Mobilizing the Troops (Thank U For UR Service)
The MGM Grand’s Arena has settled at a dull chatter an hour before airtime on the ACE Network. Fans are still filing in, some are in line to get beers or other concessions. Others are lining up to buy their memorabilia and wearable merchandise before the action begins. One could be forgiven if they couldn’t conduct a conversation, but eardrums will remain intact for at least another hour before the pyro explodes, Richard Parker and Nick Stuart welcome everyone to the fourth episode of the flagship, and the fans have reason to shriek and shout levels deemed unsafe by OSHA for the human ear without protection.
The focus is on the merchandise area. Most tables are professional, staffed by MGM minimum wage workers, all with state-of-the-art point of sale systems. One table is not. Curiously, no one mans the Puddings’ fort. Piles of Muriel’s Fire Starter Kits are messily strewn on the table, as if they were thrown there and left for someone else to pile into something more enticing to passersby. The only thing behind the table is an unusually large cardboard box. It is here where the show begins, a camera trained on the door where The Anglo Luchador enters the arena, dressed in a gray, pinstriped suit, off-white shirt with no tie, and his lucha mask while carrying a duffel bag. He looks of singular focus, kicking Brandon Youngblood’s butt and advancing to the semifinals of the Seymour Almasy Invitational Tournament, but something catches his eye. It’s the cardboard box.
TAL: Sweet El Traficante De La Sangre, is that box… moving?!? That’s unnatural.
He moves over more closely to the table, dropping his bag and leaning over to get a closer look at the box, rustling and bustling as if something is inside, or is it someone? A muffled voice comes from the inside.
Muffled Voice: *muffled sounds that cannot be made out*
TAL: Egad, someone needs to help whoever’s in there. Ah, anyway, I’m sure the situation will take care of itself.
The old luchador goes to pick up his bag before he stops suddenly with a pensive look on his face underneath his mask.
TAL: No, NO! You’re a tecnico, Anglo Luchador. You must help who or whatever is in that box! It’s your sworn duty to the GODS OF LUCHA LIBRE, lest they cast you into the fires of El Infierno del Deshonrado. Okay, think, how would one open a cardboard box. I haven’t done manual labor since I was in high school… oh, maybe they would know.
The old luchador notices several other wrestlers milling about. “Impulse” Randall Knox and Calico Rose are checking out his latest shirts for one last bit of quality control. King Blueberry, with El Hijo del Super Cool Guy in tow, is walking around the hallway forlornly, as if he’s missing a part of himself. Dusk is pensively checking his phone one last time before heading to the locker room.
TAL: HEY GUYS, everyone over here, I have a major problem and I need several brains in order to solve it.
One by one, each of the mentioned wrestlers mosey over to the old luchador standing over by the Puddings’ ramshackle merch table.
TAL: Okay, folks, here’s the sitch. I think there’s something or someone in that box. Now, do any of you have a machete on you.
King Blueberry: I’m not allowed near the industrial equipment anymore. So, no.
TAL: Chin up, pal, I at least thought it was good harmless fun.
The old luchador turns towards the general vicinity of both Dusk and the dyad of Impulse and Cally.
TAL: What about you two?
Dusk: I was given instructions upon signing my contract that there were to be no more incidents with… street… weapons. There was this time when someone showed up at the arena with a gun and after I finished a match, I was shot.
Everyone looks at Dusk in confusion.
TAL: Were you in Puerto Rico? Because that kind of thing is actually common there and I wouldn’t put that on you. As a matter of fact, there was one time in Puerto Rico where they brought out a bear to eat me if I didn’t leave the ring.
Everyone looks at TAL in shock.
TAL: True story, hand to El Santo. Knox, Cally, what about you two, you two GOTTA have sharp melee weapons I mean, uhh, you have that vibe.
Impulse: Fresh outta machetes over here, my friend.
Cally: Slow your roll, I gotcha covered.
She unzips her backpack and withdraws what looks like a black handle. The collection of wrestlers lean in towards her, then take a sudden step backwards as she presses a button, revealing a five inch switchblade.
TAL: Why would you have that?
Cally: You never know when you’re faced with an emergency steak. Besides, isn’t ‘Be Prepared’ the Girl Scout motto?
Dusk: That’s the Boy Scouts.
Impulse: Never knew you were in scouting, Rosie.
Cally: I wasn’t. Why?
Cally steps to the box and carefully slices at the tape holding it shut. She cuts through almost all of it – leaving just a sliver that looks ready to give way.
Cally: (aside, to Impulse) I’ve seen Alien, let’s step back a bit.
Much to their surprise, the Anglo Luchador’s hunch was absolutely correct. The face of Tapioca Puddings is protruding from boxes upon boxes of the cleverly-labeled Muriel’s Stuff, as he was buried up to his chin in the swag. The masochistic Puddings attempted to speak, but his words were blocked by a long strip of duct tape covering his mouth. Thankfully, the son of Super Cool Guy – yes, the mannequin (his hand is being operated by a blueberry) – leaps quickly into action, grabbing one end of the gag…
Tapioca Puddings: Mmmphhoww–owww-OWWW-OWWWWWWWWW OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!
And slowly ripping it off of his face.
Tapioca Puddings: Yeowch! Dang it! There goes the mustache I was trying to grow!
The King glances down at the underside of the tape. Of course, there are no visible strands of facial hair to be found on it, but they toss it to the ground regardless due to its potential ickyness. As they all look down toward the pale face and tuft of red hair still opting to lay flat on his back under the merch pile, The Anglo Luchador opts to ask the million dollar question.
TAL: So, uh…why were you in there, buddy? I don’t know if the news has gotten to Idaho yet, but they have these things called seats now. Where you can sit in and travel, instead of by box.
Tapioca Puddings: Sigh. It’s a long story.
King Blueberry: Did, uhh, did you just say “sigh?” Instead of sighing? You know that’s a thing you can do.
He glances at the rest of the gathered mass.
King Blueberry: Seriously, people do it at me all the time. How long of a story are we talking about here? “I was shipped here in a box” isn’t exactly the most riveting thing I’ve heard. Though, hey, I bet you could sell it to the Lifetime channel.
El Hijo Del Super Cool Guy: …
King Blueberry: No, we are NOT optioning it to Hallmark. I don’t think JC and Vick’ are speaking to me right now.
Tapioca Puddings: FINE! If you must know, my stupid sister spent all of our money on that ridiculous monster truck and to pay expedited shipping from China for all of this stuff I’m covered in! Wait a second…is that a camera man back there?
The gathered party all glance back at the camera man and Puddings cranes his neck to get a better look. Sure enough, there is a camera operator, who gives a friendly wave that we can’t see.
Tapioca Puddings: Please edit that last part out and let me start over.
The cameraman gives a thumbs up to Tapioca, who breathes a sigh of relief.
Tapioca Puddings: Now then. King Blueberry, if you must know, my LOVELY sister was not able to get a plane ticket, as they only had one seat left from Boise. So, she had the SMART recommendation that I just ride along with this stuff.
Cally and Impulse both give each other a puzzled look, with Impulse shrugging his shoulders.
Cally: That’s hexed, we just saw her with your mom like ten minutes ago. Lovely woman, Miss Karen Puddings is. Or is it Misses?
Tapioca Puddings: It’s Misses! My dad accidentally fell into a cage at Fuzzy Ted’s Gentle Jungle & Discount Steaks, but she kept his last name to honor his memory.
TAL: Ted’s? Oh man, love that place! It’s like Ribera Steakhouse, only not as snooty.
King Blueberry: I’m on their mailing list.
Dusk: I think I was there for the grand opening of that place. Cut the ribbon and everything.
Dusk looks around at everyone, who is confused.
Dusk: Look, I’m old. I get it. Don’t judge me for the promotional opportunities I’ve had to endure in my life.
Tapioca, circling back to the fact that Muriel had obviously never intended to allow him to ride on the airplane in lieu of his mother, chooses his words carefully despite his growing anger with the situation.
Tapioca Puddings: But she’s here? Wo–wow, that’s…great…news. I can’t believe they were able to find another plane ticket shortly after I’d already been stuffed in the box and picked up by a FedEx truck!
Meanwhile, as Puddings did a good enough job of masking his disdain, Impulse has taken the initiative to retrieve one of Muriel’s Makeover for Baes units from inside the box. He opens the package to reveal a single pair of rusty salon-grade scissors and a tube of glitter surrounded by enough packing material to choke three bullfrogs.
TAL: THAT’s what she’s selling? My God, El Hijo de la Camarada de Trotsky seems more and more correct about capitalism by the day.
Impulse: I don’t know about any of that, sir, but why didn’t he just use the scissors to get out? It’s… it’s just cardboard.
Dusk: I’ve got an even better question. Tapioca, why are you letting these monsters torture you like this? You’re a part of one of the most prestigious groups of wrestling talent in the world, and you really don’t deserve to be treated like this by anyone, much less your own family.
King Blueberry: Well, to be fair, you saw what she did to Jimmy Bonafide.
Dusk: Yeah, but just because you’ve done one good deed doesn’t exempt you from everything.
Cally: That’s an extra-credit-worthy good deed though, Dusky Doorite.
TAL: Yeah, that guy was about as cool as a week-old burrito left on the counter.
Dusk: Look, the point is, he needs to stand up for himself. This is no way to live your life.
Tapioca, who now decides to clamor to his feet, gingerly steps out of the box and begins to unload the merchandise, stacking it neatly on the table before going back for more.
Tapioca Puddings: Look, I really appreciate the concern, Mr. Dusk, but it’s actually not as bad as you might think. I’m a born actor! All of this is just hamming it up for the cameras, giving fans a little quality entertainment!
The group observes as Puddings gives one of the most disingenuous smiles to the camera that he can muster, adding a thumbs up just in case Muriel might see this later.
Tapioca Puddings: I hate to pull back the curtain, but my family and I have a perfectly healthy and loving relationship! Three squares of Sam’s Choice Mush ‘n Gruel a day, a big ol’ twin-size bed to sleep in, an hour of fresh air and my very own bar of soap…on a rope! Yeah, life is good for your pal T.P. if I do say so myself.
Although he had just literally described prison, no one felt the need to address this as a wave of utter pity had washed away any light that they (even Blueberry) could make of it. This was a man who had either had his brain rinsed with a fire hose on a daily basis, or was simply just too scared of facing the consequences at the hands of a two-time convicted felon and his “lovely” mother.
Tapioca Puddings: Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to try to sell as much of this as I can before my match in a couple of hours. Thanks again for getting me out of there well before I needed to get my ring gear on and head down the aisle, you guys. Otherwise there’d be no way I’d hit my quota!
The surrounding party all exchange looks before The Anglo Luchador glances down at the watch on his wrist.
TAL: Uh, well…um…I hate to break it to ya, but it’s 6:57. You… got two minutes.
Impulse: I’ve got 6:58.
Puddings’ fake grin immediately drops to a look of absolute terror, and as if the responsibility of selling merchandise were no longer a concern, he performs a Dukes of Hazzard over the gloss of the merch table. Of course, it doesn’t look as cool as the TV show slide when you fall directly on your rear end as a result, but this does not deter him.
Tapioca Puddings: She’s gonna make me eat a cow patty again if I’m late for this freakin match!
The rest of the group all exchange looks with one another as they watch the waif dart off toward the locker room area on the opposite side of the MGM Grand. Finally, Dusk breaks the silence.
Dusk: Alright guys. Who’s going to help me try to sell some of this merch?
Not surprisingly, no one volunteers.
Dusk: Look, that guy obviously needs help. Not just to peddle these awful souvenirs, but I mean, serious psychological help. And the only way he’s going to get it is if he knows there are other people who can protect him from what that lunatic and his mother are doing to him. Let’s earn his trust.
King Blueberry looks to the Anglo Luchador, who looks to Impulse, who then looks to Cally. And almost as if it were part of a rehearsal, they all reply in unison.
Everyone Else But Dusk: Nah.
Dusk sighs and smacks his forehead.
Dusk: What if I buy everyone a hot dog for their troubles?
For whatever reason, the promise of a footlong frank is actually intriguing to every party. TAL gathers everyone over into a huddle so that they can discuss the proposition, and after about a half minute of debate, he breaks free and acts as the spokesman of the rest of the tribe.
TAL: Deal. But we want the hot dogs NOW as a show of good faith. And either chili or queso, our choice.
Cally: And mustard. Dijon, please, as I’m a classy broad.
Impulse: And relish. Or slaw..
King Blueberry: Can I have my body weight in Orbeez?
He looks directly at Dusk.
King Blueberry: Or cake. Preferably someone else’s.
Dusk: Jesus, why do I put myself through this? Fine, all toppings on the table, but you’re on your own with the Orbeez, Blueberry. And don’t let Troy hear about it if you put any ketchup on it. She’ll never forgive you. [beat] Let’s go.
The party of the Anglo Luchador, Cally, Impulse, and Dusk all walk through the opening between the tables and make their way toward the concession area. Leaving a dejected King Blueberry behind to sulk and watch over the goods until they return, which is really a great idea considering the events of last week. Also, now Garbage Bag Johnny is there for some reason.
Patron: Say, I hear this is the spot you can get one of those sexy lady lighters I saw on the TV.
King Blueberry: Hey. That depends. Do you have any Orbeez?
The sudden appearance of the bushy-faced Dumpster Doobster does not seem to provide any sort of surprise to King Blueberry, as it’s now apparently natural for all of the talent to just walk around in the front area of the arena literally a minute before showtime.
Garbage Bag Johnny: The roast beef place? I’m not sure how that’d even work, but I got some expandable polymers if you’re into that type of thing.
Reaching into the inside breast pocket of his flimsy weathered brown bathrobe, Johnny pulls out a fist filled with a couple of Halls cough drops, a green paper clip, and about six pieces of the sought-after children’s’ toy. He extends his arm over the table and hands Blueberry all of its contents aside from one of the cough drops and smiles. King Blueberry, elated at the gesture, picks up one of Muriel’s Fire Starter Kits and hands it to him in return. Johnny proceeds to open the package and nod his head.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Oh, yeah! You’re even more breathtaking in person…and it comes with lint, too?
GBJ takes a sniff.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Oh, that’s fresh from the belly button. I’ve died and gone to Heaven.
Finally, GBJ notices that not only is King Blueberry staring at him, but that he’s dead center in the crosshairs of a PRIME cameraman’s shot. Johnny looks dead into the lens.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!
Jonathan-Christopher Hall vs. Jacob Mephisto vs. Larry Tact vs. Tapioca Puddings
Nick Stuart: We’re about to get the action underway tonight, beginning with our first Five Star Scramble contest! A single pinfall by any of the competitors in this match will earn them an opportunity to compete for the PRIME Five Star Championship!
Richard Parker: A wee bit of redemption for those who took an early leave of the Almasy Invitational. Hang on, are we missing somebody? I’m only counting three people in the ring.
At the open, Larry Tact, Jacob Mephisto, and the inseparable pair of Jonathan-Christopher and Vickie Hall are standing in the ring, impatiently waiting for the last entrant.
♪Ooooh whoo hoo hoo!♪
The upbeat, synthesizer-driven tune of “Friends With P.” by the Rentals hits the speakers. However, having just witnessed the events of the cold open, the PRIMEates wonder if he’s even going to make it out in time.
Nick Stuart: Well, we just saw Tapioca Puddings in a dead sprint toward the entrance, but maybe he took a little time to slip on some gear before heading out.
Sorry, Nick. A smattering of cheers pulsate across the MGM Grand as the redhead emerges from behind the curtain, sans his ring gear. He is breathing a little heavy but seems to be slowly regaining his stamina as he slows his pace on the way to the ring. However, the applause seems to die down rather quickly as it appears that Muriel is not with him.
Richard Parker: Missed the mark on that, Nick. He’s still wearing the same khaki shorts and old-man velcro shoes from before, only without that gaudy-looking Mussy T-shirt. I don’t know what’s worse: having to look at this pale skeleton’s torso or that piece of merch that was designed by Facebook robots.
Actually, it was designed by a real person, Rich, thank you very much.
Nick Stuart: Just one other thing seems to be missing, folks. Where in the world is Muriel?
While still a rubber ball of anxiety, at least there’s one thing Tapioca feels some relief about: he apparently wasn’t the only one late for their entrance. Ambling closer to the ring, in which the other competitors are patiently waiting, he looks back to see if she is going to make her way out.
♪If you’re friends with P., well then you’re friends with me.♪
♪If you’re down with P., well then you’re down with me.♪
Suddenly, a roar arises as a spotlight shines over to the top of the camera-side lower level section of the Grand. It’s Muriel, carrying a tray filled with nachos, hot dogs, and sodas. There’s a look of surprise on her face as she begins to shuffle down the steps, stopping briefly at one of the rows and leaning over three other people to hand the food to an unidentified woman next to an empty seat.
Richard Parker: Oh my god! Is that…could that be her?
Nick Stuart: The rumors must be true! Karen Puddings, the mother of PRIME’s own take on sibling rivalry, is in the building tonight!
Richard Parker: Wow. Not what I expected, but literally everything I expected. She definitely looks like she’s threatened to send Tapioca to military school every day of his life. Even yesterday.
The camera pans to a close-up of the redhead, a similar vibe to Lawanda Dumore from underrated comedy Problem Child 2, who sets the food down next to her and blows her daughter a kiss. There is no time to waste, though, as Muriel mutters a quick “I love you” before hustling down the stairs and over the barricade to ringside. Tapioca has since made his way to his corner and is in mid-prayer to whatever form of deity will listen.
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, our opening contest is a Five Star Scramble qualifying match scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, from Manhattan, New York and weighing in at two-hundred and sixty pounds… LARRY TACT!
Standing tall in his corner, Tact pumps his arms into the air and does a small circle. He grimaces at the negative crowd reaction, but nevertheless refocuses himself and gets read for the action.
Vince Howard: Accompanied by his sister Muriel and hailing from Chubbuck, Idaho, he weighs in at one-hundred and seventy pounds… TAPIOCA PUDDINGS!
Muriel enthusiastically claps in support of the younger Puddings sibling. Tapioca practically shrinks as his name is called, until he sees Muriel threatening to punch him, and promptly throws his arms into the air.
Vince Howard: Introducing next, fighting out of Nazareth, Pennsylvania, and standing at the weight of two-hundred and sixty-five pounds… JACOB MEPHISTO!
A dark smile crosses Mephisto’s face as he holds his arms out to his sides. He ignores the jeers from the audience and continues to stare down his opponents.
Vince Howard: And finally, accompanied by his Amazing Life Partner Vickie Hall, from Folsom, Louisiana and weighing in at two-hundred and twenty pounds… JONATHAN-CHRISTOPHER HALL!
Vickie Hall wears a beaming smile as she waves to the crowd, squeezing hard on Jonathan-Christopher’s hand to get him to follow suit and wave along with her. Presiding official then promptly asks the ladies to exit the ring as she gets ready to kick things off.
Off the bell, all four competitors linger in their corners: Larry watches the other three intently for someone to make the first move. Jonathan-Christopher looks unsure of himself. Tapioca cringes back into his corner. Mephisto simply squats low and watches the others, planning things out.
It’s Tact who finally breaks the ice, marching over to Tapioca (who expectedly freezes up like a deer in headlights) and introducing the kid to the turnbuckle by repeatedly bashing his face into it. Hall sees an opening and runs into the action, but runs into an elbow from Larry, who anticipates him coming. JC staggers, and Tact easily slips behind him for a released German Suplex!
