Backstage. Loading area.
Impulse: You’re gonna hurt yourself. Get down.
Swing the camera to Calico Rose, sitting in the driver’s seat of a forklift.
Calico Rose: Where’s the keys?
Impulse: I don’t think they’d leave them there.
His comments are cut off by the sound of an engine turning over.
Calico Rose: Hah-HAW!
Impulse: You know what LT’s gonna say, Rosie!
Calico Rose: I don’t care! I heard there’s Forklift Jousting tonight, and dag nabbit, there’s going to be some Forklift Jousting! Now how do I get this thing into drive?
Cut away from Cally, and Impulse looks into the camera.
Impulse: PRIME. Number one by definition.
The scene cuts from the loading docks to the interior of an office where the image is of a packet of papers, some already folded over the staple while others remain flat on the top of a desk. A gold painted thumb and forefinger flip another page over as the shot pans up to reveal Lindsay Troy perusing the documents.
“What do you think?”
The Queen glances up and regards the source of the question with a furrowed brow. Seated in front of her are Wade Elliott, Dametreyus, and the inquirer: her long-time lawyer and agent, Clay Darcy. While Dam and Clay remain pensive, Wade looks annoyed.
Wade Elliott: Pile’ve horseshit if yer askin’ me…
Clay Darcy: I wasn’t, but thanks for your point-oh-two.
The sharply-dressed attorney looks at his fingernails and crosses his left foot over his right knee, bouncing the shiny wingtip up and down.
Clay Darcy: It’s got pretty much everything you asked for, Lindz. The chances of me getting you something better are slim.
Wade Elliott: Could’ve at least got rid’ve that shit about Melvin…
Clay Darcy: Oh trust me, I tried, but apparently that’s “standard language.”
Wade snorts, exasperated, at Clay’s exaggerated finger quotes. Lindsay takes a few seconds to think, folding her hands under her chin.
Lindsay Troy: I think we all know that was gonna be a no-go. That little boll weevil made sure he was protected before he ran out of here a month ago. Question is…
She looks down at the page in front of her and bites her lip.
Lindsay Troy: Is this gonna be worth it?
Dametreyus: Boss, you know we’re gonna support you in whatever you’re gonna do, but you know better’n anyone not to sign somethin’ if you’re gonna regret it.
Lindsay Troy: (self-deprecating) Lord knows I’ve got enough regrets, right?
She looks at Clay first, then Wade.
Lindsay Troy: You two have any last pearls of wisdom?
Clay Darcy: Only that you’ve never backed down from anyone or anything for as long as I’ve known you.
The Southern Sparkplug turns his keen blue eyes to Clay, agreeing with a nod.
Wade Elliott: Ain’t that the truth.
He then draws his gaze back to the Queen of the Ring’s for a moment, before tilting his chin toward the stack of paper.
Wade Elliott: Go on. Let’s give ’em hell.
With a smile, she reaches off to the side to pick up an already uncapped pen. She scribbles her name and date on the last page and then flips the stack back over to the front, revealing a recognizable orange logo next to large black letters…
PWA TALENT CONTRACT
FLAMBERGE vs. TONY GAMBLE
Inside of the MGM Grand Garden Arena, with thousands and thousands of PRIMEates in attendance are going bananas for the start of the show. The cameras pan around to show some of the signs brought to this week’s installment:
ANNA, I BOUGHT THE SHIRT AND STILL WANT TO GET KICKED IN THE HEAD HOW DO WE MAKE THIS HAPPEN?
PUT THE NOVA ACTION FIGURE BACK ON THE MARKET
BEWARE THE GLUE MAN
IS THE MINOTAUR STILL ON THE LOOSE?
IF REZIN IS PUNK ROCK, WHY DOESN’T HE NAME DROP PUNK BANDS IN HIS PROMOS?
I WANT BOOGIE TO SUPLEX ME WHILE BOOTS WATCHES
LET CALLY SAY “SHUCKS”
YOUNGBLOOD FEARS WAFFLES
REZIN FAN, EH? NAME EVERY WEED
OH YOU’RE A KING BLUEBERRY FAN? LIST ALL THE TIMES HE’S CRIED
GET KING BLUEBERRY A KLEENEX SPONSORSHIP
NEVER SEND TO KNOW FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS, IT TOLLS FOR THEE. BUY GLUE.
OH YOU’RE A TIMO BOLAMBA FAN? WHAT SEAT ARE YOU IN ON HIS JET?
FLY THE TIMO SKIES ON CRUMB AIR
WAIT, TIMO HAS A JET?
HOW MUCH WEIGHT COULD I LOSE ON THE BRANDON YOUNGBLOOD DIET?!
BUY THE GLUE YOU COWARDS!
DON’T CALL ME KIDDO, BUDDY
DON’T CALL ME BUDDY, SPORT
DON’T CALL ME SPORT, CHIEF
DON’T CALL ME CHIEF, SLICK
NED REFORM IS THE DOCTOR OF JERKONOMICS
WRESTLING IS FOREVER
GREAT SCOTT HAS FAILED HE MUST NOW DO LIKE MOSES AND TRAVEL THE DESERT FOR 40 YEARS FOR YAHWEH GOD
ROXY PHOENIX FORGOT MELVIN’S FORK AGAIN
Nick Stuart: Welcome to the ACE Network and PRIME ReVival, lucky number 13! I’m Nick Stuart, and the crabby man next to me is Richard Parker!
Richard Parker: You’d be crabby too if you were caught in the middle of rooting interests in tonight’s main event!
Nick Stuart: Broadcast journalists are supposed to be impartial, but yes, we have a huge main event tonight. Brandon Youngblood faces a legitimate THREAT to his Universal Championship in Phil Atken, but we also have the Tag Championships on the line as the Kings of Popsicles make their first defense against Solid Gold Rock ‘n Roll!
Richard Parker: I’ve already got my guyliner and leather pants ready for that match.
Nick Stuart: Gross. Anyway, let’s kick things off with our first match! The French phenom FLAMBERGE will take on a stiff test in the Hall of Famer, Tony Gamble.
Joe Pesci v/o: You think I’m funny? Funny how?
The striating opening riffs of “Better Than You” by Metallica cascade through the Grand Garden Arena as The Grin, Tony Gamble, appears at the top of the ramp, sneering at the crowd booing him vociferously. As his career highlights play in on the PRIMEview, Gamble struts to the ring, batting away hands of the fans along the aisle.
Nick Stuart: Gamble is not in a good mood this evening.
Richard Parker: Would you? The guy he came back to PRIME to shut up won’t shut up, and he has to deal with ingrates like The Anglo Luchador nipping at his heels for absolutely no reason at all.
Nick Stuart: Well, I don’t think the luchador has no reason, but I’ve never been able to convince you of anything when you get in your moods.
As Gamble hops into the ring, his entrance music fades out. After a few beats of silence, IAM chanting “I am dangerous” over a barebones beat hits the speakers as a portion of the fans cheer. FLAMBERGE steps out from Argyle wearing a zip-up hoodie in addition to his ring gear. “Dangereux” continues to play over the PA as the young Frenchman walks, head down to the ring, eschewing fans trying to reach out and touch him.
Nick Stuart: FLAMBO himself has a budding rivalry with Nate Colton unfolding.
Richard Parker: And that cornfed dunce could be getting the upper hand on the hottest young wrestler to hit the scene in a decade by joining the Glue Factory, but that cornfed Hoosier might as well have spit in Phil Atken’s face!
Nick Stuart: I don’t think Colton wants to take shortcuts. Let’s get to Vince Howard for the intros.
Vince Howard: Good evening, Las Vegas, and welcome to PRIME ReVival 13!
The crowd roars.
Vince Howard: Our opening contest is scheduled for one fall with a 20-minute time limit! In the corner to my left, weighing in at 187 pounds, from right here in Sin City…
Vince Howard: …he is The Grin and a member of the PRIME Hall of Fame… Toneeeeeeeeeee… GAMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!
Boos rain down upon The Grin, who simply rolls his eyes at the utter disrespect shown by the PRIMEates.
Vince Howard: And to my right, weighing in at 94 kilos and hailing from Strasbourg, France, he is the Phenom…. FLAM-BER-GEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!
A mixed reaction rises from the crowd at the introduction of the cocksure rookie.
Vince Howard: Your referee for this match is Ashley Barlow.
Nick Stuart: You can cut the tension with a knife here. Had it not been for his proving ground against Cancer Jiles at ReVival 10, this would be the stiffest test for FLAMBO to date.
Richard Parker: Well, even though he couldn’t do us all a favor and flush that egg down the toilet, I’m confident in saying FLAMBO could be the future of this company. Matches against Hall of Famers like Gamble prove that.
Commentary grows silent as FLAMBO steps right up to Gamble’s grill. The white noise of the crowd gives way to a small but loudly vocal contingent breaking into a “FLAMBO’S GONNA KILL YOU” chant, which causes The Grin to flare his left nostril up with an indignant look in his eye.
Nick Stuart: I think the crowd is starting to get to Gamble, Rich. Neither wrestler is universally liked, but FLAMBO has gotten a small but dedicated following the last few months.
Richard Parker: Usually, these heathens have no taste, but at least some people in this crowd recognize up and coming talent when they see it.
Ashley Barlow calls for the bell…
DING DING DING
Nick Stuart: FLAMBERGE with the STRONG tie-up to begin, I think he caught Gamble off guard here as The Grin stumbles back a little, but not for long.
Richard Parker: Oof!
Parker is reacting to FLAMBO transitioning from the collar-and-elbow into a hip-plant judo throw that sends Gamble skidding across the mat.
Nick Stuart: And the rookie with a little hop to his step here, seems like he’s found even MORE confidence, something he’s not lacking in the least.
Richard Parker: If you were as good and as young as FLAMBERGE, you’d be cocky too.
Nick Stuart: Be that as it may, Gamble is back to his feet and FLAMBO again goes in for tie-up, but the Grin slips behind him… RABBIT PUNCH!
Richard Parker: Oooh, rook’s gonna be peeing blood tonight.
Nick Stuart: Gross. Gamble gets to work with a rear headlock, but FLAMBERGE pushes out. He’s going for another judo throw, but Gamble is ready! Spinebuster! He’s really working the rookie’s back early in this match.
Richard Parker: Just preparing the kid for a lifetime of backaches and sciatica. Gamble is a real gentleman, you know.
Nick Stuart: There are several in the locker room who disagree with that, but I digress.
FLAMBO rolls over onto his stomach, but Gamble catches him with some stomps to the back while Parker and Stuart color the scene.
Nick Stuart: FLAMBO in trouble here, youthful exuberance tempered by the veteran’s experience. Now Gamble’s got a Boston crab locked in.
Richard Parker: Oof, kid, I got the number of a good chiropractor I can give you for after this match.
Nick Stuart: That’s quack medicine, and you know it.
Richard Parker: Please, humans practice chiropractic medicine, not ducks.
Nick Stuart: Ignoring Parker FLAMBO finally belly-crawls to the ropes, but Gamble is not breaking! C’mon Barlow, get in there!
Barlow exhausts her five-count, but Gamble avoids disqualification by letting go right at five and throwing his hands in the air.
Nick Stuart: Pitiful display from The Grin there.
Richard Parker: Look, he’s just showing the kid how it’s done. Rules are made to be bent. If FLAMBO is going to succeed here, he’s gotta know these things.
FLAMBO rises to his feet during this stretch in commentary, and Gamble grabs him, whipping him off the ropes.
Nick Stuart: Gamble looks to throw a lariat, but FLAMBO ducks and stops DEAD IN HIS TRACKS! What agility from the youngster and ANOTHER judo throw! This time from the shoulder mount, with a sweet karate pose afterwards!
Richard Parker: See? Gamble was toughening him up!
Nick Stuart: Sure, Rich, sure. Gamble not getting to his feet, but instead rolling to the outside. FLAMBO follows, not sure about this, Gamble might be baiting him.
Richard Parker: Might be? Nick, were you born yesterday?
Nick Stuart: Well, whatever it is, it didn’t work! Gamble tried to whip him in the ropes, but FLAMBO blocks him… BRUCE LEE PUNCH TO THE FACE! Complete with the martial arts pose! We’re seeing a much more animated side to the young Frenchman tonight.
Richard Parker: I heard he went clubbing with The Kraken earlier in the week. Top secret information relayed to me by my Parker sources.
Nick Stuart: Harry Keyes, close associate of our CEO Lindsay Troy? Wow, that might explain a few things. Glad to see the kid’s not hungover either.
During this stretch in the commentary, FLAMBERGE is giving Gamble the work, bouncing his head off the apron, punching him with flourish, and whipping him into the guard barrier.
Nick Stuart: Tony Gamble maybe wishing he’d not taught FLAMBO that lesson you said he did, Rich.
Richard Parker: I’m enjoying this, an athletic competition between two of the best in the company. No gatekeepers like Knox or Dusk mucking about making this about them.
Nick Stuart: Interesting way to look at this. FLAMBO dumps The Grin into the ring and follows. Gamble up, and FLAMBERGE winding up a big roundhouse… NO! Gamble catches his leg!
Richard Parker: Hall of Fame move by the vet there! He’s seen a few kicks like that from the old days.
Gamble turns to Barlow while holding FLAMBERGE’s heel close to his head and says something to her, keeping her distracted from full view while he kicks the Frenchman in his outstretched groin.
Nick Stuart: Was that a sporting move, Rich? C’mon.
Richard Parker: Have you seen some of the stuff people you prop up as sportsmen pull off? It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there.
Nick Stuart: Uh-huh, Rich. FLAMBO crumples to the mat and Gamble back to work with the boots.
Richard Parker: Those boots have seen a lot of work over the years in and out of the ring.
Nick Stuart: Are you saying he commits violence as a Wal-Mart greeter?
Richard Parker: I know rich guys like you aren’t in touch with the proles, but it can be a madhouse in there.
Nick Stuart: Uh-huh. Gamble grabs FLAMBO to his feet, and now he’s mocking the kid with his own boxing jabs and footwork!
Richard Parker: Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, baby.
Nick Stuart: FLAMBO crumples to the canvas, and Gamble makes the first cover of the match…
Nick Stuart: The rookie kicks out with authority. I don’t think he likes being mocked, Rich.
Richard Parker: Well, at little advice for the kid, maybe don’t dish it out if you can’t take it.
Nick Stuart: Sure, Rich. Gamble dragging FLAMBO over to the corner and climbing the ropes. I think we might see… YES! Moonsault from the Hall of Famer, into another cover…
Nick Stuart: Ooh, so close. FLAMBO looks like he’s nearing the end of his rope.
Richard Parker: Nothing wrong with learning some lessons from the upper crust. At least Gamble is respectable unlike that no-good Cancer.
Nick Stuart: You might be the only person who has that specific opinion comparing those two guys. Anyway, Gamble looks like he wants to end this. Setting up for the Stop Laughing At Me… No! FLAMBO blocks it and just SHOVES Gamble to the ground! This might be the opening he needs to get back into this match!
Richard Parker: Yeah kid! Use those lessons!
Nick Stuart: Gamble back up in short order, but FLAMBO grabs both his arms! HEADBUTTS! Oh man!
Richard Parker: That’s using your noggin!
Nick Stuart: Gamble is DAZED AND CONFUSED right now! He stumbles forward and walks RIGHT into a textbook komi goshi throw! AND FLAMBERGE IMMEDIATELY follows it up with a Mario stomp to Gamble’s gut!
Richard Parker: What flair! What panache! What… ganache?
Nick Stuart: Rich, you tried. FLAMBO shoots the half and hooks the leg…
Nick Stuart: NO! Still life left in The Grin! FLAMBO shoots to his feet and is just STALKING Gamble now!
Richard Parker: Signature victory incoming?
Nick Stuart: He’s winding up his arms… BELL CLAP… NO! Gamble rolls out of the way of the Bell Clap! Harry Keyes rubbing off on the kid, but he couldn’t hit the move! Gamble up… BACK RAKE! Spins FLAMBO around… DDT!
Richard Parker: A valiant fight for the youngster, but I think this is the beginning of the end here.
Nick Stuart: The Grin brings the rook to his feet… STOP LAUGHING AT ME! This isn’t good. Gamble about to make FLAMBO Smile for… NO! FLAMBERGE ROLLS OUT OF THE ATTEMPT TO LOCK THE ARMS! Gamble is FLUSTERED!
Richard Parker: The kid’s got heart, I’ll give him that!
Nick Stuart: FLAMBERGE laying in wait like a jaguar, sizing up a dazed Gamble… BELL CLAP! BELL CLAP! He hit it this time! Gamble staggering around the ring like a guy who’d been partying with Harry Keyes all night… MARIE ANTOINETTE! MARIE ANTOINETTE! Right in the middle of the ring! FLAMBO has him!
Gamble furiously taps out.
DING DING DING!
Vince Howard: Your winner as a result of submission, FLAM-BER-GEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!
Nick Stuart: Wow, what a match and a win for the French sensation!
Richard Parker: My only complaint is that he didn’t do it to Cancer Jiles. Tony Gamble deserves better treatment!
Nick Stuart: “Deserves” is a loaded term in wrestling. Gamble will go back to the drawing board, but there’s nothing to be ashamed of here. What a hard-fought match! What a way to open tonight’s telecast. And now, I understand we’re about to hear from Anna Daniels! Let’s throw it to where she is!
COMMERCIAL: ACE NETWORK
The merch booth of Anna Daniels. PRIMEporium.
Much to the annoyance of the Montgomery twins, the Time Lord is not where she is supposed to be. She is supposed to be behind the stupid booth selling her shitty shirts. The fact that she isn’t is frustrating, to say the very least. She must pay for disrespecting the All-Father and besmirching the Family/the Wicked/whatever title they come up with.
Patience Montgomery: She must pay!
Decius snorts in agreement.
What they don’t notice is that just on the other side of their super secret shadowy hiding place is a citizen of shadows. He tilts his head in confusion, wondering why they would even want to do such a thing in the first place. After all, Mom gives the best pets and the best treats too. Are they jealous because they want pets and treats? All they have to do is ask! She’s kind that way. But Mom also warned him about them. There are going to be two people coming after us, she said. One of them is a woman with a scrunched up sour face. The other is a man whose face isn’t as scrunched but has no personality at all.
Yes. These seem like the two, alright. But what to do? He can’t allow them to attacc Mom. That would be bad. He can do something though. People in this strange wax world know who this good boi belonged to. So maybe he can protecc from the attacc. It was time to distracc.
He leaps from shadow to shadow, keeping himself hidden away until he can find a proper place to pop out. Even good bois have to be sneaky. After a beat, he pops out of his place and trots around in his normal form as dog. Bucky Rex Daniels does what doggos do: be cute, be happy, be LOUD. This is not lost on the twins, still in the original super secret shadowy place.
Patience Montgomery: Wait a minute. Isn’t that her mangy mutt?
Decius grunts in response. Patience grins a nefarious grin. If she can’t get the pretty, she’ll take the little dog as compensation! Then that bitch would have to come to them and they would beat the shit out of her! The All-Father would be so pleased at eradicating such a huge problem! They pop out of their hiding place and start charging for Bucky!
The joke is on them though. For dogs like many things and one of those things is running. They chase things down and get chased. To zoom is to live. Besides, he only has to buy some time and once outside, he can blend into the night easy even here. He acts oblivious. Ten feet.
Decius dives, his hands grasping for the hounds throat. All he gets is Bucky’s dust. The chase is on.
BOLTS AND BOOTS
“I’m sorry, man. I should’ve been there.”
Backstage in the good ol’, standard non-descript locker room, the Event Horizon gazes mournfully onto his would-be mentor as the Risen Star laces up his boots.
Nova looks up and shakes his head.
Nova: Been there for what, Hayes? It was what it was.
He grins as he searches for a cigarette.
Nova: You’re not my security guard.
Nova looks back at PRIME’s Co-Head of Security, Wade Elliott, who releases an amused snort before tossing the Risen Star a silver Zippo with a good-natured smirk.
Wade Elliott: Don’t push yer luck.
Hanlon runs a hand through his hair before lifting his head, frustrated.
Hayes Hanlon: C’mon, man…doesn’t it piss you off? You had Impulse dead to rights. Bathory, or whoever the hell, took that from you, dude!
Nova lights his cigarette and takes a step forward, placing a hand on Hanlon’s shoulder.
Nova: Hayes…calm down.
Hayes Hanlon: It’s bullshit, dude. Knox didn’t deserve to take that one over you.
Wade Elliott: Better get used to it, kid. Yer gonna get screwed out’ve more’n a few if you stick ‘round long enough.
Nova points a thumb at the “Bama Bruiser.
Nova: Wise words. And what’s going on with you and Impulse, anyway?
Hayes rolls his eyes.
Hayes Hanlon: I dunno, man. The dude just rubs me the wrong way.
Nova: (taking a drag) Listen, some beefs have to work themselves out, and I’m not here to referee whatever the fuck is going on between you two. You’ll sort it out. But there may come a time…
The Risen Star trails off and looks away from Hanlon. After a moment it’s clearly awkward.
Hanlon looks to Elliott.
Then back to Nova.
Then back to Elliott.
Then back to Nova.
Then back to Elliott.
Hayes Hanlon: What…what’s he doing?
Elliott holds out his arms without an answer.
Wade Elliott: I got nothin’ for ya. He’s been doin’ this lately, just give ‘im a sec.
Suddenly Nova breaks his trance, shakes his head, and takes another drag. He looks back to the Event Horizon.
Nova: …may come a time when I need you to re-prioritize your shit, okay?
Hayes scans Nova’s eyes, quizzically.
Hayes Hanlon: You okay, man? Take something without sharing?
Nova snuffs his cigarette butt against the bottom of his boot and sets it on the bench next to where he’s seated.
Nova: I’m good, man. Now you go out there and get one.
The Risen Star grins and playfully shoves Hanlon’s shoulder.
Nova: Keep the momentum.
Hayes grins and stands up, stretching out.
Hayes Hanlon: I’ll do my damn-dest.
He turns to walk out of the room and then looks back, and gestures to Nova and his attire.
Hayes Hanlon: By the way, you’re…ah…not scheduled to work tonight.
Wade Elliott also nods in affirmation.
Hayes Hanlon: But…you have all your gear on.
Nova: Bolts and boots.
Hayes Hanlon: So you just…wanna…wear it all?
Wade Elliott: Man’s got a code.
Nova jerks a thumb back towards the ‘Bama Bruiser.
Nova: Those who know it feel it.
Hanlon pauses for a moment before nodding slowly and turning back to the exit.
Nova: Go get you one, Hayes.
They can’t see it, but the Event Horizon grins as he exits the room.
LARRY TACT vs. JACOB MEPHISTO
Nick Stuart: It’s time for our next match, Richard. And this one is a battle of the big men. A bad moon is rising on the arena.
Richard Parker: Oh yeah. Let’s get weird.
“The Dark Horse Always Wins” by Blues Saracino begins to play and out walks Jacob Mephisto, The Twins following close behind. Jacob scowls and marches to the ring.
Vince Howard: Our next match is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, from Nazareth, Pennsylvania! Accompanied by ‘The Twins’, standing six feet, five inches tall and weighing in at 265 pounds…JACOB! MEPHISTO!!!!!
Nick Stuart: Jacob Mephisto squares up tonight with Larry Tact. Both men looking to get in the win column for the first time here. The winless streak ends tonight for one of the giants.
Richard Parker: Who’s your money on tonight?
Nick Stuart: Both of these guys are tougher than shoe leather. Fanduel.com told me to bet on Tact here, but my crippling fear of snake handlers is telling me to bet on Mephisto.
Patience and Decius take position to the side of the ring as Mephisto steps through the ropes, and plants himself in the far corner of the ring.
Vince Howard: And his opponent! From Manhattan, NY! Standing six feet, six inches tall and weighing 260 pounds…LARRY…TACT!!
“Pieces of Man” by Drown plays as the lights cut out. Larry Tact appears on the stage, arms open, soaking in the crowd’s reaction before bellowing and making his way down to the ring.
Nick Stuart: A look of arrogance and intensity on the face of Tact here. He almost looks insulted being forced to share the ring with Mephisto.
Richard Parker: That’s right. A little bit of class warfare on our hands. Let’s see if Jacob can eat the rich.
Nick Stuart: Gross. And I don’t know if Tact is actually rich or just Facebook rich, but your point is taken.
The two huge wrestlers circle one another as the referee Elvis Nixon calls for the bell.
Nick Stuart: Jacob Mephisto here, looking to lock up. Feels an awful lot like a predator stalking his prey.
Tact with sound technique gets a standing headlock. Larry torques the crown of Jacob’s head, but Mephisto escapes out the back. He pushes Tact to the ropes and who bounces back with a shoulder strike that drops the cult leader to the mat. Larry backs off as Mephisto gets up to both knees and just smiles, crazier than a barn cat. Tact gives a little bow of acknowledgment and tells the crowd to go pleasure themselves. Mephisto hobbles up to his feet, slowly circling to his right, with his back to the ropes. Tact with a running lariat to put Jacob over the top, but Mephisto explodes with sudden quickness, dropping down and pulling the ropes, sending Tact flying over!
Nick Stuart: Some strategy being employed by the wily veteran. Mephisto distracts Referee Elvis Nixon here, faking an eye injury.
Richard Parker: And the Twins start crushing grapes on Tact. All twins are weird, but these two are the worst.
Nick Stuart: You know Troy’s kids are twins, right?
Richard Parker: I WAS JUST KIDDING, KAZ AND AMI ARE DELIGHTFUL.
The Twins back off as Mephisto miraculously recovers from his ‘injury’ and hops down to the outside. He hovers over Tact for a moment, admiring his family’s handiwork before striking with vicious fists to the face. Another devilish smile on Jacob’s face here as he pulls Tact up by his hair, looking into his vacant eyes, then whipping him back-first into the steel barricade.
Nick Stuart: Yikes! Tact taking some lumps here early on, unable to keep up with Jacob and The Twins, but you have to believe he’s prepared for just this occasion.
Mephisto leans Tact over the rail, jaw jacking with audience members in the front row. Then his strikes Tact’s ribs with a heavy chop, sweat spraying off of him in cloud of mist. Another chop. And another! The crowd joins in with a trios of WOOs! Larry drops, favoring his damaged mid-section.
