MORTIMER KJEDELIG vs. GREAT SCOTT
The cameras cut to inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena, showing us a house full of cheering fans, all ready for another action packed night of PRIME wrestling.
Nick Stuart: A warm welcome back to all the PRIMEates in attendance and the many more watching at home, as it looks like we’re ready to kick off the action here for Revival 7!
Richard Parker: And what a show we had two weeks ago! Some great matches, some new talent, and an impressive main event win by Julian Bathory… all ruined by the proverbial turd tossed into a fan thanks to those egg throwing idiots.
Nick Stuart: Well I’m sure not all people fee-
Richard Parker: THEY SHOULD, NICK! I was hoping our Remission would last at least a couple months, but now it looks like a matter of time until we have to hope that Brandon Youngblood can overcome Cancer one more time.
The opening riffs of “The Immigrant Song” by Karen O with Trent Reznor begins and a masked man emerges from the curtain as the lights dim and the spotlights shine on the ramp.
Vince Howard: Tonight’s opening match is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, heiling from Horace, North Dakota… Standing six-feet, three inches tall and weighing in at two-hundred and forty-eight pounds… Mortimer! KJEDELIG!
Mortimer Kjedelig begins making his way down the ramp, pointing to the fans in attendance.
Richard Parker: Damn, looks like I owe you a twenty, Nick. No way I thought Vince would nail that last name on the first try.
Nick Stuart: He’s a true professional, Richard. Just like Mortimer here. Look at him marching down to the ring!
As Kjedelig walks by, he pays no attention to the fans. He’s there for a job and his gait shows it. He slides into the ring under the bottom rope, steps up to the middle turnbuckle and raises his hands in the air as the spotlight shines upon him. He hops off the turnbuckle and waits for his opponent as the music fades.
Richard Parker: I’d be focused if I was booked against an idiot with a bear for a manager, too. Who knows what to expect!
As if summoned, “Born For Greatness” by Papa Roach begins to blast over the speakers, as GREAT SCOTT emerges from behind the curtain carrying a nondescript championship belt over his shoulder. For some reason, Great Scott is over. Like really over. The crowd is going goddamned ballistic, and gets even louder as GREAT BEAR steps out behind him, rocking out to some EDM on his sweet Beats By Dre headphones.
Nick Stuart: Say what you want, Richard, but look at the reception from the fans! The energy from these two is clearly contagious!
GREAT SCOTT and GREAT BEAR make their way down to the ring, where GREAT BEAR starts doing awesome dance moves at ringside. It isn’t entirely clear if this is a real live bear, or a man in a very convincing bear costume, but the crowd is very into all of it, with nearly all of those in attendance joining the SCOTT and BEAR in their dance.
Nick Stuart: I guess they call this “The GREAT SCOTT?”
Richard Parker: GOD, who signs these people?
Nick Stuart: This was Melvin Beauregard’s hand-picked signee, Rich.
Richard Parker: You think he was drunk?
Anyway, Great Scott climbs up into the ring and goes up on all four ring posts, basking in the adulation of fans and holding up his championship belt while Mortimer watches it all while shaking his masked face in disapproval.
Vince Howard: And his opponent, accompanied by… a bear-
GREAT BEAR stops dancing instantly, snapping toward Vince and roaring. Vince clears his throat nervously.
Vince Howard: I mean, GREAT BEAR…
GREAT BEAR starts dancing again.
Vince Howard: From the Greater Metro area of Great Falls, Montana… Standing six feet and one inch tall and weighing two-hundred and seventy-six pounds… He is the World’s GREATest SCOTT… GREAT SCOTT!
Nick Stuart: Here we go, folks! These two might look like they’re polar opposites, but tonight they have the same goal; to start their PRIME careers off with a victory!
As soon as the bell rings, GREAT SCOTT’s jovial manner vanishes and is suddenly replaced with an air of intensity and focus that could rival his opponent. Mortimer wastes no time, marching toward the middle of the ring to meet SCOTT, who holds up a hand inviting Mort to a test of strength. Mortimer cocks his head to the side, like a curious dog, and slowly raises a hand of his own to accept the test. Just before their hands touch, Kjedelig pulls his hand while simultaneously stomping down on the toe of GREAT SCOTT’s right boot with the heel of his own.
Nick Stuart: Something of a cheap shot to start the match from Mortimer as it looked like he was going to accept the test of strength, doubling over GREAT SCOTT reaching for the foot.
Richard Parker: Hey let’s let the officials say what’s cheap or not, huh Nick?
Mortimer takes advantage and throws an uppercut, catching SCOTT square on the nose and sending him reeling backward, somehow still on his feet. Mort charges forward with an extended arm.
Nick Stuart: Kjedelig keeping the offense up with a clothesli- SCOTT ducks just in time!
Mortimer spins around quickly and GREAT SCOTT greets him with a pair of large arms, hooking his opponent into a grapple.
Nick Stuart: They lock up! SCOTT swiftly maneuvers himself under Mort’s right arm and now has his opponent locked up from behind – GERMAN SUPLEX by SCOTT!
Richard Parker: Talk about a cheap shot!
Nick Stuart: HOW?
Richard Parker: You wouldn’t get it.
SCOTT snaps up to his feet and grabs Mortimer by the shoulder with one hand and the waist with the other, helping his opponent to his feet. Mortimer throws an elbow into SCOTT’s midsection on the way up. SCOTT doubles over, but uses his own momentum throwing out his arms to push his opponent back.
Nick Stuart: Smart move by GREAT SCOTT right there, giving himself a moment to catch his breath.
Richard Parker: Well it wasn’t the dumbest thing I’ve seen him do tonight.
SCOTT and Mortimer both take a step toward each other and SCOTT throws a quick right hand.
Nick Stuart: Mortimer blocks the attempted punch, and-
Richard Parker: Now that’s a shot heard around the world, Nicky boy! Man that had to have hurt!
GREAT SCOTT shakes the sting off his face and throws another right, but Mortimer catches it just like the last.
Richard Parker: Oh, man! I could almost feel that one! Look at SCOTT’S face, Nick!
Nick Stuart: Yeah that’s almost purple it’s so red. And look at this now! Mortimer, following up the second slap with an ode to Dikembe Mutombo, wagging his finger at his opponent while slowly shaking his head.
GREAT SCOTT lowers his hand from his blushed cheek and snarls at his masked opponent. Nick Stuart frantically shifts through some papers on the table in front of him.
Nick Stuart: Looks like we’re getting our first look at the, uh… ANGRY GLARE?
Richard Parker: The what?!
Nick Stuart: It’s listed as a move, alright? Just doing my job over here, Dick.
Richard Parker: Hey! Subtle ribbing is MY thing!
Nick Stuart: That’s what she said.
Richard Parker: Never again.
Back to the action, after what felt like an eternity of a weird staring contest between a Masked man and the GREAT SCOWL, SCOTT finally pulls the trigger and throws one last right hand.
Nick Stuart: Mortimer with another block! Here comes the- GREAT SCOTT, he was ready for it this time! SCOTT quickly wraps both of his opponent’s arms, and delivers a swift lifted knee to Mortimer’s midsection!
GREAT SCOTT releases his opponent’s arms, allowing Mortimer to double over, holding his gut in pain. SCOTT grabs his head and tucks it under his arm.
Nick Stuart: Snap suplex!
GREAT SCOTT jumps to his feet while Mortimer rolls on the mat. He raises his arms up, scanning the crowd with a smile, then flexes for them showing off his impressive biceps. In one continuous motion, he brings his arms back down and points over to GREAT BEAR, who’s outside the ring, doing that dance they do. GREAT BEAR breaks from the dance and starts raising the roof. The crowd, getting into it, start to chant:
GREAT BEAR! GREAT BEAR! GREAT BEAR!
Suddenly GREAT BEAR stops raising the roof, waving his hands and shaking his head “No.” He then points back to GREAT SCOTT with one paw, giving a… thumbs(?)up with the other. The crowd catches on and adjust their chant.
GREAT SCOTT! GREAT SCOTT! GREAT SCOTT!
Richard Parker: I hate every second of this.
While BEAR and SCOTT celebrate mid-match, Mortimer has returned to his feet and charges his opponent.
Nick Stuart: Oh this doesn’t look goo- WHOA! GREAT SCOTT showing impressive awareness, just dodged away from Mortimer’s attack from behind! He spins – OOOHHHHH, I guess it didn’t matter much as Mortimer just laid SCOTT out flat with a powerful clothesline.
Mortimer grabs SCOTT by his long, black hair and lifts him up. He grabs SCOTT by the back of the neck with one hand, and his arm with the other, standing by his side.
Nick Stuart: Mortimer, holding onto his opponent, starts to charge toward the corner…
Richard Parker: OH MAN! Morty just threw GREAT SCOTT shoulder first right between the second and third turnbuckle, sending him crashing into the ring post!
Nick Stuart: SCOTT falls to the side, slumped over the second rope. Mortimer grabs him by the back of the neck again, and points toward the opposite corner. He grabs the other arm once again and goes running…
Richard Parker: Same shoulder, Nicky boy. GREAT SCOTT’s not looking so GREAT right now, huh?
Mortimer grabs SCOTT by the back of the neck for a third time. GREAT BEAR lets out a deafening roar, momentarily distracting Mortimer before he points back toward the other corner again.
Nick Stuart: Mortimer takes off, dragging SCOTT along… SCOTT tucks his head forward and somersaults, bringing his opponent flipping forward with him! How in the world did he manage that?!
SCOTT rolls right back onto his feet, and in one motion grabs Mortimer, picking him up, turning and setting him on the top turnbuckle. GREAT SCOTT scales the turnbuckles after.
Richard Parker: I’ve never…
Nick Stuart: This isn’t looking good for Mortimer!
SCOTT jumps, grabbing Mortimer’s head between his legs and flips backward.
Nick Stuart: THE SCOTTACANRANA!
GREAT SCOTT rolls over for the pin.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Your winner… GREAT! SCOTT!!!
Nick Stuart: What a contest to start off the night! A very competitive matchup from two very different PRIME personalities, but ultimately GREAT SCOTT is the one coming out of it with the perfect record to build from.
Richard Parker: Should’ve been DQ’d when the bear roared at Mortimer. That clearly had an influence.
Nick Stuart: Oh, come on, do you really think that, Richard?
Richard Parker: Does a bear shit in the woods?
Nick Stuart: I don’t know, want to ask him?
Richard Parker: I hate you.
Back to the Future
Nick Stuart: Well, it’s the first backstage report after the first match, and you know what that means.
Richard Parker: Melvin Beauregard finally does the right thing and puts a pneumatic hammer between my eyes, releasing me from this circus to join Hoyt in his heavenly manor above?
Nick Stuart: That was… dark. But no, it means The Anglo Luchador is doing things, and I hear he is back there with Ria Nightshade.
Richard Parker: Well, maybe she’ll do us all a favor and stab him.
Nick Stuart: Oh stop that. Let’s throw back to the hallways backstage!
The camera cuts to a hallway where The Anglo Luchador, dressed in a pinstripe suit wearing a “TAL for Intense” button, holding flyers. He’s turned towards Ria Nightshade, who is CLEARLY disinterested in what he has to say.
TAL: Okay, so the key to any winning campaign is a good ground game. We have to connect with potential voters face to face so we can humanize the campaign. Television ads and lawn signs have such little effect on voters comparatively speaking.
Ria: That’s not how this works nowadays, old man! Social media. THAT is how you get the word out. That is, unless you’d like all the geezers in the old folks home to vote for us. Is that what you want? They might be dead before they get to vote!
TAL: And do you know who votes the most? Geezers in the old folks home. They do nothing but eat pudding, piss themselves, and vote. How do you think this country got the way it did?
Ria: 18-49 demo. That’s what we want! You just gotta hook ’em.
TAL: That’s what the advertisers… you know what, forget it. I think people will still want to talk to people, and you’re an ideal role model for Gen Z anyway. You’ve got angst towards life, a healthy distrust of the establishment, if all else fails, you’re intimidating.
Ria: Did you just boil me down to a fucking blog entry? You know what? I’m taking a walk. If I don’t, I’m not gonna end up waiting for a vote and I’m gonna beat your ass right here, right now!
Ria storms off to the right.
TAL: Kids. Okay, now, let’s get crackin’ here. Okay, I got flyers and I need voters. Who am I…
Just then, the old luchador’s eyes fixate on two elderly gentlemen, right in the wheelhouse of his preferred voting demographic. They are both wearing silver jumpsuits and futuristic goggle-type eyewear. Both men have hair that looks to be untamed. What first started as voter outreach has turned into something uncannier.
TAL: You two look… awfully familiar.
The duo stop dead in their tracks, feigning a “who, us?” motion with their hands.
TAL: It’s the hair. Can you do me a favor? Take off those goggles, please?
The two men look at each other, shrug, and take off their eyewear, revealing that they’re…just regular old men. The Anglo Luchador looks confused.
TAL: You know what? I was mistaken. Carry on, and
He shoves some papers in the old men’s hands
TAL: Vote for The Anglo Luchador and Ria Nightshade for the Intense Championship!
As he watches the two old men shuffle away, he turns on a dime in response to a tap on his shoulder from…two other old men. They’re in the same outfits and have the same kind of wild hair (though one of them doesn’t have much of it).
OLD MAN #1: Excuse me, sir. Can you tell me how to get to the 28th floor?
The Anglo Luchador rubs his eyes as the two men are striking in their resemblance to… two other guys he knows.
TAL: You two look familiar. And the 28th floor? That floor is blocked off for… no way. Are you by any chance Garbage Bag Johnny and Nova? Only after having visited the beach from that movie, uh, you know with the beach that makes you old… uh… oh yeah, Surf Ninjas?
Future Nova looks at Future GBJ and shrugs.
FUTURE GBJ: I think he’s talking about one of those old timey simulations that you can only see and hear.
Future Nova pinches his nose like he smelled a fart.
FUTURE NOVA: We’re not interested in any of that stuff. We’re just trying to find ourselves…from the past.
FUTURE GBJ: We figure the 28th floor has got to be somewhere above us, but we can’t seem to find your pneumatic tube system.
