Writing New Stories
The cold open fades in from black to a back hallway entrance of the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The camera shifts to a set of double doors, which open outward as Nova and his crew enter the arena. Nova stops, and two men in suits move past him.
The two men turn back to look at him. He holds out a hand and massages his forehead with the other.
Nova: Don’t…fuckin’…don’t…touch anything. And don’t talk to Troy. Just please wait for me backstage and we can go from there, okay?
They nod and head off down the hallway. Nova takes a few more steps forward and then pauses, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. When he opens them, his eyes catch on a large framed poster on the wall.
August 28, 2005
#1 Contender’s Match for the Universal Championship
Brandon Youngblood vs. Vangelus Olsig vs. Angelo Deville vs. Aimz vs. Nova vs. Ellis Easton
Nova turns and gestures to the last member of his entourage, a young man with striking hazel eyes clad in a black and neon blue PRIME hoodie.
Nova: David, come over here.
David walks over to the promotional poster. Nova looks the poster up and down, shaking his head as he stares at the images of the faces scattered around the edges of the poster frame.
Nova: God, we were young then.
Nova turns his eyes back towards the double doors they entered moments ago. David turns his head back as well, eyes darting between the empty hallway and Nova’s face.
Nova: (wiping a tear out of his eye) Time to write some new stories.
Nova gently pounds a fist against the poster, turns, and claps a hand on David’s shoulder, an impish grin forming on his face.
Nova: Let’s get to work.
6 Ria Nightshade vs. 11 Cyrus O’Haire
“Welcome to the Strange.”
The warped wailings of The Murderdolls sound throughout the MGM Grand as a strange, punk-rocky introduction to the evening. The camera soars throughout the electric crowd, eventually leading to the entrance where the “Hardcore Harlot,” Ria Nightshade stands, arms out wide with a vicious grin as she struts down the ramp, a lightshow of toxic green and dull yellow whirling about the arena.
Nick Stewart: WELCOME IN, ONE AND ALL!!! We’re BACK at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas for PRIME’s second installment of ReVival! I’m Nick Stuart, alongside Richard Parker, and tonight we finish off the first round of the Almasy Invitational Tournament with the Lisieux bracket, named after PRIME Hall of Famer, “The Eternal Sunrise,” Ignatius Lisieux! And Richard, if that doesn’t bring back memories, I don’t know what does!
Richard Parker: You said it, partner! Global Champion, Intense Champion, Tag Champion, 2004 Wrestler of the Year, and most importantly, the Destroyer of the Global Title Curse, when he retained the title against Joey Troy at ReVolution 29!
Nick Stuart: We honor the past, but we’re here in the present at ReVival, and we’re kicking things off with a physical mis-match for the ages with Ria Nightshade facing off against Cyrus O’Haire!
The “Trans Terror” slides under the ropes, twirling in the ring, sticking her tongue out in creepy, taunting fashion.
Vince Howard: Welcome to ReViiiiivaaallll!!! Our opening match is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, from The Paraphernalia Wagon, standing five feet, six inches tall and weighing in at one-hundred and sixty pounds, she is the Toxic Queen…RIA! NIGHTSHADE!
”So step right up for the ride of your life!
The line starts here, in the back of my mind!”
Nick Stuart: One of PRIME’s more…unpleasant characters, Ria brings a toxicity to the roster that makes most opponents think twice.
Richard Parker: That’s one way to put it. Did you see her MGM promo? Gives me goosebumps!
Nick Stuart: Speaking of unpleasant characters…
The drumbeat from Orgy takes over the speakers as the big frame of Cyrus O’Haire emerges, marching quickly toward the ring with his right leg taped heavily.
Vince Howard: And her opponent! From Cedar Rapids, Iowa, standing six feet, seven inches tall and weighing in at two-hundred and sixty-five pounds, The Vyrus…CYRUS! O’HAIRE!”
”Tell me how, does it feel?
To treat me like you do?”
Nick Stuart: The big man from Iowa joins PRIME with a chip on his shoulder, a company that’s given him a shot after a ten year hiatus.
Richard Parker: And he was sooo quick to show his appreciation last week, Nick! The guy is lucky we decided to give a forty-four year old with a gimp leg a spot on in the tournament!
The Hardcore Messiah pops to his feet after sliding under the ropes, throwing a hand in the air and bellowing into the camera. Ria grins in her corner while Cyrus seethes, eventually walking back into his own.
O’Haire takes a few steps forward, only for Nightshade to slide along the ropes and away. Cyrus breathes hard through his nose, turning and lunging once again, but Ria side-shuffles away.
Nick Stuart: Ria already keeping her distance from The Vyrus.
Richard Parker: Can you blame her? Cyrus has a foot and hundred pounds on her!
A third attempt from O’Haire forces the Hardcore Harlot to drop to the mat and slide out of the ring. The boos rise inside the MGM Grand as Ria struts, wagging a finger at the frustrated O’Haire. Referee Ashley Barlow starts the count for Ria, but The Vyrus clambers through the ropes and to the outside to give chase.
Nick Stuart: Nightshade better keep out of his reach if she’s going to poke the bear!
Richard Parker: He’s got a bum leg, I don’t think that will be much of a problem.
O’Haire rounds the corner, Ria out of reach. She sprints forward, jumping onto the steel steps, and turning to meet the charging O’Haire with two boots to the chest, putting the big man on his back. She tilts her head back for a laugh, stepping back into the ring while Barlow starts counting him out.
Richard Parker: She’s already toying with him!
Cyrus isn’t down for long, sliding back into the ring and popping up, running at Ria and swinging with a big lariat. The Toxic Queen counters by charging in kind, baseball sliding between his legs and connecting with a quick low-blow, doubling him over and capitalizing by driving him to the floor with a reverse DDT.
Richard Parker: Ria with the nutmeg! That’s what they call it in soccer, Nick. You know? When they kick the ball between their legs?
Nick Stuart: I’m aware. Did you play, Richard?
Richard Parker: Never once. Soccer’s literally the worst sport on earth. Oh look, Ria with the pin!
The Vyrus uses his strength to throw Ria off of his chest like an explosive bench press, The Trans Terror falling onto her stomach next to him. Taking advantage, he rolls to a knee and grabs a fistful of hair. Ria thrashes to escape as they stand, but is met with a heavy scoop slam.
Nick Stuart: O’Haire on the offensive! Ria won’t be able to take too many hits like that from the big man!
Richard Parker: Something tells me she kinda likes it.
O’Haire drops back to a knee, gripping her hair once again and delivering a few stiff punches. He rips her back to her feet, whipping her into the corner and following up with a running shoulder to her midsection. The air escapes her lungs as Cyrus grips the ropes, driving his shoulder into her four more times. He relents, stepping back as she stumbles forward. He whips her into the ropes and drops her with a big boot on the return, scowling as he goes for the pin.
Nick Stuart: Big boot from The Vyrus! Here’s the cover!
Cyrus glares at Ashley Barlow, who shows him two fingers.. He stands, back-stepping into a corner and resting his hands on his knees, staring The Hardcore Harlot down while she stirs. He stands ready to lunge…
…until his face turns blank for a moment.
Richard Parker: What’s up with O’Haire?
Cyrus shakes his head, then slaps himself across the cheek, followed by a palm to the temple.
Richard Parker: Is he going crazy? It looks like he’s going crazy.
Nick Stuart: I’m not sure. There’s clearly something going on inside his head, but he’d better snap out of it! Nightshade is on her feet!
The Trans Terror, indeed, has made it to a standing position, curious as she watches Cyrus grip his skull. Seeing the opportunity, she jumps back into the ropes, runs toward The Vyrus, and dropkicks him in the thigh of his taped-leg. He roars in pain as he drops to a knee while Ria bounces off the ropes behind him, leaping and driving his head to the mat with a vicious bulldog.
Nick Richard: The Toxic Queen taking advantage!
The Hardcore Messiah rolls onto his back, clutching his head from the bulldog, and the apparent demons inside it. The adrenaline-driven Nightshade wildly throws her hair back before mounting the downed him, reaching a menacing hand over his face and striking like a viper, her palm over his eyes while she digs her long nails into his temples.
Nick Stuart: Devil’s Kiss from Ria Nightshade! She’s taken over this match!
Richard Parker: Who wrestles with nails like that?
O’Haire bellows in pain, blood trickling from Ria’s knife-like fingernails. She relents, leaving him on the mat and ascending a turnbuckle, finding balance at the top.
Nick Stuart: Ria going up! She’s looking for the Acid Rain!
She leaps into the air, tucking and extending for the splash…
…and lands chest-first onto the bottom of O’Haire’s boot.
Nick Stuart: AND CYRUS GETS THE FOOT UP!
Ria flops onto her back, completely drained of air. The furious O’Haire clambers to his feet, clumsily pulling her off the mat and shoving her head between his legs. He lifts her skyward, then spikes her into the mat with a vicious jackknife powerbomb.
Nick Stuart: THE INJECTION FROM O’HAIRE! He’s looking to finish it!
Richard Parker: She’s pan-caked!
Ria is down for the count. But instead of going for the pin…
…Cyrus drags her off the mat and sets her up again.
Nick Stuart: Oh c’mon, what is this guy doing?
Richard Parker: For Hoyt’s sake, she’s half his size!
The “boos” rain down heavy in the MGM Grand as The Vyrus scowls out at the crowd. As expected, he lifts her overhead again, and crushes her with a second jackknife powerbomb.
Nick Stuart: Enough’s enough!
O’Haire drops down slowly for the menacing cover, and Barlow counts.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Your winner, moving on to round two of the Lisieux bracket…The Vyrus….CYRUS O’HAIRE!
Nick Stuart: Ria Nightshade did everything she could to wear this monster down, but was outmatched by O’Haire’s strength and power, not to mention a low-brow finish.
Richard Parker: I don’t know what this dude’s deal is, Nick. I’m all for locking in the win, but that was just overkill.
Cyrus rolls Ria outside of the ring and stands up, the continued “boos” of the crowd filling the MGM Grand. He walks over to a roadie outside of the ring and barks for something, resulting in the roadie handing him a microphone. Cyrus, drenched in sweat and obviously gassed, walks back to the center of the ring.
Nick Stuart: Let’s see what this guy has to say after brutalizing The Toxic Queen!
Cyrus O’Haire: I’m going to keep this short and sweet.
Cyrus has to take a deep breath.
Cyrus O’Haire: Later tonight, Eryk Van Warren and Teddy Palmer face off to see who gets to step into the ring against ME at ReVival 3.
He takes another breath.
Cyrus O’Haire: I’ll be watching that match very closely. I’ve got one win under my belt here in PRIME. I want more.
Cyrus heaves deeply a third time, looking out at the PRIMEates. He walks in a circle, eyeing the fans in the arena. Turning back to the camera, he brings the microphone to his mouth.
Cyrus O’Haire: Nobody’s laughing now.
The Vyrus drops the microphone to the mat with a loud “THUD” and then walks to the ropes. He steps over the top rope and hops to the floor.
Nick Stuart: What does he mean, “Nobody’s laughing now”?
Richard Parker: Why don’t you go and ask him? He seems like a nice guy.
Nick Stuart: Stay tuned! Shawn Warstein takes on John Kennedy Royko Jr. next, and later on tonight in our main event, the blockbuster return of Nova as he faces off against Jacob Mephisto! Here, on the ACE Network!
“Blue Monday” drones through the arena while Cyrus O’Haire skulks up the ramp to a chorus of “boos.”
We’re greeted by the large fangs and long hair of a golden lion as the scene fades into view. Clearly a statue, he’s surrounded by sparking porcelain in all directions. The camera zooms out slowly and we finally make out the rest of the display with the words: “Welcome to the MGM Grand.”
We spin to see everything in the room, including the hotel check-in, the entrance to the casino, as well as many staircases and elevators that guide you to every inch of the elaborate resort. The view comes to rest on the double doors of the lobby and the glass wall adjoined to it. They slide open and in walk a pair of gentlemen who are clearly on a mission.
The shorter one has cropped black hair and chinstrap beard. His super tight t-shirt reads “Die Hardest,” his aviators would arouse suspicion of gimmick infringement from a certain group of eGG Boys.
The taller one has his hair slicked back into a top knot and wears an equally super tight t-shirt that reads “Live Fast Die Old” whilst literally holding a cheesecake and eating it.
Both of the men walk up to the concierge desk and set their bags on the counter.
Mikey Unlikely: Hello there… Heather! How are you doing?
Heather: Hello! Welcome to the MGM Gr…
Mikey Unlikely: That’s great! As you already know, I’m Mikey Unlikely…
He stands back so she can see him in all his glory. Recognition doesn’t cross her face right away and instantly Mikey is perturbed.
Mikey Unlikely: And this is my associate, Jesse Fredricks Kendrix!
Kendrix: Nice to meet me.
Jesse offers Heather a piece of his cake. Being the professional that she is though, Heather politely declines. However, Kendrix insists she take a piece otherwise he would be very upset.
Heather: Well, just a tiny piece.
However, she’s left immediately disappointed and annoyed as JFK retracts the cake from her grasp…the fiendish yet childish plan all along. Mikey looks on in awe at his bestest bruv in the whole world.
Mikey Unlikely: She fell for it…that’s the 10th person today!
Kendrix: You know what this calls for…
An air of anticipation hits the casino as the lights dim and people walk around in the background in slow motion, time has indeed stood still for a glorious moment of epic proportions. THERE IT IS!
The Hollywood Bruvs: GLUEFIST!!!!
The casino returns to real time as Heather looks around unsure as to what just happened.
Mikey Unlikely: Now Heather, we come to you with a very important ask. We need some help. You see, JFK and I just got to town. Just got off the plane, and we’re looking to speak with the person in charge.
Heather: I can certainly ring one of our managers, are you looking for help with booking some rooms, or some exclusive gambling? Maybe a convention or event planning? We also offer spa service and a wide array of pools, open all day!
Mikey Unlikely: We’re actually looking to talk to the boss of PRIME! Can you get us that person?
Heather: I’m sorry, PRIME? The wrestling show that takes place here?
JFK winks and nods in approval.
Mikey Unlikely: That’s right! We’re two of the biggest, most totally famous wrestlers ever. Everyone knows us. Even you!
Heather: Well I certainly do now…
Mikey Unlikely: Exactly! Everyone! So what we need is for the bosses to get down here right now, because we need to have a word. Actually two words…
JFK nods at Mikey this time and winks.
Kendrix: Listen Yeah, toots?! You’re looking at two manly men who don’t do their business by email or over the phone. Pffft. We like to do things face to face. So why don’t you get the PRIME management down here, stat…and if you’re lucky, JFK will take you for dinner this evening at your most exquisite casino strippees.
The Bruvs raise their eyebrows at such a glamorous offer.
Heather: Sir, firstly, I don’t actually know what a strippees is.
Kendrix immediately holds his hand to his chest in shock, he begins to stumble back, as if about to faint, that is until a concerned Mikey holds him up and re-steadies himself.
Heather. Secondly, PRIME doesn’t have it’s office in the MGM. You need to contact that company, not this one.
Having regained his balance, Jesse’s shock is replaced by anger as he slams his fists down against the reception desk.
Kendrix: You mean to tell us that there are no strippees here and that our employers don’t live in the casino?!! What kind of concierge are you anyway? It’s your job to meet our expectations, no matter how ridiculous they are!
Jesse is pulled back and calmed down by Unlikely who in turn throws that Hollywood smile Heather’s way…it’s time to go to charm town the only way Mikey knows how.
Mikey Unlikely: Heather, I’m going to need you to listen to the words coming from my mouth right now.
He starts clapping to every word.
Mikey Unlikely: WE. NEED. TO. SPEAK. WITH. PRIME. CAN. YOU. DO. THAT?
By now the annoyed Heather is rolling her eyes at the pair.
Heather: Sir, I can take a message and get it to them the next time they are here but the fastest way to communicate would be to…
We’ll never know what she was going to say next.
Mikey Unlikely: PERFECT! Now we’re talking! OK jot this down….
Heather readies her pad and pen, she looks up at Unlikely as he ponders the perfect words to say.
Mikey Unlikely: Ok you ready? Cool…. “DEAR PRIME”
JFK cuts him off with a hand on his chest.
Kendrix: Bruv, shouldn’t we address it to “Whom it may concern?” Since we’re not sure who it is?
The light goes off in Mikey’s head.
Mikey Unlikely: OK Heather…. Let’s start over. “DEAR PRIME! To Whom it may concern!”
Kendrix: NAILED IT!
Mikey Unlikely: “UPON FURTHER CONSIDERATION…. WE QUIT!….SIGNED THE HOLLYWOOD BRUVS!”
Kendrix: You really have a way with words, you ever think of writing a book?
Mikey Unlikely: Someday Bruv, someday! Anyway, let’s hit the Bellagio!
The pair grab their bags and cackle loudly. They head out of the same doors they came from. Heather, confused as ever, just sighs and puts the note in her outbound mailbox and gets back to work.
Five Minutes of His Life that Matt Mills Will Never Get Back
Remember this: Matt Mills is a professional. He probably went to school for this. Might have had dreams of talking to interviewing Tom Brady on the sidelines after a Super Bowl win, or catching up with Lebron in the locker room moments after sinking the decisive game-winner. There might have been childhood aspirations of traveling the world every 2 years to cover the Olympics. Make no mistake: there are athletes in PRIME and world-class athletes at that. But there is also that guy, the one in the fruit costume.
Matt Mills: Ladies and gentlemen I’m here backstage with King Blueberry.
Tonight King Blueberry is dressed in street clothes, which happens to include a tee-shirt in an obnoxious shade of neon pink with block-printed white letters, because ALL CAPS means it’s serious. The words those letters spell? “TITTY PANTS”. And beneath that, in smaller-yet-still-ALL-CAPS is printed “pants for titties”. The black band on his right bicep displays only a cartoon strawberry wearing a turban.
King Blueberry: That’s right, Millsy. It’s me, it’s me, it’s B – B – P. Good gawd! And all of PRIME…
Just like last week, he shouts the word. It catches Mills off-guard, which is why he flinches. As he continues talking, the King holds both hands out in front of him, forming a circle with his forefingers and thumbs. It’s totally, completely, no-seriously-you-guys legally distinct from that other gesture. You know, the one Jay-Z had to pay royalties for. Bang.
King Blueberry: …is gonna feel the Blueberry Pie-mond Cutter and feel – the – refreshing and revitalizing effects that blueberries can have on your body. Why, one cup of fresh blueberries has only 80 calories, and is full of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, is packed with fiber, and provides powerful nutritional boosts from minerals like potassium and manganese. Do you know what that does?
Matt Mills: Manganese? No, what?
King Blueberry: No idea. S’why I asked you. Way to fumble that one, Mark Sanchez.
Because he is a professional – the only one on camera right now, Mr. Mills simply moves on.
Matt Mills: So, “BBP”. That stands for Blueberry…?
The King shrugs.
King Blueberry: Look, let’s not pretend I put too much thought into this.
Bookmark this page. Remember this line. Come back to it every time he appears on an episode of ReVival and you’re left wondering, “what the [expletive deleted] is he doing?” I’m saving you brain cells and a stress-induced nosebleed, dear internet reader. You’re welcome.
Matt Mills: Right. Well we’re here on the second night of the Almasy Invitational, and I’m sure the PRIME faithful would be curious to know if you have a favorite.
The response comes with a bright smile and all the “why no, mother, I in fact did not fill my pantaloons with poop at school today, so about that Happy Meal you promised me” pride a boy can muster.
King Blueberry: I don’t know who any of these people are!
Matt Mills: I’m sorry?
Mills’ brief glance off-camera is subtle but noticeable nonetheless. It is the first gesture of a man beginning to question the life choices that led him here. Or a first attempt to find a producer. Definitely one of the two. Maybe both.
Matt Mills: You’ve wrestled some of these people; Dusk, for example.
King Blueberry: Sounds like a book about vampires. He a vampire?
Matt Mills: No, he’s not. What about Impulse, who knocked you out of the GTT7 tournament many years ago?
King Blueberry: The king has no memory of this.
Matt Mills: Well what about Brandon Youngblood? If I recall correctly that was a rather one-sided contest, and it didn’t go in your favor.
King Blueberry: More like Brandon Old… uhh… Butt. Got ‘em.
This statement is accompanied by a small fist pump, and a whispered sibilant “yes”.
Matt Mills: Okay then. Do you at least have any thoughts on the match that started the show when Ria Nightshade took on Cyrus O’haire?
King Blueberry: Didn’t watch it.
The dumbass in the fruit mask stands with all the resplendent joy of a kid experiencing his first Christmas. Still, he’s able to pick up on the now very obvious signals that something here is amiss.
King Blueberry: But I’ll be sure to catch the replay on…
He leans in close for a whisper, which is still caught on mic.
King Blueberry: What channel are we on?
Mills’ response is not whispered, instead spoken directly into the microphone.
Matt Mills: The ACE Network.
King Blueberry: The ACE Network! At, ummm…
Again with the leaning and the whispering.
King Blueberry: What time?
Matt Mills: Available on demand.
Ol’ Blueberry thrusts a triumphant finger into the air.
King Blueberry: Eventually!
Matt Mills closes his eyes, takes a deep, cleansing breath to center himself, and decides to press on. It’s a far cry from Touchdown Tom, but dammit he’s a professional, and it’s time for the real questions.
Matt Mills: King Blueberry, you’ve been known primarily as a singles competitor throughout your career, but you’ve joined PRIME as part of a team. On our last show you made it a point to introduce your partner, and ever since there has been wide speculation that you don’t actually have one, and are instead carting around a mannequin. What do you have to say about this?
The camera pulls back just enough to bring a third figure into frame. Frozen in its sassy teapot pose is El Hijo del Senor Cool Guy, who is very much a mannequin. It is dressed in a red and silver lucha mask, a long furry overcoat festooned with silver tassels, a matching furry wide-brimmed hat, and a pair of red briefs to shield its Ken doll nethers from prying eyes. It is also affixed to a two-wheeler dolly by bungee cords. At least the arm appears to have been successfully reattached.
For his part, Blueberry just glances at the pimp Hannibal Lecter to his left.