Mephisto slithers away to tell the crowd to shut their mouths. Then, remembering that there is a 10-count stipulation, throws a leg on the apron, to roll in and restart the count. Tact takes the chance to recover and charges Mephisto with a jumping knee lift! Mephisto slow to get up, and Tact capitalizes. Tact wraps his arms around Mephisto and smashes him into the ring apron with a gutwrench suplex!
Nick Stuart: A sickening thud there as Mephisto may have broken his back.
Richard Parker: Doubt that. The man’s bones are probably made of rubber… and meth.
Mephisto get rolled back into the ring under the bottom rope. Just then, Patience Montgomery of the Twins approaches Tact. She purses her lips, but Referee Nixon is on the case and tells her to back off or risk being ejected. She responds by blowing a kiss. The interaction gives Jacob Mephisto time to recover and he greats Tact with a short arm clothesline for the trouble.
Nick Stuart: PRIDE BEFORE THE FALL!
Richard Parker: Tact did not see that coming.
Mephisto works quickly here, lifting Tact up.
Nick Stuart: A stalling suplex… No! It’s a brainbuster! COME AND SEE!
Richard Parker: I’d rather not.
The impact flattens Tact as Mephisto scrambles on top of him, grabs a leg, and makes the cover.
AND A HALF!
Last minute kickout by Tact. He took two of Mephisto’s best moves, but has a little left in the gas tank. Mephisto on the other hand, looks a gassed. Mephisto, slowly gets back to his feet, malice in his heart. He pulls Tact up with him, leading him to the corner. But Tact, reverses. Jacob in the corner now. Taking shots from LT. One catches Jacob on the button and he’s rocked. Tact pulls Mephisto away from the corner and cinches up a head and arm triangle.
Nick Stuart: THE HUMBLING!!!
The uranage suplex flattens Mephisto. And Tact can smell a victory. But no… Mephisto no-sells the move and sits upright. Tact doesn’t even get a chance to cover.
Richard Parker: Is he laughing at Larry Tact? What is wrong with this guy? Must have a whole box of screws loose.
Tact splashes on Mephisto to grab an arm, but Jacob escapes. He circles out of Tact’s sight and delivers a muay-thai knee on the way up. Tact is down. Mephisto with a knee drop to Larry’s back. He takes a step back, coils down beckons Larry to his feet, looking for a finish.
Nick Stuart: If Mephisto lands the END OF FAITH, this one is all over. There aren’t many people who can take the axe kick without getting knocked out in the process.
Richard Parker: Stay down Larry! It’s not worth it.
Larry struggles to his feet, allowing Mephisto a clean shot. END OF FAITH… misses! Tact circles around under the kick and picks up Mephisto will a high crotch lift into a modified one-armed powerbomb.
Richard Parker: What the heck was that?!
Nick Stuart: I don’t even know what to call that.
Tact with the cover.
Only a two count.
Mephisto kicks out. Still shaken by the move, but not defeated. The two men lay side by side on the mat. The crowd applauding the effort here.
Nick Stuart: This has been a chess match. Each man, checking the other. Looking for that opening to finish.
Richard Parker: Something’s gonna give soon, Nick, I can feel it.
Larry looks really gassed after that lift. Somehow, Mephisto to his feet first, and delivers a soccer kick to Tact’s ribs. curling him up in a ball. A momentum shift. Jacob picks up Larry Tact. Then into a fireman’s carry, going for the MEMONTO MORIS.
But Tact with an elbow to the ear. He drops behind Mephisto and lifts him up in a torture rack carry. Mephisto is flailing wildly as Tact lets out a roar at the hard cam. He rotates and sits out.
Nick Stuart: TACTILIZER!
Richard Parker: Good night Jacob.
Larry still in a seated position, hooks the leg and bangs his head with the count.
Nick Stuart: I don’t know about that count Rich. I think Mephisto may have gotten a shoulder up there.
Richard Parker: Jacob is hot about this. He’s staring daggers at Ref Nixon.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Here is your winner…. Larry Taaact!!!
Patience is arguing it was a quick count, but it’s no use. Elvis raises the hand of Larry Tact, who rips his hand away and lifts his arm up on his own.
Nick Stuart: Larry Tact picks up his first PRIME victory and it was not an easy one.
Richard Parker: No win is an easy one here, Nick. Never has been.
Jacob Mephisto stumbles to his feet after the bell while Decius tries to calm Patience down. The Patriarch is clearly tired from the slobberknocker but there is venom in his eyes as looks at the crowd…only for a hooded figure to give him a boot to the head! The punt is as speedy and clean as it is surprising. It also causes the crowd to cheer because well, nobody likes him. The cheers only get louder as the hood gets flipped down.
IT’S ANNA DANIELS WEARING THE BRAND SPANKING NEW “NEW ERA” HOODIE SOLD BOTH ONLINE AND AT THE PRIMEPORIUM AFTER THE SHOW IS OVER! YAY PRODUCT PLACEMENT!
Patience and Decius notice what’s happening and immediately slide into the ring, but are given two boots to the head that send them back through the ropes. Anna turns back to Jacob and keeps leveling him with kicks, but Mephisto manages to get to his feet despite the barrage. Elvis Nixon stands conflicted on whether to break it up because he does have another match to ref and he doesn’t want to get killed before then. Thankfully, he doesn’t have to think about that for very long as Wade, Dam, and the whole damn swarm of Enemigos arrive to break up what is beginning to devolve into the All-Father and the Time Lord trading blows in the middle of the ring. Mephisto shoves off Dametreyus more so out of reflex than anything before checking the blood trickling from the corner of his mouth. Anna, however, allows Wade to pull her back. But not before having her words picked up by the cameras before heading to commercial.
Anna Daniels: Do it yourself, Jake.
BUY THE SHIRT, YOU COWARDS
POSITIVE DETERMINATION SEEKING
We return to ReVival 13 – and to a shot of our esteemed announce team.
Nick Stuart: Welcome back to PRIME, ladies and gentlemen. While we have one heck of a card still to come… during the break, we have… what’s the term? A situation? Yes… a situation has developed in the ring. The show has come to a bit of a halt while we deal with it, and for that we sincerely apologize to the viewing audience at home.
Richard Parker: A situation? Tell it like it is: some nut job hopped the guardrail. Where are our boys to clear him out?
Stuart’s hand goes to his ear and he listens intently for a few minutes.
Nick Stuart: I… I’m being told we’re going to… what? Is that right? Yes… we’re apparently going to show the gentlemen in the ring…
Richard Parker: Brilliant move.
The camera cuts from the announce team to the PRIME squared circle. In the middle, pacing back and forth and gesturing toward the fans, is a muscular bald man with a long brown beard. He’s dressed in khakis, a blue button up, and a dark blue tie. His eyes squint toward the PRIMEates in a distrustful and suspicious manner, while his mouth forms one of the most punchable smirks you’ve ever seen.
Despite not being under contract, standing in the center of the PRIME ring is Ned Reform.
Nick Stuart: Wait… I… we know him. At least, he’s made a name for himself in other organizations.
Richard Parker: But not in PRIME… so who cares? Where are the Enemigos?
Reform is smiling and mouthing something to the ringside fans… when a stagehand jogs out from the back. The stagehand hits the ring, walks briskly up the steps and… hands Reform a mic!? Ned smiles, thanks the lad before snatching it out of his hands and then quickly dismissing him. Reform taps the mic a few times, causing it to echo throughout the arena unpleasantly. He then raises the mic to his mouth as his smile widens. Before he speaks, he turns to take in the entire arena of fans, moving in a slow circle. There is a small smattering of jeers from those familiar with his exploits in DEFIANCE and SHOOT Project, but as a newcomer he met with almost entirely no response. When the circle is complete, he finally breaks his silence.
Ned Reform: …children! For those of you who are not familiar with my many great deeds in the world of professional wrestling, please allow me to introduce myself. It is I!!
Reform noticeable puffs out his chest a bit.
Ned Reform: DOCTOR Ned Reform! And I would be remiss if I did not first acknowledge that it is my absolute pleasure to be in front of you all here tonight… as well as being broadcast for the fine viewing audience. I want all of you…
Again, Reform spins in a slow circle around the entire arena, but this time with a single finger outstretched.
Ned Reform: …as well as all the individuals at home, to take in this moment. Really look. Create a snapshot in your mind and sketch it on your brain. For you see, these are the closing moments of the “old” PRIME. For all intents and purposes, you may consider this episode of ReVival as your metaphorical “big bang.” This universe is about to begin anew. Forget what you knew, because PRIME is about to shift and change… for the better. You see, I have a plan. Not only that, I have a strategic plan.
That draws a bit more of a negative reaction. Not so sure the audience thinks PRIME needs any changing.
Ned Reform: Now, now. I know it’s a difficult concept to wrap your head around. We often lash out when we’re going to lose the familiar and safe. Even when said “familiar” is unfiltered and harmful garbage television that insults our intelligence. For most of you, the way PRIME exists in its current state is “the norm.” It must be said: the issues in PRIME are systemic and run deep, and it’s likely many of you lack the critical reflection skills and larger context to even understand why PRIME is so desperately in need of… well, reform. Little pun there, you see. But I cannot fault any of you for being prisoners of your own narrow minded encephalons, can I? You’re all products of your environment, after all, and I should not expect…
Okay. Now this is really rubbing people the wrong way and the boos intensify. Reform pauses as he hears the negative reaction. He shakes his head and smiles wistfully before continuing.
Ned Reform: Yes. Undoubtedly this is unpleasant to hear. But as I go about my mission to educate PRIME, I want you all to remember one simple fact. You didn’t do any of this. In fact, you’re prisoners. Trapped in a never ending cycle of mediocrity and anti-intellectualism. But this was done TO you. This… is not your fault.
Reform walks over to the camera positioned on the ring apron and gets close enough that he nearly fills the entire frame.
Ned Reform: It is not your fault.
Reform nods, allowing the “gravity” of that very generous statement to really hit home. He then moves away from the lens, looking out into the sea of people opposite the hardcam. He points at them.
Ned Reform: It is not your fault.
Points to the nosebleeds.
Ned Reform: It is not your fault.
Another section. Every time Reform says the phrase, he adds more gravity and “sincerity” to it.
Ned Reform: It IS NOT your fault!
Point to the crowd on the hardcam section.
Ned Reform: It. Is. Not. Your. Fault.
Reform is now seemingly near tears as he offers this extremely magnanimous phrase that absolves the PRIME fans of any wrongdoing. The people, however, are not as enthralled with Reform’s “moving” speech as he would have liked. Either they can smell a poor movie parody when they hear it or they’re just finding this newcomer to be an obnoxious jerk. Either way, the entire arena is now letting him have it with jeers. Reform’s movements gain more intensity and his voice seems about to hit its dramatic crescendo.
Ned Reform: IT! IS! NOT! YOUR!
The ominous opening chords to “Put ‘Em in the Grave” by Jedi Mind Tricks blasts through the Grand Garden Arena’s speakers. The PRIMEates erupt into cheers as the curtain parts and Lindsay Troy walks out onto the stage, microphone in hand and she does Not. Look. Pleased.
Nick Stuart: We wanted the Enemigos and instead we’ve got The Boss!
Richard Parker: God, about time.
The Queen signals for her music to be cut and gives Ned a glare that, if we lived in a just world, would evaporate him on sight.
Lindsay Troy: Nedward.
Lindsay Troy: I see nobody attended your office hours again.
Reform smiles – finally, he’s gotten the person he’s been looking for.
Ned Reform: Yes! Ms. Troy! I trust that you looked over the PowerPoint that I emailed you. I believe that if begin right away, we can…
With a quick flick of her hand, Lindsay signals the production team to cut “The Good Doctor”’s mic. He looks down at his hand, raps on the head of the mic to no avail, and then starts screaming in the middle of the ring.
Lindsay Troy: Can it, dickwad. Everyone’s heard enough out of you tonight.
Reform is yelling at a stagehand for a new mic, but he finds no assistance, so he looks toward the stage in a rage.
Lindsay Troy: I thought I made it clear two weeks ago that your presence isn’t wanted in my company and yet, here you are again, skittering around like a cockroach. Since you didn’t seem to take the hint at ReVival 12, maybe you will at ReVival 14.
Nick Stuart: What is she saying? She can’t be thinking…
Richard Parker: By the grin on her face, Nick, I think she is thinking what you’re thinking…
Lindsay Troy: Let’s see if you still want to work here so badly in two weeks. The PRIMEates are gonna love seeing you get beaten from pillar to post, and I promise you….you’re going to wish you never found your way into my house.
“Put ‘Em in the Grave” plays once more as Troy smirks from her place on the stage. In the ring, Reform’s brow furrows as he appears to process exactly what this means for him. He begins to pace and rub his chin thoughtfully.
Nick Stuart: I think… I think in two weeks time, we’re going to see Ned Reform in a PRIME ring.
Richard Parker: Sounds like the boss has got something special planned for him…
ONE STEP CLOSER TO THE EDGE
Angelica Brooks is pacing back and forth backstage, microphone in hand, and a world of questions in her head, all dependent upon who walks around the corner next. She’d made a bet with Matt Mills and had lost that bet, thus necessitating this exercise of ‘Interview the Next Person Around the Corner’. It was a dumb game, but one that could’ve gone the other way.
The bet that Angelica lost? That’s a story for a different day.
Especially because Angelica hears the footsteps of a PRIME official or wrestler walking closer and closer to them. She grabs their microphone, looks at the camera guy, and then prepares for the person she will be interviewing.
Lo and behold though, it is the MGM-Grand Arena’s fifth favorite wrestler (those above him? Brandon Youngblood. The Anglo Luchador. Nova. Hayes Hanlon. King Blueberry. In that order), Dusk.
There’s only so many times left to do this, so we are going to enjoy it while it lasts, mmkay?
Angelica rushes over to Dusk, questions flowing to the forefront of her mind in a hurry.
Angelica Brooks: Dusk, Dusk… a moment of your time? Would love to get your thoughts on the recent events with Larry Tact.
Dusk, dressed in a pair of white linen pants and a black t-shirt that simply reads President and Founding Member of the King Blueberry Club, looks at Angie and simply nods their head.
Angelica Brooks: Thanks. So, first and foremost, you had a match against Nate Colton last week, a match that seemed fairly even between the two of you. A match that you lost thanks to a distraction from Larry Tact. What are your thoughts?
Dusk chews on the inside of his mouth for a moment, before answering.
Dusk: You know, since I’ve stepped foot back in PRIME back at the beginning of the year, I’ve only won two matches. Teddy Palmer and Bobby Dean. I’ve also lost four matches in that time and two of those were due to interference from someone else. Tapioca Puddings and Nate Colton. You know, it’s getting old and tiresome. Because it takes a real shitbag to cost someone a match. Tact just wrestled and I didn’t go out there, messing with him, right? No. It’s getting old and tiresome, and I’m growing a bit restless if you pick up my drift.
Angelica Brooks: Do you mean you’re ready to physically attack Tact?
Dusk: I’ve tried to be a man that handles their business in the ring, but what does it matter if people like Atken and Tact disgrace the very idea of competing within said ring? I didn’t come back to PRIME with dozens upon dozens of matches left within me. I knew there was only so many matches I would be able to compete in before my body told me no more. So to have two of those matches wasted so wantonly has got me a bit… agitated, to say the least.
Angelica Brooks: So what’s your plan, then? Are you going to go after Tact? Or wait until UltraViolence?
A smile appears on Dusk’s face.
Dusk: You know, UltraViolence is apt for the hell that I’m going to reign down upon Tact. In the meantime, if I’m Tact, I would watch my back, because I’ve reached my limit and he doesn’t quite understand the beast he has awoken.
Angelica Brooks: Now, your match at UltraViolence, it appears that will be your last match as a wrestler. How does that make you feel?
Dusk: You know, if I had it my way, I wouldn’t even be here right now. I tried to go out to that ring and retire, gracefully. Instead, Tact decided to get involved in my business, business he has no business getting involved in. Tact wants to be my final match? His wish will come true. Then, after it is all said and done, I’ll be able to walk away with my head held high.
Angelica smiles at Dusk.
Angelica Brooks: It will be odd to not have you around.
Dusk: You’re telling me.
Angelica Brooks: One final question for you as I know you’ve got things to do. You approached the door of Lindsay Troy last week. For what purpose?
Before he can answer though, a boot comes crashing against his face, sending him sprawling to the floor. Angelica scurries out of the way, years of experience with dealing with situations just like this. Dusk tries to get back up to his feet, but is met with a flurry of furious punches to his face, each one stiffer than the previous one. The camera moves to a different angle as it is revealed Larry Tact is the one who has attacked Dusk, to no one’s surprise.
Tact rises to his feet and drags Dusk up with him. The Lost Soul tries to fight back, but Tact grabs the back of his head and bashes it into the brick wall behind them. Dusk stumbles to his knees, dazed from the blow as Tact comes up behind him and begins to connect with a series of cutting elbows across the Dusk’s face before Larry pushes him into the ground. Tact proceeds to stomp away at him until Tact lifts him off of the ground, revealing the bloodied mess that Dusk is now.
Before Tact can extract any additional punishment, security rushes in and pulls him away from him as medical officials hurry to Dusk to check on him.
There is a momentary smirk on Tact’s face before it fades as he looks down at Dusk, at what he has done to the PRIME legend. Larry then walks over to Angelica and brings the mic towards him, a look of disgust on his face.
Larry Tact: For some reason, you all want to live in a fairy tale of Dusk getting his send off into the sunset, proudly looking back at a career of, what exactly? I’ve looked back and even when Dusk still had the spine and stomach to do what needs to be done in this place, he still fell short. Now?
He glances back at Dusk on the ground, medical staff surrounding him in concern. Larry scoffs and mocks wiping tears from his eyes.
Angelica Brooks: Larry, regardless of your motivations, you can’t change Dusk’s history with PRIME and the achievements he has had over the years. You only just began in PRIME with this current run, and it feels as if you’ve taken issue with Dusk for simply wanting to step aside and let other, talented wrestlers to emerge. What’s the problem with that?
Larry Tact: The problem is this man should never have returned to PRIME in the first place! What I’m doing is a favor to Dusk. I’ll tell you why, considering you and these average slobs who paid to be here can barely even put two thoughts together. The fact is, yes, I haven’t accrued much prestige in PRIME yet. Those who have are content to let this out of touch, waste of oxygen have his final moments in the spotlight. Meanwhile, those of us who have actually been trying, and getting shorted on time? Maybe we don’t want to wait so long. Maybe we find it the ‘same old, same old’ story with these ‘legends’ being given leeway and a graceful exit.I for one am sick of it! At UltraViolence, this ends, and it’ll be on my terms, Dusk, not your pathetic sob story version. I’m going to turn back the clock and show what you can no longer do, no longer have the stomach for – and what I’ve been pining for. That’s to unleash a hell upon you that’s so severe, so out of bounds, that you’ll have no choice but to end your career on a stretcher! Yes, I’ll retire you, Dusk, for all the people who you’ve sucked opportunities away from. Then, once and for all, you’ll be seen through the filter everyone should have put you under all along. A pathetic, broken down cripple. I’ll make sure to bring about that last part, personally.
Larry turns and approaches Dusk again, but officials push him away and give Dusk the space he needs while the medical professionals treat him. Larry shakes his head and spits at Dusk before waving him off and walking away.
We then cut to… something.
A MASTERFUL CHALLENGE
As we cut away from the ring, the PRIMEview flickers to life revealing an all-too familiar graphic by now, letting us know who’s paid for this little bit of screen time:
We find ourselves inside a studio, where the Masters of the Multiverse B-Team are standing by wearing their Sunday finest, dressed to the nines in fancy business suits. Kenny Freeman smiles, motioning to the food processor he’s been selling as he speaks up.
Kenny Freeman: Hello PRIMEates, and thank you! Sales of the Foodie Magick Food-O-Matic 3000 have been through the roof, and because of your generosity we’ve managed to raise well over ninety-seven THOUSAND dollars toward A GREAT HOME FOR GREAT SCOTT!
Randall Schwartz quickly chimes in, the Entertainer stepping out in front with a smile of his own as he speaks.
Randall Schwartz: That’s right Kenny, we are grateful for the help you all have provided in this trying time. It really means a lot to us here! However…
Randall’s smile fades as he continues, his tone more somber.
Randall Schwartz: …there are those who would suggest we are being selfish, that the Food-O-Matic is an empty promise…as is our charity. And to them, we say…how dare you.
Randall’s face begins to twist into a snarl, prompting the camera to cut to a still mostly-cheery Kenny instead.
Kenny Freeman: That’s why we’re willing to put our money where our mouths are, and we’re presenting the Fund-O-Matic Challenge! This week we will be speaking to the PRIME office to set this up, but to the tag team division we raise this simple challenge…do YOU have what it takes to fight for a good cause?
Randall Schwartz: I sure hope so! We’ll see y’all at ReVival 14, but until then, don’t forget to call the number now to get YOUR Food-O-Matic 3000 and support a great cause!
With that, Randall and Kenny wave as a number appears on the bottom of the screen:
And we fade to black on this promotional spot before heading back to ringside!
DARIN ZION vs. DAVID FOX
Nick Stuart: We’ve got a real clash of styles in the following contest, ladies and gentlemen! The technician Darin Zion of the Love Convoy meets the strong striker David Fox of Dangerous Mix in singles competition!
Richard Parker: No partners?
Nick Stuart: No, partner.
Richard Parker: Care to make a wager on how many times either of them go to the corner for a tag?
Nick Stuart: …even though I know that’s easy money, I’m going to have to pass. In any case, I will say that Zion is no stranger to being on his own while his allies in Jonathan-Christopher and Vickie Hall are out on another of their romantic excursions, but it will be interesting to see how David Fox flies solo tonight without the giant Mushigihara there to back him up.
The bustle of the crowd is suddenly cut off by the audible clinking of a cowbell filling the MGM Grand, and the lighting around the arena entrance rapidly dimming.
Nick Stuart: Well, this is an unusual way to make an entrance. I wonder what David Fox has in mind for tonight’s match up, his singles debut here in PRI—
Nick is immediately cut off by a blast of loud, pounding chords as the lighting pulses in time with them, followed by the snaky main riff of Faith No More’s “Surprise! You’re Dead!” Slithering alone from the gorilla position, David Fox has his arms stretched out, as if gesturing to the PRIMEates, with a mischievous smirk etched on his face.
HA HA HA!
OPEN YOUR EEEEEYYYYYES!
Vince Howard: Making his way to the ring, one half of the Dangerous Mix! From Blackwood, New Jersey, weighing one hundred ninety pounds… Daaaaaaaaavid FOX!
See the world as it used to be
When you used to be in it
When you were alive
And when you were in love
And when I…
TOOK IT FROM YOU!
The self-proclaimed Soul Survivor roars down to the ring, tagging hands and shouting out to them to get loud!
Richard Parker: My stars and kickpads, it looks like the poor lad’s gotten a screw loose!
Nick Stuart: Well, I imagine if you were being hounded by the Masters of the Multiverse B-Team, you wouldn’t be so happy yourself?
Richard Parker: Good point. Sheesh, those guys…
It’s not over yet!
You don’t remember? I won’t let you forget
The hatred I bestow
Upon your neck with a fatal blow!
As he makes it onto the ringside mat, Fox stares into the ring, and SPRINTS in under the bottom ropes, hopping right back to his feet and leaning up onto the ropes.
From my teeth and my tongue
I’ve drank and swallowed, but it’s just begun!
Fox leaps onto the nearest middle turnbuckle, arms stretched out again, head tilted back, and a mighty yell rushing from his lungs… not unlike his tag team partner’s signature “OSU,” but without any rhyme or reason.
NOW! YOU’RE! MIIIIIIIIIINE!
I’ll keep killing you, ‘til the end of time!
Fox coolly steps back down onto the mat, leaning into the corner and keeping focus inside the ring, while he waits for the match to start.
Moments later, “Happy Song” by Bring Me the Horizon hits the PA, and jeers fill the arena. Darin Zion walks out through the curtain, fists pumped and smirking ear to ear. After a few moments of posturing to get the fans nice and heated, he begins an arrogant strut down the rampway toward the ring.
Vince Howard: And the opponent, representing Love Convoy… he hails from Chicago, Illinois, and weighs in at two-hundred and thirty-five pounds… “REAL LOVE” Daaaariiiiiiiin ZIIIIOOOONN!!
Richard Parker: I don’t know why more people don’t give Darin the love he deserves! Nobody in PRIME even has half the heart this guy does!
Nick Stuart: He’s definitely very… self-assured of himself, I will say that. Be as it may, Darin Zion has a chance tonight to pick up his first win in PRIME against an opponent who hasn’t been on in some time. David Fox should pose an interesting challenge for him.
Richard Parker: Give him hell, REAL LOVE! Feed off these peoples’ hate!
Zion climbs the steps and enters through the ropes, taking more time to pose while the PRIME Faithful let him hear it. Across the ring, David Fox stretches against the ropes, wearing a cocky smirk of his own.
Both competitors come out of their corners and begin circling each other, until Zion breaks the ice going for the lock-up, but gets bit with a sharp low kick to the thigh by Fox before he can close the distance. They circle again, both men looking for an opening. Darin again tries to move in, but another kick to the other thigh forces him to juke out range again.
The expression on REAL LOVE’s face is becoming increasingly vexed, even as Fox brazenly motions for him to make his next move. Zion is more pensive in his approach this time, shooting in low and catching the leg before the Soul Survivor can connect,
Nick Stuart: Darin Zion scores the first takedown, after several repelled efforts by David Fox! He’s going for the mount, but now Fox counters with rabbit punches to the back of the exposed head!
Richard Parker: Wouldn’t they be called “fox” punches, in this case?
Zion, snapping into action, snags Fox by one of the arms and transitions smoothly into a cross-arm breaker! David knows he’s in trouble if he holds the submission in place for too long, and quickly pushes himself up to his feet to get the leverage he needs to roll Darin’s shoulders to the mat!
Zion releases the arm and rolls off of his shoulders!
Nick Stuart: REAL LOVE Darin Zion had the submission in place, but the quick thinking of David Fox forces him to break the hold!
Richard Parker: You could say he… out-FOXed him?
Nick Stuart: I wouldn’t get too far into the animal puns, Rich. The Cringe Police may be listening.
Zion rolls to his knees, and manages to catch Fox with a rising European Uppercut when he moves in to strike. David briefly reels off the hit, then recovers and comes back at Zion with a shoot kick straight to the ribs. REAL LOVE doubles over, but stays on his feet, and answers with a hard knife-edge chop of his own to leave Fox reeling again.