TAL: By the plumes of Quetzalcoatl, time travel is POSSIBLE? Okay then, okay then, wow, I have so many questions about the future. Can you even answer them without violating the spacetime continuum? Am I still alive when your present is? Did they ever reboot Flash Forward?
The future selves of Johnny and Nova look at each other and then back at the old luchador.
TAL: Okay, okay, I’ll start simple then. Who is the President from your future?
FUTURE NOVA: President? We haven’t had one of those in decades.
FUTURE GBJ: Yep. You must be talking about Emperor Barron. And if you want to be alive in the future, ixnay on the esidentPray.
TAL: That’s… dark.
The old luchador scrambles to find another topic, less weighty.
TAL: Oh, okay, uh, do I ever win the PRIME Universal Championship?
Future Nova looks at Future GBJ and winces. Future GBJ shrugs and gestures back to the Anglo Luchador, who’s grinning broadly with anticipation.
FUTURE GBJ: Man asked you a question.
FUTURE NOVA: I can say I don’t recall you ever having lost it.
TAL: That’s unhelpful, but I’ll take it. Maybe you just need a question less loaded than something involving my own personal gain. Okay, umm… oh, I got it. Will Bobby Dean ever nut up and slug Cancer Jiles across his smug face?
FUTURE GBJ: Listen, you whippersnapper. It’s been fifty years, so we barely remember who any of these people are. But we need to find our younger selves while we still remember who we are.
FUTURE NOVA: Isn’t Bobby Dean one of the guys we had to beat to win these tag titles?
Future Nova points to his waist, but there is no title there. Both him and Future GBJ look at their own beltless waists, jaws agape. Without the belts, their space pants immediately fall around their ankles.
TAL: I swear to God, if you two start singing “Old Gray Mare,” I’m going to snap.
The haggard future wrestlers have a look of concern on their faces towards the old luchador.
TAL: Sorry, it’s been a hell of a few weeks so far. I haven’t slept well, there’s a weird stone from a Zelda game in the lobby, I flew to Japan fruitlessly, one of Mega Job’s asses became sentient and toxified the Taco Bell VIP Lounge we like to hang out at, I’m wrestling the number one contender to the Universal Championship tonight, and on top of all that, I don’t know how my campaign to be in the Intense Championship match at Great American Nightmare is going to fare against the feelgood story of Great Scott kicking Next Level Crack Cocaine and overcoming the mafia killing his family. Just, stress upon stress, like do you guys ever feel that?
FUTURE GBJ: I can barely feel when I need to use the toilet anymore.
FUTURE NOVA: Yeah, no, we’re living high on the hog over here, just compounding the abject humiliation of shitting ourselves before a nurse trundles over to respond to the “signal flare” button, with the gut-liquefying effects of time travel, all to seek out less depressing versions of ourselves…and probably be super fucking disappointed in them. Speaking of all that, hike ‘em up, buddy.
He nudges Future GBJ, and they hike up their space pants, only for a familiar frown to spread over Future GBJ’s face.
FUTURE GBJ: I pooped a little just now, and it feels like I peed my pants.
FUTURE NOVA: We gotta bounce before we make a bad situation worse.
The pair take off for the elevator nearby, Future GBJ bow-legged as he holds a hand over the back of his space pants.
TAL: (yelling for them as they walk away) Remember to vote for TAL and Nightshade at Great American Nightmare? Normal voice Ah nuts. Speaking of Ria…
The old luchador gaits down the hall no more than 100 feet before encountering Ria, who has one of the Enemigos backed up against the wall, holding her switchblade in front of his face close enough to be threatening but far enough away not to incur a fine. This Enemigo has an air cast on his left forearm, most likely from a failed attack on the Gossip Stone in the lobby of the MGM Grand.
TAL: WHOA WHOA what’s going on here?
Ria: I’m just trying to get this… embargo? Enemy-o? Spaghetti-O?… This guy to vote for us.
TAL: I didn’t mean… you know what, good for you, you’re at least trying. Please don’t use your switchblade though, because lord knows we don’t need you getting fined.
Ria: Fiiiiiiine, gramps.
She pulls the switchblade away as both future combatants walk away in search of more prospective voters. Camera goes to the commentary table.
Richard Parker: I swear to God, every time I see that horrible man backstage, I want to take a bath with my kitchen appliances.
Nick Stuart: (ignoring Parker’s cry for help) Alright, and now, it’s time to check in with GREAT SCOTT!
We are backstage with GREAT SCOTT, who is toweling off an uncomfortable amount of sweat after his in-ring debut in tonight’s opening match. Like, it’s just fucking coming off of him, man. It’s hard to say exactly how much water GREAT SCOTT drinks, but if he is sweating this much, this dude is for SURE peeing clear.
In the background, GREAT BEAR stands around, swaying to some EDM music that he is listening to in his sweet Beats by Dre headphones. The “UHN TISS” can be heard faintly in the background, as he sways and vibes to his tunes. THE GREAT ONE looks into the camera and smiles.
GREAT SCOTT: HI EVERYONE, IT’S ME YOUR FRIEND GREAT SCOTT. TONIGHT I CAME BACK TO WRESTLING AND HAD A GREAT MATCH WITH MAFIA MORTIMER AND ALL IN ALL I AM VERY HAPPY WITH MY DEBUT I THOUGHT IT WENT GREAT. MAYBE IT COULD HAVE BEEN GREATER BUT YOU KNOW ME I’M GREAT SCOTT AND I LIKE TO FOCUS ON THE POSITIVES.
He gives two big thumbs up to accentuate his point about the power of positivity.
GREAT SCOTT: SO ANYWHERE HERE IS A POSITIVE I AM GOING TO BE THE NEXT IMPULSE CHAMPION AND IF I WANT TO BE THE IMPULSE CHAMPION I OBVIOUSLY HAVE TO FIGHT A GUY NAMED PETE THAT IS JUST COMMON SENSE. WELL LUCKY ME IT TURNS OUT THERE IS A GUY NAMED PETE IN PRIMETIME WRESTLING AND THAT IS GOOD LUCK FOR ME GREAT SCOTT BECAUSE I TOO AM ALL PRIMELEET.
He gestures something vague toward the camera, in order to split up his dialogue into digestible portions.
GREAT SCOTT: PETE WHEALDON YOU ARE A JERK. I SEE ON THE WEBSITE THAT YOU ARE A BAD GUY AND THAT IS NOT GREAT YOU SHOULD BE A GOOD GUY BECAUSE BEING GOOD IS A GREAT THING TO DO. YOUR SPECIAL MOVES ALL HAVE CURSES IN THE NAME AND THAT IS A BAD INFLUENCE ON THE YOUTH. PLUS THEY ARE JUST A KICK AND A SPINNY PUNCH AND THAT SEEMS PRETTY LAME NONE OF YOUR SPECIAL MOVES ARE AS COOL AS THE SCOTTACANRANA OR EVEN THE SCOTTAGREE WHICH IS LIKE MY FOURTH COOLEST MOVE.
He counts some other moves on his hands, wondering if he should bring up the GREAT SCOTT STUNNER or that cool thing where GREAT BEAR puts a jabroni on his shoulders and then he does a Doomsday Device. You can’t tell he’s thinking about those things because this is live television, but he is.
GREAT SCOTT: PETE I CHALLENGE YOU TO A MATCH AT THE NEXT PRIMETIME WRESTLING PAY PER VIEW AND WHEN I KICK YOU RIGHT IN THE TITS I MEAN RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR TITS LINDSAY AND MELVIN WILL HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO BE LIKE “HEY THAT GUY SCOTT IS PRETTY GREAT AND HE IS VERY CHAMPIONY” AND THEY WILL FOR SURE GIVE ME THE BELT. YOU CANNOT BEAT ME PETER BECAUSE I HAVE SPECIAL MOVES WITHOUT CURSES AND ALSO I HAVE A LIVE BEAR NAMED GREAT BEAR. I THINK MAYBE YOU DON’T KNOW HOW SCARY IT IS TO FIGHT WITH A BEAR STANDING REALLY CLOSE TO YOU BUT PLEASE TRUST ME IT IS VERY SCARY IF HE ISN’T YOUR FRIEND. GREAT BEAR ISN’T YOUR FRIEND. HE IS MY FRIEND. AND I AM GOING TO KICK YOUR TITS.
He quietly mouths the words “kick your tits” again, for menacing effect.
GREAT SCOTT: PLEASE LET ME KNOW ON THE WEBSITE OR BY TWITTER OR YOU CAN EVEN TEXT ME AN ANSWER BECAUSE I NEED TO KNOW IF I WILL HAVE A MATCH AT THE PAY PER VIEW OR IF I SHOULD MAKE OTHER PLANS THAT DAY MAYBE TO HANG OUT WITH FRIENDS. HAVE A GREAT SHOW EVERYONE EXCEPT FOR YOU PETE WHEALDON BECAUSE YOU ARE MY ENEMY NOW.
He smiles and waves goodbye to the camera, as the show goes on.
Unleashing the Beast
The Dangerous Mix’s David Fox is leaning on the wall, holding hands with his wife Saori, and smiling.
David Fox: So this is it, huh? The big PRIME debut.
Saori Kazama: Nervous?
David chuckles and smirks.
David Fox: Nah. You know the vibes. Get in the ring, and don’t take any of them lightly, but also don’t sweat it too much. Freeman and Schwartz, they’re a pair of hungry young kids who need to grow into their talents, but that doesn’t mean they can’t slip one past us. I’m sure they’ll give their best, though.
His wife nods.
Saori Kazama: And the other team?
David Fox: You mean 2BECOME1? Oh, brother. I got half a mind to tell you to apply for a new manager’s license real quick just so you can crack a shinai across Vickie Hall’s back so we can go out and have a wrestling match without hearing nails on a chalkboard the whole time. Good gravy. ESPECIALLY since I wanna give Jonathan-Christopher a piece of my mind. Darin Zion, he’s trying to put it together, but who knows if he will with that couple. After that letter Hall wrote, though? He’s probably gonna end up as collateral.
Saori Kazama: Yeah, I saw it too, and I’m surprised! You seem to be taking it well.
David Fox: Sure am. But you know who isn’t?
A beat, and a silent pause… gradually interrupted by a rumbling growl, and the stamping feet of a certain beast.
Mushigihara walks on-camera, and walks off just as quickly, seething in fury.
Mushigihara: Keshirashite kure yo!!!
Saori looks on in surprise, while David grins at his smoldering tag team partner.
David Fox: …what did he say again?
Saori looks at her husband with a look of concern.
Saori Kazama: He said he’s going to lay them to waste.
With a nod, David Fox smiles and chuckles again as the camera closes in on his face.
David Fox: Awesome.
2BECOME1 vs. MASTERS OF THE MULTIVERSE B-TEAM vs. DANGEROUS MIX
Nick Stuart: As the teams involved in our next match make their way to the ring, let’s take a look back at the events of ReVival 6!
The image changes to a feed of the tag-team match between 2Become1 and the Hollywood Bruvs. In the lower corner of the screen, the words “2 Weeks Ago” appear to alert the fans at home – some of whom may be new viewers – as to when the events they’re watching unfolded.
As he recovers from a flurry of offense at the hands of Mikey Unlikely, Darin Zion connects with a kick to the midsection, and then plants Unlikely with the Ratings Spike.
Nick Stuart: The first two teams eliminated from tag team Survivor – 2Become1 and the Hollywood Bruvs – competed for a chance at redemption. In the end…
Jesse Fredericks Kendrix pulls his partner from the ring, and begins carrying him to the back as the referee counts.
Nick Stuart: …it was the team of Darin Zion and Jonathan-Christopher Hall who were victorious, the Bruvs deciding that discretion is the better part of valor.
The image cuts to one of the Survivor chaos. Mushigihara crouches low, allowing David Fox a launching pad to vault off of as he charges and leaps over the lumbering form of a sleeping Bobby Dean.
Nick Stuart: Despite a valiant effort, and a strong team showing…
Kenny Freeman, at the base of one of the slides, helps try to fend off both Nathan Filmix and Nate Colton.
Nick Stuart: Both the Dangerous Mix and the Masters of the Multiverse were voted off of their respective tribes.
Back to a live shot. All three teams gathered in the ring.
Nick Stuart: Now all three teams get a chance to take another step towards the future, and whatever looms ahead as we march towards the Great American Nightmare.
David Fox and Randall Schwartz start the match off. The two circle for a moment, before Schwartz gets a surge of courage and moves in with some offense.
Richard Parker: So many Randalls in this company, I’m losing track!
Nick Stuart: Aside from Randall Schwartz and Randall Knox, who else is there?
Richard Parker: Well now we have Randallplexes, and have you seen the company’s Jabber chat logs?
Nick Stuart: Umm, no?
Richard Parker: Everyone on that thing is some kinda randy. There aren’t enough shiba inus with baseball bats in the world to deal with that crowd.
Schwartz is caught with a shot to the midsection, and pulled into a Muay Thai clinch. A series of knees land in his chest. One connects with his jaw, staggering him, and Fox uses the opportunity to try and lead the Master of the Multiverse (B-Team, lest anyone forget) to the corner where the massive Mushigihara waits for his chance to enter the fray. Schwartz, compelled by the will to live, ducks out of Fox’s grasp and scoots to his own corner, where he tags in the waiting Kenny Freeman.
Nick Stuart: Freeman in the ring. He ducks a lock-up… go-behind to Fox… and a dropkick to the back of David Fox connects!
Fox is sent forward, and Darin Zion eagerly reaches an arm over the top rope and tags himself in.
Richard Parker: Las Vegas is about to get a dose of REAL LOVE!
A flurry of chain-wrestling breaks out, as both Freeman and Zion each work to gain the upper hand on each other. Arm-wringers and headlocks are exchanged. A hammerlock is reversed. Freeman connects with a series of forearm shots, then is rocked by one shot back his way.
Nick Stuart: Front chancery applied by Darin Zion…
A snap suplex connects, taking Kenny Freeman over. Zion rolls through it, and grabs both legs. Outside the ring, Vickie Hall cheers as Jonathan-Christopher’s new best friend goes to work.
