The PRIME logo fades in while surrounded by darkness. There’s a steady sound.
Combat boots. Thousands of them. But that’s not all.
An air raid siren. Low at first, but it grows in intensity.
The PRIME logo doesn’t last.
It explodes into shards of blue and white as a Soviet heavy tank, the IS-2, named after Josef Stalin himself, runs it over and leaves the logo shattered in its wake.
The guitar riff from “Hell March 2” by Frank Klepacki screeches over the siren and the boots, which never quite stop thudding along to the driving beat of the music. The tank roars off screen, and Ivan Stanislav is left standing amidst the wreckage of what was PRIME.
He looms behind a podium with the Soviet and Russian flag draped on each half of the podium itself. Dressed in a smart, crisp olive and blue Russian military uniform, Praporshchik Stanislav spreads his wide arms as his voice booms outward, tinged slightly with the echoes of the microphone speakers, as if speaking to a great throng of people.
Ivan Stanislav: Comrades!! Battle Stations!!!
Alexei Ruslan emerges from behind Ivan to the left, marching in place. The Masters of the Moscowverse do the same, on the right. They all shout in unison.
Stanislav’s bass voice persists, but the images before us change.
Slow motion cut of Ivan hurling the announce table from ringside up into the ring. The table explodes into debris.
Ivan Stanislav: PRIME’s stay of execution is over!! The dregs have been routed!
Mortimer Knightingale flies through a wall.
Ivan Stanislav: Five Star Champions have been destroyed!
Coral Avalon soars upside down, in slow motion, thanks to The Red Scare.
Transition to Nate Colton, being yeeted in the opposite direction, much to the dismay of the onlooking crowd.
Ivan Stanislav: Tag champions have been broken!!
Jared Sykes is chucked across the ring with ease. Transition to Stanislav driving his ham-sized fist into Justin Calvin’s face.
The camera cuts to a profile view of the marching Alexei Ruslan. He winks at the camera and smirks wickedly.
Alexei Ruslan: Ouch!
Transition to archived WWII footage of Katyusha Rocket batteries, launching dozens of screeching rockets into the air. The screeching persists over the Hell March.
Ivan Stanislav: Intense champions have been brought to heel!
Paxton Ray is pinned by Jared Sykes at Tropical Turmoil. Stanislav stands in the background and watches.
Ivan Stanislav: Hall of Famers have been put down!
Cut to Ivan hanging a battered and bloodied Nova in the ring ropes.
Stanislav flattens Tony Gamble with the HurricanRussia.
Ivan Stanislav: Universal Champions have crumbled!
Slo-mo footage of Cancer Jiles taking a Stanislav-sized fist to the side of the face.
Quick cut to Kenny Freeman and Randall Schwartz, wearing official Red Army merch.
Kenny Freeman/Randall Schwart: Get it? Crumb-bled?!
Hayes Hanlon is nearly beheaded with an enormous big boot.
Rezin is thrown through the cage at Culture Shock 2023.
Cut to Ivan, flanked by his Red Army comrades. He points at the camera and continues his proclamation as five MiG-35 fighter jets roar from overhead.
Ivan Stanislav: Your best have failed, PRIME. The young, the old, the seasoned, and the rookies have all been laid to waste! And now, just one more sacrificial lamb. Brandon Youngblood!!!
Cut to Youngblood suplexing Alexei Ruslan straight to Hell. Ruslan looks dead inside as he bounces off the mat.
Ivan Stanislav: An opportunist! A coward! Less than man!!!
Cut to Stanislav and Youngblood duking it out at the Murder Rumble. Neither gives an inch.
Ivan Stanislav: The last bastion of hope for PRIME! But, dear comrades, towers fall!
Cut to archival footage of a massive KV-2 Soviet Assault Tank blasting a towering defensive structure to pieces.
Ivan Stanislav: Capitalist diamonds do not last forever!
Cut to Stanislav and Youngblood at the Murder Rumble yet again. Stanislav levels Youngblood with a thunderous chop to the chest. Transition to a close up of Ivan, staring straight into the camera.
Ivan Stanislav: Come UltraViolence, Brandon Youngblood, you will become yet another casualty in my great patriotic war!
No more hiding! No more chicanery. The Universal Title will be Mother Russia’s! And there is not a thing you can do about it!
Ruslan inclines his head and looks up at Ivan, curiously.
Alexei Ruslan: And then what, Praporshchik?
Stanislav grins and bares his massive row of glittering teeth. His face twists into an almost manic grin as the Hell March reaches its crescendo.
Ivan Stanislav: And then PRIME… is MINE!
A COCAINSAUS ENCOUNTER
You’ve heard of the Cold Open? Well, now it’s time for the Cool Open!
Cut to the parking lot of the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, and a lone car is doing what cars did in a parking lot. Which is to park. Obviously. After a few moments of hesitation, the driver gets out of the car, and fans watching from within the arena let out a cheer for Coral Avalon.
Avalon goes to pick up his travel bag from the backseat of his vehicle, but he stops when he notices another car pulling up next to him. Well, not necessarily a car.
One with a head, and two wings.
Coral Avalon: Oh my god, you’ve got to be kidding me.
Coral watches on in awe as a very familiar face dismounts from atop the mythological creature. To help paint a clearer picture, said dismounter is wearing an electric blue tracksuit with matching T-Shades.
Cancer Jiles: Thanks man, grab my bags and take them to my locker room for me. I’m gonna burn a jay in the parking lot first. Maybe two of them. Apparently I’m up against a dinosaur tonight. Fucking PRIME.
Avalon doesn’t oblige, which causes Cancer to look up from the ground and fully vest his interest.
Cancer Jiles: I said take my ba- oh shit. It’s… you. The Crownless King. We have to stop meeting like this.
Coral Avalon: What, do you have a horse factory or something?
Cancer Jiles: Uh, yeah. It’s called a farm. Where do you think all of the eggs come from? Jeez bud, what’s inside that forehead of yours? Hot air?
The COOLYMPIAN laughs.
Coral does not share the same brashful enthusiasm as his counterpart. Instead, there’s legit confusion running across his face and forehead.
….On the one hand, it would make sense if Old McCancer did own a farm. The eggs. The horses. The eggs. He needs to get them from somewhere. On the other hand, he couldn’t. They don’t have farms on mountaintops.
Cancer Jiles: Say, since I have you here and there’s no way we’ll just keep on randomly bumping into each other I want to ask you something that has been bothering me.
Coral shakes his head as if to say he’s not a part of the wall busting. That, or he’s getting himself ready to digest an insult.
Cancer Jiles: It is crownless because there simply isn’t a crown big enough that would fit around your forehead? Or is it because you need favor among the high court? If it’s the latter, I got people up there you know. I could put a good word in for you.
Coral blinks, still staring at Jiles’ winged horse.
Coral Avalon: Okay. Nope. Full stop. That’s a horse. You rode a horse to the arena. Please tell me that I’m not about to find its head in my locker room later on tonight?
Jiles stares back at him. At least, Coral thinks so. He can’t really see his eyes.
Coral Avalon: Actually, don’t answer that question. Instead, I’ll answer yours. No, I’m not Crownless because of the forehead.
The Maestro sulks in disappointment.
Coral Avalon: I’ll even do you one better, I don’t need help in the high courts, either. I have a lawyer.
Coral considers those last four words for a moment, knowing that the lawyer in question was sulking around in Seattle over losing a valuable championship just three days ago.
Coral Avalon: Technically, I have a lawyer.
It’s always good to reevaluate your assessments.
Coral Avalon: So, uh… not to change the subject but… you’re up against a dinosaur tonight. A pterodactyl, I think. That’s the other weird thing I’ve heard this week. I’m gonna be honest, I don’t really know any good anti-pterodactyl tactics to suggest for you.
He considers using the word “pterotactics”, but that’s not a word and that’s too dumb even for the guy behind Baron von Blackberry to say out loud.
Cancer Jiles: That’s okay. I would never ask you for help to begin with. Not as an uninitiated. Well, outside of carrying my bags I suppose. The thought is nice though, and I’ll definitely keep it in mind when going over your application.
Coral Avalon: Wait. What application?
Cancer Jiles: Nothing. I confused the word application for eggsecution. No matter. I’d say see you around but that’s probably a little too on the nose.
Cancer Jiles: Catch you later.
The Blonde Bandit grabs his bag from off the curb and heads toward the PPG Paints Arena.
Cocainasaurus soars off into the horizon as we cut to the ringside area before anyone tries to add any more cooler openings!
RIA LOCKHART VS. DAYTONA DIAMONDS VS. BOBBY DEAN
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
All the explosions fill the PPG Arena. The camera zooms around and catches a number of signs!
SPACE FOR PYRO AND SIGNS AND THE WHAT HAVE YOU
SID PHILLIPS BOUGHT 100 TICKETS TO OPPENHEIMER BECAUSE HE HEARD IT WAS ABOUT “THE POWER OF BOMBS”
I AM KEN(NY FREEMAN)OUGH
I FIND IT HARD TO BELIEVE THAT 1/12TH OF THE POPULATION EXPERIENCES CUCKHOLDERY
JASON ALDEAN LICKS BOOTS
THE GLUE MAN GROUP OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE POWERBOMB
MAX KALE? BUT ENOUGH ABOUT MY LUNCH AT SWEETGREEN WAIT WHERE ARE YOU G
I REALLY ENJOY THE NEWEST PRIME STAFF MEMBER, SAVANNAH SCANDAL, AND LOOK FORWARD TO MORE HARD-HITTING QUESTIONS IN THE FUTURE!
FUCK NATE COLTON
Nick Stuart: Welcome yet again to REVIVAL, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for joining us for this thirty-third edition of PRIME Wrestling’s flagship show! Nick Stuart here, joined as always by my longtime partner and associate, Richard Parker! The air is absolutely electric tonight here in Pittsburgh! Wouldn’t you agree, Rich?
Richard Parker: Oh, is that what that smell is? You know, I heard this place has the most bridges of any city. And you know what that means, right?
Nick Stuart: What?
Richard Parker: It means this place has more trolls than any other city! And I believe it! Get a load of all these mutants that came out tonight!
Nick Stuart: Ugh… in any case, fans, we have a great show planned for you this evening! The Five Star Championship will be on the line in tonight’s main event, following a slew of tremendous match-ups! But first…
Cut to the graphic previewing the contestants to the opening threeway.
Nick Stuart: We’re kicking the action off tonight with triple threat action! Ria Lockhart makes her highly anticipated return to PRIME! Newcomer Daytona Diamonds makes his debut! And Bobby Dean… um…
Richard Parker: …Bobby will do what Bobby does best.
Nick Stuart: No better way of putting it than that, partner. Let’s go to our man in the ring, Vince Howard!
As the ring announcer stands ready in the ring, “Goin’ Out West” by Tom Waits comes in over the PA. The fans crane their necks toward their entrance to get their first look at Daytona Diamonds. Daytona emerges out from the back in an eye-catching fitting rhinestone cowboy suit. From head to toe, he is covered in white and flashing stones. His expression is dour as he comes down the aisleway toward the ring, ignoring the fans and focusing on the ring.
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, our opening event is a triple threat contest! Introducing the first competitor, hailing from Carson City, Nevada, and weighing in at two-hundred and forty-five pounds… making his PRIME debut, please welcome… THE RHINESTONE COWBOY… DAYTONAAAA DIAAAAMOOOOONDSSS!!
Richard Parker: …well dang. I was kinda expecting them to be… well, you know…
Nick Stuart: What? When you heard the name “Daytona Diamonds”, were you expecting to be a woman?
Richard Parker: Look, I know I can’t be the only one! Who the hell names their kid “Daytona”, anyway?
Nick Stuart: He’s a generational talent, Richard! One who’s developed quite a name for himself in the independent wrestling promotions of the American Southwest!
Once inside the ring, Daytona begins the process of discarding his outfit. As he does, the music is replaced with “You’re the Best” by Joe Esposito. Bobby Dean emerges from the back, greeted by an enthusiastic pop from the endearing and faithful members of the Dean Scene.
If there is such a thing.
Vince Howard: Introducing next, hailing from Houston, Texas, and (allegedly) weighing in at a mere three-hundred and sixty-nine pounds… BEAUTIFUL… BOBBY… DEEEEEAAAAANNNN!!
Nick Stuart: “Beautiful” Bobby Dean suffered defeat back at ReVival 31 at the hands of rising star Adam Ellis, who we’ll see in action later tonight! No doubt, Bobby is looking to bounce back with a win here tonight!
Richard Parker: I’m not sure it would be a bounce, so much as a flop and a roll. Thankfully, though, Cancer’s not with him…
Nick Stuart: No, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’ll be seeing the COOLympian in action later tonight.
Richard Parker: Ugh, don’t remind me…
Nick Stuart: Regardless of wherever he may sit in the pecking order, Bobby Dean’s affable charisma seemingly never wanes. But it remains to be seen if he can bring a smile to Cancer Jiles face with a victory here tonight.
Richard Parker: Then I suppose I’ll be quietly cheering for his defeat, because the last thing I EVER want to think about is Cancer Jiles smiling! That bum doesn’t deserve to feel pleased by anything!
Dean bumbles his way to ringside and struggles to pull himself in under the ropes. In his corner, Daytona Diamonds looks him over in a mixture of stoic disgust and incredulity. But just then…
“I’m So Hot” by Chrissy Chlapecka booms over the PA system, leading the PRIME faithful to shower down boos. Despite that, there’s a few that rush to the front row, cellphones in hand. As the beat drops, Ria Lockhart saunters out from the backstage area.
Wearing an extravagant white leather coat with a sparkling golden shawl sewn in, there’s also golden tassels attached to the sleeves and around the bottom. Covering her eyes are an expensive pair of Louis Vuitton sunglasses. The frames are white and metallic, the lenses are gold and mirrored.
Vince Howard: And finally… hailing from PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA!!
The MASSIVE hometown pop overpowers the jeers. Lockhart rolls her eyes in disgust.
Vince Howard: She weighs in at one-hundred and fifty pounds! Making her long anticipated return to PRIME Wrestling, please welcome back… the RI-I-P… RIIIIAAAAA LOOOOCKHAAAAAART!!
Ria sashays down to ringside, doing her best to keep anyone from touching her as she does. Ria stops at the steps. She emphatically pulls her glasses off, making sure to tuck them into the inside pocket of her jacket. Lockhart slowly slides her jacket off, revealing her body in dramatic fashion. Once the jacket is off, Ria folds it up and tosses it into the corner underneath the ropes.
Nick Stuart: Big hometown ovation for the returning Ria Lockhart, even if she doesn’t seem openly receptive to it!
Richard Parker: I won’t lie, Nick… I’m digging this new vibe Ria has going on. I dunno where she’s been, but she’s clearly brought back some improved drip!
Nick Stuart: The Ri-I-P certainly has an air of self-assurance about her. It will be interesting to see how she performs tonight, or if ring rust will play a factor.
Richard Parker: Well, given she’s going up against bubble-butt Bobby and… whoever the hell this Glenn Campbell guy is, I’d say she’s got a solid opportunity to make a powerful first step in her second run here in PRIME.
Nick Stuart: “Powerful” doesn’t do it justice, partner. Look at those platforms! I can feel them stomp from all the way over here!
The RiIP climbs the steps and onto the ring apron. She takes a few sensuous steps before throwing a leg over the middle rope. Ria bends over to slide her upper body inside, taking her sweet time in doing so, giving people a show. She finally swings her other leg inside.
Ria walls over to the corner, fluffing her hair for a moment. She leans back against the turnbuckle pads, one foot resting against the bottom rope.
Nick Stuart: Our presiding official, Jimmy Turnbull, has checked out the competitors and looks ready to get this underway!
Richard Parker: Well then, without further ado…
Jimmy gives the cue to the timekeeper.
The trio of competitors come out of their corners. Daytona is crisp and energetic, looking to encircle either of his opponents. Ria is also on her toes, albeit beckoning the other two to make the first move. Bobby, somewhat expectedly, leisurely walks to the center of the ring and waits for the action to come to him.
Ria finally gets fed up waiting for someone else to make the first move, and opting for the devil she knows, she suddenly throws herself upon Dean with a flurry of strikes and slaps. Cringing up, the Deaner goes on the defensive and attempts to cover up. Daytona Diamonds slinks back into a corner and observes the waylaying from afar.
Nick Stuart: Ria Lockhart is breaking the ice here tonight, taking it right to Bobby Dean! She’s got him backed into the corner now, and she’s trying for the Irish whip!
Richard Parker: “Trying” being the operative word. Gonna take a whole lot of elbow grease to get all that girth a-goin’.
Nevertheless, the RiIP grabs him by the wrist, digs her heels in deep, and pulls with all her might to get the nearly movable object moving. Bobby chugs across the ring like an out of control Mack truck with failing brakes, and Daytona Diamonds rolls out of the opposite corner before he can be crushed against it. Bobby unleashes a resounding “OOF!” the moment his chest hits the top turnbuckle.
On a knee, Diamonds eyes Lockhart across the ring, flicking her fingers to dare him into taking his shot. Then he sees Bobby clumsily staggering backwards out of the corner, and an idea comes to him. Quickly, he puts himself in front of Bobby and pushes forward. Dean’s aloof backpedal soon accelerates into an oncoming avalanche as Daytona returns Ria’s volley back across the ring.
Richard Parker: Make way! Wide load!
Finding herself suddenly trapped in the corner, Ria’s hands snag the ropes to assist a rolling backward somersault to the top mere seconds before Dean’s back engrosses itself into the turnbuckles. Bobby ejaculates with a beleaguered “WHEEZE!” as his mass absorbs yet another collision.
Perched upon the top rope, Lockhart blows Daytona a kiss before flipping off into a senton.
Nick Stuart: Ria with the ASTROJUNK–NO!! Daytona ducks at the second, and he gets out of dodge!
Richard Parker: A Texas tradition!
Nick Stuart: Gunsmoke was in Kansas, Rich…
Richard Parker: …what the hell is “Gunsmoke”?
As mentioned, Diamonds takes a powder to ringside after barely avoiding an early finish. The RiIP glares down on him in disgust from her place in the ring, cattily accusing the Rhinestone Cowboy of lacking a spine. Or possibly some other part of the anatomy. But with Daytona out of reach, she turns her attention to the matter of–
Nick Stuart: BOBBY DEAN!! Getting into the action with a running shoulder block!
Richard Parker: Not sure I’d agree with your use of the word “shoulder” there, partner! That was more of the flank than the chuck, if you ask me.
Nick Stuart: Whatever the case, it put the unsuspecting Ria Lockhart to the mat, and now Bobby Dean has the rare chance to actually capitalize on this!
Ria lies shaken on the mat. The last thing she expected was to turn around into a human train engine barreling its way out of the corner. Dean lumbers his way into the ropes for some much needed momentum, and slaps his elbow on the return.
Richard Parker: Oh lawd, he comin’!
Lockhart’s focus returns at the sound of approaching heavy footfalls, and know she has only precious seconds to get out of the way.
Nick Stuart: Wait! Daytona Diamonds, from the outside, has ahold of Ria’s ankle!
She squirms to free herself, but it’s too late. Her upper body disappears beneath Bobby Dean’s armpit as he topples down upon her with a three-hundred and sixty-nine (nice…) pound elbow drop.
Conveniently, he doesn’t have to get up immediately, as official Jimmy Turnbull sees Lockart’s shoulders on the canvas.
Nick Stuart: Bobby with the cover on Ria after that earth-shaking elbow drop!
NO! Broken up by Daytona Diamonds, who saw the perfect opportunity to jump back into the fray!
Diamonds follows up his slide-in forearm with an onslaught of sharp stomps to the back of Bobby’s head. With the Beautiful one fully dazed as he sits himself up, Daytona takes a bounce into the ropes to build a head of steam for a basement dropkick to Bobby’s mush!
Nick Stuart: Hard dropkick by Daytona Diamonds! I hear he calls that one the Boot Scootin’ Boogie!
Richard Parker: Funny… that’s the term I use whenever I step in a pile of dog crap.
Nick Stuart: That happen often with you?
Richard Parker: My friend, you have no idea…
Daytona wants to keep up the pressure, but huffs when he notices Ria beginning to pick herself up off the mat. He greets her with a knife edge chop as she makes it to her feet before trapping her around the face to set her up for a reverse STO…
But being perfectly familiar with the move herself, Ria scouts it and plants her knee. Daytona cries out in pain as he drops himself into an agonizing backbreaker, right before the RiIP yanks him back up into her grasp.
Nick Stuart: BACKBREAKER to REVERSE STO COMBINATION by Ria Lockhart, who quickly makes the cover!
Diamonds kicks out!
Daytona breaks free from the pin and rolls over to his side to catch his breath, but doesn’t get much of a reprieve before Ria’s platform heels scrape their way across his face a few times. Choosing to stick with the theme, Lockhart wrangles Diamonds back onto his feet before dumping him into the corner and parking that same heel right into his neck.
Turnbull calls for a break (although really, is there DQ in a triple threat?), but Ria milks the choke for all it’s worth while Daytona spasms against the turnbuckle in an effort to free himself. Salvation eventually comes, from the unlikeliest of places…
Nick Stuart: Bobby Dean is back on his feet!
Richard Parker: Nothing short of a miracle that he was able to do that at all…
Nick Stuart: And now Ria finds herself caught up in a full nelson!
Ria curses as she squirms around in an effort to free himself. Despite Bobby’s extra buttery coating, his hands are interlocked and his grip his ironclad. Lockhart then sees Daytona hanging off the ropes, gasping for breath, and decides to make use of him by kicking off his chest into a graceful backflip to land behind the Deaner.
Nick Stuart: REVERSAL!
Richard Parker: Ria hasn’t lost her step!
Bobby slowly turns around in time for the RiIP to pounce upon him, wringing her hands around the back of his neck and tucking her knees up to bring the Beautiful one down with a picturesque chinbreaker!
Nick Stuart: BOTCHED BEAUTY!! Ria got ALL of that! Bobby Dean hits the mat like a ton of bricks!
Richard Parker: Two tons. At least.
Nick Stuart: Ria throws herself across the chest for the cover! Will that do it?!
THR–NO!! BROKEN UP BY DAYTONA DIAMONDS!!
Richard Parker: This ol’ cowboy always knows how to be in the right place at the right time!
The running knee strike comes in at the eleventh hour, and presumably comes at the expense of much of Daytona’s energy, but it only serves to piss Ria off. Diamonds leans against the ropes, again attempting to catch his breath, as the RiIP bursts to her feet and charges at him in a murderous rage.
Unfortunately, she doesn’t predict Diamonds dropping down and pulling the top rope with him. Momentum carries Ria Lockart over the ropes and crashing to the ringside floor.
Nick Stuart: Ria falling out of the ring, as Daytona Diamonds makes a swift and timely counter!
Richard Parker: Now all he has to do is lasso the steer.
