LOOK UPON MY WORKS, YE MIGHTY, AND DESPAIR
The percussion beat hammers before a lingering fade mere moments after its volley.
The Universal Championship is on the line. The challenger, Phil Atken, brushes his hand through his hair, a look of concern on his face as his entourage has been sent to the back. The Champion, Brandon Youngblood, stares forward, ready to strike the moment the bell rings. Referee Timo Bolamba slaps his hands together.
The war begins.
The drumbeat returns, and as it does, flashes. The Tower of Babel grapples the waist of The Humble Proprietor, arms locked, only to receive vicious elbows to the back of his head in return. A knee drives The Diamond upright. Ozymandias connects with a vicious knife edge chop. The Champion returns in kind, his hand splattering the chest of his challenger.
The beat revs up again, a fury of forearms from both, a massive backbody drop, a release german suplex, and Atken rolls to the floor. A flash. The Proprietor of the Glue Factory’s elbow cuts open Brandon’s cheek. Another flash. A half nelson suplex sends Phil Atken to the canvas. He’s inside his guard now, raining elbows. Now, Ozymandias is bleeding.
The brutality is getting out of hand. Atken takes the larger Youngblood over his hip, and fires off the penalty kick heard around the world, his nose exploded from the blow. Atken’s cover and rubbing elbow over the nose of his opponent receives a vicious kickout. A spinebuster fires off from the champion, but he doesn’t get the three.
The calamity of drums builds in crescendo, to the point where Youngblood goes for a backdrop driver. Phil Atken reverses, and locks in The Shotgun, the most devastating choke in the sport of professional wrestling. Brandon struggles with all his might to reach for the ropes, and as he makes his final lunge, the picture becomes black and white. A hooded figure pulls back, his hood dropping. FLAMBERGE. The newest member of The Glue Factory. The choke remains. Youngblood’s eyes go wide. Timo raises his hand and it falls, three times. The bell rings.
PRIME and the wrestling world are in shock.
FLAMBERGE grabs the Universal Championship from the announce table, and hands it to its new holder, who presses it against his chest.
Phil Atken had done it.
He was the new Universal Champion.
And all we are left with are questions of what’s next.
We flash to a shot inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the text at the bottom right of the screen saying ‘filmed days earlier’. The arena stands empty, no fans to be seen. In the ring, however, are two figures. One is the backstage voice of PRIME, Angelica Brooks, microphone in hand. The other? The now former Universal Champion, Brandon Youngblood. Dressed in street clothes, the Tower of Babel looks like he’s been run through a meat grinder, his face showing the result of his battle with Phil Atken. Both his eyes are black and blue, swollen. His nose is heavily bandaged with gauze, as is his cheek. He rests his back against the turnbuckles, hands on his hips, his head slightly downcast. Angelica’s eyes face the camera in front of her as she begins to speak.
Angelica Brooks: Folks, we’re a few days out from ReVival 14, but with me here is Brandon Youngblood.
She pauses, turning to the former champion.
Angelica Brooks: Brandon, I know this must be difficult, but thank you for giving up some of your time to be here today.
Youngblood looks up, offering only a nod in response.
Angelica Brooks: I would be remiss not to congratulate you on what you’ve accomplished in PRIME since the company’s return. Winning the Seymour Almasy Invitational. Becoming the inaugural Universal Champion of this new era of PRIME. You took on all challengers…stood undefeated throughout most of this year. As legendary as your career has been, this most recent run has seen you at your very best, and you’ve set a standard that is hard to match not just in PRIME, but anywhere in the wrestling world.
The glowing praise is met with no response, rather, he looks to the empty stands for a moment before returning to look toward Angelica.
Angelica Brooks: That being said…the wrestling world is in absolute shock with what transpired on ReVival 13. In an absolutely physical battle, Phil Atken stunned everyone by making good on his promise of winning the Universal Championship. As difficult as this might be to ask, can you let your fans…the fans of PRIME…know your thoughts on the events that transpired?
It takes a few moments, but Brandon gathers himself and begins to speak.
Brandon Youngblood: PRIME has the best wrestlers in the world. It’s not a shock if many of them can become Universal Champion. But Phil Atken? Nobody should be shocked. I said from day one he was a threat. His career, where he was, what he did or didn’t accomplish before coming here? It doesn’t matter.
There isn’t some gritting of teeth. Scratching his goatee, he continues.
Brandon Youngblood: On August 12th, he made his mark. He proved he’s the greatest wrestler in the world.
Brooks looks at him, perplexed.
Angelica Brooks: I find this…troubling…
A few blank moments pass before she steps forward.
Angelica Brooks: Brandon…as physical as the match was, as intense as it was, it wasn’t without controversy. Phil Atken had you locked in The Shotgun, and you were about to make the ropes until FLAMBERGE made his presence known. It is clear to everyone that you were screwed.
His response is immediate.
Brandon Youngblood: Look…do I have feelings on how that match played out? Of course I do. Look at my face. It’s a mess. It’s still a mess. My nose needed surgery to repair the damage done. On that night, Phil Atken brought everything he had. Did I overlook him? No. Did he hit me harder than I expected? You’re damn right he did.
He looks at the camera, stepping from the corner.
Brandon Youngblood: But I ain’t Randall Knox. I’m not going to stand here, magnanimous when it suits me, and when I get answers I don’t like, pitch a bitch fit from a hospital bed. I will take nothing away from Phil Atken, the competitor, the wrestler. Do I agree with how he views the world? Hell no. Do I agree with some of what he’s done here? Hell no. But on that night, Phil Atken took decades of frustration…he fought…he represented people that believed in him…that depend on him…and he won the greatest prize in the history of our sport.
A shrug of the shoulders.
Brandon Youngblood: Now I could stand here and diminish all that. I could try and make him an afterthought. Call into question all of it. Make it about me. But again, I’m not Randall Knox. This isn’t me sitting here, asking the question about another five minutes. He deserves to hold the Universal Championship. Yeah…FLAMBERGE grabbed that bottom rope…
His tone shifts into a growl.
Brandon Youngblood: And believe me…when that little prick gets put in the ring with me, he’s a dead man.
The threat out of the way, his voice returns to normal.
Brandon Youngblood: But am I going to sit here, talk to you, talk to all the fans and say ‘if I grab those ropes, I rally and suplex my way through adversity and retain’? I could. But I won’t. Because reality is…we will never know about that night. We don’t know if I get up and hit another half nelson or a Randallplex. We don’t know if it doesn’t matter and he gets me in another Shotgun. And I’m not about to drive myself crazy doing so. And I’m not going to piss on Phil Atken either.
He eases his back against the turnbuckles.
Brandon Youngblood: But what I will say? I didn’t get to where I am by rolling over. Phil Atken gave me one of the worst beatings I’ve ever had in a wrestling ring. For some, that might be the end. They’d say it’s not worth it to get back up and go for more. The road to the Universal Championship is the hardest there is. Nothing is given. I know there’s no immediate rematch coming my way. Every title opportunity, I had to win my way there through gauntlets. Tournaments. Halos. Everything I’ve ever gotten here, I’ve had to fight and scrape and claw for. Lindsay Troy isn’t going to make my path easy. I’m not Cancer Jiles or Julian Bathory…I don’t get to tie my way to another shot. I’m not GREAT SCOTT, failing forward to an automatic rematch because that prick Melvin Beauregard and his PWA is caping for me.
The disgust is palpable. He turns toward Angelica.
Brandon Youngblood: And as hard as it will be, this isn’t the end, Angie.
Only to refocus back to the camera.
Brandon Youngblood: Phil? Congratulations. I have a challenge for you. You bring that same fight you had against me to UltraViolence. Take down Bathory and Jiles. Keep fighting. Define your legacy as a great Universal Champion. Bring out the very best you have and keep getting better. I demand it. Me? I’m gonna do the same. I’ll learn. I’ll grow. I’ll get better. Because I’m coming for you…and I won’t accept anything but your best.
And with that said, the Tower of Babel steps through the ropes, and takes his leave.
Angelica Brooks: Strong words from the former champion.
Let ReVival 14 get underway.
BUSTER GLOVES vs. JACOB MEPHISTO
Our scene fades into the arena from the show opener and we’re graced with the presence of glorious signs.
NATE COLTON IS THE BIIIIIIIIIITCH!!
KING OF BLUEBERRIES, EMPEROR OF FORKLIFTS
IS MELVIN OK? JK WHO CARES
WADE ELLIOTT IS A BIG DAMN HERO
ALL HAIL OUR NEW GLUE OVERLORDS
I AM NOT A PWA WRESTLER SO WHERE DOES THE LINE FORM TO BEAT UP MELVIN?
PURCH THE MERCH, SCAREDY CATS!!!
DUSK IS ONLY MY SEVENTH FAVORITE PRIME WRESTLER
THE PARKING LOT SHOULD BE A SAFE SPACE
THE WHITE STRIPE OF THE FRENCH FLAG IS GLUE
REX BUCKY DANIELS IS A GOOD BOY
LET CALLY SAY “PHOOEY”
LET CALLY SAY “PHOOEY” OR “FIDDLESTICKS” BUT NOT BOTH
MY BEAR AND MY GLARE
GLUE BEATS FORKLIFT. EGGS BEAT GLUE. FORKLIFT BEATS EGGS!
DIAGNOSE ME, DR. NED!
WE MISS RIA!
HEY NATE, I’LL BE YOUR GREEN LIGHT #CALLME
ACHETER DE LA COLLE
After the pan-around, we go to Nick and Richard at the Commentation Station!
Nick Stuart: We would like to make a correction. At ReVival 12, we were handed some incorrect information, and made multiple errors in regards to Buster Gloves weight. Buster Gloves weighs in at two-hundred and fifty five pounds. We would like to correct the record.
Richard Parker: Yeah… what Nick said.
The lights go out. An electric guitar strums a chord before a single word appears on the Jumbotron. “BUSTER”. Then another guitar riffs and the word ”GLOVES”. The lights return to the arena and Buster Gloves emerges from the tunnel. Guile’s theme song from Street Fighter II is being shredded on the guitar and Buster Gloves burst emerges from the tunnel, shadow boxing.
Nick Stuart: This man has been a champion in multiple promotions across the world, and he comes to PRIME to make a name for himself! We’ll see what he has here against Jacob Mephisto.
Richard Parker: IT WON’T BE ENOUGH!
Wearing a black hoodie reading the words ‘WRESTLING IS FOREVER’ on the back, Buster Gloves has a black and blue training mask attached to his face. You can’t see many of his facial features, but it’s undoubtedly him. He wears those black leather gloves that he loves so much, with the letters W.I.F.E. on the left hand.Buster descends the ramp high fiving kids and posing for pictures with sign-holding fans. He works the crowd a bit.
Nick Stuart: Buster being a father knows how important these moments are to these young fans in the arena here at the MGM Grand.
Buster climbs the ring apron, wipes his feet, and enters the ring through the second rope. He removes his shirt and ascends the second turnbuckle to play to the crowd one last time.
The music fades as Buster removes his training mask and shakes hands with the referee.
“The Dark Horse Always Wins” by Blues Saraceno kicks up and Jacob Mephisto appears at the top of the ramp.
Nick Stuart: Looks like he’s without the twins tonight.
Richard Parker: He doesn’t need them! Mephisto is going to punch his ticket to his first win the old fashioned way! By pummeling Buster Gloves.
Nick Stuart: I’m sure.
Mephisto makes his way down to ringside slowly, hops up, and enters the ring while Elvis Nixon checks on both competitors.
Nick Stuart: Elvis Nixon calls for the bell and we’re under way.
Richard Parker: This Buster Gloves guy, I dunno about him.
Gloves and Mephisto immediately start circling each other, Mephisto looking for an early advantage, and Buster Gloves looking for a leg. Mephisto goes in for a collar and elbow tie-up and Gloves ducks under grabbing a single leg. Gloves rides Mephisto into the corner, but the larger man is able to keep his legs spread apart. Elvis Nixon jumps in and separates the two men for being in the ropes.
Nick Stuart: Good start from Gloves.
Gloves breaks clean, but Mephisto fires off a slap across Gloves’ chest. Gloves grimaces as Mephisto shoves through Nixon and fires off a knee into the Gloves’ midsection. Gloves stumbles and Mephisto is all over him with haymakers across the back of the neck and the back of Gloves’ head.
Richard Parker: Hah! Good start from Gloves!? GREAT start from Mephisto.
Nick Stuart: Seemed like that slap across the chest was a little early there.
Gloves drops to a knee, and Mephisto grabs him behind the head and slams Gloves’ face into his knee from a muay thai plumb. Gloves goes down in a heap, Mephisto is grinning as he pulls Gloves up to his feet by the back of his neck.
Nick Stuart: Mephisto already exploiting the height advantage here this evening, and he seems to be trying to bully Gloves.
Richard Parker: Of course! If I was six-foot five I’d be a bully too.
Gloves tries to push Mephisto away, but Mephisto grabs his head and puts him in a front face lock. Mephisto throws Buster’s arm over his own head and tries to lift him up into the suplex position. Gloves starts to fight back, throwing body shots into Mephisto’s abdomen. One, then another, Mephisto starts to lose his grip and Gloves pulls his head out.
Nick Stuart: THUMB TO THE EYE!
Richard Parker: That’s what I’m talking about!
Mephisto cuts off Gloves’ momentum with the thumb to the eye, and pushes him back into position for the suplex. Mephisto gets Gloves up into the air and stalls for a moment. Gloves tries to kick his feet but Mephisto drives him to the canvas with a huge delayed vertical brainbuster.
Richard Parker: That’s it! Gloves is done for! COME AND SEE GLOVES! COME AND SEE!
Mephisto places both hands on Gloves’ chest, pressing down for a pinfall attempt, Elvis Nixon slides in.
Nick Stuart: I think Buster Gloves has a lot of fight left in him Richard.
Richard Parker: No way, Mephisto is dominating!
Mephisto shakes his head, while berating Nixon for being late sliding into position. He pulls Gloves up to his feet, Mephisto slides Gloves up onto his shoulders… but Gloves glides right off. He grabs Mephisto and slides his foot in front of him in one motion, throwing the taller man down to the canvas with a judo trip. Gloves grabs his head in pain from the brain buster but pushes through.
Nick Stuart: Nice Judo throw from Gloves there.
Richard Parker: Tripping is illegal.
Nick Stuart: This isn’t soccer Richard, it’s a combat sport, tripping is perfectly legal.
Mephisto scrambles quickly back to his feet and the two men stop in the center of the ring and look back across at each other. The two march to the center of the ring, while Gloves keeps his hand near his injured neck. Mephisto once again goes for the collar and elbow, Gloves shoots through again, bunching Mephisto’s legs together. The big man tries to step backwards, but Gloves rides him the whole way, finally getting the larger man up off of his feet and slamming him to the mat.
Nick Stuart: WHAT STRENGTH BY BUSTER GLOVES!
Richard Parker: Oh come on, that was just a little take down.
Mephisto tries to put Gloves into a guard, but the brazilian jiu-jitsu expert passes without a second thought, straight into a half guard. Mephisto starts throwing right hands from the bottom position, but Gloves powers through them and delivers a shuddering elbow to Mephisto’s mouth.
Richard Parker: HOYT DAMN!
Nick Stuart: This is the man Lindsay Troy wanted to see last week in the ring, The Bull of the North, Buster Gloves.
Gloves pulls back to fire a second elbow down into Mephisto’s face, but Mephisto flips over trying to get away. Gloves immediately takes what his opponent has given him, and goes for a rear naked choke.
Richard Parker: THAT HOLD SHOULD BE ILLEGAL!
Nick Stuart: That’s how Phil Atken won the Universal Title at ReVival 13!
Mephisto dives for the ropes. There was no Flamberge to keep Mephisto from reaching them, Gloves is immediately up and off of Mephisto. Jacob gets to his feet slowly, while Gloves is waiting for him to take his hands off the ropes. Mephisto works his way to the corner furthest away from Gloves before he does. The second the hand is removed, Gloves goes in for another takedown attempt. Mephisto sees it coming and slams Gloves’ head into the middle turnbuckle.
Richard Parker: Hah! One too many times Mr. Gloves.
Nick Stuart: Great awareness by Mephisto there.
Mephisto is a desperate man and drives Gloves’ head into the top turnbuckle a few more times before stepping back and delivering a running high knee to Gloves’ head. Gloves stumbles out of the corner holding his face, but Mephisto turns him around and slams him to the canvas with a snap suplex. Mephisto gets to his feet, and Gloves follows right after, Mephisto sends a chop into Gloves’ chest. Gloves’ fires back with a chop of his own. The back and forth continues. Finally Gloves gets the upper hand and slams Mephisto with a second chop.
Richard Parker: DON’T TRADE BLOWS WITH THAT GUY!
Nick Stuart: Gloves has a head full of steam!
Mephisto breaks the momentum with a kick to the midsection. He grabs Buster in a front face lock and plants him to the canvas with a DDT. Mephisto rolls to his feet while Buster struggles to get up to his knees. Mephisto comes in for another rising knee, but Gloves catches him midair and slams him over his head with a huge belly to belly suplex that shudders the ring.
Nick Stuart: BOTH MEN ARE DOWN!
Gloves struggles to the ropes, and crawls to his feet, while Mephisto does the same. The two men meet in the middle of the ring, Gloves grabs waist control, Mephisto spins around and reverse. Gloves reverses back, Mephisto pulls Gloves fingers and separates but Gloves has the answer and absolutely shudders Mephisto’s body with a heart punch.
Nick Stuart: GLOVES CALLS THAT THE HEART BREAKER!
Mephisto drops to his knees, and it’s enough of an opening for Gloves to lock in his standing D’Arce choke! Mephisto flails his arms for a moment, while Gloves gets the choke locked in.
Richard Parker: OH NO! ITS IN DEEP!
Nick Stuart: REAL DEEP! And Mephisto has to tap!
Richard Parker: Smart business decision there!
DING DING DING
Elvis Nixon runs over, grabbing Gloves’ arm and holding it high while the fans cheer.
Nick Stuart: What an exciting opening contest Richard.
Richard Parker: Yeah… Gloves looked really impressive in there tonight, but I don’t think we’ve seen the last from Mephisto.
WHO WEARS A HOODIE IN VEGAS IN AUGUST, IT’S A BILLION DEGREES OUTSIDE
Post match. Buster Gloves waves to the fans in attendance as he climbs down from the apron and on to the floor. He’s covered in sweat, wincing in pain. He holds the back of his left with his left hand as he reaches out to the crowd with his right. As he passes the fans he connects with them, giving high fives.
Standing at the top of the ramp are two of the four hooded figures that had beaten up Buster backstage a few weeks ago. Buster’s legs become rooted in the ground as he squares up, scans the arena for the other two figures and waits for their move. Excitement grows in the crowd as they encourage Buster to charge up the ramp and settle a score.
A third hooded man, who had emerged from under the ring, crushes Buster with an unprotected steel chair shot to his upper back. The other two finally begin their descent down the ramp. Once reaching the crumbled body of Gloves, all three of them unleash a flurry of stomps and wild haymakers. A little more prepared this time, Buster gets to a knee and lifts one of the men with fireman’s carry and dumps him into the other, knocking them both to the floor. He turns to go after the third, but the numbers are just too much for him.
A steel chair is rammed into Buster’s gut. Then another shot on the back to drop him again. The two hooded figures collapse on him, as the three of them roll him into the ring, drag him towards the far rope, and twist his arms up into the ropes. Once they are convinced the ropes will hold, each one of them faces the ramp and kneels.
At the top of the rampa, a fourth hooded man stands. Slowly and methodically, we begins down the ramp, nodding his head with approval. He simply tilts his head as he enters the ring and then cuts his head towards the tied up Buster. Then waves the men out of the ring. The last remaining hooded man sits down right in front of Buster.
Man: I told you it wasn’t safe to walk around here alone. You told me ‘No’. That was brave of you. And stupid. I told you that ‘No’ isn’t an option, but that is a lie. I’m a liar, Buster. Everyone in this room is a liar.. No is always an option. Hell, ‘Yes’ was even an option. You can say whatever you want around here and it doesn’t matter. Regardless of what you said, regardless of what you do, you were always going to end up right here, with me, just the way we are.
The man pauses for a second and scoffs into the microphone and puts a hand to his head.
Man: Why do we have to end up like this? Why? Why? Why? It’s not that I don’t like you.. No, it has nothing to do with that. It has everything to do with the fact that you placate yourself to the fans. You crave their gratitude. You feed off of their energy. You’ve convinced yourself of this lie that you need them. You still haven’t seen the light, and that’s okay. You’re going to get there. And I’ll help. I’ll show you that these fans are fickle. They are weak-minded sheep. Repeating the rehearsed lines. Without an original thought in their fragile little minds. They don’t actually like you, Buster. They just do whatever their masters tell them to, so they won’t have to suffer anymore than anyone else.
The hooded man adjusts himself so that his back is to Buster, and his face is to the Tron.
Man: Come on, Buster. I know you have it in you. To feed off their energy. Using it for your own selfish gain. Free yourself. Break your chains. Rise up. Bring the fight to the gates of your enemies. Do that and you’ll never spend another day in your cage of self-pity and loneliness. Prove to me that these people actually care about you and I’ll admit that I was wrong.
The man holds his arms out wide and waits. Buster gives up the struggle. Averting eye contact while he tries to unpack the things this man is saying. Buster can’t just free himself. It’ll take the assistance of someone else. Either a savior or a captor. Defeated and broken, Buster waits, but nobody comes to help him.
Man: Just as I had expected. By the time these fakers are in their beds, they will have already forgotten about you. They won’t remember how you bled for them. They won’t recognize what you’ve sacrificed for their entertainment. Your name will hardly be a whisper in their meaningless lives. It’s not that you don’t stand out enough as a wrestler. It’s that you don’t stand out enough as a human being. You stand in line. You wait your turn. And you hope for the best. And the world breaks you into dust! You still have an option, Mr. Gloves. You can be reborn. You can be fixed. You can be saved. By me. You are like a rose wilting, all you need is a little water and sunlight, and you can be brought back to life.
The hooded man looks to one side of the arena, then the other. Then slowly lifts the hood from his face. Revealing… Shawn… Warstein.
Shawn takes a deep breath as a sinister smile stretches across his face. He begins pointing with one hand as he holds the mic with the other.
Shawn Warstein: Look at me, Buster. These people forgot about me. They turned their backs on me. I’ll show them what happens when an animal breaks its chains, escapes its cage, and goes on the hunt.
Shawn smirks, proud of himself, as he sets the microphone down and gets right in Buster’s face. Buster withdraws and kicks wildly as Shawn moves in close to caress his cheek. Buster barks a few words to Shawn, but the mic is unable to pick up what he says. Shawn only shakes his head and smiles bigger at how predictable this whole interaction has been. There is a second where it looks like Buster is about to spit in Shawn’s face, but he doesn’t. He holds it back and swallows his pride. Shawn drops to his back and rolls out of the ring, while Buster can only spit a bloody mess onto the map. The eyes of Buster Gloves are averted shame as he can only wait for a friend, or co-worker, or employer to come release him from this inhumane entanglement.
COMMERCIAL: ACE NETWORK
GIMME A HECKIN’ MIC
As ReVival returns from commercial, the camera is zoomed in tight on a face that only a mother could love, if that mother had not been murdered by the mafia. LARGE DADDY SCOTT stands in front of the camera, his hair freshly cut and bleached, wearing a pair of white rimmed sunglasses and sporting a goatee that appears to have grown at near superhuman speed. GREAT BEAR appears to be absent tonight, likely in GREAT SCOTT’s locker room because of SECRET EVENTS later in the show, so it’s all SCOTTZILLA tonight.
Still attired in his usual singlet, despite not even being booked to wrestle tonight, GREAT SCOTT rubs his hands together as the camera slowly zooms out, showing him in the backstage interview area.
GREAT SCOTT: GIMME A HECKIN’ MIC.
No one gives him a heckin’ mic, because he is standing directly in front of the camera and doesn’t need one. Nevertheless, he goes on.
GREAT SCOTT: MY NAME IS LARGE DADDY SCOTT AKA GREAT SCOTT AKA THE LARGE MISBEHAVING FATHER OF BUTTS. I KNOW THAT YOU ARE ALL WONDERING WHY I BECAME A BAD GUY AND DID HEADPHONE MURDER TO PASTOR RAY AT REVIVAL 13 AND YOU ARE WANTING TO KNOW WHEN MY EXCLUSIVE PAY PER VIEW INTERVIEW WILL COME OUT EXPLAINING MY ACTIONS. WELL THAT INTERVIEW IS COMING SOON MAYBE AS SOON AS MELVIN OR HIS SECRETARY LINDSAY PUT ME IN ANOTHER MATCH BUT RIGHT NOW PRIMETIME WRESTLING IS SCARED OF GREAT SCOTT BECAUSE THEY DO NOT WANT ANYONE ELSE MURDERED WITH PRODUCT PLACEMENT. I AM NOT HERE TONIGHT TO GIVE AWAY FREE SECRETS YOU MARKS I AM HERE TO TALK ABOUT GOATS AND HOT VEE.
He flexes his arms, which are the largest in the world or at least in this room. Muscles upon muscles blast into televisions across the country, making it uncomfortable for women to continue wearing panties, especially in this humidity.