King Blueberry: You wanna field this one?
El Hijo del Señor Cool Guy: …
King Blueberry: Mmhmm, mmhmm. Yep.
El Hijo del Señor Cool Guy: …
King Blueberry: Oh, for sure.
El Hijo del Señor Cool Guy: …
King Blueberry: Well there you go. I mean it doesn’t get much clearer than that, am I right?
No, you galaxy-level dipshit, it can get so much more clear than this, is what Matt Mills probably wants to say but doesn’t, because he is a professional even when confronted with the Fraggle Rock produce section.
Matt Mills: So your partner is a mannequin then?
King Blueberry: Whoa, whoa, whoa. We are not simply “partners”. We are… International Berry Sensations!
Matt Mills: IBS?
King Blueberry: Hrm, yes.
Matt Mills: Seriously. IBS?
He strokes his chin.
King Blueberry: I can see how that would be a problem. Okay, change of plans. We’re not that. Instead, you can refer to us as Fantastic Artists of Renowned Talent!
Matt Mills: So F-A-R-T then?
King Blueberry: Nope, nooooooope. Strike that. Gotta think this one through. Gotta workshop it a little bit. Think, think, think. Ah-ha! I’ve got it. We are a Brilliantly United Tag Team of Amazing Super-Stars OH NO GOD WAIT I DID IT AGAIN! That’s it, we’re done. C’mon, Cool Guy. It’s time to do some BBPY!
With a huff the King pivots on his heel and grabs the handle of the two-wheeler cart. Much to the relief of (let’s be honest here) everyone he wheels his dolly on a dolly off camera, leaving Matt Mills alone to close this out.
Matt Mills: Well folks, we didn’t get many answers, and I’m not sure we accomplished anything here. We’ve got a night full of action ahead of us, so let’s get back to it!
From off-camera comes a voice.
King Blueberry: NOT GONNA WATCH ANY OF THAT EITHER ALSO THE “Y” STANDS FOR “YOGURTS”!
A Measured Exchange
Nick Stuart: We are about ready for John Kennedy Royko Jr. versus Shawn Warstein in yet another great tournament matchup.
Richard Parker: Gotta say, Nick, it’s so great to be back home in PRIME!
Nick Stuart: Let’s send it down to our head interviewer Angelica Brooks, who is standing by with John Kennedy Royko Jr.
Armed with a microphone with a PRIME logoed flag in her hand, and a look of seriousness on her face, Angelica Brooks stands next to the 6’7” rookie, John Kennedy Royko Jr.
Angelica Brooks: John, welcome to PRIME! Are you ready for your first match?
The wrestler puts up his massive hands, and shows Angelica, and the camera, that they are shaking.
JK Royko: My hands are trembling like a 9.0 earthquake is rumbling through my veins. Angelica yes, I’m nervous, but they aren’t shaking because of stress, worries, or concerns. They are shaking with anticipation. I’m ready to chop down Shawn Warstein and show the rest of PRIME that the rookie sensation is here to become champion and honor my father’s passing and all the history that is PRIME.
The camera zooms in closer to JK’s massive hands with fingers as thick as polish sausages.
JK Royko: They are shaking with excitement to do what they love to do and that’s cause violence and victories. Angelica. Shawn Warstein is a man I have a lot of respect for. He’s a guy who has made a career doing what so far, I have only dreamed of. My journey starts tonight in LAS VEGAS! Shawn comes from Chicago, just like I do. A city that knows about rebuilding and restarts. Angelica, I’m ready to take Shawn to the Chicago Chop House and you all better be ready for dessert because I’m buying!!! I’m……
Both Angelica and JK are distracted as a homely fella is off to the side cursing and kicking at a vending machine.
Richard Parker: Wow, Steve Buscemi really let himself go!?!
Nick Stuart: That’s not Steve Buscemi, Richard…that’s the creepy guy with the mask who was in Matt Ward’s office on our last show.
Richard Parker: I’m pretty sure that’s a plumped-up Steve Buscemi and I have a pretty good eye for this sort of thing.
The disheveled creepy man wearing dirty ripped-up sweatpants and an ill-fitted black t-shirt kicks the machine again hurting his foot in the process.
Angelica Brooks: Ummm…sir, are you ok??
The creepy man stops what he is doing and realizes he has caused a distraction. He apologizes with his hands and flashes a calming, yet creepy smile.
Angelica Brooks: You know we’re live, right?
Creepy Man: Yes, but for how long?
John Kennedy smiles a bit, laughing at the situation, while Angelica looks off-camera…probably for Dam or Wade or the Enemigos to get this weirdo out of the building.
JK Royko: Who are you?
The creepy man pulls a tape measure out of his pocket and starts measuring JK’s hands uninvited. JK is still amused as Angelica seems confused as to what to do.
Joe Burro: Pardon me. I’m Joe Burro I’m ahhhh how you say….ummm…lead artistic director of wardrobe here in PRIME. A tailor to use modern terms, I’m a cut of jib genius if I do say so myself. You, lady, are exquisite in your tastes and fashion.
The creepy man turns his attention to Angelica’s sleeves rubbing them with his thumb and pointer finger to identify the fabric. She abruptly pulls her arm away as Burro yields his attention back to JK trying to use the tape measure only this time on Royko’s head. The chubby man humorously standing on his tippy toes tries hopping in hopes of getting some numbers.
JK Royko: Ummm we’re in the middle of something here maybe we can do this later?
Joe Burro: OHHHH of course!! Say, do you have any modern currency? I would greatly enjoy a clear fizzy pop from that merchant machine over yonder, but apparently old-world gold Spanish coins are not the fad in your crypto cryptic world. Is there a currency exchange in this little locker room community maybe I can strike up a trade of sorts?
JK and Angelica look very confused as she reaches into her pockets and pulls out a handful of change, giving it to Burro while refusing his gold coins with her hands.
Angelica Brooks: Take this, and please let us finish up here.
She turns her attention away from the creepy man dismissively.
Angelica Brooks: JK there were some rumors on Twitter earlier today that you may not be cleared to compete tonight. What was that about, and how is your knee?
The camera zooms in on the large knee brace covering JK’s left knee, a moment later Joe Burro’s face enters the shot getting a closer look at the knee with a gold rimmed monocle to his eye.
Joe Burro: Oh, an injury, very interesting.
The chubby tailor pulls out a mini notepad and starts jotting down comments. JK is giving him a dirty look, while Angelica tries to shoo him away.
Joe Burro: Oh, right, right, right I’ll go enjoy my un-cola fizz soda now and leave you two be. Big fella do you like wearing masks?
Security comes from around the corner as soon as Burro spots them he moves on quickly.
JK Rokyo: Ha, Angelica things are crazy around here!!! I love it!! Fashion people are always so eccentric and I’m loving meeting the crew. As for my knee? Yeaaaa, some doctor from the Vegas athletic board didn’t like an X-ray, but my doctors explained it to them and now I’m good to go. I’m as clear as vodka in a water bottle to wrestle tonight. As long PRIME lets me into the ring, it won’t be about my knees, it will be about my hands. Let me show you! WOO!!
The big man shows off his fists before excitedly walking away towards the gorilla position as the camera stays on him. A white owl is seen for just a passing moment sitting and watching from atop the vending machine as Royko walks past. The camera cuts back to Angelica Brooks standing with a smile on her face, looking directly into the camera to the viewers at home like a professional.
Angelica Brooks: Guys, JK is ready to go!!! Warstein versus Royko is next!!!
5 Shawn Warstein vs. 12 John Kennedy Royko Jr.
Back ringside, it isn’t long before “Centuries Remix” blares over the PA system. The PRIMEates get loud at the opening but are quickly reminded that the man that follows isn’t one of their favorites. The curtain gets swiped to the side as Shawn Warstein steps through, to a full chorus of boos. The hood on his hoodie is up as his face stays pointing towards the ground.
Nick Stuart: Warstein certainly carries a reputation with him wherever he goes.
Richard Parker: Well, good thing this isn’t a popularity contest, Stuart.
As the song begins for crescendo Shawn lifts his head and pulls the hood down. The widest, most arrogant smile is on his face. It’s as if the jeers are fueling him. The louder they get, the wider his smile goes. As he walks down the ramp several fans heckle him, but with the back of his hand he waves them off and continues, sliding under the bottom rope and into the ring.
VInce Howard: Introducing first, hailing from CHICAGO, Illinois! Shawn WARSTEIN!
Casting a sneer to the ring announcer Warstein continues towards the far corner and climbs up sitting on the top turnbuckle.
Richard Parker: This man is all about business. You have got to appreciate that.
The rest for the PA system is brief, as “Possum Kingdom” by Toadies kicks the crowd into gear as the open guitar riff rocks the arena. A moment later out enters John Kennedy Royko Jr. clapping hard with enthusiasm doing his best to hype the crowd. The 6’7” thickly built youngster equipped plainly with black trunks and a large knee brace on his left knee is all smiles.
Nick Stuart: A highly recruited youngster from the independent wrestling scene is here!
Richard Parker: The talent in PRIME is top notch across the board but he’s going to have a Hell of time stepping up to a veteran like Shawn Warstein.
Nick Stuart: A master of the chop, look at the size of those ham hocks.
Richard Parker: Nick if you had hands like that you would never leave the house. You’d be doing your paper folding voodoo tricks all day!
Nick Stuart: It’s called Origami.
Richard Parker: Keep your perversions off my wrestling show!! Big hands sure, but also a big knee brace that if I’m Warstein I’m going to lock my target right on that left knee.
Vince Howard: From Prospect Height, Illinois, The 2020 John Lynch man of the year award winner! JOHN KENNEDY ROYKO JR!
The big man already in the ring makes a few chop motions to the crowd before blowing a kiss to his wife-to-be who is sitting in the front row cheering him on. He tests his knee some and seems rearing to go.
Nick Stuart: As you said that knee is a question after getting into a horrific car accident that ended his NFL career.
Richard Parker: ATK all the way. Attack the knee.
Nick Stuart: This has all the makings of a banger. Let’s go..
With a look to both competitors, Timo Bolamba motions for the bell.
As Warstein hops down from his perch, the two make their way center.
Nick Stuart: A sign of respect here from the rookie, offering a handshake before the fists start flying.
Richard Parker: No room for honor in that ring. Look at the veteran!
After laughing off the display, Shawn quickly ducks behind the larger John Kennedy and synches a waistlock. Transitioning swiftly into the side headlock, Warstein grinds his forearm in. Not going to get caught in a resthold, Royko Jr uses his strength to lift Warstein off his feet, a quick elbow to the back of the head stops that, though. Picking up the pace, Shawn bounces off the far set of ropes to fire a shoulder that barely makes the former tackle stumble.
Nick Stuart: Royko Jr.’s power on display here. And look, he’s inviting Warstein to try it again!
His pride tested, Shawn doesn’t seem above such notions and takes off once more. Again his shoulder makes solid contact, but both men stay standing. Frustrated as the larger man smiles, Warstein unleashes a knife-edge chop, and tries again for the ropes. Instead John Kennedy shows some quickness in grabbing his wrist and pulling Shawn in for the short-arm clothesline.
Nick Stuart: Warstein the first to the mat. And look out, elbow drop! No!
Richard Parker: Alright, there you go.
Warstein, having rolled from Royko Jr.’s elbow, returns his own that finds the middle of the chest. Another. Then into a series of stomps that takes the advantage. Pulling John Kennedy up by the ears, the big man still has some fight, which Shawn intends to beat out with a few heavy clubbing blows that only serve to refuel the resolve of the former day 2 selection.
Nick Stuart: Warstein pushed back to the ropes, and now over! What a lariat!
Quickly back up to his feet, Shawn rubs his jaw and glances back into the ring.
Shawn Warstein: Lucky shot, kid.
This seems to be Royko Jr.’s invitation to the outside. Warstein keeps his distance, and ducks back under the bottom rope as John Kennedy’s feet touch. JK shakes his head before returning to the apron.
Richard Parker: Caught coming through with that knee lift. Light him up, Warstein.
Guiding Royko Jr back the rest of the way in, Warstein’s first chop sends a spray of moisture into the air.
The second, third and fourth produce less mist, but the same sickening smack. JK has found himself walked into the corner, and angry. He hoists Warstein in a standing switch and returns an overhead open hand that nearly caves in Warstein’s rib cage.
Warstein will find no relief trying to walk out of the corner, as Royko Jr. just tosses him back into the tight quarters. JK fires in a more parallel chop catching high on the chest, both men’s now progressing swiftly to a shade of deep pink. JK takes Warstein out of the corner hard, with a Biel throw.
Nick Stuart: Shawn sailed almost three quarters of the way across the ring. I don’t think Warstein is used to being out-powered this way. How does he overcome this, partner? And he better think quick, Royko Junior is picking up steam.
Seeing the human phone booth picking up pace, Warstein reaches for the closest thing available, which just happens to be the official.
Richard Parker: By being smarter! That’s how!
JK has to slam on the brakes to avoid a considerably appreciative Timo Bolamba. It is in this moment of Royko Jr. checking the sudden stop didn’t tweak anything that Warstein launches forward with the chop block. Ignoring the admonishing from the zebra, Shawn lays in a series of elbow drops to the inside of the left leg.
Richard Parker: It’s about time he got to that glowing target. And what comes next, but the Figure Four!
Nick Stuart: Not so fast, Royko Junior using that good leg to shove Warstein clear. He just has to get up now.
And vertical JK does get, but he’s followed closely behind by Warstein, who lays in a kick to the back of the leg. Feeling the stinging in the leg, Royko Jr’s instinct is to grab hold and close the distance, Warstein reacting to get even in this collar and elbow tie up. Again, it’s the veteran that maneuvers his way out, Shawn taking wrist control. Once more, back to that left leg, as he lands a pair of outside thigh kicks further knotting up the tree-trunk-like legs of JK. Step through and around, wring around the arm wringer.
Nick Stuart: John Kennedy taken down, again, with that judo toss. Warstein just got lower and used his momentum to send them both to the ground.
Richard Parker: That sounds a little too close to Physics for my liking, Stuart. Save that for the Pfefferman match, would ya?
Things slow down as Warstein has kept a hold of wrist control, and pulled Royko Jr. into a painful hammerlock. Shawn leans his full bodyweight in, but the 6’7”, three hundred plus pounder makes his way, little by little, cheer by cheer, back to a knee. The PRIMEates begging for it, Royko Jr finds the escape by tumbling forward and sending Warstein along for the ride.
Shawn comes back, but is scooped from his feet. Escaping out the back, Warstein wraps an arm under JK’s chin and grapevines the body.
Nick Stuart: Slick reversal, going from that bodyslam into the sleeper. That’s hooked in deep. This could be dangerous. Royko Junior down to one knee!
Air supply slowing to the head, JK in a moment of desperation stands back up and squishes Warstein behind him into the turnbuckles.
Richard Parker: That’s one way to do it. Eek.
Trying to shake loose the cobwebs, the first boot in from JK is lazy, and caught by Warstein. With bad intentions, Warstein pulls Royko Jr. into a Dragon Whip, colliding awkwardly in the corner. With a sense of urgency, Warstein pulls at the leg, positioning JK just far enough away from the ropes before pretzeling him into the figure four!
Nick Stuart: Figure four synched in, and the ropes are as far as they can get, even for a 6’7” colossus.
The pain is painted clear across JK’s face, his knee being hyperextended, while the ankle joint of the right leg is used as the fulcrum. Warstein laughs in Royko Jr.’s face as each swing just misses.
Bolamba pays close attention to the shoulders, as JK shoots back up. His hands shake, but he grabs them together when they get a little too close to the canvas.
Richard Parker: Not long now.
Proceedings not going as quickly as he could hope, Warstein decides to apply a little extra pressure by reaching up to the ropes he’s positioned purposefully close to.
Nick Stuart: Come on, ref! You have to see that!
But as Timo checks to see what the fresh agony in JK is, Warstein plays innocent, getting just his hands free in time. Royko Jr. fading, Timo slides back into the count.
Pulling the ropes for all he has, Warstein looks incredulous when JK refuses to quit. Double taking, Bolamba finally catches the underhanded play.
Timo Bolamba: Quit that. Break the hold!
But getting caught, Warstein is in this for all he can, and waits for a five count that doesn’t come.
Nick Stuart: Shawn would be smart to remember just who The Samoan Silencer is.
Timo kicks Shawn’s hands from the rope, the opening this crowd, and Royko Jr have been waiting for, as that’s enough momentum to allow JK to roll into the reversal.
Richard Parker: A lousy cheater that just gave the advantage to the rookie! Remind me again, who decided this guy would make a good referee?
Rather than take any of what he was putting JK through, Warstein is quick to get to breaking the hold and pulling free his legs. Warstein retreats to a corner and searches for what it is that might put away this goliath, as John Kennedy is slow and uses the ropes to get back vertical. JK barely has time to look around before Shawn is screaming in with a high boot. Rather than topple, Royko Jr. opts to return a headbutt.
Nick Stuart: Headbutt just rocked Warstein!
Signs of the battle now clear on both competitors, Warstein tosses a lazy overhead that JK just accepts. A body shot the volley back, Shawn winces at that one. Defiantly, he turns with a roaring elbow strike that John Kennedy seems happy to eat.
Nick Stuart: We’re deep into the 4th quarter now, and the big fella has just got his second wind. Lefts and rights. Open palm strikes to the head, chest, midsection, and this crowd is going ballistic for it.
The last in the series of sumo strikes finds the breadbasket and is the one to double Shawn over. Warstein quickly finds his head between Royko Jr.’s thighs.
Richard Parker: Cradle piledriver!
Warstein planted to the canvas, JK takes a moment to point down, and build anticipation from the crowd. Gassed and dripping with sweat, Royko Jr. sends a wink to someone-in-particular and pulls Warstein the rest of the way up. Giving the left a good shake, JK points to the corner and bounces Shawn off one turnbuckle.
Nick Stuart: Oklahoma Stampede! Warstein planted dead center of the squared circle.
Richard Parker: Warstein had this thing won, until somebody forgot they were supposed to be a damned impartial referee!
Talked about, Timo slides back into position to make the count.
The crowd cheer with every count.
JK bobs his head up and down with every slap of the canvas.
DING DING DING
Nick Stuart: He’s done it.
Vince Howard: The winner of this contest, and moving forward in the Almasy Invitational! John Kennedy ROYKO JUNIOR!
Richard Parker: Yeah, but you have to wonder what condition he’ll be in after the number that Warstein did to that already weakened knee.
Not waiting for Timo to lift his arm, Royko Jr. is out to ringside to try to celebrate with/calm the concerns of his fiancee as we cut to commercial.
Commercial: Almasy Invitational
There Must Be Loads Of Gear Guys In A Party Town Like This
The camera cuts outside the MGM Grand Garden Arena where it spots a man in full pirate regalia shouting at passersby. As we zoom in closer, the voice and the face become more recognizable. Beneath his bandana and dreadlock wig, it’s Jonathan Rhine recent PRIME returnee and Almasy Invitational second round qualifier, Garbage Bag Johnny.
GBJ: Ahoy, mateys! Get a selfie with me, everyone’s favorite Hollywood pirate! Five crossbones for one selfie or ten for two!
Passersby, as they do best, pass by, ignoring GBJs marketing plea. Even as he sways about wildly, swinging an open bottle of rum around, sloshing liquor on himself.
GBJ: Avast ye! You don’t want to miss out on the best deal on the high seas, ya salty barnacles! A memory that lasts a lifetime for merely coin! Why that’s a bargain if I’ve seen one!
Johnny swigs the bottle, stumbling left and right looking for takers as pedestrian traffic separates into semi-circles around him. However, there’s one group approaching him from behind. It’s Marvel’s Avengers, flanked around a regularly dressed man with a dark, shampoo commercial quality, shoulder-length mane and meticulously applied eyeliner.
Uncostumed Man: That’s him!
GBJ turns on a dime and sizes up the situation, noting he’s outnumbered by superheroes–or at least men and women dressed like superheroes. Immediately, he turns back on that dime and runs…
Right into the outstretched, green haymaker of an Incredible Hulk impersonator. It knocks GBJ flat on his ass.
Uncostumed Man: That’s the guy who stole my costume! Get him!
Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America–the whole lot of them–swarm Johnny to hold him down and battle back his attempts to escape. They rip off his pirate gear as he protests.
GBJ: I didn’t steal it! I was going to give it back! Scout’s honor!
But it’s too late, GBJ is left on his hands and knees, battered and bare, save for his skivvies. The Avengers return the Pirates of the Caribbean costume to its rightful owner who takes a victorious swig of the rum before spitting in Johnny’s direction and turning away with his troupe of characters.
Recostumed Man: Come on, guys. Our work here is done.
As they leave, the camera returns to GBJ, who lets out a few pained coughs before maneuvering himself into a seated position out on the curb. As he slumps his head, the camera notices another PRIME wrestler walking the footways outside the MGM Grand Arena, none other than The Anglo Luchador
TAL: I can’t believe I lost half my match payout from last week playing craps, all except for this one chip worth fifty cents.
He notices Johnny on the ground without recognizing him at first.
TAL: I’ll pay it forward. Here bud, take this, maybe you’ll win some money to be able to eat. Hell, at least they’ll give you a free drink.
He flicks the chip, and it hits Johnny on the top of his head. He looks up.
GBJ: The heck…
TAL: Wait, you’re not a homeless guy… you’re my opponent next week. Well, you are homeless but…
GBJ: Hey, I’m not THAT homeless. I could use a drink though. The Avengers stole my rum.
Johnny motions towards the direction that the costumed street performers went, but they’re no longer within sight. As The Anglo Luchador looks off in the distance, his expression indicates that he has no idea what Johnny’s talking about, even behind the mask. Garbage Bag notices the mask and scurries to his feet, taking a cautious step back from the luchador.
GBJ: Wait a minute, you’re not one of them, are you? I swear, they took all I had already, except…uh…this coin!
GBJ holds out the casino chip that TAL just flipped at him.
TAL: Them? Like, uh… an alien? No, this is a mask; I’m a luchador. Hence the name, The Anglo Luchador.