Daytona turns, and spots Bobby groggily picking his mass back up off the mat and onto his beleaguered feet. Seeing his window, Daytona Diamonds darts in, reaches back to ensnare the head in a three-quarter bulldog, and drops into a picturesque Diamond Cutter.
Nick Stuart: HOW THE WEST WAS WON!!
Richard Parker: Wonderful movie, Nick, but what’s that gotta do with wrestling?
Nick Stuart: It’s the name of the move, partner!
Bobby rears up off the impact, and stands frozen for a beat–head tilted upward, rolling eyes gazing into the lights. Then, with a thunderous boom on par with a felled redwood, his body crashes into the canvas. Diamonds hurriedly begins the labor of rolling him onto his back, while at ringside, the recovering Ria Lockhart comes to realize what is happening.
Instinct kicks in. Ria scrambles up on the apron. Meanwhile, Daytona Diamonds finally gets Bobby onto his shoulders and lays himself across the big man’s flabby chest.
Richard Parker: I think we have our winner, Nick!
Nick Stuart: Will Daytona Diamonds pick up the win in his PRIME debut?!
Dayton sees something blocking out the light above him, and desperately rolls to the side.
Nick Stuart: ASTROJUNK!! ASTROJUNK BY RIA LOCKHART!!
Richard Parker: OUTTA NOWHERE!!
Bobby’s eyes bulge and legs kick when Ria’s flipping senton bomb from the top rope hits its mark on his chest. Even the multiple layers of padding can’t fully absorb its impact. He wheezes in pain for a moment before going fully limp.
Cackling triumphantly, the RiIP bounds back to her feet and turns to finish the–
Nick Stuart: DAYTONA WITH HOW THE WEST WAS WON ON RIA!!
Richard Parker: Scratch what I said earlier, cause that was even MORE OUTTA NOWHERE!
Lockhart sprawls one way, falling into the ropes, and Diamonds the other, falling across Bobby’s chest once again. Jimmy Turnbull drops to the mat to make the count.
DING DING DING
“Going Out West” hits the PA. The Pittsburgh crowd, somewhat dejected after what they hoped would be a victory for the hometown hero, jeer the result. Daytona pops to his feet and falls in the ropes, ecstatic and overjoyed. Seated on the mat and still clutching her chin, Lockhart’s face fills with appalled fury.
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, here is your winner, by pinfall… the RHINESTONE COWBOY… DAAYTOONAAAAAAA DIIIIIIIIIIIAAMOOOONNDDSSS!!
Nick Stuart: Sweet victory for Daytona Diamonds in his first PRIME match!
Richard Parker: I’ll say. Guy looks like he just won the lottery!
Nick Stuart: I thought for certain there for a minute that Ria Lockhart was going to pull it out! Instead, she was denied victory here in her hometown of Pittsburgh!
Richard Parker: Can’t say I’m not just a bit personally let down. But at the same time, glad to see these fuglies out in the crowd left disappointed, cause I think there’s an unspoken rule about not feeding the trolls.
Nick Stuart: Would you knock it off with this “troll” business? Pittsburgh is a fine city!
Richard Parker: I can’t walk into a single establishment in this place without being barraged by a gaggle of knuckle-dragging dude-bros in black and yello, Nick. It’s a craphole. Stop lying to yourself.
Nick Stuart: Well, be as it may, Daytona Diamonds comes away from this one victorious! And Ria Lockhart comes away FURIOUS! And Bobby… is… well…
Richard Parker: …Bobby’s gonna be fine.
Nick Stuart: I’m sure he is, partner. We’ve only dipped our toes into the action, ladies and gentlemen, but before the next match, let’s very briefly head to the back!
Turnbull raises Diamonds’ arm in victory, but he doesn’t linger around long when he notices Ria getting to her feet and looking for payback. After he slips outside, she instead turns her ire onto Bobby with a litany of angry stomps. Jimmy attempts to intervene, but almost gets taken out himself in the process.
Walking back up the rampway, Daytona’s face is that of a gambler who just hit the jackpot. We then cut backstage to two of the most hated men in PRIME today.
We start in the employee parking lot of PPG Paints Arena and immediately settle in on a duo that draws the fans’ ire.
Foster Nackedy: …I’m just saying, if you let me know what you’re planning beforehand, I can help. I’m really good at helping.
Paxton Ray: Yeah, I noticed that last Rev. Reeeeeally good.
The two walk through the parking lot, with Paxton Ray taking the lead and Foster Nackedy rushing to keep up.
Foster Nackedy: I mean, come on. They’re kids. They did their best against the literal champion and…yeah, TAL is the human personification of Scrappy Doo, but he’s the human personification of Scrappy Doo who can hit hard.
Paxton Ray: Yeah, ya let kids in the ring against actual wrestlers. Great help.
Foster Nackedy: Well it’ll go better this week. They’re not here.
Paxton Ray: Uh huh.
They walk towards the arena entrance, but their pace slows as they see a mammoth man standing in the doorway. Dametreyus, head of security, grins at them as they walk up.
Paxton Ray: Sup hoss. This a welcomin’ committee?
Dametreyus: Nah, right now I’m a bouncer. You can come in ‘cause you got a match. But you?
Dametreyus points at the Disco Head Man.
Dametreyus: You’re not coming in.
Foster Nackedy: Excuse me?
Dametreyus: Courtesy of the Boss. She didn’t like you letting non-wrestlers in her ring, and she definitely didn’t like them attacking her talent.
Foster Nackedy: We were already fined for it. That’s punishment enough.
Dametreyus: Turns out some people don’t agree, and the Boss and I are two of ‘em. So you can turn around and get out of here, Fos’.
Foster Nackedy: This is bullshit! Paxton needs me! He–
Foster stops as he sees Paxton grin and slide by the massive head of security.
Paxton Ray: I don’t need nobody. I’ma be fine.
Paxton slips through the door, leaving Foster to look up at the grinning Dam.
Foster Nackedy: Well I hope you’re happy. If something happens to Paxton and I’m not there to help, that’s on your hands.
Dametreyus: I can live with that.
The smile vanishes off of Dam’s face, and after a few seconds Foster realizes there is nothing he can do or say to change this situation. After a moment he adjusts his concussion helmet and turns around, walking away. Dam’s smile returns.
Dametreyus: I love my job.
We then cut to… a video of… something.
BETWEEN TWO SUCCULENTS
A video comes to life, showing two chairs placed facing each other at TV angles. That is to say, they are angled at around forty-five degrees at proper conversation distance. On one of the chairs is a large photo of a jackass with C. Monrtgomery Buyrnes’ face superimposed over the head. There is a bowl of carrots on the floor. On the other chair is Scott Hunter, wearing thick horn-rimmed glasses and casual clothing, a light green polo shirt and some khaki shorts.
On either side of the chairs is a succulent. Two succulents.
That is a disclaimer because this is an entirely original idea.
Scott Hunter: (smiling broadly) Hello and good evening to everyone in Prime. As you can see, it is me, Scott Hunter, small town hero, notary public, and professional wrestler. I also can legally run an alligator farm in Broward county and I once slid into the DMs of Angela Lansbury. I know the name of that county rhymes with ‘coward’ but if you call me one I will fight you. Also I was disappointed to find out that Ms. Lansbury wasn’t actually a singing pot like in the wonderful documentary film Beauty and the Beast, but that’s neither here nor there.
Scott holds up a piece of paper and peers down at it, squinting. From the viewers’ perspective his eyes look gigantic, like the largest set of googly eyes available for purchase at Party City, based on a quick internet search.
Scott Hunter: My guest of course is a man who needs an introduction, but will not get one! That’s because nobody cares. Still, his name is C. Montgomery Byrnes, or C. Mortgomery Byrnes, or C. Thisrash Byrnes. I don’t know, I’m still working out the consonants. But he is my opponent this week, so hello Mr. Byrnes and welcome to ‘Between Two Succulents’. Also, our musical guests were scheduled to be the band Foreigner, but I sent them home because I already know what love is so I don’t want them to show me.
Scott gestures to the bowl on the floor.
Scott Hunter: As you can see I have provided you with a bowl of carrots because I have heard that jackasses like carrots and also my mom taught me to offer a snack to house guests. She also taught me how to pop the clutch on a 1964 Chrysler Newport, which is information that will be important later on in my time with PRIME. Now, Mr. Byrnes, I would like to ask you a series of questions and you should feel free to answer in any way you like. You may also make neighing sounds because I have a jackass-to-human-language translator on staff.
Scott waits for acknowledgement, but doesn’t get any, because there is not an actual person there. His expectations are too high.
Scott Hunter: Okay then. Here is the first question. How do you feel knowing that you will lose to me in record time this week?
Scott waits for an answer again but nothing happens.
Scott Hunter: (nodding) I see. That’s very interesting. Is it intimidating to be in the same room as I am considering I am much stronger, more athletic and less prone to farting in church than you are? Also, why do you keep farting in church? It is a two part question.
Scott stares at the jackass/Byrnes amalgamation, and finally chuckles to himself lightly.
Scott Hunter: Touche’, touche’. I myself enjoy Mexican food whenever there is some available. Still, it seems a bit rude. Why are you so rude? Also, why are you also dumb, and also do you wear your mask when you go out to eat Mexican food because I am now thinking that is why you fart so much.
Still nothing from the inanimate object in the other chair. Scott holds up a finger threateningly.
Scott Hunter: You watch your mouth, mister! I’ll have you know that these questions were carefully crafted to offer you a chance to defend yourself and to make a case for why you are not a gigantic idiot with mashed peas for brains and a tiny tiny dic-tionary. You almost made me say a bad word but I avoided it as you can see, because I am so much smarter than you. In fact, I am so much smarter than you that – – –
Scott leaps to his feet and, screaming out ‘HIYAAAAAAH!!’ throws a hard karate kick to the donkey Byrnes picture making it snap right in two. He turns slowly toward the camera, holding his karate pose.
Scott Hunter: As you all can see, I have successfully completed my plan to lure my opponent this week onto a fake television program and then kick him right through his midsection and kill him. Normally I would not kick donkeys but this guy has been asking for it. Actually that was what legal scholars call a ‘demonstration’, but that’s pretty much what it would look like. I will close with this…
Scott relaxes and walks slowly toward the camera, then stops a few feet away, but close enough so that he is filling nearly the entire frame.
Scott Hunter: This week is only step one. I will defeat the donkey man with my hands, feet and knees, and possibly my elbows, but definitely my feet, and I will cement myself as the only living undefeated wrestler in PRIME history, which, if you don’t believe that you should jump into a lake without arm floaties and sink to the bottom like a common carnival worker. After that will come step two, and then step three, and then step whatever number comes after three. I don’t do math real good. It is my only weakness, that and citrus fruits. BUT YOU DIDN’T HEAR THAT! EARMUFFS! Okay good, that was a close one. Tune in later tonight and watch me break a fake luchador’s face with my fists and then hurt his knees real bad with my legs, live and in living blue color here on ReVival 33. And then I will take out an entire row of fans by swinging my sword like Sauron during the Fellowship of the Ring prologue. I’m just kidding. That scene was awesome. But I’m serious about the hurting his knees with my legs thing. Until next time, this has been ‘Between Two Succulents’. This is Scott Hunter saying… bye.
We then fade to the most popular area of the PPG Arena today… the parking lot… for another pre-recorded tape!
Backstage, where the camera follows one of the dynamic young stars of PRIME that everyone is excited to see.
Only, nobody wants to see Nate Colton right now.
Whether you want him or not, here he is. Wearing his jacket, carrying his bag, walking through the halls. Catching a pretty severe side-eye from pretty much everyone.
But he can’t worry about that right now; he’s got a big match tonight, which means a trip to the locker room. He needs to change into his gear, focus on the fight ahead of him, get in the right headspace…but mostly, he needs to get away from the camera’s unblinking eye.
Nate does not acknowledge the glares or sharp whispers that go on behind his back; he just makes a beeline for the locker room. It is his home away from home, his sanctuary, his Mojo Dojo Casa House.
Nate Colton: Oh! Umm…
…full of people. A lot of people.
Very unhappy people.
Specifically, most of the PRIME roster. There’s the Anglo Luchador, with obvious outrage on his face despite the mask. Chandler Tsonda, his displeasure somehow softer than everyone else, as if he isn’t completely on board with what’s about to happen. Hayes Hanlon hangs in the back, separate from the rest of the crowd purposefully not making eye contact. Abe Lipschitz, still mourning his loss of Lindsay Troy’s Love and Admiration, stands quietly in the center of the mob. Rocky De Leon and Eddie Cross are whispering back and forth; Adam Ellis stares at Nate with just about the saddest puppy dog eyes you ever saw. Coral Avalon is on hand, even though he never goes to the main locker room. This might be the men’s locker room, but Justine Calvin is present; so is Kennade Starr. Not just the wrestlers either; Matt Mills, Elvis Nixon, and two or three Enemigos are there as well, representing their factions of PRIME staff. All of them staring at Colton; most of them scowling.
And there, at the front of the mob, is Brandon Youngblood.
He does not shout. He does not need to. His tone carries weight.
Brandon Youngblood: Nathan…
The tone of a disappointed parent.
Nate Colton: Brandon. What’s going on?
The question lingers in the air. A pregnant pause. Enough time to let anxiety sweep in. A stare, and with it, a drop in the stomach, a cooling through the chest and around the heart. Gooseflesh isolates on the shoulders.
Brandon Youngblood: You know what’s going on here. Right here. Right now. Don’t you?
Nate hangs his head a little, then nods.
Nate Colton: …yeah. Yeah, I do.
Brandon Youngblood: Scandal. Been thinking about it for two weeks…if you want to let THAT into your life…by all means…that’s a decision you can make and regret. But bringing her HERE…
Nate Colton: I know…and I’m sorry, all right? That all went…a lot worse than I expected.
The apology is not met with open minds or hearts, but rather a round of scoffs. Youngblood tenses slightly; it’s only his long-standing respect for the Colton family and his recent friendship with Nate that keeps him from boiling over.
Brandon Youngblood: So you knew it would be bad…but manageable? Controllable? Help me understand here…you knew she was going to be a problem. Prying into people’s lives. No boundaries. No conscience. This isn’t organized. We didn’t get together and plan this. We all MET here. Independent. So you tell US…you think it was worth it?
Nate Colton: I have my reasons.
This sets off a fresh round of indignation, with most of the gathered masses yelling at him at once. Strangely, this works out somewhat in Nate’s favor; if everyone airs their grievances at the same time, he can’t hear the specifics.
Unfortunately, the attention is about to be focused again, this time by an unlikely source. It’s not one of the veterans who takes center stage, nor is it one of the people yelling the loudest.
With the simple act of stepping forward and raising a hand, Adam Ellis gains the attention of the room.
Adam Ellis: If I can say something?
The buzz of griping dies down a little, and the young man from Missouri continues.
Adam Ellis: Nate, I don’t mean any disrespect here, ‘cause of what your dad and your family means to wrestling. Your dad and my trainer go way back and I must have watched a hundred of his matches while I was training. Your sister Jenny earned the respect of the MVW locker room with the way she carries herself. But with what your name means to the business, I just can’t believe you’d let that harlot in the building so she could say all those awful things.
Colton looks away, desperate to see anything other than Adam Ellis staring him down. But there’s no solace to be found in the room.
Adam Ellis: Y’know, me and Ginny just had our first anniversary…
Nate Colton: Congratulations.
Nate’s comment comes almost automatically, like his “Midwest Nice” training kicked in. Adam is thrown off a little, but continues.
Adam Ellis: …thank you. Should have been a great night. And it was, mostly. But that…woman…posted her trash just a few days before, sayin’ that me and Ginny were…
His face turns red with anger, but he pushes it back down.
Adam Ellis: …well, it was a big damn lie. The whole night we were out celebrating, what she wrote stuck in the back of my mind when I should have been focused on celebrating our first anniversary. You didn’t write the words, Nate. But you knew what she was, and you let her in here anyway. And I can’t believe that someone who grew up in the business like you would do something like that. This isn’t HOW. This is PRIME.
Nate Colton’s face had been burning with shame, but his mood shifts immediately after Adam’s last statement. For the first time, we see a spark of defiance in the Next Diamond, but before he can make a response…
Adam Ellis: And that’s all I’ve got to say about this.
Nate Colton: All right, that’s too far. I know I fucked up, and I’m sorry, but–
“Sorry, Nathan? Bullshit. You don’t even know ‘sorry’ yet.”
Another figure cuts through the masses; this one belonging to someone no longer content to wait patiently for their turn to speak. Justine Calvin has waited long enough.
She looks behind her, briefly taking in the attendance for this meeting.
Justine Calvin: Oh look, it’s everyone that I’m allegedly sleeping with in order to keep my spot here. How convenient for me that we’re all together in one place. Means we can get this over with and then everyone gets the rest of their night back.
Nate Colton: Justine, nobody in the world actually believes–
She whips her head around, shutting Colton’s mouth with a withering glare. She is hear to speak her peace and by God, she will be heard.
Justine Calvin: You know, I have been trying to get to this level almost as long as you’ve been alive. I’ve heard shit from promoters, from other wrestlers, from fans… Maybe you don’t give a shit, and that’s fine. I mean it’s not, but whatever. Ask Jenny about it sometime, because I guarantee she’s dealt with some of the same, even if she never told any of you about it.
Colton is visibly angered by that claim; his fists clench and his lip curls slightly. But he remains silent.
Justine Calvin: But two weeks ago?
Justine’s words fail her for just a moment; she utters a fierce growl before regaining her composure.
Justine Calvin: That might be the worst, most insane shit anyone’s ever said. And there was fuck-all I could do about it. Can’t swing on a member of the press – and I user that term super fucking loosely – because the rules are different. That would be a crime. So I’ll just grit my teeth and deal with it, right?
Colton turns his head, trying to look away. Justine follows his eyes, and walks back in front of them. This is your shit sandwich, junior, and I’m making sure you eat every last crumb.
Justine Calvin: And you should know better. For fuck’s sake, I’ve met your parents. I know they raised you better than this. And I hope there’s some real awkward conversations y’all get to have in the future, but not a single fucking one of them will be as much fun as any time I had to tell someone I know back home that, no, it was all a bunch of bullshit from a crazy bitch and none of it was true. So you want my opinion? Go fuck yourself with a rake.
She steps back into the crowd, and the storm of her outrage is replaced by a stifling silence. Now would be a good time for someone to come to Nate Colton’s defense.
This does not happen.
After an uncomfortably long moment, Nate draws in a breath and speaks.
Nate Colton: Seems like you’re all in agreement, then. Just let me get changed real quick, and I’ll be–
He tries to jostle past the Tower of Babel, but a meaty hand stops both his progress and his speech.
Brandon Youngblood: This place…there’s sanctity here. There’s trust. Yeah…some of us get private locker rooms. It’s a perk. But for a lot of us…we knew that when we’re wounded, when we’re vulnerable, when we’re learning…there’s always a place. You don’t see Paxton here because of what he did to Jon. You don’t see Cecilworth or Ivan. You don’t see a lot of people here…because you can’t trust them…you can’t trust their heart…
His words hang in the air for a moment.
Brandon Youngblood: I know what you are. In your head. But your heart betrayed you. And you…betrayed every single person standing here right here, right now. You’ve been around the sport long enough to know what that means. Don’t make me have to say it to you.
Nate Colton: …
Colton looks at the group again, hoping to find a single friendly face or spark of sympathy…but there are none to be found. Here in this gathering of his peers, Nate Colton is completely alone.
Nate Colton: All right.
Colton lowers his head and turns to leave the locker room. He stops just as he opens the door, as if he still has something to say…but what good would it do?
A moment later, he is back in the hallway. His feet carry him away from what used to be a safe place, and toward the unknown. As his emotions subside, he lets out a bitter chuckle.
Nate Colton: At least things can’t get any worse.
Oh, Nathan. You idiot. NEVER say that, unless you want to be proven wrong.
Nate whips his head toward the speaker, ready to unload his frustration on them.
Nate Colton: What?! What do you want n…
Until he sees who it is.
Nate Colton: …hello.
At first, the Queen merely looked displeased. Now, after the Next Diamond’s sharp response, she looks like she’s considering cutting his tongue out of his mouth.
Lindsay Troy: Going somewhere?
Nate Colton: I need to get ready for the match tonight, so–
Lindsay Troy: Don’t bother. I just got word; Cecilworth’s flight got delayed and he couldn’t make it to the States in time. Looks like you’ve got the night off.
Nate Colton: Oh. Okay. Thanks for letting me know. Are we gonna reschedule, or…
Lindsay Troy: We can talk about that in my office Monday morning, right after your performance review.
Nate Colton: …
Lindsay Troy: 9AM, Nathan. And if I were you, I’d make sure I was on time. You’re on thin ice as it is.
The Queen turns and walks to another part of the building, where no doubt something else will go catastrophically wrong without her presence. This leaves the Next Diamond at a complete loss…for words, for direction, for purpose.
Also, for company…but that’s just fine.
Nate Colton doesn’t really want to be seen right now as we fade to ringside for our next match.
SCOTT HUNTER VS. C. MORTGOMERY BYRNES
Nick Stuart: Alright, folks! Some heavy stuff there we just saw, but also some big news as our main event for the evening has been postponed due to Farthington’s flight being delayed. Needless to say that Wade Elliott and Sage Pontiff will be our main event tonight and we apologize to everyone at home for this unfortunate circumstance.
Richard Parker: Man, I can’t blame everyone backstage going after Colton like that, but it was rough.
Nick Stuart: Our next match of the evening features the ever-dangerous C. Montgomery Byrnes and a debut I’ve been waiting to see since his promotional material dropped last week.
Richard Parker: With all these bold, ridiculous claims from Scott Hunter that he’s invented moves like the Figure-Four Leg-Lock, I have a feeling we’re in for a treat. Anybody with that big of an imagination has to be pretty brilliant in the ring!
Nick Stuart: We’ll have to see about that one, Richard.
Richard Parker: Also, not for nothing but… Byrnes has to be wondering whether or not Arthur Pleasant is going to be making an appearance in this match given the current hostilities between them. Especially with how this feud between them has been escalating week after week.
Nick Stuart: It’s a good question, and one we’re about to find out about. Vince Howard is standing by with our first introduction.
From nowhere, the opening guitar licks to “Burning Heart” kick in while scenes from Rocky IV flash on the screen. Scott Hunter steps out onto the stage, chest out, chin up, then stops in a heroic fists-on-hips pose.
Vince Howard: The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Making his way out to the ring first, hailing from Miami, Florida and weighing in at 245lbs… he is.. SCOTT… HUUUUUUUNTEEERRR!!!
Looking out into the crowd, the newcomer nods. After a moment of soaking in the lack of response, he mouths “thank you, thank you” and starts walking to the ring.
Once he reaches ringside, he gets a small running start and slides into the ring under the bottom rope head first. He rolls to his feet athletically and thrusts his arms in the air, eyes closed.
Nick Stuart: Oof. Fans are pretty quiet. I’m betting they’re not quite sure what to make of this guy.