Nick Stuart: Larry Tact is off to the races, making quick work of both Tapioca and Jonathan-Christopher!
Richard Parker: I have little doubt that he could easily handle those two scrubs, but the one he ought to be wary of is Jacob Mephisto.
Tact rolls to his feet and immediately looks to Mephisto, who has circled around to the other corner and continues to study the action from afar. Larry instead chooses to go after Tapioca, who is stumbling around aimlessly while clutching his face. The younger Puddings sibling receives a straight boot to the gut before being dropped to the mat with a Keylock DDT!
As Tact lays more boots into Tapioca, Jacob finally moves out of the corner, advancing on the slower to recover JC. Vickie Hall is slapping the mat, desperately trying to get him back into it… when she suddenly glances over and spots Muriel right beside her, grinning ear to ear. Muriel inches in closer, trying to buddy up. Wrinkling her nose, Vickie quickly moves around to the other side of the ring.
Mephisto pulls JC to his feet, flipping him back to the canvas HARD with a Snap Suplex before rolling him over and aggressively dropping knees into the small of his back! Vickie cries out in concern as her ALP’s face contorts in anguish! Jacob rolls Hall onto his back and makes the pin attempt…
And it’s BROKEN UP by Larry Tact!
Nick Stuart: Tact makes the save, showing some veteran ring awareness!
Richard Parker: Not as if that Puddings kid was giving him any reason to keep his attention!
Tapioca is curled into a fetal position away from the action, as Tact pulls Mephisto to his feet, stuns him with a forearm and hooks him for a suplex… but Mephisto hooks a leg to block it, and reverses with a Gordbuster! He glances over and sees JC slowly sitting up, and quickly runs over and delivers a soccer kick to his spine to keep him writhing in pain on the mat!
Mephisto turns his attention to the remaining man, Tapioca, who is trying to crawl out of the ring. He stops when he looks up to see his sister glaring back at him, and his nails practically leave claw marks into the apron when Jacob drags him away from the ropes and effortlessly lifts him up and holds him in place until drilling him into a delayed Brainbuster! Tapioca’s body folds like an accordian as it crumples to the mat, and outside the ring, an exasperated Muriel groans.
Nick Stuart: Jacob Mephisto with the COME AND SEE on Tapioca! Biding his time has paid off, as he has taken complete control of this match!
Richard Parker: The guy is plenty creepy with that whole weird following of his, but that ability to watch and learn is definitely one of his greatest strengths.
Jacob is about to make a pin until he sees Tact pushing himself off the mat, and quickly throws him into a headlock. Undeterred, Larry powers himself up and bulls Mephisto into the corner. Away from the struggle, JC sits up once again and spots Vickie outside the ring, pounding the mat and begging him to get up.
Much to her chagrin, Muriel comes up beside her and joins in on the cheerleading. Vickie slowly and awkwardly looks over, visibly repulsed by Muriel. Thinking quickly, she redirects her ALP’s attention over to the unmoving body of Tapioca, and tells him to go for the pin. JC makes his move, rolling the Puddings brother onto his back and hooking the leg. Muriel looks absolutely betrayed!
Muriel Puddings: GET UP, TWERP!!
TAPIOCA POPS THE SHOULDER!
Larry Tact pounds Mephisto into the corner with repeated shoulder blocks to the mid-section. Jacob soaks it up until Larry takes him by the arm and attempts to Irish whip him across the ring… and smoothly counters, sending Tact colliding into the opposite turnbuckle! Hall is pulling Puddings back off the mat when he sees Mephisto bearing down on them, and thinking quickly, uses Tapioca as a battering ram to knock Jacob back into the corner.
JC rushes over and catches the recovering Tact with a running knee strike against the turnbuckles. Hall lays into him with rights and lefts while across the ring, a terrified Tapioca wakes up and spastically slaps at Jacob Mephisto as his fight-or-flight senses kick in. The PRIMEates cheer wildly!
Nick Stuart: Against all odds, Jonathan-Christopher Hall and Tapioca Puddings have turned the tables on Tact and Mephisto! This crowd is absolutely LOVING it!
Richard Parker: Who would’ve ever thought we’d see these two in control of the action?
On the floor, Vickie hops in place and claps excitedly as her ALP gets his hits in. Once again, she looks over and sees Muriel in her presence, likewise cheering on Tapioca. Puddings affectionately throws an arm over Vickie’s shoulders. Disgusted, Vickie shoves her off.
Vickie Hall: Get AWAY FROM ME, you… YOU UNMARRIED COW!
Vickie again goes to another side of the ring, leaving Muriel standing there as her grin melts into a seething sneer! Scheming something new, she looks up to Jonathan-Christopher in the ring…
Meanwhile, Mephisto finally reaches his limit as he brushes Tapioca’s slaps aside and rocks him with a headbutt! Tapioca reels and drops to a knee, giving Mephisto the perfect step-up for a Shining Axe Kick!
Nick Stuart: END OF FAITH by Jacob Mephisto! He nearly took Tapioca’s head off!
Hall takes Tact by the arm and sends him into motion with the whip out of the corner, but Tact reverses! Hall narrowly DUCKS a short-arm clothesline by Mephisto before connecting into the corner, but the brief distraction is all Larry needs to twirl Jacob around and sends him flying with an Uranage Suplex!
Nick Stuart: THE HUMBLING by Larry Tact on Jacob Mephisto! Seeing moves left and right now!
Tact quickly makes the cover…
KICKOUT by Jacob Mephisto!
Tact delivers a kick to Mephisto to keep him on the mat before going for the easier target in Tapioca. Hall catches his breath in the corner.
“HEY THERE, STUD!”
Hearing the voice, JC turns around… and freezes when he sees someone standing on the apron, just on the other side of the ropes.
Nick Stuart: And now we got MURIEL on the apron!
Muriel reaches over with both hands, grabs Jonathan-Christopher by the head… and immediately starts sucking face! Vickie’s wails of horror are drowned out by an uproar of cheers from the PRIMEates in attendance!
Richard Parker: EEEWWW!!
Nick Stuart: Oh man… Vickie can’t be happy about that! Looks like JC is in the doghouse tonight!
JC pushes himself free and falls onto his ass, panic and shock etched on his handsome, blanched face. He looks from the salaciously grinning Muriel to Vickie, whose face is slowly forming into a terrifying mask of betrayal, heartbreak, and murderous rage. He has no idea how he’s going to make it out of this alive…
Until he looks over and sees Larry Tact peeling the near lifeless Tapioca off the mat and setting him up for a powerbomb. This is his one and only chance to save himself from the situation.
Nick Stuart: Tact, looking to finish things, has Tapioca set up for the STARBREAKER —
But he suddenly drops to the mat with Tapioca CRUSHING his chest after JC Hall clips his knee from behind!
Richard Parker: Spoke too soon, Nick! The simp’s got that crazy gotta-save-my-marriage energy in him now! I know the feeling too well!
Nick Stuart: I somehow don’t find that hard to believe.
Hall throws one more glance to the outside where he spots Vickie looking like she’s about to explode into a violent and emotional storm of anger. He quickly throws the younger Puddings sibling to the side and hooks Tact’s arms to wrangle him to his feet and elevates him off the mat…
Nick Stuart: STAND BY ME onto Larry Tact by JC Hall!
Hall goes for the cover. Mephisto recovers in time to see it, but inadvertently stumbles over Tapioca’s prone body as he tries to break it up.
DING DING DING
“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith hits the PA. As soon as she realizes that Jonathan-Christopher has come through in his PRIME “debut”, Vickie suddenly forgets JC’s impropriety and ecstatically screams while jumping in place. A second too late, Jacob Mephisto can only shake his head in disgust before leaving the ring.
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, here is your winner, by pinfall… JONATHAN… CHRISTOPHER… HAAAAALLLLL!!
Nick Stuart: It may not have been the outcome anyone predicted, but it looks like Jonathan-Christopher and Vickie Hall have taken a bold step forward in their Hallmark Journey here tonight!
Richard Parker: The simp caught a lucky break, Nick. Nothing more to it than that.
Nick Stuart: In any case, through all the craziness, the Timid Tiger has earned himself a place in the running for the Five Star Championship, and back into the good graces of his “Amazing Life Partner” after his awkward close encounter with Muriel!
The ring area is nothing short of chaotic in the aftermath: Larry Tact, upon recovery, immediately argues with Barlow that he got the shoulder up, but the official is clearly not buying it. Jacob Mephisto slinks away into the shadows. The enraged Muriel Puddings slides into the ring and berates Tapioca, who hasn’t moved from his place on the mat. The shot briefly cuts to Karen Puddings in the audience, her face plastered in ketchup in mustard, shaking her head in disappointment as she looks upon the disappointment of her progeny.
Through all of this, Vickie Hall scrambles into the ring and wraps her arms around Jonathan-Christopher. He breathes a sigh of relief. Then she spots Muriel, and the rage kicks in. Before long, JC is holding her back from throwing herself at the elder Pudding sibling. Muriel puts her expert multi-tasking skills on display by taunting Vickie while simultaneously slapping the piss out of Tapioca.
Richard Parker: Look out, Nick! We might have a catfight on our hands here!
Nick Stuart: This looks like a good opportunity to jump backstage where our own Angie Brooks is standing by!
COMMERCIAL: High Octane Wrestling
The Maurako Cup Semi-Finals take place this Sunday night at Refueled 90 from the Carver Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa! Don’t miss it!
Big Hands and Broken Hearts
Nick Stuart: The story broke earlier in the week via Jabber, as sad news has come out here in the Almasy Invitational. John Royko Jr. must pull out of the tournament due to a knee injury that appears to be career ending.
Richard Parker: Sounds like a quitter to me, Nick.
Nick Stuart: Hardly. Our very own Angelica Brooks is standing by with a sit-down interview with John Kennedy Royko. Angie?
The affable Angie Brooks sits gracefully in a blue plush chair. Across from her at an angle to shoot both faces is John Kennedy Royko Jr.
Angelica Brooks: Thank you Nick. Indeed, earlier this week we learned that JK Royko was announcing his retirement from PRIME. John thank you for sitting down with me, I’m sure this isn’t easy.
The big man smiles at the camera and holds his head high.
JK Royko: Honestly when I first found out I had to retire thanks to my knee, I was destroyed. Lots of tears shed for what could have been. It’s hard to let go of dreams. It’s hard to lose your identity. Angie, I entered this tournament as a tribute to my recently deceased father. Having to end it like this, just doesn’t feel right. But thanks to all the support I’ve received from the fans on Jabber, and most of all my fiancée Aurora holding my hand through it all, I can honestly say I’m at peace with it.
Angelica Brooks: Is there anything you would like to say to the fans?
The former wrestler pounds his big hands over his heart.
JK Royko: Truly. Thank you. I wanted to be somebody who you could depend on. To represent everyone from those who sit in the front row, to the underprivileged who can only watch on TV. I wanted to be an example of an athlete who gave his all in the ring, yet still had time to do charity work out of it. Which, by the way, will not end with my retirement. Aurora and I, in whatever we pursue, will still do all we can for charity.
Angelica Brooks: Excellent! Always a man of character. What’s next?
JK Royko: I’m going to be a father. I’ve also spoken with my former coach, and I might return to football in a coaching capacity. I really don’t know yet to be honest. I need to breathe a little first.
Angelica Brooks: Understandable. What did you take away from your time here in PRIME?
The big man lets out a hardy laugh.
JK Royko: Get to catering early before Bobby Dean does. Ha, no what I want to say is this. What I take away is I understood how damn lucky I was to stand in a PRIME ring and be able to represent these fans and the company’s history. Such a privilege, and I will never forget it. Yes, my ending here in PRIME isn’t a very good one. My story’s still yet to be told, but just not in this world. For that, I am saddened. But I will find my way. These fans have a great wrestling show to support and some amazing talents.
Angelica Brooks: Well, I’ve gotten close to your fiancée Aurora over the last few weeks, and I know I will stay in touch. You will be remembered here in PRIME, and I know I speak for a lot of people in the back when I say it’s been a pleasure working with you.
Richard Parker: She doesn’t speak for me.
Nick Stuart: Don’t interrupt the segment, Richard.
The interviewer sticks her small hand out, but Royko gets up and calls for a hug.
JK Royko: Thank you Angie.
The camera cuts from the hug to the announce team.
Nick Stuart: Well, there you have it, the end of a career that was just getting started.
Richard Parker: So, does Cancer Jiles get a bye?
Nick Stuart: My understanding is Jiles will come down to the ring and Elvis Nixon will count out Royko for a no contest victory.
Richard Parker: Well that’s some bullsh–
The camera is fixed upon a license plate on the back of a speeding car. They don’t have vanity plates in France, which may explain the more interesting part of the image we see – a gold-outlined Lamborghini emblem over a field of black with a gold charging bull. The usual branding above the bull has been replaced with the word “FLAMBO,” also in gold.
Slowly zooming out, we see that it’s a shiny new teal Lamborghini Huracán blitzing down the road. Painted on the hood of the car, we see two long golden serpentine swords that come to a point near the front bumper.
V/O: PRIME, le moment que vous attendiez est arrivé.
(PRIME, the moment you have been waiting for is here.)
Thank the lord above this long stretch of road is devoid of other vehicles because the FLAMBO is SCREAMING ahead. The camera (presumably a drone given our location) pans forward and on the horizon we see a massive concrete flatland area adjacent to the road and something large and fuzzy from this distance.
V/O: Peu importe combien ils le craignent, peu importe combien ils essaient de le retenir, l’inévitable approche
(No matter how much they fear him, no matter how much they try to hold him back, the inevitable approaches.)
The FLAMBO approaches this concrete flatland and passes a sign that reads “Piste D’atterrissage Privée Devant [PRIVATE AIRSTRIP AHEAD].” The fuzzy object sharpens – a personal jet. The FLAMBO pulls over and the driver’s door opens – after a moment, out he steps. Black rolling suitcase, white hoodie, and a shoulder bag with large Brets Chips branding on the side. He calmly strides towards the plane.
V/O: Attention Amérique, et attention PRIME : dans deux semaines… vous verrez FLAMBERGE.
(Attention America, and attention PRIME: in two weeks…you will behold FLAMBERGE.)
FLAMBERGE, menacingly chill as ever, boards as we fade out.
Cecilia Ryan vs. Alexander Redding vs. Solomon Richards vs. Ria Nightshade
As we cut back to ringside, we see that Solomon Richards, Ria Nightshade, and Cecilia Ryan are already in the ring while Alexander Redding is still on the outside.
Nick Stuart: We’re about to get underway with this one here, folks. Another Five Star Scramble with major championship implications!
Nick Stuart: Here we go!
As soon as the bell sounds, Ria takes off like a rocket and blasts Solomon with a shotgun dropkick, sending the big man back into the turnbuckles. Ria pops to her feet, but is immediately met by a spinning heel kick from Cecilia Ryan!
Meanwhile, Redding smirks and makes his way over to the commentary team and takes a seat.
Alexander Redding: What an atmosphere tonight! And look at that great action in the ring.
Nick Stuart: Aren’t you supposed to be in that ring?
Alexander Redding: It’s a fatal four way. There’s no ten counts or DQs. Don’t worry, I’ll be in there in just a moment.
Richard Parker: I think it’s a brilliant move! He’s keeping fresh!
Back in the ring, Cecilia is firing stiff, snapping Muay Thai knees into Ria’s midsection while holding her in a clinch. Solomon charges forward and knocks Cecilia back with a huge lariat! Once Ryan hits the canvas, Solomon turns back and boots Ria in the midsection and pulls her in for a belly to belly, but Cecilia snaps off a sharp kick to Solomon’s calf, causing him to weaken his grip.
Ria takes advantage of the opportunity, raking his eyes and following up with a nasty kick below the belt! Solomon crumbles to the canvas holding his family jewels.
Nick Stuart: That’s a blatant low blow from Ria Nightshade!
Richard Parker: There’s no DQ here, Nick. The Toxic Queen is definitely taking advantage of that early!
Alexander Redding: Man, what a match so far!
Nick Stuart: Are you just going to sit out here the whole time?
Cecilia moves forward and launches a kick at Ria, but the Hardcore Harlot snatches her and launches back into an exploder suplex! Ria pops up and moves in quickly, dragging Cecilia up by her hair. She hooks her head and snaps down with a DDT! Ria covers immediately!
Cecilia kicks out with authority as Solomon Richards rolls out of the ring. Richards shakes out the initial cobwebs of a rough start and then notices Redding sitting at commentary.
Nick Stuart: Uh oh, it looks like you’ve been noticed.
Alexander Redding: Yeah, but so has he!
As Solomon stomps forward, he gets blindsided by a baseball slide from Ria! The impact of her boots colliding with his head sends him to the floor and Ria spins back around, but eats a quick dropkick to the knee, sending her face first into the canvas!
Cecilia doesn’t hesitate on the follow up. She moves in and grabs a leg, whipping down into a kneebar submission hold!
Nick Stuart: Oh! Solomon is down on the floor and Ryan has that kneebar in on Ria!
Alexander Redding: Oh no you don’t!
Redding hops up, pulls off his headset and slides into the ring, stomping down on Cecilia and breaking the hold. He immediately bails back to the outside, but Solomon Richards is there! Richard snatches Redding and brings him up and over with a belly to belly on the floor!
Richards brings Redding to his feet and rolls him into the ring. Solomon follows him in and brings Redding to his feet, firing a forearm into his jaw. Solomon sends Redding into the far ropes. Red ducks under a clothesline attempt, hits the opposite ropes and collides with Richards, hitting a rolling heel kick.
Nick Stuart: And Redding is finally involved in this match!
Richard Parker: Hey, he was smart about biding his time!
Meanwhile, Ria has gotten back to her feet and is stalking Cecilia Ryan. Ryan ducks under a back fist from the Toxic Queen and fires in a heavy right hand! Ryan turns to see Red coming her way and swings, but Redding ducks under and whips her back with a snap dragon suplex! Redding covers!
NO! Solomon Richards breaks it up!
Red rolls off Cecilia and gets to his feet, but Ria is right there and she spews most right into Redding’s face! Ria boots Red in the gut and drives him down with a DDT! But Solomon is also right there and he snags Ria!
Nick Stuart: Cobra clutch! Solomon has it on Ria!
Richard Parker: This could be it!
Ria flails wildly, but Solomon’s size advantage is apparent and he lifts her and holds her in the air while clamping down on the hold! Unfortunately, he doesn’t see Cecilia Ryan as she springboards off the top rope and she clobbers him with a knee to the temple! Solomon drops Ria and turns around into a leaping enziguri from Redding!
Redding pops to his feet, still wiping gunk from his eyes, only for Cecilia to leap up and bring him over with a hurricanrana!
Nick Stuart: Tons of action in this one, and Redding is bailing again!
Richard Parker: I don’t blame him! It’s a good strategy, Nick!
Ria is back to her feet again and now Cecilia and the Toxic Queen are trading stiff, sharp shots in the middle of the ring. The crowd gets loud, respecting the exchange, until Richards mows both women down with a double clothesline! He stomps down on Ria, who rolls away, and then turns and clamps a camel clutch onto Cecilia!
Nick Stuart: Camel clutch! He’s wrenching back on that on Cecilia Ryan!
Redding slides into the ring and grabs Ria, twisting her legs and turning her over into a sharpshooter!
Richard Parker: The Stereotype! Redding has it!
The referee is looking back and forth at both men holding submissions. He goes back and forth checking on both Ria and Cecilia who both hang tough!
Nick Stuart: This is quite the predicament for the referee here!