David staggers, clutching his chest, and Zion sees his opening, spinning around and going for his Ban Hammer discus clothesline… but Fox has it scouted, ducking the lariat and catching Darin into a side headlock. Before Zion can make a move to escape, David switches into a drop toe hold to put him face first to the mat.
Nick Stuart: Sayama Special by David Fox puts Zion, and the Soul Survivor immediately goes into a rear mount!
David Fox uses his position to tauntingly slap at the back of Zion’s head, trying to get him riled up. Now thoroughly irritated, Darin shovesbut in his rage he runs straight into a jumping knee strike from Fox that connects with his chest and sends him into the turnbuckles.
David presses his advantage, peppering with light by swift muay thai elbows from the left and right. Zion keeps his head covered and weathers the storm. He finds his opening when the Soul Survivor looks for a clinch, when he suddenly slips under the arm to go behind and catches Fox off-guard with a sudden Tiger Suplex, bridging through to make the cover!
Fox kicks out!
Nick Stuart: Solid looking Tiger Suplex by Darin Zion to get himself out of a precarious situation, but only gets a two count for his effort.
Richard Parker: Fox Mulder’s hung in there since the opening bell, but the REAL LOVE may have a REAL opportunity to make something happen off that move!
Nick Stuart: You make a good point, partner. David Fox looks absolutely rocked after that suplex, and Zion quickly slaps on a front facelock to keep him positioned on the mat!
Fox works his way to his feet and tries to bull his way into the corner, but Zion pushes off his tip-toes and uses his thirty-pound advantage to keep his trapped opponent in place. Still having a hold of the head, Zion turns and drops, taking Fox with him to the mat with a textbook neckbreaker!
David Fox is clutching his neck on canvas, giving Zion ample time to roll him over and hook the legs for the cover!
NO!! David gets the shoulder up!
Nick Stuart: A near fall there off the neckbreaker, but Darin Zion quickly slaps on a Dragon Sleeper the moment David Fox sits up, continuing to wear away at the head and neck!
Richard Parker: For a minute there, I thought the Fantastic Mr. Fox may have gotten under his skin, but Zion looks like he’s feelin’ the love once again!
With the tables turned, REAL LOVE mugs to the fans for heat while slapping the exposed ribs of David Fox, who fights the submission with all of his strength. When he’s done punishing him, Darin takes ahold of the waistband and pulls Fox into the air for an inverted suplex… but David slips free and lands behind him!
Zion immediately knows something is amiss, but can’t react in time before Fox catches him with a schoolboy!
THR-NO!! Zion kicks out in the nick of time!
Richard Parker: My heart leapt in my throat there! Ol’ Michael J. almost got away with it there, but all he achieved was getting Darin good and pissed!
Nick Stuart: Zion with a roundhouse kick, tags David Fox on the back of the neck as soon as he’s on his feet! Pulling him into the headlock now… could be going for the RATINGS SPIKE — NO!!
The Soul Survivor digs deep and shoves Darin Zion off of him. Caught off-guard, Darin takes a hard collision against the corner and stumbles back the way of Fox, already in motion. His spinning back heel kick connects with the head of Zion.
Nick Stuart: FLASHBANG!! And GOOD NIGHT!!
Richard Parker: Oof…
The sound of Fox’s heel hitting Zion’s head resonates through the arena before REAL LOVE hits the mat REAL FAST. David sprawls across his chest to make the pin.
DING DING DING
The crowd cheers with approval when Faith No More’s “Suprise! You’re Dead!” hits the PA. Fox rises off of Zion and gets to his feet, holding his neck but allowing official Jimmy Turnbull to raise his arm in victory.
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, here is your winner… the Soul Survivor, DAAAVIIID FOOOOOOOX!!
Nick Stuart: And there we have it! Zion ever so briefly lost his cool after the schoolboy, and David Fox made him pay for it, picking up the win here tonight!
Richard Parker: A real tragedy, I tell you. I had fifty bucks on Darin breaking the curse tonight.
Nick Stuart: Be as it may, the glory of victory has again eluded Darin Zion, thanks to the efforts of David Fox. The Soul Survivor, for his own part, has proven himself tonight as a formidable competitor in singles action. Meanwhile, ladies and gentlemen, we need to take a quick commercial break, but don’t go away!
COMMERCIAL: MISSOURI VALLEY WRESTLING
Paxton Ray is angry.
I mean, yeah, we know. He’s always angry. But he looks particularly angry as he walks down the hallway. After a few steps he begins talking, and we find out why.
Paxton Ray: Get mad, Pax. Get hyped. First singles match. Get mad.
He growls and slaps himself in the face as he continues walking.
Paxton Ray: No Jon. No Shway. Just you and GREAT SCOTT. Get mad.
As he turns the corner, he plows into someone, and a cacophony of sound erupts as multiple objects clatter to the ground. Paxton helps lift the person up to find that it is the man known as Backstage Attendant Mark, the person charged with keeping King Blueberry’s chaos to a minimum.
Paxton Ray: Ya all right?
Mark looks down at the smoke machines, some of which are shattered, and sighs.
Mark: Yeah. I guess.
Paxton bends down to help, but Mark lifts a hand.
Mark: It’s okay. I got it.
Paxton Ray: Okay. Sorry, uh…
Paxton Ray: ‘S right. Mark. Later.
The camera follows Paxton as he walks away, murmuring, as Mark continues to pick up the pieces. Paxton continues his mantra.
Paxton Ray: Get mad. Get mad.
Suddenly he stops and thinks.
Paxton Ray: Mark. I hate that name.
He continues walking, his voice getting lower.
Paxton Ray: Get mad.
Suddenly, as he nears his locker room, he sees someone slip out of the door and round the corner. He quickens his pace.
Paxton Ray: Was that…
He walks past the locker room and looks around the corner.
Paxton Ray: …Dooze.
He briefly considers following him, but after a moment he turns and walks towards the locker room.
Paxton Ray: What did that asshole do…?
He puts his hand on the door handle, then breathes in slowly. Exhaling, he slowly opens the door and looks around. He eventually finds a small box sitting on Shweta’s desk. Approaching it slowly, he sees a note.
Paxton Ray: “To Paxton, with love.” What the…
Slowly, like Indiana Jones about to replace an artifact, Paxton reaches for the box and lifts it. He flinches, then relaxes when nothing happens. After a moment, he brings the box out of the office.
Paxton Ray: Get mad.
He looks down the hallway, then his eyes light up. After a few moments Melvin Beauregard enters the frame, and Paxton pounces.
Paxton Ray: Hey. My man. My friend.
Melvin Beauregard: Oh hi. Hello…friend.
Paxton Ray: Got a suspicious package. Don’t think it’s a bomb or nothin’, but I figured I should let the authorities handle it. You’re the authorities, right?
Melvin smiles and adjusts his collar.
Melvin Beauregard: I do like to think so, yes. Let’s see here.
He takes the box from Paxton and sets it on a nearby table, whistling as he does so. He begins to trace his fingers alongside the box.
Paxton Ray: Ya seem happy.
Melvin Beauregard: Life is good, Mr. Ray. Life is…
Suddenly, the lid of the box springs open. Funny word, springs. Because springs are also what’s in the box. And why are the springs there?
Why, to eject 14 eggs in the direction of whatever poor fool happened to open the box. I’m sure the bandits were hoping it was Paxton Ray, but they will have to settle for yolk and shell to cover Melvin Beauregard instead. They may be happy to know that a small amount of yellow yolk splattered on Ray’s Doc Martens.
Melvin Beauregard: …Good.
Paxton looks from the sticky person in front of him to his bespeckled shoes, then to the box. He clenches his fists and turns in the other direction.
Paxton Ray: Okay. Mad now.
He starts to walk away.
Paxton Ray: I’m gonna go kill somebody. Thanks for the assist, Wade.
Melvin looks at his yellow hands, then looks at the retreating Ray.
Melvin Beauregard: …Wade?
We cut to a door backstage. But not just any random door, no sir. This is the door to the private locker room of the Universal Champion. The Tower of Babel. The Last Diamond.
Why are we here? That might have something to do with one of the two people standing outside the door. One of them is a production assistant who we will call Patricia, even though their name is actually Samantha.
The other is a young man in a blue PRIME polo (seriously, how many of these things does he have?) and a bit of a nervous look on his face. You’d think that talking to a huge star would be easy if you grew up surrounded by them, but Nate Colton knows that’s not the case.
Patricia: Here it is, sir.
Nate Colton: Thank you, Sam. How’s your partner doing? Did he get that job he applied for?
Patricia: No…he got an interview, but they removed the position rather than hire anyone.
Nate Colton: Ah, that sucks. Well, keep trying. He’ll break through soon.
Patricia: Thanks. Do you need anything else?
Nate Colton: Should be good. Thanks again, Sam!
They smile at the young superstar and scamper down the hall, back to wherever production assistants go. Meanwhile, Nate turns his attention back to the matter at hand. He takes a deep breath, steels himself, and knocks on the door.
After a few moments, this non-random door opens. Shortly thereafter, Youngblood steps into view. The Universal Champion is already in his ring attire, the straps of his singlet off to his sides, exposing his massive chest and the rest of the muscles cutting down his midsection. Colton stands just a touch taller than him, but the near thirty pound difference offsets this. Nodding his head, he extends his hand to the up and comer.
Brandon Youngblood: How you doing, kid?
Nate accepts the handshake hesitantly, as if he expects Youngblood to suddenly grab him and throw him into the sun. Thankfully, this does not happen, and he relaxes a little.
Nate Colton: Doing all right, sir. How about you? Ready for Phil Atken tonight?
Brandon Youngblood: As much as I’ll ever be.
He lets go of the handshake, stepping to the side.
Brandon Youngblood: Kinda why I wanted to talk with you. Can come in if you want…or we can do this out here.
Now this just took a cryptic turn. There isn’t a hint of a smile on the Tower of Babel’s face, rather, his usual intense glare. He doesn’t look like he’s coiled to strike. Whether he realizes it or not, everything about him is screaming intimidation.
Nate smiles a little, doing his best not to look rattled and mostly succeeding. (His hands aren’t shaking; yours are shaking.)
Nate Colton: Well, since I’m already here.
He walks through the door, not taking his eye off the champ as he does so.
Brandon Youngblood: So I know Atken went around the locker room…kicking tires on folk…trying to get some buy in on that Amway spiel on opportunity and all that. Wouldn’t even let you get a word in. Just droned on and on for you.
Hands on his hips. The locker room is a sort of special sanctuary. Horse blood does wash away with enough soap and bleach.
Brandon Youngblood: Figured you’d be one of the folks he wanted. Hell…know. You wanna know how I know, Nate?
Nate Colton: Well sir, I figure he was casting a wide net. There’s a lot of great young talent here. Ria, Paxton, Hayes, FLAMBERGE–
He sneers a bit as he says the name.
Nate Colton: –if he wants help in his “crusade,” any one of us would be a huge addition.
He is cut off.
Brandon Youngblood: True. But you’re different.
Brandon steps toward the young man.
Brandon Youngblood: Because you’re Mr. Jake Colton’s son. Because GREAT SCOTT was able to pin Balaam’s shoulders to the mat because you powered that monster son of a bitch up and planted him. Because your first time competing one on one in a PRIME ring, you swam against a man as tough as they come in Dusk. FLAMBERGE couldn’t do that. Hasn’t done that. Ria, tough as they come, phenomenal heart no matter what she might have folk believe…she wouldn’t have bought in. Paxton’s got Jon over his shoulder just in case he needs kept on the straight and narrow. They’d all be nice weapons to have at his hip. But you? You’re carrying a legacy. Your family’s legacy. And all that represents.
A subtle nod toward the young Nate.
Brandon Youngblood: Would be a perfect piece. Perfect product. Smart as he is, though, coming to you just shows how dumb he can be.
Nate almost doesn’t notice that Brandon has stopped talking; in fact, he’s not 100% sure anymore that this conversation is really happening. There’s something very surreal about hearing one of the all-time greats sing your praises.
Nate Colton: There’s no chance I was ever going to take him up on it. A fast track sounds great and all, but I don’t want nothin’ I didn’t earn. If I’m gonna take my place at the top, it’s going to be because I busted my ass to get there, and not ‘cause someone else decided everyone in front of me “had their time.”
The young man shakes his head, unable to believe anyone could think like that. He’ll probably learn someday.
Nate Colton: Besides, I’ve seen what happens when someone has to hang up the boots before they’re ready. I’m in no hurry to do that to anyone.
A nod of acknowledgment.
Brandon Youngblood: Your old man, Mr. Colton? He’s a good man. A family man. A man with principles. And when I was coming up in this sport, before I had a name, before I had anything…he saw something in me…some damn lump of coal. He didn’t have to…he was at the height of his career. But he did. Whether he teamed with some punk kid…whether he was grappling with him in the ring…he treated that lump of coal like a damn diamond.
He cracks his knuckles, his hand reaching for the young man’s shoulder.
Brandon Youngblood: He should have made it bigger than he did. Hell, his name damn sure could’ve been in our Hall of Fame. Maybe he holds the Universal Championship. But he didn’t. Rotten goddamn luck. And as much as I know some of that might eat at him…I know there’s a bigger part of him that doesn’t much care…because it gave him all the time for you kids. When you signed on here, I called Mr. Colton. Told him I’d look after his son like he looked after me. But he told me no. Told me you needed to stand on your own. That you were the kind of person to want to earn everything you can. I asked him if you had what it took. He said we’d all see.
Letting go, he folds his arms over his massive chest, giving Nate a once over.
Brandon Youngblood: Far as I can see, ain’t no coal in front of me. You’re The Next Diamond Of The Sport. Keep being you. Keep fighting. Because someday…this?
Reaching near his locker, he grabbed the Universal Championship and held it out.
Brandon Youngblood: You’re going to be holding this.
The only way the grin on Nate’s face could be wider is if he got the Tony Gamble treatment. He lifts his hand, possibly to reach out and touch the belt itself…but he pulls back.
Someday. But not yet.
Nate Colton: I like the sound of that, Mister Youngblood.
Brandon Youngblood: You need anything, I got your back. And make sure to give Mr. and Mrs. Colton my regards.
Nate Colton: Will do, sir. Tear it up out there tonight.
A smirk flickers onto the Tower of Babel’s face as they shake hands again, and Nate takes his leave.
Nick Stuart: Well, that was sure an encounter between the Colton lad and the Universal Champion! Now, I understand that Simon Tillier is standing by with the Intense Champion, The Anglo Luchador.
The camera throws backstage to find Tillier, dressed in his Men’s Wearhouse finest holding a microphone next to The Anglo Luchador, dressed in khaki board shorts, flip flops, a blue t-shirt that says “I Burnt Down The Learning Tree And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” enveloping a chibi-styled head of Jacob Mephisto, his mask, and of course, the Intense Championship snugly fitted around his waist.
Simon Tillier: That’s right! I’m here with Anglo Luchador, and I’m getting word that you will be defending that title around your waist at ReVival 14. Do you have any preference as to who will step up to the plate, or…
TAL: Let me stop you right there, Simon. When I put that open challenge out at ReVival 11, I meant that anyone who wanted to step up to the plate, as you termed it, could get a plate appearance if they wanted to. I meant that, so no, I don’t care. Granted, Anna Daniels probably should be next in line, but I understand if the office doesn’t want to run that back just yet.
Simon Tillier: You’re not afraid of her, are you?
TAL: Absolutely not, Belmont. I’m just saying. I’ve been to hell and back with her twice now, and three is a magic number. I’m just saying, it’s not up to me at this point. The only thing up to me is calling out John Boy.
Simon Tillier: Speaking of that, Hoyt Williams has levied some heavy accusations at you… oh no
TAL: What do you mean oh no?
Tillier taps the luchador on his shoulder and turns around to find the PRIME Five-Star Champion, Rezin, walking up from stage right along with his Lindsay Troy-mandated trainer and parole officer, Rocko Daymon.
TAL: Oh hey Rocko, long time, no see.
Rocko Daymon: Oh, I know, we have–
Rezin: HEY, SHUT UP! We ain’t here to reminisce; I’m on CHAMP business!
Rocko grumbles and hobbles into the background. The Escape Artist comes around to the other side of the reporter and luchador, his own championship belt worn upside down around his waist. His hungry and maniacal gaze quickly finds Tillier, who all but shrinks in place.
Rezin: What we got goin’ on here, Simon? Branchin’ out into interviewin’ the other champs now? Trynna move up in the backstage reporter world? Is bein’ on Five Star duty not cuttin’ it for ya anymore?
Simon Tillier: I mean–I’m just doing–we were only–
Rezin: Calm your taters, bruh, I’m just ribbin’ ya.
Rezin tussles the junior reporter’s hair and redirects his attention back to the Anglo Luchadore. He notes the Intense Championship hanging around his waist and nods, impressed.
Rezin: I see those shrooms I gave ya did the trick. Any lingerin’ side effects?
TAL: Well, I had the malicious desire to bash a friend’s eye out with a barbed wire-entwined baseball bat. Also, I’m pretty sure I got shingles on seven out of ten of my toes.
The Goat Bastard palms his forehead.
Rezin: Damb, forgot to warn ya ‘bout those! Should go away in a couple of years, if you’re lucky. So hey, man…
Rezin moves in, cutting Simon out of the picture. TAL tenses up, not sure what to expect.
Rezin: Been meanin’ to ask you something…
TAL: If it’s about the t-shirt, I get them made myself.
Rezin leans in even closer. Very much into TAL’s personal space at this point. To his credit, the Intense Champion doesn’t flinch.
Rezin: …do you feel it, too?
TAL: I get the feeling you’re not talking about a bad sciatic nerve.
The Escape Artist’s eyes grow wider. For once, they don’t quite look crazed.
If anything, they look desperate.
Rezin: The voice, my dude…
The Anglo Luchador glances questionably over to Simon, possibly for some pointers on how to deal with this. Tillier simply shrugs. Rezin, meanwhile, begins tapping his head.
Rezin: The one up here… the one that keeps on naggin’ ya.
He unstraps the Five Star Championship from his waist and holds it in his hands.
Rezin: The one that keeps on saying things like, “You don’t deserve this. This shouldn’t be yours to carry. You ain’t anything but an imposter, and errybuddy out there KNOWS IT!” It just keeps GOIN’ and GOIN’, and I dunno if what I’m ignorin’ is the harsh truth, or the after effects of a bad acid trip!
He points to TAL.
Rezin: But you? Dude, I watch you walk around here cool as a Canadian cucumber, just brushin’ off bad vibes like it ain’t anything but dust on your shoulder. I look at you and go, “GODDAMB, now THAT dude is a CHAMPION!”
Looks to the belt, eyes longing for answers.
Rezin: …but what the hell am I?
Back to the fellow champion.
Rezin: So tell me, dude… champ to champ… how do you do it? What’s the secret sauce you lay on that champion-style cheesesteak of yours?
The old luchador gives a single, muted laugh while bowing his head. After the momentary reaction to Rezin’s question, he lifts his head to look him dead in the eye.
TAL: Buddy, I hear the voice too.
Rezin looks at him in disbelief.
TAL: I hear it in whispers. Hushed tones. I don’t know if it’s someone speaking in the air ducts, or if it’s someone hacking my phone, or if it’s just my imagination. But there’s a voice that tells me I’m not good enough. I don’t deserve this title around my waist. It tells me my ultimate dream, winning the thing Youngblood has now? It’s pie in the sky. I’ll never earn it. I can’t beat anyone above me in the rankings. Youngblood? Loss. Impulse? Loss. Atken? Choked out. Daniels? Lost one-on-one. It’s a whisper but whispers can be loud.
Rezin is shocked at what the luchador is telling him.
TAL: But you didn’t ask me if I wallow in it. No. You asked me why I carry myself the way I do.
Rezin: Uh YEAH.
TAL: Well, I have to. Sometimes, you just have to be the guy who walks tall, carries a big stick. Because at the end of the day, if you’re not in this business to shut every single one of those voices up? You’re in the wrong one. If I didn’t think I could beat any of those wrestlers ahead of me in the rankings, any of the fighters clawing at my heels for this title, I’d quit on the damn spot.
Rezin gives his best Keanu whoaaaa.
TAL: That’s the paradox of being a wrestler. Sometimes, the cacophony is too loud. But your fist has to be even louder. And judging by the title you have? You ain’t smokin’ mids.
The Escape Artist turns back to his trainer lingering behind him for confirmation. Daymon is nodding at him in silent agreement.
Rezin: Well shucks, that’s a relief… for a minute there, I thought I’d smoked myself into psychosis!
Simon Tillier: Um… you sure that’s not already the case?
Rezin leers at the junior reporter, looking he may snap into a murderous rage. Instead, he takes a deep breath and shakes his finger as a warning.
Rezin: Dambit, Simon… lucky for you, I’m tryin’ REEEAAAL HARD to curb back on my angry outbursts! But don’t get funny and try TESTIN’ ME, buster! I can still take that head of faster than a jackrabbit on a date!
He lightly slaps the Intense Title around the Anglo Luchador’s waist with the back of his hand, moving his own belt onto his shoulder.
Rezin: Thanks for the rap, champ. Keep that lucha ish lookin’ libre for me, will ya?
With his chest puffed out to an almost absurd degree, the Five Star Champion moves along with his head held up a bit higher. Before following, Daymon salutes the Intense Champion with his cane.
Rocko Daymon: My thanks, old friend. Good to see you are well.
TAL: Thanks. Empire Boyz stick together. Keep it a buck.
Rocko grunts and nods once before shuffling on after Rezin. Simon also walks off assuming the interview is over.
TAL: Well, I guess I’m all alone now. Nick, Rich, back to you!
The camera cuts back to the broadcast desk.
Richard Parker: The nerve of him! Doing Simon’s job for him!
Nick Stuart: Well, it wasn’t like Simon was in the frame anymore. But enough about that, we have some action to get to! Pete Whealdon! Cancer Jiles! Next!
PETE WHEALDON vs. CANCER JILES
As feedback careens into pounding drums and a maximalist wall of guitars, synthesizers, bass, and vocals, the lights begin to oscillate in white seemingly random number pattern generations.
Pete Whealdon steps into the chaos of sound and light. A cigarette hanging gamely from his lips, his hands tucked into the pockets of his jacket, zipped up over his bare chest.
He stands still as the chorus of “All Futures” By The Armed is screamed out by gang vocals..
With that, he makes his way down to the ring, removing his hands only to ash his cigarette.
Vince Howard: This match is scheduled for one fall! Making his way down the aisle, from Los Angeles California, standing five foot eleven and weighing in at two hundred and twenty seven pounds…PEEEEETEEEE WHEEEALDOOOOON!
Reaching the ringside area, the next chorus explodes out of the growing chaos again. Whealdon puts his cigarette out on the sole of his boot and slides under the bottom rope, before moving to his corner, and replacing his hands in jacket pockets.
Nick Stuart: Pete Whealdon is here and looks to be ready for a fight.
The lights slowly draw to a dim.
A COOL, unnerving chill moves through the air.
The PRIMEates occupying the MGM Grand Garden go upright, eager to uproariously pound on their chests.
Then, Screamin’ Jay takes it away.
I’m the one your mama warned you about
When you see me, I will leave you no doubt
I’m the coolest man that ever walked this earth
I’ve been the coolest since the day of my birth
Usually there’s a series of pyros here but since this contest is a slap in the face dark match, Jiles gets a sparkler and a couple of bang snaps instead.
I am the cool
Out from the back steps Cancer Jiles, only one of his name.
Richard Parker: HAHAHAHA! This loser looks like he’s lost.
Nick Stuart: My guess is since it’s not the MAIN EVENT he’s acting like he doesn’t know where to go.
Richard Parker: As if it weren’t possible for me to hate him even more! That’s exactly what’s going on here!
The COOLYMPIAN lumbers down the aisle like he’s Frankenstien’s creation. He breaks character to argue with a MESSIAH sleeper incel sitting ringside, and then quickly picks back up with his bit.
Vince Howard: And his opponent, from Philadelphia, PA, standing six foot one and weighing in at two hundred and eighteen pounds…CAAAAANCEEEER JIIIIIILES!
Before sliding under the bottom rope, Jiles stumbles towards the ringside camera and in his best caveman voice says, “ME TIMO! ME LIKEY THE FACE PAINTY CHIPS. YUM-YUM! WHICH WAY MAIN EVENT IS?”
Nick Stuart: One of these days he’ll get what’s coming to him. And not for nothing, but Timo would know which way the MAIN EVENT is. He is officiating it later tonight.
Richard Parker: Timo should throw that shitfuck out of his jet. While it is moving. From ten thousand feet in the sky. With a cinder block tied around Jiles’ waist just to be sure.
Jiles ditches his shades, mocks Timo a bit more, and awaits the bell from the comforts of his corner.
Timo checks both competitors and we are underway.
Jiles circles around, like Apollo Creed, and Whealdon just looks to be confused. After several long moments of showboating, Timo finally looks at them both and motions for them to get the match underway.
Whealdon moves to lock up and Jiles sidesteps him while yelling like a matador and continues to dance around the ring.
Nick Stuart: Timo is already side-eyeing Jiles for his walk out, I can’t imagine he is going to take much of this pageantry.
Richard Parker: He reminds me of one of those stupid yappy dogs that is dancing around the kitchen when they have to take a leak.
Whealdon puts his hands on his hips and shakes his head. He steps forward again and Jiles lunges forward peppering Pete with a short jab. Timo motions for the closed fist, but Jiles does it again anyway. Jiles steps in to pop Whealdon again, and he tries to guard his face. This prompts Cancer to step into a mighty THWACK to the shin! Pete grabs his leg and hops around in pain.
Nick Stuart: A deft maneuver, albeit pretty shoddy in the morals department.
Cancer’s had enough and steps forward with a resounding superkick straight into the mush of Pete. Whealdon drops to the canvas like a sack of week old potatoes and Cancer is there for the pin immediately.
Timo drops to the mat and just as he begins to start for the count, Cancer pops up. Timo stands up slowly, not knowing what to make of the showboating. Cancer quickly drops to the mat again and hooks Whealdon’s leg. Timo moves into position on the mat and goes for the count once again, only to have Jiles roll off and sit up again!
Nick Stuart: What on earth is he doing? Nobody wants to see this kind of poor sportsmanship!