Garbage Bag nods. It’s not apparent whether or not he knows what the words Anglo or Luchador mean, but that’s really besides the point.
GBJ: Aliens? No, not this time. There was a big green guy and some viking with a hammer and a guy with a big shield–he had a mask on, too. And there was some guy in a metal suit. He might’ve been an alien. The point is, some of them had masks and some didn’t. I apologize if I’ve made any sweeping generalizations about people who wear masks. That wasn’t my intention. Very nice mask, by the way.
TAL: Thank you. It was crafted by the most skilled artisans in nylon from the cloth forges in the ruins of Tenochtitlan.
Johnny looks at the old luchador like he has five heads.
TAL: Okay, my gear guy is the best in the biz.
The clarification removes a few of the heads that GBJ is looking at TAL like he has. After all, this guy doesn’t SOUND Australian. Still, better to be thorough.
GBJ: So your gear guy makes masks, too, eh? Sounds like a one-stop shop. Any chance you could hook me up?
TAL: I could, but uh, the whole Derelicte-chic thing you got going is so you. Like, I wouldn’t dream of seeing you in anything but… well, not in that…
The old luchador points to Johnny’s lack of clothing outside of his underwear.
TAL: But like, y’know, the tattered rags? That works for you!
Garbage Bag Johnny turns to the side, stroking his beard as he delivers somewhat of a soliloquy. However, since this isn’t a play, his external monolog is audible to those around him.
GBJ: Think of all the things you could do if you just had a mask, Johnny. You could infiltrate that group of superheroes and get your rum back. You could distract everyone’s attention away from your near-nudity. They’ll all be too busy looking at the mask. Hell, is this Anglo guy even wearing pants? I have no idea. You gotta convince this guy to give you a lead on a mask.
Garbage Bag breaks from his side conversation with himself and refocuses on The Anglo Luchador.
GBJ: How about that? You are wearing pants. Anyway, maybe your gear guy has some extra tattered rags? Or I could probably scrounge up some regular rags if your guy could tatter them for me.
The old luchador gives some facsimile of That Famous Eyebrow That One Wrestler-Turned-Actor Does, You Know The One. You have to take my word for it because he’s wearing a mask, but he’s really doing it.
TAL: What’s your game, Johnny boy? Are you trying to get into my head with tactics by grilling my gearmaker? Because lemme tell ya, bud, I fell for that once in Toluca before the GCLL Aniversario del Oro Show in 2006. Never again.
Johnny looks on, puzzled.
TAL: GCLL? Gran Consejo de Lucha Libre? Third oldest lucha libre company in Mexico? You know what, forget it, I’m onto you, Garbage Man.
GBJ launches into a brief and aside with himself again.
GBJ: Yep. Definitely Australian. I know how to handle this.
GBJ: You know what, mate? I may have a roo loose in the top paddock, but you’re the one carrying on like a pork chop. You don’t have to tell me where you get your gear. That’s fine. There must be loads of gear guys in a party town like this. I’ll find my own guy.
TAL: Did you land on your head? I haven’t heard someone speak that much gibberish since… oh no, you think I’m Australian, don’t you?
The old luchador’s eyes lock onto Johnny.
TAL: I thought I only had to beat you to save lucha libre here in America. Now it’s clear. I have to avenge this SLANDER. Good day to you, sir.
The Anglo Luchador walks off in a huff, leaving Johnny behind. Johnny waits until The Anglo Luchador is out of earshot before flipping the casino chip in the air and catching it.
GBJ: That guy seems pretty determined. Maybe I’ll bet it all on him to win his next match.
Garbage Bag tries to enter the MGM Grand, but he’s quickly stopped by a security guard who stops him from entering the venue in nothing but his tighty whities. The camera cuts back to inside the arena.
Why Are You Here?
We join Ria Nightshade, sitting at the counter of the Lobby Bar. There’s already four empty shot glasses in front of her and she’s taking a swig from a bottle of Yuengling. EVP of Talent Strategy and Development, Matt Ward walks up and stands to the right of the seated Ria. He tries to wait patiently, but after a minute of Ria not acknowledging him, he coughs to get her attention. Ria’s eyes dart to the right before her head snaps in that direction.
Ria Nightshade: Well if it isn’t my favorite whatever your job is! Hi Matt!
Matt lets out an annoyed sigh.
Matt Ward: I’m sure you know why I’m here, Ria.
Ria Nightshade: But do you know why I’m here?
Matt glares at Ria for a second before shaking his head.
Matt Ward: You know, there are people that weren’t exactly impressed with your conduct at the press conference. It was unprofessional and rude. There was even talk that maybe you should be fined or suspended.
Ria takes another drink and shrugs her shoulders.
Ria Nightshade: I really don’t give a shit. Do whatever.
Matt rolls his eyes.
Matt Ward: It was decided that while those things were true, you did create a certain kind of buzz. You won’t face any disciplinary action. That being said, it’d be wise if you’d put forth more of an effort to act professionally in a press setting. Acting like a jackass in the ring is one thing….outside of it is another.
Ria tilts her head and gives Matt a sarcastic smile.
Ria Nightshade: Wow, thanks Matt! You’re the best principal ever!
Matt closes his eyes and rubs his temples with his thumb and forefinger.
Matt Ward: I’m not sure why I wasted my time here.
Ria Nightshade: Me either! Now could you go away? I’m conducting important business here!
Matt Ward: Getting drunk is not important business.
Ria Nightshade: If you do it right, it is! Now make like a fly and smash into the windshield of an oncoming car.
Matt rolls his eyes and walk away, shaking his head. As he does, Ria finishes her beer before ordering another one.
The scene opens to a recorded interview, two gray leather chairs situated on the right and another on the left. There’s a PRIME logo backdrop in the background, surrounded by dim blue lights. Interviewer Matt Mills walks into the picture. He takes a seat on the single chair. He’s dressed in a black suit with a white dress shirt and sharp blue tie…this is probably the most dressed-up he’s ever been in his entire life. Revealing a clipboard in his right hand, Mills looks over his notes and jots down a couple more. Momentarily, he’s joined by Jonathan-Christopher Hall and his Amazing Life Partner, Vickie. Jonathan-Christopher is dressed in a purple and pink tuxedo and Vickie, a hot pink dress with a fluffy white shirt and even louder pink stockings. To the average fashion designer, Jonathan-Christopher looks rather sharp, perhaps over-dressed for the occasion. Vickie’s fashion sense, however, would not be met with critical acclaim.
Either way, Jonathan-Christopher and Vickie find their seats across from Matt Mills. Almost immediately, their demeanor intensifies. They are entirely different people than they were two weeks ago. Jonathan-Christopher can barely find his surroundings. His head is in his hands and when he’s able to look up, his eyes are bloodshot. Vickie, meanwhile, looks like she hasn’t slept since ReVival #1. She has dark bags under her eyes, her body language suggests she’s barely able to rest in her chair. Regardless, the interviewer greets them.
Matt Mills: Jonathan-Christopher, Vickie, thank you for joining me.
Neither Hall says a word. Vickie stares at the floor.
Matt Mills: Jonathan-Christopher, a very tough match for you on ReVival. You took Brandon Youngblood to the limit but you were unsucces-
Mills’ voice trails as Jonathan-Christopher tightens the grip on his face and starts sobbing uncontrollably. Vickie’s eyes shoot up from the carpet, throwing darts towards Matt’s direction.
Vickie Hall: Why would you remind him of his loss?
Matt attempts to explain himself but the situation has already deteriorated.
Vickie Hall: My honey bunches hasn’t been able to sleep in two weeks!
Jonathan-Christopher keeps crying profusely as Vickie continues.
Vickie Hall: But it’s not his fault he lost. Why would PRIME put my dear Jonathan-Christopher in this position? Jonathan-Christopher is a new wrestler. Jonathan-Christopher is a divine talent and a wonderful man. To face the #1 seed in Bran- do- n-… his name does not matter but to face someone with legitimate history behind himself… it’s wrong, Mr. Mills. Just plain wrong.
Vickie pauses to hold back her own sniffles.
Vickie Hall: We don’t enjoy being taken advantage of. It’s extremely poor management to allow a rookie finding his feet to face a monster such as Bran- Bra- Brand- Brando- I, I can’t.
Finally, she cracks as a tear rolls down her face. However, Jonathan-Christopher is the one who needs real TLC, so Vickie caresses his back with her right palm.
Vickie Hall: Mr. Mills, this feels like a dog and pony show. I can only imagine who has been hired to work here and the awful experience you’re under, too.
Mills is trying to respond but Vickie continues to steamroll him.
Vickie Hall: We wanted to show PRIME true love exists and a Hallmark Journey is possible for two people whose souls belong to each other.
Jonathan-Christopher nods while continuing to cry. Vickie turns to her ALP.
Vickie Hall: Awwww honey, it’s okay, let it out.
And Jonathan-Christopher does. Loudly.
Vickie rubs The Tender Tiger’s back some more. She turns her gaze back to Matt Mills.
Vickie Hall: No one understands us. We cannot go on here if this is the type of leadership in PRIME. The overweight, ugly sloths wrestling on an in-and-out basis also terrify us. Jonathan-Christopher’s opponent was obese, in definite need of liposuction. He was gross and ugly to touch, wasn’t he honey?
Jonathan-Christopher nods like a little boy being told by his mommy to own up to something.
Vickie Hall: That’s right, you tell the nice man.
Mills, again, tries to intervene. Obviously Brandon Youngblood is nowhere near the physical definition Vickie says he is but it doesn’t matter. There’s no getting in the way of her diatribe.
Vickie Hall: We were going straight to the top, showing true love exists and now everyone is left with a broken dream because Jonathan-Christopher lost.
The Dream Boy raises his head from his hands, looking right into Vickie’s eyes. He tries to speak but he’s sobbing so much.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: I- I- I’m so- sorrrrrryyyyyyyy.
Jonathan-Christopher can’t do it. He goes back to crying. His body is shaking, he’s an absolute mess.
Vickie Hall: It’s okay, my love.
Vickie brushes her hair back and stands from her chair.
Vickie Hall: Mr. Mills, we are leaving now. The journey is over.
Vickie convinces Jonathan-Christopher to rise from his chair. He leans down, pushing his face into her chest as she continues to coddle him. The two walk off-set.
Vickie Hall: (heard off-camera) Maybe they’ll allow lovers like us in Classic…
Matt Mills blinks a few times into the hard camera before the scene ends.
7 Larry Tact vs. 10 Nicholas Pfefferman
Nick Stuart: Alright folks, up next we have a meeting of the scientific minds so to speak. Larry Tact and Nicholas Pfefferman both have a good mat-based offense.
Richard Parker: That’s “Mr. Pfefferman” to you! But yeah, Tact and Pfefferman both have a similar background, but Larry Tact will look to work the power game more here I think.
“Reaper” by Frankie and the Witch Fingers begins to play and the PRIMEates let out a loud boo.
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, hailing from Colorado Springs, Colorado and weighing in at two hundred and thirty three pounds, NICHOLAS PFEFFEEEEERMAN!!
Nicholas Pfefferman makes his way to the ring, all business as he moves. As he gets to ringside, a security staff member asks him if he’s sure he wants to do this. Pfefferman ignores him and enters the ring, ready to go.
Nick Stuart: It looks like Mr. Pfefferman is sure he wants to compete tonight.
Richard Parker: Of course he is! He’s a natural born competitor, Nick!
“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 center stage where Larry Tact stands. He 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.
Vince Howard: And his opponent, hailing from Manhattan, New York and weighing in at two hundred and sixty pounds, LARRRRY TAAACT!!
As he walks, Larry critiques some fans at ringside with petty insults before arriving to the ring, glaring at his opposition. 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.
The referee looks right at Pfefferman and asks again if he’s absolutely sure he wants to do this and Pfefferman glares at him, clearly becoming agitated with all this questioning.
Nick Stuart: Here we go!
The bell sounds and both Tact and Pfefferman begin to circle. They step in and tie up, with Tact hitting a quick duck under, immediately lifting Pfefferman up and dropping him flat onto his stomach. Tact quickly transitions to a grounded side headlock before switching to a grounded hammerlock.
Pfefferman sits out and hits a switch, reversing into a hammerlock of his own, but Tact instantly hits a switch of his own and snatches Pfefferman around the waist, lifting him up and bringing him over with a gut wrench suplex and Pfefferman powders to the outside!
Nick Stuart: Tact starting off strong here, showing his mat skills. That was a great exchange, but Pfefferman was just a hair too slow on the exchange.
Richard Parker: Mr. Pfefferman is just getting warmed up!
Pfefferman slowly pulls himself back into the ring and the two men circle and lock up again. This time, Pfefferman snatches an arm and twists into an arm ringer, clearly pleased with himself. However, Tact almost instantly reverses the hold and pulls Pfefferman in, lifting him up and driving him down hard with a spinebuster!
Nick Stuart: Big move by Tact! He covers!
Pfefferman kicks out just at two and Tact immediately brings him back to his feet. And delivers a chop to Pfefferman’s chest. Pfefferman quickly responds by dropping down and picking an ankle, taking Tact down, but Tact quickly turns the tables again and Pfefferman gets rolled up!
Pfefferman kicks out again and immediately rolls out of the ring, slapping the apron red-faced and angry. He starts shouting up at the referee, the camera picking something up about basic arithmetic.
Nick Stuart: That was a close one early!
Richard Parker: No way, Nick. It’s way too early. I think Pfefferman is questioning the referee’s ability to count!
Pfefferman again climbs into the ring and the two circle, they step in to tie up again, but this time, Pfefferman steps in and fires a European uppercut to the jaw of Tact! Tact rocks back and Pfefferman steps in and fires another European to Tact’s jaw. Mr. Pfefferman steps in and snags a headlock and takes Tact over and to the mat, grinding his head as he does.
Richard Parker: Here we go! Now Mr. Pfefferman is gonna show what he can do!
Tact gets his arms up into Pfefferman’s face and forces him back, bringing his legs up and snagging Pfefferman into a head scissors! Pfefferman wildly fights his way out and comes to a standing position right away and rushes in, but Tact sidesteps and drops him with a drop toehold. Pfefferman slaps the mat and rolls away again!
Nick Stuart: Up to this point, Larry Tact has absolutely outwrestled Nicholas Pfefferman tonight. Pfefferman is going to need to figure something out soon.
Pfefferman charges in and drops his level, hitting a double leg takedown, taking Tact by surprise! Tact tries to immediately turn to his stomach, but Pfefferman grabs a handful of tights and stops him mid-turn, pulling him into a gut wrench and rolling into a pinning combination!
Nick Stuart: Oh! Pfefferman used the tights for leverage!
The referee is in position!
Tact shoulders out! Pfefferman throws a crossface and grabs a cradle, rolling back into a pin!
Richard Parker: Great transition!
Tact kicks out again! Pfefferman transitions to a front facelock and throws a half-nelson and turns into another pin attempt! Referee is in position!
Nick Stuart: Larry Tact is showing his resilience here!
Richard Parker: And Mr. Pfefferman is just as resilient throwing hold after hold!
Pfefferman is completely red faced and shouting at the referee while holding up three fingers. But, he gives Tact too much time to recover! Tact rushes up behind Pfefferman and hoists him up into a torture rack!
Nick Stuart: Oh! Tact from behind has that rack hooked on!
Pfefferman shouts out in anguish as Tact cranks on the hold before spinning Pfefferman out and driving him to the mat with a spin out powerbomb!
Richard Parker: Tactilizer! Now that is a show of strength!
Tact makes a cover and the referee dives into position!
Pfefferman kicks out just in the nick of time! Tact stays on him and delivers a boot to Pfefferman. He brings him to his feet and sends him right back down with a jumping knee lift! Tact moves in and snags Pfefferman by the chin and pulls him back into a standing camel clutch!
Nick Stuart: Larry’s Throne! He’s got it hooked in good!
Pfefferman comes alive with pain and tries to fight out, but Tact keeps cranking back!
Richard Parker: Look at Mr. Pfefferman fight!
Pfefferman gets his right arm free and scoops Tact’s leg, using the momentum to push backwards and to the side, maneuvering out of the hold and rolling away. He staggers to his feet and turns to meet Tact, who throws a lariat!
But Pfefferman ducks under and grabs Tact by the waist, bringing him up and over with a big German suplex! He bridges for the pin!
Tact kicks out! Pfefferman is quick to keep the pressure on, turning his body and grabbing Tact in a gut wrench position. He executes a Karelin lift and brings Tact up and over with a gut wrench suplex! He pops up and poses for the crowd!
Nick Stuart: Mr. Pfefferman might want to pay attention, because Larry Tact is getting back to his feet!
Tact does indeed stagger to his feet with the help of the ropes and comes up from behind, grabbing a schoolboy and hooking the tights!
Pfefferman kicks out and rolls away, immediately screaming at the referee about a tights pull! The referee shrugs but asks Tact about it, but he only shakes his head no. Pfefferman rushes in, trying to blindside Tact, but Tact catches Pfefferman’s momentum and lifts him up into a power slam position!
Nick Stuart: Tact has him up! Powerslam coming?
Tact runs forward, but Pfefferman slips out behind and drops down, rolling Tact up and grabbing the tights!
Richard Parker: Oh! Roll up!
Pfefferman throws his feet up onto the the ropes for extra leverage!
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Here is your winner, NICHOLAS PFEFFERMAN!!!
Nick Stuart: And Nicholas Pfefferman steals one!
Richard Parker: Hey, they both used some questionable tactics tonight! Mr. Pfefferman just came out on top!
Pfefferman quickly rolls out of the ring before Tact can get his hands on him. He throws his arms into the air in victory and as soon as Jimmy Turnbull meets him on the outside he demands the junior referee lift his arm up again to make it “official!”
Nick Stuart: A disappointing loss for Larry Tact tonight as Nicholas Pfefferman advances to the next round. We’ll be right back after this short commercial break!
Commercial: SHOOT Project
SHOOT PROJECT: 20 YEARS AND GOING STRONG!
I’ll Be Ready
The camera focuses on the door of a room in the MGM Grand Hotel. “152 G” can be seen in gold just below a peephole. The locking mechanism of the door clicks as the door begins to swing open. Solomon Richards emerges from the room wearing a pair of black sweatpants and a gray, sleeveless hoodie. He pulls the hood over his messy blonde curls and turns to pull the door closed. He swings a bag over his shoulder. He begins turns back and begins to walk towards the camera before stopping, facing the audience.
Solomon Richards: Things don’t always go the way we hope in this business. Sometimes you come down to the ring, full of ambition, prepared to take on the world. And you do just that. You take on the entire world.
Solomon adjusts the bag on his shoulder as he begins to make his way to the elevator. He presses the down button and faces to door, waiting for the “ding” to indicate his ride to the ground floor has arrives.
Solomon Richards: I want to make excuses. I want to blame dirty play, ring rust, any number of things. But the bottom line is that I just wasn’t ready. I came out, I made a lot of promises, and I…failed.
The doors slide open and Solomon calmly walks into the elevator. He leans down and presses the “G” button and faces the doors, waiting on them to close.
Solomon Richards: So what happens next? I can go back home, head in hands, and continue on my life like I had never tried to dip my toes back into the water of Professional Wrestling. I could accept that my time in the sun truly has passed and just enjoy the few moments I had in the spotlight. Hang my boots up and accept my position in life.
The lights on the board illuminate with each floor the the elevator passes. As the doors open on the ground floor the bustle of the main floor of the MGM Grand can be heard in the background. Solomon pays no mind to the excitement happening on the floor as he heads towards the desk.
Solomon Richards: I could give up. I could accept that a first round loss is indicative of a career that is far past its prime and that I am nothing more than a “Special Attraction” at an Invitational tournament.
Solomon walks to the desk, sets his bag down on the ground next to him. He leans down, reaches into the side pocket of his bag and pulls out a ratty wallet and sets it down on the desk. Sliding a credit card out he tells the desk clerk that he would like to extend his stay. How long? Indefinitely. He puts his wallet back into his back before hoisting it back up onto his shoulder. He walks through the front doors and hails a Taxi. Just before stepping into the cab he stops and turns back towards the camera.
Solomon Richards: But instead, I think I’ll sign an extension. I’ll train harder, work longer. And next time you see me on a card? I’ll be ready.
Solomon leans down and gets into the cab. He closes the door and he can be seen waving his hands explaining directions to the driver. The camera fades as the cab pulls off and begins to drive out of sight.
The camera cuts to the locker room area where we see possibly the largest man on the PRIME roster to date sitting on a folding chair. The mind boggles, just how sturdy can a steel chair be to hold so much man without snapping? The man in question is none other than “Beautiful” Bobby Dean, as if you didn’t already know, and he is mere moments away from making his in-ring debut for PRIME.
The large man seated on the chair holds what appears to be a plastic tub full of brown protein powder in one hand and a scooper in the other. Without much ado, he proceeds to scoop out a spoonful of powder and shoves it into his large gaping mouth. With the aid of his saliva the large man manages to gulp down the mouthful of protein, before going back in for a second round.
Bobby Dean: If you’re happy and you know it, eat protein.
Bobby Dean: If you’re happy and you know it, eat protein.
All of a sudden a no-named backstage employee rushes to Bobby, startling him as he releases a small cloud of powder from his mouth.
Employee: There you are! Everyone has been waiting for you! You’re supposed to be heading out to the ring by now!
Bobby Dean: Oh no! I was so busy bulking up for my match I didn’t even realize! Wait, did I miss Cancer losing?
Before the no-name employee can answer the large man rises from his seat and frantically shoves the plastic tub to the employee while reaching down and grabbing his nearby robe. He tries again and again to squeeze his arm into the sleeve of the robe as he tears out of the locker room, leaving the employee behind. The employee looks down to the plastic tub and his eyes go wide and his mouth drops open in shock.
The ReVival of Dusk
We cut from Bobby Dean to the sight of Matt Mills, standing with a microphone in his hand and looking ready and apprehensive all at the same time.
Matt Mills: Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my honor to introduce my next guest. He is a two-time Intense Champion… DUSK!
Dusk walks into the frame, ready for his match against Bobby Dean that is only moments away.
Dusk: Glad to see you again, Matt. Long time.
