Two Steps From Hell.
Protectors Of The Earth.
The chyron reads ReVival 27. In a wash of darkened colors, two gladiators approach each other. Their names are synonymous with PRIME. The OId and The New. They’re bonded in shared ascendance. Universal Champions both. One set the torch. The other has taken it for their own.
Hayes Hanlon, the defending Champion.
Brandon Youngblood, his challenger.
Event Horizon against The Diamond.
The Comeback Kid against The Tower of Babel.
They step towards one another in slow motion, their fists bumping.
Locking up. Wrestling around. Hammerlock. Back elbow. Knife edge chops. Each strike is vicious. There is no quarter given. Tree of woe. Sweat pouring from each. And as the percussion elevates, Youngblood’s strikes only bring out the dog in Hanlon, the Event Horizon demanding more.
The momentum shifts on a backdrop driver.
You’re going to let this continue?
Yes…for Hayes Hanlon has the heart of a Champion. He fights back with all he has. Despite the half nelson suplex. He hits a snap dragon of his own into the corner. An Epoch leads to a survival DDT. We are drawing near. To the end. To the climax. A Karelin Lift. The Epoch. Feet touching ropes to stave off defeat. The Death Valley Driver. So many moments. Everything laid out on the line.
Hayes goes for the Super Massive off the second rope.
Youngblood devastates him with elbows to the skull before driving him into the canvas with a second rope Randallplex. The count.
The Universal Championship has changed hands.
After nine months, Brandon Youngblood is once again the Universal Champion.
“What is this? A rerun?”
The voice of Tyler Adrian Best drains all sound. The screen filters to black and white. Cecilworth Farthington and FLAMBERGE have entered the ring.
“I don’t think you understand how sticky of a situation you’re in.”
The new Universal Champion, drained of his strength, is viciously assaulted, as is Hanlon.
And then, the knee.
I Kneed A Hero.
Hugs all around. Coral Avalon and Nate Colton chase them off. Pieces of Youngblood’s teeth lie in a puddle of blood on the canvas.
“Who exactly… is going to protect you, and everyone you care so much about?”
Welcome…to the ReVival.
CANCER JILES vs. TERRY WOODS
The opening montage comes to a close, and it’s Every Other Friday, and you know what that means, RIGHT? It’s time for ReVival We find ourselves live and in living color (as opposed to monochrome, or even further back than that, to when Eddie Cross was in his early forties and going to the first showing of ‘The Talkies’) one day after the Nuggets win haha what a game right folks? Anyways, no more time to waste on the hoops or old people or how many of The Weeds our radio folks will consume during this broadcast, let’s get into what you all love, what you all need, IT’S SIGNAGEDDON!
FLAMBERGE FOLDS PAGES INSTEAD OF USING BOOKMARKS
I REMEMBER MY FIRST BEER
GLUE AND ME AND THE DEVIL MAKES THREE
IVAN STANISLAV CROSSES PICKET LINES
IVAN STANISLAV IS A BIG BOWL OF WHAT LOOKS LIKE VANILLA SOFT SERVE BUT IS ACTUALLY RUSSIAN ISSUE FLAVORLESS ICE CREAM
I GOT A BLESSING FROM HOYT AND IM SACRED
I ATE A HAMBURGER AND I’M SWORD
IT IS NOT A HOW INVASION IT IS NOT A HOW INVASIONNNNN
I GET MY WEED FROM SAGE PONTIFF
I GET MY SAGE FROM TOKEN WEED
I GET MY KICKS ON ROUTE 66 IM OLD AS FUCK AND THIS SONG WAS POP MUSIC FOR ME
PHIL ATKEN IS THAT YOU
CECILWORTH FARTHINGTON’S NAME ISN’T LONG ENOUGH
MAYBE THIS TIME
I RITE GUD!
Nick Stuart: Hello again everyone on the ACE Network, and WELCOME! To ReVival! 28! We are coming to you live from the Ball Arena in beautiful downtown Denver Colorado with another exciting night of the best professional wrestling has to offer! I’m Nick Stuart, joined, as ever, by Hall of Fame colleague, the affable Richard Parker. And Richard, what a jam packed night of action we have for everyone tonight.
Richard Parker: Hyperbole is the call of the day in most spheres of professional wrestling, but tonight, PRIME embarks on a path marked with seismic change. Just fourteen days ago, the faces at the top of the PRIME mountain were the future made the present. Now, both Nate Colton and Hayes Hanlon are left only with questions on how to pick up the pieces. We have a new 5 Star Champion in Coral Avalon. We saw an absolute war that ended with Brandon Youngblood regaining the Universal Championship. But perhaps most important of all…all is glue. Ain’t topping last week. No way. No HOW.
Nick Stuart: The fallout from ReVival 27, new 5 Star and Universal Champions, and what about the reconstituted Glue Factory…Glue Point Oh…FLAMBERGE…Cecilworth Farthington…and the number one contender…the Murder Rumble winner…Tyler Adrian Best? After their shocking and violent union, what are we set to see tonight?
Richard Parker: Choke Hold City! FLAMBERGE is in action against ‘The Nuzzlelord’ of the Love Convoy, Tristan-Crispin Gladhappy. And Cecilworth? Lord Farthington? The Greatest Human Wrestler To Ever Walk This Planet? He is set to go one on one with a former 5 Star and Universal Champion in Raisen.
Nick Stuart: Rezin, Richard. Rezin. So much action to come, including the footage from ReVival 27’s Gamble Championship match up between Eddie Cross and C. Montgomery Byrnes. And in our main event of the evening, Falls Count Anywhere, anything goes, the Intense Title is at stake between challenger Anna Daniels and the champion, Paxton Ray. To start things off, and with little to no fanfare at all, we have KING COOL, Cancer Jiles, going up against young and upcoming stalwart, Terry Woods. Both Terry and the former Universal Champion are coming off disappointing defeats on the last show, and will be looking to rebound here tonight in our opener.
Richard Parker: Hopefully KING FOOL doesn’t sprain his wrist so he can jerk something else when the match is over. CRUMB. What a fall from grace, and I couldn’t be happier. I’d say I hope Terry Woods finishes him off, but I think I’d start to miss the stupid, sour, salty look on Jiles’ pathetic face. Plus, you know. We can’t bulldoze over just HOW big of a catastrophe this opening match is, Nick. From the highest of highs, to the bottom of the scum sucking, garbage barrel that is COOLympus, the absolute biggest yolking chode there is not just in the sport of wrestling, but in life, and I mean ALL of life, even pond scum and parasites and the bacteria that eats feces is above THIS asshole, CANCER JILES is jerking the curtain, like he should have always been doing, like he’s lucky to be allowed to even walk out on this stage–
Nick Stuart: Are you sure, given pending legal investigations, antagonizing Jiles is a good–
Richard Parker: I will not be harassed and bullied by trash, Nick. Not now. Not ever. Jiles wants me dead? Well, let me tell you, you bleached blonde lil scamp you, that want and need you have? It’s a grain of sand in the Sahara Desert compared to how much I wish my head would explode from having to watch a second of you wrestle, you tummy tucked tramp stamped uncut booger eating crumb lord–
No lights dimming.
No guitar riff.
No wolf howling.
Oddly enough, Jiles is already standing in the ring. He was introduced during the opening montage like he’s a local talent. He also came out to the wrong entrance music, and his pyro was two stones accidentally being struck together by the Enemigos. The lights were on for everyone to see the glorious debacle, but luckily for him since the PRIMEates were still entering the building no one did.
Not oddly enough, Jiles is causing quite the scene because of the mix up. He has a few hairs out of place, he’s waving his arms around like there’s a mosquito hunting him in the ring, and he could use a brown paper bag to help with the up and coming hyperventilating.
Nick Stuart: I don’t think he’s stopped screaming at Elvis Nixon and Vince Howard. Poor guys had nothing to do with it, either.
Richard Parker: Mistakes happen, and besides, I kind of like “Angel” by Sarah Mclachlan.
Nick Stuart: Just imagine if it was Timo out here calling this match right now.
Richard Parker: There would be blood.
Suddenly, Terrific Terry Woods’ music hits, and the place goes absolutely bonkers because it’s not Cancer Jiles.
BOOM x 97 = Terry Pyro.
Nick Stuart: I think Jiles’ head just rolled clean off his shoulders.
It doesn’t. He does stop with all his berating though, and turns his attention towards The Draw.
Richard Parker: Well, if it didn’t it’s about to because holy shit Terry Woods is riding an elephant down to the ring! Look at that thing! It’s massive!
Dirty Dick isn’t fibbing. Terry is riding an elephant down to the ring. No word of how it got off the ark and under the PRIMEtron, but he’s on it.
Nick Stuart: Dare I ask it, but is Terry Woods riding the elephant in the room down to the ring?
Richard Parker: Get out.
Woods and his elephant make their way down to the ring. T-bag Terry dismounts onto the apron, as if the bit had been practiced for months at a circus. Dhalsim then teleports in from the crowd, and leads the elephant into the back so that it can rejoin its mother, Roberta Dean.
Richard Parker: NOW THAT’S AN ENTRANCE! That’s how you do it! None of that horse bullshit! What a spectacle! I’m enthralled! Shame he has no chance, but still, enthralled.
Jiles is unexplainable. Well, salt is coming out of his ears, but his face is changing colors so rapidly that by the time I get done typing red it would be purple. Terry, aloof from the Dumbo ride, stands across him ready to tackle the challenge ahead.
Nick Stuart: And this opening contest is underway! Is tonight the night that Terry Woods becomes The Draw in PRIME and takes the next step…or will he be the next one up for eGGsecution?
Richard Parker: Oh for the love of Hoyt, STOP IT!
The Manhunter steps to the center of the ring, raising his hand for a greco roman knuckle lock. Jiles looks at him, his face contorting to one of puzzlement before he lets out a loud yawn.
Richard Parker: God, I hope he absolutely smashes him!
Nick Stuart: Jiles hasn’t even taken off his signature T-Shades, and he’s just standing there…
Richard Parker: Like an absolute damn putz.
Woods further beckons for him to engage, and finally, the COOLympian saunters forward from the corner, looking ready to engage. He brings his hand up to reach for the taller Wood’s hand, but as he does, he uses his heel to smash into the toes of The Draw’s boot. Woods begins hotfoot hopping from the salt shoed stomp, and as he does, Jiles grabs him from behind looking to hit a german suplex. An errant back elbow hits Jiles in the temple, causing his T-Shades to become crooked.
Richard Parker: Break those stupid glasses!
The Greek God of Cool recalibrates, straightening his shades, and as he does, Woods grabs hold with a front chancery, looking to muscle him up in a vertical suplex. He manages to get him up, but Jiles’ legs kick and he gets out, falling behind Woods, and after he does, he chop blocks the absolute hell out of The Draw’s knee, dropping him instantly to the canvas. As Woods grabs at his knee, Jiles smashes the heel of his boot into his sternum, them reaches down and gives both his nipples a big ole twist, all before grabbing his legs and throwing them out in the splits.
Nick Stuart: An expanding triangle of pain, that has to hurt the hamstrings.
Having sandwiched his groin in such a matter, Jiles wants to get to where the flavor in this treat truly lies, mounting Woods and beginning to hammer down closed fists. The scene gets ugly fast, shades of the assault on Phil Atken coming to mind, and Elvis Nixon tries to intervene, but Jiles easily pushes him away, all before grabbing around Wood’s throat and choking him. Nixon admonishes Jiles, beginning a count, getting all the way to four.
Richard Parker: The idiot is going to get himself disqualified!
Jiles lets go right before the five count, and immediately after, throws another sickening closed fist, right before fish hooking Woods’ mouth and raking his eyes on the canvas.
Nick Stuart: This…Elvis needs to do something about this, and in a hurry, because if he doesn’t Jiles is just going to keep breaking the rules until he severely hurts this man.
Nixon tries pulling Jiles off of Woods, finally managing to get the former Universal Champion to budge. There is no wild attack to Elvis, not even a protest. He simple reaches over and pops Nixon’s collar and gives him a pat on the head.
Richard Parker: WOODS WITH THE ROLL UP! HE’S GOT THE TIGHTS!
And what a kickout. The shades are off, and Jiles’ eyes are wide. Woods struggles to get to a vertical base, and, lashing out, Jiles slaps him HARD across the face, then begins throwing heavy knife edge chops across The Draw’s chest, throwing him back, right before grabbing hold of a swinging neckbreaker.
From the carnage, Jiles saunters over, plucking his shades from the canvas, putting them back on. Before he does, he throws a glare in the direction of the Voss Family Reunion, sitting their with their flags, trying to make a scene of themselves. He makes a jerking off motion, then explodes forward, running and blasting a shin kick that takes Woods’ feet out from underneath him.
Nick Stuart: This…this is getting ugly.
Richard Parker: Just freaking kill me.
Reaching down at Woods, Jiles yanks him back to his feet, blasting him again with a knife edge chop that sends him into the corner.
Nick Stuart: Cancer Jiles showing everyone that there’s levels to this. That putting him in the ring with someone who isn’t ready for what he brings might just be a death sentence.
Right to the forehead of Terry Woods. The Draw is glassy eyed as he looks at The Closer, who stomps a few steps back, and then shuts off his lights with a Terminal Cancer superkick that damn near breaks his neck, causing him to collapse in a heap on the canvas.
Jiles admires his work, then points toward Richard Parker, motioning to the corpse of Terry Woods.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Your winner…by pinfall…CAAAAAAAAAAAANCER! JIIIIIIIIIIIIIILES!
Nick Stuart: What a…what a statement win by Cancer Jiles here.
Richard Parker: Yeah yeah…whatever…what the hell ever…
Jiles rises to his feet, jogging, doing laps around the perimeter of the ring with his hand raised as though he just scored the biggest win of his entire career. And as he makes it to the center of the ring, he collapses to his knees, arms raised, pointing to the camera, shaking his head, flashing a self assured smile.
The camera quickly pans over to Terry Woods, being attended to by Elvis Nixon and medical officials, his movements slow, sitting up from the canvas, not even sure where he is.
As he does, a black hat with red trim along the bill comes flying perilously close to him. The white embroidered letters are stark. What do they say?
Jiles gets to his feet when suddenly the lights dim and then afterwards they completely shut off.
Nick Stuart: What do we have going on here!?
Richard Parker: Hopefully cutting to commercial early so we don’t see this idiot celebrate any further.
The lights remain off for some time, to the point where Jiles shouts to the backstage, rattled his victory celebration has been thrown off television.
Finally, the video board jumps to a white screen. This is followed by a modified voice over.
Modified Voice Over: What is a HERO?
Richard Parker: Great, not this shit again.
Modified Voice Over: Webster’s Dictionary defines a HERO as a mythological or legendary figure, often of divine descent, endowed with great strength or ability. An illustrious warrior. A person admired for achievements, and noble qualities. One who shows great courage.
By now, Jiles is overtly scoffing. He wants nothing to do with this and he’s about to exit- but the voice over won’t stop talking.
Modified Voice Over: It is also defined as the principal character in a literary or dramatic work.
The video screen runs through a number of comic book pages showing various heroes fighting off villains. Most of the images are of well known superheroes at war with their enemies, like Batman and Joker, Superman and Lex Luthor and so on.
Jiles looks like he’s going to vomit. He gives the middle finger to the LCD screen upon attempting to exit the ring, when the video turns off and the entire arena is dark again.
Richard Parker: The only thing I like about this is it has saved us from seeing a delighted Jiles post-match.
Some of the fans weakly light up the arena with their phones, showing Jiles hasn’t left the squared circle yet, likely because he can barely see.
The LCD screen flicks back on with a word.
Modified Voice Over: We have defined the hero. Now, what is a villain? Webster’s Dictionary…
The voice trails.
Modified Voice Over: Is no longer required! You’re looking at THE definition of a villain inside this very ring.
A spotlight shines down upon Jiles. Again, he doesn’t want to entertain this stupidity but he also can’t go anywhere. Despite now technically being able to see his surroundings, the bright spotlight shining down on him has created a temporary and extremely painful flash blindness. He’s more pissed than before.
The word COMICON vanishes from the screen.
Modified Voice Over: This villain has cast CHAOS across PRIME and he needs to be stopped by any means possible! Fans of PRIME from near and far, have no fear because I am here to stop him! And I am here to stop him… RIGHT NOW.
Richard Parker: Right now, now?
The screen shows a new saying.
The Clown Prince of Crime
The Clown Prince of Crime
The Clown Prince of Crime
The Clown Prince of…
The Clown Prince of PRIME
Richard Parker: What the hell is happening!? Show yourself!
Another entirely black screen appears. Until, finally, the word COMICON resurfaces.
Nick Stuart: What!?
The crowd is in a roar because some of them likely know what this means. Suddenly, the lights from all around the arena start flickering on and off at a rapid speed. Some of the crowd that knows, that really knows, even begin another chant.
C O N O R F U S E
The theme from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice – Han Zimmer’s “Is She With You?” blares over the PA. Most of the fans cheer, as a lift rises from underneath the rampway, revealing a man in a purple trench coat with his head lowered. Purple and black pyro EXPLODES from behind him and then he lifts his head, with a smirk across his pale skinned, baby looking face.
Nick Stuart: It is true! He is here! That’s two-time HOW World Champion Conor Fuse! Also a former Tag Team Champion in DEFIANCE and one of the very best in this industry!
Richard Parker: He looks like an idiot to me…
The crowd that knows who is standing there at the center of the PRIME ramp begin cheering in !RANK chants as Cancer Jiles is now throwing a massive fit inside the ring. Conor clearly can’t hold back his wide-ass smile.
Nick Stuart: The Video Game Kid has arrived!
Richard Parker: Video games!? I thought we were talking about comic books!? Wait, all of this sounds so pathetic!
The high flying, speedy risk taker named Conor Fuse takes a step forward and raises his hands to more cheers from the crowd, as comic book pages once again fall from the rafters throughout the arena. The scene quickly switches to show there are a number of people in Riddler-like masks running around on the catwalks and throwing over ripped comic book prints.
The former world champion walks to the front of the rampway as a page falls right before his feet. He spins around with joy as the arena is rained down upon by the magic of pen and paper.
Fuse pauses, looks down and picks up the closest page. His face studies the images rather quickly, but he is clearly going through panel-by-panel, almost as if he has dove deep into the splash and is vicariously living whatever is in front of his eyes. Once finished, he closes his eyes to remember a lasting picture and then glances over to Jiles with a wink. Conor throws the page to the ground and skips a frolic, carefree hop down to ringside in a purposeful, childlike way.
Jiles, meanwhile, is still irate. Once Conor gets to the bottom of the rampway, Fuse raises his arms. The comic book pages stop falling from the rafters, Fuse’s theme song comes to a close and the only thing left are the sounds of the crowd.
The newly dubbed Clown Prince of PRIME pushes back his purple comic book inspired trench coat to reveal he is sporting purple tights with comic splashes throughout (combine with Adam West Batman inspired ‘BANG’, ‘BOOM’, ‘WHACK’ splashes) and a t-shirt with white lettering saying COMICONOR.
Fuse reveals a microphone. He turns to the crowd and although they don’t die down immediately, he waits them out. Then it’s onto business.
Conor Fuse: I don’t wanna drag this on any longer, I tend to be long winded to begin with.
He smirks while trying to hold back a giggle.
Richard Parker: Great.
Conor Fuse: Sooooo HELLO, PRIME, HELLO!
There are certainly cheers, although a few boos also reside, likely because of the companies Conor represents or maybe due to the obnoxiousness of this facade he’s put on for numerous weeks, and now he takes the brunt of the aftermath.
Conor Fuse: Sometimes I forget to formally introduce myself. For those who don’t know me, my name is Conor. Gamer. Wrestler. Friend. Ultimate cool guy. Funny, silly, clever. I’m a whole bucket of decent but don’t get me wrong, I’m a down to earth dude, too.
Meanwhile, Cancer Jiles is going to blow an absolute fucking gastket in the middle of the ring. This is likely why Conor remains on the outside.
Conor Fuse: So people are like, “hey Conor, we know you love video games” and I’m like “yeah I totally do, big Nintendo fan and deeply in love with Tears of the Kingdom already”. Fun fact for ya, I beat the game last night. Pulled out a 48-hour straight marathon LOL but okay back to my point. It’s like “yeah I love video games” but I also really enjoy comic books, too. No one ever talks about that, eh. They think I’m a one-trick pony but I also love wrestling. I’m kinda a fun little n00b if you think about it.
Richard Parker: I would say he’s definitely something…
Nick Stuart: Be nice. It looks like he’s here FOR Cancer Jiles.
Richard Parker: So I have to rest my hopes on this dumbass?
Conor takes a moment to catch his breath from rambling on.
Conor Fuse: Anyway, PRIME is a pretty sick gig. I love what Lindsay has done with the place and I would’ve joined for good months or even a year ago but, I digress, I’m kinda tied up in DEFIANCE and HOW ATM.
Richard Parker: Did he SAY A.T.M.?
Conor Fuse: Yeah, yeah, I got those commitments, we all do.
The happy, energetic gamer stops, takes a deep breath and then lets it hang.
Conor Fuse: In the end, those are excuses because I’m here… FOR YOU.
Conor points directly at Jiles until Fuse puts an arm up.
Conor Fuse: Okay, you need to fucking chill. Hold on a second.
Conor digs into his jacket and reveals a number of letters in faded purple envelopes. He licks his left index finger and then starts filing through. The nearby camera picks up what’s written at the front of the letters. They look eerily similar to the “TO THE BATMAN” letters The Riddle wrote in the most recent Batman movie. While Conor rifles through some of the letters, the lens picks up who they are addressed for.
TO GIANT RUSSIAN MAN
Conor stops and blushes at the last entry his eyes have landed on.
Conor Fuse: Oops, how’d that one get in here?
Without a second thought, Conor merely discards the last letter to the ground, files through a couple more until he arrives at the one he wants.
TO BAD MATT
Conor Fuse: Ah, here it is.
TO THE EGGMAN
Conor slowly approaches the apron. He places the letter on the canvas and slides it underneath the ropes, as the letter stops right at the soles of Jiles’ feet. A perfect touch if Conor would say so. The COOL does not bend down to take it, he spits on it instead.
Conor Fuse: Dude, WTF. Why are you so pissed? Additional fact, I love wrestling MOAR than video games and comic books combine so I’m pretty fucking in tune to what’s going on in this system. Fine, if you’re gonna be a dbag, I’ll tell you what I want. And it’s why I’m not going into the ring right now, either. I’d love nothing more than to pump your trash panda face in but there’s a time and a place.
Conor shakes his head towards his enemy.
Conor Fuse: For those who don’t know… I attribute a lot of my main event success to the man standing in the middle of the ring. He is a fine villain of the highest caliber when he WANTS to be. The key is WANTS, my friends. And when he’s not motivated, when he doesn’t give AF… well… then he loses to straight up NPCs like that love-minded simp.
Fuse shivers at the thought of it.
Conor Fuse: But Joker NEEDS Batman in order to be the best villain possible and this EGG guy, when he’s given a real challenge, ohhh he can go.
Conor starts nodding with intensity.
Conor Fuse: I want you to bring everything you’ve got, I DEMAND it. Jiles, I have traveled too far and set up far too much to be brushed off. YOU fled High Octane Wrestling and left me alone, without a bitter rival. I need you, buddy. That’s why I’m here. But this IS a two way street. Because I can help you, just like you can help… me.
Fuse is really feeling it. He speaks with a sense of conviction and playfulness wrapped into one.
Conor Fuse: For the past several weeks, I’ve heard you complain endlessly about how you want main event matches over and over. Well with all due respect to your recent opponents…
Conor directs a thumb into himself.
Conor Fuse: I’m the Last Level Legend. And now, on top of this, I have crowned myself the Clown Prince of PRIME – since you took the Bounty Hunter mantra a while ago. Dammit Canc, I really wanted that nickname.
Fuse shakes his head, trying to keep his ADHD on the straight and narrow.
Conor Fuse: I digress, I digress, I digress. I can give you exactly what you want. I might be busy in other organizations but I’m still up for a good old comic book CROSSOVER. How does PWA 2 sound?
Nick Stuart: Huge challenge laid out!
Conor Fuse: You wanna make it back to the TOP? Bro, the path is set. COMICONOR got you!
The crowd supports the challenge and continues cheering for Fuse.
Conor Fuse: I will now be off, before this segment becomes hilariously too long like so many Cancer Jiles moments before them.
Richard Parker: I’m afraid it already has.
Hans Zimmer’s Batman v. Superman theme plays as Conor Fuse marches up the ramp. He slaps hands with fans, while Jiles remains beside himself inside the squared circle.
Nick Stuart: A massive reveal! Conor has laid out a challenge for Fuse vs. Jiles at PWA2 but Cancer is none too happy. We’ve gotta go to commercial break but this night is already off to a hot start!
Richard Parker: If this is the best HOW has sent us, I’d really question working with them in the future.
Fade to commercial.
COMMERCIAL: 24 HOUR RULE
BE SEEING YOU
We come back from commercial with a shot of the center of the ring, the ever stylish Angelica Brooks standing with a microphone in hand. Her smile is effervescent and infectious. The Ball Arena crowd is already buzzing.
Angelica Brooks: Ladies, gentleman, and nonbinary folks, I am pleased to present to you…the new PRIME Universal Champion…Brandon! Youngblood!
BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD
SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE
LET THE GALAXY BURN
From the foot of the stage, the camera takes a wide shot as Bloodsport (World Domination) by HEALTH powers through the arena. Through the blinding blue and white strobing light cutting through the darkness, the figure of Brandon Youngblood surges from the curtain, the Denver fans going absolutely insane with raucous cheers. Tower of Babel powerwalks, his eyes trained forward, an oppressive scowl of intensity a hallmark painting his face. He is not dressed to compete, donning a pair of white and black combat shorts, his wrestling shoes, and a black tank top with his diamond logo across its center. And in his hand?
The PRIME Universal Championship.
His shoulders sway with the bravado of his BMF walk, a spotlight lighting his path. The 2022 Wrestler of the Year is quick down the ramp, his gait swinging him around the arena floor, to the ring steps. There is no slowdown as his feet pound the steel, stepping between the ropes and exploding upright. Once inside, he begins pacing around the outside perimeter of the ring, going to the nearest corner before climbing it and thrusting the Universal Championship into the air. Each corner receives the same treatment, another explosion of cheers rocking the foundation of the Ball Arena. The lights return as Youngblood drops from the last corner, making his way to Angelica Brooks as he throws the title over his shoulder. She is there to greet him, beaming, trying to speak as the crowd begins to chant.
After several moments, the crowd settles enough for Angelica to begin to speak.
Angelica Brooks: Brandon, the first thing I’d like to say, on behalf of many, as well as myself…especially given our friendship…congratulations.
Angelica Brooks: With that being said, I would be remiss if I didn’t approach the challenges you faced over the last nine months since losing the Universal Championship to Phil Atken. PRIME is known as having one of the most talent rich rosters in the history of professional wrestling…and the road has been far from smooth. In the wake of all that, you find yourself at the top of PRIME…what do you believe changed in you to help you achieve this monumental goal?
For a few moments, Brandon just looks to the crowd, a rising tenor as they wait for him to speak for the first time since regaining the top prize in all of professional wrestling.
Brandon Youngblood: First of all…I want to get some things out of the way. ReVival 27 was a helluva night…not just for me…but for others. A stacked card like that…nobody in the world can hope to compete with that. PRIME is always about the hungry…the generation coming up…the ReVival Generation…they’ve been making big waves. But on that night…I saw a man that I considered one of my greatest rivals…one of the men that I grew up early on in this sport knowing if I wanted to get to where I wanted to go…I’d have to match him…hold for hold…strike for strike. And his road hasn’t been the easiest either. In a lot of ways…promoters didn’t know what they had in him. Thought he wasn’t marketable. Not charismatic enough. They overlooked the talent and put him in a glass box and shoved him to the side. And in Kansas City…Coral Avalon punched through the damn thing and won the 5 Star Champion over one of the best the ReVival Generation has to offer…The Next Diamond…Nate Colton!
Brandon Youngblood: And I want to make sure I say this…Hayes Hanlon!