Richard Parker: Just pin the guy and get it over with! I have a VHS of Matlock in the back with more intrigue than this!
Timo glares at Cancer and as he is about to stand up, Cancer dives back in for the cover.
Timo drops to the mat and manages to count a ONE! Before Cancer pulls Whealdon’s shoulders up and then pins him again.
Pull up, repeat.
Roll off and stand, prompting Timo to sit up on his haunches and put his hands on his hips. His face paint is scrunched into a definite growl. Cancer fakes dropping for the pin and Timo, anticipating, dives into position from his seat, and slaps the mat without Jiles having actually pinned Whealdon!
Nick Stuart: Cancer has managed to trick the Senior Officiant and he is quite happy with himself!
Richard Parker: Jon Rhine needs to write a Rumor Mills about Cancer getting beaten by a pack of angry lowland gorillas live on a pay per view. Imagine the buy rates we could get for that.
Timo stands up and waves off the count profusely, obviously embarrassed that he miscounted in front of a live crowd. Jiles is, for all the world, laughing in the corner while Whealdon begins to stir again. Jiles is slapping his hand mimicking a counting referee while Pete gets back to his feet slowly.
Cancer stares at Timo and without breaking eye contact, superkicks Pete once again and dives to the mat for the cover.
Cancer Jiles: (yelling) Count it, Crumb!
Timo drops once more and slaps the mat.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: The winner of this match…CANCER JILES!
Cancer slides out of the ring, retrieves his sunglasses from the corner, and makes his way up the ramp as Screamin’ Jay plays him out.
Nick Stuart: Well that was, thank the maker, short.
Richard Parker: And yet it still took entirely too long.
Cut to commercial.
COMMERCIAL: HOW PRESENTS DEAD OR ALIVE
MESSAGE TO THE MASS(ES)
Tony Gamble: I know what you’re thinking… Wow, it’s really him.
We open on a close up of Tony ‘The Grin’ Gamble, he is standing in front of a door and has the ever present cocky smirk upon his face as he speaks.
Tony Gamble: It is, it’s me… The man with so much stroke, Michael Phelps calls and asks me for tips. I’m kind of a big deal, and for good reason.
Obviously showered and changed since his match earlier tonight, the Permascar Superstar is wearing a black shirt with the words “Purch My Merch, Scaredy Cats!” in hot pink puffy paint lettering; obviously home made.
Tony Gamble: I single handedly won the Intense title without even being officially on the roster. Then I carried Petey to the best match in his career and boosted his confidence enough that he thought he could fight Cancer.
Gamble tries his best to stifle a laugh, but he fails miserably and damn near doubles over in laughter. He manages to compose himself enough to continue. There is a bit of murmuring heard off camera.
Tony Gamble: Let’s just say, I did the math and that guy isn’t getting a ribbon anytime soon. D minus for effort though.
Tony Gamble: But tonight… Tonight I stepped into the ring with the future of this company and while it is bright, I really felt like it was a sixty watt compared to my one hundred. Not his fault of course, I just naturally outshine anyone I step into the ring with… It’s a gift and a curse that I need to live with.
He pauses for a second, as if contemplating the meaning of life. Then again, he might just have gas.
Tony Gamble: I want to thank you all personally for coming out tonight. I know that it is because of you fine people that slave away at a minimum wage job to scrape together just enough money to buy a ticket to come worship the ground I walk on, praying for an opportunity such as this to give you a brief moment to maybe brush your hand against my clothing and give your life meaning; that wakes me up in the morning and makes me say hey, they’re damn lucky to have me back.
That was definitely a mouthful, and he clearly looks slightly out of breath after that marathon of a sentence. But Tony is a fighter, and he fights for the people. More importantly the five people we find lined up across from him as he speaks.
Kid in crowd: I just need to pee.
Except that kid, screw that kid.
Tony Gamble: As do most of my opponents when they find out they’re facing me, you should feel proud to be mentioned amongst such great names as Morty Kay and Larry Tact. Although I thought I noticed his Depends sticking out from under his singlet so I’m not entirely sure that’s on me.
We are unfortunately unable to pinpoint who the next voice that speaks out from the small crowd waiting in line to use the restroom belongs to, so we’re just going to call him number 2… Because… Well…
#2: I need to do more than pee.
Tony Gamble: Bunch of ungrateful Luchies in the crowd. Well, you all can forget about any autographs, you don’t even deserve the spittle that comes out of my mouth when I speak!
Tony storms off in a huff, while the crowd quickly migrates into the door Tony was standing in front of.
DOC MARTENS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DIRTY
The camera cuts backstage to the middle of a conversation.
“But it’s on the DL for now. Just taking it slow.”
We see Jonathan Rhine sitting on a crate in the backstage hallway. Standing next to him is PRIME Tag Team Champion King Blueberry. And yes, he does have a mask on his face, but nothing can hide the enormous grin on his face.
King Blueberry: Slow is good. Sometimes fast is good. Really it all depends on the mood, and what the situation calls for.
He is also very amused at his own joke, as the words fall out in gasps between laughter.
King Blueberry: Want me to go on? Really “hammer” this one home?
Jonathan Rhine had spent the past few months at odd with the masked man, culminating in a match that some are calling the best tag team match of all time. They had been enemies before finally putting their troubles behind them.
But in this moment, Jon’s face suggests maybe he wishes they were still enemies.
Jonathan Rhine: No.
He sees the camera out of the corner of his eye and scratches the back of his neck.
Jonathan Rhine: Uh…anyway. Ready for the big defense tonight?
King Blueberry: Ready as we can be, I guess. I know that Justine’s determined to show everyone that our match wasn’t some fluke or one-time thing; that she really belongs here. And I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that things go down the way she hopes they do, but you and I were in the ring with those guys before, so you know what they’re like. Hell, I had to tase one of them.
There’s a part left unsaid, “Even if he wasn’t the person I was aiming for.” Best not to tear at wounds that might still be healing.
King Blueberry: Been a long time since I’ve been in this position, bud. Like, a LONG time. Can’t fuck it up now.
Jonathan Rhine: You’re damn right. Got to make the most of the opportunities we get. Like when I get Bathory next ReVival.
He raises his eyebrows, then stands up.
Jonathan Rhine: That reminds me.
Rhine begins to jog around King Blueberry, raising his hands in the air.
King Blueberry: Usually people just say, “I told you so.” But I think this is the first time someone has taken an actual victory lap. I could take one of my own, I guess, but since I left the hardware back in the locker room – I think when I’m not around, Cal makes the belts kiss – I’ll just say, “Scoreboard.”
Jon stops his lap and sits down, the smile still on his face.
Jonathan Rhine: Like I give a shit about that. Past’s in the past. Too many good things happening now.
Maybe for one member of Fighting For Nora. But as the splintering of a table down the hallway suggests, the other member is not experiencing too many good things.
Paxton Ray looks down at the table he just damaged, then looks up at Rhine and Blueberry. Jon’s smile immediately dissipates.
Jonathan Rhine: What’s wrong, Pax?
Ray points down at his shoe, which has two yellow specks on it.
Paxton Ray: Bandits.
King Blueberry: Feel like now would be a perfect time to remind the room that while I may have spent some time with Bobby, I am not now nor have I ever been a part of that crew. Just sayin’.
Jonathan Rhine: At least you didn’t get completely egged this time?
Paxton’s expression doesn’t change.
Paxton Ray: We gotta do somethin’ bout these assholes.
Jonathan Rhine: I’ll ask Lindsay to give us a match.
Paxton stares at both men for a moment, then nods.
Paxton Ray: Good.
He looks down at his shoe again.
Paxton Ray: I gotta go clean these before my match.
He walks away and the two former SCCW Champions look at each other.
King Blueberry: Real talk? It is so nice to know he’s pissed at someone else for a change.
Jonathan Rhine: You said it. Don’t want those fists coming for my face any time soon.
THE SWEETNESS OF RECONCILIATION
We find ourselves backstage in the arena, where a very meat-swole GREAT SCOTT is standing at catering alongside GREAT BEAR. They are both snacking on some vegetables at the giant table full of food, probably because they have eaten so much meat in the last week that they are both incapable of pooping right now.
Even in the woods.
And that’s where bears like to poop.
GREAT SCOTT: MAN I FUCKING LOVE CELERY. IT IS MY FAVORITE PART OF ORDERING CHICKEN WINGS BESIDES THE CHICKEN WINGS AND THE BLEU CHEESE. I HOPE I AM PRONOUNCING THAT CORRECTLY GREAT BEAR I DON’T SPEAK FRENCH AND—
Off camera, a throat gets cleared to get SCOTT’s attention… until it escalates into a fit of obnoxious hacking and coughing. The shot pans over to reveal the Five Star Champion Rezin, laboriously wheezing as he pounds his chest and tries to regain his breath.
Rezin: Damb, I gotta switch up my papers… uhh, HEY DUDE! How’s it goin’?
Immediately, GREAT SCOTT takes up a defensive position, putting his celery-holding fists in front of him and getting ready for a fight or a ninja camel spit attack. Rezin stifles a laugh, putting his hands up to show he’s here in good faith.
Rezin: RELAX, man! I ain’t here to start nothin’, I just uhhh…
He scratches the back of his hobo mane, unsure of how to express himself at this moment.
Rezin: I dunno, I’m recognizin’ that lately I’ve had a lotta these… “angry outbursts”, I guess you could call ‘em. And I guess maybe I’ve done some meditatin’ on how much actions affect others, and I kinda realize I feel guilty for some of that behavior, so I figured… well…
He reaches off camera, and seemingly out of thin air, his hands find a basketball-sized clay pot. He holds it out to SCOTT as an offering.
SCOTT sneers into the pot. Inside, it’s filled with an amber-colored viscous liquid.
GREAT SCOTT: DID YOU SPIT IN THIS BECAUSE I SWEAR TO YAHWEH GOD.
Rezin: …no, it’s not a spittoon; it’s a pot of honey. For, ya know… GREAT BEAR. Been hearin’ about your struggles, so I figured I’d maybe help out and extend an olive branch, ya know? Or maybe a honey branch. Whatever. Is it a honey branch if there’s a beehive on it? Dude, ya wouldn’t believe how pissed off those bees were after I SMOKED ‘em out! But yeah, anyway, wanted to give this to ya, so there’s no hard feelings, or anything. Thought we really tore it up in there last show, and I was just wantin’ to say to you that you really earned my resp–
GREAT SCOTT: I CAN BUY HONEY FROM THE STORE BECAUSE I AM NOW A PWA MEGASTAR. DON’T WANT YOUR MUSTACHE CAMEL GOAT RESPECT REZIN I WANT ANOTHER SHOT AT THE STAR OF DAVID CHAMPIONSHIP.
The Goat Bastard scratches his head again, looking a bit more uncomfortable this time.
Rezin: Rematch. Right. Well… how can I put this? I don’t think I really have a lotta say in who’s next in line or anything like that, but I’m sure if you floated that idea by Troy, we could probably get you back in the rotation and–
In an act of sudden, unexpected aggression, GREAT SCOTT smashes the honey pot on the ground, clearly all worked up in the face of the man who defeated him at Revival 12.
GREAT SCOTT: YOU WILL SEE TONIGHT REZIN THAT I AM AN EVEN GREATER SCOTT NOW. I AM SCOTT TWO POINT OH AND MAYBE I WILL GO ASK LINDSAY TO ASK MELVIN TO GIVE ME A REMATCH BECAUSE I AM GOD’S CHAMPION. GOODBYE REZIN HAVE A GREAT DAY.
With a huff, GREAT SCOTT storms off from catering with GREAT BEAR in tow, vibing to low fi tunes on his sweet Beats by Dreadle headphones. Rezin is left scratching his head, staring down at a shattered pot of honey.
Rezin: Well damb, bro… I tried.
GREAT SCOTT vs. PAXTON RAY
“Piece by Piece.”
The bassline of Jonathan Rhine’s long-used entrance music hits the speakers. For years, The New Life has entered the ring to this music, and he has made an art form of coming out at the exact right time: the bassline eventually stops and is replaced with a scream, and during that scream Rhine would enter, spinning, to accept the roar of the crowd.
But this is not Jonathan Rhine’s match; this is Paxton Ray’s, and the Lafayette Bruiser walks out while the bassline is still rumbling, adjusting the tape on his wrists as he marches out. After a moment, Jonathan Rhine and Shweta Kallemullah emerge as well, a full second before the screams and pyro start. Rhine is smiling, but it’s an uneasy smile.
Nick Stuart: Welcome back to ReVival 13, where Paxton Ray is about to make his singles debut against GREAT SCOTT! This young man has quite the story, Richard.
Richard Parker: I let myself get jaded from time to time, but I can’t hate on a man who fights to help his daughter fight cancer, Nick. His big-eared friend still annoys me, though.
Vince Howard: Our next match is scheduled for one fall! First! From Lafayette, Louisiana and making his singles debut! Standing six feet, six inches tall and weighing in at two-hundred and thirty pounds…PAXTON! RAY!
Paxton Ray is not an entertainer. He walks to the ring and rolls under the ropes, then rolls his neck slowly as he waits for his opponent. Rhine slides under the ring ropes to whisper some encouragement into his ear, then slaps him on the shoulder and exits outside. The Cajun Competitor snarls as Strata fades out, giving way to…
I am a man at war! And I am fightin’ for!
All of the broken people, all of the people thrown overboard!
Papa Roach’s forced and mediocre lyrics burst into the arena, and out walks The World’s Greatest SCOTT, shaggy hair flowing majestically for the frenzying Garden Arena. Behind him? GREAT BEAR, of course! Beats by DREADLE headphones and all.
Vince Howard: And his opponent! From the Greater Metro Area of Great Falls, Minnesota! Standing six feet, one inch and weighing in at two-hundred and seventy-six pounds…The World’s Greatest SCOTT…GREAATT! SCOTT!!!
Nick Stuart: GREAT SCOTT’s meteoric rise came down to Earth at ReVolution 12, failing to defeat the Goat Bastard for the Five Star Title.
Richard Parker: And we’re all better for it. Someone needed to put a stop to…whatever this is.
SCOTT rolls into the ring and makes the rounds, climbing each ring post to bask in the glory while Paxton nearly froths at the mouth with impatience GREAT BEAR grooves on the sidelines, where Jonathan Rhine and Shweta slowly shuffle their way to the opposite side of the ring. Referee Elvis Nixon checks on both competitors, then calls for the bell.
Paxton wastes little time, unleashed from the corner at the sound of the bell, immediately assaulting SCOTT with a flurry of fists and backing him into a corner.
Nick Stuart: And Paxton Ray has no interest in waiting any longer! He wants to get things going now!
SCOTT covers up, avoiding the fists and elbows from Ray as best as possible. Paxton drives a knee into his abdomen, following with a forearm to the back of the head as SCOTT doubles over. He takes a grip of long, luscious hair, turning back toward center to leap and smash the GREAT one to the mat with a bulldog.
Nick Stuart: Paxton keeping the pressure on! SCOTT rolls to his back, Ray mounting him and bringing down those hard fists! SCOTT covers up, Ray having trouble getting through with elbows.
Paxton releases the mount, standing and grabbing SCOTT by the foot, delivering a couple hard stomps to the inner thigh, following with an elbow drop. However, no pin attempt to be had as Ray stands and quickly delivers another, and then a third elbow drop to cap it off.
Nick Stuart: The brawler from Louisiana showcasing a relentless approach, it reminds me of a young Wade Elliott in his hayday.
Richard Parker: And it better stay that way. SCOTT has a huge weight advantage over Tall and Skinny, here.
Wanting to bring the action back to his feet, Ray pulls SCOTT from the mat and shoves his dense body against the ropes. SCOTT rebounds, ducking under a big boot attempt from Paxton. Off the ropes again, but Ray is ready, swinging hard and connecting with a big clothesline. SCOTT takes the bump, and Paxton follows with a splash over the abdomen, staying put for what seems like more of an obligatory pin than an attempt at the win. Nixon drops for the count.
GREAT SCOTT gets a shoulder up with little issue, but Paxton is just fine with keeping the punishment going, standing to lay a few boots to SCOTT’s rib cage. SCOTT rolls away, and Paxton allows him to do so, yelling for the GREAT One to stand up.
Nick Stuart: GREAT SCOTT to his feet, Paxton is on him! Nixon telling Ray to watch it with the fists, and SCOTT’s able to get low and wrap Ray up around the waist! He pivots around behind his opponent, Paxton throwing some sharp elbows…BELLY TO BACK SUPLEX FROM GREAT SCOTT!!
Richard Parker: See what I mean? He’ll snag Ray like a twig with too many of those.
Ray’s shoulders crash into the mat, and SCOTT takes a moment of relief from the fists of Nora’s father. Ray, not exactly pleased with the maneuver, clambers to his feet, but SCOTT is up and stalking over, dropping to a knee and squeezing Paxton in a headlock. Ray fights back while SCOTT fights for control, jerking him around, keeping the hold as they stand upright. SCOTT takes hold of a wrist, twisting into a hammerlock and throwing an arm over Paxton’s neck, then sends him over with another strong suplex.
Nick Stuart: SCOTT keeps the momentum going with a hammerlock suplex!
Richard Parker: Someone tell him that suplexes are Youngblood’s thing.
GREAT SCOTT kips up to his feet, adrenaline surging. Paxton scowls while holding his back, using the ropes for assistance to get upright. SCOTT meets him at the ropes, pushing the Cajun Contender off and whipping him across the mat. Paxton’s long legs stride into the opposite ropes for the rebound. SCOTT leaps into a cross-body block, flattening Ray and holding for the pin.
Nick Stuart: No quit in Paxton Ray!
Paxton violently punches him arm off the mat. SCOTT flips his hair back, slight signs of frustration showing. He stands, bringing Ray with him, clobbering him with a couple hard forearms. Paxton fights hard, but SCOTT gives him a kick to the gut, then turns to execute the WHAMSTUNNER portion that totally wasn’t clearly the next piece of the puzzle.
Nick Stuart: GREAT SCOTT looking for the GREAT SCOTT STUNNER….Paxton pushes him away! SCOTT stumbles forward, catching his balance, turning around…OHH MY! HARD right hand from Paxton Ray!
Paxton absolutely knocks the slobber from SCOTT’s mouth with a stiff right hand. SCOTT holds his jaw as he falls into the ropes, and Ray is on him quickly delivering a series of rights and lefts.
Nick Stuart: Paxton Ray showing off some absolute hammers for hands!
Richard Parker: SCOTT better check for a couple cracked teeth! What a punch!
A knee to the gut drops SCOTT, and Ray’s on top of him, relentless with lefts. SCOTT takes hold of the bottom rope, but Paxton is seeing red, raining down knuckle sandwiches. Elvis Nixon is getting impatient, and starts the count on Paxton. Finally Ray relents, showing his own frustration and rage with some choice words toward the referee.
Nick Stuart: Paxton’s starting to get a little out of control here, and just in time, his partner is on the apron to keep him from going overboard!
Indeed, Jonathan Rhine has hopped on the apron, hollering at Paxton to calm down and stay focused. Ironically, Ray pulls his gaze away from the downed SCOTT, taking a couple steps toward Rhine and doing his best to hear his partner’s words.
Nick Stuart: Rhine trying to provide a little balance for Paxton here…
Richard Parker: Don’t take your eyes off the prize, though! SCOTT is up!
GREAT SCOTT has pulled himself upward, and seeing Ray with his back turned rushes forward, wrapping his big arms around Paxton’s abdomen. With a mighty heave he sends Ray over, a ring-shaking smash into the mat.
Nick Stuart: GERMAN SUPLEX FROM SCOTT! HUGE ERROR FROM PAXTON! SCOTT holds on…ANOTHER ONE!
Richard Parker: Rookie mistake from Paxton Ray. This is YOUR match, fight your own fight, young man! Don’t let Rhine get in the way!
Meanwhile, Paxton fends off a third suplex with some elbows, not to SCOTT’s liking. Instead he takes a wrist and twists it around Paxton’s back. Ray twists to counter, SCOTT holds on, locking the forearm.
Nick Stuart: Paxton rolls to untwist his arm, SCOTT holds tight, another reversal, and another, both on their feet, SCOTT getting twisted up now, he let’s go…DISCUS ELBOW FROM PAXTON RAY!
SCOTT reels from the elbow strike. Paxton shakes out his aching arm, eyes glaring. SCOTT checks his lip for blood, seeing stars. Ray advances, pushing the GREAT One off the ropes and whipping him across. SCOTT rebounds, flying back. Ray let’s him go, allowing him to reposition to center ring and letting SCOTT rebound one more time. GREAT SCOTT careens toward Paxton, who times it perfectly and hoists his opponent into the air using the momentum.
Nick Stuart: Paxton ready to finish this! Looking for the Lafayette Lullaby! SCOTT in the air, Ray with the left ha…GOODNESS GRACIOUS! REVERSAL FROM GREAT SCOTT! FACE PLANT TO PAXTON RAY!!
Richard Parker: “Goodness gracious?” Is that what you just said?
You heard the man, Richard. Instead of taking a left uppercut from Ray, SCOTT has managed to turn his big chest over and plant Paxton’s face into the mat. The MGM rattles as the two competitors lie on the mat, catching their breath.
Nick Stuart: It’s anyone’s game! Paxton Ray just took a faceful of canvas! And SCOTT is in need of a reprieve!
Richard Parker: …really? “Goodness gracious?”
SCOTT is first to crawl his way to the ropes, using them to climb. Paxton gets to all fours, spitting and trying to uncross his eyes. GREAT SCOTT manages to slide to the corner, hands on the top ropes, head hanging as he catches his breath. Paxton to a knee now, rubbing his eyes with thumb and forefinger.
Nick Stuart: Both competitors looking to find their bearings! Rhine and Shweta are hollering for Paxton! GREAT BEAR roars for SCOTT!
GREAT SCOTT throws back his hair, takes one last breath, then turns back toward the middle of the ring, hunching down with hands on his knees.
And he gives Paxton a very….
(A very appropriate) RAAAAAHHHHHH!!
Nick Stuart: An ANGRY GLARE from GREAT SCOTT! Things are really heating up!
Richard Parker: …is that on his movelist?
Paxton returns the favor with a harsh glare of his own, and the two rush each other.
Richard Parker: Jesus Christ. It’s on his movelist.
Nick Stuart: It’s getting loud in here! SCOTT and Paxton rush forward, GREAT SCOTT shoots a leg out for GREAT SCOTT MUZIK!!!! BIG miss as Paxton ducks!!! They spin around, Ray with a big boot…SCOTT catches the foot, flinging it away and spinning Ray around!!
Richard Parker: I don’t think this is Paxton’s style…
Nick Stuart: SCOTT lunges forward with a long arm…Paxton ducks the lariat! Ray around SCOTT’s back, looking to lock in a sleeper hold…SCOTT heaves forward, throwing Paxton over his back. Ray has to release, but he stays on his feet!
Surprised by the series of ducks and reversals, Paxton is caught a little off guard, and SCOTT whips him HARD toward the ropes. Ray collects himself, however, and an impressive display of agility from the tall brawler, jumps and swings his legs through the top and second rope, spinning himself back into the ring. He maintains balance and momentum, and careens hard into a surprised GREAT SCOTT with a sharp shoulder tackle.
Nick Stuart: AND PAXTON RAY RESPONDS! DERAILING ANY MOMENTUM FROM GREAT SCOTT!!
Paxton, taking advantage, grabs SCOTT by the hair and pulls him to a knee. He drives his knuckles into GREAT SCOTT’s forehead once, twice, three times. He cocks back for a fourth, and…
Nick Stuart: OH you are KIDDING!
Richard Parker: Did I just see what I thought I saw?
Nick Stuart: GREAT SCOTT, in a show of frustration, has just dropped Paxton Ray with a low blow!
Paxton doubles over after SCOTT’s forearm finds home in his nethers. SCOTT breathes heavy, processing the moment as Ray does his best not to puke everywhere. And then, surprisingly….
…decides to give him another.
The PRIMEates are momentarily stunned, unable to believe that their beloved boy GREAT SCOTT would do such a thing. This does not last long, however.
Nick Stuart: What on EARTH…
Richard Parker: Well, I don’t think we saw THAT coming!
Nixon barks at the GREAT One, threatening disqualification as SCOTT stands. Jonathan Rhine and Shweta are furious, hollering at Nixon.
Nick Stuart: This is absurd! GREAT SCOTT, a man of the people! Resorting to a low blow…
Richard Parker: He found himself in a corner, and he reacted accordingly, Nick.
SCOTT walks toward the side of the ring where GREAT BEAR resides, beckoning him to the apron. GREAT BEAR obliges, and finds himself in a state of grizzly confusion. He can bear-ly put the pieces together. He’s fur from understanding the implications of GREAT SCOTT’s actions.
You can stop now.
Anyway, GREAT SCOTT reaches over the ropes and plucks the Beats by Dreadle headphones from GREAT BEAR’s head.
Nick Stuart: Oh no, come on, SCOTT.
Richard Parker: Yeah, c’mon! Those headphones are too sweet!
Headphones in hand, SCOTT walks back to Paxton, who is struggling to get a foot under him. SCOTT looks around the arena once, the MGM showing their disapproval. He looks over to GREAT BEAR, who continues to find his bear-ings.
Then he looks down to the Beats by Dreadle headphones.
Just before smashing them into Paxton Ray’s temple.
Nick Stuart: Oh this is ridiculous!!! GREAT SCOTT just bashed those headphones against Paxton’s skull!! You don’t come back from that, SCOTT!
Richard Parker: Oooooh, Paxton’s going to be digging plastic out of his skin for a while.
Plastic shards go flying all over the ring as Paxton falls over, a bit of blood trickling down the side of his face. GREAT SCOTT breathes heavy as the MGM Arena boos heavier and heavier. Elvis Nixon, naturally, calls for the bell.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Your winner, via disqualification…PAXTON RAY!
Vince Howard’s words ring hollow, and GREAT SCOTT turns away to roll out of the ring, meeting GREAT BEAR outside. A furious Jonathan Rhine makes a move to chase SCOTT down, but a deep bellowing roar from GREAT BEAR makes him think twice. Instead, he and Shweta climb into the ring to check on Paxton, teeth grit like vices with rage.
Nick Stuart: What a disappointing end to what was an exciting debut for Paxton Ray. He picks up the win, but it rings hollow after the actions of GREAT SCOTT.