Richard Parker: Fuck ‘em. I was entertained as all hell by the things this man had to say, and if no one else can appreciate his special sense of humor? Well, there’s always another streaming service to w-
Nick Stuart: -RICHARD!
Richard Parker: What?
Nick Stuart: Are you trying to get yourself an Owler?! Never tell anyone on LIVE AIR they could just “change the channel” if they don’t want to. Jesus.
The opening riffs to “You’re Nobody Til Somebody Loves You” by the legendary Dean Martin start to play and the masked man emerges from the curtains.
Vince Howard: Making his way down to the ring next, from Horace, North Dakota… weighing in at 248 lbs… C… MORTGOMERYYYYYYYY… BYYYYYYYYYRNES!!!
Mort’s mask, as we all saw at REVIVAL 32, is no longer a two-tone, black and teal as we’re accustomed to seeing by now. Instead, there’s a shoddily sewn in “accent” of olive green, making his whole mask bowling shoe ugly. Mort’s face looks pissed off, obviously still upset over a multitude of things.
Richard Parker: Well. Mort looks like fun tonight.
Nick Stuart: Yeah. Well, he’s obviously still upset over Arthur ripping a chunk of his mask out.
Richard Parker: Don’t forget being electrocuted by Mr. Zappenstein, PRIME’s resident inanimate object with a whole personality unto itself.
Nick Stuart: And soiling his tights.
Richard Parker: ALLEGEDLY, SIR. ALLEGEDLY.
the lights dim and the spotlights shine on the ramp. But Mort audibly shouts, “FUCK THIS.” and begins making his way down the ramp without the spotlights as they have a hard time keeping up with the purposed gait in his walk. Ignoring the Pittsburgh crowd in attendance at the PPG Paints Arena, Byrnes is a man on a mission. The former Alias Champion slides into the ring under the bottom rope. Rather than stepping up to the middle turnbuckle, Mort yells at PRIME official Ashley Barrow to “Let’s get this shit over with!”.
The music fades, and Barlow calls for the bell.
Nick Stuart: Well, damn. Mortgomery is definitely not in a-
Richard Parker: Lookout!
Byrnes, a certified madman right now, rushes Hunter as soon as he hears the bell sound. Hunter is ready for him though and steps out of the way at the last second, causing Byrnes to hit the turnbuckle chest first with explosive impact.
Scott simply grabs Morty by the inside leg and pulls him down to the mat with an old school roll-up. Barlow is there for the count.
At the last second, Hunter puts both feet on the bottom rope for extra leverage!
Mort kicks out with Ashley none the wiser to Hunter’s blatant cheating!
Nick Stuart: My God! Scott Hunter almost screwed Byrnes out of this match! That would’ve been catastrophic to his already sour mood!
Richard Parker: And pretty fucking hilarious.
Scott Hunter looks at Ashley and insists it was three. She insists it wasn’t. She wins the debate.
While Hunter is arguing with Ashley, Mort has gotten up to a single knee. He’s holding his chest from where he took the turnbuckle bump (Or it could be heartburn?), but seeing the opportunity present itself, he pushes Hunter forward with just enough force that it causes him to bump into Ashley. She stumbles back a bit, and with that momentary distraction, Mort uppercuts with an audible “Shoryuken!!” like he’s auditioning for a role in ‘Street Fighter: The Remake: The Musical.
Nick Stuart: That was an impressive uppercut, if I may say so.
Richard Parker: Wait a second. Is he about to…?!
With Scott bowled over, this time it’s Mortgomery Byrnes who grabs an inside leg for the roll-up. As soon as Barlow slides into position from her momentary wobble, Mort places his legs on the second rope.
AND with a handful of tights!
Nick Stuart: (sing-songy) 🎵Everything you can do I can do betterrrrrrrr!🎵
Richard Parker: Yeah, it’s certainly feeling that way!
Hunter kicks out!
Aware that he almost got bested with some handsome cheating, Scott turns his attention toward Mort. As soon as the former Alias Champion makes it to his feet…
Nick Stuart: Oh My! What a devastating lariat!
Richard Parker: He might’ve knocked the baby shit green right out of that patch in Mort’s mask!
Hunter nails him with a stiff clothesline that sends the sweat flying! Mort goes down to the mat HARD. Scott follows up the huge lariat with a rolling knee drop to the face. For some reason, there’s a few people in the audience who go “WOO!” like a bunch of idiots.
For the first time in this match, Hunter makes a cover without cheating!
Mort kicks out, holding his face in pain from the knee drop.
Nick Stuart: That was pretty close. Hunter may not be flashy, but his moves are precise and painful. I’m liking what I’m seeing, so far!
Richard Parker: Not a lot of people in 2023 realize it’s not how flashy or complex the move is. It’s how you execute it and when you deliver it.
Nick Stuart: Well said, Richard!
Scott brings Mort to his feet, curls his leg back so that it’s bowing and lifts him up into the air. After stepping forward one step, Hunter crashes Byrnes’ right knee down across his own with a perfectly executed knee breaker. Hunter follows it up by lifting Mort’s right leg and driving an elbow right down into the bend, pulverizing his tendons and ligaments. Pulling the leg inwards, Byrnes cries out in agony as Hunter squeezes with all his might, looking for a submission!
Nick Stuart: I thought he might be setting him up for the– if you ask him, anyway– move he invented: the figure-four leg-lock.
Richard Parker: He still might be. This simple inward leg stretch might be a good pre-cursor to that.
Hunter continues squeezing, but his attempt at a submission win is abruptly halted when Mort grabs his face and rakes his eyes. Garnering an admonishing from Barlow, Mort actually has the audacity to say, “I didn’t do it!”.
Nick Stuart: Seriously?! He’s… gonna deny it?!
Richard Parker: Hahahahaha.
Hunter begs for some water to flush his eyes out of whatever grime might’ve been hiding underneath Byrnes’ fingernails, but before anybody can oblige him, Mort boots Hunter in the abdomen and grabs both of his arms, setting him up for his signature Double Arm DDT!
Nick Stuart: DOUBLE-ARM DDT!
Richard Parker: Not so fast, Nick!
Hunter wriggles out of it, though, and back body drops Mort!
Getting back to his feet, Hunter guides Byrnes to his. Mort meets Scott with a knee to the mid-section again, but rather than going for a double arm DDT like last time, he snaps down with a regular DDT.
Byrnes hooks a leg!
THR- NO! Hunter shoulders out at the last second!
Nick Stuart: That was incredibly close!
Richard Parker: Nice improvisation from Mort to adjust going for a double arm DDT to a snapping DDT.
Again, Byrnes argues with Ashley. Again, Ashley wins. Byrnes is now down 0-2 for debates with Ashley Barlow tonight.
Mort hovers over Scott, yelling at him “FUCK YOU, ARTHUR! FUCK YOU!”
Nick Stuart: That’s… not Arthur.
Richard Parker: Well, I think we know where Byrnes’ head is at for this match.
With Mort yelling at him, Hunter takes two fingers and pokes his opponent directly in the eyes.
Barlow with another admonishing, but Hunter doesn’t care. It buys him enough time for some separation.
Shaking the cobwebs from the nasty snap DDT he just took, Scott takes Mort’s head and pulls it down across the top rope. Taking his left hand and putting it through the middle and top rope, and simply taking his right hand and going over the top rope with it, Scott pulls down on Mort’s head, choking the life out of him with an illegal rope choke!
Nick Stuart: He’s choking the life out of him with that top rope! C’mon, get in there ref!
Richard Parker: Oh man, that was close.
Nick Stuart: Wait a sec!
Before Barlow gets to five for the disqualification, Hunter pulls Byrnes all the way across the ring, giving his throat some serious rope burn before snapping the top rope backwards, sending Byrnes flying onto his back. Hunter looks around at the crowd, who aren’t sure who to root for since both competitors are ruthless cheating pieces of shit.
Nick Stuart: This crowd seems to split. Honestly can’t believe it, to be honest. I thought they’d hate them both!
Richard Parker: We’re all cheaters at heart.
Nick Stuart: Says the guy who had an Ashley Madison account.
Richard Parker: How did you–
With Byrnes in a prone position, Hunter signals to the crowd by cupping his hands over his mouth.
Scott Hunter: FIGURE!! FOUR!! LEG!! LOOOOOOOOCK!!
Hunter grabs Byrnes’ leg and does spinning toe hold, crossing them into the “FOUR” portion of the move “he invented”.
Before Scott can drop down to complete the hold, Byrnes uses great wrestling prowess to reach up with both arms, and cradle him down to the mat, flipping them both over to the right side with a figure-four small package!
Nick Stuart: What a counter!
Richard Parker: Hunter’s struggling to escape!
NO! NO! NO! Hunter shoulders his way out before the three, and Byrnes is apoplectic.
Nick Stuart: Mort with a last ditch effort to try and put Scott away! He’s furious it didn’t work!!
Richard Parker: Eyes on the prize, Byrnes!
Hunter is back up in an instant. He turns Byrnes around, and immediately starts setting him up for what looks like a suplex. Lifting him up into the air, Hunter holds him up there for about eight-seconds before slamming him down onto the mat! Byrnes holds his lower back and slides on his ass away from Hunter towards the turnbuckles.
C. Mortgomery Byrnes: TIME OUT! PHONE A FRIEND! ANYTHING!
Scott stalks his way towards Mort, with the former Alias Champion completely begging off. As Hunter gets closer, Byrnes reaches forward, grabs the waistband of Hunter’s gear and pulls him back into the middle turnbuckle, face first! With Hunter seemingly out, Byrnes stacks him like a prom date with both legs in the air. Barlow is right there!
Mort places both feet on the TOP turnbuckle!
Richard Parker: OMG.
Nick Stuart: REF! REF!
DING DING DING
Richard Parker: HAHAHA! He out cheated the damn cheater! BRILLIANT!!
Vince Howard: Here is your winner…C… MORTGOMERY… BYRNES!
Scott Hunter looks completely shocked at the situation, knowing full well he was moments away from having his opponent.
Richard Parker: I swear to God that the C. in C. Mortgomery must stand CHAMELEON because this dude is sneaky as FUCK. I love it!
Nick Stuart: Well, Scott Hunter may have come up short due to a blown call from Ashley Barrow, but Scott Hunter proved something tonight. This dude may be old school and his moves aren’t as flashy as others on the roster, but HE. CAN. GO.
Richard Parker: That locker room should be thanking him, right now. If it were not for inventing such moves as the headlock and bodyslam, we wouldn’t be seeing people like Hayes Hanlon hitting pop-up 180 sit-out choke bombs or Arthur Pleasant hitting a fireman’s carry double-knee facebreaker.
Nick Stuart: Well, I don’t know about all of that, but I do know that he can hit hard with the arsenal of moves that he has.
With Dean Martin sings “You’re Nobody ‘til Somebody Loves You” over the Dolby Atmos PRIME sound system, we fade to a commercial.
COMMERCIAL: 24 HOUR RULE
StarrPRIME EPISODE 1!
We return from commercial to the ring, which has been completely transformed The lights in the arena have darkened and there is a soft, pink light that is illuminating the ring. The mat is covered with a fuzzy, pink carpet with a makeshift computer desk sitting atop it. There are multiple LED lights adorning the chair and the desk. Surrounding the desk on all sides is a sea of various sized plush toys. The stack of plush animals stands so tall on either side of the desk, that it is almost difficult to notice Mr. Bubbles standing inside the veritable sea of fluff. Kennade Starr is spinning in the chair, her signature “cat ear” lighted headphones atop her head.
The bubbly opening synth line of “Caramelldansen” by the Caramella Girls begins to pipe through the PA system. In the soft, pink light we can see Kennade dancing in her chair. After what seems to be an eternity of synth pop, the lights begin to come back up and the music comes to a softer tone before completely shutting off. Kennade digs her feet into the mat and pushes her chair out from the desk and towards the center of the ring, spinning in circles as she does so.
Kennade Starr: Haiiiiiiiii!
A few fans respond back with a “Hai” while there is an overwhelming groan from the majority of the crowd.
Kennade Starr: Hello my StarrShines! I would like to welcome you all to my first ever episode of STARRPRIME!
Kennade gives an overdramatic motion of both hands, outstretched wide at the mention of StarrPRIME, as if she is expecting thunderous applause. Mr. Bubbles has not moved from his sea of plush dolls.
Kennade Starr: Now, I know a lot of you are wondering what StarrPRIME is going to be like. I wanted to try and surprise everyone, so there hasn’t been a whole lot of hype on any of my social media. Well don’t you worry your beautiful heads about it, my little StarrShines. KStarr is here to tell you all about her brand new show RIGHT HERE on PRIME TIME LIVE TV!
Again she motions for applause. Nothing. There is a small contingent of young men wearing fedoras that have populated the ringside area that have begun to cheer for Kennade. Aside from that…nothing.
Kennade Starr: After ReVival 32 I started to think to myself. How can I bring a little piece of KStarr Luvv to the good fans of PRIME? I know that a ton of my loyal subscribers have been tuning in to see me as much as they can, but I wanted to bring some Shine to more people. So I thought, what do I do best? Well I stream, sillies!
Mr. Bubbles suddenly breaks from his statuesque stance and removes what appears to be a neon ring light. He slowly drags the ring light in front of Kennade and reaches into the pocket of his jacket, removing a phone. He attaches the phone to the ring light, powers the contraption, and turns on the device before immediately going back to his stance near the plushies.
Kennade Starr: So I’ve decided to start a new show, right her on PRIME! I’ll be interviewing some of your favorite performers, referees, backstage talents. Really anyone who believes that they could use a little StarrShine in their lives! And the best part? I’ll be livestreaming to my TikTok, Twitch, and Facebook Live! That way all of my StarrShines can see me! So why don’t we go ahead and kick things off right now with the first EVER guest on StarrPrime! Come on out here, gorgeous!
The groan of horns can be heard blaring over the arena speakers and the crowd begins to cheer. As the vocals begin to “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” Rocky De Leon emerges from the curtain like a rocket. He raises a hand to the sky as he begins to make his way towards the ring. He slaps hands with a few fans on the way down, stopping to take extra time for a few of the younger fans in attendance, making sure to give them a handshake or a hair tussle. Kennade hasn’t gotten up from her chair, but does not seem to be enjoying the one man ska parade coming down the aisle.
Rocky makes a flat footed leap from the floor to the apron before vaulting over the top rope. As soon as his feet land in the ring he immediately pops up onto the nearest second turnbuckle, hand over his forehead, looking out over the crowd. A few of the plush animals in the corner topple from their original placement. Mr. Bubbles makes no purposeful movement, but he is large enough that the crowd can see him bob for a small second from the reverberation of Rocky’s leaping.
As the music dies down Rocky makes his way towards the computer desk that Kennade is sitting at. He looks around for a small moment, but doesn’t notice a second chair.
Kennade Starr: Oh I’m so sorry darlin! It’s my first ever StarrPrime. You had to expect a few hiccups here and there. Let me get you a chair!
Kennade makes a few motions with her hands. As she begins to move, so too does Mr. Bubbles. Her hand movements seem to mirror Mr. Bubbles with a small degree of accuracy as he moves to his right and pushes over the large stack of plushies, revealing a velvet purple, plush beanbag. He lifts the bag and brings it to the font of the desk, dropping the bag at Rocky’s feet. Rocky looks at it for a moment before shrugging his shoulders and plopping down into the bag. This doesn’t appear to be his first time sitting in a beanbag, but he certainly doesn’t give the impression that he is terribly comfortable.
Kennadee Starr: So, Roccco!? Im gonna call you Rocco because I think it’s just the absolute CUTEST name. I’m so double glad that you are my first ever guest on StarrPRIME! Are you comfortable? You look comfortable! I’m just so excited!
Rocky gestures as if he is going to respond, but doesn’t seem to have a microphone. Kennade gives a puzzled look towards Rocky before the light finally switches on in her head and she shoots back in her chair.
Kennade Starr: Oh my goodness! I’m so sorry! There’s a microphone in the right side of your chair! Kinda hard to interview when there isn’t any way for you to speak!
Rocky reaches down and grabs the microphone. He tilts his head to the side with a puzzled look at just what he agreed to do this evening. He brings the microphone to his face…
Rocky De Leon: …
Kennade Starr: (Immediately interrupting) So Rocco! Tell me. Just exactly what’s it like being the first ever guest on the newest, probably most watched part of PRIME programming? Don’t tell me! It’s a great honor! You’re totes excited to be a part of this here with me, and you can’t wait to see what kind of super awesome fun-times that I bring to PRIME!?
Rocky’s shoulders arch back for a moment in a display of annoyance before attempting to answer again.
Rocky De Leon: …
Kennade Starr: (Interrupting again.) Well now that we have all of that cleared up, how about this? Can you tell me just what your favorite Beat Saber video that I’ve done has been? I think that my favorite has to be the new Barbie World song! That one was such a blast! Hey, did you know that song samples and old song from way back when? I knew Barbie had been around a long time, but I definitely didn’t know that they were still doing Barbie stuff all the way back in the 90s! I mean, Barbie sure is an Icon. I could only hope to be half as influential as her. Tell me, Mr. Rocco, you think that maybe one day people will think of me the same way they do Barbie?
Rocky is now leaning forward in his beanbag. He seems almost hesitant to even attempt to speak, but attempt he does.
Rocky De Leon: …
Kennade Starr: (Once again, she immediately begins to speak overtop of Rocky.) Well ok, I can respect that. You really are a sharp guy, Rocco. You know, I sure am lucky to have you as my very first StarrShine here at PRIME. You really do seem like a pretty cool guy. And you know what? I think your mask is totes adorbs. Maybe if you put like, I dunno, a few ribbons, or a streak of hot pink somewhere? Just a thought. Maybe some people might think it’s just a little too scary. And I know that my StarrShines aren’t scary. They’re SHINY! So maybe like…some sparkles or something. OOOOO! Maybe some glitter paint on it! What do you think, Rocco??
Rocky begins to uncomfortably fidget with his mask for a moment before attempting to shoot upright in his beanbag. He does, however, have a bit of difficulty as it is quite a lumpy chair.
Rocky De Leon: …
Kennade Starr: (leaning forward in her chair, again talking overtop of Rocky.) You know, You don’t really talk much, Rocco. I thought that you would be a lot more entertaining guest. But no, you’ve just kinda sat here like a lump. You’re not really doing a lot to make my first big show great ya know. I mean. I went through all of the troub…..
Rocky can take no more. He has finally managed to free himself from his beany, prison bag and has shot to his feet. Before Kennade can say anymore he jumps to his feet, spreads his arms and hands to the sky, looks up, and
Rocky De Leon: SKKKKKKKKREEEEEEEEEEE!
The fans erupt in cheers as Kennade rolls backwards in her chair, nearly knocking into Mr. Bubbles. Bubbles places a hand on the back of the chair and begins to roll it, and Kennade, behind him.
Rocky De Leon: SKKKKKREEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Rocky’s shouts increase in direct response to the increase in cheers from the fans. Hereaches down and grabs the demonic purple bean bag and thrusts it into the arms of Mr. Bubbles. Kennade, seeing her set unceremoniously dismantled, begins to stomp her feet on the mat, shouting something incomprehensible over top of the crowd noise. Rocky turns his attention to the neon ring light that is still standing directly in front of the desk. Rocky grabs the light, phone still attached and recording, and raises it high over his head. The crowd erupts. Kennade begins to plead with Rocky to put down the phone. Instead, Rocky brings the phone down level with his face.
Rocky De Leon: (Speaking directly into the phone camera) Please like and SubSkreeb!
Rocky sets the phone down on the mat and leaps over the top rope, making his way up the ramp and out of this nightmare. Mr.Bubbles finally releases the chair as Kennade hurriedly hops up from her seat and rushes towards her phone, almost falling on top of it like an injured baby. The scene cuts to the backstage area as Kennade is on her knees, cradling her cellphone in her hands, shouting towards the entrance ramp.
NO LASERS, NO PASSWORDS
We see a guy. Not just any guy, a pretty specific one. A specifically pretty one, at that. Handsome in a very not-even-a-little rugged way. Sort of a Ken doll handsomeness, nice to look at if you like being slowly hypnotized by facial symmetry. You know the one.
Chandler Tsonda struts with purpose, an athleisurely power-walk. The camera follows over his shoulder, and then pans up as he slows in front of not just a door, but THE door in PRIME.
The large steel door, replaced for the umpteenth time after April’s Bear attack embodies the gravitas of the office’s primary resident. Tsonda measures his steps, and approaches. He stops about a foot shy of the threshold.
Chandler Tsonda: (at a whisper) Yo. Dude. You in there?
The steel door does not respond. The Model Citizen raises his voice slightly.
Chandler Tsonda: (whisper-yelling) Elliott. Can you come out or you guys practicing kinky standing headscissors in there? Grunt twice if you’re in poundtown.
Maybe that damn door could tell stories if it could talk. But it can’t. So: silence. Giving up the bit, Tsonda resorts to what he does best: loudly hear his own voice.
Chandler Tsonda: (puts a hand over his mouth to do a fake PA announcement voice) Wade Elliott, paging Wade Sarsaparilla Elliott to the front of the store. We have a “compadre in need of some low country justice” situation. Wade to the front of the store.
A few thuds sound behind the door, just before it opens. Tsonda, quite proud of himself, takes one step back as the Bad Dog’s big frame emerges.
Wade Elliott: Damnit, Chandler! Everyone knows I don’t drink sarsaparilla! Ain’t nobody drinks sarsaparilla! Th’hell do you want?
Chandler Tsonda: Bad Dog! Mister Fucking Fortress of Solitude Security! Ok, so what say you do a favor for your ol’ pal Chan and let’s head over to the main panopticon or whatever so we can watch on closed circuit TV when that doppling fuck gets here and maybe —spitballing here, my G—we send a dozen Enemigos to beat him just shy of death?
Wade Elliott: (rubbing his eyes between thumb and forefinger, clearly annoyed) Chandler, I ain’t security no more. An’ I’ve got a match later that’s all’ve’a’sudden the Main god-damn Event. Go ask Dam t’take care’ve this guy. ‘Sides, didn’t you hire ‘im in the first place?
Chandler Tsonda: (staring into the distance, reminiscing) Sure did. Best job interview I’ve ever seen in my life. His beautiful Taj Mahal of a mind. (snapping back to Wade) Don’t you watch the show, dude? Dam had his hands full with those bayou bitches. And thus came Chan to your doorstep. What if you, like, maybe kept the secret passwords for the system so we can sneak in there and clickity clack arm some lasers that will fry Doppelfuck if he steps on the premises?
Wade Elliott: I gotta be honest with ya, I have no god-damn clue what th’hell you just said. ‘Xcept fer the lasers, an’ I’m pretty sure Lindsay ain’t willin’ t’go that far.
Chandler Tsonda: So….not even, like, one or two lasers?
Wade Elliott: I AIN’T GOT NO PASSWORDS, CHANDLER! FER HOYT’S SAKE!