Nick Stuart: Looks like he’s trying to tie-up Kenny Freeman.
Richard Parker: Usually that costs extra.
Zion’s attempts at a sharpshooter are fought off, the two men twisting and repositioning around the canvas, before Freeman draws in both legs and heaves Zion away. He’s sent stumbling back into a hostile corner.
Randall Schwartz tags himself back in.
Richard Parker: These guys are on the same team. Is that even legal? Can they wrestle each other?
Nick Stuart: Zion appears to have the same question.
Fortunately, Jimmy Turnbull is the resident tag team specialist, so he’s quick to try and sort this out. Short answer: looks pretty legal.
Seeing this, both members of the Masters of the Multiverse share a glance, and an unspoken plan is hatched.
Nick Stuart: Kenny Freeman pinning Randall Schwartz?!
Richard Parker: Oh, there’s no way…
Lil Jimmy Turnbuckles is quick to do his job, and he starts counting.
That’s as far as he gets before the pinfall is broken up by both the incoming David Fox and the still-not-yet-out-of-the-ring Darin Zion.
Nick Stuart: I have to say, that was a solid plan.
Richard Parker: Do you think there’s a universe where that worked?
Nick Stuart: Got to be at least one, sure.
Richard Parker: Remind me never to go there.
Nick Stuart: Referee Turnbull again trying to get things under control.
In the chaos, Schwartz inadvertently moves too close to the Dangerous Mix side of the ring, and a meaty paw taps him on the shoulder. Mushigihara enters the match.
The God-Beast is awakened.
Across the ring, Kenny Freeman sees what’s happening, and does the only logical thing. He runs over and high-fives Jonathan-Christopher Hall. The Vow of Virtue doesn’t see what’s coming his way until it’s too late; until he sees his Amazing Life Partner wildly gesturing at the monster storming his way.
Richard Parker: Oh no.
Jonathan-Christopher looks up in time to find himself grabbed by the massive Mushi. He’s aggressively bieled into the ring, landing hard on mat.
Nick Stuart: Jonathan-Christopher back to his feet…
Richard Parker: Oh no.
He’s promptly crushed by a running Thesz press.
Nick Stuart: This is not the kind of quality time that either of the Halls wanted!
Richard Parker: Thank god that love is eternal, Nick. A movie told me that!
The God-Beast rises. For his part, the Timid Tiger tries to crawl away, but a large hand on the waistband of his board shorts prevents that from happening.
Nick Stuart: A massive release overhead belly to belly sends Hall crashing to the canvas!
He also bounces through the ropes to the ring floor. Mushigihara stalks towards the ropes to follow, but is waved off by Turnbull.
After a moment to recover with some impromptu quality time, Hall slides back into the ring and moves towards the Multiverse corner. Only to see both members of that team hop off the ring apron. Panicking, Jonathan-Christopher dives towards his own corner and tags in Darin Zion.
Nick Stuart: Zion in with a flurry of offense trying to knock the bigger man back.
Richard Parker: That’s the p-p-power of love, Nick!
Nick Stuart: Did you just quote Huey Lewis?
Richard Parker: I’m not answering that without my attorney present.
It’s only through persistence that Zion is successful. While Mushi never leaves his feet, little by little the bursts of offense he has to deal with move him back towards his own corner.
Nick Stuart: David Fox with the tag, vaulting over his partner to get into the ring with a back elbow.
Richard Parker: I think Zion saw that coming.
Fox is caught out of the air, waistlocked, and brought to the ground with a German suplex that Zion bridges for the cover.
Both members of the Masters of the Multiverse charge into the ring to break it up, almost trampling the referee in the process. As Turnbull works to usher them back to the outside, Zion brings Fox to his corner where Jonathan-Christopher Hall waits for a shot at redemption.
Nick Stuart: Hall back in the ring, looking for a measure of revenge here.
A series of kicks connect with David Fox’s midsection in the corner.
Nick Stuart: Jonathan-Christopher taking a minute to appreciate his handiwork.
Richard Parker: He’s got to stay on him.
Just long enough for Fox to recover with a jumping knee strike to the jaw.
Richard Parker: Welp.
Now dazed, Jonathan-Christopher is sent flying into the neutral corner, before Fox builds up a head of steam and charges in with a high kick. Unfortunately, as he started his charge he was blind-tagged by both Kenny Freeman and Randall Schwartz.
Nick Stuart: Both members of the Masters…
Richard Parker: Say that five times fast.
Nick Stuart: But which one is the legal man here?
Poor Jimmy Turnbull is really earning his pay here tonight, as once more he’s forced to try and establish some order, but even your most casual wrestling fan is able to identify this moment as the type where everything invariably goes to hell.
In the chaos, Jonathan-Christopher pulls himself back to his own corner, and Darin Zion is tagged back in.
Nick Stuart: I think we’re getting the signal that Randall Schwartz and Darin Zion are the legal men here.
Richard Parker: Tell that to Mushi!
The God-Beast charges across the ring and bulldozes both Freeman and Hall clear out of it, chasing them to the floor. David Fox, perhaps sensing this is still winnable for his team, tries to refocus his own squad. Randall Schwartz takes this all in, trying to make sense of the madness, doesn’t see when doom sneaks up behind him.
Nick Stuart: RATINGS SPIKE!
Richard Parker: And unlike last week, I don’t think anyone’s coming to carry somebody off.
Nick Stuart: He makes the cover! Turnbull sees it!
So does David Fox.
He’s just a hair too late.
DING DING DING!!
Vince Howard: The winners of this match… Darin Zion and Jonathan-Christopher Hall… TwoBecomeONNNEEEEE!!!
Nick Stuart: A great showing by three teams tonight, Richard. Congratulations to Jonathan-Christopher Hall and Darin Zion, and here’s hoping we continue to see more from both the Dangerous Mix and the Masters of the Multiverse!
Live to Fight Another Day
[Previously Recorded Footage]
Moving up the ramp and away from the ring is the Hollywood Bruvs. Mikey Unlikely was just laid out by Darren Zion in their tag team match, and rather than get pinned, Kendrix thought better of it, and pulls Mikey from the ring. The pair are counted out as the commentary team recaps the situation.
Nick Stuart: You have got to be kidding me.
Richard Parker: LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY BRUVS!
Turnbull shakes his head and counts The Hollywood Bruvs out.
As they come through the curtain to the backstage area, they seem relieved. That is until they stumble into the boss.
They stop dead in their tracks. Mikey’s arm still slung over JFK’s shoulder for support. They look up to find LT, arms crossed and a scowl on her face.
Lindsay Troy: Y’know….I’ve dealt with a lot of bullshit from you two over the last six, seven years. Frappes thrown on clothes. Title belts in glass cases. A roll of quarters to the side of the head.
She looks at Mikey Unlikely for that one, specifically. He looks away and whistles innocently.
Lindsay Troy: And as much fun as this latest bit has been for the both of you, the jig is up. There’s not gonna be any more new and inventive ways for you two to “quit” and get out of competing. Either you want to be here or you don’t. And if you don’t, then I have no problem showing you the door.
A beat. A smirk.
Lindsay Troy: Personally.
Kendrix eyes light up as he looks over at Mikey but his bruv shake his head.
Mikey Unlikely: Not that kind of door or personal service…
Kendrix hangs his head disappointedly before removing a scrunched up piece of paper and unscrunching it before the boss’ very eyes.
Kendrix: But we have a list of at least another 100 new and inventive ways to qui…
Mikey butts in just as Troy’s face is about to explode.
Mikey Unlikely: …Uh that’s right, a list to quickly prove to you just how much the Hollywood Bruvs want to be here in PRIME.
Jesse looks over at his tag partner in shock and removes his shoulder of support.
Not impressed in the slightest, Troy attempts to grab the list to see for herself but Mikey sees it coming and sticks it down his trunks.
Mikey Unlikely: You don’t need to see it, boss. It’s probably better we keep it a surprise. We know actions speak louder than words here, I’ve always said that!
Kendrix, of course, butts in now, trying to impress the boss lady.
Kendrix: Yeah, but I said it first.
Lindsay rolls her eyes at the duo. She’s seen and heard all this far too many times for her liking.
Lindsay Troy: Whatever. Your actions have been few and far between. So I’d better actually see something worthwhile in your next match, otherwise it’s over. And let me remind you that there’s no financial compensation due to either of you if I fire your asses, so cut the shit and start earning your paychecks.
Having made her point, Troy walks off leaving the Bruvs scratching their heads with much food for thought.
Kendrix: I thought we had the release clause?
Mikey Unlikely: Seriously, Jesse. That’s it. No more agents you meet in strip clubs. We‘re going back to Hollywood agents.
King Blueberry walks through the halls of the MGM Grand like a man sentenced to death. There’s no spring in his step. The usual air of chaotic mischief that surrounds him is nowhere to be found, replaced by a pall of unease. This is a man who knows with absolute certainty that he is about to be poisoned at the wishes of a clay golem with a power donut.
King Blueberry: Is this some elaborate plot to poison us all? Get rid of all the tag weirdos in one shot? Seriously, man, he must have told you something.
Nearby, as always, is Mark. Carrier of mannequins. Babysitter of idiots. First of his name.
Mark the Assistant: Honest, I don’t know anything. Mr. Beauregard doesn’t tell me a lot of things, I imagine. Probably afraid that you’ll find out.
King Blueberry: You know that expression “eat a dick”? You know how it’s not meant to be taken literally? Or at least I don’t think it’s supposed to be taken literally. Anyway, am I walking into that but for real life? Am I about to be fed parts from any number of dick-having creatures? Do you even know how many dick-having creatures there are on this planet? I googled that, Mark. It was a mistake to google that. Don’t google that!
Mark’s eyes go wide.
Mark the Assistant: I, uhhh… no? I mean… what?
King Blueberry: I weep for the death of my immaculate search history.
Mark, now well-trained and battle-hardened against such obvious lies, says nothing.
In its current form, PRIME is a home to some of the stranger and more esoteric characters in professional wrestling. A good number of these folks choose to obscure their faces behind masks. King Blueberry and his mannequin. The Anglo Luchador. The terrifying Balaam. Foster Nackedy in a face shield.
Foster Nackedy, former mentor to PRIME roster member Jonathan Rhine (he also competed on PRIME television a few times a decade ago but even I don’t remember that) slinks up to King Blueberry and Mark, adjusting his facemask as he does. He’s also, for some reason, wearing a brace around his neck and a backpack. He looks around nervously, because he’s definitely not supposed to be here.
Foster Nackedy: Ah, the mighty king of blueberries. I’ve been looking for you.
King Blueberry: Well, good thing you found me while I’m still alive then. They’re going to kill us all soon, is the thing. With poison.
His eyes find the neckbrace. Behind the mask, King Blueberry cocks an eyebrow.
King Blueberry: You okay, Foster? I didn’t realize Jon got you that hard.
Mark the Assistant: (whispering) Phrasing.
Foster Nackedy reaches towards the brace and winces.
Foster Nackedy: Well, you know. He’s a professional wrestler. The kids these days really pack a punch. I’m…managing, but I would say my pride is more wounded than anything.
Blueberry barks out a laugh.
King Blueberry: I wouldn’t know much about the whole pride thing. Will tell you the same thing I told a friend recently – if you see any of mine laying around, will you let me know? Figure most of it’s long gone, but a man can dream. As for the punching…
King Blueberry: Must be a thing with that squad. Paxton got me good last ReVival. Guess he really didn’t like the leaf blower. But what can I do for you? Said you were looking for me, and all.
Foster Nackedy: Right. Well, my brother is here tonight, preparing food for you guys. I got a peek in the kitchen, by the way. It isn’t poison but…it’s almost worse?
Foster Nackedy: Anyway, he got me backstage because I’ve been watching you. And you’re doing a great thing. The mannequin, the challenges, proving that fierce, individual spirit. It’s great. But you’re getting down to the wire. And even if you win this challenge and become tag team champions…how long will that last? The next time you step in a ring and have no one to tag…you’ll be done. So what I’m thinking is you need a partner. And no, I have never been a masked wrestler. But I’ve been in the gym a lot lately, and…
Foster unzips his backpack and pulls out some orange/red tights and a bright orange mask with green trim on top.
Foster Nackedy: I think you could use some help from Prince Persimmon.
Hazel eyes harden behind the blueberry-styled mask, and lock laser-focused on Foster.
King Blueberry: Mark.
To Mark, the tone is surprising, and he fumbles the mannequin he’s carrying.
Mark the Assistant: Y-yeah?
King Blueberry: Meet you there.
Mark says nothing. He simply collects the body of Super Cool Guy and scurries off.
King Blueberry’s posture changes; the hallmark ‘tell’ that things are about to go sideways. His shoulders relax. His thumbs slide into the waistband of his shorts. It’s the slow, easy posture of a gunslinger ready to draw.
King Blueberry: Let me make this abundantly clear. This is not a club you just get to walk into. I understand that not everyone gets it, that to most people I’m an idiot in a fruit costume. Five people, Foster. Five. In fourteen years there have only ever been five of us. And just because two of those people are no longer with us…
The glance he casts to the black band on his arm – the one with the stylized strawberry – is almost imperceptible.
King Blueberry: Does NOT mean there’s a vacancy. There is no Prince Persimmon. You’re mad at Jon? Fine. You want to get even because he took a shot? Made you look bad? Fine. Not at my expense. This might be a joke to you, but if you press me I will show you how VERY serious I take it.
Foster takes a step backward and instinctively grabs at his neck, as if the Blueberry barbs were physical. He slowly puts the wrestling gear back in his backpack and zips it up.
Foster Nackedy: Fine. I get it. I wasn’t even thinking about Jon, but you’re well within your rights to refuse help. Hopefully you won’t ever need it.
Foster starts to walk away, then he turns around.
Foster Nackedy: We came from the same place, Jared.
King Blueberry: If you thought being an NWC alum would help…
Foster Nackedy: That’s not why I bring it up.
Foster adjusts his facemask.