Solomon drops his hold and rushes forward, clotheslining Redding, the momentum taking both men over the top rope to the outside.
Cecilia and Ria both crawl to the ropes, pulling themselves up. The glare at one another and charge forward. Ria ducks under an elbow from Cecilia and leaps up!
Richard Parker: Cold Kiss! She hit that code breaker!
Ria steps to the outside and climbs to the top turnbuckle! She leaps!
Nick Stuart: ACID RAI-NO! Ryan moved!
Cecilia rolls out of the way and Ria crashes and burns!
Cecilia pulls herself up and measures Ria. She rushes forward!
Nick Stuart: Flying double knees!
Ria staggers out of the corner!
Richard Parker: And there’s the roaring elbow! That’s the Family Affair!
On the outside Solomon and Red are throwing lefts and rights. Meanwhile, Cecilia covers!
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Here is your winner, CECILIAAA RRRYYAAAAN!!!!
Nick Stuart: Wow! What a showing from Cecilia Ryan tonight!
Richard Parker: I don’t think anyone here has anything to be ashamed of in this one.
Nick Stuart: Except maybe Alexander Redding for hiding behind us here.
Richard Parker: I don’t know, he might have a bright future is commentary when he retires.
Cut to commercial.
DEFtv 166 Nights 1 and 2 are on the air! Stream all the action live at defiancewrestling DAHT CAHM!
This Segment Contains Spoilers for Say Anything
First order of business, the big ol’ “Recorded Earlier Today” graphic in the lower third of the screen. Now that this is out of the way, let’s get to the important bit, shall we?
LOVE, I GET SO LOST SOMETIMES
DAYS PASS, AND THIS EMPTINESS FILLS MY HEART
Not this shit again.
WHEN I WANT TO RUN AWAY
Because we didn’t beat this into the ground two weeks ago? 87 segments is a lot, after all.
I DRIVE OFF IN MY CAR
You’re goddamn right it’s this shit again.
ALL MY INSTINCTS, THEY RETURN
In the bright midday Nevada sun a 1977 Chevelle Malibu is parked far enough away from the loading bay at the MGM Grand so that the two men standing near it won’t be threatened by the crew currently loading a rather haggard-looking forklift into the bay, but still close enough so that those poor workers will find this whole ordeal incredibly annoying.
Why that particular make and model car? Because we have to – at all costs – preserve the integrity of this half-assed parody.
THE GRAND FACADE, SO SOON WILL BURN
Let’s talk about those two guys standing near the car, even though by this point the identity of one of them is a foregone conclusion.
Because it’s not wrestle-time yet, King Blueberry is in basic street clothes – shorts, and a tee-shirt that probably has a cartoon face of a cross-eyed Cancer Jiles or something (spoiler: it’s exactly that). He’s also wearing a long brown coat with the sleeves rolled to the elbows, because, again, we’re going for authenticity here. You think in-his-prime John Cusack was a hottie? Hooooooo boy you oughtta see this schmuck with his mask off. Panties be droppin’ y’all (that’s a lie).
He’s holding a boombox over his head, because of course he is.
WITHOUT A NOISE, WITHOUT MY PRIDE
The other man has only been seen once so far on PRIME (pretend I shouted it when I wrote this) television. His name is Mark, he is a backstage assistant, and he has been cursed with the job of trying to keep King Blueberry from getting fired. So figure he’s got another show or two before he vanishes forever. Wave to the nice people, Mark.
King Blueberry: Okay, here’s your motivation. Your girlfriend is going to England, her dad’s in tax jail, and your sister is uncredited in this movie.
Mark, by the way, looks terrified.
And hey, if this just spoiled ‘Say Anything’ for you? Well it’s been 33 years, so it’s not like you were ever going to watch it. Shush.
Backstage Assistant Mark: I don’t… this is… what?
I REACH OUT FROM THE INSIDE
King Blueberry: Here comes the chorus, Mark. It’s all you, baby. Sing it!
Backstage Assistant Mark: But I…
King Blueberry: Don’t tell me you don’t know the words. Everyone knows the words. Sing it loud, Mark. Sing like your job depends on it!
I mean, in a way.
King Blueberry: SING!
Backstage Assistant Mark: IN YOUR EYES, THE LIGHT THE HEAT
King Blueberry: In your eyes…
Backstage Assistant Mark: I AM COMPLETE
King Blueberry: In your eyes…
Backstage Assistant Mark: I SEE THE DOORWAY
King Blueberry: In your eyes…
Backstage Assistant Mark: TO A THOUSAND CHURCHES
King Blueberry: In your eyes…
Backstage Assistant Mark: THE RESOLUTION OF ALL THE FRUITLESS SEARCHES OOOOOOhhhhhHHHH I SEEEE THE LIGHT AND THE HEEEaaaaaaaaaaTTTTT
He chokes on that last line, because he is not a trained chanteur.
It’s here where our newfound nemesis within the MGM realm – an older chap named Roger Dawes whose waning career days have already been thoroughly, rigorously tested by this shittiest of Power Rangers and his collection of dipshit toys – storms off the loading dock with a crowbar, muttering a string of profanities that will leave a cloud of fuck words lingering in space over this spot for the next 8 minutes.
I WANNA TOUCH THE LIGHT THE HEAT I SEE IN YOUR…
The music comes to an abrupt end as both Mark and the boombox are tossed into the car.
King Blueberry: Ohshitgottagogottagogottago!
And so they do, peeling out of their spot and driving a whopping 20 yards before parking and running in through the talent entrance. Why didn’t they just walk and save the world some carbon emissions? Authenticity, baby.
Let’s Get This Party Started (Part 2)
Cut to a slow pan of the MGM casino floor. The lights, the noises, the people. Blackjack. Roulette. Poker. Slot machines going off every few seconds. All the patrons and employees move in slow motion as some dramatic music plays over the images.
Old man: (v/o) I’ve been on the job for thirty years. Got hired the day after I got back from Nam’.
We see an elderly janitor rolling a mop bucket across that same casino floor. He also moves in slow motion, a look of determination on his face. His gray jumpsuit is worn – it has seen some miles in its day. This is a man who takes his job seriously.
Janitor: (v/o) I’ve seen things inside this casino that makes Hamburger Hill look like a day at the beach. That’s why the casino brass keep me around, because I can take it.
Still in slow motion, the janitor is walking through the narrow halls of the hotel now. He walks with the swagger of a pro.
Janitor: (v/o) No mess has ever defeated me. No clutter can intimidate me.
He continues to walk. He stops in front of a door. Room 823. The resolve in his countenance has never been stronger.
Janitor: (v/o) But I’m told a pair of wrestlers stayed in this room last night. Told they have a reputation for big time shenanigans. Real rock star party types. But I can handle it. I always have.
He slowly opens the door. His eyes go wide. His face turns pale. A look of pure shock.
Janitor: (v/o) THIS… this… My God… I have never seen a room like this… the absolute… horror……
The janitor’s eyes roll back into his head and he falls backwards as the opening chords of Alestorm’s “Drink” kick in. Before we can see the state of the room…
Black screen with white letters:
“THE SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIALS ARE COMING TO PRIME.
LET’S GET THIS PARTY STARTED.”
Nathan Filmix vs. Bobby Dean vs. Shawn Warstein vs. Darin Zion
When we return to the ring, three of the four competitors for the next match are already inside. The fourth, “Beautiful” Bobby Dean, is just finishing up dismounting a palanquin that had been carried by four large men dressed as turkey legs. Safe to say that at least one of them has strained something.
Vince Howard: The following contest is scheduled for one fall, and is a Five! Star! Scramble!
Nick Stuart: This is our third scramble match tonight…
Richard Parker: As opposed to the half-dozen or so scrambles Bobby Dean had this morning.
Nick Stuart: …and the winner will go on to vie for the Five Star Championship at Culture Shock!
Vince Howard: Introducing first, from Chicago, Illinois, and weighing in tonight at two-hundred twenty-five pounds… DARIN ZION!
Nick Stuart: Darin Zion’s one of the competitors who helped usher in this new era of PRIME on our first ever ReVival, and now he’s got a chance to earn himself a spot in that Five Star title match.
Vince Howard: Next, fighting out of the Kabal Proving Grounds and weighing in two-hundred and twenty pounds… NATHAN FILMIX!
Nick Stuart: You know, Richard, I think Filmix’s no-nonsense approach to the sport puts him in a great spot going into this match. With so much happening around you, the ability to focus in a match like this is key.
Richard Parker: I want to argue that logic, I really do, and am kind of annoyed it makes so much sense.
Vince Howard: Hailing from Chicago, Illinois and weighing in tonight at two-hundred and thirty-four pounds… SHAWN WARSTEIN!
Nick Stuart: Chicago represented with two men in this match tonight, which is no surprise given its history as a wrestling town.
Richard Parker: As opposed to the eight-hundred people on the roster from Boston, all here because the alternative is living in Boston.
Vince Howard: Finally, from Houston, Texas and weighing in at three-hundred and sixty-nine pounds… “BEAUTIFUL” BOBBY DEAN!
Bobby Dean is not yet in the ring. The ring steps are as Everest, and he is without a sherpa.
Nick Stuart: The opening bell has sounded, and this one is underway! I can’t help but feel like head referee Timo Bolamba is going to have his hands full with this one. Some very colorful personalities in this match.
Richard Parker: Fat is not a color, Nick.
There is a brief moment at the sound of the bell where all four competitors take an opportunity to size-up their prospects, before the fighting begins.
Punching and kicking happens. Maybe a few chops. Throw in an elbow or two for flavor. Stir it up nice, and you’ve got a stew goin’.
A striking exchange breaks out between Shawn Warstein and Darin Zion. In an adjacent corner, Nathan Filmix lands a series of kicks to Dean’s midsection; the marker-drawn “BUNDT” tattoo from earlier in the week serving as a makeshift bullseye. The kicks smudge some of the letters, already slicked with sweat.
Richard Parker: Hey, Nick, I know that used to say ‘bundt’, but what does it look like to you know?
Nick Stuart: Buff?
Richard Parker: Well that’s just a lie.
Bobby swats away an incoming strike and catches Filmix in a big bear hug. The big man holds tight, as if he’s clutching the last package of Nathan’s Hot Dogs and not a Nathan Filmix. He rams Filmix back into the corner, driving the air out of him.
As this is happening, Darin Zion connects with a series of European uppercuts to Shawn Warstein, staggering him back. Warstein rebounds and ducks under a clothesline, grabbing wrist control in the process. He turns behind Zion and uses his leverage to spin the man into a ripcord lariat.
Nick Stuart: Bobby Dean pressing his advantage, as he crunches down on to Nathan Filmix with that seated senton!
Richard Parker: That’s not the only thing he’s pressing. Filmix just got himself squished.
Nick Stuart: Dean using his size to try for an early cover. Could it be over this early?!
A snap suplex by Darin Zion sends Shawn Warstein careening into Bobby Dean, knocking him out of position and breaking up the cover.
A stunned Bobby gets back to his feet, and is met with a jumping knee to the jaw that floors him once again. With Dean now on his back, Warstein pounces. He dives on top of the bigger man, getting into a full mount and raining down blows.
Head referee Bolamba moves between the encounter on the mat and the one on the ring ropes where Darin Zion has managed to trap both of Nathan Filmix’ arms with his legs, binding him into the tarantula.
Nick Stuart: We’ve got two situations in the ring right now that might normally call for a referee’s attention, but because of the nature of this match the rules are relaxed – we can’t disqualify anyone – and our head referee finds himself in a bit of a pickle.
Like a mechanical bull Bobby bucks his hips up, freeing himself from Warstein’s clubbing blows. He rolls out of the ring to recover.
Nick Stuart: Bobby Dean to the outside looking to catch his breath.
Richard Parker: Let’s hope he doesn’t have to chase it very far.
Nick Stuart: Shawn Warstein breaking up that tarantula hold, and a DDT takes Darin Zion down to the mat! Warstein moving in… OH! and he doesn’t get there in time, as Nathan Filmix connects with a full nelson slam. This could be it!
Nick Stuart: Warstein gets the shoulder up in time!
Outside the ring Bobby Dean is going to each side of the ring and lifting the apron.
Nick Stuart: Bobby Dean fishing around under the ring. He’s clearly looking for something, Richard.
Richard Parker: Probably his next snack. I think the crew keeps a cooler under there for when they’re setting-up and tearing-down the ring.
The cameras capture a moment of pure elation on Dean’s face as he reaches under the ring and slides out a table. It’s your standard, garden-variety pressboard table, but what makes this one special is that it appears to have been prepared with a bucket of fried chicken, a bowl of mashed potatoes (complete with gravy), and a half dozen biscuits.
Nick Stuart: Did I really just see that?
Richard Parker: Who put a KFC kitchen under the ring?!
While Dean sets about feasting, the action inside the ring continues. In the center of the ring, Nathan Filmix has snuck behind Shawn Warstein, trapping one arm behind his back and trying to lock in a crossface chickenwing. Warstein struggles, fighting against the attempts by Filmix to take him to the mat.
Nick Stuart: Filmix using that technical acumen to exert his will!
Richard Parker: …what?
Nick Stuart: INCOMING!
Darin Zion launches himself from the top buckle, crashing into both men with a missile dropkick. The force of the blow sends Warstein toppling through the ropes and to the arena floor, where he collides with Bobby Dean’s personal picnic table and scatters its contents on the floor. Bobby drops to his knees, his arms outstretched.
Bobby Dean: NOOOOOOoooooooo…!
The big Texan grabs a piece of chicken (relatively clean-looking, at least) and storms towards the ring.
Nick Stuart: Bobby Dean looks like a man on a mission as he heads back into the ring.
Dean very gingerly steps towards Filmix as the Kabal fighter lands shot after shot on Zion in the corner. Holding his chicken firmly between his teeth, Bobby Dean raises both hands like a bear, and prepares to deliver that most devastating wrestling hold: the back rake. The problem is that because the chicken grease has made his hands slippery, it’s less a rake and more a very awkward massage.
Nick Stuart: Wow.
Richard Parker: So that…?
Nick Stuart: Yup.
Richard Parker: Promise we’ll never talk about it?
Nick Stuart: It’s a deal.
Filmix pauses his attack on Zion and turns before slapping the chicken out of Bobby’s mouth.
Nick Stuart: Filmix picks the leg, and a dragon screw leg whip is going to really take away Bobby Dean’s mobility, Richard!
Richard Parker: But he can’t stop there, he’s got to press this while he’s got the big man down.
Nick Stuart: Filmix working the knee. He’s got that lower leg compromised. We could be seeing the makings of an ankle lock, or maybe that single leg crab: two moves we know he’s got at his disposal!
Richard Parker: And this is just giving both Zion and Warstein time to recover.
Bobby braces with both of his legs, fending off Filmix’ assault and using his mass to shove the smaller man through the ropes to the outside.
Nick Stuart: Bobby Dean with physics on his side sends Nathan Filmix to the arena floor, and Beautiful Bobby is headed out after him!
Outside the ring, Dean has Filmix trapped in the corner where the ringside guardrails meet. He pivots, positioning himself so that Filmix is facing his back. Then, Dean grabs both guardrails and drives his Pixar dump truck ass into Filmix’ core, forcing the wind out of him. He then spots a young fan holding a PRIME ice cream bar sitting near the front row, and lumbers his way over to try and convince the youngster to cough it up.
Inside the ring, Zion hooks Warstein for a suplex, but the move is blocked.
Nick Stuart: Darin Zion looking like he’s trying for a vertical suplex, perhaps, but Warstein manages to block. Knee to the midsection… EGO TRIP!! Darin Zion is down!
Richard Parker: Friendly reminder that the concussion protocols here in PRIME are top-notch! And by that I mean, yes, we have doctors, and they know what heads are.
Nick Stuart: Warstein rolling away, and giving himself some space. It looks like he’s giving himself some running room…
Richard Parker: Bobby, take notes! See? If you put one leg in front of the other and go real fast…
And run is exactly what Shawn Warstein does. Seizing the opportunity, he charges across the ring, building his speed as he closes the distance on a groggy Darin Zion.
Nick Stuart: KING’S CROWN! Shawn Warstein delivered that running knee and damn tear took Darin Zion’s head off!! He makes the cover!
Timo Bolamba makes the count.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: The winner of this match… SHAWN WARSTEIN!
Nick Stuart: Ladies and gentlemen, Shawn Warstein entered the ring against three other men and came out on top, and with that win he punches his ticket to Culture Shock and an opportunity at the Five Star Championship!
Richard Parker: It’s a big win for sure, Nick. And anyone tonight who earns a spot in that title match has shown they belong.
Nick Stuart: I couldn’t have said it better myself, Richard.
Richard Parker: You really couldn’t.
The Almasy Invitational Donation Drive is still ongoing! Make your pledge today!
Don’t Meet Your Heroes
Inside the MGM Grand, there’s a bar shaped like a wide, polished, cherry wood horseshoe, full of people who didn’t win wrestling matches last week. Several paces behind that bar stands “Event Horizon” Hayes Hanlon, smoothing out a black button-up and doing his best not to hyperventilate.
Hayes Hanlon: (to himself) Be cool, Hayes. Be cool. Act like you’ve been here before.
Directly in his line of sight is Nova, seated at the bar in jeans and a knit sweater, working his way through a glass of seltzer water. It probably has a fun, muted fruit flavor. Yay.
Hayes Hanlon: (to himself) You’re colleagues now. Peers. Game respect game. (shaking his head) God, I hope no one heard that.
Hanlon gives himself a shake and takes a deep breath.
Hayes Hanlon: (exhaling) Okay. You got this.
He takes a few steps forward and Nova turns in his chair, raising his glass.
Nova: Hey! Would you like-
Hayes Hanlon: I love you.
There’s a pause. It’s an awkward pause, not a pregnant pause, but if it were a pregnant pause, it would immediately go into labor and give birth. That child would be a boy, and that boy would immediately feel less awkward than Hayes Hanlon feels right now.
Nova: (shrugging) At least buy me din-
Hayes Hanlon: Oh, shit! I’m sorr! Not what I meant!
The Event Horizon recollects himself, taking a deep breath.
Hayes Hanlon: Sorry about that. What I meant to do was introduce myself. I’m Hayes Hanlon, and I’ve been watching you wrestle since I was 9 years old. You are maybe the biggest reason I wanted to become a wrestler, and I’m having a mild panic attack now that I finally get to meet you.
The Risen Star grins and gestures down to his ankle bracelet, blinking a bright green light around the bottom of his barstool.
Nova: Well, I just punched my ticket home from a tournament named after Seymour Almasy at the hands of the…(wincing)…”COOLympian,” and I’m also being supervised by Nevada Department of Corrections, literally by GPS, with a parole officer.
He shrugs, careful not to spill his seltzer as he holds his arms out.
Nova: How am I doing so far?
Hayes Hanlon: Well, Bathory took me out in the same night, if that makes you feel any better. As far as the ankle monitor goes, I don’t have a lot of experience, but it’s a good look!
Nova finishes off his bubbles and hoists himself onto his feet. He claps a hand onto Hanlon’s shoulder.
Nova: It’s good to meet you, Hayes. I’d be happy to-
Eehhhh!!! Eehhhh!!! Eehhhh!!!
Nova and Hanlon’s eyes shoot down at his ankle bracelet in horror as it sounds off and blinks bright red.
Nova: Oh, FUCK! This thing cannot keep it together!
Hayes Hanlon: What?! What’s going on?!
Nova: (grabbing Hanlon by the collar) I do NOT want to go to jail tonight, Hayes! We need to fix this before my babysitters get here, and I mean NOW!
