PRIME: The Final Frontier
Walking down the back halls of the MGM Grand, Mister Dot Pfefferman is already prepared to step out for his match, in pristine white wrestling trunks and boots, with a white jacket, the left breast with an embroidered NP on it in cursive script, the same on his boots. In his hand, spine creased with love was Walter Rudin’s “Principles of Mathematical Analysis.” Pfefferman is spending the opening moments of the broadcast filling his head with more Mathematics.
You know who’s not filling his head with mathematics? “Event Horizon” Hayes Hanlon, exiting a dressing room, ready to roll in his black boots and tights. He slaps his cheeks a few times, breathing in sharp breaths followed by quick exhales.
The sight of Mr. Pfefferman approaching pulls Hayes from his pre-game pump-up. Resetting himself, Hanlon turns his frame toward the math wiz, whose nose is deep in the writings of Walter Rudin.
Hayes Hanlon: A little light reading before the opening match, huh? That must be a really good book!
Nicholas Pfefferman: … Yes. Something to that effect.
Hayes Hanlon: My bad, but I get it. I can get lost in the pages myself from time to time. Have you read “The Da Vinci Code?” That shit blew my MIND.
Nicholas Pfefferman: I am certain that was right at the ceiling of your “abilities”…
Hayes Hanlon: Well, I have to admit…
Mr. Pfefferman waits for the rookie to finish his thought, but not patiently.
Hayes Hanlon: I actually didn’t read it, I only saw the movie, but I hear that…
Nicholas Pfefferman: (interrupting) Yes, this is all so very exciting. Frankly, I’m rather busy with some important work and so if you wouldn’t mind…
Hayes Hanlon: Hey man, I think we got off on the wrong foot. (extending a hand) I’m Hayes Hanlon, they call me “Event Horizon.” We’ve got the opener tonight for the Five Star Scramble.
Pfefferman looks at the hand, then he looks at Hayes, then looks at the hand again. Hayes takes the hint and pulls it back. At the same moment Nicholas slams Baby Rudin shut.
Nicholas Pfefferman: I find it frankly preposterous that you, an uneducated lout of ALL people, would know anything about the work done by Rindler, and the variety of actual physical objects that encompasses. Or perhaps did you think because there was a talking picture on your magic box that you had some lay understanding of the mechanics at the extreme end of reality?!
Hayes Hanlon: (blinking twice) …what?
Nicholas Pfefferman: DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCEPT OF WHAT AN EVENT HORIZON IS!?
Hayes Hanlon: Oh, for sure! So check this out: in space there are these things called “black holes…”
Nicholas Pfefferman: (pinching the bridge of his nose) Yes. You might say I am familiar with the term…
Hayes Hanlon: Oh so you’ve heard of them! Great! So, they have this crazy strong gravitational pull, and there’s this point where not even light can escape…
Nicholas Pfefferman: Yes yes, I understand singularities both as a physical manifestation of the concept of asymptotes in reality where light can approach but can not actually penetrate, and while I am sure that you seem to have addressed the equivalent of a thumbnail against the human population, I would like to assure you that the work of many scientists and brilliant minds doesn’t need the elucidation of every Jim, Tom and OR Bob who wanders by. I doubt given the look of you that you would master the basics of algebra, let alone the advanced tensor calculus that would explain even one of the…
Hayes interrupts, almost frowning behind his dark mustache.
Hayes Hanlon: Listen, man. I just think space stuff is cool.
Nicholas Pfefferman: Why is it I must have every moment of peace and calm interrupted by every slobbering and drooling handyman, or whatever it is you are? If it is not the clown show that runs this building trying their best to explain to me in equivalent terms as to why their child is special and deserves some kind of special treatment, it’s every barely above the australopithecus thinker coming and gibbering about whatever “cool” term they heard on Cosmos!
Has it ever occurred to you…
Nothing has ever occurred to you, nothing ever will occur to you. Frankly, I have a match to get ready for, and If you want some tutoring in the basics of how the mechanics of the universe work, when you get done sweeping the hall, I am available for the reasonable and affordable rate of…more than you can afford. EXCUSE ME.
Pfefferman chooses this moment to tuck his book under his arm and exit briskly. Hayes watches blankly and scratches his head as Nicholas turns away, then chooses to call after him.
Hayes Hanlon: Good luck in the match, bro!
Hayes Hanlon vs. Dusk vs. Garbage Bag Johnny vs. Nicholas Pfefferman
For the first time tonight, we get a look at the packed house that is the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the crane camera panning around to the PRIMEates. Now, a selection of the wittier phrases Sharpied to bristol board:
CONGRATS ON 100 YEARS IN THE BIZ, DUSK
MURIEL I WANT MY MONEY BACK…OR A PAIR OF YOUR UNDERWEAR
JILES’ MOM <3 TEDDY
I’M NOT A CRUMB, I’M THE WHOLE COOKIE
JE SUIS VENU POUR FLAMBERGE
EAT MY BUNDT CAKE BOBBY
TEDDY PALMER DIGS GOTH CHICKS
TEDDY PALMER RUXPIN IS MY FRIEND
VICKIE HALL IS A VIRGIN
+3-18-22+ I WAS HERE!
3-18-22 = -37
I GOT JUST TWO WORDS FOR YA: I SUCK AT MATH
I NEED A MATH TUTOR, MR. PFEFFERMAN
YOUNGBLOOD, SAY YOU WANT ME BACK IN YOUR LIFE, SO I’M JUST A DEAD MAN CRAWLING TONIGHT
IMPULSE & CALLY > JC & VICKIE
Nick Stuart: Welcome to ReVival! And on our 5th episode back, somewhat fittingly, we kick off the night with a Five Star Scramble!
Richard Parker: Seven more men trying to punch their tickets to Culture Shock and right into a glorious opportunity for the Five Star title. But speaking of opportunities, and titles Nick…
Nick Stuart: We cannot forget what tonight has all been building to: Teddy Palmer vs. Cancer Jiles. Brandon Youngblood vs. Impulse. By the end of the night, Richard, we’re going to know who we’ll have headlining Culture Shock going one-on-one for the richest prize: The Universal Championship. Seymour Almasy Memorial Quarter Finals on our hands tonight!
As we get a glimpse of the ‘tale of the tape’ hinting to what’s still to come, the general anxious energy of the crowd turns to a chorus of boos at the opening beats of “Reaper” from Frankie and the Witch FIngers means the Professor is first through the curtains. Looking the picture of calm and class, if slightly smug, the PRIMEates let Mr. Pfefferman know just how they felt.
Nick Stuart: Seems Pfefferman has made quite the impression in short order.
Richard Parker: Picture perfect pompadour and an IQ that only a few games in the Madness are reaching as point totals. No, no idea why these people can’t identify.
With the calloused patience of a saint, or hack comic, Mr. Pfefferman just lets his head bob side to side at some joke our cameras aren’t near enough to pick up, making his way down the aisle.
Vince Howard: From Colorado Springs, Colorado! Nicholas Pfefferman!
Unzipping the ring jacket with each of the steps up, the smug turns sour as Frankie and his Witch Fingers quickly get cut for We Came as Romans’ “Black Hole.”
Nick Stuart: And listen to the people welcoming in this fast rising rookie.
Richard Parker: Kid needs to learn a little about respect. Mr. Pfefferman staring a hole into the upstart might just be the guy to smarten him up.
Accompanied with the vast and epic cosmos playing above on the PRIMEview, Hayes Hanlon sways to the top of ramp, conducting the lights to time with the music, things get quiet, but the crowd, and music, pick back up hitting the chorus. Confident grin at the ready, “The Event Horizon” slaps outstretched hands on his way to the squared circle.
Vince Howard: From West Linn, Oregon, he is the EVENT HORIZON! HAYYYESS! HANNNLONN!
Marching with purpose, Hanlon slides underneath the ropes and right into Pfefferman’s face. Pfefferman lets the official for this one, the much smaller Ashley Barlow, hold him back before showing serious contempt. Brushing it off, Hanlon turns back to the center of the ring, arms outstretched and posing.
‘Stronger’ by Kanye West rips through the MGM Grand Arena as the fans immediately start to chant.
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
From the backstage area emerges the man himself, Dusk. He stands at the top of the ramp as the fans cheer him on and chant his name. He has on a pair of white pants with black stripes on them with Dusk running down the outside of both legs. He wears a long black trench coat as well. He methodically makes his way down the ramp, slapping the hands of fans on his way to the ring, before he slides in under the bottom rope.
Vince Howard: From Los Angeles, California, DUSSSK!
The elder statesman of PRIME makes his way over to an unoccupied corner, makes his way up to the middle turnbuckle, and holds his arms out as the fans continue to chant his name
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
He hops off the middle turnbuckle and removes his trenchcoat before handing it over the top rope to a ringside attendant before slamming his forearms into his chest and making his way to his corner of the ring.
Nick Stuart: Just one more.
“Johnny Will Win Zero 2 Hero” picks up on the PA, and the bearded and bathrobed Dirtiest Dude in PRIME staggers to the stage.
Richard Parker: The real wildcard in this one. I don’t know how these people are cheering the idiot, though. I’d hope they’d all be tossing bars of soap at him.
Vince Howard: And their opponent, hailing from Chicago, Illinois!
Nick Stuart: Hey! Pfefferman jumping Dusk from behind before this one was even underway.
Richard Parker: I couldn’t sit through another full entrance, so how about we thank Mr. Pfefferman? Really laying in those ax handles!
The music cuts, and Vince Howard scrambles back to the relative safety of the timekeeper’s area, but Johnny continues his slow two-step toward the ring.Hanlon and Barlow stock over to break the assault, but Dusk is back to a knee and returning rights to the breadbasket. The ref needs to dance out of the way, and Hanlon to avoid her. As Pfefferman pulls Dusk into the headlock, the zebra motions for the bell.
Nick Stuart: Officially underway. Dusk squeezing his head loose, shoving Pfefferman to the ropes.
On the return, Dusk drops and the Professor of PRIME continues to the ropes opposite. Leaping up, but not over on the second pass, Pfefferman slams the breaks in time to catch Dusk and plant him with a power slam.
Richard Parker: Quick thinking on display!
First to tell you himself, Pfefferman taps the pointer to his nogging. Turning around, he quickly remembers that this was a fatal fourway, Hanlon and Johnny standing ready.
Nick Stuart: Funny how quickly your pride can make you a target.
Hayes turns Pfefferman around into a sharp and reverbating chop. Turned in a grimace, he covers high when Johnny fakes a jab, but hops when he gets his toes stomped upon instead.
Nick Stuart: Mr. Pfefferman down, slick sling blade from Hayes. Up again, and that’s not how you want to land. Manhattan drop from Garbage Bag Johnny! Pfefferman trying to beg away from this.
Richard Parker: Can you blame him? This is supposed to be a fatal four way, not a handicap match!
But Nicholas can’t find solace backing up, right into Dusk, and a stiff uppercut of the European variety. The unfortunate volleyball, Pfefferman gets tagged with a right from Hayes, a forearm from GBJ. Dusk wracks his jaw with another uppercut. Hayes lights up Pfefferman’s chest again.
Nick Stuart: Headbutt from Johnny drops Pfefferman.
Not done with the fun, Dusk picks at Pfefferman’s waistband and pulls him vertical.
Nick Stuart: Superkick from Hanlon!
Hayes flashes a thumbs up that Dusk is happy to return.
Richard Parker: And a superkick from Dusk! I knew this whole good guy act couldn’t keep up.
Indeed, not to be upstaged, Hayes feels Dusk’s size 12 kiss his chin. Either in rage of watching his little buddy taken down, or just following the crowd, Johnny settles on taking Dusk down with something between a superkick and calf kick.
All men down, but stirring, Pfefferman thinks between just to shuffle to the outside to strategize.
First back to his feet inside, GBJ pulls Dusk up by the ears, but Dusk drops to a knee and rattles Johnny with a jawbreaker. Taking rear position, Dusk slips in the full nelson, looking dragon suplex.
Richard Parker: Like a kid in kindergarten, Johnny plays limp and slips out the suplex.
In the confusion, Hayes grabs the waist and pops the hips.
Nick Stuart: German! Whoa! Dusk lands on his feet.
Going with the momentum, Dusk bounds off the ropes and dives with a spear.
Nick Stuart: Johnny shoves Hanlon out of the way. Dusk cuts GBJ in half!
Meeting in the middle of the ring, Dusk fakes another kick high, but kicks low, knocking Hayes to a knee. In no time, he follows in a knee strike to topple the Event Horizon the rest of the way. Veteran awareness senses tingling, Dusk pays GBJ a little attention in the form of a soccer kick to the side of the ribs.
Nick Stuart: Another knee to the side of Hayes’ head. Dusk pulling him up and into a Samoan! No! Hanlon out the backdoor! School boy!
Rather than a pin try, Hayes pops to his feet and shuffles a thrust kick to do more than just ‘pepper’ Dusk’s all salt hair. Keeping the motion a-going, Hayes spikes Dusk’s forehead to the canvas with the short hurricanrana.
Nick Stuart: Hayes’ effort getting a smile from Johnny. He’s motioning for Dusk to be thrown to him.
Happy to keep the teamwork going, Hayes presses Dusk into the ropes and comes out with an Irish whip. Whatever GBJ had planned, Pfefferman puts a halt to that, grabbing an ankle. What results is an ugly collision.
Switching targets, Mr. Pfefferman grabs Dusk by the boot and pulls him under the bottom rope. Dusk gets driven into the guardrail as if the front row didn’t have reason enough to be excited. Taking him back up, Pfefferman digs a shoulder in, and Dusk collides with the small of his back against the unmoving ring apron.
Nick Stuart: Hanlon out to meet with Pfefferman!
Richard Parker: The kid can jaw, but Mr. Pfefferman is above that.
Is one way of saying that Nic back peddled and slips into the ring rather than meet the confrontation head on. Not deterred, Hayes follows, but gets stomped for his trouble.Pressing the advantage, Pfefferman has Hayes in a deep hammerlock, transitioning smoothly to a headlock, then taking him down with the snapmare.
Richard Parker: No kickpads, but they heard that one in the cheap seats. No, Johnny! Look out, Mr. Pfefferman!
As if listening to live broadcast, Pfefferman does evade a charging GBJ by taking two steps to the left. Not stopping, Johnny dives through the ropes and takes Dusk out on the outside.
Richard Parker: I wasn’t worried.
Circling Hayes with a series of stomps, Pfefferman stops when he gets to the feet, grabbing a boot instead and laying in elbow drop after elbow drop to tenderize the inside of the leg. The series only stops when it’s time for a short strut, and the figure four applied.
Nick Stuart: Agony. Hayes needs to find the way out, pronto.
Back from the outside, Johnny slowly makes his way over for the save.
Nick Stuart: GBJ with the stomp!
Richard Parker: But Pfefferman isn’t breaking the hold. He’s almost daring Johnny to try again.
Without a better idea at hand, GBJ does try again, only for Pfefferman to catch his boot. GBJ looks confused, but Pfefferman is full of determination. He twists and Johnny finds himself belly down to the mat.
Nick Stuart: Pfefferman has Hayes in a figure four, and Johnny in an ankle lock!?
Richard Parker: Look at the ref, she’s trying to see who’s going to tap out first.
Fourth man on the scene, and sick of the nonsense, Dusk picks up a jog and leaps, crashing down on Pfefferman with a senton.
First out of the wreckage, Dusk pulls Hayes up and takes him for a walk with a series of European uppercuts. Knocked spacey, Dusk suplexes The Event Horizon with the Northern Lights. Holding the bridge, the official slides in for the count.
Pfefferman tries to save… the match for himself, diving to break the pin attempt.
But Hayes rocks a shoulder up on his own.
Looking over his options, Pfefferman only gets a kick to Hayes before Johnny runs him down with a jumping knee high across the back. Johnny gives a thumbs to Hayes, and starts towards Pfefferman again.
Nick Stuart: Caught from behind by Dusk! Johnny just planted with the inverted DDT.
Dusk scrambles toward the pin, but Johnny keeps rolling to the safety of the apron.
Richard Parker: Like a piece of trash, Dusk just shoves Garbage Bag Johnny the rest of the way to the floor.
Spying from the corner of his eye, and a quick camera switch from the monkeys in the back, Dusk spots Hayes climbing to the top. A bounce off the ropes is enough to have the rookie lose his footing and land uncomfortably.
Nick Stuart: Hayes a little slow getting to the high rent district, and he paid the price.
Stalking over, Dusk softens Hayes with a few shots before maneuvering him into the tree of woe. Dusk’s framing up whatever will have to wait, as Pfefferman spins him and shares a dissertation on the importance and inevitability of his victory nose-to-nose.
Nick Stuart: Don’t think that you’re convincing anyone here, Mr. Pfefferman.
Dusk counterpoints with a right hook, but this was the opening Pfefferman was looking for. He takes the wrist and it’s Dusk’s turn to have his shoulder joint stressed with the hammerlock. Rather than sit in the rest spot, Dusk spins and lounges forward, Pfefferman continuing to crash into Hayes, and the corner he’s currently caught up in. Dusk straightens the Professor back up only to double him over in a series of shoulder thrusts.
Richard Parker: Talk about efficiency. Two for the price of one.
Pfefferman planted and trying to get back his wind, Dusk backs up a distance and charges back in with a big splash.
Nick Stuart: Splash into the corner from Dusk! GBJ! Following in trying to collect them all!
But Dusk rolls out of the way. Johnny crashes in with a hard splash of his own, but gets rolled to his shoulders. Small package.
Nick Stuart: Only a two count. Dusk back up, Shining Wizard! Back into the pinfall.
Richard Parker: Broken up by Hanlon. Low dropkick to the mush.
Both scramble to their feet, but Dusk shoots first with a right. A second is ducked, as Hayes feeds a right to the ribs. Adrenaline helped, Dusk puts serious intentions behind a haymaker, but Hayes again goes underneath. Unbalanced, Dusk is off his feet and driven high on the shoulders to the canvas with the Death Valley driver.
In a match this chaotic, the advantage is only held so long.
Nick Stuart: Chop block! Pfefferman takes Hayes out at the knees.
And just as Nicholas gets his footing, Johnny launches with the hip attack.
Richard Parker: Flying asshole!
Johnny is finally in fighting form, pulling Nicholas up and spinning into the hangman’s neckbreaker.. But Pfefferman slips his way free, and drives a forearm to the back of the neck. Pfefferman reaches down to grab an arm and pull Johnny into position.
Nick Stuart: Hayes! Pfefferman planted with the powerbomb before he even knew what was happening!
GBJ is lucky to shift a shoulder, barely missing being the crash pad for Pfefferman. No harm intended, Hayes is offering a hand to pull Johnny back up. GBJ takes the hand, and scoots through the wickets.
Nick Stuart: GBJ almost pancaked, now Hayes in the pumphandle. Made in Japan!
Richard Parker: Finally.
Caught between options, Johnny goes into the cover, hooking Pfefferman by the outside leg.
Nick Stuart: A little too much time elapsed.
Pfefferman is able to roll a shoulder, though Johnny isn’t discouraged. GBJ takes both wrists and tries to apply, you’d guess a Rings of Saturn, but what we get something more like a crucifix. Either way, pin attempt.
Dusk breaks up the last fall, stomping the middle of GBJ’s back. Trying clear space, Dusk grabs Mr. Pfefferman by the scruff of the neck, and tosses him to the apron. Disoriented, Pfefferman can’t put a fight up when Dusk runs him face first to the corner post.
Nick Stuart: Hayes to Dusk, standing switch! German!
Hayes tumbles on the landing of the release German, he’s near the ropes, but down.
Now it’s Johnny’s turn to take the assisted trust fall, but he’s reaching down to grab hold of Dusk’s leg.
Nick Stuart: Blocked.
Dusk breaks a smile, but stays focused, spinning Johnny around and over in a butterfly suplex. Staying on the Dirtiest Dude, Dusk rocks in a few knees to the side.
Richard Parker: And a baseball dropkick for Mr. Pfefferman trying to sneak himself back in. Dusk has control of that ring.
Dusk turns his attention back to Hanlon Hayes, on the apron and pulling himself the rest of the way up with the ropes.
Nick Stuart: Dusk trying to bring Hayes back in with a suplex! No! Hayes muscelling the bigger man over! Dusk safely to the apron! And here come the rights!
Both men trade shots, with Dusk hitting just that little bit harder. When Hayes stops returning shots is when Dusk takes him down with a lariat.
Nick Stuart: Down goes Hayes. Johnny bounding off the ropes! Triangle shoulder block! Both GBJ and Dusk landing on that thinly padded concrete.
Freshest of the bunch, Pfefferman finds Hayes stirring first. Pfefferman scoops and deposits the Event Horizon chest first to the guardrail with the snake eyes. Taking the wrist, he tries to send Hayes hard into the corner railings, but Hanlon is able to switch the motion.
Nick Stuart: Pfefferman hard into the rails.
That collision knocking the MGM security guard posted on the other side from his seat. The meathead in two sizes too small black polyester turns to stare down Mr. Pfefferman. His tenuous relationship about to cost him a chance at the Five Star championship, Nicholas squirms back and away, right back to Hanlon Hayes.
Nick Stuart: Samoan drop! If that back was sore before.
Hayes ushers Pfefferman back under the bottom ropes, and can start feeling the energy pulsing through him. Back in the ring, and standing behind Pfefferman, Hayes’ hands shake and raise, until the Professor turns around.
Nick Stuart: The Epoch! Chokebomb, and the pin!
On the outside, Dusk is fighting off Johnny.
Dusk makes it back into the ring, but the count is happening on the far side.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: The winner of this matchup! The Event Horizon! Hayyyyess! Hanlooonnn!
Nick Stuart: Hayes is moving on to Culture Shock! He’ll be in that Five Star Championship match!
Richard Parker: Dusk just a little short to break that one up.
Ashley Barlow raises Hayes’ hand and the youngster from Oregon lets out a roar of celebration. He climbs a corner turnbuckle and pounds his chest before ReVival cuts elsewhere.
THE ALMASY INVITATIONAL DONATION DRIVE IS ENTERING ITS LAST WEEKS! MAKE YOUR PLEDGE TODAY!
A PRESSING PRESS CONFERENCE
The scene is the Studio Ballroom at the MGM Grand. The podium stands in the middle of a room with a dull chatter from the sparse attendance. There are about 100 chairs set up, but only a handful are occupied. Standing by the podium, wearing a black suit and tie with a white oxford shirt, is a man with long, silver hair and surprisingly smooth skin, sunglasses over his eyes. Savvy observers may remember him from his days in Message Board Entertainment as the one-off character Sephiroth.