GREAT SCOTT: LAST WEEK REZIN TRIED TO BRIBE ME TO GO AWAY BY GIVING ME HONEY. REZIN WHO DO YOU THINK I AM? DO I LOOK LIKE WINNIE THE POOH TO YOU? DO I WALK AROUND WEARING NO PANTS AND SAYING OH BOTHER? DO I HAVE A FRIEND WHO IS A PIG WITH ANXIETY OR A FRIEND NAMED CHRISTOPHER ROBIN WHO WEARS SHORTS THAT ARE TOO SHORT? WAS I CREATED BY A. A. MILNE AS A CHARACTER MEANT TO DELIGHT CHILDREN? DO I LIVE IN THE HUNDRED ACRE WOOD? AM I OWNED BY THE DISNEY CORPORATION AND DO I HAVE ATTRACTIONS AT BOTH DISNEYLAND IN CALIFORNIA AND DISNEYWORLD IN ORLANDO FLORIDA? REZIN DO I LOOK LIKE I GIVE A HECK ABOUT ANYTHING BUT MY BEAR AND MY GLARE? BECAUSE I PROMISE YOU THE ONLY THINGS I CARE ABOUT ARE MY BEAR AND MY GLARE.
He glares at the camera.
GREAT SCOTT: AND ALSO CHAMPIONSHIPS SO THAT IS THREE THINGS BUT THEY ARE ALL VERY IMPORTANT. REZIN WE ARE GOING TO GO TO WAR AT ULTRONVIOLENCE AND I HOPE THAT YOU ARE READY CAUSE GUESS WHAT BITCH I WILL NOT JUST BE NORMAL GREAT SCOTT I WILL BE LARGE DADDY SCOTT THE PWA MEGASTAR AND THE CHAMPION OF HOT VEE.
He flexes again, to break up the dialogue. It’s a lot of glaring and flexing.
GREAT SCOTT: THAT’S RIGHT MARKS TOMORROW NIGHT GOD’S PLAN FOR ME BECOMES FRUIT WHEN I FIGHT COWBOB CLAYPANTS FOR THE HOT VEE CHAMPIONSHIP IN OCTANE WRESTLING AND IT IS GOING TO BE GREAT. WELL GREAT FOR ME NOT GREAT FOR THE CERAMIC BIRD COWBOY BECAUSE I AM GOING TO TAKE HIS TITLE AND THEN I MIGHT TAKE HIS GIRLFRIEND TOO BECAUSE BITCHES LOVE MY BEAR AND MY GLARE AND THERE IS NOTHING AS HOT AS LARGE DADDY SCOTT.
He kisses his own bicep, a natural extension of the flexing and glaring.
GREAT SCOTT: REZIN AT ULTRONVIOLENCE YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE ME THE ULTIMATE PWA MEGASTAR BECAUSE I WILL HAVE AN ASS NETWORK BELT AND A HOT VEE BELT AT THE SAME TIME AND I WILL HAVE ASS AND VEE AND YOU WILL HAVE NOTHING BECAUSE YOU ARE A RUDE GOAT WHO EATS BLACK LICORICE BEFORE YOU SPIT ON PEOPLE. NORMALLY IF YOU GO ONE ON ONE WITH A WRESTLER YOU HAVE A FIFTY FIFTY CHANCE OF WINNING BUT I AM GREAT SCOTT AND I AM NOT NORMAL, SO YOU GOT A TWENTY FIVE PERCENT CHANCE AT BEST AT BEATING ME. AND THEN YOU ADD GREAT BEAR TO THE MIX AND YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING DRASTIC GO DOWN. AND GREAT BEAR WILL NEVER BETRAY ME REZIN I BET IF YOU WENT INTO HIS LOCKER ROOM TONIGHT WITH HONEY HE WOULD BEAT YOU TO DEATH WITH HIS PAWS. BECAUSE HE IS A BEAR.
This time, he glares and THEN flexes. And then glares again.
GREAT SCOTT: ANYWAY THAT IS ALL I HAD TO SAY HAVE A GREAT DAY MARKS JUST KIDDING GO FUCK YOURSELVES.
He flexes one more time, glaring at the camera as we cut elsewhere in the show. It takes a couple of extra seconds though, so he just stands there. Glaring and flexing. Flexing and glaring. Until ReVival goes on.
NEW KID IN TOWN
We’re backstage with Matt Mills.
Matt Mills: Matt Mills here and I’m with the newest addition to the PRIME roster, Adam Ellis.
Adam Ellis steps in. Ellis is six foot-four, 226 pounds. His blond hair is slightly unkempt and a little longer in the back. He wears a nice shirt and pants and looks very much the part of a young Midwesterner finding himself in Las Vegas for the first time.
Matt Mills: Adam, welcome to PRIME and thanks for being here
Ellis extends his hand and offers a handshake to the PRIME backstage interviewer.
Adam Ellis: Thanks Mr. Mills. Yeah, it’s great to be here.
Matt Mills: Tell us about yourself.
Adam Ellis: I’m from Warrensburg, Missouri where I lettered in wrestling at Warrensburg High School for all four years. I got my start at Missouri Valley Wrestling in 2019 and then John Sektor asked me to train at the Gold Standard Wrestling Academy and be a tag team with him in HOW.
Matt Mills: Adam, You and John Sektor won… and then lost the HOW Tag Title in the Spring. Why did you decide to go back to MVW.
Adam Ellis: Well, there was a couple reasons I went back. I hoped for a full-time contract- but I didn’t get one. So I went back to MVW to put myself in the shop window and see if someone would come calling. After I won the MVW Men’s title right away and defended the title against Darin Zion at HOW’s Dead or Alive pay per view, Lindsay Troy offered me a deal.
Matt Mills: What was the other reason you went back to MVW?
Adam pulls in his brand-new wife- Ginny Van Lear. She’s a nineteen-year-old red-haired firecracker dressed in a long coat that covers a simple shirt and pants combo with a pair of flats on her feet tonight.
Adam Ellis: My wife, Ginny Van Lear. We just got married three weeks ago.
Ginny speaks with a distinctive rural Appalachian drawl.
Ginny Van Lear: Hey, Mr. Mills.
Matt Mills: So Ginny, where exactly are you from?
Ginny Van Lear: Born and raised in McDowell, Kinn-tucky.
Matt Mills: In the heart of Appalachia.
Ginny Van Lear: Yes sir.
Matt Mills: Well, I’m sure being in the bright big city lights here in Las Vegas are a brand new experience for you.
Ginny Van Lear: Oh, I know all them ’bout bright lights. Where I come from, we call ’em stars.
Ginny points up.
Ginny Van Lear: On a clear night, you can see ‘em all in the sky at my daddy’s farm.
Matt Mills: Your father’s a farmer then?
Ginny Van Lear: Southern Baptist Preacher. Y’all know. Fire and brimstone… the ‘y’all gonna go to hell if you get caught making out with a boy in the shower with your shirt off’ kind of preacher.
Matt just looks at her.
Ginny Van Lear: Not that I’ve done ennything like that and since Adam and I are married it don’t much matter now.
Adam’s face turns a little red.
Ginny Van Lear: We’all met this time I set a buck bomb off inside a dressin’ trailer and hauled ass through a parkin’ lot to git away. Darn near ran Adam over.
Matt Mills: Wait. You set off a… bomb… in someone’s trailer?
Ginny Van Lear: Buck bomb.
Matt Mills: Buck bomb?
Ginny Van Lear: It’s a bomb full of buck urine that makes a dressin’ trailer smell like…
Matt Mills: Buck urine?
Ginny Van Lear: Well, yeah. It ain’t the most pleasant smell now, ain’t it.
Matt slowly nods his head…
Matt Mills: I see.
…and turns quickly back to Adam.
Matt Mills: Okay so Adam, is there anything else you’d like to add?
Adam Ellis: Mr. Mills, I’m happy to be here and looking forward to continuing to learn and grow as a wrestler. I’d like to thank Ray McAvay for taking a chance on me. Joe Bergman for showing me how to be a professional wrestler. John Sektor for showing me how to take the next step forward in my career. And of course, Lindsay Troy for bringing me in.
Matt Mill: All right. Adam Ellis. Thank you for your time.
Adam Ellis: Thank you Mr. Mills.
MORTIMER KJEDELIG vs. KENNY FREEMAN
The opening riffs of “You’re Nobody Til Somebody Loves You” by Dean Martin begins and the masked man emerges from the curtain as the lights dim and the spotlights shine on the ramp.
Nick Stuart: And we’re ready for another good match here as Mortimer Kjedelig faces off against Kenny Freeman, fresh off of his win at ReVival 12 against Buster Gloves.
Mortimer Kjedelig begins making his way down the ramp, pointing to the fans in attendance. As he walks by, he pays no attention to the fans, he’s there to a job and his gait shows it. He slides into the ring under the bottom rope, steps up to the middle turnbuckle and raises his hands in the air as the spotlight shines upon him. He hops off the turnbuckle and readies himself for the match as the music fades.
Richard Parker: He looks more confident than he has in a while. Getting a win will do that for you.
Nick Stuart: He’ll be facing someone looking for his first singles win in PRIME, Kenny Freeman.
Richard Parker: First singles win? How about first any win?
“Let Me Entertain You” plays over the sound system to a fairly mixed reaction from a crowd unfamiliar with the arriving Randall Schwartz and Kenny Freeman, who make their way to the ring regardless.
Richard Parker: Well that was quick.
Nick Stuart: Looks like Kenny is ready to go, and so is Mortimer. Jimmy Turnbull calls for the bell.
Mortimer circles Kenny Freeman, holding his hand out.
Nick Stuart: Kjedelig with the nearly 100 pound advantage on Kenny Freeman.
Richard Parker: Are we sure about it this time?
Nick Stuart: What do you mean?
Richard Parker: Last time we had a situation like this, the guy gained one hundred pounds right after the match. It was really weird.
Nick Stuart: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Kenny gets a little closer and holds his hand up, linking with Mortimer in a test of strength that quickly ends as Mortimer kicks Kenny in the stomach to a chorus of boos.
Richard Parker: Oh come on. Is kicking someone a dirty move now?
Nick Stuart: Violating a strength contest with a boot to the stomach isn’t dirty, but it’s certainly uncouth.
Richard Parker: Uncouth? Like what goes in my martinis?
Nick Stuart: No, that’s vermouth.
Mortimer starts to pound on the back of Freeman, dropping the smaller man to his knees. Mortimer then bounces off the ropes and hits Freeman on the side of his head with a running knee. He stops to look down at Kenny dismissively, then bounces off the ropes again and comes down with an elbow drop to Kenny’s back. Before Kenny can recover, Mortimer is on him with a side headlock.
Nick Stuart: Kjedelig off to a hot start tonight, and Kenny Freeman is in pain here.
Kenny slaps at Kjedelig’s head, but can’t gain purchase. Mortimer continues to wrench on the hold, then rolls Freeman over for a quick cover.
Nick Stuart: Quick kickout from Freeman.
Kjedelig lifts Freeman to his feet, then backs to the ropes and charges in for a clothesline, leveling the smaller man. Kjedelig smirks as Freeman tries to get back to his feet, and then Mort comes in with a second clothesline.
Richard Parker: Looks like Mortimer Krotchitch is playing with his opponent!
Nick Stuart: What was that name?
Richard Parker: I said Krawcyzk.
Nick Stuart: Weird, but okay.
Mortimer comes in for a third clothesline, but this time Kenny ducks. Mortimer bounces back and goes for another, but Kenny ducks again. Finally, Kenny lands a picture perfect dropkick on Mortimer, sending him to the mat.
Nick Stuart: Kenny Freeman has one of the prettiest dropkicks in the business.
Richard Parker: Really? That one there?
Kenny waits for Mortimer to get to his feet, then hits another dropkick.
Nick Stuart: And another!
Richard Parker: I mean…it’s a dropkick. It’s fine. But…the prettiest? In the business?
Nick Stuart: I think you’re nit-picking, Richard.
Richard Parker: Picking nits is saying you missed a comma here or there in an email. You just said that Kenny Freeman, that guy right there, has one of the most aesthetically pleasing dropkicks in the entire wrestling business, which spans thousands and thousands of federations. Do you realize how wild you sound?
Nick Stuart: Fine, it’s ugly, is that what you want me to say?
Richard Parker: Well that’s just harsh Nick. I just want to remind our viewers that the views of Nick Stuart do not reflect the views of PRIME and the Ace Network.
Nick Stuart: Ugh. Moving on.
Mortimer is slower to respond this time, and it gives Freeman the opportunity to pick him up and throw him against the ropes. Freeman follows him to the other side and clotheslines him over the ropes. Mortimer lands on his feet and walks off, checking his jaw. Kenny looks down, then looks to the crowd, then runs against the far ropes.
Nick Stuart: Freeman’s gonna fly!
He flips over the ropes in a plancha that takes down the larger man, and the crowd cheers as Freeman jumps back up on the apron and pumps his fist.
Nick Stuart: And after a quick start from Mortimer Kjedelig, Freeman has taken over the momentum!
Richard Parker: Randall Schwartz loving it as he schmoozes with the ringside attendees, trying to sell his food processor or whatever.
In fact, it does look like Schwartz is doing just that. He is holding out a card to a fan, who looks somewhat skeptical.
Freeman rolls under the ring ropes and the ref begins the ten count as Mortimer struggles to recover.
Mortimer gets to his knees and shakes off the cobwebs.
Kjedelig finally gets to his feet and slides under before six. Kenny is waiting with boots to his head, then he lifts him up for a quick suplex.
Nick Stuart: Impressive strength from Freeman to lift the larger man up, and now a cover!
Kjedelig kicks out, but is still groggy. Kenny looks around, then starts to clap. He hits the ropes, then does a dance.
Richard Parker: What the hell is that?
Nick Stuart: Let me check my notes. It’s the…Bernie dance. More importantly, it’s the setup to his move called Follow the Freeman. Here comes the leg drop!
Richard Parker: Ha!
He misses as Mortimer rolls out of the way and grabs him.
Nick Stuart: Kjedelig was playing possum! He grabs Kenny’s arm…Bust Out! And he goes for the cover!
Freeman kicks out, but Kjedelig is on him, stomping at his arms and back. He hits a standing elbow drop, and then another, and then another. Then he lifts Freeman up and throws him into the ropes.
Nick Stuart: Freeman coming back…Kjedelig catches him and plants him with a huge powerslam!
Richard Parker: It’s over. Freeman was having a bit of fun, but it’s time for the North Dakota Nerd Destroyer to finish this!
Nick Stuart: North Dakota…Nerd…Destroyer?
Richard Parker: Yeah, it’s his nickname.
Nick Stuart: And who gave him that nickname? Was it you?
Richard Parker: Yeah. You got a problem with it?
Nick Stuart: About a thousand, yes.
Mortimer doesn’t go for the cover. He just continues to stomp at Freeman’s body. He makes the cut throat motion and lifts Freeman up. He goes for the Double Arm DDT, but Freeman pushes him away and hits him with punches, then goes for a wild haymaker. Kjedelig ducks under and waits for him to spin himself all the way around, then plants him with a DDT. Then he points to the top rope.
Richard Parker: This is risky…
Kjedelig climbs the ropes, looks out over the crowd, then leaps to deliver an elbow drop…to no one.
Nick Stuart: Freeman rolls out of the way! He’s on top of Kjedelig now, trying to lock in the Freeman Special! Mortimer is fighting!
Richard Parker: He’s close to the ropes, he just needs to reach them!
Before Freeman can fully lock in the hold, Kjedelig grabs the ropes and pulls himself towards them. Jimmy Turnbull rushes in to grab Freeman and force him off Kjedelig, and it’s at that time that Mortimer strikes.
He pops up, shoves Turnbull, and rushes into Freeman, grabbing both arms and plunging to the ground.
Nick Stuart: Double Arm DDT! Turnbull drops for the count!
DING DING DING!
Vince Howard: The winner of this match…MORTIMER…KJEEEEDEEELIIIIIIIIG!
Nick Stuart: And that ends it! Kjedelig wins a hard fought match by both men.
Richard Parker: That’s two in a row for the North Dakota Nerd Destroyer!
Nick Stuart: Please don’t keep using that nickname. Folks, we’ll be back after a brief commercial break!
BUY THE SHIRT, YOU COWARDS
FISH IN A CANDY STORE
Bobby Dean walks through the backstage area, the smile plastered to his face. He’s happy, and he’s about to see a sign that makes him even happier.
Bobby Dean: What’s this?
He reads the sign aloud.
Bobby Dean: “Choco Tacos and Scantily-Clad ladies This Way”? Wow, you had me “choco”!
Bobby tears down the hallway as fast as his legs can pump, following the corresponding signs and arrows until he reaches a dead end to the hallway. Leaning against a chair is a picture of Bobby Dean’s face, but with Xs for eyes.
Bobby Dean: Look at Beautif…
That’s all Bobby gets out of his mouth before a steel pipe comes crashing onto his head. Bobby slumps onto the floor. Standing over him is a snarling Paxton Ray.
Paxton Ray: Jus’ like shootin’ fish in a candy store.
He stops and thinks for a moment, then shrugs.
Paxton Ray: I said what I said.
He then puts his arms under Bobby’s arms and begins to drag him, grunting from the effort, as we quickly cut away. Where is King Blueberry, and his forklift when you need him?
CHANGE IS COMING
Nick Stuart: Well…that, umm…
Richard Parker: …happened.
Nick Stuart: Indeed. We’ve got Angelica Brooks standing by; she’ll be talking to Nate Colton.
Richard Parker: And I’ll be taking a nap.
The feed switches to a camera backstage, where Angelica Brooks stands in a designated interview era. She’s looking very professional, as always. Next to her is Nate Colton, who is still in his street clothes for some reason. Even more curious is the sheen of sweat on his face. The ear-to-ear grin is also weird, but probably not the most weird.
Angelica Brooks: Angelica Brooks here, speaking with PRIME rookie standout, Nate Colton.
Nate Colton: My pleasure.
Angelica Brooks: The last time you were in the ring was ReV12, where you scored a win over a wrestling legend in Dusk. Tonight, you’ll be facing another man with an impressive resume in “The Grin” Tony Gamble. What are your thoughts heading into tonight’s contest?
Nate Colton: For starters…I noticed Tony’s a bit of a talker. He had plenty to say about me, my family, my accomplishments and what goes on in my head. Wasn’t right about most of it, but I don’t think that bothers him a whole lot. He’s made a career out of getting under people’s skin…and it’s worked really well for him, too. PRIME Hall of Famer and everything.
He shrugs. Watch it, kid. Overconfidence will get you every time.
Nate Colton: Now, I may not be a slick talker like him, and I may not have all the accolades he has. But as soon as I hear that bell, Tony’s going to learn just what I’m about. And in that ring–where it counts, when it counts–you can bet your last dollar on Nate Colton getting the job done.
Angelica Brooks: One person who might argue with that is FLAMBERGE, another promising standout who you’ve had some issues with. We finally saw those issues boil over at ReV13 with a brawl in the parking lot. Do you care to comment on that?
Nate Colton: Damn, you don’t throw softballs, do you?
Angelica Brooks: Never.
Nate Colton: All right, I’ll talk about FLAMBO. Y’know, right after it happened, I felt pretty bad…I never should have lost my temper like that. But then I saw what he did in the Universal Title match, and I didn’t feel bad anymore.
Angelica Brooks: Of course you’re referring to how FLAMBERGE pulled on a ring rope, preventing Brandon Youngblood from reaching it.
Nate Colton: Yeah. That stunt he pulled…no reason for it. And the nerve of that kid, to say what happened was my fault. No. No, I can’t let that stand.
Angelica Brooks: Does that mean you’re not going to pay for the damages done to his car?
Nate chuckles softly, which draws a brief look of confusion from the intrepid reporter. Normally, getting slapped with a bill of more than two grand isn’t a laughing matter.
Nate Colton: Already taken care of. The payment has been…delivered, let’s say. I’m just as responsible for that fight as he is; it’s only right that I cover some of the damages. See, I was raised to own up to my mistakes. Take responsibility for my actions. Try and fix it when I screw up, or come back and do better next time. It’s a shame nobody ever taught him that. Well…maybe someone should.
Angelica Brooks: Sounds like you’re issuing a challenge.
Nate Colton: That’s exactly right. FLAMBO…I’m callin’ you out.
…comes the cheer from the arena, but it’s loud enough that it can still be heard backstage.
Nate Colton: You and me. Ultraviolence. With all the people who tell us that we’re the future of PRIME…I figure, no sense in waiting. Let’s start the future right now.
Angelica Brooks: Have you considered the presence of the Glue Factory? They’ll almost certainly have a presence, since FLAMBERGE has aligned himself with Phil Atken.
Nate Colton: I’m sure they will. But I can’t let that stop me from doing what needs to be done. Sure, they’re all riding high right now. Atken’s got the title, FLAMBO has some powerful new friends. But that kid needs to know this…both tonight, and at UltraViolence…change is coming.
There’s that grin again.
Angelica Brooks: Strong words and a strong challenge from Nate Colton! We’ll have to see how FLAMBERGE reacts. Nick, Richard…back to you!
ANNA DANIELS vs. NED REFORM
Referee Ashley Barlow stands in the ring next to Vince Howard as we prepare for the next match.
Nick Stuart: Coming up next, a much-ballyhooed debut match as we see Dr. Ned Reform compete for the first time in PRIME!
Richard Parker: We both know that there’s a reason Lindsay Troy chose Reform’s opponent for tonight – she wants Anna Daniels to WRECK this man!
Nick Stuart: Too right you are, partner. Anna Daniels has shown time and time again that she’s a main-event level competitor in PRIME, and Lindsay Troy has made her disdain for Ned Reform fairly public.
Richard Parker: Have we ever had a wrestler with an honest-to-goodness doctorate on the roster, Nick?
Nick Stuart: Not since our relaunch, and he’s sure to have many tricks up his sleeve.
The very familiar opening chords of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” echo throughout the arena as the lights take on a purple hue and the fans begin to jeer in earnest.
The piano transitions into a rock version of the classic – a modern rock version by Cole Rolland – as the man himself, Ned Reform, appears through the curtain. He’s dressed for action: purple and white singlet, white boots, and arrogant smirk. One hand is tucked behind his back as he scans the people, completely no-selling the rude gestures and boos. Behind Reform lurks his muscle, the uber athletic and no-nonsense TA Cole.
Reform begins to walk to the ring, waving and smiling to his “adoring” fans.
Vince Howard: The following contest is set for ONE FALL! Introducing first, hailing from Litchfield, Connecticut…he is the Socrates of Slam…DOCTOR! NED! REEEEEEEEEEFORM!
He hops onto the ring apron, gives his feet a good wipe or two, and then steps through the ropes and into the ring. He makes his way to the turnbuckle, bracing his hands on the top rope and leaning back to test its integrity. While he’s doing this, he catches sight of the hard cam and gives it a little wink before the music fades out.
Nick Stuart: Did you clock the muscle man behind him, partner?
Richard Parker: I understand that he is TA Cole, Ned Reform’s protege, with a solid amateur background. You said something about “tricks up his sleeve” – Cole doesn’t even WEAR sleeves!
Nick Stuart: …Not exactly what I meant, but the point is made!
The entire area fades to black, causing the PRIMEates in attendance to steadily come to a hush. After a moment, the beginning guitar notes of Solid Space’s “A Darkness In My Soul” begin. Nothing comes on the PRIME*view to note exactly who is coming out. Suddenly, a spotlight pierces through the dark pointed to the top on the entrance ramp. Anna Daniels stands there, her profile positioned towards the light. She lets it wash over her while letting the fans get a good look at the merchandise. Finally, she glances at the ring with a small smirk on her face.
Vince Howard: And his opponent…from MOUNT PERDITION, GALLIFREY! She is the TIME LORD! ANNAAAAAAAA DAAAAAAANIEEEEEEEEELS!
As The Muse takes her time heading to the ring, she wistfully observes the goings on around her as if getting into a certain type of groove that only she can hear. Her strolling sways almost like she’s dancing from time to time. Her robe and headpiece–once more regal and dazzling artifacts from her home planet–are in various stages of disrepair and utter damage. Anna slaps a hand or two, nods a little to those in attendance. Once ringside, she motions for somebody to take the robe and headpiece which when taken nearly make the poor sap fall over.
She makes her way to the stairs and slinks along the apron, wiping her feet before entering the ring. Immediately after, she nearly chases off the ref in a sudden blur of action before smiling yet again. Casually, she strolls to a corner with her head bopping before perching herself onto the top rope laid out like a French girl people like to paint.
Nick Stuart: Anna Daniels is in a constant state of having many things on her mind, partner – but we’ve seen in the lead-up to this match, to her, Ned Reform is front and center right now.
Richard Parker: I would pay money for this to be psychoanalysis instead of wrestling, if I had the scratch!
Nick Stuart: Ashley Barlow signals for the bell, and we are off!
Daniels immediately steps forward in an attempt to engage Reform, only for Reform to step back between the top and middle ropes with his hands up. A smattering of boos erupts as Barlow is forced to play the role of peacemaker. Daniels steps back to give Reform space, and after Barlow’s signal, Reform steps back through. The two circle each other, each taking the measure of the other, teasing tests of strength. Anna launches forward again in an attempt to engage and gets a hold of Ned – only for Ned to carry their momentum into the ropes and hold his hands up! The boos are omnipresent now.