Foster Nackedy: That place was a graveyard. Some people say it’s cursed. The wrestlers who ruled the roost in those days? They’re gone. Dead. Fully paralyzed, like Anton Dufresne. Or they’re down on their luck like me, looking anywhere to get back to the life they had. Wyatt Connors killed the NWC, and no one was able to escape it.
Foster shoots a look at the man under the mask and smiles, throwing the persimmon mask at King Blueberry’s feet.
Foster Nackedy: You’re just prolonging the curse. Good luck.
And with that, the would-be Prince Persimmon walks away. A few moments pass as King Blueberry stares after him before his attention is diverted.
“Was that Foster?”
King Blueberry looks and sees where the voice came from and sighs.
King Blueberry: (low) Oh, for fuck’s sake.
Coming from the other direction is Jonathan Rhine and Paxton Ray of Fighting For Nora. Shweta Kallemullah trails them, her hands folded in front of her waist.
Jonathan Rhine: What’s he doing here?
King Blueberry: Making another in what I can only assume is a string of very bad decisions. Or angling to get punched again. Maybe both.
He closes his eyes and takes a long, slow breath, trying to bleed the venom from his voice. Trying, and failing.
King Blueberry: Yeah. Yeah, definitely that last one.
Jonathan Rhine: I wouldn’t doubt it.
He then looks at the ground at the crumpled orange mask that Foster tossed on the ground.
Jonathan Rhine: What’s that?
He bends over and picks it up, looking over at King Blueberry.
King Blueberry: That is a serious lapse in judgment. Your old pal showed up and gave me some song and dance about what I’m doing, and how long I can go it alone, and then he brought that out. Said he could be ‘Prince Persimmon’. It didn’t go very well. Knew he was full of it when he said he liked the mannequin.
Despite Foster having left, Blueberry’s posture – and all that comes with it – doesn’t abate. It doesn’t take long to lock-on to a new target.
King Blueberry: The arrogance. The condescension. The… The goddamn judgment. Felt familiar. Felt real familiar. Makes me think wrestling’s not all that gets taught down in N’awlins, eh, Jon? Lemme ask you: haven’t really seen you since your Easter shindig. How’d the social experiment go? Did Paxton here pass?
The edge in his voice only gets sharper.
King Blueberry: Did I?
Jonathan Rhine doesn’t answer, perhaps because he’s so taken aback by King Blueberry’s sharpness. Or maybe he’s angry at the assertion, as his fists ball up reflexively. Regardless, Jon doesn’t answer King Blueberry, but Shweta does, stepping to him with a finger to his chest.
Shweta Kallemullah: Excuse me, Jared. I’m not sure what things Foster said to get under your skin, but I assure you there are other places to direct that anger. May I remind you from the incidents at the Foundation Easter party that Jon is not exactly happy with Foster either?
Paxton steps forward.
Paxton Ray: Y’know, I punched a lotta people in my life. Lotta people. Never met one that pretty much asked me to punch ‘im again til now.
Despite the wall of people that now separate them, King Blueberry does not take his focus off Rhine.
King Blueberry: Quite the army you’re building for yourself. Not quite Jason Cruise and Cyrus Raines, or…
The third name dies in his throat.
King Blueberry: Guess it’s not a “New Life” after all, huh? Not if the M.O. never changes.
What he says next is a familiar refrain, both to fans of country music and to the old FUSE faithful.
King Blueberry: I was a highwayman; along the coach roads I did ride; with sword and pistol by my side.
Jonathan slowly nods.
Jonathan Rhine: I won’t apologize for having friends. Having people to depend on is a strength, not a weakness. Not that I’d expect you to know anything about having either.
The king recoils as if struck, the words landing harder than any punch would. He takes a half step back, like he’s trying to regain his balance.
King Blueberry: Okay. Yeah… okay. Thanks for the confirmation. Really, thanks. One less question I’ve got to burn the energy wondering about.
He still never takes eyes gaze away from Rhine, even when it’s Shweta and Paxton that he addresses.
King Blueberry: Hope you two understand what you’re in for. Hope you don’t find yourselves on this side of the argument one day – tossed aside because you just. don’t. measure. Up.
Jonathan wrinkles his brow in confusion. He opens his mouth as if to question King Blueberry’s assertion, but he doesn’t get the chance. His tag team partner continues to walk towards King Blueberry, straightening his posture.
Paxton Ray: I don’t think ya ever hafta worry about me not measurin’ up to anyone. I don’t give a shit ‘bout your past with Jon. I jus’ don’t like you, and I don’t need another reason.
Blueberry grunts a laugh, at last turning his attention to Paxton.
King Blueberry: Welcome to the club.
Immediately he pivots, turning his back on the group before walking away. Paxton turns to Jon, snarling.
Paxton Ray: What the hell is a persimmon?
Time Lords Drive Fords (Not DeLoreans)
The scene cuts backstage. Mortimer Kjedelig is standing by the catering table, a plate in his hand, filled with a cornucopia of food, which, to Mortimer’s surprise, is free. On the mountain of free food on his plate is chips, chicken wings, a couple of sliders, and some sushi. He is seen squeezing ranch from a bottle on the mountain of food. As he does so, he happens to glance to his right to witness Anna Daniels walking by. Distracted, he lowers his hand and the food slides off the plate, in it’s entirety, into the dip and approaches, smiling wide through his black mask.
Mortimer Kjedelig: What do we have here? You’re Anna Daniels, aren’t ya? If I may be so inclined to introduce myself, Mortimer Kuhj….”Anderson”.
Mortimer Kjedelig extends his hand and gazes at the Muse’s face, expectantly. The Muse looks down at the hand and then Mortimer’s mask. Mortimer withdraws his hand.
Mortimer Kjedelig: Yeah, sooooo, I’m new to PRIME and I’ve been attemptin’ to get accumulated to these surroundin’s and upon such accumulations, I heard some things about you.
The masked inexperienced wrestler continues to lock eyes with Anna Daniels, her silence makes him more and more nervous and uncomfortable.
Mortimer Kjedelig: Nothin’ bad. Not like you’re a whore or nothin’ but, uh, rumor has it you travel through time. Some might consider that oobatz, others, more evolved individuals, such as yours personally, are less, shall we say, skeptical. So I was wonderin’, how’s that work? You got a DeLorean somewheres or is it more like a “Quantum Leap” type of a thing?
A thought occurs to Mortimer Kjedelig and he begins poking the air around him and he leans a little closer to Anna Daniels.
Mortimer Kjedelig: Hey, is there a holographic guy from the future that only you can see around here?
Mortimer Kjedelig continues to poke the air with his index finger. Anna looks at the exact spot. Someone in her head is not missing a beat. The vessel smiles and begins to speak at the empty space with a playful sort of tone.
Anna Daniels: Yeah. You’re absolutely right, Al. He does seem like somebody we’ve bumped into before. The obviously fake name, the joining a pro wrestling company with a whole television show despite clearly hiding from something…and that accent! Which place you from? Jersey or New York?
The questioning is probably more than enough to make ol’ Morty-kins even more unnerved. That last one may piss him off a bit. But in the Multitudes’ defence, they were simply going to get a quick nosh before tearing a head or twelve off on the company’s dime and before they knew it, this guy started talking at a million miles a minute while they were distracted by the random heap of food he was planning on eating that would no doubt give him heartburn. Mortimer clearly goes to say something but is interrupted by a clear shushing. Anna walks around him, pretending to look him over. She stops in front of him again.
Anna Daniels:…naaaah. You ain’t the same guy. Just a similar guy. Strange. Wonder what happened to him?
A blank stare for a moment. Then the Time Lord could only shrug.
Anna Daniels: Oh, well.
And then just as quickly, her demeanor switches. The vessel’s back straightens, hands placed behind her back. The next voice is different, serious and official.
Anna Daniels: To answer your question, sir. There are several different ways to travel through time. Most of them are confined to different intergalactic cultures and need proper training and/or multiple surgeries in order to perform. In our case, a little bit of both. We do indeed have a TARDI–
They pause, Mortimer has a confused look on his face as a small confab between the Multitudes takes place.
Anna Daniels: Wait. Why do you want to know?
Mortimer Kjedelig: Yeah, so, uh, let us assume, hypothetically speaking, that one would ask a favor from or, in lieu of favortism, hire someone with such capabilities as time travel to….alterate a specific moment….a moment that which led a certain individual to make a poor choice….a choice that, once changed, could set said individual on a different path What would it take to make such alterations occur? Hypothetically.
The “you’re very suspicious” look on the Muse’s face turns into a look that can only be described as a “god fucking damnit” face. You know the one. And with that face, the voice shifts again to the same smoke-charred tones that met Brandon Youngblood not that long ago.
Anna Daniels: Sorry, kid. No can do. As a general rule, we do not alter the past of individuals. If we do it for you, we’ll have to do it for everybody else on this stinkin’ mudball and that’s a hassle and a half. At that point, there wouldn’t be much of a point of keeping this ‘verse around. Would be better off blowing it up. Starting from scratch with another. Then you wouldn’t be you. None of you would.
It’s then that they remember what they were here for. Anna grabs a chicken wing.
Anna Daniels: Nothing personal, you understand.
Mortimer Kjedelig’s lip twitches slightly, almost scowling at Anna as he leans in.
Mortimer Kjedelig: Just business, right?
Mortimer, nodding his head, as he backs away, looks at Anna with such revulsion and disdain, who in turn, looks at him with the slight tilt of her head.
Mortimer Kjedelig: I come to you for a favor and you disrespect me like that? This, you and me? This ain’t over. Remember this moment because whatever happens from here on out, it’s on you.
Mortimer Kjedelig turns and proceeds to leave, as he walks away he yells the most crushing insult that pops into his head…..
Mortimer Kjedelig: Nice fuckin’ cape!
And the playful one yells back.
Anna Daniels: Thanks, pal!
A bit more munching on the chicken wing before looking at the camera that always seems to follow people around.
Anna Daniels: Oh yeah. He’ll be a problem. Cross that bridge when we get to it, eh?
She licks her fingers as we go to something else entirely.
TAG TEAM SURVIVOR
It’s time for this week’s edition of Tag Team Survivor and the challenge for our tag specialists is eating gross food prepared by a plethora of guest chefs. All of the remaining Survivor contestants are gathered behind a long table with plates, silverware, and drinking glasses, ready for whatever the PRIME and MGM Brass may have in store for them.
CHEF NUMBER ONE
Metal pots and pans clatter as the camera zooms in on a white dress shirt and a thin black tie, half undone and hanging lazily around the neck of a relatively nondescript man. As we zoom out, we see more of him. He looks in his early forties with short black hair parted to the side and no facial hair to speak. He hums to himself with shirt sleeves rolled up around his forearms. His shirt isn’t particularly fancy. He wears no trendy styles of fabric of today. Just a simple cotton shirt, on what seems to be a relatively simple, common man. He works diligently in the kitchen and, more specifically, over a stove with a large stew pot of boiling water. The man speaks with a smooth, almost purposefully neutral accent. It’s just hard to tell quite where he is from.
Man: You have to make sure the stew is boiling just right so that all the meat flavors the broth.
He leans forward and inhales deeply and closes his eyes.
Man: Ahh. Yes. Just about right.
The man smiles quietly to himself and turns the burner off on the stove.
Man: Best I let the contestants know we are ready, eh?
His smile turns to a crooked grin as he unrolls his sleeves and buttons them around his wrists and then tightens his thin tie.Then, he reaches off to the side and grabs two items:
A brown officer’s cap.
A brown trench coat.
He slides his arms into the coat and places the hat upon his head, still grinning. Then, without taking the pot, the man turns on his heel and walks towards the exit of the kitchen and into the restaurant area. He strides through the swinging double doors and stands before the contestants, addressing them.
Man: My friend and I have made a delicious dish for you today. However, it is best that I allow said closest, and dearest friend, to present the dish.
His excitement was palpable in his eyes. Whatever this man was about to do, he’s been waiting a long time to do it. He puffs up his chest, straightens his back, and motions his hand to the double doors. But he doesn’t speak. He waits. He shifts his jaw in his mouth and swallows, as if he’s trying his best to maintain his composure as he’s suddenly overwhelmed with emotion. Finally, he clears his throat and speaks firmly.
Man: He is indestructible! He is invincible!! He is indefatigable!!! He is…
The sound of the door opens, and the camera cuts to the floor near the door where we see:
Black, leather, military grade boots.
Black pants with a red stripe running vertically down the outer legs.
Gold clasps which bit into the waist of said pants and had, threaded through them…
Black t-shirt with none other than a hammer and sickle over the left pectoral.
Before the camera even gets to the face of the enormous man, the man cackles and speaks once more. His neutral accent is gone, and replaced by an accent that is beyond obvious: Russian.
Man: ….Ivan Sergeiovich Stanislav!
Indeed, Ivan Stanislav, of PCW and OSW fame, stands in the doorway in his all too typical attire from yesteryear. The years have been good to The Russian Bear. Truthfully, he doesn’t look as if he’s aged much since the last time he menaced a wrestling ring. The towering Russian, at over seven feet tall, clenches his ham sized left hand into a fist, while the right (complete with yellow hammer and sickle potholder!) holds onto the enormous stewpot with ease.
If this is Ivan Stanislav, then the smaller man had to be none other than Alexei Ruslan, his partner in collective crime. But it’s the ground shuddering laugh that comes next.
Ivan Stanislav: DYAAHAAHAA!!
With thunderous footsteps, the enormous Russian slams the pot down on the table and the contents spatter up into the air. Alexei is nearly hopping from foot to foot as he brings his hands behind his back and listens on. Stanislav speaks with barely concealed disdain.
Ivan Stanislav: You can all rest assured that we have not come here to annihilate each and every member of PRIME.
Alexei adds next to his comrade.
Alexei Ruslan: As matter of fact, we had to sign waiver insuring that neither of us would humiliate or damage any of the “talent” here in PRIME.
Stanislav snorts grumpily.