Walking around the room in a similar suit is a slovenly man with hair that might be best described as “steel wool-like,” a gut that hangs over his pants like the eaves on a South Philly rowhome, and a body odor that repulses all whom he walks near. Even savvier observers may recall his short run in A1E as Italian-American stereotype Joey Baggadonuts. Another one in a suit that still has tags on it is wandering around inspecting bags and getting maced for his efforts. Joke’s on them; he’s immune. He twirls his moustache with purpose after each failed attempt at pickpocketing. He’s the former A1E Triple Star Champion and resident con artist Roderick McRatrick. Finally, Mikey, the brother of the person everyone is here to see, is standing by a closed door, the only one in a suit with an earpiece.
The crowd is sparse as noted, but it contains some important people. Dusk sits in the front row, wearing a t-shirt and track pants. A few seats down from him sits lead interviewer Angelica Brooks, wearing her ReV-day best. Matt Mills is courteous enough to leave a seat between him and his senior. Also in the front row, but in a seat separated from the rest of the crowd is the matriarch of the Puddings family, Karen, dressed in her Wal*Mart best and bathed in Kim Kardashian perfume. Production assistant Mark, who may or may not be on probation, sits a few rows behind, flop sweat visible on the armpits of his work ‘n wear. One seat next to him is El Hijo del Super Cool Guy, as lively as ever. King Blueberry is a few rows behind them trying, and failing, to keep a low profile. A few seats over is Ria Nightshade, who looks ready to pull a switchblade out of her boot at the slightest provocation.
Head referee Timo Bolamba is a few seats in front of her, in his referee shirt and a fine pair of black slacks, looking attentive and ready for the circus to begin. Flanking him, looking less attentive but just as dressed in their ref garb, are Elvis Nixon and Jimmy Turnbull. In the last row of seats, Rezin has taken to looking under chairs for spare change and/or incompletely eaten hot dogs or maybe a roach someone left behind. Given that he’s in a conference room in a high-end hotel and not backstage at an Eyehategod concert, he finds himself with no luck. The Enemigos sitting in the final row have not noticed him at all. Finally, sitting on the floor a good five feet behind the last row of chairs is Bobby Dean, eating a curiously long meatloaf po’ boy, which is something that actually exists.
Able to concentrate on his task above the chatter of the room, Mikey touches his earpiece and gets word. He opens the door to allow his charge to walk into the room. Simultaneously, McRatrick rushes to the podium, nearly tripping over Dean’s sandwich and “accidentally” hip-checking one of the Enemigos en route to the microphone.
RMR: Hello, I am Roderick McRatrick, The Anglo Luchador’s Chief of Staff. I am here to welcome you to the inaugural “Anglo Luchador Vacation Club” seminar. I hope you all have your bonded, $50,000-checks ready to hand ov-
At that moment, the old luchador, dressed stunningly in a black suit with silver pinstripes, purple floral print tie, silk shirt, and patent leather shoes, arm-drags McRatrick off the podium and into a stack of spare chairs off to the side.
TAL: Hey yo. I apologize for any inconvenience that dipstick has caused you. He neither speaks for nor represents me. Now, you’re all wondering why I called this press conference…
King Blueberry: Not really, no.
TAL: Yes, you are, and you’re not allowed to interrupt me yet. I’m not Sarah Huckabee Sanders, you know. I will dropkick a S-O-B for being disrespectful and not just pretend my Gorgon-level bad looks will turn you into stone eventually. Anyway, it has come to my attention that certain people in this promotion have accused me of unsavory acts. I would like EMPHATICALLY to deny them. Read my lips, no new taxes. I am not a crook. I don’t know what the word “the” means. I did not inhale. I certainly have never been to Teapot Dome. I do not own stock in Brawndo. It has electrolytes.
Ria Nightshade: Why am I wasting my time here? Facts are facts. We know you eat Ic…
TAL: Hey, pipe down, you will get your chance to speak. Now, I am opening the floor to questions…
Several people in the crowd stand up to say something, but lead reporter Angelica Brooks is the first to assert herself.
Angelica Brooks: Mr. Luchador, Angelica Brooks, PRIME interview corps, I’d like to ask…
TAL: (interrupting) Whoa, whoa, whoa, I don’t know how you gringos do press conferences…
Ria Nightshade: Uhh, you’re a white American too, dipshit!
TAL: (brushing her off) …but lucha libre press conferences start with the subject asking questions to the audience. And my first question is to you, Rezin, in the back. What are you doing to that poor Enemigo?
Rezin: Hm, WHAT?! NO!! I wasn’t trying to get them to unionize in order to start a socialist uprising within PRIME or anything! STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT!
TAL: Alright then, hotshot, when was the last time you read State and Revolution by Vladimir Illytch Lenin?
Rezin gives him a blank look.
TAL: Okay then, I…
Rezin interrupts the old luchador.
Rezin: Okay, but my question is, if IcyHots can’t be consumed, can you at least verify rumors that when INHALED, they may produce some psychotropic effects? Asking for a friend…
TAL: I said this wasn’t time for…
The Goat Bastard is again oblivious to the interjection.
Rezin: Look, will I get high if I burn it?! Give me something here! I have to fight NOVA tonight, for chrissakes! You expect me to go into that SOBER?!
TAL: Goddammit, next question, Bobby Dean…
The camera shoots quickly, The Office-style, at Bobby, who is still nibbling at his abominably long sandwich.
TAL: Did you bring enough for everyone?
Bobby Dean: Are you kidding? I didn’t bring enough for ME!
Bobby Dean: Uhm, I think I’m supposed to ask a question now, right?
TAL: No, the time is for me to ask questions, but seeing as though you have enough to deal with in your normal travels, go ahead, ask one.
Bobby Dean: That was my question…
TAL: Son of a… next question, El Hijo del Super Cool Guy! Where were you the night of October 27, 1997?
The camera jump cuts to the mannequin, then jump cuts back to the old luchador, then back and forth a few more times the same way that it did between P. Diddy and that guy with the crazy blonde hair on The Four. Finally, the camera rests on The Anglo Luchador.
TAL: I am satisfied with your answer. You’re free to go, no further questions your honor.
The room starts to buzz again, but Angelica Brooks cuts through the noise.
Angelica Brooks: Mr. Luchador, how much longer can we expect this farce to continue? You are wasting our time, please let us conduct this press conference based on the reasons why you called it?
TAL: Oh, okay, fine, ask your question, Angie.
Angelica Brooks: Okay! I’d like to ask you…
TAL: Too slow, next question, from the guy in the ref shirt and the facepaint.
Timo Bolamba stands up to ask his question.
Timo Bolamba: Well, you know my name, we trained a few weeks ago, but I want to know, on a scale of one to ten, how do you rate the officiating here in PRIME?
TAL: A fine question indeed, Mr. Bolamba. Normally, I would say zero because no gods, no masters, but since you were kind enough to show me how to work out my calves, and because I would love to get away with some light cheating here or there, but only against opponents who deserve it, I will say ten.
Timo Bolamba: Regardless of your favor, we do not condone che…
TAL: Ah ah ah, that was your question, time for someone else, you, the comely MILF in the front row.
Karen Puddings stands up, unsure of what the word “MILF” means, to ask her question.
Karen: Yeah, I just got one thing on my mind right now I was hoping you could answer, young man. How come there isn’t no douche dispensers in the bathrooms here? I thought this was a fancy establishment, and how’s an ol’ go-getter like me supposed to stay fresh when I’m trying to get a little di…
TAL: WHOA WHOA WHOA that’s just a little too much information there. Hoo boy, I see where Mussy gets it, but I have it on good authority that the vagina is indeed a self-cleaning oven, okay, before we get too lewd here, who has another question anyone BUT Ms. Puddings there and definitely not you…
The old luchador levels a finger at perhaps the most colorful member of the gathered ensemble, and King Blueberry jumps to his feet. Within the last few moments he has seemingly come into possession of a sport coat and pair of glasses. Don’t think too hard about where they came from, else your nose start to bleed. Also, a yellow sticky note with the words “PRESS PASS” has been slapped over his breast pocket.
King Blueberry: Yeah, hi, Clark Parker here on special assignment from the Planetary Bugle. First, allow me to apologize for my colleague’s crude remarks earlier. He is currently undergoing sensitivity training.
He gestures towards his mannequin companion, who is also wearing glasses and a blazer. Because of course he is.
El Hijo Del Super Cool Guy: …
King Blueberry: No, they do NOT want to hear your opinions on immigration! I am so sorry about this. He’s a work-in-progress. Anyway, given the current socio-economic climate, given the conflict in Ukraine, the rising gas prices, and the apparent end of a years-long health crisis, our readers are curious to know what the IcyHot tastes like. Do you sweeten it with anything? Splenda? Sugar? Sweet’N Low? Also do they still make Sweet’N Low? Thanks.
He sits back down.
TAL: Do I need to get Terrell Owens here to start doing pushups next to me? Because NEXT QUE… no, NOT YOU, ANYONE BUT YOU.
Ria Nightshade rises to her feet.
Ria Nightshade: Shut up, bitch! I’m invoking my democratic right to free press! Or something like that. ANYWAY, do you eat different kinds of IcyHot or do you just stick to the standard stuff? Do they taste differently from each other? These are burning questions the public demands answers to!
TAL: C’MAWN! Isn’t anyone here going to throw me a softball?
Angelica Brooks rises.
TAL: EXCEPT YOU! You had your chance.
Angelica Brooks: See if I ever have you on my podcast.
The old luchador turns to the oldest person in the room, sitting in the front row.
TAL: Dusk! Dusk! Craig, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal. YOU SURELY HAVE A NICE, EASY QUESTION TO ASK ME.
Dusk looks down at his three hundred page notebook, filled with copious notes, and pulls a pen from behind his right ear.
Dusk: So, I’m hearing there is either a groundswell or rumors going around to get you a sponsorship with IcyHot. Has there been discussions from either side about a potential sponsorship with IcyHot? Is there a grassroots uprising in order to make you the face of IcyHot? How do you feel about becoming the face of IcyHot? Are there other sponsorships that you’re looking to get? Maybe metamucil? Maybe AARP? Is there a reason you’re not answering my questions and just looking at me dumbfounded?
The Anglo Luchador is just looking at Dusk dumbfounded, as Dusk himself has described. The natives start getting restless.
Angelica Brooks: Why won’t you let me ask my question?
King Blueberry: YOU EAT ICYHOT, ADMIT IT.
Ria Nightshade: DON’T LIE TO US ANYMORE, YOU JACKASS!
El Hijo del Super Cool Guy: I HEARD THE COOLEST PLACE FOR US TEENS TO HANG OUT IS Ｔｈｅ Ｃｏｌｏｓｓａｌ Ｐｉｌｌａｒ ｏｆ Ｗａｓｐ Ｅｇｇｓ LETS GO DO NOT BRING WEAPONS.
Everyone turns around to look at the mannequin.
El Hijo del Super Cool Guy: …
TAL: That’s more like it.
The fracas continues where it left off, Mikey and the two men who formerly portrayed wrestlers are trying to calm them down while Roderick McRatrick is in the process of pickpocketing the Enemigos, finding only pocket lint, Guatemalan bank notes for one quetzal at best, and Tootsie Roll wrappers. Finally, the old luchador bangs his opened palm on the microphone. The resulting noise gets everyone to shut up.
TAL: OKAY, OKAY. I didn’t think it would have to come to this, but I will prove to you once and for all that I do not eat IcyHot by putting IcyHot in my mouth for the first time ever in front of you godless heathens. Mikey, can you bring me the jar, please.
The old luchador’s brother dutifully brings him a tub of the muscle-relieving liniment.
TAL: Once and for all, I am going to show you how NOT EASILY this stuff goes down.
The Anglo Luchador sticks his three middle fingers into the tub and shoves it in his mouth, WInnie the Pooh-with-a-jar-of-hunny style. The moment the stuff hits his tongue and inner cheeks, his eyes grow the size of clementines. He starts hopping up and down like he just swallowed a lit cherry bomb, removes his hand from his mouth, and starts jumping up and down like he’s on an invisible pogo stick.
TAL: THIBS WABZ A MIBSTAAAAAKEEEEEE
The rest of the crowd looks on in stunned silence (except for Bobby Dean, who is obliviously eating his sandwich) as the old luchador runs around the room like his pants and shirt and mouth are all on fire. He trips over a cord and flies headlong into the podium, which falls into Roderick McRatrick, who is trying to root through Karen Puddings’ handbag. McRatrick is flung into the wall, where his errant hand hits and triggers the fire alarm.
Rezin: (jolted from a stupor after forgetting why he was looking under the chairs) FIRE? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
The room is sent into a frenzy, sending everyone scurrying for the exit, except for McRatrick, the old luchador, and of course Bobby Dean, who is still eating his ridiculously long sandwich. The old luchador gets up and goes hurtling towards the exit holding his mouth. However, he trips over Bobby’s sandwich and skids across the carpeted floor with the alarm still going off.
RMR: Aha! This is my chance for the big score.
As the moustachioed villain attempts to pickpocket the old luchador’s wallet from his back pocket, a shadowy, ominous presence towers over him.
RMR: Uh oh.
The mysterious hulking figure, whose face cannot be seen, grabs McRatrick by the throat and throws him with great force into the field of chairs before grabbing the old luchador by the scruff of his neck and dragging him off.
OH SHIT, IT’S DAVID LYNCH
The camera checks in backstage. Standing before a PRIME backdrop and appearing in his ever-snazzy azure blue suit, the microphone-brandishing junior reporter Simon Tillier greets us with his boyish smile.
Simon Tillier: Thank you for joining me, fellow PRIMEates, as the action continues here tonight at ReVival Oh-Five! Earlier tonight, we witnessed the first of two Five Star Scramble matches to determine who will go on to the Pay Per View mega-event CULTURE SHOCK, for a chance to–
Rezin: HEYY THERE, Simple Simon!!
Simon Tillier: Oh, uh… hi, Rezin. Sorry, I’m a bit–
Rezin: Yo, you think you can be a pal and spot your ol’ buddy Rezin a few dollars?
Simon Tillier: You still owe me the eighteen I lent you! Anyway, if you don’t mind, I was actually here hoping to get a word with–
The Goat Bastard suddenly cuts off the junior reporter and his face fills with starstruck amazement as soon as he sees someone off-camera.
Rezin: Oh… my… VOID… it’s HIM!!
Dusk, who we may presume is Simon’s original interview subject, enters the frame. He’s still in his ring attire.
Rezin: Wow… just… WOW!! I never thought I’d get to meet you in person!
Before he can react, Rezin seizes Dusk by the hand and shakes it enthusiastically.
Rezin: Sir, I don’t say this about many people, but it is an ABSOLUTE HONOR to meet you! I am SUCH a fan of your work!
Dusk looks over at Simon, trepidatiously.
Dusk: Thank you?
Rezin: I don’t care what anybody says; you are a fucking LEGEND! What you’ve done over your career has been a major influence in everything I do! I gotta ask though, now that I’m actually standing here before you because this is something I’ve always wondered about: how in the hell did you guys make that baby in Eraserhead? Is it true you guys used a cow fetus?
Dusk now looks confused. He looks appealingly over to Simon for any kind of hint on what this guy is babbling about. The junior reporter simply looks back at him and shrugs.
Rezin: Nah nahhh, I get it… a master can’t reveal his secrets! Anyway, what are you doing in Vegas? Wait… what ELSE would you be doing here? You’re filming Twin Peaks SEASON FOUR!! Do we get to see the long-awaited return of MISTER JACKPOTS!? GODDAMB, I am so stoked!
Simon Tillier: Rezin, do you have any idea who this is?
Rezin: Whaddya mean? That’s OBVIOUSLY visionary filmmaker and artist, David Lynch!
Dusk opens his mouth and then shuts it. He looks over at Simon.
Dusk: Am I being punked? Is King Blueberry behind this?
He looks back at Rezin, his hands on his hips, the sweat still dripping off his body.
Dusk: Look, I’m not particularly in the mood for this. Just finished this match, you see. Now I need to go wash off the stink of another loss. Did you not just see me? Out there wrestling? I think you have a match coming up as well–
Dusk takes a deep breath in and starts coughing.
Dusk: Well, that explains everything.
Now it’s time for Rezin to look at Simon with a look of confusion. The junior reporter sighs.
Simon Tillier: Rezin, allow me to introduce you to PRIME legend, Dusk.
Rezin: …WHO?! Wait, do you mean… the Kanye guy?
Simon Tillier: Uhh, sure, I think?
The Escape Artist’s eye twitches. He shudders from head to toe. His face contorts into funny shapes. He is seemingly mustering up the few working brain cells he has left to keep his mind from going into a full meltdown.
Rezin: Uggghhhh, Yeezy… literally the LEAST PUNK ROCK human being on the planet…
He turns his attention back to Dusk, now with much, much less adulation in his demeanor.
Rezin: PRIME legend, EHH?? So WHAT, that gives you some sort of VIP status around here? Like, you can just swoop in and hijack any shmuck’s interview, whenever you please?!
Simon Tillier: We weren’t having–
No longer having any use in this exchange, Rezin relieves Simon of his microphone and shoves him out of the shot as he inches closer to Dusk, looking daringly into the eyes of the seasoned ring veteran.
Rezin: Well ya know what I think, DOPPLEGANGER? I AIN’T THE ONLY ONE STANDIN’ HERE THAT REEKS OF PISS!! And lookin’ at you, I see EXACTLY what I think of this company’s legacy: a DEAD and FADED MEMORY! Just coastin’ by on nostalgia points until you inevitably get DEVOURED in the FIRES of the coming NUCLEAR A-PUNK-OLYPSE!!
The Goat Bastard leans in even closer, inches away from Dusk’s stoic, unflinching face. A fiendish, sneering grin is spread across Rezin’s own.
Rezin: The PAST ain’t anything but KINDLING to light up MY FUTURE, OLD MAN!!
Dusk swipes the mic from Rezin’s hand. Instantaneously.
Rezin sputters and tumbles to the floor in bewilderment as Dusk clears his throat.
Dusk: Nothing I enjoy more than people haven’t done shit in this industry talk about my legacy, talk about my age, and think they’re going to get away with it. You can talk about what your future is, but the way I see it is this.
Dusk holds up one finger.
Dusk: One, you win your match out there tonight and you’re competing for the 5-Star Championship. Good for you. Not quite certain you’ll get past Nova, but crazier things have happened.
Dusk is clearly referring to Cancer Jiles defeating Nova just a couple of shows previously. Dusk then holds up two fingers.
Dusk: Two, you lose your match and I have to come around to collect on the bullshit I had to just listen to. Don’t worry, I will. Maybe not at Culture Shock, but before long I will come and remind you just exactly who I am.
Dusk puts his fingers down and shrugs his shoulders.
Dusk: Either way you look at it, I’m coming for you. So, why don’t you brush yourself off and get your ass out there, because your match is next. Just know, you just signed yourself up for an ass-kicking of a lifetime.
The Escape Artist is left huffing angrily through his nostrils and Nic Cage staring after Dusk. He spies Simon still lingering nearby.
Rezin: Fuckin’ DOPPLEGANGERS, am I right?! Sorry, to cut this interview short, Simon! But there’s a match to STRIKE…
He strikes the head of a match to light a ritual pre-fight joint which he plucks into his mouth.
Rezin: …and a match to WIN…
Rezin wanders off in the opposite direction, leaving the junior reporter to stand there looking somewhere between dumbstruck and annoyed.
REPORT TO YOUR PROBATION OFFICER
Backstage, the camera fades into a locker room area where Nova sits on a bench. The Risen Star’s managerial team, Benj and Dickie, pace around the room on their phones. Nova’s DOC-supervised companion David Foster stands over him inspecting his gear. Nova rotates his shoulder, pointing to his pads and gloves, explaining how to get the fit in place for a match.
Hayes Hanlon sits in a steel-chair nearby, fresh off his victory from the earlier match. He unlaces his black boots, the remnants of sweat still present. Nova taps David on the chest and nods towards Hanlon, grinning.
Nova: Look at him. All serious. Trying not to smile.
Hanlon averts his eyes, attempts his best stoic façade, then his shoulders slump and a broad grin crosses his face.
Nova: Congratulations, motherfucker.
Hayes Hanlon: Thanks, man. I needed that one. Don’t take it the wrong way if I kinda hope you don’t make it in. I do NOT wanna go up against The Risen Star.
Nova: I guess we’ll-
Nova’s train of thought is interrupted as his eyes fix on the TV monitor hanging down from the corner of the room. The local news broadcast is airing a shot of a press conference where Bruce “Violence Jack” Shanahan, clad in a jet black suit and crimson button-up shit, stands adjacent to a podium occupied by a sweaty, puffy-faced bureaucrat. Julian Bathory stands off to Shanahan’s right in a black turtleneck and forest green overcoat.
Bureaucrat: (Blotting his forehead with a handkerchief) “We here at the Nevada Department of Corrections…we are just thrilled – over the moon, really – about our new partnership with MESSIAH and their comprehensive treatment program.
Nova looks over to Dickie.
Nova: C’mon, who is buying this shit? It’s the same fucking cult it’s always been.
Dickie looks up from his phone and shrugs.
Nova: (looking around) Don’t mean to take up everyone’s time or anything, clearly just talking to myself here…
Hayes Hanlon: No, I’m with you, Bathory and Shanahan are straight up cultists, scam artists at best…
The door swings open and a young man enters, clad in a bland collared shirt, Nevada DOC badge hanging off the waistband of his slacks.
Caseworker: Vega, after your match you need to report to your P.O.
Nova: Huh? What for?
Nova gestures down at his leg. His GPS ankle bracelet is blinking green.
Nova: My GPS is fine, I’m where I’m supposed to be, my next meeting and UA isn’t until Monday.
Benj by now has put his phone away and takes a step towards the caseworker.
Benj: What’s going on here? We weren’t notified about any changes to the meeting schedule.
Caseworker: (shrugging) Listen, I was instructed to pass it along. I’m passing it along. After your match, go see your P.O. They’ll have more information.
The caseworker turns and leaves the room as Nova looks around at his crew, clearly confused.
HONAKER CHURCH OF GOD
There’s no reason for Muriel Puddings to be here tonight. As a “manager” whose only client has never won a match in his career, she should be holed up in the war room, rethinking her strategy. A great time to heed Kim Kardashian’s recent advice for wannabe girl bosses.
But no. Instead, she’s hulking around the backstage area with her lips pursed and her shoulders haunched to give the appearance of a real “tough.” Dressed like the movie Goodfellas. Not in a 1970s Italian mob-style suit, though. A pair of black sweats and a t-shirt that literally reads “THE MOVEY GOOD FELLA S” in Comic Sans, almost as if she’d ordered it from one of those online stores that will print anything you want on a shirt. And by almost, I mean that’s exactly what she did.
Muriel Puddings: One dog goes one way, the other dog goes anoth…HEY! YOU!
