Event Date: 02/18/2022
Event Location: Las Vegas, NV
With Apologies to Montell Jordan
The loading docks have devolved into chaos, and the facilities department is not amused. Fortunately, Matt Mills – and remember, he went to school for this – is on the scene.
Matt Mills: Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here at the MGM Grand loading docks where we’re getting word of some unrest among the facilities crew.
Next to him stands an older man; late 50s by the look of him. He’s dressed in a black fleece pullover with the MGM logo embroidered on the lapel, and bears the expression of a man who is well and truly Sick Of This Shit. Let’s just assume he’s wearing pants, because both men are framed from the waist up.
Behind them, about ten yards away, Melvin Beuregard is currently occupied with a group of facilities employees, all of whom are very animated in their retelling of the events of the last few weeks.
All of them are wearing pants.
Matt Mills: I’m joined by Roger Dawes, one of the shift supervisors here, and a man who has recently filed a grievance with resort management.
Roger Dawes: That’s correct, mister Mills. We’ve had some problems down here lately. Now, don’t get me wrong, most people from your company that we’ve worked with have been wonderful; maybe not the friendliest folk, but they haven’t given us any trouble.
Matt Mills: I sense a “but” coming here, Mr. Dawes.
Roger Dawes: There’s one guy, Mister Grape, or Prince Bananas…
Matt Mills: King Blueberry?
Roger Dawes: That’s the one! That Blueberry fella has been muckin’ things for weeks now. A month back he got into one of our storage rooms. Brought a half-naked mannequin with him. Totally trashed the place. Then two weeks ago he somehow got into one of the storage sheds, and wandered off with a two-wheeler and some bungee cords. We got them back, but it’s important that official company equipment is accounted for.
Roger’s sigh is long and deep, like he’s breathing out his soul. Matt, ever the intrepid reporter, nods slowly, sympathetically. He understands. He knows. And boy howdy does he wish he didn’t.
Roger Dawes: Then after we got the two-wheeler back I had the guys take an inventory of what else was in that storage locker. Come to find out that some of the Christmas decorations have gone missing, and apparently some of the Thanksgiving stuff as well. We’re missing half a of a giant turkey costume. Not the top with the wings and the beak and all that, but the legs. Just the legs.
Matt Mills: Prime-wrestling-dot-com also reported that there were some feather boas missing as well. Have those been recovered?
Roger Dawes: No, not yet. But that’s not the worst of it. Later that night Phil goes to his office, and the keys to one of the forklifts is gone. “Rog’,” he says to me, “I can’t find the…”
THIS IS HOW WE DO IT
The loading dock falls silent. Well, silent except for the voice of Montell Jordan and the fat beats that accompany his mid-90’s hit.
IT’S FRIDAY NIGHT AND I FEEL ALL RIGHT
Montell Jordan, his phat beats, the rev of an engine, and the sound of tires squealing on the smooth painted floor of the interior dock. A dawning realization creeps onto Matt Mills’ face, and behind them the same realization seems to have come to Mr. Beauregard. His shoulders visibly slump.
THE PARTY IS HERE ON THE WEST SIDE
Tear-assing across the docks, weaving in and out between cases and crates, is a vehicle born of a Lewis Carroll fever-dream. It’s a forklift, that much is certain, but it’s been upgraded; likely by the sole occupant.
Well, by the sole human occupant..
King Blueberry: SO I REACH FOR MY 40 AND I TURN IT UP!
A pair of giant novelty candy canes have been crudely duct-taped to the forklift’s driver’s cage like makeshift steer horns. The tynes at the front of the vehicle are wearing the lower half of a massive turkey costume, one tyne per leg, so that the cart looks like a giant bird trying to violently scissor anyone and anything that gets in its way. 34 boas, each one individually tied to the rear cage, flow in the wind behind the cart in a dipshit feathery wake. There is also the boombox, which is tied to a mannequin bedecked in red, who is in turn tied to the forklift.
It’s a 100% artisanal, locally-sourced, non-GMO, organically-grown, free-trade, rolling clusterfuck.
King Blueberry: DESIGNATED DRIVER TAKE THE KEYS TO MY TRUCK!
Roger Dawes: That’s our forklift! You’re not OSHA certified!
That’s what he says, but to anyone listening it sounds more like “assar farkiff urna oshawott” given that he’s currently being drowned out by some smooth R&B and a schmuck wearing a blue lucha mask and tee shirt depicting a crude Photoshop image of the Anglo Luchador at an IcyHot buffet.
King Blueberry: I’M KINDA BUZZED AND IT’S ALL BECAUSE… THIS IS HOW WE DO IT!
He cuts the wheel to avoid the wall of facilities employees that have formed in the hopes he’ll stop and Melvin Beauregard is forced to dive out of the way. The King gives the wheel another sharp jerk, and both Dawes and Mills are forced to flee before they’re impaled by a gas-powered burlesque turkey.
King Blueberry: BLUEBERRY DOES IT LIKE NOBODY DOES… THIS IS HOW WE DO IT
The feed from the dock ends.
5 The Anglo Luchador vs. 13 Garbage Bag Johnny
“Eat the Rich.”
Absolute mayhem overtakes the Garden Arena at the MGM Grand, the camera swooping through the roaring crowd, signs waving in the stands:
TAKE ME TO THE CHOP HOUSE, JK!
BUFFETS FEAR BOBBY DEAN!
IN AMERICA, WE EAT RUFFLES!
THE ANGLO LUCHADOR EATS ICYHOT!
REZIN IS JUST HIGH FLYER ORDERED OFF WISH.COM
I’M HERE FOR ZADDY YOUNGBLOOD!
THE STARCHILD RISES AGAIN!
CANCER JILES IS CROSS-EYED!
The rockin’ tunes of Fozzy hammer the PA as The Anglo Luchador greets us, standing out in neon green and purple tights with matching luchador mask.
Nick Stuart: And let’s make it three! Welcome back to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and round two of the Almasy Invitational! I’m Nick Stuart, here as always with Richard Parker, and welcome to ReVival!!
Richard Parker: We’re finally bringing the Rolo and Lisieux brackets together tonight, Nick! I don’t know about you, but I’m gettin’ old, and I don’t know how many more eight match evenings I can take!
Nick Stuart: Keep the aspirin handy, partner, we’ve got a huge night! Dusk vs. John Kennedy Royko Jr., Julian Bathory against Hayes Hanlon, and two big ones to finish the evening!
Richard Parker: That’s right, buddy boy! “The Pariah,” Brandon Youngblood squares up with Miles Lucky, and for dessert? NOVA against “Cool” CANCER JILES!
Nick Stuart: But first, The Anglo Luchador comes to town to visit another PRIME blast from the past: Garbage Bag Johnny!
Vince Howard: WELCOME to ROUND TWO of the ALMASY INVITATIONAL! Up next, hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, standing six-feet even and weighing in at two-hundred and eleven pounds…THE ANGLOOOOO…LUUUUUCHADOOORRR!!!
With a big pop from the arena, TAL slides into the ring, arms wide while he struts around the ring.
Nick Stuart: TAL helped us kick things off at ReVival One, besting another PRIME newcomer in Alexander Redding with an impressive performance!
Richard Parker: Impressive, lucky, I guess take your pick?
TAL’s entrance package fades off, giving way…
Garbage Bag Johnny.
“Garbage Bag Johnny Will Win Zero 2 Hero.”
The PRIMEates roar for The Dirtiest Dude in PRIME. Out walks GBJ, flicking a cigarette and strolling down the ramp.
Vince Howard: And his opponent, from Chicago, Illinois standing six-foot, one inch and weighing in at two-hundred and thirty-one pounds….GARBAGE! BAG! JOOOHHHNNNYYYYY!!!!
Richard Parker: I don’t know what it is about his theme music, but I kinda dig it! It’s like…electronic stadium country meets new wave psychedelic orchestra punk…it’s hard to explain…
Nick Stuart: I’m confident you didn’t understand a thing that just came out of your mouth.
GBJ rolls into the ring, throwing a quick hand to the crowd. “The Samoan Silencer,” Timo Bolamba checks in with both opponents before signaling for the bell.
Nick Stuart: And ROUND TWO of the Almasy Invitational is officially underway!
TAL cautiously circles the ring with GBJ, hands up and preparing for the unknown. Johnny acts in kind, leery of the man behind the mask. The luchador bursts into a somersault, popping up to feign a shoot to the leg that Johnny doesn’t fall for. Instead, he looks around, a touch confused, and performs a clumsy sideways roll. TAL looks around flummoxed, unsure if GBJ is trying to mock, or mimic him.
Nick Stuart: Johnny looking to show off his own “gymnastic” skill set against The Anglo Luchador!
Richard Parker: “Drunken Master” sounds a little more accurate.
After another cautious circle around the ring, both men lunge forward for a lockup. The Dirty Dude is able to use his slight size advantage and push TAL into the corner. He delivers a few hard right hands before whipping him to the opposite end, colliding chest-first into the buckle. GBJ gives spastic chase, only to find the former Anonymous Jericoholic using the the ropes to leap up, causing Johnny to run underneath him. GBJ turns around and is met with TAL jumping onto his thighs, wrapping two hands around the back of his head, and falling back to the mat, sending Johnny ass-over-tea-kettle.
Nick Stuart: Monkey flip from TAL!
GBJ sits up, hand on his lower back. JA takes advantage, running into the ropes and clipping The Dirtiest Dude in PRIME with a low cross kick across the face.
Nick Stuart: And following with an enzuigiri! Going for the quick cover!
TAL hops to his feet and drags Johnny with him, connecting a collection of knife-edge chops and backing him into the ropes. With a push and a turn, TAL keeps hold of Johnny’s arm for the ripcord, cleaning his clock with a stiff right cross.
Nick Stuart: TAL keeps the momentum going with the Drizzle-Maker!
Richard Parker: What does that even mean?
Nick Stuart: Something to do with Snoop Dogg, maybe?
Richard Parker: Best halftime show ever, by the way.
Nick Stuart: Better than Prince?
Richard Parker: Oooh, good point.
GBJ stays on his feet after the punch, wavering. TAL lines up as his opponent wobbles and delivers a right jab, then a left, and finishes with another right cross. The strikes pins GBJ around, who then stumbles all the way across the ring until he meets the ropes, dropping down and leaning across the middle segment.
Nick Stuart: The Dirtiest Dude in PRIME needs to find some momentum, here!
Richard Parker: Or a cigarette. Or a joint. Or both.
TAL then charges, going for a leapfrog body guillotine, but Johnny throws his body out of the way, leaving TAL hung up in the ropes.
Nick Stuart: A miss from the Anglo Luchador!
Taking advantage, GBJ clobbers and slaps his opponent, who looks bewildered and defenseless. Timo gives Johnny a warning as he relents. TAL unties himself from the ropes, only to find himself in a headlock Unsure of what to do next, Johnny keeps the hold tight, walking TAL around the ring. A lightbulb goes off in his head however, and GBJ clumsily attacks The Anglo Luchador’s mask with his fingers.
Richard Parker: Is he looking to take his mask off? Doesn’t that offend the Lucha Gods in some way?
Nick Stuart: Probably, but I’m pretty sure GBJ has upset more dangerous deities.
Finally getting the grip and leverage, Johnny spins the mask 180 on TAL’s head.
Nick Stuart: Mask flip! What a reversal, eh? Eh?
Richard Parker: No, Nick. No.
Johnny releases the hold, leaving TAL completely confused. He waves his hands wildly about his head, then stumbles forward, reaching his palms out to guide where he’s going. Johnny side-steps to watch the poor luchador struggle. Getting some sort of bearing, TAL pauses, hands up, and takes a swing, obviously finding nobody home.
Richard Parker: The man is helpless!
Nick Stuart: I mean, just turn the mask aroun..
Richard Parker: Engulfed in darkness, Nick!
GBJ sneaks to the side, tapping his opponent on the left shoulder, then stepping to the right. TAL buys it, taking another wild swing into the air. Finally, GBJ gives the crowd what they came for, swiftly pulling TAL’s neon and purple tights to his ankles.
Nick Stuart: A de-pantsing from Garbage Bag Johnny!
Richard Parker: Here it comes!
TAL, completely beside himself, leans over to fix the situation, only to find his head hitting the mat with a bulldog from GBJ.
Nick Stuart: LEGENDARY DEPANTS COMBO!
TAL rolls to his back, blinded by his mask and in pain. The crowd bellows for Johnny as he grabs the luchador’s ankles.
Nick Stuart: And can he do it? Can he lock in the Dan Flashes Sharpshooter?!
Richard Parker: Those odds are at least 100 to 1!
Nick Stuart: Never tell him the odds!
He steps one leg through, looks confused, then steps back. He awkwardly crosses TAL’s legs, then returns them to the starting position. He looks up to the crowd, clearly mouthing the words “how does it go again?”
Nick Stuart: It’s not looking good…
After another attempt at the puzzle, Johnny stomps The Anglo Luchador’s groin in frustration, leaving him clutching his nethers in pain, much to the delight of the Garden Arena.
Nick Stuart: NOT SO-SHARPSHOOTER FROM GBJ!!
Richard Parker: Didn’t he JUST lock it in like, a month ago?
GBJ looks to the corner and climbs, balancing on the top of the ring post.
Nick Stuart: Garbage Bag Johnny going up top!
Richard Parker: TAL better get those pants back on!
Johnny leaps into the air, tucking and extending for the frog splash…
…but finds nobody home as TAL rolls out of the way, crashing into the mat with a heavy THUD.
Nick Stuart: JOHNNY MISSES THE DUMPSTER DIVE!
Richard Parker: How does one miss a blind, pants-less man?!
Johnny clutches his chest and stomach after hitting the mat hard. TAL squirms and pulls his tights back up, and finally decides it’s a good time to spin his mask back around so he can see. Meanwhile, Johnny has rolled out of the ring, catching his breath. Timo counts, but once re-oriented, The luchador takes off running…
Richard Parker: Do it!
He side-leaps over the ropes…
Richard Parker: DO A BARREL ROLL!
…and he spins his body horizontally, connecting a cross body to the Dirtiest Dude in PRIME.
Nick Stuart: And he does!
Richard Parker: He did! He did a barrel roll!
Both men discombobulated, they eventually push themselves to their feet and exchange a few rights and lefts. TAL is able to take the upper hand, hitting Johnny with three consecutive rights, then rolls him back into the ring. He jumps to the apron while GBJ stands, and uses the top rope to leap back into the ring, wrapping his legs around Johnny’s neck and sending him flying.
Nick Stuart: Hurricanrana from TAL! Roaring back from his blind, pantsless episode!
Somehow, GBJ is able to carry that momentum back to his feet, and as he careens toward the corner he leaps and scrambles up the post, finding himself balancing with each foot on a top rope. Arms waving for balance, Johnny looks to attempt his signature moonsault splash, but TAL runs his body into the ropes, forcing GBJ to fall and straddle the corner.
Nick Stuart: Foiled by TAL! GBJ in a precarious position!
The luchador runs underneath, setting GBJ on his shoulders and grabbing his wrist, arms crossed. He takes a few steps back to the center of the ring and falls backward, connecting the electric chair suplex.
Nick Stuart: JAPANESE OCEAN CYCLONE SUPLEX!
Richard Parker: OBTUSE RUBBER GOOSE GREEN MOOSE GUAVA J…
Nick Stuart: Quiet! The Anglo Luchador with the pin!
TAL bridges for the pin, and Timo drops for the count.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Your winner, moving on to Round 3 in the Rolo Bracket…THE ANGLO LUUUUUUCHADOOORRR!!!
TAL rolls out of the ring as Fozzy re-ignites the PA system. He further fixes his mask, then throws his hands in the air to the Garden Arena.
Nick Stuart: and The Anglo Luchador is able to best The Dirtiest Dude in PRIME! GBJ may have been the 13 seed, but you could almost call this one an upset, Rich! Stick around! PRIME veteran Dusk takes on rookie newcomer, John Kennedy Royko Jr.!
Richard Parker: Next! On the ACE Network!
“Do you think it was too loud last week?”
The camera pans over to see Dusk sitting on a bench inside of the locker room, talking to a man that is wearing a pair of overalls and a blue cap with a thick mustache.
Random Man: I don’t know. I thought it sounded pretty good.
Dusk: I don’t know. It may have been too much. Can we dampen it this week?
Random Man: Dampen it? I can’t control the fan’s reactions.
Dusk: Yeah, but my daughter showed me this thing on Flitter—
Random Man: I think you mean Twitter.
Dusk: Sure. Some people were saying the reactions were too much. That there’s no way that I would receive that much of a reaction.
Random Man: Don’t know what to tell you. That’s the reaction you got.
Dusk: Well, alright then.
Random Man: I’ve got to go back to work. Hey, I heard from someone that it was your birthday?
Dusk sighs and slowly nods his head. Dressed for his match, his elbows resting on his knees.
Dusk: Yeah, I’m not sure how it got out.
Random Man: Not sure, but I thought I saw a guy dressed up as a Blueberry with a giant cake walking around claiming he stole it.
Dusk: Well, not sure what to do with that bit of information.
Random Man: Just thought I would share it. Anyways, I’m going to go and clean out the bathrooms.
Dusk looks and sees he’s holding a plunger in one hand and a bag of items in the other hand.
Dusk: Wait, you’re the janitor? I thought you were our production director?
The janitor chuckles.
Janitor: No, no. Though I might be looking for a new job if I have to keep cleaning up bathrooms that Bobby Dean uses.
Dusk: Yeah, couldn’t pay me enough to do that job.
Janitor: You and me both, my friend.
With that, the janitor exits the room and leaves Dusk sitting there. He looks up and notices the camera. He stands up and walks over to it. As he does, he hears the fans chanting his name.
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
Dusk shakes his head.
Dusk: Calm it down out there, alright? This Twitter thing is a bit much for me, but the trolls on here need you to cheer for Nova and Youngblood more, can you do that for me?
He pauses and looks down.