Richard Parker: Definitely a surprise, Nick! I didn’t think he had it in him!
“Piece by Piece” hits the speakers, joined by the Garden faithful to chase GREAT SCOTT and GREAT BEAR up the ramp. In the ring, Shweta checks on the cut on Paxton’s temple, while Rhine holds him back and tries to calm him down.
Nick Stuart: We’re heading to commercial, but stick around! “Beautiful” Bobby Dean squares up with “Event Horizon” Hayes Hanlon next!
Richard Parker: Right here on the ACE Network!
COMMERCIAL: SHOOT PROJECT
ReVival comes back from commercial to find an angry and eggy Melvin Beauregard walking through the halls. He had come to ReVival for one thing and one thing only, and that thing was not to be bombarded by eggs thanks to a gift box meant for Paxton Ray.
Nonetheless, the PWA Liaison to PRIME tries to put on a happier face as he approaches an office door, rapping twice on the exterior before walking in ahead of the invitation.
Lindsay Troy looks at him as he walks in and can’t help but smirk at his appearance.
Lindsay Troy: Melvin. You look fried. Run afowl of something?
Melvin Beauregard: (frowning) That’s not funny.
Lindsay Troy: Actually, it is. And it’s not even a quarter of what you deserve.
Melvin stops in front of the Queen’s desk and plunks his yolky suit into one of her chairs. He adjusts his coat.
Melvin Beauregard: Well, too bad for you there’s nothing you can do about it. I’m sure you saw that clause in the PWA Contract that states no PWA wrestlers can touch or harm me at any time. I’m a very important person now and I can’t have the talent think they have the right to put their hands on me if something doesn’t go their way.
He smiles, snidely.
Melvin Beauregard: Wouldn’t you agree?
The stony glare Troy gives Melvin should turn him to cinders. His snide smile turns to one of glee as he continues.
Melvin Beauregard: Anyway, I didn’t only come here to taunt you. I have a request straight from the PWA Executives.
Lindsay Troy: (perturbed) Oh goody.
Melvin Beauregard: They, and I, would like you to give GREAT SCOTT a rematch for the Five Star Title at UltraViolence.
Troy continues to stare the stare of hundreds of owls at Melvin. She drums her fingers across the table.
Lindsay Troy: Why?
Melvin Beauregard: Well with GREAT SCOTT having a PWA contract, we wanted to make sure we got him a premier match on UltraViolence…
Lindsay Troy: Fine.
Melvin Beauregard: Fine?
Lindsay Troy: If it means you’ll get out of my fucking sight, fine. GREAT SCOTT / REZIN 2 at UV.
Melvin blinks, surprised he actually got his way. Lindsay’s scowl deepens.
Lindsay Troy: This is where you make with the getting out of my fucking sight.
The slimy salesman gets to his feet and rebuttons his jacket.
Melvin Beauregard: Be seeing you then.
Melvin struts out of the office, whistling a shitty little tune, as the scene goes elsewhere.
Backstage, in front of the PRIME Ultraviolence 2022 promotional banner. While it would look great with Brandon Youngblood on the left and either Cancer Jiles or Julian Bathory on the right, current uncertainty has prevented this and a blow up of the Universal Championship title belt itself in the forefront with markings that might make up the words ‘Who will be your MESSIAH?’ behind it certainly sells tickets and pay per view access.
In front of the banner, Angelica Brooks is waiting with her smartest business suit on her back and a microphone in her hand.
Angelica Brooks: We’re counting down the weeks to UltraViolence here in PRIME Wrestling, but we’re also counting down the minutes until undefeated PRIME Universal Champion Brandon Youngblood squares off against his top challenger, veteran wrestler Phil Atken! I’m currently standing with a man who knows both of these athletes fairly well…
Impulse steps into view, and the reaction from the fans can be heard from the arena itself. Impulse gives a small smile and nods his appreciation for their appreciation.
Angelica Brooks: You’ve famously wrestled the Champion in two of the best matches in PRIME since the revival started, and I know you’re familiar with Phil Atken from the other end of your career. What do you think their strategies will be tonight, and do you think Phil Atken is the one to climb the Tower of Babel?
Impulse: Seems to me their best strategies will be to play to their strengths. Champ has the height and weight advantage, the age advantage. I think his smartest play will be to try and end this one fast, fast, fast. On the other hand, I’ve never wrestled Phil but we have some of the same survival tales. You don’t get to be in your late fifties – jeez – in this sport without knowing what you’re doing. Phil’s gonna need to play it smart and keep him off balance, maybe drag this out as long as possible and try to tire the champ out before he can get his hands on him.
Angelica Brooks: That’s a unique take on this match. What sort of head space do you think they’re in right now?
Impulse: I wish I remembered who said it but someone on this roster previously – and accurately – referred to these two as the last two undefeated wrestlers in PRIME. They both have something to defend here, and for Atken it’ll be a validation of his entire career to this point, and for the Champ…
He stops talking and looks at Angie for a moment before continuing.
Impulse: I once described him as the perfect man to be the torch bearer as PRIME came back around, at least through the end of the beginning. Assuming I’m correct, which is always up for debate, now that his Unfinished Business© tour is over, he’s going to be desperate to prove that this isn’t the end of the beginning. Beyond that?
Impulse: Atken got himself distracted with the Anglo Luchador on social media this week, and while it was a fleeting encounter, you never know what’ll stick in someone’s head when they most need to focus. And the Champion? Still seems like I’m living rent free inside his head, particularly when you realize he feels the need to respond to every little thing I say.
Angelica Brooks: If we can focus on that for just a moment, you and Brandon Youngblood are two of the most well liked and well respected athletes in this company, but you just don’t seem to be able to resolve this thing between you. Is there a way to rebuild this respect?
Impulse: Maybe? I doubt it. It’s not a matter of professional competitiveness anymore. I can respect what the Champ has done in this company this year and in past years, and still look at his own attitudes and realize I don’t have any use for it. I’ve talked about this plenty and I don’t want to repeat myself ad nauseum. Professional respect is pretty straightforward to keep and maintain. Personal respect?
He seems like he’s struggling for just a second to find the words.
Impulse: The biggest sticking point seems to be my opinion that being in a company’s Hall of Fame does not – and should not – mean that respect is automatically owed to you. Look at my match at ReViVal 12. I don’t respect Nova because he’s a Hall of Famer in PRIME, I respect him because he’s never done anything to me to prove he doesn’t deserve it. If that’s above the Champ’s level, I don’t know what else to tell you.
Angelica Brooks: Impulse, thanks for being here with us today. We’re just a few seconds away from seeing former Five Star Champion Hayes Hanlon–
“Don’t worry, I won’t make you wait.”
From stage right steps in Hayes Hanlon, ring tights and boots on and shirt nowhere to be found. Angie shuffles over a bit, positioning between the Marathon Man and the Event Horizon.
Angelica Brooks: Timing is everything. Hayes, you’re stepping into the ring with “Beautiful” Bobby Dean in just a few mome…
Hayes Hanlon: Sorry Angie, I don’t wanna cut you off, but I only have a couple minutes and I think they’re reserved for this guy.
Hayes points a finger at Impulse, who gives a short glance, and nothing more.
Hayes Hanlon: (Gesturing to Impulse’s general existence, with mustache curling up one to one side quizzically.) Where does all this come from, Knox?
Impulse stares at him for a second.
Impulse: What are you even talking about?
Hayes Hanlon: Look, man. I know you won’t like hearing it from the rookie, but dude? You talk a lot about respect, but it usually has to do with earning yours. Isn’t that a little..backwards?
Impulse: Listen, Hayes. People get my respect, they have to earn my disrespect. And I’m focused on that because I’m me. I don’t really care who’s earned your respect or disrespect because I’m not you. But with the way you lionize certain people just for their longevity or accomplishments, it’s a little surprising that I didn’t make it onto that list. But I’ll be honest with you, Bambi…
The derisive name clearly causes a rise in Hanlon’s ire.
Impulse: Your respect, or lack thereof in my direction? Doesn’t really keep me up nights.
Hayes Hanlon: Ah, so I have a list now. Do me a favor, jog my memory about your accomplishments. You know, for my list.
Impulse: I’m not that guy, Bambi. I might have multiple title reigns on my resume, but what matters to me is the minutes in the ring. The opponents I’ve battled and the mark I’ve made all over the world. As a student of the game, I assumed that would be something that a wrestler like you would have already known.
Hayes Hanlon: All those minutes, and all those marks. And yet, none of them PRIME.
Impulse: When you can make an impact in more than one place… that’s when you’re the real deal. Open your eyes and drop the unquestioning hero worship, Bambi, before a bigger ass than me comes along and makes you pay for it.
Hayes Hanlon: PRIME is the “real deal,” buddy. It was the top of the food chain for a looong time while you were winning your Division III titles elsewhere, and I’m getting a little tired of you puffing out your 20-inch chest around here like it’s just another fed. As far as the “bigger ass” is concerned…
Hanlon looks Impulse up and down.
Hayes Hanlon: …then I guess that’d be almost the entire roster, huh?
The Event Horizon takes a break from the barb by smoothing out his mustache, then turns to Angelica Brooks.
Hayes Hanlon: I’ll catch you on the next one, Angie. I’ve got another egg to crack, and I won’t need help from MESSIAH to do it, either.
The former Five Star Champ gives The Marathon Man a half-assed two-finger salute before exiting the interview area.
Angelica Brooks: Well…
Impulse: Oh, that boy’s got a rude awakening coming down the road.
The Marathon Man exits in the opposite direction, and Angie gives an apprehensive look in both directions before we leave the area.
SHOW AND TELL
We open to a scene inside a public bus. A bus driver sits on the right side of our screen behind a black wheel. He smiles and nods as a young woman with white ear buds, ascends the steps and swipes her bus card. Her music is loud enough to be heard by the camera, but not loud enough to be distinguishable. The doors to the bus close and snap shut as the girl walks past an old man in the front seat. His blank eyes stare at a paperback in his hands. His epic white beard and a faded blue hat, frozen in time.
The bus hisses and hums to life as the seats creak and jostle around. We continue to zoom in, as the young woman grabs a silver pole and plops down in a hard plastic seat. The darkness outside the windows comes to life, as the bus accelerates and streetlights streak by the windows.
We continue to zoom forward, towards the back of the bus, until we frame a figure sitting in the back row. He’s hunched forward, elbows on his knees, and hands in a prayer pose, covering his mouth and nose. We get closer to him, revealing the cut of his jeans, the dirt on his shoes, the stubble over his mostly-shaven head. To his left, a brown paper lunch bag with the words “The Bull of the North” written on it. To his right, a yellow hard hat with a “Wrestling is Forever” sticker on the side.
The bus engine hums louder as he brings down his hands, revealing a purple bruise under his left eye, and a butterfly stitch over the bridge of his nose. His dark eyes pierce the camera, and all the noise fades to silence. We hear only heavy breathing.
Buster Gloves: Hell week. It’s the first week of practice. When you’re doing two-a-days, and every decision you make is scrutinized. It’s where you prove you belong on the team. I’m going through hell week, right now, in PRIME.
Buster Gloves: Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to prove that you belong. The stars of your company have been there before. They remember what it was like in their early days. They went through hell too. Anybody who comes in without taking their lumps won’t be accepted. So, you keep your chin up, you show you have thick skin, and you have bleed. If you don’t, you won’t last. You’ll either wash out or they will squeeze you out.
Buster Gloves: When I was young, my grandfather told me, that you let your hands do the talking. He said to me, ‘Buster, if your mouth is open, then your eyes are shut.’ When I got to PRIME, I planned on taking the high road, choosing my words carefully, and letting my ringwork speak for itself. But that garbage doesn’t work at PRIME. They want you to run your mouth and ‘GO HAM’ on the competition. You want to be nice, go home and play with your kids. You want to make a dollar, show up and be f*ck nasty. Maybe it’s time for me to ‘GO HAM’ until all the PRIME-ates start to show a little respect.
Buster Gloves: My first week in PRIME HAS been hell. It must have been real funny for the veterans in the locker room to watch a grown man p*ss away his shot on live TV, but it’s been a horrible experience for me. It’s been humiliating. Humbling. Makes me want to look for comfort at the bottom of a bottle.
Buster Gloves: The ‘experts’ say that it’s my fault. And maybe they’re right. It’s been said that I need to SHOW more and TELL less. It would be nice we all played by those same rules. When I was recruited, they told me stories about how great the brand is. About the amazing company culture. The benefits. The people. All that honey-trap nonsense they use to get you to take your pants off. If you’ve ever been tricked into taking a bad job, then you understand what I mean. To be over-promised and under-delivered. Maybe it’s time that PRIME starts SHOWING its new talent that this company has a high standard for professionalism and integrity and stopping TELLING its new hires that everything is sunshine and lollipops.
Buster Gloves: All I wanted in my first match was a fair shot to wrestle in front of a crowd. I wasn’t given that. I was set up to fail. Mr. Kjedelig was given a full introduction and a video package prior to the match. He had marketing behind him. Promotional content. Logo’s, merchandise, a production team. I wasn’t even given a match graphic. Just a create-a-wrestler silhouette over a PRIME logo. It’s one thing to have people ask, ‘Who the hell is that?’ It’s another thing to tell people ‘Don’t worry about this guy. He’s nobody.” I’m 34 years old. I’m not an over-the-hill loser. I’m in MY prime. And I’m being treated like a rookie, fresh out of college, working his first job. That’s not who I am.
Buster Gloves: So, what kind of company is PRIME, really? The people I’ve met so far are cheaters. They fight dirty. They have no respect for the tradition of wrestling. They jump you backstage. They kick you in the face. They break your nose. Just for being here. Even the geeks at the announce desk throw shade on you. Some idiot writes on a piece of paper that I’m 100 lbs lighter than I really am, these guys believe it and they call the match like I’m a 14-year-old boy that just touched my first boob. I’m 250 lbs of corn-fed bovine muscle. A sexual tyrannosaurus. And I’m madder than a wet hornet about all of it.
Buster Gloves: This company, which was sold to me as a hall of champions, is a lie. Somebody set out to make an example out of me. The combined effort of a dozen men, women, and staff provoked me by insulting my deceased wife, cheated me in a pure wrestling match, injured me backstage, and applauded themselves as they vigorously beat each other off for doing it. I’m supposed to be one of the good guys. A real one. But leading by example, spitting out catchphrases, and moving merchandise ain’t gonna work this time. That’s over now. No more Mr. Niceguy. People will provoke you until they bring out the ugly in you, then they play victim when you bring hell to their front door.
Buster Gloves: I packed a lunch. I brought my hard hat. I’m ready to put in work with a purpose. I’m gonna burn this entire house of lies to the g*ddamn ground.
After Impulse and Hayes Hanlon left Angelica Brooks, but before we return to the ring to see Hanlon take on Bobby Dean, Impulse walks backstage, shaking his head.
Impulse: Man that kid’s got a lot to learn.
The Marathon Man rounds a corner and stops in his tracks. Ahead of him, Nova sits on a stool next to a nacho vending stand. Nova is noshing a tray of nachos but stops when he meets eyes with Knox. Impulse pauses for a moment, then approaches.
Impulse: No getting around it…hey, man.
Nova grins and nods before holding up a tortilla chip soaked in nacho cheese.
Nova: Nachos are the best. And it’s not really a secret or anything, we know why. They plug in the nacho cheese to the dispenser, then pour in all the juice from a giant jar of jalapenos, and it adds just the slightest kick that brings everything together.
The Risen Star lights a cigarette and turns back to the vendor.
Nova: Am I wrong?
The vendor nods bashfully, not expecting to feature in this exchange. Nova shrugs, clearly satisfied in the vindication.
Impulse: Nah, you’re not wrong on that. Listen, sir – I don’t like how our match ended. LT won’t toss the result like I asked her to… Not sure where to take that from here.
Nova nods slowly, taking another drag.
Nova: Goes without saying that it isn’t how I would’ve chosen it.
Impulse: I know. I know. I just…
He takes a deep breath, then suddenly throws up his arms.
Impulse: Fourteen years since the first time we were on the bill together and finally we get the chance to square off. More as equals than we would’ve been back in the day, a legend and ak id. We get the opportunity, we put it all on the line, and someone else decides to ruin it.
Knox turns away, shaking his head, then looks back to Nova.
Impulse: Dude, I just really wanted this.
He grins in spite of himself.
Impulse: And I felt like I had it.
Nova takes a drag and grins in return.
Nova: Yeah, I bet you did.
The Risen Star snuffs his cigarette in his container of highly-lauded nachos and hops off his stool, placing a hand on the Marathon Man’s shoulder. Impulse appears taken aback as Nova stares him in the eyes.
Nova: We were robbed at the end there, no question. They’re already coming for me.
Knox’s eyes widen.
Impulse: I’m not sure I…
Nova leans in.
Nova: They’re already coming for me. But eventually they’ll come for you. It doesn’t end here.
Knox nods and slowly removes Nova’s hand from his shoulder.
Impulse: Right. I get that. But like any other ‘they’ – they’ll eventually collapse under their own hubris. You’re better than them and you’ll show it in the end.
He turns to leave, and again feels the grip of Nova’s hand on his shoulder. Knox turns around, and Nova’s eyes are still locked on his.
Nova: It doesn’t end here, Randall. And if you ever want anything to end on the merits again, there may come a time when you need to stand on it.
Knox shrugs off Nova’s grip.
Impulse: Alright, man, alright. Calm down. Things will get sorted.
He puts his own hand on the Risen Star’s shoulder and gives him an affirming nod.
Impulse: Good to connect up. I’m glad we had a chance to talk.
Knox walks off and Nova stares after him for a moment.
Then he resumes his seat at the nacho stand, lighting another cigarette and turning to his would-be server.
Nova: I know I’m preaching to the choir, but nachos really are the best stadium venue snack.
The nacho vendor grins in response, and they exchange a high-five.
BOBBY DEAN vs. HAYES HANLON
Nick Stuart: Up next is Hayes Hanlon against yet another eGG Bandit. Two matches in a row for the Event Horizon.
Richard Parker: Hopefully Hayes has all of his immunization shots. Someone said backstage that Bob’s third chin has a cold sore.
We Came as Romans
White flash bulbs? Check. Encroaching black hole shaking the screen on the PRIME*View? Check. Bellowing fans in the MGM Grand Garden Arena? Check.
Silhouette of one magnificently muscled frame against the wall of white light?
Nick Stuart: And the show! Goes! On!
The Event Horizon emerges as the white light fades out, holding the pose of one hand reaching to the sky, eyes closed, breathing in deep through his nose. He snaps out of it, making his way to the ring as the music slows.
Vince Howard: Our next match of the evening is scheduled for one fall! First to the ring, from West Linn, Oregon! He stands six feet, three inches tall and weighs in at two-hundred and sixty-one pounds…The Event Horizon…HAYES!! HANLOONNN!!!
Nick Stuart: Young Hanlon returns to the ring after a milestone comeback at ReVival 11. After losing his Five Star Title to Rezin at Great American Nightmare, Hayes found himself against Cancer Jiles in the main event, where he took a hellacious beating from the COOLympian, leaving him with a fractured hand.
Richard Parker: Jiles did a number on him, yes, but you know what happened next, Nick? Bambi SCRAMBLED. THAT. EGG! What a moment in PRIME!
Nick Stuart: And tonight, here at ReVival 13, the Event Horizon’s hand looks to be cleared for action and he’s back for seconds against “Beautiful” Bobby Dean.
Hayes soaks it in as he steps through the ropes, ascending the second rope of the far turnbuckle, leaning back over the post with chest pointed to the sky per usual as the chorus strikes. As the music fades and the crowd relaxes, Hayes waits patiently in his corner, rubbing his “Bobby Dean Belly” as he stares up the ramp.
“YOU’RE THE BEST” by Joe Esposito hits. Bobby Dean, The Man From Honalee, in all of his baby blue glory, strides out from behind the curtain. The crowd is warm to receive him.
Richard Parker: I wonder how many times Bobby Dean will have to stop before finally getting down to the ring?
Nick Stuart: That depends. What if he has someone talking him up on his way down?
On cue, Cancer Jiles, dressed down in street clothes, unexpectedly pops out from Bob’s shadow.
Richard Parker: Not this worm! He’s got no business being out here!
The Bandit duo heads down to the ring, only stopping twice. Once for Bobby to catch his breath, and a second time for Jiles to belittle the same MESSIAH incel from before.
Vince Howard: And his opponent… hailing from a town called Honalee. Weighing three hundred sixty nine pounds, and standing six feet zero inches tall. Representing the eGG Bandits, BEAUUUUUTIFULLLLLL BOBBY DEAN!!!!!!
The two reach ringside, and after some presumably encouraging words for his friend’s ear, a flurry of guaranteed to be vile insults towards an unimpressed Homerun Hanlon, and a stern admonishment from junior referee Ashley Barlow, Jiles still doesn’t leave ringside.
Richard Parker: What the?
Nick Stuart: Don’t look, don’t look. He’s coming this way.
Jiles grabs a chair and approaches the announce team. Instead of putting Dirty Dick in the ground, he plops down next to him, grabs a headset, and joins the broadcast.
Cancer Jiles: Dick.
Richard Parker: You’ve got to be kidding me?! Someone in the back tell Lindz to get out here and deal with this.
Cancer Jiles: (laughing) Good luck. Mom loves us.
Bobby takes the steps up and slowly enters the ring. He effortlessly removes his silk robe, all the while sillily laughing at Hayes. Hayes, who isn’t too fond of what is happening outside the ring, pleads his case to Barlow.
Cancer Jiles: What a crumb. Just ring the bell already! Tell her, Dick.
Richard Parker: I will do no such thing.
After some posturing, Jiles assures all parties he will keep seated throughout the contest. Scouts honor, hand on the Bible type of stuff. His nose is also 15 inches long.
Richard Parker: WAIT! She’s not going to allow this! She can’t. THIS CAN NOT STAND!
Bobby and Hayes get a quick rundown of the rules. During which Bob has an awkward smile on his face, and his index finger twirling inside his belly button. Hayes furrows his brow, and twists his mustache.
Barlow calls for the bell.
Nick Stuart: And we’re under way!
Cancer Jiles: Should be a good contest. Has that MAIN EVENT feel.
Hayes and Bobby lock horns. Bobby uses his massive weight advantage to wrangle the taller Hayes into the corner. He doesn’t necessarily attack The Event Horizon, but he does try to smother him like a cigarette in an ashtray.
Cancer Jiles: I said has that MAIN EVENT feel.
The Beaute leans in, really leveraging his weight. He then sneaks in an elbow to Hayes sternum. The move robs both men of their breath.
Cancer Jiles: I SAID HAS THAT MAIN EVENT FEEL.
Nick Stuart: Say, speaking of the MAIN EVENT, and seeing how you’ll face the winner at UltraViolence, who do you think will prevail later tonight? Youngblood or Atken?
Cancer Jiles: You ribbing me, Nick?
Hayes manages to squirm under the top rope, causing Ashley Barlow to break the “rest” hold. Bobby takes one step back before sneakily jabbing him in the eye with his thumb. Barlow tells Bob if he does something like that again it’s over, but Bob is too busy giving Jiles a glowing thumbs up to care.
Cancer Jiles: Guess the tip worked out, didn’t it now, Nick? Go get ‘em, Bobby! For the Bandits!
Nick Stuart: Is that what you told him before the match?
Cancer Jiles: I told him if he loses he has to go back to High Octane with Doozer.
Nick Stuart: Care to elaborate any further on that comment?
Cancer Jiles: No.
Bobby grips up Hayes and plants him into the canvas with a scoop slam. He then bounces off the short side of the ring ropes and drops an elbow on his opponent’s chest. He quickly goes for a cover. That, or he lazily goes for a cover since he couldn’t get up and decided to just lay there instead.
Hayes kicks out on an early two. Bobby stammers to his feet, quicker than usual, and nonchalantly/accidentally stands on Hayes’ hand in the process. Hanlon screams out in horrific pain, and desperately tries to free himself and his hairline fracture from Bob’s tonnage.
Cancer Jiles: Homerun Hayes would have a better chance at getting his hand free if were trapped under my second cousin’s hammer. HA!
Richard Parker: YOU SHIT STAIN I’VE BEEN OFF AIR THIS ENTIRE TIME!
Cancer Jiles: Shame, ain’t it.
Richard Parker: And to think I wasted all that time talking about your last MAIN EVENT and congratulating you on your earlier dark match.
Bob notices what’s going on, and shifts all of his weight onto Hayes’ hand. Hanlon’s face starts to turn ghost white. Barlow bends down on a knee and asks if the former Five Star Champion has had enough.
Richard Parker: Not like this.
Cancer Jiles: Just like this. CRACK HIM, BOBBY!
Luckily for the former Five Star Champion, Bob loses his balance when trying to really zero in, and lifts his fat foot just long enough for Hayes to slide his hand out from underneath it.
Nick Stuart: I have a feeling that hand is going to be a problem later.
Famished, Bobby wipes the sweat from his forehead while Hayes rolls around on the mat in utter agony.
Cancer Jiles: Poor guy. Hopefully his hand is okay.
Richard Parker: Jerk off.
Cancer Jiles: What he does while wearing Youngblood’s singlet is none of my business.
Richard Parker: You really have zero shame?
Cancer Jiles: I’ve managed to hijack most of this match so far, so yeah, I guess you could say that.
Hayes gets to his feet just as Bob catches his breath. The two men go to lock up again, but this time Hayes ducks under. Bob turns around and eats a stiff, short clothesline that causes the Bandit to wobble backwards and wave his arms in the air to gain better footing. Hayes shakes the pain from his hand, bounces off the ropes, leaps, and delivers a shoulder block.
Nick Stuart: Momentum starting to switch! But with that hand being the way that it is, can Hanlon get the big man down?
Richard Parker: If he just waits a few more minutes Bob will probably fall over from diabetic shock so it’s just a matter of playing his cards right.
Bob stumbles back from the blow, but the ropes are there to keep him up. Hayes pops up to his feet, charges, and delivers a flying knee that lands square on Bob’s first chin. The momentum from the impactful move causes both men to be carried over the top rope and to the outside. Of course they both fall near the announce team. Barlow moves in to check on the wreckage and better position herself to prevent Jiles from interfering. It’s not like he’s coiled up, and ready to Termiblast should a timely arena wide blackout occur.