While she had originally intended to wait right by the entrance curtain to pounce on her intended target as soon as he made his way back through, she’d been distracted by a pyramid of Reese’s cups that catering had set up per the rider request of Bobby Dean. Taking off at a breakneck jog, Muriel’s eyelids drop as she hones in on her victim walking sluggishly toward the locker room area.
Meanwhile, Garbage Bag Johnny had no reason to suspect that he’d be plowed against a rigging box by the world’s most insatiable locomotive. Sure, he’d given plenty of people throughout the years a reason for an old fashioned sneak attack. Most of them would at least offer the common courtesy of taking a post-match pee first. Struggling to collect the wind back into his breath, the fatigued composer of his own theme gasped directly into his assailant’s ear.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Your hair smells nice. Like Axe body spra–i-i-i-i-i-I–I-I-YEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!
Letting out an almost identical howl from famous cartoon cat Tom, Johnny’s compliment was interrupted from the indescribable pain of human molars biting down directly on his titty.
Muriel Puddings: Where’s my money?
Putting a palm into his chest to create a slight bit of distance, Muriel reaches into the cargo pocket of her sweatpants (you read this right) and fishes out a knife to add to the interrogation. Powering through the throbbiness of his breast meat, Johnny gets a good look at his assailant.
It was her. The one from the lighter, only without a flint and spark wheel! His gut began to flutter and his palms started to sweat: she was even more trampy in person. As a matter of fact, he was almost taken aback enough to completely ignore the knife slowly making its way toward a part of his body that had JUST SLIGHTLY spilled a little bit of urine on the front of his shorts. Or maybe that had always been there.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Hot dog! Am I dreaming, or are you the sexy lighter lady brought to life like in the movie Weird Science? If this is real, bite my other nipple and see if I feel it.
Muriel chooses not to respond to the request with words, but rather to jam the front of the blade against his pelvic region.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Okay, okay! What money?
Johnny initially winces to brace for the Lorena tribute, but is relieved to realize that the actual choice of weaponry was not quite suited for what she’d planned to do. Glancing back up at Muriel, he motions down toward his crotch. She sighs in response.
Muriel Puddings: Yeah. I’m still on the paper. So this is the only thing I can carry without going back to jail.
Garbage Bag Johnny: I know what you mean. ACAB, am I right?
Muriel Puddings: Sorry, I don’t speak German. Anyway, I’m gonna let you off with a friendly warning this time. You owe me one-hundred thirty two bucks for the Fire Starter Kit. That’s cost on top of interest. I’m Mob Boss Muriel now.
GBJ furrows a brow, but opts to choose his words carefully. He needed to play it cool. Play hard to get. Don’t let on that he might be into her. And for chrissakes, don’t let her get the upper hand!
Garbage Bag Johnny: How about an even one-forty?
CRAP! Muriel smiles and releases her grip from Johnny, twinkling her fingers in a “cough it up” motion.
Muriel Puddings: Works for me, Grizzly Man. I’ll take cash or Ross gift cards. No checks. Your girl’s got overdraft charges and Mr. Wells Fargo isn’t seeing a dime out of me!
Garbage Bag Johnny: What about Burlington Coat Facto-EYYYYYYYYYYYYYOOOOOOOOOOUCH!
A second bite, this time to the left boob, came with an almost equal force from the Gem State Rhinestone. Ultimately releasing her tigerlike grip, she jams an index finger against his nose with a final warning.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Oh, yeah. This is really happening.
Muriel Puddings: The next time I see you? Cash or card. Or else.
Turning to walk away, Johnny admires the sway of the word “YUM” stitched on the back of her sweats and begins to rub his nipples. FROM THE PAIN, from the pain! Moments later, a brilliant thought occurs to him as he calls out to her before she is beyond earshot.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Tomorrow. The all-you-can-eat Potato Bar at Silver Legacy.
Muriel abruptly stops in her tracks and spins around.
Muriel Puddings: The one with twenty-two toppings?
Garbage Bag Johnny: Twenty-three if you count the fanny pack full of mixed olives I’m gonna sneak in. Meet me there. I’ll bring you exactly what you want.
Puddings, who obviously isn’t a woman that’s very hard to flatter, bats her eyelashes back at the man who she literally minutes ago threatened with a butter knife. Almost smitten at the thought of a buffet that featured her home state’s pride and joy.
Muriel Puddings: It’s a date.
GBJ cranes his neck to check out Muriel’s backside as she walks away, and when he’s pretty sure he’s out of ear shot, he whistles to himself.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Momma can kiss my pain away any day.
Nova vs. Cyrus O’Haire vs. Rezin
Nick Stuart: And coming up now is another of our Five Star Scrambles, where the winner will vie for the Five Star Championship at Culture Shock!
Richard Parker: Wow, the Five Star Scramble leads to the Five Star Championship. How interesting!
Nick Stuart: Well…
Richard Parker: Aww, I’m just messing, buddy. It’ll be a fun match, especially with the PUNK ROCK GOD coming.
On queue, brutal thrash metal rips through the arena as a wall of smoke coalesces around the entry-way. On the PRIMEview, footage flashes between images of atomic mushroom clouds, scenes of civil unrest, vehicular collisions, and in-ring highlights. Suddenly, “The Escape Artist” REZIN comes whirling out from the haze and comes to a stops at the head of the ramp, grinning maniacally as he scans the jeering crowd. After a beat, he makes his way down the ramp, devilishly toying with the fans lined up at the barricade and getting radioactive levels of heat. When he reaches the ring, he slides in, pops to his feet, locks his arms between the ropes, and leans back to suspend himself in the air in an inverted cross pose for a few moments before lowering himself back to the canvas and going to his corner.
Vince Howard: Making his way to the ring, from Indianapolis, Indiana, weighing in at 205 pounds…REEEEEEEEZIIIIIIIINNNNNNN!
Nick Stuart: Rezin looks primed and ready for this opportunity.
“Blue Monday” by Orgy blares on the PA as O’Haire marches out with a dead serious tone. He ignores the fans within the MGM Grand, focusing all his attention on the empty squared circle in front of him. His body barely moves, his feet simply take him down the rampway and to the edge of the ring. He slides under the bottom rope and pushes himself to his feet, looking at Rezin before unleashing a roar with a fist in the air.
Vince Howard: Entering second, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa…weighing in at 265 pounds…CYRUUUUUSSSS OOOOOO’HAAAAAAAAAIRE!
Nick Stuart: All three men in this match made it through the first round of the Almasy Tournament before losing to a member of the tournament’s final four. All performances to be proud of, Richard.
Richard Parker: I guess if you like consolation prizes, good for them.
Vince Howard: And entering third!
“Maggot Brain” by Funkadelic rips through the MGM Grand and everyone immediately rises to their feet. From the back emerges the Risen Star, the Starchild, Nova. He makes his way down the ramp, his eyes focused intensely on his opponents before he slides in under the bottom rope and makes his way to his corner.
Vince Howard: Hailing from Parts Unknown, weighing in at two-hundred-and-forty-pounds and standing at six feet and three inches tall, he is a former PRIME Universal Champion…NOVA!
Nick Stuart: Of the three men it’s clear that the fans are attached to the Hall of Famer.
Richard Parker: It didn’t help him against Cancer Jiles and there’s no telling if it will help him here.
Nick Stuart: And here we go!
Richard Parker: And there goes Rezin!
As soon as the bell rings, Rezin rolls out of the ring and starts to walk ringside, giving both opponents the universal sign for “whatever.” Nova and O’Haire look from him to each other, then move in and lock up.
Nick Stuart: O’Haire with the early advantage, twisting Nova into a hammerlock and guiding him towards the corner. And — oh, roughly shoves him chest first into the turnbuckle clubs him on the back of the head!
Richard Parker: O’Haire with such the raw power advantage over Nova, he should work on him while Rezin is distracted outside.
Nick Stuart: Distracted? He’s not doing anything but watching!
Richard Stuart: You have to admit it’s smart!
Rezin is leaning against the barricade, watching the action. O’Haire attempts a back suplex on Nova, but Nova flips and lands on his feet!
Nick Stuart: O’Haire too slow to turn around…dropkick to the chest! O’Haire stumbles but doesn’t fall…now Nova comes with a cross body!
Richard Parker: Ha! Nice try!
Nick Stuart: Cyrus catches him!
O’Haire holds him against his chest, posing for the crowd with a smile on his face. Meanwhile, Nova wriggles free, swinging his arms enough so that he flops to the ground. He pops back up and hits O’Haire with a slap across the chest!
While O’Haire stumbles back from the chop, Nova tries for another cross body and this time hits it, knocking the big man to the ground. Then he leaps up…
Nick Stuart: Body splash! He goes for the cover!
Richard Parker: Now THAT is punk rock!
Nick Stuart: Rezin, quick as a flash, slid under the ring and hit Nova with a baseball slide to the face! He rolls Nova out of the way and goes for his own cover!
Richard Parker: Whoa!
Nick Stuart: Cyrus O’Haire just launched Rezin in the air after a one count! Now all three men getting to their feet, and Rezin goes after Nova! He hits him with a chop, then a side kick and sends him stumbling!
Nova backs away to the corner as Rezin continues to attack with strikes. After hitting Nova with another vicious chop in the corner, Rezin repositions Nova, grabs his head and steps onto the second rope.
Nick Stuart: Rezin looking for the Tornado DDT here…but no! Nova hits him with a punch to the gut, and another! Now Nova lifts up…and Rezin goes flying!
Richard Parker: Into the waiting arms of Cyrus O’Haire, no!
Nick Stuart: Perfectly executed powerbomb! O’Haire for the cover!
Nick Stuart: And Nova with the breakup. That honestly looked like a tag team maneuver, Richard.
Richard Parker: Yeah but Cyrus would never work with someone so…old.
Nick Stuart: Cyrus O’Haire is older than Nova.
Richard Parker: But he looks younger, which is important!
As Rezin dusts off the cobwebs, Cyrus O’Haire and Nova grapple again. Nova slips around O’Haire and grabs his waist, then lifts O’Haire over his head for a German suplex. Whipping his way to his feet, he tries another German but O’Haire counters with an elbow to the face! He grabs Nova and lifts him up.
Nick Stuart: O’Haire looking for a delayed brainbuster here.
Richard Parker: He should be looking for Rezin’s feet!
Nick Stuart: Wow! Missile Dropkick from The Escape Artist! And all men are down!
The crowd give an appreciative cheer for the quick back and forth action between the three competitors. Rezin is first on his feet and hits an elbow drop on Nova before going for the pin.
Nick Stuart: And Nova with the kickout. Cyrus getting to his feet now.
Richard Parker: But Rezin is ready for him!
Rezin grabs Cyrus’s head and runs, hitting a one handed bulldog. He then looks over at both downed opponents, then at the corner. He climbs up the turnbuckle.
Nick Stuart: He’s looking for the Rezinsault!
Richard Parker: Nobody home!
Nova rolls out of the way, causing Rezin to adjust and land on his feet. He closes in on Nova, who ducks under the arms and grabs him…
Nick Stuart: In-NOVA-tor! Nova might have the win here!
Cyrus O’Haire breaks up the pin with an elbow drop to Nova’s neck. Grabbing him, he lifts him up and this time connects with the delayed brainbuster. He drops for the lazy cover.
Nick Stuart: Nova with the kickout! Such resiliency on display!
Cyrus O’Haire lifts Nova to his feet as Rezin rolls out of the ring to recover from Nova’s attack. O’Haire hits Nova with stiff chop, then follows it up with two punches to the jaw. Nova is reeling and he moves towards the ropes. Cyrus grabs him, then sends him flying with an Irish whip. The strength of the throw has Nova running back in high speed straight into a lariat from O’Haire!
Richard Parker: You don’t want to get hit with one of those, trust me!
Nick Stuart: When have you ever been hit with a lariat?
Richard Parker: What? I’m just saying trust me!
Nick Stuart: Oh I see.
Nova crawls towards Cyrus’s feet, trying to recover.
Richard Parker: Because I’m a trustworthy individual.
Nick Stuart: I’ll take your word for it.
Richard Parker: See?
Cyrus poses over Nova as he tries to get to his feet, then shoves Nova’s head between his legs.
Nick Stuart: He’s going for the Injection!
He lifts Nova up but Nova slips out! Cyrus turns around to get a boot to the midsection, then he hits the NO-VALUE! O’Haire crumples on the mat, and Nova grabs him and gets him on his shoulders.
Nick Stuart: He’s looking for Bourbon for Breakfast! NO!
Richard Parker: Here comes Rezin, haha!
Nick Stuart: Rezin with the back scratch on Nova, who drops Cyrus in pain! Rezin tosses Nova out and then grabs Cyrus from behind…
Nick Stuart: Cyrus O’Haire has gone INTO THE VOID! Rezin covers!
Nova slides under the ring to break up the cover…
DING DING DING
Nick Stuart: Rezin stole one from Nova! Nova had Cyrus ready for the Bourbon for Breakfast and The Escape Artist slipped in and…and escaped with the victory!
Richard Parker: Your poetry is on point tonight, partner.
COMMERCIAL: HIGH OCTANE WRESTLING
TUNE INTO HOTV FOR MARCH TO GLORY ON MARCH 27TH, LIVE FROM THE BEST ARENA IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS!
BRAD GARRETT IS THE BIGGEST HEEL IN PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING
We find ourselves on the casino floor of the MGM, a different but not welcome sight as the lights, noises, and chatter make you feel alive and like anything is possible.
Unless you’re not a degenerate gambler and find all of this depressing, in which case good for you for having your life together.
Anyway, we pan across the casino floor and take in the splendor of old folks tugging on slot machines until we settle on a small table near the entrance. A large sign stands behind the table that reads MEET BRAD GARRETT AND GET A CHANCE TO WIN A FIGHTING FOR NORA CUSTOM GOLDEN KNIGHTS JERSEY! Next to the sign is a cardboard cutout of Brad Garrett, TV’s favorite deep voiced thespian, smiling.
Sitting at the table are Jonathan Rhine and Paxton Ray. Rhine is interacting with the line of people stepping up to donate money for raffle tickets, smiling and making small talk. Paxton Ray is sitting back, looking around lazily.
Person: Hi, where’s Brad Garrett?
Jonathan Rhine: He should be here soon, I’m told. Would you like to purchase a raffle ticket to win a custom Golden Knights jersey? All proceeds go to the Fighting For Nora foundation.
Person: Sure. How is the jersey customized?
Jonathan Rhine: On the back it says Fighting For Nora and has the jersey number F4N. And to commemorate our celebrity sponsor, there’s also a Brad Garrett patch!
Jonathan points to the shoulder of the jersey, which has a terrifying smiling face of Brad Garrett.
Person: Creepy. I’ll buy six tickets.
Jonathan Rhine: Excellent! The foundation will really appreciate it.
As the person hands Rhine their card and begins to sign the raffle tickets, Melvin Beauregard shuffles to the table, leaning on it and looking at the cardboard cutout nervously.
Jonathan Rhine: Oh hi, Mr. Beauregard. How is everything going?
Melvin Beauregard: Not great, I’m afraid. I wanted to let you know that Brad Garrett…isn’t going to make it.
Jonathan Rhine: What?
Groans can be heard from the line, along with cries of “Well I’m not standing in line now” and “That jersey is ugly anyway.” Then the line gets significantly shorter.
Melvin Beauregard: Something about scheduling conflicts. I’m really sorry. He sent a fruit basket for Nora.
He holds the fruit basket out to Jon, who looks at it skeptically. Paxton leans forward and grabs it.
Paxton Ray: She loves pineapple.
Jonathan Rhine: That’s a shame. Thanks anyway, Melvin.
Melvin Beauregard: No problem, Jonathan. And if–
Suddenly Melvin spots something from across the room and his eyes widen.
Melvin Beauregard: Nope. Nope. See you later.
Jonathan watches him go in confusion, but after a moment the confusion gives way to realization.
Jonathan Rhine: Oh. Hello, your highness.
The figure in blue and white stops dead in his tracks, paralyzed by the realization that he’s been spotted. This should not be a surprise to him, as despite considerable time spent with spies – time he would gladly regale you with tales of – he is not a master of disguise himself. After all, it’s hard to be subtle when, though your mask may be covered by a hooded sweatshirt, the rest of you still looks like King Blueberry. He pivots slowly, withdrawing one hand from a pocket and offering a weak wave.
King Blueberry: Hey yo.
Jonathan looks at his sometimes friend and smiles, offering a pen.
Jonathan Rhine: Want to donate for the raffle? You can win this great jersey.
King Blueberry: I can, yeah. Only problem is I don’t have my wallet on me. If you’re doing this all night I can catch you after the rumble with the Bandits.
The blueberry cranes his neck to get a better view of the shirt, then cocks an eyebrow. Of course, no one can actually see that happen, because of the mask.
King Blueberry: There’s a Frankenstein on that jersey. Why is there a Frankenstein on that jersey?
Paxton Ray, who has not taken his angry eyes off of the man who tried to taze his tag team partner last ReVival, is first to speak.
Paxton Ray: Your ma wanted to be a corporate sponsor.
Jonathan’s eyes widen as he puts a hand up to his young mentee.
Jonathan Rhine: Paxton, that’s not right. I’ve met Mary-Ellen and she’s great.
Paxton Ray: Funbags over here tried to shoot ya with volts. Why defend him?
King Blueberry: Because he’s a good guy and knows that “taze Jonathan Rhine” has been on my bucket list for a while. Probably be on yours eventually, too.
He smiles and pulls his other hand out of his pocket before wiggling his fingers.
King Blueberry: Don’t worry though. I’m not armed.
For what it’s worth, Jonathan’s smile hasn’t wavered during this conversation. However genuine it is, at least he’s trying.
Jonathan Rhine: Well we’ll be here most of the night, yeah. If you want to come back after you take down the bandits, we’ll be waiting for you. This is a pretty fun tag division, isn’t it?
Before King Blueberry can answer, Paxton Ray stands up suddenly.
Paxton Ray: Is that…is that Brad Garrett?
The camera doesn’t follow in the direction Paxton is staring, but he seems to get his answer, because he rips the plastic off of the fruit basket and grabs a banana.
Paxton Ray: Excuse me. Think I need to show Mr. Garrett that we appreciate his gesture.
He waves the banana.
Paxton Ray: Give him one’a my own.
He walks off as Jonathan watches him go. After a second, he chuckles and looks up at King Blueberry.
Jonathan Rhine: Kids.
King Blueberry: I would not want to be on the receiving end of that angry man’s banana.
King Blueberry: I really gotta work on my phrasing. You know, I’ve been at this over 20 years and that’s the first time someone’s ever namechecked my mother. Feels weird.
Jonathan Rhine: I remember family names and sometimes birthdays.
He points at the Blueberry awkwardly.
Jonathan Rhine: December…18th?
King Blueberry: Eh, close enough. So, anyway, hate to run but I really need to find Mark, and see if he knows what happened to the mannequin. Guy’s apparently supposed to be keeping an eye on me, but now I gotta go find him, and-
Jonathan Rhine: Hey…Jared. Wait a second.
It’s his real name that causes King Blueberry to stop and turn around. When he does, he sees Jon is looking at him with concern.
Jonathan Rhine: This whole thing. The mannequin, the taser, the…all of it. What are you doing here? I know you’re better than this.
There’s a brief pause as someone walks up to the counter and asks to donate. Jonathan hands the woman the piece of paper and takes her card. Then, without looking up, he gives the dagger.
Jonathan Rhine: You know you’re better than this.
King Blueberry: Oh for… Look, things got a little out of hand a few weeks ago, I admit. I’m sorry I tried to zap you with Count Shockula. It was never my intention, despite what I told your buddy a minute ago. But let’s be clear about something, because it’s a little fuzzy right now. Me using a stun gun is bad and wrong. You guys capitalizing on it is just goddamn fine though? Really?
King Blueberry: Or are we just scratching that “tell Jared he makes bad life choices” itch? I mean I know it’s been a minute. Gotta be hard to ignore that craving for ten years and not dive on it first chance.
Of everything Jonathan just heard, many of which were hard hitting truths, he focuses on the easiest thing to respond to.
Jonathan Rhine: Count Shockula. Really.
King Blueberry: Yeah. Really.
Jonathan Rhine: And yeah, maybe I do concern myself with your choices. Because it’s been over a decade, and I come here trying to start fresh. Trying to do good. Trying to help someone. And I see you here, just like I saw you a decade ago, doing the same things you did a decade ago. Maybe my bad life choices are pointing it out when I shouldn’t. I guess I’ll live with that.
King Blueberry: That one’s good. That one’s real good. Hey, you know what you should do? Go chase down your friend. Save Brad Garrett from an impending banana-ing, and then tell him what you just told me. When he’s done pissing himself in hysterics he might put you in his stand-up show. Jonathan Rhine doing something for reasons other than optics? And you think I’m the one who needs to reevaluate here? Buddy. I don’t need two working eyes to see through that BS.
Jared – the blueberry – cups his hands together in front of him.
King Blueberry: But don’t worry. I will hold your fragile ego and keep it safe. Everyone loves ya, Jon. You’re the most special-est boy.
Luckily for Jon, another casino patron wants to give a donation, so he can let that sting sit in the air a bit as he collects another small donation.
Man: You’re doing a great thing here, son.
Jonathan closes his eyes as if the man’s words were a slap to the face. King Blueberry simply points a thumb in the man’s direction. After a moment, Jonathan looks down at the donation slip he just received.
Jonathan Rhine: I know I’m a good person.
He sighs, then looks up at King Blueberry.
Jonathan Rhine: See you at the Survivor, Jared. Hopefully with a real partner.
King Blueberry: We’ll see. Never needed a soldier to fight for me before, Jon. Why start now.
He turns and starts walking backwards away from the table.
King Blueberry: Gotta run. Circus needs its clown.
Almost immediately he bumps into Paxton Ray, now standing nearby and eating the banana he left with. Blueberry continues moving away, though now it’s Paxton he addresses.
King Blueberry: Good luck with your fundraising. I mean that, for whatever it’s worth.
Then he nods in the direction of Rhine.
King Blueberry: And good luck with that guy. Goddamn gonna need it.
Paxton snarls at King Blueberry as he walks away, then takes his seat next to Rhine.
Paxton Ray: God I hate that fuckin’ guy.
Jonathan Rhine: Sometimes…I don’t blame you. So, was that actually Brad Garrett?
With his free hand, Paxton holds out a check.
Paxton Ray: Sure was. Had a real scheduling conflict with that slot machine. He felt really tore up about it when I talked to him, though. Gave me this check for 5k to ‘pologize.
Jonathan raises his eyebrows.
Jonathan Rhine: On top of the fruit basket? What a generous guy.