Brandon Youngblood: I know what this Universal Championship means to you. And I know what it means to have the weight of the world on your shoulders. Know how amazing it feels. Know how crushing it is when you lose. You look in the mirror and see only failure. You question whether you belong. If you made a mark. If you truly had what it takes. It’s an avalanche…the self doubt…the loathing…but I want you to know…Hayes…in Kansas City…I gave you all I had. And it took all I had to beat you. It’s easy for me to stand here and tell you to not hang your head…but I’m telling you…you’re not just worthy of the honor of being Universal Champion in PRIME…you’re not done. You have the chance to be one of the true greats in the history of PRIME. So keep your head up…grind…and when the time comes…I’ll be waiting for you.
He nods his head, his hand overtop of Angelica’s as he plants his feet firmly.
Brandon Youngblood: Now with that out of the way…DENVER!
Brandon Youngblood: Welcome back! To the Diamond Age!
He turns to face her.
Brandon Youngblood: For nine months, I’ve replayed it in my head, Ang. Phil Atken. That kick and everything that came after. What he took from me. What he took out of me. It took me a long time to admit…but I wasn’t ready to come back so soon after that. My body didn’t heal up. My face was a mess. I couldn’t sleep at night from the congestion. But I knew if I didn’t keep going…that I might not be able to get back to where I needed to be. I rushed back thinking I could will myself back to the top. Everyone talks about PRIME being a murderers row…but honestly…I didn’t think that applied to me. And then I got a dose of reality. Nova. Great Scott. Anna Daniels. I was busy hunting the Universal Title…and when that dream died…it was about hunting FLAMBERGE…
Brandon Youngblood: Oh don’t worry…I’m getting to his ass soon enough!
The fans go crazy at the notion.
Brandon Youngblood: Through all that…through PWA 1 and Clay Byrd escaping…I thought the worst. That that night in Las Vegas…that Atken had taken my edge and broken me. And that I’d never get it back.
For a moment, a slight smile. Then, he raises the face of the Universal Championship up for offer.
Brandon Youngblood: Guess I was wrong.
Another heavy smirk as he throws the title back over his shoulder.
Brandon Youngblood: In the new year…I rededicated myself. Got healthier. Not just physically…but mentally. It’s only then that I had the clarity to realize what happened nine months ago. That the expectations…the weight…the burden…of being Universal Champion…the appearances…taking everyone’s best shot…the lineage you stand against…that by that night…I’d let it consume me. Because that time…I wanted to show the wrestling world what it meant to be the absolute best. To be the one to lead PRIME’s ReVival.
He looks back toward the crowd.
Brandon Youngblood: But this one? I’m not burdened by it. I’m not looking at the ones that came before to see where I measure. I’m not counting the days. This one isn’t to build PRIME…we’re here in Denver…we’re on the road…we’re selling out stadiums across the country…PRIME’s here! PRIME’s built! And this one? It’s for me!
Brandon Youngblood: Since I lost this Championship…it’s been making the rounds. Lots of stops. Great hotels and some shitty motels. But after nine months? It’s home. And it’s staying home!
Another nod of the head.
Brandon Youngblood: So I hate to take all the time, Angie…but I got only one thing I’m going to address…because I guess I’m a liar. I guess I’m a liar. Because I am counting down the days. Counting down the days to San Diego!
Angelica has given the microphone to him, letting him command center stage.
Brandon Youngblood: Tropical Turmoil!
Brandon Youngblood: Tyler! Adrian! Best!
Brandon Youngblood: Son…you got one helluva mouth. And you got some great big balls…taking my moment like you did. You and Julien and Farthington!
He snarls after mentioning them.
Brandon Youngblood: But I’m focused on you! See…lots of folk look at you and create this image and narrative of who and what you are…what you represent. They look at the fact that your won the Murder Rumble and they hate it so they don’t talk about it because…if they do…they can diminish it. And yeah…you eliminated me…but hell son…all you did was cut off the scenic route to the destination I made any-damn-way!
His hand slaps the plate of the Universal Championship.
Brandon Youngblood: So I’ll thank you for that. But what I’m not gonna thank you for…days later…rather than having myself a nice tomahawk steak and a cigar and some single batch whiskey…I was sitting in a damn dentist chair, getting caps put on the teeth you broke with your knee! That pisses me off. But know this…you got one. After going to war with Hayes Hanlon…it took three of you…and you got your one. You’re not getting another. My feet hitting the floor from the ring? It ain’t going to stop me in San Diego. It’s one on one. And whether it’s your head…whether it’s your neck…this?
Again, he offers the Universal Championship forward.
Brandon Youngblood: It demands a piece of you. And I’m gonna serve it right up. Call it a rerun; I’m going to call it my shot.
Throwing the belt over his shoulder, he finishes his piece.
Brandon Youngblood: I’ll be seeing you Tyler. Sooner than later.
Dropping the microphone, Bloodsport (World Domination) by HEALTH once again powers through the arena, and as Youngblood exits the ring, we go elsewhere.
IS IT REALLY SAFE?
The cameras cut from the ring to the entrance of the Ball Arena. The door opens, but no one walks through immediately.
Voice: Go ahead, walk in!
With great trepidation, the small frame of one Craig Hamburgers, junior-junior wrestling reporter extraordinaire, shuffles into the building. As soon as he broaches the arena corridor completely, his chaperone for the evening, one Anglo Luchador, follows him in. Dressed in cargo shorts, the new Nate Colton t-shirt from the PRIMEporium, and, of course, his lucha mask, he walks slowly behind the young lad with a duffel bag slung over his shoulder.
Craig Hamburgers: hello yes this is so exciting, mr. luchador. i always wanted to be backstage at a wrestling show but my dad never lets me because of tigers and reapers and also no one asked me to go backstage at a wrestling show before, thank you.
TAL: Don’t worry, kid. No tigers here, and ever since GREAT SCOTT went back to his home planet, the fauna backstage here has gone down 100 percent. Besides, I heard Helen’s a real sweetheart as long as you don’t get on the Kraken’s bad side.
They walk down the hallway while conversing, although Craig is hesitant given the fact he’s a kid who has rarely been backstage at a big wrestling show before.
Craig Hamburgers: what kind of danger animals live at prime?
TAL: Look, if I didn’t think it was safe, I wouldn’t have vouched for this visit. When I saw that you had written tons of letters to the PRIME offices to have a tour backstage, well, I felt like it would be a great opportunity to get a young fan a real taste of how the soup gets made back here.
Craig Hamburgers: wait who makes soup back here, can i have some but only if it’s chicken noodle?
The luchador grabs Craig by the shoulder as they reach their destination, a locker room.
TAL: No, son, that’s just an expression. But it’s good that you have such an interest. I’m going to show you the locker room and other various things before I hand you off to some producers to show you the technical side while I get ready for my match later. Are you thinking about staying on the journalist track?
Craig Hamburgers: oh yeah i’ve always been a almost detective like my cousin chris is because we hamburgers and chickentenders gotta have all the facts all the time, like one time i caught my mommy and daddy wrestling in their room and i had so many…
The luchador drops his bag in secondhand embarrassment.
TAL: Hey! Yeah, that is something to ask a lot of questions about, huh, well, uh, hey!
He picks his bag up and puts it in the stall with his name labeled on it.
TAL: I know what we can do! Why don’t we go check out the PRIMEporium. Anna Daniels has so many cool things, not just shirts, but maybe you can ask them about the ins and outs of marketing merchandise for the hard-working wrestlers here on the roster. I mean, journalism isn’t the only track you can take if you want to be in wrestling without being a wrestler.
They approach the door, but the luchador finds that he can’t open it.
TAL: That’s weird. These doors lock from the inside out, and the lock isn’t on. What the hell…
He jiggles the handle and pulls on the door again, but it won’t come open, almost as if there were restraints put on it from the outside.
TAL: C’mon, now’s not the time for ribs. Loudly Very funny, Timo. Play a prank on your buddy while he’s got the junior reporter with him. Let me out.
There’s no answer from the outside.
TAL: Okay, so it’s not Timo. Who is it? Nate doesn’t pull shit like this.
Craig puts his hands over his ears.
Craig Hamburgers: dad says you can’t say shid get the earmuffs!
TAL: Sorry kid, just lost myself for a moment.
He slams his fist against the door a few more times.
TAL: FUUU-uh-fudge. Yeah, FUDGE! Who’s out there? C’mon I got a kid here with me, one with an INSANELY overprotective father whom it took me several hours to convince taking his son backstage would be safe and go off without a hitch! You ba-uh, batty bat battersons better let me out!
A heavily modulated disembodied voice speaks from a source unnoticeable to either person in the room at present.
Voice: Or else what?
TAL: WHO’S THERE? SHOW YOURSELF!
Silence. Craig’s face slowly grows scared as the situation slowly reveals itself not to be an elaborate rib. The luchador bangs on the door again. After his fist slams on the surface a third time, every single light in the locker room shuts off.
Craig Hamburgers: …i’m scared, mr. luchador.
TAL: Don’t worry kid…
He looks around, even if it’s not apparent due to the lack of lighting in the room at present.
TAL: …I won’t let anything happen to you.
The camera cuts to the broadcast desk as they have some news about the Alias Championship match that Alexei Ruslan somehow escaped all culpability for not airing on ReVival 27.
ALIAS TITLE MATCH: C. MORTGOMERY BYRNES vs. EDDIE CROSS
Nick Stuart: Welcome back to our first title match of the night. We have C. Montgomery Byrnes with a new name and a new title, and he’s going to be defending it against Eddie Cross.
Richard Parker: Eddie is a great young fighter, but can he beat Byrnes and the GAS? We’ll see.
Match Start in 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…
– Eliminate Other Players –
ISIS (ADHD) by Joyner Lucas (feat Logic) begins, and the arena lights focus on the entry.
One time for them prayin’ on my downfall (Yeah)
Two times for the homies in the chow hall (Whoa)
Three times for them hoes on the internet
Shittin’ on me when they really should get out more
Four times for the days I would hold back (Woo!)
Five times for the bitches who ain’t called back (Yeah)
Six times for the kids like me who got ADHD just to (Brap, brap, brap)
As Joyner Lucas rhymes Eddie “n1ghtcraw1er” Cross steps out of the back. He adjusts his custom gaming glasses before walking down the ramp focused on the ring. He pauses at the ring steps, taking off his backpack, unzipping the main compartment, and placing it in the corner of the ring. He looks a little nervous, because tonight is a big night. He waits for the transition between verses before psyching himself up. Vince Howard is waiting.
Vince Howard: The following match is for the Alias Championship…introducing the challenger. From Charlotte, NC by way of Orlando, Florida, standing six feet four inches and weighing in at 225 lbs, EDDIE “N1GHTCRAW1ER” CROSS!!!
Eddie folds his glasses and puts them in the corner by his backpack. He then runs up the ring steps, wipes his feet on the apron, and enters the ring.
Eddie rolls his neck and prepares for the match.
The opening riffs of “You’re Nobody Til Somebody Loves You” by Dean Martin begins and the masked man emerges from the curtain as the lights dim and the spotlights shine on the ramp. C. Montgomery Byrnes begins making his way down the ramp, title on his waist, pointing to the fans in attendance.
Vince Howard: And his opponent! Hailing from Horace, North Dakota, weighing in at 248 pounds. He is the Alias Champion…C! MONTGOMMEEERRYYYYYY BYYYYYYYYYRRRRRNESSSSSSSSS!
As he walks by, he pays no attention to the fans, he’s there to a job and his gait shows it. He slides into the ring under the bottom rope, steps up to the middle turnbuckle and raises his hands in the air as the spotlight shines upon him. He hops off the turnbuckle and readies himself for the match as the music fades.
Both men circle each other for a moment, trying to figure out how to approach each other. The two men lock up, with Byrnes using his slight weight advantage to power Cross into a headlock. Cross has been training for long enough to know this counter, and he immediately grabs Byrne’s arm and frees himself, wrenching the arm behind Montgomery and pulling upwards. The Alias champion sends an elbow to Cross’s neck, then once again grabs him and locks him in a headlock.
Nick Stuart: Quick exchanges from both men early on, this is C. Montgomery Byrnes’ first title defense, so we’ll have to see what both men bring to this exchange.
Richard Parker: Well Byrnes is bringing a new name. What’s up with that, anyway?
Nick Stuart: I think it’s best if we don’t think about it.
Cross leans against the ropes and uses his momentum to send Byrnes running to the other side. Byrnes comes back and goes for a clothesline but Cross ducks and immediately grabs him in a sleeper hold. Byrnes is caught by surprise and starts wildly flailing his arms before sending a mule kick backwards that hits Eddie in the…
Richard Parker: Groin shot!
Nick Stuart: Turnbull was out of position, he saw Cross go backward, but not what propelled him there!
Richard Parker: And what propelled him there was a groin shot!
Cross staggers back as Byrnes works his neck out, then turns around and grabs Cross, sending him over in a suplex. He covers him, and Jimmy Turnbull slides in position.
Nick Stuart: Quick kickout by Cross, and the Alias Champion is working hard to insure that Eddie joins Kohime Mori in the list of wrestlers who cannot challenge for the belt again as long as Byrnes is champion.
Richard Parker: It’s a great stipulation for the belt. You get one chance and if you don’t get it, you’re done! It’s over! Back of the line!
Nick Stuart: Weren’t you just saying a few weeks ago that Ivan Stanislav needed a rematch for the Universal Title?
Richard Parker: That’s different! It’s Ivan!
Montgomery Byrnes barks at Jimmy Turnbull about a slow count, to which Turnbull replies “Dude, he kicked out before two.” Byrnes stands up and lifts Cross, guiding him towards the turnbuckle. He hits Cross in the chest with a huge slap, then throws Cross into the turnbuckle on the other side. Byrnes follows him, leveling him with a clothesline that causes him to slump in the turnbuckle. Dave Gibson shakes his head and shouts encouragement as Byrnes smirks at Mr. Old School. He sends an elbow to Cross’s throat, then grabs his arm to whip him into the other turnbuckle.
Nick Stuart: Cross with the reversal, and now it’s his turn to follow Byrnes into the corner…no, Byrnes with an elbow to Cross!
Richard Parker: I think it’s time we talk about something.
Nick Stuart: Something tells me this isn’t going to be good.
Cross bounces off, holding his throat. Byrnes lifts him up and drops him face first on the turnbuckle.
Richard Parker: So we start off as Mortimer Kjedelig, right? Whatever, weird name, but no one cares.
Nick Stuart: As I recall you made fun of his name on every show.
Richard Parker: And then after a few months we’re now calling him Mortimer Knightingale, right? Interesting, but I guess we can roll with it. He still has the K, so my monogrammed sweat towels for him don’t need to be changed.
Nick Stuart: Your monogrammed what…?
Cross is out of it as Byrnes grabs Cross from behind. He attempts a German suplex, but Cross uses his momentum to land on his feet. The crowd pops as Cross rushes behind Byrnes and clubs him in the back of the head.
Richard Parker: But now…now? What do we have now?
Nick Stuart: C. Montgomer…
Richard Parker: C. MONTGOMERY BYRNES! IT’S RIDICULOUS!
Cross has taken the momentum. He kicks at Byrnes’ knees, then grabs Byrnes by the arm and rolls him to the ground, then locks in an armbar.
Nick Stuart: Cross has an armbar locked in now, the tide may be turning!
Richard Parker: We’ve all watched the Simpsons! We know what he’s trying to do!
Byrnes starts waving his arm wildly, trying to escape the hold as Cross wrenches on the arm. After several kicks and slaps, Byrnes realizes the rope is close by and he reaches for it, but it’s just a few inches out of his grasp.
Richard Parker: What is he even evoking here? That he’s as frail as a 100 year old man? That he’s actually rich despite us knowing nothing about him?
Nick Stuart: Right now he’s trying to grab the ropes, but they’re just out of reach! Is it going to be over?
Richard Parker: Wait…does this mean Tony Gamble is Smithers?
With one last effort, Monty is able to use his legs to move himself over and he grabs the ropes. Jimmy Turnbull tells Cross to break the hold, but E.C. won’t release. After a moment of chastizing, Turnbull begins to count.
Cross finally breaks the hold and Byrnes rolls out of the ring, wrenching his arms.
Nick Stuart: Eddie Cross was trying to break the Alias Champion’s arm! And he was almost willing to lose his shot at the belt to do it!
Richard Parker: That’s the training from Dave Gibson, Nick. Dave is a hard nosed guy and wants Eddie to do as much damage as possible.
Nick Stuart: Gibson also a former fellow commentator, spending years in SCCW.
Richard Parker: Who knew after all that time that he was more like me than like you.
Nick Stuart: Who knew indeed.
Eddie Cross is not the plancha type, so don’t worry, he only slides out of the ring and walks after Byrnes. He grabs his arm and uses it to wrench Byrnes into the ring post. Dave Gibson claps nearby and says a few choice words to Byrnes.
Nick Stuart: Eddie Cross, the son of Timo Bolamba, focuses on joint attacks. Not very flashy, but it gets the job done, Richard.
Richard Parker: So far it’s been hit or miss on the roster, but he still has a great opportunity here to win the Alias Championship. So, what stip do you think he’ll make if he wins?
Nick Stuart: That’s a great question.
Richard Parker: He should call it the Donkey Kong title.
Nick Stuart: Well.
Cross lifts Byrnes up and rushes him into the apron, then sends him over in a snap suplex onto the ground. Byrnes lifts his back up in pain, but Cross is already on top of him. N1ghtcrawler starts to lay in on him with stomps as Jimmy Turnbull finally starts his count.
Richard Parker: They can go to an arcade in whatever city we’re in, and just play Donkey Kong all night, and the winner keeps the title.
Nick Stuart: Do you think there are that many arcades anymore?
Richard Parker: Probably.
Nick Stuart: Isn’t Donkey Kong a single player game?
Richard Parker: Don’t ask me all the questions, it’s Eddie’s rule!
Cross finally looks over his shoulder at the referee and smirks, then lifts Byrnes up and guides him towards the ring. But Byrnes suddenly grabs him and gives him an eye rake, then Irish whips Cross into the steel steps.
Nick Stuart: What a reversal! And the count continues!
Turnbull stops his count as Byrnes rolls under the ropes, then rolls back out.
Nick Stuart: Interesting decision by Byrnes here, he had the easy countout victory if he wanted it.
Richard Parker: He’s GAS, Nick! GAS don’t take the easy way out!
Nick Stuart: Well that’s just completely inaccurate.
Cross is still slumped over the steps as Byrnes comes from behind and lifts him up, then sets him down in an atomic drop. Cross falls forward into the barricade, and Byrnes angrily gestures for fans to move. But that serves as enough distraction for Cross to pop up with an elbow, sending Byrnes back. Before he can recover, Cross comes in with a flying knee strike.
Nick Stuart: Trigger Warning! Byrnes looks like he may be out of it!
Cross sees his chance and quickly runs over to grab Byrnes, then rolls him under the ropes. He slides in and covers.
Nick Stuart: C. Montgomery with the kickout! But Cross has all the momentum now!
Well, Nick, you just did it.
You said the words. You lit the GAS symbol.
Dave Gibson is standing by the ring, his hands on the aprons, yelling encouragement to his charge. He doesn’t notice a small man come out of the crowd, jump over the barricade, and hit him in the back with a clothesline.
Nick Stuart: What the hell!
Richard Parker: Hahahahaha!
Gibson recovers and turns around to see Tony Gamble lay into him with punches. Gibson begins to fight back, and they trade punches at ringside, moving towards the ring. Eddie looks up and sees them and starts pointing to the referee. Jimmy Turnbull walks over and starts yelling at them.
Eddie turns back to his downed opponent. Only one problem: his opponent isn’t downed anymore.
Nick Stuart: Oh no! Byrnes is up and taking advantage of the distraction! Kick to the gut!
Nick Stuart: Double arm DDT!
Gamble shouts at Turnbull to pay attention to the ring, and after a stern word he does.He sees Cross covered and makes the count.
DING DING DING!
Vince Howard: Your winner, and STILL Alias Champion…C. MOOOONTGOOOMEERRYYYYYY BYYYYYYYRNEESSSSSSSSSS!
Nick Stuart: This is disgusting, Richard. How many times have we seen Tony Gamble protect Byrnes and cost someone else a match?
Richard Parker: Well it won’t happen to Cross again. He’s not allowed to fight for this title again as long as Byrnes is champ!
Gamble temporarily downed Gibson with a low blow, so he joins in on the ring and starts to stomp on Cross, causing the bell to ring more.
DING DING DING DING DING DING!
Byrnes joins in too, and they get a few more stomps in before Dave Gibson slides under the ropes with a steel chair. Both members of GAS scurry away as Gibson checks on Cross.
Nick Stuart: You may be right about that, partner, but I don’t think Cross and Gamble are done by a longshot.
We then cut backstage… where nothing good ever happens.
PILL POPPIN DADDIES
Backstage, a freshened-up Cancer Jiles stands alone, amped up from his decisive victory from earlier tonight. He’s so excited that he’s even considering asking Vince Howard to refer to his hometown as The Beginning of The Card from now on! This is all true except none of it. He isn’t freshened-up, as he’s still trying to break the cycle of being one of the last ones to leave the arena. Therefore, the usual shower is on hold.
As to how he’s spending his time? He’s doom scrolling on his phone, looking for anyone on social media that made a post about his match with Terry Woods, and simply replying the word “crumb” to all of them. No regard for whether it is a positive or negative opinion. Just giving the fans a little interactive experience.
However, The COOL’s productivity is soon interrupted with a welcome distraction. And wouldn’t you know, that welcome distraction has fantastic hair and an incredible sense of fashion. Definitely not as good as Chandler Tsonda’s, but don’t tell him we said that. It’s Abe Lipschitz! He barges forward and extends his arm for a dap.
Abe Lipschitz: Cance! One of the few blonde-haired, blue-eyed people I like! Man, I don’t know where you got that caffy free M.D., but I can’t find that stuff ANYWHERE! You gotta give a guy a lead.
Jiles simply stares at the extended fist of the Babe, then back at his face, then back at the fist. Abe continues to hold it there, apparently not that concerned that the greeting’s being returned.
Cancer Jiles: When’s your match tonight again?
Abe Lipschitz: I don’t know. I think like now, or something?
Cancer sighs and shakes his head, frustrated that this dummy is slightly higher up the list than he is.
Cancer Jiles: I don’t remember where I found it. Have a great night.
As the Maestro starts to walk away from the scene, Abe halts him in his tracks with a hand on his shoulder. Contemplating a turn and a well-placed yolk spit to the face, he stops short.
Abe Lipschitz: Wait! I wanted to give you something. A token of my appreciation. I think you’ll really like it!
The tone in which Abe delivers the last line was meant to convince Jiles that it was certainly a gift that is really special. However, he really didn’t need to do it – if the former PRIME Universal Champion (emphasis on former) loved anything, it was free shit. Quite honestly the only reason he even went to Costco.
Cancer Jiles: Oh yeah?
Cancer turns around and greedily extends his hand.
Cancer Jiles: Gimme.
Abe Lipschitz: Here you go!
Abe hands Jiles a plastic bottle filled with what looks like chewable Tums. However, as we close in on the label, the product logo reads “MyEggs.” Jiles eyes it up and down before responding to the gesture.
Cancer Jiles: Wait. This isn’t going to get me pregnant, is it?
Abe Lipschitz: What? No, of course not! This is the new MyEggs from Cinco Dairy. These babies will provide you with all of the eggs you need without ever having to go to the grocery store again!
Cancer Jiles: Oh. How does it work?
Abe puts his hand over his mouth as if he’s letting the Maestro in on a secret.
Abe Lipschitz: You poo the eggs out of your b-hole.
A dignified nod of approval from his COOLness.
Cancer Jiles: Got it. Thanks, Gabe. This is going to be a great stocking stuffer for Doozer. Wherever he is. In fact, I appreciate the gesture so much it turns out I just so happen to have something for you, too.
Fishing behind his tights, Jiles reveals a pill bottle of his own and shakes it like a pack of Tic Tacs. We won’t get into the logistics of how he kept it back there this whole time, or why he just assumed that he’d bump into Abe and be able to give it to him. These are all mysteries that will be left to solve another day.
Cancer Jiles: These are great. I take them before I have to watch a MAIN EVENT. They stop my nose from bleeding and help reduce the swelling in my brain. That said, the real fun comes when you mix them with other things. Like, say for instance, if you ever manage to find another caffeine free dew, you should take one of these with your drink. You’ll see the stars, Gabe, and I don’t mean that crumb, Nova.
Honest Abe reaches out as if he were taking a balloon from a clown in a sewer. However, before he can conquer his apprehension, Jiles quickly pulls his treat back.
Cancer Jiles: Nah, this stuff is dangerous. I’d hate for you to—
Abe Lipschitz: I’ll be fi—
Cancer Jiles: Okay here you go. Ya know what, take the whole bottle. See ya at the next show. Make sure to bring cash with you.
King COOL spins on a heel, and walks away. An inquisitive and slightly confused Abe shouts out to him while looking down at the bottle.
Abe Lipschitz: Children’s Tylenol? And cash? For what?
The shot ends with Abe and his dumb look.
We then cut to elsewhere backstage.
WILL “WORK” FOR FOOD
We cut to just outside the Ball Arena to what is very obviously a pre-taped vignette, as the sun is still in the sky and the doors to the arena have just been opened moments ago. The crowd of PRIMEates move forward slowly like a well trained herd, excited to see what the night has in store.
Amongst the crowd of eager fans and greedy scalpers, a somewhat familiar face is seen off to the side seated with his back to the wall and holding a cardboard sign that simply reads:
“Will “Work” for Food!
Pinfalls = FOOD!
Submissions = FOOD!”
The once cherubic face of “Beautiful” Bobby Dean is now haggard and covered in a scraggly beard that more resembles day old growth instead of the 6-months it’s truly taken him. Ivan Stanislav would shake his head in abject disgust at this flimsy attempt at facial hair.
Annabelle Dean: Come on dad, get into position!
Little Belle Dean, dressed in a zebra shirt that looks like it was homemade with black spray paint and black slacks, barks out as she stuffs yet another dollar into a pocket that’s already pretty stuffed with greenbacks. With the sigh of a dad who is clearly used to being bossed around by his teenage daughter, Bobby struggles to lay that girthy body of his onto the concrete, belly up, as another 10 year old kid pounces on top of him, smiling from ear to ear.
Annabelle’s hand comes down again, and again, and yet again. The whole while, the kid’s mom is recording the interaction on her phone and cheering her little champ on. When it’s all said and done, the kid leaps to his feet and begins an elaborate celebration that would rival that of Cancer Jiles.
Familiar Voice: Pizmo working the opener and Bobby eating pins for a dollar. How the mighty Bandits have fallen.
Looking up from his back Bobby sees an upside down Lindsay Troy, the eGG Queen herself, standing nearby and shaking her head in mock disapproval. Before Bobby can say anything in his defense, LT’s gaze shifts over to Annabelle. With a kind smile and a friendly wink, the Boss addresses the young Dean.
Lindsay Troy: Playing to your dad’s strengths to earn a few bucks…not bad, Belle. I’m impressed. You busy this summer? We’ve got a few paid internships that we’re still looking to fill.
Annabelle Dean: I don’t know, you got room for one more?
Little Belle shifts her pleading eyes toward her father before looking back to Troy, causing the Lady of the Hour to sigh; a common response when in regard to Bobby Dean.
Lindsay Troy: I think he counts for more than just one… but let’s talk about it.
Troy leads the way toward the Employees Only door, with an eager Annabelle close on her heels and a defeated Bobby still lying on the ground behind. The Queen looks back over her shoulder at the Beautiful Man from Honalee
Lindsay Troy: Well, are you just gonna lie there or are you gonna come too?
The cameras begin to shift as there isn’t enough tape to record the massive Bobby Dean scrambling to his feet.
Eddie Cross stalks the halls of Ball Arena with his mentor, Dave Gibson.
Suddenly he sees a motion to his left, but it is too late as he is sent sprawling as C. Mortgomery Byrnes clocks him in the face with the Alias title that Eddie tried and failed to win during the match aired earlier in the night.