He is like that.
Richard Parker: You said you’d stay seated.
Nick Stuart: I don’t think he can hear you. Plus, do you feel that? It’s freezing all of a sudden, and I can taste salt in the air.
A quick replay of the move shows both men landing on the outside. Bob landed on his second roll, so while the knee was spot on the afterbirth wasn’t a complete direct hit. Hayes smacked the shit out of his hand on the landing, and upon closer inspection said hand is starting to noticeably swell.
Nick Stuart: That doesn’t look good.
Richard Parker: Looks like someone blew up a surgical glove and attached it to his wrist.
Hanlon gets to his feet, reaches out to grab Bob by the hair, but has to pull back when trying to grip since it’s his bad hand. Bob thrusts up like he farted, and lands a beautiful headbutt to the chin of the Event Horizon. Hanlon’s momentum puts him back inside the ring. Bob takes a small break on the outside to plead with a fan for a quick snack before he too finds his way back into the ring.
Nick Stuart: Sure would be something if Bobby didn’t need to rest like he does.
Cancer Jiles: Quit hating, Nick! And screw that fan! Loser! Yeah you! You selfish crumb! You’re lucky I can’t stand up or else!
Hanlon meets Dean in the center of the ring and throws a punch with his good hand, but then follows it up with a punch from his bad hand.
Not a good idea.
The pain makes Hayes go rigid.
Bobby, being that he’s been out there for a little while now and has had nothing to snack on, grabs Hayes by the arm, pulls him close, and clamps down on that bad hand of his.
With his mouth.
Hanlon screams out in pain yet again.
Barlow reaches the count of four before Bobby releases the clench.
Hayes falls to his knees, gingerly holding his wrist so as to not let his hand move. The camera zooms in and you can see the teeth imprint Bob left among the ghastly swelling.
Bob grabs Hanlon by the hair, pulls him upright, and lands a couple of stiff chops to his opponent’s chest. He then scoops him up and positions him for his famed Danshoku Driver.
Aka, the Deaner Weiner.
Cancer Jiles: Did you know that Doozer was using a broom to tickle Bob down there to get him ready for Hayes’ mustache?
Nick Stuart: That’s…
Richard Parker: Fitting.
Cancer Jiles: Say Dick, what’s the best part of Thanksgiving?
Richard Parker: Falling asleep early on the couch so I wouldn’t have to listen to you?
Cancer Jiles: I do suppose it would depend on the couch, you clever little crumb. Nick, do you care to answer?
Nick Stuart: The turkey?
Cancer Jiles: Wrong. It’s the stuffing.
With his free hand Bob grabs his tights and pulls them outwards. Hayes gets a look at the abyss he is heading towards and starts to wildly flail his legs in an effort to escape Bob’s grasp.
Cancer Jiles: Use your hand, Hayes. Push off of him.
A manic cackle booms from out of Jiles.
Richard Parker: Dear God no!
Nick Stuart: Oh my! Bobby Dean just stuffed Hayes Hanlon’s head in his wrestling tights!
Before Bob can spike Hayes, he releases his grasp and Hayes squiggles free.
Cancer Jiles: Don’t tell me he Best’d him!
When Hanlon reemerges from his trip into the unknown his eyes are wide open, and you can see the adrenaline coursing through his eyelids.
Even more strange than that?
In his mouth there’s an aqua sock. Yes. An aqua sock.
Richard Parker: Because stuffing his junk with regular socks to make his “shriveled penis” appear bigger just wouldn’t do.
Cancer Jiles: Don’t know that. It could have been lodged under his fupa and Hayes’ mustache tickled him in just the right spot.
Nick Stuart: What has this broadcast become?
Disgusted, The Event Horizon throws the aqua sock into the crowd, and some lucky fan just caught a personalized VD because of it.
Nick Stuart: I can’t stop thinking if there’s another one hidden down there?
With his secret now out, Hanlon grabs the shell-shocked Bobby Dean and tries to wrap his arms around his massive waist. However, he has to interlock his hands to do so and that’s just not happening.
Nick Stuart: I knew that hand was going to be a factor!
Bob becomes undazzled from his loss of bulge, wraps up Hayes and plants him with a Belly to Belly suplex. Once again he either decides to hold the finish or is too lazy to continue with the assault.
Barlow drops down for a count.
Cancer Jiles: I guess she went to the same school Timo did.
Nick Stuart: Hayes got a shoulder up! He’s still in this one!
Bobby rolls off Hayes. He takes his time getting back to his feet. Hanlon is lying there, flat like a pancake. Bob takes the deepest of breaths, and hits the ropes. He then leaps, which is to say he was a few inches from off the ground, and goes to drop his big old stinky ass on Hayes’ face.
Nick Stuart: Hayes rolled out of the way!
Richard Parker: This must feel like deja vu for you, huh Jiles?
Bobby is down on his butt. Hayes is back up on his feet, waiting for his opponent to stir.
Richard Parker: Looks like we could be here for a while. Say, any chance you’ve changed your mind and have an opinion on tonight’s MEGA SPECTACULAR MAIN EVENT?
Cancer Jiles: …
Richard Parker: What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?
Bob is up. He’s wobbly, and grabbing at his backside as if he shit himself. Meanwhile, Hayes has been busy revving up the engine in the corner, and explodes forward with a massive clothesline that knocks Bobby back down. Hanlon doesn’t waste any time, and escorts Bobby back up to his feet.
Richard Parker: No shot he’s going to try and pop him up. Not with one hand!
Hayes somehow listens, or shows signs of maturity. Or his hand really hurts so instead of The Epoch…
Nick Stuart: Flash Point! FLASH POINT! Quick cover!
Richard Parker: See ya next time, Jiles, ta ta. Oh wait I’m getting my Bandits mixed up. Love ya, Bob! Better luck in High Octane!
Hanlon doesn’t waste a second. He hooks the leg as best he can, and Ashley Barlow drops down to make the count.
Cancer Jiles: Mother. Fucker.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: And here is your winner, The Event Horizon, Hayes Hanlon!!!!
Nick Stuart: What a match! And another win for Hayes Hanlon! He’s got them Bandits’ number it seems!
Richard Parker: You just hate to see it, don’t ya Cancer? Uh, Cancer?
The shot heads to break with both competitors laying in the ring. In the background you can see Jiles storming up the entrance ramp looking like he’s on the verge of another epic tantrum. In the reverse shot Richard Parker can be seen waving goodbye to him.
Cut to commercial.
COMMERCIAL: SANCTIONED VIOLENCE ORGANIZATION
GLORIOUS CHAINSAW METHOD
If you were thinking, “You know, we should go backstage, because I bet there’s some bullshit going on right now,” well buckle-up and brace for a bucket of disappointment. There’s no nonsense here. I mean, there probably should be considering the people we’re looking at right now, but at least one of them has the good sense to act like an adult. Also there’s not a whole lot of nonsense you can get up to when you’re just casually strolling through the labyrinthine corridors of the MGM Grand (now with 100% less minotaur… we think).
You already know who they are, because their official PRIME glamor shots are right there above the title. One of them is a blueberry man who recently had the kind of glow-up that makes you want to lick your monitor. The other is a gray blob of featureless clay in the rough shape of a human, but for the purpose of this exercise imagine instead that she’s a dark-haired woman reluctantly dressed like a raspberry.
They have belts. They are walking with those belts. They’re also surprisingly quiet. Honestly, given the people involved it’s not that interesting, at least not yet.
King Blueberry: I forgot what this feels like.
Look, they weren’t going to stay quiet forever.
King Blueberry: I haven’t done this walk – the whole “carry a title into an arena” thing – in what feels like forever.
Reina Raspberry: If it makes you feel any better, I haven’t done this ever, so I think I win.
King Blueberry: You worried?
Reina Raspberry: Nope. The hard part is done. Already dove into the pool head-first at Great American Nightmare and survived that. I’m not ready to let this go so soon. If Solid Gold Rock ‘n Roll think they’re taking this away from me, then they’ve got another thing comin’.
The Blueberry stops dead in his tracks.
King Blueberry: Did you… did you quote Judas Priest at me?
Reina Raspberry: Maybe. I’m serious though. If they think they’re winning tonight… (singing) Then it’s just part of their rock and roll fantasy.
King Blueberry: Oh god.
Reina Raspberry: (still singing) It’s all part of their rock and roll dream.
King Blueberry: Alright, settle down, Paul Rodgers. I’m the one who’s supposed to make the really bad jokes, remember?
Do you know what’s more nonsensical than two berries? Let’s try three.
Baron von Blackberry: Ah, the beautiful tones of old rock, dancing forth across the hallways of the MGM Grand! How my blackberry heart swells! Which is different from a black heart, by the way, because I think you need to see a doctor about black hearts. Hearts aren’t supposed to be black. Or blue. They’re definitely a reddish color. Unless it’s a blackberry heart, which is definitely not a vital organ anyone should have, really.
He pauses, as the camera has long panned over to bear witness to the self-proclaimed Benevolent God-King Emperor Sensei of the scenic, yet diabolical nation of Fruitsylvania. He dresses in his normal attire of a lab coat, no shirt, and black pants. He has two trinkets on the lapel of his lab coat. One is the Hello Kitty mascot. The other is a strawberry wearing a turban.
Baron von Blackberry: Anyway, hi.
King Blueberry: Oh, hey. Fancy meeting you here.
Reina Raspberry: (deadpan) Yes. Fancy meeting him. At the place we all go every two weeks. Because we work together.
King Blueberry: So, what brings you to our corner of the hallway?
What Reina Raspberry thinks is, “Probably because assuming we survive tonight’s defense against Barry and Trent, then our next defense is against Joe and Sid.”
What Reina Raspberry says is…
Reina Raspberry: Probably because assuming we survive tonight’s defense against Barry and Trent, then our next defense is against Joe and Sid.
Yes, those are the same thing.
King Blueberry: Right. That makes sense.
Baron von Blackberry: Indeed, it is so. I should tell you, in advance, that Joe and Sid will be witnessing the spectacle of your first championship defense. They will be bringing popcorn, apparently.
As Blackberry speaks, and unbeknownst to any of the berries, some activity is happening further down the hall. Joe Fontaine and Sid Phillips are sneaking across the hallway. Joe is doing the Looney Tunes style of tiptoeing, his hands out in front of him like a T-Rex. Sid is walking like a normal person, paying no heed to anything resembling stealth or caution. As quickly as they appear, they’re gone.
Baron von Blackberry: After all, it is only fair. You watched them take on the Bandits What Steal Eggs. Or eh-Goo-Goos.
Reina Raspberry: Wouldn’t expect anything less. And you’re right, fair is fair. I know that with Jared here there is, unfortunately, decades worth of film to watch, and study, and roast with a room full of friends over a couple beers. But I’m the new kid in class. Not much out there on me yet.
Her partner nods along as she speaks.
Reina Raspberry: I know tonight’s going to be hard…
Maybe a poor choice of words when talking about Solid Gold Rock ‘N Roll.
Reina Raspberry: …but I just got my first shot at all of this, so I’m not looking to go out quietly. And I know that Joe and Sid are young, and they’re hungry. I remember what that feels like, because I feel it a little bit myself right now. So if we get that far, I don’t expect that to be a walk in the park either.
King Blueberry: What flavor popcorn?
Reina Raspberry: (quiet) Oh for fuck’s sake.
Baron von Blackberry: You know, I never asked. It appears to be the normal, everyday type of popcorn, but… I am no popcorn aficionado. It could be some sort of diabolical popcorn that tastes of pure doom.
In the background, Joe and Sid walk past the corridor again. Joe is still walking like he’s the Pink Panther, and Sid is still walking like a normal person. Trailing behind them, though, are the Jimmy Bonafide Dancers. For what purpose, we don’t know.
Meanwhile, Blackberry shrugs.
Baron von Blackberry: This is important information, however. It should be researched for science.
As he says this, the last of the Dancers, Biff, manages to appear and take his sweet time getting to the other side before he also disappears.
King Blueberry: So if Joey Man-bun and Powerbomb Siddy are going to hang out and watch…
The grin on his face is an explosion of mischief. Professional wrestling’s version of Loki is thinking, and that never ends well for anyone involved.
King Blueberry: Then maybe I should have Mark get the mannequin out of storage. Maybe have the Bonafides bring it to ringside.
Reina Raspberry: Did we ever figure out why you have access to your own dance troupe?
King Blueberry: Nope.
Baron von Blackberry: The mystery of the Jimmy Bonafide Dancers is truly mystifying. Who is their true master? Clearly, it’s not Mr. Bona-fee-day. Are they even paid? Where did they come from? It’s a mystery to everyone. More research is required.
In the background, Joe and Sid are sneaking by again. Joe stops for a moment to cast a glance towards the berries, but then Sid bumps into him and he’s forced to keep going. Moments later, most of the Jimmy Bonafide Dancers are following behind them, lugging a couch with them as they go.
Baron von Blackberry: Anyhoodle, how serious are we about this whole Berry Civil War thing? I know a guy with some catapults. Actually, two guys. Alright, it’s three. Maybe we could get some pillow forts together, make it a whole thing?
Just after Blackberry says this insane thing, one of many, Biff laboriously makes his way across the hall. One could say it’s almost a heroic effort. Except it’s Biff, and nothing he does is particularly heroic.
King Blueberry: Depending on who that is, you might know four people with access to catapults. Because I’m one of them, which is to say… Well, I have a weird history with this company, is the thing. Forklifts are just the tip of the iceberg, which when heated reveals the armory of siege weaponry concealed within.
Reina Raspberry: You know what? I’m going to go stand over there.
There is only so much nonsense a woman can handle, and really it’s a miracle she’s lasted this long. Raspberry takes a few steps back, turning away from the conversation. There is a brief moment where she thinks she just witnessed something unusual, a suspicion that will be confirmed later in the night. But for now she’s left wondering if what she saw was real, or simply a hallucination.
King Blueberry: As for an actual civil war? Tricky subject. Is this like the one in the comics, and we have to argue over which of us gets to be Captain America – spoiler, it’s me; I am America’s ass – or the much more problematic other Civil War? Feel like that’s how we all get fired.
Blackberry considers the notion.
Baron von Blackberry: I’d let you have Captain America as long as that doesn’t make me Iron Man. Pfft. Iron Man. What a foolishly foolish fool what fools around with his powered armor. Actually, we should have powered armor. Imagine a series of berry-themed powered armor, brought together to fight against the horrors that encroach upon the very edges of the fabric of our reality. Yours would have forklift power, of course. Mine would make my limbs become like swords that are actually like chainsaws.
He shakes his fist at the camera.
Baron von Blackberry: Make it happen, PRIME!
Can we not and say we did?
Baron von Blackberry: Bah. They should heed my request if they ever give that Anglo Luchador lunatic a sword.
King Blueberry: Okay, back it up a minute, because you had me at chainswords. I don’t know if this is your thing, but in the grim darkness of the far future there is only war, and just by saying that a lawyer from Nottingham is probably writing a Sternly Worded Letter about the intellectual property of their client, but whatever.
Well, we had a good run folks, but it’s time to pack it in. King Blueberry is about to nerd out over Warhammer because of an off-handed remark, so we’re all fucked. In the grim darkness of the right now there is only this moron and his opinions.
King Blueberry: Hey, I just realized… You think Youngblood plays? I mean it’s in his theme song and everything. “Blood for the blood god,” and all that. Doesn’t strike me as a hardcore Khorne guy, though. Probably leans hard Ultramarines.
He strokes his chin contemplatively for a moment. There is no beard there, this is just to look intelligent. Do I need to tell you it’s unsuccessful, or can we all just assume?
King Blueberry: Yeah. Definitely an Ultramarine.
Reina Raspberry: What the hell are you talking about?
King Blueberry: Oh, Cal. Right. Hi.
Yes, he forgot his partner was there a minute. Yes, he thinks he played it off well. No, Jared, not even close.
Reina Raspberry: You know what? I don’t care. I’ve decided that standing over here isn’t far enough away, so I will be walking now. To the ring. For that thing we’re supposed to do.
Baron von Blackberry: Oh. Right. You have a match. How silly of me to forget that we actually get paid to wrestle, and stand around backstage talking about whatever comes to mind.
He looks down the hall. Joe and Sid are peering at the three of them from around the corner, apparently trying very hard not to be seen. Which is likely tough when one of them wears the loudest-colored suit possible and the other one is the powerbomb made manifest.
Baron von Blackberry: Well, alas, I’m exclusively being paid to do the stand around backstage thing, for now. Go forth, successfully defend your titles, and then we’ll get some doom up ins.
King Blueberry: What kinda doom, specifically? Classic Doom? Doom 2? Doom 3? Doom 64? Doom 2016? Doom Eternal? Doom on a Texas Instruments graphing calc-
Reina Raspberry: JARED!
Her voice sounds like a gunshot, and Blueberry snaps to attention.
King Blueberry: I, umm, need to go follow her now.
We’re backstage with Matt Mills.
Matt Mills: Matt Mills here, and I’m waiting on the Dangerous Mix, who requested some mic time tonight after a hard-fought ma—
Unceremoniously, David Fox stalks his way onscreen, with his Kaiju of a tag team partner Mushigihara flanking.
David Fox: Uhhh, hey, Matt, could you do me a favor?
The most jarring thing right now is that Fox doesn’t seem to be “on,” for lack of a better word. Almost as if he were talking off-script.
David Fox: I got a lot on my mind and I kinda want to just let it out in one shot, you know? Could you just give the mic and take a quick break, let me take it from here?
Matt is visibly confused.
Matt Mills: You sure, man, you just wanna cut loose?
David nods. After a pause, Matt shrugs his shoulders and hands David the mic, after which David shakes the reporter’s hand before sending him off for a breather.
David Fox: Appreciate ya, pal, thanks, man. MASTERS OF THE MULTIVERSE, WE’RE GONNA PUT A STOP TO THIS!
The sudden swing in the Soul Survivor’s mood even startles Mushi, who takes a step back as he stares in shock.
David Fox: You… step in the ring with us at Great American Nightmare, only for one of you cowards to run and hide in a broom closet the second anyone tries to fight you, and THEN spend the past MONTH, taking POTSHOTS at us through your ridiculous blender commercials…
The talker of the Dangerous Mix now looks up at us behind the camera, eyes aglow in fury.
David Fox: …knowing that the very second either me or Mushigihara here got our hands on you, you’d be eating your meals through a tube for a long time?
David shakes his head and subconsciously switches the mic to his other hand.
David Fox: Where I come from, boys, you don’t make fun of someone from afar after you survived an encounter with them, MUCH less by the skin of your teeth like you boys did. Nah-ah. We don’t play that game back home, and I’ll be damned if Mushi and I gonna let you play it here in PRIME!
David Fox: Your cute little infomercial gag was funny the first time, but now that you kept going and going… and decided to lay down a challenge for UltraViolence?
Fox chuckles and forms a smirk on his face.
David Fox: Well, guess what, boys! WE ACCEPT!
The crowd can be heard cheering the announcement in the arena. David simply nods, as if he can hear them.
David Fox: Because you see, we’re gonna give you a proper up-close and personal demonstration on what a REAL Dangerous Mix is, and we’re not gonna give you another chance to run and hide like before. And I don’t care if you’re the B-Team, the A-Team… hell, you can come to the ring with Howlin’ Mad Murdock and B.A. Baracus for all I care, because ain’t nooooo universe where you stand a chance against me and Mushi.
David Fox: Buckle up, boys. The ride gets scary from here.
David absentmindedly hands the mic off away from him, before realizing Matt Mills isn’t around, still.
David Fox: Huh. Where’d he go?
TAG TEAM TITLES: KINGS OF POPSICLES (C) VS. SOLID GOLD ROCK N ROLL
We cut from backstage with Dangerous Mix and Matt Mills to the ringside area as the crowd is on their feet and the buzz is palatable for what is coming next.
Nick Stuart: The fans here in Las Vegas are ready and I’m sure the fans at home are just as ready for the co-main events we have for tonight. First up, the team of Solid Gold Rock ‘n Roll will be fighting for a chance to take the PRIME Tag Team Titles off of the Kings of Popsicles.
Richard Parker: I just don’t understand why Reina Raspberry gets to be the champion when El Hijo del SuperCool Guy did all of the hard work.
Nick Stuart: … this is what you are worried about?
Richard Parker: It’s just not fair, Nick. Just not fair.
Nick Stuart: I’m not touching this with a ten foot pole.
Vince Howard: The following tag team contest is scheduled for one fall and is for the PRIME Tag Team Championships!
Vince Howard: Introducing first…
I CAN SEE WHAT THE WORLD HAS DONE TO YOU!
I CAN FEEEL THE WEIGHT!
FEEEL THE WEIGHT!
“The Motherload” batters through the speakers like an avalanche wearing skin tight leather jeans and a zebra-striped headband. Barry Delgado walks out standing nine feet tall despite being five-foot five, followed by the lanky frame of Trent Sadikaj, just oozing with SEX as the pair make their way toward ringside.
Vince Howard: Making their way to the ring at a combined weight of 471 pounds and–(sigh)–a combined height of precisely 12 feet, they are the team of Barry Delgado and Trent Sadikaj…SOLID GOOOOOOLD ROCK ‘N ROOOOOLL!
Bras, panties, and men’s boxer-briefs soar through the air as the rockstars stroll into the ring. Delgado pushes his hands through his immaculate mullet, while Trent blows sensual kisses to the crowd at ringside.
Nick Stuart: I’m always surprised by the amount of undergarments that come flying out of the audience for these two.
Richard Parker: It’s the men’s boxers for me, Nick. I just… how do you even do that?
Nick Stuart: Do you really want to think about it?
Richard Parker: I don’t… and yet… I do. All at the same time. It’s very confusing.
Delgado and Sadikaj move to their corner as Jimmy Turnbull gives him his final set of instructions.
Vince Howard: And their opponents…
The house lights go dark, as purple and blue spotlights swirl around the entryway. A low rumble is heard in the arena. Is it the opening riff of Motley Crue’s “Knock ‘Em Dead, Kid”? Yes. Could it also be something more colorful? Oh you better goddamn believe it.
Let the people know, Mr. Howard.
Vince Howard: Making their way to the ring, from Boston, Massachusetts…
That rumble gets louder. Does it sound like an engine to you? Because it kind of sounds like an engine to me. Man, if this is what I think it is, then Lindsay Troy is going to be spending a ton on therapy in H2.
Vince Howard: At a total combined weight of 201 pounds and “Vince my dude I thought we covered this a month ago if I ask her this she will kill me like legit kill me.”
The little note card he was reading from is sent flying. At least it’s not total combined heights this time, Vince.
It’s here where we first get a glimpse of what was making that god awful racket. Or rather we would, if the entire thing wasn’t shrouded in lazy fog coming from the collection of smoke machines that have been attached to it.
Vince Howard: King Blueberry… Reina Raspberry… They are the PRIME tag-team champions of the world. They are…
“Attached to what?” you might say. This is a valid question, so let’s answer it. In short, it’s a forklift. In long, it’s THE forklift, though the lower half of the turkey costume and what remained of the streamers have all been removed. Not sure where eagle wings came from, but hey there are eagle wings now.
Also there are 12 smoke machines crudely taped to it.
The guy driving this contraption is having a hell of a time. The woman riding shotgun is actively contemplating whether the fabled Nevada Ditch Fields are real, and what the odds are she can hide a body there.
Vince Howard: The KINGS!!! OF!!! POPSICLES!!!
Right now, they are also the kings of pops. Because they get a loud one upon their introduction. Get it? It’s a word play joke on pops and popsicles and oh let’s just get the fuck on with it.
As soon as it’s safe to disembark (and seriously, with a Blueberry behind the wheel is there ever really a safe time for that), the Raspberry hops down from her perch and strides to the ring, title belt firmly in place around her waist. She’s followed in turn by the Blueberry, who has his belt draped across his chest like a bandolier, because “bondage Chewbacca” is high on his list of things to cosplay. Of note is the foil strawberry sticker on one of his side plates.
King Blueberry stays back, giving his partner space to ascend to the nearest second turnbuckle and raise her championship high to another roar from the gathered crowd. For his part, Blueberry unstraps his belt and hands it to the referee. He shoots a nod to the hard camera, taps the space above his heart twice, and pulls off the “Toxic Queen” t-shirt he’d been wearing.
Meanwhile, the Jimmy Bonafide Dancers have appeared at ringside holding fire extinguishers which they begin spraying on the forklift and its many smoke machines, because not a single one of them passed any of their science courses in school. It’s not on fire, you absolute cavalcade of dumbasses!
Alas, yet another indictment against the pitfalls of the public education system in this country.
Anyway, the Bonafides all sprint to the back, because their night is not over. They’re about to earn all of the dollars they’re getting paid for this.
Richard Parker: Just when you think you’ve seen it all… you then see this.
Nick Stuart: It’s Jared Sykes, Richard. I promise you, you haven’t seen everything yet. Not even close.
Richard Parker: That is a thought that is going to haunt me in my dreams for… pretty much the rest of my life.
Nick Stuart: Then I guess it’s a good thing you don’t have much life left to live.
Richard Parker: Dark, Nick. Dark.
Nick Stuart: From a lifetime of sitting next to you, pal.
Turnbull gives his final set of instructions to the KOP as King Blueberry then exits the ring as Reina Raspberry decides she will begin the match as does Berry Delgado. Turnbull then goes to signal for the start of the match, but before he can do so, he is interrupted.
The vibrations of the Kings of Popsicles’ theme song hadn’t even settled before a new song blasts over the PA system.
I’m all dressed up with nowhere to go…
As Oingo Boingo’s classic “Dead Man’s Party” airs, a flurry of activity happens at the entrance ramp. Something large explodes through the curtain, carried by six very familiar individuals. The Jimmy Bonafide Dancers have arrived, and they’re bringing a couch with them. The couch is also familiar, because eagle-eyed fans might notice that it belongs to Melvin Beauregard. Allegedly. Legally speaking, we can’t say one way or another, or who would’ve signed off on this. But we’ll return it after this match, we promise. Winkyface.
Anyway, the point is that the Jimmy Bonafide Dancers – that’s Charlene, Misty, Noelle, Carle, Janelle, Cinnamon, and Biff – are bringing out a couch.
Richard Parker: What the hell is this about?