With that, we go elsewhere.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
We cut to the backstage area of the MGM Arena, down a nearly deserted hallway. I say nearly deserted, because we see El Hijo Del Super Cool Guy standing there, staring off into nothing, deep in thought. Who knows what this complex individual is thinking at the moment. He could be going over his upcoming tag team match in his head, or he could be pondering the meaning of life? Or perhaps he’s thinking about how much King Blueberry’s mask smells when he takes it off? Who can know, he’s a mannequin after all, and no one has a better poker face than the Super Cool Guy!
The camera slowly pans out, as there appears to be a new arrival on the scene. eGG Bandit’s newest member Charity Insert-Last-Name-Here, has arrived. She’s standing across the hall from Super Cool Guy, as the two lock eyes. She’s staring at him, unblingly, with a burning intensity that can only be rivaled by Bobby Dean and his Bundt cakes. It appears Super Cool Guy is reciprocating with an equal intensity of his own.
Once more the camera slowly pans out, as the two of them are now somehow closer together. Mere inches away from each other, it appears the two of them are struggling to keep their hands off one another, as the two of them remain at a loss for words.
The camera pans out one last time, as we see a trash can positioned at the end of the hallway, as a very large and very noticeable Bobby Dean is struggling to squat down behind the trashcan in an effort to be hidden.
Bobby Dean: I think it’s working.
The large man whispers as if he’s Sir David Attenborough, about to witness the mating rituals of the rare species, the manikin, also known as the dummy, the lay figure, or dress form.
Doozer: Of course it’s working.
Bobby Dean: Shhhhhhh!
With an abrupt jerk the cameras finally notice Doozer standing there, in the middle of the hallway, adjacent to the squatting Bobby. The big man looks over towards his friend with a scowl, afraid the crotchety old coot was going to ruin this growing magical moment.
Bobby Dean: Keep your voice down, we don’t want to scare them away.
Doozer rolls his eyes and cross his arms across his chest, showing his clear annoyance with this entire episode, even though it was his idea to begin with.
Voice: What is going on here!?
The voice of King Blueberry fills the halls as he walks onto the scene. His eyes go wide behind his mask as he sees Cool Guy and Charity mere moments away from ripping their clothes off and ravaging each other. Then his eyes grow even wider when he spots Bobby Dean ducking his head down behind the trash can, as if he were a small child playing Hide-and-Seek, thinking since he can’t see Blueberry, Blueberry cannot see him.
King Blueberry: YOU!
Bobby refuses to look up, so he doesn’t see King Blueberry march down the hall and grasp El Hijo Del Super Cool Guy’s arm.
Doozer: Awww come on! He looked so happy!
Blueberry literally jumps, as he clutches at his heart for a moment.
King Blueberry: Where did you come from!?
Doozer simply sighs.
King Blueberry: Come on, friend, we’ve got to get you outta here!
Blueberry proceeds to drag his friend away as Charity stands there, watching, as if she is moments away from crying. Bobby peeks up over the can.
Bobby Dean: Dang it, we were so close!
Doozer: Yeah, we might actually have to try tonight, bud.
Bobby Dean: Uhm, Dooze? Can you help me up, I can’t feel my feet…
Ignoring his friend, Dooze walks over and with a gentle touch, picks up Charity around and waist and continues on down the hall, leaving Bobby Dean squatting behind a trash can, alone.
A DIVINE FIVE STAR WATCH PARTY
The scene switches to a suite within the arena as Jonathan-Christopher Hall dusts chairs and organizes them in the fashion his Amazing Life Partner desires while she contemplates out loud.
Vickie Hall: Maybe the larger chair should be in the middle.
The Vow of Virtue takes the big chair (which was on the right hand side), digs down deep and deadlifts it. He walks the chair over and places it in the center of the room. Vickie takes a step back, raising her hands like a picture frame and peering inside.
Vickie Hall: Hm. No. I don’t enjoy this setup. I want a divine watching party, my love. Please move the chair back to where you found it.
Without question, Jonathan-Christopher lowers his base, wraps his arms around the chair and lifts it. He walks the red chair back to where it came from. The exact second its legs meet the floor, Vickie shakes her head.
Vickie Hall: Actually, it’s going to be much more prestige on the left-hand side. Yes. Yes the left-hand side will do nicely. Jonathan-Christopher, may you place the chair on the left-hand side.
Again, no issue whatsoever, even though Jonathan-Christopher’s hands are red and his forehead is sweating. He does as he’s told. Vickie raises her hands like a picture frame again.
Vickie Hall: This will do. Very luxurious.
Vickie walks over to Jonathan-Christopher. He’s breathing heavily but she doesn’t seem to mind. She wraps her arms around him and stares into his eyes.
Vickie Hall: Now Jonathan-Christopher, we have two very important guests. I know they will be your opponents in a few weeks but tonight they are a wonderful accent to this majestic dream coming off your first victory! What a PRIME debut match for my honey-bunch of oats, pinning that ugly Tapioca Puddings!
Puddings wasn’t pinned, but whatever. The Forever Man isn’t going to correct his spouse.
Vickie Hall: Tonight, we will watch the final two opponents in the Five Star Championship contest. And-
There is a strong knock on the door, as Vickie turns around. At first, Vickie displays anger being interrupted but then smiles upon seeing who’s there. In walks Cecilia Ryan. Before Ryan can say anything, Vickie releases the hold from her man and pops right into Cecilia’s face.
Vickie Hall: Well hello there. My name is Vickie…
Cecilia looms over the tiny, 5’2” Pretty Pink girl who extends her hand but Ryan does nothing with it.
Vickie Hall: You’re quite the tall woman, aren’t you? I am pleased to meet you. Jonathan-Christopher and I were thinking it would be a wonderfully fabulous time if we all got to know each other before the big dance.
Vickie holds her hands out towards the large red chair.
Vickie Hall: You will be sitting here for the night.
Ryan doesn’t move. She simply stands there, trying to make sense of everything. If Vickie was grounded in reality, she may pick up a sense of danger with Cecilia. However, of course, she’s ignorant.
Vickie Hall: Yes, please sit my dear.
Vickie snaps her fingers, walks over to Jonathan-Christopher and nudges him in the arm. The Timid Tiger leans down for Pretty Pink to whisper in his ear… except the whispering is loud enough for the camera to pick it up and, obviously, Cecilia Ryan, too.
Vickie Hall: (“whispering”) I need you to be a stand-up guy, baby. I need you to help me greet this woman. She’s very strange and odd and strangely odd.
Jonathan-Christopher apologizes to his ALP profusely before walking hand-in-hand with Vickie. They present a united front even though it’s clear Vickie wasn’t happy with him. The Hall’s approach Ryan.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: (nervously) Hello, I am Jonathan-Christopher.
He extends his hand but then immediately pulls back seeing a look of sly intensity on Ryan’s face. Vickie nudges The Forever Man to put his arm back out there. He does so, reluctantly.
Cecilia slowly raises her hand and grabs Jonathan-Christopher’s. A grin crosses Ryan’s face as the two shake, although it is very clear Murder Daddy’s Daughter is crushing JC’s hand as they do. You can hear his bones shifting, lightly cracking under the pressure. Jonathan-Christopher tries to work through the pain, being strong for his woman.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: (struggling) Nice to… ow… meet you… ow…
Cecilia continues to grin sadistically before releasing the hand and Jonathan-Christopher inspects it soon after. It’s beet red and shaking. He begins rubbing his palm with his left hand. Meanwhile, Vickie hasn’t noticed.
Vickie Hall: It is really nice to meet you, Cecilia.
Vickie doesn’t have interest in her small talk. Instead, she’s trying to direct the wrestler to the seat they have set up for her.
Vickie Hall: Hmmph, I can see you enjoy standing. I bet that’s a killer on those legs.
Vickie turns to the chair and then to Ryan. She turns to the chair and then to Ryan. Chair. Ryan. Chair. Ryan. Does she have a death wish? Jonathan-Christopher certainly thinks so as he quivers behind his ALP.
Finally, Cecilia Ryan makes her move.
…out of the suite.
Vickie is left standing there aimlessly. The look on her face, suggesting she has been emotionally destroyed at the highest of levels. Soon, she finds Jonathan-Christopher behind her and whacks him lightly in the arm before crossing her own arms and pouting.
Vickie Hall: I am feeling hurt, Jonathan-Christopher. You need to do a better job introducing yourself. It’s clear that woman is self conscious given her awkward looking frame. She isn’t like us, she isn’t pure. She is a Big Foot. An outcast. Poor girl.
Pretty Pink walks over to the large chair and sulks in it.
Vickie Hall: Jonathan-Christopher, this night is ruined. Tell Nathan Filmix he might as well not bother coming.
Hall is likely mistaken. They invited Shawn Warstein, not Nathan Filmix, since Shawn was the victor in his 5-Star Championship scramble.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: I am so so so sorry, honey. I will get right on this.
The Vow of Virtue takes out his cell phone but looks at his ALP beforehand. She coldly turns away from him, struggling with the emotional pain of not feeling represented like a couple.
Vickie looks the suite over and shakes her head.
Vickie Hall: Also, do put this chair, with me in it, on the right-hand side when you’re done. I can’t believe you let me place it on the left. This is terrible. No wonder Tall Girl fled.
The scene fades.
THE PIDES OF MARCH
Pan over a table, covered in a white tablecloth with gold trim. It’s covered with plates upon plates of food – immediately noticeable are a platter of scones and two trays of cupcakes. There are brownies, chocolate truffles decorated like pots o’ gold, green hats, and rainbows.
Scones and cupcakes are labeled as ‘Please help yourself!’ while the truffles and brownies have a label of ‘Not until after your match!’ with the most adorable skull and crossbones ever drawn next to it.
There is also a bundt cake with a glass cake topper over it, and a sign that reads ‘FOR BOBBY DEAN ONLY.’
Calico Rose: There. Now everyone has their pick of the treats and we can all be friends.
Cally paces in front of the table, moving a few things around so that the design on the tablecloth can be read. It’s a cake with several lit candles on top of it, and a knife cutting out a slice. The cake has a word balloon saying ‘Et tu, Par-Tay?’ above it.
It was just three days ago, after all.
Next to Cally, Impulse has both hands on the wall, his eyes closed, and his chin tucked into his chest. She looks at him, lowers her purple tinted sunglasses and stands closer.
Calico Rose: You good, babe?
Impulse: I’m good, babe. Just making sure I’m ready for this.
She ducks under his arm and stands between him and the wall. He opens his eyes to look at her, and can’t help but smile despite himself.
Calico Rose: Earth to Randall Knox. You’re stressing out over nothing! You know what I bet Brandon Youngblood’s doing right now?
He doesn’t answer, but she can read his expression.
Twenty years of friendship (before anything else) does that.
Calico Rose: He’s in his locker room, stressin’ out over having to face off against The Great Impulse.
Impulse: Maybe. But he’s got home field, and that’s important.
Calico Rose: Pish tosh, you can take that maybe to the canning factory!
It takes a second for that to catch up, but Impulse laughs.
Impulse: I really hope so. That thought in the brain would ease a lot of the pressure that I’ve put on myself.
Calico Rose: Babe, I look at it like this. Sure, the Universal Title is a big deal, and mainlining Culture Shock is a big deal, but at the end of the story, what’s the worst thing that happens? You lose a match. I say, can you really complain about losing to Brandon Youngblood? And I say I bet he’s asking someone right now, can he really complain about losing to Impulse?
He takes another deep breath, and Impulse gives Cally a hug.
Impulse: Sometimes I just need to hear that, ya know?
Calico Rose: I know, babe. I am very wise.
And we roll on.
the eGG Bandits vs. Blue Live Crew
Nick Stuart: Tonight’s action continues with a contest featuring two up and coming teams in the burgeoning PRIME tag team scene! King Blueberry’s rowdy antics in Blue Live Crew are set to face Doozer and Bobby Dean of the eGG Bandits!
Richard Parker: We got a guy who can’t stop eating, a guy who can’t be seen, a guy who can’t be comprehended, and a guy who is not a guy at all, because he is an inanimate object. What could possibly go wrong here?
The first thing that happens is the PRIMEview flickers to life. It displays an image of King Blueberry, who is shirtless, seated atop a horse while cradling El Hijo Del Super Cool Guy in his arms. The mannequin wears a dress. Because reasons. The entire image is set against the serene backdrop of a mountain, and is completely still save for the flowing golden locks that the King has because who-the-hell-knows-why. Yes, it is as if someone animated the cover of a shitty romance novel.
And what better accompaniment could there be to such an image than the catchy jams of Russian dance-pop group Little Big, and their “Romantic Edition” remix of hit song “Skibidi”.
Vince Howard: From the ‘Hippest Part of the Produce Section’. Weighing in tonight at a total combined weight of 223 pounds… King Blueberry! El Hijo Del Super Cool Guy! The Blue – Live – Crew!
When this daffy-ass team finally appears, the crowd sees King Blueberry in full Tobey-Maguire-dance-walk mode, vibing towards the ring. He’s followed closely behind by an attendant carrying the fixed form of the son of Super Cool Guy. This attendant’s name is Mark, and he hates his life.
Richard Parker: I feel you, Mark. I feel you.
“Banditstruck” blasts through the PA. “Beautiful” Bobby Dean steps through the curtain, chowing down on bundt cake to a massive ovation from the PRIMEates. He smiles innocently. Doozer strides past him and heads for the ring, though nobody seems to notice him. Bobby waddles down the ramp after him spilling crumbs everywhere.
Vince Howard: And the opponents, at a combined weight of 642 pounds… Doozer! “Beautiful” Bobby Dean! The eGG Bandits!
Doozer slides into the ring and immediately looks ready for action. Predictably, Bobby takes his time ascending the steel steps to the apron. It goes without saying that King Blueberry and the Dooze start off for their respective teams. Official Jimmy Turnbull cues for the bell.
King Blueberry scans the ring, unable to see his opponent. Not looking a gift horse in the mouth, Doozer barrels forward and lays him out with a running shoulder block. KB springs right back up but almost immediately walks right into a belly-to-belly suplex by the Dooze!
In the Bandits corner, Bobby applauds. In the Crew corner, El Hijo del Super Cool Guy remains indifferent as always. Doozer pulls the shaken King Blueberry back to his feet and sends him to the ropes. To many untrained eyes in the audience, King Blueberry seemingly levitates off the mat, turns, and falls hard onto his back as the Dooze nails him with a spinebuster, and quickly makes a cover!
Doozer leaves KB on the mat to tag out, but Bobby looks even more hesitant than usual to jump into the action. He reluctantly makes the tag and squeezes himself through the ropes to enter the ring right as King Blueberry makes it to his feet. Both men freeze when their eyes meet.
Nick Stuart: Oh my… I think many wondered what would happen if and when these two forklift-hijacking frienemies came face to face in the ring, and now we’re about to see!
Richard Patrick: It’s every man for himself when a chocolate fountain isn’t involved.
Neither Blueberry nor Dean looks eager to fight their fellow forklift bro. As the staredown lingers, a chant begins to rise up from the PRIMEates in attendance…
KISS!! KISS!! KISS!! KISS!! KISS!! KISS!!
King Blueberry and Bobby Dean hear the crowd, and somehow look even more anxious than before. They turn their attention back to each other, and both men realize there’s no avoiding what’s to come. Then at the last moment, Bobby’s chickens out and scrambles back to his corner to tag in the Doozer. Dooze gives Bobby his biggest “WTF” face.
Nick Stuart: Nope! It’s too much for Bobby! In any case, King Blueberry finds the opportunity to… makes the tag out to El Hijo del Super Cool Guy.
Richard Parker: Ugh… strap yourself in, Nick, cause this is gonna get weird!
The Doozer gets into the ring and charges, but quickly goes down after taking an assisted dropkick by El Hijo Del Super Cool Guy when King Blueberry launches him over the ropes. Jimmy Turnbuckles, eager to keep control of this match every moment he can, quickly sends KB out to the apron. Dooze recovers, to find himself in the ring with a lifeless mannequin.
The Boston Bruiser shakes his head in slight contempt before he effortlessly kicks El Hijo chest. On the apron, Blueberry reacts with agonized distress. Doozer promptly picks up the mannequin and throws it into the corner. He runs in for a lariat into the turnbuckles, until gravity does its thing and EHDSCG falls over. Dooze eats the turnbuckle.
Nick Stuart: What a… dodge?!
Doozer reels off the impact and inadvertently backpedals over the prone El Hijo, who gets tangled up in his legs. He loses his balance and tumbles to the mat, and somehow, the mannequin ends up on top.
Turnbull can’t believe he’s making the count.
El Hijo FLIES into the air as the Dooze presses him off, but the PRIMEates cheer wildly at the mannequin’s near fall! Dooze plucks EHDSCG off the mat and angrily tosses him into King Blueberry, sending both crashing to the ringside floor.
Richard Parker: I can’t believe that freaking mannequin almost won this thing!
Nick Stuart: That would have been a first, but… hang on, what is King Blueberry doing down there?
Doozer plays up to the jeering crowd, waving a hand in front of his face. Down on the floor, KB subtly switches masks with El Hijo del Super Cool Guy and stealthily rolls back into the ring in his place. Turnbull grabs his head, absolutely stupefied as to how he should call this. Doozer, thinking he’s about to pick up a mannequin, walks right into a small package from “El Hijo”!
Doozer bursts to his feet and angrily pounces, but gets dumped to the outside when the surprisingly active and mobile “mannequin” surprises him with a back body drop to the outside!. “El Hijo” hurries out to the apron, springboards off the middle rope, and goes airborne with a moonsault that lays out the Dooze to a massive pop from the crowd!
Nick Stuart: ACAI MOONSAULT to the ringside floor! El Hijo del Super Cool Guy has some absolutely amazing aerial abilities!
Richard Parker: Nick… DO NOT enable these idiots by acknowledging this absurdity.
“El Hijo” rolls the Boston Bruiser back into the ring when he realizes his partner “King Blueberry” is nowhere to be seen. His head darts around the ringside area as he searches for a sign, finally spotting two sets of plastic legs sticking out from the far end of the apron. Shaking his head, he grabs a set of mannequin ankles and pulls his tag partner out from under the ring… along with Charity, wrapped up in his arms.
“El Hijo” berates his inanimate partner for getting distracted before swapping masks again. King Blueberry, returned to his original nom de plume, slides the mannequin back into the ring before climbing up to the apron and tagging himself in.
Doozer has also found his way back into the ring and goes to the Bandits corner for the tag. Somehow, a super-sized order of fries has materialized in Bobby’s hand. With potato shoestrings still sticking out of the corners of his mouth, he looks slightly surprised when he sees Doozer’s hand extended out to him, as if he had forgotten the match entirely.
Behind the Dooze’s back, King Blueberry takes a bounce off the ropes and puts himself into motion. Bobby raises a hand to wave off the tag, but the Boston Bruiser takes a running dropkick to his back, and their hands slap just before they collide into one another. The audience gasps as Bobby falls hard to the ringside floor!
Nick Stuart: It needed some extra motivation, but Doozer successfully “tags” out to his unwitting partner!
Richard Parker: Then I am going to assume this will end right now to a count out, cause it’s going to take a forklift to get Bobby back in that ring!
Unfortunately for Richard, Jimmy Turnbull’s attention is preoccupied with breaking up the brawl between KB and Doozer. King Blueberry gets tossed into the turnbuckle, and the impact knocks over the mannequin leaning there. El Hijo’s arm slaps Blueberry’s on the way down in plain view of Jimmy Turnbuckles, who makes the signal for a clean tag.
His Majesty doesn’t seem to notice as the Dooze lays into his midsection with a running knee strike, and he fights back with defiant forearms. While the ref struggles and fails to bring things to order, Bobby Dean is somehow back on his feet on the outside, only after a LOT of effort and assistance from the barricade. He aimlessly wanders ringside, until he stumbling across Cynthia, the ace up the Bandits’ sleeve…
Nick Stuart: I think a plot is hatching in Bobby’s head!
Richard Parker: Hatching from a very rotten eGG…
Bobby pulls the porn doll off the floor and goes around the ring to where El Hijo del Super Cool Guy is inexplicably stood up. An innocent smile is spread across his salt-and-butter smeared face as he tries to tempt EHDSCG with the goods, eventually setting the porn doll into his unwitting mannequin’s arms.
The brawl between Doozer and KB continues unchecked until it takes them tumbling through the ropes to the outside. Meanwhile, Bobby seizes the “distracted” El Hijo and drives his plastic mannequin head into the steel post multiple times before sliding him into the ring.
Nick Stuart: Bobby has a chance to make something happen here! I think the mannequin is the legal man!
Richard Parker: Unbelievable… I never thought I’d live to see the day “Beautiful” Bobby Dean pimped out a porn doll to a mannequin.
On the floor, KB and the Dooze slowly work their way to their feet. Bobby just as slowly drags himself under the ropes. Finally back in the ring, he climbs up to the first turnbuckle… scales to the second… lowers himself back to the first after a shake of the head… and begins bouncing in place to work up his momentum.
Doozer is on his feet first, and approaches King Blueberry, but doesn’t see the stun gun hidden in His Majesty’s hand.
King Blueberry: I’M SO SORRY ABOUT THIS!!
Richard Parker: Where did he get that?!
Doozer falls to the floor, convulsing from the shock. KB discards the stun gun and looks back into the ring. Bobby is bouncing with such force, he looks like he might rip the turnbuckles off the post! Then he releases the top rope and comes jumping off…
Nick Stuart: BEAUTIFUL BANZAI DROP!!
All of Bobby’s weight crushes the mannequin’s chest, and the head pops off as though fired out of a cannon.
Richard Parker: INCOMING!
Nick and Richard duck just in the nick of time as El Hijo’s head flies over their heads and disappears in the front row. Back in the ring, Jimmy Turnbuckles stays on task and drops to the mat to make the count on the mannequin crushed beneath Bobby’s girth. KB is too far away to do anything.
DING DING DING
“Banditstruck” hits the PA as Bobby, still seated upon the mannequin’s chest, pumps up his arms to celebrate his “hard fought” victory. King Blueberry, seconds too late from making the save, forlornly crumbles to his knees in defeat.
Vince Howard: The winners of the match, by pinfall… THE EGG BANDITS!!
Richard Parker: Well… that just happened.
Nick Stuart: In a crazy turn of events, Bobby Dean pulls through for the eGG Bandits here tonight, picking up the pinfall over an opponent that, obviously, could do little to resist him.
Richard Parker: First thing tomorrow, I’m going to Melvin’s office and demanding we get some protective plexiglass barriers around the table. I’ll be damned if I risk my life and limb over these clowns.
Nick Stuart: By the same token, this an unfortunate shortcoming for King Blueberry, who could not find a way to carry the weight of his tag partner, so to speak. Hopefully this doesn’t create a rift between him and Bobby.
Richard Parker: (sarcastically) Oh MY, Nick… what ever will we do?