Dusk: I’ve got John Kennedy Ryoko Jr. in just a few moments. A second-round match in the Almasy tournament. After my daughter showed me what everyone was saying about my crowd reaction last week, I started to notice other messages. These were sharing videos of my opponent as TMZ stopped him and asked him for his thoughts on me.
Dusk reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a white piece of paper with words on it.
Dusk: He said things like ‘I felt the need to accept a roster spot and soak in the cheers to feed my ego’ and that he was getting me a ‘retirement celebration’ for my birthday. Let me start off, Ryoko, telling you the rookie mistake you’ve already made before you even stepped in the ring with me. Don’t give someone like me any kind of ammunition. I think in the NFL, they post it up in their locker room and feed off of it all week. I can guarantee you that I’ve watched that TMZ video of you fifty times in the last few days alone. I’ve had my trainer play it over the audio system at the gym while we are working out so that way, when my body was ready to call it quits, I found that extra fuel to push me forward.
Dusk moves closer to the camera.
Dusk: Let me tell you something, you fucked up.
Dusk: I was content just coming back and letting the chips fall where they might, but you decided to make it personal. You sit there and cry your eyes out because ‘life is unfair’. Boy, you don’t even know how unfair life can be. You want to whine and complain about how you’ve got a bum knee, how your chances at the NFL were ruined. Man up. We’re all dealing with our own set of issues, our own hurdles. The measure of a man isn’t how well he does when everything goes his way, but when he has to continually pick himself up over and over and over again. The number of surgeries I’ve endured in my thirty-year career is far more than what you’ve experienced. Each time I thought my career was done, I fought through the pain and adversity. I didn’t make excuses, I competed. I didn’t look for handouts, I earned what I got. You want a spot on this roster? Then don’t let a fifty-year-old man beat you in the middle of the ring tonight.
Dusk takes a step back, cracking his knuckles in the process.
Dusk: You woke up a fire in me, Ryoko. You wanted to go in on my age. You wanted to go in on how I’m taking something away from you by being in PRIME. You wanted to go in and mention my kids. Big mistake. Huge mistake. I hope you remember what it was like being that snot-nosed kid at the Rosemont Horizon all those years ago because I’m going to take you right back to that feeling. When you’re laid out on the mat tonight, looking up at me after I’ve taken you to the woodshed and back, don’t ask why. Just know that your mouth wrote a check that you couldn’t cash. You want something? Earn it. Let’s see if those massive hands of yours are any good at tapping out.
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
With that, Dusk brushes past the camera and cameraman, exiting the shot, and making his way to the ring for his upcoming match.
Nick Stuart: John Kennedy Royko Jr. versus Dusk is upon us.
Richard Parker: Is that the John Kennedy kid who is over doing it with the charity work?
Nick Stuart: Well, I for one think it’s thoughtful.
Richard Parker: It’s too much. If you want to be a champion you need to focus on your craft, not visiting sick kids. That’s how YOU get sick and run down.
Parker pushes in some ear plugs anticipating the Dusk pop.
Nick Stuart: This match will not be for the faint of heart!! Let’s send it down to our microphone partner Angelica Brooks who is standing by with John Kennedy Royko Jr.
Brooks smiles a broadcast journalist smile while holding a PRIME flagged microphone in her hand near the face of the 6’7” recruit, John Kennedy Royko Jr. His fiancée Aurora, a strikingly beautiful woman, stands next to JK modeling a Seymour Almasy tournament logoed shirt.
Angelica Brooks: JK, who is this gorgeous lady?
JK Royko: This is my fiancée, and former Miss Alabama, the gorgeous, Aurora Jennings. My rock. Look at this bad ass shirt she is wearing featuring the tournament logo. It’s sure to be a collectable from the rebirth of PRIME! These are for sale for a limited time only.
The young lady moves her shoulders to show different angles of the shirt.
JK Royko: Not only is it stylish.
Angelica Brooks: Go on.
JK Royko: Not only is it comfortable!
Angelica Brooks: Right.
JK Royko: Not only is it affordable! It also helps fund a great cause as proceeds go to ProLiteracy, the largest adult literacy and basic education membership organization in the United States! Help a great cause and look damn good doing it at the same time. Angelica that’s the perfect combo. Go to our website for details and order before your chance is gone!
Angelica Brooks: I know I’ll be ordering a bunch later tonight! So, the question going into this match is kind of the same as last week. How is the knee, and will it hold up tonight?
JK Royko: Feeling fine as a frog hair and ready to jump like one.
The big man starts jumping up and down as his fiancée raises an eyebrow in concern.
JK Royko: A cortisone shot helped and my knee won’t be an issue tonight. But Angelica my hands will!
The big man puts up his big hands for the camera to focus in on.
JK Royko: Today is Dust’s 50th birthday!! I was going to get him a cake but being a lifelong wrestling fan, I know that ends up messy. Somebody was yelling at me to give him a blueberry shake but those are expensive. I got him something he will remember for a long, long time.
Angelica Brooks: Really? What’s that?
Already embarrassed before it even begins Aurora just shakes her head trying to discourage JK from his plans.
JK Royko: I got him something right over here…honey, hit the music!!
Being a team player and a former university of Alabama cheer leader Aurora picks up a giant 80’s style boom box, hits and puts it on her shoulder. JK throws on a pair of shades over his eyes and comes up with a giant novelty looking gift box covering his hand.
Angelica Brooks: Oh, music?!
The journalist starts shyly grooving along to the song by Lonely Island “Dick in a Box” as JK starts dancing with the box in his hand.
JK Royko (singing):
Hey Dusk I got somethin’ real important to give you
So just tape up and listen well
Dust you know you’ve been around a long long time (such a long time)
And now I’m ready to give you a sign
(Wooow) You know it’s a tournament with a title on the line
Gonna give you something so you know what’s on my mind
It’s my Fist in a box, my Fist in a box dust
It’s my Fist in a box, my Fist in a box busta
It’s my Fist in a box, my Fist in a box brah
It’s my Fist in a box, my Fist in a box ooooo
The wrestler dances around with his fist in a box before kisses his soon to be wife as he walks away heading to the ramp to start his match.
Angelica Brooks: Ok, that was…. something.
Aurora Jennings: I’m sorry, I tried to explain the lameness. Truly sorry.
Angelica Brooks: Back to you guys for ring introductions.
Nick Stuart: That’s going to be stuck in my head all night.
Richard Parker: This guy is bringing back boring wrestling styles from the 70’s and bad sketch comedy from the 2000’s. Boy Royko is real innovator. Cutting edge. Maybe next week he’ll show us his pet rock and Royko branded beanie baby.
Nick Stuart: He’s new, young, and trying. Frankly I love his passion and spirit.
Off to ringside we go!
12 John Kennedy Royko Jr. vs. 13 Dusk
Nick Stuart: Next up, ladies and gentlemen, we have what on paper looks to be a hell of a match up when the big rookie John Kennedy Royko Jr squares off with fan favorite veteran Dusk. The winner moves on in the Almasy Invitational and the stakes couldn’t be higher in this youth vs. experience match up.
Richard Parker: I can’t say I’m becoming the biggest Royko fan, but I wouldn’t mind him squashing Dusk’s brittle old bones into dust.
“Possum Kingdom” by Toadies excites the crowd as the open guitar riff rocks the arena! A moment later out enters John Kennedy Royko Jr. who has a box in his hand and looks out the crowd with a smile. The 6’7” thickly built youngster equipped plainly with black trunks and a large knee brace on his left knee rips the box off his hand and exposes his fist. Some of the crowd cheers and more so do when he walks over a staff member who hands him a t-shirt gun. JK holds up the Almasy Invitational shirt to camera and yells something about going to the PRIME website. He tosses that shirt to a special needs child in the crowd and starts firing off shirts to cheering fans as he makes his way to the ring.
Nick Stuart: Royko tossing out some shirts tonight!
Richard Parker: We need to sell those Stuart, not bribe the crowd for cheers. I changed my mind, screw this guy.
Nick Stuart: Come on now – a great company man Rokyo has a bright future with us here in PRIME.
Richard Parker: IF his knee isn’t destroyed tonight by DUSK.
Nick Stuart: Now you’re pulling for Dusk? Well, this match is sure to be a war either way!
Vince Howard: From Prospect Height, Illinois, The 2020 John Lynch man of the year award winner! JOHN KENNEDY ROYKO JR!
The big man already in the ring makes a few chop motions to the crowd before blowing a kiss to his wife-to-be who is sitting in the front row cheering him on. He does some jumping jacks in the center of the ring to show he’s fine. He points and gives a thumbs up to a “Royko Rocks~!” sign done up in the old nostalgia “KANO ROCKS~!” font that some of the older PRIME fans would get.
Nick Stuart: The kid looks good to go tonight.
“Stronger” by Kanye West rips through the MGM Grand Arena as the fans immediately rise to their feet and start to chant.
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
From the backstage area emerges the man himself, Dusk. He stands at the top of the ramp as the fans cheer him on and chant his name. He has on a pair of white pants with black stripes on them with Dusk running down the outside of both legs. He wears a long black trenchcoat as well. He methodically makes his way down the ramp, slapping the hands of fans on his way to the ring, before he slides in under the bottom rope.
Vince Howard: And his opponent… DUUUUUSK!
He makes his way over to one of the ring corners, makes his way up to the middle turnbuckle, and holds his arms out as the fans continue to chant his name
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
Dusk hops off the middle turnbuckle and removes his trenchcoat before handing it over the top rope to a ringside attendant before slamming his forearms into his chest and making his way to his corner of the ring as Elvis Nelson signals for the bell.
Both competitors have their game faces on as they begin to circle with arms raised in the grapple position. While Royko appears to be a little more nervous, Dusk smiles the grin that only a cagey veteran can smile. As they circle, Dusk bobs and weaves, fainting in and out in an attempt to throw the bigger rookie off his game. Royko grows frustrated and lunges at Dusk, but Dusk leans back and into the ropes, causing Elvis Nelson to halt Royko’s momentum and tell him to step back. Royko grows impatient and Dusk turns to the crowd and riles them up.
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
Nick Stuart: That right there is experience you can’t get in a gym, folks. That’s pure ring time knowledge.
Satisfied that the support from the PRIMEates has made his point, Dusk comes out of the corner and signals to Royko that he’s ready to go. The big man doesn’t waste time as he engages the veteran in a powerful lock up. Royko tries to overpower the smaller man but Dusk is able to quickly twist the rookie’s arm back in a hammerlock. He has just a second to try to sync in the hold before Royko reverses into a hammerlock of his own! The powerful young wrestler has Dusk’s arm locked in tight, causing Dusk to fall forward and grab a hold of the nearby rope. Elvis Nelson moves in to force a break. Dusk shakes his arm and rotates his shoulder to shake off the pain caused by the bigger man’s hammerlock while Royko breaks out into a grin and makes the “let’s go” motion.
Richard Parker: Come on already!
Nick Stuart: This is called wrestling. It’s what the show is about.
Without warning, Dusk flies at Royko and unloads with a series of quick and stiff forearms to the head and the crowd lets out a cheer of surprise and approval!
Nick Stuart: Dusk certainly seems to be moving a bit more fluidly than the last time we saw him! He’s taking it to Royko.
Richard Parker: I gotta give it to him. Catching the rookie off guard was the smart play.
Forearm! Forearm! Forearm! Forearm! Forearm! Forearm! Forearm! Forearm! Slightly dazed by the sudden onslaught, JKR tries to answer with a clubbing blow, but Dusk is able to dodge. Forearm! Forearm! Forearm! Forearm! Another clubbing attempt, another dodge. Switching it up, Dusk transitions into brutal knife edged chops that echo throughout the MGM. Chop! Chop! Chop! Royko holds his chest and back peddles into a corner – Dusk follows. Chop! Chop! Chop!
Nick Stuart: Wait a minute – those chops seem to be having some diminishing returns!
Indeed they do. Oddly, as Dusk appears to be amping up the intensity of his chops… they seem to be affecting Royko less and less! The big man stands up straight and walks forward out of the corner with a look of pure anger on his face. Chop! He grows angrier. Chop! Even angrier. Growing concerned with the fired up big man, Dusk runs the ropes to try to put a little more ooomph into his chop… but he runs into a chop from Royko that nearly turns him inside out! Dusk hits the mat and pops back up in a daze… only to walk into a big bodyslam! The fans roar in approval at the display of power as Dusk rolls under the bottom rope to the floor for a breather. He looks into the ring with his hands on his hips as it’s now John Kennedy Royko Jr’s turn to fire up the PRIMEates!
Richard Parker: Stop playing to these people, you idiot! Stay on him!
Dusk remains outside the ring as Elvis sticks his head through the ropes to warn him that he’s going to begin a ten count soon. In response, Dusk jumps up onto the apron and shouts in JKR’s direction. The rookie’s head snaps around and he lunges for Dusk… but Dusk jumps down off the apron and grabs Royko’s legs! He pulls swiftly backwards, bringing the larger man straight down onto his back. From outside the ring, he pulls Royko into the corner, and swings his left knee into the unforgiving turnbuckle! Royko grabs his knee in pain as Elvis Nelson chastises Dusk who simply rolls back into the ring.
Nick Stuart: You had to know it was coming to this. Royko’s football career ended because of that knee injury, and there’s no way an experienced grappler like Dusk wasn’t going to use that to his advantage.
Richard Parker: I hate how he’s making me compliment him – but you’re right! Take out the knee, take away the kid’s size advantage. I approve.
Richard Parker: I’m going to need a shower after this.
Back in the ring, Dusk positions Royko’s hurting knee on the second rope, and leaps up and back down onto it with a senton. He puts it back up – one more time! Royko, holding his knee, attempts to crawl away to safety but Dusk is all over him, lifting his knee high into the air and slamming it back down onto the canvas. Again. Again! Royko cries in pain so much that Elvis actually moves in to see if the rookie wants to continue… he does. Dusk hangs up, seemingly allowing JKR to get up to his feet… but as he does, Dusk meets him right in the knee with a chop block! Firmly in control, Dusk grabs Royko into the center of the ring and falls to the mat, locking JKR in a knee bar! Royko begins to howl in pain as Elvis moves into position to hear or see a potential submission. Dusk’s face is a picture of concentration as he keeps the hold locked in. For close to two minutes, Royko attempts to pull himself toward the ropes, but he finds that his larger frame isn’t much help when he’s on the mat as Dusk’s ring awareness allows him to keep his opponent far away from the ropes. Royko appears to be getting desperate and his hand hovers ominously above the ring…
…he seems to be ready to submit…
…but instead of dropping the hand, he is able to twist and land a giant CHOP across Dusk’s face! Dusk is rocked and releases the kneebar, rolling away and holding his head in pain. Royko is slower to get his feet, and when he is able to pull himself up to a knee, his face is met with a Dusk shining wizard out of nowhere! Royko is down and Dusk covers!
Royko powers a shoulder up. Dusk gets up somewhat gingerly, the burst of energy taking a bit out of him, but he doesn’t allow JKR to get to his feet – instead going for the Anaconda Choke. He just barely has it set up when Royko powers up in a burst of adrenaline, lifting Dusk, still on his back, into the air…
…until the knee buckles. Royko crumbles, and Dusk bounces off the ropes and hits a running knee to the mush! Cover!
THRE – NO!
Nick Parker: Dusk is relentless in keeping the big man down.
Dusk again off the ropes, bounding toward Royko…
…when JKR lunges up outtanowhere and nearly takes Dusk’s head off with a big LARIAT! Dusk is down and Royko again falls before attempting to get to his feet while trying to slap some feeling back into his knee.
Nick Stuart: The PRIMEates are on their feet! Heck of a contest!
With the fans cheering them both on, both wrestlers are slowly getting back to their feet. They are up at the same time, and as they turn to face each other, Dusk goes for the superkick…
…but it’s caught! Royko has Dusk in a tough spot as he hops on one foot, and he spins the veteran around, catching him on the rebound and picking him up for the Oklahoma Stampede!
Richard Parker: He’s looking to end it here!
Royko’s knee causes him to be on shaky footing, but he is able to lunge forward and drive Dusk’s back into the turnbuckle! He spins, and although his knee DOES give out, he’s still able to fall forward and drive Dusk into the mat!
Nick Stuart: That’s it!! Oklahoma Stampede!!
Royko hooks the leg…
DING DING DING!
Vince Howard: Your winner by pinfall… JOHN KENNEDY ROYKO JR!!
Elvis Nelson moves in to hold John Royko’s hand, but the big rookie is having some difficulty putting weight on his knee. As Dusk rolls over to shake off the daze from being driven into the mat, the fans are on their feet to applaud and show respect for both men.
Nick Stuart: You have to give it up. Dusk wrestled a smart match and the knee work almost paid off, but in the end it wasn’t enough to stop that Oklahoma Stampede. Still… Dusk looked to be closer to his old ring shape as we’ve ever seen him tonight. I’d say both men have something to be proud of.
Richard Parker: In a very profound way… they’re both losers.
The cameras cut to the backstage area as the duo of Cancer Jiles and “Beautiful” Bobby Dean appear. The two Bandits in crime are walking down a long hallway, the larger of the two trailing behind as he’s bogged down with an impressive array of suitcases, duffle bags, and for some odd reason he’s dragging a large six foot tall vanity mirror in his wake. Jiles, wearing street clothes, and without a thing in either hand is talking to his cohort.
Cancer Jiles: This is important Bobbo, I hope you’ve been writing all this down.
Bob has not. Nor will he start. His hands are full. DUH.
Cancer Jiles: Better to just go over it again. Big night, and I want to be sure. From the top.
The Crown Prince of COOL clears his throat, as if to leave no confusion.
Cancer Jiles: Stone wash my tights. Use that soap I like. Not the Mickey Mouse, MGM Grand shit, either. I want the good stuff. Whatever you used the last time caused some serious chafing. Could have been Muriel, too. Ha, such a skank.
Bobby Dean: (to himself) I’m supposed to be using soap?
Cancer Jiles: Next, polish my T-Shades. Make sure to wear the protective mittens– I don’t want you getting any fingerprints or Cheeto dust on them.