Nick Stuart: Ned Reform refusing to lock – hang on, did we pick that up?
Ned Reform is clearly yelling something at all parties who would hear.
Nick Stuart: Did he say something about “charlatan tactics”?
Richard Parker: He did…mind games, maybe, because it looks like Anna Daniels is tired of messing around!
The referee separates the two once again and Reform smirks to his associate, TA Cole – only to be LARIATED over the top rope by a charging Daniels! Reform tumbles to the floor as Daniels steps to the apron. She measures her man as he gets to his feet and charges, leaping –
Nick Stuart: ANNA TO THE INFINITE POWER!!
Richard Parker: Round and round she went, and Ned Reform was just sent CRASHING into the ring steps!
Daniels pumps up the crowd at this move and begins to move in for the kill – only for TA Cole to step in between, holding up a hand as he checks on his mentor. Ashley Barlow begins a ten count in between berating Cole for his interference. Reform is able to eventually scamper to his feet, beg off Daniels, and roll back into the ring under the bottom rope. Daniels shares some sharp words with Cole before beginning her re-entry to the ring…
Nick Stuart: Baseball slide into Daniels!
Richard Parker: Ashley Barlow giving him the business, saying he’s gotta let Daniels get back in – oh LOOK!
Nick Stuart: TA Cole just clocked Daniels while the referee was distracted!
Boos rain down once again. Cole picks Daniels up by her shoulder and waist and launches her back into the ring. Satisfied that both wrestlers are inside again, Barlow gives Reform space – which allows him to position his arm around Daniels’s jaw, turn – delay, delay, delay – and FINALLY hitting a stalling neckbreaker. He goes for a cover, which is kicked out at two. Daniels takes a few steps back to gather herself in a corner. Reform, smelling blood in the water, presses forward with his arm cocked – only for Daniels to catch him with a thumb to the eye! She follows it up with a headbutt and a Muay Thai takedown! She goes for the cover, and gets a two count of her own!
Nick Stuart: Impressive bounce-back from Daniels there!
Richard Parker: You’re right about that – but look at Daniels now. Still keeping an eye on TA Cole outside the ring – you KNOW she’s clocking his every move.
Nick Stuart: That may be exactly what Reform wants – eyes on Cole means eyes off of him!
Reform goes for a spinning heel kick, which Daniels ducks! She throws a few forearms into Reform’s sternum before pressing him into the ropes – Irish Whip attempt gets reversed – shoulder tackle by Reform! He takes a moment to soak in the boos from the crowd before pointing at his big brain, taunting the world, before leaping into the air and connecting with an elbow drop! Reform performs a lazy cover while pointing at his enormous melon, and Daniels kicks out at one and a half.
Nick Stuart: The Thinking Man’s Elbow on display there!
Richard Parker: He’s the smartest man in the ring, if not the BUILDING, partner!
Nick Stuart: If you say so, after THAT cover…
Reform looks to measure Daniels as she gets to her feet…Ned reaches back for an elbow smash – DANIELS INTERRUPTS WITH A LEAPING ENZUIGIRI! Reform is dazed! Daniels quickly climbs to the top rope as Reform stumbles up – Daniels flies – HURRICANRANA THAT SPIKES REFORM’S HEAD ON THE MAT!
Nick Stuart: NASTY move from Daniels! Here’s the coverrrrrrrrr-no! Reform is able to kick out at two and a half!
Richard Parker: She’s got the advantage, and she’s a real pro out there – she knows she needs to keep pushing if she wants to pull this one out!
Indeed, Daniels practically flies from the ring mat to the top rope once again, before flying once again in a dazzling display…
Nick Stuart: 720 DDT!! One of the prettiest moves in wrestling! She’s got the far leg hooked!
Richard Parker: The Doctor had to dig down deep for that kickout!
The PRIMEates are on their feet, and Anna looks out into the crowd, soaking in the cheers. The crowd begins to clap in rhythm and Anna nods along, grabbing Ned’s left arm, then the right, in double underhooks.
Nick Stuart: She may be thinking about that double underhook brainbuster, partner!
Richard Parker: WAIT!
TA Cole has made his way onto the ring apron and begins making a real ruckus of things. He feigns stepping into the ring itself, which draws referee Barlow’s attention. Daniels, however, keeps the underhooks locked in – she looks across the ring at Cole, shouts “WATCH”, and begins to lift – only for Reform to resist! She goes for the lift once again, and once again, Reform is able to keep from being lifted up! She takes a deep breath, and as she exhales, Reform lifts his shoulders, sending Anna ass over teakettle and crashing into the mat. With a look in his eyes that’s an equal mix of panic and relief, Reform finds his footing and makes his way to a corner.
Nick Stuart: TA Cole should be ejected for th-
As if on cue, Barlow dramatically throws her finger to the back and ejects TA Cole! The musclehead is INCENSED, but the crowd is very happy to see this nuisance removed from the match. Reform goes to plead his case to Barlow, but Barlow is not remotely interested in reversing this decision.
Nick Stuart: You’re outta here, Cole! Time to hit the showers!
Richard Parker: TA Cole sure is taking his sweet time…
Nick Stuart: Indeed – he’s STILL pleading his case! Get out of here! You’re done for the night!
As TA Cole continues to throw a fit on the outside, Daniels notices how distracted Reform is and charges forward, CRUSHING his skull with a Brazilian Kick! She locks both legs in and has a HIGH stack!
Nick Stuart: Reform is out! Count the pin, ref! Count the pin!
Barlow is still shouting at Cole, threatening fines and suspensions. After a moment, the frantic jumping and pointing from members of the audience alert her to the fact that some real shit is going down in the ring. She sees the high stack Daniels has set up and slides in for a count as soon as she can!
Nick Stuart: I can’t believe it! Daniels had a five, six, even SEVEN count on Reform! Damn that TA Cole!
Richard Parker: Easy, partner, the match isn’t over – Daniels just needs to collect herself and she can still pull this one out!
Daniels slams the mat in frustration before getting to her feet, running the ropes, and leapfrogging over Ned, grabbing his legs in a high stacking pin!
Reform rolls over and turns it into a pinning predicament of his own!
Daniels uses her core strength and lurches the pile forward, putting Reform’s shoulders on the mat!
Reform again uses sideways momentum, getting him near the edge of the ring. He perfectly positions Daniels’s body between himself and referee Barlow in the latest pinfall attempt!
Nick Stuart: HIS FEET ARE ON THE ROPES!
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Here is your winner…DOCTOR. NED. REFORM.
Boos upon boos upon boos. Reform scurries out of the ring with a devilish grin as Fur Elise plays, pointing at his gigantic brain as he makes his way up the ramp.
Nick Stuart: That ball of slime Ned Reform had his feet on the ropes! Look at him running away, he knows he just got away with ROBBERY!
Richard Parker: TA Cole wasn’t the only trick up his sleeve, was he?
Nick Stuart: Ned Reform just toppled one of the pillars of this company, though it must be said once again – he succeeded through VERY dubious means. We will collect ourselves and be back in a moment.
COMMERCIAL: SHOOT PROJECT
HE AIN’T A HORSE, BUT I’LL PUNCH HIM
They say that a smile can make someone’s day… that it can change the World. In any other case that just may be true, but not with this damn smile. No, this damn smile can ruin a wet dream… make you want to destroy the World just to get rid of it. Like a damn cockroach, and the asshole it belongs to, it would probably survive. Fans of PRIME know him well, and hate him just the same. Yet, his name is written in the PRIME Hall of Fame.
You know the name, and the damn smile permanently scarred into the left side of his face, they belong to the man currently holding a cell phone to his ear with a look of disgust reserved for someone ready to destroy the world.
Tony Gamble: How is my vehicle’s warranty going to expire!? It’s been expired for eight years already!
Tony “The Grin” Gamble jerks the phone away from his ear and presses the end button to hang it up, furious that these calls; much like the war on drugs, will never end.
Tony Gamble: I swear, if I ever find someone who worrrrks.
The Permascar Superstar turns around and stands eye to chin with a man wearing a black luchadore mask. What is it with Tony and masked men?
Mortimer Kjedelig: You pocket goombah fuck! You got some fuckin’ balls, you know that?
The larger, physically imposing masked man looks down at Tony Gamble, his face getting redder and redder through the mask. But the shorter, more well renown PRIME wrestler does not look intimidated at the least.
Mortimer Kjedelig: I have a good mind to kick said balls so hard, the New York Jets would offer me a fuckin’ contract!
Tony Gamble: Who’re you trying to kid, we both know the Jets would sign a cross eyed old man that couldn’t kick a can tied to his shoe before someone that could actually help the team. Although you’d probably have a better chance at winning a championship there than here, if you don’t mind me being honest.
The Grin folds his arms across his chest, looking up into the ice cold stare of the man with the silent K in his name. His eyes wide with rage as his chest heaves with each inhale.
Tony Gamble: I could represent you if you’d like, at my usual forty five percent of course.
Mortimer Kjedelig: What? You think I’m some kinda jerk off? You smarmy motherfucker, I should…
Mortimer Kjedelig suddenly headbutts Tony Gamble, whose eyes grow wide from surprise. Mortimer proceeds to kick Tony Gamble in the scrotal region thus causing him to “grin” no more. A pained wince is etched across the PRIME Hall of Famer’s face. Mortimer grabs Tony and throws him into the wall. Gamble hits the ground and Mortimer begins kicking him repeatedly and viciously.
In this moment, almost serendipitously, a PRIME intern by the name of Jerry. Jerry is hurriedly delivering an armful of Anna Daniels t-shirts, that fell out of their cellophane bag (it was totally Jerry’s fault), to the nearest concession stand. One such t-shirt falls to the ground.
Mortimer stops kicking Gamble long enough to pick up the t-shirt and wraps it around Tony’s neck and begins pulling him up. From behind he lifts Gamble off the ground, strangling him with the t-shirt.
Mortimer Kjedelig: SMARMY….MOTHER…..FUCKER!!!!
After another two seconds, Mortimer releases the t-shirt and Tony Gamble drops to the ground. Mortimer’s breathing is heavy, almost labored as if he had been the one getting choked. After catching his breath, Mortimer crouches down over Tony.
Mortimer Kjedelig: Zach Wilson with his torn mens-discus, Becton on IR, what a bust he is. Don’t get me started on Ashtyn Davis, that prick needs to get cut last week. Fuckin’ Jets, am I right?
The masked PRIME wrestler chuckles a bit to himself before lightly slapping the Grin in the face. Mortimer slowly rises up and starts walking off whilst whistling “Luck Be a Lady Tonight” from Guys and Dolls.
Pitch darkness. A gentle hiss of snakes changing into a chorus of dulled, indeterminate chanting.
Julian Bathory: Did you enjoy your reprieve, PRIME?
Torches spontaneously flare to life, illuminating the Carpathian Devil. He’s noticeably larger than he was on the night he defeated Mitchell Quinlan, musculature enhanced through fierce training. As has become synonymous with his brand of pre-recorded appearances, reverb sends his voice echoing through the dim chamber.
Julian Bathory: I told you that everyone gets the help they need, Rhine. MESSIAH offered charity and you met our gift with smug defiance. As director, I do not abide that contempt. I said after Great American Nightmare that changes were in store and you, amongst others, haven’t heeded my warnings. You could have been spared and allowed to run your self-righteous vanity project; there could have been coexistence, if not harmony at least by stable truce. Nothing is free and nothing comes without consequences. In the end, Jon, you reap what you sow. By making MESSIAH your enemy all that you harvest will be wreathed in pestilence.
The hushed chants momentarily become distinct. A toothy smile stretches across Bathory’s face, vicious and cruel.
(Who can you trust?) (Does she care?) (Will it really last?) (What do you see in the mirror?)
Julian Bathory: With UltraViolence looming, I was determined to take PRIME’s soul. A coronation worthy of the reign of darkness to come, and a sacrifice befitting our throne. I aspired to conquer Brandon Youngblood and build this kingdom atop his bones. I – we, the empire that is MESSIAH – were denied our object of satisfaction. You stole our glory, Phil Atken. Like that slimeball Cancer Jiles, you’ve gotten our attention, for all of the wrong reasons. Your date with finality is coming up fast. You’re never far from our thoughts, for your crimes are grievous, and there will be no clemency. Dress well come your own day of reckoning, because it will also be your funeral.
A sigh as he turns his head. In the torchlight, fresh scars are visible across his arms.
Julian Bathory: First things first. Tonight, Rhine your judgment arrives. Fight, run, pray, none of it will matter when MESSIAH International descends to pour out our wrath. It all comes crashing down tonight in Las Vegas. Kiss your charges goodnight knowing that this is when it all falls down.
The torches erupt in towering fire, drenching the dungeon-like room in orange, flame-fueled light. A ring of zealots kneel in supplication, surrounding their New World Savior. He straightens, arms opening in embrace. As one, the faceless adherents of MESSIAH’s black gospel cry out to the stars.
“FOREVER! THE! CROWN!”
The flames dim, grow pale again. Behind Julian Bathory, before darkness again consumes all, an optical illusion unfurls twisted wings from his back.
It’s a relatively uneventful night for the PRIME Tag Team champions. With nothing booked match-wise, and no plans to watch their UltraViolence opponents again, the pair find themselves meandering through the hallways of the MGM Grand in masks and street clothes.
Reina Raspberry: The way you stood outside the door, it was like you were working up the courage to ask out a prom date.
King Blueberry: Thanks, I think?
Reina Raspberry: Maybe next time just slide a note under the door. “Dear Brandon, will you go out with me? Circle one Y or N.”
King Blueberry: We can stop talking about this now.
Reina Raspberry: And you didn’t even knock.
King Blueberry: No point.
Despite the size difference, the hand on his arm is enough to make him stop in his tracks.
Reina Raspberry: I’m going to need you to explain this to me. Why did you go there at all if you weren’t going to talk?
Later, where there isn’t the omnipresent threat of cameras lingering, there’ll be a conversation about pecking orders, and King Blueberry’s perceived place in them; about how 20 years of scrutiny in the public eye can inform your sense of self. But that’s a problem for Future Berries to contend with; an issue to solve far from the prying eyes and ears of thousands upon thousands of viewers.
At the moment?
King Blueberry: Can we not right now?
Reina Raspberry: Will you at least tell me what you were gonna say?
A long sigh escapes the Blueberry’s lips, but he doesn’t break his stride.
King Blueberry: Not going to let this go, are you?
Reina Raspberry: Something’s up, that’s for sure. I just want to know what.
King Blueberry: I wanted to know what it fe…
The rest of that sentence dies in his throat as the two round the corner. In front of them is a large wooden crate with the word “SWORDS” spray painted at an angle across its surface. The contents of this box have been picked clean, with only a few blades remaining.
Standing in front of the crate, holding a type of Indian cavalry saber, is the incomparable Baron von Blackberry. The Devil Fruit, in all of his glory, carrying a sword. Things could not possibly be any worse than this.
Baron von Blackberry: Ah, hello, fellow Kings. As you can see, we have chosen arms on this day. Because, uh… okay, look, we’re not going to talk about who found the swords and where they came from and who Sid had to powerbomb to acquire these, but the important thing is that there are now swords.
Speaking of Sid, he’s standing there with an expression on his face that suggests that he definitely just powerbombed someone. In his hand, almost as an afterthought, is a letter opener.
The moment he sees the berries, he hastily hides the legs of someone behind the crate.
Sid Phillips: Oh, hey. It’s the berries again. We sure do seem to run into each other, huh? Ahaha…
And then there’s Joe. Joe has eight katanas strapped to his body, but the sword that’s actually in his hand is a rapier.
Joe Fontaine: Hey! Check me out. I’m like several Deadpools combined into one, now!
He starts making kung fu poses, despite the European nature of the weapon in his hand. He also nearly cuts Blackberry with it.
Baron von Blackberry: YOU FOOL! Do not go waving your Samoan meat stick at me, all willy-nilly!
Joe Fontaine: It’s not even Samoan, dude.
Baron von Blackberry: BAH! Details.
He turns his attention back to King Blueberry and Reina Raspberry.
Baron von Blackberry: In any case, hello! Please, help yourselves.
To the surprise of everyone watching – those with a pulse, at least – Blueberry does not take his hands from his pockets. This despite the veritable sword buffet splayed out before him. Of course, it’s still his partner who’s the sensible one. She raises both of her hands and speaks one word; just one.
Reina Raspberry: NOPE!
Then turns around and walks right back the way she came, never once looking over her shoulder to see what fresh horror is unfolding behind her. The rationale is simple to follow: this group of fools is dangerous enough with only the letter opener, but now they have swords, so someone is for sure about to die here.
King Blueberry: This is… ummm… huh.
The downshift from wondering about his place in the grand scheme of things to being confronted by an absolute barrage of bladed weaponry is a little much for Blueberry to handle. Amidst the rest of his thoughts, a single salient question forms.
King Blueberry: So are these real?
Baron von Blackberry: So, I don’t know the full story. We simply happened upon these on our way to the ring for our match, and Sid… well, you know how Sid gets when he sees an opportunity for swords.
Sid Phillips: No he doesn’t.
King Blueberry: No, I don’t.
Baron von Blackberry: Anyway, you know how Sid gets when he sees an opportunity for powerbombs.
Sid Phillips: Yes, he does.
King Blueberry: Yeah, no, that one I read loud and clear.
Joe Fontaine: It’s more a statement of fact, really.
Sid Phillips: Yes.
Baron von Blackberry: Verily.
There is a pause.
Baron von Blackberry: What was the question, again?
King Blueberry: You have a crate full of swords plus one letter opener. Are they real? The swords, I mean. I assume the letter opener is, because there are offices here and even though everything is electronic these days, some people still get normal mail.
Sid Phillips: Imma be honest with you, no idea how this thing is supposed to get used.
King Blueberry: My advice is to wait until Melvin comes back from his ass-ache and have him explain it to you. Up close. Preferably with something that’s really hard to open.
Sid Phillips: I don’t know. I’d hate to get fined again. I’ve had to attend classes about how to not powerbomb Enemigos.
Baron von Blackberry: I’m teaching those.
Sid Phillips: His lessons are painful and probably should’ve sent me to the hospital.
Joe Fontaine: Or the morgue.
Baron von Blackberry: Oh, no, those lessons come later. If you misbehave.
Sid Phillips: Gulp.
Yes, he actually says the word “gulp”.
The conversation is abruptly broken as a hurricane of fur bounds into the crowd. Padded paws skid across on the tiled floor, as Bucky Rex Daniels tries to find his footing. He slides to a stop, his butt bumping softly against the wooden crate. You know, the same one where the swords are kept.
Would you like to guess what happens next?
First, Patience and Decius turn the corner at a sprint, pausing only to acknowledge that they’ve found their quarry. Then, Bucky does the one thing that all gud bois do: steal the shit he’s not supposed to have. In this case that’s a sword, clutched in his mouth by the hilt.
King Blueberry: Whoa, hey there, buddy. Be a good boy and put the sword d-AH!!
Contrary to popular belief, King Blueberry isn’t stupid. Okay, so he’s a little stupid. Not really stupid, maybe just impulsive. Look, he never had a dog growing up, so he doesn’t understand that there’s a careful dance that needs to happen in order for a pup to drop the thing it’s not supposed to have, whether that be a bone, a shoe, or a two-handed bastard sword with a worked leather hilt and a skull-shaped pommel.
King Blueberry: Son of a bitch!
In this case, yes, quite literally.
King Blueberry: That one’s real!
Later, he’ll have to explain to Dr. Fihlguud why there’s a 2 inch slice across his palm, and after that he’ll relay the story to his tag partner. Neither conversation will earn him any favors.
Bucky, now armed to the teeth (again, also quite literally), bolts down the hall in the direction he came, and the two Montgomery twins charge off in a full sprint. After all, what’s the first thing you should do when you see a dog with a sword? In the words of Matt Smith, “Basically, run.”
King Blueberry: Well congrats, guys. We’ve just unleashed a fuckin’ Dark Souls boss on the locker room. Great job, us.
Baron von Blackberry: You know, now I have to start thinking about weight distribution about a dog with a four foot bastard sword. Can’t imagine it’s that easy for that good, good boy. Really, I’m impressed. Boy’s got a good swing.
Joe, having watched the whole thing unfold, points at the hall where they disappeared.
Joe Fontaine: Who were those guys?
Baron von Blackberry: Don’t worry about it. I’m sure they’ll be fine. Also, you’re not wrestling with all of those eBay katanas strapped to your body, get rid of them.
Joe Fontaine: What? Man. I wanted to look cool, though. I never get to look cool.
Baron von Blackberry: Yes, yes, well… no one with eight katanas looks cool unless they’re an eight-armed samurai. Note to self, build a robot samurai with eight arms once I have returned to my fortress-castle at Fruitstadt, the next step towards my true goal of world domination! AHAHAHA!
He shakes his fist in the air.
In a show of absent-minded solidarity, King Blueberry also shakes his fist in the air. That’s when he notices the streaks of red seeping from his palm and down his forearm. When he uncurls his fingers, the sight is enough to send him into immediate action.
King Blueberry: Well guys, it’s been fun as always, but I think I should probably get this looked at. Last thing I want is to end up a one-armed man in a powerbomb contest in a few weeks, because I don’t think that ends well. I mean, I’m probably not powerbombing anyone at UltraViolence anyway, but a guy can dre- Oh fuck it. This hurts.
He flicks a few drops of red from his fingertips before setting off in search of an adult. Specifically, an adult with a degree and a license to practice medicine.
Baron von Blackberry: Should not have messed with that dog.
He waves the Winds forward.
Baron von Blackberry: Onward, then! Let’s go get some autographs from SGRNR, by way of a wrestling match!
Sid Phillips: Whatever.
The Winds depart, with Joe still trying to get rid of the cheap katanas on their way out of the scene. As soon as the diabolical berry and his charges leave, another masked wrestler comes walking into the frame, whistling “Garbage Bag Johnny Will Win Zero2Hero.” It’s the Anglo Luchador, clad in his gear with his Intense Championship belt around his waist. He chances upon the crate, and his eyes bug out of his head like he’s a cartoon wolf who has just seen a comely lass singing at a cabaret.
TAL: Sweet huitlacoche! Could it be?
He rubs his eyes to make sure he’s not dreaming the crate crudely marked “SWORDS” in front of him.
TAL: The gods have blessed me on this day!
He reaches into crate to pick out the right sword from the slim pickings that remain. Finally, he grasps onto one that looks like Longclaw from Game of Thrones. He holds it up into the air as if he was trying to attract a lightning strike.
In case you couldn’t translate the above, he made the sound various Zelda games make when you open a treasure chest. He swings the sword softly, holding the blade to his face.
TAL: Finally, The Anglo Luchador has a sword. AHAHAHAHAH!
He swings it with more vigor this time, only to see the sword blade detach right from the hilt. The blade goes flying, hitting a coffee urn flush before shattering into a billion little pieces. The Anglo Luchador picked up the prop sword out of an entire crate of real blades.
TAL: OH SH…
He goes to reach for another sword, but the crate is gone. The stagehands Sid Phillips had threatened with powerbombs returned to take the crate away, and they had started dragging while he was swinging his prop sword.
TAL: COME BACK! COME BACK HERE! I NEED MY SWORD!
The luchador chases them as the camera cuts to the ringside area.
WINDS OF CHANGE vs. SOLID GOLD ROCK N ROLL
I’m all dressed up with nowhere to go…
Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party” hits, and this conjures the arrival of the Winds of Change as though it’s sorcery. It’s not. Just want to throw that out there. The last thing PRIME needs is a sorcerer. We already have a Time Lord. We have whatever the heck’s going on with Balaam. And let’s face it, once you introduce sorcerers, then you have to consider the notion that one of those sorcerers will get the bright idea to shove their soul into a phylactery, and then that’s it. You have a wrestle lich, and it’s a son of a bitch to try and destroy that, let me tell you.
Uh, anyway. The Winds of Change!
Wearing their entrance ponchos, it appears as though the Winds of Change didn’t get the hint that old poncho-wearing gunslingers didn’t carry swords with them. Joe carries a rapier, and the moment he steps through the curtains he starts prodding at the air with it like he’s Inigo Montoya. Behind him lumbers Powerbomb Siddy himself, carrying his own “sword”. It’s a letter opener.
Richard Parker: I don’t think those have been made legal in the wrestling charter, Nick.
Nick Stuart: No, they most certainly have not.
As Joe and Sid make their way to the ring, they’re trailed behind by the Devil Fruit himself, Baron von Blackberry. He, too, carries a sword. Because gosh, guys, who left their trunk full of swords where all the wrestlers and whack jobs and dogs could get to them? His is a tulwar, by the way.
Look it up.
Vince Howard: Coming to the ring, accompanied by… (sigh) the Devil Fruit, and the Benevolent God-King Emperor Sensei of the Scenic, yet Diabolical Nation of Fruitsylvania, Baron von Blackberry… from Phoenix, Arizona, at a total combined weight of 480 pounds, and… I’m not doing the combined height thing again, guys, come on… they are the WINDS! OF! CHAAAAAAAANGE!