Matt Mills: Yes it has. I just hope you haven’t upset anyone and they’re going to show up here to shoot you.
Dusk: Oh, I don’t have to worry about that. I’ll just move you in front of me and you’ll take the bullet for me.
Matt stares at Dusk, smile removed, and terror present in his eyes. Dusk stares back at Matt, before he gives him a giant smile.
Dusk: Kidding, Matt. Kidding.
Matt Mills: Well, I sure hope so. You make your return to a PRIME ring for the first time in over a decade. Can you describe how you feel tonight?
Dusk takes in a deep breathe and slowly lets it out.
Dusk: You know, the entire day has been all about this build up. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have nerves or butterflies in my stomach. Even after thirty years of doing this, this moment means the most to me in all honesty. Getting back out there, hearing those fans, and feeling my feet inside of a PRIME ring again is surreal. I never thought I would be doing this again, coming back to PRIME or even wrestling again. I’ve thought about this night for quite a while and I can’t believe that it is here.
Matt Mills: That’s great to hear. Having been away from the ring for as long as you have, are you worried at all about how your body is going to handle being back in that ring again? How your mind is prepared for this match?
Dusk: There’s no amount of training, no amount of work, that I can put in that will truly get me ready for being in that ring. I’ve said it at other press conferences and in interviews I’ve given over the past couple of weeks, getting back into the gym and working out as hard as I’ve done these past few months has been nearly defeating. There’s no question about it. My body hasn’t stopped hurting since the first day and while I feel physically ready, I know I’m nowhere close to the man I was before. So I have to think differently, react differently. I’m not the man who could go all out every single night and just trade blows with someone still here. I’ve got to be methodical and patient, because there are a lot of young stars out in the ring now that are more agile, more cunning, then I ever was. So I have to lean on what I have that I know they don’t have.
Matt Mills: For example, your upcoming opponent, Bobby Dean?
Dusk chuckles as he puts his hands on his hips and slowly nods his head.
Dusk: Bobby Dean is unusually unique in the ring. In an industry where so many people care about their physique, Dean goes the complete opposite way. That can present some challenges that I’m not used to. He’s going to use his body in ways that I haven’t experienced in the ring and that means I have to be ready, each and every step of the way. Dean has over a hundred pounds on me. He’s a technically sound wrestler. If I let up for one second, take my eye off the prize for one moment, Dean is going to be all over me and there won’t be any stopping this man.
Matt Mills: Do you see yourself in the second round at the end of this night?
Dusk: You know, Matt, I’m not thinking that far ahead. That’s where you make mistakes and end up falling flat on your face. All my energy is focused on Dean tonight and if I make it past him, then I’ll be focused on my next opponent.
Matt Mills: You are the thirteen seed. Did that rub you the wrong way?
Dusk laughs again.
Dusk: I just took it as Troy playing a joke on me, that’s all. I can’t do anything about it and that doesn’t change anything to me.
Matt Mills: What does winning the Universal Title mean to you?
Dusk: Everything. It means everything.
Matt Mills: Any final words?
Dusk takes a moment to gather himself.
Dusk: Bobby, bring your best. Because I’m bringing my best and I plan on leaving everything I’ve got out in that ring. This is my home. This is where I became who I am today. Just know, I’m not going down without a fight, and I hope you’re ready for one.
With that, Dusk exits the screen, leaving Matt Mills there.
Matt Mills: Well, Dusk will have his work cut out for him in his next match, but he is prepared and laser-focused. Let’s head to the ring!
4 Bobby Dean vs. 13 Dusk
Nick Stuart: We’re ready for the next match of the evening, and boy do we have a good one on tap.
Richard Parker: As I understand it, this is a battle of a crowd favorite and another who could be described as a one man crowd.
‘Stronger’ by Kanye West rips through the MGM Grand Arena as the fans immediately rise to their feet and start to chant.
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
From the backstage area emerges the man himself, Dusk. He stands at the top of the ramp as the fans cheer him on and chant his name. He has on a pair of white pants with black stripes on them with Dusk running down the outside of both legs. He wears a long black trenchcoat as well.
Vince Howard: Introducing the first competitor, from Los Angeles California, standing at 6’4” and weighing in at 225 lbs, he is…DUUUUUUUUSK!!!
He methodically makes his way down the ramp, slapping the hands of fans on his way to the ring, before he slides in under the bottom rope. He makes his way over to one of the ring corners, makes his way up to the middle turnbuckle, and holds his arms out as the fans continue to chant his name
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
He hops off the middle turnbuckle and removes his trenchcoat before handing it over the top rope to a ringside attendant before slamming his forearms into his chest and making his way to his corner of the ring.
Elvis Nixon checks over Dusk quickly and turns his attention to the ramp as “You’re the Best” by Joe “Bean” Esposito hops up into the sound system. A man that has been recently described as “morbidly obese” by more than one family practitioner steps onto the stage.
Vince Howard: And his opponent, from Houston Texas, standing at 6’0” and weighing in at 369 lbs, BEAUTIFUL…BOBBY…DEAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!
Bobby Dean saunters to the ring with all the confidence of a man on his way to a third helping at Golden Corral. He wipes a bead of sweat from his brow and steps between the ropes. Elvis Nixon is there to check over the competitor and call for the bell.
Nick Stuart: This is a contrast of styles ladies and gentlemen. Dusk is a much more technical wrestler, and prefers effective striking to flash. Bobby Dean, on other hand,…is attempting to wield a pastrami sandwich that he produced from his tights with one hand and wipe a gob of spittle with the other.
Richard Parker: Those tights are too tight for my comfort Nick. I don’t know how a sandwich came into this picture, but I really wish I didn’t know it existed.
The bell rings and Dean throws the sandwich into the crowd. A lady in the front row catches most of it and stuffs it down her shirt for safe keeping. Bobby lumbers toward Dusk and they begin to circle one another. Dusk seems to be working out how to attack the land mass in front of him and decides to feign a collar and elbow into a leg strike.
Bobby winces and stumbles forward a little, causing Dusk to flick another leg strike out toward Bobby’s knee. The larger man absorbs the shot and trundles past a side stepping Dusk. Beautiful Bobby turns and slaps his leg and yells “I’ve had blood clots that hurt worse than that!” to an agitated Dusk.
The LA native grabs Bobby and whips him at the ropes.
Nick Stuart: Richard, do you hear what I hear?
Richard Parker: Is Bobby Dean…singing?
Bobby feigns slow motion as he plods toward the ropes one thundering hoofbeat at a time. He is loudly and off key singing the tune to “Chariots of Fire” as he rumbles toward the ropes. Before he hits, he stops and doubles over gasping and grasping toward his pockets. He pulls a small gray device from his pocket and puts it in his mouth before inhaling deeply.
After two puffs from his inhaler, he continues off the ropes and back at Dusk who is standing in the center of the ring tapping his foot on the ground. Dusk shakes his head and makes a business decision to go for the kill shot right here and now. He lines up a superkick, and just as he releases for the extension, grabs his hamstring.
Nick Stuart: Dusk’s conditioning is off tonight! That’s not like the former Intense Champion!
Richard Parker: Six years is a long time, Nick.
Bobby takes advantage of the situation and grabs Dusk by the pants, pulling him close and paintbrushing him across the face with the pack of kielbasa that he calls fingers knocking the former champion briefly senseless. Dean wrangles Dusk by the shoulders and contorts his lip, belching into the smaller man’s face.
Elvis Nixon’s face turns green as he catches a whiff of whatever God-forsaken thing crawled down Dean’s throat and set up residence. Dusk, meanwhile, chokes back a tear. Bobby starts flailing at Dusk, trying to hit the smaller man with looping blows, but Dusk will not hold still long enough to be hit.
Richard Parker: Do you think Bobby Dean and Paula Deen are related?
Nick Stuart: Besides the phonetics, why would you make that connection?
Richard Parker: Well, they both clearly love butter and have a plunging jawline. Plus I always get the feeling that Bobby would make a cracker jack televangelist.
There is a pause as Nick stares at his co-pilot.
Nick Stuart: You know Paula Deen is a TV cook and not a televangelist right?
Richard Parker: Listen Nick, there are a lot of things I don’t know. This shouldn’t be a surprise.
Nick shakes his head slowly.
Bobby has broken well past a sweat at this point and his forehead now resembles a Michael Bay movie where a dam has given way to mounting pressure. He holds up a hand to ask Dusk for a quick breather, but has his hand slapped away and Dusk begins to lay strikes into the larger man’s torso.
Bobby Dean’s stomach begins undulating, pulsating hypnotically as Dusk lays blow after blow into the doughy rolls that hang out of his TJ Maxx style wrestling trunks that are pulled up too high and are too tight. Bobby begins to chuckle and looks down, obviously impressed by the movement of his midsection.
Nick Stuart: These blows only appear to be egging Bobby on!
Richard Parker: I don’t want to stare, but I can’t look away!
Dusk reaches back and lays a chop into Bobby’s pendulous breasts. They writhe like a camel with a pair of saggy humps at full gallop, and BD laughs at the absurdity of his own corpulence. The former Champ is obviously getting frustrated and looks down at his own hands as if to think “did I lose it?” before shaking the doubt loose and running at the ropes for momentum.
The PRIMEmates start to chant DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! As he rushes at Bobby with a full head of steam and hits Bobby across the jowls with a forearm smash.
Richard Parker: That one got Bobby’s attention!
Dusk runs off the ropes once again and launches another dramatic forearm smash, this one teeters the big man. As Bobby flails his arms around in wide circles ala a cartoon character, Dusk comes off the ropes a third time leaping at the last moment and catching BD in the mush with a running knee strike. Bobby wobbles back and forth wildly, but just will not go down.
Dusk walks back a few steps, holds up his hands as if zeroing in on his target, and launches into a crescendo of a Super-Kick. The impact and sound of Bobby’s mouth snapping shut as he gasped for breath sounds like a dumpster lid being slammed shut. BD falters backwards and falls over, landing with a meteoric thud on the canvas. The former Intense Champion is quick with a cover and Elvis Nixon is quick to a count.
Bobby reaches out and grabs the lower rope, breaking the count. Dusk cannot believe he made such a rookie error and looks to be quite flustered. He gets off Bobby and grabs his feet to drag him to the center of the ring for a proper pin, but Bobby will not have it as he holds the rope with all his waning strength.
Bobby locks his fingers in one another around the rope and refuses to let go. Dusk reaches for “Beautiful’s” hands and tries to pry them loose, but years of death grips on hot dogs have made for an opponent Dusk cannot best. The former champion sits on his haunches and shakes his head angrily, upset that Dean will not stop being himself. Finally he seems to have an idea and rolls under the bottom rope and toward the crowd. They cheer as he climbs the rail and beelines it to a concession stand.
Elvis Nixon: ONE! TWO! THREE!…
The count goes on as Dusk runs back with a huge plate of Nachos in his hand.
Elvis Nixon: SIX! SEVE…
Dusk slides under the rope and walks to the center of the ring, wafting the spicy cheese goodness through the air as he does. Bobby’s nose begins to dance with delight and he lets go of the ropes. He seems to float through the air like Tom and Jerry smelling a pie and as he gets to the center of the ring, Dusk takes advantage of his opponent’s head and neck extension to lock in a front lock with Bobby’s arm trapped.
Nick Stuart: We’re about to see it folks!
Quick as he ever was, Dusk rolls and drags the bigger man, positioning Bobby on his back with his head on Dusk’s stomach. The former champion walks his body in and begins to apply pressure to Bobby’s neck.
Nick Stuart: Anaconda Choke!
Bobby rapidly taps out and Dusk releases the hold. The bell rings and Elvis Nixon holds up the victor’s hand while “Stronger” by Kanye West blasts once again and the fans pop to their feet.
Vince Howard: And your winner…DUUUUUUUUUSK!!!!!
Dusk rolls out of the ring and heads up the ramp while Bobby lays in the center of the ring with a small pool of sweat rapidly forming around his supine body.
Nick Stuart: Well there you have it, Dusk advances and Bobby Dean falls victim to a plate of nachos. We’re going to take a quick commercial break and then we’ll be right back!
Commercial: Missouri Valley Wrestling
THE ACTION IS HEATING UP IN THE NATION’S HEARTLAND! DON’T MISS A MINUTE OF MISSOURI VALLEY WRESTLING!
“Hayes Hanlon” Sounds Like a Spider-Man Character
At the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, there’s no shortage of glamorous dressing rooms, expensive suites, or lavish cafeterias for members of the PRIME roster to meet, greet, or brawl.
On this particular night, Cecilia Ryan has chosen the parking lot.
The Murder Daughter stands with her arms crossed outside the rear entrance to the building, a short cut jacket over her tank top. She’s quiet, stoic, but a little agitated.
The next addition to the scene won’t be an improvement.
“Event Horizon,” Hayes Hanlon emerges from a white Audi, closing the door behind him. He spins his key-ring around his finger and adjusts the cuffs of a black button-down as he walks toward the rear entrance, only to notice the brooding Cecilia Ryan.
And looks around for another entrance.
Ryan rolls her eyes and releases an annoyed sigh while Hayes collects himself, taking a step forward.
Hayes Hanlon: You know, it’s been two weeks and my elbow still hurts like hell.
Cecilia Ryan: And if you’re gonna start bragging, I’ll gladly make the other one match.
Hayes Hanlon (hands up in defense): No bragging. It was a great match. Almost had me tapping out in my debut.
He extends a hand. Cecilia raises an eyebrow.
Cecilia Ryan: I almost broke your fucking arm. Don’t come at me with that “great match” bullshit. You were saved by the ropes, pretty boy.
The Event Horizon smirks behind his dark mustache.
Hayes Hanlon: Is that why you’re hanging out here? Wanted the chance to tell me how you really feel?
Cecilia Ryan: Don’t flatter yourself. (She motions her chin over his shoulder.) Waiting for someone.
Confused, Hayes tilts his head, then looks over his shoulder to see none other than “The Ego Buster,” Dan Ryan, all 300 pounds of him walking toward the two.
Hayes Hanlon: Oh shiii…Mr. Ryan! I’m Hayes Hanlon. Big fan of your work…
Hayes turns and extends a hand to The Ego Buster, who pauses his stride and looks him up and down in confusion. After a moment he regains his composure.
Dan Ryan: You’re the new guy, right? The one that beat my daughter last week?
Hayes Hanlon: Ah, yes sir. I’m that gu…
Ryan cuts him off, leaning in to whisper.
Dan Ryan: Mind if I give you a little advice?
Hayes Hanlon: I’m all ears.
Dan Ryan: Okay, here’s my advice. Fuck off, kid.
After a moment of stunned pause, Hayes concedes with a small grin.
Hayes Hanlon: And here I was hoping for your autograph.
He turns, making way for the entrance, addressing Cecilia before he disappears into the building.
Hayes Hanlon: Seems like a nice guy.
She glares at him as he walks away, then finally turns and looks up at her father, who raises an eyebrow.
Dan Ryan: So nice of you to meet me out in the parking lot, although inside at catering would have done fine.
Cecilia Ryan: I can’t spend another minute in there. Everyone partying, drinking…. I’m not even 21 yet, dad. They won’t let me on the casino floor. Some uppity bitch asked me if I was looking for my parents.
Dan chuckles a bit.
Cecilia Ryan: I’m so happy I could amuse you. I had him! He was beat! I should have won!
He looks down at his daughter, her arms crossed and obviously flustered. He half expected her to stomp her feet.
Dan Ryan: First of all…
He holds a finger out in her face.
Dan Ryan: You need to calm down.
Her eyes go wide in shock.
Cecilia Ryan: I need to ‘calm down’? You’re telling me I need to calm down? You? The man who lost his temper and turned on his own sister-in-law for a championship? The man who broke into Andy Murray’s dressing room, broke his leg and actually threw him off a balcony to the ground? That guy is telling me to calm down.
Dan Ryan: Look, first of all, Andy Murray deserved it. He’s an asshole, and your aunt is um… kinda running things here so maybe let’s not talk about that part. The point I’m making is, you just got started. I gotta be honest with you, Ceese. Most people fall flat on their face in their first match.
She seems a little comforted by this.
Cecilia Ryan: Really? Did you?
He blinks once or twice, staring at her.
Dan Ryan: Actually, no. I didn’t lose for like, my first six months in the business.
Cecilia Ryan: And when you lost your first match?
He stares at her some more, hesitant.
Dan Ryan: I destroyed a hotel room.
She rolls her eyes.
Cecilia Ryan: Gee, thanks for the pep talk, dad. Really helpful.
She turns to start walking toward the arena entrance, and he follows, wrapping a massive arm around her shoulders.
Dan Ryan: You’re gonna be fine. I just want you to keep some perspective, that’s all. You’re just getting started, but you’re well-trained. You know your stuff. That kid who was just out here was impressed, but you were too busy sucking on your binky feeling sorry for yourself to notice.
She sighs again.
Cecilia Ryan: I know. I know, you’re right.
She takes a deep breath.
Dan Ryan: Good. Listening to me is the first step to greatness.
Cecilia Ryan: Corny, dad. That’s real corny.
He opens the door as they reach their destination and holds it there for her to enter, the light of the arena shining out into the darkness.
Dan Ryan: You have so much of your mom and your aunt in you.
She smiles at this, proud.
Cecilia Ryan: Thanks. And I’ll make sure not to bring up that whole betrayal thing with Aunt Lindz.
Dan looks around quickly and shuffles her in through the door opening.
Dan Ryan: I said we don’t talk about that….
Then lets the door shut behind him.
Unite. Commune. Transcend
Sweeping shots of lush meadows and blue skies. Settling on a sprawling country estate, daylight bathes the grounds in majestic splendor, a snapshot of Heaven. Figures below dart back and forth, tossing a frisbee between them, while another throng of visitors stretches across a rainbow array of yoga mats. Tourists stream into the arching front gate, their guide barking out soundlessly from afar.
Wyatt Manor, remodeled, transformed into a bastion of new age ambience, a destination for self-discovery and community. Gone is the rear courtyard of blasphemous idols, the army of black-robed disciples and sneering security patrol. The Sect of Black Wisdom’s influence has dissolved and the trappings of MESSIAH International animate this once menacing demesne.
Swinging around and descending, closing in up a freshly paved driveway to the mansion approach, a lone host opens his arms in greeting. Julian Bathory, suave in a grey three-piece suit, smiles disarmingly. He steps forward, a title card appearing as he advances.
Executive Director, MESSIAH International
Julian Bathory: The world feels increasingly complicated, doesn’t it? Every day we wake up to a media frenzy that threatens to overwhelm us. A constant deluge of disasters and international conflicts, warnings about the dangers growing in our environment, impending financial doom. It can be enough to drive a person mad.
Static. Audio miscues, nothing to worry about. Focus on the idyllic landscape, the tranquility, the birds. Settle in on cultivating your inner self and finding transcendence. Breathe.
Julian Bathory: Helping you achieve and maintain peace of mind is what we strive to accomplish here at MESSIAH International and our associates. Divesting our members of their fears and misgivings, overcoming personal crisis to find and strengthen their core spirit. And at the root of that fulfillment is community. Human beings are social animals and we aim to set you in the best state you can be through cultivating communal energy. Once you’re settled into one of our programs, the healing can begin. Welcome to your divine journey. Welcome to transcendence, the MESSIAH way.
Production hiccups. Laugh it off and let’s move along. Breathe.
Meet Carrie Ness. Thirty-six years old, housewife. Jet black hair, brown eyes and skin the color of cream. Nestled back on a couch with a steaming cup of tea. Behind her, distant in the kitchen, her husband dries a stack of plates following dinner, a gentle melody playing on the radio.
Carrie Ness: I was feeling lost and isolated. Depression was building up. Therapy and prescription drugs simply weren’t pulling me out of it, no matter how hard I tried. I turned to alcohol, neglected my duties as a mother and wife. But one day I found a card in the mailbox with a website stamped on it, inviting me to check it out. The card was my entrance into the community of MESSIAH. Since then I’ve made a lot of new friends and gotten involved in new projects. Crafts, exercise, a book club. I feel like I’ve really found something that was missing from my life and never even knew it!
She turns, looks back at her husband with a jovial grin.
Carrie Ness: Someday I hope Barry will join me on a retreat. He could use the escape from his job. Ugh, it’s soooo draining on him. He’s been paranoid and thinks someone is after him. I think MESSIAH is just the medicine he needs!
Oh, these odd little bits of interference. It might be a prank. Maybe data files mixed up.
Bathory enters the frame again, this time walking down the corridor of a small museum or trophy room. Portraits and landscape art line the walls, curious relics and writings enshrined in display cases. He pauses, faces the camera with a warm smile. Flanking his right, encased in glass and situated on a shelf, is the stone he used to strike Genie Carlson. A smear of her blood stains its otherwise polished sheen. To his left is another exhibit case, this one hollow, its rest yet unoccupied. A placard scratched -Hayes Hanlon- is set below the display, as if awaiting its appointed trophy.
Julian Bathory: Hayes Hanlon, first allow me to congratulate you on your victory. Let us honor the memory of Seymour Almasy through the spirit of competition, as he rightfully deserves. I’m only sorry that your journey must end there and, in advance, duly apologize for what I have to do between bells. However I take heart in believing that you will, in due time, come to embrace the grandeur of the cosmos. There’s always a spot for the willing under the MESSIAH banner.
A sly wink and subtle glance at the case.
Julian Bathory: Now I can’t say that I can read destiny. But the portents, I fear, affirm a quite terrible doom for you, Hayes. Alas I’m only an instrument and a harbinger, come to enact that as the fates weave.
The image distorts for a moment, a discordant hum stretching through an uncomfortably long beat. Another smile, this one flashing more teeth than previous. There’s nothing devious to it, no matter what you may think you’re perceiving. And I assure you the paintings at his back haven’t actually changed and there certainly isn’t an essence of violence to them now. I warned you of what stress can do, didn’t I?
Return to Carrie Ness, smiling warmly as she sips her tea, thumbing through a booklet imprinted with the crowned, silver M of MESSIAH. Ignore that shadow slithering against the back wall, it’s a trick of the light, a misplaced piece of rigging equipment. Loose and unbound cables appear to writhe like tentacles sometimes, no matter at all.