Bobby suddenly remembers Doozer and goes to check on his friend and tag partner – albeit stopping short of putting in any effort to leave the ring. Meanwhile, King Blueberry fetches El Hijo del Super Cool Guy’s head from the crowd after dragging the crushed remains of his tag partner from the ring.
Keep it Old School all the time with OSW.
PRESENT AND FUTURE
Amidst the chaos of ReVival 5, the final 5 Star Scramble, the Blue Live Crew and the freaking Egg Bandits, and worst of all…the Halls, the scene shifts to the locker room area of the MGM Grand. The sound of the audience loudly cheering plays as a backdrop as the camera follows alongside the reason for the rising octave; Brandon Youngblood, oddly still in street clothes rather than ring attire in preparation for the main event of the evening. Wearing a crisp pair of jeans and a cowhide red short sleeve henley that is nicely conforming to his torso, the Tower of Babel is looking his zaddy best.
What’s he doing? Is he looking to make some grand statement? Hardly. It seems we are following Brandon as he is on his way to catering, or someplace to get a bottle of water. Perhaps a surprise ringside interviewer is going to pop into the scene, get his thoughts on the bracket finals with Impulse? Perhaps a little sample of what’s to come for the winner of Palmer and Jiles? That would certainly fit the bill and get the hype machine rolling.
How about neither? Rather, the Only Diamond freezes, looking forward, all before a smirk starts to cross his lips. There is a murmur in the crowd, a rising tension. When the camera pans towards the reason for his stopping, the cheering grows to an even greater fever pitch.
The Time Lord. The Muse.
Ah, yes. It’s this pain in the ass again. This would also be the first time we’ve actually seen her backstage aside from her occasional snarling at reporters after matches. But now after being eliminated from the tournament, she now officially has nothing to do in PRIME and really, no reason to be here tonight. So…what the hell is she doing right now? A cameraman pops out from some random locker room and he just so happens to be right in her pathway. He doesn’t see her. But by god, she sees him.
She takes a brief running start. She jumps, bouncing off of the wall. This guy looks over to see a nice black boot heading for his face and the poor guy doesn’t even get a chance to duck. Scuffed leather meets flesh as she bolts forward with the magic of parkour and punts him right in the chops. The cameraman, who we can only guess is called Stan, is knocked out with the boot that kicked him on his head. Anna (or to be more precise, one of the many therein) stands there like a proud hunter that has just extinguished the last of an endangered species.
At least, until she looks up at Youngblood’s mug.
There’s a bit of rattling in her skull. A hulking furry shadow snarls in a cage in the corner as if to say YOU. Others jump in to calm it down but in the meantime, someone has to say something. She blinks a bit. It’s the first time she’s seen a member of the roster outside of a wrestling ring. How does one approach this?
Anna Daniels: Helloooooooo?
Apparently, with confusion.
Anna could easily start killing off Enemigos, and Wade Elliott would be stuck footing a tremendous bill, since there’s no way Dametreyus would ever let that crew do the heavy lifting with the two people in this hallway. And why? To protect the Time Lord? To protect the Diamond? After the initial bustle, space clears. Anna’s question is laced with a certain hilarity. Brandon, stepping forward without hesitation, looks at the splattered cameraman, kneels and turns him over before checking his pulse to make sure he’s not dead. The headache he is going to have later might make him wish he was. Standing back up, Youngblood draws ever closer to The Muse, the smirk once on his face long gone after the display moments before.
Brandon Youngblood: Did you have to do that? There’s berries here that are much more deserving.
A moment of silence.
Brandon Youngblood: Hell, he’d probably even pay you to kick his ass.
After the initial confusion of her tone and Suplex Daddy actually using words, there is a shift in the Muse’s demeanor. The smirk that left his face has now moved to her face as she leans against the wall. There’s a certain rasp to her voice, one that wasn’t heard in her previous question. One that gave hints of cigarettes, failure, and the impossibility of her being alive. Before she speaks, there is a warning from the busy corner. Don’t be an asshole, Firebug.
Anna Daniels: Hey, we specifically said we’ll punt whoever’s in front of us. And well…
Anna spreads her arms as if to say TA-DAH!
Anna Daniels: If Berry Boi appears in front on us tonight, he’ll get the same treatment. No profit needed. Hell, we’ll most likely get fined for this. But it’s whatever. Just end up doubling it and handing it over to those Fighting for Nora guys. They need it more than us.
A tap on her chin.
Anna Daniels: And technically speaking, you are also in front of us.
To say there’s an urge to punt him would be an understatement. But there’s another warning. Now is not the time. A sigh as she steps to the side.
Anna Daniels: But we’re not a complete bitch. Wouldn’t wanna give you brain damage before your big fight.
Anna isn’t the only one with multitudes; so many different versions of Brandon would respond starkly to the threat laid before him. However, this one, for what it’s worth, can read the room. He heard them say that anyone who crossed them would be eating boot leather. But if they were going to strike, they would have done so already. Arms folded across his chest, he stands his ground; they wouldn’t respect him if he didn’t.
Brandon Youngblood: Maybe you aren’t punting my skull in because you want me to pick the bones of Teddy Palmer clean after what you did to him.
So many ways that statement can go. Maybe a twisting knife? No. There isn’t malice here, at least on his part.
Brandon Youngblood: For what it’s worth? I think you…everything that makes up the whole of you…I think you should have won last week. And I think if that match happens ten times? Nine of them, you’re walking out with your hand raised. He got lucky. And I know if I was in your boots…that’d piss me off. And honestly, it pisses me off. Want to know why?
He doesn’t give the multitudes that make up Anna Daniels a chance to respond, whether in snark or genuine interest.
Brandon Youngblood: Because out of everyone in this Almasy Tournament? People I have years of history with and names I barely recognized? After the first round, after I saw you, I wanted you in the Finals. Because out of every new face that’s come around this place, you’re the one that made the biggest mark on me. You’re the one I had to research. You’re the most impressive of the lot. If you’d of been around here a decade or so ago, your name is in the Hall of Fame. And that’s not me blowing smoke to save my skin here…
He, shockingly, extends a hand to The Muse.
Brandon Youngblood: You’re the New Era. And I’m a big fan. So, now that you know, know that if I do get past Impulse…if I do get that Universal Championship…I know you’re probably going to be there at the end of the line. How long that is? Who knows. Just, do us a favor…no more chopping down staff…save that. Whoever gets in the ring with you next, you annihilate them.
The Multitudes listened to every word he said. Really listened. Oh, sure. There were parts in his speech that caused discussion elsewhere in her skull. Number one, of course we’re irritated that Teddy Palmer is still breathing air but we’d be damned if we give that Ronald McDonald looking shithead the satisfaction of knowing that. Number two being we were around a decade ago. Just not this part of the multiverse. Where were we in 2012, anyway? St. Louis? It had to have been before the Disneyland Massacre. And the third?
Another shift. There’s a knowing nod. Her vocal cords shift into black and white movies, elegance, and an endlessness.
Anna Daniels: You…are a strange specimen.
What? It had to be said.
Anna Daniels: Honestly, we were looking forward to fighting you in the finals, Brandon. But you’re correct. Us colliding in that ring? It’s inevitable. And we’re not as good as stroking egos as you seem to be. But we’ll give the devil his due.
There’s a moment of thinking before the nod.
Anna Daniels: You might just be the smartest of the old guard. We’ll bowl over our roadblocks. Just make sure you bury everyone else in front of you in the meantime.
The Prime takes the handshake strongly.
The PRIME nods back.
Brandon Youngblood: Wouldn’t have it any other way.
The handshake tapers off, a moment of simmering tension lingering between the two, bubbling up, the crowd in the distance roaring at the idea of seeing these two, eventually, maybe soon?, kicking the absolute shit out of each other. And what a sight that will be.
For now, the two forces of nature break away, the scene moving elsewhere.
BATTLE OF THE BANDS
The cameraman is somewhere, though we couldn’t say where. It’s not their hotel suite–not enough scantily clad women to be had. But the band posters on the walls, the copious graffiti, the broken down couch, and the thud of someone’s drums in the walls? It’s reasonable to assume we’re backstage at some venue or another. Sitting on that beaten couch is Boogie Barry Delgado, who idly works out some riffs on his custom Rickenbacker 4005. Standing in front of a full-length mirror is the lanky body of Trent Sadikaj, Electric Boots himself, who is applying eyeliner with a practiced fluidity. Boogie jams out a hard note, causing the frets to rattle, before silencing the instrument with his palm and looking to his compatriot.
Boogie: Boots, you remember that battle of the bands in San Clemente?
Trant smiles, but does not stray from his task.
Boots: Oh man, this champion breed talkin’ about brain tape from years upon years, baby! I remember it like it was yesterday, the movie is in high def. The amps were hot, the licks were heavy, the wails spoke to the heart and the loin in equal measure! The crowd? Come on now, Boogieman, tell them about the crowd!!
Boogie: Devoted, swingin’, and eyeing us up and down. The men wanted to be us, the women wanted to know us. Biblical style.
At these words, the frontman turns on his heels–full 540–and drops his eyeliner pencil in his makeup bag. He takes a slow, strutting step forward, shimmying his shoulders, and his enthusiasm is infectious, causing a grin to break out on his bassist.
Boots: Biblically! There were other groups, sure. Heartless Party, Daddy Warhead and the Blast Radius, Dow Jones Industrial Average, Fuckface Academy–ain’t heard of them? Baby, Electric Boots ain’t shocked to hear that! Also-rans, never weres, and losers who ain’t have a chance. Every last one of them!
Boogie: Blast Radius had that one keys player though.
Boots: Oh yeah, he tickled them ivories, barrelhouse style.
Boogie: What they call him?
Boots: Doctor Alphonse Grand Piano!
Boogie sets his bass down and stands, nodding his head to the camera. He holds his hands out like he’s painting us the scene, cinemascope.
Boogie: But we digress! It comes down to the final three, right? And trust me, the other two bands were stiff competition! Mickey Mouse Chernobyl, man–those rockers played like they were born with extra hands!! Summer In The City knew on a deep level how to make the ladies swoon–but the thing is this. They could be anything they wanted to be. They could shred, they could croon. But Boots, what couldnt they be?
Trent runs his hands through his raven hair, preening.
Boots: Us! They couldn’t be Solid. Gold. Rock and Roll. So I know what you’re thinking babies: Solid Gold stole the show. Conquered the enemy, stormed the gate, claimed the throne, and cashed that check for a full rack plus a 500 dollar Guitar Center gift card.
Boogie: We lost.
Boots: We lost!
Boogie: Politics, man.
Boots: Politics and philistines, baby!
Boogie: But here’s the thing…you ever heard of them cats? You ever pop down to the local record store and say “Hey brother, you got that new Summer In The City EP?” Nah. You Haven’t.
Boots: Baby you ever turn on your TV and feel yourself get weak in the knees because Mickey Mouse Chernobyl is on your screen? Baby you ain’t need to answer cause the Electric Warrior knows! We might have got stiffed at that battle of the bands but, Hell…that was a sprint. A foot race. Rock and Roll is a marathon. You don’t get immortal by being some two-pump chump who captures a brief little bit of that lightning in a bottle–you become immortal because you throw a leash on that lightning and ride that bolt into the sunset. You live forever because you got that staying power. Vertical and horizontal. Sure, last show, well. We lost.
Delago takes a moment. He seems dejected.
Boogie: Did not win.
Trent grabs his partner by the shoulder and meets him eye to eye. He taps him in the chest with one of his fingers. If there’s such a thing as a pep talk between these two, this feels like it. His voice drops its rock and roll howl, he speaks almost softly. It’s apparent that they’re something of a feedback loop, and if both of them are enthused, it helps the other remain so.
Boots: Didn’t win the sprint, baby. But the Stallion and the Stud aren’t here for the hundred meter dash. Nah baby see we marathon men, real thoroughbreds, and them never-was and also-rans might have Solid Gold Rock and Roll licked in the first straight, sure. But we’re comin’ around the corner on the outside.
Barry looks to the floor for a moment. Then locks eyes with his partner. Then grins and turns to the camera, slapping his shoulders.
Boogie: It’s not that we don’t like you. It’s that we know you dont got the stroke. And right now you can prance and pretend, but we’re the genuine article.
Boots: Enjoy it right now, babies! Have mercy, you know that time is borrowed. That glory is short-lived. That adulation is paper thin and scattering in the breeze more and more as time goes on! You might have had your time in the sunshine, but it’s dusk and it’s gettin’ all neon orange on the horizon…and once that moon sits high in the sky, that beautiful silver dame? That’s when our time comes. Cause we walk these streets at night. We go where eagles dare. We stalk this pavement and live by the pulse of these cities. Boogie, lay down that funky slap!
Barry Delgado gives a shake of his mullet worthy of a wild horse, holding his massive arms to his sides.
Boogie: Night time is the right time, dudes and dudettes. And you may think you have what it takes, but these are the breaks. That’s my main man Boots, the Electric Warrior, the can’t-stop-won’t-stop. And me?
He steps forward and throws up both his arms in a broad bicep flex, his chest expanding to the size of a Marshall stack. Sadikaj leans in ander his amr and does a Vanna White hand flourish.
Boots: This man hold the Boogie down, the Mack Truck of rockin’ funk, beauty and brawn to my beauty and sometimes-too-long. We are Solid.
Unison: Rock and Roll!
Boots: And baby baby bay-bee, you’ve only had the briefest taste–the main course is coming. Mercy!
Barry Delgado snatches his bass and does a cunnilingual waggle of the tongue by the neck as he struts out of frame, presumably to blow the minds of an enraptured audience. Trent Sadikaj rotates his torso, then bends at the waist and touches his toes, his frankly overtaxed leather pants creaking at the action. Remaining limber is important in his field, after all. He pops a standing high kick and arches his back as he dances out of frame, blowing the camera a kiss as he does. Solid Gold Rock and Roll are on the scene–and the picture fades to black.
WINDS OF CHANGE
THIS IS A SUBMISSION FROM LOCAL TALENT TO PRIME TAG TEAM SURVIVOR! WE HAVE CHOSEN OUR FINAL COMPETITOR FOR TAG TEAM SURVIVOR! THE FOLLOWING IS THE VIDEO SUBMITTED!
Voice 1: Hey, is this thing working? I never did one of these before.
The screen shakes chaotically, the image of the person holding the camera blurring by as they struggle to figure out which end is the right one.
Voice 2: Joe, maybe you should let me work the phone.
Voice 1: No, no, no, wait, I got it, I got it.
He decidedly does not have it.
The video feed blurs by several times, and then briefly cuts to black.
After a few seconds more of the sounds of fumbling confusion, the view becomes steady. A young man with green eyes and his black hair done in the dumbest topknot possible takes up most of the screen, as though he’s taking a selfie. He wears a suit without a tie, but the jacket is so obnoxiously and loudly green that you’d think the man was Irish and not mostly Italian.
You don’t know it yet, but his name is Joe Fontaine.
Joe Fontaine: Heyyy. There we go! Hey, Sid, look! Figured out the camera.
Sid Phillips: Amazing.
Sid Phillips’s sarcasm can be felt from the dark parts of space, where only outer gods dwell and didn’t even care to notice. Not that the man holding the phone really cares himself, though. He mugs for his phone camera like a liquid that’s more sugar than coffee.
Joe Fontaine: We’re here in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada! Yeah, boy-eeee!
Behind Joe, a lot of people are giving him strange stares. That’s because they’re being filmed in a McDonalds in Vegas. Joe and Sid are seated in a corner, far and away from the odd stares that the pair are now getting because of the volume of Joe’s voice.
The video feed blurs as Joe turns the phone around and points it at Sid, a very large man whose body could be used to grate cheese. Sid gives the phone a tired look, the kind that suggests that he had a headache.
Joe Fontaine: Hey, Sid! Say something for the camera!
Sid shakes his head, but acquiesces.
Sid Phillips: Something for the camera.
Joe Fontaine: Great!
Joe turns his phone back towards himself, giving the viewing audience a good view of his right nostril for a moment before pulling it back a bit.
Joe Fontaine: Well, we decided to stop by McDonalds because we were hungry, and…
Sid Phillips: (interrupting) For the love of all that’s holy, Joe, we’re not promoting McDonalds for this thing. Not for free, anyway. Maybe if some McDonalds marketing director was here right now, we could swing that and maybe get like ten bucks and a free Whopper or something, but that’s not happening.
Joe Fontaine: Well, no. Of course not. Whoppers are from Burger King.
Sid Phillips: That’s not really my point…
Joe Fontaine: Yeah, but think about it. What if they did offer Whoppers? It would change the game. All of the games, even! Many games would change as we know it. It would be hysteria. MASS hysteria. You suddenly add Burger King Whoppers to the McDonalds menu, and you’ve got mayhem. Taco Bell would have to go and get Blizzards from Dairy Queen. Dairy Queen would have to get, I don’t know, the Baconator. Which I think is a sandwich that can’t be bargained with. A sandwich that doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it will absolutely not stop, ever, until you are fed.
Sid Phillips: Joe, we’ve known each other since we were five. So trust me when I tell you that I’m about six… no, five seconds from powerbombing you through this table.
It is a McDonalds table, so putting him through one of those would take some kind of effort. A kind of effort that Sid Phillips would love to exert if it means stopping Joe from continuing his tangent. Joe knows this, and visibly gulped on-screen.
Joe Fontaine: Okay, okay, geez.
He turns his attention back to his camera.
Joe Fontaine: Alright, so the folks at home or whoever gets to watch this might be wondering who we are! Don’t you think they’re wondering who we are, Sid?
Sid Phillips: If I said ‘yes’, would it get you to your point sooner? Why didn’t you let me do this?
Joe Fontaine: (ignoring him) Alright! So this…
He flips the phone so that he pointed the camera at Sid. Unfortunately, this means that the camera is shooting upside-down. Sid visibly rolls his eyes and tries to cooly pick up and eat a French fry.
Joe Fontaine: This is Sid Phillips. Riot, some might call him. He’s the master of the Exploding Cyclone Homicide Driver!
Joe smiles like that was the best thing in the world about his best friend.
Sid Phillips: Alright. Sure. I didn’t pick the name, but sure, I’ll claim mastery of that thing.
Joe then turns the phone back towards himself. Right-side up, this time.
Joe Fontaine: And I’m Joe Fontaine. The Tempest!
He makes his free hand into a claw shape, and whips it around a few times as though that denotes what his nickname was.
Joe Fontaine: We’re just a couple of second-generation wrestler boys out of Phoenix. You can call us the Winds of Change. Sound familiar? It could! Anyway, we’re just a couple of real cool customers. The coolest, actually. In fact, some call me Smooth Joey Cool.
Sid Phillips: You’re the only one who calls you that.
Joe Fontaine: They don’t know that. Why’d you tell them? Oh, but hey, speaking of names and all, are you going to take Baron’s advice and add a ‘von’ in the middle of your name? You know, “Riot” Sid von Phillips? You’d be great at parties.
Sid Phillips: For the record, I’m going to have PRIME foot the bill when I powerbomb you through this table if you keep saying stuff like that.
Joe smiles, and returns to looking at the phone.
Joe Fontaine: Anyhoodle, the two of us, we’re going to enter this whole Survivor thing. It should be great! Especially when we win. Winning’s the best part.
Joe flips the phone back over to show Sid. Sid’s mouth is full of Big Mac. Sid glares at the phone, the burger halfway in his mouth. He growls a bit at it. How dare you.
Joe Fontaine: Don’t you think so, Sid?
Sid swallows his food.
Then he reaches over, quick as a coiled snake, and snatches the phone from Joe’s hand.
Sid Phillips: That’s enough of that.
The scene turns topsy-turvy as Sid fumbles with the device, gifting viewers with a stellar view of half of his thumb as he stares down at the phone.
Sid Phillips: Seriously, were you livestreaming this to the PRIME people? Holy shit, Joe, your cell phone bill is going to go through the roof. Yeah, I’m shutting this down now. I hope they don’t kick us out for this shit.
Joe Fontaine: Wait, wait, wait!
More fumbling around, and then… black.
FLAMBERGE vs. Genevie Carlson
Nick Stuart: Since returning, PRIME has featured tag team matches, scrambles to determine competitors for the 5 Star Championship at Culture Shock, and has been dominated by the Inaugural Seymour Almasy Invitational Tournament to crown the Universal Champion. But here, coming up, will be a first; a one-on-one contest without the backdrop of a championship. This one is about pride. Making a mark.
Richard Parker: More than that. So much more than that. Tonight is the debut of FLAMBERGE. We’ve seen teasers of his arrival, and from what I’ve been able to gather from my own personal sources, this young man is coming to us with all the pomp and circumstance of a nuclear warhead. He’s a blue chipper. A five-tool prospect. He’s been born and bred into this, and tonight, tonight is his call up to the big leagues. Tonight, FLAMBERGE makes his mark in PRIME.
Nick Stuart: And that might be the prevailing sentiment amongst many, but tonight, he must make good on the hype.
Richard Parker: Genevie Carlson, we haven’t seen much of since losing to Julian Bathory all the way back on the first ReVival. Bathory did what it took to win. No questions. And given how she’s spoken, of being the Beauty in a land of Beasts, she sees this match as being set up as the sacrificial lamb in the rise of FLAMBERGE. Make no mistake about it; Genie Carlson isn’t your usual first-time opponent. Genie Carlson isn’t just perhaps the prettiest face in all of PRIME. She’s angry, she’s hungry, and she’s planning on making the young prodigy bow before the night is over.
Vince Howard: The following match is scheduled for one fall. Introducing first…
Ah ah ah yep yep yep
The baddest bitch is back,
I’m back part 2, part 2
I’m reloaded and I’m killin you hoes
The lights dim as “Killing You Hoes” by Trina plays as the lights dim, only for flashes of white and pink to follow, pouring over the crowd.
Nick Stuart: These fans at the MGM definitely making their feelings felt on Genevie Carlson, and who can blame them? She’s belittled them before ever stepping foot in PRIME, calling them losers. She tried to make fun of them with a collection of rocks that turned out to come back and bite her against Julian Bathory.
Genevie makes her way past the curtain, a knowing smirk on her face. Looking over the crowd, she can’t help but drink in their boos, finding confidence in their hatreds, all before breaking off into her signature stripper dance, twirling around as she shakes her ample backside. Internet search engines will note a major spike in Genie Carlson entries. Completing a rotation, she bites her lip, a distinct ruby red against her flawless skin, winking at the crowd before making her way down the ramp. So many want can want her, but they can only look. Look and salivate.
Vince Howard: Making her way to the ring from New York City, New York GENEVIIIIIIIIIEEEEEE CAAAAARRRRLLLSSSOOOON.
Richard Parker: I don’t know why there’s such a ruckus going on here. After all, it’s not exactly like Genevie’s gyrations aren’t the norm off the strip.
Nick Stuart: It’s more that sort of arrogance she exudes. But tonight, she’s going to be tested, perhaps unlike ever before.