Hayes Hanlon: Okay, oh man. I’m NOT gonna be the guy who let Nova get arrested! What do we do?!
Nova looks around for a moment in total panic, then re-orients to Hanlon.
Nova: Is Garbage Bag Johnny here tonight?
Hayes Hanlon: I definitely smelled weed earlier…a LOT of it…why?
Nova: I honestly don’t know how, but I have to imagine he can help. We have to find him before they find me!
They take off away from the bar as other patrons stare on quizzically.
Riding Bikes and Breaking Skulls
We cut to a locker room where the two members of Fighting For Nora are getting ready for their first match. Jonathan Rhine sits with his head in his hands, breathing slowly. Paxton Ray is shadow boxing behind him, his eyes burning as he hits his air-based target.
BANG BANG BANG
The door is closed, which is important because someone is banging on it. A lot.
BANG BANG BANG
Matt Mills: Jonathan Rhine? Paxton Ray? Can I have a few words before your match?
BANG BANG BANG
Paxton looks from his fists to the door, then to his tag team partner.
Paxton Ray: You gonna get that?
Jonathan doesn’t look up. Paxton shrugs, then returns to punching air.
Paxton Ray: Well I’m not gettin’ it.
BANG BANG BANG
Matt Mills: Please Jon, I just have a few questions about what it’s like to get in the ring again.
Now Jonathan Rhine looks up. He stares at the door, then back at his tag team partner.
Jonathan Rhine: It feels great. It feels like riding a bike.
Paxton stops boxing again and stares at Jonathan.
Paxton Ray: That’s nice an’ all, but I didn’t ask you. He did. Why you tellin’ me?
Jonathan Rhine: Because I don’t want to talk to him. Matt is fine and he does his job well, but the only person who needs to know how this is going to feel is in this room.
Rhine stands up and puts a hand on Paxton’s chest, giving it a solid pound.
Jonathan Rhine: For me this is like riding a bike. It’s old, it’s familiar. This will be your first time wrestling.
Paxton looks down at Rhine’s hand on his chest, then looks down at the smaller man.
Paxton Ray: But not my first time fightin’. Believe me, I won’t be nervous just ‘cause there are a buncha ropes around me. You ride the bike, I’ll break the skulls, and we’ll be just fine.
Jonathan Rhine smiles as the door continues to be assaulted by Matt’s persistent fist.
BANG BANG BANG
Matt Mills: Jonathan? Paxton?
Jonathan Rhine: That’s exactly what I want to hear. Let’s do this. For Nora.
Paxton Ray: For Nora.
The knocking finally stops.
Jonathan Rhine: Okay. You ready? Let’s do this.
The two open the door and are immediately pounced on (figuratively of course) by Matt Mills.
Matt Mills: Jonathan! How do you feel going into your first match in over a decade?
Without stopping, Rhine pats Matt on the shoulder.
Jonathan Rhine: Like we’re going to be late if we don’t hurry. Talk to you later, Matt. Take an order form from the locker room if you want any merch.
And with that, Fighting For Nora heads down the hallway, leaving Matt Mills staring at the camera, confused.
Matt Mills: Uh, back to you, guys.
COMMERCIAL: CLASSIC WRESTLING
Classic Wrestling’s Capital Clash go-home show is upon us! Catch all your favorite superstars at classic-wrestling.com!
The Hollywood Bruvs vs. Blue Live Crew vs. Fighting For Nora vs. Solid Gold Rock n Roll
After a quick commercial break, ReVival returns to the ring with all four of our teams ready for action. Well at least seven of the eight competitors are ready. El Hijo Del Super Cool Guy is the odd man out, as he is leaning against the turnbuckle.
Nick Stuart: And now we are joined by the MGM Liaison to PRIME, Melvin Beauregard here on commentary!
Melvin Beauregard: It’s a pleasure being here with both of you Nick and Richard. An absolute honor to be here with such a legendary play by play tandem.
Richard Parker: You hear that Nick? I’m legendary!
Nick Stuart: What we’re about to have is a legendary showdown of tag teams for a PRIME Survivor preview. Let’s turn it over to Vince Howard.
Vince Howard: This match is scheduled for one fall… and will be contested under tornado tag rules! In the far corner to my right at a combined weight of four hundred and seventy-five pounds… we have FIGHTING FOR NOOOOOORA!
Jonathan Rhine and Paxton Ray step forward clapping to themselves, as Jonathan Rhine strips off the now world-famous ‘Fighting for Nora’ merchandise and throws it into the crowd. Vince Howard is right back on the stick.
Vince Howard: In the other far corner we have Blue Live Crew!
Nick Stuart: King Blueberry sure had a great time on that forklift last week.
Richard Parker: Totally disrespectful of him. I can’t believe he had the gall to drive that forklift around while kidnapping Bobby Dean.
Melvin Beauregard: I tend to agree with Richard on this, let’s just not talk about it. In front of you today we’re gonna see four of the best tag teams in the world have to get it on!
Vince Howard: Behind me and to my right, weighing in at a combined weight of four hundred and seventy one pounds… SOLID GOLD ROCK AND ROOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!
Barry Delgado struts to the middle of the ring and gives the biggest flex one of the thiccest boys on the roster can, while Trent approaches from behind and poses behind the much smaller man.
Vince Howard: Behind me and to my left, weighing in at a combined weight of…
Vince Howard is interrupted by Mikey Unlikely and JFK stepping up and speaking to Vince Howard in earnest. Howard nods his head up and down, reassuring The Bruvs.
Vince Howard: THE HOLLYWOOD BRUUUUUUVS!
Nick Stuart: This match is going to be a lot for our tag team specialist Jimmy Turnbull to keep track of. Under the Tornado Tag Team rules, there will be two active men in the ring at all times, and they can tag ANY man on the apron.
Melvin Beauregard: You’ll see these teams showing a bit of their cooperation before we launch Survivor at Culture Shock.
Richard Parker: How are you supposed to work with El Hijo Del Super Cool Guy?
Melvin Beauregard: He is awfully silent…
Nick Stuart: It looks like The Bruvs have deferred to Fighting For Nora, and Blue Live Crew has done the same for Solid Gold Rock and Roll. The two tall men in this match will start it off with Trent Sadikaj and Paxton Ray.
Trent Sadikaj and Paxton Ray come to the center of the ring, and the two big men lock up with force. The bigger Sadikaj gets an early advantage by transitioning into an arm crank on Paxton. Paxton swings a wild elbow but Sadikaj goes around behind and puts Ray into a hammerlock. Ray pushes himself backward and gets Sadikaj into the ropes. Turnbull comes over and separates the two large men.
Nick Stuart: So far Turnbull is doing a good job with all these teams.
Richard Parker: It’s been like a minute Nick…
Ray backs off cleanly but Trent rakes Paxton across the back. Paxton screams out and stumbles forward across the ring and ends up walking toward the Solid Gold Rock N’ Roll corner where he catches a jumping right hand from Delgado. Turnbull rushes over to warn Delgado and Sadikaj takes the opportunity to super kick Paxton Ray in the back of the head. Ray hits the mat on his knees. Sadikaj takes a step back and throws a boot at Ray’s face but Paxton rolls through in one motion, getting to his feet and smashing Sadikaj with a discus punch. Trent’s eyes almost pop out of his head as he’s knocked towards Blue Live Crew’s corner. He dives and manages to tag King Blueberry in.
Nick Stuart: Trent was rocked and he had to get out of there!
Melvin Beauregard: First example of teams having to work together inside of a match. This is what Survivor is all about.
Richard Parker: Isn’t that the second… they had to figure out who was starting out…
Melvin Beauregard: I hear the ground level rooms beside the pool area that are the closest to the slot machine have some vacancies.
Nick Stuart: Really great seeing the teams have to make decisions like this…
Blueberry comes in with a head full of steam at Paxton Ray. He smashes Ray with two right hands driving the big man back into the ropes. He tries to send Ray across the ring with an Irish whip, but Ray manages to reverse and sends Blueberry sprinting across the ring. On the way back, Paxton plants Blueberry with a big boot right to the mouth. Blueberry hits the mat almost convulsing and crawls towards The Bruvs’ corner. Mikey Unlikely has his hand out for the tag…
Nick Stuart: And Mikey Unlikely and Kendrix just dropped off the apron leaving King Blueberry high and dry.
Melvin Beauregard: That’s a great example of some strategy coming into play!
Richard Parker: I wouldn’t volunteer to jump in the ring with Paxton Ray either.
Blueberry is shocked at the turn of events and turns around to Paxton Ray bearing down on him. Blueberry ducks under the larger man and leaps for the Solid Gold Rock and Roll corner but Barry Delgado and Trent both turn their backs and pose to the crowd. Blueberry turns around just in time to step out of the way of the enormous charging Paxton Ray.
Nick Stuart: This is why you can only trust your own partner in a match like this!
Richard Parker: His is a mannequin, Nick.
Blueberry turns around and sprints in at Paxton Ray and throws his body at him, slamming Ray into the corner. Blueberry steps back again, and runs into the SGRNR corner at Ray again. He jumps up for a hurricanrana but Paxton Ray manages to catch him in the powerbomb position. Blueberry flails his arms and manages to slap Barry Delgado on the head as Paxton Ray drives Blueberry to the mat with a Powerbomb.
Nick Stuart: Unexpected tag from Blueberry to Delgado!
Richard Parker: IS THAT CONSIDERED A TAG?
Nick Stuart: Turnbull allowed it.
Blueberry flops out of the ring like an electrified fish as Barry Delgado comes in with a head full of steam and grabs a shocked Paxton Ray around the waist, he lifts him and drops him on his knee with an Atomic Drop. Paxton uses the momentum from the move to walk towards Jonathan Rhine and manages to tag him as Delgado comes sprinting into the corner. Rhine hops over the rope and takes Delgado down with an armdrag. Delgado flies at the Blue Live Crew corner and manages to tag El Hijo Del Super Cool Guy…
Richard Parker: He tagged the mannequin…
Nick Stuart: He did…
Melvin Beauregard: Holy…
Turnbull holds his arms out confused as El Hijo Del Super Cool Guy just stands there… Turnbull looks at Rhine, who shrugs his shoulders in confusion. Jimmy starts to count:
King Blueberry looks up from having his head buried in his arms on the apron… the sudden realization of what happened slowly crawls across his face.
Blueberry is shocked and horrified, he jumps up on the apron beside the mannequin and looks at Jonathan Rhine standing in the middle of the ring. Blueberry pleads with the official who ignores him and continues counting.
Nick Stuart: I don’t think Turnbull cares for Blueberry’s logic.
Blueberry grabs the mannequin by the collar and prepares to toss the mannequin in the ring. Rhine smirks as El Hijo Del Super Cool Guy takes to the air. Rhine catches the mannequin and throws him over his head into his corner with an overhead belly to belly suplex. Rhine hooks the mannequin’s leg in his corner.
The Bruvs start to step through the ropes, but back off as Delgado, Sadikaj, and Blueberry come sprinting into the ring. Sadikaj and Paxton Ray collide on the outside as Delgado and Blueberry both start hitting Rhine with boots. Delgado gets Rhine up to his feet and slams him with a headbutt sending Rhine stumbling to Blueberry who dropkicks Rhine in the chest sending him stumbling back towards Delgado. Delgado picks up Rhine and slams Rhine to the mat with a huge spinebuster. Blueberry takes advantage of the chaos to grab El Hijo Del Super Cool Guy’s limp arm and drag him back to his corner.
Richard Parker: Is its leg still in the hooked position?
Nick Stuart: Yes it is…
Melvin Beauregard: I’m watching a man save a mannequin… I guess this is an opportunity to talk about what else we have going on at the resort tomorrow…
Turnbull finally gets Paxton Ray and Sadikaj off of each other and back to their corners. He turns around and begins insisting Delgado go back to his corner. Blueberry takes the moment to grab something from under the mannequin’s jacket. The Bruvs both are the first to see it, and immediately drop off of the apron with their hands in the air again. Blueberry slaps the mannequin and pushes it out of the ring running at Rhine wielding a stun gun.
Nick Stuart: I think Turnbull has officially lost control of this match.
Richard Parker: No… he couldn’t have… we couldn’t have predicted this…
Rhine sees it as well, and manages to hit Blueberry with a drop toe hold. He explodes between Delgado and Turnbull just as Delgado gets to the other side of the rope, and Rhine manages to tag Delgado. Rhine steps through the ropes and tries to march back to his corner but Sadikaj rakes him across the back. As Delgado steps into the ring. Sadikaj starts shouting at Turnbull that Blueberry has a stun gun, but Paxton Ray comes through the ropes running down the edge of the ropes and hammers Sadikaj off the apron with a clothesline. Turnbull turns to Paxton trying to get him out of the ring.
Richard Parker: What a cheap shot from Paxton Ray!
Nick Stuart: He had it coming! And look back in the ring!
Meanwhile, Delgado ducks under Blueberry’s first stab with the cattle prod. Not that it was that far for him to go, but he comes behind Blueberry and sends him flying with a German suplex. Blueberry lands at the feet of where The Bruvs should be standing, but they’ve started walking up the entrance ramp flailing their arms throwing a mild tantrum. They continue all the way to the back. Delgado storms over and bends down to grab Blueberry but gets hit with the stun gun! The electrified Boogie almost dances his way to the center of the ring before dramatically falling face first into the canvas. Blueberry slides the cattle prod out of the ring and scampers over to cover just as Turnbull turns around.
Richard Parker: This maniac in a blue mask has done it! Pure brilliance!
Paxton Ray comes right back through the ropes and picks Blueberry up off of the fallen Delgado. Blueberry flails as he pushes him toward Jonathan Rhine who slaps Blueberry on the back and jumps through the ropes diving into a pin attempt and hooking both of Delgado’s legs.
Delgado’s short legs begin to kick furiously as Rhine holds down with everything he has.
Paxton pushes Blueberry away from him as he and Rhine turn around to celebrate.
Nick Stuart: WHAT FANTASTIC TEAMWORK FROM FIGHTING FOR NORA!
Richard Parker: I don’t even know what was legal or illegal in that match… did Barry Delgado actually start dancing while he was being hit with a cattle prod…
Melvin Beauregard: What a win for Fighting For Nora! These guys have an incredible story and are sure to be a fan favorite in our Survivor competition.
The scene fades with Fighting For Nora celebrating while Trent checks on Delgado, and Blueberry scoops up his mannequin and stun gun, making his escape back up the ramp.
COMMERCIAL: Missouri Valley Wrestling
Don’t miss MVW, where the very best in minor league wrestling comes to you live from the nation’s heartland!
The scene is backstage in the soundstage/designated interview area. The Anglo Luchador stands alone in his gear and a t-shirt that says “I GAVE GARBAGE BAG JOHNNY A FIFTY CENT CHIP AND ALL I GOT WAS A STAIN ON THIS SHIRT.”
TAL: Brandon Youngblood, PRIME Hall of Famer, historical Five Star Champion. The good news is that you’re going to be guaranteed gold after this match. The bad news is I’m fixing to make you settle for that Five Star Championship you’ve so lovingly held in years past. I’m sure you won’t mind. I’ve got bigger and badder dreams.
The old luchador swivels his head as to crack his neck.
TAL: You’ve been to the top of the mountain before. I’m shocked you decided to come back for this reboot seeing as though one of your stature may not have any more lands to conquer, but you’re back for some reason, a reason I can’t put my finger on. I know the reason that I’m back. I’ve only been to the mountaintop twice in my career, and both times, I was knocked off before I could make my pour-over coffee and gaze upon the wide world at my view. I’m sick of hearing about how great the view is from people like you, from Nova, from Tchu or Dan Ryan or Lindsay Troy. I want to see it to believe it. My momma named me Thomas, so don’t be shocked if I have my doubts.
His eyes grow wider from behind his lucha mask.
TAL: The journey may be long and arduous, but it all ends in three seconds. Let’s play good news/bad news again, only reversing the order. The bad news is my journey can end in three seconds, and I’ll have to go back to my gods and explain to them why I’m going home early, or how I intend to save lucha libre in this country despite failing in this tournament. The good news, however, is that I only need three seconds to keep my journey going.
He nods and inhales deep.
TAL: Three seconds. That’s it. That’s all. I’ve forgotten more ways to pin a man’s shoulders to the mat than most wrestlers have learned. To them, hooking the leg is a sometimes affair. For me, if all I’m doing is shooting a half and grabbing a leg, that means I’ve been concussed. You’ve so far met the loverboy and crimson snow. You’re the one-seed on this side of the bracket, but like that jackass Jiles showed against Nova last week, that seed means jack and squat outside of anywhere but the bandwidth of know-it-all smarks on Twitter with egos bigger than their brains.
He raises his right arm and grabs that wrist with his left hand.
TAL: Brandon Youngblood. PRIME Hall of Famer. Historical Five Star Champion. Three seconds are all I need to make those epithets and accomplishments mean nothing. I’m stamping my ticket to Culture Shock three seconds at a time. I don’t care if you’re King Ess of Eff Mountain or one of those security guard luchadores who patted me down in an uncomfortably inappropriate manner a few minutes ago. Nothing’s stopping me from making you and everyone who tunes in respect the art of lucha again.
He high-tails it off the set as the picture cuts to the next scene.
Nova and Hayes Hanlon sprint through a backstage corridor of the MGM Grand. They pass an attendant pushing a cart of glassware, and Nova pumps the brakes.
Nova: (gasping for air) Excuse me, have you seen Garbage Bag Johnny?
The attendant grabs a champagne flute out of their cart and flings it against the wall, shattering glass against the concrete wall. Nova and Hayes recoil.
Attendant: Garbage Bag Johnny?! That motherfucker owes me ten-
Nova shoves the attendant against the wall and they keep running.
Nova: (huffing) He has to be here somewhere!
They continue hoofing it down the corridor until Hayes passes a locker room door that has a placard with a pirate skull & crossbones with swashbuckler’s swords crossed over it. Hayes throws out his arm to catch Nova in his tracks.
Nova: (gesturing at his bracelet) Yeah, pirates are cool, I get it! I’m about to be arrested, Hayes!
Hayes Hanlon: I don’t give a shit about pirates! Don’t you smell that?
Hanlon busts the door open to reveal the Dirtiest Dude in PRIME himself, ripping a bong so tall that he has to climb a few rungs up a ladder to reach the mouthpiece. Luckily, he’s tricked out the Muriel Fire Starter Kit, and the risque lighter now shoots a majestically dangerous expulsion of flame that’s able to reach the slider a couple arms lengths away. A myriad of tools–a hammer, a three hole punch, novelty ribbon cutting scissors, a loofah on a stick, a novelty ribbon cutting chainsaw, which is smaller than a regular chainsaw, but in a really cool way, et cetera–that Johnny used to fix the defective lighter surround the bong. GBJ perks up at the sound of the intruders, a thick plume of smoke billowing out of his beard like a forest fire before quickly covering the bong so more can’t escape.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Thank God! One of you mind sliding that bowl out so I can clear this bad boy?
Nova: JOHNNY!! I need your help, buddy, and I mean right the fuck now!
Nova, ignoring GBJ’s request, gestures to the red blinking light still howling on his ankle. Hanlon, however, handles the slider of Johnny’s bong. Johnny heaves deeply and clears the whole thing in one impressive breath.
Nova: I couldn’t think of anyone else, Johnny! Can you hack it…or something?!