The Winds reach the ring, and pose with their swords. Or letter opener, in Sid’s case. Naturally, Jimmy Turnbull is rather adamant that all of the cutlery isn’t involved in the match. Reluctantly, Joe parts with his cool sword. Sid is much less reluctant. Blackberry keeps his, because who is going to argue with an insane man with a fruit for a head on whether or not he can have a tulwar on his person?
Anyway, it’s time for Mastodon.
“The Motherload” takes over, and the tone shifts to raucous righteousness. Out stroll Barry and Trent, and you know the under-garments are flyin’. Sadikaj’s lips pucker as he sways, but Delgado? His already massive chest looks ten times bigger, and he’s got a smokey-glare set on the usurper of the Powerbomb Throne.
I CAN SEE WHAT THE WORLD HAS DONE TO YOU!
I CAN FEEEL THE WEIGHT!
FEEEL THE WEIGHT!
Vince Howard: And their opponents! From Winnipeg, Ontario, Canada and San Clemente, California. Weighing in at 471 pounds…TRENT SADIKAJ! BARRY DELGADO! SOLID! GOLD! ROCK N’ ROLL!
Richard Parker: ROCK N’ ROLL MAMA! PUT IT ON ME, BABY!
Nick Stuart: Heeere we go again. The team of Trent Sadikaj and Barry Delgado had high hopes of stripping the gold from the Kings of Popsicles two weeks ago, only to come up short. Tonight they have the opportunity to get back on the wagon against the Winds of Change, who look to stake their claim in the hunt for the Tag Team Championship.
Boogie and Boots reach the ring, and immediately Delgado gets up in Sid’s grill, bumping his chest into Sid’s upper abdomen and backing him up a bit. Blackberry shakes a fist while Trent shares a few choice words with Joe, who puts his hands up in defense.
Nick Stuart: The Solid Gold boys coming in a little chippy tonight!
Jimmy Turnbull finally gains some control and banishes BVB to ringside, but not without a “YOU’LL RUE THE DAY, REFEREE MAN!” Barry insists to kick things off, taking his place while Trent steps out. Sid stays in the ring to face Delgado while Joe slaps his partner on the shoulders. Jimmy Turnbuckles checks in, then calls for the bell.
The sound of the bell snaps the lightning chains that were holding Barry Delgado back, and the Powerhouse of Power Ballads rushes in with a leap and a well-placed forearm strike to a bewildered Sid Phillips, pushing him back into his corner with a flurry of unrelenting body blows.
Nick Stuart: Boogie coming in hot!
Richard Parker: Fists of FIRE, baby!
Sid does his best to cover up, unsure how to handle the cannonball that is Boogie who drives his molten fists into Dr. Powerbomb’s stomach like a pair of 8 cylinder pistons in overdrive. Delgado cuts it off with a stomp to Sid’s toe. Riot grimaces, and Barry dives in to lift him straight up and bring his nether region down over his knee.
Nick Stuart: Manhattan drop from Delgado! Blackberry’s not pleased with that one!
Phillips drops to his knees in pain while Barry takes a moment to flex. He follows with a forearm to the back of the head, forcing Phillips to the mat. Sid rolls to his back to defend, finding a face-full of the bottom of Boogie’s boot, grinding god-knows-what into his lips. Turnbull gives Barry the warning, and he relents for a moment before dropping an elbow to Sid’s sternum. Boogie stays on top of Sid for the cover.
…Barry stands up???
Nick Stuart: And Delgado opting to keep things moving!
Richard Parker: The show must go on!!
Indeed, Boogie bails out of the count himself, hopping back to his feet and taking a few steps toward his corner. Sid, collecting himself, stands up quick to see Delgado staring him down hard across the ring.
Barry points two fingers at his own eyes.
Then turns those fingers toward Phillips.
Then Barry lifts his beefy forearms up overhead.
And thrusts them down.
He’s pantomiming a powerbomb, folks.
Nick Stuart: And Barry let’s Sid know exactly what’s coming!
Richard Parker: Just a little tease, Nick! A little peek, a little taste!
Boogie smooths back his feathered hair and gives Trent a most righteous tag, the long legs of Boots slowly, and sensually, stepping into the ring magnificently, the lights shining off those heavenly-gilded boots, for all to see. Just out there, without a care. They know what they’re about. They know what everyone’s thinking. Why hide it? Why deny it?
Chill out, bud.
Anyway, Trent Sadikaj sways toward center ring, meeting Sid, who still stumbles after his nuts met Barry’s knee. Trent holds his arms out, inviting The Powerbomb Laureate in with a kiss of the lips. Boots then holds one hand open, the uses the other to dive toward his palm, opening his fingers on impact.
It’s a bomb taunt, folks.
Sid is VERY ready to oblige, and lumbers in quick, only to be met by the open hand of Trent with a sharp, stinging slap across the face.
Nick Stuart: OH my! SHARP slap from Sadikaj!
Phillips reels, hand to his cheek, and Trent follows with a wide grin. He takes a fistful of Sid’s hair, guiding and spinning him around to whip him against the ropes. Riot rebounds, and is met with a cross-body splash from Solid Gold Rock n’ Roll’s lead singer. Trent uncoils to his feet, dropping a few boots to Powerbomb Siddy to keep him down. Then, perhaps a bit prematurely, Trent strides to the ropes and hops his long legs to the top of the turnbuckle with ease.
Nick Stuart: Trent going up top!
Boots raises his hands, nodding his head, then leaps forward, tucking his chin and tumbling over…
Richard Parker: CHEAP THRILLS! Oh YEAAAHH!!!
…only to land square on the canvas with nobody home as Sid rolls out of harm’s way.
Nick Stuart: Nobody home!!!
Trent rolls to a seated position, holding his back. The Pontiff of Powerbomb Alley stands, shaking off the previous assault from SGRNR, and stomps over to Boots, taking advantage of the miss by tucking his head between those thunderous thighs. He grips, heaves, and rolls Trent up into the air.
Y’all knew it was coming.
Nick Stuart: HUMONGOUS sit-out powerbomb from Sid Phillips!
Baron von Blackberry bellows a maniacal belly-laugh as Sid rolls backwards out of the bomb, leaving Trent pan-caked on the mat. Still woozy, Professor Powerbomb stands and thuds over to his corner, slapping the hand of Joe Fontaine, who hops the ropes readily. The man is freaking PUMPED UP as he turns 180 and leaps again, springboarding off the top ropes and connecting a moonsault to the downed Trent Sadikaj.
Nick Stuart: Fontaine connects! Going for the cover!!
Richard Parker: Get that shoulder up, Boots!!
Trent gets the shoulder up, and Joe pops to his feet. He makes a move to jump into the ropes, but pauses…
Nick Stuart: A little pause in Joe’s step here, is something on his mind?
After the hesitation, Fontaine carries on, bounding into the ropes and returning with a low-dropkick to Boots. Trent clutches his face, rolling onto his stomach. Tempest takes advantage and straddles Trent’s back, grabbing a leg, and locking in a half-boston crab, fiddling and fumbling a foot to jam it into the crook of the knee.
Nick Stuart: Submission locked in! Joe looking to make Trent tap!
Richard Parker: The hunnies tap for Trent, Nick! Not the other way around!
Joe holds on tight as Trent howls. Regardless, the front man claws his arms forward to the ropes. Baron von Blackberry makes all sorts of sinister demands as Trent crawls toward him at ringside. Fontaine fights hard to keep the hold, but Boots has all the reach in the world, babies! He takes hold of the bottom rope, Blackberry shakes a fist, and Jimmy “Turnbuckles” starts the count on Joe for the release.
Nick Stuart: And Sadikaj escapes! Solid Gold Rock n’ Roll still in the fight!
The son of Joey Malone lets go without issue and pivots to the center of the ring, allowing Trent to via the aid of the ropes. He lies in wait as Boots turns his long body around, and strikes forward.
Nick Stuart: Joe jumps forward, looking for a bicycle kick, BIG MISS!
Sadikaj tilts sideways and catches the leg of Fontaine, spinning him 180 degrees. Joe hops on one foot in an attempt to keep balance, then goes with the momentum when Trent releases.
Nick Stuart: Fontaine off the ropes, Sadikaj swings for a lariat with nobody home! Fontaine ducks and rebounds…SUPERKICK FROM FROM TRENT SADIKAJ!!
Richard Parker: JUST GIMME A KISS!!
Joe flops squarely to his back after taking a face-full of tread from the long leg of Trentj. He catches his breath, then turns his eyes to the band’s bassist. Barry reaches out, eager as a groupie hoping for an invite backstage. Trent reaches out for the tag, and Boogie clambers in.
Nick Stuart: Sadikaj with the tag! Boogie back in!!
The MGM roars as Delgado opts to climb the ropes, balancing on top of the turnbuckle.
Richard Parker: Show em’ what they came to see, Boogie!!
Boots leaps, clocking Fontaine with a diving, glorious, sensational, magnificent flying headbutt.
Nick Stuart: HEADBANGER!! HEADBANGER FROM DELGADO!!
Fontaine clutches at his forehead, and somehow manages to roll his body toward the corner to Sid’s waiting hand. Quite purposefully, Barry doesn’t pursue. Instead he gives Sid the “come hither” motion with his hands, and waits for The Powerbomb Wizard to enter the ring. Phillips steps in, and the two absolute boulders of humans rush in to meet center-ring.
Nick Stuart: It’s a clash of the titans here at the MGM Grand!!
Despite Barry’s mythical aura, Sid still outweighs him by more than seventy pounds, driving Barry back. Boogie, however, squats down, lowering his center of gravity and forcing Sid to pivot. Another 180 gives Phillips the advantage once more, the two barreling into the corner of Winds of Change. Sid has Barry where he wants him. The larger man (in size, not in spirit), pins Boogie against the corner, only for Barry to pivot and reverse positon. Regardless, Sid has a strong hold on Delgado…and then, in a moment of disbelief…raises an elbow.
Baron von Blackberry shakes a fist to the rafters…and gasps.
Nick Stuart: What’s this? Is Sid going for…an elbow???
Richard Parker: Great heavens!
The son of Daniel Phillips rears his elbow back, uncertainty in his eyes, as he positions to attempt the unthinkable…
Nick Stuart: BUT JOE FONTAINE WITH THE TAG!
…the smaller member of Winds of Change, after clapping the back of Sid’s hand, leaps and springboards off the top rope, clocking Barry with a dropkick and sending the two sprawling into the ring. Boogie rolls and clumsily finds himself on his feet, but not before the more-nimble Joe, who crouches down and hoists the dense body of Barry Delgado over his shoulder.
Nick Stuart: Joe Fontaine! Looking for his father’s famed Malonestrom!
Smooth Joe Cool has Barry locked in, but before he can execute the famous Samoan Driver…he hesitates…
Nick Stuart: More hesitation from Fontaine! This isn’t the time, young man!
He shakes his head, resets himself, but it’s too late. Delgado kicks and squirms his way off Joe’s shoulders and lands behind him, quickly hooking the arms and heaving Fontaine over the top with an enormous release Tiger Suplex.
Nick Stuart: OOHHH! HELLION FROM DELGADO! JOE WAS PLANTED!
Richard Parker: You gotta be ready to follow through when you’re up against Boogie Barry!!
Fontaine back-rolls out of the slam, and not wanting any further beef with the King of Beef himself, opts to scramble into his corner, holding the back of his head while tagging Sid. Phillips clambers through the rope and charges in, but Delgado was more than ready.
Nick Stuart: Delgado lying in wait, Phillips running forward, Delgado going for the midsection…SPINEBUSTER!!! SPINEBUSTER ON SID PHILLIPS!!
Richard Parker: HE’S LIVIN’ THAT ROCK N’ ROLL FANTASYYYY!!!
The moment is glorious. Delgado’s arms in the air, summoning the THUNDA and the LIGHTNIN’! He rolls Sid to all fours, brings him up, then hops onto the back of his neck.
Nick Stuart: Look at this! Barry turning the tables on Sid Phillips!!
In a feat of strength reserved only for the great epics of the ancient past, Boogie rolls Sid to his shoulders, lifts him high by the tights, and hammers him into the mat with an universe-shaking powerbomb.
Richard Parker: KISS THE DEVIL!!!!!
Nick Stuart: INCREDIBLE! GIGANTIC POWERBOMB ON POWERBOMB SIDDY!!!
Richard Parker: Put that on a poster!!!!
Sid stirs as Barry stands, damn near orgasmic as he flexes. Trent wails on an air guitar as Blackberry laments at ringside, hollering for Sid to get up. Powerbomb Siddy is a big boy, though, and is able to get to a knee. Boogie tags in Boots, who slides in to meet Sid, helping him to his feet, however wobbly. A few hard chops to chest send Sid against the ropes. Boots pushes the big man off and sends him across the mat. Phillips rebounds and is sent to his back with an armdrag.
Nick Stuart: Sadikaj stands, bringin Sid with him. He pushes the big man off the ropes and across the ring…Phillips rebounds, Boots moves forward and leaps, going for the frankensteiner! Legs around the neck…HE CAUGHT HIM! PHILLIPS CAUGHT HIM!
Richard Parker: Get out, Trent! Summon the power!!!
Indeed, Sadikaj finds himself upside down in the clutches of Powerbomb Siddy, unable to throw him over to complete the maneuver. Sid stumbles, holding on tight. How convenient that those long legs are already over shoulder. The crowd rumbles at the sight, and bellows as Phillips summons the strength to roll Trent up and send him down, releasing him into the mat.
Nick Stuart: JACKKNIFE POWERBOMB TO SADIKAJ!! WHAT A REVERSAL!!
Richard Parker: BARRY! GET IN THERE, BABAY!!!
Riot wobbles, all but spent, and looks over his shoulder to an amping Joe Fontaine. He reaches back for a tag, and Tempest hops to the top turnbuckle. Sid pulls Trent back up and drags him toward the corner, setting him up for another powerbomb.
Nick Stuart: Phillips running on fumes, but looking to finish this off!!
Richard Parker: HANG ON!!
He lifts, and Trent goes up. Sid hoists, and starts to send Sadikaj back down.
Nick Stuart: SUPERCELL!!!! WINDS WITH THE SUPERCELL!!
Phillips falls back into the corner, breathing heavily. Turnbull slides in for the count, Joe hooks the leg, and nods his head with each slap.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Your winners!!! THE WINDS OF CHANGE!
Nick Stuart: And a HUGE comeback for Phillips and Fontaine!!
Richard Parker: It’s a travestyyyyYYYYyy!!!!
“Dead Man’s Party” his the speakers as the Winds of Change make their exit. Baron von Blackberry cackles with joy, meeting his proteges on the ramp. Joe does his best to keep the exhausted Phillips upright, fist pumping to the cheering crowd.
Nick Stuart: You can wipe off your eye-liner now, Richard! A spectacular performance from Solid Gold Rock n’ Roll, but coming up short thanks to Professor Powerbomb!!
Richard Parker: Take a moment and dry your eyes during commercials, fly guys and hot hunnies. We’ll be right back!
COMMERCIAL: MISSOURI VALLEY WRESTLING
THE CHOCO TACO TORTURE, PT. 1
The camera is fixed on Bobby Dean’s face as his eyes blink open. He’s in a small, poorly lit room. He looks around, confused, and then tries to stand up. This is when he realizes he is tied to a chair.
Bobby Dean: What the… Listen, my safe word is stop, okay?
The camera pans out to find Paxton Ray sitting across from Bobby, a cardboard box next to him. The Lafayette Bruiser smiles.
Bobby Dean: Stop!
Paxton Ray: Afraid I can’t do that, Bobby. Not after everythin’ y’all did to me and my partner. Now, Jon just wants t’ ignore ya. He doesn’t really think you’re worth worryin’ about. And that’s good for him. But I ain’t my partner. And if somebody keeps comin’ after me, I’ma come back as hard as I can.
Bobby Dean: But I only came the one time! The other time, it was Doozey who came on you.
Paxton stands up, completely ignoring Bobby’s pleas as he turns his back to the big man, fiddling with the cardboard box.
Bobby Dean: What are you going to do to me?
Paxton Ray: The thing that’ll hurt ya the most.
He rips open the box, then grabs something out of it.
Paxton Ray: The sign was half right, Bobby. No scantily clad women, I’m afraid. But we do have these.
He holds up a wrapped choco taco, which causes Bobby to gasp and lick his lips.
Paxton Ray: I’m sure ya heard that these are goin’ away soon. In fact, this is the last box in alla Vegas. I made sure of it.
Paxton sits back down and begins to deliberately open the wrapper of the Choco Taco.
Paxton Ray: Now I could follow up on that hit from before. Beat ya like mad, leave ya bloodied on the floor of the backstage area. Find your partner, do the same thing to him. But that wouldn’t hurt like this will. So now…
He completely unwraps the treat and holds it up for Bobby to see.
Paxton Ray: I’m gonna eat every. Single. One. Of these Choco Tacos in front of ya.
Bobby Dean: You can’t do that!
Paxton Ray: Oh I can, Bobby, and I will. I ain’t got no digestive issues. Now, let’s get started.
Paxton crunches down on the first taco as Bobby screams and we cut.
HISTORY OF A MASK
It’s a dark dimly lit concrete room, most likely in the basement of the arena. Smoke billows from somewhere unseen as red neon lighting casts an eerie ambiance on the already homely face of Joe Burro. Standing behind Joe ominously is the behemoth “Mask of Malice” known as Balaam. He is chained by the neck, and holding the chain behind him is the “Harbinger of Malice” Duke Williams in a long black duster.
Richard Parker: Is this another ad for that Addams Family reboot.
Nick Stuart: Highly unlikely.
The ugly fashion designer of the underworld opens a large golden book.
Joe Burro: Now a reading from the Book of Hoyt. The Lucha mask embodies the God’s and symbolizes great justice. One of the greatest of the Godly warriors was the keeper of death and the ruler of the underworld Mictlāntēcutli, whom with his wife Mictecacihuatl, ruled all of Mictlan. To translate into English Mictlāntēcutli is known by the white skins as Lucifer, and Mictlan is Hades or Hell. For millions of years, he destroyed and buried souls while keeping an impressive wrestling career. In his possession in the pits of Mictlan were the bones of the creatures of the Fourth Sun.
Balaam lunges forward toward the camera but is pulled back aggressively by Duke Williams. Joe Burro turns the page.
Nick Stuart: What is he babbling about?
Richard Parker: Wrestling history. You need more culture.
Joe Burro: A sneaking evil rudo named Quetzalcoatl challenged Mictlāntēcutli for the bones at MictlanMania III. Despite losing the match before Mictlāntēcutli could throw the loser into a pit of death, Quetzalcoatl managed to grab the bag of bones and escape like the cowardly rudo that he was. The bones mixed with Quetzalcoatl’s blood created man and woman and populated the world as we know it now. It’s the Aztec story of Adam and Eve. Mictlāntēcutli was furious and warned that the rebirth of the creatures would create a selfish, greedy, obnoxious parasite that would consume the worlds resources. He was right.
Joe Burro: Six million years later, a creation of those very bones from the creatures of the Fourth Sun came to destroy Mictlāntēcutli and take over his kingdom. Rumors of bones from the superior Third Children of the Sun still existed. The human creature is Hoyt Williams, and it was his goal to find those bones, mix them with his blood, and create a new superior race to wipe out humanity and start over. At MictlanMania 6,002,020, “Your Personal Jesus” defeated Mictlāntēcutli ripping off his mask before cutting off his head. That mask is the very mask behind me. The Mask of Malice.
Balaam roars and raises his arms in victory.
Joe Burro: After taking over Mictlan and fitting it with metamodern advances such as Starbucks and Chick-Fil-As, the citizens of Mictlan seemed satisfied. While excavating old ruins the crypt of Cuauhtémoc, also known as “The Jaguar Warrior” and the greatest Aztec soldier in the history of its culture, was found. His bones represent a pure creature of the Third Sun, still intact, as well the mask of the jaguar still rested upon his skull. The strongest Lucha mask in all of the worlds. He whom wears the mask will be unstoppable and the definition of a warrior. He will lead the soon to be newly born creatures into battle to cleanse the world of the parasites.
The ugly top fashion designer of the underworld slams shuts the big book.
Joe Burro: That mask was found about a month ago. Hoyt has been absent planning a gala of the ghouls and gods where he would reveal the mask and mix his blood with the bones of Cuauhtémoc bringing forth Armageddon and the start of the book of Revelation to our world. However, in a cowardly act a man in a cheap mask has stolen the Jaguar mask. A man with an inferior mask snuck into the temple and snatched the Godley mask. We know it was you Anglo Luchador. You must now pay. Mask versus mask on earth in PRIME at Ultraviolence, instead of at MictlanMania 6,002,021. Be ready for your mask to be removed, and your head severed by Balaam.
Suddenly, one of the sparse lamps is knocked over, as a woman comes flying into frame tripping over a smoke machine. Joe moves out of the way, and Balaam catches the woman with his massive hands by the throat. She screams as the camera is knocked over, and the audience can only see what is happening from the ground up.
Richard Parker: What the hell errr what the Mictlan is happening here?
Nick Stuart: Is that??? It is!! That’s Aurora Jennings, the fiancée of John Kennedy Royko, Jr.! She’s very pregnant; what is she doing here?
Aurora: (screaming in fear) Please JK please I need you back please hear me. I miss you! I love you, PLEASE!!
Duke Williams: Chokeslam her! She’s not real. It’s all a mind trick by the Cheap Mask!
The monster tightens his grip around her neck and seems to be contemplating chokeslamming her. He starts to lift her.
Nick Stuart: She’s pregnant!!! My gawd no. Please don’t.
Richard Parker: Can we find out where they are and get some help. This is going to far.
The big man’s hands start to shake as Aurora weeps in fear with black tears streaking from her mascara.
Aurora: It’s a boy. I love you, John. Please hear me. HEAR ME.
His hands tremble as he suddenly releases his grip Aurora falls backwards gently and uses the wall to sink to the ground where she cowers crying. The monster towers over her with a great shadow in the red.
Duke Williams: You’re a failure Balaam. Come on. We need to tell Hoyt.
The chain is tugged roughly as Balaam is pulled away as the Malice crew exits leaving the woman cowering. The camera man has regrouped and gets a close up of the frightened woman. She begins pleading to the camera.
Aurora: Please if anyone can hear this, you need to remove that mask from John. Please this is not him. That mask is evil. Anglo Luchador do what you have to do to save John. Break him, remove the mask. Please. Please. Please!
The camera turns off.
Nick Stuart: What was that?
Richard Parker: Are we still not sure that wasn’t an ad for the Addams family reboot.
Nick Stuart: This is not the time for levity.
LARRY TACT IS A TAN BULL, NO SH*TTIN’
Nick Stuart: Well, that was certainly interesting.
Richard Parker: Interesting? If Jesus Christ walked on the Colorado River just to deliver you donuts, would you call it interesting?
Nick Stuart: Well, that could be a word to describe it, but I’m also not devout to the Church of Hoyt.
Richard Parker: REPENT! REPENT!
Nick Stuart: Anyway, Vince Howard’s in the ring, but I don’t think there’s a match up now.
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce you to the return of a PRIME talk show staple. Introducing from Istanbul, the Ottoman Empire…
“The Turkish March” starts up on the PA system as images of a brown-skinned man whipping around the ring and flying through the air grace the PRIMEview.
Richard Parker: It can’t be!
Nick Stuart: It is!
Vince Howard: …Captain SULEIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!!
Out from the back charges a more aged version of the Suleimon than the one who patrolled the skies in PRIME way back in the day. He has gained a few pounds and walks with a slight limp, but he’s still as vigorous as ever, waving the Turkish flag above him as he storms to the ring to a surprising pop from the fans.
Nick Stuart: A warm welcome for Captain Suleimon, and I’m not sure why, Richard.
Richard Parker: (searching for onion-head hats on Amazon) Maybe they see the light of the glory of the Ottoman Sultanate after all these years! Huzzah!
Suleimon enters the ring and basks in the shockingly warm reception. He plants the flag in the rear right corner to the hard cam, as the crowd chants “WELCOME BACK! WELCOME BACK!” at him. He grabs a microphone from Howard, appearing choked up a little bit.
Captain Suleimon: Good evening, loyal subjects of the PRIME Empire!
A roaring cheer rises up.
Captain Suleimon: I would be glad to hear such a reaction had it not come from SLOVENLY AMERICANS SUCH AS YOURSELF!
Nick Stuart: Now there’s the Suleimon I remember.
Richard Parker: Telling it like it is!
The cheers turn to boos as Suleimon smiles and cackles.
Captain Suleimon: You think I was HAPPY to see you? NO! PRIME is still as disgusting as it was when the Unfuckables ran me off the set of THIS VERY TALK SHOW all those years ago! And to think you have settled in this den of FILTHY DECADENCE! Pitiful! In the days of the yore, the pleasure domes would be filled with Turkish delights and lute music and the finest dancers from around the Empire! Instead now you have neon lights and garbage food in infinite supply and… (shudders) WAYNE NEWTON!
Nick Stuart: Why do people keep bringing him up?
More boos rain down.
Captain Suleimon: So why did I come back then? Because I had the opportunity to interview a real paragon of truth and moral fiber. That’s right, my guest tonight on ISTANBULLSHITTIN’ is a quest of TRUE righteousness, to rid this company of a DECREPIT OLD MAN clogging up avenues of opportunity for morally upright wrestlers. Please welcome to the show, the man who will take the Intense Championship in the main event AND who will rid this company of Dusk, LARRY TACT!
