s totally him.
Scanning the room, the duo find the next source of questions.
Reed Schwartzman: Being as familiar with your opponents as you are, how pivotal was that last tag? Justine, do you think you would have had enough to outlast another powerbomb?
Justine Calvin: In all honesty, no. Probably not. You can try and brace yourself for that impact, but Sid is a monster, and it just hits different when he does it. Those last couple of minutes were kind of nuts. I’m pretty sure that if I don’t get to the corner in that moment that it’s either all over, or really close to it.
For a moment the rest of the room might as well not exist as the only tag team champions of the ReVival era talk amongst themselves.
Jared Sykes: I was surprised you were able to go up top after that.
Justine Calvin: Yeah, that was pretty much the last bit of energy that I had. I don’t even know how you managed to pick Sid up there.
Jared Sykes: Adrenaline is fuckin’ bananas.
Justine Calvin: Well, at least I get to sleep tonight knowing I don’t have to do this all over again tomorrow.
Jared Sykes: Kind of forgot about that, actually. Might have to call Charlie and see if he has any of that coffee left over.
Justine Calvin: Oh, sweetie. Noooooo.
With a grin she slaps her partner on the shoulder, at which point he turns his focus back to the gathered press.
Jared Sykes: But in all seriousness, I’m not sure how that’s going to go after what we had to do tonight. Joe and Sid… they brought it. They absolutely fuckin’ brought it. I know things didn’t go the way they wanted it to, but I’ll go on record right now and say that if you want to see what the future of tag team wrestling looks like, you start with those two. Whether it’s within the PWA, or they go to Bang! and challenge the Trash…
Justine Calvin: Oh, that match would slap.
Jared Sykes: Yeah, it would… They’re the future. One hundred percent. I’d stake whatever my reputation is worth on that.
Sensing an opening in the conversation, Craig Hamburgers springs to his feet and shoots a hand up in the air.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes what is your current opinion on berries because i liked it when it was berries but my mom says Jared has a real heath ledger thing going on and i don’t know what that means can you tell me that too, thank you
Jared Sykes: I, umm…
Jared, visibly confused, turns to Justine in the hope of clarification. What he finds is his partner with a hand over her mouth and giggling to herself.
Justine Calvin: His mom thinks you’re hot.
That’s when Jared’s eyebrows hit the roof. His jaw runs away in the opposite direction. A single word escapes his lips.
Jared Sykes: Oh.
For her part, Justine is now consumed with laughter, pulling up the bottom of her shirt to cover her face.
Jared Sykes: So, umm, tell her thanks? I guess?
A sudden convulsion of laughter shakes the table.
Jared Sykes: As for the berry thing… I know it probably looked a little strange to most people, but the berries have been pretty important to me over the last – man, what’s it been – fifteen years? Seventeen? Anyway… It was kind of time to move on and put it in the past. I’m not saying it’ll stay there forever, because nothing in this sport is ever really “forever”, but I don’t think we’ll be bringing that back any time soon. Sorry, Craig.
When Justine peeks back out over the collar of her shirt, the first thing she sees is another figure standing and poised to ask their question. The last bit of joy falls away, because the person she’s about to talk to is someone she would just as soon see thrown into the Nevada Ditch Fields or the Chicago Ooze Pits.
Alexei Ruslan: This question is for Justine Calvin, as we have learned it is better if Sykes just keeps his mouth shut. Ms. Calvin, you are clearly attracted to pathetic, small, and simpering men. It must be so mind-numbingly dull to share the company of such a truly pathetic and intellectually devoid partner such as Jared Sykes. Truly, I speak for every individual in The Russian Federation when I state how much we sympathize with your decision to be in the presence of someone so absolutely and unequivocally useless. I sometimes wonder if you have some deep rooted guilt and thus feel you must atone by somehow guiding such a ignoramus through life, and in turn also show him some sort of compassion. But I should not digress and ask my question: How can one possibly consider remaining with Jared Sykes when a true alpha male such as Ivan Stanislav is available? It is quite obvious that Ivan is better looking, stronger, and far more athletic. Yes, even for a woman as young as yourself, I know it is a no-brainer to consider dating The Russian Bear. So I ask: is it just out of pure pity for Sykes, or are you just cursed with poor decision making?
The first response comes in the form of a long, exaggerated sigh. One that Justine made sure to do directly into the microphone for maximum effect.
Justine Calvin: Pleasure as always, Alexei, but I have a question of my own. Now I know that you’re a fan of keeping things honest and on-the-level all the time…
Why yes, her response is slathered with extra sarcasm. Thank you for noticing.
Justine Calvin: So I’m assuming you’re aware that this “alpha male” bullshit was all debunked years ago, right? The original research around it was based on wolves in captivity. And we all saw how well Ivan did when he was fenced-in tonight, so maybe this isn’t the best analogy for you to start with. Would you like to try something else?
Ruslan seems undeterred by the response by Justine. He smiles and slides his hands into the pockets of his overcoat, offers a wry grin, and rocks back on his heels.
Alexei Ruslan: Ms. Calvin, this is an opportunity for you…
He pulls a condescending hand out of his coat and waves it in her direction…
Alexei Ruslan: …to answer our…
He then waves said condescending hand about the room.
Alexei Ruslan: …questions. It is rude to answer a question with a question. It comes off as evasive. It reeks of hesitation and a lack of truth and candor that we would expect.
He tilts his head to the side and runs his tongue along the inside of his lips.
Alexei Ruslan: So rather than continue with this exercise of evasiveness, I so kindly ask that you answer the question, or if you so desire, you can save yourself the self-abasement and simply decline. Either way will be telling.
He flashes that smile. That damned smile. And waits expectantly.
Justine Calvin: Well, you heard it here first, guys. Can’t answer a question with a question. I guess that means that our dear friend Alexei has never read his Socrates.
At this, her partner’s brow visibly furrows and he casts a curious eye in his direction.
Justine Calvin: Socratic questioning?
Justine Calvin: Seriously?
She turns back to the room, but not before shaking her head slightly in frustration.
Justine Calvin: Okay then. I guess you win, Alexei. I am currently questioning my decision making skills for ever choosing to answer this daffy-ass question in the first place.
Alexei clears his throat and smiles as politely and yet also as impolitely as possible. His voice starts to drip with condescension.
Alexei Ruslan: You just take it one step at a time, my dear, and I assure you that we will get through this together. Allow me to make the question simpler for you: Are you perfectly blind and deaf, and this is why you would ever consider spending an extended period of time in the presence of Jared Sykes? Or did you suffer some sort of undiagnosed head injury in your youth?
Lots of people say Russians don’t smile, but this Russian is positively beaming.
Justine Calvin: Blind? No. Deaf? Unfortunately not. As for the undiagnosed head injury, no. But while we’re on that thread, I’ve got half a mind to hop the table and see if we can’t give you one.
Jared opens his mouth to speak, but without looking Justine raises her hand and clamps it over his mouth.
Justine Calvin: Maybe Ivan will get here in time to stop it, maybe he won’t. I’m sure it’s going to be real hard to pry himself out of that crater he made when he fell-down-go-boom earlier.