Ivan Stanislav: In true commitment to collective, Alexei Gregorovich and I have made delicacy from Great Patriotic War. When fascist dogs surrounded great city of Leningrad for eight hundred seventy two days, the brave, stalwart soviet citizens fought back against the German dogs, and denied them entry into our city. Like true patriots, soviet people did anything and everything they could to survive. Which is example in stewpot.
Ruslan produces several large ladles and plops each of them in the pot.
Ivan Stanislav: The recipe has no name. It needs no name. It is water that we have specifically not filtered, so it truly tastes like unfiltered, boiled water from Leningrad. We have enough potatoes that would have been rationed out to each individual soviet citizen. Finally, if you look close enough, you may see particles floating in water. That is special ingredient to give stew body: sawdust.
Alexei Ruslan: Sawdust specially imported from Russia. You are receiving true sawdust from stalwart Russian trees!
Ruslan cackles and pulls out a white handkerchief from his back pocket and dabs his eyes. Stanislav continues to glower down at the assembled group.
Ivan Stanislav: We took mercy on all of you and added protein. You will find meat chunks in stew. Soviet citizens had to find protein wherever they could. To include eating dog. PRIME would not let us feed you dog, so we went to local shelters to acquire worst possible dog food.
While Ruslan is bursting at the seams, The Russian Bear is completely serious.
Ivan Stanislav: Soviet citizen did, indeed, resort to cannibalism, but this was rare. More often, they ate dead dogs and whatnot. We have taken pity on all of you. There are no people in our food. Besides, eating a capitalist could be hazardous to your health.
A grumble moves through The Russian Bear as he chortles to himself.
Alexei Ruslan: Also, you can all eat from same pot. Some people did not have advantage of multiple bowls. And besides, it is true collective means of eating… share and share alike!
Ivan puffs out his barrel chest while his stomach tightens. He’s not ripped like a bodybuilder, but thick like his ursine namesake. He grinds his teeth and considers himself, before speaking again.
Ivan Stanislav: Alexei Gregorovich mentioned the “talent” here in PRIME. I feel it necessary to say something on this. It is clear that standards of PRIME have not gotten any better. If not, they have gotten worse. I see, by and large, children and would-be athletes with but fraction of talent that Ivan and Alexei had back in day. And what Ivan and Alexei have right now! I would be inclined to thrash each and every one of you capitalistic fools…
Alexei interjects and mutters to Ivan.
Alexei Ruslan: But we signed the paper, Ivan Sergeiovich…
Stanislav nods and looks down at his smaller friend, who looks back up, and grins, before looking at those assembled.
Ivan Stanislav: That is right, little piglets. No need to cry or shake in boots. Ivan and Alexei will not harm you. We won’t harm… the… talent…
With that, Ivan explodes into his seismic laugh.
Ivan Stanislav: DYAAHAAHAA! Talent!! DYAAHAAHAAHAAHAA!! Eat up, “talent” of PRIME and prove your mettle. Who knows, maybe real food will put hair on chest? Nyet? DYAAHAAHAA!!
The two Russians laugh uproariously, side by side, while the camera zooms in on the contents of the pot: sawdust ridden liquid, poorly cut potatoes, dogmeat… all to the tune of uproarious Russian laughter.
All the contestants, with the exception of Solid Gold Rock n Roll, reluctantly eat what’s put in front of them. Barry Delgado and Trent Sadikaj immediately nope out of this.
CHEF NUMBER TWO
“Dangereux” by IAM blares. One would hope we would see the quietly charismatic Frenchman, FLAMBERGE, emerge in this moment – unfortunately, we’re left with the frumpy man in the too-colorful suit who manages his marketing endeavors, Daniel Darby. Mr. Darby, unaware of the disdainful nonchalance in the air at his arrival, has his arms up and a too-wide grin across his face.
Mr. Darby: Yes! Wonderful! This is marvelous!
He steps forward as an assistant steps forward with a silver cloche over a plate. The assembled competitors are noticeably talking to one another, wondering how one dish’s worth of food is supposed to be enough to challenge the full group. Daniel Darby acknowledges what he imagines to be “fans” of his. After a comically-loud throat-clearing, Darby steps forward, mic in hand.
Mr. Darby: Indeed, despite the fact that my charge, FLAMBERGE, declared himself open to partnerships with members of the PRIME roster for this event and no one had the self-worth to allow themselves to be overshadowed by the greatness he creates every day and take him UP on his benevolence, we are MORE THAN HAPPY to present some footprints in the journey of this…”Survivor”…challenge. Now…BEHOLD!
The cloche is lifted. We see a bag, though the text is unclear at first.
Mr. Darby: Brets and PRIME, what a true and earnest partnership. They’ve really come up with something special.
The cameraman has taken a few steps forward, and we can finally see the text on this sickly green bag – “Les Chips DANGEREUX”. Is that a helix shell outline we see, too?
Mr. Darby: This challenge will test your SOPHISTICATION and your HEAT-HOOD! I imagine that many of you have heard of the One Chip Challenge by an inferior chip company. What we are prepared to offer you today is “LE CHALLENGE DANGEREUX”, in partnership with Brets Chips!
Daniel Darby gives an obnoxious wink to the nearest camera.
Mr. Darby: One point three million on the Scoville scale, and wait, there’s more! Brets is a French company that values its culinary heritage – these are Escargot-flavored hot chips! Enjoy, mes amis!
Darby bows out to raucous nothing.
Bobby Dean had been distracting Doozer while Mr. Darby was talking, so they weren’t exactly sure what kinds of chips these were. The Old Bull apparently loves chips so when they were placed in front of everyone, he started scarfing them down….and immediately spat them back out, hacking and wheezing as he did. All the other contestants finished their chips, and the Bandits were the next ones out.
CHEF NUMBER THREE
The erstwhile Princes of New England, Connor O’Reilly and Simon Knox, stride into the room next. Connor wears an immaculate gray and black waistcoat suit, while Simon is dressed in an obnoxiously loud Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses. Behind them, several people follow him in with more plates of horrible food, presenting them to the participants as the pair continue to walk to the center of the room.
Simon casually hands Connor a microphone, and Connor taps the top of the microphone with his hand to get everyone’s attention.
Connor O’Reilly: Hey. I’m Connor, this is Simon.
Simon reaches over with his left hand, noticeable because he reaches across his whole body, and pulls Connor’s microphone towards his mouth.
Simon Knox: Behold, the Princes of New England.
He waits for some applause. There’s a little. Then he lets go of the microphone and lets Connor carry on.
Connor O’Reilly: Gentlemen. Before I poison you all with this simple dish of mine, let me tell you a little something about it. See, my ma, she wasn’t what you would call a good cook. Every Thursday, she’d serve my sister and me a meal so terrible that we both tried to find any excuse to not have to eat it. Heck Thursdays, man. Heck ‘em to death.
Connor cringes, perhaps wishing he could use much more colorful four-lettered words than the ones he’s resorting to.
Connor O’Reilly: Would anyone like to know what the main ingredient of what a Thursday at the O’Reilly household was? Anyone?
Crickets. The sound of silence was deafening.
Connor O’Reilly: Oysters.
Simon Knox: Damn. Every Thursday, huh?
Connor O’Reilly: Every damn Thursday.
Simon Knox: Can’t tell if your mom was a sadist or not.
The Princes share a shudder.
Connor O’Reilly: Anyway, I decided that since we were asked to take part in this, we’d inflict a little bit of my ma’s special brand of sadism on the lot of you. Just with a little… Connor O’Reilly touch.
The dishes are served, and everyone is presented with two oysters each. Each of them has two flags planted on them – one with the Patriots logo and the other with the Red Sox logo. Also, the inside of one of the oysters is covered in fudge. The other, in mayonnaise.
Simon Knox: Enjoy.
Pat Cassidy’s real giddy about a dish prepared by two fellow New Englanders, and he takes this one for the Saturday Night Specials in a show of regional solidarity. The Nates take one look at the dish and decide this is enough for them, and they’re out. Everyone else puts the oysters down the hatch.
CHEF NUMBER FOUR
Our current presenters step forward, smiling. Fans who watched PRIME a long time ago and have impeccable memory may remember the two men as Ian Nackedy and Gildenstern, former PRIME Tag Team Champions as Sound and Fury. Both Ian and Gildenstern are wearing ten gallon chef hats. There is a large dish with a steel cover on top in front of them.
Ian Nackedy: Tell me you like our hats.
No one does.
Ian Nackedy: While we wrestled in PRIME, we were known for many things. Our grace. Our fortitude. Our resilience in the face of adversity. The fact that we dressed up as different gimmicks every week.
Gildenstern: I had a finisher called the Basketweaver where I pulled on the opponent’s ears a bunch.
Ian Nackedy: It is that last one – the last thing I said, not whatever weird thing Gilly said – that we use as motivation for this dish, undoubtedly the most delicious thing you will taste. Sound and Fury were a combination of a dozen wonderful things, creating an amuse-bouche of excellence. Thus, our dish combines all of our favorite food in life.
Gildenstern: For this dish, feast your eyes on…
He removes the cover with a flourish.
Ian/Gildenstern: THE EVERYTHING!
The contestants stare at the plate, which appears to be a bunch of food piled on top of each other.
Ian Nackedy: Inspired by Rochester New York culinary styles, The Everything takes a concept that made our tag team famous: what if we just had everything?
Gildenstern: The base is a cookie cake with fried eggs on top. From there, we took inspiration from the classic literature of Eric Carle.
Ian Nackedy: You may remember a lurid tale about a certain hungry caterpillar that tried eating fruit before realizing it was yucky and having a hell of a Saturday. Well, every bit of food from that book is here on top of the cookie dough: one piece of chocolate cake, one ice cream cone, one pickle, one slice of swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of pie, one sausage, one cupcake, and one slice of watermelon.
Gildenstern: Then we topped the entire thing with Chocolate Gravy from an Arkansas diner and sprinkled black beans and mini Starbursts on top as well as shredded pepper jack cheese. Someone once said you can’t have it all. Well, if you look at this dish, you will clearly find that they were wrong.
Sid Phillips is looking mighty green already from what he’s ingested so far, and he and Joe Fontaine can’t continue. As they’re making their way off camera, Brock Newbludd accidentally bumps into EHDSCG, who goes flying through the air and Canadian Destroyers Sid Phillips.
CHEF NUMBER FIVE
El Tembler, the legendary 60 year old luchadore, steps forward clad in his classic black mask replete with white borders around the eyes and all 5’8” of him reaches out to grasp the lid of a serving platter. He makes direct eye contact with King Blueberry.
El Tembler: rey arándano, El Tembler remembers your treachery. Hoy pagas tu deuda.
He pulls back the lid revealing a Mexican delicacy, Cuitlacoche, aka Corn Fungus.
King Blueberry has retrieved EHDSCG and shoves the food down the Mannequin’s mouth. Somehow. But after the dish from the Sound and the Fury, neither Pat Cassidy nor Brock Newbludd have the stomach for anything that looks, sounds, or has “fungus” in the name. They can’t continue.
CHEF NUMBER SIX
The next presenter is someone that hasn’t been seen on television in close to twenty years, and even then was never very notable, so no one will blame you if you don’t know who he is.
And if you do know who this is, rest assured you will be judged for it. Harshly.
Dr. Zeke D. Badguy, Esq looks like a lanky child who raided his grandfather’s closet to compile his outfit. The plaid pants and frilly shirt he wears are complemented by a tweed jacket and bowling shoes. Completing this disaster of an ensemble are a neon ski mask and a pair of old lady Blublockers whose size makes them better suited as a welding mask. The “Goodwill supervillain” vibes are strong with this one.
He is flanked, as always, by the hulking forms of the tag team he once managed: two large dudes in black pants, with matching sweatshirts and masks that make them look like juiced-up raccoons. They are Barry and Rocko, the good doctor’s personal evil henchmen, The Evil Henchmen.
Dr. Badguy: Alright, let’s get the poisoning over with. I have been informed that the National Wrestling Council is dead, which is a shame because that means I have not conquered it, and unfortunately none of you are Leonard Aarons or Lance Marshall, so we won’t be checking that one off the bucket list. Now, which one of you is the moron with the lawn gnome?
King Blueberry very obviously points at Jonathan Rhine.
Dr. Badguy: Thought you could hide from me, did you, Jerry? Well I hope you and your lawn elf are hungry… FOR POISON! I hope you put the toilet paper in the freezer last night before bed, Jerry. Because we’re going to boil your bottoms… WITH POISON!
He taps his cane twice on the floor and both of his henchmen approach carrying large trays.
Dr. Badguy: Barry, Rocko, now it is time to remove the Cloche of Catastrophe from the Trays of Terror and rend their meaty innards asunder!
The two large men each remove the cloche from their corresponding trays to reveal a collection of steaming bowls full of deep green liquid.
Dr. Badguy: Here we have a porridge of boiled cilantro in cilantro broth, that has been blended with fresh cilantro, fried cilantro, with a cilantro reduction drizzle. Each bowl is topped with an entire diced raw onion, one Carolina Reaper pepper, and a splash of malic acid for some zing! We have also taken the liquid from reconstituted lutefisk and cooked it down into a gastrique. And for a few of you, we have a special treat…
Paxton Ray dunks his spoon into the bowl, and is met with resistance. Angry, clawed resistance.
Dr. Badguy: SURPRISE CRABS!
Crawling out from a few of the bowls are very angry, very live crabs. Hell, you’d be angry too if you’d spent the last few minutes dunked in a bowl of spicy green torture.
Paxton looks about ready to do a murder on Dr. Zeke but Jonathan Rhine convinces him that not only is it not worth it, but they’ve already advanced in the competition. Paxton, reluctantly, listens to reason and the two start leaving the set.
On Rhine’s and Ray’s way out, Paxton has some words with King Blueberry and things get heated. Paxton slams his fist on a bench that sends the Mannequin flipping end over end, with all the contents so far spraying across the room, and it gives a Canadian Destroyer to Joe Fontaine, who had been swishing water around in his mouth to get rid of gnarly food aftertaste.
CHEF NUMBER SEVEN
OH GREAT, IT’S THIS ASSHOLE….
Your chef: Cancer Jiles
Your meal: Over Easy eggs. Extra salt.