Jiles happens to stop, swiftly turning around, causing Bobby to bump into him as he’s unable to slow his momentum without warning, or an appropriate length of runway. Taking a step back, Bobby is dripping sweat as he watches Cancer remove his current pair of T-Shades, but as the first pair come off, a second pair somehow miraculously appears on his face. Gently resting his prized shades in their carrier, he then reaches out and with tentative hands he adjusts the underboob of his massive friend and quickly inserts the carrier before letting the flap of skin fall back in place.
Cancer Jiles: There, now you can’t claim to lose them.
The COOL smiles. Bob does not. Instead, the look on Bob’s face is as if he is gazing into the soul of a doll, and the doctor just asked him to point where Cancer touches him.
Cancer Jiles: What else? Oh. Right. Don’t forget about cocaine, and don’t be sneaking bites, either. I know it’s hard, but still. That is for our friend, not you. He needs his vitamins. The lights are going to be bright out there tonight. He’ll need his fill if he’s going to make the trip.
Bob sighs. He likes the powder. Sugar that is.
Cancer Jiles: Lastly, don’t forget that thing. You know, for the ghost problem? Other than that, we should be good to go!
The Maestro flashes a thumbs up.
Cancer Jiles: Now spit it all back to me so I know you got all of it.
Bobby Dean: Wash my balls with fancy herbal soap, twice. Go get a Polish T in the shade. Remember to wear my mittens. Don’t snort cocaine. And, just because all the Bandits are counting on you, I’m going to book a hair appointment for myself to celebrate your victory. That’s how confident I am in you.
He looks at Cancer with a proud smile while tapping the side of his head.
Bobby Dean: Next, take care of Cocaine…. CHECK!
Bobby offers up a *wink wink* of his own, but it’s blatant and not the least bit sly.
Cancer’s nostrils flare. Probably not a coincidence.
Bobby Dean: Last but not least, a bucket of deer piss. Why do you need that again?
Cancer Jiles: It’s for Dooze, I can’t ever see him coming, this way I’ll at least be able to smell him when he’s around.
Bobby Dean: Does it have to be deer? I’ve got a sheet back in the hotel room, it’s stained and musky, you can throw that over him?
Doozer: Guys, I’m standing right here…
Cancer practically leaps out of his shoes, as Bobby immediately holds his chest. It takes a moment but Bobby is able to get his breathing back to normal, as Cancer looks over at the old man, with his arms crossed angrily over his chest.
Cancer Jiles: Haven’t we discussed you not scaring poor Bobby like that?
Doozer: Me!? Scare Bobby? I’ve been here the entire time!
Cancer Jiles: Listen, grab the goods from Bobbo there, he’s got a lot to do before my match later.
Doozer: You sure you picked the right guy to handle all those chores?
Bobby looks offended as he audibly scoffs.
Bobby Dean: How dare you, sir!
Doozer rolls his baby blue eyes and reaches out, grabbing the suitcases while shaking his head. Anticipating a heavy load, his eyes go wide as he suddenly realizes the suitcases are empty, and the duffle bags appear to be full of toilet paper and eggs. Muttering curses to himself, Doozer grabs everything and follows Cancer Jiles down the hall, the two men leaving the overwhelmed large man behind.
MY MILKSHAKES BRING ALL THE BOYS TO THE YARD.
“Milkshakes” by Kelis can be heard playing throughout the halls, as a familiar looking forklift pulls up. King Blueberry behind the wheel, smiles down to the big man, toffing the imaginary cap in Bobby’s direction.
King Blueberry: What’s cookin’ good lookin’?
Bobby takes a moment to admire the ride, before looking up and smiling at Blueberry. An inspiration strikes, as his face lights up.
Bobby Dean: Hey, do you happen to know if Lindsay Troy is Polish?
King Blueberry: She might be? How about you climb aboard, and let’s go find out?
Bobby climbs aboard, scampering up to the roof like a spider monkey. But once in place, he reaches down under his massive mammaries and pulls out a familiar custom made wood box, emblazoned with a “CCJ” along the front. With a deft flick of the wrist, the box is opened and a yet to be polished pair of T-Shades in placed on the bridge of his nose.
Bobby Dean: Onward my Blueberry friend!
LA LA, LA LA, LA
THE BOYS ARE WAITING
LA LA, LA LA, LA
Read the Room
Fading into a hallway backstage, we see a particularly agitated collective of Enemigos I, III, IV, V, and VI. In front of them stands “The Southern Sparkplug” Wade Elliott, PRIME co-Head of Security. He keeps his hands up in defense as the Security Luchadores buzz in frustration.
Wade Elliott: I know, I know, I hear ya’ll, but there ain’t nothin’ in the rules that says Rezin can’t grab everythin’ he wants from the buffet line and toss it in a sack. That said, next time if all the god-damn ribs are gone ‘fore I can git to em’, you get me on the radio real quick.
As the ‘Bama Bruiser continues to manage his security team, the chiseled shape of one Hayes Hanlon enters in the background, rounding a corner with a duffel bag in hand. He stops in his tracks, looks over his shoulder, smoothes his dark mustache, and approaches slowly.
Wade Elliott: (sighing) Yes, the same goes fer Bobby Dean. He’s got a clause in his contract ‘bout buffets…
Hayes Hanlon: Mr. Elliott?
The Bad Dog stops mid-sentence, eyebrows furrowing as he turns his rugged frame to face Hanlon.
Wade Elliott: Yeah, can we do somethin’ for ya, son?
Hayes sets his duffel bag to the floor and extends a hand.
Hayes Hanlon: No sir, just wanted to introduce myself. I’m “Event Horizon” Hayes Hanlon.
Wade Elliott: (shaking his hand) Wade Elliott. These here’re the Enemigos.
Hayes Hanlon: (nodding to the luchas) Big fan.
The Enemigos show their appreciation as Hayes turns back to Wade.
Hayes Hanlon: And I remember watching you kick Hessian off the PRIME*View at ReVolution 250. That shit blew my mind.
Wade Elliott: Yeah, that one ain’t my fuzziest memory.
Wade snaps his fingers in realization.
Wade Elliott: Hey, yer the new kid who beat Dan Ryan’s daughter ‘couple weeks ago, right?
Hayes Hanlon: (grinning) Yes sir, that’s me.
Wade Elliott: Congrats on the win, that girl scares th’shit outta me. The hell’s “Event Horizon” mean, anyway?
Hayes Hanlon: Oh, dude, it’s really cool. Check it out, so black holes in space have this ridiculous gravitational pull…
Wade Elliott: (holding a hand up) Let me stop ya right there, son, I gotta get this show on the road. Good luck with yer match t’night, that Bathory kid is fuckin’ creepy.
Hayes Hanlon: (slightly dejected) Oh, yeah. No problem…and thanks.
The ‘Bama Bruiser turns back to his security team as Hayes retrieves his bag.
Hayes Hanlon: Oh, and real quick, I always wanted to ask; whatever happened to Enemigo II?
The luchadores go dead still and silent. Wade’s blue eyes grow wide. Enemigo III visibly trembles. Enemigo VI buries his head in his hands. Enemigo I puts an arm around IV’s shoulders for support, clutching his collar, mumbling through his mask through unintelligible sobs. Soon, the entirety of the Enemigos are bawling, wailing, and consoling each other.
Hayes Hanlon: Oh, shiiiit…I didn’t mean to…
Wade Elliott: (turning and snapping) TH’HELL’SAMATTER WITH YOU?
Hayes Hanlon: I’m sorry! I didn’t realize!
Wade Elliott: JESUS, boy! Look at em’ all! Can’t ya read the god-damn room!?
Hayes Hanlon: Read what? They’re all wearing…
Wade turns to the masked security team, patting Enemigo I on the back.
Wade Elliott: S’alright, s’alright, he didn’t know.
The Bad Dog turns his angered gaze back to The Event Horizon.
Wade Elliott: Fer chrissakes, son, you go flappin’ yer gums like that just anywhere? It’ll be an hour ‘fore I can git em’ back to work!
Hayes Hanlon: I’m SO sorry! What can I do?
Wade turns back to Hayes, hands on his hips and shaking his head.
Wade Elliott: Shit…well, ya better buy em’ a round after the show, that’s a start.
Hayes Hanlon: Okay. Okay, I can do that. What do they like to drink?
Wade Elliott: Pinot Grigio.
Hayes Hanlon: Consider it done, a round of p…wait, really?
Wade Elliott: NO THEY DON’T WANT PINOT GRIGIO! THEY WANT TOP SHELF TEQUILA!
Hayes Hanlon: Yes! Holy shit, sorry! I’m on it!
The rookie quickly re-captures his duffel bag and turns, speed walking back down the hall. Wade shakes his head and returns to console his team.
Dazed and Confused
The feed transitions to Teddy Palmer walking down the backstage corridor that leads towards the staging area. He is dressed in his ring gear, sporting his “Face To Fuckin’ Canvas” shirt. In his right hand, his phone is held up a couple feet from his face, the screen illuminated with a video call.
Teddy Palmer: So you’re telling me you had nothing to do with it whatsoever?
Alexander Redding: Not in the slightest. Hell, I’d just trust you could handle yourself for a couple weeks.
Teddy Palmer: See, now I know you’re lying you son of a bitch. Just admit it, this babysitter schtick is the kinda shit you’d find funny.
Alexander Redding: I didn’t say it wasn’t hilarious. If this were my idea though, I’d at least have the decency to check if Mrs. Perras wanted an all expenses paid trip to fabulous Las Vegas. She’s gotta be retired by now, no?
Teddy Palmer: Our third grade teacher? Actually, that wouldn’t be so…
Before Ted can finish his thought, he’s sent flying into the concrete wall. His phone spirals to the ground, it’s screen shattering upon impact. Walking into the picture slowly is Cyrus O’Haire. Teddy, who is a bit dazed from hitting the wall so hard, looks up at Cyrus from the ground.
Teddy Palmer: Oh…hey there big guy.
Cyrus reaches down and grabs Teddy by the side of the head, bringing him up to his feet. Teddy swings at Cyrus, but Cyrus easily blocks the dazed man’s punch, and sends Teddy flying back to the wall a second time. As Teddy stumbles backwards, Cyrus grabs him by the shoulder and waist and tosses him face first into a couple stacked crates, busting his lip wide open. Cyrus looks down at Teddy, who is thoroughly dazed and confused.
Cyrus O’Haire: Who’s laughing now?
Teddy opens and shuts his eyes a few times, trying to clear the cobwebs. By the time he can focus, Cyrus is already walking toward the ring for their upcoming match. Crawling on all fours, he locates and grabs his phone.
Alexander Redding: That sounded like it hurt.
Teddy uses the wall for support, shifting his back against its surface and plopping his ass onto the concrete. With the back of his free hand, he wipes the blood from the corner of his mouth.
Teddy Palmer: Ya don’t say…
Alexander Redding: I’ve known you to have a few odd prematch rituals, but…
Teddy Palmer: I hope you choke on a cheese curd, prick…
Ted taps on the cracked screen repeatedly until it finally disconnects the call, tossing it aside. Inhaling with a painful wince, he looks off in the near distance.
Teddy Palmer: For future reference, if a freight train comes barreling one’s way, it’s just common courtesy to give a heads up.
The frame zooms out to show Joe Burro standing a few feet back. The frumpy 60 something older man is wearing gray sweatpants and a black hoodie pulled tight to his face where his googly eyes google through his gaze. He is holding a sandwich slice, unphased by the happenings.
Joe Burro: Who am I, the city? I’m a simple tailor. They need those crossing gates with the lights and beep beeps and what not. I don’t have a giant reflective arm to help the situation but perhaps if you wore an old lucha mask blessed by the God of the underworld you’d be more perceptive?
The weird man takes a bite of his white bread liverwurst sandwich while his eyebrow raises ponderously. Teddy mirrors the creep, raising a curious brow of his own.
Teddy Palmer: …I want whatever you’re on…
Cut to ringside.
11 Cyrus O’Haire vs. 14 Teddy Palmer
Nick Stuart: We’ve got an interesting one coming up and, by interesting, I mean I’m not sure how much has been taken out of Teddy Palmer.
Richard Parker: Attacked by a six-foot-seven monster, who takes his matches as seriously as they come, I hear you. Teddy is no push over himself, though. I guess we’ll see what happens.
The scene switches to Vince Howard, standing in the middle of the ring.
Vince Howard: This is a second round match of the Almasy Invitational. Introducing first, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa… weighing in at two-hundred-sixty-five pounds… The Hardcore Messiah, Cyrus O’Haire!
“Blue Monday” by Orgy blares on the PA as O’Haire marches out with a dead serious tone. He ignores the fans within the MGM Grand, focusing all his attention on the empty squared circle in front of him. His body barely moves, his feet simply take him down the rampway and to the edge of the ring. He slides under the bottom rope and pushes himself to his feet before unleashing a roar with a fist in the air.
Nick Stuart: A weathered vet, no doubt and someone you don’t want to mess with.
The fans wait for Palmer’s entrance. They build an anticipatory cheer.
Vince Howard: And his opponent, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada… weighing in at two-hundred-fifteen pounds… TEDDY PALMER!
During Vince Howard’s announcement, the bouncing guitar lick of “Leave Me Lonely” by Hilltop Hoods vibrates through the MGM Grand. The PRIMEates are lively, erupting into cheers as Teddy Palmer bursts out onto the stage. He has a purpose to his step, his trademark smirk noticeably absent. Rather, it’s been replaced with a scowl, highlighted by the open wound on his upper lip.
Nick Stuart: That lip is looking gnarly. Cyrus’ cheap shot reopened the gash Palmer got in his first round victory against EVW.
Richard Parker: Teddy’s got his game face on. He looks ready to go, we’ll see if the shot has taken more out of him soon.
As the rolling lyrics pick up in pace, Teddy continues his march towards the ring, peeling off his tee. He spits out of the corner of his mouth before wiping the blood from his beard with the garment and tossing it to the ground. Hands reach out over the barricade but Teddy has blinders on, his eyes locked on O’Haire.
Nick Stuart: We’re in for a fight.
Richard Parker: Most definitely.
Rolling underneath the bottom rope, Teddy is quick to his feet, but his path to Cyrus is immediately cut off by Jimmy Turnbull, who orders the fuming Palmer to his starting corner of the ring. Except Teddy doesn’t want to listen… and Cyrus is also raring to go.
Richard Parker: Jimmy’s got his hands full already, poor guy.
The referee knows the sooner he calls for the bell, the better. Both men are off and meet each other in the center of the canvas. Palmer and O’Haire exchange merciless shots with each other and all the referee can do is watch.
Nick Stuart: Look, I get it. If I was Teddy, I’d do the same thing. I’m just not sure this is a smart call. O’Haire is twice his size!
Richard Parker: And yet… Teddy’s holding his own. Look!
Indeed, Palmer is. He’s driving hard forearm shots into the neck of O’Haire, staggering the big man back.
Richard Parker: It IS a smart move. It’s not only how hard you can hit sometimes, it’s where you hit. Teddy is clubbing his forearm into Cyrus’ neck!
While the strategy works, it only works for so long. Soon O’Haire drives his thumb into Palmer’s face and then pushes the Toronto native backwards. O’Haire bursts from the corner and crushes Palmer with an inside-out clothesline before shouting into the rafters. The bigger man snatches Palmer off the canvas and hurls Teddy halfway across the ring with ease!
Nick Stuart: The brawling-style offense from Teddy only lasted so long.
Richard Parker: I can’t blame him. Like you said, if anyone was knocked in the face backstage, they’d likely come for a fight, too.
Knowing he can’t out-wrestle Palmer, O’Haire keeps the impact moves coming. He blasts Palmer across the chest with a hard knife edge chop, which works Palmer down to a knee. Teddy tries to fight the pain inside his head but Cyrus, again, connects with a second thunderous knife edge chop heard all around the bleachers.
Nick Stuart: Sickening.
Palmer’s chest is beet red. O’Haire lifts him up without breaking a sweat and throws Palmer across the mat once again. Teddy, ever so resilient, gets to his feet and races towards O’Haire but eats a big boot to the face. This is followed by the Iowa native digging his right index finger deep into Palmer’s open face gash.
Nick Stuart: Okay, no. THIS is sickening!
O’Haire hurls Palmer to the canvas once more, this time in a modified hammer throw. Palmer, however, finds a way to his feet and asks for more.
Richard Parker: Really tough sledding for Palmer… but he won’t quit!
O’Haire hits the ropes and connects with a clothesline. A scoop slam follows and then an elbow drop into Palmer’s chest. Cyrus continues the onslaught. He throws Palmer over his shoulder and takes a run…
Nick Stuart: Looking for a powerslam… no! Palmer escapes!
The elusive Teddy Palmer bounces off the ropes and dropkicks O’Haire in the right leg.
Richard Parker: There we go! Teddy’s no idiot. Attack the base of the big man, then you can seek some redemption.
And Palmer does. O’Haire falls to a knee after the dropkick and Teddy plants the behemoth with a DDT.
Nick Stuart: A lot of Palmer’s typical moves may be out the window in a match like this.
Teddy drives his own elbow into the chest of Cyrus, only to do it three more times. Feeling more confident, Palmer drags O’Haire upwards while feeding him stiff arms in the process.
Richard Parker: Smart. You pull your opponent up AND connect with offensive moves at the same time.
O’Haire, however, starts driving Palmer away. The forearm shots by Teddy are hard but Cyrus shows his strength in absorbing the blows. O’Haire pushes Palmer backwards and Teddy flies into a corner. However, Palmer bounces off and dropkicks O’Haire in the same right knee again.
Nick Stuart: Another DDT by Palmer!
Teddy knows he’s nowhere close to a pinfall attempt. He keeps hammering forearms into O’Haire’s face but this time, The Hardcore Messiah explodes. The giant throws both arms forward and sends Palmer flying into the ropes. As Palmer bounces off them, O’Haire catches the smaller framed wrestler and connects with a powerslam!
The fans in the arena gasp as the move legitimately shakes the ring upon impact. O’Haire doesn’t waste a moment. He hits the ropes and lands a leg drop.