A deep sigh emanates all the way from within Tsonda’s chest. He is defeated in this harebrained scheme.
Chandler Tsonda: Fine, fine. But if you see Nguyen backstage, you gotta hit me on the bat phone.
Wade Elliott: (confused, and reaching into his back pocket and mumbling to himself) Th’hell’s a bat phone? All I got is this thing…
Chandler Tsonda: And you know what? You’re right. Tonight’s really about you. Main eventer! King pimp of big dick mountain! Sage Pontiff? More like…uhhh…Cage Pontiff, because you’re gonna lock his ass up. Any of this working for you?
Wade Elliott: Not ‘xactly, but I ‘ppreciate it. Sort’ve.
Chandler Tsonda: Well, I know you got a big one tonight. I’ll have to be at DefCon 1 battle stations to be on alert for that bastard bitch twin of mine.
As Tsonda is speaking, Doppeltsonda can be seen behind Tsonda’s back, walking in the hall leading away from Troy’s office towards the general locker room area. Wade’s eyes grow a touch, spotting the imposter. He keeps his eyes trained while trying to get the Model Citizen’s attention.
Wade Elliott: Chandler.
Chandler Tsonda: No, I know. I love that you can still strap ‘em on and main event ReV, and I’m honored you’d ask me to be at ringside. But it’s my duty, Elliott. I gotta be on guard at all times.
Doppeltsonda, aware that he’s caught in the camera frame, and also that Tsonda hasn’t seen him yet, pleads silently with Wade by putting a finger in front of his mouth and then doing prayer hands as if to say “Please, please don’t tell him.”
Wade Elliott: (voice raising) CHANDLER.
Chandler Tsonda: No, you’re right. You’re so right. We gotta spend time together while we’re both still here, and can walk around on our own two feet. Let me see if I can get a half-dozen Tsuperstar Enterprise interns to take security detail for a bit while I watch your match. You want anything if I can get ‘em here? Sweetgreen? Whole Foods hot bar?
Wade Elliott: God-damnit! Turn ‘round! He’s right fuckin’ there!
Chandler Tsonda: (spins around) What? No he’s n—
The Model Citizen now sees Doppeltsonda, or the dust trail following in his wake, as the former Tsonda body double takes off running.
Chandler Tsonda: (yelling after him) OH YOU BETTER RUN FOR THE HILLS, NGUYEN. (turns back to Wade, still yelling) GOOD LUCK TONIGHT DUDE I’M SO PROUD OF YOU. (clears his throat, back to normal volume) Gotta go fuckboy hunting. Deuces.
And just as fast as Doppeltsonda took off down the hall, so goes Chandler Tsonda. The real chasing after the Fake. And tonight’s main eventer left back where he started. He looks around, no one in sight. And so, he opens the door to the Queen’s office.
Wade Elliott: Lindsay! We gotta talk ‘bout keepin’ yer name offa the god-damn door!
He closes the door behind, and we travel elsewhere backstage.
ANY PORT IN THE STORM
The camera follows a man who finds himself with nowhere to go and nothing to do…
Only, nobody wants to see Nate Colton right now.
He’s sitting on a folding chair in the hall, his gear resting on the floor next to him. After his earlier exile from the locker room, he’d been looking for a place to watch the show in peace…and strangely enough, hadn’t found one. While the PPG Paints Arena is full of all kinds of nooks, crannies, and spare rooms…they all seemed to be in use or blocked off tonight.
So now he’s trying to be as out-of-the-way as possible, in a chair and a hallway that nobody is using. If everyone leaves him alone for the rest of the night, that would suit him just fine.
Trouble is, people aren’t going to leave him alone. Certainly not these two Enemigos, who have just appeared on either side of the Next Diamond.
Nate Colton: Yeah? What can I do for you?
Enemigo IV says nothing. XV also says nothing, but he does point at the chair Nate’s sitting on.
Nate Colton: Really, guys? Again? This is the fourth time already.
No response from PRIME’s security team; they just stand there with their arms crossed.
Nate Colton: Fine, if it makes you happy.
He grabs his bag and stands up, allowing IV to fold the chair and carry it away. XV follows, neither Enemigo so much as looking back at Colton.
Have you ever gotten the silent treatment from someone who never talks? It’s weird.
Nate sighs and continues down the hall. Once he arrives at the end of a path, he has to turn to his left. The second he does–
Nate Colton: Oh dear god…
He almost vomits in his mouth.
At first, he narrowly avoids crashing into the person in front of him. He stops dead in his tracks and looks more rattled than before. He glances downwards. Significantly downwards because the person blocking his path is a lot shorter than he is.
That person is Vickie Hall.
Nick Stuart: OH DEAR GOD is right! Get out of there, Nate!
Richard Parker: C’mon. She comes in peace.
Nick Stuart: How could you ever say something so stupid and false?
Vickie stands there, solemnly. Practically expressionless. Ready to explode. Colton braces himself for a world of bullshit to likely be unloaded on him because, after all, he’s aware of Vickie’s detest for him. They’ve had a couple of recent run-ins. One, where Nate tried to politely say no when asked to receive a ‘JOIN THE LOVE CONVOY’ pamphlet/application. Two, when Nate honestly wished Jonathan-Christopher Hall goodluck before his match, since they were passing by each other near gorilla. Vickie did not take kindly to any of it.
PRETTY PINK© continues to stare down Nate Colton, who simply looks more uncomfortable by the minute.
Vickie smiles the warmest smile she’s ever conveyed and sticks out her hand.
Vickie Hall: Vickie Hall, I believe we’ve gotten off on the wrong track, Nathan. It is Nathan, right? I like the formal names. If my dearest Jonathan-Christopher had his way he would’ve been called JC. He’s not a rapper, he only writes lyrics… am I right or am I right?
Vickie stands on her tippy toes and leans forward, as if she wants Nate to come closer so she can tell him a secret. Extremely reluctantly, Colton does. But it’s not before he looks behind him and wonders if there’s another way he could easily escape without being rude. Suddenly, the PRIME security team doesn’t seem so bad after all.
Vickie Hall: (Whispering) People think my name is Victoria or something but it’s actually just Vickie. Vickie Mae Hall, nee Young.
She slowly rolls back off her tippy toes and stands upright. She gives Colton another look over and tilts her head in sadness.
Vickie Hall: I heard, hun. Totally in on the whole SS shit.
She digs into her pocket and reveals her PRETTY PINK© iPhone 14 PRO, which is nearly as big as her entire body. Vickie opens it with Face ID, smiling from ear-to-ear, a MASSIVE oversmile if anyone is being honest. It’s like a smile out of a horror movie and she’s possessed with demons. Regardless, her phone is loaded to another horror movie… the Savannah Scandal Twitter (or X, whatever it’s called) account.
A frowny face falls upon Vickie.
Vickie Hall: Just awful sauce, isn’t it? And as if that hussie you were dating tossed you to the side because she was in a three-way with Rock Leon and Adam Ellis. Three ways? Never my thing. (Changing focus) My gosh golly have you been pulled through the ringer!
Nate’s eye twitches at the allusion to his ex-girlfriend, and he snarls a bit.
Nick Stuart: That’s NOT exactly what happened!
Richard Parker: SHHHH! Let the rumours spread.
Realizing she’s only making Nate more upset, Vickie clicks her phone closed and throws it into her pink little ensemble quicker than Cecilworth could say a snappy one-word response. It seems to help.
Vickie Hall: Listen, hun, PRETTY PINK© Elephant in the room, I know I’ve had issues with you. But that was before I knew about your broken heart. Also, I dunno why all these boys and girls be messing mad with you, it’s not like you’re directly responsible for the Savannah Scandal Shit.
Vickie looks to her right and then her left, even though to her left is the dead end in the hallway. She never did come across as the brightest…
Her eyes are back at Colton.
Vickie Hall: You don’t have a place to stay?
And then, in the most genuine and realistically grounded voice possible, never witnessed before on a PRIME television, Vickie says…
Vickie Hall: You can stay with us.
Colton stares at her for a moment, while a debate rages inside his head. He knows what Vickie Hall and the Love Convoy are about; the war crimes they committed against Eminence weren’t even a year old. He knows that she is dangerous, and almost certainly insane. He also knows that, as much as it hurt, the others were right to exile him from the locker room. Nate knew what he signed up for when he vouched for Savannah Scandal. This was his burden to carry, his cross to bear.
He just didn’t realize how heavy it would be.
Nate also had to admit that Vickie Hall has a…presence. Especially seeing this side of her, the warmth, the friendliness…after having almost the entire roster turn against him, he needs that more than he realized. An open hand instead of a closed fist, and a moment of solace.
Colton still has that burden to carry, but she makes him feel like it’s okay to just…set it down for a while.
Nate Colton: That…would be nice, actually. Thank you.
Nick Stuart: Wait… what!?
Even Vickie’s expression seems to be taken back. She’s legitimately blushing.
Vickie Hall: Oh this is precious. YOU are precious. We’d love to have you!
And right at the end of her sentence, Jonathan-Christopher Hall and Tristan-Crispin Gladhappy appear behind her, standing side-by-side. It’s like they were in hiding this entire time and came out of nowhere on cue…
Vickie feels their presence, she doesn’t need to look behind her right away. Instead, she simply nods to Colton and without hesitation, she smooth-as-silk spins around, leading the way down the hall. A tentative Colton inadvertently splits the shoulder-to-shoulder stance between JCH and TCG in order to get through. Then the two LOVE CONVOY members drag the tail end.
Colton rubs his hands together, still keeping his guard up while tiny Vickie Hall communicates with him further but doesn’t look behind her shoulder when speaking, she trusts Colton is following.
Vickie Hall: We have quite the little nook.
She says this as the lights get dimmer and dimmer and the corridor smaller and smaller.
Vickie Hall: You’d think Lindsay put us in the boiler room this time.
Colton gives an uneasy laugh while Jonathan-Christopher and Tristan-Crispin chuckle to one another.
Vickie Hall: It pays to be an outcast, honey. (Suddenly extremely cheerful and audible) You get your own space!
They continue walking down the hallway as it grows more evil with each step.
Nick Stuart: I don’t like any of this. It’s a trap. We all saw what the LOVE CONVOY locker room looked like two weeks ago. It was LITTERED with ‘DIE COLTON DIE’!
Richard Parker: And I, for one, am here for it. Savannah Scandal has nothing on Vickie Hall. She has every reason to hate-
Richard’s voice trails when the four-some arrive at a door labeled “LOVE CONVOY”. Vickie stands in front of the entrance, almost like she’s a show girl on The Price is Right. However, there’s a mischievous shifty-eyed glance for a millisecond before Jonathan-Christopher and Tristan-Crispin rub their hands together. But it’s not a tentative rub like Colton…
It’s one that means business.
Nick Stuart: The boys are getting their knuckles warm!
Vickie places her hand on the door.
Vickie Hall: Ready, Nate?
And before Colton can say a word she springs the door open… revealing the locker room!
Nick Stuart: What the!?
Instead of posters with Nate Colton’s eyes scratched out… instead of mugshots cursing his name to death…
There’s a large, colourful banner hanging in the back reading:
There’s also a brand new cardboard Nate Colton with a party hat on and a PRETTY PINK© smile scribbled across his face. There’s other “vandalized” pictures of Colton in action, all of them when he hits his finishing move or is about to score a victory against a PRIME opponent. They are filled with pink tiny bubbly hearts.
In the middle of the room… there’s even a big plate of buffalo wings, with a bottle of ranch dressing nearby.
Nate Colton: Wow, this is…impressive. I don’t know what to say.
Vickie reaches up and out, patting Nate on the shoulder. Again, her voice conveys a sense of chilling honesty.
Vickie Hall: Seriously, I apologize for the issues I had with you. I’ve got no problem with a guy who enjoys wrestling and has a broken heart. You’re welcome to stay with us.
Nick Stuart: Are we in bizarro world? Vickie APOLOGIZED!?
Richard Parker: What a nice gesture. I’ve heard Nate loves buffalo wings.
Colton slowly wanders into the locker room, as Vickie spins back to make eye contact with her ALP and his cousin.
Vickie Hall: I want him to feel comfortable. We owe it to him, okay? It’s tough being black balled from those other awful, AWFUL people.
Jonathan-Christopher and Tristan-Crispin agree, as The Nuzzle Lord gives a hard salute and enters in after Nate.
Tristan-Crispin Gladhappy: Can’t wait to watch the rest of the show, huh? Excited to see that main event! Boy is Cecilworth a cheeky little boy or what?
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: He’s The Best Boy.
Vickie giggles playfully.
Vickie Hall: No honey, that’s you. And Nate Colton is a close second.
Vickie and Jonathan-Christopher follow as the locker room closes and ReVival cuts back to the ringside area for our next match.
PAXTON RAY VS. KENNY FREEMAN
THIS MATCH IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN! What do you think? Lamb to the slaughter? Upset for the ages? When you roll the dice in PRIME with a match up like this, with styles so disparate, it can make for some crazy outcomes.
A trap remix of the Soviet Union national anthem plays over throughout the arena as Kenny Freeman steps out onto the stage, looking a little more confident about his choices compared to many weeks ago…and perhaps some of that has to do with Ivan Stanislav standing beside him, along with Randall Schwartz, who is motoring down to the ring in his water cooled graphite RBMK powered wheelchair much to the chagrin of the crowd as they boo the Master of the Moscowverse as Kenny walks to the ring.
Vince Howard: This match is set for one fall and has a thirty minute time limit. Introducing first…from Los Angeles, California by way of…um…Magnitogorsk, Russia…he stands at…two hundred centimeters? Weighing in at…one hundred thirty-six…kilograms? He is…a true comrade? A wonderful Communist? He is…Kenny…Freeman?
Looks like propaganda stretches far and wide.
Arriving at the ring, Kenny steps through the ropes, Ivan staying at ringside to seemingly cheer his not so new recruit on in the match!
“They say it’s good to start a story with a tragedy.”
The chunky guitar riff of “Fistfight” by The Ballroom Thieves kicks in as Paxton Ray walks out under the PRIMEView. Paxton sneers as the fans boo, then slowly holds his hand up in the air.
The day I finally met you like I knew I would
You raised me from the wreck of my doubts
You were smiling to yourself as if we both understood
The silent language of the anguish of a heart that sings but doesn’t make a sound
Paxton slowly walks towards the ring, looking around as the crowd rains hate down upon him. He steps up to the apron and steps over the ring ropes, then leans back against them and closes his eyes.
Vince Howard: His opponent, weighing in at 245 pounds…he is The Bayou Butcher…PAAAAAXTOOOOONNNN RAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY!
Is Elvis Nixon prepared for this?
The second the bell rings, Freeman tries to leave the ring, springing forth, attempting to dart between the ropes. Paxton Ray is having none of it. The Lafayette Bruiser rushes toward him, grabbing his body, jerking him violently back into the ring. Crash bang boom. Little Kenny Freeman hits with such force that he literally springs back to his feet after a roll. What follows after?
Nick Stuart: DISCUS ELBOW! Oh MY he nearly took his HEAD OFF right there!
Richard Parker: Paxton looking to finish this in record time!
Ray goes to grab the sprawled Freeman by the hair. What happens next shocks the entire world.
Nick Stuart: Wait! WAIT! FREEMAN PLAYING POSSUM!
Richard Parker: This is craziness!
Much smaller in stature, Kenny Freeman somehow, someway, manages to schoolboy the Bayou Butcher. It’s not just the jeans he’s pulling on…it’s the underwears.
Oh yeah, THIS IS HAPPENING!
Richard Parker: OH MY HOYT! HE FREAKING DID IT! RED ARMY RISING HE DID IT!
Nick Stuart: KENNY FREEMAN JUST GOT THE BIGGEST WIN OF HIS CAREER AND EVERYONE…EVERYONE IS IN SHOCK!
Foster Nackedy, wherever he is, is apoplectic. Incensed. His wonderful helmet surely swaying to and fro, looking out into the great beyond for guidance. There is none. Find it at the bottom of a liquor bottle, you student crippling shitfuck.
Vince Howard: YOU’RE WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNER–
Ivan Stanislav whoops and hollers.
Ivan Stanislav: DYAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAAHAA!!
Vince Howard: –BY PINFALL–
This miracle is so powerful, it NEARLY brings Randall Schwartz to his feet. Nearly. More like scooted an inch. Maybe his thighs twitched. It damn near causes him to flail out of his wheelchair and onto the ground to flop about like a dying fish.
Vince Howard: –KEEEEEEEEEEEEENNY–
Oh yeah, the match is done, right? Pay no attention to Kenny Freeman once again trying to dart out of the ropes, leaping into the welcoming arms of his Big Red Papa Bear. Pay no attention to the outright rage plastered all across Paxton Ray’s face.
Pay no attention to Elvis Nixon wildly waving his arms about, mouthing words the microphones around the ring can barely catch thanks to this monumental shocking upset.
Elvis Nixon: RAY GOT HIS SHOULDER UP! RAY GOT HIS SHOULDER UP!
The timekeeper gets it.
Richard Parker: WAIT–
A dinner bell. Time to answer the call. Murderous intent lifts Paxton Ray to his feet and latches him onto Kenny Freeman, who, despite having a headstart, somehow never manages to escape the ring. Paxton looks to biel toss Freeman like a ragdoll, but somehow, someway, K-Free manages to get the slickest of roll ups.
Richard Parker: SECOND TIME’S THE CHARM!
Nick Stuart: FREEMAN GRABBING THE JEANS AGAIN!
With. Goddamn. Authority.
Uh oh. Oh no. Oh no no no Kenny. You did NOT just do that.
Nick Stuart: The first time…it was so close but it looked like Kenny Freeman had him, and the second time, Ray left no room to question. And you can tell he is incensed.
Richard Parker: But this could be a strategy. Some gameplan to finally deal with the hyper violent, hyper aggressive Bayou Butcher. The Running Of The Gators. Toro! Toro! Crawfish Boil!
Kenny Freeman might look like he’s about to go sickly white, but Paxton? He’s red. Top about to burst. Smoke bellowing from his ears and nostrils. Methodically, he rises, stomping forward, ready to kill the man in front of him like he was dealing with someone trying to wash his face in piss soaked mud pits filth. What does Freeman do?
Nick Stuart: Driving front dropkick from Kenny Freeman!
Richard Parker: Oh wow…that looked like it hurt, and Paxton can’t hide it.
Neither can Foster, who is smacking the ring apron, frazzled way more than he has any right to be. Ivan and Randall are glued to the proceedings, as are all the fans in attendance. Something is brewing here. Something monumental and unexpected.
Nick Stuart: ANOTHER running dropkick DRIVES Paxton Ray into the corner!
Richard Parker: It’s like he wasn’t expecting ANY resistance!
Nick Stuart: FREEMAN DRIVES HIS KNEE INTO PAXTON’S FACE! He got a running start and jumped on those middle ropes before launching himself with that knee!
Richard Parker: Oh Paxton…his face…his nose could be…
Nick Stuart: Broken. It could well be broken.
Ivan Stanislav: DYAAAAAAHAAHAA!!
Let’s call that The Multi-Hammer & Sickle. Impressive. But Freeman isn’t done.
Richard Parker: A back rake?!
Freeman once was looking to survive. But now? He’s feeling himself. Loving this. What’s the big deal? This was the Intense Champion?
Nick Stuart: Vertical suplex CONNECTS!
Well, he doesn’t hold Paxton up very long. Like, he nearly just falls over. But he definitely hit a vertical suplex on Paxton Ray. And, with pride for himself, for his brethren, for his Moscowverse, and for The Red Karmy (see it starts with a K because it’s Kenny), he floats over, lazily hooking the leg.
Richard Parker: uh oh…
The sound you hear is Kenny Freeman hitting the canvas from an authoritative kickout. And, while he springs to his feet rather quickly, when he does, he’s not alone.
Nick Stuart: Paxton Ray…Paxton Ray…Paxton Ray…he was there to meet Freeman with that MASSIVE lariat!
Richard Parker: That arm…it hit him right in the face…
Kenny Freeman spins in the air, landing awkwardly in a crumble. The Bayou Butcher is unrepentant in his follow up, grabbing Freeman by the throat and lifting him back up, only to launch him in a successful biel toss.
Nick Stuart: This…could get very ugly in a hurry…
Richard Parker: Oh yeah…the fun is over…
Nick Stuart: And with Ivan and–
Richard Parker: Oh THIS could get VERY ugly–
The aforementioned Stanislav merely stands in his spot, arms folded across his massive chest. Some might think he would intervene. He does not. He has no quarrel with Paxton Ray…and with what he faces in mere weeks, why try and kick the Gator nest?
Freeman tries to get up, but he’s stopped by an elbow drop. Then another. And another. The Lafayette Bruiser clean jerks Freeman from the canvas, all before snapping him back onto it with sickening efficiency.
Nick Stuart: Brainbuster. The brainbuster.
While Kenny Freeman hasn’t been Rhine’d, he definitely isn’t on this plane of existence anymore. As if to prove a point, Paxton mounts Kenny, hitting him with closed fists, all until Elvis Nixon threatens to disqualify him. How does he respond? By grabbing Kenny by the hair and headbutting the absolute piss out of him.
Another choke lift. This one doesn’t stop once Kenny is on his feet. It’s like Paxton is tossing him in the air.
Because he is.
You know the rest.
DING DING DING
Just think, in some part of the Moscowverse, this match ended the first time the bell tolled thrice. Unfortunately for some, fortunately for others, they’re on this side of the pizza slice.
Richard Parker: Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesus.
Nick Stuart: I don’t think anyone would have expected a contest quite like this…
Vince Howard: Your winner…BY PINFALL! PAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAXTON! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!
Ivan stands outside stoically. There will surely be a discourse on maintaining proper Communist killer instinct (available for your home in 1995 only on Nintendo Ultra 64). And, even though Kenny Freeman is out like a light? Randall Schwartz somehow manages to be more still than K-Free could ever hope to be. We then fade to commercial.
COMMERCIAL: STILL TO COME
We return form commercial to the backstage and pan to a commotion being caused in the hallway. A familiar face cuts into frame as Dave Gibson saunters into view. Wearing a short-sleeved collared shirt, a pair of jeans and a pair of cowboy boots, he almost struts through the backstage area.
Dave Gibson: Hey, you, where’s catering?
A young woman who is scurrying in the back with a load of cables stops and looks at Dave with more than a little disdain on their face before scurrying away.
Gibson furrows his brow before continuing on, spotting the locker room. He slings the door open and his cowboy boots clip-clop as he makes his way to a locker located conveniently next to the showers. He opens it up, snorts, and dumps the contents on the ground before putting his own duffel bag inside. Judging by the clothes and dinosaur embroidery on the gym bag as it is tossed on the floor, it’s clearly the locker of the friendly neighborhood FDP.
Dave Gibson: Veteran’s prerogative, kid. It ain’t personal.