Ruslan bristles and his smile melts. He adjusts his tie and clears his throat once more.
Alexei Ruslan: No need to be insulting, Ms. Calvine. I know once the show ended you were a champion of nothing, but you need not be unprofessional, but threats? I am a former PCW World Champion, after all, but I at least can keep my emotions in check. If you are going to be so combative, I think it is best we just move along. Your non-answer will suffice.
Ruslan sits down, nonplussed.
Justine Calvin: Alright, I’m sure we’ve got an actual question from the…
Her eyes find the slender frame of Dr. Zeke D. Badguy, Edq. sitting among the throng of reporters. Aside from the nonsensical collection of clothing he’s wearing, the only thing of note is that fact that he seems to be staring intently at Jared.
Justine Calvin: Huh.
Also his middle finger is raised.
Justine Calvin: Okay… So. Someone else? Literally anyone?
Jared Sykes: Yeah, there’s gotta be one, right?
Enter a very large man and his equally large Egyptian cosplay.
Jared Sykes: Or not.
Powerslam Anubis: Greetings, o woeful berry mortals. I, the great Powerslam Anubis, wish to know your thoughts on sexy dinosaur times, for he believes that sexy dinosaur times may have died out in the Chicxulub meteor impact. Have you restored sexy dinosaur times with a piece of amber? Is this mistake of life finding a way worthy of judgement?
Justine very calmly places her microphone down on the table in front of her, folds her arms, and cocks an eyebrow at Jared. The message is simple: this one is all you, buddy.
Jared Sykes: Why does this feel like an inside joke?
He asks this to his partner who just shrugs in response. You’re on your own here, Jared. Don’t fuck it up.
Jared Sykes: So… I don’t really know how to answer this. Like, are you asking if I’ve ever dressed up as a dinosaur during, you know, things? No. Not as far as anyone in this room knows. Have I ever googled sexy dinosaurs? Again…
And just like that, the microphone is back in Justine’s hand. And we are all very grateful for this.
Justine Calvin: Alright, we’re just going to move on. Does anyone have a normal question?
Savannah Scandal: Describe your bedroom life on a scale of one to Cap’n Crunch OOPS! All Berries.
Justine Calvin: Oh, for fuck’s sake.
For the second time in as many press conferences, a water bottle sails across the room in the direction of Savannah Scandal.
While his partner tries to calm herself after threatening yet another member of the press corps, Jared very discreetly tries to catch Savannah’s eye before holding up all ten fingers. A quick thumbs-up follows before he’s punched in the shoulder.
The Murder Valkyrie sees all.
When Felix Mullen stands to ask his question Justine grabs a full bottle of water from the edge of the table and tests its weight.
Felix Mullen: This one is for Mr. Sykes. Jared, you…
His line of questioning is cut short as this bottle bounces off of his forehead and sends him stumbling back towards his chair.
Justine rises from her chair, and then leans over and whispers something in her partner’s ear.
Jared Sykes: Okay, so, I think that’s it from us. Thanks for your time, everyone!
He quickly scans the room one last time.
Jared Sykes: I think.
Nate Colton enters the press room and sits down at the table. The Five Star Title is slung over his left shoulder, and his right arm has a very large ice pack taped to it.
Tanner Quest: You suffered a lot of damage to your arm in tonight’s title defense. How do you think that will affect you going into tomorrow night’s battle royal?
Nate Colton: Definitely makes things harder, that’s for sure. But the medics have taken a look and nothing’s broken. Hopefully I’ll be good to go by bell time. If not…well, I made the choice to fight through it so I could keep my championship. Tomorrow will have to take care of itself.
Reed Schwartzman: Take us back into that match. What was going through your mind after Tyler kicked out of the first Colton Clutch Suplex?
Nate Colton: That was a shock, not gonna lie. But I also know I didn’t have it cinched in as tight as I like, ‘cause of the arm. Lucky I was able to get that second one in.
Felix Mullen: Do you really think that just because you’re undefeated that you can strut around and trade off disgusting threats to indecently expose yourself?
Nate Colton: How many times do I have to say it? My brother got into my phone and posted that from my account. If you really have an issue with it, take it up with him.
Alexei Ruslan: Nate Colton- It appears your spirit animal is a plush piggie. Do you think you will ever be man enough to graduate to something remotely masculine, like a grizzly bear? Do you think this will coincide with your testicles finally dropping and you ultimately become a man?
Nate Colton: Better a pig than a sniveling little toad like you, Alexei.
Powerslam Anubis: O woeful mortal of House Colton, the great Powerslam Anubis asks of thee… of which of the great pantheon has Jake Colton sold his soul to grant his family unlimited wrestling power? Was it Superkick Set? Full Nelson Bastet? Neckbreaker Osiris? I must know. Because it was not me.
Nate Colton: I mean, I guess it’d be one with a snake head, right? But nope, no soul-selling here. Just a lifetime of hard work, dedication, support from family and friends, and love. If someone’s got all that, they can do just about anything.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes can you explain why my parents keep laughing every time someone says showing hog, i don’t get it thank you
Nate rolls his eyes, obviously annoyed by all the hog-related questions. But of course he’s not going to take his frustration out on Craig.
Nate Colton: So, grown-ups like to play a game where we take a picture, but we hide a little drawing of a pig somewhere in the scene. It’s pretty funny, but nobody really knows why. It just is.
Dr. Zeke: Hi, hello. That unlikable shrew lady (he points to Savannah Scandal) said that you burned down a library. Why would you confess to this, and are you aware that there is no statute of limitation on word crimes? Have you no shame? We are no longer friends. What do you have to say for yourself, you monster?
Nate Colton: I have no idea what you’re talking about. None of that is true, except for “unlikable shrew lady,” and if you don’t want to be friends because of a lie…well, I don’t know what to tell you.
Angelica Brooks: Tonight marks a full year of competition for you in PRIME…and in that year, you have yet to be pinned or submit a single time. What does this accomplishment mean to you?
Nate Colton: I…really? Is that true? Wow. I mean…that’s pretty cool, but it’s not like I don’t have losses on my record. But whatever the case, putting together a string like that means I’ve been doing the right things…training to the best of my ability, giving everything I’ve got when I step through the ropes, and treating all my opponents with respect–if not personally, then at least as a competitor. That’s what I’m really proud of.
Savannah Scandal: Who’s the–
Nate Colton: We’re done here.
Nate grimaces as he pushes himself up from the table, then picks up the Five Star Title with his good arm and leaves the room.
In what should be a glorious moment for the new two-time Universal Champion, what walks out in front of the collective press is anything but. Home Run Hayes walks slowly, his body stiff, exhausted, and beaten to absolutely hell. A bandage sits over an eyebrow, his ‘stache disheveled. He’s swapped out his ring gear for his usual black dress-wear, and he takes a comically long amount of time to take his seat.
The Universal Championship, yet to be cleaned up after its time with the Goat Bastard, is set on the table, an appropriate match for its new owner.
Tanner Quest: Congratulations on regaining the Universal Title. Who on the PRIME roster would you like to see as your next challenger?