“Pieces of Man” by Drown hits on the PA, and Tact enters to a jeering reaction, jacking with the fans as he strolls to the ring. He enters the ring and shakes hands with Suleimon before heading over to Howard standing on the outside. He takes his microphone and heads to the center of the ring with his interviewer.
Captain Suleimon: Larry Tact! Great to have you here on the acclaimed talk show ISTANBULLSHITTIN’! Before we get to your big plans, what do you have in store for The Anglo Luchador, a man I know very well, tonight?
Larry Tact: Pain. I’m going to do to him what he did to me at ReVival 10 tenfold. He said so himself, Suleimon. He crossed a line that night, and I am not going to go soft on him because all of a sudden, he grew a conscience. You know what I call people who shoe a glimmer of tgeur trye nature, and then pull back and cover up at the first sign of criticism?
Captain Suleimon: What is that, Mr. Tact?
Larry Tact: Cowardly. A loser. Yes, he managed to survive the Fatal Fourway at Great American Nightmare to win the Intense Championship, but that was thanks to two key points. First, he used that truer nature I mentioned, which gave him the juice he needed to hang in. Second, he had a big assist from Tony Gamble. Now, The Anglo Luchador is beginning to see a shadow loom over him, one that’s far more likely to consume the jovial, frail man he prefers embracing.
Larry looks around the crowd and waves off their disagreement as if it’s a wad of paper being lobbed his way.
Larry Tact: If he steps into the ring with that form, it won’t save him against me. The ironic thing is, maybe that’s what he wants? Someone to liberate him from the Intense Championship. It’s little secret he has eyes to one day win the Universal Championship. As do I, but first I need to establish myself. To win the Universal Championship, though, The Anglo Luchador will need to learn a painful lesson, one I’m happy to show him. He needs to realize that ruthless side is the one he needs. Do you think Brandon Youngblood has a conscience? Phil Atken? Devin Shakur? Vangelus Olsig? Jason Snow? Sonny Silver? Hoyt Williams?
Nick Stuart: He’s just pandering now.
Richard Parker: I know. It rocks.
Larry Tact: It’s no surprise it took a psychotic break to get him to find his best self and become a champion here. As we know, it also triggered fear in him. Fear of where he would go should he proceed down that path. Fear of what he would do to others. Tonight, when I take the Intense Championship from him, it’ll be a lesson of what he should have kept doing, and who he should have kept being. I’ll carry on as the better of us, and until he figures out the value of what he had been, for a fleeting moment, that broken angel won’t sniff another title in this house of sinners.
Captain Suleimon: I like your fire, Mr. Tact, but a word from the wise. The Luchador may be a morally decrepit colonizer, but he is incredibly dangerous. I’ve seen it up close in school and in the locker rooms we shared. I am rooting for you, but you must tread lightly and carefully.
Larry Tact: Rooting for me? No, you’re no different than any of these hacks who pay to watch me excel in the ring, something you all couldn’t dream of. You know why, Captain Old and Busted? You’re afraid, just like The Anglo Luchador, just like each and every one of these people. You’re risk averse, gun-shy, and you always have been. In fact, you even fear the Luchador is going to send reprisal your way, which makes you even worse than him. You’re a failure of the highest order, and you’ve maintained that position your entire, sorry career.
Tact advances on Suleimon, backing him into a corner.
Nick Stuart: Can’t believe I’m about to say this, but someone come out here and help Suleimon!
Tact cocks his fist back, causing Suleimon to flinch. Tact simply lowers his fist and pats Suleimon’s chest.
Larry Tact: Two for flinching, but I’ll just owe it to you in the future. Now get out of MY RING, and take your disgrace of a country symbol with you.
Suleimon grabs the Turkish flag and dips.
Larry Tact: Now, allow me to address the endgame, the reason I’ll make the Intense Championship more prestigious immediately. It will be featured prominently in a retirement… no, a wrestling funeral. Dusk, you might be wondering why I took this match if there was even a shot that you could sneak out of Ultraviolence and retire like an entitled coward with a title you would have lucked into, at best.
Tact pauses to soak in more boos.
Larry Tact: Like I said earlier in the week, I want you to feel the last fleeting bit of hope die right in front of you before I end your worthless, parasitic career. You’ve made an art form of riding the coattails of those who set themselves up for greatness. In turn, you’ve made a mockery of people who didn’t deserve it. Poor Melvin Beauregard is going through enough and didn’t need you piling on him.
Larry needs to stop as the crowd uncorks their derision. Tact merely frowns in disgust at the interruption.
MELVIN SUCKS! MELVIN SUCKS! MELVIN SUCKS!
Richard Parker: Look, I’m a bit of a mouthpiece for the dirtbags around here, but even I know Melvin is bad news.
Larry Tact: Tonight, I have a golden opportunity, and I bet it eats you alive knowing that. Better still, when I do what you are incapable of and follow through on winning the Intense Championship, I’ll dangle that one last carrot and watch you salivate. It’s going to make ending your career in a pool of your own blood, with your last chance at restoring dignity exhaling in a defeated gasp, all the more satisfying. I’ll make sure you go down in failure at my feet.
Tact throws the microphone down while “Pieces of Man” hits the sound system. Tact exits the ring and heads up the ramp, the crowd jeering him all the way through the curtain.
Nick Stuart: Strong words from Larry Tact. Do you think he’ll be able to follow through?
Richard Parker: I hope so, because the sooner both that wacky Luchador and Dusk are grease stains on the history of this company, the better.
Nick Stuart: Richard Parker, always the classy gentlemen. Now I hear we have something brewing with The Glue Factory backstage. Let’s take it back to them.
ACHETER DE LA COLLE
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: three men relax by a pool.
One man swims – splashes with giddy excitement, more like – for that matter, one Hank splashes with giddy excitement, more like – inside said pool.
Something, something, set-up, punchline – Phil Atken has the Universal Championship around his waist by the pool.
It’s not a good joke. It’s also not a joke at all.
“Six minutes left, Hank,” calls Cecilworth Farthington, seated farthest right of the poolside trio. Hank vigorously nods and takes a deep breath before going underwater. Have you ever done that thing in the pool where you practice doing flips by spinning over and over and over underwater until you’re out of breath? Hank learned that trick this week. He’s getting pretty good at it. Cute little giant Sonic the Hedgehog over there.
Phil Atken sits in the middle, his better-defined-than-you-might-expect chest soaking in some rays while PRIME’s Universal Championship is on full display. He’s got bruises all over and bandages on his face – but with his calm expression, you wouldn’t know that he has a pain in the world.
On the left, sticking out in a striking way…it’s the kid. FLAMBERGE. He beckons the camera towards him as he glistens in the sun, wearing teal swim trunks and gold-rimmed shades.
FLAMBERGE: Oh la la, PRIME. It seems like you are upset. My phone hasn’t stopped buzzing since the main event of ReVival 13 – tags in Jabber, texts, angry voicemails – I had to invest in a portable charger to absorb the new activity.
FLAMBERGE: Maybe I should send that bill to the bitch, Nate Colton, too. By the way, coward, I still await the check for the damages you caused my FLAMBO.
FLAMBERGE stretches his arms over his head and lets out a deep, relaxed breath.
FLAMBERGE: Monsieur Atken, it is a wonder no one answered your call sooner. The grass, it is certainly very green here.
Atken also wears sunglasses as he lays out – though they are so thick and dark that one would have been forgiven if they thought he might have been asleep this whole time. Or blind. He ever-so-slightly turns in the camera’s direction.
Phil Atken: I take my offers of mentorship seriously. I offered Mr. FLAMBERGE a chance to see the two best competitors in PRIME up close and personally. It is hardly his, mine, or the Glue Factory’s fault that Brandon lost his focus. It is not FLAMBERGE’s fault that his eagerness to see brutality up close allowed me to lock in a tight choke. Brandon Youngblood had a mental blip, a millisecond of distraction, and he needs to own that.
Phil returns to his original position, and before long, tiny snores are audible. Hank pops out of the water, gasping for breath.
Cecilworth Farthington: Three minutes, Hank!
Hank nods vigorously, his face flush pink. After a few seconds, he feels confident once again to take the plunge – this time, attempting a handstand on the pool floor. It’s going about as well as you might expect.
FLAMBERGE reaches into his pocket and pulls out his omni-buzzing phone, giving it a chuckle.
FLAMBERGE: So many people are the pissed. So many people blame me for the pain they now feel – Youngblood, Anglo, Ria, and that dog child Nate Colton in particular these days. Look inward, mon fils. You are upset because you are not the me – and you were NEVER the me. I am now PRIME’s Most Wanted, and where THAT title goes, so goes la fortune et la chance. And if you STILL don’t understand?
FLAMBERGE reclines deeply, hands behind his head. Bubbles blurp over where we assume Hank may be.
FLAMBERGE: Acheter de la colle, bitches.
NATE COLTON vs. TONY GAMBLE
Nick Stuart: Well, that was certainly something from our Universal Champion, but we’ve got some more action for all the PRIMEates out there. Tony Gamble is looking to bounce back from last week’s tough loss to FLAMBERGE, but he’s got a roadblock ahead of him, Richard.
Richard Parker: Roadblock? Nate Colton is about as thick as the average roadblock you find on I-70 east of Indianapolis and half as smart.
Nick Stuart: I’m guessing you aren’t accepting any invites to any Colton Family cookouts anytime soon.
Richard Parker: Of course not. Indiana? Their idea of cuisine is putting ranch dressing on a boiled hot dog and washing it down with supermarket-brand Faygo. No thanks.
Nick Stuart: I think you’re confusing the Coltons with the Insane Clown Posse.
Richard Parker: No, because the Juggalos would at least spring for name-brand Faygo.
“You think I’m funny? Funny how?”
The striating riff of “Better Than You” echoes throughout the Grand Garden Arena as a dour looking Tony Gamble marches from behind the curtain. Highlights of his Hall of Fame career play on the PRIMEview behind him while he sneers at fans as he passes by. He takes his time circling the ring before coldly stepping through the ropes to await his opponent.
Nick Stuart: Gamble looks a bit more sour than usual.
Richard Parker: Well, you’d be too if some mook in Witless Protection blindsided you and caused you grievous harm.
Nick Stuart: Witless Protection. Stay up all night thinking that one up?
Richard Parker: Eh, I got to bed around two, two-thirty.
“Better than You” dies down as it is replaced by “Tryin’” by the Eagles. A loud cheer erupts from the crowd as Nate Colton, clad in his blue satin family jacket, twirls out from the back, arms outstretched. He jogs to the ring, slapping the hands of all the fans along the aisles, taking time to get every child with a hand reaching out.
Richard Parker: This cornfed hick should be in handcuffs for what he did to the FLAMBORGHINI two weeks ago.
Nick Stuart: While I don’t condone property damage, Richard, I mean, FLAMBERGE did start it, kinda.
Richard Parker: You and I must have been watching different feeds on the monitor. It was an egregious assault. EGREGIOUS.
Nick Stuart: Well, however you saw things, what we’re going to see tonight is the eldest Colton son getting a chance to play a game of proverbial HORSE with FLAMBO. Last week, the Strasbourg Superstar beat Gamble. Can Colton answer with a win of his own?
Richard Parker: Look at you, disrespecting a HALL OF FAMER like that by marginalizing him as a trinket to be passed back and forth between two young wrestlers. I oughta text him and say you’re laughing at him.
Nick Stuart: You wouldn’t do that to me. But anyway, let’s get down to Vince Howard in the ring for the intros.
Vince Howard: Our next match 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 Las Vegas, Nevada, he is the Permascar Superstar… Tony… GAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLEEEE!
Gamble raises his arms in mock adulation to the boos of the crowd.
Nick Stuart: Gamble having a hard time raising that right arm.
Richard Parker: Mortimer Kalisthenics should be suspended and fined for his disgusting behavior.
Vince Howard: And in the corner to my right, weighing in at 255 pounds and hailing from Evansville, Indiana. He is Nate… COLTONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!
The crowd cheers.
Nick Stuart: Barlow calls for the bell, and this highly anticipated match will finally get underway. And Gamble has stepped right up to Colton despite giving up nearly 70 pounds and seven inches.
Richard Parker: I keep telling you, Gamble has heart. No one listens to me. NO ONE.
Nick Stuart: We listen to you, Rich, just most of the time, people disagree, but Colton is not backing down here either… and he extends his hand!?!
Richard Parker: Something smells fishy here.
Nick Stuart: I had the cedar plank salmon at Guy’s before the show, sorry.
Richard Parker: Ooh, how was it?
Nick Stuart: I’ll tell you later. Because Gamble just accepted Colton’s hand!
Colton goes to release but Gamble, but The Grin keeps the grip locked, looking to hit Colton in the side of his neck, but Colton dodges.
Nick Stuart: Uh oh, big mistake there. I think Nate’s mad.
Richard Parker: Might as well disqualify him now then, prevent the retaliation.
Gamble, throws both his hands up and mouths “my bad.”
Nick Stuart: Gamble regretting his attempt at a sneak attack there?
Richard Parker: Sneak attack, schmeak attack, he’s just leveraging the situation.
Nick Stuart: Well, he’s clearly at a leverage disadvantage here in this collar-and-elbow tie-up, and Colton has him in a side headlock. Gamble able to break out and push Colton off the ropes, shoulder block sends the Grin to the mat though.
Richard Parker: Blatant disrespect shown to the Hall of Famer here.
Nick Stuart: Well, Gamble wouldn’t take it as such. As much of a firestarter as he can be, he’s not the kind who wants anyone’s charity.
Gamble rises to his feet and dusts himself off.
Nick Stuart: Back in the collar-and-elbow, and Colton has him in the headlock again but NO! Gamble stomps on his foot! Colton hopping on one foot and OOF! Gamble with the rabbit punch, sending the youngster to the mat.
Richard Parker: That should teach him to destroy property.
Nick Stuart: Not sure Gamble’s the best one to teach him there, but he’s gonna give him a lesson in pain here with that seated armbar. Not sure how much leverage he can get with the damage Mort gave him to his right arm.
Richard Parker: All the more reason to have this match thrown out. Grossly unfair to Gamble here. GROSSLY.
Nick Stuart: Fair or not, Gamble can’t get enough leverage and Colton gets to the ropes. But Gamble up right away and stomping on him!
Ashley Barlow starts admonishing The Grin, who throws his hands up as Colton squirms on the campus.
Richard Parker: Timo Bolamba gets suspended for one show, and the refs start to feel themselves.
Nick Stuart: Well, Gamble didn’t break clean, and he’s back over laying the boots to Colton before he can get to his feet. The youngster rolls on his back and Gamble on him…
Nick Stuart: Ooh, Colton kicks out. Gamble RELENTLESS though, raining blows down on Colton. Drags him to his feet, kick to the gut and…
Richard Parker: Memphis Death Certificate!
Nick Stuart: Easy there, tiger, I’d put that at a four out of ten on the Jeff Garvin Scale. Gamble goes for another cover…
Nick Stuart: Colton kicks out again. Gamble really wearing out the youngster here and doing it using his pitbull-like tenacity.
Richard Parker: I mean, that’s how he became a Hall of Famer at that size. And no one respected him because he’s Italian.
Gamble rises to his feet and drags Colton over to the corner.
Nick Stuart: All due respect, Rich, but it was probably for all the cheating and palling around with Devin Shakur. Gamble has Colton against the corner. OOF! Knee to the breadbasket, and another, and a third one. Whip out of the corner, ooh! But Gamble is holding his right shoulder!
Richard Parker: Excuse me, I’m going to call the FBI and get Mortimer Kilkenny arrested and charged with treason.
Colton reverses the whip and puts Gamble in the corner.
Nick Stuart: The tables have turned! Colton putting Gamble up on the top turnbuckle.
Richard Parker: Oh no…
Nick Stuart: Colton finally catches a big break and plants Gamble on the mat with the superplex! Floatover cover…
Nick Stuart: Gamble kicks out! But this crowd is back into the match! Gamble is up, but gingerly, that right shoulder is bothering him.
Richard Parker: He’s gotta be ahead on points. Stop the match, declare him the winner, get him to Dr. Fihlguud.
Nick Stuart: That’s not how any of this works, and neither is grabbing the official to get back up. But that’s what Gamble’s doing!
Richard Parker: Smart!
Nick Stuart: And it could get him DQed! WAIT! NO!
In the jostling, Gamble hits Colton with a well-placed low blow with his right out of the sightline of Barlow, whom he’s still hand-checking with his left.
Nick Stuart: Colton is doubled over, but Barlow didn’t see the actual low blow! Gamble is…
Richard Parker: SMART! Hahaha, Hall of Famer for a reason!
Gamble dusts himself off while Colton staggers around.
Nick Stuart: To be fair, Gamble is known for this kind of trickery. Colton still a little wet around the ears here. He could’ve used someone like Coach Hark or even Nathan Filmix watching the outside.
Richard Parker: Oh sure, when the goody-two-shoes is in trouble, advocate for a numbers game.
Nick Stuart: ignoring Parker Gamble going back to work landing a swift jab to Colton’s temple. Back to stomping him, and I think the lad is in trouble here.
Richard Parker: I know he is. Gamble smells blood.
Nick Stuart: And now he’s working over Colton’s back with that Boston crab. Again, I’m not sure how sure a grip he can get with that right arm banged up, but he’ll try.
Richard Parker: Gamble is a warrior!
Nick Stuart: Just as long as the CEO doesn’t have a clear line of sight to a broom closet. Colton struggling, but his lower body strength is too much. He’s in the ropes. You’d think Gamble would stick to his strikes and impact moves. He’s too shrewd a veteran to try things that don’t work.
Richard Parker: But he’s a proud veteran. Don’t doubt The Grin here.
Nick Stuart: Gamble has made a career of proving people wrong, and he’s going to work with elbow drops to Colton’s back here. I think he wants to make him submit.
Richard Parker: After the last show, Gamble knows he needs to make a statement. Like I said, he smells blood.
Nick Stuart: Gamble off the ropes, leg drop to the small of Colton’s back! And now he’s, wow, this is innovative stuff!
Gamble kneels down on Colton’s back and presses hard while pulling on Colton’s left ankle with his good arm.
Nick Stuart: That’s one way to minimize the damage done to his right side.
Richard Parker: And I don’t care how much weight you have on a guy. Feeling him with those sharp knees on the small of your back? I think Nate’s gonna have an express visit to the chiropractor after this.
Nick Stuart: You know chiropractors are quacks, right, Rich?
Richard Parker: They are not! I go to mine every week, and my joints only creak slightly.
Nick Stuart: Uh-huh. Gamble up, and he’s dragging Colton to his feet… abdominal stretch! This normally isn’t in The Permascar Superstar’s repertory, but he’s finding ways to make up for his size disadvantage and his injury!
Richard Parker: Smart, especially with that leverage!
Gamble grabs onto the top rope with his right arm.
Nick Stuart: Uh, that’s not exactly legal.
Richard Parker: It is if Barlow doesn’t see it!
Just then, Barlow notices it and starts working the five-count. Gamble releases at four and throws his hands up innocently in the air.
Nick Stuart: Again, I don’t agree with his tactics, but this is nothing new from The Grin. Colton had to have expected this, and if not, it’s his rookie nature that’s going to cost him.
Richard Parker: Look, his loser family eats, sleeps, and breathes wrestling. If he didn’t do his homework, that just means dad is a lousy teacher.
Nick Stuart: Jake Colton watches every episode. Anyway, his oldest son is just doubled over. His abs gotta feel like hot cross buns right now.
Richard Parker: Leave the snappy quips to me, alright?
Nick Stuart: Gamble doesn’t even need to kick him in the gut to get the DDT. Cover…
Nick Stuart: And Colton kicks out at 2.9999! We’re getting into deep waters here. Remember, Nate spent all that time in Survivor. Relatively speaking on the big stage? He’s SUPER unseasoned.
Richard Parker: And Gamble is about to show the world.
Nick Stuart: He’s about to make Colton Stop Laughing AT… NO! Colton sensed it and hip-tosses him forward! The kid’s got fight yet!
Richard Parker: I hope he has a random drug test after the match! He shouldn’t have had the core strength to pull that move off!
Nick Stuart: Gamble comes in hot with a punch, but Colton blocks it and LANDS ONE OF HIS OWN! Gamble again, NO! Colton with another punch! The Grin is dazed, but he’s got a lariat in him… NO! COLTON DUCKS IT! EXPLOOOOOOOOOOOOOODAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!
The crowd erupts as Colton fires to his feet, pumping both his fists.
Richard Parker: What a disgusting display of showboating! I hope it costs him!
Nick Stuart: Colton’s got Gamble sized up, scoop and a SHOULDERBREAKER! On the bad shoulder too! Gamble is reeling and COLTON LOCKS IN THE DRAGON SLEEPER! HOOKS ARE IN! IS THIS MATCH OVER?
Richard Parker: Bite him! Gouge the eyes! Do something!
Nick Stuart: Oh no! The same recklessness that threw him out of the ring against Balaam at Great American Nightmare strikes again! He’s rolled into the ropes! Gamble is inching to his feet, and Colton could have his biggest win in PRIME yet in his sights.
Colton lays in wait for Gamble.
Nick Stuart: Could it be time… yes, Colton Clu…. NO! Nate can’t get him over, he’s holding his gut! Gamble worked him over too good!
Richard Parker: I told you never count out The Grin!
Nick Stuart: Colton dazed and Gamble HITS ANOTHER DDT! And he’s climbing the top rope?
Richard Parker: If he can’t get a good grip on the submission holds, then go another route!
Nick Stuart: Gamble takes flight, MOONSAULT… NO! NO WATER IN THE POOL! Both men are up and dazed and Colton locks in the namesake clutch! But can he get him over…
Colton thrusts forward, bouncing Gamble off the ropes in front of him, giving him enough momentum for…
Nick Stuart: WHAT AN INGENIUS MOVE BY THE ROOKIE! ROPE ASSISTED COLTON CLUTCH SUPLEX!
Richard Parker: NO! THAT’S CHEATING! DISQUALIFY HIM, ASH! DO YOUR GODDAMN JOB!
Nick Stuart: COLTON COVERS!
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Here is your winner, Nate… COLTONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!
The crowd erupts! Colton rolls over holding his belly, while Gamble instinctively clutches his right shoulder.
Nick Stuart: Oh man, I think we not only witnessed the best match of Colton’s young career so far, but Tony Gamble might have shaken all the ring rust off there. He was so close to winning, even after suffering those injuries from earlier tonight.
Richard Parker: I am forever going to have an asterisk by this result for SEVERAL reasons.
Nick Stuart: Good thing you’re not the PRIME archivist. Anyway, we gotta pay the bills. PRIME ReVival 14 will be back after these messages!
COMMERCIAL: SANCTIONED VIOLENCE ORGANIZATION
QUASHING A BEEF, WITH FISH
BEEP… BEEP… BEEP… BEEP…
We’re on the loading dock to the MGM Grand Garden Arena, watching a forklift carefully and methodically unload a pallet of Saran-wrapped boxes from the back of a cargo van.
No fog machines. No chocolate fountains. No 90’s classics blaring from the speakers. No jousting. Just some ol’ fashioned forklifting involving a licensed professional by the name of Roger Dawes.
Observing these proceedings from nearby are the tandem of junior reporter Simon Tillier and PRIME’s Five Star Champion, “the Escape Artist” Rezin. Simon, mic in hand, looks slightly confused. Rezin, championship belt around his waist, looks considerably stoned.
Nothing out of the ordinary for these two, aside from the location. Hence the interviewer’s current state of perplexity.
Simon Tillier: Rezin, what are we doing out here? This hardly feels like a suitable location for an interview.
Rezin narrows his eyes at the young interviewer.
Rezin: And just what do you consider “suitable”?
Simon Tillier: I don’t know, somewhere a bit less noisy and… hazardous?
The Goat Bastard scoffs, loud and wet. Simon wisely stays clear of the spray.
Rezin: You should know by now, Simon, anywhere where I presently happen to be is gonna be “noisy” and “hazardous”! As it is, we’re here on business…
Simon Tiller: “Business?”
Roger Dawes: (off-camera) Here’s that overnight package you were expecting, Mr. Rezin!
Rezin snaps to attention as Dawes, having put the forklift in neutral with the parking brake set and the tips of the forks tilted into the ground, as the accepted OSHA standard for leaving heavy loading equipment, steps into the frame and hands over a pair of nondescript boxes.
Rezin: Perfect! Thanks, Rog. Also, ya left the keys in there again…
Roger Dawes: OH GEEZ!
Dawes, who has presumably come under fire for how much his truck has been hijacked these past few months, frantically rushes back to the forklift.
Rezin: Here, gimme a hand with these…
Rezin dumps both boxes into the interviewer’s hands. Simon immediately bares his teeth when he gets hit with a sensation he wasn’t expecting.
Simon Tillier: It’s… cold!
Rezin: Yeah, I should hope it is! Try not to breathe on it too hard, if ya can help it! Now c’mon…
Rezin tilts his head in the direction of the door to give Simon the “follow” gesture and leads the way back into the building…
Then, through the magic of editing in production, the two are backstage. Rezin leads the way down a hallway reserved for private dressing rooms. Tillier is now even more confused, noticing bits of ice leaking from the corners of the larger of the two packages he has in his arms.