From the ground he looks up to see Frank and Dom muscle Dave up to a wall, kicking and cussin’ the whole time. From the shadows steps a sinister form, a harbinger of trouble… The Grin, Tony Gamble.
Tony Gamble: Oh, hey, fancy meeting you guys here.
Calm and collected, Tony stops a foot or so away from Eddie as Mortgomery stomps a boot into his back.
Eddie groans and looks up at Tony, his gaming glasses cracked.
Eddie Cross: I should have known.
Frank lays into Dave with a hard cross and knocks some of the fight out of the Carolina boy.
Tony Gamble: You should’ve; but let’s face it, you’re not really the sharpest knife in the drawer. Because if you were, you would have realized that I gave you the opportunity of a lifetime last ReVival. That was your first mistake.
Tony squats down in front of Eddie, as Morty locks him in a camel clutch.
Tony Gamble: Your second, was holding back. I get that it would be hard for you to hurt me, considering how much you adore me. I understand the conflict in your heart when you decided to hit me, Anna egging you on after she kicked me in the head from behind. I know now, that you held back then too.
Tony pulls a marker out of his pocket, and takes the cap off.
Tony Gamble: After all these years, you’re still a fan…I’m touched.
He presses the marker against Eddie’s forehead, and starts to sign it.
Tony Gamble: So I at least owe you this much.
The Grin is now written on Eddie’s forehead.
Dave Gibson: Hey dipshit, how about you leave the kid out of this and fuck around and find out with me?
Dave struggles but the two GAS members hold him back to the wall.
Frank Pastore: Boss, you want us to rough the old man up? Teach the kid a lesson?
Tony doesn’t answer verbally, instead allowing the right side of his lip to curl into a sinister grin. Frank smiles in return and headbutts Dave. With a prolonged groan, the old wrestler shakes his head and looks up at Eddie. He opens his mouth to say something, but Dom doubles him over with a body blow. The two work over Dave with body blows until he is no longer able to stand.
Tony Gamble: What do you think Eddie? Does this remind you of when you were a kid, staying up late in your Tony Gamble PJ’s with a scar you painted on your face with mommy’s lipstick?
Eddie struggles against Mort’s iron grip, growling and flecking spit even though he can’t talk. Morty wrenches again and Eddie nearly passes out from the pain.
Tony Gamble: Come on now, Eddie, we can’t have you dozing off before the main event!
Frank Pastore locks Dave into a Powerbomb and as he lifts him high in the air, Domingo leaps up and drops Dave into a Lungblower. Gibson arches his back with pain and rolls onto his stomach before letting out a prolonged exhale.
Tony nods and Mort chuckles while dropping Eddie to the ground. The youngster reaches out toward Dave, though he just doesn’t have the energy after being trapped in Mort’s clutches for so long.
Tony holds his hand out to Mort.
Tony Gamble: The belt, give it to me.
Mort does and The Grin walks back to the thorn that has been buried in his side for weeks and grabs him by the hair, picking him up to his knees. He shoves the Alias title in his face.
Tony Gamble: This title? It’s GAS property.
He points at Dave Gibson who is on the floor with a puddle of blood forming from his forehead.
Tony Gamble: Your coach? He’s GAS property.
The Grin leans down eye to eye with Eddie. Blood runs from the young man’s nose.
Tony Gamble: We own this title, we own your mentor, but I own YOU. I did all of this without lifting a finger. Imagine what I will do when we are in the ring, kid.
Mortgomery Byrnes: And if he uses any of that barbed wire shit on your mouth, I got the name of a good orthodontist. The best in Albuquerque. Fix you right up.
He wipes his hands off on Frank’s shirt symbolically.
Tony Gamble: Remember, you asked for this. You wanted the real me.
Suddenly, there is a commotion as Kohime Mori and Anna Daniels run into the frame. Anna punts Domingo in the testicles like Ronaldo, and Mori chases Mort off the screen. Gamble drops Eddie and flashes his wicked grin before retreating with the Alias title in hand.
After all the GAS members have left, Anna kneels down to inspect Dave Gibson and Mori grabs a towel to help Eddie clean his face.
Anna Daniels: He needs a medic now!
Mori nods and runs off quickly while Anna is trying to tend to Dave. He starts to cough and spits up a little blood.
Anna Daniels: Oh no… HURRY UP, MORI!
Eddie reaches out and rasps…
Eddie Cross: Dave… please…
…And passes out with the towel that Kohime brought him stained red under his cheek.
The scene changes to the ring where, no doubt, Tony Gamble is now headed.
ABE LIPSCHITZ vs. TONY GAMBLE
Vince Howard. Ring. Microphone.
Vince Howard: The following contest is scheduled for one fall. Introducing first…
Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo
Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo
Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo
That would be the opening barrage of doo-doo-doo’s from Shanice Wilson’s timeless classic “I Love Your Smile.”
Vince Howard: Hailing from Virginia Beach and weighing in at two-hundred and ten pounds…
Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo
Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo
Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo
Oh hey. It’s more doo-doo-doo’s. Also, it’s Abe Lipschitz. He’s not walking to the ring tonight, instead he’s being carried on what appears to be a giant ass made of papier-mache, and yes you have to spell paper with the “i” like that or else FLAMBERGE will appear behind you as a real person and add your neck to his collection. Look, these are the rules. I don’t make them, but I do like breathing.
Vince Howard: He is ABE… THE BABE… LIPSCHIIIIIIIIIITZ!!
For the record, when questioned about it later, the backstage crew responsible for crafting the ass will confess that it is modeled after a 58-year old woman. They will also admit that it’s not the weirdest thing they’ve been asked to make, because there was the whole incident with Johnny and Nova smoking their surfboard-joint at Great American Nightmare.
The ass-themed palanquin is being carried by the Jimmy Bonafide Dancers. Not all of them, because Biff’s arthritis is flaring up today, so he’s lumbering behind the crowd holding a giant fan that looks like a peacock.
Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo
Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo
Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo
The group arrive at ringside just before the actual lyrics kick in, and Abe descends his butt-throne before sliding into the ring.
Nick Stuart: Curious by their absence tonight are the Black Metal Friends.
Richard Parker: Oh THAT’S curious?! I’m still trying to figure out what we just saw.
It was a giant ass, Richard. I was very clear about that. Some people, I swear to god.
Vince Howard: And his opponent…
“You think I’m funny… Funny how?”
The unmistakable voice of Joe Pesci irritates the eardrums right before Metallica’s ‘Better Than You’ begins to blast through the PA System, the calling card of Tony ‘The Grin’ Gamble. He walks out at the same time the music kicks in, passing a quick arrogant glance toward the crowd before making his way toward the ring once the lyrics of the song kick in.
Vince Howard: He hails from Las Vegas, Nevada and weighs in tonight at one-hundred and eighty-seven pounds…
I look at you, then you me
Hungry and thirsty are we
Holding the lion’s share
Holding the key
Holding me back ’cause I’m striving to be
Footage from Revolution 94 when Gamble locked The Illustrious Face Eater into his ‘Smile For Me’ submission and won the Internet Title plays.
Vince Howard: A member of the PRIME Hall of Fame…
Better than you
Better than you
Better than you
Better than you
Tony takes his time walking up the ring steps, staring into the ring for a few seconds with his left hand on the top rope, before ducking between the top and middle rope to step into the ring. Footage from Revolution 106 plays, where Gamble slams Kenjiro Ito face first into the mat with his ‘Stop Laughing At Me’ signature move.
Lock horns, I push and I strive
Some how I feel more alive
Bury the need for it
Bury the seed
Bury me deep when there’s no will to be
Vince Howard: The Grin… TONEEEEEEEEEEEEE GAMBULLLLLLLLLLL!!
Another clip shows, this one from the Great American Nightmare; where Tony Gamble became the Five Star Champion by pinning Chandler Tsonda.
Better than you
Better than you
Better than you
Better than you
Gamble sets a black bag in the corner under one of the turnbuckles. This is totally not foreshadowing at all, you guys.
Nick Stuart: The opening bell has…
Richard Parker: Sounded. Yeah, we know. And next you’re going to say “and this one’s underway.”
Nick Stuart: I was, actually.
Richard Parker: I know. It’s like you’ve got a template for these things sometimes.
Shut up, Richard, you’re giving away my secrets.
A lot of matches start with the competitors in a feeling-out process. Sometimes they circle, and do the whole “lock up” thing to see who’s stronger. In the Before Times, they might do a test of strength, which is probably the better way to see who the strong boy is. Also that’s how the phrase “Greco-Roman knuckle lock” was invented. Eventually punching and kicking will happen, and then things just go from there.
This is not how this match begins.
This match starts with Tony Gamble walking to the center of the ring and offering his hand to his opponent, except that before Abe has a chance to even process what’s going on, he’s been poked in the eye by that same hand.
Nick Stuart: Well, I can see how this is going to go.
Richard Parker: Do you know who can’t see right now? Abe Lipschitz.
Nick Stuart: (sighing) Guess I walked right into that one.
Richard Parker: Do you know who else walked right into that one?
Fret not, ye fan of the internet graps, for graps are about to happen once Google stops trying to autocorrect “graps” into “grapes”. Grapes are not happening.
Completely ignoring the referee’s warning, Gamble begins laying into Lipschitz with hard shots. Two rights, a kick to the midsection, and then a snap suplex takes Abe to the mat. Gamble covers his opponent, making sure to press his forearm down hard into Abe’s face as he does so, but a kickout happens just as Barlow’s hand comes down for the first time.
Gamble doesn’t let up. He steps to the side and locks up Lipschitz snug, before snapping down with a DDT. Abe Takes the move hard, bouncing over and into a seated position before falling back prone. A standing elbow drop lands across his throat. Then another. Then a third.
Nick Stuart: Tony Gamble trying to decapitate his opponent in the early portion of this match.
Richard Parker: This match might have a late portion at the rate this is going.
Gamble again makes the cover, but only scores a two-count before Abe kicks out. The Grin all but leaps to his feet, then spends the next few moments grinding the heel of his boot into Abe Lipschitz’s forehead while trying to explain the proper way to count to Ashley Barlow. Abe manages to shove him off so he can get back to his feet. A kick from Gamble is caught, and a dragon screw leg whip gives The Babe a moment to catch his breath.
Nick Stuart: So far we’ve already seen Tony Gamble go for the eyes, and then lecture the referee while standing on a man’s face.
Richard Parker: I know! It’s very exciting.
Both men are up on their feet. Gamble shakes off the newfound ache in his leg, which gives Abe an opening to get some momentum and connect with a spinning heel kick that drops The Grin. A diving knee drop follows, and then it’s Abe’s turn to make a cover. Just as with Gamble, this one only gets a two-count before the kickout.
Nick Stuart: Irish whip into the ropes by Lipschitz. Gamble on the rebound…
Abe the Babe ducks, and Gamble leaps over him with a sunset flip. Try as he might, The Grin isn’t able to take the younger man over, and he kicks his legs wildly to try and get some added momentum. For his part, Abe looks a little loopy on his feet, and he waves his arms as he tries to maintain his balance. In an alternate universe, some Irish lads might refer to this as “Aloha Abe” on their popular video podcast.
Nick Stuart: Gamble trying to bring Lipschitz down, but the size difference is making that hard.
Richard Parker: I’m pretty sure the flailing isn’t helping.
Point of order: Abe is currently facing away from the hard camera that PRIME sets up at all of its shows, so fans at home are seeing this from behind. This is relevant because after a moment of waving his arms to maintain his balance, Abe starts to transition into something more… well… sensual. There’s a slow, rhythmic gyration of the hips. Gamble lets go, because of course he does. He needs his hands free so he can shield his eyes. Hell, even referee Ashley Barlow looks uncomfortable, and she’s been in the ring with Bobby Dean before.
Nick Stuart: Ummm…
Richard Parker: Nick, do you have a pen?
Nick Stuart: Why, do you need to make a note of this?
Richard Parker: No, it’s for my eyes.
Gamble peeks out between his fingers just in time to see Magen Nackedy’s favorite wrestler glance back over his shoulder and wink to the hard camera. Fans at home watch as Abe’s expression changes from one of smug satisfaction to one of agonized pain. You see during the nonsense, Tony Gamble used one of his hands to make a fist. He then introduced it to Abe Lipschitz’s naughty bitschitz. Why isn’t he being reprimanded for this? Because Ashley Barlow had to look away.
Gamble is able to scoot out of the way as Abe collapses on the spot, narrowly missing The Grin with what would have otherwise been a very sudden and violent teabagging.
Richard Parker: Oh thank god that’s over.
Ashley Barlow is now very much aware of the writhing Abe, because it’s hard to ignore a man in neon pink tights rolling in the middle of the ring and clutching his groin. So she does the thing that referees are trained to do in these situations, which is to make sure the alleged perpetrator of penis crimes is cautioned against further criming.
This is a movie Gamble has seen a thousand times over the course of his career, so the following chain of events unfolds in this order. First, he leans over and offers a hand to Abe, still very much in the middle of waiting for all of his parts to settle back to where they should be. Second, The Grin turns his head and smirks at Barlow, and gives her a thumbs-up with his other hand. Then, with the hand he offered to Abe, Gamble pokes Lipschitz in the eye.
Nick Stuart: My goodness, the absolute balls on that man.
Richard Parker: Abe? I’m pretty sure they’ve just been turned into jelly. Maybe Doctor Reform will send him a “sorry about your dick” card.
Nick Stuart: What? No. I meant Gamble for the… Oh, nevermind.
All of this is in clear view of the referee, who starts another round of admonishment but is forced to stop when Gamble uses the opportunity to make a cover.
Richard Parker: Though knowing the good doctor, it would probably be an “apologies for the woeful condition in which you find your phallus,” or something. Bet it would be full of big words.
And here, my friends, is where Abe kicks out. It’s rather emphatic, because when a man hits you in the pills and then pokes you in the eye it’s not a pleasant experience to then also be trapped under his tiny, sweaty body.
Abe staggers to the corner to try and collect his bearings, but Gamble isn’t far behind. A back elbow catches The Grin below the eye, and for a moment the Hall of Famer is dazed. Abe follows up ducking behind his opponent and trapping both of his arms.
Nick Stuart: Vanderpumphandle Slam!
And now it’s Abe’s turn for a cover, and referee Barlow seems very eager to count this one.
Nick Stuart: Could this be enough?
Richard Parker: Against a masteerrrrrrrrrrrr of cheatly like Tony G?
Nick Stuart: Did you just have a stroke?
Richard Parker: No.
Gamble kicks out, but Lipschitz continues to press his attack now that he’s swung some momentum in his favor.
Nick Stuart: Then why did you just turn “cheat” into an adverb?
Richard Parker: Look, the less said about that the better.
Abe gets a hold of Gamble and this time the Irish whip is successful. Gamble slams into turnbuckles back-first, but doesn’t have any time to compose himself before he’s run into with a version of the Abe-Alanche. The Babe backs away, builds up some more momentum, and hurls himself at Gamble again. A third one is cut short, as Gamble tries to pull the referee in front of himself for protection.
Nick Stuart: You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were fines coming Tony Gamble’s way after this.
Richard Parker: Where on the Luchador Scale do you think those fines would rank? We talking like “case of Modelo”, or “vacation home in Puerto Vallarta”?
Both men begin jockeying for position in the corner with each trying to trap the other against the buckles. Referee Barlow attempts to separate the two men, but a healthy shove by Gamble sends Lipschitz barreling into her. She’s sent careening back and down the mat.
That’s right, y’all. It’s a ref bump!
Hey, remember that black bag that was briefly mentioned at the start of this shindig? Well it’s back in the fold. As Abe checks on the referee, The Grin grabs the satchel from underneath the bottom rope and removes its contents.
Nick Stuart: Tony Gamble has the Alias title belt!
Richard Parker: It’s GAS property, Nick. He was very clear about that earlier tonight.
Abe turns and is immediately introduced to the big gold plate at the center of the strap.
Nick Stuart: A shot by Gamble, and now Lipschitz is busted open.
Indeed, the belt shot appears to have wounded young Abe pretty severely. What at first looked like a glancing blow now shows a flood of crimson pouring out of the forehead of The Babe. Gamble, who has already tossed the evidence onto the ringside floor, takes note of this new development. And as Barlow gets back to her feet, Gamble makes a fist, leans over, and dips his knuckles in the blood on Abe’s forehead.
When the referee turns and sees the carnage, the first thing she does is ask how this happened. It’s here that Gamble points to his now-bloody fist. And then, with his alibi established, he once again goes for the cover.
Nick Stuart: Abe Lipschitz was just assaulted with the Alias title, and now Tony Gamble is going to steal this one!
Richard Parker: Maybe he’s sending a message. Like “Here’s a good look, you’ll never see this again.”
The referee’s hand stops mere inches away from the canvas, much to Tony’s chagrin. Word play!
Nick Stuart: Foot on the ropes! Abe Lipschitz got his foot on the ropes!
Richard Parker: And he’s going to need a transfusion when this is over. Good lord, the kid is just leaking all over the ring.
Indeed, the ring is getting good and red. The color red, not the person Red. Though one of these men is likely going to have to eat the sad cake when this is over.
Gamble grabs Abe by the arm and pulls him over onto his stomach, beginning the process of trying to lock in his patented Smile For Me. As he reaches over to try and trap Abe’s second arm, The Babe manages to get his feet underneath him and slowly starts pushing himself to a vertical base, all while The Grin clings to his back.
Nick Stuart: Gamble still trying to get that submission locked in, but Abe is giving it everything he’s got to fight back.
Richard Parker: I might be impressed if I wasn’t so damn grossed out. Someone get this child a Capri Sun so he doesn’t pass out from the blood loss!
Abe manages to shift Gamble’s weight from across his shoulders.
Nick Stuart: Hot Cross Stuns!! Hot Cross Stuns!! Abe Lipschitz was able to shift his weight and get Tony Gamble into position.
Abe all but collapses onto his opponent.
In a daze, Tony Gamble reaches out his arms towards the nearest rope; towards salvation.
It falls just an inch short.
Somewhere, Martha Stewart signs a copy of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and has it sent to “the handsome man with the little pink pants.” Maybe. Probably. Who knows.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: The winner of this match… ABE LIPSCHITZ!!!!!
PRIME’s medical team hits the ring to check on Abe’s wound. They’ll be surprised to learn that it’s not very big, nor is it very deep. Meanwhile, Gamble rolls out of the ring and collects the Alias title from its spot on the floor. After all, it’s GAS property.
We then fade to a commercial.
COMMERCIAL: STILL TO COME
The camera cuts back to the blackened locker room where The Anglo Luchador and Craig Hamburgers have been trapped for quite some time.
Craig Hamburgers: we gotta get out of here mr. luchador you have a match soon and i don’t like this place i can’t even seeeeeeeee.
The luchador audibly sighs.
TAL: Yeah, but honestly, my match is the least of my concerns at the moment. This was supposed to be your night and that’s quickly going out the window.
As he has been doing for the last 20 minutes, the luchador again bangs on the door in futility.
TAL: This is a mess. I’m sorry, kid. I really fu, uh, screwed up.
Craig Hamburgers: don’t worry mr. luchador you’re going to save the day and i’m going to tell all my friends at school and my cousin chris how mr. luchador saved the day with his punches and his karate fighting yaaaaaaa
TAL: Yeah, I guess so.
Just then, lights burst on in the locker room, but they’re not the regular lights. Creepy red lights make the space appear like more of a darkroom than a wrestling locker room. Both Craig and the luchador look around in shock.
Craig Hamburgers: ooo red
The luchador catches something out of the corner of his eye. He shoots around to find that they are not alone in the locker room. Standing behind Craig is a massive hunk of a man wearing a rubber mask of Mikhail Gorbechev, the kind of style you’d have seen in Point Break or the music video for “Land of Confusion.” The luchador startles back before composing himself.
TAL: CRAIG! BEHIND YOU!
The luchador leaps forward between Craig and the huge man, taking care not to ram into the young’un and in the process knocking over a trashcan and banging his knee on the fixed-position bench. He grits his teeth at the stinging pain but makes no other indication of his clumsiness in the moment. His gaze intensifies at the threateningly imposing figure. The “fight” portion of his fight-or-flight instinct makes him want to throw down, but his superego keeps reminding him that there was a kid behind him. Brawling in a locked up enclosed space would only put Craig in danger. The luchador snarls instead.
TAL: You leave this kid alone, you hear?
The figure stands stoically, audibly inhaling and exhaling through the noseholes in his rubber mask.
TAL: Are you going to acknowledge what I just said? Leave him alone.
At that moment, the red lights shut off and the main lights in the locker room flicker back on as if nothing happened. The locker room door flies open, and in walks one Arthur Pleasant.
Arthur Pleasant: Hurt him? A child?! Please. What do you think I am, a bully? Like you?
TAL: What the heck…
Pleasant cackles, cutting off the luchador.
Arthur Pleasant: You just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Such is life, my friend. You see… hehe… we were practicing for a little interpretive theater on the fall of the Soviet Union for our new friend Ivan Stanislav! I mean, do you just barge into any room you want with a…
Pleasant licks his lips like a lion who took a bite out of a gazelle’s hide. Craig Hamburgers looks like he’s going to pass out from fear.
Arthur Pleasant: …human shield? How silly of me, of COURSE you would! You’re a timid creature, scared of the world around you, needing to lash out at the weak so you can feel big and strong.
The luchador rolls his eyes.
Arthur Pleasant: But now that this charade is over? You can stop pretending to be big and strong in front of this child for show. We need to find a place unsullied by your presence to practice our show now. Let’s go, Yuri. We should leave this maniac to his self-serving machinations.
Yuri takes off the mask. There is no emotion there, even through their wild charade. Just… a void. The luchador’s shoulders sink, and his sigh could be heard all the way at Argyle position.
TAL: C’mon, kid, let’s take you back to your parents.
Craig Hamburgers: (obviously shaken) w-w-what about the rest of the tour mr. luchador?
TAL: Yeah, well, tour’s canceled. You’re not safe here. I was wrong. I’m sorry.
The hurt settles in on young Craig’s face as the luchador stands up straight again to lead him back to where his parents are seated for the show.
Craig Hamburgers: it’s ok, don’t worry, i’ll still tell my friends that you saved the day with karate fighting.
TAL: You’re a good kid. C’mon.
They walk out of the locker room as the camera cuts to a man with an impeccable skincare routine.
THE VEGETABLE AGE
We get a shot of a familiar championship belt. It’s the 5-Star Championship. As the camera pans back, it shows the man who freshly won that belt in a hard-fought war just two weeks ago in Coral Avalon. The Crownless King walks casually down the hallway, occasionally exchanging polite nods with whoever passes him by. The man’s positively beaming.
Then his smile relaxes a little and he slows down. He sees a man he’s interested in talking to. After all, they hadn’t had a chance to exchange pleasantries since his dramatic return to PRIME just under two months ago.
Coral Avalon: Ah, Chandler, good to see you. How’s the, uh… you know, I’m just glad you’re not dead after the last show. It looked a little touch-and-go there.
He resumes his smile. On the receiving end is the Model Citizen, newly returned to the fold in PRIME, and already infamous for familiar histrionics. If Coral remembers Tsonda crying wolf last week, Chandler certainly doesn’t.
Chandler Tsonda: (clapping) The conquering hero! Coral Five Stars! A guy among dudes! What’s the thing, my Crownless King?
Coral keeps up his smile despite realizing that Tsonda’s not even going to acknowledge anything of what he just said. Typical.
Coral Avalon: Oh, you know, I’m just doing that thing we all do when we don’t have a match, where we wander around backstage until we see someone interesting. And, well… who’s more interesting than the Model Citizen, am I right?
Chandler Tsonda: Now this, this is the PRIME I know and understand. Good guys, bad guys, all of us running into each other like backstage is tinytown!
It’s important to note that, while Tsonda’s aura is friendly, and he has made eye contact with Coral, his eyes flit to the 5-Star Title in a way that makes him look like he’s got a twitch. His precious.
Chandler Tsonda: Say, man, you think I could ask you a…uhhh…serious question? Just one universally beloved voice of the people to another?
Coral Avalon: Chandler Tsonda asking serious questions? Shut the front door! That doesn’t happen, does it?
Coral Avalon: Well, alright, so I don’t know about the whole “universally beloved voice of the people” business, I just kinda do my own thing. But sure, fire away.
The Model Citizen nods, and leans in conspiratorially. Of course, the camera follows.
Chandler Tsonda: Does it seem a little quiet around here? A little…too quiet?
It is very normal in the life of Chandler Tsonda to make conversation like this on camera with someone he just met. Just roll with it.
Chandler Tsonda: PRIME used to be barely organized chaos. People summoning eldritch, SCCW invasions, I think one time a ghost inhabited my body? You know, normal wrestling stuff. But I was clear on one thing: everybody was out for number one. It’s how I came up, and I assume the same is true of you. And now…
The Sultan of Style shakes his head, a clear look of confusion painted across his million-dollar mug.
Chandler Tsonda: It seems like there’s an awful lot of people respecting each other?! And the competition is solely on merit? Must be a ruse, right?
Coral Avalon: Does it weird you out that not everyone here is carrying around knives and looking for backs to put them in? I remember how cutthroat PRIME used to be, so I know what you mean. And also, the last time I was on national television, a swamp monster tried to murder me with light tubes and piledrivers. Uh, but not Paxton Ray. Different swamp monster.
He shrugs his shoulders.
Coral Avalon: Although, if you ask me, maybe some people just mellowed out with age. Look at Youngblood. The guy used to try to end careers. He certainly tried to end mine once or twice, and it didn’t really take. Now he’s out there shaking hands and hugging babies and representing the company again.
The Crownless King’s easy smile widens, extremely proud of himself that he didn’t misplace the adjectives for hands and babies. That’s happened once or twice, and it’s very awkward every time.
Coral Avalon: Also, I don’t know if you noticed, but our boss is Lindsay Troy and she took up falconry since I last saw her. Or whatever the owling equivalent of falconry is. She doesn’t exactly tolerate a lot of the old shenanigans.
Chandler Tsonda: Exactly. So while I can’t say for sure that Troy, Youngblood, and the like have been replaced by their lizard people replicas, it’s not entirely off the table. Good to know you’re with me, Avalon. You’re good people.
The 5-Star Champion has given zero indication he supports this theory, it should be noted for the potential future legal ramifications.
Chandler Tsonda: Either way, I gotta find a new nemesis, which I’m sure you know is, like, a whole thing. (sighing, wistful) Gone are the days where you could throw a stone in the general direction of Tony Gamble just because it’s fun, and end up hitting 3-4 genuine supervillains along the way. What’s a guy to do about finding a black-hearted bastard to hate with every fiber of his being?!
Coral’s smile remains easy, but one can tell that even he’s having a hard time grasping the whole “lizard people” argument.
Coral Avalon: I mean, there’s this funny thing that happens sometimes where people… change? It’s weird, I know. But it’s like… when you’re a kid, you don’t like vegetables all that much, right? And then, as you get older, your tastes mature and suddenly vegetables are great. I think PRIME is like that. PRIME’s in its vegetable age now.
Let it be known that PRIME does not endorse calling its current ReVival era the “Vegetable Age”.
Coral Avalon: Though I don’t think anyone would complain if you threw more stones at Tony Gamble. I’m pretty sure that’s actually a company policy.
Chandler Tsonda: People change. Agree. They change into possibly reptilian replicas that explain unprecedented behavior. This is exactly what I’m saying. Coral, my man, I’m loving how simpatico we are here.
Hard to say what percentage of the 5-Star Champion’s words that Tsonda has actually listened to, but you’d be safe to take the under no matter what.
Chandler Tsonda: So if PRIME has become Veggie Tales, you’re saying I just have to find my red meat.
No one has said that.
Chandler Tsonda: I like the cut of your jib, Avalon. And I think you’ve given me some inspiration.
Coral Avalon: Well, I’m not sure how much of that I actually agree with, but I believe they say that a “cut of my jib” is distinctly in the red meat direction.
No one has said that, either.
Coral Avalon: So, you’re welcome? I think?
Tsonda does the two-fingers-to-the-forehead gesture that signals mutual understanding.
Chandler Tsonda: I’ll text you. Time for Chan to down some red meat.