The Comeback Kid manages to roll his eyes before leaning to the mic.
Hayes Hanlon: How about someone who isn’t big enough to throw me through a steel cage.
A shared laugh rolls through the press. Hayes shakes his head with the tiniest of smiles before finishing his answer.
Hayes Hanlon: But honestly, man, my brain can’t even go to that place yet. But luckily, the Battle Royal gets to decide that for me. I’m sure whoever walks out of that thing alive will be plenty to deal with. Next?
Reed Schwartzman: I’ll also congratulate you on the big win after a devastating battle in the cell. What was going through your mind in those final moments, after the previous champion went through the roof of the cage?
Hayes Hanlon: I don’t think anything was going through my head, to be honest. That ending was straight up instinct. The last thing I remember clearly was Ivan chokeslamming me over the ropes to the floor, and it’s pretty much black after that. When Rezin went through the roof I guess I must have been thinking “just get there first.” And I did. Who’s up?
Felix Mullen: Congratulations on your Championship win, but does that really matter when rising tensions in the South China Sea will push the world to the brink of annihilation when the United States foolishly provokes a world war with China?
Hayes Hanlon: Nope, probably not.
Alexei Ruslan: Hayes Hanlon- How does it feel to be the Universal Champion, knowing you did nothing but roll your carcass over after Ivan Stanislav destroyed both you and Rezin? Are you comfortable holding the title under such cowardly circumstances? Does your legacy mean so little?
The mere sight of Stanislav’s right-hand man forces Hanlon’s face into hard glare. Hayes curses his lips behind his mustache, glowering across the table and leaning back into the mic.
Hayes Hanlon: Buddy, are you comfortable getting knocked the FUCK OUT every time you try and interfere? Because you’re running up friggin’ tally.
He breathes through his nose as the crowd stirs at the outburst, but Hayes is quick to keep going.
Hayes Hanlon: I’m real comfortable, dude. Because I threw your Big Russian Bitch over my fucking head. I put him through the mat with a spinebuster Brandon Youngblood is jealous of. And I almost put a chair through his god-damn throat. I earned every ounce of this thing. But you wouldn’t know much about earning anything, would you?
Ruslan’s face goes red with anger. He moves to retort, but the Champ interrupts.
Hayes Hanlon: Shut the fuck up, you fuckin’ dweeb.
A push for a follow up makes enough noise to drown out Ruslan’s hollering. Hayes sneers at him, then takes a breath, letting the room cool down.
Hayes Hanlon: Definitely gonna get fined for that. Sorry, guys. Who’s up?
Powerslam Anubis: Greetings, o new champion of the Universe. The great Powerslam Anubis wishes to know your mustache care routine, and whether such a mustache grants you incredible power… as would be the case with the tale of Samson and Delilah.
The moment of brevity creates another laugh in the room, and Hayes closes his eyes with a small smile.
Hayes Hanlon: A daily trim, a heated comb, and a little mustache wax is all you need. Next?
Savannah Scandal: Hayes, I’m dying to know… how do the ladies rate that ‘stache?
Hayes Hanlon: (another eye roll) Mustache questions are over. Next.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes, congratulations and my mom says you’re a thirst trap what does that mean, thank you
Hayes Hanlon: Tell your mom I said thanks, buddy. One more.
Dr. Zeke: Thank you, hello. This question is for DRUGS JUNIOR. Do you know where I can acquire enough low-dose tranquilizers to make a few dozen skunks willing subjects to be catapulted at unsuspecting wrestlers? Also, are you able to refill the prescription for my blood pressure medicines? CVS is not returning my calls.
Having quite enough, The Event Horizon places his palms to the table.
Hayes Hanlon: Alright. I’m done.
The Champ pushes himself to his feet, slowly, and using every ounce of strength not to groan.
Hayes Hanlon: Thanks for all the hard hitting questions.
With that, the Event Horizon takes his slow, achy leave.
As Ivan Stanislav enters the press area, he’s dressed in a full olive military uniform with blue highlights. His various medals glitter on his huge chest, and a few bandages are here and there from the wounds he gained in the Hell in the Cell match. He looks almost dapper, complete with a military cap. As he thunders to the table, and aide offers him a special chair that can support his weight and size. Alexei Ruslan stands in the audience and claps, then places his two pinky fingers in his mouth and whistles, while everyone else looks at him with annoyance.
Once Stanislav removes his hat and waves broadly to everyone (though truly, only Alexei is the one clapping), Ruslan settles down and Ivan speaks.
Ivan Stanislav: I appreciate this time to speak. I will answer any questions I deem worthy of response.
Reed Schwartzman: Mr. Stanislav, tough break tonight. Given the outcome of that match, do you regret the decision to follow the previous champion to the roof of the cell?
Stanislav clears his throat.
Ivan Stanislav: First and foremost, it is “Praporshchik” Stanislav. That is my title. Just like when someone earns their doctorate, for example, you call them doctor. I earned my title. Use it. Now then, yes, one could say that this is not the outcome I would have preferred. But do I regret following Rezin up to the top of cell?
Stanislav tilts his head to the side thoughtfully.
Ivan Stanislav: I cannot say that I regret the decision. However, I do regret believing Hayes Hanlon was not such a snake in the grass that he would try to capitalize on multiple factors which were out of my control. For example: The shoddy construction of the cell itself.
Stanislav glances over at Lindsay Troy.
Ivan Stanislav: I expected an organization such as PRIME to have contractors build something of sterner stuff. Clearly it was not of Russian make.
A member of the press pool says “Hear hear!” The voice sounds Russian. Stanislav rolls one of his shoulders.
Ivan Stanislav: We, as professionals, make decisions which will linger with us for the rest of our lives. Hanlon will live with the knowledge, even if just to himself, that this title run was started with an act of cowardice. Let him embrace such a legacy. I will not. Next question.
Tanner Quest: *Praporshchik* Stanislav…what creative lies will you be telling to explain away your defeat tonight?
Ivan Stanislav: Good use of my title. Crap question. Next!
Powerslam Anubis: Greetings, o champion of Mother Russia. The great Powerslam Anubis wishes to know if you would be interested in some day engaging in a friendly yeeting competition with him for charity. We may use Kenny Freeman as the projectile, for he is the most yeetable entity available.
Ivan Stanislav: I look forward to any endeavor in which I can utilize Kenny Freeman as yeet-able object. Tell Mr. Powerslam, or is it Mr. Anubis? Ehem, either way, tell them to contact the Russian Government and perhaps we can set something up. Though I would want a say in the charity, for which the proceeds would be sent. Next!
Felix Mullen: Do you think your fraudulent veneer of supporting the old Soviet Union by this loving embrace of the Putin Administration is the reason why Marx, Lenin, and Stalin have abandoned you?
Another very Russian boo comes from the press pool.
Ivan Stanislav: I always find it amusing when non-Russian tries to project their opinion on Russian matters. Meet me after this press conference. I will happily offer full response. Next!
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes, how come all the time when i watch tv the russian guys are either evil or they’re fat is that how russia actually is, thank you
Stanislav furrows his brow. He may remember this Hamburgers from the last press conference.