Nick Stuart: Uh, well, that’s the Winds of Change’s music, but…
Six of the Dancers plopped the couch down right at the end of the entrance ramp. The seventh lagged behind severely, because having terrible arthritis in the knees was a key ingredient in the recipe for “what the hell am I doing here?”
By the time Biff ambles down to join his fellow Dancers, they’d already put the couch down and are making their way back up the ramp. It’s around this time that Joe Fontaine and Sid Phillips appear at the top of the ramp. Joe has a big ‘ol bucket of popcorn in his hands, and is raising his free hand for everyone to see. Sid, meanwhile, is wearing his “Powerbomb Siddy” T-shirt, which you should probably buy if you’ve already bought the other shirt. You cowards.
When they pass by the disgruntled Biff, Sid pats him on the shoulders as he walks past. Much to his confusion. The two future challengers to the PRIME Tag Team Championships sit down together at the couch, and wave obnoxiously for the camera and the crowd around them. Joe passes the popcorn bucket over to Sid, who obnoxiously throws some of the popcorn into his mouth, with most of it ending up on himself or the couch and very little of it actually entering his mouth.
Richard Parker: That’s, uh… one way to observe a title match.
Nick Stuart: It’s certainly a choice.
Richard Parker: Winds of Change obviously interested in the outcome of this match. As we all are. But can’t they watch in the back?
Nick Stuart: And where would the fun be with that?
All four competitors in the match look at the Winds of Change and shake their heads before trying to get back into the mindset of the match. Turnbull then signals for the start of the match.
As the match begins, Reina and Delgado circle the ring around one another, their eyes locked, and a certain intensity radiating from Reina. Delgado, who has a significant size advantage over Reina (in terms of weight), begins to move in on Reina only for the athletic wrestler to roll around him, spin to her feet, and slam the point of her foot into Delgado’s left calf. Delgado winces from the shot, shaking it off as he turns back towards Reina. Raspberry motions for Delgado to come after her and he does just that, the two wrestlers entering a collar-and-elbow tie-up. Delgado uses his considerable strength advantage to push Raspeberry towards the closest corner and Raspberry uses his momentum to pull him in, launching him head first into the middle turnbuckle.
Richard Parker: Well, that’s one way to get an attacker off of you. I assume she’s had experience of pushing Blueberry away from her.
Nick Stuart: There is something not right in your brain.
Richard Parker: That comes from years of associating with you.
Delgado stumbles backwards from the turnbuckle shot and runs right into a stiff forearm from Reina. Reina then takes a full steps backwards before running at Delgado, leaping onto his shoulders, and reverses her momentum into a Poisonrana on Berry! Delgado looks like he is completely out of it and Reina rolls Delgado over before going for the cover. Turnbull begins his count…
RIGHT SHOULDER UP!
Nick Stuart: That coould’ve been a quick exit for Solid Gold Rock ‘N’ Roll right there! Raspberry caught Delgado by surprise there and he almost paid the price for it.
Richard Parker: Almost paid the price for it? I think he paid FULL PRICE for that!
Nick Stuart: Raspberry now grabs Delgado by the foot and drags him to her corner before tagging King Blueberry in.
Richard Parker: Well, this should be interesting. He hasn’t even repaired his mask from Great American Nightmare! Didn’t Lindsay give him a pay raise for winning the titles?
Blueberry enters the ring and slams his boot across the chest of Delgado before grabbing him by the back of the head and pulls him up to his feet before connecting a knife-edge chop that echoes through the MGM-Grand Arena. Blueberry follows that up with a stiff forearm across the face before pushing Delgado into the ropes. He goes to whip Delgado across the ring, but Berry manages to reverse it and sends Blueberry flying instead. KB counters with a flying forearm for Delgado’s troubles. As both wrestlers get back to their feet, KB connects with a leg sweep that sends Delgado back to the mat before KB bounces off the ropes, leaps high in the air, and connects with both feet across the midsection of Delgado.
Richard Parker: Ouch!
Nick Stuart: That’s one way to keep your opponent out of it, taking the wind literally out of them.
Richard Parker: Delgado doesn’t look like he appreciates it at all.
Nick Stuart: I think the Winds of Change are impressed though.
Richard Parker: Who cares about them?!
Next to the ring, Fontaine has his hand in his popcorn bucket, stuffing handfuls of popcorn in his mouth at a furious pace after what just happened. Phillips tries to grab some of the popcorn only for Fontaine to slap his hand away and wags his finger at him.
Back in the ring, Blueberry begins to pull Delgado back up to his feet only for Berry to connect with a jab to the midsection that stuns KB. Delagdo then gets back to his feet, whips KB into the ropes, and plants him in the center of the ring with a ring-shaking spinebuster that gets some jeers from the fans.
Nick Stuart: Well, KB’s spine is going to need to be readjusted after that.
Richard Parker: Rich of you to think he has a spine.
Nick Stuart: Anatomically, Richard, he has one. How else would he have come out here? I need you to come up with some better insults! I can’t be pulling all of the weight here.
Richard Parker: That’s some cold stuff right there, Nick.
Delgado then tags in Sadikaj, who steps over the top rope and slams his boot to the face of KB, who was attempting to sit up. Delgado, still in the ring, then bounces off the ropes and lans a splash on KB, who rolls over in pain, clutching his ribs. Trent then slams his forearm across the upper back of KB before yanking him up to his feet and slamming him back to the mat with a German Suplex. KB rolls across the ring due to the momentum and force of Trent. He sits in the corner and isn’t fast enough to move out of the way as Trent runs full speed at him, planting both knees into his face.
Richard Parker: More ouch.
Nick Stuart: Strong start from the champions has seemingly evaporated as Solid Gold are now…
Richard Parker: Don’t you dare do it!
Nick Stuart: (sighs) Rocking and Rolling.
Richard Parker: Damn you, Nick. Damn you!
Trent yanks KB up to his feet, whips him into the ropes, and goes for another boot to the face, but KB manages to duck under it and as he runs past Trent, reaches behind him, grabs Trent’s jaw and neck and connects with a neckbreaker. KB sits up, grabbing his face as he gets up to his feet before snapping a few kicks across the chest of his opponent. KB then bounces off the ropes and drops a knee across the face of Trent, before rolling back to his feet. He then drags Trent to his corner and tags Reina back into the ring.
Nick Stuart: Smart thinking there from King Blueberry and Trent is now in a bad spot as Reina leaps to the top rope and connects with an elbow from the top rope across the sternum of Sadikaj.
Richard Parker: Reina seems more confident in this match than we’ve seen from her thus far. It’s impressive.
Nick Stuart: Are you doling out compliments?
Richard Parker: It’s not going to last for long if I have to keep looking at that tear in Blueberry’s mask.
Nick Stuart: Touché.
Reina bounces back to her feet and bounces off the ropes before dropping an elbow across Sadikaj, gets back up to her feet, runs off the ropes once again, and drops another elbow across her opponent, and does it for a third time!
Reina gets up once again, drags Trent towards the corner, climbs to the middle turnbuckle and connects with a double stomp across the solarplexus. Trent rolls over, in pain, clutching his ribs while Reina gets back up and drops her left knee on his lower back.
Nick Stuart: Reina has been nothing short of magnificent in this match thus far and is more than holding her own against a man like Trent who is a man of a man.
Richard Parker: He is ALL man, Nick. This man is as tall as Mount Everest and as impressive as anyone we have in PRIME.
Nick Stuart: You say some weird things from time to time.
Richard Parker: Years of experience, my friend.
Reina drags Trent up to his feet and connects with a spinning heel kick to the midsection, which drops him to one knee. Reina then roars out at the crowd before bouncing off the ropes and goes for a knee to the face only for Trent to block it, wraps his hand around her throat, and chokeslams her to the mat like a rag doll.
Trent shakes his head at the fans as he yanks Reina off of the mat, whips her into the ropes, and connects with a sidewalk slam that shakes the entire ring. Trent then moves over to Delgado, tagging him, before yanking her off the mat and holding her up for her partner.
Nick Stuart: And Delgado is back in the ring, bounces off the ropes, and connects with a lariat that flips Reina inside out as Trent moves out of the way at the last possible second! Such a devastating move that leaves Reina not sure which way is up.
Richard Parker: This is the significant difference between Kings of Popsicles and Solid Gold Rock ‘N Roll. KOP just doesn’t have the team experience that Rock ‘n Roll have. On top of not having a stupid name like Kings of Popsicles.
Nick Stuart: You might be right on the experience side and it looks like Delgado and Trent will be looking to cut off part of the ring, keeping Reina in their corner, and keeping Blueberry out of the match.
Richard Parker: That might be my favorite thing I’ve ever heard you say.
Delgado yanks Reina up to her feet and puts her back down to the mat with a snap suplex. Delgado rolls through so he is on top of Reina and begins to slam his fist into her face until Turnbull gets to a five count and he gets up, hands in the air, confused as to what Turnbull’s issue is. As he does so, Trent steps in the ring and kicks Reina, illegally, as Turnbull’s back is to him.
Blueberry hops into the ring, yelling at Turnbull as well as Trent and Delgado. Turnbull ushers Blueberry out of the ring while Trent and Delgado continue to stomp away at Reina until Trent leaves the ring just as Turnbull turns back to the other competitors.
Nick Stuart: Absolutely despicable! This is a championship match and such antics should not be allowed!
Richard Parker: Look, I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Nick Stuart: Are you being serious right now? Trent and Delgado just manhandled Reina.
Richard Parker: And?
Nick Stuart: Blueberry tried to stop it!
Richard Parker: And his opponent paid the price. This is what I’m talking about. They don’t have the same experience level as Solid Gold does. They need to think smarter if they plan on retaining tonight.
Delgado flips Reina over and then drops an elbow across her lower back before yanking her up to her feet and drilling his forearm into her lower back. She cries out in pain before Delgado pushes her into the turnbuckle, takes a few steps back, and then runs at her, connecting with a dropkick to the lower back. She crumples in pain as Delgado stands over her and places a solitary foot on her ribcage, flexing for the crowd, while Turnbull begins his count.
Delgado glares at Reina before snapping his boot against her ribcage, which elicits a groan from the tag champion. Delgado then tags Trent in, who enters the ring, and orders Delgado to pick her up off the mat. Delgado does as he is told as Trent climbs up to the second turnbuckle while Delgado picks her up and holds her up in a vertical suplex position. Trent then leaps off the turnbuckle and clothesline her in the midsection as Delgado falls backwards, causing Reina to grimace as she holds her lower back once again.
Richard Parker: This is TAG TEAM WRESTLING!
Nick Stuart: I am not certain as to why you are screaming into my ear.
Richard Parker: Because I am excited, BABY!
Nick Stuart: You are excited by the oddest things.
Trent taunts King Blueberry before looking over at Winds of Change, who are sitting on their couch and watching, taking it all in. Trent laughs at them before turning his attention to Reina, lifting her up off the ground, and connects with a backbreaker across his knee, holding her there as he puts his palms against her jaw and stomach, applying additional pressure. Reina yells out from the agony she is in as Trent locks eyes with Blueberry. KB slams his hand repeatedly onto the top turnbuckle, eager to get the crowd to give Reina a bit of energy.
LET’S GO REI-NA!
LET’S GO TRENT!
LET’S GO REI-NA!
LET’S GO TRENT!
LET’S GO REI-NA!
LET’S GO TRENT!
She lifts her right hand and slams her palm into the face of Trent. He grimaces from the shot, but refuses to budge. Reina slams her palm into his face again, this time with a bit more force, and Trent is finally forced to break the hold, grabbing his face in the process. Reina, on her stomach, begins to army crawl towards the corner as the fans begin to pick up momentum, but switch their chant.
Blueberry looks at the fans, shock in his eyes, while Reina continues to make his way across the ring, only for Trent to grab her by the leg and yank her back to his corner, snapping his boot across her lower back.
Nick Stuart: Reina Raspberry fighting with ALL of her might right now and these fans are doing everything they can in their power to help her.
Richard Parker: You know, I did a study once—
Nick Stuart: No you didn’t.
Richard Parker: —and found that crowd cheering doesn’t really help competitors at all?
Nick Stuart: That is literally fake news. You’ve never done a study in your life. Hell, you have NEVER studied in your life.
Richard Parker: You wound me, Nick. Wound me!
In the ring, Trent yanks Reina to her feet and whips her HARD into the corner, her back colliding as hard as humanly possible which sends her flat to the mat. Trent then tags Delgado back into the match. He then climbs up to the second turnbuckle, back facing Reina, before he leaps down and hits a splash across her lower back, bringing over two-hundred-pounds of force onto it. She yells out in pain once again, as KB extends his arm, willing his partner to him.
Delgado makes his way up to his feet, flexes for Blueberry, and turns his attention back to Reina, pulling her off the mat and whips her into the ropes before he goes for a backbody drop only for Reina to plant her boot into the chest of a bent-over Delgado. Barry shoots up from the shot as Reina runs off the ropes once again and connects with a dropkick to the left knee of her opponent, dropping him to one knee. Reina then bounces back up to her feet and plants Barry with a sweeping DDT.
Richard Parker: Well, that’s not good.
Nick Stuart: No, not good for Delgado and Solid Gold Rock ‘N Roll at all. That was the boost that Reina needed in the worst way possible.
Richard Parker: You act like this is going to change ANYTHING in this match.
Nick Stuart: Well, I look at the glass as being half full.
Richard Parker: And that’s why I end up drinking your drinks before you finish them.
Nick Stuart: Gross.
Reina rolls back over and begins to army crawl towards Blueberry once again.
Blueberry looks at the fans, absolutely confused and lost, before he turns his attention back to Reina, arm stretched out, wanting that tag very badly.
Reina begins to pull herself up to her feet and goes to take another step towards Blueberry only for Delgado’s right hand to grab her left foot. She spins around and punts Delgado square in the face, blood spurting out of his nose like a geyser. Reina then spins back around and tags in King Blueberry.
Nick Stuart: AND THE MGM-GRAND ARENA HAS EXPLODED AT THAT TAG!
Richard Parker: This is dumb.
Blueberry explodes into the ring and runs straight at Trent, connecting with a flying uppercut to his jaw while his body hits the corner, sending Trent flying off the ring apron and onto the floor. Blueberry stomps in the corner as Delgado makes his way up to his feet, blood running down his face, and is met with a scissor kick from KB that flips Delgado inside out.
Blueberry, feeding off of that energy, bounces off the ropes and connects with a dive through the ropes onto Trent, sending him flying into the ringside barrier. Blueberry slides back into the ring, adrenaline coursing through his veins, as he flies off the ropes again and leaps over the top rope, connecting a corkscrew plancha onto Trent! Blueberry explodes back to his feet, yelling at the fans as they give him pats on the back at the display he just put on.
Richard Parker: Oh, this is incredibly stupid. There is no way these fans love this guy!
Nick Stuart: Are you not listening to them?! They are going bonkers!
Richard Parker: He must have paid them.
Nick Stuart: Or… they like him. I know that’s hard for you to fathom, but it does happen from time to time.
Blueberry then slides back into the ring and is met with a forearm as he makes his way back up to his feet. Delgado, dried blood on his upper lip, fires off another one that rocks Blueberry into the nearby corner. Before Barry is able to connect with another one though, Reina springboards off the ropes and connects with a flying clothesline on Delgado, sending him back onto the mat. Blueberry looks at Reina and nods his head before hopping to the top rope and connects with a Frog Splash on Delgado before going for the cover.
BREAK UP BY DELGADO!
Nick Stuart: I thought that was it! I think every fan in the building thought that was it.
Richard Parker: And that’s why Trent and Delgado are the GOLD standard in tag team wrestling. Reina didn’t get her eyes on Trent to stop him and Kings of Popsicle paid the price right there.
Nick Stuart: That is actually… astute. I’m floored.
Richard Parker: I can’t lay out all of my wrestling knowledge at once or you wouldn’t have a job. Taking one for the team, buddy.
Trent, who yanked Blueberry out of the ring during the pin attempt, whips him into the ringside barricade before clotheslining him over it and into the crowd. He then turns back to the ring only to see Reina Raspberry springboarding off the top rope and connecting with a missile dropkick that sends both competitors to the mat. Reina uses the barricade to help her up and she begins stomping away at Trent before being stopped by Delgado, with a forearm strike in between her shoulder blades.
With Reina stunned, Delgado connects with a German Suplex onto the unforgiving outside. Reina rolls over from the impact, grabbing the back of her head and neck while Delgado helps Trent back up to his feet. That leaves them open though as Blueberry springboards off the barricade into a crossbody on both men, sending them flying to the ground as well.
Blueberry makes his way back up to his feet and grabs Delgado by the back of the neck, lifting him up and rolling him back into the ring. He then walks over to the Winds of Change and grabs a handful of popcorn to their dismay before rolling back into the ring and throwing it into the face of a rising Delgado. Barry brushes the popcorn off of him and during the distraction, is met with a cutter by Blueberry.
He then goes for the cover.
Richard Parker: Haha, suckers.
Nick Stuart: The fans here thought that was IT for Delgado.
Richard Parker: Like I said, suckers.
Blueberry sits up and as he does, is met with a knee to the face from Trent, causing Blueberry to roll over on the mat, clutching his face. Trent then yanks Blueberry to his feet and slams his forearm into the back of his neck, sending Blueberry into the ropes and as KB springs back, Trent connects with a snap German Suplex. Blueberry clutches the back of his neck, writhing in pain, as Trent then drags Delgado on top of Blueberry and Turnbull begins his count.
LEFT SHOULDER UP!
Nick Stuart: And Blueberry gets the shoulder up just in the nick of time!
Richard Parker: Look, when is the last time Jimmy over there had a physical. He looks like he has a hitch in his counting shoulder.
Nick Stuart: …what?
Richard Parker: Counting shoulder! Like a pitching arm.
Nick Stuart: They don’t pay me enough for this.
Trent walks over to Blueberry and lifts him off of the mat before lifting him into the air and connecting with a Master Exploder on Blueberry, who looks to be in a world of pain. Before Trent can do anything with Delgado though, Reina roars back into the ring, and connects with a rising knee on Trent! With her opponent stunned, she connects with a Ruby Cutter on Trent!
Reina then connects with a superkick onto a rising Delgado before dragging Blueberry on top of Delgado.
RIGHT SHOULDER UP!
Richard Parker: That’s what you get for cheating!
Nick Stuart: Are you even watching the match?!
Richard Parker: Yeah, on my phone. See?!
Nick Stuart: …you know you can just watch the monitor, right?
Richard Parker: But this is so much bet— OH LOOK AT THAT RUBY CUTTER!
Nick Stuart: …you are thirty seconds behind the action happening live in the ring.
Reina shakes her head at the near pinfall and drags Delgado to his feet only to be met with a forearm to the midsection which Delgado follows up with spinning Reina around and landing a Full Nelson Bomb on her! Delgado stands over Reina, unaware that King Blueberry is back up to his feet and as Delgado turns around, he is met with a stiff kick to the midsection before KB puts him into a front facelock and drops him stomach first across the top rope. He then holds onto Delgado before connecting with a Dragon Screw Neck Whip!
Blueberry then goes for the cover.
TH– BROKEN UP BY SADIKAJ!
Nick Stuart: That looked to be it, but Trent SOMEHOW managed to break up the pin! I’m not sure where he managed to get that strength from!
Richard Parker: From the belly of the Goddess known as–
Nick Stuart: No, just no.
Richard Parker: Fine then.
Reina makes her way back to her corner just in time for Blueberry to tag her in. Reina then sizes up a rising Sadikaj before springboarding off the top rope and connecting with a flying forearm across his face. Meanwhile, Delgado has made his way back up to his feet and slams his forearm into the back of Blueberry before throwing him to the outside. Delgado turns around and narrowly misses a kick from Reina. With her back to him, he pins her arms, and connects with a release Tiger Suplex, sending her flying across the ring. He rushes over to her and goes for the cover.
THR– LEFT FOOT ON THE BOTTOM ROPE!
Richard Parker: YOU LOT ARE KILLING ME!
Nick Stuart: Good. Meanwhile, Winds of Change have moved to the edge of their couch and are watching this match unfold before their very eyes. On some level, they know whichever team comes out of this as the champions will be battered and worn down after this hellacious match.
Richard Parker: Meh.
Delgado sits up, shaking his head as Trent has made his way back to his corner, looking exhausted. He tags him in and Trent enters the ring, dragging Reina up to her feet and is met with a forearm across the face from Reina. She then flies off the ropes and connects with a clothesline across the chest of Sadikaj. She then bounces off the opposite ropes and connects with a dropkick to the right knee of her opponent. Before she can do any further damage, Reina is caught with a headbutt from Delgado who then goes to whip her into the ropes, but Reina manages to reverse it. As Delgado hits the ropes though, he is tripped and dragged out of the ring by Blueberry who slams his head into Delgado’s!
Delgado grabs at Blueberry, dazed, and as he does, he tears the mask a bit more at the seam that’s already ripped. Blueberry pushes Delgado away and then connects with a step up Frankensteiner on Barry! With Barry on the mat, Blueberry, incensed by Delgado further damaging his mask, yanks him up and connects with the Jack Lalanne Driver!
Nick Stuart: Delgado is OUT of this match! Blueberry connecting with that powerful move on the outside, that would be the end of the match for Barry.
Richard Parker: Cheap tactics from the Tag Team Champions!
Nick Stuart: You are insufferable.
Back in the ring, Reina has watched everything unfold. She turns around into a stiff right hand from Sadikaj that drops her to one knee. Trent then wraps his arm around Reina’s neck and connects with a Leaping Tornado DDT! With Reina laid out in the corner, Trent makes his way up to the top rope and seems poised to end this match.
Richard Parker: Here we go.
Nick Stuart: Trent connected with the Headbanger’s Ball and he is now looking to end Reina with the Cheap Thrills!
Richard Parker: One Swanton Bomb, coming up!
Trent then leaps off the top rope, but finds no one is home when he goes to connect with the Swanton Bomb! Reina has moved out of the way at the last possible second and Trent sits up, grabbing his lower back in a world of pain. Reina makes her way to her feet, grabs both wrists of Trent, takes a couple of steps back, and then launches herself knee first at his head!
Nick Stuart: CALCULATED RISK! She connected with that Kamigoye and I think this is it.
Richard Parker: I’m going to cry.
Nick Stuart: Can this do it?!
Reina then goes for the pinfall on Sadikaj.
DING DING DING!
Vince Howard: Your winner… AND STILL TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS… REINA RASPBERRY! KING BLUEBERRY! KINGS OF POPSICLES!
Blueberry slides into the ring, helping Reina up to her feet, as Turnbull grabs both of their hands and hoist them into the air to signal their victory. He then grabs the Tag Titles and hands them to both of them as they celebrate their hard-fought victory to retain the titles.
Nick Stuart: That match… was something else.
Richard Parker: That match was a massive disappointment.
Nick Stuart: Maybe for you, but these fans are more than happy at the outcome.
As Kings of Popsicles celebrate, Winds of Change stand up from their couch and look at the champions. Blueberry eyes them both and moves towards the edge of the ropes. Fontaine and Phillips though just stand there and slowly clap before walking away, giving Kings of Popsicles their chance to celebrate.
Richard Parker: Well, that could’ve gone worse.
Nick Stuart: Those two teams will face off and if this match is any indication, then THAT match will be a sight to see.
Richard Parker: Maybe. I need a drink.
KB continues to watch as Winds of Change walk up the ramp before turning back to Reina and continuing their celebration. Barry checks on Trent in the ring and the PRIMEates give them a resounding round of applause for their efforts.
SEPTEMBER 23, 2022
Nick Stuart: Wow, what a Tag Team Championship match we just saw, and we still have a Universal Championship match on deck!
Richard Parker: I’m so excited! I don’t know who to root for, my old favorite Youngblood or my new favorite Atken!
Nick Stuart: Well, you’re the only one having trouble picking, it seems, but I’m hearing we are going to hear from someone who inspires no such ambivalence in my broadcast partner, the PRIME Intense Champion…
Richard Parker: Oh no…
The camera cuts backstage to see The Anglo Luchador in his dressing room, in the same get-up as he was when we saw him with Rezin, seated on a bench. The camera is facing him, a little bit askew, but he is looking intently not at the camera but at someone else who seems to be slightly out of the frame.
TAL: You know, I haven’t really talked to anyone about this yet, but I think I can talk to you because you also know what it’s like to embrace lucha libre.
TAL: I get it. The will of the gods is capricious. I mean, at least they’re not asking us to kill wantonly anymore.
There’s a grunt emanating from off-screen.
TAL: Oh, don’t tell me you want it to go back that way. You know, I get why they thought they had to get the Aztecs to sacrifice humans, but times have changed. We know so much about the world and how it works. I understand the nuance though.
Another labored grunt comes from off camera.
TAL: I know. But what does it mean to be a “good” person anyway? That’s what they want me to be. That’s what she wants me to be. And is it enough? I mean, you’ve seen Balaam, the path of destruction he cuts. Yeah, GREAT SCOTT and Nate Colton kept him down for a few seconds. Jacob Mephisto had some gunk. But he got right back up like it didn’t faze him. That’s not natural. That’s a danger, especially with a deranged zealot like Hoyt backing him. Does being a pure of heart tecnico really give you power?
Voice: (still off-camera) No sé. Soy rudo.
TAL: I know, I know. Being all the way in one direction doesn’t give you power. Am I being tested? I have no idea what’s going on. But maybe that’s the kick. I have to figure it out for myself, right?
Nothing from off-camera.
TAL: Right. This is a thing I have to figure out. Thanks, El Temblor. You’ve been a real help.
The camera pans over to Timo Bolamba’s gym worker friend and confidante.
El Temblor: De nada.
Another Mystery Voice From Another Direction Off-Camera: You know, I can help you out with that.
A figure steps in the foreground. The camera can only see their butt, which is both ample and supple at the same time. Verily, this ass is among the finest ever crafted on God’s green earth.
TAL: Who are you, and why are you wearing one of my masks?
Guy in TAL Mask: I can explain everything… away from the cameras.
The Intense Champion signals to the camera, and the production truck cuts back to the broadcast desk.
Richard Parker: See, I told you that luchador was both crazy and up to no good.
Nick Stuart: Now Richard, we don’t know what’s going on with that second person just yet. They just showed up! But one thing is for certain…
Richard Parker: That ass has gotten you about to risk it all too?
Nick Stuart: (stammering) No! It’s certain that we have one more thing going on backstage before we get to our main event! Let’s throw it backstage again!