Johnny pauses, holding the smoke in his lungs because it gets you higher or some nonsense. Then he expels it all.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Or…COUGH…or some…COUGH COUGH COUGHhold on…COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH! COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH…Jesus….COUGH COUGH…wait a minute. Aren’t you that guy who kicked my ass at ReVolution 125? Nevermind that, y’all helped me, I got just what the doctor ordered.
GBJ climbs down the ladder to survey his tools.
Garbage Bag Johnny: That’s the ticket.
GBJ opts, of course, for the chainsaw, immediately ripping it to life.
Hayes Hanlon: Holy shit! What the hell are you DOING?
Nova: I agree, there’s no ventilation in here!
Hayes takes a step forward, waving off the whole situation.
Hayes Hanlon: (to GBJ) Put that thing down! (to Nova) That…(pointing at bracelet)…is freaking me out! Let’s get it handled!
Garbage Bag Johnny: Alright, alright. How about a softer touch.
GBJ switches the chainsaw for the novelty ribbon cutting scissors. He struggles to get one of the arms between Nova’s leg and the ankle bracelet, but manages to do so to Nova’s mild discomfort. However, as soon as he applies some pressure to the scissors, they break apart.
Garbage Bag Johnny: This is not going to look good at the ribbon cutting ceremony I have booked for later.
Suddenly there’s a loud banging on the door.
Voice: CLARK COUNTY PROBATION AND PAROLE! OPEN THE DOOR!!
Nova takes a knee, shaking his head.
Nova: (hanging his head in his hands) Ohhhh, here we go.
Notorious for his quick thinking, GBJ grabs a thick black tablecloth off the table behind him and pulls it over his head. Without warning he steps one leg over Nova’s shoulder, then the other, draping the black cloth over his shoulders so that it hangs down and covers Nova..
Nova: What the…
Garbage Bag Johnny: Shut up, you’re my legs now.
Garbage Bag Johnny: And you, kid. You’re my parole officer.
Hayes Hanlon: Yup. I’m definitely getting us all arrested.
Garbage Bag Johnny: And I’m Roscoe Rebel, World’s Tallest Patriot!
Voice: WE’RE COMI-
Hayes takes a breath and furiously tucks in his shirt before giving himself a couple slaps on the cheek. He yanks open the door and several men in grey collared shirts tumble into the room.
Supervisor: We’re monitoring Caesar Vega and his monitor is going off right here! Where is he?
Hayes Hanlon: I…ah…
Garbage Bag Johnny: (shouting) IT’S MY BRACELET! FROM FIGHTIN’ AGAINST TYRANNY!
Nova shoots his leg out underneath the black tablecloth. His unit blinks a foreboding red. The DOC officers stare at it suspiciously.
Supervisor: Our system says Vega’s unit is going off right here. Like, RIGHT here.
Hanlon takes another breath…and rolls with it. He jerks a thumb up at the black-clothed GBJ monstrosity.
Hayes Hanlon: This is MY offender, been on my watch since the whole January 6th thing. His unit goes haywire on the daily, I haven’t had a date since! I’d get lost, boys, this guy will open you up and show you your insides real quick.
Garbage Bag Johnny: (still shouting) I TOOK A CRAP SO BIG IT BROKE NANCY PELOSI’S DESK IN HALF!
Supervisor: (staring down at his tablet) But…but the bracelet…I can literally see…
Hanlon gently places a hand over the supervisor’s tablet and stares him in the face.
Hayes Hanlon: I told you, this bracelet is on the fritz. It’s screwing up your GPS. Go home. This is my guy. I’ll let you know if I see anything.
Supervisor: (eyes narrowing) Which office are you from?
Hayes Hanlon: Ah…the…
Hayes resets his acting skills, and leans in close.
Hayes Hanlon: The other one.
There’s an uncomfortable pause as The Event Horizon’s lip curls up. After a moment, the supervisor waves off his men, and they exit.
Hayes Hanlon: (pausing, then exhaling in relief) Hoooomygod I can’t believe that worked. Okay, we’re good.
Nova explodes through the bottom of the black sheet, gagging.
Nova: You…you can’t imagine what it was like under there…
Garbage Bag Johnny: (shrugging) I know I went off-script but that was still some pretty good stuff, right? Nova? I painted my fucking masterpiece with that…
Nova sprays vomit across the floor.
Nova: (wiping his beard) I…I appreciate you, buddy.
Hanlon points down to Nova’s ankle. The Risen Star’s ankle bracelet is blinking green again.
Hayes Hanlon: What the-
GBJ pumps his fists in the air.
Garbage Bag Johnny: I DID IT!!
Nova collapses into a nearby folding chair.
Nova: This fucking thing is gonna be the death of me.
Hayes Hanlon: (throwing his hands up) Okay, to hell with it. Bar?
Nova and GBJ look at each other, then back at Hanlon.
Nova & Garbage Bag Johnny: Bar.
COMMERCIAL: The Almasy Invitational
Your Elite Eight matches begin….RIGHT NOW!
1 Brandon Youngblood vs. 5 The Anglo Luchador
From the trio of Nova, Garbage Bag Johnny, and Hayes Hanlon (what a great spot, right? I haven’t read it, but I’m sure it was amazing!) we return to the ring with Vince Howard ready to make the intros.
Vince Howard: The following match is scheduled for one fall and is a semi-final match in the Almasy Tournament! Introducing first!
‘Eat the Rich’ by Fozzy follows Vince’s announcement and the fans begin to stir, their eyes moving towards the top of the ramp.
Richard Parker: This is going to be… interesting.
Nick Stuart: And why do you say that?
Richard Parker: Because I’m trying to figure out how The Anglo Luchador is going to save lucha wrestling in the United States after Youngblood snaps both of his legs off and beats him with them.
Nick Stuart: Well, that’s a disgusting visual if I do say so myself.
From the backstage area emerges The Anglo Luchador to a rousing cheer from the crowd.
T-A-L! T-A-L! T-A-L! T-A-L!
Vince Howard: Hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, standing six feet even and weighing in at two-hundred and eleven pounds…THE ANGLOOOOO…LUUUUUCHADOOORRR!!!
TAL runs down the ramp and slides in under the bottom rope before circling the ring and letting the adulation seep into his skin.
Richard Parker: Is it just me… or does he look to be a bit more in shape than last show?
Nick Stuart: You know what Richard, I think you might be right. Looks like he’s taking his advancement and his upcoming opponent quite seriously.
Richard Parker: I mean, I would. If you value your life.
Nick Stuart: Did something happen between you and Youngblood backstage that I don’t know about?
Richard Parker: I don’t want to talk about it.
As ‘Eat the Rich’ by Fozzy fades out, it is replaced by a sudden heavy drumbeat. A trio in quick succession follows. The synthesized drone of ‘Abandon Streets’ by Jordan K pulses with a rising tension, the seconds causing a buzz to rise through the crowd. The tempest is rolling in. A sudden downsurge. The synths rise in tone.
Vince Howard: And his opponent, weighing in at two-hundred-and-eighty pounds and standing at six feet and three inches tall, he hails from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada! He is THE LAST DIAMOND! BRANDON! YOUNGBLOOD!
Screaming white light bathes the entire entrance area, the PRIME*View flickering through the assorted highlight package of Brandon Youngblood. Throwing back the curtain, he powers towards the ring, barely visible through the blinding light. His eyes are fixated on the ring, his face remaining stoic as the fans begin to roar.
Moving down the aisle, Youngblood’s focused demeanor seems completely detached from his surroundings. Walking across the ringside mats, he slowly stalks his way to the stairs. Each climbing step forward stabs the steel, his left hand grasping the ring post as he takes his first pace across the apron. Moving between the ropes, he brings his head down and slackens his limbs before exploding out of the stretching of his shoulders. Peering towards the crowd, Brandon’s expression does not change.
Youngblood casually clasps the top ropes on each side of his designated corner as he rests his back against the turnbuckles, his eyes focusing towards The Anglo Luchador, his glowering burning a hole right through him.
Nick Stuart: Massive stakes on the line here tonight in this match. Youngblood has shown why he is considered one of the best in PRIME today in his matches against Jonathan Christopher-Hall and Miles Lucky while the Anglo Luchador hasn’t slouched in the least bit.
Richard Parker: I would say not, getting victories against Alexander Redding and former Dual Halo winner, Garbage Bag Johnny. This match tonight might just be Luchador’s biggest test yet.
Nick Stuart: Exactly, especially with someone on the hunt like Youngblood is. With Nova out of the tournament, he might be the odds-on favorite to win this match.
Ashley Barlow checks with Youngblood and TAL to ensure they’re ready, both men nodding their heads in their respective corner. She then turns and signals for the start of the match.
Without hesitation, Youngblood explodes out of the ring and connects with a double-leg takedown of TAL, slamming his forearm repeatedly into the abdomen area of his opponent. TAL tries to scramble away from Youngblood, but Youngblood applies his patented-pressure and keeps his body on TAL, causing TAL to roll out of the bottom rope. Youngblood makes his way up to his feet as TAL stands there for a moment, hands on hips, as he looks at his opponent. Youngblood takes a few steps back and TAL hesitantly re-enters the ring.
Youngblood rushes at TAL again, but the luchador is ready for him as he connects with an arm drag and drives his knee into Youngblood’s back while in a wristlock on the seated Diamond. Youngblood grimaces from the pain as TAL maintains his pressure, trying to keep his opponent as grounded as possible. Youngblood starts to bring himself up to his feet, TAL still holding onto Youngblood’s wrist, and eats a sidekick to the ribs from TAL. Youngblood yanks TAL into him and connects with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex, catapulting TAL across the ring.
Nick Stuart: TAL is going to need all the IcyHot after that one.
Richard Parker: If he can find any. Do you know some idiot has been buying up all of it?!
Nick Stuart: Yes, that would be The Anglo Luchador.
Richard Parker: How do you know that?
Nick Stuart: Do you not read our website?
Richard Parker: I barely even know we have one.
Anglo Luchador makes his way back up to his feet and doesn’t see Youngblood running at him as he splashes him in the corner. TAL stands there dazed as Youngblood wraps his arms around him and goes for a German Suplex. TAL manages to land on his feet though, bounces off the ropes, and connects with a dropkick to the right knee of Youngblood. Brandon drops to one knee as TAL bounces back up to his feet and connects with a sweeping DDT before going for the cover.
TW— LEFT SHOULDER UP!
Richard Parker: Youngblood with the easy kick out there.
Nick Stuart: Anglo Luchador keeping Brandon on his heels here, but Youngblood’s got plenty left in the gas tank.
Richard Parker: Luchador is going to need to throw everything he’s got and the kitchen sink on top of it to put Youngblood down.
Nick Stuart: Remember that TAL is no slouch either. Youngblood’s got his work cut out for him and TAL has shown just that thus far.
TAL grabs Youngblood by the neck and starts to pull him out only for Youngblood to push him away and slam his forearm into the lower back of TAL. Brandon follows it up by grabbing the back of TAL’s skull and smashing him face first into the top turnbuckle. TAL leans against the corner after the shot while Youngblood hoists him up and sits him on the top turnbuckle. He then yanks TAL down, putting him into a Tree of Woe scenario. Youngblood proceeds to stomp away at TAL, strike after strike stiffer than the previous one until he backs up and runs full speed at TAL, slamming both knees into his abdomen.
TAL falls off the top turnbuckle, crunched up, while Youngblood yanks him off of the mat and connects with a half-nelson suplex. TAL crumples on the mat as Youngblood goes for the cover.
Nick Stuart: And Youngblood has massively picked up the intensity here in the last few moments.
Richard Parker: I think Anglo Luchador may have pissed Youngblood off with some of his offense.
Nick Stuart: You might be right as Youngblood looks like a man on a mission now.
Richard Parker: TAL is going to need to figure something out fast.
Youngblood drags TAL into the middle of the ring, bounces off the ropes, and drills his knee across his face. TAL rolls onto his knees in pain as Youngblood takes the opening and drops repeated knees across his rib cage. TAL rolls over to the ropes, using them to help bring him up to a standing base, but Youngblood has other thoughts as he connects with a fierce knife-edge chop across the chest of his opponent.
TAL stumbles away from Youngblood, but Youngblood follows after him, yanking his chest back towards him, and connects with another fierce knife-edge chop.
TAL once again tries to stumble away as his chest reddens, but Youngblood refuses to let him do so as he spins TAL back towards him again. TAL is ready this time as he connects with a kick to the right hamstring of The Last Diamond. This only stands to infuriate Youngblood as he connects with a headbutt that drops TAL to the mat. TAL refuses to stay down though and makes his way back up to his feet only for Youngblood to whip him into the ropes. Youngblood goes for a clothesline, but TAL drops underneath it, springboards off the middle rope, and connects with a springboard dropkick on Youngblood.
Nick Stuart: Youngblood down to one knee as TAL continues to show no quit in him.
Richard Parker: That might be one of the dumbest decisions in the history of dumb decisions.
Nick Stuart: You being the expert on dumb decisions.
Richard Parker: Precisely!
TAL bounces off the ropes and connects with a stiff knee to the jaw of Youngblood, dropping the larger man to the mat. TAL yanks Youngblood off of the mat only for Brandon to explode up with a belly-to-belly suplex. TAL rolls onto his knees, but Youngblood is back on his feet and yanks him off of the mat. TAL scrambles and manages to flip over behind Youngblood, slamming his foot into the knee of The Last Diamond. TAL then bounces off the ropes and goes for a bulldog only for Youngblood to push TAL off of him at the last second. TAL flies across the ring and lands on his tailbone while Youngblood makes his way up to his feet.
TAL uses the ropes to help him up and he runs at Youngblood only for Youngblood to connect with a ring-shaking spinebuster that plans TAL in the center of the ring. Youngblood makes his way back up to his feet and dead lifts TAL into a Karelin Lift.
Nick Stuart: And TAL looks like he is OUT.
Richard Parker: He’s more out than T-Pain is at the club.
Nick Stuart: …what?
Richard Parker: I saw him at the club in Vegas.
Nick Stuart: I highly doubt that. Have you been spending time with King Blueberry?
Richard Parker: Dear Hoyt, no.
Youngblood then goes for the cover.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Your winner… and moving on to the next round of the Almasy Tournament… BRANDON! YOUNGBLOOD!
Nick Stuart: What an impressive display from Youngblood there as he is one step closer to his goal, the Universal Championship.
Richard Parker: TAL gave it his all, but Youngblood is just a buzzsaw right now.
Nick Stuart: Needless to say, Youngblood is going to be watching the proceedings of Bathory and Impluse very closely as one of those two men will be squaring off against him in two weeks.
Youngblood has his arm raised by Ashley Barlow and exits the ring. He makes his way up the ramp with his mind focused on the one and only thing that matters: the Universal Championship.
Barlow meanwhile attends to TAL who is sitting up.
TAL: I need extra IcyHot today.
The camera cuts to a backstage hallway where John Kennedy Royko Jr. is walking hand in hand with his fiancée, Aurora. He is wearing a black Nike track suit, limping slightly with his foot in a boot, and nodding to passing crew members as they wish him luck. A small pop is heard from inside the arena, probably from the shot on the PRIME*View.
Nick Stuart: One last look at John Kennedy Royko Jr. as he heads to the exit for the very last time.
Richard Parker: I mean, not to be cold, but the guy has had two wrestling matches here in PRIME and was basically an unknown before we put him on TV. Do we really need to watch him limp out of here? This isn’t Dusk, this is Rokyo.
Nick Stuart: I think it’s a touching moment and I’m glad to bare witness.
As the young lovers are walking down the hall, a panicked Joe Burro approaches them with a creepy mask in his hand.
Joe Burro: Mr. Royko!!! Mr. Royko, I caught you just in time!
Aurora looks at Royko who rolls his eyes before letting go of her hand.
JK Royko: Honey, will you go ahead and get the car? I’ll be out in a minute. This guy likes to talk, and the pain meds are wearing off, but I still have just enough of a high for this to be funny.
She gives her husband-to-be a kiss on the cheek before walking off. The strange man in the sweatpants and hoodie waves goodbye to her as they both watch her walk away for a moment too long.
JK Royko: What is it buddy, I’m heading out of here.
Joe Burro: So, so sorry about the knee. Anywho, the bosses of PRIME have administered me the task of getting all the wrestlers-to-be action figures for the Fall release. I need you to put on this mask.
John Kennedy looks at the mask skeptically.
JK Royko: What action figures?
Joe Burro: The dolls, they are making boy dolls, I guess they call action figures. We need you to wear this mask so I can take a picture to send to the man doll factory.
JK Royko: But I don’t wear a mask and I’m retiring. No need, buddy, just tell your bosses I left already.
Joe Burro: No mister, I will get the fire from the lady boss. I have family like you!! You see, PRIME is releasing a tournament edition line-up of man boy doll figures so you MUST be in it.
JK Royko: OK, but why do I have to put on a mask?
The unofficial tailor of PRIME thinks this over for a minute as his lazy eye wanders.
Joe Burro: Oh yes. The mask. You see, the toys are being released around the candy giving time of the culture you call Halloween. Day of the Dead to some. Every wrestler comes with a creepy mask. Brilliant marketing, I think it was the Lindz’s idea. Now try on the mask.
The former wrestler sighs before realizing he could just put on the mask, take the picture, and be done with this conversation.
JK Royko: OK I will put on the mask. Hold my crutch.
The wrestler gives his crutch to the weird man in exchange for the creepy mask. He starts to put it on over his head, pulling until it fits like a glove over his face. He shrugs for a moment waiting for the weird man to take his picture.
JK Royko: It’s hard to breathe in this thing, and it stinks. Can you tak………..
Before he can finish, John Kennedy Royko Jr. lets out the most agonizing sounding screech of pain ever recorded. He falls to his knees and tries desperately to pull the mask off. It won’t budge.
Nick Stuart: What the hell is this?
Richard Parker: It’s that magical mask!!! The one that heals all injuries and give great strength!!!
Nick Stuart: Mask be damned, can we get this man some help?
As the wrestler continues to scream in pain, an older looking man with a big grey beard, cowboy hat, and black duster jacket walks towards the camera with a thick chain resting on his neck. He has a bottle of Jack Daniels in his hand which he takes a swig of and spit sprays the camera, blurring the shot.
Camera man: (off camera) The fuc….
The camera falls to the ground as the cowboy seemingly pushes the camera out of the operators’ hands. Screams of pain can still be heard as all the camera shows is dripping liquid spit and a pair of blurry boots. The cowboy begins to speak, narrating over the screams.
Cowboy: (narrating) Ahhhhh buckaroos. Scamp Williams’ time again. Did you miss me? For now, I am known as the Harbinger of Malice. I bring forth a warning to all PRIME, past and present. The Second Coming is upon us. The day off VENGENCE and JUDGEMENT is here. The hero John Kenndy Royko Jr. is dead, sacrificed for the greater good of thee GOD, and is nothing but a vessel of Balaam. With the mask comes great power, recovery, and the voice of GOD in his head. Yup, our young fella’s knee is now no longer a problem. Hope them voices help. I’m sure we’ll find out in time. Hoss, the match is on. The hell is upon us. We’re all about to get Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound for the final time.
The sound of a chain is heard shackling. The camera man picks the camera back up and wipes it dry. When it focuses, we see the old cowboy holding a thick chain attached to a bull’s nose ring which is affixed to the mask. Royko now stands tall and terrifying as Joe Burro works to remove the walking boot. It falls off. The cowboy tugs the chain, and the monster moves forward with no limp. The two men laugh as the cowboy pulls the monster’ leash back, jerking him away as he swings wildly, trying to run down a crowd of staff members who have gathered and now are scattering. A white owl looks down on the chaos from atop some stage equipment.