Simon Tillier: Rezin, forgive me if I’m missing something here, but where are we going, what are we doing, and what does this have to do with our interview?
Rezin: No interview today, Simon! You and I are on a SPECIAL MISSION!
Simon Tillier: Oh geez… tell me I’m not holding a bomb of some sort!
Rezin: Not this time, Simon! But maybe next week, IF you’re lucky! Tonight, however, I have other, more productive schemes afoot…
They come to a stop when they reach a door that has a simple makeshift sign posted on the front. The sign reads: “GREAT SCOTT”.
A devious grin crosses the Five Star Champion’s face when he turns the knob and finds it unlocked. A sigh escapes Simon as he mentally buckles up for whatever is about to happen.
Simon Tillier: Oh boy…
Expectedly, Rezin enters without knocking. When the two shuffle inside, Rezin’s smile widens, while Simon’s face goes white.
Rezin: Heyyyy there, buddy!
No SCOTT to be seen. Instead, they stumble upon GREAT BEAR, who perks up at the sight of a pair of uninvited guests.
Simon Tillier: Uhh, I don’t know why I waited until now to ask, but why do I have to be here for this?
Rezin: Cause I need a witness! And also, if things go south, I need somebody to throw in the way while I make my escape…
The interviewer audibly gulps as Rezin dauntlessly approaches the beast.
Rezin: Hey there, Shardik! How’s it hangin’? Glad I was able to catch ya alone this time, cause I was wantin’ to rap! Also, got another present for ya!
He takes the larger package from Simon, who appears to be thankful to have it taken off his hands. Rezin tears the tape off the top of the box, and drops it on the floor before GREAT BEAR. The inside of the ice-lined box is revealed to be full of several filets of fish.
Rezin: Here ya go! Fresh caught Atlantic salmon… imported overnight, straight from Alaska!
Simon Tillier: …but Alaska is on the Pac–
The sound of a boot stamping down on Simon’s foot cuts off the junior reporter’s observation, and the junior reporter’s face blossoms in pain. Rezin’s uncharacteristically endearing smile doesn’t leave his face.
Rezin: Sorry the thing with the honey didn’t work out! I had no idea SCOTT had ya on such a strict diet! But this is basically an upgrade, right? Anyway… BONG APPETIT!
GREAT BEAR looks questionably at the box of “Atlantic” salmon in front of him, then back to Rezin, looking for some pawssible explanation as to why such an offering would be made by his best friend’s GREAT nemesis.
Several seconds pass where nothing happens. Things are getting awkward. Rezin leans into Simon.
Rezin: …he’s not eating the fish, Simon.
Simon Tillier: Well, considering who it came from… can you blame him?
Rezin throws him an incredulous look.
Rezin: C’maaawn, Simon… who do you think you’re talkin’ to here? You think I did something to the fish?
Simon Tillier: I mean…
Rezin: Hey, don’t get me wrong, as much as I would find it hilarious to see GREAT SCOTT wading around in a knee-deep ocean of semi-digested meat, cheese, and bear crap, I consider poisonings one of the least PUNK ROCK things a person can do! If I was gonna hurt anyone, I got these fists and feets to make it happen!
Simon Tillier: You say that, but given your spate of random spittings, and stealing from catering, and destroying production equipment, and distributing narcotics among other talent, and public acts of defecation, and holding up people in the parking lot for cash, and–
Rezin: OKAY, OKAY, I get it! Look, I know I’ve done some morally dubious things this past year… but I’m trynna put all that behind me! Where the hell’s the TRUST here, Simon?!
The look on Simon’s face says everything: it’s not a matter of where it is, but why anyone should expect it.
Frustrated, but undaunted, Rezin squats down closer to GREAT BEAR. He pulls one of the filets out of the box and, after a moment’s consideration… takes a bite!
Chewing on a mouthful of raw fish, Rezin’s face briefly grows taut with revulsion. But then he notices GREAT BEAR watching him, and swallows it down like a champ.
Rezin: Eh, I’ve had worse…
Behind him, Tillier looks like he may lose his cookies. Rezin stays on task, speaking directly to the ursine understudy of GREAT SCOTT.
Rezin: Here’s the deal, buddy…your friend and I got our issues with one another, this much is true. And yeah, when he and I hash that out at UltraViolence, it ain’t gonna be pretty. I reckon we’re gonna straight bust each other up. I expect he’s gonna come swingin’ hard, and I promise I’m gonna get soarin’ HIGH! So I don’t blame ya for bein’ apprehensive. But, I ain’t got any real beef with you. We can still be cool, right?
GREAT BEAR’s head thoughtfully cocks to the side as he gives these words heavy consideration.
Rezin: Right! The thing is, my dude, I get that you’re goin’ through a strange and unusual time right now. Your boss has made some profound decisions as of late. Bleachin’ his hair. Growin’ a goatee. Those are signs of a new harder and meaner attitude. And here you are, just a bear, trynna vibe, and suddenly errybuddy’s sayin’ your pal is a bein’ a real dick as of late. The kinda dick that punches dicks, at that.
GB’s head cocks over to the other side. Is this guy fur real?
Rezin: Okay, fair point… I’ve kinda been a dick myself. And yeah, I have to come clean and admit that I’m partly responsible for all that’s happened, thanks to my own dick-punching. But I didn’t think I’d send your buddy over the edge and into full-bore Raging Dick Mode, just by trynna defend what’s mine. And maybe that’s affected you in a negative way. It’s affected a LOT of people negatively as of late. And that sucks. It’s like, my dick move has created an entire ripple effect of dick moves. And that… kinda makes me feel terrible, dude.
The Escape Artist looks away, getting lost in his own thoughts as he continues his soliloquy.
Rezin: Like, can accept myself bein’ a dick. Life’s been a dick to me, so why should I be any different? I just do what comes to me naturally. Runnin’ by instinct. Bein’ of the ursine persuasion, I’m sure you can relate to that. I can’t help but be a dick any more than you can help but be a bear. But bein’ the kinda dick that spreads so much hate and negativity around that I other people become dicks? Do you think that’s PUNK ROCK?
GREAT BEAR doesn’t respond, but Rezin curtly shakes his head anyway.
Rezin: No, Smokey, it most certainly is not PUNK ROCK at all. And that… that is a harsh pill for me to swallow. Knowing that by just trynna survive in this world, I somehow end up makin’ it a worse place for others to live in. I dunno much about “legacy”, but I’m not sure that’s the one I want to put in place for however long I’m representin’ this place as a champion. I don’t wanna make good dudes go bad; I wanna bring out the BEST in ‘em! Know’m sayin’?
He stands up off his haunches.
Rezin: ‘Course you do, Yogi! That’s what’s so GREAT about ya! So, while this probably doesn’t make up for all the harm and the drama I’ve caused, I figured I gotta start somewhere. As an apology, or just as a sign of good faith… I dunno, take it how you will. And HEY, as an added bonus…
Rezin snags the second box from Simon’s grip and tears it open. He pulls out…
Rezin: …a NEW PAIR of Beats by Dre! So you can get your VIBES on again! Or at least until SCOTT chooses to break ‘em over my head…
Rather than risk putting them on GREAT BEAR’s head himself, Rezin simply sets the wireless headphones on the ground and slides them over using his foot.
Rezin: So, we good?
Gears are earnestly grinding in GREAT BEAR’s bear skull. Finally, after a moment, his snout goes into the box in front of him, and he indulges on a snack of salmon. Rezin nods with satisfaction.
Rezin: We good.
Rezin turns to leave.
Rezin: Catch you on the flippy-floppy, Gee-Bee… and tell SCOTTY to keep fresh on his algebra homework!
Simon, watching this scene unfold before him, looks astonished.
Simon Tillier: Wow, Rezin! That was… surprisingly generous of you!
The Goat Bastard throws an arm over the junior reporter’s shoulders while popping a joint into his mouth.
Rezin: Simon, ol’ buddy… the day I don’t leave you surprised, I’ll genuinely feel I failed this company! Take it easy, ya normie…
Rezin exits the private dressing room, and the reporter moves to follow…
Then the door suddenly swings shut in front of him. Simon tries the knob… and finds it locked.
Simon Tillier: Uhm… Rezin?
He looks back over his shoulder to find himself trapped alone in the room with GREAT BEAR, who has finished the feast of fish and now looks upon the junior interviewer as if expecting more. His face blanching, Tillier again frantically pulls at the doorknob to no avail.
Simon Tillier: Uhhh REZIN?! ANYONE!? HELP!!
To the sound of desperate knocking, we cut to VOID.
THE SWORD DOG IS MY SECOND
Jonathan Rhine walks around the backstage area looking for someone. We quickly find out who he is looking for as he talks to a staff member.
Jonathan Rhine: Have you seen Paxton Ray? Tall, beard, punchy?
The staff member shakes his head and walks away. Jon continues to walk, then finds himself near the tag champion locker room. After a moment, he knocks on the door and walks in.
Jonathan Rhine: Jared, you in here?
“No, they moved us this week.”
Behind him, in the hallway, stands the king of blueberries. His left hand is newly bandaged, with white tape over a heavy pad of gauze in the palm. This is why when you find yourself in a situation where a dog has a sword, you don’t try to pull it out of its mouth. Or maybe just don’t give the dog a sword in the first place.
King Blueberry: Something about that room needing… You know what, nevermind. What’s up?
Jonathan Rhine: You seen Pax anywhere? My match is coming up and he isn’t around to give me backup.
King Blueberry: I haven’t, no. Things got a little weird on me tonight, so I’ve been stuck in one spot for a fair bit.
He flexes the fingers on his left hand, wincing a little at the sting.
King Blueberry: Why? Did he go missing? He’s not on some crazy punch rampage, is he?
Jonathan Rhine: God, I hope not. He kept telling me that he was going to take it to the Bandits tonight, but I haven’t seen him or Bobby, and I asked Wade if he had seen him earlier and he said no. So I think that should mean no rampage.
Jon sighs and begins to close the door, then stops.
Jonathan Rhine: Actually…you’ve got an off night, right? Want to come with me to the ring to make sure Bathory doesn’t pull anything funny?
King Blueberry: I can do that, if you want the back-up. Honestly, after “dog with a sword” I feel like whatever the MESSIAH boys get up to is probably pretty tame.
He pauses, just long enough for the new thought to register.
King Blueberry: Wait, is Shanahan even going to be out there, or is Bed Bathory & The Infinite Unknowable Beyond doing this one alone?
Despite himself, Jon laughs.
Jonathan Rhine: That’s a good one. Yeah, I think he’s by himself, but…I don’t trust him regardless. MESSIAH is evil and secret. There are probably 3000 members in the dark, waiting to do his bidding. I’d just feel better knowing I had someone to help me.
King Blueberry: That’s a fair point. Just know if I get hit with a moon rock and we fuse into one person, then apologies in advance for the, ummm, vivid thoughts about some people we know that you’re suddenly going to become aware of. I’ll go halfsies on the therapy bill though.
Jonathan Rhine blinks twice, then shrugs.
Jonathan Rhine: Works for me. And I’ll come with you ringside for a match in the future too. I’m already feeling a lot better.
They’re interrupted by the sounds of screaming, as Patience and Decius bolt down the corridor away from the bounding Bucky Rex Daniels and his latest squeaky toy – a 4-foot bastard sword with a smear of blood drying on the blade.
And before anyone asks, yes, it counts as a squeaky toy if that’s the sound people make when you chase them with it.
King Blueberry: Jon! Move! Now!
The pair quickly spring up onto the crates that line the near wall, narrowly avoiding being trampled by the Montgomery twins. Or worse.
A moment later, and a door is flung open. Reina Raspberry peeks her head into the corridor, spotting two grown men balled-up on top of production equipment.
Reina Raspberry: Would someone like to tell me what the hell that was all about?
Her eyes fall to the bandage around Blueberry’s left hand.
Reina Raspberry: And what happened to your hand?
King Blueberry: Would you believe me if I told you the answer to both of those questions is “dog with a sword?”
Reina Raspberry: You know I used to think a lot of people said about you was bullshit, even though the videos are all there online. But actually being in it? Makes a girl think.
She glances over his shoulder at Rhine.
Reina Raspberry: Well, at least you had the decency to find an adult. Hi, Jon. I’ll apologize on Jared’s behalf for… whatever he’s done this time.
Jonathan Rhine has been friends with Jared Sykes for long enough to know exactly what comes with the friendship. But it’s possible that he forgot during their issues, because he does not immediately respond, his eyes widening. Then, he laughs.
Jonathan Rhine: It’s fine, Cal.
He turns to King Blueberry as he begins to get down from the crate.
Jonathan Rhine: If you can get Bucky out there with us, Jared, I’ll feel even better.
He cocks his head to the side.
Jonathan Rhine: I think.
King Blueberry: If you want the dog out there, then the first thing I need to do is see if I can find a crate full of armor. Or, at the very least, a sturdy codpiece.
His eyes fall to his partner, who is staring back at him emotionless. She slowly shakes her head.
King Blueberry: What?
She says nothing as she steps back into the locker room and closes the door behind her. What follows is the sound of something heavy being pushed across the tiled floor, ending with a thunk as it braces the door shut from inside.
King Blueberry: Okay, serious question: you think she’s hiding from me or the dog?
As both men return to safe ground, Jon puts a hand on King Blueberry’s shoulder.
Jonathan Rhine: Yes.
A HOUSE IS NOT A HOME
Nick Stuart: These fans come to their feet as it looks like we’re about to be joined by the Marathon Man, Impulse!
Richard Parker: It’s nice to see him coming out to the ring for something other than a match, he’s been hiding in the back since he got that tainted win over Nova.
Nick Stuart: …You’re just waiting for a drink, aren’t you?
It doesn’t take long for Impulse to emerge from backstage to a strong ovation. He is quickly joined by Calico Rose, carrying a small bag that definitely gets Richard’s attention.
Nick Stuart: I’m gonna put you on the spot here, Richard. Will this be about the PRIME Universal Championship that changed hands last episode of ReVival? Will it be about his match with Nova and the controversial finish? Will it be the continued tensions with rookie sensation Hayes Hanlon?
Richard Patrick: Will it be Nick Stuart filling the space with words because he can’t wait ten seconds?
The two separate at the foot of the ramp, with Impulse retrieving a microphone from Vince Howard and Cally joining the commentators on the other side of their table. She pulls a bottle of Jamison from the bag, along with three shot glasses.
Calico Rose: Drink!
She downs hers in one gulp, while muffled coughing can be heard on commentary. Cally smiles at them, leaves the bottle, and climbs the ring steps to join Impulse between the ropes. The music dies down while Impulse gives Cally a kiss on the side of the head. She settles into a corner while he paces in the middle of the ring.
Impulse: Well… Been a minute, huh?
Impulse: I’ve been fortunate. For practically all of my career I’ve had your support. I’ve heard the cheers, and it’s made me appreciate what I’m fortunate enough to do. And I’ve heard the boos as well, and I appreciate those, because it’s made me want to work harder. But whether you like me, love me, or hate me… you paid your money to be here and the least I can do is be who I am.
Impulse: Beyond anything else, I’m always real.
The crowd gives a decent pop to this line.
Richard Parker: Pandering at its finest.
Nick Stuart: Stop it, Richard.
Impulse: There’s people in this company who have a problem with the fact that I speak my mind and don’t toe a company line. Fact is, I’ve never done that in my entire career, and sure, it’s cost me some merch money from time to time, but it’s a small price to pay for authenticity. Besides, right now shallow words don’t matter. Personal slights don’t matter.
Another pause, to let the crowd’s anticipation buzz.
Impulse: I walked into the doors of this company almost nine months ago because I was looking for something I hadn’t had in years – a home in this sport. And I’ve by and large found one. And I’m not about to let it get torn apart from within just because those who were supposed to be defending it were too busy bickering amongst themselves.
Nick Stuart: Wisdom coming from the Marathon Man tonight.
Impulse: What we really need to do, if we want this house called PRIME to stand… is listen…
Cheers erupt at the drop of the Hall of Famer’s name.
Impulse: It’s like Nova told me two weeks ago – they’re coming for him. Which means they’re going to eventually come for me, and for the rest of PRIME. And if we want this revival to succeed… if we want to defend our home… sooner or later we’re all going to have to take a stand against MESSIAH.
Richard Parker: Are they like Candyman? Is Bruce about to appear in the crowd?
Impulse: The problem is that the cult is a hive mind… they think with one mind. Opposite them? A collection of flawed individuals whose only common link is respect for Nova and for PRIME. The former guy is on a personal revenge mission over losing his title in an unofficial handicap match, and Nova’s number one fan Hayes can’t see the forest for the trees.
And right on cue, We Came as Romans joins the party.
A pop from the MGM crowd as the white flash bulbs fill the arena. In what is certainly an abbreviated entrance, The Event Horizon steps onto the ramp, clad in his casual black button-down shirt, sleeves rolled up, microphone in hand.
Nick Stuart: And the former Five Star Champ may take exception to that last comment!
The music fades off, leaving only the still cheering crowd. The black crumb-catcher on his lip twitches back and forth a little for pause, and the crowd quiets as Hanlon raises his mic.
Hayes Hanlon: Say his name, Knox.
Impulse just stares at him, an amused look on his face.
Calico Rose: (off-mic) Francis?
Hayes Hanlon: C’mon man, don’t be afraid of it. Say his name.
The fans buzz in anticipation as Impulse teases the microphone.
Impulse: The former Champion hasn’t earned it, and he’ll be just as big a liability until he’s done with his roaring rampage of revenge.
Hayes Hanlon: Hasn’t earned it? Are you still trying to die on that hill, or does he have to give you another concussion?
A low rumble of “ooooohs” from the crowd. Hanlon wipes at his ‘stache.
Hayes Hanlon: And ‘Pulse, the only reason you get to call him “former Champion” is thanks to Flambo signing his death sentence with the interference last show, but I guess you and Atken have that in common, huh?
Further rumblings. Hayes starts walking down the ramp, allowing the crowd to settle.
Nick Stuart: Oof, Hanlon coming in with the barbs.
Richard Parker: Kid’s got a point, Nick.
Hayes Hanlon: Look man, we’re on the same side. MESSIAH’s coming. I’ve squared up with Bathory and took the loss, I’ve got skin in this game.
He ascends the stairs and climbs through the ropes before stepping up to Impulse. Not in a threatening way, but with urgency.
Hayes Hanlon: But when MESSIAH really comes for PRIME, and you’re standing next to Nova, you’d better hope the “former Champion” is standing next to you, too. And his name is BRANDON. YOUNGBLOOD.
Hayes lowers the mic, jaw jutted and lips curled. If Impulse is amused, bothered, angered… his expression betrays nothing.
Impulse: You get a bigger reaction from the crowd saying his name than anything else you’ve said so far tonight. How’s that make you feel, Hayes? What do you get out of being the former Champion’s press agent? The fact is, he had my number. Twice. I don’t deny that or shy away from it. But I’m not the one who made it personal between me and him, so I’m not gonna be losing any sleep over any perceived insult you’re feeling on his behalf because I call him… The. Former. Champion. It’s an unforgiving business, Bambi – live with it.
The Event Horizon rolls his eyes and shakes his head, clearly a little bristled at the nickname. His brown eyes turn back to The Marathon Man, and the fans buzz at the look between the two athletes.
Nick Stuart: That was uncalled for.
Richard Parker: But it was funny.
Nick Stuart: Pick a side, Richard.
Impulse: (pacing back and forth) I’m sorry, Hayes. Now, that? That was over the line. And I can tell how much you hate it when I call you Bambi.
Nick Stuart: Impulse really is playing with fire here!
Impulse: That’s one thing we’ve all got in common – we’ve all had a run in with MESSIAH in some fashion. Some of us won, some of us lost, but it’s all chicken scratch compared to what’s to come. And I know I can’t count on the former guy to do what needs to be done because his motives are currently selfish. But you?
Impulse: You’ve got potential. Problem is?
He gestures to himself and to Hayes.
Impulse: There’s no trust here.
Hayes snorts and lifts his mic.
Hayes Hanlon: It’s funny that you think I was looking for it in the first place.
Hanlon takes a beat, then begins to pace.
Hayes Hanlon: And even funnier that you actually believe any of that, my dude. Youngblood wasn’t always the teddy bear he is this time around, but you’re gonna tell me that he’s not the first guy out of the locker room to dive head-first into the party?
Hayes steps in close, looking around Randall’s left and right, inspecting him.
Hayes Hanlon: You’re gonna stand there and claim that you’re that guy?
The Event Horizon takes one step back.
Hayes Hanlon: You really are The Gatekeeper, huh?
Richard Parker: Now who’s playing with fire?
Impulse: If I was gatekeeping anything in this company, Hayes… I wouldn’t still be standing here in the ring giving you my undivided attention. After talking for three minutes without saying a single original thought of your own, a ‘gatekeeper’ would’ve turned his back on you and left you standing here with your puberty ‘stache and Tiger Beat poster of the former guy to validate your point of view.
He shakes his head.
Impulse: Today’s lesson number one, Hayes – nobody in this sport will respect you as long as you’re willing – eager – to carry someone else’s luggage.
Another buzz rumbles through the crowd at the accusation.
Impulse: And lesson number two? You want something from another athlete, you don’t come down to ringside with a microphone and demand it from them. ‘Say his name?’ What you do, is you come down to ringside with your boots laced up at UltraViolence–
Before he can finish the sentence, the fans erupt in a massive cheer at what’s being discussed. Impulse stops while they get louder, and Hayes’ eyes remain locked on the Marathon Man’s.
Impulse: – and do your damnedest between the ropes. Liberate tutemet ex inferis, Hayes.
The Event Horizon’s ‘stache lifts into a grin.
Hayes Hanlon: Knox, I didn’t plan on leaving this ring without the invitation.
That massive cheer truly does, then, erupt.
Nick Stuart: OHHH MY!! The challenge issued for UltraViolence!!
Richard Parker: Make it happen, Troy!!
The roars of the crowd simmer, and Hayes returns to the mic.
Hayes Hanlon: And speaking of invitations…and this “puberty ‘stache”…
He turns his eyes to Cally.
Hayes Hanlon: …the invite’s open, and rides are free. I’ve heard you two might be into that kinda thing.
The Event Horizon turns his gaze back to The Marathon Man’s, but the return of “Black Hole” on the PA system puts an end to further conversation.
Nick Stuart: It’s getting spicy here at ReVival 14!! Impulse! Hayes Hanlon! UltraViolence!
Richard Parker: I’m here for it, Nick!!
The competitors hold tight to their stare down as the cameras fade elsewhere.
MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS
We cut away from ringside to the backstage area of the Grand, where we find David Fox and Mushigihara.
David Fox: I dunno about you but it feels like there’s a storm brewing. We gotta get ready for what comes next, man.
Mushigihara: (nods solemnly) Ooooosu…
The duo are suddenly interrupted by a voice coming from behind…instantly recognizable as Randall Schwartz, a tone of snark emanating as he and Kenny Freeman approach.
Randall Schwartz: A storm, you say? Well, have I got just the thing for you!
Randall motions to Kenny, who starts to pull some kitchen tool out from under a bag…but they’re stopped by a frustrated Fox, who raises a hand and lets out a sharp “HMMPH” to punctuate.
David Fox: You know what, can it. I’m not in the mood, and neither is Mushi. You laid down that challenge last time, and we answered. So let’s go ahead and agree to get in that ring at UltraViolence and settle this.
The B-Team give each other a knowing look before nodding in agreement, as Kenny speaks up.
Kenny Freeman: That’s fair, I respect it Dave. We mentioned the Fund-O-Matic Challenge at ReVival 13, and I think it’s only right that we discuss the terms of said challenge today. Hit ‘em with the deets, Randy!
Randall just gives Kenny a cold glare, making Kenny backtrack slightly on the comment.
Kenny Freeman: Sorry…uhhh…hit ‘em with the deets, Randall.
Randall gives a slight smirk before clearing his throat, pulling out a sheet of paper from his pocket.
Randall Schwartz: We are proposing the first-ever Fund-O-Matic Challenge for UltraViolence, with the following stipulations…a standard tag team bout, to be sure, but both teams put up ten thousand dollars, with the winning team donating all proceeds to the charity of their choice!
Randall looks up from the paper, staring down the Dangerous Mix.
Randall Schwartz: We, of course, will be donating to A GREAT HOME FOR GREAT SCOTT…so, fellas, are you willing to put your money where your mouth is?
Without moving a muscle in his face, the Soul Survivor reaches into his pocket and pulls out what appears to be a stack of bills, banded together like it was taken fresh out of a bank. Fox pushes the stack right into Schwartz’s face with one hand, and flips the bills with the thumb on his other one.
David Fox: All hundreds, see for yourself.
Without breaking his gaze, David puts the money back into his pocket and smolders.
David Fox: You’re on.
Randall looks surprised and impressed by the response, looking to Kenny before the pair nod with a smile.
Randall Schwartz: Well there it is. We’ll see you fellas at UltraViolence.
Kenny chimes in, the smile widening to a grin.
Kenny Freeman: Best of luck, may the better men win, and all that.
The pair tip their imaginary caps at the Mix before walking off, leaving us with a glaring Fox and Mushi before we cut back to ringside!