Richard Parker: Oh, she is. From everything I’ve heard, we’re in for major happening in a few moments.
Genevie stops at the bottom of the ramp, rolling her eyes as she flaunts herself toward the fans, putting her hand up towards them with disgust as they continue to boo her, all before running to the side of the ring and jumping up. She stands smugly on the side of the apron before flipping over the top rope, scooping up her hat from the ring mat as she adjusts and fixes her hair, the music fading as she eases into her corner, continuing to jaw with the fans.
FLAMBO’S GONNA KILL YOU
FLAMBO’S GONNA KILL YOU
FLAMBO’S GONNA KILL YOU
Nick Stuart: A vocal portion of the audience making their feelings known here.
Genie can’t help herself, mocking them, thinking some wispy little Frenchie is going to take her down. “The French can’t last two minutes in my hands.” Read of that what you will.
And then, the lights fade.
I AM dangerous
And across the PRIMEview?
The arena lights come back to life, and out comes the prodigy, the man of the hour, FLAMBERGE. He saunters from the back with a cool casualness, loudly chomping on a wad of gum, “Dangereux” by IAM blaring as the fans cheer the newcomer. The anticipated debut comes with an expectation toward greatness, and to say the Frenchman is cocky confident would be an understatement. His powerwalk carries with it a weird charisma, and as he takes his lap around the ring, he refuses to look up toward his opponent, despite natural male instinct. Genie isn’t making it easy, seemingly pushing out her ample chest to try and get his attention, but the Strasbourgis native refuses to get caught up in the sexuality fueled mind games. He, instead, rolls into the ring, standing opposite of her, his head bobbing the entire time.
Vince Howard: And her opponent, from Strasbourgis, France. He is… FLAMBERGE.
Chomping on his gum, his limbs loose as he bounces on the balls of his feet, FLAMBERGE looks through Genevie Carlson, all before turning his back on her. If the self-proclaimed witch wasn’t impressed with him before, she damn sure wasn’t now, her mouth wrenching in disgust before tightly pursing her lips. She cracks her knuckles in the distance, the camera shot now tight on FLAMBERGE in the corner, elbows resting on the top turnbuckle, eyes glowering as he stares at the fans at home.
Nick Stuart: FLAMBERGE making a statement here. He doesn’t respect his opponent. He doesn’t respect Genevie Carlson.
Richard Parker: Mind games. He’s not showing his cards. Cool as the other side of the pillow.
Nick Stuart: Or a rookie mistake.
Richard Parker: He could just stand there and stare at her chest, Nick.
Nick Stuart: Would have the same effect, I’d imagine.
Richard Parker: Then she’d be in control. Flaunting herself. Everything about Genie Carlson’s appearance is to lull you into her spell. And believe me, it works. She’s gorgeous. But you do that, and you’re eating canvas on a Stiletto Kiss. FLAMBERGE is built different. Coached different…
And right from jump, before the bell even finishes ringing, Genevie charges, ready to nail the disrespectful young prodigy in the back of the head with her elbow before he can even react. With preternatural instinct, FLAMBERGE twists out of the corner, and Carlson finds herself trying to pull her arm back before blasting the turnbuckle pad, her breasts absorbing the blow and causing her to wince. Just as quickly as she starts, she’s already stumbling out of the corner, cursing under her breath, a rookie mistake on her own part made all the worse by being shown up by a legitimate newcomer. And in the moment, she finds herself grabbed by the inside lapel, and tossed effortlessly to the canvas with an effortless ippon seoi nage.
Nick Stuart: Ippon seoi nage takes Carlson to the canvas.
Richard Parker: Incredible snap there! Effortless form!
The velocity causes Carlson to skid across the canvas, creating distance. She swings her hips, pushes herself up off the canvas, the anger rising inside her. She hears the laughter of everyone…the entire roster, the fans, Elijah…even though it’s only in her own head, it rattles and seethes, makes her blind charge come out with a ferocious roar, only for FLAMBERGE to block her forearm smash with his own forearms, swinging her around as he grabs her by the waist and plants her to the canvas with an ushiro goshi.
Nick Stuart: Wow! What a judo clinic being put on by FLAMBERGE!
Richard Parker: And Genie is looking up at him asking herself what she got herself into.
Nick Stuart: He’s just standing over her, daring her to do something.
Richard Parker: Watch out!
Nick Stuart: Genevie barely gets out of the way of that kick FLAMBERGE sent her direction. Good lord that might have caved her face in!
Richard Parker: He’s everything that was advertised! A lethal weapon! The lethal weapon! With diplomatic immunity and everything!
The FLAMBERGE showcase is everything his father and coach, Henri Lavigne, could hope for. The whipping kick isn’t enough to scare off Carlson, who scurries back to her feet, her anger now transitioning to a disgusting embarrassment. She can’t believe this. To be the bull to some young punk matador. To be the lamb to his slaughter. No nonsense bitch or not, all she wants to do is break this kid’s teeth. Drawing close she once again charges, throwing everything she has into him with a dropkick. Only…it catches air. FLAMBERGE is once again weaving around the canvas and seeing everything before it comes. When Genie gets up in another stagger, she’s caught in a front chancery, quickly sent flying across the canvas with a snap suplex.
Richard Parker: I’m just impressed! This guy is the next K-Wolf! The next…I don’t even know!
Nick Stuart: And Genevie Carlson, that look of anger on her face has grown despondent.
Richard Parker: Positively crestfallen. Completely out of her depth.
“What the hell are you doing?!” she questions herself. FLAMBERGE is busying himself with once again turning his back to her, perching his elbows in the corner, chomping his gum. Impressive as he has been, he’s not going in for the direct kill, and his arrogance is getting the fans to boo. Not that he cares. He simply keeps chewing his gum, ready to prove his point on the next charge of this dimwitted tart who said was going to make him bow. “You’re playing into his hands. Giving him all the control.” She rises to her feet, mock dusting off her thighs, shaking her head before lulling it to the side. She stares towards the young prodigy, and rather than charging him, stays still. Finally, he cranes his head, looks at her, smirking at her as holds his arms folded against his chest.
Nick Stuart: So much stalling here. The fans want action.
Richard Parker: FLAMBO will bring the action. But he’s also got to mark his territory.
To FLAMBERGE’s surprise, Genie lowers herself, getting into a wrestling stance, her arms out. It looks alien to those that have seen her, but he doesn’t care. He effortlessly circles her, his opponent remaining flatfooted, turning to keep facing him. Before she knows it, he catches her in a quick double leg takedown, the onslaught sure to continue. A quick transition begins. Everything is so easy when you’re so gifted.
Nick Stuart: Oh my word! What a devastating hammer fist!
CRACK CRACK CRACK CRACK!
Richard Parker: Woah! Those blows are nasty! Vicious! He never saw them coming!
Indeed. Everything to this point, FLAMBERGE was reacting to in counter, and Genie realized it. She realized his ego too. Everything so easy. Lulling him into a trap. Eat a double leg to get a clean shot at his face. And boy, did she ever. Given her size, she packs a surprising wallop. And FLAMBERGE, he clearly isn’t expecting this. He’s rocked. She grabs him in a quick guillotine and wrenches downward.
Nick Stuart: Guillotine choke! What a reversal!
Richard Parker: She’s a damn savage! And I’m falling in love!
The wrenching has another effect, one Elvis Nixon is quick to pick up on.
Richard Parker: She’s clawing at his back!
Nick Stuart: Those long nails slicing into the back of FLAMBERGE!
Richard Parker: Oh man and she’s licking her fingernails now…
Nick Stuart: And now Genevie Carlson with the mind games toward FLAMBERGE.
Richard Parker: I don’t know if those ruby lips of hers are from blood or not, and I know she’s a witch, but maybe she has vampire tendencies?
Nick Stuart: She’s smirking towards FLAMBERGE who is seething, his back scratched up, I’m not seeing blood…
Richard Parker: Oh a forearm smash! This one connects!
Nick Stuart: It’s hard to think about, but as good as FLAMBERGE was looking early on, he’s frazzling now. Another forearm smash and he’s down! Carlson dropping the leg over his throat!
Nick Stuart: FLAMBERGE explodes out with that kickout! And before he can get up to his feet dropkick! Dropkick sends him into the ropes—
Richard Parker: Pele kick!
Nick Stuart: Genevie Carlson on fire here! The wicked witch of PRIME! And she’s mocking FLAMBERGE and these fans here as she lifts him from the canvas and OH! Lifts him up on her shoulder!
Richard Parker: Get center of gravity—
Nick Stuart: Alabama slam! And she hooks the leg!
Henri Lavigne is screaming in his native French, wherever he is. FLAMBERGE is trying to gather himself. And Genevie Carlson? The supposed sacrificial lamb? The footnote to the prodigy’s ascent? She’s flipping off the notion, reveling in her newfound role, not just as spoiler, but statement maker. Eat your heart out, PRIME; the wicked witch is here to stay. She grabs hold of him by his hair, lifting him up, Elvis Nixon quick to make sure there’s no pulling. She isn’t; she’s too busy slapping the man in front of her in the face. And again. Waking up the beast? He chomps on his gum. She flips him off after mouthing off that French men can’t last around her.
Richard Parker: She’s goading him into—
Nick Stuart: Oh what a forceful push from FLAMBERGE.
Richard Parker: She almost spilled out of her—
Nick Stuart: Oh he didn’t miss that kick!
Richard Parker: Openings! Take them where you can find them! I love it! I love these two!
Whatever plan Genie has, it’s gone, just like the feeling of fillings rattling in her noggin. The idea was to bait him. But he was too quick. And picking her up, he hits her in the side of the head with a headbutt, grabbing her arm in a hammerlock before launching her with a suplex. He doesn’t go for the pin, instead jerking her from the canvas nearly on her head with a vicious komi goshi throw. There is no playing around. No more arrogance. Simply anger. Genie drunkenly staggers to her feet, more on instinct, and without warning barely misses getting annihilated with an Axe Kick.
Nick Stuart: Barely misses!
He quickly grabs hold of her in a jiu-jitsu clinch, firing a knee deep into her belly. All the air shoots out of her body, and she collapses to the canvas on her knees.
Richard Parker: Did you hear the noise she made?
Nick Stuart: Sounds like broken ribs. Bad broken ribs.
She wails in agony, and Elvis, in the tangle of bodies, tries to see if she’s okay. FLAMBERGE, however, looks to cave her skull in with a vicious knee from the kneel, and cups Nixon’s head and shoves him away.
Nick Stuart: Low blow! Low blow by Carlson!
Richard Parker: FLAMBERGE crumpling to the mat!
Nick Stuart: Oh do you see her smiling there?! She was playing possum and SORCESS’ SPELL!
Richard Parker: Ruthless and delicious! What cunning! Never hesitate! Never surrender! Genie Carlson, you’re a woman after my own heart!
Nick Stuart: FLAMBERGE trying to gather himself STILETTO KISS! CURB STOMP STILETTO KISS!
DING DING DING
Adrenaline carries Genevie back to her feet from the pin, a sinister smile spread across her face, wiping her ruby red lips with her forearm as she looks down at the murmuring heap that is, because of her cunning, smoldering promise. She knows not to stay long, bobbing her head, chuckling, laughing as she makes her claim, makes good on the statement she met out to achieve. Nobody could think of laughing at her now.
Vince Howard: Your winner…by pinfall…GENEVIE! CAAAAAAAAARLSON!
She rolls out of the ring, “Killing You Hoes” by Trina playing as the fans serenade her in justified boos. She doesn’t care, striding toward the entrance ramp, the drop beginning to happen as the blows she suffered in the contest start hurting just a little more.
Nick Stuart: Elvis Nixon didn’t see that low blow, dammit, and it changed everything in the match…
Richard Parker: Veteran’s advantage Nick. Mind your surroundings young padawan.
Nick Stuart: And you’ve done a quick about face on Genevie after being so impressed with FLAMBERGE…
Richard Parker: Oh, he’s talented for sure. But Genie showed me something out there…and I can’t begin to tell you how big a fan I am becoming…
Nick Stuart: That sounds more like thirst if you ask me…
Richard Parker: Think she has an Onlyfans page?
Nick Stuart: Oh good lord!
In the ring, FLAMBERGE is fetal, but as Elvis attends to him, he violently pushes him away. Not enough to drop him to the canvas, but enough to make it known to get away from him. The music playing isn’t for him. Everything he was trained to do, gone in a flash. Now, his promise is in pieces. He is disgusted. Irate.
And even still, it’s nowhere near how angry Henri Lavigne finds himself.
COMMERCIAL: ALMASY INVITATIONAL
WHO WILL BE COMPETING FOR THE UNIVERSAL TITLE AT CULTURE SHOCK? FIND OUT IN JUST A FEW MOMENTS…
2ND COMING: 3-18-22
The entrance way lights up with a dark blue lighting as smoke starts to dance across the rampway. About halfway down the entrance runway a panel starts to slide open revealing a stairway. The lights go out, and the arena fills with the sound of boots walking on a hard pavement echoing as if in a hallway the crowd starts to murmur. A chant breaks out.
HOYT HOYT HOYT HOYT
Nick Stuart: I hope the crowd is wrong, we don’t need this crap.
Richard Parker: I’m giddy!! I’ve never been giddy in my life but right now Stuart, I’m GIDDY!!
Nick Stuart: I hear you, why are you yelling?
Suddenly the walking stops.
REACH OUT AND TOUCH FAITH….
The first line of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” starts cold. Suddenly a strobe light starts flashing to the rhythmic beat of the song. The crowd pops loudly.
Holy Shit…Holy Shit….Holy Shit
The camera cuts to the crowd who are all on their feet holding up their cell phones like sheep waiting for their Shephard. The camera focuses on two guys in their freshly purchased “I was there for the 2nd Coming 3-18-22” shirts. The song gets to the weird panting part as from the stairs emerges the former Universal Champion Hoyt Williams.
Nick Stuart: Welp, he’s here.
Richard Parker: The Prophesy is fulfilled “Your Personal Jesus” Hoyt Williams has returned Nick!! Holy Hoyt in the highest!!
Nick Stuart: Not my personal Jesus.
Wearing an all-white perfectly fit suit with a long flowing black cape, white ostrich skin boots, elegant long brown hair, and a well-trimmed biblical beard Hoyt stands holding a black cane with a golden skull head that looks a lot like Sebs, PRIME’S first booker. A white owl sits up his shoulder. He takes a moment to bask in the cheers for a moment mustering up a Mona Lisa like expression.
Richard Parker: I have seen the Stones, but this is bigger and better!! Amazing!! Praise be to the Hoyt!!
Nick Stuart: To our new fans, beware, this is the biggest bullshit artist to ever step into a ring, plus he’s offensive, and I might as well apologize now for whatever group he’s about to piss off.
Richard Parker: Blasphemy. The people are about to witness the SAVIOR of WRESTLING!
Nick Stuart: I would also like to apologize for Richard Parker who is normally a somewhat sensible and reasonable broadcast partner, but for some reason he has drank this man’s Kool-Aid.
Richard Parker: Don’t be silly Nick, he doesn’t have Kool-Aid he sells Faith Juice, and you need to take a swig.
The crowd is still cheering as Hoyt makes his way to the ring. He stops to encourage a group of frat boys in the front row doing Jumping Jacks for Jesus, motioning with his cane for them to jump higher. Hoyt finally makes it into the ring spinning around and dancing the Gavotte before noticing the microphone waiting for him in the center of the ring. He picks it up and basks in the crowd’s response for a moment. The owl looks around ominously.
THIS IS AWESOME *Clap Clap ClapClapClap* THIS IS AWESOME…
The savior takes a moment to smile before putting his hand up signaling for them to stop.
Hoyt Williams: You don’t get to do that. You don’t get to pretend like you’re happy to see me after you all turned your back on the church. The pews are empty and each and every one of you are to blame. Where were you when they fired me, and told me I would never be welcomed back here in my temple that is PRIME? Not so Awesome. Where were you when I went to Hollywood and made the reboot of Dr. Detroit? You certainly didn’t come to the theaters to see me. You are NOT Hoyt’s Witnesses; you are frauds and fakes, a feckless cluster of humanity. Your hallow hoots and hollers are insulting to me. So, remain silent while I speak because sinners of Sin City, you are certainly raw sewage and not worthy of my time.
The savior talks over to talk directly into the camera.
Hoyt Williams: To you new viewers who don’t know who I am, my name is Hoyt Williams. I am the PONFTIFF OF PRIME, the Pope of the Piledriver, the King of Kings, the Savior of Wrestling, the Deity of Destruction, the Allah of Everyone, the Almighty Agitator of Evil, thee Eternal of the Squared Circle, former Universal Champion, PRIME Hall of Fame icon, PTC Hall of Fame member, the current GOD’S Champion, and “Your Personal Jesus”.
Hoyt unbuttons his vest to show off God’s title sparkling around his waist.
Hoyt Williams: That’s right, redesigned by the After Life’s top fashion designer, Joe Burro, using Wooly Mammoth ivory tusks and the skin of seven virgin Italian angels. Very hard to get. Replicas are now available at SHOPHOYT.com.
A shot of a fan holding up a replica of the old God’s title is flashed one the screen for a second.
Richard Parker: AMEN! I’m ordering one tonight.
Nick Stuart: He should give you one for free for all the cheap plugs you give him.
Hoyt Williams: If you did not bare witness to your savior’s first coming, I’m sorry. I’m sorry you lack initiative to seek out my greatness, I’m sorry your education didn’t get you here, I’m most sorry for your parents for raising you in such a sheltered existence you don’t even know my glory. As a matter of fact, if you don’t know who I am I’m casting all your parents with Chron’s Disease. So, it is spoken, so it is truth.
Hoyt raises his arms and looks to the heavens as he casts the poop plague upon the parents of the ignorant.
Hoyt Williams: I hope to answer all your questions while not talking up too much time, but understand it’s been a long time and I have a lot to say. They told me I would never be allowed in PRIME again.
First off, I have returned. The prophesy of the 2nd Coming is fulfilled BUT I will never wrestle in this ring again.
Nick Stuart: So why is he even here?
Hoyt Williams: I’m perfectly healthy and can go. Hell, I just beat Mictlāntēcutli the Aztec God of the underworld, taking his kingdom along with his mask which is here in PRIME on the face of the recently departed John Kennedy Royko Jr. The only way I will step into this ring and wrestle again is if you all line up, pay $25 dollars each, and kiss my boots apologizing for abandoning me. But everyone must buy in, or it won’t happen, and since I know all, and see all, I know most of you can’t pay the $25 tithing.
ASS-HOLE ASS-HOLE ASS-HOLE
Hoyt shakes his head in disgust as he looks out at the crowd. The owl seems offended too.
Hoyt Williams: Wow, the scatological humor and gross language is rampant here in PRIME. I will pass collection baskets around for the apology taking. Also, be known I am keeping all the money and not donating it some foolish pro-literacy charity. PRIME has insulted me for the last time by not naming this poorly officiated tournament in my honor. It should be the Duke Williams and Mary with Her Cherry brackets in the Hoyt Williams Invitational instead of the sinners it’s named after. Then to add further insult to injury you donate money to help people read?
The Pontiff of PRIME makes a disgusted face as the jeers of the crowd are heard.
Hoyt Wiliams: This world needs less literacy. Let the theologian’s read the words of Hoyt to the followers, because that’s all the knowledge they need. Look at you sinners. You have the loudest voice of any group of common individuals in the history of the world, yet you choose to use those idiot boxes in your pockets to go on the sinner-net to babble on Jabber about wrestlers, who that scamp Pete Davidson is having relations with, and to brag about your daily Wordle score. How pathetic is that? Martin Luther would have taken over the world if he had Jabber, while you cancel your fellow man and bitch and moan about airport baggage handlings. Get over yourselves, stop it, go to church, or get on your knees right now and pray for forgiveness. You people disgust me.
Nick Stuart: I’m sorry to our fans, this man is a maniac.
Richard Parker: Start praying Stuart it’s not too late.
Hoyt Williams: The only good in this place is Dick Parker! Stand up Dick! After the disgusting way the people have celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day, we are officially removing it from the calendar, decanting Patrick of the title of Saint. Officially replacing him on the calendar will be the freshly canonization Richard “Big Dick” Parker. Saint Parker congratulations, your nimbus is in the mail.
The announcer stands up excitedly as his broadcast partner buries his face into his hands, annoyed as the crowd boo’s appropriately.
Richard Parker: This is like getting recognized by the President at the State of the Union!! Saint Parker!!
Nick Stuart: Ok, Dick.
Richard Parker: Not sure of all my biblical powers but I’m going to ask Hoyt to give you Chron’s disease if you keep this up.
Hoyt Williams: PRIME has become filth a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah. From the dopey ref who egregiously DQ’ed Balaam costing him a title run, to the MGM Grand Continental breakfast of a roster running around…from the Eggs, and the puddings, to the blue berries, to Dusk with the personality of plain white toast. I mean enough is enough. Youngblood? Old Testament, and it didn’t end well for him. Jason Snow I see is still a delinquent and I have some friends in the Clark County penile system I plan to make some calls to.
The savior pulls out his iPhone.
Hoyt Williams: Hey Siri set a reminder for Monday at 9:44am to give Snow’s parole officer a call to speak to his lack of character.
Siri: OK my savior a reminder is set for 9:44am.
Mr. Williams puts his phone away.
Hoyt Williams: PRIME needs a flogging and that’s why I am here. The jokes, the good nature fun, the survivor contest, the backstage ribs, the friendly tournament for the title, the sitting on people’s faces, the gluttonous goofball, the cheap masks, the nasty old woman, the Old Testament redemption tours, and the yet to be defined dullards searching for an identity and they all must pay. I will destroy what PRIME is, and mold it into God’s vison. MY vison. It’s why I took PRIME’s blue chip NFL recruit. A spokesman for decency. A lost soul doing charity work instead of cracking skulls with his massive hands, and I’ve made him a monster. From a loser to a God’s Knight among mortals. He is the golem you all need in your lives. Balaam will reign havoc upon thee. I have breathed life into him giving him the power of myself, and the fallen gods before me. It’s going to get bloody as the wrath of Hoyt will be felt by all non-believers and geriatric refs.
Richard Parker: The good book speaks of a violent and vulgar flogging to all disbelievers upon the 2nd coming.
Nick Stuart: Stay out of the BDSM section of your bookstore, “saint,” and for the sake of all of us don’t read Dianetics.
Richard Parker: Look at that! A few minutes of Hoyt and you’ve seen the light, and are anti-literacy too!
Hoyt Williams: One mortal man with a cheap mask decided to use Jabber to insult me. To question my return. To make childish sexual innuendos of my second coming.
The owl looks displeased and Hoyt makes a disgusted face.