Nick Stuart: What the hell did we just see? My God.
Richard Parker: Our GOD! The Holy Book of Imperium speaks of a prophesy of a monster guided by a God! Thee God!! The Return of Hoyt Williams!! Our Personal Jesus!
Nick Stuart: Hoyt left a long time ago and swore never to return. I doubt we’ll see him, but I don’t understand what this is all about. Apparently, we WILL have a match tonight with Royko and Cancer Jiles?
Richard Parker: The harbinger of Malice, did you recognize him? That was Duke Williams! Long time wrestler, Hall of Fame member, hell he beat Tony Rolo for a title, and we got a bracket named after Rolo!! Most of all, he is the earthly father of Hoyt. If that’s not a sign I don’t know what is! This is fantastic!!! I’m doing some jumping jacks for Jesus right now!
Nick Stuart: Hocus pocus. Nonsense and garbage. Let’s get back to some real wrestling, I’m very confused…
The lights dim.
A chill moves through the air.
Then, a tumbleweed.
Then, a candy bar wrapper.
Nick Stuart: Up next is Cancer Jiles versus John Kennedy Royko, Jr.. But first, the super laser focused eGG Bandits have a public service announcement to make.
Richard Parker: I still can’t believe the idiot made it this far. The other two fell in line and lost in the first round, why couldn’t he?
Nick Stuart: Good question.
“Wolf Totem” by The Hu starts to play over the MGM Grand Garden’s sound system, and a few seconds later Bobby Dean emerges from the back. He’s wearing a comfy bathrobe with matching gray sweatpants. His new tattoo is visible, if slightly smudged. Dooze is on his left, looking like a square with his polo shirt all nice and neatly tucked into his jorts. Behind them, the reason for all six of the cheers turning to jeers, Cancer Jiles. His smile is wide, his PRIME gear is PRIMEd, and the wild fan adoration seems to make his hair glow.
Richard Parker: I’ll say this much, I would have rather had the fat one playing Cinderella than the COOL one.
Nick Stuart: I don’t think anyone is going to argue with you about that.
The three start to make their way down the ramp. Bob is out in front so let’s just say the pace is deliberate. Remember, it is his SECOND time walking down to the ring tonight. If only there were a forklift for this sort of thing? Dooze stays beside him, focusing his attention on the arthritis in his wrangled joints. If only there were a forklift for this sort of thing? Jiles is lagging a little behind the two; sharing barbs with a few fortunate fans.
Nick Stuart: He does claim to be a company man ya know.
Bob and Dooze use the steps to enter the ring. If only there were a forklift for this sort of thing? Instead of following his friends, Jiles works his way over to the announce table and pulls the fake handshake gag on Richard Parker.
Richard Parker: That motherfu–
Nick Stuart: Easy, Rich.
The COOL slides under the bottom rope and joins his brothers of the yolk. He calls for, and receives a microphone, much to Richard Parker’s off mic behesting. Then, he taps on it a few times before looking out to the crowd.
Cancer Jiles: Hello again, PRIME.
Cancer Jiles: Have I told you the one about Al Masy?
Cancer Jiles: That’s no way to treat your next Universal Champion!
Richard Parker: BOOOOOO! Let the fat one talk! No one likes you!
Jiles goes to speak, but the substantial booing continues. He surprisingly abstains.
Nick Stuart: The PRIMEates are really letting Jiles have it! He can’t get a word in.
More booing. A few sodas even come flying into the fray. Much to Bobby’s dismay all are empty. Then, the unthinkable happens. A crazed fan hops the guardrail, side-steps MGM security, and charges the ring.
Richard Parker: Let him go.
The fan, a man wearing a LEVI GARRET TRUCKER CAP WITH A PICTURE OF A CHERRY ON IT, goes to tackle Jiles, however Doozer is there to intercept him. Bobby and Dooze quickly put the boots to the crazed fan, and pin him down inside the ring.
The arena falls silent from shock.
And when opportunity knocks…
Cancer Jiles: Oh look, he put up a better fight than Nova.
The Maestro laughs like he’s never laughed before. Amazingly, it can be heard over all the booing. Dooze takes the fan’s hat off and looks over at Bobby as if he’s seen a ghost. Bobby, as per, mirrors the same look as Dooze, and in turn naturally shares the overall dumbfoundedness with Jiles. Jiles, who is still laughing and gassing, breaks from such behavior when he realizes that the fan is not a fan at all. In fact, he is a former member of the eGG Bandits.
Cancer Jiles: Well would you look at this? It’s the guy who could have had it all – egg in the palm of his hand – Zeb Martin. I’m touched you came all this way my old pup, but sorry, we’re not giving out any treats at this time.
Bobby’s jaw drops as if Jiles had just crushed the man from Honalee’s will to live. What type of world is this with no treats? It is in this moment that Zeb is able to squirm off the hook, and reset his sights on Jiles. However, Doozer, the old war chest Bandit, proves to be sharp in his old age and stops the attack by planting the former Bandit into the canvas with his finishing move- The Abuser.
Cancer Jiles: I bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you Zeb. HA. Get it.
Dooze rolls his eyes ala LT, and that takes longer than it should. Old eyes and such. His body language would say he didn’t like doing what he did, but he did it anyway. So, conflicted Bostonian.
Cancer Jiles: Let that serve as a reminder that the North won, you crumb.
The Maestro lands a stiff kick or two to the former Bandit before readdressing the audience.
Cancer Jiles: And let what just happened here serve as a reminder to anyone who thinks they can skip to the front of the line and shoot their shot. Don’t. Save it. Save yourself the trouble. I said it before, and I’ll say it again— this is our show now. My hair hasn’t looked better. Bobby Dean is one-fifthteen pounds lighter when the camera is on him, and Doozer can actually be seen without the use of a mirror. We have revived ReVival.
Bob plops down on Zeb in such a way to really make sure he doesn’t go anywhere this time. Bob’s legs were also getting tired, he DID wrestle against three men earlier, he deserves a bit of a rest.
Cancer Jiles: Go ahead and boo. It doesn’t matter for how long or for how loud– it’s still going to be our show when you’re done. We’re dug in, entrenched like ticks, and we’re going to drain PRIME dry because vampires are yesterday’s news.
A garlic clove gets thrown into the ring. Doozer hisses, but he’s allergic to garlic so it’s warranted.
Cancer Jiles: Don’t like it? Too bad. We don’t care. At all. And if any of those antiques you call heroes want to do something about it; I dare any of them to find the courage and bravery needed to survive a night inside Doozer and Bobby Dean’s treehouse of terror.
Bobby’s jaw does that thing again. He quickly puts himself back together though, and starts to excitedly swirl the inside of his belly button in an effort to calm himself down. Doozer shares in the excitement, but simply smiles. The simple act causes the skin to crack on his face.
Those are wrinkles.
Cancer Jiles: That’s right. When I said survive Doozer and Bobby Dean… I meant it!
Dooze raises his arms. It takes twelve seconds for them to finally get above his head.
Nick Stuart: Is Jiles saying what I think he is saying? Are Bobby Dean and Doozer going to represent the eGG Bandits?
Bob gets up from off of poor Zeb. You can visibly see the regret in both of their faces. Once on his feet Bobbo appears to start singing “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, causing Dooze to crack another smile.
That’s him wincing.
Cancer Jiles: And since my name is already inscribed on a golden ticket, it is only fair that my fellow Bandits get the chance to etch their names in PRIME’s newer and better history as well. AND, to ensure that happens they and they alone will not only be taking on ALL challengers, but all challenges as well.
A sly wink from the COOLYMPIAN.
Richard Parker: Subtle. Real subtle. Can I vote this guy off this TV show yet? Prick.
Nick Stuart: Still mad about the handshake?
The three Bandits share in a hearty round of high fives and fist bumps. Jiles then motions for Dooze and Bobby to take the begotten and befallen former Bandit, Zeb Martin, into the back so that his cardboard status can properly be updated.
Richard Parker: Finally this idiot seems to be done. And that poor kid. Who knows if he’ll ever be seen or heard from again?
Dooze, Bob, and the soon-to-be-printed CBZ hastily disappear through the curtain.
Cancer Jiles: Now somebody tell Johnny Football to walk his big, ugly, mentally crippled ass down to the ring. He gets ball first, and it’s about time for the opening kick… if you catch my terminal drift.
Jiles tosses the microphone to ring announcer extraordinaire, Vince Howard. He then very reassuringly says to him, “don’t worry about it— I already took care of my introduction at the top when I said the next Universal Champion.”
Nick Stuart: He’s got a set of balls on him, I’ll give him that.
8 Cancer Jiles vs. 12 John Kennedy Royko Jr.
“COOL” Cancer Jiles steps to the corner of the ring and leans on the turnbuckles. All the lights go out and “Possum Kingdom” by Toadies begins to play. A white strobe light starts flashing as the crowd remains rather neutral. The music plays for a good minute and nothing really happens.
Richard Parker: Are we going to have a match here or not? Let’s go, we don’t have all night.
Suddenly, from behind the curtains enters the 6’7” John Kennedy Royko, Jr. whose face is now covered by a terrifying mask. A bull ring is affixed on one end to his nose and on the other to a long chain that is still trailing behind him dragging along from the back. He looks at the crowd in bewilderment. He suddenly starts yelling and rushes towards the fans lining up in the seats near the entrance way. He’s just about to the fans who are scurrying away, small children are terrified, but most fans just hold up their cell phones for pictures. Just as he’s about to strike a brave fan the monster is jerked back by the tautness of the chain.
Nick Stuart: A totally different side of John Kennedy Royko Jr. I’m not sure what to make of this. I’m still very confused. Is his knee really healed? What is with the gross mask?
Richard Parker: JK Rokyo is DEAD, Nick!! This is Balaam!!! Pay attention.
The old cowboy with the long black duster enters from the back holding the other end of the chain leash. He fishes it by wrapping more of it around his fist pulling the monster closer. Chain in one hand, whiskey bottle in the other the cowboy stops for a nip. Some of the older crowd starts a “Duke” chant which the old man just ignores. Entering behind the old cowboy who is known as the Harbinger of Malice, is Joe Burro who is holding a golden bible high above his head.
Richard Parker: Wow I haven’t seen The Good Book in a long, long time!! This is it, Stuart! This is the prophecy!! The Good Book speaks of the monster who ushers in the second coming! I feel it! I know it! Is Hoyt Williams here? Is our Personal Jesus amongst us? WWHD?? What would Hoyt Do?!?
Nick Stuart: I can’t believe you buy into PRIME’s version of scientology. It’s garbage. Bad fiction. This is bad theater.
Richard Parker: Look, I know this mask is creepy as all get-out but this is HOYT we’re talking about! You better start doing your jumping jacks for Jesus and talk in a lower tone. That big monster might hear you.
Nick Stuart: Please.
The ring announcer Vince Howard is confused but goes on like a pro reading off what he knows.
Vince Howard: From Prospect Height, Illinois, The 2020 John Lynch man of the year award winner. JOHN KENNEDY ROYKO JR!
The monster is hesitant to get in the ring but the cowboy yells at him and chops him hard in the chest. The monster lets out a roar and makes his way into the ring. A fan tries to jump the guardrail but is quickly stopped by security. The Harbinger of Malice looks over at the fan and just shakes his head in dust as he holds on top his hat as he gets into the ring. He pushes the monster into a neutral corner.
Nick Stuart: Oh man that’s not a fan trying to get to the ring that’s John Kennedy’s fiancée Aurora. She is emotional as security will not let her through. Unbelievable.
Richard Parker: You can’t allow emotional family members to interfere with you while at work. That’s how you get fired. Keep her away!
Nick Stuart: He retired!
The old Malice Man undoes the chain and tries his best to hold the monster in his corner.
Nick Stuart: Here we go! It looks like we have a fight after all!
Royko is staring a Cancer Jiles-sized hole through his competitor. Elvis Nixon calls for the bell and the action is underway.
Jiles immediately moves to engage his massive opponent and steps into range of a verbal attack. Just as he opens his mouth, Royko grabs his entire face with his outstretched hand and throws Jiles across the ring into the corner, end over end.
As Jiles gets to his feet shaking his head he is met with a thunderous charge and shoulder tackle driving him back into the corner. Cancer crumples into the corner, but Royko will not let him rest and grabs the smaller man under the armpits, he lofts Jiles almost straight up into the air and lets him fall to the mat. “The Cool” flails as his torso hits the mat and he groans. Royko looks to the side of the ring where Duke Williams is pounding the apron and pointing to Jiles. Joe Burro stands behind Duke holding the golden Bible over his head.
Nick Stuart: This is clearly not the start Cancer Jiles had in mind. He is being absolutely handled by that perversion of Royko!
Richard Parker: With Hoyt as my witness, we are seeing greatness!
As Jiles gets to his knees, coughing, he is grabbed by the back of the neck and dragged across the ring. Duke directs Royko to more damage as the big man runs forward and full-clears Cancer over the top rope. The smaller man sprawls and rolls on the mats outside the ring into the barricade. Unsure of what to make of the scene, but knowing that they want to see Cancer Jiles get what is coming to him, the fans let Royko know.
Royko steps over the top rope and methodically works his way down the steps to ringside. He flips up the ring apron and drags two wooden folding tables out from under the ring. Elvis Nixon, meanwhile is in the ring admonishing Royko and counting at the top of his lungs.
Elvis Nixon: ONE! TWO!!
Duke Williams yells something across the ring and Joe Burro hops onto the ring apron. He holds aloft the golden Bible and Elvis turns to reprimand Burro. As the referee is arguing, Royko grabs both tables by the edge in the center, one in each hand. Cancer Jiles stands up and turns around, stumbling toward Royko who swings BOTH tables toward one another.
Cancer is smashed between the tables and crumbles to the mat outside the ring. Royko drops the tables just in time as Joe Burro drops from the mat and Elvis Nixon turns his attention to the action outside the ring again.
Nick Stuart: Good Lord! What a shot!
Richard Parker: I think you mean Good Hoyt!
Nick Stuart: Cancer Jiles is being completely manhandled right now. What is he going to do to get back into this match?
Richard: I don’t know, but I can’t say I hate it. Balaam’s not playing around!
There is hardly a stir from Cancer as Royko rolls back into the ring to stop the count and then is back out quickly. Duke Williams nods and JKR Jr. grabs Cancer by the tights and picks him up like a duffel bag. The masked man effortlessly projects his competitor back in the ring and hops up onto the apron. As he does, Jiles summons whatever energy he has and lunges forward with a deft thumb to the throat. Royko stumbles and falls backward, and it looks for all the world like the referee missed the blatant cheap shot.
Duke Williams is livid and pounds the mat vigorously. Words that cannot be repeated on television are directed at Elvis Nixon, but a stinging “SUMBITCH” ala Buford T. Justice rings through the din of the crowd. Cancer leans over the ropes and tries to gather himself. As Royko rolls over and stands, facing Joe Burro and the golden Bible, Jiles slowly backpedals and lets the huge man back up to the edge of the mat. There are no more glib words and no devilish shine in his eyes at this moment.
Royko steps back over the top rope and as he does, Cancer runs forward. He grabs the top rope and lifts it as hard as he can. Royko bellows and stumbles in the ring. Jiles deftly circles behind him and lunges forward with a chop block to the “bad” knee. JKR Jr.’s muffled cries escape the mask and echo into the first few rows of the audience.
Nick Stuart: That was as effective as Cancer Jiles has been since he came to the ring! The fans are letting him have it for that one!
Richard Parker: Normally I am all for a good crotch shot, but that made me wince.
Cancer quickly goes to work on the “injured” knee. Several stomps and a punt kick to the joint leave the masked man in agony. He pauses for a moment and limps around the ring while he pretends to cry, mocking Royko. Jiles peacocks around a bit longer before grabbing Royko’s leg once more and spitting on the fallen big man.
Nick Stuart: Now that’s just uncalled for. Besides, he said he wasn’t going to target the knee!
Richard Parker: That’s just strategy, Nick.
Nick Stuart: I call it being a treacherous snake!
Richard Parker: Is it really treachery if you know it is coming?
He grabs Royko’s leg and drops an elbow inside the larger man’s joint. When he hits the ground, he transitions into a knee crank and Royko howls. Duke Williams removes his hat and slaps the mat again screaming something at Royko.
Jiles tries to posture for leverage and stands up to lock in a standing leg lock, but as he does, John manages to get his other foot on his back and launches the Count of “COOL” across the ring uncontrollably, much to the dismay of Elvis Nixon who is in the way. As the two collide, Nixon collapses and rolls out of the ring.
Nick Stuart: Officiant Down!
Royko is up first and though it’s clear he is favoring his knee, he trudges toward Jiles again. The Cancerous One takes advantage of the referee being out of commission and punches Royko with everything he has in the gentleman’s vegetables. Royko drops to his knees and Cancer wastes no time laying several kicks into the bigger man’s chest. The thudding body blows are, at first, mostly shrugged off. After five strikes though, it becomes clear Jiles is having an effect.
As Joe Burro stands just outside the ring with the golden Bible and Duke stands nearby yelling and wringing his hands, Jiles has a moment of clarity and reaches for the mask.
Cancer Jiles: You crumb. Screw you and your damn mask!
Nick Stuart: I don’t understand what Jiles hopes to accomplish by doing this?
Richard Parker: Bringing down the wrath of Hoyt upon him, no doubt.
Removing the mask is no easy feat though, and before long, Cancer is tearing at it, using his foot as leverage against the behemoth’s chest.
A holy vengeance seems to enter into Royko, and he swings his arms up, breaking the hold on the mask and sending Jiles stumbling backwards. As Cancer stands back up, he finds a re-ignited Royko meeting him with an iron grip.
Royko rag-dolls Cancer Jiles with both arms, throwing him two-thirds of the way across the ring. Before Cancer has an opportunity to gather himself, John is on top of him again, scooping the smaller man up over his shoulder like a Dad with a tantruming toddler. Jiles is pounding on his back repeatedly to no avail. JKR Jr. charges across the ring and leaps forward, driving Jiles into the mat with his shoulder. They both bounce off the mat, but Cancer clearly takes the worst of it.
Nick Stuart: One has to think that if Elvis Nixon hadn’t been knocked out of the match that the end would be coming soon.
Richard Parker: Hoyt’s judgment cometh and right soon!
Nick Stuart: I am rather surprised you don’t have more empathy for Cancer Jiles here. Sure, he’s a pompous, cheating jerk, but whatever Duke Williams and this Joe Burro creep are doing with this Balaam mask isn’t exactly your cup of tea.
Richard Parker: I am a man of many tastes and I don’t need to explain myself to you, Nick.
Royko stands over his fallen opponent and looks down to Duke Williams who takes a short nip off his bottle. The Malice Man simply nods and John reaches down with a pair of vise grips around Cancer’s throat. As JRK Jr. walks forward and drags Cancer with him, Elvis Nixon slips into the ring and begins to admonish the big man for his choke hold. Seemingly without regard for the referee, Royko lifts Cancer seven feet in the air by his neck and constricts his grip. Elvis Nixon begins counting for the hold to break.
Cancer’s legs thrash and he grasps madly at JKR Jr.’s hands, but to no avail. He tries punching the mask but it does nothing.
Nick Stuart: This is unholy…demoniacal…Mephistophelian! Someone stop him!
Elvis reaches his five count and tries desperately to get John Kennedy Royko Jr. to break the hold but it’s no use.