The Vyrus drags Palmer to his feet.
Nick Stuart: O’Haire might be looking for a powerslam again…
Placing Palmer onto his shoulders, O’Haire is not to be outdone. He drills Palmer’s body into the mat and hooks a leg.
The crowd comes alive as Teddy shows signs of life. O’Haire isn’t going to argue with the referee, though. He merely scoops Palmer off the mat and Irish whips the Toronto native into a turnbuckle. Palmer meets the buckle chest-first. Theodore hits and sticks from the sheer impact and O’Haire is ready to pounce. Looking to bulldoze his way through Palmer, Cyrus measures his opponent and is about to race in…
When he’s suddenly distracted. O’Haire places a hand on his head and starts screaming, eyes darting around the canvas.
Nick Stuart: What’s going on?
Nevertheless, it’s the opening Palmer needs. Teddy comes to, pulls himself from the turnbuckle and bursts across the canvas, delivering a wild knee strike to the side of O’Haire’s temple as the giant was bent over. O’Haire has a hard time recovering from this move. Replays show Palmer’s knee connects flush with Cyrus’ temple.
With O’Haire on all fours, Palmer goes back to the tried and true DDT for a third time in this contest.
Palmer is feeling it, the crowd backing him. The #14 seed lifts O’Haire upright, pulling with all of his might. Palmer attempts an Irish whip on The Hardcore Messiah but it’s reversed at the last possible second as O’Haire latches onto Palmer’s waist and hits a pop-up powerbomb instead.
The air is taken out of the arena. O’Haire, seemingly able to put aside whatever affected him earlier and is now back in control. He drives elbow after elbow into Teddy Palmer’s temple.
Richard Parker: I have to think these temple blows are payback for Palmer’s earlier knee strikes to his own head. O’Haire doesn’t seem like a guy who forgets easily.
The big man hits a delayed brainbuster followed by more stiff shots to Palmer’s head. Cyrus attempts to dig into Palmer’s gash once more but Teddy fumbles backwards, hits the ropes and ducks under a clothesline. The six-foot-one wrestler knocks the right leg from under Cyrus again with a kick placed flush on the popliteal area. It makes O’Haire wobble, losing balance and Palmer jumps into the air, kicking O’Haire in the side of the skull.
Nick Stuart: Teddy has two openings here. O’Haire’s right knee and the temple. Both areas he’s worked on exclusively.
Palmer tries for a triangle choke but O’Haire is into the ropes rather quickly. The hold is broken at the count of one, as Palmer takes every second of the match seriously. Not wanting to waste a second, Teddy hits the ropes-
But can’t avoid the big boot from O’Haire.
Richard Parker: I don’t know if you noticed but O’Haire used his left leg. I’m not sure the big boot will have as much impact. Cyrus did not use his normal leg.
O’Haire looks down at Palmer and scoffs. He grabs Teddy by his long hair and throws him into a powerbomb position. The crowd comes alive, trying to cheer Palmer on… knowing the jackknife powerbomb, The Injection, is mere seconds away.
O’Haire throws Palmer up onto his shoulders… however, Teddy isn’t going to die just yet.
Nick Stuart: Palmer throwing forearm smashes into the side of O’Haire’s temple. He’s furiously working away, knowing if O’Haire hits this, it’s over.
Palmer fights and fights… he’s clubbing the monster with many blows and finally…
O’Haire’s knee buckles.
Nick Stuart: Palmer escapes!
Teddy’s feet touch the floor. He takes hold of O’Haire’s arm and pulls the big man into a ripcord knee strike. This works Cyrus onto all fours. Palmer bounces off the ropes.
Nick Stuart: Nosebleed Section!
The curb stomp hits, the crowd erupts!
Palmer hooks a leg.
DING DING DING
“Leave Me Lonely” by Hilltop Hoods plays as Vince Howard stands up from the time keeper’s table.
Vince Howard: The winner of this match… TEDDY PALMER!
Nick Stuart: Huge win for Teddy! Of course, every win in this tournament is huge.
Richard Parker: Not a bad showing at all from Cyrus O’Haire. Both men wanted it. Both men worked extremely hard. In the end, it was the work Palmer put in on O’Haire’s knee and head which got him the W.
ReVival rolls elsewhere as the referee raises Teddy Palmer’s hand in the center of the ring.
No More Surprises
Following the commercial break, we’re taken backstage where a curly-haired shadow looms large over Dickie Parker, Nova, and Benj as they sit wide-eyed in chairs in front of a large mahogany desk. The camera swings around to the face of Lindsay Troy, color flushing her cheeks, eyes narrowed.
Lindsay Troy: I am…speechless.
Benj raises a hand.
Troy flicks her gaze to him and he immediately freezes.
Lindsay Troy: You! Did you think because your daddy is an investor in my company that gave you any authority to do anything except maybe volunteer for T-Shirt Cannon duty?!
Benj winces and lowers his hand. Dickie raises his.
Dickie Parker: We-
Troy whips around to him.
Lindsay Troy: And you! I thought you had more sense than this, Dickie. Him, I almost understand (gesturing to Benj) but you…surely you didn’t think being Richard Parker’s son – of all things – would give you carte blanche for a scheme like this?
Dickie shakes his head.
Nova: Lindz, I-
Troy darts her right hand out, silencing the Risen Star.
Lindsay Troy: (taking a deep breath) Caes…you know I love you. I’m glad you’re not in jail because we were all really worried about you. But right now, you need to can it.
The Queen of the Ring collapses back into her chair and pinches the bridge of her nose.
Lindsay Troy: How many are there? What are we talking about here?
Benj: The program never got off the ground.
Dickie: We only got one more approved before we talked with Nova and shut the whole thing down.
Troy’s eyes wander past the trio and over to David, who stands awkwardly in the corner. Her gaze draws down to the blinking green light on the ankle bracelet attached to his left ankle. He waves hello and attempts a smile.
Nova: (weakly) You see, it’s really not as bad as-
Lindsay Troy: As? As WHAT? I’m doing literally everything in my power to resurrect a wrestling behemoth, with ALL that entails – and it’s a LOT – and I have one Hall of Famer and one complete stranger WANDERING AROUND ON CORRECTIONS SUPERVISION WITH ANKLE MONITORS!
Everyone recoils back, Lindsay’s legendary temper coming out in full force. She takes a deep breath in an attempt to calm herself, then looks up at David, who is trying to make himself as small as possible.
Lindsay Troy: What’s your name?
David: David Foster.
She scrutinizes him. David can’t help but feel it’s not unlike a full body cavity search.
Lindsay Troy: Alright, David Foster…you can stay, but you’re stuck with these idiots. God help you.
She turns her gaze back to Nova, Benj, and Dickie.
Lindsay Troy: As for you three…the program is shut down, right?
They all nod earnestly.
Lindsay Troy: Then I don’t suppose so much damage is done that we won’t see our way through this thing. Just…please no more surprises. Please.
She turns in her seat to face the wall and runs a hand through her hair.
Lindsay Troy: Alright, go do something productive. And stay out of trouble.
David opens the door to her office and Dickie and Benj file out. Nova isn’t far behind them when Troy turns back around.
Lindsay Troy: Caes…
Nova turns back.
Lindsay Troy: (smiling) …it’s good to see you.
Nova turns back, flashing a grin, and for a moment all the years haven’t passed by at all.
Nova: Good to see you too, Lindz.
He ducks out and the Queen of the Ring rubs her temple, feeling a headache coming on. Outside in the hallway, King Blueberry and Bobby Dean whiz by on a gaudily decked-out forklift as “No Scrubs” by TLC blares from the boombox tied to El Hijo del Señor Cool Guy.
Out of the corner of her eye, Lindsay catches the movement and whips her head towards the door.
Lindsay Troy: What the…
Get This Party Started
A slow, melancholic violin song begins to play.
V/O: Life got you down?
Cut to the image of a construction worker on the job site. Male, looks to be mid-forties. His eyes look strained, his face and hands are filthy, and he’s sweating up a storm. Removing his hard hat, he wipes copious amounts of sweat from his brow. Behind him, we hear the shout of what we can only assume is his boss.
Foreman: HEY! It ain’t break time!
The worker sighs, putting his hat back on.
Cut to a generic cubical in Any Office, USA. Behind a cluttered desk sits a young woman in business casual attire. Her eyes glaze over as she stares into the blue tint of her computer screen, mindlessly clicking away. She reaches over for her coffee mug and goes to drink but realizes it’s empty. She looks like she is about to cry.
Cut one more time to a kid. Male, mid-twenties. He’s struggling to make several drinks at once behind a Starbucks counter. As he turns to and fro frantically, we can see a line of angry looking people behind the counter. A middle aged blond woman points at her watch and makes a “let’s go” motion. The kid’s head is spinning and he absolutely freezes in anxiety.
V/O: Life is too short.
In a three way split screen, the construction worker, the office worker, and the Starbucks worker all look directly into the camera as if responding to the voice over.
V/O: It’s time to blow off some steam.
All three slowly break out into smiles. The construction worker tosses his hardhat. The office worker ditches her coffee. The barista rips off his apron.
The violin song stops. In its place kicks in the opening chords to the song “Drink” by Alestorm.
NEW SCENE! All three of our heroes are now at a bar. The construction worker is playing pool like a pro, nailing all sorts of trick shots as he is cheered on by a small crowd for his amazing talents. The office worker is on stage, belting out karaoke surrounded by swirling multicolored lights and with absolutely no inhibition. A crowd of people sing along with her as she is clearly the star of the show. The kid from Starbucks is now dressed to kill and surrounded by a swarm of young women as he can’t wipe the grin from his wife.
V/O: It’s time to get the party started.
Black screen. White text.
GET THE PARTY STARTED:
THE SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIALS ARE COMING TO PRIME
Progress and Paperwork
The camera settles on a young man standing over a table, his arms full. Judging by his black PRIME polo shirt and nervous expression, he is obviously a backstage worker, responsible for food, or maybe parking, or maybe he’s the guy who has to hide King Blueberry from PRIME executives to keep him from being fired. In any case, he bobbles the items in his arms – a hat, a few coozies, and a handful of stickers, all emblazoned with the letters FFN in connected writing.
Backstage Attendant Mark: Thank you, Mr. Rhine.
The camera pans across the table to Fighting For Nora’s Jonathan Rhine, who is sitting at the table with a huge smile. To the right of him, leaning back with his feet on the table, is Paxton Ray, Rhine’s tag team partner. Ray is tossing a coozie from one hand to the other.
Jonathan Rhine: No, Mark, thank you. Your generous donation will go directly to Nora’s fund. We both appreciate it so much.
Rhine looks back at Ray, who looks up and nods.
Paxton Ray: Thanks.
Jonathan Rhine: Okay, so four coozies, 10 stickers and a hat – that’s forty dollars total.
Backstage Attendant Mark: Right, one second.
With seemingly Herculean effort, Mark is able to balance everything in his arms as he reaches into his wallet, and with two fingers opens it and shakes out three bills. He drops his wallet on the ground as he scoops the three bills up and hands it towards Rhine, who looks at Paxton nervously.
Jonathan Rhine: Do we accept cash, Paxton?
Paxton Ray: Don’t think so.
Backstage Attendant Mark: Why not?
Jonathan Rhine: Tax thing.
Backstage Attendant Mark: Oh.
With another feat of strength, Mark bends down, scoops up his wallet, and is able to pry his credit card out in the same way he had previously. Amazingly, nothing has fallen from his arms. Rhine grabs the card and sticks it in his little portable square thingy.
Jonathan Rhine: Thank you Mark.
He hands Mark back the card, and with one more excruciating display of carpal gymnastics is able to get his wallet back into his pocket. He then turns around and runs directly into Killean Sirrajin, PRIME’s Executive Vice President of Talent Relations.
Backstage Attendant Mark: AHHH!
Coozies, coozies everywhere. Mark hurriedly picks up his bounty as Sirrajin looks from the backstage attendant to Jonathan Rhine.
Killean Sirrajin: Hey Jonathan.
Jonathan Rhine: Mr. Sirrajin! Thanks for stopping by. Interested in making a purchase? We have coozies, stickers, and our newest product as of this morning – bucket hats! All have our Fighting For Nora logo, all proceeds go to the Fighting for Nora fund.
Killean Sirrajin: Maybe later, but I’m here on other business. I wanted to tell you that you and Paxton will have your first match at Revival 4 against the Hollywood Bruvs, Blue Live Crew, and Solid Gold Rock n Roll.
Jonathan Rhine: Wait, didn’t the Bruvs quit?
Killean Sirrajin: I’m sure they think they did.
Jonathan Rhine: Well, whatever. It sounds excellent, I can’t wait.
Killean Sirrajin: Unfortunately, we’re running into an issue. When registering the fight, it appears that Fighting For Nora hasn’t been officially allowed to participate in sanctioned matches in Nevada because one of you didn’t fill out their fighter registration information.
Jonathan Rhine: There must be some sort of mistake, I had mine…
The realization dawns on Rhine as he slowly turns to face his tag team partner. Ray is not looking at him, however; his attention is on the backstage attendant Mark, who is still trying to pick all of his merchandise off of the ground.
Jonathan Rhine: Paxton, have you filled out your paperwork?
Paxton snaps his attention towards Rhine, raising his eyebrows.
Paxton Ray: Paperwork?
Rhine sighs, then looks at Killean as Mark finally has his belongings and stands up.
Jonathan Rhine: It’ll be ready before our match. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Killean opens his mouth to respond but is interrupted by the sound of tires.
And then, some loud-ass Cher.
DO YOU BELIEVE IN LIFE AFTER LOVE (After Love (after love (after love…)))
Behind them, a forklift rolls into view. In the days that follow this episode of ReVival rumors will circulate about where else in the building it was spotted. Employees and patrons alike will swear that they’d seen it in the mezzanine (freight elevator), the resort lobby (elaborate series of ramps), and on the casino floor (magic).
I CAN FEEL SOMETHING INSIDE ME SAY I REALLY DON’T THINK YOU’RE STRONG ENOUGH NO
The entire contraption jostles as it drives over a box of Fighting For Nora merchandise, causing the chocolate fountain it carries between its tynes to splash warm, melty fudge across the floor much to the chagrin of Bobby Dean, who is holding on to the forklift for dear life.
Watching the forklift roll away, Mark nervously looks at Killean.
Backstage Attendant Mark: Sorry Mr. Killean, I’ll go take care of him now.
He takes three steps and steps directly on the chocolate spilled from the fountain, causing him to fly into the air, dropping all of his coozies and stickers once more. Struggling to his feet, he leaves the merch on the ground as he runs, slipping occasionally, after King Blueberry and the abomination he has wrought.
The two members of Fighting For Nora look at each other.
Paxton Ray: He probably shoulda worn the hat. Woulda been less stuff to hold.
Jonathan Rhine shrugs as we go elsewhere.
6 Julian Bathory vs. 14 Hayes Hanlon
“Black Hole” by We Came as Romans.
Gold flashbulbs flicker along with the music’s growing beat. The PRIME*View soars into the cosmos, passing planets and nebulas, picking up speed and shaking as it approaches a massive black hole. A wall of gold bulbs ignite in the entryway as the song’s intro crescendos, the silhouette of Hayes Hanlon reaches both arms and fingers to the ceiling against the light. They dim as the music quiets, and Hayes walks out to the edge of the ramp, soaking in the spectacle and cheers of the crowd. The music builds again, and Hayes reaches his arms to the sky once more with the chorus.
“I FALL INTO A BLACK HOLE IN MY HEAD!”
Vince Howard: From West Linn, Oregon, standing six feet, three inches tall and weighing in at 261 pounds…Eeeeeevent Horizon… Hayes…HAAAANLON!
He immediately starts a quick and steady march down the ramp, another bright flash of gold filling the arena. The Event Horizon slides into the ring and moves toward the far turnbuckle, stepping onto the first ropes and turning to face the center of the ring.
“I’M FIGHTING THE GRAVITY, IT’S PULLING THE WORST PART OUT OF ME!
He leans back over the post with his arms outstretched, eyes closed with his chest aimed at the ceiling, the crescendo following the chorus blasting through the arena among the flashbulbs.
Vince Howard: And his opponent, from Szeged, Hungary, standing at six feet, one inches tall and weighing in at two-hundred twenty-six pounds! THE NEW WORLD SAVIOR… JUUUULIAN BATHORY!
“Shadow” by The Enigma TNG kicks up and Julian Bathory and Violence Jack emerge from behind the curtain to a chorus of boos. Bathory is wearing his green, gray, and black wrestling attire, while “Violence Jack” Bruce Shanahan is wearing a suit. The two march to the ring confidently, and Bathory slides in posing for the crowd as fireworks explode.
Nick Stuart: What a matchup we have for you this evening! Another CLASSIC for the Almasy Invitational!
Richard Parker: A CLASSIC murder!
Nick Stuart: Both of these competitors have gone through some tough opponents on ReVival 1 to get here. Julian Bathory defeated Genevie Carlson, and Hayes Hanlon took it to the Murder Daughter Cecilia Ryan!
Richard Parker: Be careful what you say about her, Dan could be anywhere…
Nick Stuart: And here we go!
Bathory and Hanlon size each other up as the bell sounds. The bigger Hanlon looks for an in, and tries to shoot for a single leg. Bathory side steps, and immediately plants Hanlon in the side of the head with a vicious knee. Hanlon struggles to the ropes, and Bathory is on him instantly throwing forearms into Hanlon’s back. Ashley Barlow comes over to try to separate Bathory from Hanlon but he keeps unloading. Finally Barlow begins to count and gets Bathory to walk away.
Nick Stuart: What a ruthless start for Bathory.
Richard Parker: I told you, it’s going to be a murder in the ring!
Bruce Shanahan sprints over while Barlow is admonishing Bathory and throws two right hands into the face of Hayes Hanlon.
Nick Stuart: Here we go with this stuff again from Violence Jack.
Richard Parker: Stuff? You mean Strategy Nickie.