When asked about why he chose this dish for the contestants:
“You can judge the character of a person by the way they eat eggs. When eating a Bandit Special, over easy salty yolk, you either stomach it or you don’t. Those who can, will. Those who can’t, won’t. It’s very simple.”
When asked if his dish was catered to any one team:
“I picked this dish at random. I would never threaten the integrity of sport. In fact, I just found out the other day that Bobby and Dooze were doing Survivor. I would have changed my idea but I had already purchased the eggs.”
When asked if he knew who any of the other teams were:
When asked if he had a team he was pulling for:
“There’s a bunch out there. Really. I like a lot of their chances. They’ve all come so far, and now, with how the rules have changed… I just don’t know. I really want that one team to win. They seem to really embody the over vigor of the game. Then again… I could see anyone winning it all. Well, anyone except for the eGG Bandits.”
When asked where the salt comes from for his dish:
“Not that shaker.”
When asked if there would be more than one egg:
“There will be one egg. Fried to Perfection. It will be four inches around, yolk in the middle. There will be salt covering the egg white portion. The rule of competition is simple. Swallow it. Nothing more, nothing less. If you have high blood pressure, oh well. Take a pill or something.”
When asked if there was a tie breaker incase teams tie:
“I’ll kick someone in the face. Or they can snort the shell.”
EHDSCG is retrieved once more and now it’s Blue Live Crew versus Garbage Bag Johnny and Nova. Nova and EHDSCG eat their extra salty eggs but the pound and a half of salt on Blueberry’s egg is too much for him. GBJ scarfs it down no problem.
WINNERS: GARBAGE BAG JOHNNY AND NOVA
ELIMINATED FROM SURVIVOR: SOLID GOLD ROCK N ROLL AND THE eGG BANDITS
Could’ve Been Us
Coming back from commercial, we find ourselves backstage with Matt Mills and the team of Kenny Freeman and Randall Schwartz standing by!
Matt Mills: Hello folks, Matt Mills here with the—lemme make sure I have this right—Masters of the Multiverse!
Kenny interjects with a correction.
Kenny Freeman: B-Team.
Matt Mills: Right, the Masters of the Multiverse…B-Team. Man, that’s a mouthful.
Randall just smirks at this, much to the chagrin of Kenny.
Randall Schwartz: That’s what sh—
Randall is quickly interrupted by a slap to the head by Freeman.
Matt Mills: Well fellas, tonight was your first official match here in PRIME after your elimination from the Survivor Tag Team Challenge.
Randall speaks up again, thankfully with an actual point this time.
Randall Schwartz: And you know something Matt, I’ll say it…things could’ve gone better there. We’ll be watching the rest of the challenge closely, watching whoever becomes the Tag Team Champions…and we can’t help but feel like that could’ve been us.
Kenny nods in agreement before speaking up.
Kenny Freeman: That said, we WILL be looking to hang with the best of the tag division here in PRIME, just you wait and see!
Matt nods in acknowledgment of this statement, but raises one more question to the duo.
Matt Mills: That sounds great, but what are you two planning to do in the meantime?
The pair look at each other with a smirk on their faces, before Kenny speaks up once more.
Kenny Freeman: It’s simple. We continue to take up time on the ol’ TV program, try our best to actually win some matches and climb the ranks, and by golly keep our pal Aeon Khronos away from Anna Daniels.
Randall starts to interject, but is quickly cut off by Kenny.
Kenny Freeman: And Randall from Ria. I’ve already warned him I’d take his phone away if he keeps up his behavior on Jabber. Anyway, happy to be here and we’ll see you around!
With that, Kenny waves to the camera mouthing “hi Mom” before the duo take their leave, as we cut away to see what is happening elsewhere!
“Just hang on, he’ll be here inna minute.”
As the scene opens, we’re greeted with a big pair of arms crossed over the broad chest of PRIME Co-Head of Security, Dametreyus, holding a small, calm smile behind his gray stubble. Across from him sit two members of the PRIME roster: “Riot” Sid Phillips, clutching his abdomen and looking extremely uncomfortable, and “The Goat Bastard,” Rezin, looking extremely pissed off. It probably has something to do with the fact that from head to toe he’s completely drenched.
Sid Phillips: Oooogh… shouldn’t have eaten… anything. Ever.
Rezin: (noticing how dry Sid appears) …WHAT THE HELL, dude?! Was I the ONLY guy that got sprayed down with a fire hose before I was let into the building!?
The former linebacker snorts at the Goat Bastard’s outburst, but the door creaking behind him grabs his attention. Dam shifts to the side, allowing entry to his partner in all things security related, “The Bad Dog” Wade Elliott. The ‘Bama Bruiser steps inside, eyebrows furled with frustration as he stares down into a cell phone, muttering with his gravely voice.
Wade Elliott: God damnit, Dam, d’you know how t’use these things? Lindsay’s tryin’ t’get me on some shit called…Hinge? Said somethin’ about lookin’ out fer catfish…
Dametreyus: (interrupting) I’ll ‘xplain later, boss. Brought these two in like we talked about.
The Southern Sparkplug looks up at glowering Rezin, then over to the hunched over Phillips.
Wade Elliott: ‘S’matter with him?
Dam shrugs, and Wade digs into his back pocket, retrieving and opening a silver flask, extending it toward the big man known as “Riot.”
Wade Elliott: Need a swig?
Sid pulls a fist to his mouth, holding back the impending volcano in his guts as the waft of bourbon hits his nose.
Wade Elliott: Huh. Well, suit yerself.
Rezin reaches out for the flask, only for Wade to take his own swig before putting it away.
Rezin: …damb tyrant.
The Bad Dog pinches the bridge of his nose, centering his redneck chi.
Wade Elliott: Alright, let’s git into then. Time we had a chat, boys.
Wade pulls up a chair of his own, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees. Dam’s big 6’6” frame stands behind, leaning against the door.
Wade Elliott: The HELL’s’a’matter with you two? In what world do the two’ve ya think it’s a good idea t’go after OUR security team?
Wade throws a thumb back at his giant co-head of security.
Wade Elliott: Y’all seen the size’ve that man? He punched me square in the god-damn nose once, I still cain’t smell paprika!
Dametreyus: (fighting back a chuckle) Sorry ‘bout that, boss.
The ‘Bama Bruiser ignores his large counterpart, turning instead to the still-struggling Sid Phillips.
Wade Elliott: You. What’s yer issue with Enemigo 5? What possesses a man to powerbomb another man into a boulder in order t’make it roll faster? The physics don’t make any god-damn sense!
Sid Phillips: (choking back the vomit) I thought…maybe…ooooogh. Thought it was Blueberry…
Wade Elliott: (turning to Rezin) An’ you! Fer a fella that smells like you an’ has that many holes in his britches, you sure like runnin’ up the tab on breakin’ expensive shit.
Rezin: Pfft… capital is an imaginary construct anyway, ya normie! And I’ll have you know it’s my VOID-GIVEN RIGHT to break WHATEVER the hell I please, WHENEVER I want!
Wade Elliott: (snorting) That so? You come an’ tell me that after Balaam breaks whatever the hell HE pleases.
The Goat Bastard turns green in the gills as soon as he’s reminded of his appointment with the Mask of Malice later in the evening. Elliott stands, adjusting his belt and exhaling.
Wade Elliott: Listen, boys. The Enemigos do a good enough’ve a job keepin’ things from goin’ completely off the damn rails without some big sonnuva bitch tryin’ to powerbomb em’ every week, or some homeless guy throwin’ a shit-fit and takin’ it out on them. Our hair’s gettin’ too gray to wanna have to give you boys an ass-whippin’ ourselves, so let’s keep it simple…
He hunches over, first turning to Sid.
Wade Elliott: Leave Enemigo 5 the hell alone…
Wade pivots over to The Escape Artist.
Wade Elliott: An’ stop breakin’ all our shit!
Rezin begrudgingly rolls his eyes. Sid might have, too, but doesn’t out of fear that it might make him hurl right then and there.
Rezin: Ya know, Wade… I’m a natural born saboteur. And if there’s one thing that straight up harshes my vibe, it’s boot-lickin’ oppressors like YOU trynna tell ME what I can or can’t do! Under normal circumstances, I’d just turn around and break even MORE shit!
Rezin holds up his hand to indicate he isn’t finished before Wade can put his head through the wall.
Rezin: BUT(T)… while I would more than love to do this back and forth with you until there’s nothin’ left around us but a smoldering ruin, I currently got a few other irons in the fire that require my attention. PUNK ROCK shit, know’m’sayin’?
A smirk forms on the Goat Bastard’s face. Still dripping, he leans in closer to the co-head of PRIME security.
Rezin: So you can rest easy knowin’ I won’t… break any more of your precious equipment. But NOT because you told me to. I just don’t want any more of my time wasted!
The Bad Dog chuckles, shooting a knowing glance back at Dam.
Wade Elliott: Well son, we sure wouldn’t wanna waste your time, and I cain’t say I know much about “punk rock shit.” But when it comes to “boot-lickin…’”
Wade lifts up and stomps a size 14 steel-toe work boot onto Rezin’s seat, precariously between The Goat Bastard’s legs.
Wade Elliott: …I’m the sonnuva bitch who wears em’.
The Escape Artist looks down to Wade’s boot, then turns his glance upward with a scowl.
Rezin: We done here? Cause I’d really like to dry myself off…
Wade removes his foot with a growl, allowing Rezin to stand and dust himself off. Before he turns to leave, he not-so-subtly drops a joint into Sid’s hand.
Rezin: Here, dude… two tokes off that, and you’ll feel better in no time!
The joint, which came from his pant pocket, is also drenched.
Rezin: …might wanna let that air out for a few.
Sid Phillips: Ugh… it reminds me of the oysters, somehow. Thanks, anyway. I guess.
Rezin turns and takes two steps… before inexplicably slipping in the puddle of water that has been forming around his feet, stumbling several paces, and nearly taking out a tall rack of more expensive production equipment!
Frantically, he grabs the precariously leaning rack by the metal frame and saves it from completely crashing to the floor. He’s frozen in place for a beat before his wide, fearful eyes find Elliot and Dametreyus glaring back at him.
With the flip of a switch, the tough guy demeanor returns, along with the shit-eating grin on his face, and he slowly begins backing away from the scene as if nothing had happened..
Rezin: Heh heh… and let THAT be a lesson to ya!
He suddenly slips again, this time falling straight onto the concrete floor.
Everyone watches as Rezin hits the floor, and there is a long pause.
Dametreyus: Damn, I don’t think that felt too good.
And then Sid can’t control the floodgates any more, and frantically leaves his chair to throw up whatever horrible dreck he’d eaten during Survivor into the nearest waste bin.
Wade Elliott: (putting a hand to his head) Oh fer fuck’s sake…
Elliott looks back and forth between the fallen Rezin and the hurling Phillips. He sighs, then finds a bucket and mop in the corner, rolling it next to Sid and giving him a couple pats on the back.
Wade Elliott: Go ahead an’ clean up Rezin after you clean up yer dinner.
Dam opens the door, the co-heads of security leaving the two roster members behind and exiting down the hall side by side.
Wade Elliott: Kids these days, pukin’ durin’ shows…
Dametreyus: Didn’t you spew durin’ a match against Joshua Kosidlo, boss?
Wade Elliott: That’s besides th’point, Dam.
The scene switches to outside the MGM Grand Garden Arena and across the street where Jonathan-Christopher Hall stands at the edge of the road, holding large homemade signs in his hand and Darin Zion sits beside an inflatable hot tub. Meanwhile, Vickie is inside the hot tub.
…And that’s everyone who’s there.
Vickie sulks in the tub, shaking her head with anger, although she’s trying her best to hold in.
Vickie Hall: They all went inside… I don’t believe it…
Pretty Pink continues to battle her disbelief while Jonathan-Christopher stands there, like a trooper, holding the signs, ready to distribute them at a moment’s notice to anyone who’s within distance.
Except Vickie is right, all the fans went into the arena. Sure, there’s the odd person that passes by but Vickie wanted her Forever Man to focus on the wrestling fans today.
Vickie Hall: How many signs were you able to hand out, Jonathan-Christopher?
The Vow of Virtue looks down at his hands. He starts counting the signs. The first one is visible to the broadcast feed, it reads “BRING LOVE 2 PRIME”. Vickie taps her hand against the side of the hot tub, as if she’s impatiently waiting and needs the count to go faster.
Jonathan-Christopher has finished counting… but his face goes red. He doesn’t want to share the information with his Amazing Life Partner.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: Uhhhh, a few.
Vickie isn’t buying it.
Vickie Hall: Now Jonathan-Christopher, our relationship is built on honesty. I expect you to tell me the truth, baby. How many signs have you distributed?
Vickie’s eyes are closed, her head rests on one of the pads. She’s slightly less angry now, merely wanting to know how far their reach went before tonight’s ReVival show.
The Timid Tiger is extremely timid. He mumbles the amount of signs he’s handed out but no one can hear him. It’s only a mumble.
Vickie sighs. Loudly.
Vickie Hall: Darin Zion, can you please ask your best friend how many signs he’s given to fans tonight?
Zion’s disinterested. He remains sitting on the ground, phone in hand and watching random YouTube videos.
Vickie Hall: Ummm, Darin? Are you there?
REAL LOVE snaps into reality. He looks over and kicks Jonathan-Christopher on the back of his right leg. Finally, JC Hall speaks loud enough for all to hear.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: None.
A long, silent pause.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: None, I am so, so sorry.
Another silence falls over them. Zion goes back to his phone, not giving a fuck while Vickie’s facial expression hasn’t changed at all. She’s not even shaking with anger anymore.
Vickie Hall: Be that as it may…
The Woman of Wonder begins as Jonathan-Christopher trembles with an anxiety attack.
Vickie Hall: You boys go to the arena now. You have a match soon.
Vickie takes a deep, calming zen breath in and then out.
Vickie Hall: And when you boys return, with your victory I might add, we can discuss the next steps in this LOVE CONVOY.
Relief crosses Jonathan-Christopher’s face.