Hoyt Williams: This entire company has become an example of juvenile culture with fart jokes and bathroom talk. At Culture Shock, damnation will rain down upon The Anglo Luchador and his cheap mask. Balaam will violate cheap mask for all to watch!
YOU SICK FUCK….YOU SICK FUCK…
The savior of wrestling is not amused by the vulgar crowd.
Hoyt Williams: Security throw out anyone swearing openly, this is a family show! Do your damn jobs, ushers.
Your Personal Jesus waits for MGM Security to do something but nothing happens and the chant dies down.
Hoyt Williams: My MONSTER, bring him to me!!! Show these malefactors that we’re not playing games and a vengeful God is a horror to the unbelievers!
From the back the limp body of The Anglo Luchador comes flying through the curtain before landing with a hard thud. Behind him enters Balaam the 6’7” monster, who is being trailed on a chain by the Harbinger of Malice, Duke Williams. Joe Burro holds a golden bible high above his head as he lags behind.
Nick Stuart: What is this?
Richard Parker: The first flogging!
Hoyt Williams: God made the seas, and the seas are violent. God made the skies, and the skies are violent with storm. God made man, and man has proven his violent nature through history. I made Balaam and Balaam is the definition of Violence and Destruction all done by my will and more deadly than anything before him.
The monster picks up Anglo easily raising him above his head as he walks with him towards his God, Hoyt Williams. The nose of the Anglo Luchador is bloody, staining his mask and creating quite an uncomfortable picture that the camera keeps trying to cut away from. Balaam again picks up the beaten body of the Anglo Luchador lifting him over his head and walking towards the ring slowly. When he finally reaches the ring, Balaam throws the Anglo Luchador over the top rope where his beaten-up body lands near the feet of Hoyt Williams. The monster rolls into the ring and immediately goes after the Anglo Luchador, strangling him with his massive hands. The Harbinger of Malice laughs, leaving slack on the chain as Hoyt just watches down with a sick look upon his face. Blood is still coming from the fallen Luchador’s nose, Icy-Hot still evident around his mouth.
Nick Parker: We need some help down here.
Richard Parker: Would you rather be watching Royko kissing ass and doing a lame dick in the box segment?
Nick Parker: This is unfair.
Duke starts stomping on the Anglo Luchador’s body as the monster keeps strangling him.
Hoyt Williams: Enough.
Both men stop the beating. The monster stands up and Hoyt slaps him hard in the face just because he can.
Hoyt Williams: IF he rises again at Culture Shock, Balaam will be waiting. If he wants to retire, I understand for the crucifixion of the cheap mask is imminent.
The former Universal Champion shows the Sebs cane has a sharp tip, which he pushes down hard into the palm of the laid-out luchador. Blood starts to flow from the area around the cane. Hoyt pulls out and laughs as the Anglo Luchador lays unconscious bleeding now from the hand and nose. Duke stands behind Hoyt hooking something up to him.
Hoyt Williams: CHEAP MASK! Take this stigma is a warning for all who disbelieve or face my knight and meet your destiny. Be saved or be gone. Now I must leave you, where I will watch down upon PRIME not from the heavens but from the owner’s box above.
Hoyt starts floating away high above the ring, over the crowd, and towards a luxury suite near the top. Duke pulls Balaam away from the fallen body harshly by the chain as they exit the ring by foot, leaving The Anglo Luchador a bloody mess for all the fans to soak in.
Richard Parker: He’s flying, it’s a miracle!
Nick Stuart: I can see the wires.
Richard Parker: I spoke to Hoyt before the show and he was so mad that because this is a union arena, he had to have safety wires added to his flying for insurance reasons. He was miffed about it, but they said they could stop the show if he didn’t use the wires and we know Hoyt is a team player.
Nick Stuart: You’re so dug in “Saint”. Let’s get this man some help.
Medical personal push past the exiting monster and Hoyt’s entourage as they make their way to the ring to help the lifeless Luchador, whose mask is blood stained and hand is bleeding profusely leaving a nasty puddle.
Mikey Unlikely and Jesse Kendrix find themselves meandering down the hallway, a venti caramel frappuccino, with two extra shot of espresso, extra caramel drizzle, and extra whip, rests comfortably in Mikey’s grasp. The two men are in street clothes, looking around almost bored, as if they would much rather be anywhere but here.
Coming towards them from the opposite direction is “Beautiful” Bobby Dean, and he appears to be muttering to himself.
Bobby Dean: I think we’re ready for Survivor buddy! Just think, if you and I win the tag titles, and Jiles wins the Universal title. Ohhhhh man, can you imagine?
While Bobby waits for an answer…the two forces are getting closer and closer, both oblivious to the other, as Bobby looking down at his feet while he continues to mutter, and Mikey and Kendrix are so engrossed in thinking of the numerous strippee joints they could be right now. It should come to no surprise when Bobby and Mikey collide, given the size of Bobby Dean and the narrow hallways, it doesn’t give anyone much room to pass.
Mikey Unlikely: Ey! What the hell Bruv…
Mikey scoffs, while looking down at a very small miniscule drop of caramel staining the front of his shirt, before looking up at a smiling Bobby Dean.
Bobby Dean: MIKEY!!! Buddy, how ya be…
Jesse shakes his head in disgust as Mikey looks down at Bobby as if he were simply some cow shit he had the misfortune to step in.
Mikey Unlikely: RUINED! This shirt is ruined! I can’t be seen like this!
Unlikely takes off the barely stained shirt and slams it to the ground in a heap. Bobby’s happy face begins to fall. Mikey looks back up at him and puts a finger in his chest.
Mikey Unlikely: This is YOUR fault! Typical Bobby Dean… The jolly giant of flubbery! Always in the way, always messing up, and always…always…always FAT!
Unlikely slurps on the Frappe, happy to still have it. His eyes never leave BBD.
Jesse Kendrix: When will you finally understand, Dean? Mikey and you aren’t friends anymore. You haven’t been friends for quite some time now. In fact, you’re polar opposites.
He gestures over to his tag partner, still urging away obnoxiously on that frappe.
Jesse Kendrix: Mikey here had one little imperfection on his shirt and he got rid of it, much like he got rid of you…
He clicks his fingers
Jesse Kendrix: Just like that. And you on the other end of the spectrum…I mean, well your imperfections are plain for all to see, yet you keep it all literally hanging on like a bad smell.
The once cherubic face of “Beautiful” Bobby Dean is gone, replaced by a quivering lip, tear filled eyes, and flushed cheeks, as the scorn continues to mount.
Mikey Unlikely: It doesn’t matter where we go, you’re always there Bobby… Why is that? Are you following me again? Are you sad that your little egg bois never made you as popular as when you were hogging MY SPOTLIGHT? Is it because you couldn’t ever be the leader of anything so you’re a forever hanger-on? I think it’s time you give it up… get with i…
Out of nowhere Bobby reaches up and shoves Mikey Unlikely, his former friend, as hard as he possibly can. Luckily for Mr. Unlikely he was already close to the wall, but the sheer force of impact causes Mikey’s drink to go flying, covering him in a golden shower of frappuccino goodness.
Mikey Unlikely: WHY YOU NO GOOD, SON OF A…
Mikey immediately retaliates, striking Bobby in the face with a closed fist. Kendrix is right behind him kicking Bobby in the solar plexus, causing the big man to bowel over. Bobby charges forward driving his shoulder into Mikey’s stomach, pushing him back into the wall. But the numbers game is just too much as Jesse and Mikey go to work.
The two on one attack commences for only a short time when outta nowhere Doozer jumps in and clocks Jesse Kendrix with a massive right hand. The four men are going at it, trading shot for shot when, like a wet blanket, PRIME Security comes rushing onto the scene separating each team from one another.
Mikey looks shocked to see Doozer standing there, sharing a confused look with his partner in crime.
Mikey Unlikely: Where the hell did he come from?
Jesse Kendrix: Outta nowhere bruv, outta nowhere!
Doozer at hearing this, bellows out with rage, pushing through Security and taking a step or two towards the Bruvs, before more guards are able to roughly pull him back.
Doozer: I was standing here the whole time!
Bobby Dean: This isn’t over!
Mikey Unlikely: You damn straight it’s not over, you owe me a new shirt and a Frappe! EXTRA DRIZZLE!
The following is pre-recorded…
Inside the executive offices of PRIME, Lindsay Troy’s involvement with the hiring of office personnel is fairly minimal. Her duties are typically regulated to the production of the shows and the oversight of the rest of the managing partners. However, sometimes exceptions are made in the interview process, especially if it happened to be someone she’s had a personal connection with.
The Queen of the Ring can’t help but smile at the young woman who sits across from her, who’s accessorized with a coral blazer, white front-tie blouse, and a pair of navy ankle pants. Despite her professional garb, the girl appears completely out of her element. She barely gives off the impression of being legal drinking age, and it’s apparent that she’s trying everything to not let her nerves take control of her first big interview.
The truth is that she’s out of her element. Her blond hair has bounce and style, and her makeup’s most likely professionally done before she walked into headquarters. When Lindsay first heard the clacking sound of the nude-colored heels approaching her office, she couldn’t hide the look of surprise on her face when she’d met her at the door. She’d never seen her in anything but a pair of sandals or slip-on canvas shoes.
Both were mutually thrilled to see one another. However, certain individuals on the roster who might recognize her are more than likely trembling in fear as to exactly why she’s here. The eGG Bandits for one, who decided to humiliate her half-brother Zeb on the last ReVival. But, most importantly? Teddy Palmer, who’s been on the receiving end of some very mean verbal yeets from her in the past…when they were on good terms.
Kendra Collier: I just wanna say, uh, thank you for the opportunity to apply for the internship role, Ms. Troy. I’ve brought an extra copy of my resume here in case you ain’t…umImean…haven’t had the chance to review it yet.
Lindsay bites her lower lip as she accepts the document and begins to pretend to look it over. However, it takes about ten seconds before she starts shaking her head and chuckling.
Lindsay Troy: Look, kiddo, I can’t do this anymore. Your brother begged me to give you a legitimate interview and try to throw you off your game, but I honestly didn’t expect you to think this was going to be all that formal. You can relax. You’ve got the internship if you want it.
The Comer, Georgia native suddenly feels the ice running up and down her spine begin to melt away, allowing her the luxury of reclining back into the office chair. She smiles at Lindsay at first, but then her expression changes as she processes the realization of her brother’s attempt at a prank.
Kendra Collier: That little turd.
Troy laughs as she slides her chair out from behind her desk and motions for Kennie to take a seat with her on the couch. She obliges, and the two of them relax on the cushy sofa.
Lindsay Troy: You’ve changed a lot in the past year and a half since I’ve seen you, because I’ve definitely heard you call him a lot worse after he’s tried to tease you. Either way, you know you could have just called me directly, right? He didn’t need to show up here to vouch for you two weeks ago, even though it was great to see him.
Kendra Collier: Bein’ honest with you, I didn’t reckon he’d be on board with the idea. Spent the better part of last summer tellin’ me to finish up high school and enroll early at Clemson, and when I told ‘em I talked tuh UNLV’s softball coach ‘bout comin’ there instead and maybe tryin’ to reconnect with you, he wudn’t too thrilled about it.
Lindsay Troy: Lemme guess, he tried, oh…maybe one time to talk you out of it until he realized you are going to do whatever you want?
Kendra nods. She knew them both too well.
Kendra Collier: Mama said the same thing when I told her he was mad about it.
Lindsay Troy: And how’d she take it? I know she probably wasn’t all that happy her oldest daughter wants to move halfway across the country, either.
Kendra Collier: Oh, she’s actually pretty excited. When you grow up a UGA fan and yer daughter says she wants to go to Clemson, she was already tryin’ ta throw a monkey wrench in them plans to begin with. But I guess she’s done gone through one of her kids packin’ up and movin’ west. Daddy cried a little though. Reckon the men in our family’s the ones who need all the tissues in the house.
Lindsay Troy: I believe it. I think I saw Zeb tear up at the end of Homeward Bound once. And it was like the eighth time he’d watched it.
Kendra Collier: Dog dyin’ movies or a good solid peench on his arm will get them waterworks flowin’ every time. Nothin’ more soothin’ in the world than hearin’ a man cry, though.
Lindsay can’t help but laugh again, as she reaches over and gives Zeb’s sister a hug as if she were her own daughter.
Lindsay Troy: You’re going to fit in here just fine, Kendra. But I do have to use the ‘responsible adult’ card and give you a few conditions of your employment.
Kendra Collier: Hey, yer the boss. I don’t have to wear one of them ugly crew polos though do I?
Lindsay Troy: Dress code’s loose around here, as you can probably tell by some of the talent’s choices in wardrobe. But honestly, just keep two things in mind. One, I would never forgive myself if this whole thing interferes with you just enjoying being a college student. I don’t want to ‘mom’ you, but your focus should be on your studies, your softball, and your social life. If I feel like this is preventing you from doing that, I’m gonna have to pull the plug, OK?
Kendra Collier: That’s fair. I mean, the only reason I wanna do this is just ta see if ‘rasslin’s somethin’ I wanna be involved in after I graduate. I ain’t gonna give up my chance for braggin’ rights of the first one in the house to get a degree, I promise ya.
Lindsay Troy: Yet another thing you can hang over your brother’s head!
Kendra Collier: Mhm-hmm.
Lindsay Troy: And second, I know you aren’t going to let anyone push you around. You’ve been exposed to the egos in this business, and I know that’s something that doesn’t intimidate you. Reminds me of someone else in this room that I know, honestly, and I love that about you.
Kennie nods in acknowledgement.
Lindsay Troy: But, you being an Operations Assistant means that you can’t go out of your way to look for trouble, no matter how tempting it might be. You have to try and be civil, because you’re here to help PRIME be the best it can be.
Kendra Collier: Nah, I totally understand where ya comin’ from. You ain’t gotta worry about me tryin’ ta get over or nothin’. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, just fer hypothetical’s sake, does that mean I can’t push back if I’m the one who got pushed first?
Lindsay winks at the new intern and grins.
Lindsay Troy: Just as long as that push isn’t near the edge of a cliff. I can tell them to treat you with respect until I’m blue in the face, but some people don’t seem to be very good listeners. Therefore, twisting their ear while screaming in it might be the only way to get through to them. If you get what I’m saying.
Kendra Collier: Oh, I shore do.
Kendra returns the smile as she evens out the sleeves on her suit jacket.
Kendra Collier: Loud and clear.
14 Teddy Palmer vs. 8 Cancer Jiles
Nick Stuart: It’s semi final time. These two men know each other very well but, as stated earlier this week, neither man has faced each other in SINGLES action.
Richard Parker: Very true, Nick. I’m sure they are familiar with each other’s tendencies but no matter what, a singles match brings out a whole new aspect.
To center ring, and Vince Howard.
Vince Howard: This is a semi finals match in the Almasy Invitational! Introducing first… from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania… weighing two-hundred-eighteen pounds… the Greek God of COOL… CANCER JILES!
“I am the Cool” by Screaming Jay Hawkins blares on the PA as Jiles walks out with Bobby Dean and Doozer by his side. Bobby carries a backpack with him and is frequently digging his arm into it, pulling out popcorn kernels and tossing them into his mouth (some miss, though, so Bobby has to pick them off the ground and use the five second rule).
Richard Parker: Would you say Cancer Jiles is a surprise to be here? I would. Hate the guy. He’s usually one of the first to tell you about his failures.
Nick Stuart: And his successes, unfortunately. When he’s motivated… when he’s ON his game, no one is better!
Jiles rolls into the ring and removes his PRIME shades before leaning against the ropes.
Vince Howard: And his opponent… from Toronto, Ontario, Canada… weighing two-hundred-fifteen pounds… TEDDY PALMER!
“Leave Me Lonely” by Hilltop Hoods replaces Cancer’s theme as Palmer comes out to a big reaction. Teddy pumps up the fans by nodding his head and making his way down the ramp. The camera switches to Jiles inside the ring, not looking impressed. Bobby continues to eat popcorn and Doozer aimlessly checks out his surroundings.
Palmer slides into the ring and tells referee Ashley Barlow he’s ready to go.
Nick Stuart: We’re off here, folks. Both men are the same height, the same weight, given a few pounds. They’ve bled in rings against each other, they don’t like one another and…
And Cancer Jiles throws his arms in the air and exits the ring to a chorus of boos. Teddy Palmer watches on like he’s not surprised. He initially walks to the center of the ring to meet the leader of the Egg Bandits but is left there by himself.
Jiles finds his teammates at the edge of the rampway and puts both arms around them for a huddle. In what might be a strategic discussion, this, after all, is Cancer Jiles so who knows what’s the plan. Palmer paces the ring and referee Barlow begins to count.
Richard Parker: God I hate saying this but it might be a smart strategy, Nick. Teddy is feeling it… he wants to engage but Cancer is having none of it.
Jiles pretends to converse with his group… while the reality is Bobby Dean’s talking about food and Doozer? He might as well not even be there, it’s hard to tell if he’s present.
Finally, “COOL” himself drops his arms around his friends and finds the apron. He slides into the ring at the count of eight. Pulling himself up, Jiles scoffs at Teddy Palmer like the trooper he is, waiting to get this match going.
They lock up.
And Jiles is immediately thrown to the ground.
Palmer shoots a crooked look at the Egg Bandit and Jiles…
Exits the ring.
The fans boo.
Richard Parker: Teddy Palmer’s an easy going guy but even he has his limits. Pushing the envelope like this has to get into Teddy’s head.
Nick Stuart: It’s certainly worn thin on the fans. Everyone wants to see them wrestle!
Jiles walks over to his bandits like he forgot something. Then a pretend lightbulb goes off in his head and he turns back into the ring. He slides underneath the bottom rope when-
Nick Stuart: Firecracker knee right under Jiles’ chin!
Palmer lifts Jiles and looks for a German suplex but the slippery Philly “star” breaks free and rolls Palmer up with a handful of tights in the process!
Nick Stuart: RAZOR CLOSE kickout by Teddy Palmer! Jiles had those tights for all they were worth!
Replays show Teddy’s knee may not have hit as snug as the echo indicated. Jiles moves his head at the last second and while the knee connects, it also smashes into the second rope.
Both men are up and circling. Jiles, again, takes a step back to pause. He tilts his head and smirks at Palmer, about to exit the ring… when Teddy runs over, wraps his arms around Cancer and throws him into a German suplex.
Nick Stuart: This one lands!
Once Jules is up, he’s met with a fury of European uppercuts, working him into a corner. Palmer is about to Irish whip the Egg Bandit into the corner across the way when he’s poked in the eyes!
Nick Stuart: Ashley Barlow missed it!
Cancer laughs at Teddy, while thinking of what to do next. He hits a leg sweep on Palmer and follows with an elbow drop.
Nick Stuart: I can’t help but get the feeling Cancer Jiles makes it up as he goes.
Richard Parker: You… can’t help but get the feeling? Jiles TOTALLY makes it up as he goes! It’s why he has no place in this tournament!
Jiles with a toe stomp, followed by a knee to Palmer’s head. He pulls the Toronto native off the mat and hurls him into the ropes. Jiles lowers his head and completely telegraphs the move. Teddy stops right before he meets Cancer and drives a knee into Jiles’s skull.
Cancer stumbles around, swatting at thin air, hoping Teddy is there but he isn’t. Palmer hits the ropes and lunges forward with a shoulder tackle sending Cancer Jiles out of the ring.
This time, however, Jiles isn’t there to “talk strategy”. Instead, Palmer shoots through the top and middle rope with another shoulder smash to the ground. The fans cheer wildly as Palmer throws Jiles back into the ring but stops to look back at Bobby Dean and Dooze. He gives them a sarcastic thumbs up.
Palmer enters the squared circle. The coy Jiles can take a beating and keep on coming, however. COOL is on his feet and looks for an open hand slap to Palmer but Teddy ducks it, hits the ropes off the far end and explodes halfway across the ring with a spear!
Palmer has the arena rocking. He scoop slams Jiles to the center of the canvas before hitting the ropes and landing a leg drop.
It’s too early to go for a pinning attempt, so Theodore Palmer lifts Cancer Jiles to his feet and connects with a wicked looking brainbuster!
The camera switches to Bobby Dean and Doozer. Bobby digs a pastry out from his knapsack of snacks and begins licking his lips. Doozer, meanwhile, tells the big guy to pay attention to the action inside the ring. The Beautiful one, however, is having none of it.
Back to the action, Palmer tries to apply the triangle choke but Cancer Jiles scurries into the bottom rope!
Nick Stuart: These two have worked in the same company for years and know each other well. It’s clear for as lazy or carefree as Jiles seems to be at times, he’s watched Palmer. Or at least during his match against Anna Daniels.
Palmer deadlifts Jiles into another German attempt but Jiles throws his right boot back and hits a low blow! Referee Barlow misses it but shouts at Jiles anyway, thinking something is up because Palmer has doubled over.
Richard Parker: Can’t call what you can’t see. Jiles gets away with murder, again.
Jiles giggles to himself before he hits the ropes lightly and blasts Palmer across the face with a knee. Cancer connects with a snap suplex and holds on. He pulls upwards, latching onto the Toronto native before landing a falcon arrow suplex and a pin.
Palmer kicks out with authority and the crowd erupts in cheers! Jiles crinkles his face upon getting to a knee. He knows he has to keep the momentum going so he reels Palmer in and looks for a German suplex of his own…
Palmer is tossed into the air but lands on his feet! Cancer turns around…
The Egg Bandit jumps backwards when Teddy tries the ripcord knee strike!
Nick Stuart: Nothing but air!
Jiles knife edge chops Palmer as hard as he can! It stuns the “#14 seed” before Jiles performs a second knife edge chop… and then a third… fourth… fifth… he’s worked Palmer into a corner.
A hardout headbutt by Palmer follows!
Nick Stuart: Teddy might have CRACKED Jiles’s skull open!
Richard Parker: Say CRACK again, Nick.
Nick Stuart: CRACK.
While the fans at home wonder if this was an Egg Bandit joke or a Mean Girls reference, the fans inside the arena are rabid as Palmer pushes up on the turnbuckle padding and perches himself on the second rope. He shoots forward and slams into Jiles with a shoulder block!
Nick Stuart: NO! Jiles catches Palmer!
And a hook of the leg.
Teddy stays alive and so does this crowd!
A trickle of blood DOES fall from Jiles’ forehead as he rolls to the center of the canvas.
Nick Stuart: Not known for any power moves but when you catch a guy in mid-air, I guess a powerslam is one of your only options!
Jiles pulls himself upright with use of the ropes. He checks to see he is, indeed, bleeding. Then he runs forward…
Palmer leaps to his feet and snatches Jiles by the neck!
Nick Stuart: THE TRIANGLE CHOKE! Teddy jumped into the air and wrapped his arms and legs around Cancer Jiles and now both of them are in the center of the ring!
Bobby Dean has dropped his pastry (he already finished the first five, he was on a sixth helping) and Doozer is beside himself.