Ivan Stanislav: This is western propaganda, plain and simple, obviously. Why, look at me. I am neither fat nor am I evil. So there you have it. Next!
Savannah Scandal: Ivan, please give us all the juicy borscht bits on the real meaning to the saying “From Russia, with love.”
Ivan Stanislav: It is a rather simple thing. Us Russians are natural romantics. Myself included. Anyone who is willing to treat Russians with respect and honor is worthy of our love. It is unfortunate that so many outsiders project such negative feelings towards myself and Alexei. I assure you it is not warranted.
Alexei Ruslan once again stands, much to the collective chagrin of the other members of this “press pool” and, after saluting Stanislav, begins his question.
Alexei Ruslan: Praporshchik Stanislav. I think it is necessary to first commend you on your incredible showing tonight. You showed great courage under so much duress. I can safely say that so many members of the roster, and the audience, have approached me and told me how truly inspiring your performance was.
I understand that tonight is a dark night in the history of PRIME. Tonight we have nothing more than a pretender as the Universal Champion. Someone so devoid of honor that he would not even win the title through his own merit, but instead capitalize on the hard work of a true proletarian and snatch that honor from the hands of the people.
Dear Praporshchik, I admit that I am not used to watching someone be so willing to debase themselves on an international stage. My work with you has always been one where I view an individual with the highest degree of personal self-conduct, and thus it is shocking to me to see such conduct from nothing more than a gutter snipe. I truly cannot believe one could look themselves in the mirror, every day, knowing that they ultimately did nothing but drape their arm over a defeated opponent at your hand and steal the victory.
One has to truly wonder, dear Praporshchik Stanislav, how one will live with themselves for the rest of their life. I have to wonder, indeed, if they had any true honor at all. It could be said, Praporshchik, that Home Run Hayes did nothing but “Steal” the title from everyone else on the roster, and of course, from you.
I know that today is a dark day, as I said before, and the Universal Championship is cheapened. It was on the verge of greatness. To be held by a man of the highest personal fortitude and honor, and I know that we all weep together when we consider the future ahead.
So then, Ivan, my dear friend, and friend of all people. Ivan Stanislav, the man who defeated HOW World Champion Christopher America. The man who has stood up to tyranny and oppression. The man who has bravely given Lindsay Troy the chance to redeemer herself at PWA-02 when she represents Mother Russia as The Scarlet Sickle. Dear Ivan, great, heroic Russian hero. I must ask.
How are you doing?
Stanislav listens intently to Ruslan as he talks and talks and talks and, of course, makes no attempt to interrupt him. When the question is finally over, or perhaps when it is finally asked, Stanislav nods his head and purses his lips.
Ivan Stanislav: Alexei, I would first like to say how much I appreciate your question and thoughtful analysis of entire situation. I must echo the sentiment that I have such great honor to operate with a person of such stellar character. The match may not have ended the way in which I preferred, but to be able to fight against the forces of evil alongside you was a truly electric moment for myself. It was not my intention to compete tomorrow in Battle Royal, but as I am always mindful of preparation, I do have game plan. If all goes as I would like, I believe I will be next in line for yet another Universal Title shot.
Ivan pauses and inhales.
Ivan Stanislav: I feel I have good shot at this, considering I am last entrant into the match. I assume this will be the case, since it was Rezin who was pinned by that treacherous Hayes Hanlon, and not I. Yes, I am crestfallen by the outcome, but I am proud to say I left said match with my dignity in hand. One cannot say that of Rezin, who lost the belt and was pinned, or Hanlon, who won the match under incredibly cowardly circumstances. PRIME has a coward for a champion. She has had a coward for a champion for at least as long as I have been on the active roster. That will change.
Stanislav offers Lindsay Troy a glare.
Ivan Stanislav: No one, nor any force, will ultimately stop me. It will just take longer than I had foreseen. I leave it at that and wish some of you a good evening.
Ivan only looks to Alexei as he stands from the table and nods. Ruslan rises and claps for him. Alone.
Originally aired 4/8/23
THE ANGLO LUCHADOR
Reed Schwartzman: TAL, up until you were thrown out, you were the iron man for an incredibly long stretch of that battle royal. Did fatigue play a factor in those final moments leading up to your elimination?
TAL: I mean, probably. I am in much better shape than I was this time last year, but I still creak when I get out of bed in the morning. I guess I don’t want to make excuses either. Cecilworth Farthington got to the top of HOW for a reason, and me and him were going at it before Rezin threw me out. And yeah Rezin was the Champ here for a reason. I was swimming with sharks in there, and maybe I wasn’t the shark that was on top of his game tonight. Again, I mean, I don’t want to make excuses or whatever. But maybe if this body were 20 years younger, we’d be singing a different tune. Next.
Alexei Ruslan: Dear Luchador- I first want to tell you how wonderful it has been since you have been silent on all forms of social media. I actually feel that, to some degree, everyone has lived in more harmony nowadays, thanks to the absence of your rumor-mongering and negative nay-saying. My question, however, is simple: I may have missed it, but I did not see much interaction by yourself and Ivan Stanislav in the Battle Royal. Why were you working so hard to avoid him? Was it out of fear? Respect? Something else?
TAL: Alexei, with all due respect, eat shit.
Felix Mullen: Do you think Comrade Trotsky would approve of you living in such a stately home and married to a parasite executive in the American pharma industry?
TAL: I hope Miranda dumps you. Like, as soon as you get back to whatever hobbit hole you have her living in these days.
Powerslam Anubis: O woeful mortal of Caucasian Lucha Libre, the great Powerslam Anubis judges thee. What is the level of quality of the snacks you will provide for the Kingdom in Mexico?
TAL: Oh wow, well, uh, I see by your sick gains there that you require a healthy dose of protein. Do you like carne asada? We’ll have the best carne asada guy in Monterrey, hell, in ALL of Nuevo Leon there. If you’re in the mood for some cheat food, uh, one of Los Dragones’ wives makes some killer chiles rellenos. And we’ll have frozen stuff in wrappers just in case Lindz catches you in the eye with one of her boots. Not saying she will, but uhh, yeah, she’s pretty good at the whole wrestling thing, so even if you guys win, she’s going to leave a few bumps on you. But yeah, lots of really good food. I hope you adjudge my heart to be worthy, Mr. Powerslam, sir.
Savannah Scandal: Could you please describe the ideal nipple shape, if not pepperoni?
TAL: I’m sorry, did I just wrestle in a murder rumble out there or take part in an orgy? What kind of journalists are you letting into this place! Outrageous. Unbelievable. Scandalous, even! And I like the areolas petite with the nipples firm.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes, can i give you a hug, thank you
TAL: C’mon up. Bring it in.
Craig sheepishly steps up to the table, where the Luchador rises, welcoming him. He wraps his sweaty arms around the journalist.
TAL: There there, kid. Everything’s gonna be okay. I promise
A single tear streaks down Craig’s cheek.
Angelica Brooks: One last question, when you’re done hugging Mr. Hamburgers.
The Luchador pats the young lad on his head and sends him back to his seat.