As Dave walks back outside of the locker room he is met with three men from the AV crew. John Kaplan, Pete Berch, and Juan Castroneves stand, arms crossed, waiting for Gibson as he comes out of the door.
Dave Gibson: Gentlemen…
Dave extends his hand to shake each of theirs, but the only response is three cold, unflinching stares.
Dave Gibson: I guess some traditions die out, huh?
Again, he is met with silence.
Dave Gibson: Look, have you seen Eddie Cross? I gotta talk to the boy. Real man-to-man shit.
John Caplan: Eddie don’t got nothing to say to you, Judas.
Gibson’s eyes narrow and he assesses the three men in front of him.
Dave Gibson: What the hell is wrong with everyone? Where is the respect? I put years into this business so that people like you could even have a job, and…
Suddenly a voice interrupts him from behind the AV crew.
Voice: And what? That makes you think you can just walk onto the show and say and do whatever you want?
Eddie Cross walks into the frame, leather gaming jacket, backpack, glasses, etc. He looks ready to do business right here and now. He thanks John and his friends before pulling off his glasses.
Dave Gibson: As a matter of fact, Ed, yeah I do. You of all people know what I sacrificed to train you and get you on this damn show. Now what, you’re gonna tell me I aint earned that respect?
Eddie Cross: Oh I respected you alright. I respected you so much that I never questioned you. I did everything you said. For three years I listened, I watched tape, I ran the ropes in your dirty ass gym. I took bumps. I learned to talk. I learned to be the bad guy, and I also learned that just isn’t who I am in my heart.
He shakes his head.
Eddie Cross: And then you did what you did. You kicked me out with nothing. You left me.
Dave rolls his eyes.
Dave Gibson: When are you gonna get it through that thick head of yours, kid? The only one you can count on in this business is yourself. You knew exactly who I was when you started training with me. The type of man I am… the things I did… Don’t get mad just because an old man like me got the drop on you.
Now it’s Ed’s turn to roll his eyes.
Dave Gibson: You know, back in my day, we didn’t whine and throw a temper tantrum when things didn’t go our way. We paid our dues and maybe if we did our job well, we earned respect from the locker room. If not, well, we got a little reminder about how things go in the business.
Dave’s student ran his finger over a scar on his forehead. He locked eyes with his former mentor and spit on the ground at Dave’s feet.
Eddie Cross: That’s what I think about your respect and your word. You can call it whatever you want, but you’re my father’s best friend. I called you Uncle. You’re aiga (family) to me, and you did this to prove some ass backwards point.
He shakes his head at his teacher.
Eddie Cross: You think tradition is the only way? Let me tell you about my people and tradition. On the island, traditionally, men run the household. Women are abused constantly, and there is nowhere for them to turn. Violence is just a way of life, and women die, Dave. Literally get beat to death for shit like missing curfew.
Dave Gibson: What’s your point?
Eddie Cross: My point is sometimes the traditions are outdated and if people don’t stand up for what’s right, then these beliefs never change.
Eddie Cross: I tried to do things your way. You know what they said about me? I was a bully. I was ignorant. I was full of myself. I needed to be humbled. And they were right. I was all those things… and so are you.
Dave curls his upper lip into a snarl.
Dave Gibson: Oh you think you got me all figured out do ya?
Eddie laughs and puts his glasses back on.
Eddie Cross: Dave, all you know is this business. You put it on a pedestal and sacrificed everything for it. Your words, not mine. What have you got to show for it? A run down gym, an old truck, and tainted memories. Face it bruh, you’re depressed and you think this is your ticket back to something you know.
Eddie pauses and steps back among the AV crew. John claps him on the shoulder and nods in support.
Eddie Cross: I’m the only person who has truly loved you unconditionally, maybe ever. And you turned on me to get… all this…
He holds his hands out.
Eddie Cross: Ivan was right about you, Dave. Hope it was worth it, because now you’re on your own.
Dave Gibson: Eddie you don’t know anything I…
Eddie turns his back on his mentor and Dave turns beet red.
Dave Gibson: Don’t you dare turn your back on me, you ungrateful little shit!
Eddie doesn’t turn, he keeps walking and Dave steps forward, with veins popping out in the roadmap of scars on his forehead and small bits of spittle flecked on his lips. John, Pete and Juan stand their ground in front of him and Dave cracks a malicious smile.
Dave Gibson: Oh what the hell is this now? You’re gonna stand in my way? When I was in OSE, clowns like you wouldn’t have been allowed to look at me without my approval.
John speaks up.
John Caplan: With all due respect, Mr. Gibson, that was twenty years ago. That kind of behavior isn’t tolerated anymore.
Dave scoffs and tries to walk past the three men. John holds his shaking hand up, and puts it on Dave’s chest.
John Caplan: I… I think it’s best if you go. Maybe let’s just all walk away from this for a bit and give the kid some space.
Dave looks down at John’s hand, and without warning, grabs it and twists it into a Cobra Clutch. The veteran cinches the hold and starts constricting the airflow of John, who rapidly turns an unsightly shade of purple. Juan and Pete try in vain to get him to release the hold, and finally Juan runs off momentarily. He comes back shortly with several Enemigos and they manage to pull Gibson off the old man.
Dave Gibson: What are you all looking at? I’m a veteran of this sport. I paved the way for y’all! You owe me that respect!
He looks around as the small crowd starts to talk amongst themselves and point, and a couple have their cell phones out, video recording the event. Dave backs up slowly, grabbing a cell phone from one of the onlookers and smashing it on the ground.
Dave Gibson: You tell Eddie this is only over when I say it’s over.
The Carolina native turns and stomps off screen and out of sight around the corner.
We cut backstage where Joe Fontaine and Sid Phillips, both of whom look like they’ve seen better days for reasons that have to do with international flights and many many wrestling matches back-to-back-to-back-to-etc, are sitting around in front of the Glueminati locker room. Why are they there and not inside? Look, let’s not talk about who lost what bet, okay? The important thing is that they’re there, and they have their title belts with them. It should be noted that Joe’s belt looks much shinier than Sid’s because of a little thing called belt polish.
Also, he actually has two belts now.
Apart from his Bang! With Your Partner championship, he’s also carrying around another championship called the Bang! All Day championship. We will be taking no questions at this time about why the belts are named as they are.
Joe Fontaine: Man, I’m going to kill it at the belt polishing competition. Just kill it. Gonna get these babies into the sun and shoot death lasers, that’s how much I’m going to kill it.
Sid Phillips: We missed the competition, remember? Because we were in Japan. And since we lost the competition in absentia, we’re out here making sure the riffraff don’t get in.
Joe Fontaine: Thank you for the recap.
Sid Phillips: Whatever. Just keep an eye out for any goons, Gamble or otherwise.
Well, they’re gonna get “otherwise.”
Hayes Hanlon: They in there?
Marching down the hall in their direction, a very focused, very angry Hayes Hanlon.
Joe Fontaine: Who’s the “they” in this situation, my dude?
Hayes Hanlon: FLAM-douche and Farthing-fuck. You know who I’m looking for. Cut your bullshit for once, boys.
Joe Fontaine: Oh, Cecilworth’s not here at the moment. Pretty sure he’s off doing Lordly things. You know, as Lords do. Yeah, a lot of Lordly business. Lord, have mercy.
Hayes Hanlon: Your lord can kiss my ass. Get the hell out of my way…
The Event Horizon picks the “easier” target, pushing Joe out of the way with a strong arm. However, the rugged kid from Oregon has ignored the fact that a larger, very beautiful (but clearly with less impressive booty cheeks, duh) connoisseur of powerbombs is standing directly to his right.
The man of a thousand nicknames (most of which aren’t even nicknames) steps into Hayes’ path.
Sid Phillips: Easy, champ. FLAMBERGE is, uh… doing image training or whatever bullshit he thinks he’s doing. Probably just rolling around on the floor, actually. He’s weird. And French, but I don’t think that’s related.
Home Run Hayes replies with a stiff palm to Sid’s big-ass chest, a quick, sharp shove. For emphasis.
Hayes Hanlon: Fine, then tell that baguette-chewing lizard to get his ass out here!
Joe Fontaine: Wait, lizard? I thought he was a swordfish this whole time.
He’s probably lying about that. Nevertheless, after staring into Hayes’ face for a few long moments, Sid knocks on the door behind him without actually turning his back to Hayes.
Sid Phillips: FLAMBO! Got a visitor for you!
A pause. Hmm, maybe the Frenchman didn’t hear the knock or something. Sid knocks again, a little louder this time.
Sid Phillips: FLAMBO?
Sid turns to Hanlon, arms crossed.
Sid Phillips: Well, you can’t say I didn’t try.
Hayes Hanlon: I can say a lot of things, you…
From behind the door we hear the faint sounds of an extended sigh, a few plodding steps, and finally the door cracks open just enough for the Neck Collector to poke his head (and neck) out. It’s bobbing rhythmically, as if another part of his body was…shaking, or something? Rubbing something? Our minds are left to various states of “the gutter” imagining the possibilities of whatever he’s doing from the neck down.
FLAMBERGE: I am obviously the extremely busy here.
Joe gives FLAMBERGE a ponderous look, followed by Sid. There’s a sound we can hear now that seems likely related to the light rhythmic bobbing of his head…and FLAMBERGE finally steps out. Intense Title in one hand, a polishing cloth in the other, as he continues to rub tiny circles into the silver plates of his shiny prize. Respectfully, there’s still a lot of work to be done before FLAMBO’s belt matches the sheen and shine of the Glue Man Group’s championships.
FLAMBERGE: Bon, Mustache, hello. What?
Taking the opportunity, Hayes replies by rushing forward, pushing FLAMBERGE back into the locker room.
Hayes Hanlon: Bon, buddy.
For the first time since his title defense against ReVival 31, we have visual confirmation that FLAMBERGE’s legs do in fact work. He steps back, grinning at the piss and vinegar he sees in Hanlon’s eyes. In the back corner there is a cardboard cut-out of Cecilworth Farthington with the word “No” written in a little speech bubble taped to his face.
Hayes Hanlon: You boys feeling clever? Proud of yourselves?
Joe Fontaine: Little bit, yeah.
Sid just shrugs.
Hayes Hanlon: I’m not talking to you morons! I’m talking to this French Fuck for that bullshit two weeks ago!
Hammerin’ Hayes steps closer to the Neck Collector, dark eyes glaring.
Hayes Hanlon: Was it fun for you? Watching Vickie smash me in the nuts? To watch me take a pin from JC fucking Hall?
No stranger to the ins and outs of backstage confrontation, FLAMBERGE sets the cloth and the Intense title down on a bench inside the locker room before standing squarely in the face of Hanlon.
FLAMBERGE: What you need to understand, Mustache, is that oui. We do enjoy these things. But not out of some grudge against-
FLAMBO eyes Hanlon up and down and motions broadly towards his truly magnificent glutes.
FLAMBERGE: -all of this, or some silly thing. It is more that – how can I say…there is something about “the process” that we appreciate. The process of witnessing the man come into the first stages of internal conflict between the giant baby they have become versus the threshing hoof-grinder they could be, if they only understood the glue economy.
Joe Fontaine: Glueconomy.
FLAMBERGE: Oui, Glueconomy.
Hayes Hanlon: Giant baby? This “giant baby” is gonna knock your teeth in you weird, lizard fu…
With a twitch of the ‘stache, the Event Horizon lunges forward with a cocked fist.
But let’s remember, this is three against one. Joe and Sid, to their credit, stop Hayes at the shoulders, leaving him nowhere to go. Hanlon glares at all three of the Glueminati youngsters, and wrenches his shoulders away from Joe and Sid’s hands.
Hayes Hanlon: Tell Farthington I hope he makes the trip to ReV 34 okay.
He turns, and thuds away into the hall.
Hayes Hanlon: Your “glueconomy” is on the verge of a recession.
FLAMBERGE takes a moment to eye the doorway as Hanlon makes his exit. When the coast is clear, he walks over to the cardboard cutout of Cecilworth Farthington and cups his hands towards his cardboardy ear.
FLAMBERGE: CECILWOOOOORTH! MUSTACHE SAYS, HE HOPES YOU MAKE IT TO REVIVAL 34 OKAYYYYYY, OKAYYYYY?
Joe watches FLAMBERGE do this, and then asks the important question.
Joe Fontaine: …Can I talk to him?
FLAMBERGE’s body stops working as he just stares at Joe, unmoving, unblinking. He physically cannot process the question and his system is apparently rebooting. After about ten seconds, he shakes the cobwebs out and Irish Goodbyes with the Intense title.
Joe watches him go, and then turns to Sid.
Joe Fontaine: I was just going to ask if I’d won the contest yet.
Sid shakes his head, perhaps regretting the choices he’s made in life as we cut elsewhere.
BRO, IT’S MAX KAEL?
We cut to Angelica Brooks who is standing by herself, microphone in hand with a steady, professional smile on her face.
Angelica Brooks: Ladies and gentlemen.. Maximilian Kael?.
The camera panned back as we see, for the first time, the man that has claimed the name of Max Kael?. He’s the right height, the right weight and the right build but there is something off for those who remember the old Max Kael, before his death. The face is a little longer, the two brown eyes not familiar to most. It is Max Kael but at the same time it also didn’t appear to be him.
And if you don’t know, care or remember who Max Kael is then this guy was definitely Max. There is a mixed reaction from the crowd which can be faintly heard in the distance. Kael grinned menacingly at the camera as his nostrils flared and his lips spread to reveal long, white teeth.
Angelica Brooks: Let me be the first to officially welcome you to PRIME, Max Kael?.
Brooks holds the microphone out to Max as the former, maybe, Lord of the now defunct Kaelsalvania tore his manic eyes from the camera to look down at the microphone being offered. His grin somehow managed to stretch even further as he reached out..
A wrinkled, liver spotted hand deftly snatched the microphone from Angelica’s hands before Max could grasp it. The withered appendage belonged to an angry, short old woman. She wore a tan business suit and white curly hair that went out of fashion decades ago. Her face, while still wrinkled, had most of the crevasses smeared smooth with foundation.
U.N. Couth: Nobody talks to my client!
Her shrill voice is accented with something vaguely Eastern European. The sound of it cuts through both Max and Angelica causing the latter to flinch noticeably.
U.N. Couth: And my client doesn’t speak to wrestling hussies! I know what you’re all trying to do, trying to seduce Max to get his money cause you think he’s a sucker! Trying to suckle at the teet of Kael, eh, you trollope!
While a full six inches shorter than Angelica and some thirty six years her senior, Couth doesn’t seem any less intent on scaring off the younger woman. Brooks backed away though less out of fear and more out of confusion as the old hag turned her attention toward the camera.
U.N. Couth: And my client doesn’t do interviews for YOU!
She jabbed a crooked, knobby old finger at the camera. As she screamed her lips parted to reveal fake dentures just barely holding onto their gummy foundation.
U.N. Couth: Max Kael? is the kind of talent that deserves to be showcased in the Main Event. A Main Event in any company, in any sport, in any country! He’s a former Hall of Famer, a former World Champion and a former human being! How many people in this company can claim to have come back from the dead through sheer God damn Will!
Kael quickly darted forward, pulling the microphone up to his grinning lips.
Max Kael?: Doctor Will is good people!
The microphone was yanked away from Max by Couth, that gnarly finger turned toward the non-Undead alive agained Max.
U.N. Couth: Shut up! I told you, these people don’t deserve to hear your golden voice!
Max sneered at Couth but relinquished the microphone back to her control. The two glared at each other for a few awkward moments before Ulsa looked back toward the camera.
U.N. Couth: I’m putting the talent of PRIME on notice! My client, the ONE and ONLY, trademarked, sealed and delivered MAX KAEL? and he’s here to make me-US, to make US a lot of money by wrestling! Now I don’t know professional wrestling from a Star Wars but I know a sucker when I see one. And I see a whooooooooooole sea of suckers waiting to give their money to see my Client. And I see a whooooooooole sea of suckers waiting to lose a professional wrestling.. whatever you call it, to my Client!
A smile crepts up on Couth’s face and it’s full of Xtreme Karen energy, a righteous sort of self-confidence that doesn’t require any awareness or intelligence to possess.
U.N. Couth: And maybe if you SUCKERS buy enough Max Kael? merchandise I’ll let him grace you with his golden voice next week. MY CLIENT COMMANDS IT!
Max stared at the back of Couth’s head with a perplexed expression on his face, perhaps not in full agreement with her little tirade. For her part the uncouth U.N. Couth throws her head back and unleashes a howling cackle before we cut away to a dipshit and the person who tolerates said dipshit.
“I think you should have been there, that’s all I’m saying. Would have been good to have you with us.”
Backstage, where we join a conversation already in progress.
For the sake of perspective, the camera is aimed directly at both Justine Calvin and Jared Sykes as they walk through the halls of the PPG Paints Arena, always about eight feet ahead of them and remaining at a constant distance throughout.
Jared Sykes: Was never going to happen. This isn’t the kind of thing I can get behind.
Justine Calvin: Jared, he made a deal to let Savannah Scandal backstage. Helped her get full access to everything except the locker rooms.
Jared Sykes: I know what he did, Cal.
The two turn a corner, seemingly oblivious to what’s happening there. Behind them, Zephram of the Troy Boys has Biff, pro wrestling’s most famous arthritis sufferer, trapped in the Koji Clutch. On one side of the confrontation are the Troy Boys: Lance, Ian, Nevin, Devin, and Taylor. Zephram, their sixth member, is erstwhile occupied. Across from them are the remaining members of the Jimmy Bonafide Dancers. There’s not much shouting, but there is a lot of flamboyant gesticulating until Misty reaches into her purse, at which point all of that stops. Ginny Van Lear isn’t the only person backstage who packs heat.
Justine Calvin: We don’t even know the extent of how many people she terrorized while she was back here, because I guarantee you it’s not just the roster. The ref crew caught shit. Ashley Barlow got absolutely dragged. People’s families, their partners… it’s an absolute clusterfuck. And that’s just what we know about. How many members of the production crew do you think got caught up in all this? I’d bet that number is bigger than zero.
The distraction provided by the conversation is enough to draw the curiosity of both factions, who seem content to leave Biff on the floor.
Poor Biff, no sooner does he get to his feet and take a step is he bowled over by someone rushing through the hallway intersection. You would be forgiven for believing that Chandler Tsonda just trucked this dude, because at this distance the differences between the Doppeltsonda and the man he was hired to portray are hard to make out. Also Biff’s arms are flailing about as he tries to maintain his balance, so it’s chaos ahoy! Just as he manages to get some sure footing, he’s plowed clean over by the genuine article when the actual Chandler Tsonda runs down the corridor in hot pursuit of his body double.
A few members of both the Bonafide and Troy contingents glance at where the commotion came from but see only Biff laying on the ground like a pile of laundry. He mumbles something, but since no one here speaks fluent arthritis it largely goes ignored.
Jared Sykes: You don’t need to convince me that he fucked up. I spent part of the night hiding from the woman, remember? Hell, I legitimately thought about cutting leg holes in a trash can to try and get around that way.
Justine Sykes: Your brain is a scary place sometimes. You know that, right?
Thirteen weirdos all nod in unison, including Biff. Sure, he hasn’t moved from his spot on the floor, but he knows the truth when he hears it. All non-Biff members of this gathering have now begun following Sykes and Calvin as they walk along the hallway, keeping a respectful distance.
Except Biff. Biff might as well be dead, because he’s never getting up.
Jared Sykes: The point is that I’m not oblivious to it. I’ve been in the same press conferences with her that you have. I’ve read the things she’s printed about us. I see what she puts on her socials. Plus, there’s everything that I haven’t told you about.
Justine slams on the brakes, and the gathered mass of Bonafides and Troys all stop with their arms out. It’s all very “high school drama club.”
Justine Calvin: Wait. What don’t I know?
Jared Sykes: I used to get messages from her every so often before I came back, in my time away from everything. Some of it was… pretty horrific.
Justine Calvin: Like what? What’d that bitch say?
The TroyAfides creep a little bit closer, eager to drink up all the tea that’s about to be spilled.
Jared Sykes: Nothing I’m going to repeat here. But if you ever wondered where those “Jared killed a guy” rumors started…
There’s a collective inaudible gasp from the Bonafides, because they’ve been around long enough to know what he’s referring to. Nevin of the Troy Boys straightens up and puts his fingers to his lips in surprise, the only one of his group who gets it. Lance ponders what he would look like as a butterfly prince.
Justine Calvin: Motherfucker. So then what gives? If that’s the case then you should be leading the charge on the “Fuck Nate” campaign.
Jared Sykes: Because something’s up. It’s the only way this makes sense to me. We’ve been around the kid enough to know he’s a good guy. Comes from good people.
Justine Calvin: So…?
Jared Sykes: So I don’t believe he’s going to bring Savannah Scandal here unless he’s got a damn good reason to.
Justine Calvin: I don’t think that reason exists.
Half of the Bonafides – Charlene, Noelle, and Carl if you’re keeping score at home – point at Justine and nod their heads in agreement. Carl nods and mouths the words “On God.”
Jared Sykes: C’mon, Cal. You’ve seen how he’s been lately. Even if I’m not sure of the details, that guy is one hundred percent Going Through It right now. Yeah, everyone is pissed. I get it. They’re right to be. But I also don’t think kicking a guy out of the locker room does anyone any good right now, especially if the dude needs help.
The gathered background morons exchange glances, except for Biff who has managed to roll over into a starfish position about forty feet back.
Jared Sykes: I’ve been on the other side of that door. I know what it’s like to have to find a closet, or a spare room, or to change in your car and hope no one sees you. It was different when it happened to me. There wasn’t one incident, people just didn’t like the guy who ran around whacking people with a garden gnome. They decided early on that I didn’t belong, and let me tell you… that shit stays with you. People wanna be mad at Nate? Great. He brought in a “reporter” that everyone hates. But we let Paxton Ray hang out and he’s the reason why Jon Rhine hasn’t been able to walk in a year. No one’s ever going to convince me those guys deserve the same punishment.
Most of the Troys look genuinely confused, because they legitimately have no idea who any of these people are that were just mentioned.
Jared Sykes: Throwing a guy out of the locker room doesn’t fix anything. It doesn’t solve the problem, it just removes the cause, and those are not the same thing. If someone wants to be an asshole who sends a message, then fine. This works, I guess. But if you’re actually trying to be a leader, then…
Justine Calvin: Then the goal should be solving the problem.
Jared Sykes: Yup. Actions and words, you know? What was it that your buddy said… “When we’re wounded there’s always a place.” It’s a nice sentiment, but it’s fucking hollow when the guy who needs help gets thrown out right after it’s said. The words don’t mean a damn thing at that point, because you might have told the kid one thing, but then everyone showed him something different. That’s the part that sticks.
At last, the movement of the camera comes to a halt, and both Jared and Justine walk out of frame leaving a very confused collection of idiots in their wake. We then cut back to ringside for our next match.
CANCER JILES VS. ROCKY DE LEON
The match graphic appears.