Strange parting words from the Model Citizen, but not any stranger than the rest of them. Coral nods as he walks off, and starts to walk in another direction. Then he stops, and turns to look over his shoulder.
Coral Avalon: …He doesn’t have my number, does he?
He briefly considers going back to telling him. Instead, he just shrugs his shoulders and continues on his merry way as we cut elsewhere to a guy with a big ass and another guy who is just an asshole.
ADVICE FROM ASSHOLE MOUNTAIN
Foster Nackedy is walking. After a few moments, he sees a backstage assistant and waves him over.
Foster Nackedy: Hey, Chris, get over here.
Confused, the assistant walks over.
Not Chris: My name isn’t Chris.
Foster Nackedy: Sorry, anyway can you deliver this to Lindsay Troy? It’s an invoice for the pads to my concussion helmet. They had to be replaced.
Not Chris: Uh, ok. Is that why they now have little mirrors on them?
Indeed, they do.
Foster Nackedy: Those aren’t mirrors, it’s reflective glass to help shield me from hits to the head.
The man who is not named Chris looks terribly confused.
Not Chris: But aren’t mirrors just reflective glass?
Foster Nackedy: Just get out of here, Chris!
The backstage attendant walks away quickly as Foster continues to walk in the opposite direction. After a second he stops and smiles.
Foster Nackedy: Well look who it is.
For someone who should be hypervigilant in the wake of the previous show, Jared Sykes seems caught off guard. His head snaps in the direction of Foster’s voice and he works his jaw as he tries to process the threat assessment of the current situation. Of course, this all grinds to a halt when his gaze settles on the shimmering dome on Foster’s head.
Jared Sykes: You look like a disco ball. Why do you look like a disco ball?
Foster Nackedy: Ah, Jared. There’s some things you don’t understand until you get to be my age.
Jared’s brow furrows as math begins to happen in his brain. Somewhere, Damon Hayes collects a royalty for this. For the furrowing, not the mathing. Both Sykes and Nackedy are only one year apart agewise, which Jared indicates by first pointing to Foster, then to himself, and at last holding up a single finger.
Foster Nackedy: Anyway, I’m glad I ran into you. I am very happy to see that you are insistent on climbing Big Assholes Everest. Just wanted to wish you luck on the climb!
Foster flashes two thumbs up. He also flashes light everywhere as he tilts his head and the reflective glass catches the light.
For his part, Jared mouths the words “Big Assholes Everest.”
Jared Sykes: Thanks? I think? But also… what?
Foster Nackedy: Just making the observation. You basically took on Paxton for injuring Jon, despite all of the carnage he caused. And you survived that, and to celebrate decided to pick a fight with the big Russian bastard who may be the only person on the roster who can out-yeet Paxton.
Foster puts a finger to his chin.
Foster Nackedy: Though we should really do a control group to test that. I wonder where Mark is nowadays.
Jared Sykes: Last I heard he’s still working at the Grand. Doubt we’ll be seeing him again though. Not sure he wants anything to do with this sport. Can’t blame him, to be honest.
He straightens a bit.
Jared Sykes: You know it’s funny you say I’m picking these fights, because it was Ivan who found me when the dust settled after Culture Shock. And then two weeks ago he made it a point to… Look, I’m not reliving what I had to watch back after the show went off the air. He fired that shot, bud. Now I have to deal with it. Different set of circumstances if you ask me.
Foster Nackedy: Uh huh. Makes sense. I chose my words poorly. You’re right, he found you, and if you just continue to be your sweet self who doesn’t antagonize anyone and refuses to give up no matter the odds, I’m sure the problem will eventually go away!
Jared Sykes: Right, because those two things are totally the same. One guy makes a few jokes on the company chat platform. The other’s cool with throwing people through ceilings. One hundred percent the same.
Jared glances at a hundred reflections of himself in Foster’s helmet, each one warped like a funhouse mirror.
Jared Sykes: But I guess that logic tracks. Remind me who you represent again? Isn’t it the guy who’s cool with paralyzing people for “reasons”? How many of those reasons are trivial shit like lame jokes or bad puns? I bet it’s zero.
Foster Nackedy: I still don’t really know why Paxton did what he did. I don’t really know why Paxton does anything he does. That’s probably a bad thing.
Foster shrugs again.
Foster Nackedy: And yes, I started this conversation to antagonize you, but I really do think you’ve been lucky so far. You’re a great wrestler, and you’re a stand-up human, I guess. But don’t you feel like one day you might poke the wrong bear?
A memory floods Jared’s mind of a pair of eyes getting smaller as they move away, falling in slow motion to a spot a hundred feet below. A moment in time that now exists only in grainy cell phone footage on the darker corners of the internet.
Jared Sykes: All the goddamn time.
He closes his eyes for a moment, pushing that image to the back of his mind as he’s done countless times before. It’s easier than it used to be; that devil at last exorcized.
Jared Sykes: Have you? See, the way I figure it… You’ve got your big bad bayou boy running around willing to punch anything that walks. Or worse. And he seems legitimately happy to start fights with everyone he can. But the thing is, when Paxton gets someone in a compromising position there’s always someone to make sure it doesn’t go too far. But what happens when the roles reverse? What happens when, say, the Russians get him in their sights? What happens when Mr. Insecurity brings the rest of his egg friends back into the fold? Or what happens if Cecilworth’s arts ‘n crafts club decides that Pax is next on their list? Who steps in then? You?
He glances once again at the sparkling ball on Foster’s head.
Jared Sykes: I mean maybe you can distract them for a minute, but…
It trails off in a shrug.
Foster was nodding slowly as Jared talked, and now he nods faster.
Foster Nackedy: Yeah. It’s a good point. Predators become prey. And unfortunately I have been concussed too much to be helpful. But can I tell you something?
Foster looks left and right before talking, as if he’s about to tell a big secret.
Foster Nackedy: I’ve been around this business forever. Coming up on 27 years now. I’ve seen a lot of bad men. I’ve trained a lot of great wrestlers. And this kid? The one who everyone hates because of the terrible things he did? He’s special. He’s better than Rhine, more ruthless than me. I think he can legitimately be the best wrestler Gray’s has ever produced. So yeah, maybe one day he’ll become a target. But from what I’ve been able to see? He’ll be able to handle it.
Foster Nackedy: Hell, maybe you two are similar in that way, and my fake concern about you is misfounded. Which means this whole talk was for nothing!
Jared Sykes: Maybe one day?
The expression on the face of the Dragonslayer is stone-cold serious.
Jared Sykes: Foster, I don’t think you get it. He is a target, and not just because of that shiny gold belt he carries. Sure, there are people here who’re fine with the way he does business, but the rest of ‘em?
Jared shakes his head.
Jared Sykes: You’re running with a marked man. You might not see it, but that doesn’t make it any less true. So think whatever you want about what he is, because unless the Legion of Doom you’re building down in New Orleans is going to start invading the locker room soon, then before too long someone’s going to put a problem in front of him that he’s not equipped to solve.
Foster Nackedy: Well, assuming you’re right, it looks like we both have some advice to take to heart. Take care of yourself against the Russian, and I’ll try to keep Paxton safe from the enemies he collects like trophies.
Foster cocks his head to the side.
Foster Nackedy: Although maybe I should stage a Gray’s Invasion. Might be fun.
The Bad Name Bomber laughs.
Foster Nackedy: All right, I’ve got to find my marked man and get him prepared for his match. Good luck not getting your head knocked off, because I’m sure my boy will want another shot at you down the line, and you kinda need a head for that.
A heavy sigh escapes Jared’s lips as Foster walks away.
Jared Sykes: Yeah. I bet he will.
We then cut back to ringside.
DARIN ZION vs. JACK OWYNS
Nick Stuart: What an exchange between Sykes and Foster, folks…but now, we shift gears to the in-ring debut of Jack Owyns as he takes on Darin Zion!
Richard Parker: Nick, did you just mispronounce Owens? Shame on you.
Nick Stuart: What? No, I…what does that even mean, Richard?
Before we get a response, however, we cut to the ring where Vince Howard is standing by with referee Timo Bolamba for our next contest!
Vince Howard: The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first…
“Sex Drive” by Machine Gun Kelly starts. Wasting no time, Jack Owyns walks out from the wrestler tunnel and makes his way towards the square circle. Firing insults at all the fans close enough to hear his words but not stopping to hear any of their clap backs.
Vince Howard: Making his way to the ring from Seattle, Washington, weighing in at 253 pounds, he is The Villain…JACK OWYYYYYNS!
The Villain continues firing insults as he walks around the ring to the opposite side of the entrance. Jack rolls under the bottom rope and finds a seat in the corner of the ring. Music cuts out…quickly replaced with that of “Happy Song” by Bring Me The Horizon, as Darin Zion steps out onto the stage.
Vince Howard: And his opponent…coming to the ring from Chicago, Illinois, and weighing in at 225 pounds, he is REAL LOVE…DARIIIIN ZIIIIIION!
The crowd is booing Zion after his recent actions, but REAL LOVE looks focused on the task at hand as he heads to the ring, stepping through the ropes.
Nick Stuart: Darin looks ready to try and score a notch in the win column even with some of his focus on Brandon Youngblood as of late.
Richard Parker: Zion better be careful not to be so focused on the past, or the present is gonna slap him right across the face!
The bell rings and Zion charges at Owyns, unleashing hell on the Villain with some hard strikes in an effort to wear him down before sending Owyns to the ropes. Zion looks for a clothesline here, but he’s met with a big shoulder tackle by the rebounding Jack, sending REAL LOVE crashing to the canvas! Jack brings Zion back to his feet, hitting some big lefts and rights that sends Zion reeling toward the corner. Owyns continues the attack with some stomps to the midsection, eventually sending Zion down to the canvas…before driving his boot right into REAL LOVE’s throat!
Nick Stuart: Oh come on, that’s not even necessary!
Richard Parker: I gotta say, if you’re gonna shut Zion up that’s one way to do it!
Timo starts the count, reaching a count of four as he starts admonishing Owyns for the boot to the throat. Jack just scoffs at this, but the pause in the action provides an opening for Zion to get back to his feet! Zion’s favoring his throat after that attack, but he looks determined as he rushes at Owyns once more, a series of kicks and punches sending the Villain right back to the ropes…and this time, Zion connects with a clothesline that sends both men over the top rope, tumbling down to the outside where they crash on the floor!
Nick Stuart: Oh man, this took a turn real quick!
Richard Parker: I’ll give Zion credit, smart move keeping Owyns down here, even if now he’s gotta pick himself right back up!
Both men are slowly rising to their feet now, immediately taking to an exchange of punches as each man looks to get the upper hand on the other…and the bigger man in Owyns manages to pull it off, grabbing Zion by the arm before sending him colliding with the steel steps! Timo shouts his disapproval of the Villain’s actions before starting the count.
Owyns ignores the count as he goes back to work on Zion, bringing REAL LOVE back to his feet with a smirk…but Zion turns things around on the Villain, sending him into the ring post instead! Jack’s shoulder collides hard with the steel post, and it looks like REAL LOVE might be in control, going to work on the arm of Owyns now as the count continues.
Nick Stuart: Zion looking to maybe get more on the technical side of things perhaps?
Richard Parker: At the very least, he’s trying to lessen the chances of Owyns hitting that Tiger Driver I’ve been hearing about all week!
Zion connects with some stomps on the arm of Owyns before grabbing it, bringing the Villain back into the ring by nearly dragging him in to break the count. REAL LOVE looks like he’s ready to lock in the scissored armbar here and now, but Owyns fights off the Red Rings of Death with a stiff right hand to the jaw of Zion!
Nick Stuart: What a jawjacker there to Zion!
Richard Parker: I guess the Villain heard all about Zion’s reputation and is trying to keep that mouth shut as much as possible. God, I can just hear it now, the honking…
Zion connects with some stomps on the arm of Owyns before grabbing it, bringing the Villain back into the ring by nearly dragging him in to break the count. REAL LOVE looks like he’s ready to lock in the scissored armbar here and now, but Owyns fights off the Red Rings of Death with a stiff right hand to the jaw of Zion!
Zion is thrown for a loop here as Jack gets back to his feet, working out the pain in his shoulder before laying in some more punches to wear REAL LOVE down. Owyns goes for a kick to the sternum, but Zion catches the leg…only for the Villain to connect with a big ol’ enziguri that drops him down hard! Jack senses his opportunity here as he goes for the cover!
TWO — NOO!
Zion able to get a shoulder up here, much to Jack’s chagrin! Owyns gets Darin back to his feet, only for REAL LOVE to catch the Villain by surprise with a European uppercut! He hits another on Owyns, and a third one for good measure before sending him to the ropes…hitting a big wheel kick on the rebound!
Nick Stuart: Wow, what a kick! Down goes Owyns!
Richard Parker: Zion’s got a chance to really turn things around now, Nick!
Darin brings the Villain back to his feet, looking for a snap suplex…but Jack blocks it, changing his grip slightly as he hoists Zion up and over for a front suplex instead! He’s still got Zion down tight for the pin as Timo makes the count!
Zion just manages to fight out of the cover here, kicking out to create enough space to escape Owyns!
Nick Stuart: Close call there, but Zion’s still got plenty of fight left in him!
Richard Parker: You gotta wonder how long he can take everything Jack’s been dishing out, though!
Zion gets back to his feet, looking a little worse for wear after the damage caused by Owyns so far…but manages to catch the Villain charging at him, hitting a snap suplex in the process! Zion quickly follows this up with an elbow drop, not once but twice for emphasis, before going for a cover as Timo makes the count!
Owyns isn’t quite out of this by a long shot yet, kicking out with authority…but Zion is having none of this, bringing the Villain back to his feet once more looking for another snap suplex…but Owyns blocks it, gouging the eyes of REAL LOVE instead!
Zion staggers back, favoring his eyes as he shouts at the Villain for, well, being so villainous…and Owyns responds with a swinging neckbreaker! NO! Zion counters out of it just in the nick of time, pulling Jack in as he tries to lock in…a katahajime!? NOPE! Owyns manages to fight out of it pretty quickly, but the crowd takes notice of what just happened!
Nick Stuart: Hold on a minute, did Zion really–
Richard Parker: The man tried to lock in the Gridlock on Jack Owyns! Brandon Youngblood ain’t gonna like that one bit!
Jack spins Zion around, looking to hit a German suplex…but Zion manages to break out, landing on his feet! Jack turns around, and catches a roundhouse kick square in the jaw for his troubles, sending him back down to the canvas! Watching as Owyns is already stirring again, Zion quickly climbs the nearest turnbuckle, waiting for the Villain to stand up on his own before connecting with a missile dropkick! Owyns is down again, giving Zion an opening to make the cover and hope for the best as Timo once again drops to the ring to make the count!
Owyns looks a bit worn out but still manages to kick out, much to the shock of Zion! REAL LOVE gets back to his feet, staring the Villain down with intensity…and even taunting Owyns to get up!
Nick Stuart: Oh, Zion’s really feeling it now isn’t he?
Richard Parker: He’s gonna be feeling something if he’s not careful, that’s for sure!
Owyns is a little slow to his feet here, but manages to do so before charging at Zion, and out of desperation looks to hit that Muay Thai flying knee! VILLAINOUS KNEE–NO! Zion sidesteps it, turning Jack around before sending him crashing down with a headlock driver to the canvas! RATINGS SPIKE! After multiple failed attempts to lock in the Red Rings of Death, Zion opts instead to settle for the pin this time around, making the cover with purpose as Timo drops down for the count!
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Here is your winner…DARIIIIIN ZIIIOOOOOON!
“Happy Song” plays as Zion gets to his feet, Timo raising his hand in victory as we cut back to commentary.
Nick Stuart: What a match here folks, and Zion manages to pick up the win after going toe to toe with the debuting Jack Owyns!
Richard Parker: Ya know something, Nick, I’ve been holding it in all match but I think I’m gonna finally say it now…
Nick Stuart: Oh, boy.
Richard Parker: Maybe that’s what someone gets for having Machine Gun Kelly as his entrance mu–
Richard doesn’t even get to finish the sentence before Nick gives him a cold stare, forcing him to look directly in the camera with a stern look on his face.
Richard Parker: For legal purposes, that was a joke. As I was saying, good on Jack here tonight, he took Zion to task and I think he picked up a lot to build off of going forward!
Nick Stuart: Much better, thank you Richard. Folks, we’ll be back with more action after a quick break!
Zion leaves the ring, celebrating in his own way on the ramp as Owyns makes it back to his feet, staring down REAL LOVE after that hotly-contested bout as we go to commercial!
COMMERCIAL: TROPICAL TURMOIL 2023
THE NEW GLUE’S MOTIVES REVEALED!
ReVival finds itself, as it is often wont to do, in the backstage area. This backstage area is in Denver, which is different from Kansas City. Who has the pleasure of the company of the delightful viewing audience at this particular moment in time? Well…
It’s “Mr. Jabber” himself, Cecilworth Farthington.
Please ignore the fact that no one apart from Cecilworth has ever called him “Mr. Jabber”
Cecilworth is leaning up against a generic white wall background, already attired in his wrestling finery, ahead of his upcoming clash against former Universal Champion, Rezin.
Cecilworth Farthington: I asked if the cameras could join me for a few moments. It seems like the entire wrestling world has been crying out in anguish, wanting to know why myself, FLAMBERGE and Tyler Adrian Best decided to act as one collective on the last ReVival. It’s an understandable question, TAB is demented enough to think he can buy love from his pirate grandpappy, FLAMBERGE is more reptile than man most of the time…
Instead of dwelling on the incredibly concerning world of FLAMBERGE’s brain for too long, Cecilworth decides to move on.
Cecilworth Farthington: The alignment makes both perfect sense and no sense. It is its own yin and yang. The one thing everyone has missed though… the big answer to the question of “WHY?”, perhaps “HOW?” and certainly “WHAT?”… I think it’s time to spell it ou… ou… ou… sorry… what was I saying?
Cecilworth’s own train of thought gets derailed like an Northern Southern train in Pennsylvania as he spots something out of the corner of his eye. For a few seconds he tries to re-rail his thinking process but ends up far too preoccupied by the figure standing nearby. That figure? The wonderful sight?
The new 5 Star Champion, Coral Avalon. Cecilworth quickly begins to move towards Avalon, a forced rictus grin upon his face.
Cecilworth Farthington: Hey champ! Congrats!
The level of slime oozing out of every syllable from Cecilworth could probably fuel a Kid’s Choice Awards.
Coral turns to acknowledge Cecilworth with equal measures caution and surprise. After all, he’d been there when Glue Point Oh attacked Youngblood at the end of ReVival 27. The champion watches Cecilworth for a few moments before he responds to him.
Coral Avalon: Thanks?
Coral adjusts his newly won championship over his shoulder, as though he’d considered letting it slip off of his shoulder before he thought better of it.
Coral Avalon: Glad you had a front row seat for that.
Cecilworth Farthington: Almost brought me to tears. To see a man just trying to fend for his family’s financial future… you’re a hero!
Cecilworth chuckles to himself, Coral very much stays on guard.
Cecilworth Farthington: Relax Coral, me and my new friends make our statements in the ring, not in the hallways. We’re not savages… we’re not… Russian.
Cecilworth’s bottom lip curls up in disgust at the idea of the comparison that he himself just created.
Cecilworth Farthington: How did you celebrate the big win? Take the wife out? Get together with the Winds? I mean with new contracts, I’m sure they were in the celebrating mood too!
Coral Avalon: Wow. That… uh, definitely seems like a bunch of genuine questions!
He shrugs his shoulders, smiling at Cecilworth.
Coral Avalon: I celebrated like I usually would, to be honest. Though all of my celebrating was abbreviated because they wanted me to take a lot of pictures afterwards. Like, a lot a lot. I’m pretty sure you’re familiar with the whole “be the champion, get your picture taken a lot” thing, right? They took pictures in HOW, right?
Cecilworth Farthington: … they were always out of focus …
Coral Avalon: That’s unfortunate.
Cecilworth elects not to show Coral the incredibly blurry photo of him in the middle of the Roman Colosseum. Instead, he opts to direct the conversation towards the future.
Cecilworth Farthington: Last show, my friend, you were excited at the challenge of me. I mean, I can’t blame you, I’m me, so I know how important I am. Only one of us has the power to make that match happen…
Cecilworth makes a small nod to the Five Star Championship.
Coral acknowledges his nod, casting a glance of his own at the belt on his shoulder.
Coral Avalon: Ah, yeah. I have a defense on the next show, don’t I? Don’t worry, Cecilworth, old buddy, old pal, it’s on the forefront of my mind. You’re somewhere in the back. I might need to charge you rent, actually.
You know when you’re trying really hard to pretend you aren’t bothered by something, so you end up giving a smile that indicates you may have shat yourself? Yeah, that expression was coming out from Farthington.
Cecilworth Farthington: Just don’t go slipping up against some young upstart… I have a lot riding on the example I hope to make. I’m also a soft touch, so I’d hate to see those championship cheques dry up on a new family to be.
Coral Avalon: Oh, is the example you’re hoping to make some sort of new Coral Avalon glue?
It’s quiet, but there is a very audible snort of derision from the self-proclaimed Best Boy of PRIME.
Cecilworth Farthington: Glue? Oh, that’s very one point oh. Not at all fitting to the new brand. All very nice, prim and proper to make some novelty glue jokes. Gives everyone a teehee, a giggle. My new friends, we prefer a more hands-on approach.
Coral Avalon: Ah, is that so? My mistake. I still have a lot of Civil Dusk left over, actually. Really handy in a pinch.
He shrugs. Cecilworth’s eyes light up with concern that there’s still Civil Dusk out there.
Coral Avalon: But I guess the new direction explains the number your boy Tyler did on BY’s face. Not sure how the glue connects, which is weird since that’s what glue’s supposed to do. Connect.
Cecilworth Farthington: I tend to disconnect, personally.
Farthington slowly leans over to admire Avalon’s neck and arms. He’s weird like that.
Cecilworth Farthington: I do hope you get a chance to check out my sporting contest with Mr. Rezin later though, my darling friend. I’m pretty certain there’s some visuals that will stick with you.
Coral smiles back. He gives Cecilworth an almost purposefully awkward thumbs up.
Coral Avalon: Wouldn’t miss it for the world, buddy!
Cecilworth tilts his head and winks at Coral, slowly returning to where he started this segment. Once he’s firmly planted against the white walls once more, he turns back to face the camera directly.
Cecilworth Farthington: So like I was saying… the reason for the alliance…
Welp, we never find out the rest of what Cecilworth needed to say as the segment runs out of time and cuts to black.
THE BEST OF TIMES, THE WORST OF TIMES
The camera cuts from Coral Avalon’s whereabouts to another part of the Ball Arena where The Anglo Luchador, now in his wrestling gear, awaiting his luchador war vs. Rocky de Leon, speaks on a cellular phone.
TAL: Mike, you should’ve seen the look on the kid’s dad’s face. I think he wanted to stab me… yeah well, I didn’t think. That’s always been my big problem…
He turns around as his brother speaks to him on the other side of the line (and country) to find someone has been standing behind him for at least a few seconds now. You might recognize him as the number one contender to the Universal Championship, Tyler Adrian Best, flanked by what appears to be a small battalion of corporate lawyers.
TAB: Tommy Motherfucking Talented.
The luchador holds up one finger to indicate that he is, in fact, busy at the moment.
TAL: Well yeah, but I didn’t think this guy was going to be…
TAB: interrupting You deaf or stupid? I don’t have all day, dickhead.
The luchador looks at him cross for a moment before looking back down on his phone.
TAL: Hey Mikey, I’ll call you back after my match, okay?
He presses end on the phone and looks back up at Tyler Adrian Best and his legal counsel.
TAL: This seems, I don’t know, excessive? Lawyers for whatever it is you have to say? Besides, don’t you have, I don’t know, more pressing gluey business to be taking care of right now?
TAB: Look, I sincerely couldn’t give a fuck less about you, about my father, or about whatever petty little butthurt issue the two of you have over his glorified basement fight club. I’m literally only here because these paper monkeys need to service you a cease and desist, and no one at HOW could remember what you looked like. You know, on account of you being there for less than a shot of espresso and running back to PRIME with your tail between your shitty, culturally appropriating legs. So like… here. Stop saying shit about my family. It annoys them, and then they annoy me.
One of the lawyers reaches out, handing a sealed manila envelope to The Anglo Luchador, who stares at it with his mouth slightly agape. He almost can’t believe that he’s seeing this with real eyes.
TAL: Well, sorry, for someone who doesn’t care, you sure are here with backup to make sure you’re the only one who had a monopoly on slander. Or maybe you thought you had that because your grandpop’s a pirate millionaire or whatever…
Lawyer #1: I’ll have you know calling Mr. Lee Best a “pirate millionaire” is slander, and is actionable in court…
The luchador puts up his hands.
TAL: Fine, fine, no more pirate millionaire shit, no more speaking my mind about your dad’s shitty fight club, yadda yadda yadda. Look, I’ve got a match coming up, and I just went through a whole, well, thing so…
TAB: Yeah, again, I sincerely could not give a fuck less. But for what it’s worth? If you think I kicked your ass, my dad would beat the fucking shit out of you inside one of those shitty fight club cages. Just saying.
Before the luchador can get his own clapback in, the number one contender to the Universal Championship and his coterie of lawyers turn and walk away, Tyler flipping the bird rather egregiously as he departs.
TAL: All these glue assholes are so rude. Whatever, time to go ground a pterodactyl.
The luchador turns around headed presumably to Argyle as the camera cuts serendipitously to his opponent for the evening.
THE MANE EVENT
The Sultan of Skree feels the energy in the air as he stares at his reflection in the locker room mirror in the basement of the Ball Arena. He feels the hopes and dreams of an entire race on his shoulders, and he steels himself for the hardest match of his career. As he reaches for his mask, Stu makes an unexpected announcement, “Hey Rocky, you have some visitors.”
The room fills with an unreasonably pungent stench as though he were attacked by a gaggle of teenage boys bathed in Antonio Banderas Blue Seduction.
Angel: FDP! I implore you to not wear that mask!
Don’t touch it!
Ay yai yai! Put it down!
Angel brought you a thing, dude.
Ow, fuck! Man, what the hell?
Is it supposed to be a surprise or somethin’?
Can’t take you anywhere.
Angel shakes his head.
Angel: Rocky, tonight is a very important night.”
Carlos de Leon: Yeah, Angel, I know. I have to take back Lucha for the Tejanos.
Rocky bends down to tie his boot laces, intending to use the rhythmic action to calm his breathing.
Angel: I IMPLORE YOU TO NOT LACE UP THAT BOOT!
Put it aside like the mask, oh Skreeful One.
Cool your jets, FDP.
Can we give him the box already?
Do we have to hit you again?
For real, Danny, what gives?
I don’t wanna miss any of the show, OK!?
Angel’s hand sweeps across his chin as though to signify contemplation.
Angel: My compatriot makes a good, if annoying, point. PEDRO, THE BOX!
One of the lucha envoys approaches Angel with a box approximately 2.5 feet long and 2 feet wide. The box is white with an ornate gold pattern swirling all over it. The lid of the box reads “Carlos “Rocky” de Leon” in gold calligraphic script. Angel takes the box.
Angel: Gracias, Pedro. Rocky, the Lucha League has seen fit to bestow upon you… a gift.
Angel extends the box toward Rocky. The Master of Moonsaults inspects the package, his eyes wandering over the path of the gold trim.
Without a word, Rocky opens the box. Inside he sees a mask of white and gold with matching tights and boots. The stitching on the mask is immaculate, the lines flow perfectly with not a slight deviation from their proper path.
The mask blacks out the face for the wearer and depicts large vicious teeth on either side of the void. Menacing eyes adorn the temples and forehead, and a golden mane flows from the material. The lion appears ready to pounce out of the mask itself.
Angel reaches up to wrap his arm around Rocky’s shoulders.
Angel: It was to be Mateo’s – his tag team uniform.
Rocky shivers and a tear slides down the left side of his face.
Carlos de Leon: Arturo… er, Angel, I don’t… I don’t know what to say.
Angel removes his arm from Rocky and paces the room.