TAL: Sure, Ange, you know I always have time for you.
Angelica Brooks: Thank you. You’ve had a rough go of things since Colossus. Have your views on PRIME changed at all since then?
TAL: Not really. I mean, I’ve been in the dumps and thought whether I could really go, but the fact remains I still wake up with more energy than I did in 2021. I sleep better. I ache more, but it doesn’t take me out of my entire day. I feel more alive than I have since I first went on the shelf all those years ago. And you know what? I didn’t come back to some rinky-dink fed where I could win every match and go on easy mode. PRIME is where the best wrestlers are, and even more of the best will come here. Chandler Tsonda. Arthur Pleasant. Farthington. And they won’t be the last ones. So yeah, bring them all on. I am ready to write my last chapter, which I hope has an indefinite length.
Tanner Quest: Not only has your GAS associate Mortimer Knightengale won a PRIME championship, but he also outlasted you in the battle royal. How do you hope to avoid a challenge to the leadership of the group?
Tony Gamble: When Mortimer joined I did suggest he change his last name to Gamble, but we ended up going with Knightingale because Morty understood there could only really be one Gamble worthy of such adoration. Still, I have trained Mortimer to take that next step in improving his skill, and his success in not only the Alias title tournament – but in the battle royal as well – is proof of that.
Reed Schwartzman: Mr. Gamble, last night, your associate Mortimer Knightingale succeeding in winning the Alias Title over Komihe Mori, thanks much in part to your involvement. Do you think that may have factored into Komihe eliminating you from tonight’s battle royal?
Tony Gamble: There were 38 people in that ring looking to have the honor of eliminating me, 39 if you include Morty. I told him that if he had the chance to roommate me, to take it, and add to his notoriety. See, I’m not just another flash in the pan like the rest of the trash that was in there, and as much as they deny it – they do consider me a great threat. So yeah, I do believe Kohime’s jealousy of the adoration Morty has given me, factored into her ambition to eliminate me from the battle royal.
Alexei Ruslan: Tony Gamble. I ask you to describe to me how incredible it was to experience The HurricanRussia? As a follow up, can you please say the first five positive words that come to mind when you think of the great hero of PRIME: Ivan Stanislav.
Tony Gamble: I have to say it was like nothing I’ve experienced before, and the gracefulness in which it was performed was greater than any cruiserweight I’ve ever been in the ring with. Propershit Stanislav is a fine athlete, quick, cunning, and a true asset to PRIME. That’s four isn’t it… Oh, he has an awesome beard. Yeah, there you go.
Felix Mullen: Do you do wetwork? Unrelated, do you have any corporeal attachment to one David Fox, asking strictly hypothetically? These questions are not related.
Tony Gamble: I do not muddy my hands with such things, and I have no attachment whatsoever to David Fox. I do have to ask though, which idiot is going to lose their job for allowing you in here. From what I hear you’re a bigger asshole than I am, like a Jared Sykes sized asshole.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes my dad says you’re an “almagory for why i shouldn’t gamble” what does that mean, thank you
Tony Gamble: I have no idea what an almagory is, and your dad is probably an idiot, so do whatever you want to kid. Honestly, you should ask Felix for advice. That guy took a gamble just walking in here.
Powerslam Anubis: Questionably adored woeful mortal, the great Powerslam Anubis wonders… are there any more of your T-shirts available? I must know if they are of a quality worth weighing sin against.
Tony Gamble: As a matter of fact there are, and I have to say that we do not have a factory of impoverished or malnourished children in a sweatshop in the middle of nowhere guarded by armed soldiers making them. That being said, they are made in America and the tag that is stapled to it proves that and I will not say anything else on the matter.
The sounds of combat and a cheering crowd can still be heard as Jared Sykes makes his way from the ring to the press area that PRIME has constructed for the event. He pauses briefly at the table that’s been setup, picking up the nearby microphone.
Jared Sykes: I’m getting too damn old for this back-to-back nights shit.
There’s a light chuckle from the crowd.
Jared Sykes: But hey, at least no one tried to kill me this time, so that’s a plus.
He flops down into the chair and unscrews the cap from a bottle of water, draining half of it in one gulp.
Jared Sykes: That definitely didn’t go the way that I hoped it would, but I’m trying to tell myself not to get upset about it. Not much I can do at this point. Forty… well, forty-one, I guess… Forty-one people showed out for this thing, and I made it to the last five. Don’t know what that says about me. Could just mean I got lucky. Who knows.
He kills the rest of the bottle and sets the empty on the table.
Jared Sykes: A former Universal Champion. The top ranked wrestler in the company who’s a champion in his own right. High Octane hall of famer. A third generation prodigy. And then there was me.
Jared Sykes: One of these things is not like the others.
He grabs another bottle and slowly twists the cap off.
Jared Sykes: Last night my division ended and tonight… Well… I guess we’ll see what happens now.
He pushes himself to his feet and begins to leave, but a voice from the crowd gives him pause.
“If you had to pick, which of those four do you think wins?”
There’s no hesitation in his answer.
Jared Sykes: If I was a betting man? Thousand bucks on Colton to take it.
He’s just at the end of the table when he quickly turns and dashes back to the microphone.
Jared Sykes: Make that a thousand dollars of Timo’s money. I’ve got a wedding to pay for.
Another polite laugh from the gathered press as he sets the mic back down one last time and heads off in search of a shower.
Felix Mullen: Which one is your favorite Doctor? I am reminding you there IS a right and a wrong answer.
Anna Daniels: Grandfather Paradox.
Felix looks confused.
Anna Daniels: Oh! You want an actual answer. Okay. We realize why you humans ask this question, but don’t you realize how weird you sound? Let’s say somebody committed some blunt force trauma to your head. Not us! But somebody. You can imagine that, right? The beating you took was hard enough that it changes your personality and you end up having to get plastic surgery. In this hypothetical scenario, would it be okay for us to go up to your girlfriend and ask “so…which one is your favorite Felix?” Doesn’t that sound a little awkward? A bit bizarre? You would still be Felix Mullen, after all. The circumstances would’ve have just changed you some.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes can you hear me and if so how are you sure, thank you
Anna Daniels: Yes, hello. We are contractually obligated to say that we can hear you because if we reveal the truth that you’re text on a Google doc and any voice we hear is a construct of our imagination, Lindsay Troy’s owls are going to start swooping in here and apparently, we can’t bring our guns to the arena because Ginny van Lear exists.
Anna Daniels: Sorry. That might’ve been too much. Do you need an adult?
Powerslam Anubis: Greetings, fellow immortal. The great Powerslam Anubis has noted your prowess as the shop czar of PRIME, and wishes to know when you will be selling premium quality Powerslam Anubis merchandise. Imagine the adorable children wearing shirts with soaring wings of powerslams upon them, judging lesser children. Majestic.
Anna Daniels: The hallowed halls of the PRIMEporium are open to the great Powerslam Anubis and his interest in expanding his presence via merchandise. Talk to us later when we’re away from all of this mess. We may be able to strike a deal.