Barry turns his head, glazed eyes lingering on the camera. The angle and lighting are at fault here, it’s ridiculous to think for a moment that his head has turned completely around. Or that his protruding tongue is actually that long.
Just ignore it. You’re tired and need a rest. How about some tea?
Unite. Commune. Transcend. MESSIAH International can guide you to a better you. New locations are opening now across the globe.
The logo is normal. There are no glaring eyes embedded there, gazing into your soul. You need to relax. Close your eyes, let it all in, and breathe.
2 Anna Daniels vs. 15 Nathan Filmix
Nick Stuart: We’re halfway there, partner! Four matches down in the first round of the Lisieux bracket, four to go, and next up, this should be an exciting match between rookie and veteran!
Richard Parker: If they’re both new to PRIME, can you really call either of them a veteran?
Nick Stuart: There’s an entire world out there beyond PRIME Wrestling, Richard, and we’d be foolish to pretend it wasn’t there.
Richard Parker: There’s an entire world outside this arena, too, Nick – and it’s got showgirls and slot machines. And you just told me we’re only halfway through the night.
A buzz falls over the crowd as the bell rings, and two figures walk out from the back to the sounds of silence.
Richard Parker: But I can wait a bit to see this guy work.
Nick Stuart: ‘The Wrestling Junkie’ Nathan Filmix is making his PRIME debut here tonight, and we nearly had an incident at the meet and greet, Richard!
Richard Parker: He’s focused on the wrestling, Nick! He and his trainer Hark know what matters, and all that jazz-hands mumbo jumbo is a distraction.
Nick Stuart: Says the man who wants to get outta here to hit the floor.
Richard Parker: Says the man who’s glad to see another slice of beefcake that won’t be competition for evening companionship.
Having done little to endear themselves to the PRIMEates, those fans closest to the entrance aisle and ringside are trying their best to throw Hark and Filmix off their game with taunts and shouts. Hark answers a few of the louder ones, but to Fillmix’ credit, his eyes never leave the ring.
Nick Stuart: He’s ready, Richard!
Richard Parker: I think that’s the only setting he’s got, Nick!
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 PRIMEView 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.
Richard Parker: This chick gives me the creeps.
Nick Stuart: She can hear you, Richard!
Richard Parker: Can she?
Nick Stuart: Would you be surprised?
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 homeplanet–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.
Richard Parker: See, this is what Filmix is against – all this needless razzle dazzle.
Nick Stuart: Did you really just say ‘razzle dazzle’?
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: Talk about a match between opposites! Nathan Filmix is clearly here to wrestle whatever opponent is in front of him, and Anna Daniels is trying to get inside his head and throw him off his game! But will it work?
Richard Parker: Wrestling.
Nick Stuart: Huh?
Richard Parker: Exactly.
Nick Stuart: There’s the bell and Anna Daniels is all over Nathan Filmix!
Richard Parker: Foul! She jumped him before it rang!
Nick Stuart: It might’ve been close, but the match was officially on! Forearms to the back of the head She drops an elbow into Filmix’ spine at the neck! Daniels backs off, and a kick to the back of the knee drops Filmix down!
The camera zooms in on Daniels’ face – her eyes dart left and right for the briefest of moments before she runs at Filmix, with a knee aimed at the back of his head!
Nick Stuart: Filmix moves!
Richard Parker: All that training gives you the ring awareness of a GOD, Nick!
Daniels sees him move, too late to stop her own momentum. She catches herself on the top rope in the corner, her knee grazing the middle turnbuckle. Filmix moves in behind with a snap belly to back suplex, sending the Muse hard to the mat, neck first!
Nick Stuart: Filmix has nearly a hundred pounds on Daniels, he could really do some damage if he keeps that up!
Filmix stays on her, pulling her to her feet and locking in a tight headlock. Referee Ashley Barlow is on the spot, checking to see that he’s not choking his opponent. Forearm to the side by Anna Daniels! Another! Filmix grinds that headlock even tighter and drives a knee to her face! A second! And a third, followed up with a takedown!
Richard Parker: They call him the wrestling junkie, and he’s showing his ring awareness!
Nick Stuart: I wouldn’t count Anna Daniels out just yet, Richard.
Richard Parker: Who?
In between the referee asking Daniels if she wants to quit – she does not, thank you very much – the camera continually cuts to Nathan Filmix himself. He has a stoic, almost blank look on his face, which tells the audience that he does not feel any certain way about his opponent – his mission is to wrestle to a victory, no more and no less.
Nobody told Anna Daniels, however, as she is able to roll him over to a pinning combo! ONE… TWO… Filmix rolls back over to his advantageous position!
Nick Stuart: Speaking of ring awareness!
Richard Parker: What? She knows how to roll. I think I’ll wet my pants.
Daniels rolls Filmix up again, and garners another two count!
Richard Parker: Hey Ashley, check her! I think she’s dead!
Nick Stuart: Anna Daniels has stopped moving after the last attempt at a pin, but I don’t think she’s… dead, Richard!
Richard Parker: But you don’t know for sure now, do you?
Out of nowhere, Anna Daniels reaches up and hooks Nathan Filmix around the neck with her legs! She locks her feet at the ankles and pulls back!
Nick Stuart: Now this is good strategy, and one you really only see from smaller athletes who aren’t carrying as much weight on them!
Richard Parker: Just make sure Barlow is checking Daniels’ hold as thoroughly as she was checking Filmix’s!
She is, and she finds nothing out of bounds with it. The Muse’s leglock is no choke, but she is using her powerful lower limbs to bend the Junkie’s head backwards at the neck. Filmix attempts to cinch his hold in tighter, but doing so allows Daniels to reach up and use her free arm to add leverage on his chin, both keeping her far shoulder off the mat and forcing his neck back even farther from his body!
Finally he breaks the hold and rolls with her momentum, disentangling himself from Daniel’s hold as well and stopping on his knees! He runs at her with murderous intent!
Nick Stuart: Palm thrust to the lower abdomen, Filmix is doubled over!
Richard Parker: EXTREMELY lower abdomen!
Nick Stuart: DDT!
Daniels rolls him over and hooks a leg!
Nick Stuart: Nathan Filmix rolls under the bottom rope to the outside, and he’s communing with his trainer!
Richard Parker: This is a smart move on his part. Daniels has the momentum, slow her role and retake control.
Nick Stuart: I have to say, however – this is the difference between sparring and wrestling! When you’re training, your opponent’s goal is to help you improve, but now – against Anna Daniels – her goal is to win!
The Junkie paces in a small line while Hark talks him down – he may be more rattled from Daniels’ sudden onslaught than he originally thought. In the ring, referee Barlow’s count is at four while the Muse relocates back to the top turnbuckle, in no hurry to continue.
Nick Stuart: Filmix had best figure this out quickly, however, as the count is halfway over!
Finally, Hark seems to get him centered and focused, and the Wrestling Junkie steps back onto the ring apron and reenters between the top and middle rope.
And he waits.
Nick Stuart: Barlow is out of the way, and Anna Daniels drops back to the canvas to resume this match, but Nathan Filmix is just waiting near the turnbuckle!
Richard Parker: A good wrestler is never in a hurry, Nick! Daniels got the jump on him at the start, but now he’s ready and he knows how to set the pace.
Despite being nowhere near the time limit, Anna Daniels does not intend to go to a draw, or to feel rushed herself – and she steps forward to lock up with the Junkie. Collar and elbow, and he shoves her backwards into the mat!
Nick Stuart: Power from Nathan Filmix! He’s not an overpoweringly huge man, but he’s built for this sport!
Filmix steps out now, removing all space between himself and his opponent. He pulls Daniels to her feet and puts her right back down with a uranage! Cover!
The Muse rolls through and scrambles to her feet with the ropes as a helper, but Filmix is right on her! Kick to the midsection! Another – HE CATCHES HER FOOT!
Nick Stuart: Dragon screw by Filmix! He’s got an ankle lock cinched in!
Richard Parker: This has to be it. Daniels isn’t near the ropes and I don’t think she can reverse this one with a hold of her own.
Even as Ashley Barlow is in position to get a submission again, Anna Daniels isn’t paying the slightest bit of attention to her. She’s trying her best to reach for the ropes – and while she can move herself a few inches in any direction, the progress is immediately countered with Filmix pulling her back.
Richard Parker: The chick just closed her eyes, I think she’s passed out. Just ring it, already!
Barlow raises her hand once. It drops.
Filmix leans over to get a better look at his downed opponent–HEEL KICK TO THE FACE!
Nick Stuart: She suckered him in, is that why they call her the Muse?
Richard Parker: I don’t think that means what you think it means.
The heel kick to the face was enough to loosen Filmix’s grip, and a straight shot to his mouth breaks the hold completely. She pushes away and exits the ring between the ropes as her opponent regains his senses and climbs to his feet. Daniels with a slingshot from the outside! Anna to the Infinite Power! Cover!
Nick Stuart: So close!
Richard Parker: Way to be unbiased.
Daniels scoops her opponent and sends him into the ropes – Irish Whip reversal! Filmix closes the gap and flattens her with a hard clothesline before she can react!
Outside the ring, Hark barks orders at the Wrestling Junkie to finish things off before she can recover again. Filmix nods at his trainer and grabs a handful of his opponent’s hair to pull her back up.
Nick Stuart: Filmix with a scoop – NO! Daniels scrambles down his back and spins him around!
Richard Parker: What is she, Spider-Man? How’d she do that?
Quick as a cat, Filmix is scooped and dropped with the ONCOMING STORM! Anna Daniels hooks both legs and pulls as hard as she can!
DING DING DING
Nick Stuart: Anna Daniels pulls off the victory!
Richard Parker: You mean she stole one!
Nick Stuart: Nelson Hark is in the ring, helping his charge climb to his feet, but I have to say, Nathan Filmix showed us a great deal tonight! He’s got the moves, he’s got the skills – all he needs is the experience and I think things could have turned out very differently tonight!
Richard Parker: Maybe… or maybe some people shouldn’t jump other people before the bell!
Nick Stuart: You’re seriously still on that?
Richard Parker: It sets the tone!
Nick Stuart: Be that as it may, Anna Daniels advances to the second round of the Almasy Invitational, and before we get to our next first round matchup tonight, let’s take a quick commercial break.
THE ROAD TO DEFCON BEGINS ON FEBRUARY 16TH AND 17TH, LIVE FROM NEW ORLEANS!
The Past is Just a Conspiracy Made Up by The Future
Catering. A professional wrestling limbo, to many. A gratuitous surrender of perishable commodities for a select few others. For Bobby Dean, it’s your home away from home.
REZIN is here, taking full advantage of the MGM Grand’s generous and seemingly endless hospitality by voraciously snatching up croissant rolls by the handful and tossing them into a large laundry bag. His paranoid, sleep-deprived scowl darts between the exits for any figures of authority who might take issue in his foray for essentials.
Was there any rule that said he couldn’t take as much as he could carry? Like, was it in writing anywhere?
Not that he can immediately recall. Maybe somebody said something about “being considerate” the other day,
…or was it the other week?
Whatever, it wasn’t important. He didn’t live to be contained by any “rules.” And if there was a rule, he would surely take delight in breaking it for no reason other than to defy authority. Seriously, FUCK authority!
He moves on down the line, carelessly burying his black-stained fingers into a foil tray and slinging hot, sloppy wads of mashed potatoes into the bag after the rolls. He pulls up the gravy ladle to “sample” the goods, leaving trails of steaming meat sauce running down the fringes of his beard. He dumps another ladleful into the sack before moving down to the rib racks. No messing around here; he dumps the entire tray of ribs into the sack.
Rezin: HELLOOO-OOO!! SO MUCH protein! These stupid PARASITES literally have no idea what they’re giving away!
He’s at the fruit display, and hungrily scoops up a cornucopia of apples, oranges, bananas, and melons. He still hasn’t noticed the junior reporter behind him, patiently waiting for a chance to get his attention. His patience has worn out.
Simon Tillier: …Rezin?
Spasming in neurotic surprise, Rezin’s bouquet of assorted fruit flies into the air, and subsequently comes raining down on his head. He spins around to face Simon, his face full of a mixture of rage and bewilderment.
Rezin: GODDAMBIT, RALPHIE!! That’s a surefire way to get your EYE SHOT OUT!!
Simon Tillier: It’s, uhh, Simon. And I apologize if I startled you.
Rezin: “Startled?!” ME!? NEVER!! By YOU?! HA! IMPOSSIBLE!! I was SNEEZING just now! OBVIOUSLY!! I happen to have a very serious allergy to NORMIES… and the NORMIE flows off you, buddy, like the smell of Ovaltine and your step-dad’s cheap cologne! Are you supposed to be security, or something?!
Simon Tillier: …no, I’m a reporter.
Rezin: GOOD! Cause I need you to report straight to me if anybody comes sniffin’ around! If you see anyone from Caesars Palace, you never heard of me, and I don’t have their money! Money doesn’t even EXIST, man! It’s the ORIGINAL Non Fungible Token!
Simon Tillier: …what? Caesars–
Rezin: And if you see any of those greedy fucks from ANTIFA, tell them the check for my membership fees is in the mail! Along with multiple pipe bombs! Those weak-ass POSERS don’t even know the first thing about setting a building on fire!
Simon Tillier: ANTIFA doesn’t have membership–
Rezin: AND IF ANY OF THOSE SCUMBAGS from Kat Dennings’ legal team show up, that was NOT me on her property the other night! I don’t care what the videotape shows! I was DOPE-FAKED!!
Simon Tillier: Do you mean “deep-faked?”
Rezin: I mean DOPE-FAKED!
Simon begins rubbing his temples as he processes all of this. He was just wanting a simple interview, and had lost control of things before it even began. The Escape Artist moves along the row of catered foodstuffs, finding the trays of finger sandwiches. He goes to town on them.
Simon Tillier: There is… so much to unpack here. However, I think it’s in our mutual interest to push on through here and discuss the topic I originally came here to ask about: what are you doing to prepare yourself for the subsequent round of the ongoing Almasy Invitational Tournament?
Amid scooping up a handful of triangle-cut turkey and ham clubs, Rezin suddenly freezes up like a tweaker caught outside of someone’s garage with a handful of lawnmower parts.
Rezin: …oh… RIGHT! The TOURNAMENT!
The beleaguered junior reporter sighs.
Simon Tillier: …did you seriously forget you were in the Almasy Invitational?
Rezin’s face squishes inward in a way that not only suggests his guilt but also indicates that he’s damn annoyed to be called out on it.
Rezin: Hey man, cut me some slack here! In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been a bit preoccupied lately with more pertinent things! PUNK ROCK things! Things a NORMIE like you couldn’t begin to understand!
Simon Tillier: …have you just been getting high non-stop?
Rezin nearly drops his sack and THROTTLES the junior reporter on the spot, but stops himself at the last second and instead turns his rage back to the catering table, angrily scooping up more finger sandwiches into his doggie-bag. The sack is expectedly growing wet and soggy near the bottom.
Rezin: PFFWHLH-GODDAMNBIT, SIMON!! Like I said, I’ve been BUSY!! I’m on a MISSION to bring about the collapse of your authoritarian Capitalist society! I gotta keep my MIND limber! Not to mention, I gotta keep the TANK full!
He stuffs a pair of whole sandwiches into his maw and noisily chews through them before forcing them down his gullet.
Simon Tillier: I see… so I take it that you haven’t done any research on your opponent? Are you even aware of who it is?
Again, the Goat Bastard’s simpering face would indicate that this is probably true.
Rezin: …I mean, like, is that a BAD thing!? I don’t even know what YEAR it is half the time!
Annoyed by these needling questions, Rezin snatches Tillier by the tie and yanks him in close to look him dead in the eye.
Rezin: Maybe I LIKE walking into matches with zero expectations! Maybe I do my BEST WORK when facing the sheer unknown! Maybe whenever I come face to face with the bottomless black VOID of existence, I can’t help but LAUGH and throw myself head-first into the winds of oblivion! It keeps me on my toes, Simon! SHARP! FROSTY! Ready and willing for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING!
Rezin releases the reporter’s tie and goes back to raiding the smorgasbord of food laid out in front of him. He moves on from the sandwiches, leaving a paltry few left in his wake, and arrives at the chili crockpot. As he dumps several spoonfuls into the open sack, Simon readjusts his tie and presses on.
Simon Tillier: So it doesn’t matter to you that you’re walking into this match completely blind? Against an accomplished opponent, with whom who may have some shared history? By all accounts, you were in Empire Pro Wrestling around the same time he held their World Championship.
Rezin rolls his eyes at the mention of the late wrestling promotion he once worked for before dumping the wicker bowl of complimentary Saltine cracker packets in after the chili and moving on to the foil tray of mac and cheese.
Rezin: Ugh… Simon, I have this stock response whenever I come into new turf and people come asking about where I’ve been and what I’ve done: you don’t CARE, and I don’t REMEMBER! You wanna talk about Empire Pro? Go beg Cecilia for her dear daddy’s phone number and ask the big man himself! For the time being, I’m focused on the HERE and NOW… which happens to be PRIME Wrestling!
With two scoops of elbow pasta already tossed into his grab-bag, he waves the mac-and-cheese spoon across the tables before him, sending cheesy globs of pasta dripping everywhere.
Rezin: And RIGHT NOW, you’re interrupting my weekly dinner! So if you ain’t got anything interesting to talk about, make yourself useful and keep a lookout for the Enemigos! They might get pissed when they see me in here without a shirt on…
He shoves the entire spoon of mac-and-cheese into his mouth, and swallows. Wet, yellow heaps of cheese-glazed elbow macaroni still drip from his beard by the time he reaches the dessert table. Rezin’s eyes glaze over as he beholds an ornate pyramid of pastries, standing like a modern marvel of architecture just waiting to be defiled and destroyed.
Rezin: Fuckin’ cinnamon rolls, man! They make me so DIZZY!
He digs in, not even gathering at this point; just stuffing his face with both hands. Simon Tillier is a picture of disgust and revulsion, and looks ready to wrap things up.
Simon Tillier: Well, Rezin, I still find it difficult to understand your point of view, but you seem to accept the situation as it is. Besides wishing you luck, I sincerely hope you at least remember your upcoming match at ReVival Three against Impulse.
SMASH ZOOM on Rezin’s fur-lined face, mouth stuffed with freshly baked cinnamon rolls, as a million volts of electricity overtake his brain and a deluge of memories pours forth. His eyes reach Nic Cage levels of bulging intensity.
He spews a mouthful of cinnamon pastry bits into Simon’s face before grabbing him by the lapels and shaking him with insane fervor.
Rezin: DID YOU JUST SAY “IMPULSE?!”
The junior reporter’s eyes are full of terror. As though a switch flipped in his mind, Rezin has suddenly changed from a slovenly, filth-encrusted idiot into a ghastly, bloodthirsty maniac. Simon’s response barely comes out at a whimper.
Simon Tillier: …y-y-yes?
Rezin: GODDAMBIT, SIMON!! WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO?!
Overwhelmed with NUCLEAR RAGE, the Escape Artist turns his attention to the dessert table and unloads his fury by flipping it over! Cupcakes, donuts, and muffins spill out everywhere across the floor!
Rezin: FUCKING IMPULSE!! GODDAMBIT, OF ALL PEOPLE!! THIS FUDGES EVERYTHING UP, SIMON!! EVERYTHING!!
Rezin lights up a spliff and begins compulsively smoking, eyes twitching and paranoia teeming over as he computes the myriad of unfortunate possibilities that await him.
Rezin: This is TERRIBLE, Simon! There’s still so much more CHAOS and ANARCHY to spread around! I can’t get kicked out of this tournament NOW! Not by HIM!
Simon Tillier: What?! You didn’t even remember you were in the tournament until I reminded you a few minutes ago!
Rezin: You don’t get it, dude… this is IMPULSE we’re talking about! Literally NOBODY in this tournament is safe! I gotta DO SOMETHING! I gotta STOP HIM! I mean, WHAT IF HE–hang on… do you think he’s gonna be HERE tonight?!
Simon Tillier: Well, I haven’t checked yet, but…
Rezin snags him again by the lapels.
Rezin: Maybe I could take care of this NOW, quick and easy! Now listen, Simon… wait here, and I’m gonna go get my “special vest” for you to wear! It’s kinda bulky, and it might be constantly ticking, and it might be leaking nitroglycerine, but it’ll fit JUST FINE under that jacket!
He throws an arm around the junior reporter’s shoulders and pulls him in even tighter. Simon’s face contorts in absolute repugnance.
Rezin: So if you see Impulse later, you get in NICE and TIGHT–like THIS!! Start asking some of your stupid questions, and then when that bastard least expects it, YOU–
From off camera, a whistle is heard, followed by footsteps. The camera whips right as a cavalcade of ENEMIGOS pour into the catering area and point down the Goat Bastard. Enemigo III gestures wildly to Rezin, then to his shirt, while the rest of the Security horde fold their arms menacingly.
Simon Tillier: Uhh…Rezin…I think you were right about the shir–
The camera whips back left where Simon now finds himself alone beside the trashed dessert table, a dissipating cloud of smoke in the place where the Escape Artist once stood.
Rezin: HA-HA!! YOU’LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE, OPPRESSORS!!
The camera whips further left to the far exit, as Rezin triumphantly salutes with a creme-filled donut in his hand while slinging his sack of hoarded food over his shoulder. He kicks open the door and takes flight…
Only doesn’t count on the flight of stairs leading down immediately on the other side.
Croaking in pain and surprise, he tumbles down the stairs and out of view as the Enemigos run after him. The camera returns to Simon, who can only sigh and shake his head.
From one interview to another, the feed cuts to the grey felt walls of the cubicle erected in the halls of the MGM Grand Arena, and the dashing rogue in khaki knee-length trench, underneath the matching khaki fedora with a placard reading ‘AP’ stuck in the band.
???: Hello sports-fans, this here is Lex Maroon, the only professional in this business. I am standing by with, if the cameraman would so kindly pull back the shot a little…
Interviewer and director, the shot does indeed pull back to reveal, the dressed ready for combat…
Lex Maroon: One Theodore Lynn Palmer.