Richard Parker: Middle of the ring!
The crowd stands as Teddy Palmer shouts into the rafters and Cancer Jiles is fading… faster than normal!
Richard Parker: He’s lost blood, he has to be woozy! Tap this guy out!
Jiles reaches out for the ropes but he’s nowhere close. However, he IS able to get onto a knee and…
Nick Stuart: CANCER JILES HAS TEDDY PALMER’S SHOULDERS ON THE MAT!
THRE-NO JUST MISSED!!
Nick Stuart: Palmer had to drop the hold! It was the only way out of the move and then he rolled a shoulder off the mat!
Richard Parker: You mean it WASN’T a three!?
Nick Stuart: No. Excellent call by Ashley Barlow!
Richard Parker: PHEW!
Replays show it was a split millisecond away from a three and a great call by the referee.
Palmer doesn’t waste time. He’s up to his feet and slams a knee into the side of Cancer’s head. This time, however, it blows the Egg Bandit back so far… he’s into the ropes.
Teddy nods to himself and hits the ropes on the far side…
Another knee driven right into Cancer’s skull. The superkick artist is dangling on the apron.
Palmer walks around the ring, pumping himself up, feeling like the end is near when out of nowhere Cancer Jiles pops to his feet, slingshots himself over the top rope and connects with Terminal Cancer!
Nick Stuart: OH MY GOD!! Jiles… Jiles, what a move!
But there’s nothing left in him, either. He crumples to the mat in a heap. Both men are out of it.
Richard Parker: Desperation! Cancer does hit Teddy with his finisher but he can’t finish the match off… because of the damage Palmer has done. Hell of a match, Nick. Anyone’s game!
The fans rumble their feet on the floor for Teddy Palmer to be the first one up. Eventually, both men stir…
Jiles rolls onto his stomach and crawls towards the ring ropes. Palmer is on his side and claws the canvas mat to make it into a turnbuckle. Both men are hurting. Jiles has stopped bleeding but feeling the ramifications nonetheless and Palmer, well, his bell was certainly rung, too.
Nick Stuart: Each man has given it their all tonight… countered each other… head games by Cancer Jiles… Teddy not being fooled… you’d have to think whomever can get up first…
Jiles covers his face with both hands as he falls into the ropes. Meanwhile, Teddy Palmer has reached a corner and is going arm by arm up the turnbuckle padding to gain a vertical base.
Both men are standing! They charge at each other.
Nick Stuart: LOOK OUT TEDDY!
Jiles has the yellow mist and sprays the Coolympian Yoljk at Teddy Palmer…
But nothing happens!
Jiles’ eyes go wide.
Nick Stuart: He doesn’t have it! Jiles does not have the mist!!
The crowd bellows in cheers as Palmer realizes this and SLAMS his knee into the midsection of Cancer! The Bandit doubles over and Palmer bounces into the ropes…
Nick Stuart: OH MY GOD! Teddy hit it! Nosebleed Section!
Referee Ashley Barlow drops down to check on Jiles as Palmer takes a second in order to collect himself.
Nick Stuart: WHAT THE HELL!?
Doozer pulls Palmer out of the ring by his right boot. The ref doesn’t see it and immediately Bobby and Dooze pummel Palmer to a chorus of boos!
Nick Stuart: Uncalled for! We were having a solid match, really no major issues until Teddy Palmer had this semi finals match won and look what’s happening-
The fans don’t boo for long, though.
Alex Redding bursts down the rampway and absolutely CRUSHES Bobby Dean with a spear! It looks like Dean absorbs Redding’s spear through his blubbery frame, as half of Alex’s body vanishes, immersed in Dean’s flesh before both men crash to the mat.
Nick Stuart: RED AND TED!!
Since the odds are even, Palmer starts fighting back on Doozer and throws him into the guard rail! Ashley Barlow is seeing all of this now and shouting from the edge of the ring for everyone except Teddy Palmer to GTFO from ringside!
Palmer thanks Redding with a pat on the back and then slides into the ring. Cancer Jiles is fumbling around on all fours as Alexander walks over to Doozer and reigns down forearm smashes across the rapper’s back.
Nick Stuart: Hey. Hey wait a second…
Bobby Dean, while on spaghetti legs, fumbles into the apron and then falls back down, right in front of the referee.
Stuart is able to catch on. So do SOME of the fans… although not everyone is witness to the appropriate angle. Cancer Jiles is propped against the ring post and has both hands around his right leg. Teddy Palmer is on the far end of the ring, seemingly laying eyes on a man barely hanging on, struggling to find his bearings. What he doesn’t know…
The crowd cheers for Palmer to end the match. He marches over to Jiles and drags the Philly native to his feet. About to connect with a ripcord knee strike-
Palmer crashes to the mat in a heap.
Nick Stuart: DAMMIT! It’s a loaded boot! Cancer Jiles was putting on a loaded boot and connected with Terminal Cancer!
The superkick immediately knocks Teddy Palmer to the mat. Jiles smiles amidst the crusted blood on his face and falls to both knees, hooking the leg.
Meanwhile, referee Barlow was successful in sending everyone else to the back. She enters the ring and sees Cancer Jiles with the pinfall attempt.
Nick Stuart: NO!
Nick Stuart: …No.
DING DING DING
Richard Parker: I’m gonna puke.
Vince Howard: The winner of this match and advancing to the finals of the Almasy Invitational… Cancer Jiles!
The crowd boos as Jiles rolls off his opponent and raises his own arms, albeit barely. Replays show during the kerfuffle, Bobby Dean wobbled his way to ringside and pulled out a loaded boot from his bag of snacks. On the edge of the boot, Cocaine’s horseshoe. Jiles eventually crawled to where the boot was placed on the apron and although he mightily struggled to put it on… The COOL had enough time in-between referee Barlow demanding everyone exit ringside and Teddy Palmer sliding back into the squared circle.
Nick Stuart: Teddy Palmer was hosed here, folks. No other way to put it.
Richard Parker: Were you expecting anything different?
Nick Stuart: Perhaps it’s my fault but yes, yes I was…
Jiles rolls out of the ring as Bobby Dean and Doozer come back down the ramp. They are beaten themselves but not as much as Cancer Jiles.
Nick Stuart: Jiles moves onto the FINALS, Richard. Unreal.
The Egg Bandits slowly walk up the ramp together as Jiles’ theme song plays and the ref checks on Teddy Palmer, who hasn’t moved an inch since receiving the loaded superkick.
COMMERCIAL: CLASSIC WRESTLING
CLASSIC WRESTLING PRESENTS: CAPITAL CLASH ON MARCH 27TH!
AN INTENSE ANNOUNCEMENT
We return from the commercial to Melvin Beauregard sitting at a beautiful wooden table in a posh, upscale restaurant. Melvin nervously smiles at the camera and rubs his balding head before realizing they are live.
Melvin Beauregard: Hello PRIME! It’s Melvin, official liaison with MGM coming to you from Wolfgang Puck’s Bar and Grill. Scan the QR code that’s in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, and you can book a table at Wolfgang Puck’s Bar and Grill just like me!
Melvin smiles and nods to someone behind the camera, before a waiter walks up to him with a covered dish. He sets it down on the table with the cover on.
Melvin Beauregard: Now, you may all be wondering what kind of announcement I have for all of you? And truthfully, I should have been at the Cirque to try to top last week’s announcement with Survivor.
The fans in the arena watching on the PRIMEview cheer the word Survivor as Melvin straightens his tie.
Melvin Beauregard: However, this latest announcement might have some of you pretty interested. We’ve been providing surveys to our fans who buy tickets to PRIME on our website in a bundle with a hotel room here at the MGM Grand. And while, you all seem to absolutely love the show that Ms. Troy puts on, there was one critical call out on the vast majority of cards.
Melvin takes the lid off of the cover dish and twirls it in his hand. As it ungracefully falls to the floor, the camera focuses in on a wound up bunch of barbed wire rope.
Melvin Beauregard: And we here at the MGM Grand aim to please our guests. So the MGM Grand will be polling from Culture Shock to Great American Nightmare on July the 1st to find out which two PRIME stars you, the fans, would like to see get a little more violent. To see how we can turn the intensity up to 11.
Melvin looks at the barbed wire rope with eyes the size of saucers as he considers what he’s saying. A second waiter appears with another cover dish, carefully moving the first one to the side. Melvin gleefully rips off the second cover dish to reveal the Intense title.
Melvin Beauregard: The winners of the fan votes… and remember only those of you who stay here at the MGM Grand and take part in our other amenities will be able to vote… will wrestle at Great American Nightmare for the Intense Title in a barbed wire rope match! Boy, this year the Fourth of July is going to be a real doozy here at the MGM Grand. Hopefully you all join us!
The camera fades from Melvin as he gets up from the table, and goes to another video.
GLUE 2: THIS TIME IT’S STICKY
ReVival moves away from the glitz and glamour of the beautiful MGM Grand and instead finds itself in the middle of a lush green field with grass that gently sways in the breeze. The camera begins to slowly zoom in on an object that appears in the middle of the field, which we quickly realize is, in fact, a small child.
The child sits cross legged and is hunched over, rocking back and forth in an almost rhythmic manner. His shaking shoulder and rapid inhaling and exhaling would indicate to any empathetic humanoid that this child is clearly having an emotional moment.
A moment of tears.
This awkward situation is interrupted by a sleazy pitchman voiceover.
V/O: It’s tragic, losing a loved one. One day a treasured member of the family is here, the next the vanity takes over, the lust for the limelight grows and the green light of envy draws them back to the races.
The child starts to hear rustling in the grass and his head snaps back to see what is causing the sound. From our vantage point, it is the camera getting ever closer to the child, who we can now see quite clearly has tears streaming down his cheeky chubby face.
V/O: The tears flow needlessly, such a pity. Thankfully I have the solution…
A hand appears from behind the camera, reaching out, giving a small bottle of Elmer’s PVA Glue to the crying child. The tears immediately stop flowing as an unsettling smile creeps across his pudgy little face.
V/O: I can provide a memory that will really stick with you.
The feed immediately snaps to a solid black screen as text forms from a slow, almost static, white drip:
The Glue Factory: Grand Opening April 8th.
COMMERCIAL: SHOOT PROJECT
SHOOT PROJECT’S NEXT PAY-PER-VIEW, APEX, IS IMMINENT. GET CAUGHT UP ON ALL THE ACTION AT SHOOTPROJECT.COM!
1 Brandon Youngblood vs. 2 Impulse
We cut from the view of the PRIMEView to a shot of the crowd going crazy waiting for the main event of the evening.
Vince Howard: Welcome to your main event of the evening!
Almost immediately “Cannonball” by SIRSY fills the arena, and a blue – and – purple strobe combination lights up the entranceway.
Vince Howard: And our first competitor in our main event of the evening… Hailing from New York, New York. He is a former FIST of Defiance, and Southern Heritage Champion…
As the first verse hits the midway point, the second set of “HEY HEY,” Impulse walks out to the top of the ramp, Calico Rose a step behind him. He stops and looks around, nodding his appreciation, while Cally takes an exaggerated bow.
Vince Howard: HE IS THE MARAAAAATTHHHHOOOOOOOOOON MAAAAAAAN!
The song hits the chorus at about the time the duo begin their walk to the ring. Impulse slaps an errant hand here and there, but Cally does her best to greet every fan at ringside, occasionally stopping to catch up to the Marathon Man.
Vince Howard: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! THIS IS IMMMMMMMMMPUUUUUUULLLLLLSE!
On reaching the ringside area, Impulse is up on the ring apron first, holding the ropes for Cally to step through, and she returns the favor. He hands his leather jacket to a ring attendant, and takes off his T-shirt and tosses it into the crowd, ready for action.
Vince Howard: AAAAAAAND HIS OPPONENT!
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: Hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada!
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.
Vince Howard: HE IS A THREE TIME FIVE STAR CHAMPION! FORMER JEWEL IN THE CROWN WINNER!
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.
Vince Howard: HE IS THE LAST DIAMOND! THE PARIAH! THE TOWER OF BABEL!
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.
Vince Howard: BRAAAAANNNNNDDDDDDDOOOOOOOONNNNN YOUNGBLOOD!
Youngblood casually clasps the top ropes on each side of his designated corner as he rests his back against the turnbuckles, his eyes focusing towards his opponent, his glowering burning a hole right through them.
Richard Parker: Lots of pomp and circumstance tonight Nick.
Nick Stuart: Absolutely. One of these two men are going to Culture Shock to try to stop Cancer Jiles from becoming Universal Champion.
As Vince Howard finishes, Timo quickly checks over the two competitors in the ring for foriegn objects. Timo is quickly satisfied and calls for the bell. The building comes to a crescendo as the bell rings.
Nick Stuart: AND HERE WE GO! Two giants of the industry, The Marathon Man, and The Last Diamond square off to find out who will go on to face Cancer Jiles for the Universal Championship!
Richard Parker: The right to legally murder Cancer Jiles… What a prize…
Nick Stuart: I don’t think that’s how that works Richard.
The two technicians dance around each other briefly, sizing one another up. The larger Youngblood dances towards Impulse who doesn’t like the angle of approach and circles away. The two reset, and once again Youngblood begins circling to his right, but Impulse once again circles the other way.
Nick Stuart: Little game of cat and mouse we have going on here.
Richard Parker: That’s one big kitty.
Youngblood once again circles to his right, and Impulse once again tries to circle away but Youngblood aggressively comes back to his left cutting Impulse off. The two men collide, Youngblood sending Impulse reeling into the corner with a huge chop across the chest. The Marathon Man fires back with a right forearm.
Nick Stuart: This place is louder than a Dusk entrance.
Richard Parker: What did you say? I can’t hear anything Nick.
Youngblood stumbles back and Impulse is on him quickly with two more hard right forearms to the face. Youngblood now reels himself back into the far corner, and Impulse comes in with a head of steam and leaps at Youngblood. The Last Diamond moves out of the way as Impulse crashes into the corner with a big splash.
Nick Stuart: Neither man is holding back, these guys are on fire already.
Richard Parker: Still can’t hear anything you’re saying. But remember, one of these men is actually going to murder Cancer Jiles in three weeks.
Youngblood heads into the corner with Impulse, but Impulse manages to grab the larger man in a clinch. Timo comes over to try to get the two off of the ropes, but the shots in the dirty grapple are flying fast and furious. A right forearm from Impulse finds its mark, while a knee from Youngblood threatens to double The Marathon Man over. But Impulse fights back and manages to throw another forearm that infuriates The Last Diamond. Youngblood comes in close, through the forearm and tries to Judo throw Impulse backwards. Impulse uses the momentum and hangs onto Youngblood’s arm, flipping him over with an arm drag. Impulse pauses to collect himself, holding Youngblood’s arm and wrenching on it.
Nick Stuart: And the first time in the first three minutes this match has slowed down. What a start to our main event.
Richard Parker: There you are Nick, I thought I was having a stroke for a second.
The crowd doesn’t let either man rest and begins clapping as Youngblood gets to his feet and turns towards The Marathon Man. Impulse transitions to trying for a kimura but can’t even get the big man’s arm behind him. Youngblood gets all the way to his feet and drives a knee into the body of Impulse. This time The Marathon Man doubles over but Youngblood manages to keep his arms hooked and pulls Impulse up and plants him to the mat with a tiger suplex.
Richard Parker: And now Brandon Youngblood is in control of this match.
Nick Stuart: I wouldn’t count Impulse out yet, they don’t call him The Marathon Man for nothing.
Richard Parker: Oh… I thought that was because… well you know…
Nick Stuart: Get your mind out of the gutter Richard.
Impulse arches his back and tries to roll to his feet, but Youngblood is already on top of his prey. Impulse turns towards the aggressor and Youngblood greets him with a headbut. Impulse reaches for his face but Youngblood manages to wrap his arms around Impulse’s waist and sends him to the canvas with a belly to belly suplex.
Nick Stuart: The impact of that suplex on Impulse’s back.
Richard Parker: It took the air right of Impulse, and maybe right of the arena.
Youngblood presses himself up, using Impulse’s chest as the ground and gets to his feet. He grabs Impulse behind the neck and pulls him to his feet. A wounded Impulse fires away with two forearm shots to The Last Diamond’s body, but Youngblood lives up to the name and doesn’t even flinch. He grabs Impulse around the waist again, and once again lifts him up and drives him into the canvas with another belly to belly suplex.
Nick Stuart: Oh no, another crushing belly to belly suplex to Impulse.
Richard Parker: And this crowd is along for the ride, chanting Suplex Daddy.
Nick Stuart: Youngblood throwing a few sharp elbows to the downed Impulse.
Youngblood fires off two quick elbows to the side of Impulse’s head and hooks the leg. Timo slides in for the count.
Nick Stuart: What heart Impulse has, kicking out after those two brutal belly to bellys.
Richard Parker: I think Impulse has a broken back.
Youngblood smiles and drags Impulse to his feet again. This time he irish whips the smaller man into the ropes. Impulse comes back and manages to instinctively duck under an attempted grab for a belly to belly by the bigger man and comes back off of the far ropes and leaps at Youngblood. Youngblood catches Impulse though, and turns it around into a pendulum backbreaker. Impulse writhes on the mat clutching his back, but Youngblood gives him no reprieve.
Nick Stuart: Youngblood is giving Impulse no room to breathe in there!
Richard Parker: I don’t even like the guy, but the way he’s wrestling… he’s on a mission. And if I need Suplex Daddy to kill Cancer Jiles, so be it.
Youngblood pulls an almost limp Marathon Man to his feet, and once again whips him into the ropes. Impulse comes stumbling back, and Youngblood lifts him up off his feet and slams him to the mat with a spine buster.
Richard Parker: WOAH! Lot of impact there. That’s it, that’s all she wrote. End it now.
Nick Stuart: Brandon Youngblood has won matches with that vicious spinebuster multiple times.
Youngblood hooks Impulse’s leg, and Timo once again slides in for the count.
Nick Stuart: THE MARATHON MAN LIVES! HE KICKS OUT AGAIN!
Richard Parker: No… there’s no way…
Nick Stuart: Brandon Youngblood is stunned.
Richard Parker: He had it in the bag! IT WAS OVER! DONE! FINISHED!
Callie walks the length of the ring pounding on the mat cheering for Impulse to get to his feet, as The Marathon Man crawls away from the stunned Brandon Youngblood. The Last Diamond, realizing his error rushes over to Impulse. Impulse barely manages to wrap Youngblood’s feet up and slams him to the mat with a drop toe hold. Youngblood is furious now as the two men get to their feet at the same time in the center of the ring.
Nick Stuart: This crowd is right back in this match.
Youngblood cocks back and lets loose with a forearm, but Impulse defiantly blocks it with his left hand and fires one back at Youngblood that lands across the bridge of his nose. Youngblood tries to fire another but Impulse blocks again and drives the forearm into Youngblood’s face again this time sending him stumbling. Youngblood turns around coming back at Impulse and eats a beautiful standing dropkick to the face.
Nick Stuart: That might be the best dropkick in the business.
Richard Parker: I can’t even argue that.
Youngblood stumbles backwards and falls through the ropes backwards but manages to land on his feet. Impulse takes off like a guided missile and baseball slides through the bottom rope and blasts The Last Diamond with a baseball slide that sends Youngblood flying into the guard rail. Impulse gets to his feet clutching his back but fires off a right forearm to Youngblood.
Youngblood roars and tries to lift Impulse up, but Impulse manages to slide down Youngblood’s back. Impulse struggles with the weight of the larger man, but barely manages to hit him with a samoan drop on the arena floor.
Youngblood slowly gets to his feet, as Impulse writhes on the ground holding his back.
Nick Stuart: I think Impulse might have gotten the worst of that.
Richard Parker: How?
Nick Stuart: Back injuries are fickle.
Impulse manages to pull himself to his feet, and beats Youngblood to his feet. Impulse grabs the back of Youngblood’s head and smashes his head into the apron before rolling Youngblood into the ring. Impulse takes the stairs into the ring instead of jumping up off the arena floor to the apron.
Richard Parker: Did he just take the stairs?
Nick Stuart: That’s what you do when your back hurts.
The Marathon Man lines the Last Diamond up, Youngblood barely gets to his feet as Impulse comes flying in looking for The Sudden Impact! Youngblood ducks and stumbles forward, clearly still out of it.
Richard Parker: AND A WHIFF!
Nick Stuart: If Impulse had landed Sudden Impact there Brandon Youngblood was done for!
Impulse scrambles after missing the super kick and manages to grab Youngblood around the waist and pulls back for a german suplex. But Youngblood kicks his feet like a maniac and leans forward with everything he has causing Impulse to set the larger man back down. Youngblood manages to power through the smaller man’s grip. He quickly flips the situation around and grabs Impulse around the waist. The big man pulls back, but Impulse manages to slide his hand between Youngblood’s fingers and breaks himself free. Impulse is right back behind Youngblood, and manages to lift him up over his head and plant him to the canvas with a high angle german suplex. Impulse bridges up, causing Youngblood’s feet to touch the mat. Timo slides in for the count.
Nick Stuart: What a technical exchange from these two warriors! And here comes the count.
Richard Parker: I hope Timo has a heart attack.
Nick Stuart: THATS IT! THATS IT! WERE GOING TO THE FINALS OF THE ALMASY INVITATIONAL! IMPULSE WILL MEET CANCER JILES!
DING DING DING
Richard Parker: I DONT THINK SO NICK! LOOK AT THE SCREEN! I DON’T THINK YOUNGBLOODS SHOULDERS WERE ON THE MAT!
The fans in the arena are all cheering while Vince Howard confers with Timo Bolamba. Meanwhile the PRIMEview is showing the pinfall from multiple angles.
Nick Stuart: Both men’s shoulders appear to be on the mat!
Richard Parker: But look! Youngblood’s body flops all the way over and he manages to stand up at two and a half so only the back of his head is on the mat!
Nick Stuart: I don’t think so Richard, I think we’re going to see Cancer Jiles vs Impulse for the Universal Title at Culture Shock.
Vince Howard comes to the center of the ring and the crowd falls deathly silent. You could hear a pin drop in the MGM Arena.
Vince Howard: The winner of this match by pinfall… and going to the finals of the ALLLLMMMMAAAAA-
Richard Parker: He can really drag a moment like this out.
Vince Howard: -SSSSSYYYYY INVITATIONAL! TTTTHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEE LAST DIAMOND! BRANDON YOUNGBLOOD!
Nick Stuart: HE DID IT! OH MY GOD HE DID IT!
Richard Parker: Holy shit.
Nick Stuart: Holy you know what indeed Richard, this is incredible. That’s all for us folks! We’ll see you April 8th at Culture Shock!
Richard Parker: Brandon Youngblood is going to scrape Cancer Jiles off his boot.
ALMASY INVITATIONAL FINALISTS