Nick Stuart: Got a good one coming up. Rocky de Leon has really stepped it up a notch recently. A tough loss at the pay-per-view against Jonathan-Christopher, but he was clearly the better man.
Richard Parker: I see this match graphic and I’d like to raise you a bathroom break.
Nick Stuart: I’m not a Jiles fan, either but can’t you get behind de Leon?
Richard Parker: Absolutely not.
The scene switches to ringside where Vince Howard stands in the middle of the ring.
Vince Howard: This match is for ONE FALL!
The crowd loves knowing it’s for one fall, even though all the matches this week are one falls. Nevertheless…
Vince Howard: Introducing first… from Laredo, Texas… weighing two-hundred-fifteen pounds… ROCKY DE LEON!!!
“Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” by Streetlight Manifesto airs over the PA as the crowd gives a cheer for the masked wrestler who pops out from behind the curtain and begins bouncing his way down the ramp. He slaps fan’s hands in the process while continuing to fire up the crowd.
Nick Stuart: It should be a quick affair, a fast wrestling bout. I’m sure both men want to place their best foot forward.
Richard Parker: Can I say something about Rocky’s theme song? I’m hearing it, okay. I looked it up right now on Spotify. What a stupid name for a song. Was Julio the singer’s only friend?
Nick Stuart: First off, it’s a Paul Simon song. Second, the song is about two children breaking the law and-
Richard Parker: And this is the guy we’re supposed to cheer for? His song sends subliminal messages to CHILDREN about breaking the law. This is terrible music, by the way.
To the mercy of at least one man, de Leon hops over the top rope and the crowd gives a cheer before the theme song comes to a close.
Vince Howard: His opponent… from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania… weighing two-hundred-eighteen pounds… THE COOOOOOOOOL… Cancer Jiles!
A chill moves through the air.
The lights slowly draw to black.
One little pyro pops.
An electric guitar riffs with the power of ten Stanislobs behind it.
Nick Stuart: Here he comes. The Opener. Cancer Jiles.
Richard Parker: Is it just me, or is this clown’s monumental fall from grace one of the most heart warming things to have ever happened in the history of PRIME? The former champion of the skybox is now wrestling dinosaurs during the bathroom break. Poetic justice in its most PRIMEvil form.
Nick and Dick share an off camera fist bump.
Instead of Jiles walking through the curtain to a sea of monotonous booing, a thunderous neigh from a godly beast rattles not only the PRIMEates in attendance but also the very fabric of the Pittsburgh area.
Nick Stuart: It can’t be! Is that?
Richard Parker: A fucking Pegasus?
Nick Stuart: IT IS A PEGASUS!
Richard Parker: This prick just refuses to be out done.
The camera misses it, well it’s blurred out so as to not scare the public, but Jiles takes a quick lap flying around the arena atop of his steed. He even safely dodges all manner of objectile during the jaunt before landing inside the ring. After eloquently dismounting as if he were a seasoned equestrian, he firmly slaps the mythological creature on the ass. The impact sends the Pegasus flying over the top rope and galloping back towards the bottom of the entrance ramp.
Richard Parker: You’d think that horse was fleeing from being decapitated with how fast he’s moving.
Inside the ring, a COOL Cancer Jiles rests in his corner while a ready to go Rocky de Leon bounces up and down in his.
Nick Stuart: The referee is Timo Bolamba. He’s going to call this as best he can.
Bolamba motions towards the time keeper’s table.
And the match is off!
Nick Stuart: Almost the same size and weight between these men. I’d say it should be a good one, but, of course, Cancer Jiles.
Richard Parker: Maybe there’s an alternative universe where I’d enjoy Cancer’s work.
Nick Stuart: You really mean that?
Richard Parker: God no!
Jiles and de Leon circle around the ring with the speedier Rocky wanting to already tango in the center. Jiles, however, couldn’t give a fuck whatsoever. He’s merely taking a step back each time Rocky lunges forward.
Richard Parker: A side note, if Cancer and Coral keep bumping into each other, I’m going to turn into a coke head soon.
Richard Parker: So are they.
Nick Stuart: Well, Jiles already came down on a pegasus.
Meanwhile, the cat and mouse game between THE COOL and de Leon goes on for a good thirty seconds before de Leon races forward with a roundhouse kick and it actually catches Jiles under the chin! The crowd gives a roar as de Leon Irish whips Jiles into the ropes but the crafty vet hooks his arms around the top rope and stops dead in his tracks. de Leon was looking for a dropkick and he hits the mat early… this allows Jiles to spring from the ropes, slide down to the canvas and hook de Leon into a pin!
Nick Stuart: I hate to say it but this was almost over in a jiffy!
Richard Parker: I’d hate to say it, too. Why am I investing in a guy like Rocky de Leon? I really dislike both of these men. I’m destined to be disappointed either way, aren’t I?
de Leon pops to his feet and ducks a (likely) poke to the eyes by Jiles. de Leon springboards off the ropes and comes across with a cross body block. It connects as Rocky lands on top of the former Universal Champion and hooks a leg.
Nick Stuart: It was almost over again!
Richard Parker: I’d love to be doing something else right about now.
Both men are on their feet but this time there’s no dancing. They grapple and de Leon takes charge. He has Jiles in a headlock before Cancer pushes the younger wrestler into the ropes. Jiles hits the mat as de Leon hops over him and into the ropes across the way. As Cancer jumps up, it’s clear he’s looking for Terminal Cancer already but de Leon dodges it!
Nick Stuart: Both men want this match over in a hurry!
Richard Parker: At least that’s SOMETHING for me to hope for.
de Leon goes for a superkick of his own but Jiles rolls to his right. Jiles hits the ropes again and this time both men run into each other with crossbody blocks.
Nick Stuart: Jiles and Rocky are down!
However, it’s Rocky who kips up first and then Jiles does the same, but also needs the ropes for help because it looks like he doesn’t want to exert as much energy. de Leon marches over to Jiles and this time The COOL gets that rake to the eyes.
Nick Stuart: The ref didn’t see it!
de Leon stumbles around on his own two feet as Timo tries to figure out what happened. The smug look across Jiles suggests something mischievous but you can’t call what you can’t see.
Jiles hits a side Russian leg sweep on de Leon.
Cancer thinks about hooking a leg for a pin but ultimately knows better. He’d love the match to be over with quickly, though, so he whips de Leon around and plans him in the middle of the ring with an implant DDT.
Jiles is going to the second rope. He measures de Leon and jumps off-
Nick Stuart: Oh my, what a move!
de Leon jumps up at the last possible second and catches Jiles in mid-air with a pop-up powerbomb!
The ref slides into position and makes the count!
de Leon rolls away from Jiles and then slides into a corner of the ring. He uses the buckle to prop himself up and waits for Jiles to get on all fours before charging in…
de Leon goes for a high knee but Jiles moves out of the way. Cancer tries for a backstabber but Rocky is too strong on his feet so the leader of the Egg Bandits crashes to the mat with nothing to show for it. This time, the second Cancer gets on his feet…
He’s hit with that leaping knee strike by de Leon!
Nick Stuart: Rocky has come to wrestle tonight!
Richard Parker: You say that like he hasn’t before.
Nick Stuart: I didn’t mean it like that. He’s just very quick on the counters!
de Leon is looking for more offense. He sprints towards Jiles but The COOL wiggles away at the last second. Cancer takes a dive into the ropes and responds with a high air jump, planting the heels of his feet directly towards de Leon’s crown in a modified head stomp maneuver.
Nick Stuart: I believe Jiles has taken that move straight out of rival Conor Fuse’s arsenal!
Richard Parker: Who? That idiot comic book kid?
Nick Stuart: Yes, Jiles hates Fuse! Weren’t you paying attention?
Richard Parker: I’ve blanked on a lot of stuff recently.
While that is the move Cancer connected with, it’s clear he’s still learning to master it… because when he Irish whips Rocky into the ropes, it’s reversed. de Leon then meets Jiles at the ropes, even before the former champion can bounce off them. Rocky connects with a crossbody block that sends BOTH men onto the apron and down on the outside.
…right beside the Pegasus that Cancer Jiles rode in on.
Nick Stuart: Trouble written all over it.
Unfortunately, the one who seemed to take on the brunt of the fall was Rocky de Leon, who comes up holding his knee. This gives Cancer Jiles an opportunity to recover as he knocks himself in the side of the head. Jiles finds de Leon and delivers a hard forearm blow to the side of his face.
Nick Stuart: What’s he doing now?
Jiles tries to Irish whip de Leon into the Pegasus but at the very last second Rocky reverses the whip. It looks like Cancer’s face is going to eat the side of the stallion but then HE’S able to reverse the Irish whip and send de Leon over to the Pegasus for good.
Nick Stuart: LOOK OUT!
Instead of going head-first into the spiritual animal, Rocky is smoooooth and slides underneath it. Jiles has a look on his face wondering where in the hell Rocky went.
And then finds the masked star on TOP of the Pegasus!
Cancer Jiles: That’s my ride you fucking crumb!
Rocky hops off, landing on Jiles’ shoulders and wrapping his legs around The COOL’s neck… in the form of a hurricanrana!
Nick Stuart: Great move but it won’t get the three on the outside of the ring.
de Leon knows this. He also knows they are about to be counted out so he rolls into the ring. Being the good sport he is, RdL rolls back out to break the count at SEVEN.
Unfortunately for Rocky, however, being a good sport doesn’t pay off when Cancer Jiles is crawling around on all fours and finds an opportunity…
Nick Stuart: LOW BLOW by Jiles! Timo didn’t see it!
Jiles grins sadistically. With de Leon bent over, he steers the masked wrestler towards the Pegasus. But towards a specific area on the Pegasus.
Richard Parker: I’m going to puke.
Nick Stuart: Well Rocky better hope that horse isn’t ready to do anything.
Yes… Cancer Jiles is currently holding Rocky de Leon’s head underneath the pegasus’ ass. It looks like he even mouths the words “c’mon boy” a few times.
Thankfully, however, de Leon pulls away from Jiles and knocks him in the side of the head with an elbow before the “pegasus” can do anything.
de Leon stumbles towards the apron and slides into the ring again to break the TEN count… only to slide right back out and look for Cancer Jiles.
Jiles with a picture perfect knee clip to de Leon, followed by a back rake and then for good measure the former champion hurls RdL into the steel steps head-and-neck first.
Nick Stuart: That’s likely to do additional damage if Jiles ends up connecting with Terminal Cancer.
Jiles thinks about throwing de Leon into the ring but decides to go in himself.
Richard Parker: Is that prick going to try winning by count out?
Nick Stuart: Looks that way.
With Rocky DOA on the floor below, one hand on his neck and the other on his jewels… Cancer Jiles is all smirks. He gives the thumbs up to the Pegasus like a job well done as PRIME security finally shows up to remove the animal back up the rampway and into the backstage area.
Nick Stuart: Good. Had enough of that.
Richard Parker: They should’ve been down here at the start of the match!
As Nick and Dick bicker back and forth, Timo is making his count on the outside. He’s at THREE.
Nick Stuart: I’m sure Jiles pulled a fast one on everybody.
Richard Parker: How could he pull a fast one!? First off, it’s a horse. Pegasus aren’t real. Or is it Pegasi? It’s dressed up like one but I’m not an idiot. Second, how do you SNEAK something like that in here without anyone noticing!?
Bolamba is now at SIX.
Nick Stuart: Look, don’t ask me. I’m just saying we don’t have to put up with nonsense outside the ring anymore.
With the count at EIGHT, Jiles raises his arms, knowing victory has been found.
Nick Stuart: de Leon is back in the ring!
A furious Jiles races over, lifts Rocky de Leon onto his feet and looks for a small package piledriver.
Nick Stuart: It’s over! Jiles with a hook of the leg!
The crowd comes ALIVE! The arena is rocking as Cancer Jiles looks up at Timo Bolamba with THREE fingers directly into his face.
Nick Stuart: Cancer better watch it here. He’s pushing Timo very hard right now.
The referee stands his ground and swats Jiles’ hand away. Nevertheless, The COOL refuses to back down.
de Leon is on his feet… he charges at Jiles. He crushes the Egg Bandit under the jaw with a European uppercut… followed by another… another… another! de Leon is whipping Jiles from pillar to post! The masked star bounces off the ropes and takes a running start at Jiles when-
Cancer pulls the referee in front of him so Rocky has to put on the brakes!
Nick Stuart: Get out of here!
Richard Parker: Unfortunately due to their prior disagreement, Timo found himself awfully close to the action so Cancer used it to his advantage. That prick got lucky!
Rocky shouts at Jiles to move Bolamba out of the way but once Timo moves himself out of the way-
Nick Stuart: THE MIST!
Richard Parker: God dammit!
Cancer Jiles sprays his yellow muta mist all over Rocky de Leon.
There’s just one problem.
Rocky de Leon: SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!
Nick Stuart: It didn’t phase him!
Because, of course, Rocky’s in a mask.
Richard Parker: What an idiot! I’ll enjoy this moment.
Jiles stands there wide eyed and stunned, while the crowd goes bananas for Rocky de Leon. The Texas native encloses on Cancer and this time the former world champion has nowhere to go.
Jiles backtracks into a corner of the ring. He sticks half his body through the bottom and middle rope and begs for Timo Bolamba to get in the middle and administer a five count! However, before Timo can-
Nick Stuart: That clever brat! Cancer Jiles suckered them all in. Once again, Timo was not in the position to see it. Jiles hit de Leon with a low blow!
With Rocky hunched over, Jiles bursts out of the corner.
Richard Parker: God dammit!
Jiles falls on top of de Leon, hooks a leg and counts along with the referee.
DING DING DING
The jeers reign down inside the arena, as Vince Howard announces the winner and his theme song plays.
Vince Howard: Here is your winner… THE COOL… CANCER JILES!!!
Nick Stuart: You have to feel for Rocky de Leon.
Richard Parker: I don’t have to feel for either of them!
Nick Stuart: Rocky’s had back-to-back losses against the two biggest cheaters in our company, Jonathan-Christopher Hall and Cancer Jiles. You can make the case he should’ve won both of them!
Richard Parker: I’m out on this guy. Thanks for nothing, Rocky.
Jiles allows Timo to raise his hand even though he’s playing up the bad blood from the earlier three count, while Rocky de Leon rolls out of the ring, holding the side of his head.
ReVival then cuts to a commercial.
COMMERCIAL: ULTRAVIOLENCE 2023
WHAT A MESS
We come back from commercial to an interesting combination; the boss, Lindsay Troy, is chatting it up with a returning Kohime Mori. Mori is dressed in a pink shirt with “BODYGUARD” as two separate words in white stacked on top of each other. Black skinny jeans adorn her legs, with purple and white sneakers on her feet. LT, for her part, is dressed in a perfectly tailored designer suit and heels.
Kohime Mori: And then I said, “I don’t even know where that plum came from!”
LT appears to be in a much better mood than she was during her earlier encounter with Nate Colton, and she chuckles at what we assume is some kind of amusing anecdote. It’s at this time that Ria Lockhart saunters into frame. Despite looking like she’s ready to go out to the nearest nightclub, in a dress that clings to her like it’s painted on, Ria has a plate in her hands. Yes, she managed to make it to catering before Bobby could recover from their match. Her reward is a delectable looking piece of Boston cream pie. The Queen’s eyes immediately lock on to Lockhart.
Lindsay Troy: Hey Ria, good match earlier.
Ria gives a half-hearted nod Lindsay’s way.
Ria Lockhart: Yeah, hey.
The Queen lifts an eyebrow and an awkward silence permeates through the air. Kohime coughs in an attempt to put something out there to shatter the uncomfortable lull.
Kohime Mori: So, uh, how’s Wade doing?
Lindsay smiles at Kohime’s polite attempt at small talk.
Lindsay Troy: He’s good, Kohime. I’ll tell him you were asking after him.
The Queen then looks at Ria.
Lindsay Troy: I’m willing to give you leeway with this new attitude of yours up to a point, Ria, and that point includes whatever fun you think you’re having at Wade’s expense. It ends now.
Another glance to Kohime, and a nod.
Lindsay Troy: It’s good to have you back around, Kohime. Take care.
With that, the boss takes her leave. Kohime turns towards Ria.
Kohime Mori: Well, you heard her.
Ria snorts, flippantly waving her left hand towards Kohime while still holding the plate with her right.
Ria Lockhart: Uh huh. Doesn’t mean I’m gonna listen.
Kohime Mori: But-
Ria Lockhart: But nothing! Listen, if I go through Lisa, shit won’t get done. Lisa is a filter every bit as much as she is an assistant. If she doesn’t think LT has time or interest in a complaint, it won’t be brought to the boss’s attention.
Kohime folds her arms on her chest, her face scrunching up in thought. After a moment, Mori’s eyebrows raise up.
Kohime Mori: So you’re bugging Wade because…
Ria doesn’t give the young Japanese woman a chance to finish the thought.
Ria Lockhart: Because I want results. Why go through a middleman when you can go for the heart? I don’t care if I’m annoying as long as I get what I want.
Kohime Mori: Isn’t that… kinda selfish?
Ria stifles back a giggle while shaking her head.
Ria Lockhart: Oh Mori… Young, naive, stupid Mori… Of course it’s selfish. The thing is, I don’t give a shit. Being nice and kind didn’t get me crap. Hell, look at you. What did it get you? Nope. If I have to be the squeaky wheel, I will be. In fact, I kinda love doing it, if I’m being honest. It’s funny watching people get pissed off. Now if you’ll excuse me…
Ria switches the plate to her left hand. Her right hand snatches up the plastic fork sitting next to the cakey treat. Lockhart plunges the fork down sideways, slicing a small portion off the front. She stabs the piece and begins to raise it up towards her mouth. Mori’s eyes grow large, filled with terror.
Kohime Mori: NOOOOOOO!
Not a second after her dramatic cry, Kohime smacks the plate downward and out of Ria’s hand! The Boston cream pie tumbles to the floor with a resounding splat when it meets its destination. A stunned Lockhart can only stare at her fallen dessert. Her eyes pan upward towards Mori before her head slowly follows suit.
Ria Lockhart: What. The. FUCK?!
Kohime Mori: I’m your bodyguard. That means I guard your body! And if you have too many sweets, well…
Kohime leans down slightly and pokes at Ria’s tummy. Lockhart’s eyes swell, her face reddening, teeth clenching. Fragmented noises sputter through Ria’s teeth before she turns around and stomps away. Left alone, Kohime shrugs.
Kohime Mori: I mean, she could stand to lose a few pounds…
We then return to ringside for… shenanigans.
HEY, HEY, HEY! IT’S SEGMENT 9A!
The lights flicker in the arena. When they stop, a Wild Time Lord appears in the ring with a microphone in hand. Wild Time Lord uses Chatter. It’s super effective!
Anna Daniels: We bet you’re all wondering why we did what we did. Why take such a gamble? Why risk your championship ambitions over an otherwise normal match? It’s simple.
There’s a thing in the business called a pregnant pause. This is one of them. Though for about 1/14th of a second, one of the many poisonous frogs in this fleshsuit’s head wonders what kind of asshole would knock up a pause. What would the child of a pause be called? Can a pause file for child support? Can a pause go through menopause?
Anna Daniels: We risked it all against Jared Sykes because we had to.
This pause is not trying to squirt out a crotch goblin. This one lingers a bit like a good, juicy fart. The reactions are about the same too: shock, denial, maybe a bit of disgust and tears.
Anna Daniels: And we know exactly what you’re going to say. “B-but Anna, that’s not true…” WRONG! Ladies, gentlemen, and those beyond the binary, it is very much the truth and all you have to do is look around your crumbling, deadbeat ‘verse to see the proof. Each and every show since the beginning has gotten more and more dramatic. More and more chaotic. Every two weeks on your device of choice, you see solid proof that wrestling just for wrestling’s sake doesn’t really get the job done here. Truth is around here, the best damn match on the entire card doesn’t mean a goddamn thing compared to colorful characters, attempted murder, and theatrics.
Can you hear it? There’s that patented PRIME crowd RAAAAAAHHHH. At least the goldfish brains are self-aware. She nods her head.
Anna Daniels: We have produced banger after banger after banger in this fucking company and nobody gives a shit because we don’t have “a story”. We’re not a Communist Bear or a Suplex Golem. We don’t have a stable named after school supplies. We’re not a legend and most importantly, we are not Jared Sykes. We are simply a nihilistic alien who wants to fight that, until two weeks ago, was trying so hard to cling on to what sanity we had left. We left everything on the line against this man, King of the Blueberries, the Heart of PRIME because at least then, we would have some fucking clue as to how to proceed. We took the risk to make that match mean something!
A beat. Beats are different from pregnant pauses somehow. Maybe beats are the pregnant pause’s offspring? How messy.
Anna Daniels: And we lost.
Some people actually boo this little factoid. Anna’s response is to shrug.
Anna Daniels: Now we’ve been told since then that you don’t take risks like that without a plan. But every time we make a plan, it turns into complete dogshit before it can ever really get off the ground. It’s not just in this ‘verse either. It’s everywhere we have ever been to. We try to feud with somebody, they decide to piss off after five seconds. We have an ambitious goal, the promotion slows to a crawl and dies. Every single time we have the slightest inkling of hopes and dreams for fucking anything, it gets crushed. What is the point of god having a plan if some two dollar halfwit with a prayer book can come along and fuck it up?!
When people are paraphrasing the dead, most would fist bump their heart and point to the sky out of respect. But seeing as how we’re yoinking that on the fly from George Carlin, we’re better off reciting the Seven Words and shipping a prayer to Joe Pesci.
Anna Daniels: Yet damn if that’s just one of those lessons some of us just can’t quite learn. It must be. Otherwise, we wouldn’t keep doing it. We planned for a brilliant title reign after Tropical Turmoil and we lost. We planned for the possibility of winning last ReVival and we lost. This is not a buzzsaw factory. PRIME is not a home for heroes. PRIME is a graveyard for plans, a burial ground for hope, and an asylum that is ultimately ran by the inmates. And every single one of you absolutely love it.
RAAAAAAHHHHH. CAN YOU HEAR IT, DUDES?! CAN YOU FEEL THAT RAH?! CRUSH RAH. MAKING KIDS CRY RAH? VAYA CON DIOS, RAH!
Anna Daniels: Honestly, PRIMEates…
Whoever is cutting this promo pauses as the oldheads in the crowd RAAAAAHHHH in appreciation. There’s a smile on the vessel’s face. That might be for the reaction of the fans, but it could easily be because the Multitudes know somewhere in the back, Lindsay Troy is cringing.
Anna Daniels: We’re coming around to it ourselves. We lost and for that, we thank you, Jared. Thank you so very much for defeating the best wrestler on this entire roster and being everything we said you were. Because not only did you make us see the light…
There’s something strange going on. She’s looking at the camera, but she may actually be looking at the talented Mr. Sykes. A gleam is in those eyes.