Vickie Hall: Now scoot, baby. Zion, you follow. Go in there and pick up the win. I need more relaxation in this hot tub.
The Forever Man nods. He places the signs against the hot tub and walks towards the arena. An indifferent Darin Zion stands, dusts himself off and follows, while continuing to look at his phone as the scene ends.
CECILIA RYAN vs. ANNA DANIELS
Nick Stuart: Fans are ready for this match tonight, that’s for certain. Our next match of the evening will be Cecilia Ryan squaring off against Anna Daniels.
Richard Parker: I’m not sure who I’m more worried for tonight. Cecilia Ryan, having to square off against a real-life Time Lord, or Anna Daniels, having to square off against a real-life ‘punch-you-in-the-face-until-you-can’t-breathe’ Lord.
Nick Stuart: I don’t think Anna Daniels is an actual Time-Lord, Richard.
Richard Parker: Do you know that for a fact?
Nick Stuart: What? No!
Richard Parker: Exactly, so you can’t prove that she is or isn’t. I choose to believe she is.
Nick Stuart: Well, regardless, this match is going to be a highlight on this show and will be on that fans are talking about for months to come.
Richard Parker: The talent between these two men are off the charts and will be a sight to behold.
Nick Stuart: Man, Cecilia Ryan scares you that much?
Richard Parker: You have no idea. Just don’t let her near me.
Nick Stuart: Alright, let’s send it back to Vince Howard so we can get this match started.
Vince Howard: Introducing first, standing at six feet tall and hailing from Tampa, Florida… CECILIA! RYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!
“Legacy” by Daphne Willis plays over the speakers, and Cecilia Ryan steps out onto the stage, her eyes fixed on the ring. She doesn’t pay any attention to the fans as she walks down the ramp to ringside. She rolls into the ring under the bottom rope, then climbs a turnbuckle and looks out into the crowd, arms down and a slight smirk on her face.
Nick Stuart: This will be Ryan’s first match since competing for the Five-Star Championship at Culture Shock where she came up short in the multi-person match to be crowned the new Five- Star Champion.
Richard Parker: That honor currently belongs to Hayes Hanlon, though there’s no telling if that will be the case at the end of the night.
Nick Stuart: Hanlon will certainly have his work cut out for him, but Ryan should feel go at how far she’s come in such a short time here in PRIME.
Richard Parker: I see her competing for the Universal Title before too long. Maybe even at Great American Nightmare!
Vince Howard: And her opponent, standing at five feet and seven inches tall, and hails from… Gallifrey… she is THE TIME LORD! ANNA! DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANIELS!
The entire area fades to black, causing the PRIMEates in attendance to steadily come to a hush. After a moment, the beginning guitar notes of Solid Space’s “A Darkness In My Soul” begin. Nothing comes on the PRIME*view to note exactly who is coming out. Suddenly, a spotlight pierces through the dark pointed to the top on the entrance ramp. Anna Daniels stands there, her profile positioned towards the light. She lets it wash over her while letting the fans get a good look at the merchandise. Finally, she glances at the ring with a small smirk on her face.
As The Muse takes her time heading to the ring, she wistfully observes the goings on around her as if getting into a certain type of groove that only she can hear. Her strolling sways almost like she’s dancing from time to time. Her robe and headpiece–once more regal and dazzling artifacts from her home planet–are in various stages of disrepair and utter damage. Anna slaps a hand or two, nods a little to those in attendance. Once ringside, she motions for somebody to take the robe and headpiece which when taken nearly make the poor sap fall over.
She makes her way to the stairs and slinks along the apron, wiping her feet before entering the ring. Immediately after, she nearly chases off the ref in a suddenly blur of action before smiling yet again. Casually, she strolls to a corner with her head bopping before perching herself onto the top rope laid out like a French girl people like to paint.
After a few moments, Anna hops off the rope and prepares for battle. Cecilia is already ready. The two competitors eye once another, Daniels giving up nearly half-a-foot to her opponent. Yet, the two look rather calm in the moments before the match begins as Ashley Barlow, the referee for this evening’s match, gives her final set of instructions to both competitors before signaling to the timekeeper to begin the match.
Coming out of their corners, Daniels and Ryan make their way to the middle of the ring with Ryan jawing off at her foe. Daniels shakes her head and Ryan fires off a solid forearm to the face of The Time Lord and Daniels follows up with a stiff knee to the midsection. Anna drives the point of her elbow into the spine of Ryan and then connects with a stiff knee to the face that sends Cecilia to the ground. Ryan quickly rolls back to her knees, grabbing her face in the process, and makes her way back up to her feet, motioning for Daniels to come for her. Anna obliges and Ryan manages a standing switch before pushing Daniels on her lower back into the nearby corner. Daniels collides with the corner and stumbles backwards into a stiff forearm to the back of the head from Ryan. Ryan then spins Daniels around and catches her with a leaping knee to the jaw. Anna stumbles backwards and Cecilia takes the opening to connect with a spinning heel kick that sends Daniels crashing to the mat.
Nick Stuart: Stiff action from these two to open the match up.
Richard Parker: No one is going to mistake either of these two for being soft or more for show. Far from it. They’re going to knock your block off every chance they get and they’re showing it already.
Nick Stuart: Both have made their mark on PRIME in the last few months and are now looking to carve their spot out more definitively. It would not surprise me to see either of these two women to be squaring off against the winner of Hanlon and Redding for the Five-Star Championship at Great American Nightmare.
Richard Parker: That is for sure. Probably Ryan more so than Daniels.
Nick Stuart: She is not going to hurt you, for the last time!
Richard Parker: Look, she might not be able to hear me, but her father sure can!
Ryan begins to pull Daniels back up to her feet and whips Anna into the ropes before connecting with a dropkick to the knee. Anna drops down to one knee while Ryan bounces off the rope and goes for a boot across her jaw, but Daniels spins away from it, wraps her arms around the waist of her opponent and lifts her up and slams her to the ground with a German Suplex. Ryan clutches the back of her skull as Daniels makes her way back up to her feet and snaps her boot across the bridge of Ryan’s nose. Cecilia rolls onto her knees, in pain, while Daniels bounces off the ropes, springboards off the opposite set, and slams both knees into the lower back of her opponent.
Richard Parker: That was some innovative offense there from the Time Lord. I guess that’s appropriate if you’re called The Time Lord to be innovative.
Nick Stuart: It surely is and that’s what we’ve come to expect out of Anna Daniels. She is unconventional to say the least and it’s what helped her make it as far as she did in the Almasy Tournament.
Richard Parker: She is peculiar though, wouldn’t you say?
Nick Stuart: You mean, her being from a planet that doesn’t exist? Yeah, I would say that’s pretty peculiar.
Richard Parker: I wonder if her face will ever change.
Nick Stuart: No, we’re not doing that.
Daniels begins to grab Ryan by the back of the head and pulls her up only for Cecilia to connect with a stiff elbow to the midsection. Ryan follows this up with a stiff kick to the right knee that sends Daniels down to one knee. Cecilia then bounces off the ropes and connects with a boot to the side of the face. She mounts Daniels and begins pelting her with fist after fist until Ashley Barlow counts to four and forces Ryan to break the mount. Cecilia stands up, glaring at Ashley, before she bounces off the ropes and drops both knees across the midsection of her opponent. Ryan rolls through it, bounces back up to her feet, and then springboards off the middle rope into a moonsault, hooking the leg in the process.
Nick Stuart: And Ryan almost managed to get the quick victory there!
Richard Parker: Ryan is not someone to be messed with. Outside of her father, Dan Ryan, if I’m alone in a dark alley, I want her backing me up.
Nick Stuart: When are you ever in a dark alley?
Richard Parker: We don’t talk about those times, Nick. We don’t talk about those times.
Nick Stuart: Because…. they didn’t happen.
Ryan peels Daniels off of the mat and pushes her into the ropes before connecting with a knee to the midsection. Daniels doubles over from the shot while Cecilia bounces off the ropes and goes for a clothesline, but Daniels stops her, grabbing onto her, and then drops her throat first against the top rope. She then bounces off the ropes as Ryan stumbles around, grabbing at her throat, before Anna connects with a Shining Wizard! Cecilia collapses to the ground as Daniels goes for her own cover.
Richard Parker: Back and forth between these two standouts thus far.
Nick Stuart: No kidding, these two are putting it out there what they’re all about and the fans in attendance are eating it up.
Richard Parker: You can’t blame them either, these two are not holding back in the least bit.
Nick Stuart: Whichever one makes the first mistake will probably be the one who walks out of here with the victory in all honesty.
Daniels grabs the right leg of Ryan and drags her to the nearest set of ropes before placing the leg on the bottom rope. Daniels then uses the second rope to springboard into the air and comes crashing down on the the leg of her opponent. Cecilia groans in pain as she rolls away from Daniels. Daniels walks over to her, pulling her up to her feet and connects with a knife-edge chop across the chest. Ryan grimaces in pain before firing one off on her own. Ryan then whips Daniels into the opposite corner before running at her only for Daniels to dip her shoulder and send Cecilia over the top rope. Ryan manages to land on her feet on the apron though and as Daniels turns towards her, she connects with a high kick to the head of The Time Lord.
Nick Stuart: Well, that’s going to leave a mark.
Richard Parker: This is why you don’t fight fire with fire when you square up against Ryan. She’s forged in pure fire with Dan Ryan as her dad and Lindsay Troy as her aunt. Those two are the hardest hitters I’ve ever seen. I think one of them smacked me once too.
Nick Stuart: Which one?
Richard Parker: I’d rather not say.
Ryan re-enters the ring and catches a rising Daniels with a back elbow, but Anna fires back with a stiff kick to the midsection. Ryan doubles over and Daniels moves into position for the Oncoming Storm! She goes to lift Ryan up, but Cecilia blocks it. Anna connects with a stiff forearm in the back and then whips Ryan into the ropes before connecting with a flying headscissors! With Ryan on the ground, Daniels climbs to the nearest turnbuckle, measures her opponent, and connects with a corkscrew Shooting Star Press into a legdrop across the throat of Cecilia!
Richard Parker: Not usually a fan of the flippy-do, but that’s exactly what Daniels needs to be doing in this match. High-risk moves for high-impact payoff.
Nick Stuart: Wow, look at you talking about strategy. I’m almost impressed.
Richard Parker: Why, thank you!
Nick Stuart: I said almost.
Richard Parker: I just am ignoring you said it.
Daniels then yanks Ryan back up to her feet and slams her knee into the midsection. She then grabs both arms of Cecilia and underhooks them, looking for the Oncoming Storm again. Cecilila manages to block it once again though as slams her shoulder into Anna’s midsection. The Time Lord is doubled over, but stands up at the wrong moment as Ryan comes flying off the ropes and connects with a double flying knee strike that sends both women to the mat. Ryan wastes no time getting back to her feet and as Daniels does the same, dazed from the knees to the face, she turns into a roaring elbow from Ryan.
Nick Stuart: Family Affair from Cecilia Ryan! That should put this match to bed.
Richard Parker: Ryan showed her head is in the game right then and there.
Ryan then goes for the cover.
DING DING DING!
Vince Howard: Your winner, at the fourteen minute and seventeen second mark… CECILIA! RYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!
Nick Stuart: And there is no look of caring on her face as the fans here boo her as she picks up her second victory in PRIME.
Richard Parker: Seriously, just like her father and aunt, confident and resolute.
Nick Stuart: Great effort from both stars tonight, both of them have very bright futures ahead of them, but only one could walk out the winner.
On that note, we cut to commercial…
Is an event happening two times a tradition? If so, we cut backstage to the traditional sight of a man carrying a ton of boxes stacked upon each other, staggering back and forth as he tries to reach the folding table that has been set up in the concourse of the MGM Grand for the “Glue Factory” brand. As the boxes get placed upon the table with a mighty thud, we quickly see that the Glue Factory’s intern Gary has once again been put to work on ReVival night. He starts his dutiful process of unloading “Civil Dusk” and “Tactless” bottles onto the table, this time with a larger crowd gathered around the table than the last show.
Slowly, The Humble Proprietor of the Glue Factory steps into view, adorned this week in a fetching blood red three piece suit and accompanying pocket watch, which he pulls out and begins to stare at.
Phil Atken: Come on Gary, we’re already behind schedule, the show is halfway done! This is precious purchasing time that we are missing out on…
Gary: Sorry Mr. Atken, it’s just… it was a lot of boxes…
Phil Atken: Of course it was a lot of boxes! We’re a very “in” brand. Like Hersey’s Kisses or the McDLT. People demand us! Isn’t that right, people?
Atken looks over to the small line of around thirty that is forming around the Glue Factory stand, most of them keep staring down at their phones, one man looks up and offers a “what? Oh, I guess!” in response.
Phil Atken: See Gary, these people have the “thirst.” The “thirst” for glue! I learned that lingo from my son’s Clipclop.
Atken looks at the slightly tilted heads now out from their phones and looking in his direction. He quickly picks up what they are all throwing down.
Phil Atken: You should not, under any circumstances, drink the glue.
A few of the crowd make disappointed noises, one yells “WELL FUCK THAT” and leaves the line entirely. This doesn’t seem to deter The Proprietor who continues to harange his intern into unloading the boxes at speeds no human should have to endure.
Phil Atken: This may hurt now Gary, but your sacrifice is for the greater good. You are helping a visionary mission. People have realised that the Glue Factory is neither trifle nor to be trifled with after Larry Tact went nightie nights. The demand for glue grows greater and greater in the locker room too. We are the correction Gary, and PRIME needs correcting…
“SHE GOT THAT BADONKADONK”
Phil Atken’s pep talk is cut short but his phone yelling at him, he looks very confused as he looks down to see the caller, “MP.”
Phil Atken: …how the hell did she… and why… Gary I gotta take this…
The Humble Proprietor steps out of the scene to take the call, leaving Gary alone to deal with the public that are clearly hungry for glue (do not, under any circumstances, eat the glue). As Gary finishes filling up the table he looks up to the first eager customer. An older man in his mid-50s who doesn’t have the happiest of expressions in his eyes.