The mention of his full legal birth name produces a look of ‘what the fuck’ across Teddy’s face and a condemning finger point.
Teddy Palmer: Not cool.
Lex Maroon: My apologies, if I’m mistaken. Would you like to clear the air? Is your middle name NOT Lynn?
Palmer side eyes Lex.
Lex Maroon: We’ll circle back. A fortnight has passed since your fellow two-man stablemate…
Teddy cocks his head and purses his lips with reservation.
Teddy Palmer: Tread lightly my journalistic friend, you might trigger some folks with that terminology.
Both men offer a sarcastic glance towards the camera.
Lex Maroon: Great catch. Many within the industry can, for a lack of a better journalistic term, be ‘little bitches’ about such inconsequential things.
Teddy Palmer: Talk about a sad state we’re currently navigating. I mean, we’re both accomplished singles competitors. We’re more than a formidable duo within the tag team ranks.
Lex offers a short shrug in agreement.
Lex Maroon: Yet nonexclusive to either division. What’s so hard to understand about that?
Teddy Palmer: Right? We swing both ways!
That regrettable entendre not going over his head, Lex tucks his chin in, shaking side to side, no.
Lex Maroon: I’m not sure Red would phrase it quite like that.
Teddy Palmer: Stay in your lane, Lex! You don’t speak on his behalf.
Lex Maroon: Listen, we got off track. Your running mate experienced an unfortunate, some might even say, ‘unfair,’ loss to The Anglo Luchador, leaving you as the sole representative of Red & Ted in the Almasy Invitational…
Teddy is quick to cut off the familiar faced reporter.
Teddy Palmer: He definitely shit the bed.
A face palm almost removes the thick, black and now skewed moustache from Lex’s upper lip.
Lex Maroon: He wasn’t a real luchador!
Teddy smirks as Lex adjusts his fedora and clears his throat.
Lex Maroon: Errrhmm…regardless…do you feel any added pressure going forward?
Teddy Palmer: Psssssshhht, naaaaah.
Teddy swats away the ridiculous notion.
Teddy Palmer: I ain’t one to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. Time, place, opponent, stipulations, odds…they’re forever changing. The game plan though? It’ll always stay the same.
Lex Maroon: And that would be…
Lex’s voice lingers in the air as his fingers dance along the break line of his trench coat with anticipation.
Teddy Palmer: To put ‘Face To Fuckin’ Canvas’.
As if today’s ‘word of the day’ was called, Lex flashes the crisp new Teddy Palmer tee previously concealed under his trench, striking a ‘heroic’? pose. After a few tries, Teddy Palmer manages to unfurl the rolled canvas display: a selection of greatest hits of Red & Ted merch of yore and the new editions, too.
Lex Maroon: And you can put ‘Face To Fuckin’ Canvas’ too, with this brand new tee, exclusively from ProWrasslinTees! The only reputable Red & Ted merchandise vendor!
Teddy Palmer: Don’t be fooled by, or support, those hucksters at EWrestlingTees, and their cheap fabric made from non-renewable fossil fuels. Unless, of course, you also support destroying Mother Earth.
An editor’s note scrolls past the bottom of the screen quickly: “PRIME is not affiliated with, nor will care to substantiate the service of either merchandise outlet.”
Lex releases his clenched pose, and Teddy, with little care, drops the display onto the ground.
Lex Maroon: Now, where were we before we got all excited about the cheap plug?
Teddy Palmer: About to segue into hyping tonight’s real Main Event.
Lex Maroon: Ah, yes! Everybody knows PRIME positioning on any card is second to last. I respect a company that knows its audience is about beating the traffic. Take two weeks ago, when nobody thought that yuppy himbo stood a chance against Youngblood.
‘Lex’ turns to Teddy Palmer as the two share a laugh, “ALP.”
Lex Maroon: What can the Faithful gathered here in beautiful Las Vegas expect tonight?
Ted takes just a moment to reflect and get all earnest.
Teddy Palmer: In the words of one, Billy Idol, ‘I’ll do anything for my Sweet Sixteen’. If that means I gotta send Van Warren crawling back to the projects, well SHOOT.
Lex Maroon: Spoken with such confidence. This wouldn’t have anything to do with Eryk with a ‘Y’s advanced age, would it?
Teddy Palmer: How dare you suggest…
Lex Maroon: I only bring it up because It’s been a hot topic most recently. And by hot topic, I mean Eryk has been the only one to mention it. It’s almost as if he’s creating a built in excuse. Nonetheless, has he tempted you, even the slightest, to reach for that low hanging fruit?
Teddy Palmer: I never look to take the easy route. I’m a man who proudly occupies the moral high ground most of the time. I will not, I repeat, WILL NOT…speed bag old man balls, no matter how low they may hang. End of question.
OSV: What the hell are you two doing?
The easily identifiable hoarse voice of Grady Patrick prompts both men to look off screen. The little Irishman bursts into frame, looking less than impressed.
Teddy Palmer: Improvising. Three backstage reporters roaming these corridors, and not one of them could gimmie the time of day.
Lex Maroon: And that, dear sir, is where yours truly enters the picture.
Dipping into a pocket of the table in the middle of the cubicle, Palmer produces a pack of Lucky Strikes. Teddy lights one, and goes to take a drag from the cancer-stick, but Grady rips it out of his hand. ‘Lex’ laughs, and Grady rips clean his moustache.
Grady Patrick: This is your idea of keeping a low profile?
The commotion of the well-meaning manager is drawing eyes. Sure enough it isn’t long before security is headed over to take a look. Specifically, it is Enemigo IV who enters, and just as the cigarette rests in Grady’s hand.
Teddy Palmer: Just in time. Can you believe this guy? I told him no smoking backstage, especially after that incident at The Whiskey Down.
Grady Patrick: Wait, what?
Teddy Palmer: Anywho, he’s your problem now. I’ve got a match to prepare for.
Teddy pats Enemigo IV on the chest, and exits stage left. ALex disapprovingly shakes his head, departing in the opposite direction. Grady nervously looks at Enemigo IV, who takes and crushes out the cig.
Teddy Palmer O/S: Oh, sweet sixteen…Oh sweet sixteen…Oh-oh…
Fighting For Nora
Nick Stuart: And now let’s go to a previously recorded interview, where head referee Timo Bolamba sat down with PRIME’s newest tag team Fighting For Nora, featuring former PRIME Intense Champion Jonathan Rhine.
We cut to a bright room with three empty chairs. From opposite sides of the room, two men stride forward and meet each other in the middle.
Timo Bolamba: Jonathan. It’s been a long time.
Jonathan Rhine smiles and shakes Timo’s hand. Rhine’s hair is a little thinner than it was 12 years ago, and he definitely looks stockier at 36 than he did at 25, but overall The New Life conveys youth and confidence in his smile. He’s wearing a tight-fitting button down shirt rolled up at the biceps and slacks.
Jonathan Rhine: Timo, great to see you.
Rhine looks over his shoulder at a third figure coming in from the right: he is tall and lean, wearing a tank top and jean shorts. The man rubs his hands together, which are covered up in peeling white tape. Rhine smiles and gestures to one of the chairs.
Jonathan Rhine: Here you go, Paxton.
All three men sit. Timo crosses his legs and leans forward.
Timo Bolamba: Thanks for coming to this sit-down interview, Jonathan Rhine and Paxton Ray. Together you’re Fighting For Nora, a newly signed tag team to PRIME. And I have a few questions for you, starting with the obvious: why did you request me to do this interview instead of our normal reporters like Matt Mills or Angelica Brooks?
Rhine smiles and matches Timo’s position, also leaning forward.
Jonathan Rhine: That’s a great question and confirms my choice, I think. You and I had our history in FUSE all those years ago, fighting for the Custom C.H.A.O.S. Championship. And even after we both retired and went our separate ways, we still kept in touch and I saw you as a symbol of the business that has given me so much, and has taken so much. So when I…
Rhine looks over at Paxton Ray, who is looking away, and chuckles.
Jonathan Rhine: When we decided to come to PRIME and I saw that you were the head referee, I thought there was no one better who could help introduce Fighting For Nora to the PRIME world.
Timo Bolamba: Well I appreciate the confidence and hope I can do you justice. My next question is about your team name: Fighting For Nora. What is the significance of the name?
Rhine gestures to Ray, who snaps to attention suddenly as if he were not fully there beforehand.
Jonathan Rhine: I’ll defer that question to my friend and partner Paxton.
Timo looks over at Paxton Ray, who despite his 6’6 frame seems to be shrinking under the intensity of Timo’s gaze. Ray opens his mouth, thinks, then closes it and looks away.
Jonathan Rhine: It’s okay, Paxton. I can explain it if you feel more comfortable that way.
Paxton Ray: Sure.
Jonathan Rhine: So, Paxton is an incredible young man, which you can clearly see by looking at him, but even beyond the surface lies someone who is truly special. When I met Paxton, he had been bare-knuckle boxing in seedy gyms for money. He was using that money to support his daughter, Nora, who unfortunately was stricken with cancer.
Timo Bolamba: Oh, that’s awful. Paxton, I’m so sorry.
Ray doesn’t look back at Timo.
Paxton Ray: ‘s fine.
Jonathan Rhine: This story touched the hearts of all of us at Gray’s Wrestling Academy, and so we took him in and honed his raw talent into a product that I think will surprise people when he steps into the squared circle. And once it was clear what a gem we had in Paxton, I started calling around to see who was interested. Imagine my shock when PRIME, one of the places I had made my mark, was re-opening and looking for talent. Initially he was just going to come in by himself, but when I found this out – well, I couldn’t help myself from getting in on the action.
Timo Bolamba nods, but he is still staring at Paxton Ray, who seems to be intensely curious about a loose thread on the edge of the chair, using his pinky finger to wrap the thread around it.
Timo Bolamba: Obviously not, you were always one of the fiercest competitors I knew. So, now that you’re here, and I know this is probably a silly question, but what is the goal?
Jonathan Rhine: Another excellent question, and you doubted yourself initially! Not silly at all, because I know what you were angling for. You thought I would say tag team domination, winning the titles, showing that together we are the most unstoppable force in PRIME. And yes, I think all of that will prove true. But the real goal is for my friend here –
Rhine slaps Ray on the shoulder, and Ray’s attention is diverted from the errant thread to his tag team partner. For a very brief moment, Ray’s eyes show something they hadn’t yet shown – a brief glimpse of fire flits behind his eyes. Then, he resets and nods.
Jonathan Rhine: For Paxton’s cause to be known. Gold is nice, fame is fine, money is essential, but the cause is the core. We are Fighting. For. Nora. Every time we enter the ring, every team we face, every rung we climb, we are telling the world that cancer is an abomination and that we will fight until the wonderful day when Nora no longer has to visit the hospital twice a week for treatments. To that end we will be launching a merchandise store at fightingfornora dot com, where you can purchase hats, shirts, and coozees with our team’s emblem on it, and all proceeds go to Nora’s fund. Again, winning is a great thing, but far from our main reason for being here.
Timo Bolamba: That sounds fantastic, and we’ll be sure to have the main PRIME website link to that site so PRIMEates can start helping out right away. Finally, is there anything you want to say to the roster, to the teams you’ll be squaring off against?
Timo pauses, then looks at Ray.
Timo Bolamba: Paxton?
Once again the tall man twists his body towards the head referee, studying him with slightly narrowed eyes. He looks to Rhine, who smiles and nods. Then, Ray moves his body to stare directly into the camera.
Paxton Ray: I don’t care who I have to face. I don’t care how long you’ve been fighting, how many titles you’ve won. When I am fighting, I will put everything I have on the line to take you out.
Both Timo and Rhine look at each other and nod.
Jonathan Rhine: Looks like he’s going to fit right in, right Timo?
Timo Bolamba: I don’t doubt it at all. Thanks for sitting down with me guys, and good luck to you and to your daughter, Paxton, in the coming months. Nick?
8 Cancer Jiles vs. 9 Tapioca Puddings
Nick Stuart: We are ready to continue through the first round of the Almasy Invitational with a match that pits representatives of the Pudding Gang and the eGG Bandits against one another, when Tapioca Puddings meets Cancer Jiles!
Richard Parker: I’m not sure “match” is the term I’d use, Nick. For that dirtbag Tapioca, this is going to be a slaughter! My man Cancer might as well have a BYE to the second round!
Nick Stuart: These two had a bit of a tense encounter here in the ring weeks ago at ReVival One, so the animosity between the Maestro of COOL and the Puddings siblings should expectedly come to a head in this encounter.
♪Ooooh whoo hoo hoo!♪
The upbeat, synthesizer-driven tune of “Friends With P.” by the Rentals hits the speakers. Despite its happy mood, Tapioca Puddings emerges from behind the curtain with a look of sheer terror on his face. He immediately spins around to retreat backstage…
Richard Parker: Well, that was quick.
…only to reemerge and continue his death march to the ring while painfully grasping at the groin region of his tan-colored trunks. Following behind him is his sister Muriel, caught in the process of placing a black taser within her cleavage.
Nick Stuart: Well, that’s certainly one way to motivate your ‘client’ when you’re a manager. Not sure a shock to that particular area is helpful before a match, though.
Richard Parker: I’m just surprised there was anything below his waist to taze.
As Tapioca reluctantly makes his way down, Muriel is hamming it up for the PRIMEates by criss-crossing between barricades and blowing kisses to them. Stopping abruptly at the sight of a sign, she raises a brow and shines a smile as she calls the camera over for a closer look.
I CAME TO SEE IF MURIEL CAME
She extends her face close to the bushy-bearded redhead and points to her cheek, giving him full access to a souvenir smooch. He accepts, then Muriel nods her head as she disgustingly rubs the crotch of her too-tight denim shorts.
♪If you’re friends with P., well then you’re friends with me.♪
♪If you’re down with P., well then you’re down with me.♪
Vince Howard: The following first round contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, the ninth seed in the Almasy Invitational Tournament! Hailing from Chubbuck, Idaho, and weighing in at one-hundred and seventy pounds… being accompanied to the ring by his sister MURIEL, here is TAAAPIIIOOOCAAA PUUUUUUDIIIIIINNNGS!!!
Tapioca patiently waits for his sister to get down to the ringside area, giving a last ditch plea to reconsider having him compete tonight. She shakes her head and motions down to her breasts, advising him of the consequences if he bails. Sighing, the cowardly Puddings rolls underneath the bottom rope and makes his way to the far corner, worry in his eyes as he awaits Jiles’ arrival.
Nick Stuart: Once again, not a whole lot of confidence in the stride of Tapioca Puddings as he faces a stiff challenge tonight in a former World Champion.
Richard Parker: Luckily those tights are the color they are, Nick. That’ll hide the tapioca stain he’s about to make in the back of them. As a matter of fact, I think I smell it already. Oh wait, that’s probably just his sister.
Prior to Cancer’s theme kicking in, Jimmy Turnbull has made his way over to where Muriel is standing near the announce table. Likely due to her unsavory comments about his officiating in the Carlson/Bathory match last week, he is reading her the riot act and warning her to be on her best behavior.
While we can’t completely make out the audio that’s picked up over Nick and Richard’s headsets, the phrase “don’t act like you didn’t just place an order for my toenail clippings” is clear as a whistle. The camera hones in on both Nick and Richard who share a sour look, but it immediately stops Turnbuckles from giving her the business.
Nick Stuart: Here comes Puddings’ opponent. I heard he’s a fancy lad.
The lights draw to a dim. Smoke begins to billow. The air chills. Then.
The pitch kind.
Suddenly, an invigorating, pulsating, reverberating, electric guitar riff raucously riffs its way throughout the MGM Grand. The obnoxious, yet also exhilarating riff can even be heard all the way out on the casino floor. It’s loud.
A spotlight clangs on and illuminates the entrance way.
Screaming Jay Hawkins, author, singer, creator of “I am the cool” begins to sing…
♪I’m the one your mama warned you about♪
♪When you see me, I will leave you no doubt♪
♪I’m the coolest man that ever walked this earth♪
♪I’ve been the coolest since the day of my birth♪
Out from behind the curtain he emerges.
♪I am the cool.♪
Vince Howard: Coming to the ring… by way of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania… weighing in at two hundred and twenty nine pounds, and standing six feet and one half inch tall… He is the only man to have ever conquered COOLYMPUS! He is also known as the thrower of eggs, and mister of faces! He is the terminal one! The Big C!! Not Capricorn!!! The Bandit of Bandits!!! Cannnnnncerrr Jiles!!!!
The Count of COOLsylvania receives a mixed reaction from the PRIME Faithful in attendance. It doesn’t seem to bother him as he confidently makes his way down to the ring. Once there, he slowly heads up the ring steps, and barks some orders towards the referee in regard to his “imposing” opponent. The word pudding is used multiple times. Finally, and contempt, he climbs between the ropes and enters the ring.
Nick Stuart: Look at Tapioca! Cancer Jiles can smell blood in the water!
Richard Parker: And I can smell Puddings in the air…
Cancer slinks out of his corner and readies himself in the center of the ring while Tapioca timidly comes out of his own, shaking like a leaf. He looks to Muriel at ringside for reassurance, but only gets a murderous stare from his sister as she insistently points to the job at hand with Jiles. Cancer smirks with smug confidence.
Tapioca inches himself forward, getting his hands ready for the lock-up. Cancer himself shakes in mockery before running into the tie-up. With Muriel barking between words of encouragement and open threats, Puddings spastically dances and contorts as the two competitors wrangle in the collar-and-elbow. His desperately flailing around doesn’t appear to have any effect outside of making himself look ridiculous and annoying the hell out of Jiles.
Richard Parker: …what in the hell am I watching, Nick?
Nick Stuart: It would appear this is Tapioca Puddings’ best effort at “wrestling.”
Richard Parker: This is an absolute waste of Cancer’s time, Nick!
Cancer effortlessly pie-faces him to the mat. Tapioca rolls over and immediately dives back into his corner, hugging the turnbuckles for reprieve. On the floor, Muriel grabs her brother by the ear and berates him for his cold feet while Jiles enjoys a chuckle, cocky and COOL.
After some further “encouragement,” Tapioca finally musters up the will to pull himself back to his feet. He takes in a deep breath as Cancer beckons him out of the corner. He’s about to take a step forward when Muriel, beyond impatient at the point, climbs up to the apron, plants a hand into his back, and shoves him HARD to the center of the ring.
Cancer can’t react in time as he receives a RUNNING HEADBUTT to the face from Tapioca! The fans cheer the sudden shift in action, and even Tapioca looks astonished after the brief dizzy spell wears off.
Nick Stuart: What a headbutt, off the assist from Muriel! That was the most offense we’ve seen yet from Tapioca Puddings!
Richard Parker I wouldn’t be surprised if that was ALL the offense we saw from him! Come on, Turnbuckles! Get that disgusting woman outta here!
With Cancer briefly out of it on his back, Tapioca sees a clear exit from this match, and jumps onto him for the cover.
Cancer kicks out!
Jiles shoves Tapioca off of him and quickly crawls over to Jimmy Turnbull, appealing an immediate disqualification, but the official can only shrug off this request and tells him to get back at it. Muriel taunts him by licking her lips lavisciously before dropping back down to the floor.
Back on his feet, Jiles is no longer feeling COOL; he’s feeling pissed. Sneering angrily, he comes to Tapioca with his fists balled up and ready to pound his face into LITERAL pudding. Tapioca (almost unintentionally) slips under a hook from Cancer and ends up behind him. Out of desperation, he hooks up Cancer’s arms and wraps his leg around his waist while clinging to his back.
Nick Stuart: Tapioca has… some sort of double chickenwing with a… body scissor applied?
Richard Parker: He isn’t “applying” anything, Nick! He’s just hanging onto Cancer’s back for dear life!
Muriel cheers these “gains” made by her brother while Cancer struggles to break free, finally ramming himself back-first into the corner to sandwich Tapioca against the turnbuckles. Tapioca lingers in place there like a bug on a windshield, until Cancer pinches him by the nose and rakes his face down the top rope. As Tapioca clutches his face in agony and staggers away from the scene, the COOL innocently throws his hands into the air as Jimmy Turnbuckles gives him an earful.
While the ref’s back is turned, Muriel is once again back on the apron and reaches over the ropes to grab Tapioca by the scruff of the neck and yanks him into motion once again! This time, Cancer sees him coming, and quickly pulls the referee yelling in his face into the path. Turnbull feels a slight bump in his back and turns around to see Tapioca laid out on the canvas like he ran into a brick wall. Muriel tears at her hair in rage!
Tapioca rolls over and tries to crawl his way out of the ring, but he’s cut off by a STOMP to his exposed fingers by Jiles! Cancer subsequently hooks the corner of Tapioca’s mouth and gets a handful of hair to wrangle him back off the mat and pounds his head repeatedly into the near turnbuckle until the official finally breaks it up. The crowd jeers as the Maestro again holds up his hands acting completely innocent and smirking like a fiend.
Nick Stuart: I thought Tapioca’s style of wrestling was “unique”, but Jiles has evidently taken control of things with his own laissez faire approach, which doesn’t seem to take much consideration to the rules!
Richard Parker: The sign of a great wrestler is getting maximum results while putting forth a minimum amount of effort, Nick. This is how Cancer Jiles became a professional wrestling legend!
Tapioca lies motionless on the canvas, covering his face like an assault victim. Jiles chuckles and goes for the pin by casually setting his knee over the chest.
THR–KICKOUT after the near fall!
Richard Parker: Was that an actual kickout out, or a twitch-out?
Nick Stuart: I can’t really tell, but after that half-hearted pin attempt by Cancer, Tapioca is inexplicably still in this match.
Tapioca is still on the mat, until Cancer parts his hands and further scrapes his boot across the younger Puddings sibling’s face. Tapioca further writhes in agony, prompting Jimmy Turnbull to check in on him while the Maestro walks a victory lap around the ring, getting TREMENDOUS heat.
He suddenly YELPS and springs away from the ropes when Muriel reaches in from behind him and grabs two handfuls of his rock-hard glutes! Cancer balks in revulsion as she smiles hungrily back at him, sniffing her fingers and hopping excitedly in place. Jiles, furious at having his COOL interrupted, angrily pulls Tapioca back to his feet and runs the poor sap to the ropes with the intent to toss him out to his sister.