DING DING DING
As the bell sounds, Jiles unleashes a spray of yellow mist from his mouth, which doesn’t get JKR Jr. to release his grip either. The fans are shocked, not knowing whether to boo Royko or cheer Jiles, or vice versa.
Elvis Nixon continues screaming at Royko to release the hold and grabs at his arm again, dangling helplessly from it. Duke finally whistles and the monstrous Royko releases his grip. Jiles falls to the mat in a sick heap, yellow liquid dripping out of the corners of his mouth as he huffs and coughs while laying on his back in the ring.
Vince Howard: The winner of this match, as a result of a disqualification…”COOL” CAAAANCER JILES!
Nick Stuart: Well, you wouldn’t know it by the scene playing out in front of us, but Cancer Jiles has won this match and is moving on to the Final Four of the Almasy Invitational.
Richard Parker: You hate to see it, but I just thought of something.
Nick Stuart: What’s that?
Richard Parker: I think we just discovered that believing in Hoyt is the cure for Cancer!
There is a long pause.
Nick Stuart: Really? That’s where we are going with this?
Richard Parker: That’s exactly where we’re going with this.
In the ring, Royko steps over the top rope and hops down. As “I am The Cool” plays and the fans are not sure what to make of what has just transpired, John Kennedy Royko Jr, Duke Williams, and Joe Burro walk to the back while Cancer Jiles slowly gets to his feet.
Keep it Old School all the time with OSW.
Road to Recovery
Beyond a wall of glass are people sitting in a circle of chairs, a couple gesturing wildly and laughing as they relate a story to the group. One leans back, grinning and nodding, scribbling in a notebook. The room is decorated with warmth, welcoming, arrangements of colorful plants set by windows to amplify the sunlight and inspirational posters lining the walls. A place for growth, for introspection, for purifying the spirit.
Pulling back, our host steps into frame, dapper in a navy three-piece suit, hailing us with a smile. A placard shimmers into view as he pauses in place, steepling his fingers, view fixated on us with a practiced mode.
Executive Director, MESSIAH International
Julian Bathory: I’m incredibly pleased that our family is growing quickly around the globe. It feels as if in whatever state, whatever country, that I step foot in across my travels as an ambassador for MESSIAH, I’m seeing our sponsored community centers springing up to welcome new aspirants into the fold. The human being is truly a social creature that desires kinship with others, and we’re here to facilitate those connections using our core teachings. The state of MESSIAH is strong, and our footprint grows larger by the day.
He snaps his fingers, the background instantly shifting from the ringed therapy session to a clinic lounge, similarly adorned in the warm hues of the therapy center, a place of comfort and sanctuary. With a wink, he beckons us to follow down a corridor. Individuals in white coats meander about, glancing at clipboards and conversing. He peeks into a couple rooms as he walks. The shadow of some untied cables waver…
I saw the flicker too, just a green screen malfunction. No, I definitely didn’t see a gaunt figure dragged in tattered yellow robes. Are you feeling alright?
Julian Bathory: Today I’m excited to announce that MESSIAH is preparing to launch our long-planned mental health and counseling program. It is the hope that our focused and communal approach, tethered with proven medical practices and the advice of respected, experienced industry professionals, will usher in a new level of serenity and clarity for our converts. I’m told that early enrollees in our program are reporting extraordinary revelations as they hone their minds and cleanse themselves of material pains and hindrances. It is a spectacular process that is already producing equally incredible results. All you have to do…is believe.
Green screen flickered again. Nothing to it. And I don’t see this obsession of yours with crowned figures in yellow. Experiencing the nightmares again, I fear?
A return to the original scene, the group session behind the soundproof glass. The therapist continues to feverishly draft notes as the patients continue through their counseling, apparently immersed in his techniques. One appears to be clutching her head and trembling, screaming at the ceiling, with another nestled in a far corner, raking her nails against the wall. Others sit in stark silence, seemingly catatonic yet obviously just in meditation as they pursue the holy grail of transcendence and universal communion. I see you worrying, but I can assure you that this is normal, and you’re jumping to conclusions like you tend to do.
Director Bathory gestures to the scene beyond the glass, his expression placid and proud. I told you nothing was amiss.
Julian Bathory: To the untrained and skeptical eye, the means employed in our program seem unconventional, and may appear alarming to the unfamiliar layman. Rest assured that everything is under control and our unique system of psychoanalysis will provide unparalleled lucidity for our patients. They are wholly invested in what we do here and are reaping the benefits. The question is…when will you follow them, and peer into what the universe has in store for you?
A lingering, disarming smile from the New World Savior. A patient within races across the room, careening into the glass, face pressed against it in a cast of joy. Yes, joy, I don’t see a hint of the maniacal horror you’re whispering about. You really need to unwind and stop chasing ghosts.
Unite. Commune. Transcend. MESSIAH International can guide you to a better you. Join the waiting list today to experience our groundbreaking path to spiritual awakening. Embrace clarity.
The logo of MESSIAH, the silvered crown atop the stylized M. Tsk, tsk, you’re still hung up on the notion of burning, phantom eyes. Take your pills and breathe.
2 Impulse vs. 6 Julian Bathory
The Enigma TNG.
The MGM Grand Garden Arena is quick to drown the music with a wave of boos as The Prince of Tears strolls onto the ramp, focused as he makes his way to the ring.
Vince Howard: Our next match is scheduled for one fall! On his way to the ring, hailing from Szeged, Hungary, standing six feet, one inch tall and weighing in at two-hundred and twenty-six pounds…The New World Savior…JULIAN BAAAATHORRY!!
Nick Stuart: What has already proved to be a huge night continues here at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, and the momentum won’t stop any time soon, Richard!
Richard Parker: That’s right, Nick! Teddy Palmer and Anna Daniels will provide the night cap to ReVival 4, but Julian Bathory and Impulse have the stage as we continue the Third Round of The Almasy Invitational!
The Carpathian Devil steps into the ring, taking his place in the corner. He flashes a look ringside, as if to look for his mentor. Seeing he’s not there, he resets his focus to the ramp.
Nick Stuart: Julian Bathory has come in strong during his PRIME debut, picking up a big win at ReVival 3 against rookie sensation Hayes Hanlon. His tactics, however, are less than sportsmanlike.
Richard Parker: You don’t have to like it, Nick, and the guy gives me the creeps, but he gets results.
Nick Stuart: Maybe, but tonight will be very telling; as you may have noticed, there is NO Violence Jack at ringside.
In time, the Enigma TNG fades off, and is interrupted…
The crowd pops hard as blue and purple strobe lights bathe the entrance. The cheers rise as Impulse steps out with a grin, followed by Calico Rose. She twirls her hand, leading into a low bow while The Marathon Man soaks it all in.
Vince Howard: And his opponent, accompanied by Calico Rose, from New York, New York! Standing five-feet, ten inches tall and weighing in at one-hundred and ninety-one pounds…he is The Marathon Man…IIIIIMMMPUUUULLLLSSE!!
With another pop from the PRIMEates, the two make their way to the ring, Impulse throwing out a few high fives, Cally hanging back to take a selfie with a few fans.
Nick Stuart: Similarly, Impulse has already left his mark here on the PRIME scene, besting Darin Zion in round one of the tournament and defeating Rezin just last week at ReVival 3. Julian Bathory, however, should prove to be his greatest challenge so far.
The Marathon Man hops onto the apron and opens the ropes for Cally, who steps through and does the same for him. Impulse hands off his leather jacket and pulls off his shirt while Cally holds her hands in the air for the crowd. He chucks his t-shirt into the stands before opening the ropes again for Cally. She exits while he keeps a smug grin locked on Bathory. His music fades, the lights come up, and Jimmy Turnbull checks on each opponent before calling for the bell.
Nick Stuart: The Marathon Man vs. The New World Savior is underway!
The two start to circle, the quicker Impulse feigning a couple dives for the leg. Bathory ignores the bait, staying central in the ring as The Marathon Man strafes him. Seeing that The Carpathian Devil won’t be making many mistakes tonight, Impulse lunges in, locking up with the larger Bathory.
Nick Stuart: Bathory has the clear size advantage tonight against Impulse, flipping the script from last week’s bout against Hayes Hanlon.
Richard Parker: Small and quick, big and slow, I don’t think it matters much to Bathory.
Impulse digs his heels in, but Julian is able to push him to a knee, followed by headlock. ’Pulse fights the hold, but finds himself on his back after a snapmare. Bathory pivots on his knee to mount from the side, firing a few quick closed fists into his opponent’s head. Turnbull protests with a warning. The Prince of Tears pays little attention, but relents nonetheless.
Nick Stuart: Bathory is going to have to stay on top of Impulse tonight, if he gives him too much room to breathe he’ll be tough to slow down.
Julian stands, allowing Impulse to quickly climb to his feet, but not before a couple hard boots to the rib cage, giving Bathory enough of a window to scoop him up and send him over to the mat with a scoop slam, laying him flat once again. The Marathon Man holds his back in a seated position as The Carpathian Devil builds momentum, bouncing off the ropes and charging back, connecting with a nasty neck snap followed by the cover:
Nick Stuart: A vicious series from The Prince of Tears!
Richard Parker: They used to call me the Prince of Beers.
Nick Stuart: No they didn’t.
Richard Parker: Yeah, no they didn’t.
While Impulse fights to pull himself off the mat, Bathory seizes the opportunity, tying in a leg lock on The Marathon Man. Impulse growls in pain, but is close to the ropes, reaching out and grabbing hold of the bottom. Jimmy “Turnbuckles” is quick to demand a release from Bathory, who holds on tight. After taking it to the full five count, The Prince of Tears releases.
Nick Stuart: As I said, more questionable tactics from Bathory!
Richard Parker: Impulse would do the same and you know it, Nick.
Impulse uses the ropes to pull himself to his feet as The Carpathian Devil steps away. He’s quick to return, however, taking hold of The Marathon Man and whipping him hard into the opposite ropes. Impulse rebounds, and Bathory looks to receive, but Impulse ducks the grab with a baseball slide under his opponent and under the ropes, popping up on the apron. He jumps onto the top rope as Bathory turns, springboards, and sends him to the mat with a flying headscissors takedown.
Nick Stuart: And a HUGE reversal from Impulse!
His stamina leading the charge, Impulse is immediately on Bathory, lighting him up with a barrage of forearms, working him into the corner. Another forearm to the face keeps The Prince of Tears in check for Impulse to take one step back and connect a standing dropkick to the chest. Bathory stumbles forward out of the corner, and Impulse wraps him up from behind, hooking a hand under Bathory’s leg and hoisting him into the edge, sending him to the mat with a crash.
Nick Stuart: Belly-to-Back suplex from The Marathon Man! He’s picking up steam!
Richard Parker: He’s the Little Engine that Could!
Impulse is back to his feet quickly, but Bathory is able to roll out of the ring before further damage is done. The MGM crowd boos heavily as The New World Savior holds his back. He looks left and right, again seemingly looking for Shanahan, but the search is short lived as Impulse comes running, sending Julian to the floor with a suicide dive.
Nick Stuart: And a dive to the outside!! Impulse won’t let Bathory off that easy!
Richard Parker: He thinks he can! He thinks he can! He thinks he can!
The Marathon Man is quickly on Bathory, pushing him back into the ring to re-level the playing field. A couple forearm shots to the back double The Prince of Tears over. Impulse wraps an arm around the neck, hooks a leg with his own, and sends them backward with a Russian Leg Sweep. Impulse goes for the cover:
Impulse, unphased, pops back up, taking hold of one of Bathory’s boots and twisting, turning him over and sitting on his lower back with a single leg Boston Crab. The Carpathian Devil hisses and squirms, army crawling himself forward by the forearms.
Nick Stuart: Impulse has taken control of this match!
Richard Parker: But Bathory’s about to get hold of those ropes!
Finally, Julian is able to grip the bottom ropes, and Jimmy Turnbull starts the count. Impulse, returning the favor from earlier, is more than happy to wait until Jimmy yells “five!”
Nick Stuart: A little karma going Bathory’s direction!
Richard Parker: I expected Impulse to be the bigger man. But I guess that isn’t possible for him…get it?
Nick Stuart: I get it.
Richard Parker: ‘Cause he’s short?
The Marathon Man releases the hold, walking center ring with a knowing smirk. He drops down, hands on his knees, waiting for The New World Savior to rise. Bathory snarls, rising to his feet. He walks to meet Impulse at center ring, who meets him with a quick forearm shot to the jaw. Bathory reels back, and returns the favor with a hard closed fist. Impulse trades another forearm, followed by another right hand from Bathory. Then another, and another, until Impulse finds himself in the corner.
Nick Stuart: Bathory using that size advantage to regain some momentum!
Bathory drags Impulse away from the buckle, bends him over with an arm over the neck, hooks a leg with the other, and whips him over head to the floor with a swinging fisherman’s neckbreaker.
Nick Stuart: Ode to Azathoth! Impulse should not have let up on The Prince of Tears!
Richard Parker: Who the hell is Azato…Azazaboth…Atatazit…
Nick Stuart: Ah-Zah-Thoth. A trademark of Violence Jack’s.
Richard Parker: …yeah, nevermind.
Bathory catches his breath for a moment after the signature move, spinning to a knee while Impulse stirs after the vicious maneuver. The Carpathian Devil pulls Impulse to his feet, delivering a blunt forearm to the back, followed by another, until The Marathon Man musters a burst of strength and gives Bathory a hard shove to create space. Bathory goes with the momentum, bouncing off the ropes and returning and looking for a jumping leg lariat, but Impulse counters quickly and sends him to the mat with a hip toss.
Nick Stuart: But Impulse still has plenty in the tank!!
Bathory, bewildered but keeping focus, is able to scramble to his feet quickly, but Impulse is there to meet him as he turns around, catching The New World Savior with a drop toe hold. With Bathory on his stomach, ‘Pulse scrambles and grabs a leg, looking for another submission, but Julian twists and reverses the hold, putting both opponents on their backsides with Bathory looking for a figure-four.
Nick Stuart: Impulse looked to lock in another single leg Boston Crab, but The Prince of Tears with a critical reversal!
Richard Parker: Their legs are like pretzels!
Impulse fights and squirms, rolling again, both opponents now on their stomachs, and is able to untie his legs from Bathory. He clambers to his feet, jumping into the ropes. Meanwhile, Bathory has turned once more to a seated position, just in time to catch a forearm to the face.
Nick Stuart: Flying forearm from Impulse! This match is slipping away from Julian Bathory!!
The crowd roars as Impulse rolls out of the attack, leaving Bathory flat on his back and out of it. The Marathon Man is quick to ascend to the top rope. The Garden Arena is on their feet as he balances and faces the downed Prince of Tears.
Nick Stuart: Impulse going up top!
Richard Parker: Don’t miss, lil’ guy!
After a quick breath, Impulse leaps into a gainer, lightbulbs flashing from the audience. He flips over, picture perfect and looking for the splash…
Nick Stuart: Looking for the Shooting Star Press!!
…and eats canvas as Bathory rolls out of the way.
Richard Parker: Lil’ guy missed!!!
Nick Stuart: Nobody home for Impulse! Julian Bathory with the narrow escape! Both men are down on the mat!!
Impulse clutches his stomach, coughing and struggling to his hands and knees. Bathory lies face down, breathing heavily. Cally slaps the edge of the ring, cheering Impulse on to catch his breath and get up.
Nick Stuart: This one’s coming down to the wire!
The Prince of Tears is first to find his feet with the assistance of the ropes. He leans against the turnbuckle, chest heaving as he looks outside the ring once more, shaking his head as he realizes his mentor is, once again, not there. Impulse, with an arm still around his stomach, has risen to a knee. Bathory growls, and stomps over to the struggling Impulse.
Richard Parker: Bathory is pissed! He wanted this thing finished a while ago!
The Prince of Tears throws arm arm over the neck of Impulse. Exhausted, he wraps him up in a small package and lifts.
Nick Stuart: Bathory going for the Eldritch Driver!!
Bathory hoists, looking for the slam, but Impulse is able to throw his legs over top, escaping the small package and performing a full flip, landing on his feet behind The Carpathian Devil.
Nick Stuart: IMPULSE ESCAPES!
Bathory quarter-turns quickly, but is stopped absolutely dead as The Marathon Man explodes with energy, clocking him in the jaw with lightning-fast superkick.
Nick Stuart: SUDDEN IMPACT!! SUDDEN IMPACT FROM IMPULSE!!
Richard Parker: How’d he squirrel his way out of that??
The New World Savior falls flat on his back, the crowd thundering at the reversal. Impulse, still grimacing from the missed aerial maneuver, drops to his knees and lays across Bathory’s chest, hooking the leg.
Nick Stuart: HERE’S THE COUNT!
Indeed, Jimmy Turnbull counts.
DING DING DING
Nick Stuart: IMPULSE DOES IT! HE DEFEATS THE NEW WORLD SAVIOR!! WHAT A REVERSAL!
Vince Howard: Yooourrr winner! Moving on to the Final Four of the Almasy Invitational…IIIMMMPUUUUUUUULLLSSSEEE!!!
The Marathon Man quickly rolls out of the ring, where Cally is there to meet him. She puts an arm around his back for support while he continues to grab his abdomen, but with the other arm in the air in triumph. “Cannonball” by Sirsy continues to rock the roaring MGM crowd as they ascend the ramp, leaving Bathory to stir in the ring.
Nick Stuart: What a performance by both competitors! Julian Bathory has been stopped, and Impulse moves on to face Brandon Youngblood in the Final Four!!
Richard Parker: The little rascal does indeed, but I’m just gonna say; if Violence Jack were here, this would be a different story.
Nick Stuart: Maybe, but we’re better off with him outta here! Stick around, folks! “The Time Lord” Anna Daniels takes on Teddy Palmer in our main event!!
Richard Parker: Next! Here on the ACE Network!!
COMMERCIAL: Sanctioned Violence Organization
There’s no place hotter for wrestling action than right here in Las Vegas! Check out sVo’s Sunday Night Showdown at svolasvegas.com
The Glue Factory
ReVival returns from commercials, shifting away from the dizzying lights of Las Vegas to the greenery of the Churchill Downs racetrack in Kentucky. An eagle eyed viewer can tell that the footage is slightly dated, an archive of an old, unremarkable one mile dirt race, run for the Vegas betters rather than any prestige. The clippity-clop of the horses rushing out the gate overwhelms a decent human’s senses as a graveled voice can be heard atop the footage.
V/O: Taking that first step out of the gate can be exhilarating.
We see many of the 20 or so runners bolt, jockeys astride, horses trying to muscle their way to the front of the pack.
V/O: In those initial moments, potential and opportunity seem endless. No matter how old, run down, pathetic, limp or frail the horse may be, if they hit the right stride, it might just be their lucky day.
The historical footage of the horse race zooms in on a horse stumbling right out of the gate, collapsing onto the track, the jockey getting flung off out of the shot as event staff rush out onto the track.
V/O: Sadly there are many others who just can’t go anymore. That can have some life changing effects.
The footage cuts away as a race attendant lifts a tarp around the fallen runner.
V/O: That’s where I come in.
The last thing heard is the sound of a shotgun cocking in the distance and the words “The Glue Factory: Opening April 1st” standing out in bright white against the dark background.
If I Could Turn Back Time
Cutting backstage from that intriguing teaser video, we find one half of tonight’s main event deeply focused. Eyes open, staring dead ahead and mumbling under his breath, this might be what sport psychologists call ‘visualization.’
Alexander Redding: Earth to Ted. You doing alright there, good buddy?