Angel: For one night only, the Lucha League has seen fit to bestow upon you the mantle of the Angel. For tonight, all of the prestige, power, and responsibility that come with being the Angel are yours to wield. It was only right that you have appropriate garb to match the circumstance. We have ensured it shall be a precise fit to your body’s measurements.
Rocky breaks out of his awe-filled trance.
Carlos de Leon: How exactly did you obtain my precise bodily measurements?
Angel: I have exceptionally talented sources, but I would never betray their confidences!
Angel sweeps his arm up to point to the ceiling with his right index finger to drive the point home.
It was Gladys at Green as it Gets Acres.
Si, she pervy, but accurate.
Those old bats really need another hobby.
Angel forces a cough into his fist.
Angel: They really are an exceptional fan club, Carlos. What say you? Will you be our Angel for tonight?
Rocky holds the mask in his hands and stares into its eyes for a long moment. He turns, raises the mask to the ceiling with his right hand, and bellows to the Lucha League.
Carlos de Leon: The Lion of Laredo shall be victorious tonight!
Cheers erupt from the company of lucha, and Angel gives Rocky an impossibly tight hug as he whispers into Rocky’s ear.
Angel: Mateo will be watching you tonight. Win or lose, he loves you and is proud of you.
He releases the hug.
Angel: COME! Let us alight to our seats with alacrity, for we should not wish to miss any of tonight’s festivities. Fight well, Carlos de Leon, son of Sergeant Mateo de Leon, Angel pro tem of the Luchadore League, Sultan of Skree, and Fully. Dicked. Pterodactyl!
The lucha exit the locker room, leaving Stu and Rocky alone. Rocky swaps tights for the white and gold. He laces up the boots reveling in the feel of tightening every loop. He holds the mask in his hands, allowing memories of his father to flood his mind. He pushes them aside and adopts the persona of the Lion of Laredo, growling as he ties the mask in place.
Stu places a hand gently on Rocky’s shoulder as they both look in the mirror.
Stu Weiler: It looks damn good on you, Rocky. Question, though.
Carlos de Leon: Yeah?
Stu Weiler: Why do your tights have a huge gold codpiece stitched into the groin?
Rocky looks at his crotch.
Carlos de Leon: This is huge?
Stu Weiler: Most would say so.
Carlos de Leon: Huh. Don’t question tradition, Stu.
Rocky begins to walk toward the hallway to the arena.
Carlos de Leon: Oh, hey… Stu?
Stu Weiler: Yeah, Rock.
Carlos de Leon: Would you be offended if I ask you to sit this one out? I think… I think this is something I need to do for myself.
Stu Weiler: Understood. Go get ‘em.
Stu watches, laptop in hand, as his protege marches solo to carry out the hopes and dreams of a nation. It is a pressure Stu is certain Rocky will handle with grace. He finds a folding chair, opens it, grabs the TV remote off a bench, and turns on the monitor to watch the next match.
Stu Weiler: Damn. Should have brought popcorn.
We then cut ringside for the next match.
THE ANGLO LUCHADOR vs. ROCKY DE LEON
Nick Stuart: Up next, we have a true battle of the masks!
Richard Parker: I’m more interested in the high energy of both competitors than I am about a couple of stupid masks. Sorry not sorry.
Nick Stuart: Oh, c’mon. Don’t be a fuddy-duddy! Two masked competitors having a hotly contested match in PRIME? You know that’s money. Admit it.
Richard Parker: Um, no. I will admit nothing of the sort, thank you very much. Not unless you admit you forgot to color the gray out of your hair this morning.
The lights dim and smoke starts to fill the staging area while “Oye Como Va” begins to play on the PA system. The Anglo Luchador, looking ragged from the ordeal he’s gone through on the show so far, steps through, shoulders slumped, head sunken. He gives a half-hearted raise of both arms to the crowd as he begins his trudge to the ring.
Nick Stuart: I’d say The Anglo Luchador has undergone a traumatic experience before having to wrestle here tonight, but that seems to have been happening quite a bit to a lot of wrestlers here in the ReVival era.
Richard Parker: Glad you see things my way for once, Nick. Can’t coddle these clowns.
Nick Stuart: That’s not what I’m saying at all, Richard, and in fact, maybe…
Richard Parker: No takesies-backsies, Nick, c’mon now.
The luchador still takes time out to slap as many hands before getting to the ring as he can, even though he still looks like he’s had enough for the evening.
Nick Stuart: I know you don’t like him, Richard, but he was only trying to show a kid around backstage!
Richard Parker: Maybe he’ll think twice before interrupting a rehearsal or making fun of someone richer, more successful, and handsomer than him.
Nick Stuart: That’s… wait, did you just compliment Lee Best on here?
Richard Parker: To be fair, it was damning with faint praise. Do you know how low a bar it is to clear to be better than the luchador?
Nick Stuart: You’re incorrigible sometimes, you know that?
Vince Howard: Introducing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, weighing in at 211 pounds. He is the first Intense Champion of the ReVival Era, the Anglo…. LUUUUUUUUUUCHADORRRRRRRRRRRR!!!
The luchador slowly climbs up onto the apron, acknowledges the cheers, and climbs through the ropes.
“Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard” by Streetlight Manifesto cuts through Santana’s guitarwork
The mama pajama rolled out of bed
And she ran to the police station
When the papa found out he began to shout
And he started the investigation
Vince Howard: His opponent and making his way to the ring… weighing in at two-hundred and fifteen pounds… THE LION OF LAREDO… ROOOOOOOCKY DEEE LEEEEEOOOOOON!
Rocky marches with a purpose to the edge of the ring. He runs up the ring steps quickly and wipes his feet on the apron before nimbly hopping over the ropes and waving to the crowd. Rocky points a finger to the crowd and bounds up the corner to the top turnbuckle, then gives a mighty bellowing ROOOOOOAR! He pumps his fists in the air and hops down, all business.
TAL and Rocky look at each other from across the ring, locking eyes like two great gladiators knowing full well they’re about to have the fight of their life. With the fans buzzing in anticipation, TAL and Rocky circle each other until they meet in the center of the ring with a collar-and-elbow tie-up. Having a slight weight and height advantage, Rocky pushes TAL back into the turnbuckles after digging his heels into the canvas. Elvis Nixon is right there, telling both competitors to get out of the corner.
Suddenly, though, Rocky de Leon falls backward while pulling on TAL’s arms. TAL flips forward so that both men are on the mat, holding arms, looking at each other after using their neck muscles to push their heads up on the mat. Surprised at the predicament they find themselves in, Elvis is already on his knees, checking to see if their shoulders are down on the mat. Before he can even count, TAL uses great agility to flip backwards, attempting to land on Rocky for a cover. Rocky, however, anticipates this and lifts his knees, catching TAL before he could land.
Nick Stuart: Wow! These guys are going all lucha libre right out of the gate!
Richard Parker: Fantastic. Floppy, floppy shit this early into a match? I don’t know if the viewers at home can tell, but that was an eye-rolling motion you just heard.
TAL retreats into a standing position, still holding onto Rocky’s hands. Just when he’s about to perform another lucha-inspired maneuver…
The lights go out and the PRIMEView screen lights up with the letters “AP”. Drums and guitars hit the speakers as the Ball Arena stands on their feet, wondering exactly what the hell is going on.
Distracted, TAL shakes his head, mouthing, “No! Not now!”.
Voodoo Prophets’ hard rock cover of the Led Zeppelin classic “Immigrant Song” hits the speakers and none other than Arthur Pleasant comes out from the back!
With TAL distracted over someone who is slowly becoming his nightmare, Rocky De Leon lifts him up with an old-school back suplex. Making the cover, Elvis Nixon is right there..
TW- TAL kicks out just before two!
At this point, Pleasant’s theme song has faded and Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare makes his way to the commentary booth.
Nick Stuart: Oh you’ve gotta be kidding me.
Richard Parker: Relax, Nick! I, for one, am excited to have a guest at the booth. Especially when there’s a chance to get to know someone new to the roster.
Pleasant, wearing a black and red long coat over street clothes (PRIME T-shirt and black jeans), flashes his fangs with a wicked smile as he shakes Richard Parker’s hand.
Richard Parker: Hey, no hard feelings over my comments from the other show, right?
Arthur Pleasant: Of course, Richard! None whatsoever! WHAT A MATCH THIS IS, HUH?!
Nick Stuart: (whispering to self) This is my life.
After kicking out at one, TAL makes it to his feet where Rocky De Leon is waiting. Catching TAL a bit off-guard, he scoops him up for an over-the-shoulder powerslam. TAL, however, uses the momentum of being scooped up to slip down behind Rocky’s back. Going for a waist-lock, TAL pushes Rocky into the ropes. On the recoil, TAL rolls up Rocky with a La Casita!
THR- Rocky kicks out!
Arthur Pleasant: (Yelling loudly from the booth) YOU SHOULD’VE PULLED FUCKING THE TIGHTS, LA COWARD!
Richard Parker: Hm. You know something, Nick? I’m starting to like this guy!
Nick Stuart: Dear God. You are INCORRIGIBLE.
Hearing Pleasant’s shouts from the commentary table, TAL does his best to ignore the insults and obvious attempts at a distraction. As Rocky gets to his feet, TAL runs, jumps, and grabs Rocky’s head for a DDT. Rocky tries to push him off, but TAL holds on, using great agility to land on the middle rope. Springing off of them, TAL spins around with lightning-quick speed and drives Rocky head first into the mat with a modified springboard tornado DDT!
TAL goes for the cover and Elvis slides in for the count…
THR- Rocky kicks out just before Elvis’ hand comes down for three!
Nick Stuart: I think TAL got more of that than this audience, or myself, thought he did. Looks like your attempts at distracting him aren’t exactly working, Arthur.
Arthur Pleasant: All in good time, my friend. All in good time.
Richard Parker: Uh oh. You were saying, Nick?
As if on cue, TAL looks over to Arthur Pleasant and stares a hole through him. This momentary distraction gives Rocky enough time to get up from the mat, shake the cobwebs as best he can, and springboards himself to the top rope! With impeccable timing, TAL turns around and eats a diving hurricanrana!
Nick Stuart: Pterricanrana!
Arthur Pleasant: Was that fucking English?!
Richard Parker: That’s the name of one of Rocky De Leon’s signature moves. Don’t worry, I think it’s dumb too.
THREE- NO! TAL KICKS OUT!
Arthur Pleasant: BULLSHIT! THAT WAS GODDAMN THREE, REF!!
Pleasant smaaaaashes his hands down on the announce table repeatedly, obviously quite angry that Rocky couldn’t get the three-count.
Nick Stuart: Hey! Take it easy, Arthur! You just spilled my bottle of water!
Richard Parker: Should’ve kept your lid on, Nicholas.
The crowd, rallying behind The Anglo Luchador with their support for him over the night’s ongoing events and Pleasant’s untimely presence, starts clapping to motivate The Paladin of PRIME.
Clap! Clap! Clap!
Rocky De Leon looks out at the crowd with a crazed look in his eye.
Nick Stuart: Denver is AMPED!
Clap! Clap! Clap!
TAL is getting to his feet, albeit a bit wobbly after getting spiked with the diving hurricanrana he managed to kick out.
Arthur Pleasant: These fucking sheep. Listen to them. Braying in unison. PUUUKE.
Clap! Clap! Clap!
TAL is up and Rocky runs about a quarter of the ring distance toward the ropes and plants his left foot on the middle rope.
Clap! Clap! Clap!
Richard Parker: When did Denver get so goddamn obnoxious?! Jesus.
TAL is ready for it, though, and moves about a foot and a half closer to where Rocky is jumping off the middle rope. TAL catches Rocky across his shoulders, shocking Rocky by holding him in an electric chair position! Criss-crossing his arms, TAL immediately bends back with an incredible Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex!
Nick Stuart: WHAT?! How did he catch him with a Queen’s Suplex?!
Richard Parker: Credit where credit is due, that was a sick looking suplex… and he’s got the bridge!
The crowd counts along with Elvis Nixon.
Nick Stuart: He got him!
Richard Parker: NO! He didn’t get him! Rocky kicked out!! Rocky kicked out!!
Elvis signals that it was a very close two-count, to which the crowd is stunned that Rocky managed to kick out!
The crowd is hot as they start a familiar chant.
THIS IS AWESOME!
Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap!
THIS IS AWESOME!
Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap!
Arthur Pleasant: (Yelling obnoxiously towards TAL) GIVE IT UP YOU LOUSY FUCKING EXCUSE FOR A HUMAN BEING! GODDAMN BULLY! PIECE OF SHIIIIIIIT! DIE IN A FIRE YOU MASKED COWAAAAARD!! YOUR KIDS DESERVE BETTER!! DOES YOUR BUTTER-FACED WIFE WEAR A FUCKING MASK TOO?!
Pleasant takes Richard Parker’s bottle water and CHUCKS it at TAL, laughing maniacally the entire time!
Richard Parker: My water!
Nick Stuart: Should’ve kept it under the desk!
TAL dodges, the bottle missing his head by mere inches. The speed at which it whizzes by his ears cause TAL to turn towards Arthur Pleasant, effectively giving Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare what he wants. Elvis Nixon, meanwhile, harshly admonishes Pleasant’s actions all the way from the announce booth. To his credit, he doesn’t take the bait like Arthur wants him to. Instead, he stays on
Rocky once again runs a quarter of the ring distance toward the ropes, and plants his left foot on the middle rope. This time, instead of TAL being ready for it, Rocky turns and launches himself back toward TAL! The high-impact landing of the cross body across TAL’s head and upper chest sends the crowd into a frenzy of OOOOOOOOOOH’s!
Meanwhile, as both TAL turns his attention back to Rocky, he’s blasted with
Nick Stuart: FLYING SQUIRREL!!
Richard Parker: I think he has him here, Nick. He’s hooking both of Anglo’s legs!
Elvis signals for the bell!
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Your winner by pinfall, RRRRRRRRRROCKYYYYYY DE LEEEEEEEEEEEOOOON!!!
“Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard” by Streetlight Manifesto hits the arena speakers as Elvis Nixon raises Rocky’s arms up in victory.
Arthur Pleasant: Hehehehe… it’s been a pleasure tonight, gentlemen.
Pleasant removes his headset and begins walking away from the commentary booth. Looking at Rocky De Leon celebrating, and TAL wondering just what the hell happened, Pleasant stands on the outside of the ring with his arms crossed… covering his mouth as he laughs at TAL’s misfortune tonight.
Richard Parker: He did it! Rocky De Leon with a HUGE win tonight!
Nick Stuart: Yes, he did, but…
Richard Parker: …but what? He pinned him clean in the middle of the ring!
Nick Stuart: Yes, he did, BUT… was TAL’s heart really into it in this one? With Arthur’s antics at commentary and everything that’s gone down tonight, I don’t know that Rocky de Leon got The Anglo Luchador at his 100% best. That’s not to take anything away from Rocky’s win, but something was amiss tonight with TAL.
Richard Parker: I disagree. Fundamentally. Vehemently. TAL hit him with an insane Queen’s Suplex and couldn’t get the job done with it. There’s no excuse for TAL losing tonight’s match. Arthur or no Arthur, he. Got. BEAT.
The last shot before the camera goes elsewhere is TAL looking out at Arthur Pleasant, shaking his head, while Pleasant stares back, pointing directly at TAL with his wicked smile, wide and menacing. We then cut to the backstage area.
A room. A chair.
The former Universal Champion.
Hayes Hanlon sits in that chair. Black button down shirt. Black pants. Black dress shoes. Leaning forward with elbows resting on his knees.
The hair isn’t gleaming. The ‘stache is decidedly NOT on point.
His deep dark eyes burn dead ahead.
A shudder, and a glitch in the screen.
Ivan Stanislav shoves Nova’s head through the ropes, pulling the middle over the top to wrap them around the Starchild’s neck, before turning to stalk toward Jared Sykes, daring him to make a move.
A twitch in the corner of his mouth, a lift in the mustache. The camera zooms in slowly.
Another shock to the screen, distorting it.
Brandon Youngblood, helpless after a grueling Universal Title match, is unable to free himself from FLAMBERGE’s full nelson. Tyler Adrian Best bounds off the ropes, and drives his knee across PRIME’s ACE, sending him to the mat in a heap.
Sweat on the brow, a sharp breath through the nose. Camera closing in, bit by bit.
The screen vibrates, buzzing elsewhere.
Cecilworth Farthington, after showering boots to the Event Horizon, plants one more into his midsection, spilling the former Champ onto the floor.
A bounce of the legs, and lips curling back. Teeth grinding, camera closing in on dark, narrowed eyes.
One last glitchy shudder, taking us back to ReVival 27’s close.
Pleased with their work, Farthington wraps an arm around the shoulders of Best and FLAMBERGE. The Glue Factory formed anew.
And then, the camera shoots back. And the Event Horizon stands from his chair. He wipes his brow, and smooths his ‘stache, before walking slowly back to the lens, leaning in close.
Hayes Hanlon: Not a fucking chance.
We then cut to the ring.
IT’S BEEN TWENTY-EIGHT DAYS SINCE IVAN STANISLAV DAMAGED ARENA PROPERTY
Coming off the heels of a backstage segment, the crowd at the Ball arena is greeted to a change in lighting that can only mean one thing. What kind of a change?
Nick Stuart: We all knew this was coming folks. It’s on our run sheet.
Richard Parker: Comrade!
Indeed, that’s all it takes for “The Soviet National Anthem” by the Russian Red Army Choir to explode throughout the arena and pyro to burst from the entryway. When the smoke clears, the hulking Ivan Stanislav, with Alexei Ruslan at his side, stands with his arms overhead.
Nick Stuart: I get anxiety every time Ivan comes down to ringside. I mean look at this guy in the crowd. He’s so hopeful!
Indeed, the camera zooms in on one hopeful male audience member who holds a sign that reads “IT’S BEEN 28 DAYS SINCE IVAN STANISLAV DAMAGED ARENA PROPERTY.” The man is sweating.
Stanislav marches down the ramp toward the ring, but he looks slightly… confused? He growls something down at Alexei, who shrugs. Ivan literally steps up onto the apron and over the top rope. Ruslan walks over to the ropes closest to the announcers and calls out just loud enough to be picked up while Ivan looms behind him with hands on his hips.
Alexei Ruslan: Where is our interviewer?!
Richard looks over at Nick and totally throws him under the bus.
Richard Parker: Nick’ll figure it out!
Nick Stuart: What?! I mean…
Shuffling papers. Stanislav booms far louder than Alexei.
Ivan Stanislav: Where is our interviewer?!
Nick calls out to the Russians.
Nick Stuart: It just says the two of you. There’s no interviewer. It’s not on the sheet!
Ivan looks down at Ruslan who shrugs. Stanislav boils, but he does his best to hold it in while he points to the timekeeper. Ruslan quickly exits, grabs a microphone, and returns. He holds it while the two move to the middle of the ring, and brings it up to his oversized comrade’s lips.
Ivan Stanislav: This is typical poor work ethic! Journalists in PRIME should take notes from Russian journalists! I was told I would have interviewer! Whoever was to be here shall pay for this!
Alexei nods. Aggressively. Meanwhile, the fans boo louder than ever.
Nick Stuart: I don’t know what he wants? My format specifically states that he and Alexei are alone. Do you want to go up and help, Richard?
Richard Parker: Heck no. I… I mean because I have to even out your criticism down here, of course!
Stanislav puffs out his chest and looks around the arena. He soaks in the boos before finally snatching the microphone from Alexei. Ivan leans his forearms on the top rope, which sags considerably, and actually looks somewhat relaxed, despite his initial annoyance.
Ivan Stanislav: You know, Americans, I feel as if I have been given a bad rap, as it were. Alexei has too. There was time, many years ago, when you all cheered for me. I had beautiful woman on my arm, and I fought against the sinister forces of capitalism. Against those who stomp on the little guy. Each and every one of you. I was your hero, your savior. And while Universal Title match was a disappointment, I had nice and civil conversation with Lindsay Troy, The Scarlet Sickle, and decided to relax and have fun. Let us take, for example, Jared Sykes. He was down on his luck and frustrated, and I cheered him up. Like true locker room leader.
Ivan looks around for a moment. The people aren’t letting up with their displeasure.
Ivan Stanislav: And then, I decide that I should give, as gentleman should, pretty gift for pretty bride-to-be Justine Calvin. It is only thing one should do, after all, and yet I am demonized.
Ivan shakes his head dejectedly, still just leaning on the top rope.
Ivan Stanislav: There is merit in my complaints about being treated unfairly. President Putin himself has said that the West is trying to sow feelings of Russophobia against myself and my people, and I see it on display all the time. I do not blame you all for fearing me, but that is on you, not on me.
Alexei nods over-enthusiastically.
Ivan Stanislav: Brandon Youngblood states that he wants my mother, my own mother, locked in prison. And you cheer him? Nova attacks me from behind and you cheer him! So I thrash him in retribution, and you boo me?! He deserved everything I gave him, and more. That is what happens when someone sticks their nose in my business.
Nick Stuart: Ivan jumped him after a full blown match and nearly hospitalized him.
Richard Parker: You know what they say: “What goes around lands you in the hospital.”
Ivan Stanislav: But you know who else did such a thing?
Ivan looks directly at the hard cam.
Ivan Stanislav: Jared Sykes. You could not leave well enough alone while I taught Nova a lesson, could you? You want to share similar fate? I am more than happy to oblige. Do not EVER interrupt me again.
Ivan Stanislav: Is this the road you want to travel, Jared? After all the kindness I have shown you and those you love? Are you prepared to go to total war with Ivan Stanislav and The Red Army? Paxton Ray nearly killed you. I promise I will finish the job. Do you want a widow before you have a bride?!
The Bear is no longer smiling as he straightens up and spreads one arm while handing the mic off to Alexei.
Ivan Stanislav: But I am not here to talk about Jared Sykes. I am here for something else.
Stanislav turns to the entryway and points.
Ivan Stanislav: Kenny Freeman and Randall Schwartz? I know you two are back there. Get out here, now! We have something to iron out!
The trap remix of the Soviet national anthem that greeted our ears last ReVival begins to play, signaling the arrival of the Masters of the, um, Moscowverse, as a nervous Kenny comes out to the stage pushing the wheelchair of an ecstatic Randall holding a microphone in his hand.
Nick Stuart: Bit of an odd mix of reactions here for the B-Team, as some love the underdog spirit but they mostly don’t seem pleased to see the duo aligning with the Russian Bear.
Richard Parker: That seems to be a feeling shared by Ivan himself, and I gotta say…I’m actually a little nervous how this is gonna play out, Nick.
After what feels like an eternity figuring out how to get Randall in the ring, Kenny opts to keep the Entertainer hanging around on the outside as he takes the microphone from his friend before stepping through the ropes. Despite his bravado on Jabber and backstage in the past, Kenny seems almost unable to look Ivan square in the eyes as the two stand face to face inside the ring…something Ivan picks up on immediately.
Nick Stuart: I gotta give it to Kenny, he’s literally walking into the den of an angry bear…
Ruslan moves to stand between Ivan and Kenny and holds up the microphone. Stanislav places his hands on his hips and scowls at Kenny, who does his best to test if Ivan’s vision is based on movement.
Ivan Stanislav: Kenny Freeman. You have asked, many times, to be in the ring with me. Have you not? Well… here I am. Before I get to the reason why I want you here, was there anything you wished to say?
Stanislav does his best to shoot laser beams from his eyes whilst staring at Kenny…who initially just responds by muttering something under his breath. This only serves to frustrate the big man further, before Kenny finally raises the microphone to speak.
Kenny Freeman: Right, sorry, um…
Kenny’s voice starts to trail off, as if losing his mind of thought immediately…but before Ivan can shout at him for being so wishy-washy, Kenny finally comes out with it.
Kenny Freeman: Before you get it twisted, Ivan, this was NOT necessarily my idea, but…uh…
Kenny tries to think fast on his feet before the Russian Bear can tear him a new one.
Kenny Freeman: …I do think the capitalism thing has been played out, y’know?
Kenny flashes a nervous smile after this, the crowd booing the disingenuous response as Ivan just stares him down. Ruslan looks between Kenny and Ivan, curiously. He holds the microphone in his right hand, but eagle-eyed viewers can see that his left hand is bent at the wrist, and the butt of his collapsible baton is resting in the palm of his hand and up along his forearm. Stanislav inhales slowly as he glances past Kenny towards the wheelchair-bound Randall Schwartz.
Ivan Stanislav: You agree, Randall?
Randall just flashes a grin of his own, giving the Russian Bear two thumbs up as Stanislav growls.
Ivan Stanislav: It takes a lot of nerve to use the Soviet Anthem without my permission, Kenny. And then, to sell merchandise with Soviet iconography, hm? Did you not think it might be best to, oh I do not know, talk to me about before doing it?
Kenny just points to Randall as he responds.
Kenny Freeman: The shirt was all Randall’s idea. He’s got a guy out in SoCal that does shirt work for cheap, and…
Ivan cuts him off with another stern growl.
Ivan Stanislav: Fine fine. Very well. So then, you want to be part of The Red Army, is that it? Because really, Kenneth, you have two options:
It’s so fluid, really. Ruslan moves and seamlessly hands the microphone to Ivan, who holds it firm. Alexei slips behind Kenny, hand still back cradling his baton if he needs it. Freeman is now surrounded by the Russians.
Ivan Stanislav: If you wish to uphold the tenets of communism, we all know that The Red Army is the standard bearer for the Revolution. And if you do not get in line with The Red Army in this endeavor, then you are a counter-revolutionary wrecker.
Ivan Stanislav: And wreckers are purged.
Kenny seems to be sweating just a little here, taking in a gulp of air as he adjusts his collar before raising the microphone to speak again.
Kenny Freeman: Well, uh…as someone who’s seen those Purge films a couple times, that sure doesn’t sound like a good time. So to answer your question…yeah man, for the motherland and all that!
There’s a hint of sarcasm at that last remark, something Kenny may or may not even be aware of…but it seems Ivan definitely is. Stanislav lifts his eyebrows and lowers his chin so he better stares directly into Kenny’s eyes. Ivan doesn’t blink.
Ivan Stanislav: I want to make something abundantly clear to you both. If you wish to join me, and wholeheartedly accept the Revolution and my interests here in PRIME? Then I, myself, and Alexei here and anyone else who joins our ranks will support you. And I expect the absolute same loyalty from a suitable member of The Red Army.
Ivan inhales slowly, his nostrils whistle in the microphone and his jaw hardens.
Ivan Stanislav: But we have pledged our lives to this cause, Kenneth and Randall. And if you have a change of heart? You had better have second wheelchair and keep that one on standby. Do you understand me?
Kenny looks like he might just melt or crack under all this pressure, but eventually just nods his head in response, too nervous to actually say anything further. Sorry Kenny, Ivan seems to want more than that.
Ivan Stanislav: Pledge yourself to The Red Army.
It’s subtle, but Stanislav takes one fleeting glance over Kenny’s head at Alexei, and then back at Kenny. Kenny, for his part, seems to work up some amount of courage to speak again…even worse, to quip.
Kenny Freeman: I uh, pledge allegiance to the flag, of the Sov–
A glare from Ivan stops Kenny dead in his tracks, causing him to rephrase things.
Kenny Freeman: Sorry. Yes, Randall and I pledge ourselves to The Red Army. Right, Randall?
Kenny turns to Randall at ringside, the Entertainer giving a standing salute for his new comrades…until he realizes everyone can see him upright, causing Randall to slowly sink back into his wheelchair. Stanislav nods his head and glances at Alexei. The baton is tucked back up in his coat somewhere, and he’s smiling as he comes around to Ivan’s side. Whatever anger Ivan had shown is now gone and he smiled broadly.
Ivan Stanislav: And there you have it! The two newest members of The Red Army! The Masters of the Moscowverse!! DYAAHAAHAA!!
It’s almost frightening how quickly Stanislav shifts from threatening to joyful as he grabs Kenny’s entire forearm and lifts it high into the air, nearly yeeting him accidentally in the process. He points and laughs again before placing Kenny back on the mat. The crowd is shocked, saddened, and outraged by this and boo Stanislav, Ruslan, and now Kenny and Randall heavily.