Nick Stuart: No I mean stuff, because I can’t say what it really is.
Barlow turns around and Violence Jack immediately begs off to the referee, and Bathory is on Hanlon again like a wild man. Two more forearm shots to the back for Hanlon, then Bathory grips the bigger Hanlon around the waist and plants him with a German suplex.
Richard Parker: HAHAHA! They are playing ping pong with the referee!
Nick Stuart: Ashley Barlow isn’t having it though!
Shanahan’s hands are still raised as Barlow points to the backstage area!
Nick Stuart: HE’S OUTTA HERE!
Richard Parker: WHAT DID HE DO!? WHAT DO YOU MEAN!?
Bruce Shanahan throws a handful of MESSIAH pamphlets into the ring, and storms off down the entrance ramp, protesting the whole way. Bathory, meanwhile has taken the opportunity to deliver repeated boots to Hanlon. Barlow turns around and immediately backs Bathory back into the corner and checking on Hanlon.
Richard Parker: WHAT!? SHE STOPPED IT? HOW ARE BOOTS ILLEGAL NICK! EXPLAIN IT TO ME LIKE I’M FIVE!
Nick Stuart: They happened, because of Violence Jack’s interference.
Richard Parker: They happened because Bathory hit Hanlon with a German suplex… I’m putting this match under protest.
Hanlon nods to Barlow, and the two men are right back at it. This time Hanlon goes in and locks up with Bathory in a collar and elbow tie up. The stronger man grabs Bathory around the waist, and carries him sprinting to the corner. He drives Bathory into the turnbuckles, and repeats the shoulder block multiple times to Bathory’s stomach before taking a step back.
Richard Parker: I’m outraged! Disqualify Hanlon then! Come on!
Nick Stuart: For what? He’s just giving it all back to him!
Hanlon pulls back and delivers a huge chop to the chest of Bathory, and another, and another. Finally Ashley Barlow begins to count Hanlon who nods his head and pulls Bathory out of the corner. He picks him up, and drives him to the canvas with a huge powerslam.
Nick Stuart: Big powerslam by Hanlon!
Richard Parker: All starting from an illegal move!
Hanlon picks Bathory up quickly, Bathory tries to fight him off with a right hand, but Hayes slams him back with a right of his own. Hayes scoops Bathory up onto his shoulders and drives him to the mat with a ring shuddering Death Valley Driver.
Nick Stuart: This kid sure does have a ton of power!
Richard Parker: Can we restart the match again? ASHLEY! ASHLEY!
Nick Stuart: She can’t hear you Richard.
Richard Parker: Dammit.
Hayes looks over, and sees one of the MESSIAH pamphlets that Violence Jack tossed all over the ring, he picks it up and begins reading it. He looks down at the pamphlet pretending to read it and laughing as he plants a foot on Bathory’s chest.
Nick Stuart: Kickout by Julian Bathory, but I don’t think this is too smart of Hayes here.
Richard Parker: SLEEPING ON A MAN LIKE BATHORY!?
Hayes picks Bathory up, and sets him up for a powerbomb, but Bathory rolls through the back and brings Hanlon down with a neckbreaker!
Richard Parker: SEE! BATHORY DOESN’T NEED TO CHEAT!
Nick Stuart: Great reversal into a neckbreaker there from Bathory, and both men are down.
Both men crawl towards the ropes, and slowly get to their feet. They meet in the center of the ring, Bathory fires off a chop to Hanlon who staggers back. Hanlon goes to fire a chop at Bathory, but Bathory ducks under, and sets Hanlon up!
Richard Parker: CHAOS REIGNS! CHAOS REIGNS!
Nick Stuart: I think Bathory is going off of just instinct alone!
Richard Parker: PIN HIM!
The two men lay on the canvas, their chests heaving. Ashley begins her count, as both men immediately begin crawling to the ropes to drag themselves to their feet. Bathory makes it first, and is on Hanlon again in the ropes with clubbing shots to the shoulders and back. Ashley tries to get Bathory away, but he brings Hanlon with him.
Richard Parker: CHAOS REIGNS AGGAAAAAIIIN!
Nick Stuart: That’s gotta be it.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: The winner of this match….JULIAN BATHORY!
Bathory rolls off Hanlon and rises to a sitting position. Ashley raises his arm while on the outside of the ring, Bruce Shanahan has an evil smile on his face.
Nick Stuart: What a match! A valiant effort by the youngster Hayes Hanlon but in the end, Julian Bathory was able to put him away and advance to the next round. We’ll be right back with more Almasy Invitational action right after these commercials.
COMMERCIAL: MISSOURI VALLEY WRESTLING
2 Bruvs Notice
The scene opens outside the MGM Grand where the Hollywood Bruvs, wearing their shades at night for some reason, prepare to make their entrance. Mikey Unlikely hits the back of his hand against his bestest bruv in the whole world’s chest.
Mikey Unlikely: You ready?
Kendrix takes a deep breath and nods nervously before removing an envelope from his jacket pocket.
Mikey Unlikely: What’s that?
Kendrix looks at the envelope and then back at Mikey.
Kendrix: Bruv, it’s our resignation letter. We’ve tried quitting the old-fashioned way and it didn’t work.
Mikey strokes his chin and shakes his head in disbelief.
Mikey Unlikely: Who would have thought resigning verbally to the hotel concierge, during a television segment wasn’t legally binding?
Jesse shrugs, certainly not him.
Mikey Unlikely: This formal letter idea is a bit out there… I mean who quits in writing? You know what? It might just be crazy enough to work. Let’s do this!
The two approach the back doors of the arena but Mikey is held back by his tag partner.
Kendrix: Err, why are we entering through the back door, again?
Mikey Unlikely: Bruv, that’s where the employees enter! Once we hand this bad boy in, we can waltz right back through the lobby and watch all their fans leave with us! It’s going to be CLASSIC!
Mikey Unlikely: TOTALLY OBVS!
They approach the double doors to the back of the building. Other wrestlers hang out around the cordoned-off area. Meanwhile Kendrix has the resignation letter out of the envelope. Reviewing it once more.
Mikey Unlikely: OK, read it to me.
Kendrix: Dear PRIME, We, The Hollywood Bruvs, AKA Mikey Unlikely and Jesse Fredricks Kendrix, AKA The Worlds Greatest Tag Team In The World, AKA Hollywood Superstar and British Sensation, AKA Lavender Applebottom and Vanderlay Fingerland… Hereafter referred to as THE GOATS, do resign with prejudice from PRIME Wrestling. Yours totally obviously,
Mikey Unlikely: If I didn’t know any better, I’d have thought you’d written a book!
Kendrix: Well, it took me all yesterday to write it.
Mikey Unlikely: The math checks out! Alright bruv, let’s do it!
The pair walk through the double doors and enter with their chests stuck out. They immediately seem deflated by the view, backstage at the MGM Grand. They freeze in place as screaming and beeping can be heard inside. The pair slowly turn around with wide eyes and walk back out the double doors. Mikey Unlikely shakes his head while Kendrix repeats the same thing over and over…
Mikey: Did you see the…
Mikey: And the Turkey legs?
They continue to walk away from the arena, picking up the pace now.
Mikey: Was that Bobby Dean!?
Kendrix: Hard to make out through all the chocolate…
Mikey: But the GIRTH of that man!
Kendrix: It was probably…Bruv… I can’t unsee that!
Mikey: You still have the letter?
Kendrix looks at his hands…completely empty. The fear has struck as he points over his shoulder back the way they fled.
Mikey: No…dear god no! Don’t tell me you dropped it.
JFK holds his hands to his head in frustration.
Kendrix: OK I’m gonna level with you, Bruv…I panicked!
Cooler head prevail.
Mikey Unlikely: Well… It’s in there right!? It’s basically like we dropped it off! I’m sure it’ll reach the right person! Let’s get the hell outta here Bruv! They won’t be able to deny we quit this time!
Kendrix: Yeah, up yours PRIME! We’re free!
Backstage, we find ourselves with an extreme close-up on a chocolate fountain – one that still finds its contents liquid despite not having been plugged into anything for the better part of an hour. Of course there is also an extreme close-up on the face of “Beautiful” Bobby Dean, only he’s upside-down and drinking liquid chocolate. That’s right, folks – PRIME’s own Augustus Gloop is keg-standing a chocolate fondue fountain while traveling at high… no, wait… a leisurely velocity.
How exactly did the fine production people get this shot? I dunno, drones or some shit.
SHE HAD DUMPS LIKE A TRUCK, TRUCK, TRUCK
Oh, and Sisqo is there, at least in spirit. Gettin’ a lot of mileage out of this boombox gag, you guys.
THIGHS LIKE WHAT, WHAT, WHAT
The camera withdraws to reveal that the big Texan isn’t so much keg-standing as he is draped over the driver’s cage of the forklift like a big ol’ mermaid sunning herself on a rock; lazily “Teen Wolf’ing” the roof. Meanwhile the forklift is zipping around the backstage area, driven by a dork in a blueberry mask. He is not OSHA certified.
BABY, MOVE YOUR BUTT, BUTT, BUTT
Since the last time we’ve seen these two, they have added a new addition to their makeshift entourage. A cake that used to say “Happy Birthday Dusk”, the latest addition to the List Of Shit They Are Not Supposed To Have, is being dunked into the fountain piece by delicious piece.
King Blueberry: UH, I THINK I’LL SING IT AGAIN C’MON!
He does indeed sing it again, but only after the camera cuts away.
2 Anna Daniels vs. 10 Nicholas Pfefferman
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.
She makes her way to the stairs and slinks along the apron, wiping her feet before entering the ring. Immediately after, she nearly chases off the ref in a sudden blur of action before smiling yet again. Casually, she strolls to a corner with her head bopping before perching herself onto the top rope laid out like a French girl people like to paint.
“Reaper” by Frankie and the Witch Fingers signals the imminent arrival of Nicholas Pfefferman. In contrast to his flashy opponent, Pfefferman quickly strides out. On his way to the ring, he stops to look at the crowd, his eyes wide and wild. He lectures a few of the PRIMEates unfortunate enough to be within earshot of him. He notices the MGM Grand’s security team watching him very closely, looking for any reason to jump. He sneers and shakes his head in disgust. Pfefferman slides into the ring and quickly jumps Anna Daniels!
Nick Stuart: Oh come on! What a lack of sportsmanship!
Richard Parker: You gotta keep your head on a swivel, Nick! Besides, Mr. Pfefferman’s been under a lot of stress lately! You’d lose your temper too, if you were in his shoes.
Pfefferman grabs a wristlock on the downed Daniels, placing one hand on their shoulder and cranking up. Daniels works up to their knees and rolls through to get to their feet. Pfefferman still has the wristlock applied though, and cranks it again. This keeps Anna incapacitated long enough for Pfefferman to transition the hold into a hammerlock. Daniels does their best to keep their wits about them as they look for an escape. Reversing the hold goes nowhere. Trying to pick an ankle isn’t an option. Anna does manage to grab a hold of the teacher’s head in a ¾ facelock. They then jump up and swing outward, sending Pfefferman hurling forward with a snapmare!
Pfefferman is up quickly and charges forward in frustration. He gets a pinpoint kick to the hamstring for his impatience. He grabs for the attacked area while Daniels loads up another kick. Pfefferman manages to catch this one, however, and transitions it into a double leg takedown. He’s quick to float over to the side, grabbing the arm again. He twists Anna’s arm into a top wristlock. Daniels slams the mat with their free arm in pain and frustration. Again, Daniels starts to work their way to their feet. Pfefferman keeps the pressure on the hold. Anna tugs the two towards the ropes and when close enough, runs up to the top before flying off and causing Pfefferman to snap over with an improvised arm drag!
Nick Stuart: Pfefferman has his target picked and it’s Anna’s arm. They keep finding ways to get out of his holds, though!
Richard Parker: It’s just a matter of time, Nick. These tricks won’t keep working on a man of Mr. Pfefferman’s intellect for too long!
Pfefferman slaps the mat and quickly pounces on the still recovering Daniels. He rocks them with a strong European uppercut. A second one sends Daniels reeling to the corner. While there, Pfefferman applies a rope assisted hammerlock. Elvis Nixon starts to count, getting to four before Pfefferman releases the hold… before kicking the rope that Anna’s arm is still entwined in! Daniels yelps in pain and stumbles out of the corner, collapsing to their knees towards the middle of the ring. Pfefferman pulls Daniels to their feet, applying a hammerlock before then scooping their opponent up and slamming them down onto their arm! He makes a cover, holding the abused arm down!
Pfefferman looks to finish and hooks in a chicken wing on the injured arm of his downed adversary. Anna squirms and keeps their other arm free. They manage to work their way to their knees as an increasingly frustrated Pfefferman keeps trying to hook the free arm. Daniels gets their feet under them, but instead of just standing up, they slickly slide behind the teacher. They quickly hook the arms and drop him with a Tiger Suplex! Daniels collapses without a bridge, clutching their assaulted appendage. Pfefferman, having landed high on his back/shoulders, is flat on his face.
Nick Stuart: What a thunderous suplex! This could be a turning point for Anna Daniels!
Richard Parker: Don’t count out Mr. Pfefferman out yet! He’ll figure out a way to get the advantage back.
The two combatants wearily climb to their feet. Pfefferman, still a bit loopy from the Tiger Suplex, clumsily charges forward. In his haste, he gets planted again with a Spike Hurricanrana! Daniels keeps shaking out their arm, in obvious pain. They grab Pfefferman and pull him to his feet in a clinch. Anna sends a barrage of knee strikes to the body and hamstrings. Pfefferman does his best to guard against the attack, but is mostly unsuccessful. As Daniels goes to release Pfefferman, he’s quick to take advantage of the opening, locking in the SMALL Package!
Pfefferman continues to try and stay aggressive. He lands a European uppercut, but Daniels quickly responds with a right hook! Another European uppercut, responded with a left body punch! Yet another European uppercut! Anna is clearly sick of getting tagged with these, as they go to the eyes with an eye gouge! Pfefferman drops to the ground, vehemently complaining to referee Nixon, who lightly admonishes Daniels. Anna nonchalantly shrugs before pelting the downed Pfefferman with short, stiff kicks towards the ribs. He does his best to cover up, something that appears to be a losing battle. Nixon backs Daniels off to check on Pfefferman. In short order, he pops up and dashes towards Daniels, earning himself a Sombras Que Corta for his troubles! They go for the cover!
Nick Stuart: This could be it!
Richard Parker: Kick out, Mr. Pfefferman!
Daniels, still favoring their arm, waits for Pfefferman to climb to his feet. When he does, he’s immediately blasted with an enzuigiri. The educator looks to be out on his feet! Daniels bends him down and locks the arms, looking to hit Oncoming Storm. They go to lift him, but barely get him up before dropping him down and clutching their arm. Pfefferman moves rapidly behind Anna, grabbing a waistlock and hitting a German Suplex!
Pfefferman slowly climbs to his feet, arguing with Nixon; first, that the count was a three and then that he’s counting too slow. As this is happening, Anna Daniels finds their way to the corner, using it to help them to their feet. Seeing an opening, Pfefferman charges his woozy and cornered opponent. Daniels manages to slip between the top and middle ropes and Pfefferman smashes into the corner before stumbling backwards and collapsing! Anna makes their way to the top as quickly as their body will allow. They take a second to balance themself before flying off with Cake of Death?, ending in a leg drop from the corkscrew shooting star!
Nick Stuart: OH MAN! What a slice of cake that was!
Richard Parker: Cake?! That looked like death to me!
Daniels stands and measures their opponent. Pfefferman slowly climbs to his feet, dazed and confused. He gets caught with another enzuigiri. Before the practically unconscious teacher can collapse, Anna bends him over and hooks the arms. They take a deep breath and with all their might, lift the man up… and drop him down with Oncoming Storm! Howling in pain and clutching their arm, they scoot to the knocked out Pfefferman and hook the leg with their good arm.
DING DING DING!
Vince Howard: The winner of this match….ANNA DANIELS!
Anna gets to her feet as Elvis Nixon raises their hand. If one were to look closely, they’d see little stars circling around the dazed math professor’s head.
Nick Stuart: An impressive win for Anna Daniels here tonight and she is onto the next round. We’re going to take a quick commercial break and we’ll be right back!
COMMERCIAL: CLASSIC WRESTLING
Look No Further
The show comes back to life from commercial break, and picks up inside a locker room. Nothing fancy about it. Just a room. A bench. A chair.
The two occupants however…
Cancer Jiles: He’s never getting any of that done. Fuck. What if he’s not around for the main event? Double fuck. Which reminds me, Bob is supposed to stud trot me down to the ring. You could, too. I didn’t know you were coming back or else I would have–
Dooze cuts Jiles off.
Doozer: You would have asked me to do a hundred things before the match? No thank you. I’ll be fine back here watching it on the monitor. I’m still a little creaky, and god forbid I’m out there and something happens.
The Count shrugs off his shallow disappointment.
Cancer Jiles: Oh well. Next show. Say, I know most of those suitcases are empty, but inside one of them is my backup ring tights. Throw me that yolk yellow bag, would ya?
Dooze, who has made his wonderful, long awaited return to Prime Tee Vee, suffers from a bout of confusion. Not because he is old, but because most of the bags are yolk yellow.
Cancer Jiles: The one on the bottom. Next to the… forget it. I’ll get it. You sit down. You rest. You’re just coming back from… what was it again?
Doozer: Back injury. And thank you, I will.
Cancer Jiles: Yes, a back injury. Ironic, I’ve been suffering from a back injury for the past three years, yet here I am. In the main event. Going through my own bags like I’m some plebeian!
The Dooze takes a seat. Jiles throws some of the empty luggage around looking for paydirt.
Doozer: You done?
Cancer Jiles: No I am not done. I am just getting started! Where is Bobby!?! I bet he’s sneaking fucking bites that pig. Probably wearing my shadow T-Shades, too.
Cancer Jiles: Typical Honaleean crumb. I’ll tell you this much— if he lets me down, with you being here to have my back… maybe the Bandits trim some of the fat.
The Dooze wags a flexed index finger.