Anna Daniels: You brought our number of fucks into the negatives. Which means we can do stuff like this.
The camera suddenly shifts perspective. Where it once was pointed at Anna, it is now lying on its side on the mat. Mainly because the cameraman’s head has been Interrobang’d into oblivion. And the crowd goes wild for it. Half explode into cheers, the other half starting a chant that begins to grow.
fuck your head.
Fuck Your Head.
FUCK YOUR HEAD.
We are now from the perspective of Camera 2 whose operator is smart enough to keep their distance. The thousands in attendance and the millions watching wherever see Anna sit on the mat cross legged. The poor saps who stick to the Camera 1 feed get a treat of their own as the camera’s mic picks up what Camera 2 can’t.
“Nothing to lose. Fuck it.”
Indeed, her posture is the epitome of fuck it. Like a child at kindergarten listening to the story of the fan’s ebbs and flows. It’s so innocent even if her actions are not. The Enemigos begin to swarm and head to the ring but as soon as they cluster, Anna’s not there. She’s gone in the blink of everybody’s eye. The cameraguy is still out cold. A duffle bag of Monopoly money mysteriously falls onto LT’s desk. And we’re on to some more crazy shit.
PICKING UP THE SLACK
Backstage at the PPG Paints Arena, fluorescent lights buzz overhead and cast a harsh glow on the concrete walls and floor.
Adam Ellis leans against the wall, his arms crossed over his chest. With him as always- Ginny Van Lear, his wife and manager, her fiery red hair contrasting sharply with the drab surroundings.
Adam Ellis: Tonight’s match is gonna be tough.
Adam speaks in a voice low and focused.
Adam Ellis: I know what Arthur Pleasant can do – I’ve seen it firsthand.
Adam rubs his chin as if he’s remembering back at the bruises and blood from their previous encounter.
Adam Ellis: Tonight’s match is gonna be different from our last encounter. There’s a big difference between the Adam Ellis who teamed up with John Sektor to defend the HOW Tag Team titles against Arthur Pleasant and JJR last April and the Adam Ellis who’s stepping into the ring tonight.
Adam shifts his weight.
Adam Ellis: Yes, I can still feel the sting of that loss that cost us the HOW Tag Team titles. John had an off night… and I wasn’t ready to pick up the slack. But that isn’t who Adam Ellis is today. Adam Ellis is a much different wrestler than he was last year- stronger, faster, and more determined than ever before.
Drawing in a deep breath, Adam stares down the corridor that led to the ring, determination radiating from every atom of his being.
Adam Ellis: And Arthur Pleasant is gonna find that out in just a few minutes.
Ginny gave him an encouraging smile, laying a hand on his arm and feeling the power and strength beneath her fingers.
Ginny Van Lear: Ah know yew kin do it, baby. Jus’ ‘member whut Charlie Blackwell worked on with yew an’ don’t let him get in yer head.
Adam nods and exits down the hallway followed by Ginny as we cut to another backstage area.
The training room at the PPG Paints Arena is uncharacteristically dark. One might think that with a bigtime wrestling show in town, the lights would be on all the time with the fighters cycling in and out. Lights are out here, much to the chagrin of Paxton Ray. His match with Kenny Freeman certainly didn’t leave him in the same way as Tropical Turmoil did or his matches with Anna Daniels, Nova, The Anglo Luchador, or Jared Sykes did, but I’m sure you’ve heard by now.
PRIME is a meat grinder.
Ray’s tired bones need a soak, and he’s not in the mood to do any extra work right now. At least if Foster were here, he could divert his annoyance to the helmet man. No such luck. He grumbles to himself as he flicks the light on, and then he sees the reason why the lights were off in the first place.
TAL: Surprise, dickhead.
The Anglo Luchador stands, as if he has been waiting for him to get there. Paxton is frozen in shock for a beat, allowing the Luchador to fire in with several shots to the face before grabbing him by his buzzcut hair and throwing him gut-first into the ice bath. Doubled over, Paxton turns around, holding his tender ribs.
TAL: You like being a dickhead, huh, Pax? Yeah. You got brainworms up there. Bad brains. Only way to treat a problem like that is a SHOCK to the system.
The Luchador pulls something out of his pocket. He quickly puts it around the neck of the Butcher and fastens the clasp. Paxton whips his hands up from his ribs to his neck, but before he can get his bearings about him…
Nick Stuart: Did… did The Anglo Luchador put a shock collar on Paxton Ray?
Richard Parker: How rude! Doesn’t he even care about triggering his pal Rich Parker?
Nick Stuart: You’ve said on several occasions how much you hate him.
Richard Parker: That was before he shocked this asshole, who has had it coming for MONTHS.
Paxton falls to the floor, flopping like a fish. The voltage setting obviously has been turned way up from when it was used on Richard a few ReVivals ago.
TAL: That feel good, dickhead? Huh? Yeah, a small taste of the shit you’ve dealt out, to Nova. To those kids in the Belmont. To those kids at Grays. Yeah, I hear things. And most of all, to Jon.
The Luchador holds up the clicker to Ray’s face.
TAL: I could press this again. I could keep shocking you until you lose all control of your bodily functions and you lay here on the floor of the training room covered in your own feces and urine and vomit. And that would make me no different than you.
He throws the clicker into the ice bath. Those waiting for the short circuit to electrocute Paxton Ray are disappointed.
TAL: I prefer to settle my beefs in the ring, face to face. You just needed a taste of your own medicine so that maybe it’d knock some sense into that fucking head of yours. But you listen to me and you listen to me good.
The Luchador lifts Pax’s head up to look him straight in the eye.
TAL: I didn’t fuck with your family. You did. Nora for whatever reason still loves you, but she’s scared, Pax. She’s scared of you. And this whole thing is not doing anything to make her change her mind, so you listen to me and you listen to me good.
The Luchador’s eyes flare behind his mask.
TAL: I am The Anglo Luchador. I will do anything to protect those who can’t defend themselves, and I am sick and GODDAMN TIRED of this company being full of sociopaths who think because they signed a fucking contract here that they’re protected from consequences of their actions.
The Luchador rips the collar off Paxton’s throat, sending even more recoil down every square inch of the Butcher’s skin.
TAL: The time’s yours, dickhead.
The Luchador walks out into the hallway leaving Paxton gasping for air behind him, just at the same time that someone is charging by.
Both the Luchador and the runner recoil backwards. The hallway runner is revealed to be none other than… Doppeltsonda?!?!?
TAL: Hey, watch where you’re going… Chandler?
Doppeltsonda: Damn, I can’t believe that still works. You really don’t watch the rest of the show, do you?
TAL: Hey, I have…
Doppeltsonda: Shit, gotta run.
Doppeltsonda books it out of there as the real Chandler Tsonda comes into frame, who comes to a halt when he notices the scene. He’s got a nice glisten, a sensual glisten, despite being lightly out of breath from the chase.
Chandler Tsonda: Hey Luch, uh, everything okay in there?
TAL: Yeah, I just hit Paxton with a shock collar.
Chandler Tsonda: (cocking his head slightly) No shit? Wow, that rules. Can I get a turn? No wait. I gotta go catch Doppelfuck. Good luck electrocuting that swamp mutt, though, sincerely. Gottagobyeeeeeee! (yelling after Doppeltsonda) I’M GONNA WEAR YOUR SKIN LIKE A MINK COAT WHEN I FIND YOU, YOU GOBLIN.
Tsonda speeds off in hot pursuit of his double. The Luchador stops and remarks.
TAL: It’s always something around here, shit.
He turns and walks off in the other direction as we return to ringside for our next match.
ADAM ELLIS VS. ARTHUR PLEASANT
“Immigrant Song” by Voodoo Prophet hits the speakers and a chorus of boos immediately follows.
Two words, followed by two letters, written in signature style, appear on PRIMEview with a bleeding effect; this is created by a machete that slices through the bottom of the screen with a violent effect. Arthur Pleasant, meanwhile, has already begun making his way out from behind the curtains.
Vince Howard: Making his way to the ring… from Under The Midnight Sun… weighing in at 225 lbs…he is PRIME’s WORST NIGHTMARE… ARTHURRRRRRR… PLLLEEEAAASAAAAAAAAAAAAANT!!!
Richard Parker: Arthur Pleasant…he’s just one of “those” kinds of guys, you know what I mean?
Nick Stuart: I haven’t the slightest idea what you mean.
Richard Parker: One of those guys where you can’t really imagine a scenario where you cross his path and think, “huh, THAT’S somebody I’m happy to see!” You know?
Nick Stuart: Arthur Pleasant, certainly making many enemies here in PRIME as he looks to build momentum tonight.
Garrett Biggs’ “Mama Didn’t Raise No…” plays over the sound system and on the video screen, a video plays, showing a series of wrestling trophies on a dresser next to an old high school football uniform that has ‘Ellis’ on the back.
Vince Howard: And his opponent…from Warrensburg, Missouri, weighing in at 225 lbs…ADAM! ELLLLIIIIIIIIIIIIIS!
An acoustic guitar plays and the vocals begin.
“Mama didn’t raise no… quitter- guaranteed to get the job done.”
Adam Ellis and Ginny Van Lear walk out from the back hand in hand and stand on the stage.
“She didn’t raise no SOB who that can’t back himself up – been known to throw a good punch.”
The video screen shows a series of action shots of Ellis from his various matches
“And this ol’ boy gets going when the going gets tough- sundown to sun up.”
Dressed in a t-shirt, jeans, and her feet wrapped in tape the former MMA prodigy nods her head causing her bright red hair to flip, and raises her left hand…
“Need a man with a helping hand – he’s always got one to lend.”
…and then brings it down as the chorus and full instrumentation hits- complete with pyro.
Nick Stuart: Always nice to see young love, don’t you think?
Richard Parker: Emphasis on the “young”, my goodness. He can’t even rent a car, and SHE can’t even buy a drink!
Nick Stuart: Nevertheless, like so many other wrestlers on our incredibly stacked roster, he’s found a fair amount of success despite his young age!
“Oh, I might be a little rough around the edges”
Adam’s wearing a pair of plain blue wrestling shorts. He starts forward down the ramp towards the ring followed by Van Lear.
“From the outside lookin’ in it might seem helpless.”
The couple reaches the ring. Adam holds the rope open so Ginny can slide through.
“I’ve been blessed with a strong backbone – I never coulda made it on my own”
Adam joins her in the ring.
“But if there’s one thing that I know – Momma didn’t raise no…”
Adam climbs up the top turnbuckle and holds up his arms.
Adam hops down and measures Pleasant with his eyes. Both men are virtually identical in height and weight on paper, but the way they carry themselves in the ring couldn’t be further apart. Ellis is squared up in a very traditional amateur wrestling stance as he cautiously looks for an opening, while Pleasant’s movements are more like a viper’s, unpredictable and full of Quick Strike Danger energy.
Nick Stuart: Both of these competitors are looking to continue their momentum following recent wins, partner. Matchups like these can often come down to the intangibles. Who do you give the edge to in that department?
Richard Parker: Tough call – both men have a little bit of crazy in them. Arthur’s got those fangs, but Adam Ellis went and married himself a firecracker mixed with a pistol. I call “push” on that one.
In a flash, Arthur goes in first for the collar-and-elbow and really digs into Ellis’s shoulder and neck with his fingernails. Ellis winces, then reverses momentum, breaks an arm loose, and catches Pleasant in an arm wringer. Pleasant snaps a kick squarely into Ellis’s ribs, but Ellis finds a way to maintain control and sweeps out Pleasant’s kick leg as he tries and fails to regain his balance. Both men are now on the mat with Ellis atop Pleasant’s back, looking to grab a shoulder submission, but Pleasant resists.
Nick Stuart: We’ve heard rumor that Arthur Pleasant took some extra hours in the practice ring working on escaping submissions, partner.
Richard Parker: Yeah, and I heard Ellis took some bitin’ classes, too!
Nick Stuart: Unlikely.
Pleasant shoots out with surprising swiftness, pops to his feet, and peppers the prone Ellis with some stiff Muay Thai kicks. After absorbing a few stiff shots, Ellis is able to scramble to the ropes. As he grabs onto the middle rope with both hands, Pleasant runs over, grabs both of Ellis’s feet, and pulls him as hard as he can towards the center of the ring. Ellis’s grip breaks, and with a mighty SPLAT, he’s prone once again.
Arthur launches in with some rabid punches (not to be confused with rabbit punches) to Ellis’s face before deciding “eff it” and going in for a bite on the top of Ellis’s scalp! Referee Jimmy Turnbull will not have it and immediately goes for the five count – satisfied at the damage he’s done, he separates. Ellis taps a few fingers to the area Pleasant bit and checks for blood – there’s not much, but there’s at least a couple drops. Angered, he gets to his feet once again.
Pleasant launches at Ellis for a third time – Ellis sees it coming and uses Pleasant’s momentum against him and him around into a reverse waistlock, hoists his knees and hips, and PLANTS Pleasant with a big German Suplex! He rolls over, maintaining control, and this time connects with a much snappier Snap Suplex, releasing Pleasant as he does so! Seizing the opportunity, he goes for the cover!
Two! Kick out by Pleasant!
Nick Stuart: Ellis is staying on top of the very agile and spry Provocateur.
Richard Parker: He wants to return the favor after feeling the TEETH TEETH!
Ellis grabs Pleasant’s feet into a stepover toehold and he then goes in for the same shoulder control he was searching for at the start of the match. This time, he’s able to swing Pleasant’s shoulder back and over, and he traps Pleasant in a facelock!
Nick Stuart: Modified STF from Adam Ellis! Will this be enough? Will Arthur tap??
A pocket of the audience starts chanting “TEETH TAP!” clap clap “TEETH TAP!” clap clap, but it doesn’t seem to spread through the entire arena. Jimmy Turnbull checks, but Arthur emphatically declines. He fights and wriggles, but Ellis has the hold firmly locked in and Pleasant has no window to get to his feet. Out of desperation (or out of genius?) Arthur realizes the best tools he has to escape the hold are the tools that created the meme…
Richard Parker: Look at that! Arthur’s biting him! He’s biting Adam Ellis’s hands! HA, what a goon.
Nick Stuart: Borderline illegal, but it gets the job done, and Arthur Pleasant is free!
Both men back into opposing corners, Pleasant catching his breath and checking his teeth with a sinister grin to see if he’s drawn more blood. Ellis checks his hands – we can see indents on his skin, but apparently no broken skin. By now, the raised intensity of emotion in both men is all over their faces – Ellis is QUITE MAD, and Pleasant is QUITE PLEASED WITH HIMSELF. Ellis leaves his corner first, looking to be the initiator for the first time all match, when –
Arthur Pleasant surprises him with a lightning-quick Roaring Elbow straight to the jaw! Ellis staggers but stays vertical – Pleasant swings again with another Roaring Elbow! Ellis is stunned and drops to his knees. Pleasant runs to the opposite ropes, bounces off with added momentum, and launches – NARCOLEPSY!! Ellis crumples to the mat after taking that huge Buzzsaw Kick! Arthur has to heave Ellis off his stomach in order to navigate the pin, and after some exertion, he hooks the far leg!
Nick Stuart: Adam Ellis hangs on!
Richard Parker: Fangs McTrouble isn’t done with him just yet!
Nick Stuart: “Fangs McTrouble”?
Richard Parker: You would watch a movie called Fangs McTrouble, don’t lie to our audience.
Arthur Pleasant pulls Adam Ellis up by the head and positions him in a standing headscissors. He then locks his arms around Ellis’s torso, looking to lift him up into piledriver position – but Ellis resists! Pleasant goes for another lift, but Ellis flails his legs and kills the momentum before he can get vertical! As Ellis’s feet return to the mat, he plants his hands on his knees and powerfully raises up his torso, sending Pleasant crashing in a Back Body Drop.
Both men sport a few bruises from this encounter, and eagle-eyed viewers might catch that Ellis’s hair right around the area of Arthur Pleasant’s bite has become a matted mess of blood and sweat. Before long, they find themselves exchanging strikes in the center of the ring – Adam Ellis with big arcing haymakers, Pleasant with precision-strike Muay Thai-style punches. The crowd “boos” and “yays” depending on the puncher (no guesses as to whom’s punches receive the boos versus the yays). Pleasant fires off a flurry of punches and a snapping kick to Ellis’s shin – but Ellis digs deep, feints a kick, and LAUNCHES his right fist!
Nick Stuart: Superman Punch from Adam Ellis!!
Arthur goes DOWN, and Ellis sees his opening! He goes to grab Pleasant’s left leg for the elevated Boston Crab, but Pleasant kicks him away! Another grab from Ellis, this time with added stomps to Pleasant’s guts, and this time Ellis is on his way to having his signature finishing hold.
Richard Parker: No teeth down in Arthur’s feet, that’s smart strategy!
Nick Stuart: But Arthur Pleasant is fighting Ellis every step of the way here, Ellis can’t quite seem to get Pleasant in the position he wants!
Frustrated, Ellis turns to deliver a fresh set of stomps into Pleasant’s gut, when – quicker than a hiccup – Pleasant sweeps out Ellis’s leg with his arm! He’s got him wrapped and stacked into a SCHOOLBOY! Jimmy Turnbull dives to the mat for the count!
Nick Stuart: ARTHUR’S GRABBING THE TRUNKS! He’s going to STEAL THIS THING!!
Adam Ellis LURCHES a shoulder off the mat and Arthur is FURIOUS at Jimmy Turnbull for not giving him the three count.
Richard Parker: I thought that was it!
Nick Stuart: Ellis REALLY had to dig deep to get out of that one!
Rage washing over Pleasant’s face, he decides “enough is enough” and gathers Ellis’s body onto his shoulders, rising to a foot and a knee, inching his way closer to hitting Calamity Pain!
Ellis smashes an elbow into the side of Pleasant’s head, then another, breaking loose of the hold! For good measure, Ellis shoots in, grabs the waist, and plants Pleasant with a Snap Suplex with an exclamation point! Pleasant is down, and Ellis looks into the crowd cheering the young man from the middle of Missouri, and he points to the turnbuckle nearest Pleasant. He makes his way to that corner and checks his head once again for blood (oh DEFINITELY there is, he might need to get it checked post match). He takes it as a sign that he needs to do something big to keep Pleasant from escaping all of his dang submission holds.
Inspiration lights up his eyes as he reaches the top rope and measures his opponent. He leaps, clearly going for a diving Elbow Drop like we’ve seen from him before…
…but instead of driving his elbow through Arthur Pleasant’s heart, he crushes Pleasant’s legs instead! Pleasant howls out after receiving that hellacious targeted strike!
Nick Parker: Arthur Pleasant’s legs have been CRUSHED!
Richard Parker: No teeth in those legs, either, I guess!
Nick Parker: You “guess”??
Ellis gets to his feet and pulls Pleasant by the feet to the center of the ring. Finally, after struggling all match to make it happen, he’s able to grab a limb and manipulate it into position with relative ease. Arthur Pleasant’s left leg is turned and lifted high above the rest of his body!
Adam twists and leans into the hold, putting a tremendous amount of pressure on Pleasant’s head and neck in addition to the horrible pain shooting through his legs! Jimmy Turnbull goes in to see if Arthur will submit!
“TEETH TAP!” CLAP CLAP
“TEETH TAP!” CLAP CLAP
It’s starting to catch on a bit in the crowd – Arthur grits his teeth hard and tries everything he can think of to get out – but his free leg doesn’t have the strength anymore to help him escape! He reaches to see if the ropes might move another six feet closer to him – no dice there either.
With no options left to him, Arthur Pleasant reluctantly taps the mat. Jimmy Turnbull signals for the bell!
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Your winner, as a result of a submission…ADAM! ELLLLLLLLISSSSSSSSS!
The referee raises Ellis’s hand in victory as Ellis soaks in the cheers of the crowd. Arthur Pleasant clutches at his left leg as he slowly rolls out of the ring.
Nick Stuart: Adam Ellis is one one heck of a run lately! Another win for the man who’s about to turn 23 later this month! Well folks, we still have our main event tonight as Wade Elliott and Sage Pontiff do battle! But first, THIS COMMERCIAL!
COMMERCIAL: REVIVAL 34
WHAT WAS OLD, IS NEWS AGAIN
We return from commercial to “Born for this” by Divide Music playing through the speakers as the entire Gamble Adoration Syndicate steps out from behind the curtain, soaking in the chorus of boos that rain down from the crowd.
Tony Gamble stands dead center, the buttons of his navy blue suit jacket unfastened so the crowd can see the golden face of the Alias title he wears proudly around his waist. Frank Pastore stands to his right, the Celestial Dragon Tag League trophy resting on his shoulder. Johnnie Newsman is a few steps behind him on the left – slightly behind Tony – a light brown fedora clashing with the bright yellow Hawaiian shirt that has giant purple and pink flowers all over it. Domingo Cruz is on the left, his hands on his suspenders as he flashes a crooked smile.
The four of them make their way down the ramp as the music continues, swatting away the hands of fans in the crowd looking to get a high five or slap it across the back of Dom or Frank if they can reach them.
Frank climbs the steps first, followed by Tony. Tony stands there on the apron for a moment, and pulls the left side of his suit jacket back in order to give the fans a better view of the Alias title as Dom climbs the steps behind him. The tag team known as No Laughing Matter pulls up on the top rope while pushing down on the middle rope to separate them just enough for Tony to climb through, before following him into the ring themselves. Johnnie grabs a microphone from the time keepers table before getting into the ring himself, motioning with his hand for the crowd to quiet down a bit so he can speak.
Johnnie Newsman: Hello, Pissburgh!!
That did not go over well with the crowd. Crazy that it wasn’t intentional, just a bit of an accent.
Johnnie Newsman: I know, we don’ like thees city eeder, but we at lease can leaf tomorrow. So sorry for your lifes.
Yeah, the boos, they are continuing. They might even be getting louder.
Johnnie Newsman: Okay, Pissburgh, less take a moment to stop wiping away your tears, and instead put your hanz together for the man holdeeng the greatess champeonechip in PRIME…
Dom and Frank are probably the only people in the arena clapping. Wait, no, Richard Parker is also clapping.
Johnnie Newsman: TOOONYYY GAAAMBLLLE!!!
Tony saunters over to where Johnnie is standing and grabs the microphone, then hands it back. Lifting a hand up for everyone to hold on, before removing his suit jacket and handing it to Newsman. Now he grabs the microphone, isn’t his other hand to post the title around his waist.
Tony Gamble: You know…
He stops short as the sound of the boos get louder.
Tony Gamble: If you don’t quiet down, I’m liable to just walk out of this ring right now.
That just makes them get even louder.
Tony Gamble: I guess you guys forgot how to treat champions in this city.
It’s only been five years, but everyone knows hockey fans in Pittsburgh prefer the Flyers so those don’t really matter.
Tony Gamble: Well, if I’m being honest, when your favorite restaurant is a Wawa I don’t expect you to have any taste to begin with. But I digress.
This crowd is not happy, probably because they prefer Sheetz.