It’s also shocking how quickly Stanislav’s angry-turned-joyful mood turns angry once more. It takes just one note.
One note to anger him.
One note to whip the crowd into a veritable frenzy.
Nick Stuart: This… is probably a mistake.
Northlane. “Plenty.” The music that heralds the arrival of Jared Sykes.
Richard Parker: If Ivan Stanislav threatened to murder me on live television, I wouldn’t be taking time out of my day to confirm that face-to-face. I’d be finding a new country to live in. Or moving to space. I hear space is nice. Very… umm… spacious.
Tonight the Dragonslayer is dressed in street clothes, as until moments ago there was no reason to think he’d be involved in a fight. Upon seeing him step out onto the stage there’s a swell of energy that erupts in another cheer from the gathered masses. Despite this, Jared’s eyes remain fixed on the collection of glowering faces congregating in the ring.
In one hand is a microphone, and the music cuts as he raises it to speak.
Jared Sykes: Well. This is fun. You know, there was a part of me that thought we might make it through the night without any of…
He gestures to the ring with his free hand as he walks. Stanislav is not happy and when he speaks into his microphone, it appears to be muted. He roars and he and Ruslan point and gesticulate. Kenny slides off to the far corner and Randall wheels over and out of the way as well.
Jared Sykes: Whatever the hell we’re calling this. Initiation? Indoctrination? A little light hazing? How about this – you find whichever word helps spin this in your favor, and that’s the one we’ll go with.
Nick Stuart: Why is he going to the ring?
Richard Parker: Because he’s a bag of rocks.
The walk to ringside is slow and deliberate. And though there are fans who reach over the guardrail looking to interact, Jared remains laser-focused on the men in the ring.
Jared Sykes: Now let’s not get this twisted, there are still a few things that I plan on holding you accountable for. The whole ceiling incident before Culture Shock? Willing to overlook that. We’ve all had bad nights, and most of us have found new and exciting ways to throw a very public tantrum, so we’ll write this one off as one of yours. Our friendly little chat at Rev’ 26? We can just wipe the slate clean and start all over again. I know you’ll never admit your true intent there, bud. It’s just not who you are. So you can pretend everything was on the up-and-up and we can move on with our lives. Sure, the rest of us will know the truth of it, but you do you.
There’s a brief pause before his eyes dart over to the stairs, just long enough for anyone to wonder if he’s actually about to step into the lion’s den.
Jared Sykes: But – and this is a big but, something I’m apparently a fucking expert on – there are just two little issues that we need to figure out.
He ascends the ringside steps and leans against the corner post.
Jared Sykes: First things first, I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but even though this sport gets a free pass when it comes to some aspects of the law, murder is still murder if it happens in a wrestling ring. And no, I don’t give a shit what anyone says about “waivers”. Saying you’re going to finish the job Paxton started in almost killing me? Buddy. Do you think that’s the first time someone’s made that threat?
He steps through the ropes. Outnumbered four-to-one aren’t the worst odds he’s stood against, but that still doesn’t make this decision a smart one.
Jared Sykes: Let’s play a little word association. I’m going to throw some names out there, and then we’ll figure out what they all have in common. Ready? Bobby Irish. Ben Van Iten. “Bad News” Allen Sarven. Holy shit, lotta “B” names in there… Lance Marshall. Lane Stevens. Vickie Hall. Jason W. Oswald.
He pauses just long enough to grin. Ivan stands with his hands on his hips with a look of obvious confusion.
Jared Sykes: Alexandra Pierce.
The reaction to the Spider’s name is visceral as once more the gathered faithful find their voice as one.
Jared Sykes: Paxton Ray.
Jared Sykes: Do you know what all of those names have in common, Ivan? What all of those people either said they would do, or what they tried to do? Every single one of them – to a person – pledged to make it their mission to put me on the shelf forever. Do you wanna guess how many of them succeeded?
Before the answer can come, the microphone is already back at Jared’s lips, and the speed and intensity with which he moves about the ring increases.
Jared Sykes: Better question. Do you have any idea where most of them are right now? Because I sure as fuck don’t. I’m the one they tried to take out, Ivan. I’m the one whose career they tried to end. The weird kid with the garden gnome? The dipshit with the mannequin? The guy with the berry costume, and the forklift, and the endless parade of nonsense? He outlasted every single one of them. Every one!
He chuckles. There’s no joy in it, in fact the act surprises him. It’s the realization that what he’s about to say is something that he never would have imagined being true. Yet this is his reality, surprising as it may be.
Jared Sykes: I’m the one still standing! I’m the one that’s still here! It wasn’t always fun, it wasn’t always pretty, but I’m the last one left because all of those people? They couldn’t get it done! They tried, my friend. Oooooh did they ever. They had the resources, they had the manpower, and they… all… FAILED!!
The admission is met by another roar from the crowd. Ivan leans forward and roars back at the crowd with displeasure. Alexei actually puts his hands over Ivan’s ears, only for Ivan to shrug him off frustratedly.
Jared Sykes: You know what else they had in common, Ivan? They knew better than to put the people I care about in danger. They never raised a hand to the people I love, hell none of them even had the audacity to raise their voice, or even whisper thinly veiled threats. You wanna know why?
Jared halts his pacing just long enough to lock eyes with the Russian Bear.
Jared Sykes: They weren’t that stupid. Remember Mark? The kid who had the unfortunate job of following me around in Vegas? Do you remember what happened to the person who put him in danger? How far I was willing to take that?
With his free hand, Jared reaches into the collar of his tee shirt and lets a small object fall against he fabric. There, for the world to see, is a single gator tooth held in a stainless steel setting and bound by a simple black cord. A measure of how far he was willing to go in the name of retribution. Of justice.
Nick Stuart: (softly) Oh… shit…
Jared Sykes: So by all means keep pushing, keep making your threats, and you can join Irish, Stevens, and Desade in obscurity. You can crawl back into hiding and cling to stories of PCW, or OSW, or whatever-the-fuck-else company you were in that died long before our number one contender was born. Because if you fail, Ivan… Because WHEN you fail… I will make goddamn sure that you’re reminded of it every day for the rest of your life just by simply existing.
Jared backs towards the ropes, but he never takes his eyes off of Ivan.
Jared Sykes: You got your army. Good for you. Better hope it’s enough.
There’s a soft thump that echoes throughout the arena as the microphone is tossed at the feet of the Russian Bear. The moment that Sykes turns his back, Alexei immediately produces his baton and makes to waffle him. However, despite his obvious displeasure, Ivan grips Alexei’s collar and reels him back. He places his huge hand over his smaller friend’s chest. He tuts and shakes his head, and his reaction is not quite as one would expect: he watches Sykes go and he almost grins.
Richard Parker: You know, there’s a lot of stupid things that someone can do in life. They can spit into the wind. They can pet a burning dog. They can work for HOW. But seriously, one of the stupidest things you could do is to interrupt Ivan Stanislav.
Ivan watches Sykes walk away, but Ruslan is hopping mad and, despite Stanislav’s grin, a vein is bulging in his forehead. He looks down at the microphone that had been so unceremoniously turned off and scans the boo’ing crowd. He makes eye contact with the man holding the “IT’S BEEN 28 DAYS SINCE IVAN STANISLAV DAMAGED ARENA PROPERTY.” Not once breaking his gaze, Stanislav holds the microphone in both hands and flattens it.
Nick Stuart: Ivan is heartless!!!
The man, crestfallen, puts down his sign and replaces it with a “IT’S BEEN 0 DAYS SINCE IVAN STANISLAV DAMAGED ARENA PROPERTY.” He looks upon the verge of tears as friends and family in the audience console him. Of all things, the trap remix of “The Soviet National Anthem” blares over the loudspeakers. It catches Stanislav and Ruslan off guard and they both visibly flinch and cut their eyes over at Kenny. With a bark, Stanislav motions for him to get out of the ring, and as Stanislav and Ruslan trudge up the ring with Kenny and Randall in tow, one can only wonder what the future has in store.
Nick Stuart: Oh man, what a development here folks. We saw the Glue Factory coming together just a couple weeks ago, and now the Red Army is solidifying their ranks! But what about Jared Sykes? Was it smart to interrupt Ivan?
Richard Parker: No one interrupts Ivan Stanislav. He interrupts other people! Battle lines being drawn, Nick! I uh…I sure hope the Masters don’t mess this up with any pre-taped tomfoolery later tonight…
We then cut backstage.
We’re in Argyle Position and we are picking up the electric buzz of the crowd, ready for even more action tonight. The excited humming murmur quickly turns to a chorus of boos, however, when we see who’s limbering up.
FLAMBERGE. Boo this man forever. Boo him and all things glue. Glue boo. (blue?)
He’s in his classic teal and bronze ring attire and has a look of intense, sinister, twitchy focus on his face as he gets ready to face yet another member of The Love Convoy, Tristan-Crispin Gladhappy, when the crowd sound changes. It changes significantly.
FLAMBO doesn’t yet know why the temperature in the room just climbed a few degrees, but approaching him menacingly from over his shoulder is the reigning and defending Intense Champion.
Paxton Ray: Hey kid. Heard ya was talkin’ some shit ‘bout me lately.
FLAMBERGE: It is not like I am the only one talking “the shit” about you. There’s a lot of shit about you to talk about.
Paxton Ray: Can’t deny that. Talk don’t mean nothin’ though. Lotta people talk til they can’t no more.
Paxton sneers and steps forward. FLAMBERGE may have only been wrestling professionally a shade over one year, but he knows when a man is ready to actually throw hands and when a man is just posturing. Paxton Ray is NOT posturing. FLAMBERGE looks down at Paxton’s feet.
FLAMBERGE: …what a shame it would be if, I don’t know…you threw a punch at the wrong time, and my new companions and I, we were to, how you say, “eat your lunch” and cost you the Intense title later tonight, non?
Paxton doesn’t need to be insulted twice and he takes another step forward, his shoulders tensing.
Paxton Ray: Yeah, your companions. The only reason ya can talk shit, ‘cause ya got a shield behind. Well let me tell ya somethin’ ‘bout shields. Once ya disarm ‘em, it makes it easy t’beat somebody with ‘em.
FLAMBERGE: Maybe you should beat my ass and send me to the same hospital bed you sent Mssr. Rhine, ouais! Maybe if you don’t, I should pour a gallon of glue in your eyes, choke you out, embarrass you for the papa mauvais payeur you are, and bring one of three championship belts home where they belong…what a missed opportunity it would be for us to never get the chance to find out what would happen, non? Pig?
FLAMBO’s eyes are now up, firing back into Paxton’s ferocious gaze.
Paxton Ray: Well, you’re right about one thing. It’d be a shame if I didn’t get ya in the ring. ‘Course, I could just beat ya now to make up for it.
They lock eyes and nearly come nose to nose, when…
I AM DANGEROUS
The opening riffs of “Dangereux” by IAM blare out. It’s time for the French Phenom’s match, and large men in dark suits with headsets begin to step towards the two men to make sure that the PRIME television product continues as scheduled without delay.
FLAMBERGE: Time for me to go. Watch closely.
FLAMBERGE gives one last huff out of his nostrils before turning and leaving, presumably to the curtain.
Paxton watches the young man walk away before smiling.
Paxton Ray: Oh, kid, I ain’t ever gonna stop watchin’.
We then cut back to the ring.
FLAMBERGE vs. TRISTAN-CRISPIN GLADHAPPY
Our scene comes from backstage with Vince Howard in the ring.
Vince Howard: From Strasbourg, France… HE IS! FLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMBEEEEEEEEEEEERGE!
“Dangereux” by IAM is blaring through the sound system. All of the fans in the arena are booing as the French phenom makes them wait. The crowd is a little restless with the lights dimmed. Phone’s are being used as flashlights all over the arena. A laser pointer wizzes by the screen.
Nick Stuart: Wonder what is holding up FLAM…
As if on cue the young Frenchmen steps through the curtain and into the darkened arena. White sparks fly from the Argyle position and the front of the stage as FLAMBERGE stands for a moment taking in the reaction of the Ball Arena.
Richard Parker: NOTHING NICK! FLAMBERGE is an incredible talent that the crowd was patiently waiting for. Look at him! Look at that magnificent Frenchman!
Nick Stuart: I thought you weren’t a big fan?
Richard Parker: WHAT DID YOU SAY NICK!? SORRY! I CAN’T HEAR YOU OVER THIS THUNDEROUS REACTION!
FLAMBERGE begins his walk to the ring, not paying the crowd any mind. He takes his time, taking a long lap around the ring. Finally he arrives at the steps, he walks up them slowly. Wiping his feet on the apron before stepping through the ropes.
Richard Parker: What a gentleman that boy is. Just look at him. I see what Farthington sees in this kid.
Nick Stuart: Of course now you do. After he’s ran roughshod over PRIME since UltraViolence last year and the match with Nate Colton. He’s a maniac.
The lights in the arena fade once again as “Because of You” by 98 degrees begins playing throughout the arena. Once again the crowd begins booing as “The Nuzzle Lord” steps through the curtain.
Vince Howard: And his opponent… hailing from SAAAAAACRAMENTO, CAAAAALIFORNIA! TRRRRRRRRRRISTAN-CRRRRRRISPIN GLAAAAAAAAAAADHAPPY!
Pink pyro rains from the ceiling and onto the entrance ramp as TCG spreads his arms wide, giving a sly smile before walking to the ring.
Nick Stuart: TCG bounced back on ReVival 26 with a big win over Kenny Freeman. After his fast 2-1 start, TCG had lost two in a row to The Anglo Luchador and Rocky De Leon.
Richard Parker: And now he takes on FLAAAAAAAAMBERRRRRRRRGE! The man is a specimen! A windpipe crushing generational athlete. He’s incredible, Nick.
Nick Stuart: But TCG is no slouch either. He’s got a win over our Alias Champion Mort, and a win over Jacob Mephisto. With what Jonathan-Christopher did to Cancer Jiles, anything can happen, Richard.
TCG makes his way up the steps, stepping through the ropes and stretching his arms out wide again, all while asking the crowd to give him a nuzzle.
Richard Parker: I mean I’d still give him a good nuzzling!
Nick Stuart: I’m sure you would.
Jimmy Turnbull finishes checking over TCG and walks to the center of the ring. He gives out some brief instructions to both men as they approach the center of the ring before calling for the bell.
Richard Parker: I’m glad to see Miss Troy decided to keep Jimmy around after Culture Shock.
Nick Stuart: Will you get off that already?
Richard Parker: I’m happy for him!
While Nick and Richard banter, inside the ring FLAMBERGE has started stalking TCG. The two men come to the center of the ring, TCG is not afraid and comes to the center to lock up with FLAMBERGE. TCG grabs a quick arm wrench, sliding his hand back onto FLAMBERGE’s shoulder. FLAMBERGE steps forward, going to a knee as Tristan wrenches the arm even harder.
Nick Stuart: Great armbar by Tristan.
FLAMBERGE attempts to roll forward, but Tristan maintains the arm wrench all the way through the roll, FLAMBO tries to lunge back towards TCG, but Tristan slides behind FLAMBERGE, grabbing him by the neck and dragging him down to the canvas with a neckbreaker. TCG is back up to his feet, and FLAMBERGE follows right along with him, his right hand holding onto his neck.
TCG fires off an elbow strike that connects with FLAMBERGE’s face. The protege of Phil Atken slithers forward with the blow glancing off of his cheek bone. He grabs TCG by the back of the head and rips him across the ring in the muay thai plumb. TCG is pulled back towards FLAMBERGE and manages to step through, dodging the knee FLAMBERGE had aimed for his skull.
Richard Parker: TCG was almost drinking through a straw.
TCG spins around and swings a big short armed clothesline but FLAMBERGE catches the blow with his chest and staggers backwards. Tristan sprints in and FLAMBERGE slithers out of the way going for a judo throw. TCG steps his leg over FLAMBERGE’s, and manages to toss the Frenchman over with a hip toss. TCG drops down with an elbow smash but FLAMBERGE rolls out of the way.
Nick Stuart: Haven’t seen much grappling in this one.
Richard Parker: I don’t think TCG wants anything to do with FLAMBERGE on the ground.
FLAMBERGE and TCG are both back to their feet at the same time, TCG throws a forearm that connects with the side of FLAMBERGE’s neck. FLAMBO stumbles backwards, then comes forward firing off one of his own that smashes TCG in the side of the head. TCG fires off another forearm, then FLAMBERGE, then TCG, then FLAMBERGE, TCG takes a big spin and goes for broke looking for a spinning elbow but FLAMBERGE manages to cut him off with a sharp kick to TCG’s lead leg.
Richard Parker: Smart thinking.
FLAMBO doesn’t let up, this time instead of kicking TCG in the calf, he springs forward throwing a straight kick just above the knee that buckles TCG in place. FLAMBERGE uses the opportunity to shoot in, grabbing TCG for a double leg takedown. TCG tries to sprawl, but FLAMBERGE is too fast, ripping TCG up into the air, and spinning, driving him down to the canvas.
Nick Stuart: Big takedown from FLAMBERGE!
Richard Parker: Now he’s gotta dish out some punishment.
FLAMBERGE maintains his standing, he steps forward, trying to fold TCG in half and throwing a big right hand. Tristan manages to get his head out of the way. FLAMBERGE connects with the mat, and Tristan uses his legs to send the unbalanced Frenchman down to the mat with a trip. Tristan scrambles back to his feet, as FLAMBERGE does the same. FLAMBERGE rushes at TCG, who grabs FLAMBERGE and uses his momentum against him to send him down on top of his knee with a pendulum backbreaker. FLAMBERGE clutches at his spine as TCG lines up and drops a straight elbow drop down across FLAMBERGE’s forehead.
TCG hooks the leg and Jimmy Turnbull slides in for the count.
Nick Stuart: That wasn’t going to be enough.
Richard Parker: No, but that’s smart wrestling. Have to make FLAMBERGE use the energy when you can.
TCG gets to his feet and drags FLAMBERGE up by his hair, he throws an elbow strike to keep him off balance, then hooks him up for a suplex. He snaps backwards trying to lift FLAMBO into the air, but the prodigy of The Glue Factory slides a foot in between Tristan’s legs to stop him. TCG slams his arm across FLAMBO’s back multiple times, and then tries to lift him up again. FLAMBERGE slides his leg in between TCG’s leg again. TCG throws FLAMBERGE’s arm off of him, and drives multiple double ax handles into FLAMBO’s shoulder.
Nick Stuart: TCG has FLAMBERGE down.
TCG grabs FLAMBERGE by the back of the head and drags him to his feet. The Nuzzle Lord locks in a front face lock, and snaps back planting FLAMBERGE into the canvas with a huge DDT. FLAMBERGE hits the mat hard and TCG floats over hooking the leg. Turnbull slides in with the count.
Richard Parker: Thank Hoyt.
FLAMBERGE sticks his arm in the air to break up the count and TCG looks at the ref slapping his hands together, while counting one, two, three. He reaches over to Turnbull holding out his arms looking for a nuzzling embrace. Turnbull warns TCG who shrugs and returns to FLAMBERGE who is still down on the mat. TCG drags FLAMBERGE up to his feet, and tries to whip him into the corner. FLAMBERGE manages to reverse and sends TCG into the corner. FLAMBO comes in fast. Kick to the inner thigh, TCG tries to come forward and FLAMBERGE kicks the same knee as before driving him back. FLAMBERGE lines up and spins with a spinning backfist but TCG manages to duck out of the way just in time. FLAMBERGE’s hand collides with the turnbuckle.
Nick Stuart: Spinning backfist, high risk, high reward.
Richard Parker: If he had connected TCG would have been picking his teeth up from row G.
TCG spins around and shoves FLAMBERGE into the corner, and starts throwing wildly at FLAMBERGE. Windmill rights and lefts rain down on FLAMBERGE’s back. TCG steps back and holds his arms out to the crowd, he turns towards FLAMBERGE, holding his arms out.
Richard Parker: I don’t know how smart of an idea this is…
TCG steps forward, wrapping his arms around FLAMBERGE and begins rubbing his head against FLAMBERGE’s neck in a very invasive and exhibitionist nuzzling experience. FLAMBERGE’s eyes light up. He looks side eyed at Tristin who is just rubbing his face on FLAMBERGE’s neck. He looks further down at the neck, it moves slowly and rhythmically.
Nick Stuart: What in the…
FLAMBERGE explodes, grabbing the back of TCG’s head in a muay-thai plumb. He pulls him off and downwards, spiking TCG’s face off of his knee. Once, twice, and then a third time. Tristin slumps down to his knees as FLAMBERGE snarls. He takes a step back, bouncing off the rope and coming forward with a vicious ax kick.
Richard Parker: THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!
TCG’s face slams off the mat as FLAMBERGE looks out into the crowd. The Voss Family reunion looks on in horror. FLAMBERGE reaches down and grabs TCG in a front face lock. There is no DDT that follows. FLAMBERGE just looks down and flexes as hard as he can. His arm locked in his forearm. He yanks upwards and flexes. TCG’s legs begin to kick and he taps out frantically. Turnbull calls for the bell.
DING DING DING
Nick Stuart: It doesn’t look like FLAMBO is going to let go…
Richard Parker: HE COLLECTS THE NECKS NICK! HE’S THE GREAT NECK COLLECTOR!
FLAMBERGE squeezes until TCG slumps down. Turnbull tries to pull him off, but fails and finally TCG falls over.
Vince Howard: AND THE WINNER BY SUBMISSION FLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMBEEEEEEERGEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!
FLAMBO snarls at TCG, and leaves the ring as the scene fades.
COMMERCIAL: HOW WAR GAMES PROMO VIDEO
BEING FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GREAT MULTIVERSELAND
We come back from commercial, where…oh no. What in the world is this!?
The PRIMEview gives us whatever the hell this is, before we fade from the poorly-constructed postcard to a shot of the Masters of the Moscowverse standing in front of a Russian backdrop.
Hey, remember when Richard Parker hoped there’d be no tomfoolery in this pretape?
He’s probably crying at the booth as we speak. Someone give him a hug.
Anyway, before we let the tragedy of this moment really sink in, Kenny Freeman speaks up in a decidedly terrible, terrible Russian accent.
Kenny Freeman: Greetings, comrades! Kenny Freeman here, coming to you live from Moscowverse! I stand here alongside–
Kenny stops, pulling out his reading glasses to see the cue cards that are offscreen.
Kenny Freeman: Randall Schwartzski, here today to talk to you about the dangers of capitalism. Take it away, Comrade Randall!
Randall rises to his feet from his wheelchair, boldly speaking in a surprisingly decent Russian accent of his own.
Randall Schwartz: Thank you, Comrade Kenny. Capitalism is dangerous.
This causes Kenny to just look over at his friend in confusion, forcing Randall to slowly drop back into his wheelchair before Kenny presses on.
Kenny Freeman: Thank you, Comrade Randall. My fellow PRIMEates, fear not! There is but one benefit to capitalism, and that is to fund communism! Please consider the following, new to the PRIMEporium.
Oh, now it all makes sense. We cut to something of an infomercial, as Kenny describes to us the absolute oddities that we’re looking at on screen.
Kenny Freeman: We of course have the Masters of the Moscowverse t-shirt, being for the benefit of the Motherland, but we also have…Crowd Cola! The only soda in the multiverse with a guaranteed pop every time, just like Mother used to make.
Someone is probably typing up a strongly-worded post for Jabber right now. Kenny does not care, he deleted that app a month ago. He presses on with something of a strained smirk on his face as he speaks once more.
Kenny Freeman: So please, benefit communism with the gift of your capitalist currency. Remember that money is but a number, but the proletariat is everything. Dyahah–
Kenny stops himself, realizing that the moment Ivan Stanislav sees this pretape he will probably yeet Kenny directly to the Motherland itself. He and Randall wave in silence, the sweat starting to flow from under Kenny’s cap as this shambles of a promotional tape fades to black.
From the Masters of the
MultiMoscowverse pre-tape, we go to Lindsay Troy’s office. The Queen sits behind a desk that is thankfully in one piece, which we attribute to nobody with an attitude problem deciding to throw a big baby waah waah tantrum in her presence this evening.
The PRIMEates inside the arena also echo this YAAAAAAAAAAAAY! as LT appears on the PRIME*View. She smiles before speaking.
Lindsay Troy: Hi everyone, we’ve had an amazing night of action so far and there are still three matches to go, so I’m not going to take up a lot of time here. In six weeks, on June 30th and July 1st, PRIME will be in San Diego for our summer supershow, Tropical Turmoil. This is an event that PRIME has only held once before, and it’s my sincere privilege to be able to bring this back around during the ReVival Era.
Lindsay Troy: Longtime fans will remember during that first event there was something called the Turmoil Match. Six competitors faced off, elimination-style, to determine the #1 contender to the Universal Title…and we’re going to be doing it all again in San Diego.
Lindsay Troy: I won’t be determining who’ll be going into the Turmoil match outright. Three qualifier matches will be taking place at ReVival 29 in Albuquerque, New Mexico and another three will be taking place at ReVival 30 in Phoenix, Arizona. Win your qualifier and you’re in for some mayhem and a chance at the Universal Title. Good luck, and let’s get on with the show.
Cut to ringside.
HOYT WILLIAMS vs. SAGE PONTIFF
The arena lights dim as spotlights focus on the entrance. “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode blares at the appropriate volume as the fans levy a shockingly mixed reaction.
Nick Stuart: Well, it’s time for our next match, and Denver is showing some love for Hoyt Williams?
Richard Parker: Part of it is because people don’t appreciate Sage Pontiff, and let me tell you, I have written several letters to Lindsay Troy and Killean Sirrajin and even Devin Shakur in case he still had any pull not to let this match happen…
Nick Stuart: Wait, wait, wait, you have Devin Shakur’s address??!!?
Richard Parker: No comment. ANYWAY, the other reason why people are cheering Hoyt is because our international annual convention of Friends of Hoyt are meeting in Denver this week. We’re out here, Nick.
Nick Stuart: audible sigh
Joe Burro crests the curtain from Argyle as he holds the Imperium Bible high over his head. A small RAAAAAHHHHH rises up from the Friends of Hoyt faithful when Your Personal Jesus steps through the curtain. The single white spotlight catches a few smiles, as his unexpected cheers have broken through his otherwise aloof facade.
Vince Howard: This match is scheduled for one fall. Approaching the ring, from The Right Hand of God by way of Chicago, Illinois, weighing in at 330 pounds and accompanied to the ring by Joe Burro. He is Your Personal Jesus… HOYT… WILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLIAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMSSSS!!!
Burro reaches the apron and with the Imperium Bible tucked under his armpit, he holds the ropes open for the Other Son of God. Hoyt waves to his scattered fans throughout the Ball Center, interspersed with enough numbers that it has taken the majority of Hoyt Haters off-guard.
Nick Stuart: Are you sure you didn’t pay people to cheer Hoyt tonight, Richard?
Richard Parker: Absolutely not! While we do have sizable amounts of petty cash to pay for lesser fortunate members of the club to travel to big events such as this, everyone here on convention business loves Hoyt as much as I do.
Nick Stuart: That is a scary thought.
The arena lights come back up as they start strobing psychedelically. Sage Pontiff enters to an especially vociferous chorus of boos. He stands at the top of the stage, eyes closed, inhaling deeply with his arms outstretched before beginning his walk to the ring.
Vince Howard: And his opponent, from Joshua Tree, California, weighing in at 201 pounds, he is the Bodhisattva of the Transformative Experience…. Sage… POOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONTIFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!
The crowd boos at Vince’s intro as Sage hops onto the apron in one leap before tumbling over the top rope into the ring. However, Hoyt does not let him know a moment’s peace and stomps him before he can pop to his feet, causing referee Ashley Barlow to call for the bell immediately.
Nick Stuart: Hoyt is wasting NO TIME here.
Richard Parker: Well, I respect Sage Pontiff’s dedication to violence, but Hoyt has a point when he says all dirty hippies need to be punished for their apostate ways.
Nick Stuart: Tell us how you really feel, Richard.
Richard Parker: I believe I just did!
Hoyt brings Sage to his feet and whips him off the ropes. The Other Son of God telegraphs his anticipation, and the Bodhisattva recognizes it and backflips over the bent over Hoyt. As Williams realizes what happens and turns around, Pontiff is ready with a big spinning wheel kick to the butt of Hoyt’s jaw to another audible round of boos.