Doozer: No. That’s not happening. He’ll turn up. This is a big night for all of us. I know you are in the match, but we all are Bandits.
Cancer Jiles: We’ll see about that. If he fuc–
The door to the room suddenly opens. Bobby steps inside and quickly closes it behind him. He turns and faces his friends, empty handed. Oh, and he forgot to do something.
Cancer Jiles: I told you he was wearing my shades! I knew it! YOU SCUM! I hope you get frostbite! And where the hell are my tights!?!
Bob looks at Doozer, who instantly vanishes before his eyes.
Bobby Dean: That’s a nifty trick. He’ll have to teach me that one. Uh… about that.
The shot tries to end with a closeup of Bobby and his patented look of confusion. However, right before the feed can cut away a yolk yellow duffel bag soars in from left field and hits him square in the face.
Cancer Jiles: Oh look. You found them.
2 Impulse vs. 10 Rezin
Nick Stuart: Coming up next, we have more Round Two tournament action, and this should be a good one, partner!
Richard Parker: No doubt, Nick – Impulse is one of the most accomplished wrestlers on the PRIME roster, full stop, but there’s no way to prepare for the slippery Escape Artist. Rezin is too punk rock!
Nick Stuart: I still need confirmation from you on whether or not you know what “punk rock” is.
“Apocalyptic Havoc” by Goatwhore blares through the arena to a chorus of boos. A wall of smoke shoots across the entryway as PRIMEview flashes upsetting images of nuclear bomb tests, armies marching, shouting protestors getting maced, and literal car crashes during the brutalizing thrash metal. Rezin pops through the smoke with a sinister grin, laughing maniacally to himself as he soaks in the jeers from the crowd.
Richard Parker: I do know, Nick! THAT’S punk rock!!
Rezin mocks the fans SCREAMING at him from ringside with some classic boo-hoo eye-rubbing. He comes across a woman who appears to be in her 70s who is giving him an emphatic thumbs down and offers up his cheek to her, pointing at it. She gives a valiant effort at a punch, all things considered, but Rezin easily backs away and laughs at her before popping into the ring.
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, from Indianapolis, Indiana and weighing in at two hundred and five pounds… RRRRREEEEZZZIIIIIN!!
When he reaches the ring, he slides in, pops to his feet, locks his arms between the ropes, and leans back to suspend himself in the air in an inverted cross pose for a few moments before lowering himself back to the canvas and going to his corner.
Nick Stuart: We found out what Rezin is all about in his first round matchup against Solomon Richards – he’s never afraid to take a shortcut, ANY shortcut, to pick up the W. We’ll find that it’s in sharp contrast to…
Nick is interrupted by the opening guitar riff to “Cannonball” by Sirsy. Purple and blue lights strobe around the arena, and as the crowd chants along to “HEY, HEY!”, Impulse and Calico step out onto the entry ramp. Impulse, stoic as ever, gives his nodding approval as Calico gives a deep bow.
Nick Stuart: …like I was saying, this is a man who takes ZERO shortcuts in the ring!
Richard Parker: Ha! All that means is that he’s not willing to do everything it takes to succeed in this business. A man with a code is a man with a liability, partner! Do we have a bookie nearby? Can I put a bet on Rezin to win this thing? Maybe this whole TOURNAMENT, Nicky!
Vince Howard: And his opponent, from New York, New York, weighing one hundred ninety one pounds… IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMPULSE!!
The crowd roars its approval as Impulse makes his way down the ramp, high fiving and fist-bumping the fans at ringside. He makes a particular point to make his way over to that woman in her 70s from earlier and give her a side hug, which leaves her beaming. We can faintly hear him say “I got this, don’t worry!” to the lady before he and Cally make their way to the ring, each letting each other through the ropes with almost a nauseating amount of chivalry if they weren’t so darn wholesome.
Richard Parker: Let’s go!
Impulse raises his hands to initiate a classic pro graps collar-and-elbow tie-up, which Rezin laughs at. Impulse, unflinching, takes some impactful steps forward and Rezin backs his torso through the middle and top ropes, still cackling. Impulse needs no cue from the referee to back up and give Rezin time to disengage from the ropes. Impulse beckons Rezin to “come on!” and engage, to which Rezin responds with a mocking version of the collar-and-elbow tie-up motion, before he cackles again and points at Impulse.
Richard Parker: I friggin’ love this man, Nick.
Nick Stuart: I had a feeling you might, Richard.
Impulse doesn’t need to be told twice that he’s being disrespected and charges forward with a swingling lariat, which Rezin ducks! As Impulse stops his momentum and turns, Rezin peppers him with some sharp calf kicks before Impulse FINALLY initiates lock-up, only for Rezin to duck through, go behind, and drop Impulse with a Russian leg sweep! The cameras pick up on some cheeky audio as Rezin pops to his feet.
Rezin: Hey Impulse! I can wrestle TOOOOOOOOOOO! HAHAHAHAHA!
Richard Parker: Look at this glorious man!
Nick Stuart: I’ll give him this, he hasn’t cheated, YET…
Impulse gets to his feet, closes his eyes, and pops his neck, collecting himself. As he opens his eyes, he gives Rezin a cold stare and locks up, HARD, pushing him into the corner. After a few forearm shots to the face, Impulse gains arm control and launches Rezin with a picture-perfect hip toss, then another! He goes for a third, but Rezin slips out and hits a hard Enzuigiri that sends Impulse stumbling into the ropes! Impulse rebounds and hits a big dropkick to Rezin that sends HIM into the ropes! Rezin is staggered, but he rebounds and somehow gets the momentum to flip forward and connect with a neckbreaker to Impulse! Both men are down, and the crowd roars its appreciation!
Nick Stuart: What an exchange between these two warriors!
Richard Parker: Yeah, and way too CLEAN of an exchange, for my taste…but hey! Let it be known, for those of you who believe in the legend of this Impulse character…he ain’t invincible!
Nick Stuart: It has to be said, Rezin has wrestled cleanly up to this point, you have to wonder if he’s saving some sort of trick up his slippery sleeve…
As the referee begins a ten-count, both men begin the slow painful process of getting to their feet. Impulse, digging deep, gets to his feet first and presses this tiny advantage immediately. He barrels forward into Rezin, hooks and arm, and gives him a DEEP arm drag without releasing the hold! He’s got the arm locked in full extension and has transitioned into a full arm bar!
Nick Stuart: First submission attempt of the match! Can the Escape Artist escape this one?
Rezin frantically kicks his legs, doing everything he can to make the hold as unstable as possible. It seems to loosen Impulse’s grip enough where he is no longer satisfied that this will be a match-ender, so Impulse releases and gets to his feet. Rezin throws one chop that connects, then a second that gets caught to an audible “OOOH!” from the crowd. Rezin frantically shakes his head “no, NO!”, as Impulse nods a recalcitrant “YES!”, maintaining arm control as he leaps in the air and nails a headscissors take down! Another! Rezin scrambles and rolls into the corner as Impulse pumps up the crowd!
Nick Stuart: It looks like the Marathon Man has gained control in this one!
Richard Parker: Yes, OKAY NICK, thank you, this is FINE! Rezin is still in this thing!
Impulse looks to press his advantage, but at this point Rezin is fully splayed beneath the bottom ropes in the corner. Impulse looks to bring him in forcefully by the feet, but Rezin has an iron grip on the ropes! The referee starts counting to five and Impulse relinquishes a bit after 3. Impulse goes for the feet again, but Rezin’s stuck to the bottom ropes like his life depends on it! This time it takes to the count of 4 before Impulse releases, and the referee forcefully admonishes Impulse, who rightfully points out that he released before the five count. As the referee continues his unnecessary lecturing, we see Rezin reaching deep beneath the bottom turnbuckle.
Nick Stuart: What would you say Rezin is doing there, partner?
Richard Parker: I’m not totally sure, but it looks like a totally legitimate idea to me, whatever it is!
After a few moments, Rezin’s plan comes to full light – the bottom turnbuckle is now untied and the steel has been exposed! Cally sees it immediately and tries calling the referee’s attention to it, but he’s too busy inflating his own ego by busting Impulse’s balls to pay any mind. Finally, the referee gets out of Impulse’s face, only for that very face to be met by the flying boots of a Rezin dropkick that stuns Impulse! Rezin looks to press the advantage with some raining clubbing haymakers, but Impulse withstands the barrage and sends Rezin flying with an exploding shoulder tackle! Then a drop toe hold, followed by an ankle lock!
Nick Stuart: Rezin is in a real bind here! Another submission attempt by Impulse!
Richard Parker: Come on, you Goat Bastard! Escape!!
Rezin frantically crawls towards the corner with the exposed bottom turnbuckle and with all his might lunges his torso around in an effort to send Impulse face-first into the steel – but Impulse catches himself on the middle ropes before disaster strikes! As Impulse collects himself in the corner, he turns straight into a Cloven Hoof Kick from Rezin! A cover!
Nick Stuart: Impulse escapes that pinning predicament!
Rezin scrambles to the top rope, measures his man, and flies…
Richard Parker: REZINSAULT! MY MAN!!
Impulse kicks out once again, this time a hair’s breadth away from the pinfall! Rezin slaps the mat in frustration, yelling an expletive or two at the referee in demanding a faster count. Rezin’s eyes are ablaze by this point, and he lifts Impulse up by the scruff in an attempt to just sloppy-toss him face first into the exposed bottom turnbuckle, but Impulse powers up and halts the momentum! They struggle back and forth repeatedly, Rezin constantly trying to get his man into his trap, Impulse resisting every step of the way. Cally is FURIOUS that the referee hasn’t attempted to fix this buckle at all.
Nick Stuart: Oh come on, now, the referee needs to perform some due diligence here!
Richard Parker: He’s letting these two fight! No one wants to see the referee insert himself in a tournament match, Nicky!
Finally, some separation. Impulse finds himself in the corner with the exposed bottom turnbuckle with Rezin standing in the opposite corner. Both men charge at each other with full earnest – until Impulse sprawls to the floor! Rezin trips on Impulse–
–AND CRASHES FACE FIRST INTO THE EXPOSED BUCKLE! A trickle of blood appears on his forehead as he stumbles to his feet in a daze…
Nick Stuart: SUDDEN IMPACT!!
Impulse hits his trademark superkick to the jaw and goes for the cover!
DING DING DING!
“Cannonball” by Sirsy blares through the crowd to raucous applause. No one on the planet Earth is happier than the older woman in the front row of the entry ramp.
Vince Howard: Here is your winner, advancing to the quarterfinals…IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMPULSE!
Impulse soaks in the adulation from the crowd, hand aloft, as Cally climbs into the ring and gives him a big ol’ kiss on the cheek.
Nick Stuart: What a match! Back and forth action, and it has to be said that Rezin really acquitted himself well in this one.
Richard Parker: NO! Don’t “what a match” this, Nick! I’m CRESTFALLEN! The Escape Artist was my dark horse candidate to win this whole thing! Who am I going to root for now??
Nick Stuart: I can’t help you there, partner – Rezin certainly held his own when he stuck to the rules, but it turned out that his affinity for rule-bending was his own undoing! Impulse advances, and he’s clearly a major player in the rest of this tournament field going forward. Let’s take a quick break!
Outwit. Outplay. Outwrestle
Our scene fades in, with Melvin Beauregard standing in a lavishly decorated hotel suite. His J.C. Penney’s suit screams against his waistline and he smiles, unleashing his 5000 megawatt salesman smile.
Melvin Beauregard: Hello everyone, and welcome to the MGM Grand Resort, hotel, and casino! I’m coming to you live from the 28th floor of the magnificent hotel that we have here on property. We have a very important announcement to make for the evening… but first we do have a few other things to talk about.
Melvin looks a bit irritated as he looks at a bowl of fruit in the middle of the table. He picks up an apple and looks it over for a moment before continuing.
Melvin Beauregard: If the forklift could be returned to maintenance, it would be greatly appreciated. Right now there is an actual tiger in a cage waiting to be brought in for David Copperfield’s new show. Please, help us save the tiger, and the lives of our maintenance crew by letting us have our forklift back.
Melvin tosses the apple to the side, his irritation etched across his face. He composes himself for a moment and continues, while the crowd laughs about what’s already taken place this evening.
Melvin Beauregard: Also, at the Cirque tomorrow we have an exciting show. Make sure you stick around to check out the plethora of events, and eat at one of our many fine dining establishments here on the property!
The crowd boos at the screen, but Melvin continues, not able to hear the discontent amongst the crowd.
Melvin Beauregard: Now, onto the wrestling. The MGM is thrilled to announce a partnership that has been brokered with CBS and their hit television show Survivor. With the help of CBS, the MGM will be hosting the first Survivor event in PRIME history. The event will last for six weeks, and PRIME has agreed to use the event to crown the tag team champions of the world! PRIME’s TAG TEAM SURVIVOR event will kick off at Culture Shock!
The crowd begins to murmur amongst themselves as Melvin walks through the room and exits into the hallway at the MGM Grand.
Melvin Beauregard: The teams will be staying here, on the 28th floor of the MGM Grand, and each team will have one of our wonderful five-star suites as a base of operations. Participants and teams will be announced on ReVival 5.
Melvin pauses for a moment, smirking as the crowd begins to cheer.
Melvin Beauregard: Oh, I did say something about five stars didn’t I? At ReVival 4, PRIME begins its scrambles for the 5 Star Title, setting up our 5 Star Title Match also for Culture Shock! We’ll have more coming soon about PRIME’s premier event! Good luck to everyone this evening, and we’ll see you all soon.
Behind Melvin, a sound is heard coming from the elevator: a synth beat slowly rising in volume, and it’s followed by a single muffled word: “Everybody.”
The doors to the elevator slowly part, and the greatest intro in boy band history (it’s true, don’t at me) rumbles through the hall.
ROCK YOUR BODY RIGHT
Oh my god, he’s back again. Brothers, sisters, everybody sing. He’s gonna bring the flavor, show you how. Got a question for ya better answer now:
How the hell did King Blueberry get a forklift onto the 28th floor of the MGM Grand?
The forklift edges out of the elevator, the gap between elevator and floor causing the forklift to rock and sending a wave of chocolate from the fountain to splatter on the floor like a cow pie.
AM I SEXUAL?
King Blueberry: YEA-AH!
AM I EVERYTHING YOU NEED YOU BETTER ROCK YOUR BODY NOW
It’s a short trip, as he carefully peruses the scene. His eyes go wide at the sight of Melvin Beauregard, and if his face wasn’t obstructed by a bright blue mask there would be a flush of color to his cheeks; like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He throws the forklift into reverse and begins backing down the hallway. The beeps, like a weirdo construction school bus, mingle with Carson Daly’s favorite jam as he makes his way back to the elevator.
Melvin turns around, sighs, and the scene fades out.
Shameless Product Shilling
We now cut to something that everyone loves in wrestling television entertainment…
SHAMELESS PRODUCT SHILLING!
A boy and two girls are enjoying some quality time on a playground in a green-screened park. Like most kids these days, swing sets, slides, and see-saws just don’t have the same appeal as they once did. Presently, the group of little ungrateful turds are camped out at the sandbox, occasionally sifting some of the dirt and looking completely uninterested.
Boy: This is boring!
Girl #1: Yeah! I hate my parents for bringing me here!
Girl #2: Me too. I wish we had some cool new toys to play with!
Boy: Yeah, or at the very least a hot new outfit!
Suddenly, a beam of bright light shines down from the heavens above. Along with that beam and hanging from a VERY visible system of pulleys and ropes is none other than the Baeblade herself. Idaho’s own Muriel Puddings, who is dressed in a very cheap-looking superhero costume, is lowered down directly on top of a sand castle, smashing it upon impact.
Muriel Puddings: Well, kids, you’re in luck! Because boy do I have some CRAP for you!
The camera focuses on three elated youthful faces, as they all scream out in unison.
Kids: IT’S MURIEL’S STUFF!
Girl #1: But what kind of stuff can we buy, Muriel?
Muriel Puddings: I’m glad you asked that, Snorgret!
Girl #1: My name’s actually Madison.
Ignoring her, Muriel closes her eyes and extends her hand, and with a magical “poof,” the latest Muriel and Tapioca Puddings action figures appear there!
Madison (Girl #1): Whoa, cool! Now I can be Muriel any time I want!
Muriel hands Madison the dolls, who then proceeds to begin to mimic the two in action.
Muriel Doll: HEY, Tapioca, I thought I told you to stay put! Being buried up to the neck is an important part of your training regiment!
Tapioca Doll: OK, but only if you promise not to kick sand in my face again!
Muriel Doll: Fine! I promise!
Madison shoves the Tapioca doll into the box and pats the dirt tight to hold him in place, with only his head sticking out. Instead of maneuvering the Muriel doll’s leg to immediately kick sand in his face, Madison stands up and does it herself, laughing with glee.
Boy: But what about me? I’m too mature to play with dolls!
Muriel Puddings: Ah, we got a GROWN-UP, everybody? Well, tell me this: are you mature enough to BURN THINGS?
Muriel Puddings: Well then check out my new Muriel Fire Starter Kit, which is perfect for all the little Boy and Girl Scouts out there who need to warm things up!
Puddings hands the boy a rectangular box that proudly displays the name of the product in flame-tinged Comic Sans print, along with a very well-drawn cartoon of her lighting a Molotov cocktail and preparing to fling it at a wooden shanty with a sign that simply says “WYOMING STATE CAPITOL” in its front lawn. The boy opens the box and pulls out the contents to display.
Boy: Cool! A lighter…
The boy flicks the very dangerous thing that children should not play with, which is conveniently shaped like a blond woman in yoga pants doing an upside-down sumo pose. Of course, the sparks are coming directly from her butt hole.
Boy: …and REAL dryer lint!
The boy places the lint next to the Tapioca doll head and sets it ablaze, laughing maniacally as it engulfs the plastic figure in flames. Muriel joins in on the laughter for what goes on for almost a minute, giving a brooding and creepy atmosphere to an otherwise wholesome commercial. This is only interrupted by Girl #2 tugging at Muriel’s cape.