JULIAN BATHORY vs. JONATHAN RHINE
We return from the continuing hostilities between the Masters of the Multiverse B-Team and Dangerous Mix to the opening of The Enigma TNG’s “Shadow”.
Julian Bathory walks out without ceremony, a man driven by the insatiable need for violence and bloodlust. There’s no hesitation in his steps, just a man ready to do what he must. To make an example out of Jonathan Rhine. To vanquish his enemies and leave ruin in his wake. To take all that is into the clutches of MESSIAH.
Nick Stuart: Julian Bathory looks focused tonight, Rich.
Richard Parker: I think the word you’re looking for is “murderous”. Or maybe “homicidal”? “Killmongery”?
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, this contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, from Szeged, Hungary! He weighs in tonight at 234 pounds! JULIIIIIIIAN BATHOOOOOORRRRRYYYYY!
Nick Stuart: Julian Bathory has bulked up considerably since the last time we saw him.
Richard Parker: Yeah, and it shows. Look how jacked out of his mind this dude is. I wonder what kind of training programs MESSIAH has that could make me look like that?
Nick Stuart: Uh, don’t even consider it.
Bathory slides into the ring, and paces impatiently in front of referee Jimmy Turnbull, ready for action.
The rumbling bass line of “Piece by Piece” by Strata begins as the fans start to cheer. The Fighting For Nora logo flashes on the PRIMEView as the bassline gives way to a…
Scream. With the scream comes Jonathan Rhine, spinning on the entrance ramp, his arms out, until he sees Julian Bathory already in the ring. He points at him, shaking his head. Behind Rhine emerges his longtime friend, temporary rival, and current friend again, King Blueberry. The Tag Team Champion is wearing street clothes to go with his mask, and he looks supportive, if not a little unsure why he is coming out here.
Nick Stuart: Not the usual partner that Jon Rhine usually brings to the ring, but as we already know, Paxton Ray is…indisposed at the moment, so instead Rhine is taking King Blueberry to the ring with him.
Richard Parker: See, Rhine just proves again he can’t do it by himself!
Nick Stuart: That’s not it at all, Richard! Rhine just knows that Bathory will pull every trick in the book to score the victory here, and so he’s evening the score.
Richard Parker: See, you just said a bunch of words just now and I feel like we said the same thing.
Vince Howard: His opponent! From New Orleans, Louisiana! He weighs in at 245 pounds! This is JOOOOOOOHNATHAAAAANNNNN RHIIIIIIIIIINE!!!
Rhine loses his showmanship as he locks eyes with Bathory, and he begins to stalk the ring. As he approaches, he slides under the ropes and pops up, pointing at Bathory again.
Nick Stuart: This match has been building for a few months. Julian Bathory ruined Jon’s Foundation Dinner, and ever since then Rhine has wanted to get his hands on Bathory.
Richard Parker: Well Bathory is going to ruin Rhine’s face next when he wins.
King Blueberry walks around the ring as Rhine steps up on the turnbuckle to soak up the reaction before jumping down and focusing on Bathory again.
And then the moment the bell rings, the fight is on.
Bathory charges all the way across the ring, and the only reason why he doesn’t bury an elbow deep into the jaw of Rhine is that Rhine manages to sidestep him at the last moment. Rhine turns and blasts Bathory with right hands in the corner, pinning the Carpathian Devil against the turnbuckles and unloading on him with everything he has.
The crowd roars in approval, while referee Turnbull attempts to restore order.
Bathory is momentarily stunned by the offense, and things don’t get any better for him as Rhine takes him by the wrist and whips him into the corner on the other side of the ring. Rhine charges, but Bathory moves, and Rhine would have crashed into the turnbuckles if he hadn’t stopped himself at the last moment. When Bathory tries to press the advantage, he’s over-aggressive and Rhine low-bridges him, backdropping him over the top rope and out onto the apron.
To Bathory’s credit, his increased bulk had not come at the expense of his agility, and he lands on his feet on the apron. Unfortunately, being out on the apron means that he has nowhere to go when Rhine charges him with a dropkick. Bathory goes flying out to the floor, hitting the guardrail with a thud.
Nick Stuart: Rhine taking an early advantage here against his opponent!
Richard Parker: He’s just regrouping. Uh, you know, while lying on the floor.
Jimmy Turnbull tries to keep Rhine from going to the outside to join Bathory, but Rhine nudges him aside and stands at the ropes. When Bathory recovers from his spill to the outside, Rhine slingshots himself over the ropes and catches him with a crossbody!
Nick Stuart: What a pescado from Rhine! And now he’s laying in some shots on Rhine on the floor!
Richard Parker: Smooth move, ears! You need him back in the ring if you want to win!
Nick Stuart: “Ears”?
Richard Parker: …They can’t all be winners.
Rhine picks up Bathory, who is more than a little disoriented from Rhine’s flurry of offense. With his hands wrapped around his head, he gets a little hop in his step before flinging him into the guardrails near the entrance ramp. Bathory goes flying and lands hard against the guardrails, causing all but one of the fans in the vicinity to back up out of their seats and retreat from the scene of the assault.
But it’s the one fan that stays that catches Jonathan Rhine’s eye.
He’s standing there clapping like Jon Rhine just got out of a sand bunker and into the green.
Richard Parker: Why does that dude seem so familiar?
Nick Stuart: Wait, is that…
Jonathan Rhine knows exactly who this is, and his desire to punch a paying customer to a wrestling show instantly spikes, because that’s Foster Nackedy.
Rhine instantly forgets, in this moment, that he’s in a professional wrestling match against Julian Bathory. He’s less than thrilled to see Foster there, lurking outside the ring like this. And he’s so distracted by the unexpected sight of the man that it allows Bathory time to turn things around. When Rhine finally remembers he’s in a wrestling match, he goes to pick up Bathory so he can throw him into more things. Instead, Bathory hits him with a punch in the gut so hard that Rhine is instantly doubled over, unable to breathe.
Nick Stuart: What is Foster Nackedy doing at ringside!?
Richard Parker: He bought a ticket, that’s what he did. He’s a paying customer. It’s Rhine’s fault for taking his eyes off the ball.
Bathory regroups, and has the wherewithal to roll under the bottom ropes to break the count, before rolling back outside to grab Rhine by the head again. He quickly slams Rhine’s head against the ring apron, and then violently starts ramming elbows into his head while it’s still on the apron. It’s to the point that the referee changes his count from a ten count to get back into the ring to a five count to make Bathory stop trying to crush Rhine’s skull.
Eventually, if momentarily, Bathory relents. He pushes Rhine back into the ring, and aggressively slides in after him to start hammering at him with closed fists. Once again, Turnbull has to make a five count to get Bathory to relent. At four, Bathory stands and shoots a murderous look towards the referee.
Nick Stuart: Bathory doesn’t want to get disqualified here, but Jonathan Rhine is in a bad way!
Richard Parker: Well, yeah, I’d be in a bad way too if Julian Bathory beat me over the head with his big sweaty, strong arms, too.
Nick Stuart: …What?
Richard Parker: What do you mean, what?
As Bathory continues to glare at the referee, he makes a point to stomp down on Rhine’s hand as he’s trying to recover, and all while never taking his eyes off of Turnbull. Naturally, Turnbull is nonplussed by this, and starts counting to five again to make Bathory get off of Rhine’s hand. He does, in the end, and Bathory picks up Rhine and sends him into the ropes.
Sweat flies. The lariat connects on Rhine nearly the moment he takes a step away from the ropes after the bounce, and Rhine flies towards the center of the ring from the impact of the blow. Bathory doesn’t go for the cover right away, instead hovering over the New Life and waiting for him to get up. Rhine rolls onto his stomach and manages to get to his knees in front of Bathory, before Bathory unloads on him with more fists.
Nick Stuart: This is getting uncomfortable to watch, Rich.
Richard Parker: Yeah, but Jon Rhine’s been wanting this match for months. He had to know this might happen.
Bathory eventually pulls Rhine to his feet, and manhandles him into an exploder suplex. Rhine bounces onto the canvas like a basketball, and only doesn’t fall out of the ring entirely because his body gets caught against the bottom rope.
Bathory wants to be aggressive. His body language suggests as such. However, he can’t help but relent, just slightly, so that Rhine could get back to his feet again.
His attention is diverted, if briefly, by loud banging at the apron.
King Blueberry is pounding on the mat, and then he shouted a rallying cry.
King Blueberry: SEX-Y DUM-BO!
It’s almost mysterious how this, of all chants, starts catching on with the crowd.
CLAP, CLAP, CLAPCLAPCLAP
CLAP, CLAP, CLAPCLAPCLAP
CLAP, CLAP, CLAPCLAPCLAP
Is it dumb? Yes. Absolutely.
What do you expect from a chant started by King Blueberry?
Even Julian Bathory, or the monster that wears his body, seems baffled by this chant. He goes to pick up Rhine, but Rhine suddenly fires up in Bathory’s face, and rocks him with several blows to the head and face. This puts Bathory on the back foot, and backs him up into the ropes.
Nick Stuart: The Rhinestones with an unusual chant, but Rhine’s fighting back here!
Richard Parker: You and I are going to have a conversation about that name!
With Bathory rocked into the ropes, Rhine tries to whip him to the opposite side. However, Bathory reverses and sends Rhine into the ropes. This time, he catches Rhine with a knee to the gut almost as soon as Rhine’s back hits the ropes. Then the Hungarian pulls Rhine to the center of the ring. Single underhook…
Nick Stuart: Verzik Angyal! Center of the ring!
Richard Parker: Say that again? What?
With Rhine down, Bathory makes an easy cover.
Bathory looks at the referee with another nonplussed look. No matter. He’d bury Rhine in a different manner, then. He pulls Rhine to his feet again, and Rhine seems wobbly after the Carpathian Devil’s assault.
Bathory runs into the ropes, looking for the lariat again. This time, however, Rhine ducks under it. When Bathory turns, he’s met with a trio of left-handed punches from the New Life. Then Rhine turns and delivers an elbow right to Bathory’s face, which knocks him down.
Nick Stuart: There’s an elbow from Rhine!
Rhine stops, and paces around. The crowd comes alive, as Rhine attempts to shake off the cobwebs from Bathory’s assault. Bathory gets to his feet again, looking for another lariat. This time, when Rhine ducks under it, he hooks Bathory’s arm, twisting him around and disorienting him. That allows Jon to grab him and heave him up and over with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex.
With Bathory down, Rhine gets up, and finds Foster Nackedy standing in his corner of the front row. He narrows his eyes. That would have to come later. Instead, he raises his arms in the air as he puts himself in position, and delivers a standing moonsault right to Bathory, landing with his knee across his chest.
Nick Stuart: NEW LIFE MOONSAULT! Rhine with the cover!
Bathory’s arm shoots up off the canvas before the three count. Rhine doesn’t do more than pick himself up and drag Bathory up with him. He whips Bathory into the corner, and attempts to charge in. Instead, Bathory catches him with a boot coming in. This stuns Rhine, and allows Bathory the opportunity to…
…get the piss lariated out of him.
While Bathory is knocked down, Rhine finds himself picking him up again. The crowd comes alive as Rhine grasps the arms, looking for a tiger suplex. However, Bathory reacts by immediately backpedaling, ramming Rhine into the turnbuckles. This causes Bathory arms to get released, and he steps towards the center of the ring to regroup.
Unbeknownst to him, Rhine’s already up on the second turnbuckles behind him.
Nick Stuart: THAT’S THE BREATHTAKER!
Richard Parker: Well, of all the maneuvers I have seen, that was certainly one of them.
Rhine lands, get back to his feet, and appears to have all of the momentum. He paces around, pumping up the crowd. As he does, his eyes lock onto Foster Nackedy, again. Foster’s only response to this is the return of his golf clap. Congratulations, Jon. You made par.
Rhine put his eyes back on Bathory.
Time to finish this.
He goes to the turnbuckles, and starts to climb up. Pointedly, he chooses a corner where he’s not forced to look at Foster. And maybe Rhine should’ve been focused less on Foster and more on Bathory, because by the time he makes it to the top rope, Bathory meets him there and shoves his feet out from under him.
It’s a bad landing. Rhine’s thighs hit the ropes, and he falls backwards into the ring. Or at least, he would, if his foot didn’t get caught on the connecting piece between the turnbuckle and the post. Thus, Rhine was hung upside down in the ropes in the tree of woe.
Nick Stuart: Brutal landing by Rhine there!
Richard Parker: Yeah, right in the Rhinestones.
Nick Stuart: No, that’s the name of Rhine’s fans.
Richard Parker: Yeah, and I said we were going to have a conversation about that name.
Bathory immediately goes on the attack with Rhine suddenly all but helpless to fight back, first by driving his knees into his exposed gut, before dropping down onto his chin with an elbow. Then more elbows. More elbows. A MESSIAH-sponsored buffet of elbows. All you can eat.
Jimmy Turnbull administers a five count to get Bathory away from Rhine. It’s at a count of four that Bathory relents, only to bounce off the ropes on the other side and come back with a running boot to Rhine’s dome.
Nick Stuart: What a boot from Bathory! Rhine is suddenly in a lot of trouble here!
With Rhine suitably dazed, Bathory grabs Rhine by the head, and tries to pull him off of the turnbuckles in the position he’d need for Chaos Reigns. However, Rhine’s own predicament keeps up from actually getting him in position for the move. After two attempts to pull him off by force, the third attempt goes awry when Rhine unhooks himself from the turnbuckles before Bathory can make the attempt. Rhine turns and grabs Bathory’s waist, and then hits him with a German suplex.
By the way, there’s a whole corner in the way of the impact zone. Should’ve mentioned that sooner.
Nick Stuart: My God! Bathory could be done after that! Rhine’s pulling him away from the corner, he covers!
FOOT ON THE ROPES!
Richard Parker: Didn’t pull him far enough away, Nick!
Nick Stuart: He sure didn’t, Rich. Rhine’s out of it right now. He’s taken quite a number of hard shots in this contest, but he’s still alive!
Richard Parker: He should give up so he can remain alive.
After a moment to confirm that Bathory’s leg is on the ropes, Rhine takes a moment to regroup. In his corner, King Blueberry is encouraging him to press the attack, and Jon wasn’t about to ignore the advice of his friend. Even if King Blueberry is kind of an idiot who shouldn’t operate heavy machinery, he’s right.
Rhine pulls Bathory up, and tries to hook him in position for the Rhine Rewind. Sensing the danger, Bathory smashes him in the head with several repeated elbows. After several of these, he steps into Rhine and tries for Chaos Reigns again.
Rhine slips out, however, and hooks in a waistlock. The two men jockey for position for the waistlock, Bathory spreading his legs and taking on a low center of gravity to prevent another German suplex from happening. After a few moments of this jockeying, Rhine lets go of the waistlock and beats Bathory over the head with multiple forearms. When he hooks it in again, Bathory attempts to run for the ropes for a break.
But Rhine holds on to the back of his trunks and reels him back into the waistlock. He actually lifts Bathory up for the German this time, but Bathory kicks his legs out, keeping Rhine from bridging backwards with it. This forces Rhine to charge Bathory forward into the ropes, and roll him back into an O’Connor roll.
Bathory rolls through, however, and rolls to his feet behind Rhine. He tries to step into another attempt at the Chaos Reigns. This time, Rhine grabs the arm before Bathory can even pull him into position, and spins him back around into the waistlock. This time, when Bathory charges, it’s to the corner.
Where the referee, Jimmy Turnbull, is.
Nick Stuart: The referee almost got crushed in the corner, but he’s ducked out of the way!
That first sound is the sympathy reactions you might get you see someone get kicked in the nuts.
The second sound is the collective reaction of the Rhinestones as they witness their hero be the one to get kicked in the dick.
Nick Stuart: No! A low blow by Bathory! The referee didn’t see it!
Richard Parker: Oogh. Right in the Rhinestones…
With Rhine stunned, he’s helpless as Bathory steps into Rhine one more time.
Nick Stuart: CHAOS REIGNS! Into the cover!
Vince Howard: Here is your winner… JULIIIIIIIAN BATHOOOOOORRRRRYYYYY!
The moment the three count is registered, Bathory slithers out of the ring, and collapses to one knee on the outside. A mirthless smile appears on his face, satisfied at getting the better of his opponent. In the ring, King Blueberry slides in, and after tending to Rhine on the ground, pleads his case to Jimmy Turnbull about the low blow. Unbeknownst to all of them, Foster Nackedy has already left the ringside area.
Nick Stuart: A miscarriage of justice tonight! Jonathan Rhine had this match well in hand before Bathory hit him with a sucker punch!
Richard Parker: It was more like a kick, really. …I mean, I didn’t see anything! My monitor cut to static. What happened? You seem upset!
Nick Stuart: I can’t with you…
Richard Parker: So, about that conversation… the Rhinestones? Really?
Nick Stuart: Well, we’ll have to have that conversation after the break!
THE CHOCO TACO TORTURE: PT. 2
We crudely enter our next segment with a loud burp.
Paxton Ray leans back, patting his stomach, as Bobby Dean sits tied to a chair, his face contorted nearly to the point of tears.
Paxton Ray: That was the last one, Bobby. Las Vegas is officially outta the Choco Taco business.
Paxton stands up, then steps towards Bobby.
Paxton Ray: Now, the next time you think it’s funny to throw eggs at somebody, ya should ask yourself a simple question: are a couple of giggles worth a world of pain? ‘Cause here’s the fun part, Bobby: I’m still gonna beat the shit out of you in a few weeks. This was jus’ a teaser.
He taps Bobby’s cheek playfully, then walks towards the door. The camera cuts to another right outside the door, where Paxton emerges just in time to see Bobby’s partner, The Great Dooze, tearing down the hall.
Doozer: What did you do with Bobby?
Paxton Ray: He’s fine. He’s in there.
Paxton looks Dooze up and down.
Paxton Ray: I hear all these inside jokes I don’t get about ya, ‘bout not bein’ able to see ya. Well guess what…I see ya. And at UltraViolence…I’ll see ya in the ring.
Without waiting for an answer, Ray walks off, leaving Dooze to open the door. With a slight tremor in his hand he tentatively reaches out and slowly pushes the door in. The sight before him causes his breath to catch.
Still strapped into the chair, the tear streaked face of a pitiful Bobby Dean looks up at the Old Man with pleading eyes, snot running out of his nose, and a quiver to his bottom lip.
Bobby Dean: You gotta let me out.
Doozer doesn’t bother with words, simply rushing forward, he goes to town on those knots. The Old Man has been in the game for a while now, he knows his way around the rope scene, quickly loosening the single column ties that bind Bobby to the chair.
Once free the big man surges forward, out of his chair, dropping to his knees. His face immediately going towards the dirty concrete floor and Doozer watches on in horror as his large friend starts licking what appears to be brown crumbs off the floor itself. The look of abject disgust clear on his face.
Doozer: Oh Bobby, why didn’t you use your safe word?
With the crumbs now gone, along with who knows what kind of germs, the large man climbs to his feet, a very un-Bobby like fire in his eye, the normal jovial man looks at his friend with a hardness PRIME has never seen from him before.
Bobby Dean: I’m gonna hurt him.
JUST DO IT ALREADY
From Bobby Dean’s pathetic display, we go elsewhere in the backstage area.
Outside the door of PRIME’s CEO and President, the “Queen of the Ring” Lindsay Troy, PRIME’s current ex-Universal Champion and company frontman, Brandon Youngblood, emerges from a long hallway, his face looking as rough as it did in the pretape near the start of the show. On the opposite side of said hallway, the Risen Star, Nova, pops up as well from a connecting hallway and they both find themselves awaiting entry.
Nova gives Youngblood a nod and lights a cigarette. The presence of the two PRIME Hall of Famers creates a loud cheer that can be heard even this deep in the backstage area.
Lindsay Troy: (from within) Come in.
Brandon gestures in return, and follows Nova into Troy’s office. They take seats in front of the Queen, who glares an owl’s glare at Nova smoking in her office. The Risen Star ignores this and begins to speak.
Nova: (taking a drag) I’m glad we’re having a dialogue about this. This MESSIAH shit is out of control, we all know it. It’s going to escalate, I’m going to push back, and I recognize that the fragile reopening of this place we all love shouldn’t be jeopardized by a war I didn’t choose with these cultists.
He takes another drag.
Nova: So thanks for sitting down to talk it out. And we can figure out the whole jail thing later.
Youngblood, his eyes blackened and swollen, the wrap on the bridge of his nose weeping, cranes his head to the Queen from the Risen Star.
Brandon Youngblood: I know there’s questions about whether I was being genuine with Caesar weeks ago about MESSIAH. Shanahan. Bathory. I got his back. That ain’t no lie.
He eases forward, heels of his hands on his thighs.
Brandon Youngblood: But I got problems of my own. Big ones. You know what I’m talking about. Atken beat me for the Universal Championship. I can live with that. But you…Nova…you both know…them circumstances…you’d both demand a pound of flesh. You’d both demand a damn rematch. Even knowing that, I know I ain’t getting one. That ain’t how PRIME works.
The Tower of Babel cracks his knuckles.
Brandon Youngblood: FLAMBERGE is on borrowed time. Beyond that? I’m cleared. Tell me what the mountain is…so I can get to climbing and get round two with Atken.
Troy is stone-faced. Couldn’t read her with a set of James Webb-level bifocals.
Lindsay Troy: I called you here, together, because it isn’t about any of that.
Brandon Youngblood: ???
Lindsay Troy: I’ve booked you against each other at UltraViolence.
Brandon looks at Nova.
Nova looks at Brandon.
They look at Troy.
Troy looks at Nova, and then at Brandon.
They look at each other, and then again at each other sequentially, then back to each other.
Lindsay Troy: People have been talking about it, and you two have been hinting at it, since I reopened the place. I think everyone would be relieved if you just…went for it. Did the thing. Sealed the deal. See what happens.
Nova: (taking a long drag) This line of conversation is making me uncomfortable.
Brandon Youngblood: Uh…same.
Lindsay Troy: I care about your feedback, truly.
Lindsay Troy: And, this is not a democracy. Nova/Youngblood. UltraViolence. The Dream Match, Round Two. Seventeen years in the making.
Lindsay Troy: Now, I have some things I have to tend to, guys.
After an awkward moment, Nova and Youngblood realize they are being jettisoned from the President/CEO’s office, and they get out of their chairs and exit. Outside in the hallway, they look at each other.
Brandon Youngblood: So…all that…UltraViolence…
Nova: Yeah. Yeah, bud. That’s apparently happening.
Brandon Youngblood: So…they’re…they’re gonna make this happen again. Do we…like…need to talk first? Or…because…like…we ain’t the same people we were back then…and I ain’t going back to that dark shit again…
Taking a drag, Nova picks up what is being laid down.
Nova: I mean, you know how to reach me…
Brandon Youngblood: Ain’t that a rotary phone next to a bodega in downtown Seattle?
Nova: I have a new number, I’ll text you – it’s the same?
Brandon Youngblood: Since the Dark Ages.
They pound fists and part ways.
The feed is interrupted on the ACE Network broadcast of ReVival with static before the transmission clears and shows the inside of the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida. The place is mostly empty here on a Friday evening since the next event doesn’t take place until tomorrow night. The camera focuses on a wrestling ring in the center of the building where the HOW logo can be seen proudly displayed on the canvas. As the camera pans around the ring off in a corner can be seen an individual. As we zoom in the person is revealed to be none other than HOW Hall of Famer and current HOW LSD Champion Jace Parker Davidson.
Jace is dressed casually while leaned against the turnbuckle pads in the corner. He has the HOW LSD Championship belt proudly displayed over his shoulder and has a microphone in his hand. He slowly raises the microphone up to his lips and begins to speak.
Jace Parker Davidson: Hello people out there watching the… totally just as good as HOTv Network but not really… ACE Network!
Jace allows a smirk to slowly creep across his lips.
Jace Parker Davidson: I come to you from lovely Tampa, Florida which is where you can see Chaos 006 live on the much better HOTv Network. I will be appearing live on that show going one on one against the former HOW World Champion and hell of a wrestler in his own right known as Conor Fuse.
Jace pauses and looks around the empty building for a pop for the name Conor Fuse but one never comes.
Jace Parker Davidson: Hmmmm tough crowd. But I know what you’re thinking. What is JPD doing here interrupting an edition of ReVival tonight of all nights? Well, other than bringing this show the gift of rating I’m here to address a certain someone. This person decided to step up to me on Twitter… watch out folks, you got a literal badass on your hands. And through his poor attempts to insult me and make PRIME look good, he actually decided to challenge me to a match.
Jace’s jaw drops mockingly in shock as he looks side to side for a moment.
Jace Parker Davidson: That’s not all, he even decided that he wants to come here to HOW to have this match against me. Pretty ballsy if I do say so myself. But I guess this wrestler, if you can call him that, is one of the few people willing to step outside of the McKenna blue bubble that you all have built there in Vegas. I’m not sure how the big bad Lindsey Troy feels about this and just between us…
Jace waves the camera closer with his free hand then whispers into the microphone.
Jace Parker Davidson: Is she over the breakup yet?
Jace raises his index finger up to his lips and makes a SHHHH sound as the camera pans back to its original position.
Jace Parker Davidson: Pretty embarrassing stuff but I’ll tell you all about that later. No, this is about me and Senor Crayola Mask.