Alexei Ruslan: Ms. Daniels- I have heard reports, even from yourself, that the equipment sent to the PRIMEporium from Russia was of subpar construction and quality. I know that you know that I know and they know that this cannot be true. So who do you think created such a horrible rumor?
Anna Daniels: We have never heard of anything else about the matter other than our report to our dear friend Ivan. All we know is what we saw with our own eyes which was unfortunate, to say the least. However, if you would allow a bit of speculation on our end, it is entirely possible that someone meddled with the goods between you allegedly sneaking out of the truck and us getting there to unpack.
A look to the left. Then the right.
Anna Daniels: We know you are proud of your beloved Motherland, Alexei, and your first instinct may very well be to suspect the loud usual suspects. But given the internal struggles within your little crew as of late…
She stops. Then smiles.
Anna Daniels: Well, you can probably figure out our theory. And you’re most likely setting up chess pieces to try and deal with that problem as we speak. Just be careful.
Savannah Scandal: So, who’s the last stud with whom you “played doctor”?Anna Daniels: Our husband. He’s young, he’s strapping, and we have wrecked many giant rubber ducks and several city blocks with our combined lust. Contort that however you please because we know you will anyway.
Dr. Zeke: Hello, yes. Do you know why I had to put my email address into this form twice in order to get it to work? This is very relevant to my interests.
Anna Daniels: Yes, hello. We’re not sure why. Perhaps Google just hates you, Zeke. Glad to see you’re alive though!
Reed Schwartzman: What factored most in your elimination at the hands of Hoyt Williams? Is there anything you would have done differently when preparing for this battle royal?
Anna Daniels: Holy shit! Questions that actually have something to do with Culture Shock!
Cue faux shocked face here.
Anna Daniels: Okay, well. The biggest factor was most likely us ending up on the apron and not ducking decrepit old Hoyt’s elbow. We didn’t even go down because of the impact. We were just shocked he could move his limbs without praying for an oil can. As for what we could’ve done differently to prepare? We could’ve taken the farce about a thousand times less seriously. And probably poisoned everyone in the building. And kicked more heads.
Anna Daniels: Oh, well. Next time.
Reed Schwartzman: Mr. Cross, what sort of guidance did your trainer Dave Gibson give you before going into this battle royal? How did he prepare you for this experience, and is there anything you feel you could have done differently?
Eddie Cross: Well Reed, he told me “whatever you do, make sure you do your business before you go out there because you might shit yourself when you realize what kinda challenge you are in; ain’t no drycleaning will fix that.”
As for how he prepared me, we watched a few videos of PCW Mall Brawl that he had converted to DVD a few years ago. There was also one that he taped over with the last episode of MASH, so we watched that too. It was pretty BA until he teared up at the end when Hawkeye flew away.
To be honest, the whole thing went pretty fast. I would have to watch the tape to look for inconsistencies to fix for next year. But I don’t regret. I just get better for next time.
Alexei Ruslan: Eddie. The Battle Royal was, I am sure, the biggest match of your career. I know it is in no small part due to sharing a ring with Ivan Stanislav, who is no doubt the most prolific wrestler of our time. How exciting was it to share the ring with him? It must have been one of the crowning achievements of your career.
Eddie Cross: I feel like that is like asking Lebron if playing against Kobe Bryant was his crowning achievement not knowing what he would go on to do.
Now that you mention it though, on the real, Ivan is a legend and it was interesting to be in the ring with him and all the other stars. He has been doing this for SO LONG that I was a little worried he might break a hip or something, but it turns out he is pretty durable.
Powerslam Anubis: Greetings, o woeful gaming mortal. The great Powerslam Anubis has been curious about your rivalry with Billy Mitchell over the Donkey Kong record for some time, and wonders how you feel about the many, many cheating allegations he has been faced with in recent years.
Eddie Cross: Billy Mitchell is a hair dyed bitch that believes his own hype. Anyone who needs to use hacks or emulators to set records isn’t a real gamer. That guy makes people like me sick because we are out there grinding and facing off against the best competition. He isn’t even playing against real humans that can think and adjust strategy. I mean, I watched Gibson get all the way to the last boss of Double Dragon without losing a life once. Doesn’t make him the world’s best gamer, it just means he can memorize a pattern. That dude smells like Drakkar Noir and is more familiar with the circuit boards of an arcade cabinet than Nate Colton is picking out prize hogs.
Felix Mullen: Have any plans for Father’s Day this year?
Eddie Cross: I was thinking about putting my foot up the ass of an edgelord. Do you know one?
Seriously though, I’ll probably grill some ribs on Dave’s BBQ pit and sit down for a nice night relaxing by the fire pit celebrating the person who actually raised me and taught me how to be a man, ME.
After all that, I am going to get ready to light up the ring at Tropical Turmoil.
Savannah Scandal: Any plans in following in Timo’s footsteps with a litany of baby-daddies?
Eddie Cross: I really don’t give a shit what my Dad does in his free time. Garry is a fun dude though and if the worst thing that happened from that whole thing was that he thinks he is my bruh, fuck it, you can have worse people at your back.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes i watch your streams all the time and can i get a selfie with you and also can you play five nights at freddy’s, thank you
Eddie Cross: Finally someone with class! The answers to your questions are hell yeah you can and I’ll talk to Anna about getting you a new GG shirt too. Bruh I was like 14 when that came out and it was my jam for a while. I’ll definitely queue it up for old time’s sake for you.
Powerslam Anubis: Greetings, o sticky mortal of the glue. I, the great Powerslam Anubis, acknowledge a brother. The pantheon wishes to acknowledge you as Guillotine Geb, member of the Ennead of Professional Wrestling. A most prestigious honor, indeed.
FLAMBERGE looks around the room, trying and failing to hide his confusion. He seeks and does not find the clarification or context he’s looking for. Unsure whether this is a slap in the face or a genuine honor from some sort of Foreign Wrestling Dignitary, FLAMBERGE silently lifts a half-hearted thumbs up in Powerslam Anubis’s direction.
Tanner Quest: Since losing the Five Star Title, you’ve put together a very impressive string of wins, and tonight secured yourself a shot at the Intense Title. How well do you expect to handle the change in styles?
FLAMBERGE: The transition would certainly be the difficult thing for many of the other wrestlers here, there is no doubt. As far as I am the aware, bending the opponent’s limbs until they no longer function is fairly Intense. The figureheads here at the PRIME can try to put me in whatever sort of the new box they think is the best way FLAMBERGE generates coin for themselves – I graciously let these insults slide away and will continue to inflict myself upon this roster as I must.
Reed Schwartzman: I’m curious to know, did your background in judo factor into your performance in tonight’s battle royal? Would you consider it to be a strength, or a weakness, in that environment?
FLAMBERGE: It is possible, but even better, my background in survival carried me at least as far. How can I best say – I am accustomed to staying afloat in the storms created by the malfeasance of others. I can become the barnacle, and so I do not get eliminated in this match until very late. Ask the bitch Nate Colton and the other bitch Brandon Youngblood if they think they’ve gotten rid of me, no? Same idea.