Girl #2: Do you have any Muriel’s Stuff for me?
Muriel looks down at the cute little brunette with pigtails in her hair and frowns, shrugging her shoulders.
Muriel Puddings: Sorry, chick. That’s all the Stuff I have right now…
Girl #2: Oh. OK, I guess.
Muriel’s somber demeanor slowly starts to shift to a grin as she winks down at the girl.
Muriel Puddings: Just joking! It’s time for a Muriel Makeover!
Again, extending her hands like a magician and waving them, a smoky “poof” effect is then followed by the once adorable child in a pretty little yellow sundress to be transformed into a bleach blond terror!
Girl #2: WOW! Look at me! You did it, bae, and that’s the TEA!
Muriel Puddings: Oh you know that’s right! Check out all of my fashion accessories on this future Spud Princess! Muriel’s Super Sexy Sunglasses, Muriel’s Pajamas which come in both pink and baby blue…
For the record, the pajama pants are COVERED in images of Muriel’s face, almost to the point where you can’t really see the background color.
Muriel Puddings: …my very own custom Muriel bedroom slippers, the Muriel Slap Bracelet, the Muriel Slap Gloves, and don’t forget the Muriel T-shirt! Take a look!
Muriel is somehow able to retrieve a mirror out of the sand and hold it up for the girl to see how fabulous she looks.
Girl #2: I look hot! And is that glitter-based makeup?
Muriel Puddings: Uh-huh! Muriel’s Makeup, which is not tested on animals except my brother! So, PRIMEates, be on the lookout next ReVival to get your hands on my Stuff!
From there, we hear the slow uptick of a familiar tune for those who have actually listened to FM radio at some point in the past two decades as the commercial fades.
♪ One-eight-seven-seven Muriel’s Stuff ♪
♪ S-T-U-F Muriel’s Stuff ♪
♪ One-eight-seven-seven Muriel’s Stuff ♪
♪ Buy some Stuff today. ♪
Pieces of Me
The scene opens to a disgruntled looking Vickie Hall, standing backstage with her arms crossed while leaning against the wall. In front of her is Jonathan-Christopher, who seems to be just as upset as he was two weeks ago, head in hands, crying about the loss on ReVival #1 to Brandon Youngblood.
Vickie Hall: Oh, Jonathan-Christopher, we have to find a way to fix this, my dear. You’re a nervous wreck!
Tears continue to flow from Jonathan-Christopher’s face. Vickie isn’t mad at him, she’s mad at PRIME. Their love journey was ruined way before it could have officially started. She moves closer to her Amazing Life Partner and takes him by the hand.
Meanwhile, as has been the theme tonight, the arrival of a forklift is heralded by the sound of a boombox. Ashlee Simpson this time.
Vickie Hall: The adoring love of my life, I am here for you. It’s okay you lost. We will prevail.
Jonathan-Christopher begins to nod. He looks directly into his spouse’s eyes.
Vickie Hall: In fact, I have an idea…
A now-driverless forklift appears behind them, its fountain-clutching and turkey-dressed tynes aimed directly at the pair. Gobbets of molten chocolate spatter onto the floor in staccato bursts, giving the device the look of a bird that is desperately trying and failing to find a bathroom. The Hall’s not seem to notice.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: [lightly sobbing] What’s the idea, baby?
Vickie shakes her head.
Vickie Hall: I am lost in your eyes right now, Jonathan-Christopher. We can talk about it another time. This moment is too romantic. Hold me…
King Blueberry dances alongside this blasphemy of construction equipment, because he is legally obligated to ghost ride the whip at least once in every major promotion he competes in.
King Blueberry: ALL THE PIECES, PIECES, PIECES OF ME!
But before anyone is errantly impaled by a renegade piece of industrial equipment the king jumps back into the driver’s seat and tosses aside the brick that had been depressing the gas pedal. He slams on the brakes, bringing this Mad Max nightmare to a screeching halt a few feet away from the Halls, whom still have not noticed.
Vickie Hall: You are DIVINE, my love!
The chocolate fountain, which has already proved itself far more rugged than originally anticipated, does not fare as well. Momentum hurts it forward beyond the grasp of the forklift, and it smashes to the ground, covering the floor in 66% Valrhona.
Vickie Hall: WHAT… THE… ABSOLUTE… F-
Vickie’s eyes bulge out but then she jumps back, realizing her and Jonathan-Christopher are covered in chocolate. She’s immediately triggered… stressed out… shaking profusely. Tears swell in her eyes now as Jonathan-Christopher tries to make sense of his surroundings. It’s his turn to be the strong one, if at all he’s able to be. Vickie borders on a meltdown, since a romantic and genuine love moment was totally ruined!
Vickie Hall: AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
Pretty in Pink screams as she’s interpreted her surroundings and runs off, leaving Jonathan-Christopher to look at King Blueberry in bewilderment.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: I’m sorry, I have to go. My baby needs me.
He scurries off after her.
The blueberry boy is silent for a moment as he takes in his surroundings. With a shrug he attempts to start the forklift’s engine yet again, but after the night it’s endured it will not turn over. He mutters a curse that the cameras don’t pick up and hops out of the cab, careful to not step in fudge now congealing on the floor. He looks directly at the camera.
King Blueberry: Hey, you cool if I leave this here?
For a few seconds the feed goes shaky. Later, the camera operator in question will attribute this to nerves.
We go to ringside as the king begins ripping duct tape from his mannequin companion and their boombox.
1 Brandon Youngblood vs. 9 Miles Lucky
Displayed on the PRIME*View is a length of rope, knotted without any regard to pattern, rhyme, or reason. Almost impossible upon first glance to untie the contortions that someone has formed. There is then a sound of footsteps on pavement hurriedly approaching the puzzle, and a pair of hands protruding from a sweatshirt begin to unravel the monstrosity in a fast-forward pace. Once undone, the rope begins to quickly fray and begin to form the shape of a bird.
As the hands vanish into the distance, the rope’s handiwork morphs into feathers, beak, and spindly legs. A coo reverberates from the PA system as it takes flight straight into the air, only to immediately come crashing down into the pavement.
As the bird slowly writhes on the ground in agony, splayed out with its life slowly leaving its just-formed body, a whispering yet shrill voice calls out.
Happy pigeon day.
Queue the opening muted guitar plucks of “Play God” by Sam Fender.
Nick Stuart: And here we go! Miles Lucky soon to arrive in the ring. Will he have what it takes to knock off the #1 seed in the Rolo bracket tonight?
Richard Parker: Who knows, but one thing’s for sure, he’s the #1 seed in giving me the willies! I heard a rumor that this young man survives on a steady diet of office supplies, and his frame isn’t doing anything to make me doubt it. Hey, hide that pen, Nick.
Nick Stuart: Well, Rich, he doesn’t look like much from the outside. But his performance over Bryan Williams last week definitely has the rest of the backstage impressed. And that includes his opponent tonight.
From behind the curtain emerges the shattered pieces of a children’s toy in a skin suit, a peculiar look on his face due to the reaction of applause that surrounds him. He has certainly earned his stripes with the PRIMEates from ReVival 1’s battle, but does not seem too sure how to receive the praise. Placing his palms on his temples, he slinks toward the ring while seemingly preventing his head from falling off his neck.
Nick Stuart: A real clash of styles to look forward to in this one.
Richard Parker: You aren’t lying. One who’s studied the sport since the training manuals were etched in cave walls, and one who simply took his wrestling inspiration from H.H. Gregg.
Nick Stuart: I think you mean the famous serial killer H.H. Holmes, Richard.
Richard Parker: No, I’m saying Miles learned how to fight in an electronics store.
Miles, with hands still placed on his head, slides underneath the bottom rope and slowly gets to his feet. Dropping his arms to his sides, he retreats to a corner and begins to pick at a small hole in his jeans as his music fades out.
Seconds later, we hear the sounds of a sudden heavy drumbeat. A trio in quick succession follows. The synthesized drone of ‘Abandon Streets’ by Jordan F pulses with a rising tension, the seconds causing a buzz to rise through the crowd. The tempest is rolling in. A sudden downsurge. The synths rise in tone.
Richard Parker: I hate this song.
Nick Stuart: Why’s that?
Richard Parker: Every single time I hear it now, I get excited that it might be the Miami Vice guy coming out for a special appearance. But it never is. Just Brandon Youngblood every time.
Nick Stuart: You have to stop setting these expectations. We couldn’t even get Brad Garrett to make an appearance and he’s right down the hall.
Screaming white light bathes the entire entrance area, the PRIME*View flickering through the assorted highlight package of Brandon Youngblood. The audience responds in kind with a bellowing of cheers for the PRIME legend brought home, growing louder as he appears. Throwing back the curtain, he powers towards the ring, barely visible through the blinding light. His eyes are fixated on the ring, his face remaining stoic as the fans begin to roar.
Moving down the aisle, Youngblood’s focused demeanor seems completely detached from his surroundings. Walking across the ringside mats, he slowly stalks his way to the stairs. Each climbing step forward stabs the steel, his left hand grasping the ring post as he takes his first pace across the apron. Moving between the ropes, he brings his head down and slackens his limbs before exploding out of the stretching of his shoulders. Peering towards the crowd, Brandon’s expression does not change.
Nick Stuart: The Tower of Babel once again looking stoic, obviously laser focused on taking care of business in his goal for the Universal title.
Richard Parker: Well, he’s already made it past the power of love, Nick. Now he’s got to defeat the power of the new ALP: Arms, Legs, and uh…Punching.
Nick Stuart: Love my job.
Youngblood casually clasps the top ropes on each side of his designated corner as he rests his back against the turnbuckles, his eyes focusing towards his opponent, his glowering burning a hole right through them. Ashley Barlow, sensing no need to check for any foreign objects due to the lack of elbow or knee pads from either competitor, awaits the music to die down and calls for the bell.
Nick Stuart: Miles Lucky wasting absolutely no time trying to catch Youngblood off guard, immediately charging in and attempting to take out his legs right as the bell chimes!
Richard Parker: Already wanting to take the ‘L’ out of ALP!
Nick Stuart: I don’t think so, Rich. The eccentric competitor is barely able to lift him, but hits an effective inverted atomic drop.
Richard Parker: Well, guess I need to change the ‘P’ in my definition.
The shot to the groin is just enough to stagger the PRIME Hall of Famer, conveniently allowing for a slight kneel in which Miles uses as a boost for a headscissors takedown. Finding a groove in using Youngblood’s body against him, he plants a Nike Decade on his sternum and trampolines in the air, falling backwards land with an unforgiving thud. Apparently not satisfied with the first bounce, Miles repeats the process and the sound of 180 pounds crashing into a ribcage repeats across the MGM Arena.
Aware that keeping the bigger man on the ground might be the key to victory, Miles takes a running start to rebound into the ropes. However, just before he launches into a third senton, Youngblood is able to instinctively lift his knees upon hearing the approaching footfalls. Unfortunately, Miles wasn’t targeting his chest again with this one.
Richard Parker: OOF! Lucky just plopped down right on Youngblood’s head!
A collective “ooooooooooooooooh” erupts from the crowd, as the back splash was nearly enough to flatten Brandon’s nose.
Nick Stuart: That’s certainly what you have to watch for with Miles Lucky. Completely unpredictable, and that seems to have worked to his advantage there! Miles now continues on the offensive as he scales the turnbuckles, and what…what is he doing?
The camera view shifts to Lucky, a pigeon-esque perch at the top rope, who is shouting at the woman seated next to the bell to inform him how long the match has been going on.
Richard Parker: First time for everything, I guess. Who would have thought someone would have wanted the time from the timekeeper?
Nick Stuart: And now he seems to be counting down on his fingers! Again, very unorthodox, as it appears Miles has plotted down his offense to the very second. Not exactly the best strategy, as Youngblood is beginning to shake the cobwebs!
Richard Parker: Go for the ‘P’ again, Lanky Lucky! It’s your only hope at this point!
Although Miles continues to count down to the appropriate second, Brandon Youngblood is able to rise to his feet. Once it’s time, Lucky jumps off of the turnbuckle for a palm-to-head style elbow drop, desperately trying to aim any part of his body to strike the former Five-Star Champion. It fails, as Youngblood simply dodges him. Lucky’s elbow clumsily strikes the mat, resulting in a painful self-inflicted wound.
Youngblood capitalizes on the “timing” error and wrenches in a modified front headlock on the ground, making sure to sandwich the damaged arm between Miles’ ear and his own muscular appendage. Lucky tries his darndest to wriggle free, but Brandon is quick to adapt to any inch of leverage by shifting his weight accordingly.
Nick Stuart: This is precisely where Miles did not need to end up. Despite his high threshold for pain from his deathmatch experience, Youngblood’s ground game can both hurt you and wear you out.
Richard Parker: My heart goes out to the skeleton boy. That’s exactly what my ex-wife did during our divorce negotiations.
Nick Stuart: Judging by your Mickey Mouse watch, it looks like it worked.
Richard Parker: The succubus wasn’t able to take THAT from me, Nicholas!
Miles’ only other option is to use his free hand to begin hammer-fisting Youngblood’s head, still a little softened due to the kamikaze senton from earlier. This isn’t enough for Brandon to break the hold, but he does begin to bring them both to a standing position. That is enough for Miles to have a chance to quickly undo the knot and charge at the ropes, opting for a cross body attempt to further offset the weight advantage.
It wouldn’t work. Youngblood takes a few steps forward to catch him in midair, spins him, and plants him face-first into the mat. He then reapplies the same arm-trap headlock as before, this time from the side as opposed to the front. Brandon’s positioning does leave him blind to the fact that Lucky is only a few short inches away from a rope break, but has applied enough downward pressure to keep him from slithering to it.
Nick Stuart: Miles Lucky now almost glued to the mat, but what exactly is he doing with his feet, folks?
Richard Parker: He’s trying to slide his shoe off, Nick!
Nick Stuart: That he is, and it looks like he’s gotten it now slightly dangling off his foot. What is he…oh, wow! He’s draped the front of that early 90s sneaker onto the rope! Is this even a legal rope break?
While it’s probably not found in any rulebook, Ashley Barlow is going to count it as such. She informs Youngblood of the breach and begins her count, to which he releases the hold at 3. A bit frustrated, Brandon reaches for the upper torso to lift Miles to his feet, but is caught immediately off guard when Lucky suddenly grows tentacles and pulls his limbs into each other for a package roll up.
Richard Parker: Not enough!
Nick Stuart: Miles once again tries to sneak the offense when it’s least expected, but Youngblood is able to kick out of it at deuce.
Richard Parker: It’s the opening that he needed, though. Look at those Gumby limbs fly!
Lucky tries to capitalize on his momentum by wildly flinging hands and knee strikes to Youngblood. All of them make a bit of a mark on his opponent, but as Brandon peers down to protect his head, he takes notice of a potential advantage that he hadn’t seen up until now. Taking the risk to absorb yet another blow, he takes a giant step forward…
Richard Parker: YEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWCH! Miles is missing a shoe from that rope break only moments ago, and the big lug just stepped on that exposed foot!
Nick Stuart: Youngblood made a split second decision to do something unpredictable as well, taking a page right out of his opponent’s own playbook! Lucky is now jumping around like a cartoon character, clutching what might just be a shattered set of bones!
Youngblood maneuvers himself into position, wrapping his arms around Miles’ midsection and lifts him high in the air, only to DRIVE him right back into the mat in a crumpled heap.
Nick Stuart: Karelin Lift! Miles’ head might have just left a stain on that canvas with that impact!
Richard Parker: Well, that’ll at least distract him from the pain in his foot!
DING DING DING
Nick Stuart: And that’s all she wrote, everyone! Brandon Youngblood is advancing to the next round after a grab bag match of tricks!
Richard Parker: I’m not sure Miles had losing this match at whatever time it is now in his strategy, Nick.
Nick Stuart: Well, once his shoe came off, it was only a matter of time before the other one was going to drop.
Richard Parker: …boo.
Nick Stuart: Shut up, Richard.
COMMERCIAL: SHOOT PROJECT
Watching and Waiting
The screen bursts with static for a moment before transitioning to a room filled with pitch darkness, save for a single, bright spotlighting shining down. Sitting in the center of that spotlight is none other than Jacob Mephisto. He sits cross-legged, his black hair hanging loosely about his shoulders.
Mephisto looks up into the camera, pale gray eyes seeing something beyond. He speaks in a voice that promises good tidings, but is betrayed by a poisonous undertone.
Mephisto: I’ve learned something. I’ve learned what it means to become a footnote in someone’s career.
There’s a pause. A flash of anger crosses his face, but is quickly replaced by a smirk that never reaches his eyes.
Mephisto: It’s the last time that will happen. I’m watching. I’m waiting. And soon?
The smirk broadens into a smile. Those eyes twinkle with bad intentions.
Mephisto: Soon I’ll be the whole book you just can’t put down. It’s only a matter of time…
The screen bursts with static again before we’re left in darkness.
You Were Saying?
The scene switches to outside the MGM Grand as Vickie Hall stands underneath a parking lot light, half covered in chocolate from a severely traumatic incident a little while ago. Her eyes are glazed over, clearly she has been crying for some time but finally seems to be getting over the worst of it. Beside her, of course, her ever loving ALP, Jonathan-Christopher. He caresses her back softly as the two of them stand aimlessly, in what looks to be the PRIME talent parking lot.
Vickie Hall: I hate this place.
Pretty Pink says with such hate and conviction. Her heart has clearly been broken, relegated to watching lower tier talent wrestle while her Forever Man stands on the sidelines.
Vickie Hall: I can’t believe our journey is over, baby.
Vickie leans forward and starts brushing more crusted chocolate off her hot pink leggings.
Vickie Hall: Oh, Jonathan-Christopher, what are we to do?
She says this out loud, as if her vibrant tiger is able to come up with an answer. He doesn’t say much, if anything. Instead, he simply keeps rubbing his woman’s glorious back.
Vickie turns to the MGM Grand. She takes a deep breath, letting in its aura. A face of pure disgust follows.