Unfortunately for him, Tapioca trips over his own feet and falls INTO rather than OVER the ropes, and Cancer loses his balance and instead dumps HIMSELF to the outside again! Tapioca’s rolls through and tangles his head between the top and middle ropes, causing him to flail wildly in panic! Turnbuckles quickly tries to pry him free while Cancer gets back to his feet, dusts himself off, and laughs at this turn of events.
But he doesn’t see MURIEL on the apron just outside his periphery! As Cancer turns around, Muriel runs and comes diving OFF THE APRON with a SEATED SENTON that knocks him to the floor! The crowd POPS HARD as she adds in some EXTRA CROTCH GRINDING to his face!
Richard Parker: OH MY GAAAWD, I think I’m going to be SICK!
Nick Stuart: How do you think Jiles feels right now?
Muriel pulls Jiles to his feet and tosses him back into the ring. Bursting to his feet, Cancer is holding his stomach and gagging uncontrollably, still overwhelmed by the SMELL! Turnbuckles has finally pulled Tapioca’s purple-hued head out of the ropes before he notices Cancer, looking like he’s about to blow chunks all over his ring.
Tapioca is struggling to breath when Cancer suddenly shoves the ref aside and DOUSES his opponent in YELLOW MIST!! Tapioca falls to the mat, clawing his eyes, while Cancer plays it off to the ref as involuntarily vomiting.
Nick Stuart: COOLYMPIAN YOLJK!! Jimmy Turnbuckles is FURIOUS!
Richard Parker: You can’t hold it against the man for losing control of his bodily functions in a moment of revulsion, Nick!
Turnbuckles orders Jiles to back up into his corner while he goes to clean the yolk/vomit off of the sputtering Tapioca’s face. But Cancer doesn’t notice MURIEL back on the apron! He turns around in time for Puddings to snatch him by the hair and BURY HIS FACE INTO HER CLEAVAGE while she wails away on the back of his head with her free hand!
Jiles finally breaks free and sprawls to the mat just as Jimmy Turnbull turns around to see Muriel, smiling innocently there on the apron. Turnbuckles runs over and orders her to get back to her place at ringside. Meanwhile, out of view of the camera, Cancer can be seen inconspicuously removing something from his mouth…
Tapioca is wandering the ring aimlessly, still wiping yolk out of his eyes, when Cancer springs up and jabs something into his midsection.
Nick Stuart: HE’S GOT MURIEL’S TASER!!
Richard Parker: Of course he does! Cancer could undo a bra with his TEETH!!
Tapioca spasms in place while the Maestro ditches the evidence. Muriel suddenly sees her brother-herding apparatus being tossed from the ring and runs to retrieve it, and Turnbuckles turns around just as Jiles nails the SUPERKICK on her stunned brother!
Nick Stuart: TERMINAL CANCER!!
Unfortunately, Muriel’s natural THICC-ness makes her a second too slow in sliding into the ring to break things up, as Jiles quickly falls over the unmoving Tapioca’s chest for the cover.
DING DING DING
Jiles rolls off of Tapioca and out of the way just as Muriel falls in and BURIES the taser into her brother! While Tapioca again spasms involuntarily, Cancer retreats up the rampway with his arms raised in victory. The crowd jeers and pelts him with garbage while Muriel further takes out her anger on her brother.
Vince Howard: The winner of the match, by pinfall… “COOOOOOLLL”… CAAANNNCERRR… JJJIIIIIIIIILLLEEESSS!!!
Richard Parker: It may not have been pretty, but my man Cancer got it done!
Nick Stuart: It may have taken a bit of controlled chaos, but the notorious eGG Bandit found a means to get the victory over the Puddings family and a spot in the second round of matches in the Almasy Invitational.
Richard Parker: He’s going to need a LONG shower to wash off the smell of Puddings after all of that close contact! But REAL victories don’t come without sacrifice, Nick!
Nick Stuart: I’ll keep that in mind…
Cancer Jiles drops his shades to wink at the camera before disappearing through the curtain. Meanwhile, Muriel continues to rage while her brother Tapioca lays motionless and splayed out in the center of the ring.
Why is Everyone Either Creepy or Mean?
The feed shifts to ringside, the arena buzzing after the matchup between Cancer Jiles and Tapioca Puddings. Just outside the barricade, we’re greeted with the smiling face of lead interviewer, Angelica Brooks. Standing next to her? “Event Horizon,” Hayes Hanlon, smiling behind a dark mustache and gold-mirrored aviators. The two are framed by excited fans behind and around them, all clambering to get some camera time.
Angelica Brooks: Welcome back to ReVival, here on the ACE Network! We have a highly anticipated matchup between Eryk Van Warren and Teddy Palmer forthcoming, but first, we wanted to check in with new kid on the block, Hayes Hanlon! Enjoying the week off, Hayes?
Hayes Hanlon: How can you not, Angie? Look at this place!
He extends his arms to gesture to the grandeur around him, receiving a pop from the nearby PRIMEates.
Hayes Hanlon: Can you feel it?!
Angelica Brooks: You had the honor of kicking off your career, the Almasy Invitational, and the new era of PRIME all at once at ReVival 1 in a matchup with Cecilia Ryan. How did it feel to step into the ring, and how’s the arm holding up?
Hayes Hanlon: I’ll tell you this: thank Hoyt for adrenaline, because all I really felt was pain! Cecilia Ryan is NOT soft! My elbow is still feeling that armbar, but it was a dream come true to get that win. By the way, have you met her dad? They are NOT nice people!
Angelica Brooks: (laughing) I have and that’s an accurate statement. You call yourself “Event Horizon,” where does that come from and what does it mean?
Hayes Hanlon: Oh MAN I’m pumped you asked! You’ve heard of black holes out in space, right? So their whole thing is that they have this crazy strong gravitational pull, and nothing can escape it, and the theory is that there’s this sort of threshold where…
Angelica Brooks: (interrupting) Ah, leeet’s keep it moving.
Hanlon looks slightly disappointed as Brooks changes the subject.
Angelica Brooks You’ll be squaring up with Julian Bathory, protégé of famed Bruce “Violence Jack” Shanahan, at ReVival 3 for the second round of the Almasy Invitational’s Rolo bracket. What are your thoughts on facing “The Carpathian Devil?”
Hayes Hanlon: Murder Daughters, Carpathian Devils, might as well throw Hessian at me in round 3! Listen, Violence Jack was a baaad man, and I know Bathory has the skills, but let’s be clear…
Hayes shifts to face the camera, the PRIMEates behind him hollering, waving, and holding up signs.
Hayes Hanlon: This ain’t 2004, Julian. It’s 2022. The creepy C’thulu stuff isn’t that scary anymore! Go check out Netflix, there’s a TON of cult documentaries! Seriously, they’re really good! And the one thing they have in common? The guy at the top is always playing his little followers for a couple bucks and some “extra curriculars.”
Hayes smooths out his ‘stache and adjusts the cuffs on his black dress shirt.
Hayes Hanlon: But hey, you do you. Me? I’m here to put on a SHOW. A freakin’ SPECTACLE. And the GRAAAAND Finale includes putting YOU on your BACK for the one, two, three!
The nearby crowd cheers in support, and he smiles over his left and right shoulder before turning back to the camera, holding his hands up.
Hayes Hanlon: See? They know what’s up. And man, I know you’re planning to bring your A-game, and I reaaallly hope that’s true. But the difference between me and you…
Hayes sheds the smile and the cocky attitude, swiftly plucking his sunglasses from his face, a pair of deep brown eyes staring hard at the camera.
Hayes Hanlon: …is I don’t need a rock in my fist to beat somebody half my size.
He puts his shades back on just as quickly, the fans behind him popping at the dig. He turns around with open arms, handing out high-fives while the camera turns back to Angelica Brooks.
Angelica Brooks: Choice words from the rookie! You can see “Event Horizon” Hayes Hanlon take on Julian Bathory at ReVival 3! But as for tonight, we have Eryk Van Warren squaring up against Teddy Palmer, and Jacob Mephisto goes toe-to-toe with returning PRIME legend, Nova! Here at the MGM Grand on the ACE Network!
We pan out to Hayes providing further fan service before shifting elsewhere.
Nick Stuart: Before we press onto our next tournament match, we have a video message here from…Strasbourg, France? Do you know anything about this?
Richard Parker: Ho HO! If this is from who I think it is, I can’t WAIT to watch this!
We cut from the commentary desk to the inside of a gym with a basic wrestling ring set up in the middle. A middle aged Carl Winslow-looking man in a navy tracksuit stands in one corner of the ring and shouts instructions in French to a handful of young recruits surrounding the apron before beckoning two to enter. They lock up, and one gently hip-tosses the other awkwardly on his butt, leading the coach to shake his head and pantomime the PROPER technique for this throw. He motions for another greenhorn to come in as the rotation for today’s drill is now clear.
A low French-speaking voice pierces through the scene as subtitles appear on the screen to help the primarily American audience.
V/O: PRIME nous a montré un manque de respect extrême.
(PRIME has shown us extreme disrespect.)
The camera continues in a long shot, very slowly zooming in on the action in the ring. More rookies attempt this very basic wrestling throw, some with moderate success, others clearly frustrating this coach.
V/O: Un tournoi de 32 personnes est annoncé, et ils choisissent de faire de mon fils le 33e membre de la liste.
(A 32-person tournament is announced, and they choose to make my son the 33rd member of the roster.)
As we get closer, there is a figure sitting apart from the increasingly nervous and sweaty batch of young wrestlers, watching the action with an expression halfway between nonchalance and contempt. He wears a navy zip-up hoodie that has The Messiest Hair Poof Ever poking out. He’s eating something from a bag, but we’re too far away to tell what it is.
V/O: C’est peut-être la peur. Sa mère? Un escrimeur olympique français. Moi, son père ? J’ai fait partie de l’équipe nationale de football. Et nous avons poussé notre fils toute sa vie.
(Perhaps it is fear. His mother? A French Olympic fencer. Me, his father? I made the national soccer team. And we pushed our son all his life.)
The camera lingers on the young fresh-faced man, menacingly eating a bag of chips. Camembert chips, Brets brand. He just stares into the ring, slowly crunching away.
V/O: Peut-être que si nous étions Lindsay Troy, nous pourrions utiliser le népotisme pour faire venir notre jeune talent familial. Peut-être si nous étions aussi défoncés sur notre érection égoïste qu’Impulse, ou peut-être si mon fils était un adorable perdant comme Bobby Dean. Mais peu importe… pour l’instant.
(Maybe if we were Lindsay Troy, we could use nepotism to bring on our young family talent. Maybe if we were as high on our egotistical boner-horse as Impulse, or maybe if my son was a loveable loser piece of trash like Bobby Dean. But no matter…for now.)
The young man pulls out another chip and examines it with some curiosity as another greenhorn messes up a hip toss to an outburst of rage from his coach. The chip meets the same fate as countless others before it.
V/O: Quand le moment sera venu…
(When the time is right…)
Mid-crunch, the young man catches the cameraman out of the corner of his eye. He turns ever so slightly towards the camera and gives a little air-pucker-smooch.
V/O: …nous enverrons FLAMBERGE.
(…we will send FLAMBERGE.)
We cut to black and return to the commentary desk.
3 Eryk Van Warren vs. 14 Teddy Palmer
“25 Years” by PANTERA hits and the crowd comes unglued as the riffs from Dimebag Darrell and the beating drums from Vinnie Paul reverberate throughout MGM Grand as Eryk Van Warren hits the stage with a marked intensity. Looking out at the PRIMEates for the first time in his 25-year career, Eryk nods, and proceeds to crack his neck from side to side before heading down to the ring.
Vince Howard: Coming first to the ring, weighing in at two-hundred-and-thirty-four pounds and standing at six feet and two inches tall, he hails from BROOOOOOOKLYN NEW YORK! ERYK VAN WARRRRRRRRRRRRRREN!
Nick Stuart: I still can’t believe EVW is here in PRIME. This is a legend and SHOOT Project Hall of Famer who I never thought would set foot in different ring from SHOOT.
Richard Parker: Whoa, whoa, whoa Let’s pump the brakes here a sec, Nick. Eryk Van Warren, X-Calibur, or whatever the hell he’s calling himself over here, hasn’t done a damn thing in PRIME. His past accomplishments mean nothing.
Nick Stuart: Well, the fans seem to disagree with you. Vehemently.
Richard Parker: Well maybe when Eryk proves to be a bust and not the legend you and he seem to think he is, I’ll be ready with an ‘I told you so.’
Bumping fists with fans at ringside, Eryk refuses to take his eyes off of the ring where he and Teddy Palmer are about to wrestle the match of their lives. Rolling under the bottom rope, Eryk stands up and rubs the PRIME logo in the center of the ring with his black wrestling boot. Nodding once again as if to say, “Yeah, this is about to happen.”, the eldest Van Warren brother then climbs the turnbuckles in the corner and raises both of his arms into the air to classic sounding and very loud, white pyro exploding up from the rafters.
Pointing out into the crowd, Eryk claps out at the fans for being in attendance to witness one of the most important matches of his career. Stepping down from the turnbuckles, Eryk runs his hair through his short, neatly shaped Liddell-esque, before jogging in place in the center of the ring. Hunkering down, EVW simply stares down towards the entrance and waits for his opponent to make his entrance.
Vince Howard: And his opponent, weighing in at two-hundred-and-fifteen pounds and standing at six feet and one inches tall, he hails from Toronto, Ontario, Canada…TEDDY! PALMER!
During Vince Howard’s announcement, the bouncing guitar lick of ‘Leave Me Lonely’ by Hilltop Hoods vibrates through the MGM Grand. The PRIMEates are spirited, on the verge of plunging into a frenzy as Teddy Palmer strolls out onto the stage. He has a swagger to his step, a cocky smirk curled out of the corner of his mouth, and a noticeable chip on his shoulder.
Nick Stuart: And here comes Teddy Palmer!
Richard Parker: Wasn’t he dating the boss?
As the rolling lyrics pick up in pace, Teddy follows suit towards the ring, peeling off his tee. Tossing the ‘Face To Fuckin’ Canvas’ shirt a half dozen rows back, fans within the landing radius play tug of war with the garment. He slaps a few outreached hands, offers a playful wink or two, and rolls underneath the bottom rope.
Nick Stuart: Did you actually watch wrestling the last ten years?
Richard Parker: There was wrestling the last ten years?
Inside the squared circle, Teddy shuffles its perimeter with a lively hop, looking down at the canvas as he does so. He eventually settles in his respective corner, slouching into the turnbuckle, finally looking up at his opponent. With a subtle nod, he lets it be known he’s ready to throw fists.
Nick Stuart: We have both contenders here in the ring, with a huge matchup on our hands! Teddy Palmer and Erk Van Warren have both had incredible careers around the world of wrestling and we get to watch them collide right here on ReVival 2!
Richard Parker: How did Teddy Palmer draw the fourteenth seed? He’s Teddy Palmer, world renowned technician, former champion in multiple promotions, and he’s here as the fourteenth seed? I feel like Eryk Van Warren got a tough shake. See I told you I watched!
Nick Stuart: What about the shake for Teddy Palmer? Being the fourteenth seed means you’re taking on one of the favorites to win the tournament right out of the gate! The man’s going to have to run a GAUNTLET if he wants to win the Universal Championship. And here’s Elvis Nixon calling for the bell!
Elvis Nixon finishes checking both men for foriegn objects and immediately calls for the bell. Van Warren charges in at Teddy Palmer, but Palmer manages to side step Van Warren’s attempt for a grapple. Palmer pulls his left hand back and manages to smash Van Warren across the face with a jab. EVW covers up with a philly shell style defense as Palmer tries to fire away with a combination. Van Warren tries to roll through the right hand, but Palmer backs off.
Nick Stuart: I think EVW was trying to bait Teddy Palmer to come in, and countering off of that philly shell defense. I’m sure some of the boxing fans in Vegas really appreciate that.
Richard Parker: Of course he was! Brilliant move by EVW! Maybe Dusk should call the other old man for some lessons. Teach him how to take a little less punishment in the ring.
The two men size each other up again, and Palmer is almost jokingly using some boxing footwork in the ring with EVW. EVW takes the opportunity to sneak his foot in between the smaller man’s feet causing him to trip. Warren grabs Teddy in a front face lock, Teddy manages to pull Van Warren’s hands apart underneath his chin and reverses it into an arm-bar, and follows it up by taking Van Warren into a hammerlock. Teddy rushes Van Warren to the corner and Elvis Nixon rushes in and breaks the two wrestlers apart.
Richard Parker: Oh come on Elvis! Can’t you leave the building already!? Let these two guys work this out.
Nick Stuart: Nixon was right to break up that hold Richard, some great wrestling going on between two guys who are known for doing exactly that!
Palmer splits up, backing away and pointing to a woman near the front row and giving her a wink. EVW doesn’t let the opportunity pass him by as he manages to grab Palmer by the back of the head. Palmer manages to swing it into a collar and elbow tie-up. Palmer is able to get a bit lower than Eryk and manages to push him back a step or two. Van Warren lets Palmer come in, but uses his momentum against him and manages to slide around to back control. Palmer tries to reverse by dropping to a seated position but EVW manages to hold him up anyway. He pulls Palmer into the air by his stomach and holds him there for a moment. Finally pulling himself backwards and sending Palmer skidding across the canvas on his shoulders and neck.
Nick Stuart: WHAT A GERMAN SUPLEX FROM EVW! He deadlifted Teddy Palmer up and over his head!
Richard Parker: Pretty strong guy for an old timer.
Palmer is on the ground holding his neck, and Van Warren is in control. He scampers to his feet and pulls Palmer up, delivering a snap suplex to Palmer. EVW floats over and hooks the far leg.
Palmer kicks out easily at one, and Van Warren is right back on top of him. Van Warren grabs the out-stretched arm and tries to pull it back into his Kimura lock. Palmer is quick to shift Van Warren from side control into a half guard, struggling to stay out of the Kimura. EVW keeps wrist control with his left hand and drives his right hand into Palmer’s stomach a few times before going back for the Kimura. Teddy readies his hips and manages to shift EVW into a full guard. Teddy manages to slip his leg in between EVW’s arm and uses his foot to push the arm loose of the Kimura attempt. He slides it up onto Van Warren’s shoulder, who immediately realizes the danger and backs away.
Nick Stuart: What a display of grappling. Two masters of their craft going at each other.
Richard Parker: I thought Palmer was dead to rights with that Kimura, but he stayed calm and collected.
Nick Stuart: Staying calm and collected is exactly right Richard, he transitioned him all the way from side control to full guard, and then into a submission attempt.
Teddy Palmer works his way over to the ropes, and takes a moment to get himself to his feet. Van Warren and him give each other a nod, and the two combatants are right back at it in the center of the ring. The two go for a collar and elbow tie up again, and Van Warren immediately has the upper hand. Teddy tries for an arm crank but Van Warren reverses it, Van Warren tries to twist Teddy into a hammerlock, Teddy manages to duck under and grab a hammer lock of his own. Teddy tries to maneuver Van Warren into position for a German Suplex, but Van Warren manages to pull his arm free and pull Teddy’s hands down below his waist taking away the leverage.
Nick Stuart: Now these two men are showing us what they can do standing up! This is great wrestling!
Van Warren explodes behind Palmer grabbing a waist lock of his own and trying to get Teddy up for another German Suplex but Ted sticks his leg between Van Warren’s and is able to stop the momentum. Teddy is able to roll through and generate some space between the two men. Teddy rolls to his feet and immediately hits the ropes coming back at Van Warren. EVW ducks under a clothesline attempt by Palmer, Teddy stops in his tracks and throws a kick at Van Warren’s side. EVW manages to catch the leg, but Palmer smashes him across the side of the head with an enziguri.
EVW stumbles backwards as Teddy kips up to his feet. Van Warren hits the ropes and comes back swinging wildly with a clothesline of his own, but Palmer ducks under and grabs a waist lock. This time, before there is any counter wrestling Teddy manages to elevate Van Warren over his head and slam him to the canvas with a release german suplex!
Nick Stuart: What a move from Teddy Palmer! He’s finally getting his footing in this matchup!
Richard Parker: His hangover must be wearing off.
Palmer floats over with a cover.
EVW kicks out emphatically. Palmer gets to his feet, and EVW is up soon after him. Teddy fires off a right hand and EVW returns the favor. The two trade blows back and forth in the middle of the ring. The fans begin to get into the two going back and forth, when finally Van Warren breaks it up by grabbing Teddy and throwing him over his head with a belly to belly suplex. Palmer crashes like a ton of bricks and Van Warren is right back on him with side control. Palmer immediately locks his hands together and Van Warren tries to pull Palmer’s grip apart, but Palmer responds with a right hand. Van Warren sees an opportunity and begins driving elbows into Teddy Palmer’s unprotected mouth.
Richard Parker: OH! PALMER’S BLEEDING!
Nick Stuart: You would be correct Richard, Palmer bleeding on the mat here after EVW let the elbows fly!
EVW once again tries for the Kimura, but Palmer flips over, giving Van Warren his back. Palmer manages to scramble out of the hold and the two men arrive at their feet. Palmer rotates and manages to stick Van Warren with a clothesline in the chest. Van Warren staggers, and responds with a knife edge chop. Palmer staggers back and rebounds off the ropes, smashing Van Warren with a lariat. EVW drops to his knees, and Palmer hits the ropes with everything he has. Palmer comes back and leaps looking for the Nosebleed Section, but Van Warren pops to his feet and levels Palmer across the mouth with an elbow.
Nick Stuart: Oh, that blood is all over the canvas now after that sharp elbow to the leaping Teddy Palmer.
Richard Parker: It’s like he was spearfishing! He stuck him out of midair!
Palmer staggers back and Van Warren is still wobbly from the multiple lariats. Both men take a minute to collect themselves. Van Warren runs over and once again gets Palmer in a waist lock looking for the German Suplex. Palmer manages to once again reverse by ducking the shoulder, but he manages to control Van Warren’s wrist. Van Warren tries to step forward, and the bloodied Palmer lets him before viciously pulling him back towards him.