Alexei Ruslan: FLAMBERGE- It is clear that depravity rules the roost here in PRIME. I know you watched in awe at Ivan Stanislav’s heroic display in the battle royal. It was, truly, inspiring to everyone. Ivan gifted you a fantastic collection of works by French communist Jacques Duclos. What passages from that book inspire you the most? As a follow up- Why have you not joined The Red Army yet? Ivan took the time out to propose membership months ago.
FLAMBERGE: Bon, I have been meaning to bring this up, and I cannot seem to cross paths with Stanislav lately – he must have sent me the honest mistake. The book, it is written en russe – is Stanislav aware that I am limited to l’anglais et la française? I have been searching the online shops for a translated copy, and I cannot even type the name of the work because it is all Cyrillic. As far as the Red Army, well…maybe if there was the third faction, and they had the thing about being the Blue theme. Think about the French and Russian flags that could be created with the faction of Red, Glue, and Blue, non? Food for the thought. I respectfully must maintain my duties regarding the Glue in the meantime. We will continue to regard our parallel paths.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes why don’t you eat chips anymore, thank you
FLAMBERGE: My young friend, I do still eat the chips – just less in front of the cameras and less for the benefit of the businessmen thieves. But let me ask you – give me a recommendation. I am looking for the best American chip – what do you suggest?
Craig Hamburgers: BLUE TAKIS YEP BLUE TAKIS
FLAMBERGE: I will be sure to give my review next time we meet. And when you are older, be sure to find me if your wish is to become the real wrestler. I think between you, and the Nora…
FLAMBO’s eyes flick for a moment before he coughs and clears his throat.
FLAMBERGE: Hell of une première classe.
Savannah Scandal: Do you get a lot of ladies with choking kinks?
FLAMBERGE: Fewer than you may suspect. And in another perspective, perhaps more? Ladies. That is the thing, right? Ouais. OK.
Dr. Zeke: (very obviously looking at Google translate) Oui, bonjour. Qui est le biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitch maintenant? Is vous le biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitch ou est someone else le grand biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitch? Do vous have la panty bunchy aussi? Puis-je avoir de la crème sure sur mon pamplemousse?
FLAMBERGE: …Jeeeee neeeee parrrrrrle passss Fransayyyyyy.
“Praporshchik Stanislav offers the following statement: The cowardice of Lindsay Troy and the PRIME front office knows no bounds. Praporshchik Stanislav, per the stipulations of the most prestigious match of Culture Shock, the Universal Title match, was to enter the Battle Royal last. This did not happen. Once again, personal and unwarranted dislike for Russians and Ivan Stanislav, specifically, has been allowed to manipulate these stipulations and has failed to deliver upon would-be promises.
The fact that it took ten individuals to eliminate Praporshchik Stanislav reveals the collective cowardice of the roster, and their inability to truly stand up to The Russian Bear. Rest assured, if the roster believes it will take an army of their own rag-tag group to combat Ivan Stanislav, The Red Army will answer the call.
Ivan Stanislav is saddened by the current state of PRIME. He will only continue to fight for the “little people” as he always has, and looks forward to his next match, whatever that may be.”
Nate Colton staggers into the press room and flops down into the chair. He looks like he just got his ass kicked for an hour, because…well, he kinda did.
Nate Colton: Hi, everyone. Obviously, I’m disappointed that I couldn’t go the distance…but Farthington’s a legend, and I had a hell of a run up to that point. No shame there. There is something I am ashamed of, though.
The press murmurs a bit.
Nate Colton: Partway through the match, I used a chair as a weapon against Paxton Ray. I’m not sorry about that in itself; Paxton is a son of a bitch and deserves a thousand times worse. But I am sorry that I stooped to his level. I know they do things differently in the Intense division, but that’s not how I was raised, it ain’t how I was trained, and it’s not what I want wrestling to be. I got caught up in the moment, but that’s no excuse. I know better, and I need to be better. So I want to apologize to my dad, all the fans, and anyone who I let down with my actions. I screwed up, and I’m sorry. Thanks for your time.
He stands up again, and hobbles away from the press table.
The defeated COOLYMPIAN takes his seat. His head is freshly stitched together. His T-Shades blot out the bright lights. There’s a big plastic bag full of ice cubes resting on the back of his neck. His white hair has blood red highlights.
He certainly has looked better.
Cancer Jiles: A few things I want to get out of the way before we get going.
A somber breath.
Cancer Jiles: First, obviously I’m pretty disappointed with how things shook out tonight. I had my mind and body right, and thought even with the early entry and my extended time away that I had as good of a chance as any. Boy was I wrong. While it’s a shame it didn’t end up how I wanted it to, everyone say a prayer for Brandon Youngblood. I saw him scurrying into the bathroom on my way over here. Poor guy had tears in his eyes like his dog had been hit by a car.
That totally happened.
Cancer Jiles: Second, in regard to the Richard Parker altercation, I’ll be the bigger man and keep it brief. All I’ll say about it is I pretty much told him he was a piece of shit scumbag crumb bum who couldn’t call nine-one-one to save his life let alone a wrestling match……. then I told him PRIME would be better off the day he got lifetime laryngitis…… I then told him when that day came I would retire and take his spot at the table, and that he’d be forgotten by the night’s main event.
As if it were time to move on from the subject.
Cancer Jiles: Then I told him I thought so little of him that I didn’t wish death upon him, because that would be too easy for a rat of a human being like him. I would want him to suffer, for forever, listening as I erased him from PRIME’S history. I told him I wanted to do all of this just because I could, and because it would make him miserable.
Well at least we got that out of the way.
Cancer Jiles: Third, and on a brighter note, I heard the Spanish announce team botched my surprise entry on the Twitchcast. Thanks for that, El Dusko. Richard Parker is terrified of Billy Bean. Floor is now open.
Dr. Zeke: Hello, yes. I have a question for Cranky Joel. It has come to my understanding that you are in possession of some military grade hardware despite your civilian status. I would like to rent your aircraft carrier and am prepared to pay you one-hundred thousand Prussian francs. My question is: does the ship come with a full tank of gas and will you be refilling the artillery before loaning it to me?
No eye roll. Nor a heavy sigh. Not even a disgusted bite of the lip.
Just a drug induced, pain relieving smile.
Cancer Jiles: As long as you don’t mind being on the Final Season of Below Deck NERDS, go get her– she’s in the Bermuda Triangle. The real one that is. The one located at the bottom of Bob’s cavernous belly button. It’s a dangerous journey so be careful. Being that she’s that close to Bob’s digestive track she should be overflowing with gas. As for the artillery, unfortunately she’s been decommissioned. Just double yolks and frying pans are left aboard. Next question, Yes, Powerslam.
Powerslam Anubis: Greetings, o former main event mortal. I, the great Powerslam Anubis, acknowledge your ascent upon COOLYMPUS. I am not normally a messenger, but know this: the pantheon eagerly awaits your return to its summit.
The Greek God of COOL’s smile brims with genuine happiness.
It’s not often you see an old friend.
Cancer Jiles: I am thankful for your wonderful blessing, Great Powerslam Anubis. One day soon I shall send you an army consisting of those who wished to keep me from the summit. They will be lost, their faces marked with salt, and trembling at your feet. Show them no mercy in the afterlife. Next question.