Tony Gamble: Lucky you, because I am here tonight to show you what a true champion looks like. I don’t know if you know this, but I am the only member of this roster to hold the same title in both the Revolution and the Revival era. Not to mention, I am also the only two time Alias champion.
No one is impressed, and the claims only cause the boos to reach their crescendo.
Tony Gamble: That’s why, it’s only fitting that this title once again is allowed the privilege to be named the Gamble Championship!
The fans erupt in cheers.
Tony Gamble: That’s right, and in doing so I will be reinstating–
It is at that moment, as someone slides into the ring behind him, that he realizes those cheers were not for him or his announcement. Dom and Frank grab the person on the ring, but it is the one still running toward the ring that has the fans excited.
Tony Gamble: Now that’s just rude.
In the ensuing moments of pop, the second figure, pointing menacingly at the ring gets himself a microphone.
Who’s saying hello? That would be Chandler Tsonda, mic in hand. His eyes are staring right through Gamble at the man who Dom and Frank have in their clutches: Jake Nguyen, bka Doppeltsonda.
Chandler Tsonda: It seems like your historical reenactment of Napoleon stuff is going peachy, so all’s I need is for you to hand over that identity thieving weasel, and we’ll both be out of your limelight, one of us in a stretcher.
It is at this moment that Tony gets a better look at the man struggling to get away from Dom and Frank, who tighten their grip and keep him right where he is. Tony shakes his head slightly as he looks back at the Viet Viper.
Tony Gamble: As if one of you wasn’t enough, now there’s two of you? If I wasn’t in such a good mood right now, having a title named after me and all, I’d–
Jake stomps on Domingo’s foot, which causes him to loosen his grip just enough for Nguyen to pull away.
Tony Gamble: Don’t let him go, Frank!
Chandler Tsonda: On that point, we actually —and this is a first in our long and sordid history—agree. Frank, hold onto that little pain in the urethra for me, if you don’t mind.
The Sultan of Style rolls under the bottom rope, and pops back up on the other side of the ring from the GAS braintrust. He keeps his distance, and keeps his focus directly on the source of his ire.
Chandler Tsonda: Not sure if they get the ACE Network at the Wonka Factory—sorry, sorry, big congrats on the title, trying to kick the habit— but if you boys watched the show tonight, you know that I’ve been chasing (points at Doppeltsonda) THAT nasty little turd of a man.
The Gamble crew watch their boss for any reaction. He shows no reaction either way. Or maybe he’s just seething at having this beautiful crowning moment interrupted. Tsonda doesn’t seem to care.
Chandler Tsonda: And maybe he thought I wouldn’t chase him out under the bright lights, or maybe he’s just a rat in a trap. Either way, I consider all our old scores settled, Gamble. Agua under the bridge. You hand him over, and I’ll leave you to the brave new world of the Alias belt.
Tony Gamble: Hand him over.
Frank shoves Nguyen toward Tsonda, but Jake apparently trips and lands at Chandler’s feet. The slight nod from Tony is only seen by Domingo, as Frank and Chan both look down at Jake crawling over and wrapping his arms around the Viet Viper’s ankles. The next thing he knows, Cruz is driving a forearm into the small of his neck.
Nick Stuart: C’mon! What’s the GAS’s problem?
Richard Parker: Seems like the fuck around-to-find out pipeline is healthy and robust, Nick.
Tsonda falls to the mat, unable to keep his balance with his Doppelganger wrapped around his ankles.
Tony Gamble: Have to say, your arrival has upset me a little more than I’ve been letting on.
Dom and Frank continue the assault, Jake is also getting in a few shots where he can.
Tony Gamble: You came in and immediately started taking little jabs at me, and I’m not even talking about tonight Tussonda. No, I’m talking about your little comments about looking for me just to pretend you don’t remember me.
Tony drops down to a knee, then slaps Chandler on the top of his head as Frank and Dom lock their hands around his arms while Nguyen wraps his arms around Tsonda’s legs again.
GAM-BLE SUCKS! GAM-BLE SUCKS!
Tony Gamble: I’m talking about getting it etched on your tombstone that I lost to you on multiple occasions, and throwing stones at me just because.
Two more slaps on the head. It’s clear that Gamble’s not telling tales; he remembers every single indignity Tsonda has offered him for the past couple of months, maybe for the better part of two decades. In this moment, UltraViolence 2008 seems like just yesterday.
Tony Gamble: Crazy that someone that can’t keep my name out of his mouth, has been doing everything he can to avoid running into me. So I figured I had to find a way to bring you to me.
Tony grabs Tsonda by the hair and pulls his head up to face him.
Tony Gamble: I have to say Jake’s been well worth the money spent, especially tonight – having you run around – tiring you out just enough that you didn’t even think twice about getting into this ring.
The Grin allows his smile to widen.
Tony Gamble: Hell, you practically thanked me in your own special little way. But there’s no need to thank me, because we aren’t done yet.
Gamble lets go of Chandler’s hair, watching his head drop as he stands up. Then gives a nod, signaling for the beating to continue. Frank, Dom, and Jake begun to drive lefts, rights, and kicks on the Sultan of Style.
Tony Gamble: Oh, buddy, we’ve only just begun.
Tony unfastens the belt and lifts it high above his head, as the crowd continues to shower him with their own type of adoration–a sound he is all too familiar with and accustomed to.
Nick Stuart: And just like that, things are deeply personal between these two men for the umpteenth time in their careers.
Richard Parker: Tsonda and Gamble hating each other and only knowing how to express it through sadistic violence? I feel young again, Nick!
AN INESCAPABLE ENCOUNTER
It’s been a long, fruitful ReVival so far, with a hard-hitting main event left to go. Of course, some people have to leave early, and that’s why the camera is following Coral Avalon as he walks out to the parking lot. Another day, another ReVival for the Crownless King, even if he isn’t cleared for action. He’s nearly to his car when he sees someone else walking through the lot perpendicular to him.
Someone that he can’t seem to get enough of.
Coral Avalon: I think we can both agree that we really gotta stop meeting like this.
Cancer Jiles: Jesus! That forehead really is everywhere! It’s inescapable!
Coral Avalon: What are you doing out here anyway? Breaking into cars for spare change?
The COOLYMPIAN laughs heartily.
Cancer Jiles: Good one, Corporal, but I’m the highest paid wrestler on the roster. In fact, the only change I need is for someone to spare me from Lunchbox Laser and his all too occasional dirty diaper.
The Maestro waves his hand in front of his nose to clear the air.
Coral Avalon: Alright, if it’s not searching for spare change then what are you doing out here?
Cancer Jiles: I’ll have you know that this is what I do prior to the MAIN EVENT now. I leave early to get high in the parking lot. Lucked out last show and there was a scab selling balloons. Almost Resin’d out.
Coral Avalon: Oh.
Is it wrong Mr. Innocent Avalon thought about Jiles talking in a high pitch and not zonking out on nitrous?
Although we’ll bet that you can’t unhear helium Jiles now.
Cancer Jiles: Granted, had I known you were going to be out here I would have waited a little while longer to avoid butting heads but oh well. Here we are. You, here, ruining my high. Me, here, high ruined.
Coral stares at Jiles, wondering what he did in his life to deserve the company of this crumb. His crumbpany, if you will. Perhaps he’s beginning to wonder if he’d been someone terrible in a previous life, and this is karmic retribution.
Coral Avalon: Yes. Indeed. Verily. Here we are. Sorry about the high– I’ll have to remember you leave early ALL THE TIME NOW so I can hope to avoid you all together at the next show. Like the plague. Or cancer.
A mutual nod from the CrownCOOL King.
Cancer Jiles: Not to sound cliche but the feeling is mutual, Coral. I for one can’t sleep after coming into contact with that forehead of yours. I guess you could say that just the thought of it keeps me up at night. That said, I think I can help us both out and put a stop to these random encounters once and for all.
Coral perks up, and extends an inquiring brow. It’s really obvious, because of the forehead.
Cancer Jiles: I’ll go somewhere you’ll never be. No, I’m not talking about Night Two of a PPV, either. Or a large face convention. Or a reef.
Cocainasaurus loudly neighs off in the background as if on command.
Coral Avalon: Hell, then? If so, you can say hi to Satan Jones for me while you’re there.
Cancer Jiles: That’s the type of attitude that will keep you out of the Bandits.
Coral does a double-take when he hears this. He’s so absolutely bewildered that he can’t even hide it.
Coral Avalon: Wait, what!? I don’t want to be in the Bandits!
Cancer Jiles: That’s what they all say. However, what they all don’t seem to recognize is that they don’t have a choice in the matter. Unless of course you’re Mom, but that’s a story for after your initiation. Whoops, I mean for another time.
No one can really tell if Jiles is winking behind the T-shades, especially not Coral Avalon. Regardless, he walks away, leaving Avalon to stand there confused about this “initiation”.
Coral Avalon: You can’t be serious, Jiles!
He doesn’t get another response from Jiles as we cut back to the arena for the main event.
WADE ELLIOTT VS. SAGE PONTIFF
“Satori Part II” by Flower Travellin’ Band ushers in the arrival of one Sage Pontiff. Dressed in an open silk shirt matching his bottoms, the Bodhisattva of Transformative Experience traverses down towards the ring.
Nick Stuart: This is a big match for Sage Pontiff.
Richard Parker: Nick, Nick, Nick… When you’re connected with the universe the way Sage Pontiff is, there’s no such thing as a big match. We’re all just tiny pieces of this cosmos, floating together and colliding in happenstance that none of us can control.
Nick Stuart: … Did he pay you to say that?
Richard Parker: A cool $20.
Sage takes a short running start and slides into the ring on his back, under the bottom rope. He rolls onto his stomach and agily pops up to his feet before offering a prayer to each side of the squared circle.
Vince Howard: From Joshua Tree, California… Weighing 201 lbs… SAAAAAAGE PONTIFF!
“A Boy Named Sue” by the Man in Black carries on over the already rumbling crowd.
Well my daddy left home, when I was three,
didn’t leave much, to Ma an’ me.
Just this old guitar and an’ empty bottle of booze.
The lyrics scroll in white on the PRIME*View, and the MGM Arena starts singing along.
Now I don’t blame him ‘cause he run an’ hid,
but the meanest thing that he ever did,
was before he left, he went an’ named me-
And then, shit gets LOUD. Johnny’s strums are replaced by a distorted guitar with a southern twang, followed by a steady beat of the drums. The entrance strobes as “Step Up (I’m On It) by Maylene and the Sons of Disaster wails away. The PRIME*View rolls that footage.: a charging black pick-up truck. Vicious dogs snapping at the camera. Tipped over whiskey bottles. All mixed with a montage of ass-whippin’ before the music slows.
Nick Stuart: It’s been awhile since Wade Elliott has been in a PRIME ring as an active competitor.
Richard Parker: Damn near a year, Nick. He better be ready, too. Sage Pontiff is a hell of a talent and he’ll put Elliot out in a minute if he’s not on his game!
“Too long, and too little,
Tell me when you gonna bring it on.
Small fights, and big stages,
Never terrified enough to run.”
Vince Howard: From Pine Ridge, Alabama!!
A big frame in a wide-brimmed drifter’s hat hides in the strobe lights, that hat tilted down a touch.
Vince Howard: Standing six feet! Four inches tall! Weighing in at two-hundred and fifty-four pounds!
The smoke starts settling, the lights start trailing.
Vince Howard: A former PRIME Intense Champion!!
The chorus hits, and the Son of a Bitch himself strolls out to the top of the ramp, one fist in the air, and a grin on his face he just can’t shake.
Vince Howard: THE BAD DOG!!!!! WADE!!! ELLLIOTTTT!!!!!
The Blue Collar Brawler takes it in for a moment before making his way to the ring, the arena going absolutely ape-shit for the Southern Sparkplug’s arrival. Meanhile, the music rises as Wade climbs the far turnbuckle. He removes his hat, holding it high in the air as the chorus hits heavy.
“ALLLL LIIIINED UP AND BUILT FOR PRESSURE!
(STEP UP! I’M ON IT!)
SAAYY YOOOUUUR PEACE LIKE IT’S THE END!!
(STAND BACK! WE’RE MOVIN’!!)”
He drops to the floor, tossing his hat ringside, before taking place in his corner.
A determined looking Wade Elliot heavily steps to the middle of the ring. Sage Pontiff, face full of delight, is quick to meet him there. Near face to face, the two start jawing at each other.
Richard Parker: What do you think they’re saying, Nick?
Nick Stuart: I’m not sure, Rich. Wade isn’t a man big on talking. His fists do that for him.
Indeed, it doesn’t take long for Wade to uncork an overhead right. His fist collides with Sage’s jaw, stumbling the young man backward a few steps. He reaches up to check his lip. Pontiff finds no blood, but still chuckles, his tongue giving the battered spot a quick lick for extra confirmation. Nodding, still smiling, Sage slowly walks back up to where Wade still stands. Pontiff loads up and sends his own punch Wade’s way. Wade’s head jerks, but his feet stay planted.
Elliot slowly raises his head back up, staring a silent death threat Sage’s way. Another punch from Wade. Pontiff hangs tough this time, knowing what he’s dealing with. One back from Sage. Wade. Then Sage. The crowd starts buzzing as the two continue to exchange heavy punches. Wade. Sage. Wade. Sage. Wade. Wade. Wade.
Nick Stuart: Wade Elliot is gaining the advantage!
Richard Parker: Sage needs to switch it up! They’re aren’t many people that can stand toe to toe with Elliot and stay on their feet.
Parker’s words prove to be prophetic, as Wade winds back and clobbers Pontiff with a big right that sends him down to the canvas!
Wade goes to stomp away at the downed Sage, but the Bodhisattva of Transformative Experience wastes little time rolling to the safety of the floor. He manages to land in a standing position, shaking his head to regain his bearings. Pontiff looks up at the Bad Dog and smiles, offering a polite round of applause.
Sage saunters around ringside, occasionally peeking up at Elliot while doing so. He swings a leg onto the apron and near seamlessly slides into the ring on his back, using the ropes to pull himself up to his feet. Wade stomps forward but is met with a hard kick to the thigh. Wade flinches, but still throws another overhead right. Pontiff narrowly avoids it and sends another kick to the ‘Bama Bruiser’s hamstring. Wade throws another wild haymaker Sage’s way. Again, he dips and ducks, another kick targeting Wade’s leg connects.
Nick Stuart: It looks like Pontiff might have found his early match strategy.
Richard Parker: It’s not a bad one. It’s gonna take some work to be effective, though. You think Wade skips leg day?
Nick Stuart: If I had to guess, no. No, he does not.
Sage continues to chop away at the tree, the kicks connecting. Even for as tough as he is, Wade starts to show the effects of the targeted attack. Sensing the time is right, Pontiff takes off towards the ropes. He jumps up to the second and flies off, looking for a crossbody block. Unfortunately, what he finds is an elbow to the mouth, sending him crashing to the mat painfully!
Wade grabs Sage and drags the younger man towards the corner, a slight limp in his walk. He callously tosses the crawling Pontiff into the turnbuckles, Sage resting his upper body on the bottom pad. Elliot starts stomping away, the tempo increasing with each stomp. Elvis Nixon intervenes soon enough to back the Southern Sparkplug up.
Nick Stuart: Sage had control for a second, but he took a chance that backfired.
Richard Parker: You gotta be careful with Elliot. He’s like a pure power hitter. His average might not always be that great, but he can make you pay if you make one mistake pitch.
Nick Stuart: You got an example for those that aren’t baseball fans?
Richard Parker: He’s like a slugger in boxing-
Nick Stuart: Any non-sports examples?
Richard Parker: Hey, don’t cut me off, Nick!
Announcer squabbling aside, Wade drags Pontiff out of the corner and to his feet. He scoops Sage up and drops his back across his knee with a forceful pendulum backbreaker. Sage hits the mat, arching his back. He screams in pain before laughing briefly, seeming to alternate between the two. Elliot doesn’t give him much room to recover, dragging him up again.
The Bad Dog again goes to scoop Pontiff up for another backbreaker. However, Sage manages to swing up and around, onto his feet before Elliot gets a good grip on him. He takes advantage by swinging forward towards the mildly bewildered Wade, connecting with a koppo kick towards Elliot’s trapezius. The blow staggers Wade a few steps back.
Nick Stuart: The athleticism and quick thinking of Sage Pontiff on display there!
Richard Parker: Yeah, but the kid can’t waste time. He needs to take advantage!
A few more kicks to Wade’s thigh keep the Bad Dog from managing much movement. Sage sprints towards the ropes again. This time when he comes off, he connects with a sobat kick that finally puts Wade down. Pontiff quickly moves over and jumps backwards with a standing moonsault! Elvis Nixon flies into position!
Sage doesn’t waste time protesting, sliding over and away from Wade to put distance between them. Elliot climbs to his feet but is quickly put back down with a sling blade, the Cosmic Resonator! Pontiff goes to the nearest corner, swiftly leaping up to the top. He turns his back and flies off with a Stardust Press he calls the Electric Feel…
Nick Stuart: MISS! Wade Elliot moved!
Richard Parker: That’s what happens when you take too many risks! Just don’t leave your feet! Ever!
Nick Stuart: Did the boss ever get you that electric scooter you asked for?
Richard Parker: Not in the budget, or so I’m told.
Wade uses the ropes to get to his feet, temporarily struggling to do so. Pontiff pushes off the mat, stumbling to his feet as well. When he turns around, he’s met with a thunderous clothesline that sends the young man corkscrewing through the air before crashing to the ground! That’s Southern Hospitality for you.
The ‘Bama Bruiser pulls Pontiff to his feet, getting him into position for a powerbomb. He lifts Sage up… But Pontiff fires away with wild punches to the head. Wade staggers back, but keeps his opponent in position. Sage throws himself backwards, hoping to hurricanrana Wade. No dice, as the Bad Dog holds position to leave Pontiff hanging upside down helplessly. Elliot powers him back up before planting him down with a big powerbomb! Wade gingerly drops down for the cover!
Nick Stuart: That was a nasty powerbomb by Wade Elliott!
Richard Parker: You think Sid would appreciate it or be jealous?
Nick Stuart: Hard to tell. I can never read that guy.
Wade pulls Sage up to his feet. He roughly whips Pontiff into the ropes. As Sage comes barreling back towards him, Elliott lifts up his powerful leg for a big boot… that Pontiff rolls under. Wade tries to turn to stay ready, but it’s no use. Sage sends a quick dropkick to the ‘Bama Bruiser’s knee, putting Elliot into a kneeling position.
Pontiff takes a few steps back and charges forward, smashing Wade with a jumping forearm that takes the thicker man down. Sage doesn’t stop there, scurrying over to climb on top of Wade with a mount. Pontiff grabs him by the hair and cracks Wade with a hard headbutt. Then another. Then another!
Nick Stuart: A vicious display from Sage Pontiff with those headbutts.
Richard Parker: We all know this guy thinks differently than your normal wrestler. He’ll take a punch as long as he can give one back. Those headbutts might have hurt him as much as they did Elliot. I think he’s even bleeding!
Indeed, Sage has managed to bust himself open while using his skull as a weapon. He reaches up and finds a small trickle of blood seeping from his forehead. That draws a big smile and slight chuckle from the Bodhisattva of Transformative Experience.
Pontiff leaps up to the top once again, with Wade still groggy on the ground. A second try at the Electric Feel is successful! Sage stays on top for the cover!
Nick Stuart: That was close! It seems like Wade can’t keep up when Sage picks up the pace.
Richard Parker: Both guys are about the same height and they both like to brawl, but that’s about where the similarities end. Hey, you think if Pontiff wins, he’ll get Lindsay Troy’s Love and Admiration?
Nick Stuart: I’m going to tell both her and Wade you said that.
Pontiff stays on the attack, pulling Wade up by the back of his pants. He hooks one arm up, maybe looking for his Atharvaveda release Dragon Suplex. Elliot has other ideas. He struggles as Sage tries to hook the other arm, blasting him with a back elbow that momentarily stuns the younger man. A second elbow frees Wade completely.
Wade turns around, just in time to be met with a spinning wheel kick to the face! Sage is quick to get to his feet, raining down stomps on the Bad Dog. He ends his flurry with an impressive jumping leg drop. Pontiff chuckles before turning to the crowd. He pantomimes towards the fallen Elliot in a mocking manner. Except… Wade isn’t down for long. He sits up and rubs his head, getting to his feet. Pontiff turns around and his smile fades every bit as quickly as it appeared.
Nick Stuart: Well you know what they say, Rich…
Richard Parker: If You’re Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough… Damn it, why did I play into that?!
A big right hand sends Pontiff to the canvas, but he’s right back up. Another. Back down and up. A third. Wade grabs Pontiff by the hair and starts hammering him with elbows. By the time Elvis Nixon steps in with a warning about the hair, Sage is on weak knees. An empathetic headbutt puts him down again, but there is no bouncing back up this time.
The Southern Sparkplug drags Sage to the corner once more. Like before he just brutalizes his opponent with a hurricane of stomps, Pontiff not even able to cover up at this point. Wade gives a subtle look towards the crowd before pointing a finger in the air. The crowd explodes!
Nick Stuart: I think he’s calling for the Superplex!
Richard Parker: He usually keeps that in his pocket unless he’s in a hardcore match. But hey, with how worn down Pontiff is, that might be enough.
Wade tugs Pontiff to his feet, the ropes helping to keep him up. He scoops his lighter opponent up, setting him sitting down on the top rope. Elliot climbs up to the second rope as well, hooking Sage’s arm over his neck before he climbs to the top.
That doesn’t happen, though. Before the ‘Bama Bruiser can ascend any further, Pontiff comes back to life. He wildly swings, peppering Elliott with unfocused clubbing blows. A rake to the eyes gives Sage a fraction of separation. Enough for him to forcefully kick Wade in the leg, causing the vet to swing over, right hand gripping the top rope while his right leg precariously balances on the middle. Clutching the top rope, Sage blasts Elliott with a high kick that sends him crashing to the mat.
Pontiff grins as he positions himself on the top. As Wade tries to climb to his feet, Sage flies off. He lands on his feet, Elliot’s head between his legs… Sage flies up and over…
Nick Stuart: SHAMANIC DREAMEAVER!
… DENIED! Yes, Wade managed to stiffen up, keeping Pontiff from completing the rotation. He now holds him in an inverted back to belly position. The Bad Dog flings Pontiff’s leg up and over, so that he’s positioned on his shoulder. Pushing Sage’s legs up high, Wade twists before thunderously driving Pontiff down to the canvas!
Nick Stuart: The Roughneck!
Richard Parker: There’s the cover!
DING DING DING
Nick Stuart: What a match!
Richard Parker: Sage Pontiff was game, but the Son of a Bitch that is Wade Elliott pulled it out!
Vince Howard: The winner of this match… “THE BAD DOG” WADE ELLLIOTTTT!
Wade climbs to his feet and gives a nod towards the rackus crowd before throwing an arm up in victory.