Richard Parker: You hear that? The Friends of Hoyt are gaining in strength!
Nick Stuart: I just think they’re the only ones with skin in this match, Richard.
As Hoyt staggers back against the ropes, Sage lines up his shot. He drops back, bounces off the ropes, tumbles forward, and fires a huge lariat at Hoyt. Even though the Son of God has 100 pounds on him, the extra momentum is enough to send him over the top. Sage soaks in the surprising volume of boos and gets a devious look washing over his face. He drops back again, gains a head of steam…
Nick Stuart: Looks like Sage’s enlightenment is coming airborne…
…but his aim misses WILDLY as he overshoots Hoyt and lands headfirst into the guard barrier after only grazing the leader of Imperium.
Richard Parker: Well, that could’ve gone better, but as you can hear, the Friends of Hoyt are enjoying this turn of events.
Nick Stuart: I don’t know if I’m fascinated or disgusted by these people.
Richard Parker: These people? C’mon Nick, they’re just normal men.
Nick Stuart: …what do you mean, “normal men?”
Richard Parker: They’re just innocent men!
Nick Stuart’s attempts at muffling his laughter are the soundtrack to Hoyt Williams grabbing Sage Pontiff by his dreads and throwing him into the ring with reckless abandon. He follows as Sage holds his head, slowly rising to his feet. Hoyt awaits him turning around, and then…
Richard Parker: RAPTURE CLAP! Although this is as close as this hippie will get to being welcomed into Hoyt’s Father’s kingdom.
Nick Stuart: Sorry, I still can’t keep it together. “They’re just innocent men?” What the hell, RIch!
The Bodhisattva crumples to the mat as Hoyt lays in enough stomps to put a hole in the earth. After torturing Pontiff sufficiently, he makes the first cover of the match…
No, the Shaman kicks out. Hoyt drags Sage to his feet and lifts him up over his shoulder.
Nick Stuart: finally stopping laughing Hoyt looking to end this early? Really shows how one mistake can make you pay.
Richard Parker: Get ready for Marshall Applewhite’s Swan Song!
Nick groans at the off-color name for the move as Hoyt plants Sage with the running powerslam. Still not content, he drags the Bodhisattva to his feet and signals the sign of the cross to a clustered mass of his fan club in the front section. He shoves Sage’s head between his legs and points to a particular fan in a “HOYT SAVES” shirt, smiling and nodding.
Richard Parker: That’s our chapter president, Lake Trout! He watches…
Nick Stuart: Wait, his name is LAKE TROUT?
Richard Parker: Nick, he’s a good man, a nor…
Nick Stuart: Not again.
Hoyt lifts Sage up into crucifix bomb position…
Richard Parker: CRUCIFIED AND SAVED!
…except Sage slips off and turns deftly around to greet Hoyt with a spin kick to the back of his head.
Richard Parker: Oof.
Nick Stuart: I guess Sage is a little more resilient than we gave him credit for.
Richard Parker: Yeah, but couldn’t he take a dive just for the Hoyt faithful here tonight?
Nick Stuart: Sage Pontiff is a lot of things, but he’s not sentimental.
Hoyt turns around disoriented, but he’s met with another kick, this time of the thrusting variety to his massive chest.
Richard Parker: sullen and sighing Namaste.
Hoyt bounces off the ropes and stumbles forward, Sage catching him with a DDT. He covers…
NO! Hoyt kicks out. Sage signals for the end with the throat slashing gesture.
Nick Stuart: A not so peaceful sign that this match is about to be over.
Richard Parker: NO! DISQUALIFY HIM FOR VIOLATING HIS HIPPIE CODE!
The Bodhisattva lifts Hoyt up and then rotates him to the mat with his head violently crashing to the mat.
Nick Stuart: Shamanic Dreamweaver! This one’s academic!
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Your winner… Sage… PONTIIIIIIIIIIIIIIFFFFFFFFFFF!
Boos rain down on the Bodhisattva as he raises his hands in victory.
Richard Parker: This is the worst annual conference of Friends of Hoyt since 2011, when Dogg Barker stripped naked and streaked under the St. Louis Archway.
Nick Stuart: Dogg Bar… you know what, I’m not even going to ask.
WHAT’S YOUR RECORD, BRO?
Nick Stuart: We’re minutes away from our penultimate match this evening, fans! Cecilworth Farthington, the acclaimed Financier of the Glue Factory, is about to face off with PRIME’s own fly in the ointment and former Universal Champion, “the Escape Artist” Rezin! But first, let’s head to the back where Simon Tillier is standing by to get a word from one of the competitors!
Richard Parker: Best of luck, kid! We hardly knew thee.
The feed cuts backstage, just outside the Argyle position. A smiling Simon Tillier, in his PRIME blue suit, appears before the camera.
Simon Tillier: Thanks, fellas! Ladies and gentlemen, joining me at this time… “The Escape Artist” Rezin!
Behind him, his interview subject has been restlessly pacing back and forth like a hungry tiger waiting to be set free from his cage. Now that he hears his name mentioned, the Goat Bastard takes a drag off the burning spliff clenched between his lips and saunters into the shot, leaning an arm on the young interviewer’s shoulder.
Rezin: Sup, Simon? What’s good? What’s real? What’s FAKE, for that matter? Or, I guess, just how ya doin’ in general?
Simon Tillier: I’m fine, Rezin. Thanks for asking. Speaking of, I should ask, how are you after that battle two weeks ago against the Intense Champion?
Rezin looks up, with what can be called a typical amount of confusion on his head.
Rezin: Shit… did actually happen? Damb… dude really did a number of memory, hittin’ as hard as he does!
Simon Tillier: In any case, though you may have survived total destruction at the hands of Paxton Ray, tonight, you find yourself in an almost equally dire set of circumstances, going into the ring against the leader of Glue Point Oh, Cecilworth Farthington! A vastly different caliber of opponent, I think many would agree, but by the same token, potentially just as dangerous!
Trails of smoke cascade through Rezin’s flaring nostrils as he nods with intensity, taking in Tillier’s rundown.
Rezin: It’s a sticky situation, to say the least, Simon! Pun quite intended! But ya know what I always say: “A SITCH without STICK ain’t any different than a SATIVA without STANK!” Ya follow me?
Tillier, a well-adjusted human being when you count out his bi-weekly run-in with professional wrestling insanity, shakes his head, as any sensible person would.
Simon Tillier: I literally don’t recall you saying that ever…
Rezin: Really? DAMB! I guess Paxton Ray hits so hard, he causes FAKE memories to happen! That shit is kinda second level, if ya think about it!
Simon Tillier: Back on the match at hand, are you at all concerned about the Glue Factory–
“Oh wow, this is shaping up to be a classic pre-match interview. Sure would be a crying shame if somebody interrupted and made it all about them.”
Only one guy would do that.
Ye olde Model Citizen, seen earlier brain-melding with Coral Avalon. And now, traipsing right into what is supposed to be a spotlight for Rezin.
Rezin: Simon, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal?
Simon Tillier: Yes, Rezin?
Rezin: As we’ve just established, my ability to recollect certain people, places, and things ain’t quite on the up and up.
Simon Tillier: Yes, I’m inclined to agree.
Rezin: That bein’ said, can ya remind me of the preferred nomenclature of this cherub-faced fella here?
Simon Tillier: Sure, although if I’m sure of myself, I’d say this is your first formal introduction to former Universal Champion, Chandler Tsonda.
Simon Tillier: Tsonda.
Simon Tillier: Tsonda.
Simon Tillier: TSONDA.
Rezin: (to Chandler) My dude, help us out here, how do ya pronounce the name?
Chandler Tsonda: Rhymes with Honda. I’m sure there’s a helpful pronunciation guide on my Hall of Fame plaque?
Rezin: TSONDA! THERE it is! Jeez, OBVIOUSLY! C’mon, Simon, how hard was that?!
With superheroic patience on display, the interviewer bites his lip and rolls his eyes. Meanwhile, the Escape Artist whips his head back in the direction of Tsonda.
Rezin: FORMER Universal Champ, huh? Ya actually PROUD to be called that?
Chandler Tsonda: I like to think of it as “once-and-future Universal Champion.” And funny enough, the thing you and me got in common is that *neither* of us is wearing the big belt. Although for you, maybe that’s… (insincerely wincing) a little too soon?
Braincells going into Singapore sweatshop levels of overtime, Rezin’s eye twitches as he tries, and fails, to process this logic.
Rezin: EHCHWFMBLE… ugh, sure Tsonny Boy. To each their own. But in case ya didn’t notice, there’s a dude here with a mic askin’ me questions, and a camera pickin’ up on it, and you’re kinda traipsin’ in on my time! So if ya could, make like this joint I’m smokin’, and get your ASH outta my interview!
Chandler Tsonda: Hey man, I know the feeling. Hard to lose the big belt, isn’t it? Although when I lost it, I had already completed a record-breaking reign, and then rounded out a Hall of Fame career with several classic moments. But I’m sure you’ll…(gesturing to Simon Tiller and Rezin with both hands) have a nice little time with whatever stage of grief this is.
The Escape Artist throws his head back and groans.
Rezin: Look buddy, ya really wanna do this now? Fine…
He reaches for his belt buckle.
Rezin: (unbuckling) Let’s do this!
Simon Tillier: Rezin, what are you doing?!
Down go the Goat Bastard’s pants, to shrieks of revulsion (and maybe some joy?) from the PRIMEates watching in the arena and the millions more watching at home across the world.
Rezin: What’s it look like, Simon? I’m WHIPPIN’ IT OUT, so we can just have the PISSIN’ CONTEST here and now and have it settled! Fuck, ya think I wanna drag this ‘who’s reign was better’ bullshit any longer than necessary?
Rezin is struggling with his fly.
Rezin: C’MON, CHANNY! WHIP IT OUT! Think ya can beat MY record of FOUR FEET and TWENTY INCHES?!
Simon Tillier: That’s five feet and eight inches, you lunatic! For God’s sake, pull your pants up! You have a match in just a few moments!
Grumbling, Rezin obliges. When the sight of his pallid, hairy legs disappear, the crowd breathes a sigh of relief. In that moment, Simon Tillier is the undisputed hero of PRIME.
Meanwhile, Hell’s Favorite Hoosier wags a finger toward the returning Hall of Famer. Tsonda wears a smirk, the universal meaning of which is smug satisfaction (and pretending not to be shook by a grown man flashing him).
Rezin: Ya got lucky tonight, Tsonda! Only cause I gotta certain elitist entrepreGLUEr to introduce to the heel of my boot! But if it weren’t for that, so help me, I’d be PISSIN’ ALL OVER THE PLACE right now! And probably all over Simon’s shoes too, for good measure!
Chandler Tsonda: (smirking) I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. See ya in the funny papers, former champ.
As Tsonda slides out, Rezin’s face twitches and shakes in absolute perturbation.
Rezin: OOOOH, that word REALLY gums up my grinder, Simon! It WRINKLES my WRAPS! It DRIES UP my DANK! It HANKERS my HASH! It–
Simon Tillier: Yes, Rezin, we get it. Any final thoughts about the match before we wrap this up?
Rezin: (confused) …match?
Simon is about to say something in exasperation before lighting strikes and Rezin slaps his forehead.
Rezin: MATCH! FARTHINGTON! Right. YEAH, here’s a final thought!
The Escape Artist’s defiant and fiery eyes stare down the camera.
Rezin: Listen up, PRIME! Despite accomplishin’ what over half of ya can only DREAM to accomplish, and by sheer ACCIDENT I might add, the most of ya can still barely see me as anything more than a JOKE in this company! Way I see it, that’s YOUR problem, as I honestly ain’t got anything left to PROVE in this federation! I told ya two weeks ago, that with or without a title around my waist, I am STILL and will FOREVER BE the most PUNK ROCK MUTHAFUGGER to fight and bleed on the white and blue! And I’ll be DAMBED if I didn’t back up that claim gettin’ one over on the Impulse Champ!
Simon Tiller: Intense.
Rezin: INTENSE CHAMP! Right! I guess we’ll find out here in a few if ol’ Farthy is just like the rest of ya, or maybe one of the few that will actually take me SURRIOUSLY between those ropes! Either way, the rest of ya normie shitheads can just keep fuckin’ laughin’ it up to your hearts content, cause ooner or later, y’all are gonna learn that hard way that the circus has left town, and this “clown” ain’t here to amuse ya anymore!
He pitches what’s left of his joint and approaches the curtain. Simon turns back to the camera to sign off.
Simon Tillier: You heard it here, ladies and gentlemen! We’ll see how this shapes out as I turn it back over out there to Nick and Richard!
We then cut back to the ring.
CECILWORTH FARTHINGTON vs. REZIN
We get a long, loving panned shot of an unusually large amount of children in attendance. Don’t worry, despite there being such questionably mouthed individuals like Tyler Best and Arthur Pleasant running around, there kids are used to it. They’re Australian, after all.
Richard Parker: Nick?
Nick Stuart: Rich?
Richard Parker: Why are there so many children at ringside?
Nick Stuart: That’s because the Voss family reunion is in the house! Applause!
Richard Parker: Did you just actually say “Applause!”?
Nick Stuart: It’s that magical time of the year where Voss and his incredibly impractically-sized family makes the journey from Australia to a random place in America, and it just so happens that the random place in America is wherever a PRIME show happens to be held!
Richard Parker: Is it just me, or are there even more children here than there were last year?
Nick Stuart: That does seem to be the case.
Richard Parker: Poor Mrs. Voss. She’s firing children out of her cooch like a Howitzer. A Vossitzer.
Ominous air sirens…
A murmur in the crowd. And then…
An explosion hits the arena, leaving behind a mushroom cloud of smoke over the stage. That’s what happens when the runaway son of a nuclear A-bomb makes his entrance, I don’t know if you know this.
“I Have A Prepared Statement” by Whores hits the PA system. The PRIMEview goes through many violent imagery of warfare interspersed with incredible feats of Rezin’s career. Blinding white light fills the entryway as Rezin emerges like a shadow burned into the ground from a nuclear blast – only this one’s lively and hates the human body.
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen! The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first… hailing from the Inverted Crossroads of America, Indianapolis, Indiana, and weighing in at two-hundred and five pounds…
There’s pillars of flame, erupting in time with the song’s guitars behind the man emerging to the jeers of the crowd. Look at him with his beard and tattoos! Cower and fear before the Goat Bastard, for he brings hell! Witness as the Escape Artist outstretches his arms in a cross pose, and tremble! Watch as he walks down the ramp, and despair!
Vince Howard: HE IS THE GOAT BASTARD! THE ESCAPE ARTIST!
He makes his way down to the ring, strobe lights making his movements look like some sort of unhinged stop-motion cartoon that probably didn’t receive a great budget. A slow, circuitous route around the ring. Rezin has long embraced his role as “the Ugly” of PRIME. He doesn’t care how many fans show him scorn. He doesn’t really even care about those small pockets of fans that cheer him wildly. He only cares about the anarchy. The chaos. The thrill of being in that ring, doing what he does.
Vince Howard: THIS! IS! REZIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNN!!!
Rezin slides into the ring, his back hitting the ropes and performing an inverted cross pose for the hard camera. He’s here. He’s ready. Would Cecilworth Farthington be just as ready?
Nick Stuart: The former Universal champion! Anti-champion, even!
Richard Parker: I don’t know how he survives the things he does, Nick. Just a month and a half ago, Ivan sent him to hell in that Cell Match at Culture Shock. Cratered the whole damn ring with his body! Then he’s back two weeks ago and he hands Paxton Ray – you know, Mr. Paralysis Dickface – his first actual recorded loss in PRIME apart from that whole mess at Colossus with Sykes?
Nick Stuart: Clearly, the only things that can survive a nuclear war are cockroaches and Rezin…
The stage lights dim a second time, and we get a very different song than what Rezin walked out to. This one’s livelier. Peppier. Just as sinister underneath it.
That song is “Choke” by I Don’t Know How But They Found Me. It heralds the arrival of the Financier of the Glue Factory (Glue Point Oh, if you will), Lord Cecilworth Farthington.
As the riff reaches its peak, bright lights are cast down upon the entrance as the Financier walks out. Dressed in his plain black hoodie, his arms in his pockets, Farthington walks out with that easy, self-assured smile plastered all over his face.
Vince Howard: His opponent… from Buckinghamshire in England, the United Kingdom… he weighs in tonight at one hundred and eighty-seven pounds… the Financier of the Glue Factory… CECILWOOOOOOORTH! FAAAAARTHINGTOOOOOOONNNN!!!
Richard Parker (singing): Mr. Finish Line~
Nick Stuart: You know, it sounded like he was giving that title up a little bit recently.
Richard Parker: No way. He’ll never stop being Mr. Finish Line, Nick. He’s merely on a Finishing Hiatus. A Finish Vacation, if you will. Not a Finnish Vacation, too many Finns.
Nick Stuart: I can’t with you.
Farthington’s shoulders shimmy and sway to “Choke” without ever taking his hands out of his pockets as he makes his way to the ring. He rolls under the bottom rope with the speed of a man who’s taking things a little leisurely before leaping up. Finally, he pulls his left hand out of one of his pockets to give the jeering crowd a cheeky wave before he sets himself in a lean against the corner opposite that of Rezin.
Referee Timo Bolamba makes sure that Farthington has his hoodie removed before he calls for the bell.
Rezin subverts expectations by not immediately raising hell and blitzing Farthington at a hundred miles per hour. Instead, he circles the Financier like a lion stalking its prey. For his part, Farthington takes him seriously enough to match him, and they make a full revolution and a half around the ring before they finally lock up.
They jockey. Rezin has a slight weight advantage on Farthington, but Farthington has the slight height advantage. They’re evenly matched. Their jockeying puts them into the ropes, with each of them turning in position to try and put the other’s back against the ropes. Eventually, it ends with Rezin in the corner with Farthington trapping him there, and Timo makes a five count for a clean break.
Farthington obliges him, and gives Rezin a little friendly pat on the cheek and a smug grin, as though saying “good job”.
Nick Stuart: I think one of the last guys you want to taunt in that ring is Rezin.
Richard Parker: Yeah, plenty of people have done that, and… Rezin finds a way to beat them. Cecilworth, be careful in there!
Nick Stuart: He can’t hear you, Rich.
Richard Parker: Only because management wouldn’t let me bring my Glue Factory-branded bullhorn!
Nick Stuart: I would also not let you bring that to ringside.
Richard Parker: Bah!
Rezin has a bemused expression on his face as Farthington smiles and waves to the crowd. When Farthington finally turns his attention back to Rezin, that’s when Rezin strikes. He grabs Cecilworth by the shoulders and all but body checks him into the same corner, before battering him with rights and lefts.
Nick Stuart: Rezin has no patience for Cecilworth’s shenanigannery!
Richard Parker: “Shenanigannery”?
Rezin grabs Cecilworth by the wrist and tries to whip him into the opposite corner. Instead, Cecilworth reverses and then plunges a knee into Rezin’s midsection. A European uppercut rocks Rezin and puts his back into the corner enough that Cecilworth can hit him with a second one. Then it’s Cecilworth’s turn to try and whip his opponent into the other corner. This one is successful to a point, in that Rezin reaches the opposite corner. However, Rezin jumps up onto the second rope and then springs off of it. When Cecilworth follows him in, Rezin catches him in an armdrag that puts Cecilworth on the ground.
Cecilworth gets up annoyed, only to walk into a side headlock. A takeover soon follows, and Rezin is on top with Cecilworth not exactly happy about his predicament.
Nick Stuart: Rezin in control early…
Richard Parker: Typical Rezin. You start to expect all the crazy stunts, and then… boom. Side headlock. I can’t figure this guy out, Nick.
Cecilworth fights up to his feet, with Rezin grinding the side headlock the entire time. Cecilworth pushes Rezin into the ropes, who comes back to knock him down with a shoulder block. Rezin then runs into the perpendicular ropes, where Cecilworth adjusts where he lies so that Rezin has to hop over him. Cecilworth gets up in time to try a hip toss.
Rezin, like a cat, lands on his feet. Then he turns it into a hip toss of his own, putting Cecilworth on his back. Rezin tries to press his advantage, only for Cecilworth to knock him down with both feet. Cecilworth gets up, only for Rezin to do the same thing to him. Rezin kips up as Cecilworth gets back to his feet, and then… right back to the side headlock.
Cecilworth pounds the mat with his fist once in absolute frustration, careful to not indicate that he’s tapping out. Who taps out to a side headlock in this day and age? Not Cecilworth! He eventually pushes himself back up to his feet and tries to suplex Rezin out of the position. Instead, Rezin flips up and over, landing on his feet behind Cecilworth. Rezin then walks as casually as though he’s going to pick up his mail in the morning and simply reapplies the side headlock while Cecilworth is recovering.
Cecilworth is not happy.
He pushes Rezin into the ropes, but Rezin doesn’t even get the chance to rebound before the Financier bum-rushes him with a European uppercut!
Nick Stuart: A lot of starch on that uppercut from Farthington!
Richard Parker: Hehe. Starch. Corn starch. Because Rezin’s from Indiana.
Cecilworth hits him with another forearm while keeping Rezin trapped in the ropes, and then quite literally stomps him out of the ring, kicking him through the ropes and to the outside.
Nick Stuart: They’re out here in front of us, now.
Richard Parker: Getting this close to Cecilworth is a dream!
Cecilworth steps through the ropes to continue the attack, only for Rezin to pull his legs out from under him, causing him to land on his back on the apron. Rezin punches him a few times while he lies there, then climbs up onto the apron. He attempts to double stomp Cecilworth on the apron, but the Financier gets his feet up and then pushes Rezin off. He goes flying backwards, and hits the ring post with his back.
Rezin’s taken plenty of punishment over the course of the last few months, since originally winning the Universal championship. He feels this one, writhing on the floor.
Nick Stuart: What a counter from Farthington!
Richard Parker: Yeah!
Farthington sits on the apron, an infuriatingly confident smile on his face. He hops off of the apron and walks after Rezin, who’s on all fours and trying to suck air back into his lungs. Farthington pulls Rezin up and throws him back into the ring, casually hopping up onto the apron and stepping back inside.
Farthington proceeds to stand on Rezin’s beard and pull up on his arm, which makes Timo go for a five count. When Timo gets up to four, Farthington lets go of the arm.
Mind you, he’s still standing on the beard.
As Timo yells at him to get off the beard, Farthington lets out a long, elongated sigh… and then reaches into his trunks and pulls out a small handbook.
Nick Stuart: What the… Where the hell was he keeping that!?
Richard Parker: It’s the PRIME rule book!
Keep in mind, said “rule book” just says “PRIME RULE BOOK” in hastily-written sharpie, and it’s a tiny thing that’s barely the size of Farthington’s hand. You may recognize it as something he pulled out last week when talking about the idea of an “illegal” number of suplexes.
Timo is incredulous at Farthington actually trying to debate PRIME rules with him, especially since that debate is coming while Rezin is being pinned down by his beard by the Financier.
Nick Stuart: This is ridiculous! The referee’s word is law in the jungle of professional wrestling!
Richard Parker: Yeah, but it’s Timo. I’m surprised he hasn’t been busted back down to junior referee! His grasp of the rules is as questionable as his face paint!
Nick Stuart: You’re questionable!
Timo does the only reasonable thing he can do in the situation. He rips the rule book from Farthington’s hands and throws it out of the ring. Farthington reacts as though Timo just threw away the Dead Sea Scrolls. He’s so upset that he stomps on Rezin’s head multiple times while shouting at Timo about how he’s fucking things up.
Cecilworth only actually turns his attention off of Timo when Rezin suddenly shoots up to his knees and lands a body blow to Farthington’s gut. A second one staggers Farthington backwards, allowing Rezin to return to his feet and land a meaty forearm to the Financier’s jaw. This rocks Cecilworth, and allows the crust-punk to start battering him into the corner.
Cecilworth eventually catches Rezin with a headbutt, using the side of his head to catch a gap in Rezin’s strikes. It knocks Rezin back, landing him on his back and rolling to his feet in a daze. Cecilworth goes in for the kill by charging on him with every intention of taking Rezin’s head off. Instead, Rezin, by his very nature of being unpredictable… falls on his ass before Cecilworth can reach him.
Cecilworth flies over Rezin and hits the corner with his shoulder, and this allows Rezin to quickly roll him up. It only gets two, however, as Cecilworth pushes Rezin off of him.
Nick Stuart: Rezin almost stole this one!
Richard Parker: By being weird and clumsy, you mean!
Cecilworth and Rezin get up at the same time. Both go for the same move, which is headbutts. This, naturally, ends painfully for both men. The two of them stagger, spaghetti-legged, doing a funky little dance in trying to shake off the unexpected pain and remain standing.
Cecilworth hits him with a forearm, so Rezin answers with one of his own. But then Cecilworth goes for another, and Rezin ducks it and grabs Cecilworth from behind.
Nick Stuart: Black Thunder Bomb from Rezin! Into the cover!
Cecilworth gets the shoulder up. Rezin looks up at Timo grumpily, slapping his hands together rapidly to indicate that he’d wanted a faster count.
He stands, and seeing that Cecilworth is in a good position, he goes to the corner. He practically hugs it, like it’s an old friend. Fans know what he wants, and for the lack of a proper “good”, they’ll cheer for the “ugly” in this case. Rezin slingshots up to the top rope, steadies himself, and leaps.
Witness the majestic Rezin. Flying through the air in an arc that belies his chaotic nature. There’s something beautiful about the Rezinsault. For a man who heralds the A-Punk-alypse, who believes that anarchy and chaos are all that matters, Rezin paradoxically possesses one of the most astonishingly perfect moonsaults in all of professional wrestling. After all, making something beautiful out of something that should be ugly? That’s punk rock.
Cecilworth moves out of the way, and Rezin hits the canvas with his stomach. He’s barely to his feet when Cecilworth comes charging in. Rezin does his best to counter what he’s doing, catching Cecilworth in midair. This proves to be a mistake, as Cecilworth coils around his body like a boa constrictor. Or, more accurately… an octopus!
Nick Stuart: Into the octopus stretch! Farthington’s really got that thing cinched in!
Richard Parker: Rezin should tap. He should apologize for ever getting in a ring with Cecilworth, and he should tap. The order of that doesn’t really matter, honestly.
Nick Stuart: No, I don’t think Rezin’s interested in tapping out.
He’s not. Giving up isn’t punk rock. Despite carrying Cecilworth’s weight, and Cecilworth trying his best to make Rezin collapse to the canvas so that the stretch is even more deadly, Rezin refuses to go down. He can’t. He won’t. The Goat Bastard is a lot of things, so very many things, and that includes being too dumb (or high) to quit. So he fights it. He grabs Cecilworth’s ankle and starts to pry his leg off from his neck.
Cecilworth’s eyes go wide, partly from the mad-eyed look he has as he tries to grind the hold, and also because he’s surprised at how much Rezin is fighting the hold. He uses joint manipulation, bending Rezin’s fingers and wrist in ways that they’re not meant to be bent. Rezin doesn’t seem to care.
It’s only a hand.
He finally pries Cecilworth’s leg off of his neck. This left Cecilworth with only a wristlock to work with, and that’s just not enough to stop Rezin. A forearm doesn’t seem to have that much power behind it is followed by one that does, rocking Cecilworth and loosening his grip. A third breaks his grip entirely.
Rezin coils, and strikes.
Nick Stuart: CLOVEN HOOF KI— NO!
Farthington ducks what would’ve surely taken his head off his shoulders, which would’ve meant that Rezin would be wanted for murder, and Cecilworth wouldn’t have been down for that. He catches the recovering Rezin with a European uppercut, then backs up a few steps and tries the same setup to apply the octopus stretch.
It doesn’t work twice.
Rezin immediately catches control of Farthington’s maneuver and brings him down with a sharp backbreaker.
Nick Stuart: Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker from Rezin! Farthington’s in a lot of trouble!
Richard Parker: Quick! Get the rule book back and argue that he should be disqualified!
Nick Stuart: What?