Nick Stuart: RIPCORD KNEE STRIKE MISSES! VAN WARREN SAW IT COMING!
Richard Parker: But he missed that one!
Van Warren ducks under the ripcord knee strike, both men pivot in an instant going back towards each other. Palmer manages to smash EVW across the mouth with a regular knee strike sending him sprawling to the canvas.
Nick Stuart: Look Richard! Now Van Warren’s bleeding just below his eye where that knee strike connected!
Richard Parker: That’s a pretty nasty gash, Van Warren’s lucky that knee didn’t connect above his eye instead of below it.
Palmer falls over on top of Van Warren.
Nick Stuart: What a kickout by Van Warren! It wasn’t as emphatic as earlier, but how could it be? These men have wrestled for sixteen minutes so far.
Richard Parker: Great stamina being shown by these two technicians.
Teddy rolls Van Warren back onto his back, and tries to flatten him out for a Crucifix position. Van Warren knows the danger, and manages to keep his left shoulder up off of the mat as the two men slide around the ring. Small strikes are being trades on the inside by Palmer, occasionally letting his left hand fly smashing into Van Warren’s mouth. Van Warren takes the punishment and manages to get his hips into position, sending Palmer crashing to the ground as Warren rolls out of the predicament. Van Warren now has the top position and is stuck in Teddy Palmer’s guard with Palmer clasping onto Van Warren’s neck to keep him from posturing up.
Nick Stuart: These two grappling like this on the ground is a real treat.
Richard Parker: Normally Vegas is booing this stuff…
Van Warren manages to get his arms through Teddy’s and posture himself up. He pulls Teddy down closer to him, and creates leverage with his legs to send some ground and pound back to Teddy Palmer’s bloody face. Palmer tries to grab EVW again by the neck, but he unloads another right hand into Palmer’s face.
Richard Parker: There’s so much blood on the mat it’s hard to tell whos is whos in there.
Nick Stuart: You’re telling me! And the way those two keep grappling it’s impossible to tell what came from where. We just know Teddy Palmer seems to be cut in the corner of his lip, and Van Warren is cut right beneath his eye.
Van Warren finally manages to grab one of Teddy’s arms and goes about trying to lock in a Kimura again. Palmer is dazed as his arm starts to slip behind him, just as he feels his first twinge of pain from the Kimura, Palmer manages to hook his legs up around EVW’s head. It all happens in an instant, and EVW is now the one trying to get out of the hold. He tries to keep his arm at the halfway point with the Kimura, but Ted is able to use his other arm to pry Van Warren’s hand off of his. Teddy smashes Van Warren in the face a few more times, before locking in his triangle choke while he keeps his shoulders off of the mat.
Nick Stuart: BYE BYE BYRDIE! PALMER’S LOCKED IN BYE BYE BYRDIE!
Richard Parker: Why does he call it Bye Bye Byrdie?
Nick Stuart: You really haven’t been around wrestling in the last ten years have you?
Van Warren struggles against the hold, and manages to rotate himself around the canvas, eventually coming face to face with the hard cam. Palmer keeps his shoulders elevated, and clamps down on the choke with everything he has. Van Warren struggles for another moment, feeling the blood running down the side of his face, he can feel his spittle turning to foam in his mouth. He looks directly into the camera on the floor.
And Eryk Van Warren taps out.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: The winner of this match….TEDDY PALMER!
Nick Stuart: Wow, I can’t believe it! Van Warren tapped out!
Richard Parker: What was he supposed to do? Let him put him to sleep so he loses all of his brain cells? The mans damn near fifty! He’s probably got grandchildren at home watching this.
Nick Stuart: You really haven’t watched wrestling in the last ten years then… But what a win for Teddy Palmer! And what a show! Can you believe we still have one match to go?
ReVival cuts away from ringside and a celebrating Teddy Palmer.
Cut to a view, way up in the nosebleed seats, and Simon Tillier walking backwards to keep the camera motion fluid. He seems a bit out of breath.
Simon Tillier: Good evening PRIMEates, it’s your old pal Simon Tillier coming at you once again with a pretty big scoop! Earlier this evening I spoke with Number 10 seed Rezin regarding the Almasy cup and his second round opponent in the tournament to crown the next PRIME UNIVERSAL Champion, and I’ve been told that right here, in this very arena, his opponent, Number 2 seed Impulse has been sitting here watching the action!
He looks to his left, nearly stumbling at the balance shift, but manages to hang on. The camera zooms a bit and focuses in on the aisle seats about halfway down the section, where Impulse and Calico Rose are clearly sitting and watching the action.
As the action is currently behind and to the right of them, they both notice themselves on the big screen. Impulse turns his head and raises a hand, waving hello to Tillier, while Cally looks at the camera, to the big screen, and back again, waving her arm slowly and deliberately and watching herself do so ad infinitum. Simon and the cameraman reach the pair after a few moments; the fans around them going crazy.
Calico Rose: Impulception. Trippy.
Impulse laughs at this, but he turns back to the camera to shake Simon’s hand.
Impulse: How’s all the things, sir?
Simon Tillier: We’re doing well, and you?
Impulse looks around.
Impulse: We’re watching the only wrestling television show – live – that matters, we’re surrounded by the best fans in the world, and we’re on our way to the second round of the Almasy Invitational, one step closer to the promised land.
Calico Rose: AND we have candy.
Impulse: And we have candy.
He shrugs as she eats one.
Impulse: Things can’t get much better, my friend.
The fans in their immediate area cheer again.
Simon Tillier: Speaking of the Almasy Invitational, I spoke with your second round opponent just a short while ago, as you are aware – do you have anything to say in response?
He holds the microphone towards Impulse, who considers this for a few seconds, before shaking his head.
Impulse: Nah. Pass.
The Marathon Man turns back towards the ring, with Cally leaning in to him with her head on his shoulder. Simon Tillier looks at him, dead-eyed, for just a moment, letting the word sink in.
Simon Tillier: I’m… sorry? I don’t understand.
Impulse: We’re gonna have plenty to say, both to and about each other in the next week or two anyways. Fact is, Rezin is the one guy in the Rolo bracket that I actually have some history with, so this is the only chance I have in this tournament to not go into one completely blind.
He holds up a hand.
Impulse: Unless Nova and I both make it to the finals, but we’ll cross that bridge if we get there. But my point remains, I’ll have plenty to say about Rezin in the time, place, and circumstance of my choosing… not just because the opportunity presented itself.
Simon Tillier: You’ve faced off with him before? Who won?
Impulse: Doesn’t matter, it was a decade ago.
Behind the Marathon Man, Cally points at him and mouths the words ‘He did.’
Deflated, Simon sits on the step next to Impulse, microphone by his side.
Simon Tillier: So that’s it? Your opponent has words, you refuse to react, and I walk away with nothing?
Impulse considers that. He looks to Cally, who shrugs her shoulders in an understanding, sympathetic fashion, and leans over the athlete’s shoulders to get closer to Simon.
Calico Rose: Junior mint?
After a moment’s consideration, knowing it’s better than walking away completely empty handed, Simon takes one.
Impulse: Mephisto and Nova, take it away?
ReVival takes its last commercial break of the evening before going to ringside…
Commercial: High Octane Wrestling
TUNE INTO REFUELED ON HOTv TO CATCH EVERY MINUTE OF MAURAKO CUP ACTION!
1 Nova vs. 16 Jacob Mephisto
Nick Stuart: And here it is, our main event. The final match in the first round of the Seymour Almasy Invitational Tournament.
Richard Parker: And what a match it is.
Nick Stuart: For the first time in years, Nova, former Universal Champion, former two-time 5 Star and Intense Champion, a PRIME legend and a member of the vaunted Hall of Fame, returns to the ring. And where some companies might give such a competitor the red carpet treatment, what stands across from him is a path of burning coals.
Richard Parker: That’s because he faces someone who, in those years, has been putting in the work. Someone who has been grinding. And thriving. And winning championships and commanding the ring. He faces the methodical, the brutal Jacob Mephisto.
Nick Stuart: And not only that, but our second bounty is in play here. A Universal Championship shot is at stake for Jacob Mephisto if he wins this match, if he knocks out the top seed.
Richard Parker: Everything on the line. You want to make a statement in these halls? You face up a Hall of Famer and you beat them. Period. You answer the question of ‘What if’ and you earn a Universal Championship shot before we even crown the new champ.
Nick Stuart: If you’re Nova, you feel the heat here. You know what’s at stake.
Richard Parker: Your reputation. Hell, your credibility. Just because you were a king in the old guard doesn’t mean you waltz back in the doors here and have prestige handed to you on a silver platter. You earn it.
Nick Stuart: It’s a hard road…made even harder when, from what we know now, Nova, as great as he’s been in the past, is having to play catch up to Mephisto given how long he has been out of the ring.
Richard Parker: It’s why, you want honesty, you want smart money plays? You put your chips on Jacob Mephisto. PRIME fans who checked out when we shut off the lights might not know who he is and think what I’m spouting off is an upset. It isn’t. He’s not here, he’s not a top star in SHOOT, if it’s an upset. And for someone like Nova? That’s not just scary. That’s horrifying.
Vince Howard: The following match is one fall and is a first-round match in the Almasy Invitational!
In the center of the ring stands Head Official Timo Bolamba, arms folding across his massive chest. Suddenly, the lights within the MGM Grand Arena cut, and a stormy sky appears on the PRIMEview. As thunder booms over the speakers and lightning lights up the darkened clouds on-screen, a voice can be heard speaking in soft, reverberating tones.
“Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time…for y’all have knocked her up.
I have tasted the maggots in the mind of the universe; but I was not offended, for I knew I had to rise above it all…or drown in my own shit.”
The stormy sky fades, replaced by a field of stars. One of the stars shoots across the screen, and as the field of stars comes together to form the word “NOVA,” Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain (Live ’71)” roars over the loudspeakers, Eddie Hazel’s guitar screaming with emotion.
Nick Stuart: These fans are going wild for Nova and we haven’t even seen him. What a moment!
At this moment, a spotlight hits the entrance ramp where Nova is knelt, one fist raised in the air. The smoke wafting up from the cigarette hanging out of his mouth swirls irridescently under the hot glare of the spotlight. After a moment, the Risen Star climbs to his feet and makes his way down to the ring, rolling under the bottom rope before standing and flicking his cigarette away. He looks different than in the past, his vibrant head of hair now a balding blonde horseshoe with what remains sticking out with an Einstein flair, his thick brown beard filled with ample amounts of silver. All the same, the fans love him, remember him, what he’s done, and can’t wait to see if the present matches their memory.
Vince Howard: Introducing first! Weighing in at two-hundred-and-forty pounds and standing at six feet and three inches, from Parts Unknown…PRIME Hall of Famer! NOVA!
The lights come up, the fans roaring as the Risen Star blows the last of his cigarette out from his nostrils. The light inside the MGM Grand Arena is short lived, however, as just as quickly as they come on, they begin to flicker, dim, and then die, plunging the arena into complete darkness. The only light seen comes from the legions of PRIMEates’ cell phones.
The sound of a rattlesnake’s tail pierces the darkness and then the voice of “Wicked” Wilson Pickett cuts through.
Tiiiiiiime… is on my side…
“Time Is On My Side” continues to play as the lights flare to their brightest for just a moment before settling back to dim as a spotlight shines on the stage, revealing Jacob Mephisto.
Vince Howard: And his opponent! Weighing in at two-hundred-and-sixty-five pounds and standing at six feet and five inches, from Nazareth Pennsylvania…JACOB! MEPHISTO!
Mephisto walks to the ring casually, not acknowledging fans. He looks to the ring, perhaps seeing Nova, perhaps looking beyond, it’s hard to tell from those blank, pale, gray eyes. Mephisto enters the ring and holds his arms out to the sides, looking skyward before going to his corner opposite his opponent.
Nick Stuart: There’s a cold calculating manner to Jacob Mephisto. He has built a reputation all across the world as a vicious, technically proficient combatant. I think we are in for a hell of a battle here.
A murmur rumbles through the crowd as referee Timo Bolamba, smacks his hands together, stepping away from the center of the ring so Nova and Jacob Mephisto take the focus. Nova cracks his knuckles, shakes his head to loosen his neck. Across the ring, Mephisto looks down at his opponent, at his ticket to impact in PRIME, a smirk widening across his lips. An effervescent calm in direct comparison to The Risen Star’s jiggering movement. It’s the PRIME Hall of Famer making the first move, pacing from his corner, drawing his opponent from his, and with a sudden burst, he is shooting off his knee, looking for a quick go-behind. Mephisto sidesteps this easily, a lazy chuckle causing his chest to rock slightly, and before Nova can fully stand, he gets snatched with a collar and elbow tie-up by the larger son of Nazareth, a quick transition to a side headlock following.
Richard Parker: That’s what being out of the ring looks like. It looks like slop. It looks like easy money if you locked in that Mephisto bet.
Nick Stuart: A tremendous amount of torque here on the side headlock.
Richard Parker: Grinding. Like a vice. All Nova’s hand fighting isn’t making a dent.
And it isn’t. Mephisto is corralling Nova like a bull with all the effort of corpse in the grave.
Jacob Mephisto: Calm down, boy. I got you.
With his free hand, he grabs at one of Nova’s wrists, snatching it close, letting go of the side headlock only to wrench down on his opponent’s arm with a nasty arm wringer. And another. And another. The Risen Star isn’t just wincing; his grimace is brutal, languished. It gets even worse when Mephisto drives him in close, blasting his shoulder with his own. And another. He gives a quick wrench of the arm, twisting Nova around, all before snapping him into an absolutely filthy short-arm clothesline.
Nick Stuart: Pride Before The Fall! What a wicked clothesline!
Richard Parker: Nova’s chest is pink as the salmon from Morimoto’s.
Nick Stuart: And Mephisto is grabbing at Nova for ANOTHER Pride Before the Fall clothesline! And now he’s hooking the near leg!
But before Nova can even try to get up, Jacob Mephisto is grabbing at the tufts of blonde hair from the horseshoe on his head, snapping him to the canvas with a violent snap suplex. A few helpless skidding bounces later, The Risen Star is looking up at the lights, surely asking himself questions, wondering why he was in the ring, why he was gifted with the bounty over his head, and even worse, the crashing shin absolutely obliterating him from Jacob Mephisto’s soccer kick. Another cover follows.
Nick Stuart: And Mephisto is chuckling here. Chuckling as he looks down at Nova and grabs onto his hair, just holding him there. This…this is uncomfortable.
Richard Parker: Jacob Mephisto asked the question ‘What If’, what if he wasn’t an afterthought? What if he wasn’t another footnote in Nova’s story? Because we’re past the point of what happens when Nova wakes up…because Mephisto here is putting him to sleep!
The unease in the crowd is growing a full throated boo, with each lashing move turning this bout from major story in the Almasy Invitational to a sad sacrifice of the old given to the new. Jacob Mephisto isn’t one to care about such a past; he’s too busy doing what he’s been doing, owning the tempo, locking Nova in another front chancery, all before another snap suplex drives the wind from PRIME Hall of Famer’s lungs, rattling his spine. Mephisto takes a few exaggerated steps forward before kicking Nova onto his stomach and dropping the point of his knee into the small of his back, all before rising up and doing it again, then grabbing at the head of the Risen Star, lifting him up and snatching his leg.
Jacob Mephisto: This is a Hall of Famer?
Mephisto’s free hand clobbers Nova’s face with a slap.
Jacob Mephisto: They call you one of the best of the best?
NO-VA! NO-VA! NO-VA!
Jacob Mephisto: Ha! Listen to them. Chanting your name as I smack the taste out of your mouth.
NO-VA! NO-VA! NO-VA!
Jacob Mephisto: A joke. You’re just a–
Enough! Nova lashes out with a smack of his own, sneering, his balding mane wild and standing on end. Mephisto is caught off guard, but not enough to leave his feet nor let go of his heel, so another slap clobbers Jacob, this one stiff enough to rattle his teeth.
He drops Nova’s heel, and the next thing he knows, he’s eating the canvas, snapping to it after being brought down from the force of a running front dropkick to his knee. He quickly tries to scramble to his feet, but is brought crashing back to the canvas with a jumping calf kick.
Nick Stuart: The tide is turning! Mephisto was cruising until he started with those slaps.
Richard Parker: Playing with his food too long. Honky tonkying. He had that dragon screw right there and then–
Nick Stuart: And then Nova crashes into Jacob Mephisto with a cross body! Cover!
Both men scramble to their feet, the cool calm of Mephisto giving way, and his opponent, The Risen Star, the PRIME Hall of Famer, looking natural, like he is riding a bike, getting the cobwebs shaken off. Thing have changed. The two converge with a collar and elbow tie up, with Mephisto quickly getting the edge with another side headlock, but Nova drives him backward into the ropes, shooting him off and whipping him to the opposite side, charging forward and blasting Jacob with a kitchen sink that hits like a hernia. As he winces, Nova maintains proximity, and out of desperation, Mephisto catches him with an eye-rake.
Nick Stuart: And head official Timo Bolamba pulling Mephisto away and warning him on that eye rake, he’s not going to tolerate that…
Richard Parker: But he’s cutting the momentum there! Stay back until he throws the challenge flag, come on you have to let things go down their normal progression…
Nick Stuart: A challenge flag? Preposterous…
Richard Parker: It’s not a chair shot…
Nick Stuart: And this isn’t pro football; it’s wrestling! PRIME wrestling! And Nova is trying to get his vision back still as Mephisto is closing the gap and goes for a double axe handle-
Richard Parker: Can see well enough to avoid that Nick–
Nick Stuart: Nova switches position and pushes Mephisto in the corner, ratcheting up the pressure with punches to the gut in rapid fire!
Nova rushes out of the corner, crashing in at high velocity with a brutalizing lariat in the corner. Mephisto remains standing, instinct taking over, his hands grabbing at the ropes to maintain his position. Nova once again charges into the corner, driving his knee into the gut of Jacob, the Risen Star grabbing a side headlock and slamming Mephisto’s head into the canvas with a bulldog. Jacob shoots up from the canvas, pushing up, a balled fist over his chest, a few staggering steps forward before he is lifted up and dropped right on the back of his head with a hellacious bridging german suplex.
Richard Parker: Survival is key! I can’t believe Mephisto kicked out of that with how nasty that fall was on his head!
Nick Stuart: He’s staggering, wobbly legged, it’s like he’s made of spaghetti. Nova pushing him into the nearest corner, and he charges toward him—
Richard Parker: Oh how smart!
Nick Stuart: Possum! He’s playing possum! Nova went with another running knee and Mephisto got out of the way cradle!
Nick Stuart: Oh did he have the tights there?
Richard Parker: I didn’t see it!
Nick Stuart: And Timo didn’t either! Nova trying to scramble–
Richard Parker: He’s going for Memento Moris!
Nick Stuart: He’s got Nova in the fireman’s carry! Lungbl—no! Nova escaped and Mephisto on his back trying to get up!
Mephisto’s scramble is quickly cut off by a stiff rising lariat, spittle flying everywhere, the crowd beginning to roar in the MGM Grand. Nova beats Mephisto to his feet, the timing proving deadly as he gets grabbed and powered over with a T-Bone suplex.
Nick Stuart: Nova giving a powerful roar right here!
Richard Parker: And Mephisto is right there!
A sudden burst of adrenaline has Jacob Mephisto trying to drive for a single leg, but Nova locks him with a front facelock, quickly going with the turn…
Nick Stuart: No-Value! No-Value! What an absolutely violent drop! Nova with the cover!
DING DING DING
Nova drops the hooked leg, rolling off the very game Jacob Mephisto before Timo Bolamba quickly drops to his knees his hands bracing against Jacob, who is trying to get back to his feet to continue the fight, albeit extremely groggy. His head jostles from side to side, eyes wide as his brain starts to register just what had happened, growling as he looks toward Nova, “Maggot Brain” by Funkadelic pounding through the MGM Grand as the fans roar in delight.
Vince Howard: Your winner…and advancing to the second round of the Almasy Invitational…NOVA!
Nick Stuart: Head official Timo Bolamba trying to protect Mephisto from himself here, and you have to feel for him, he proved himself in a PRIME ring with a trial by fire and came out swinging.
Richard Parker: And was on his way to a complete squash until he slapped the fight into Nova. He goes for the dragon screw and it’s a different ball game.
He’s a little older, but Nova, disheveled, sweating a storm, his skin showing with bruising, can’t help but give a smirk, looking toward the crowd, a few claps of his hands and a knowing point to acknowledge them, their energy. It feels good. It feels great. It feels like home. On the other hand, Jacob Mephisto knows pleading his case isn’t going to get him anywhere, and disgusted, at himself more than anything, he rolls out of the ring, hands on his hips, shaking his head. He curses to himself as he rips at his own wrist tape, looking over his shoulder at his opponent, a quick sneer, knowing full well if he ever steps foot in the ring with Nova again, it will be different. That he will have the right game plan to trap him for good this time.
Nick Stuart: Definitely Richard. You could tell that was the moment this match completely turned around. And while Nova looked good when he started firing on all cylinders here, it needs to be remembered…it took a good while for him to get there, and Jacob Mephisto, when he is pouring on the pressure, is quite the tall challenge.
Richard Parker: And hey, look, I am not sure how I feel exactly on that count…
Nick Stuart: Oh will you stop!
Richard Parker: What? I think it’s only healthy for everyone to maintain the same timing with their counts, and I mean, who knows if…
Nick Stuart: And with that, the final piece of the puzzle for round two of the Almasy Invitational is in place. Nova will take on Cancer Jiles, and remember…remember! Jacob Mephisto was close tonight, and that bounty on Nova is still in place. You beat him, you bank a future Universal Championship match.
Richard Parker: You don’t think it’s a good idea? A fair idea? Don’t shut me out Nick, you know I’m–
Nick Stuart: For Richard Parker, I’m Nick–
Richard Parker: Don’t put me in the corner. Nobody puts Rich Daddy in the corner!
Nick Stuart: –Stuart, good night and good luck! This is PRIME!
Fade. To. Black.