Leaning into frame, while waving a hand past Palmer’s fixed gaze, Alexander Redding tries to get his best friend’s attention. As Ted’s focus breaks, the shot pans back to reveal the American telephone booth, once part of Ma’ Bell’s grand fleet.
Teddy Palmer: Woah! How dare you break my concentration? I’m trying to train here…
If your dog just perked up, it’d be the steam pouring from Grady Patrick’s ears at levels above human hearing, looking a little red under the bowler cap.
Grady Patrick: This!? You call this training?
Ignoring the smartly dressed agent, Palmer turns back to Redding with a huff and mildly flailed arms.
Teddy Palmer: Great! It’s gone now, and I ain’t getting it back.
Alexander Redding: I want to say I understand what is going on here…
Teddy crosses one leg over the other, and with a slight shrug of acceptance, places both hands behind his head.
Teddy Palmer: Don’t beat yourself up over it. Quantum Mechanics isn’t for everybody.
Grady Patrick: What the…
Grady’s thought trails in confusion, whereas Ted looks at him with an academic smugness.
Teddy Palmer: Time Travel, Grady. Look it up.
Ted turns his focus towards Red.
Teddy Palmer: Here’s a serious question for ya: If you could go back in time, where would you go? Or would it be ‘when’ would you go? Or is it both?
As Ted debates grammar with himself, Grady swipes at his face in frustration.
Grady Patrick: Wait, that’s what you’re thinking about!? Red just lost! Again! And here you are, busy philosophizing about time travel!?
Alexander Redding: Don’t need to hear that, Grady. But, Ted has a good question. Now, everyone automatically goes to that baby Hitler snuff film. But, I’m sure they’d Biff the Hell out of it: go back to the past and bet big on sports shit they know is gonna happen.
Teddy Palmer: True, true. That’s a good one. But I was thinking more along the lines of a personal moment in time. Like, for instance, I’d like to revisit that bikini contest I won.
Head tilted, trying to shake a bad image out of his head, Alex lets the liquor assist.
Alexander Redding: I recall the event, unfortunately. But, why that, specifically?
Teddy Palmer: I mean, why not? Fun times.
Alexander Redding: So you’d just go back to relive it?
Teddy Palmer: Pretty much.
The Iceback of Notre Dame shifts to lounge in his chair and ponders.
Alexander Redding: I think I’d go back and stop myself from buying that engagement ring. Warn the idiodic, almost-twenty year old that I was. Or slip you a pocket knife as kinda your lead shield from that zip tie kryptonite.
Silence befalls the two men on Red’s somber note. Grady looks less than amused with the conversation taking place moments before the evening’s main event. After a few uncomfortable seconds, Ted breaks the awkward silence.
Teddy Palmer: Remember when I was Jasmine’s Genie? I’d go back and use water based paint rather than acrylic…
Alexander Redding: Chicago was an interesting time, I’ll give it that much.
Teddy Palmer: Everything was blue for days. I mean…everything…
At the height of the nonsense the usually frazzled manager could stand, Grady slams a fist to the table, grabbing the attention to himself.
Grady Patrick: Again, main event! Ted, get your ass ready, and get to that ring!
Standing to meet the guy he was near eye level with sitting down, Alexander Redding puts a reassuring hand on Grady’s shoulder.
Alexander Redding: Alright, alright. Let’s stop thinking about this.
Grady Patrick: Thank you!
Alexander Redding: No use worrying over it. Not until we at least run an experiment, test a hypothesis.
Teddy Palmer: Are you suggesting…a Time Travel Trial?
Walking behind the third wall, obscured from camera, Red returns with an eerily familiar character in tow.
Teddy Palmer: Is that Blueberry Muffin’s Mexican Mime?
Alexander Redding: No, no. This is El Hijo Del Super Cool Gal Jr. Notice the bikini.
Obviously branded with the ampersand.
Teddy Palmer: Hola, bombón!
Red just smiles, and marches the mannequin straight into the accommodating sliding doors of the phone booth.
Alexander Redding: Wait, shit. What was the phone number again, Theodore?
Teddy Palmer: If I had to guess? Eight six seven five three oh nine.
With a shrug, Red punches in the digits, and steps clear of the area.
Alexander Redding: Let’s hope to Rufus that this works.
What starts as a subtle shaking leads to flashing lights, sparks shooting from the old connection at the top, before sparks begin shooting out from everywhere.
Grady Patrick: That’s not supposed to do that, is it?
Looking about the cubicle for a liquid not alcoholic, Red has no luck. Thinking quickly, he dives for the plug and disconnects the circuit. Smoke bellows from inside the booth, leaking from the seams of the rickety frame.
Teddy Palmer: Just as I suspected…
Teddy stands from his chair, disappointment strewn about his face. With a deep exhale, his head hangs.
Teddy Palmer: Time Travel is bullshit…
And with those words, Ted departs from the frame, enroute to face off with PRIME’s resident ‘Time Lord’.’ Red, still laying on the concrete, coughs as the smoke blurs his vision. Swatting his line of sight clear, a grin crawls across his face and he points behind Grady.
Grady Patrick: What?
Grady turns around to see Enemigo IV standing behind him. His arms are crossed and his foot is tapping the floor rhythmically. Grady slouches in defeat, looking back at Red.
Grady Patrick: If I could go back in time, I would have just been a doctor like my mother asked.
We fade to the last commercial break before the main event.
COMMERCIAL: SHOOT PROJECT
Revolution 172 and Ruination 22 are live and On Demand with the continuation of the ApeX Tournament! Who’s leading their blocks and who desperately needs a win? Check out the action at ShootProject.com!
2 Anna Daniels vs. 14 Teddy Palmer
Vince Howard: This is the main event! Introducing first… from Mount Perdition, Gallifrey… weighing one-hundred-thirty-five pounds… The Muse… ANNA DANIELS!
The entire area fades to black, causing the PRIMEates in attendance to steadily come to a hush. After a moment, the beginning guitar notes of Solid Space’s “A Darkness In My Soul” begins. Nothing comes on the PRIME*view to note exactly who is coming out. Suddenly, a spotlight pierces through the dark pointed to the top on the entrance ramp. Anna Daniels stands there, her profile positioned towards the light. She lets it wash over her while letting the fans get a good look at the merchandise. Finally, she glances at the ring with a small smirk on her face.
Nick Stuart: Anna is really making a name for herself. The two men she’s defeated are no pushovers.
As The Muse takes her time heading to the ring, she wistfully observes the goings on around her as if getting into a certain type of groove that only she can hear. Her strolling sways almost like she’s dancing from time to time. Her robe and headpiece–once more regal and dazzling artifacts from her homeplanet–are in various stages of disrepair and utter damage. Anna slaps a hand or two, nods a little to those in attendance. Once ringside, she motions for somebody to take the robe and headpiece which when taken nearly make the poor sap fall over.
She makes her way to the stairs and slinks along the apron, wiping her feet before entering the ring. Immediately after, she nearly chases off the ref in a sudden blur of action before smiling yet again. Casually, she strolls to a corner with her head bopping before perching herself onto the top rope laid out like a French girl people like to paint.
Vince Howard: And her opponent… from Toronto, Ontario, Canada… weighing two-hundred-fifteen pounds… TEDDY! PALMER!
During Vince Howard’s announcement, the bouncing guitar lick of “Leave Me Lonely” by Hilltop Hoods vibrates through the MGM Grand. The PRIMEates are spirited, on the verge of plunging into a frenzy as Teddy Palmer strolls out onto the stage. He has a swagger to his step, a cocky smirk curled out of the corner of his mouth, and a noticeable chip on his shoulder.
Nick Stuart: Really should be a good main event here. Both wrestlers are at the top of their game.
Richard Parker: Teddy? At the top of his game? I don’t know, I’ve heard rumbling he’s not taking things as seriously as he should.
Nick Stuart: Did he not take Cyrus O’Haire seriously last week?
Richard Parker: I guess. The guy’s fun-loving spirit just rubs me the wrong way. Be more serious, Teddy.
Nick Stuart: Plenty serious in the ring.
As the rolling lyrics pick up in pace, Teddy follows suit towards the ring, peeling off his tee. Tossing the “Face To Fuckin’ Canvas” shirt a half dozen rows back, fans within the landing radius play tug of war with the garment. He slaps a few outreached hands, offers a playful wink or two, and rolls underneath the bottom rope.
Nick Stuart: All this being said, two very different people in Daniels and Palmer.
Richard Parker: You’re telling me. There’s about forty-five people inside Anna’s head alone!
Nick Stuart: What made you fall on this number?
Richard Parker: Just an educated guess after talking to Nicholas Pfefferman earlier today. He would know, he’s a mathematician.
Nick’s not going to acknowledge the comment. Inside the squared circle, Teddy shuffles its perimeter with a lively hop, looking down at the canvas as he does so. He eventually settles in his respective corner, slouching into the turnbuckle, finally looking up at his opponent. With a subtle nod, he lets it be known he’s ready to throw fists.
Daniels instantly charges at Palmer and catches him under the chin with a knee strike! Teddy falls back, the crowd is stunned and Daniels drops, hooking a leg!
Nick Stuart: Daniels almost had Teddy right out of the gate!
Richard Parker: I’ll hand it to her, smart thinking.
Daniels mounts Palmer and keeps the attack going with forearm shots. The crowd is hot after the near fall.
Richard Parker: Wait a second, I can’t ‘hand it to her’. I hand it to ‘them’, right? Or, uh, okay… call the match, Nick.
Daniels lifts Palmer and throws him into the ropes. She leaps onto Teddy’s shoulders and spikes him with a hurricanrana! This is followed by bouncing off the ropes and dropping a leg across his neck. The Muse hooks both legs for another pinfall attempt.
Nick Stuart: I’m not sure this pinfall attempt was meant to get the victory but instead tire Teddy Palmer in the early stages of the match.
Palmer is panting already as Daniels throws him into the ropes and connects with a neckbreaker cutter. She lifts Palmer and works for a snap suplex but Teddy wiggles free, hits the ropes and flies across the canvas floor with a short-arm clothesline. Daniels flips inside out before crashing to the mat! Suplexes from Palmer follow. He hits Daniels with a belly-to-belly and then a release German. If ropes weren’t a thing, Anna likely falls out of the ring upon impact.
And yet, she’s back on her feet. The two circle each other. Teddy has recovered from the initial onslaught thanks to a few offensive moves of his own. The Elite Eight members are about to lock into a grapple when Daniels slips around Palmer and tries for her own German suplex. Teddy, however, lowers his base, standing switches Daniels and goes for a German.
Nick Stuart: Inside cradle by Daniels!
Richard Parker: It’s the third kickout in the early stages of this match! Daniels is showing she’s not messing around, she wants the victory.
Nick Stuart: Can’t blame her. Elite Eight to Final Four shows you are absolutely no push over.
Daniels hits Palmer with leg strikes as he tries to cover up. Teddy is worked into a corner, hurled into the turnbuckle across the way but stops in his tracks and fires a back elbow to Daniels as she comes racing in. The two stare down… the crowd comes alive at the action they’ve witnessed…
Palmer and Daniels circle. This time, they lock into a grapple. While Anna has a good base, Teddy is able to overpower, apply a headlock and then wrench her neck. The Time Lord shows her feistiness by slipping away, pushing Palmer into the ropes and leaping in the air, connecting under Teddy’s jaw with a knee strike… followed by a DDT.
The Muse waits for the Toronto native to rise before she springs into the ropes and connects with Infinite Power… which is tilt-a whirl headscissors takedown into another tilt-a-whirl headscissors takedown… into another… another… another…
Palmer is loopy as shit. While he gets up each time, he doesn’t have a clue where he’s at.
Daniels bounces off the ropes…
Or does he?
Nick Stuart: Anna Daniels was looking for another headscissors takedown but once she jumped onto Palmer’s shoulders he immediately threw her down into a powerbomb!
Teddy follows with a pop-up powerbomb!
And a pin!
DANIELS HEADSCISSORS PALMER AWAY!
Richard Parker: Look, I’ll be honest. I’m not either of these guy’s or gal’s or they’s biggest fans. Teddy seems to have his head in the clouds… frequently. Anna, um, whatever personality issues she has going on, I’m indifferent. But they are coming to fight! This, I can get behind!
Daniels is already in the ropes when Palmer is on his feet. She leaps with a wicked looking forearm shot. Spit flies out of Palmer’s mouth as he stumbles into the ropes himself… and rebounds with a shoulder block! Then a scoop slam. Then a thunderous back elbow!
Nick Stuart: Pinfall attempt by Ted!
Richard Parker: Pinfalls coming fast and furious. These two have no reason to hate each other. Just move onto the next round as quickly as possible!
Nick Stuart: And considering how Anna started the match, it really does make sense to try putting Teddy away quickly.
Richard Parker: It also makes sense for Teddy to do the same, since he’s already reeling!
Palmer is reeling but he keeps pushing through. Teddy tries for a falcon arrow suplex but Anna escapes and is into the ropes… Palmer hits her with a powerslam but Daniels, ever so crafty, latches onto Palmer’s arm and applies an armbar submission!
Teddy looks over at Anna with a facial expression suggesting ‘how in the hell did you do this???’ before he moves towards the ropes…
Eventually, grabbing them.
The fans give a cheer as both wrestlers find a vertical base. Looking to lock up, both pull back before they do so, perhaps seeing the other one had an opening and was going to strike with something different.
They circle again… the crowd anticipates. Soon, however, Daniels gives a huff and just goes for it. She attempts a knee strike but this time, unlike her first attempt that nearly won the match, Teddy Palmer catches her and lands a backdrop. Anna’s dropped on her head.
Palmer hits the ropes and aims for a curb stomp as the Gallifrey native is on all fours…
Nick Stuart: NO! Nosebleed Section misses!
The Time Lord shoots to her feet and connects with an olympic slam!
Nick Stuart: Anna is going to the top rope! This could pay off BIG TIME!
Corkscrew shooting star press!
Nick Stuart: She hits it! This match is over!
BARELY A SHOULDER UP!
The crowd thought it was a three! Perhaps, inside her head somewhere, Anna also thought it was. Regardless, she’s not one to argue and keeps the attack going. Knee strike, after knee strike, after knee strike.
Richard Parker: Daniels has come to wrestle. Relentless pressure!
She Irish whips Teddy into the corner across the way. This time, he meets the buckle chest-first and stumbles out… into a spinning heel kick by Daniels. The move echoes throughout the arena and Daniels pins.
Daniels mounts Palmer and hammers the Canadian with shot after shot… however, Palmer works into a corner and the referee asks for a break. Daniels throws her arms up and backtracks as requested. This follows Teddy Palmer charging at Anna but she moves!
Palmer hits the next turnbuckle chest-first. The Time Lord looks for a backstabber…
Nick Stuart: No! Palmer caught her! I can’t believe he caught her with two hands BEHIND his back!
Teddy shows sheer power by flipping Daniels all the way around his body and drills the multitude star with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker!
Crappe Diem follows, the repeated crucifix elbows into Daniels’s skull. The crowd eats it up and Palmer shows no signs of intending to stop. He knows he’s in for a fight. He knew it the second he was hit under the jaw… but now he has momentum and he won’t let up.
Palmer whips Daniels into the ropes and lands a spear! Anne folds in half as Teddy drops down and hooks both legs.
Nick Stuart: TRIANGLE CHOKE! Teddy has applied his submission, Bye Bye Byrdie on Anna Daniels!
Richard Parker: Zero time wasted after the kickout! Maybe I was a little harsh about Teddy not caring earlier…
The crowd stands, knowing this may be the end of the match. Dead center of the ring, Anna Daniels is in trouble!
She fights, it’s a struggle and Teddy has the move perfectly applied! Nevertheless, the fight in The Muse is there. With her right leg, she’s able to dig her heel into the canvas and push off a tiny little bit.
– – – – – – – far away from the ropes.
Daniels refuses to submit. Teddy sees they have moved a little closer but all he can do is clamp down on her.
Anna moves again.
– – – – – – away from the ropes.
Palmer tries to tighten his grip. It’s already applied strongly and yet, Anna moves again!
– – – – – away from the ropes.
The fans are cheering. The Time Lord makes another play. She has her leg positioned well, she moves forward once more… this time covering even more ground!
– – – – away from the ropes.
She’s moved about halfway. She can feel it, she knows she can get this thing done. Daniels cries as she digs her free foot into the mat and pushes up and off, this time nearly standing as she does.
– away from the ropes!
The crowd is white hot! She tries to reach out but needs another inch to go.
– – – – – – – – away from the ropes.
The crowd cheers again, this time for Teddy Palmer as he drops the hold, stands up and quickly brings Daniels all the way to the middle of the ring!
Nick Stuart: Terrific move by Teddy!
The Canadian attempts to reapply the triangle choke… it’s on!! Daniels is locked into the move from right where she started! She’s fading… and fast!
Richard Parker: One of those voices has to get her to quit, huh? There’s gotta be a quitter in there somewhere!
But there isn’t. At least not yet. Daniels tries to stand with Teddy hanging onto her for dear life. The Time Lord attempts to move towards the ropes… she makes a little ground. She’s trying to work her knee forward, see if she can knock Palmer off him… but she can’t do it…
However, as Daniels strives to stand up for what has to feel like the 500th time, Palmer’s hold slips for a brief second. As he tries to readjust…
Nick Stuart: ANNA ROLLS TEDDY UP!
The Muse is too tired from the choke, she needs to catch her breath. She lays on the mat and Teddy glances at referee Timo Bolamba, making sure it wasn’t a three.
Timo Bolamba: It wasn’t a three!
Palmer nods, rises from the canvas and charges at Anna Daniels.
Nick Stuart: Ted’s looking for the curb stomp!
Daniels may have been playing possum but likely just got a second wind in time. She pops up, snatches Teddy Palmer’s neck and hits him with a cutter!!
Nick Stuart: ANOTHER near fall!
Richard Parker: Still anyone’s game!
It takes a while but both wrestlers are on their feet and exchange shot for shot, the crowd cheering with each one. Finally, it’s Daniels who hits that knee strike on Palmer, knocking him backwards. She takes to the ropes, leaps onto Palmer’s shoulders and lands a spike hurricanrana. The crowd is on fire as Palmer, who is resilient himself, finds a vertical base…
Daniels charges again, Palmer leaps into the air and clubs her with a forearm smash. She falls to the mat, Palmer hits the ropes…
Nick Stuart: NOSEBLEED SECTION!
It takes Teddy a good moment to collect himself but he flips Anna Daniels over and hooks the leg.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: The winner of this match… Teddy Palmer!
Palmer’s theme plays as he rolls off Anna Daniels, absolutely spent. The crowd cheers for Teddy as he eventually puts his arms in the air, only to pull them back down and rub his forehead.
Nick Stuart: Hell of a match here folks. Anna in the early stages, Anna fighting at the end. It was one slip up. You know what, now that I think about it, I wouldn’t even call it a slip up. Teddy just happened to connect with the curb stomp a moment before Daniels got to her feet.
Richard Parker: And yet Teddy survives. Throw a giant in O’Haire at him, get taken to the limit by Anna Daniels, he’s gotten it done.
Nick Stuart: There will be another day to fight for Anna Daniels.
Richard Parker: Time Lord, right? Can’t she, uh, go back and fix some things?
Nick Stuart: I’m not sure it works that way, Richard.
Richard Parker: Then what good is time if the Time Lord can’t manipulate it!?
ReVival comes to a close when Palmer pulls to his feet. He looks over at Daniels with a nod and celebrates with the crowd.
Almasy Invitational Final Four