Richard Parker: I don’t know! Farthy doesn’t really let me look at the rule book when I ask, but I assume Rezin broke some law! It’s Rezin!
Rezin picks up Farthington and lifts him up onto his shoulders with a fireman’s carry. He turns to face a corner and then rolls into a steamroller slam. He comes up from the slam landing on his feet, and then he hops up onto the second rope, then the top rope, and flies.
Witness the majestic Rezin, once again.
Flying straight and true.
Nick Stuart: REZINSAULT!
Richard Parker: NO!
Rezin lands it this time, and then goes into the cover.
Nick Stuart: Farthington gets the shoulder up! That was almost a second straight upset win for Rezin after the last show!
Rezin looks up at Timo with a disbelieving, wide-eyed look on his face. He holds up three fingers in the hopes that he misheard the count, and is pissed when Timo only shows him two in response. He gets up and pulls Farthington to his feet. What he wants more than anything is to send Cecilworth straight to the void. Arm wringer. Sets his feet.
INTO THE VO—NO.
Cecilworth shoves Rezin just as he grabs his head, and Rezin flies a few feet into the ropes. Fortunately, Rezin is able to land on his feet. Unfortunately, his back is to Cecilworth.
Nick Stuart: Malice in Wonderland!
The heavy elbow to the back of Rezin’s head rocks him, and if it hadn’t been for the ropes in front of him, he’d have fallen right out of the ring. Instead, Cecilworth smells blood.
Nick Stuart: And another!
A second elbow to the back of the head. Rezin’s almost out on his feet, but he has enough wherewithal to turn around to face Farthington and swing at him.
He misses. By like a foot.
Farthington hits him with a knee to the gut and reels him in. Front facelock. Hooks the leg.
Nick Stuart: WORTHLESS!
Rezin hits the canvas hard on the fisherman’s buster, and momentum carries him to sitting up. Farthington immediately turns and latches in the rear naked choke that Phil Atken once used, the dreaded Tarp.
Nick Stuart: AND INTO THE TARP!
Rezin’s arms fly out in all directions as he tries to fight the submission hold. Phil Atken had made the Tarp one of the most dreaded submissions in all of PRIME in the brief time he’d been the threat. Cecilworth’s imitation of the hold was no less effective, as Rezin’s attempts to fight out of it only cause Farthington to sink it in deeper.
Farthington gets his legs around Rezin’s body. There’s a mad look in his eyes as he starts using his right heel to smash the air out of Rezin’s chest.
Rezin’s flailing starts to fade. His arms drop. He’s unresponsive.
And Timo’s seen enough.
DING DING DING
Farthington doesn’t release the hold until Timo is physically forced to pry his arms off of Rezin’s throat. He’s not even back on his feet as Vince Howard makes the announcement.
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen… the winner of this match! CECILWOOOOOOOOORTH! FAAAAARTHINGTOOOOOOOONNNNNN!!!
Farthington raises his arm in triumph, as he starts to realize that he’s no longer attempting to kill a man in a professional wrestling ring.
Nick Stuart: Cecilworth Farthington won a hard-fought victory here tonight, and he’s one step closer to challenging for the 5-Star Championship at Tropical Turmoil!
Richard Parker: Wouldn’t want to be in Avalon’s shoes when Tropical Turmoil comes around. If he makes it that far.
We cut away from the scene as Farthington starts the smarmily wave to the jeering crowd, with only one thing certain: Buy glue.
The scene switches to Vickie Hall who has commandeered a backstage camera.
Nick Stuart: So this is starting to be a thing…
Richard Parker: You mean Vickie taking matters into her own hands and stealing a camera for what feels like the fifth consecutive week? Let the girl dream, she can do whatever she wants.
Nick Staurt: There’s no way you enjoy any of this, I know you. There’s absolutely no way. You’re trying to annoy me.
As the announcers bicker, Vickie has walked herself to the atrium entrance of the Ball Arena where Jonathan-Christopher Hall stands in the center of it, handing out pamphlets to anyone around. There aren’t many people, since the fans have long drawn into their seats and the night is almost over. However, the odd fan passes by.
Vickie Hall: My Amazing Life Partner and I have been here the entire night handing out LOVE CONVOY leaflets. That’s right, as of the next ReVival, the LOVE CONVOY is back and in full effect but we are going to be managing things much differently.
Vickie leans up against her man. Jonathan-Christopher uneasily hands another pamphlet to a person walking past, even though the random man eventually tosses the paper to the ground.
Vickie Hall: We are organizing a NEW fanbase for our quaint little Hallmark Journey and what better way to spread information than the grand entrance of the Ball Arena!
Vickie lowers the camera to reveal a ton more leaflets in a bag.
Vickie Hall: We are handing them out POST-SHOW, too!
Nick Stuart: I really don’t see the point in this. We’re in Albuquerque next.
Vickie smacks Jonathan-Christopher on the shoulder and points him in the direction of handing out another pamphlet to a fan… but Jonathan-Christopher is not as fast as needed so he misses the fan, who is now too far away. Vickie could have probably done this herself, but it IS Jonathan-Christopher’s responsibility after all. She sulks momentarily, just for a split second..
Vickie Hall: Since my man has knocked off two easy victories, it’s time we used the LOVE CONVOY in the way it was meant to be! Muhahaha!
She pauses and lowers her face. Her eyes narrow and her demeanor becomes much more malicious.
Vickie Hall: We are going to protest Jonathan-Christopher’s lack of main events, title shots and celebrity appearances. He needs to be the POSTER BOY of PRIME alongside meeeeeeee, Vickie Hall!
Jonathan-Christopher looks like he’s seen a ghost at the thought of this.
Vickie Hall: Defeating Cancer Jiles is a clear one-stop-shot to the main event! Therefore, next ReVival, we will have built up enough online and IN PERSON support to DEMAND the main event of Tropical Turmoil be changed to Jonathan-Christopher vs. Whomever the Champion May Be!
Richard Parker: You think she’s deliberately withholding Brandon Youngblood’s name?
Nick Stuart: Of course she is. She’s not stupid, as much as I hate to admit it. She has Jonathan-Christopher wrapped tightly around her finger.
Richard Parker: No kidding.
Vickie tilts her head into the camera and then brings it in far, far too close.
Vickie Hall: I have decided Jonathan-Christopher needs NO MORE trials and trivial runs! The end of the Hallmark Journey is here!
Nick Stuart: You don’t think she’s rushing this? I give Jonathan-Christopher all the credit in the world for beating Jiles, even if it wasn’t clean, it’s still a win on his record. However, there’s no way Hall is ready for the main event or anywhere close. Look at him! He can barely stand at the thought of doing anything more challenging!
Vickie Hall: I DEMAND ONLY THE BEST FOR MY MAN AND MY MAN IS FUCKING READYYYYY!
She whacks Jonathan-Christopher on the arm again and points him in the direction of another fan.
Vickie Hall: There! He’s right there! Give him one!
Jonathan-Christopher races over but ultimately can’t catch the fan in time. This only further frustrates Vickie because, of course, Jonathan-Christopher should’ve seen that fan beforehand.
Vickie brings her attention back to the camera.
Vickie Hall: I only want the TOP TALENT for my wonderful HONEY BUNCH OF OATS—?
Her voice fades. She looks to her left and then moves the camera to reveal…
The newly former Five Star Champion had just rounded a corner and stumbled into…whatever the Halls are up to right here. He’d wanted to make an escape before he got involved–after the series of disasters leading up to Colossus, the last thing he or anyone else needed was an interaction with the Love Convoy.
He tries to stand stock-still, hoping that Vickie Hall won’t see him if he isn’t moving. Unfortunately, that only works with Rocky De Leon, and not Pretty Pink. His camouflage is also hindered by the bright blue satin jacket with his name on it that he wears all the time.
The already exasperated Vickie glares at the Next Diamond. Looks like he failed his stealth check.
Vickie Hall: What do you want? Go away! You’re beneath the LOVE CONVOY!
Vickie whacks her Timid Tiger on the arm.
Vickie Hall: Give him a pamphlet.
Jonathan-Christopher nods. He walks over to Nate and then quietly extends his hand with one of their pieces of propaganda. On the front of the letter reads the words “Jonathan-Christopher deserved a Universal Title shot!!!”.
The Next Diamond stares at the pamphlet much in the way you would a car accident or a house fire. The design aesthetics are pretty similar, to be fair.
Nate Colton: Thanks. I’ll give it a look.
Vickie smiles and claps her hands as Nate desperately walks away. Pretty Pink is overjoyed that a wrestler took their propaganda without a hassle.
But as Jonathan-Christopher returns to his ALP, her eyes narrow in the direction of Colton leaving the scene.
Vickie grabs her man’s arm.
Vickie Hall: He was sarcastic.
Her left eyebrow twitches.
Vickie Hall: I don’t care for sarcasm.
The scene fades to a commercial as Vickie doesn’t take her eyes off Colton in the distance.
COMMERCIAL: NEW IN THE PRIMEMPORIUM
INTENSE TITLE: PAXTON RAY (C) vs. ANNA DANIELS
We are back from commercial and see Vince Howard in the ring.
Vince Howard: IT! IS! TIME! FOR THE MAIN EVENT!
Vince Howard: The following match is a Falls Count Anywhere match!
Vince Howard: No disqualification!
Vince Howard: For the INTENSE TITLE!
Nick Stuart: Main event time here in Denver, Colorado! The Ball Arena is POPPING!
Richard Parker: I just need… quiet. I’m still recovering from the Farthington and Rezin match we just saw.
Nick Stuart: Richard, it’s been like ten minutes. It’s time to move on.
Richard Parker: I know, but it was glorious.
Nick Stuart: Weirdo.
The entire area fades to black, causing the PRIMEates in attendance to steadily come to a hush. After a moment, the beginning guitar notes of Solid Space’s “A Darkness In My Soul” begin. Nothing comes on the PRIME*view to note exactly who is coming out. Suddenly, a spotlight pierces through the dark pointed to the top on the entrance ramp. Anna Daniels stands there, her profile positioned towards the light. She lets it wash over her while letting the fans get a good look at the merchandise. Finally, she glances at the ring with a small smirk on her face.
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, which gets laughs from the Voss family.
She makes her way to the stairs and slinks along the apron, whiping her feet before entering the ring. Immediately after, she nearly chases off the ref in a suddenly blur of action before smiling yet again. Casually, she strolls to a corner with her head bopping before perching herself onto the top rope laid out like a French girl people like to paint.
Nick Stuart: Anna Daniels still chasing her first taste of gold in PRIME.
Richard Parker: As much as I want it to happen, she’s walking into Paxton Ray’s house, playing by his rules, and expecting to walk out a winner. That’s something I just don’t see happening.
Nick Stuart: Anna’s entire run thus far has been a roller coaster ride, but there’s one thing for certain for The Time Lord, she’s about as dangerous as they come, and don’t you for a moment discount her.
Richard Parker: Not discounting her, but just facing reality. Paxton Ray is built for moments like this, disgustingly so, and Daniels can throw all the kicks to his head in the world — in which I’m all for — but I don’t think it makes a difference.
Nick Stuart: I think Brandon Youngblood might have something to say about that.
“They say it’s good to start a story with a tragedy.”
The chunky guitar riff of “Fistfight” by The Ballroom Thieves kicks in as Paxton Ray walks out under the PRIMEView. He sneers as the fans boo, then slowly holds his hand up in the air.
The day I finally met you like I knew I would
You raised me from the wreck of my doubts
You were smiling to yourself as if we both understood
The silent language of the anguish of a heart that sings but doesn’t make a sound
Paxton slowly walks towards the ring, looking around as the crowd rains hate down upon him. He steps up to the apron and steps over the ring ropes, then leans back against them and closes his eyes.
Nick Stuart: The bastard himself…
Richard Parker: Calling him a bastard might be too much. I heard he was caught trying to choke out Jonathan Rhine at his wrestling school!
Nick Stuart: That asshole.
Richard Parker: Much better, Nick. Much better.
Anna closes the distance between them as Paxton wears the cockiest of smiles as he holds onto the Intense Title as if it’s a toy.
Vince Howard: Introducing first, hailing from Mount Perdition, Gallifrey, she stands at five feet and seven inches tall and weighs in at an amount that is not important to anyone in this arena or this galaxy. She is the Time Lord! ANNA! DANIELSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!
Anna stares straight ahead at Paxton Ray, not moving an inch and without an ounce of fear in her eyes.
Vince Howard: And her opponent…
Vince Howard: Hailing from Lafayette, Lousiana…
Vince Howard: He stands at six feet and six inches tall…
Vince Howard: And weighs in at two-hundred-and-forty-five pounds…
Vince Howard: He is the LAFAYETTE BRUISER!
Vince Howard: He is the INTENSE CHAMPION!
Vince Howard: PAXTON! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!
Paxton holds his title up high for Anna, and everyone else, to see before he drops it into the hands of Elvis Nixon.
Nick Stuart: Well, the fans weren’t shy in making their opinion of Paxton Ray loud and clear.
Richard Parker: As they should, that prick.
Elvis then hands off the title to the ringside attendant before turning around and signaling for the start of the match.
Paxton Ray immediately makes his way towards Anna Daniels, smile still on his face, and as he does, he walks right into a Brazillian Kick!
Nick Stuart: HOLY HELL! INTERROBANG RIGHT OUT OF THE GATES!
Richard Parker: SHIT! WE MIGHT HAVE A NEW INTENSE CHAMPION JUST LIKE THAT!
Paxton stands there for a moment as Elvis and Anna looks at him. His smile slowly fades as he collapses to the mat and Daniels immediately goes for the cover and Nixon begins his count.
Nick Stuart: And Paxton just got his shoulder up in the nick of time!
Richard Parker: Oh, my body was so clenched there that you couldn’t fit a piece of string up my—
Nick Stuart: No, Richard. No.
Fans all around the Ball Arena look at one another in disbelief, certain that Daniels had put this match away. Daniels doesn’t skip a beat though as she immediately floats over and begins drilling her elbow across the forehead of Paxton Ray, each slice deeper and stiffer than the last until Ray manages to get his paw on her chest and shove her away. The sheer size difference between Daniels and Ray means she nearly falls out of the ring, which is more than enough space for Ray to get up to his feet. As Anna rushes at the significantly larger Paxton, he drills her in between the eyes with a boot that sends her crashing to the mat.
Paxton presses the palm of his hand against his forehead, where he was met with a series of elbows just moments ago. Anna refuses to stay down for long and rises to her feet only for Ray to wrap both hands around her neck and throw her backwards into the nearby corner. Anna’s body collides violently with the turnbuckle and before she manages to extricate herself out of the corner, Paxton plants fist after fist into her rib cage before connecting with a vicious forearm across her face that drops her to both knees.
Nick Stuart: Paxton Ray just busted Anna’s nose open and she is gushing blood out of her nose right now.
Richard Parker: Oh, this is a gnarly scene. Anna needed to stay away from the hands of Paxton Ray, because they know one thing and one thing only; pain.
Nick Stuart: Elvis is checking on her, but Paxton just grabbed him by the back of his shirt and tossed him out of the way!
Paxton reaches down as Anna looks up at him, fury in her eyes, but having difficulty breathing due to the damage that Paxton has done to her face. She slams her fist into his midsection, which has little impact. Paxton laughs in her face before slamming his boot across her jaw. Anna collapses on the mat, but Paxton reaches down and yanks her up to her feet by her hair. He slowly wraps her hair around his fist and then lifts her off of the mat, leaving her dangling.
Nick Stuart: What an asshole.
Richard Parker: Daniels is just hanging there, Paxton holding her by her hair! What a disgusting human being.
Paxton smashes his open palm across her face, certainly loosening up a few teeth of the Time Lord. Her head cocks to the side, but she looks back at Paxton and spits in his face, a mixture of blood and saliva. This only infuriates Paxton even further as he slams his fist into her rib cage, driving all the air out of her. The anguish on her face is evident as she gasps for breathe and is unable to tend to her throbbing ribs. The smile on Paxton’s face says it all as he slams his fist into her midsection once again, causing Anna to cough violently from the impact.
Nick Stuart: Oh, come on! She might have organ damage after that shot.
Richard Parker: Might?! MIGHT?! She is definitely on the list for every transplant imaginable with UNOS right now.
Ray then hoists Daniels onto his shoulder and explodes out of the corner with a running powerslam! He then covers her as Nixon begrudgingly begins his count.
Nick Stuart: And Daniels with a DEFIANT kickout, refusing to stay down!
Richard Parker: She’s got spunk, that’s for sure.
Nick Stuart: That spunk might get her killed.
Paxton rises to his knees and looks down at Anna, sadistically. He then takes his right hand and wraps it around her mouth. Anna thrashes wildly as she struggles to breathe through her nose and Nixon is helpless to do a single thing about it. Paxton smiles as he quickly removes his hand, holding his hands up as if he didn’t do anything.
Paxton looks around at the fans, the mischevious smile plastered across his face, before he puts his right hand over her mouth again. Daniels thrashes again, slamming her forearm into his hand repeatedly to no avail. Ray slowly rises to his feet, allowing Anna to breathe again, before yanking her off the mat and whipping her into the ropes. As she rebounds towards him, he lifts her off the mat and holds her for a moment before connecting with a sidewalk slam in the center of the ring.
Ray then gets back up to his feet, bounces off the ropes, and goes for a knee across Anna’s face only for The Muse to roll out of the way at the last second. Paxton lands on his left knee and grimaces from the shock to his system. Anna quickly rolls back, using her momentum and speed to slam the point of her boot across his face.
Nick Stuart: And Anna Daniels starting to fight back here!
Richard Parker: Well, that’s good. She needed to do something or else we were going to have to order her casket before the end of the show.
Nick Stuart: Anna now getting to her feet, wiping as much blood as she can on her shirt sleeve, and just bounced off the ropes before smashing her knee into the face of the Bayou Butcher! Paxton rocks back —
Richard Parker: Fall over, you bastard.
Nick Stuart: And Anna bounces off the ropes again before connecting with another flying knee to his face, sending the Lafayette Bruiser to the mat.
Anna is right back up to her feet, shaking the cobwebs out of her head before she bounces off the ropes and drops a knee across the throat of the Intense Champion. Paxton immediately wraps his hands around his throat, in agony, but Anna — having felt pure brutality from Paxton minutes ago — is more than willing to dish it back out. She stomps away at his hands before bouncing off the ropes again and dropping another knee across his throat!
Paxton rolls away from Anna before pushing himself up to his feet. Anna comes flying off the ropes and connects with a running knee that catches Paxton in the chest. Ray stumbles back into the ropes as Anna gets up to her feet. She slams her boot into the back of Paxton’s hamstring repeatedly until he drops to one knee. She grabs him by the back of his head and drapes him across the middle rope, neck pressing into it. She then bounces off the ropes again and launches herself across his back and driving his trachea and windpipe into the braided metallic rope.
Nick Stuart: And it looks like Anna is more than willing to dish out the same type of damage that we just saw Paxton doing.
Richard Parker: When you are in the ring with a man who is willing to paralyze a man who helped him in the most desperate time of his life, you have to be willing to do the same thing back. Paxton Ray has no limits and if you step in with limits of your own, you might as well be asking for him to break you in half.
Paxton slumps to the mat as Anna punts him in the ribcage for good measure, which sends him rolling out of the ring and to the floor below. Anna watches as Paxton rises to his feet, coughing and rubbing his throat in the process. Daniels then launches herself over the top rope and connects with a plancha on Paxton, sending him crashing back to the mat. Anna, pain wracking her body, fights back to her feet and hops onto the ring apron. She watches as Paxton gets up to his feet and she rushes at him before connecting with a spike hurricanrana!
Richard Parker: That’s one way to try and break someone’s neck.
Nick Stuart: Anna is taking it right to Paxton Ray and the fans here in Denver are EATING IT UP!
Richard Parker: And just a reminder, this match is no disqualification, falls count anywhere. We might end up at the Garden of the Gods before this thing is over.
Anna muscles her way back up to her feet and stomps away at the neck and throat of Paxton Ray, refusing to give him any quarter. She then drags him over to the ringside barricade before using it to launch herself into the air and back down where she drives her knee into the back of his neck. Paxton lies there, motionless, as Anna rolls him back over and goes for the cover as Elvis begins his count.
Nick Stuart: And it’s going to take more than that to take out Paxton Ray and cause him to lose his Intense Title.
Richard Parker: If I might suggest, a car, going eighty miles an hour, might just do the trick.
Nick Stuart: Well, I don’t think you’re wrong, but I think we’d like some natural limits to things and I think that falls outside of those limits.
Richard Parker: Well, fine. If you’re going to take all of the fun out of it.
Anna rises to her feet and plants her boot into the back of Paxton’s skull. The first shot is short and stiff. She stands there for a moment, looking down at Paxton before proceeding to stomp away as if she’s playing whack-a-mole with the back of Paxton’s skull. She then flips Paxton over and proceeds to put that on repeat until Paxton grabs her boot in mid-kick. She tries to yank her foot away, but Paxton holds onto it as he rises to his feet before pulling her into him, wrapping his hand around her throat, and lifts her into the air before chokeslamming her across the barricade.
Richard Parker: Daniels might need medical attention!
Nick Stuart: She is just lying there on the barricade as Nixon is checking on her, but you can tell that blow took a lot out of her.
Richard Parker: You think?! That bastard just tried to break her!
Nick Stuart: Takes more than that to keep Daniels down.
Paxton pushes Anna over the barricade and into the area where the fans were sitting a moment ago. Anna lands on her knees, her body beaten and battered. Paxton climbs over the barricade and slams his boot into the small of the Time Lord’s back. Anna flattens out from the shot, but Paxton reaches down and pulls her up by the back of her trousers before connecting with a side slam through a row of chairs that the fans have vacated.
Paxton looks out at the fans and his evil smile returns before he reaches down and yanks Anna back to her feet before planting his boot into her midsection and goes for a powerbomb on her. He holds her up there for a while, long enough for Anna to gather her wits about her and slips behind Paxton. He turns around and is met with a stiff elbow across his face, dropping him to one knee. She immediately follows up with a stiff knee to the face that sends him stumbling into the chairs.
Nick Stuart: Well, Paxton Ray would do better to not underestimate his opponent.
Richard Parker: I mean, he’s sitting in the chair. What is this, a smoke break?!
Anna grabs a steel chair that Paxton isn’t sitting in, folds it up, and drills the edge of it into the chest and sternum of the Intense Champion. Paxton roars in pain. Anna winds up and goes to crack the chair across his face, but Paxton gets his boot up and drills the chair back into the face of the challenger. Anna stumbles backwards, dropping the chair in the process, and Paxton explodes out of his seated position and clotheslines her over the barricade.
Richard Parker: Make up your mind! Do you want to fight her in the crowd? In the ring? On the roof of the building?
Nick Stuart: Don’t give him any ideas because I could definitely see him doing just that.
Richard Parker: Fair enough.
Anna makes her way up to her knees and tries to get away from Paxton, but he reaches around and grabs her by the chin before bringing her up to her feet. He then drills his forearm into the back of her neck. Anna stumbles forward. Paxton follows behind her and goes to grab her again, but Anna fires back with a stiff elbow to his face that stuns the Lafayette Bruiser. Anna then connects with a spinning back heel kick that drops Paxton to one knee. Anna follows that up with an enziguri that sends the Bayou Butcher face first into the floor.
Nick Stuart: Anna Daniels has been taking it to Paxton Ray all match long and her grit and tenacity has been on display.
Richard Parker: That’s all good and well, but it just takes one moment from Paxton Ray to finish everything. She needs to figure out something, and I would dare say she needs to do it fast, before Paxton manages to connect with a Lafayette Lullaby.
Anna turns Paxton over and mounts him, drilling fist after fist into his face until his hands shoot up and wrap themselves around the throat of Daniels. Anna slams her fist repeatedly across the massive forearms of Paxton, but to no avail. Paxton slowly gets up and he rag dolls her into the side of the ring, her body colliding violently with it. Anna struggles to her knees, but Paxton punts her across the face. Anna rolls onto her back and Paxton stands above her before climbing onto the ring apron. He lines Anna up before dropping an elbow off the ring apron across her sternum. He then quickly goes for the cover.
Nick Stuart: And Anna JUST manages to get her shoulder up.
Richard Parker: She can’t take too many more strikes like that. It’s a miracle that Paxton didn’t manage to collapse a lung or something.
Paxton makes his way up to his feet and drags Anna up with him before connecting with a forearm shot that drops Anna to one knee. Paxton grabs her and immediately connects with a butterfly suplex. The velocity of Paxton’s move sends her skidding across the floor and into the ringside barricade. She reaches up and grabs the ringside barricade, trying to bring herself up to her feet, but is struggling to do so. Paxton walks over and stomps his boot across the back of her skull, sending her back to the mat. Paxton then dislodges the ringside barricade and lifts it into the air before crashing it down across her back.
Nick Stuart: The pure brutality from Paxton Ray there.
Richard Parker: And you just know he loves every moment of it. This is what he lives for.
Nick Stuart: That he does and he is dragging Anna back up to her feet and just slammed her face into the ringside barricade! When does it end?
Richard Parker: When he pins her, I guess.
She drops to both knees, but Paxton yanks her back up to her feet before connecting with a discus elbow! Anna drops like a sack of potatoes as Paxton puts a boot on her chest and Nixton begrudgingly begins his count.
Paxton chuckles as he looks at Elvis before reaching down and grabbing Anna off of the ground. He smacks her around a bit before he hoists her into the air, but instead of connecting with the Lafayette Lullaby, Anna manages to reverse it into a DDT that spikes Paxton into the floor! Paxton pops back up, stunned from the shot and trying to get his bearings, but Anna moves to her knes and connects with a low blow that drops Paxton to his knees.
Nick Stuart: Anna turning the tables on Paxton!
Richard Parker: Turning the tables? She might have ended his manhood!
Nick Stuart: You sound excited about that?
Richard Parker: For Paxton? We should’ve castrated him a while ago.
Anna, painfully, gets to her feet and walks over to the ringside barricade where she grabs a steel chair. She folds it up, turns towards Paxton, and unloads like she’s going for a home run across the face of Paxton Ray.
Paxton rocks back from the shot, his eyes glassing over. Anna winds up once again and goes for another chair to the face.
Paxton takes the shot before leaning forward and his head hitting the floor. Anna shakes her head and lifts Paxton back up to a kneeling position. She then throws the chair at Paxton, who instinctively catches it. She then connects with a Brazilian Kick, driving the chair into his face. He collapses onto the floor.
Nick Stuart: INTERROBANG!
Richard Parker: Paxton looks OUT!
Anna rolls him onto his back before going for the cover as the fans count along with Elvis’ count.
DING DING DING
Nick Stuart: ANNA DANIELS PULLED IT OFF! SHE CONQUERED THE LAFAYETTE BRUISER!
Richard Parker: GOOD! Now fire him!
Vince Howard: Your winner…
Anna rolls off of Paxton, physically and visibly exhausted. She slowly sits up as Elvis helps her to her feet.
Vince Howard: AND NEW!
The fans in Denver are now on their feet, cheering Anna on.
Vince Howard: INTENSE CHAMPION! ANNA! DANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNIELS!
Elvis then hands her the Intense Title before raising her arm in victory. As she raises the arm, her face grimaces from the pain she is experiencing, but she pushes through it before walking up the ramp. Her eyes scan the crowd, filled with shirts and merchandise sold from the PRIMEmporium.
Nick Stuart: Talk about an intense two shows! We have a new Universal, Five-Star, and Intense Champion!
Richard Parker: Somehow, ol Montgomery Byrnes is the only one that has successfully defended his title.
Nick Stuart: And that could change all again at ReVival 29 or Tropical Turmoil. The competition in PRIME is that high! But tonight, right now, is all about our new Intense Champion, Anna Daniels!
Richard Parker: Surreal, and much deserved.
She makes her way to the top of the ramp and looks out at everyone, dried blood on her face, bruises on her torso, but as she lifts the Intense Title over her head, she knows its all worth it.
Nick Stuart: For Richard Parker, I’m Nick Stuart and this has been ReVival 28! We will see you in two weeks time for ReVival 29, live from Albuquerque, New Mexico!
Richard Parker: Albuquerque?! Fu—