THE WRONGER FOOT
Parking lot. FLAMBERGE has showered and changed into street clothes, which today is a purple hoodie and black shorts. He’s got keys in hand, making his way to his parked FLAMBOrghini.
FLAMBERGE stops in his tracks. He turns, and the camera turns as well, to catch the approaching Nate Colton. FLAMBO inhales through his nose and tenses up.
Nate Colton: Hey, we’re cool. Just wanted to talk. I…I feel like we got off on the wrong foot.
FLAMBERGE: …is that what we are calling this?
The Strasbourgian is still tense, while Colton steps forward with clear “Let’s Make Peace” body language.
Nate Colton: Hell of a job you did tonight.
FLAMBERGE pauses for a second and takes Colton in with his eyes.
FLAMBERGE: You know…I watched the Dusk match. I was mad at how impressively you performed. I did not think you had the thing inside of you.
The Frenchman presses a button on his key fob and the FLAMBOrghini “beep beep”s in response.
FLAMBERGE: Alors, we have done the different foot. Now, if you will, je m’excuse…
Nate Colton: Of course. And if you ever need a training partner, hit me up. I’ve been looking for a new one since Filmix left town. Hell, I bet we could both learn something.
FLAMBO chuckles at Nate’s suggestion as he reaches for the door.
FLAMBERGE: Oui, OK Colton, “I could learn something”. Good one.
Question: what’s the difference in maturity levels between the average 22-year-old and the average 25-year-old?
Answer: not a lot.
Nate stops FLAMBERGE from opening the door, and suddenly his tone is much more confrontational.
Nate Colton: What’s that supposed to mean? Think you know it all already?
FLAMBERGE: I know enough to know that you aren’t the man to teach me more. I was trying to be the polite before, but unless you can teach me how to summon the Larry Tact to win matches for you, my expectation is low.
Colton’s lip curls into a snarl.
Nate Colton: Well, maybe I could teach you some goddamn manners. You’re a hell of a talent, kid, but that attitude is gonna cost you. You wouldn’t have lasted a week training with my old man.
At “kid”, FLAMBERGE bristles. At the mention of Jake Colton, he enters a state of full Anger French.
FLAMBERGE: J’en ai marre de toi et de ta stupide putain de famille.
Nate Colton might not speak French, but he’s got a pretty good idea of what FLAMBERGE just said and it’s not something he can let slide.
He knows of several phrases back home that were all but guaranteed to lead to a fight. Most of them involved showing disrespect to Larry Bird or ranch dressing. But Nate isn’t one to waste time, so he goes for the historical number one.
Nate Colton: Hey, buddy.
He steps closer, nearly nose-to-nose with FLAMBERGE. The French Phenom doesn’t back down in the slightest.
Nate Colton: Don’t think for a second that you can talk about my family like that, just ‘cause yours are shitbags–
Oh. Oh, no. You shouldn’t have said that, Nathan.
Intentionally or not, you just insulted the man’s mama.
FLAMBERGE shoves Colton HARD in the chest, and Colton shoves EQUALLY HARD in return. Fists begin to fly, haymakers and shirt-pulling and head-grabbing ugly fists. Nate shoves FLAMBERGE into the driver’s door of the FLAMBOrghini, cracking the window; FLAMBO grabs Colton by his shirt and spins him around, shoving him into the passenger window, cracking it too. The back-to-back crunches and thuds cause a loud blaring of the car’s alarm, which soon becomes multiple car alarms as the mayhem continues.
It doesn’t take long for the area to flood with Enemigos, having already gotten word that DEFCON: Buddy had been reached. They pull the young men apart, who still find time to scream at each other.
Nate Colton: Get back here, you little shit! I’ll dent your head, too!
FLAMBERGE: You will pay for my car, and you will pay dans le RING, ton chien!
As the chaos settles, we move back to the announcer’s desk.
UNIVERSAL TITLE: BRANDON YOUNGBLOOD (C) vs. PHIL ATKEN
“(I Want to be The One) To Watch You Die” by The Megas
Vince Howard: This match is for the greatest title in all of wrestling. The PRIME UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP!
The arrival of The Proprietor of The Glue Factory himself, Philip Martin Atken is met with jeers from the crowd. He sneers, and the veteran athlete steps out and heads directly to the centre of the entrance way, not paying much mind to the reaction of the crowd at the MGM Grand. Atken is quickly joined at his side by his Chief of Security, the seven foot monster known as Hank. The tandem begin their march towards to the ring with clear purpose and clarity of mind.
Vince Howard: Hailing from Glasgow, Scotland. Standing at 5’10” tall, and weighing 225 pounds… The number one contendership for the Universal Championship… PHIIIIIIL AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATKEN!
Nick Stuart: An entire career built on failures. Of being tossed aside. Of being unwanted. He’s debased himself to hang on in this. Rattled on about politics. Was told he needed a Viking Mother. He’s been a joke. A laughing stock. A punchline. Dead in a ditch. But from that ditch, tonight, he could rise like Lazarus. Tonight could be his night.
Richard Parker: Nobody is laughing now.
Upon reaching the ring, Atken leaps up on top of the apron and the camera catches him gives a small little self satisfied smirk to himself as he wipes his boots on the edge of the canvas. Chief of Security Hank holds open the ring ropes and allows his boss to enter the ring. Hank takes his place in the corner of the ring as Atken gladly welcome the referee to check him for any contraband items.
Nick Stuart: The Humble Proprietor of The Glue Factory has cut through all challenges he’s faced since coming to PRIME. Larry Tact. The Anglo Luchador. Pete Whealdon. Dusk. There’s championship DNA throughout that list of opponents.
Richard Parker: And for the most part, he’s slaughtered them. Turned them into actual glue.
Nick Stuart: Tonight…he can rewrite his legacy. Tonight, he can forge the PRIME he has wanted to lead…
The lights within the MGM Grand Garden Arena lower completely upon The Humble Proprietor as he stands center of the ring, ready, waiting for the greatest challenge of his career. The buzzing of the fans ends the moment they hear the first drumbeats of Trust Me by Brad Fiedel.
It is time.
Nick Stuart: The entire mood in the MGM Grand has changed. Business is about to pick up!
Richard Parker: I’m ready for this!
Nick Stuart: Undefeated. Unyielding. Since the revival of PRIME, no one competitor has defined it like Brandon Youngblood. He has faced gauntlet after gauntlet, contender after contender. He won his Universal Championship by conquering the Seymour Almasy Invitation over thirty-one others vying for the right. And tonight…the Tower of Babel faces perhaps his greatest challenge to date.
On the PRIMEView, as well as the telecast on ACE Network, the camera shifts down a backstage corridor. Within scant moments, The Tower of Babel, Brandon Youngblood, rounds the corner, the Universal Championship held over his shoulder. A sustained roar. Each step forward is assertive, powerful. He moves with intensity, his expression focused, seeing through the cameraperson shooting him, scanning forward across the dangerous path he is treading upon. Spliced with this are flashes of the past, of the near present, a venerable who’s who of opponents suplexed and ragdolled across the ring with brutal efficiency. Their forms make up the rich tapestry that is PRIME lore; Jason Snow, Nova, Karina Wolfenden, Vangelus Olsig, Killean Sirrajin, Tyler Rayne, Chandler Tsonda, Violence Jack, Devin Shakur. GTT Champions Angelo Deville, Desade, Doctor Curiosity. The current age, Cancer Jiles, Impulse, The Angelo Luchador, Jared Sykes. A trophy wall as great as the sport has ever seen.
Nick Stuart: For one-hundred twenty-seven days, Youngblood has been Universal Champion. That’s challenging enough. But what Atken must do…what Phil Atken must accomplish to win the Universal Championship…hasn’t been done in over fifteen years. That’s how long you have to go back to the last time Brandon Youngblood was defeated in singles competition on a non-PRIME supershow. Insanity. Pure insanity!
Richard Parker: And if anyone has what it takes to deal with that insanity, it’s this murder grandpa who is stalking about the ring.
He moves, undaunted, through the locker room hallway. Passing by the cameraperson, he is now shot from behind, his advance through the hallway transitioning from locker room doors to the backstage, to the metal supports and the black drapery making up the lead to the entrance ramp. The Universal Champion never wavers
He begins his ascent up the steps leading to the Argyle Position, his hand throwing back the curtain. He disappears, the cameraperson lingering, the soundtrack having reached its final beats. The fans are ready. And as the show goes back to the dark arena, we can see the fever pitch is about to reach another level in a few short moments.
A legacy defining test.
A threat to be realized.
The answer tonight is for the very soul of PRIME.
BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD
SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE
LET THE GALAXY BURN
Bloodsport (World Domination) by HEALTH surges through the arena, an absolutely raucous ovation erupting within the MGM Grand Garden Arena as Brandon Youngblood appears on the entrance ramp, blinding crimson and white strobing light cutting through the darkness.
Nick Stuart: Listen to this crowd! What an ovation!
There is no pause from the Universal Champion to soak in his cheers, instead, with purpose, The Diamond marches to the ring, his eyes toward his challenge, Phil Atken. His oppressive scowl of intensity says it all.
Richard Parker: This could get ugly, and I mean uuuuugly, in a hurry.
Nick Stuart: There’s no give in how both these men wrestle…they both will hit you and the mouth, chop you down, and will break you apart piece by piece. Atken is brutal with chokes and piledrivers. Youngblood annihilates opponents with chops, spinebusters, and suplexes. This match will not be for the faint of heart. We are expecting just outright savagery here.
Vince Howard: Hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada… weighing in at 280 pounds… he is the former three time 5-Star Champion, the 2009 Jewel In The Crown, PRIME Hall of Famer, winner of the Almasy Invitational…the reigning! Defending! Universal! Champion! BRANDON! YOUNGBLOOD!
There is no walking along the ringside area, no slowdown as the Universal Champion stomps his way up the steps and into the ring. Once inside, Youngblood begins pacing around the outside perimeter of the ring, his eyes locked on Atken. There is a palpable tension enveloping the ring, head official Timo Bolamba perhaps the only thing standing in the way of this titanic battle getting underway.
Nick Stuart: Phil Atken has taken on, and destroyed every human being that’s gotten in his way so far.
Richard Parker: Is Dusk a human being or a zombie? Is a zombie a human being? I have questions.
The entire Glue Factory stands around Atken as Bolamba checks him over for foriegn objects. Timo looks at Hank and Dirk, and immediately points right back up the ramp. Dirk looks shocked, Hank is just confused. Timo still insists, pointing up the ramp.
Nick Stuart: Timo Bolamba getting rid of Phil Atken’s entourage before we even get started!
Richard Parker: I told Timo about that when we rode into Vegas on his jet. I said to the guy, ‘watch that dirty cheater Phil Atken. He’ll bring that mute freak to the ring with him, and keep that Dirk guy by his side.’ I’m glad he finally decided to listen to me and do something about it.
Nick Stuart: It takes a cheat to know a cheat.
Atken runs his hair through his short gray hair, he looks a bit concerned as Dirk and Hank are sent packing by Timo. Youngblood stares across the ring, waiting on Timo to give them his own signal that the match was ready to begin. Finally Bolamba turns around and claps his hands together.
Nick Stuart: Here we go… the Universal Championship on the line… Brandon Youngblood versus Phil Atken at ReVival 13!
Richard Parker: Let’s go!
Youngblood and Atken start the match sizing each other up. Each move is careful and purposeful. Youngblood being the larger man takes to the roll as the aggressor. He shoots for a grapple on Atken, but the humble proprietor steps to the side and slams Youngblood with a knee to the shoulder. Youngblood continues through the knee and tries to get ahold of Atken and finally succeeds in getting his head around Atken’s waist.
Richard Parker: Youngblood fighting through the pain of the knee.
Nick Stuart: Youngblood trying to lift Atken.
Youngblood tries to pick Atken up to finish the slam, but Atken starts firing back with vicious elbows to the back of Youngblood’s skull. Youngblood drops the waistlock and backs away holding the back of his head.
Nick Stuart: Good takedown defense so far from Atken.
Richard Parker: It was smart, I’ll give him that.
The two men start again, pacing, looking for position. Youngblood tries to go behind Atken, but feints moving to the front waistlock. Atken drops into a sprawl, holding the other man back. Youngblood swipes for a leg, but Atken drives a knee into Youngblood’s face. The big man shoots upright from the blow and Atken delivers a huge chop into Youngblood’s chest.
Richard Parker: That’s just going to piss him off!
Nick Stuart: And Youngblood fires back!
Youngblood fires back with a forearm across the shoulder and neck of Atken, Phil pulls back and fires off one of his own. Youngblood throws another that slightly staggers Atken, but he unloads another one of his own into Youngblood’s face. Atken follows it up with a second forearm that staggers the big man. Youngblood roars and fires another forearm back that causes Phil to take a few steps back. Phil Atken looks up at Youngblood and smiles, ear to ear.
Nick Stuart: I think he kind of likes this.
Richard Parker: What do you think he and Mrs. Factory do at home?
Phil checks his jaw while Youngblood motions for Atken to throw another forearm. Phil catches his breath and comes in like he’s going to fire the shot, but instead kicks Youngblood in the midsection, doubling him over.
Richard Parker: THIS WAS A GENTLEMEN’S GAME!
Nick Stuart: There are no Gentlemen’s Games when the Universal Championship is on the line.
Atken tries to end it quickly, shoving Youngblood’s head between his legs and trying to pull him up for his stalling piledriver, but this time Atken was caught in the trap and Youngblood lifts Atken up and over his head with a huge back body drop. Atken hits the canvas from near seven feet in the air like he was hooked to the jumper cables of a running automobile, while getting back to his feet quickly.
Richard Parker: HA!
Nick Stuart: Here comes the champion!
Youngblood follows the back body drop up with bull rushing Atken. He grabs Atken around the waist and picks him up and tosses him over his head for a german suplex. Atken hits the canvas and immediately rolls out of the ring while Youngblood jumps to his feet. Atken stands on the outside for a moment while Brandon Youngblood marches to the ropes and beckons him back into the ring.
Richard Parker: STOP BEING A COWARD!
Nick Stuart: Smart move by Atken here, self preservation, get his bearings and get back into this match.
Atken stays leaning on the rail, collecting himself. Timo walks over and starts backing Youngblood off of the ropes.
Atken walks over to the ring steps and ascends the stairs closest to where Youngblood is. Youngblood is staring daggers through Atken, and finally Timo comes over and pulls Youngblood back away from the ropes. Bolamba backs Brandon all the way to the opposite corner and Phil Atken finally enters the ring. The two men stare at each other before Timo finally claps his hands together letting the two get back to the match.
Richard Parker: Feels like Timo is rooting for Atken.
Nick Stuart: I don’t think Timo has an opinion on who he wants to win a match.
Richard Parker: He has a jet! He’s rich! OF COURSE he has an opinion.
The two once again begin circling, this time Atken takes the initiative, coming in for a collar and elbow tie-up. Youngblood obliges and the two men lock up. Atken quickly rotates the lock up into a hammerlock. Youngblood quickly reverses the hold by stepping behind Atken. Atken starts to move his arm down his back for a reversal with a step over but Youngblood sees it coming and lifts harder on the hammerlock. Atken takes the distraction and uses it to spin his body around and deliver a huge elbow to Youngblood’s skull.
Nick Stuart: BIG ELBOW FROM ATKEN!
Richard Parker: Is Youngblood bleeding?
Youngblood drops to a knee, holding his hand to his face, just under his cheek. He looks down, and in his hands is a pool of blood. Atken doesn’t give Youngblood much time to react, he hauls off and kicks Youngblood’s good knee out from under him, Youngblood drops to all fours and Atken delivers a second kick that looks more like a stomp right onto the cut. Youngblood tries to roll away but Atken grabs onto a leg, and slams Youngblood’s knee off the mat.
Nick Stuart: Phil Atken comes at you from all angles.
Richard Parker: Yeah, isn’t that cheating or something? Using too many angles?
Nick Stuart: No Richard… It’s not cheating.
Atken almost grins as he delivers a stomp to the back of Youngblood’s knee, he holds his foot there and folds Youngblood’s leg over his own and falls backwards. Atken is back up in an instant, and falls again causing Youngblood to shout in pain. This time Atken sits up and while keeping their feet tied up tries to take Youngblood’s back. Youngblood, through the pain of his knee manages to roll over onto his own back causing Atken to make a choice about his own leg. Atken sacrifices the position and stands up while Youngblood manages to scooch his way to the ropes.
Nick Stuart: Great wrestling on display from Phil Atken.
Richard Parker: Yeah sure, but Youngblood is the champ! He’s the man!
The two veterans both get to their feet, one man fifty six years old, the other thirteen years his junior at forty three. They come together again for a collar and elbow tie up, this time Youngblood gets the better of the initial exchange, twisting Atken into a hammerlock. Atken tries to twist but Youngblood follows him right around, and uses the opportunity to slide a hand in behind Atken’s head. He grabs the humble proprietor around the waist and lifts, sending him to the canvas with a thunderous half-nelson suplex.
Richard Parker: That’s what I’m talking about!
Youngblood floats over from the suplex and starts taking Atken’s back. Atken manages to pull the same reversal Youngblood had done earlier in the evening and rotates over onto his own back, but he manages to slip Youngblood into his guard. Atken reaches to try to grab ahold of Youngblood and keep him close, but Youngblood postures up and brings down a huge elbow across the face of Atken.
Richard Parker: TURN THE OLD MAN INTO GLUE!
Nick Stuart: I thought you liked Atken?
Richard Parker: Yeah, but I REALLY like Youngblood.
The Last Diamond delivers a few shots to Atken’s ribs, but postures up firing away with another elbow, this one smashing Atken just above his left eye. Atken slumps to the mat for a moment as Timo slides in.
Richard Parker: HE KNOCKED HIM OUT!
Nick Stuart: Phil Atken manages to get his shoulder up, but he’s in big trouble here against the Universal Champion.
Richard Parker: HA! That last elbow cut Atken open! Take that!
Atken doesn’t notice the crimson pouring down his face and into his gray hair. He may not have even known if it was his, or if it was from the side of Youngblood’s face. The Universal Champion tries to pass to half guard but Atken manages to keep Youngblood in his full guard, and keep a vice grip around the back of his head. Youngblood finally manages to rip through Atken’s grip and throws another elbow, but this time Atken pounces. He pulls his hips up into the air and manages to grab Youngblood in an armbar.
Nick Stuart: YOUNGBLOOD GOT CAUGHT!
Richard Parker: NO!
Youngblood roars and stands up as Atken tries to roll over onto his stomach, but Youngblood manages to reach down and grab ahold of his own hand and pull Atken up like a curl. Atken’s face looks shocked as Youngblood falls forward and slams Atken off the mat. Atken almost bounces off the canvas and is forced to let go of his arm bar. Youngblood backs off for a second holding his arm as Atken starts to pull himself up using the bottom rope.
Richard Parker: That was close.
Nick Stuart: Very.
The two men once again stand across from each other, Atken wipes the blood from his forehead, realizing it was his own. More appears in its place while Youngblood presses against his eye trying to keep the swelling down. The two collide in the center of the ring again, this time the violence is elevated. Youngblood goes for a collar and elbow tie up but Atken sends a forearm right into Youngblood’s orbital bone. Youngblood backs off, but Atken manages to grab a headlock and flips Youngblood over his body using his hip. Youngblood lands in a seated position and Atken hammers down on the back of Youngblood’s head using his elbow. Once. Twice. Then takes off running for the ropes. He comes back and almost decapitates Youngblood with a penalty kick. Smashing him across the bridge of his nose.
Richard Parker: OH SHIT!
Nick Stuart: Atken may have broken Youngblood’s nose there.
Atken immediately follows it up with a pinfall attempt, hooking Youngblood’s leg while driving his own forearm across the bridge of Youngblood’s nose. Timo slides in.
Richard Parker: Thank Hoyt!
Nick Stuart: Almost a new Universal Champion!
Youngblood kicks out emphatically. The big man is quick to his feet, now with blood running down into his blonde and gray beard. Atken is staring across the ring, blood pouring down his forehead. The two once again collide in the center of the ring. This time Youngblood slips behind Atken. He tries to lift Atken, but Atken kicks his legs frantically trying to get out of the move. Youngblood instead manages to irish whip Atken into the ropes. Atken comes back, and Youngblood plants him to the canvas with a Spinebuster!
Richard Parker: IT’S OVER! HASTA LA VISTA GLUE FACTORY!
Richard Parker: NOOOOOO!
Nick Stuart: PHIL ATKEN KICKED OUT!
Youngblood gets to his feet, and pulls Atken up with him. He stands behind Atken, bloodied, but not broken. He grabs Atken around the waist and lifts him up for the Backdrop Driver.
Nick Stuart: WHAT A REVERSAL BY ATKEN!
Phil flips all the way over and grabs Youngblood around the neck. Youngblood tries to fight with his hands, but how sudden it was, lets Atken slip his arm right under Youngblood’s chin. The other arm slips up Youngblood’s body and his left wrist connects with his right elbow joint.
Richard Parker: HE’S GOT IT LOCKED IN!
Nick Stuart: Center of the ring! Atken has Youngblood, in the Shotgun, in the center of the ring!
Atken has the choke locked in on the much larger Brandon Youngblood. The Universal Champion begins flailing his arms in the air, swinging them around rapidly. He tries to drag Atken to the ropes, but the humble proprietor jumps on his back, forcing the champion down to a knee.
Nick Stuart: ATKEN HAS THE HOOKS IN!
Richard Parker: NO!
Youngblood drops to all fours, as Atken yanks back on Youngblood’s neck. Both mens face turning bright red, one from the strain of being choked, the others from doing the choking. Brandon starts to crawl towards the ropes, each movement more labored and agonizing than the last. Atken squeezes his wrist with his bicep, while wrapping his arm behind Youngblood’s head, making sure his enormous neck is pushed down across the forearm.
Nick Stuart: This is bad Richard, this is really, really bad. Youngblood’s nose has been broken, he’s already struggling for air…
Richard Parker: Youngblood beat Cancer, he can beat this.
The bloodied Atken keeps squeezing, as Youngblood keeps crawling, finally making his way within the range of one last dive to the ropes. Then, a figure comes out of the crowd and over the barricade. His hood pulled back, just as Youngblood makes the lunge, the figure grabs the bottom rope and pulls it back. At the same time, his hood falls back to reveal…
Nick Stuart: FLAMBERGE! WHAT IS THIS!
Richard Parker: FLAMBO NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!
With Youngblood’s body now flattened out on the mat, he was still reaching desperately for the ropes. Timo runs across the ring to yell at Flamberge, but Atken has his moment. He pulls backwards on Youngblood, flipping onto his own back, while keeping the Shotgun locked in. Youngblood’s eyes are wide open as Atken uses his body triangle as leverage to wrench back further on the choke. Timo turns around, grabbing Youngblood’s arm. He lifts it up and drops it once.
Richard Parker: COME ON BRANDON! YOU CAN DO THIS! SAVE ME FROM THE GLUE FACTORY!
Nick Stuart: One more Richard and we have a new champion…
And then a third time.
DING DING DING
Timo frantically calls for the bell, while pulling Atken off of Youngblood. The ringside doctor rushes into the ring to check on Brandon Youngblood. Timo assists Youngblood while Flamberge grabs the Universal Title off of the timekeeper’s table and jumps into the ring with it. He straps it around the bloodied Phil Atken’s waist and raises his arm in the air. Hank, and Dirk sprint down from the back.
Vince Howard: Your winner, by referee’s stoppage… and NEEEEEEEEEEEEW UNIVERSAL CHAAAAAAAMPION! PHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIL AAAAAAAAAAAATKEN!!!!
Nick Stuart: I’m stunned Richard… absolutely floored.
Richard Parker: I’m so screwed.
Atken pulls the belt off, clutching it to his chest as the scene fades.
All in all, it’s a bittersweet night for Melvin Beauregard.
Sure, he lorded the PWA deal and the no-contact clause over the unflappable Lindsay Troy, and he was able to ensure GREAT SCOTT a rematch for the Five Star Title at the upcoming supershow. But he also got assaulted by over a dozen eggs thanks to an eGG Bandits’ prank gone awry and that was enough to put a damper on the evening.
He’d tried to clean himself up the best he could but he already knew his suit was ruined. He could go to JCPenney and get another one, but that’s not the point. Ever since he was assigned to work for PRIME, he’d been at the mercy of all sorts of shenanigans and bullshittery and he’d had about enough.
Melvin walks through the casino before arriving at the MGM Grand parking garage. He reaches into his pocket for his keys, but stops suddenly as a voice calls out to his left.
The deep, gravelly voice can only belong to one man, and Melvin swallows with fear, slowly turning around to meet six feet, four inches of southern hospitality leaning against the wall, a trademark thundercloud glare pushing through the dark and dim parking lot lights.
Melvin Beauregard: Um…good evening, Wade…
The Blue Collar Brawler steps forward, further into the light, blue eyes sizing up the PWA Liaison while scratching his chin through a short, gray beard.
Wade Elliott: Don’t worry yerself, I won’t keep ya long. Just wanted t’say congrats on the new position, and give ya kudos on that contract language. Awful clever.
Melvin can only respond with a forced smile, and the Southern Sparkplug takes a size 14 step closer.
Wade Elliott: But while I have ya, I’d like t’make somethin’ clear…
Another step forward. Melvin wishes he’d done more kegel exercises.
Wade Elliott: Yer contract may say that the wrestlers can’t touch ya, but lucky fer me…
The Bad Dog leans down to Melvin’s height, and growls in his ear:
Wade Elliott: …I’m just security.
Beauregard, again, offers little response, as The Bad Dog stands upright. Elliott nods his head over his shoulder.
Wade Elliott: See that rig over there?
Melvin looks past Wade to see a giant, black GMC Sierra 2500, foreboding against the dark.
Wade Elliott: That’s mine. If I were you, I’d go get in yer’s.
Melvin, somewhat instinctively, backpedals toward his own late model sedan, and then breaks into a run. Behind him, the black behemoth’s engine turns over to bellow through the parking lot, headlights snapping to life, thanks to a remote starter.
Melvin Beauregard: Ohhh shit…
Melvin bumps into his car, then clambers clumsily to unlock and it and climb inside. Before he knows it, he’s crushed against the driver’s side door by the force of nearly 260 pounds.
Wade Elliott: On second thought, lemme give ya a hand….