Vickie Hall: Yep. Hate this place.
Her miserable demeanor on full display, a far cry from a month ago when the Hall’s first signed PRIME contracts.
While Jonathan-Christopher continues to run his palms across his ALP’s back, he pops his head upright. He looks towards her and although he was crying earlier in the night (and hasn’t been able to stop for weeks) it seems as though he’s the more secure one right now.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: Baby…
Jonathan-Christopher begins. She instantly takes notice and turns around to face him.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: Earlier, you said you had an idea…???
Now, Jonathan-Christopher’s voice trails. It’s all the information he could provide because, of course, he doesn’t know what the idea was. Meanwhile, Vickie gives herself another moment. She takes a zen breath in and then out. She closes her eyes, another tear dripping from her eyelids as she does. Then, finally, she wraps her arms around her ever loving spouse.
Vickie Hall: Oh Jonathan-Christopher, I do! Thank heavens, you reminded me!
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: That’s what I’m here for, baby.
Vickie’s lost in his eyes.
Vickie Hall: I can’t believe it almost slipped my mind!
She pauses. She lowers her head. At first, anxiety fills Jonathan-Christopher. He’s worried he may have provided negative body language. He wonders if he set her off, as he likely has in the past. He’s about to apologize when Vickie lifts her head…
Along with a mischievous smile. Signifying it wasn’t him at all.
Vickie Hall: Let’s get out of here, baby. I know exactly what we need to do…
The two walk down the parking lot, hand-in-hand.
Cut to commercial.
COMMERCIAL: HIGH OCTANE WRESTLING
1 Nova vs. 8 Cancer Jiles
Richard Parker: Well, it’s time for everyone to go home now.
Nick Stuart: Richard, we still have one more match to go. And it’s the main event.
Richard Parker: Does anyone really want to watch this match?
Nick Stuart: I think everyone here and everyone at home watching does.
Richard Parker: And what do they know?
Nick Stuart: They pay your checks.
Richard Parker: I rest my case!
Vince Howard: The following match is a ONE FALL, SECOND ROUND match in the Almasy Tournament and is the MAIN EVENT for the night!
Vince Howard: Introducing first!
The lights inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena slowly draw to a dim. Smoke begins to billow, and completely engulfs the entrance ramp. The temperature drops. The air chills.
Suddenly, an invigorating, pulsating, reverberating, electric guitar riff raucously riffs its way throughout space and time.
It. Is. loud.
Even louder than it was last week.
The spotlight clangs on and illuminates the fogged entrance way. The spotlight is in the shape of an egg. Screaming Jay Hawkins, author, singer, creator of “I am the cool” begins to sing…
I’m the one your mama warned you about
When you see me, I will leave you no doubt
I’m the coolest man that ever walked this earth
I’ve been the coolest since the day of my birth
Out from behind the curtain he emerges.
I am the cool.
Nick Stuart: Wait. That’s Bobby Dean! What’s he doing out here!?
Nick isn’t wrong. Bobby Dean does in fact emerge from behind the curtain, and even his girth is visible amongst the cloud of smoke. As for what the Beaute from Honalee is doing out here, well he’s holding a horse leading rope.
Nick Stuart: Is that a horse?
Again, the always astute Nick isn’t wrong. In fact, it’s a white horse, and on top of the powderish steed sits the man the music is all about.
Vince Howard: Being led down to the ring atop his glorious high horse named Cocaine… from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania… weighing two hundred and twenty pounds, and standing six feet and one half inches tall. He is a stale Pudding survivor. He is known in South America as El Terminablo de les COOLAS. He is ready to dance amongst the stars, and move on to round three of the Almasy Invitational. The Hunter of Bounties. COOLYMPUS’ own, Cannnncerrrrrrrrrrr, JILES!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Count of COOLsylvania receives somewhat of a mixed reaction from the PRIME faithful in attendance. More boo’s than cheers, though. It doesn’t seem to bother him as he confidently trots his way down to the ring. Once there he hops off his high horse, and instructs Bobby to take his things as well Cocaine to the back. He then slides under the bottom ring rope, and poses for all to see.
Nick Stuart: Jiles looks ready. However, looking and being are two entirely different things.
Richard Parker: I don’t even know what I just saw and I demand we never talk about it again.
Nick Stuart: But Richard—
Richard Parker: DEMAND!
Vince Howard: And his opponent!
“Maggot Brain” by Funkadelic rips through the MGM Grand and everyone immediately rises to their feet. From the back emerges the Risen Star, the Starchild, Nova.
NO-VA! NO-VA! NO-VA! NO-VA! NO-VA!
Vince Howard: Hailing from Parts Unknown, weighing in at two-hundred-and-forty-pounds and standing at six feet and three inches tall, he is a former PRIME Universal Champion and a ONE SEED in the Almasy Tournament. He is… NOVA!
Nova makes his way down the ramp, his eyes focused intensely on his opponent before he slides in under the bottom rope and makes his way to his corner.
Richard Parker: Nova looking like all business right now.
Nick Stuart: Lots of pressure on his shoulders tonight, being a fan-favorite and also wanting to make sure he meets the fans expectations.
Richard Parker: I couldn’t do it.
Nick Stuart: Trust me, we all know.
Jiles walks back and forth as Timo Bolamba ensures each fighter is ready before signaling for the start of the match.
Nick Stuart: And our main event is underway here between Nova and Cancer Jiles!
Richard Parker: I’m not sure if it pains me more to support Nova or Cancer (wretches), nope, can’t do it.
Nick Stuart: That was lovely, considering I’m sitting right next to you. What isn’t lovely is how Cancer Jiles has shot out of his corner and managed to tackle Nova to the mat before he begins to slam fist after fist on him!
Richard Parker: Oh let them fight Timo, let Cancer whoop Nova’s ass— GAH! What am I saying?!
Nick Stuart: I wonder that every night we work together.
Nova covers up from the shots that Jiles unloaded on him as Timo forces Jiles back. Nova makes his way up to his feet and Jiles decides to try and tackle Nova to the mat once again, but Nova manages to leap frog him which sends Jiles crashing into the corner. Nova immediately spins around and connects with a release German Suplex that sends the ‘COOL’ one across the ring. Nova makes his way up to his feet and catches Jiles with a stiff chop across the chest that causes Cancer to grab at his chest in agony. Nova yanks down Jiles hands and connects with another knife-edge chop that brings tears to the eyes of Cancer Jiles.
Jiles then fires back with one of his own, but receives a stiff headbutt from Nova for his troubles. Nova assists the ‘COOL’ one up to his feet, slamming his knee into his midsection, before whipping him off the ropes, and connecting with a textbook-example dropkick. Jiles scrambles back up to his feet and turns right into Nova hoisting him onto his shoulders, his right arm hooked across the neck of Jiles.
Richard Parker: Wait, is this match about to be over?!
Nick Stuart: The Hall of Famer has Jiles up for the Bourbon for Breakfast, but Jiles manages to slam his elbow into the side of Nova’s face a few times to cause Nova to drop him onto the mat.
Richard Parker: That would’ve been embarassing for Jiles.
Nick Stuart: And now Jiles is up on his feet and has managed to roll Nova up into a cover! ONE!
Richard Parker: Oh dear God, no.
Nick Stuart: TWO!
Richard Parker: Hell on Earth is about to arrive.
Nick Stuart: And Nova manages to get his right shoulder up just in the nick of time.
Richard Parker: Oh God, I think I had a heart attack.
Nova scrambles up to his feet and is caught with an eye rake that causes Timo Bolamba to get in the face of Jiles, admonishing him for his behavior. Cancer laughs it off as he slams his knee into the midsection of Nova and connects with a gutwrench slam. Jiles bounces back up to his feet, bounces off the ropes, and drops a knee across the face of The Risen Star. He rolls around on the mat, grabbing at his face while Jiles drops another knee, this time across the back of his opponent.
Jiles lifts Nova off of the mat and connects with a stiff jab to the face and pushes him into the corner where he slams his knee forearm across his face. Timo warns him to get out of the corner, but Jiles ignores him before whipping him as hard as he possibly can across the ring. Nova slams backfirst into the opposite corner and stumbles out of the corner before ducking under a clothesline from Jiles and reaching back to slam him to the mat with a neckbreaker that leaves both men in the middle of the ring.
Nick Stuart: Nova’s experience pulling him out of it there as he instinctively reached out and dropped Jiles with that neckbreaker.
Richard Parker: Look, I’m going to need Nova to just end this match already because I can’t be part of a company where Cancer Jiles makes it to the next round of this tournament.
Nick Stuart: Not only to the next round of the tournament, but a guaranteed Universal Championship shot, no matter what.
Richard Parker: Oh God, I’m about to be sick.
Nova rolls over onto his knees while Jiles slowly sits up. Both men stare at one another and begin to trade punches from a seated position. Nova, the larger of the two men, eventually gets the better of Jiles and slams his head into Jiles, sending the COOL one crashing to the mat once again (though not as far this time). Nova makes his way up to his feet and slams his boot across the chest of his opponent before yanking him off of the mat and connecting with a snap suplex. Jiles fights his way up to his feet and is met with a stiff forearm from Nova who then whips Cancer across the ring and kicks him in the midsection before planting him in the center of the ring with a double-arm DDT.
NO-VA! NO-VA! NO-VA! NO-VA! NO-VA!
The Starchild then rolls over Jiles and goes for the pin as Timo Bolamba slides into position.
LEFT SHOULDER UP!
Richard Parker: GAH! Why won’t Jiles just stay down?! He’s not that cool, is he?!
Nick Stuart: You might be going around the bend, partner.
Richard Parker: What? This isn’t some kind of western, Nick. Snap out of it!
Nick Stuart: You are off the deep end.
Nova begins to pull Jiles off of the mat only for the COOL one to pull him in for an inside cradle pinfall!
Jiles and Nova start scrambling to their feet, with Nova going for a jab, but Jiles ducks underneath it and slams his thumb into Nova’s eye. Timo begins to yell at Jiles once again, but Cancer slams his forearm into his opponent’s face, knees him in the midsection, and connects with a snap suplex of his own. Jiles drags Nova back up to his feet and slams his fist across the face of the Starchild, dropping Nova to one knee. Jiles bounces off the ropes and slams his knee across the face of Nova, sending the hall of famer to the mat. Jiles drags Nova to the middle of the ring and bounces off the ropes multiple times, leaping over Nova each time until he slowly struts towards Nova, stands over him, and gives him a double bird.
Cancer Jiles: FUCK YOU, YOU’RE BARELY A STAR! YOU’RE MORE LIKE A NOVA-E!
Richard Parker: He does know that… Novae… is bigger than a Nova, right?
Nick Stuart: Who taught you science?!
Richard Parker: I paid attention!
Nick Stuart: Sure, sure.
Richard Parker: Look, Mrs. Thompson was hot.
Nick Stuart: Bingo.
Jiles than casually walks away from Nova as he looks out at the fans, sticks his hands in his pockets, and poses his best GQ pose.
He looks out at the crowds and gives them double birds as well.
Cancer Jiles: FUCK YOU! I’M COOL! I SAW YOU LAST WEEK PUTTING BOBBY’S SANDWICH IN YOUR TOP! YOU’RE NOT COOLER THAN ME!
Cancer Jiles: FINALLY! YOU FINALLY REALIZE A GOD BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES!
Nick Stuart: I don’t think Cancer realizes what’s happening.
Richard Parker: Nope, nope. He does not.
Cancer steps backwards, waving at the fans to cheer for him louder. Except, they’re not cheering for him.
They’re cheering for the man that Cancer has bumped into.
Cancer turns around, shocked by the presence of someone else standing. He comes face-to-face with Nova.
Cancer falls down and begins to scramble back up to his feet, but Nova catches him with a stiff jab to the jaw, pushing Jiles into the ropes in the process. Nova lands another punch and then another one until he whips Cancer off the ropes and connects with a flying forearm across the face of the COOL one. Cancer frantically gets back to his feet only to be met with a hard kick to the midsection which is followed up with a corkscrew cradle suplex.
Nick Stuart: In-NOVA-tor! That might be it for Jiles!
Richard Parker: Hoyt willing.
Richard Parker: Hoyt WHY?!
Nick Stuart: Jiles JUST gets the kickout on Nova.
Richard Parker: No time to be wasting, get him!
Nick Stuart: You are such an odd creature.
Nova makes his way up to his feet and drags Cancer up with him only for the COOL one to slam his fist into the solarplex of the former Universal Champion. Nova stumbles backwards to one knee while Jiles bounces off the ropes. As he returns though, Nova explodes and hits him with a rising clothesline.
Nova’s momentum sends him crashing into the ropes and he uses it to hold himself up, sweat pouring down his face while he watches Jiles make his way up to his feet. He then runs full speed at Jiles and connects with a leg drop bulldog.
Nick Stuart: Dying Star Drop! Could this be it?!
Richard Parker: Hoyt, I’ve never prayed to you before, but please Hoyt, please.
Nova goes for the cover.
Richard Parker: Hoyt! You let him get his right shoulder up! Why?!
Nick Stuart: Nova giving it everything he’s got to make it to the next round, but Jiles putting up a fight and then some.
Nova slowly makes his way to his knees, his chest heaving, while exhaustion is setting up. He fights his way up to his feet, the fans making their intentions clear.
NO-VA! NO-VA! NO-VA! NO-VA! NO-VA!
Nova walks over to Jiles and lifts him up off the ground and puts him up on his shoulders.
Nick Stuart: Nova’s going for the Bourbon for Breakfast! If he hits this, it’s all over!
Nova tries to keep Jiles up there, but the COOL one fights his way off the shoulders of the former champion. Nova turns around, eyes focused on finding Jiles, and never sees it coming.
Richard Parker: No, no, no, HOYT, no.
Nick Stuart: Terminal Cancer out of NOWHERE! Nova is down and OUT!
Richard Parker: Are you relishing this?
Nick Stuart: Absolutely not.
Richard Parker: May Hoyt strike you where you sit!
Jiles collapses onto Nova as Timo slides into position.
Fans watch in horror, hands over their face.
Jiles grabs the tights of Nova for good measure, unbeknownst to Timo!
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Your winner… and advancing to the third round… CANCER! JILES!
Nick Stuart: And Jiles has done it! He has defeated Nova! He is on to the next round.
Richard Parker: Oh I’m going to be so sick.
Nick Stuart: This isn’t the result anyone in the audience wanted to see, but Jiles managed to pull it off.
Richard Parker: Stop. Talking.
Nick Stuart: And not only has Jiles won, he’s earned himself a guaranteed Universal Championship shot!
Richard Parker: I blame Troy for this. This is all her fault.
Jiles slowly makes his way up to his feet and looks around, in shock. Timo Bolamba reaches to raise Jiles hand, but Jiles pushes him away and raises his hands himself. He opens his arms wide as he looks out at the crowd, unable to believe what just went down.
Cancer Jiles: I’M THE GREATEST! BOW DOWN BEFORE ME! NOT YOU, YOU LOOK GROSS!
Nick Stuart: Needless to say, Cancer Jiles is going to be obnoxious moving forward.
Richard Parker: Moving forward?! Have you NOT seen this man?!
Nick Stuart: And it’s probably going to be worse from here.
Richard Parker: I hate my life. This is worse than watching the Human Centipede movie.
Nick Stuart: GROSS! You watched that?!
Richard Parker: Don’t change the subject! We’ve just witness the unthinkable.
Jiles rolls out of the ring, laughing at the fans in their face, kissing a girl in the front row that may be blind and has no idea what is going on, and tries to steal a baby from a couple before deciding the baby smells. Cancer runs around, his arms extended above his head as he has done the unthinkable; beat Nova.
Cancer runs towards the ramp. He pumps his fists into the air.
Cancer Jiles: I AM THE CHAMPION! I AM THE GREATEST!
Nick Stuart: Well, we might be here for a while.
Richard Parker: Just end the show. Everyone go home. This is probably the end of PRIME anyways.
Nick Staurt: For my morose co-host, I’m Nick Stuart. See you next week for ReVival 4!
Richard Parker: cries
Meanwhile, Cancer continues to celebrate on the ramp, convinced he’s just won the Universal Championship, while Nova sits up in the middle of the ring, rubbing his jaw, and staring out at the fans in disbelief.
Lindsay Troy: (shaking her head incredulously) How the hell do you steal an entire chocolate fountain with a forklift…
Melvin Beauregard: I mean…these are your people…
Troy gives Melvin the Timberlake Stare™. The MGM Liaison winces.
Melvin Beauregard: So… do you wanna talk about the damages?
Lindsay Troy: Yeah, might as well.
Melvin adjusts his neck collar. Lindsay, while only being a few inches taller, seems to tower over the smaller former Salesman of the Year for MGM’s Commercial Division. He gulps before continuing.
Melvin Beauregard: So… we have one forklift.
Lindsay Troy: No shit.
The stare hadn’t stopped by the way; it just kept going on forever. Melvin once again adjusts himself and stands up real straight.
Melvin Beauregard: 34 feather boas, half a turkey costume, two oversized plastic candy canes, one chocolate fountain with chocolate…
Lindsay Troy: You know better than to have that in the same building as Bobby, that one’s on you.
Melvin Beauregard: Point taken. One “Happy Birthday Dusk” cake…
Lindsay Troy: I’m not paying for that.
Melvin Beauregard: …one box of Fighting For Nora merch that got run over, the carpet on the 28th floor, with the chocolate stains everywhere the forklift went, the cleaning bill for Jonathan-Christopher and Vickie Hall, Potential psychological counseling for Bobby Dean…
Lindsay Troy: He’s fine, he’s been through worse…
Melvin Beauregard: And probably a serious union grievance…
Lindsay Troy looks down at the smaller Melvin, giving him – and his Macy’s clearance suit with matching dress shoes – a quick once-over.
Lindsay Troy: Split it?
Melvin looks Lindsay over, taking a moment to acknowledge her aggressive presence and posture. He nods his head.
Melvin Beauregard: Great!
Lindsay Troy: You’ve got the Dusk cake though.