Good ol’ Senor Crayola Mask. Apparently, he is a Champion of some sort for you guys. And he’s even wrestling tonight to defend his title against a man known as… damn… what was his name again? Toe? Turnbuckle? Traffic Jam? No… wait… Lawrence Thumbtack! Big mighty challenge there you got. Guy is going to get steamrolled by a woman named Sloane Taylor in another company for a title he holds there so…
Jace scrunches his face and bobs his head side to side a few times.
Jace Parker Davidson: Not exactly a career defining match in my opinion but hey, that’s quite alright. I’m sure for viewers of the Ace Network this will be like Game 7 of the World Series. Let’s cut to the chase. Sir. Maya Angelou Luchador you wanted a match? You want to step into my territory? You want to come into High Octane Wrestling and try to embarrass me in the place where I have cemented my legacy? I say let’s do it. I haven’t talked to Lee and honestly? He’s probably going to be pretty pissed off that his LSD Champion is appearing on the ACE Network but I’m not the kind of guy to shy away from trouble.
Jace shrugs his shoulders and adjusts the LSD Championship belt.
Jace Parker Davidson: That means I’m not going to wait for Lindsay Troy to give her blessing. I’m not going to sit back and watch the seconds tick by as Lindsay decides to anoint you as her chosen Champion to represent PRIME against the evil machine known as High Octane Wrestling. You can come with all the piss and vinegar of Lindsay Troy on a crampy PMS day but you want to do this? Let’s see you come here to Florida. See, next week Chaos will be live from Miami, Florida. The place where I live and I will be out here in front of my people.
Jace stops and raises his hands into the air as if to pump the breaks.
Jace Parker Davidson: I’m not saying you have to step into the ring with me next week. I’m just inviting you to come down. I’m going to let you dip your toe into the water a bit so you can know what exactly you’re getting yourself into. I want you here to witness what it’s like when a REAL talent steps out in front of a crowd of his hometown fans. I want you to feel what it’s like under the bright lights in the best company in the entire PWA Alliance. I’m leaving the door open for you personally in the FTX Arena on September 4th. You wanted me to say the things I said on Twitter to your face? I won’t be a hard man to find in Miami. But I’ve grown tired of giving you and PRIME free publicity. I also don’t want to rattle you too much before your “big” main event.
Jace throws his hands into the air and rolls his eyes.
Jace Parker Davidson: So good luck defending the Intense Championship. Ohhhhh Intense… so fresh and edgy… grrrrrrrr… haha… PRIME can claim to be number one by definition but that isn’t even a PRIME number. The number two is a PRIME number and much more fitting since you guys are fucking shitty. Wait… can I say fucking on the ACE Network? Guess I just did… oh well. Later losers.
Jace raises the HOW LSD Championship belt into the air and tosses the microphone out of the ring behind him. The camera focuses one more time on the HOW logo before the transmission ends.
INTENSE TITLE: THE ANGLO LUCHADOR (C) vs. LARRY TACT
Nick Stuart: There’s not much else to say tonight, Richard, let’s get up to Vince Howard!
Richard Parker: I could say plenty, but in deference to the poor interns that’ll have to clean the blood from the ring, I’ll just say that I’m glad it’s not me.
Vince Howard: This next contest IS YOUR MAAAAAIN EVENT! It is scheduled for one fall with no disqualifications and no time limit, and it is for… the PRIME… INTENSE… CHAMPEEEENSHIP! Introducing first…
“Pieces of Man” by Drown plays over the arena speakers as the lights cut out. Royal blue lights flicker on the stage while golden spotlights scan the crowd. They settle on the center stage where Larry Tact stands.
Vince Howard: From New York, New York, and weighing in at two hundred sixty pounds…
Nick Stuart: The Anglo Luchador referenced himself and Tact as ‘Empire Boyz’ – will their prior knowledge of each other’s abilities be an advantage for one or the other?
Vince Howard: The Challenger… LARRY… TAAAAAAAAAACT!!
Tact opens his arms and puffs out his chest, soaking in the crowd’s reaction before bellowing and making his way down the ramp, the spotlight following him. As he walks, Larry critiques some fans at ringside with petty insults before arriving at the ring. He pulls himself up using the ropes and walks slowly along the apron before wiping his boots and entering the ring. He stretches using the ropes before bouncing from side-to-side, his eyes never leaving the entrance.
Richard Parker: He looks like he’s ready for this one. I wonder if Timo’s best buddy is the same?
Vince Howard: AND HIS OPPONENT…
The arena darkens. The first dabs of the organ intro to “Oye Como Va” by Santana fill the arena as purple and green lights strobe while the telltale mask of the Anglo Luchador rotate on the PRIMEview behind.
Vince Howard: From Philadelphia, PA… weighing in at two hundred eleven pounds…
Smoke begins to waft across the entryway as the instrumental beginning of the song swells into its big climax.
Vince Howard: THE PRIME WRESTLING INTENSE CHAMPION…
Right before the lyrics sound, The Anglo Luchador appears from the back, looking out at the crowd.
Vince Howard: THEEEEEEE… ANGLO… LUCHADOOOOORRRRRR!!
Nick Stuart: TAL bows his head like we’ve seen him do a dozen times already, and he’s on his way to the ring! Are you ready, partner?
Richard Parker: These guys have fought some battles here in PRIME so far, and their records don’t really reflect their efforts. Despite holding the title I think TAL feels like he has something to prove as well, and I think he’s going to do it!
The bell sounds, and referee Elvis Nixon gestures for them to begin, subsequently stepping back. Tact goes for a single leg while TAL spins away.
Nick Stuart: Comparable age, comparable professional experience – Tact has the size and the Anglo Luchador has the speed. This one might come down to luck, Richard!
Richard Parker: Not sure which would be worse, good luck for the winner or bad luck for the loser.
The two men circle again, and they lock up – and Tact shoves TAL backwards into the ropes! The Champion stops for a moment as if doing a mental double take, but he gamely moves back in to take the fight to his challenger. This time, Tact does not shove him away but instead bulldozes him into the ropes, where he open hand slaps the Champion! Again!
Nick Stuart: Challenger with the early advantage, he whips TAL into the ropes! The champ ducks a clothesline and comes back off with a forearm – TACT CATCHES HIM WITH THE HUMBLING! QUICK COVER!
Richard Parker: I thought he had that one!
Indeed, TAL still looks dazed, like the pinfall attempt was nearly too quick to realize what was happening. Tact pulls him up and sends him back into the ropes, and he hits a knee to TAL’s chin, sending him back down to the mat!
Nick Stuart: He looked a little more prepared there, Richard – the shock of that uranage doesn’t look like it lasted.
Richard Parker: Like I was saying about good and bad luck. The good luck is that his head’s more or less back in the game, the bad luck is that he looks like he’s come out of that daze and is now feeling every shot.
Tact hooks TAL and scoops him up, and he sends him into the corner, flying right behind him with a crushing clothesline! Another cross – corner whip – TAL GETS A BOOT UP!
Nick Stuart: The Intense Champion finally with a moment’s breathing room! I think Larry Tact was going full tilt into that foot, partner!
Richard Parker: He’s got about three seconds, he’d better know what to do with them!
On impact, Tact’s head was jolted to the side and he naturally spun his body around, TAL pushes out of the corner and grabs Tact’s right arm! DRIZZLE MAKER! Spins around, knocked back a step with a hard right cross, and a boot to the shin!
Nick Stuart: Good move to try and chop Larry Tact down a size! TAL WITH TWO HANDS FULL OF HAIR! He’s got a thumb in each of the challenger’s eyes, and there’s no disqualifications here! TAL pulls down and drives Tact’s face into his knee!
Sensing the tide changing, TAL sprints into the ropes behind Tact, comes back behind him as he’s rubbing the pain out of his eyes, and drops him down to the mat with another handful of hair and a bulldog drives him face first into the mat! Elvis Nixon gives a look, and he hesitates over a small patch of blood on the canvas.
Richard Parker: Now he’s done it, I think he’s broken Tact’s nose. Once he sees it, that’s a target.
Elvis asks Larry Tact if he wants to give up, but that conversation is a full on non-starter. TAL stays on him, dragging him a few feet towards the middle of the ring and dropping a pair of boots to the midsection. Off the ropes, and a quick legdrop across the neck! TAL hooks both legs and pulls tightly!
Nick Stuart: Two can play the quick pinfalls game, but it goes as well for the Champ as it did for his challenger!
TAL stays on him, pulling Tact up to a kneeling position and hooking him underneath for a powerbomb. He pulls, but Tact goes dead weight and manages to stay down! They struggle for a good ten seconds while the volume increases in the crowd, until Larry Tact is able to slowly and painfully stand up, dumping the Anglo Luchador over his head and to the mat with a backdrop! He sinks to his knees following the effort, and his eyes drift to the mat where crimson drops form an abstract pattern.
Richard Parker: Now he’s mad… nobody makes him bleed his own blood.
Tact turns and grabs the rising Anglo Luchador by the back of the mask and goes for a simple and very non-technical chokehold! He has his forearm wrapped around TAL’s throat and is squeezing as hard as he can, and Elvis Nixon can do little but check for a submission or knockout.
Both hands around Tact’s forearm, TAL gasps for breath. He adjusts his footing and bends at the waist, using his hands to relieve as much pressure on his neck as he possibly can, and pulls Tact off his feet. Quick as a cat, he grabs Tact’s legs and drops backwards, landing Tact back first on the mat and TAL himself on top of his challenger!
Nick Stuart: Smart thinking by the Intense Champion as the hold breaks! TAL rolls through the ropes to the outside for a breather while Tact recuperates!
Richard Parker: Not much recuperating needed here, Nick. Take a look at this replay, the hold broke because Tact instinctively dropped his hands to his sides to cushion his own impact. The Luchador got out of the hold but he’s still at a marked disadvantage.
The Anglo Luchador can be heard audibly coughing on the floor, clearing his airways while walking around the ring. Tact does in fact roll to his knees and backwards to his feet far sooner than the Champion probably anticipated, and he stalks TAL from outside his line of sight. KICK TO THE HEAD BY TACT! The high ground gives him a unique angle, which sends TAL staggering into the guardrail. Tact leaves the ring, seemingly in no hurry to press his advantage.
Nick Stuart: Knee to the midsection! Forearm to the back! All of this with TAL pressed against the guardrail and that metal digging into his body with every impact! That’s going to take a toll!
Scoop, and a press above his head! The front row fans start yelling in the challenger’s face about how he’s not going to win, blah blah blah, and Tact drops TAL in a freefall on the rail itself, never breaking eye contact with the fans!
And it’s the fans who blink first.
Tact with another scoop, and a whip into the ring apron! TAL hits the edge of the ring with his ribs, and the challenger lunges, shoulder blocking his ribs into the edge even harder!
Nick Stuart: Elvis Nixon clearly isn’t counting either of these men out, but neither can we see a pinfall or submission on the floor! This one needs to move back between the ropes!
Richard Parker: Tact will put him back when he has him where he wants him.
With another hand on the back of the mask, Larry Tact sends TAL face first into the ring steps. TAL is able to turn his head and get a hand up to cushion his impact, but he still takes a solid hit to the shoulder and the side of his head! Tact backs up, keeping his eyes on him. He retrieves a steel chair from ringside, and with the precision of a surgeon and the compassion of a private prison guard, brings it down between the Intense Champion’s shoulder blades! And again!
Richard Parker: Tell me, Nick. How much of this do you think will stand before Elvis calls the match off?
Nick Stuart: Oh, I think there’s going to be a pinfall or an active submission long before we get to that point, partner. Elvis knows – and more to the point, both of these athletes know – what the stakes are with the Intense Title.
The boos intensify as Tact drops the chair on the floor and picks TAL up, setting him up for a powerbomb of his own! Unlike the reversal in the ring, TAL is unable to use Tact’s positioning against him, and Tact lifts the Intense Champion up, powerbombing him on the chair on the floor with a sickening crack! TAL rolls off the metal seat, holding his back in agony, but Tact isn’t finished with him yet! He grabs TAL’s mask with one hand and the chair with the other and pulls both up, driving the edge of the chair into TAL’s stomach, doubling him over!
Nick Stuart: These fans are really letting Larry Tact have it!
Richard Parker: It’s all legal in the Intense Title division, they should know this by now!
For just a moment, Tact turns his head to yell back at the fans.
In that moment, TAL drives his hands up into the underside of the steel chair, bashing it against Tact’s face! The challenger staggers backwards a step, and TAL wavers on his feet but drops down to the floor, hooking Tact’s leg in a modified drop toe hold! TACT’S FACE HITS THE CHAIR HITS THE STAIRS! Both men are down on the outside of the ring, but the Anglo Luchador is on the floor while Larry Tact is face to face with a mass of metal!
Nick Stuart: The Anglo Luchador pulling himself up, I think he’s gotta be nothing but a large bruise at this point, running off determination and adrenalin! He slides under the ropes and climbs to the top turnbuckle, this could end it here, Richard!
Richard Parker: Whether he hits it or misses it, you’re probably right!
Tact gingerly puts a hand on the ring steps to help himself rise to his feet. His back is still to TAL, and he shoves the chair away. He rises to his feet just as TAL launches himself!
Nick Stuart: DO A BARREL ROLL! NO! INTO THE STEPS!
The Anglo Luchador realized too late that he was going to miss his target. No sooner did Tact rise to his feet than TAL launched himself from the top with the tornillo, than Tact stumbled to the side and landed on his back again in the entranceway, revealing for all to see that he is now wearing the proverbial crimson mask! Still he avoids being sandwiched between a Luchador and a set of ring steps, and TAL lands hard on them, falling to the floor in a heap!
Elvis Nixon looks out at the pair, and all he can do is begin a count! ONE.
Richard Parker: All this and we end with a double ten count? Lame.
Nick Stuart: Both men are down and out, Richard! What else can Nixon do here?
Slowly, deliberately, Larry Tact rolls to one side, then to the other. He looks to have lost his balance and equilibrium, and every step appears to be a struggle. Still, he seems in better shape than his opponent, still unmoving in a crumpled heap on the floor next to the ring steps.
Tact drops to his knees, crawling to the ringside area and leaving a trail of blood like a NSFW Hansel and Gretel, with one hand on TAL’s mask and the other on the ring apron, pulling all of them up with all his strength.
Nick Stuart: The Anglo Luchador shoved back into the ring, but he’s barely stirring and definitely not rising to defend himself! It’s a good thing this is the main event of the evening for Larry Tact as well, because he’s making a mess of the ringside area!
Richard Parker: Like I said, I’m glad I’m not an intern.
Tact squeezes his eyes shut, almost like he’s willing his vision to stay focused, as he rises to his feet and grabs the bottom rope.
Nick Stuart: Tact slides under the ropes, and Nixon backs off, and we could be moments away from a new PRIME Intense Champion!
Exhausted and bloodied, Tact staggers to the middle of the ring where his opponent is downed, prone, and breathing hard. He reaches for the Intense Champion’s mask and pulls him up, blood draining onto TAL’s head all the while. Elvis checks on them both, but with no recourse but to allow them to continue, he is just as quickly away.
Nick Stuart: I think Tact has this one in the bag, Richard! He and TAL have battered each other from pillar to post, and now you see the result!
Richard Parker: It doesn’t come down to who wanted it more, Nick, since the Anglo Luchador has put up a hell of a fight – it just comes down to who can take more.
The arena boos in unison as Tact sets himself up in the middle of the ring with his opponent barely able to hold himself up on his hands and knees. He runs his thumb across his neck in the universal sign of ‘Finish Him’ and sets TAL up for the Starbreaker!
Nick Stuart: Larry Tact about to silence all the critics with a pair of knees!
Deep breath, inhale, and pull! Tact lifts TAL up high in the air –
Nick Stuart: DOUBLE FIST TO THE FACE!
Richard Parker: Tact is on rubber legs, but if he drops Anglo to the floor, it’s just as well!
Nick Stuart: Another pair of fists hit Larry Tact in the face!
There looks to be almost nothing behind TAL’s fists – the first pair appeared little more than fueled by his momentum from Tact lifting him up for the powerbomb front half of the Starbreaker, but the second seems like it contained every bit of the rest of his energy as his blood stained hands drop from Tact’s face and hang limply at his side. Is it enough?
Richard Parker: TIMBER!
Like a tree falling in the forest, Larry Tact slowly crumbles backwards, crashing onto his back and keeping the Anglo Luchador’s legs hooked JUST long enough for him to land on his chest! TAL reaches back for a leg to pull forward, practically collapsing on it himself, as Elvis slides into position!
TAL collapses off Tact and onto the mat next to him!
DING DING DING
Nick Stuart: HE GOT HIM!
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of this contest… AND STILL… PRIME Intense Champion… THEEEE ANGLO LUCHADOOOOOR!!!
Richard Parker: Neither of these guys look much like winners right now, but that belt means the Anglo Luchador can still call himself Champion.
Nick Stuart: Indeed it does, Richard, and TAL looks like he’s coming to his senses slowly but surely, rolling to the edge of the ring with a little help from one of our attendants, and Larry Tact is still down!
Richard Parker: He’s stirring, but I don’t know if he knows what happened just yet.
Nick Stuart: Regardless, Tact gave it his all tonight, and he’s definitely going to be coming around for more before long!
With TAL sitting on the ring apron, talking to one of the attendants and looking like a battered mess, Tact sits up on his own and doesn’t look much better. He looks over at Elvis, anger raging from his eyes. He then glances over at TAL and lets his anger get the better of him as he gets up to his feet and slams his boot against the back of TAL’s skull.
Nick Stuart: OH COME ON!
Richard Parker: Tact may not be too happy at his loss here tonight.
Nick Stuart: You think?!
Tact exits the ring, grabbing TAL by the back of the neck off of the floor and flings him into the ringside barricade. A surge of adrenaline rushes through his body as he proceeds to slam his boot repeatedly into the back of TAL’s skull.
Richard Parker: TAL might need to get… everything… checked out.
Nick Stuart: I think that was the case even before this uncalled for assault from Larry Tact! Tact has SNAPPED and he has no one to blame but himself!
Tact yanks TAL off of the mat and rolls him back into the ring. He drags him up to his feet and connects with a sickening headbutt. TAL drops to one knee from the shot and Larry puts him in position for the Starbreaker.
Nick Stuart: No, no, we need security out here NOW! Tact is going to cause some serious damage here to TAL if he goes through with this. After the match these two had, TAL earned that victory and he does not deserve for this to happen in anyway.
Richard Parker: I mean, if you want to go down there and stop him, be my guest.
Tact wraps his arms around TAL’s waist and as he goes to lift him up into the air–
I’M ON FIRE!”
“Death Grip” by Watt White rips through the MGM-Grand Arena and the fans immediately turn their head in anticipation.
Nick Stuart: DUSK! DUSK IS HERE! After the hellacious attack from Tact two weeks ago, Dusk is HERE!
Richard Parker: Welp, time for my smoke break.
Tact releases TAL, throwing him to the mat and slams his forearm across his chest, ready for a battle with “The Lost Soul”. He looks up the ramp, waiting for Dusk, but no one comes out even though the music continues to play.
Nick Stuart: Well, his music has arrived.
Richard Parker: Oh shit, look out–
Before Richard can get the words out of his mouth though, before Larry Tact realizes what is happening, a steel chair slams across his back.
Tact drops to one knee from the shot, shocked from the out of nowhere shot. It is then seen that the man holding said steel chair is none other than the man himself, Dusk. Cue that seventh most popular wrestler in PRIME reaction–
Richard Parker: Well, I tried to warn him.
Nick Stuart: Dusk came through the crowd, steel chair in hand, and he looks like a man ready for war.
Dusk slams the steel chair against the back of Larry Tact once again, dropping his adversary to the mat in a heap. Dusk stands above him, blue jeans and no shirt, his eyes piercing through the back of Tact and lifts the steel chair over his head and snaps it across the body of Tact once again. The steel chair, now twisted and bent, is discarded as Dusk yanks Tact off the mat and pushes him into the nearby corner where he starts raining down fist after fist to the battered face of his foe.
Nick Stuart: I think Dusk is letting weeks of frustration that have built up inside of him out on Tact right now.
Richard Parker: You think?!
Each fist is heavier than the last until Tact is simply sitting in the corner, head rolling around, and body seemingly lifeless. Dusk looks at his right hand, his punching hand, and sees flecks of blood on there and an evil smile appears on his face. He grabs Larry by the wrist and pulls him up to his feet before whipping him into the ropes and connecting with a running knee strike to the face of Tact.
Richard Parker: Well, Tact may not be eating for the next two weeks.
Nick Stuart: Dusk got ALL of that one.
Dusk then stands over him as Tact tries to figure out which way is up, trying to make it up to his feet. Dusk moves back and watches as Larry struggles to his feet until he turns towards Dusk–
Richard Parker: SUPERKICK!
Nick Stuart: LIGHTS OUT FOR TACT!
The kick lands flush against Tact’s jaw and he collapses to the mat as Dusk stands over him, chest heaving.
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
Nick Stuart: And the fans are loving every second of this as they see Tact get a bit of comeuppance for his actions towards Dusk these past handful of weeks.
Richard Parker: Well, I can’t say I blame Dusk.
Dusk then walks over to TAL, who is dazed and confused, helping him up to his feet. He then grabs the Intense Championship, a title he’s held twice in his career, and hands it to The Anglo Luchador before raising his hand in victory.
Nick Stuart: Dusk helping out his friend up to his feet, giving him a chance to celebrate the hard-fought victory he earned tonight! Well folks, we are all out of time! For Richard Parker, I’m Nick Stuart! We will see you in TWO weeks for the go-home show before Ultraviolence! Good night!
We see Dusk and TAL standing there in the center of the ring, TAL glad for his victory, with Larry Tact knocked out behind them.
SEPTEMBER 23, 2022
The show’s feed jerks away from the conclusion of the INTENSE Main Event, and picks up inside Melvin Begotten’s hospital room. There, Mel, in his PWA certified hospital gown and neck brace, has just finished watching ReVival from the comforts of his room.
Melvin Bologna: Not bad. Not bad at all. Though, one could say it was definitely missing something. Especially the end there. What do you think?
The shot zooms out some, and sitting with Mel, maybe as protection, maybe because his room was being cleansed of disease, maybe because Timo’s jet was refueling so he couldn’t hijack it just yet, is the darling of PRIME, Cancer Jiles. Of course, Jiles’ hair, T-shades, and clean shaven face are on full display.
As is the murderous red track suit he has on.
Cancer Jiles: It wasn’t missing Bobby Dean, that’s for sure.
The two share a chuckle. Mel then turns the TV off, and looks over at the COOLympian.
Melvin Bogettski: So. Cancer Jiles. Back in High Octane Wrestling with the rest of his murderous Bandits. What’s that all about? Home sick? Running out of ways to spurn the PRIMEates?
Cancer Jiles: Turns out I despise PRIME so much I thought going back to hell might bring some joy into my life.
Melvin Boknowsthis: So spite?
Cancer Jiles: Mostly.
Melvin Blunderbuss: Regardless of your reasons, the PWA thanks you and the Bandits for getting behind the project. We want you to know that we welcome the eGG Bandits with open arms– no matter which federation they choose to represent. Say, what time was your guys’ flight again?
Cancer Jiles: As soon as Timo’s jet is done refueling.
Jiles stands up from his seat, and heads for the door.
Mel Batonin: Thanks for coming by and signing the paperwork. Have fun at Chaos. Give them hell.
The door closes.
Mel laughs and slides on his PWA prototype Jiles edition Terminator Shades.
Melvin Beauregard: Should be an interesting night.
The door opens.
Cancer Jiles: Don’t you fucking dare.
The scene fades.
THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS SHOW
We cut to somewhere backstage, where The vessel that is Anna Daniels wanders about, presumably searching for Bucky. The goodest of boys has had a wild night of mischief with The Montgomery Twins and he must be tired by now.
She turns a corner and hears the not-so-patient voice of Patience Montgomery. It’s not close, but it is *just* within earshot.
Patience Montgomery: He’s got to be around here somewhere. That mutt’s been making a fool of us.
Several of the multitudes laugh. The Prime simply pinches the bridge of her nose. If nothing else, the Twins are persistent. Anna takes another few steps forward when-
The steel chair connects mostly with her shoulder, just grazing her head, sending The Muse into a walk. Her momentum bounces her off the wall into another sickening shot that connects with her rib area, sending her into the wall again.
We only see a shadow at first as the chair comes down a third time, this time connecting with Anna’s head. The Multitudes fight for control, but the body has sustained too much too fast and they crumple to a sitting position.
???: You give really good advice, Ms. Daniels.
The voice is calm, cold, and familiar. Jacob Mephisto steps into view, tossing his weapon to the side and crouching down so he can look his prey in the eyes.
Jacob Mephisto: Remember, you asked for this.
There is defiance burning in her eyes as Mephisto reaches out and palms Anna by her head, fingers tightening like a vice on her temples. She struggles against his grip, but the chair shots did their work.
Jacob Mephisto: This is me… doing it myself.
Mephisto rockets Anna’s head backward into the wall, cracking the drywall there. The Muse’s eyes go slack and she slumps over.
The Patriarch stands, absentmindedly brushing himself off. His left eye twitches exactly once. He looks around at the empty halls before uttering a loud whisper.
Jacob Mephisto: Medic…
Mephisto stalks away, laughing at his own horrid joke.