Felix Mullen: Are you the reason why egg prices were so high for a solid month? ANSWER ME YOU OVUM-HOARDING OAF, ANSWER ME NOW!
Jiles looks around, as if he’s hoping another mythological entity will appear and save the day. None come. He then shrugs.
Cancer Jiles: Yes, busted. I had such a surplus of eggs I was able to control the market. In fact, I was making so much money day trading black market double yolks I didn’t have to wrestle. I’m talking Timo money, so sorry not sorry. Of course then the whole thing went belly up if you catch my drift. Story of my life though, right? Next question. Craig, how about you? You look like you have something intelligent to add.
Craig Hamburgers: Hello yes is it true that Doozer was the 42nd entry but no one could see him? Thank you.
There is a thought. If only for a moment, as if maybe it could be true.
Cancer Jiles: Sadly, Doozer was too busy eating a late lunch backstage with Larry and missed his cue. Besides, he’d still be walking down to the ring anyway with those knees. Next question. Yes you, the foreign looking person I already know I’m not going to like.
Alexei Ruslan: Cancer Jiles- Ivan Stanislav beat you to such a pulp that you were absent for months. It truly was one of the most pathetic displays, watching you try to amount any sort of offense against The Russian Bear. Quite frankly, it was hilarious to see you try to beg him off while he continually pounded you into paste. So, my question for you is simple. Do you think the mental, physical, and emotional scars have finally healed?
The Eggsecutioner searches his person for some yolky goodness but comes up empty. The look of astonishment he has rivals the look he had after being eliminated earlier tonight. Sans all the blood of course.
Cancer Jiles: I can’t believe I don’t have an egg on me. This, like, never happens. I guess I’ll have to address your question then. Next time I see you though be warned– I will be better prepared. To your point, I won’t deny that Ivan got the best of me on one of my worst days. He did. No doubt about it. There’s also no doubt he squandered the opportunity he outwrestled me for, now is there?
Alexei goes to answer. He does not realize it was a rhetorical question.
Cancer Jiles: There’s also no doubt he went out there tonight and squandered all over again, now is there?
Again, Alexei tries to get a word in.
Again, The COOL ain’t having it.
Cancer Jiles: I mean, it’s bad enough he lost on night one, but then on night two the bear of a man who stands over seven feet tall and weighs over four hundred pounds can’t even finish inside the top ten?
Cancer Jiles: Shit, with a crash and burn like that you shouldn’t be in here, Alexei, you should be out there checking all the bridges. Who knows how long Ivan will last out on that ledge with those little cub paws of his throbbing like they are. The ball did drop down pretty hard on them. Hopefully he can stand it. I know we’d all hate to see him fall.
Audible laughter from most of the room drowns out everything Alexei is desperately trying to say.
Cancer Jiles: All of that said I’d love nothing more than for Ivan to get the absolute worst of me on my best day. Tell him I said that, too. Feel free to wait as long as you want. Now, next question, and please make it an important one. Not some meaningless crumb question about someone who couldn’t even finish in the top ten.
Savannah Scandal: Cancer, who gets more nudes sent to their snapchat? You, or Bobby?
Jiles nods appreciatively.
Cancer Jiles: Ten times more meaningful. Thank you for that Savannah. I know you have a scandalous reputation so I do appreciate it. As for the answer, Bobby does. By a lot. He has more waayyyyyy more sub groups than I have. He’s got circus freaks, Ripley’s Believe it or Not freaks, food fetish freaks. He’s got the how many shoes can you conceal on your person subgroup. All of the superheavies. All of the supermodels. Men wearing robes. sVo, and all their fans– just to name a few. Next question, how about you Reed, you look like you have something important to ask.
Reed Schwartzman: Mr. Jiles, in the moments leading up to your elimination tonight, were you at all–
A human shape sweeps across the room in a blur. Before anyone can react, a myriad of blows can be heard landing behind a blinding flash of light. When the dust settles, Reed Schwartzman lies sprawled out on the floor.
“Mr. Jiles… I would introduce myself, but someone of my caliber needs no introduction.”
Standing over the fallen reporter is the teenager who just Akuma’d him, “COOL” Chris Chickentenders.
Chris Chickentenders: I won’t insult you by pretending that what happened tonight was anything less than a complete sham. A miscarriage of justice. A new low in the sport of professional wrestling. To put it bluntly, that battle royal can eat my butt.
He readjusts his oversized sunglasses that were clearly purchased for ten bucks at a gas station.
Chris Chickentenders: Tonight was meant to be COOLture Shock. Only a complete butt-munch would think otherwise. This was meant to be the monumental moment where YOU, Cancer Jiles, reclaimed your rightful place at the pinnacle of this company. But, thanks to the conspiracy enacted by Lindsay Troy, Cecilworth Farts-A-Ton, and the rest of the talentless crumbs in that locker room, you were denied that glory. I assume because they’re all jealous of how BADASS you are.
Chris pops the collar on his egg-white members only jacket.
Chris Chickentenders: I’m well aware that dozens of eggs are due to be cracked in retribution for this travesty. But what I want to know, Mr. Jiles, is what can a true, committed aspiring Bandit like me do to help?
Cancer Jiles: You can kill Richard Parker. No more questions.
The Maestro stands from his seat, and walks off into the hallway where he is then promptly ushered out of AT&T Stadium for making a death threat. He tries to play it off like a joke, but his nose continues to grow.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes how are you, that is my whole question thank you
Lindsay Troy: (smiling) Hi Craig. I’m great, thanks for asking. I hope you and your parents had fun tonight.
Craig Hamburgers: yes we did we always have fun fight kick fight lindsay troy!
Tanner Quest: PRIME’s second year is off to a great start. What are you hoping to accomplish for the rest of 2023?
Lindsay Troy: More sellouts and less property damage. I won’t hold my breath on the latter.
Dr. Zeke: Yes, hi. Question for Lizzie Horse. I am told that there might be an opening in human resources coming up. To whom do I submit my resume? I can also provide references upon request, and will promise that not all of them are skunks.
The Queen’s annoyed look serves as her response, and she moves on to the next idiot.
Chris Chickentenders: Ms. Troy, tonight was AAALMOST a badass affair, up until the point where you clearly screwed Cancer from winning that battle royale. When exactly were you intending to let him know about Lord Farts-A-Ton?
Lindsay Troy: I wasn’t.
Alexei Ruslan: Lindsay Troy. Ivan Stanislav has tried, on several occasions, to smooth over bridges that you simply do not want mended. He has tried, far more than any reasonable person would, to come to some sort of understanding with you and you have, stubbornly and selfishly, only thought about yourself. Why are you such a pathetic, thin-skinned harpy and do you ever think you will find the personal growth necessary to pull yourself out of this morass of stupidity?
Lindsay Troy: (rolls her eyes) Anyone else?
Powerslam Anubis: Greetings, o queen of the western ring. I…
Powerslam Anubis is hastily removed from the vicinity by security. The Queen stands from her seats and takes her leave as well.