Gary: Hello Sir, welcome to the Glue Factory, may I interest you in some Civil Dusk…
The intern has suddenly experienced a superkick to his face, what an unfortunate incident. The superkick belongs to the first customer, none other than the man who is very much not dead, Dusk! Gary crumbles down to the floor as an irate Dusk kicks over The Glue Factory table, knocking the table over and sending the unopened boxes and all of the merchandise collapsing down upon Gary. Some of the fans in the crowd are eager to support Dusk, while upwards of two of them are very mad that they can’t now get the glue they were waiting in line for. The camera spins around to see Atken still on the phone to “MP”.
Phil Atken: …I can’t right now… I know what I said… yes, he’s a good kid but…
The conversation is cut short as Atken turns around to see Dusk wreaking havoc on his beautiful Glue Factory stall. Dusk turns and spots Atken near a group of slot machines and Atken chooses to quickly flee into the casino. Dusk, not satisfied with just smashing up the stand, tries to run after Atken but with lines and lines of similar slots, can’t work out where to begin.
Nick Stuart: It looks like Dusk came to the Glue Factory wanting to deliver a receipt from Culture Shock but all he could find was their intern. Phil Atken has fled into the casino floor and the Chief of Security, Hank, is nowhere to be seen.
Richard Parker: This is disgraceful! That man was trying to run an honest business and Dusk has destroyed it!
Nick Stuart: An honest business? His Chief of Security tried to rip Dusk’s skull off his head at Culture Shock!
The camera fades away on Dusk having to abandon his search for the fleeing Atken and heading back to the arena area, knowing he needs to turn his focus towards his match with Teddy Palmer.
Nick Stuart: Folks, Dusk takes on Teddy Palmer later tonight and after this incident I will be stunned if Phil Atken tries to show his face in that match. Stay tuned, there’s more ReVival to come.
The scene fades to black as Nick concludes his final thoughts.
Running Away is NOT Punk Rock!
We go backstage in the gorilla position. Junior reporter Simon Tillier is standing by with a mic in hand and a wholesome smile on his face.
Standing beside him is a man whose entire face is obscured behind a beard that is billowing out from the force of an electric blow dryer. Based on his numerous recognizable tattoos, it’s quite obviously the notorious dope-smoking daredevil and PRIME’s resident anarchist, Rezin.
Simon Tillier: Good evening, PRIME Faithful! The action continues here at ReVival 7, but right now, I have here with me one of the competitors in the next contest… the Escape Artist, Rezin!
The Goat Bastard shuts off the blow dryer and haphazardly tosses it off camera. His beard drops to reveal a worried expression on his face. He acknowledges the greeting with a surly grunt.
Simon Tillier: Rezin, here in just a few short minutes, you are going to be standing face to face with the terrifying Mask of Malice, BALAAM…
The Goat Bastard cringes, as though the name itself induces feelings of dread.
Simon Tillier: I can’t help but notice you look a bit on edge. Are you nervous about tonight?
Rezin’s eyes rapidly dart around in every direction, searching for someone–or something–that is out to get him.
Rezin: Nervous? Me!? HMPH! How could I possibly be nervous right now, Simon? I’m only about to be forced out there to dance with a three-hundred and fifty pound OGRE who could easily rip my face off and eat it like a strip of beef jerky… and my Viking bodyguard is completely AWOL tonight! NERVOUS?! I’m fan-friggin’-TASTIC right now, Simon! My spirits have never been HIGH-ER!
He snorts. Sarcasm drips heavy from every word. He is clearly rapt with paranoia.
Rezin: Lemme tell ya somethin’, Simple Simon… lately, it feels like the whole world has had it in for Hell’s Favorite Hoosier! Bank’s got my house! Ref screws me out of the Five Star Championship! Olvir gave up booty bangin’ for budget balancin’! Ria STILL rejects my every advance! And now? I’m being PUNISHED by the management! For the crime of being ME!
Simon Tillier: Well, Rezin, I’m sure there isn’t anyone who would envy the position you’re in right now, but given your out-of-control actions backstage at Culture Shock, it goes without saying that you have only yourself to blame for this. Perhaps when all is said and done, a valuable lesson can be learned from this?
Rezin’s demeanor suddenly changes from anxious to obstinate.
Rezin: Ohhhh… you are RIGHT as REEFER on that, Simon! Only not the way you might think! See, if anybody’s gonna learn any lessons tonight, it’s those snooty PRIME Overlords who put me in this pickle!
He looks into the camera and flashes a defiant snarl.
Rezin: Specifically, they’re gonna learn that the harder they try to extinguish this FIRE that’s runnin’ wild through their company, the hotter it’s gonna BURN! Do ya think wreckin’ some fancy, expensive junk and roughin’ up a few Ene-cochinos is the worst I can do? HAH!! You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, PRIME!
Simon Tillier: Okay, then maybe you can tell us what we can expect to see when you stand in the ring against a certified monster in Balaam, the Mask of Malice?
Rezin grumbles as his attention goes back to the junior reporter.
Rezin: Look, Simon, let’s cut to brass tacks here: I know exactly what’s waitin’ for me on the other side of that curtain, and I am in no way lookin’ forward to it. However this turns out, I think it’s safe to say I won’t be walkin’ out with anything less than an epic-level ass-kickin’… provided I manage to walk out at all! But what would ya have me do? Run and hide like some NORMIE!?
Simon Tillier: I mean… I would.
Rezin: Well yeah, obviously YOU would… but not THIS ol’ Dopesmoker! Hiding myself from this “punishment” is exactly what the Overlords are expecting me to do! They want me to see me run! They want to see me try and ESCAPE! They want the satisfaction of knowing they put the fear of TROY in me!
He scoffs and shakes his head.
Rezin: But naahh… it ain’t gonna happen, Simon! Not tonight, and not ever! They could throw a DOZEN monsters the size of Balaam at me, and I’ll still be standin’ my ground, fixin’ to prove ‘em wrong! Cause there ain’t anything PUNK ROCK about runnin’ away! Not that it would do me much good, if that friggin’ BEAST out there already has my scent…
Simon Tillier: Trust me, Rezin… everybody has your scent.
He raises an arm and takes a quick whiff of his pit. Whatever he smells causes him to shrug.
Rezin: Then what the HELL was the point of those stormtroopers hosing me down earlier out there in the parking lot?! “Minimum hygiene standards,” my ASS!
The Goat Bastard grumbles obscenities toward the Enemigos under his breath. Simon decides it would be best to just press one with the interview.
Simon Tillier: Anyway, the fact that you intend to resolutely stand your ground is all well and good, but lest we not forget who we’re talking about here. Balaam has been nothing less than a force of destruction ever since JK Royko Jr. was coerced into donning the Mask of Malice.
Rezin groans, and nods, begrudgingly accepting this truth.
Rezin: …yeah, that dude is definitely all kinds of scary.
Simon Tillier: So it begs the question: how do you manage to defeat–let alone survive–a seemingly unstoppable force like that?
The hash-smoking high flyer’s face scrunches up and he scratches at his skullet, seemingly incapable of coming up with a suitable answer.
Rezin: Well damb, Simon… wish I could tell ya. As it is, I left my bazooka at home…
He suddenly perks up and slaps Simon on the chest, nearly knocking the junior reporter over, before brazenly sticking a thumb into his own.
Rezin: But hey, this is ME we’re talkin’ about! And what everyone should damb well know by now is that what I lack in size and strength, I more than make up for in MOXY and MADNESS! Besides, if things were to get really dicey out there, I bet Timo can wrangle with him long enough for me to make my ESCAPE! Or maybe those damb Ene-cochinos can stick to their reputation for using excessive force and ZAP that mongoloid into a coma! HAH! Imagine, THAT! That big, dumb knuckle-dragger lyin’ on the ground, droolin’ all over himself, pissin’ his pants! Ol’ Hoyt would prolly piss himself too! Seein’ his big, scary “monster” all laid out and… Simon? SIMON! Dambit, Simon, are you even listening to me right now?! Why are you looking BEHIND me, instead of AT me?! And what’s with that aghast expression on your face? And dude, you are white as a GHOST right now! Like you’re lookin’ at something absolutely HORRIFYING right now! Simon? SIMON! HELLOOO!!
The sound of a heavy metal chain being dragged across the floor causes Rezin to trail off. He is all but painfully aware that standing immediately behind him and breathing down his neck is the wall of a man named John Kennedy Royko Jr.
Or, as he’s more infamously known: BALAAM, THE MASK OF MALICE!
Like a man at the gallows, Rezin rumbles with a gravelly and woeful sigh of defeat.
Rezin: (whispering) Simon… buddy… in the future… when you see a bloodthirsty three-hundred and fifty pound monster standing immediately behind me… it would be rather courteous of you to inform me that–BLEGHK!!
The Goat Bastard’s words are cut off when two MASSIVE hands seize him by the neck and proceed to throttle him with reckless abandon. Simon, wisely, makes himself scarce. Balaam tosses Rezin past the camera.
The camera swivels around in time to catch Rezin tumbling into the janitor’s mop bucket and splashing filthy water everywhere. Defiled once again, the Goat Bastard sits up, soaked and sputtering. Then a massive HAND encompasses his entire face and pulls him back to his feet.
The Harbinger of Malice, Duke Williams, allows more slack on the chain giving the monster more freedom. Joe Burro is in the background spraying Hawaiian Tropic Febreze in the direction of Rezin.
Effortlessly, the Mask of Malice lifts Rezin off the floor and flings him like a Frisbee into the camera.
Cut to static!
REZIN vs. BALAAM THE MASK OF MALICE
Without a thought, without a spare moment for Nick Stuart or Richard Parker to get a word in edgewise, we see Rezin BURST through the curtain at maximum speed!
Rezin: MOVE IT OR LOSE IT! AAAAAAAH!
He’s sprinting at full velocity – no music plays, no dramatic lighting. In short order, Balaam powerfully thrusts the curtains aside. Seeing Rezin, he makes a beeline of his own to catch up to the Goat Bastard.
Richard Parker: Could’ve seen THIS coming, eh partner?
Nick Stuart: We saw what just happened in gorilla, Richard, and if I were a betting man, I would say some wrath is coming!
Vince Howard hastily grabs the microphone and does his best “End Of Pharmaceutical Side Effects May Include” impression.
Vince Howard: Ladiesandgentlementhisboutisscheduledforonefall REZIN! BALAAM THE MASK OF MAL-
Before Vince can finish any semblance of introductions, Rezin has scampered through the bottom rope into the ring. Balaam is hot on his heels, and as he enters himself, Rezin goes to slip through the ropes on the opposite side of the ring – but he gets tangled in the ropes! His legs are caught and he’s dangling outside! Balaam is able to grab a loose limb and drag his foe into the ring. Rezin scrambles to try to slip out of Balaam’s grasp but ends up getting healed across the ring! Referee Timo Bolamba enforces enough space for Rezin to get to one foot and then immediately signals for the bell!
Nick Stuart: Balaam didn’t even wait for that second bell from our illustrious timekeeper – he just LEVELED Rezin with a charging European Uppercut! Knife edge chops now from the big man!
If Rezin was a tree, he’d be split in half by know with the force of chop after chop from Balaam. Rezin crumples to a heap in the corner as Balaam takes a few steps back to build space between himself and his opponent, before charging in and diving shoulder first! Corner spear!
Richard Parker: I’m on record with my love of the glorious and perfect Pontiff of PRI – holy hell is Rezin getting worked over!
Balaam rams his shoulder into Rezin’s guts two more times for good measure as Timo Bolamba gives his five count, which Balaam breaks at 4.9. Balaam backs up and builds up yet another head of steam, only for Rezin to duck the lariat! Rezin scrambles his ass off to get to an offensive position and begins throwing some stiff calf kicks into the giant before him – the PRIMEates hear the SMACK~ of each successive kick, but if he feels pain, Balaam doesn’t show it! He steps forward stoically as Rezin’s kicks make their way higher and higher up his body – into the thighs, then into the belly!
Nick Stuart: Rezin showing a lot of grit and resilience against the big man, but so far it looks like there’s still a lot of mountain to climb!
Rezin swings around for a Hail Mary Cloven Hoof Kick, which Balaam catches! Balaam maintains leg control and wraps his forearm around the back of Rezin’s head – FISHERMAN SUPLEX! Rezin scrambles to get up but stumbles hard and tangles himself in the ropes. Balaam charges – HUGE knee strike to the back of Rezin’s neck and head! Rezin stumbles more and tries to gain any sense of footing – HEART PUNCH by Balaam!
Nick Stuart: First cover of the contest! One, two – Rezin kicks out!
Richard Parker: Where is Hoyt to smite this slippery bastard?
Frustrated that the match isn’t yet over, Balaam gets in Timo’s face! To Bolamba’s credit, he stands up to the big man and points to the referee stripes he’s wearing. Rezin seizes the moment and scoots behind Balaam and attempts…
Nick Stuart: SCHOOLBOY – wait a second.
Richard Parker: Balaam’s too big for this, Rezin, you dummy.
Balaam seizes the opportunity before him and rather than falling to his back in a schoolboy attempt, SITS squarely on Rezin’s chest! It’s flush enough for a pinfall attempt!
Nick Stuart: Another COVER! Rezin squirts out again!
Richard Parker: (cringing) Please don’t ever say “squirts” again, Nick.
Rezin rolls away as best as he can, clutching his entire torso. Balaam raises a fist and lets out a mighty roar, which is only met by boos. Is that a “Rezin! Rezin! Rezin!” chant we hear?
After a beat, Rezin has gotten back to a knee and a foot, using the ropes for all the dear leverage he can get. Balaam doesn’t allow him to get his full footing beneath him, grasping him by the shoulders and hurling him bodily across the ring!
Nick Stuart: That was a BRADLEY Biel of a throw there!
Suddenly, Rezin seems to have gained a second wind, and he sprints towards Balaam! Balaam sticks out his arm for a clothesline, which Rezin ducks! Rezin bounces off the ropes – another failed clothesline from Balaam, and now Rezin is at full sprint with Balaam on roller skates! BIG flying dropkick from Rezin square into Balaam’s chest that pushes him into the ropes! Rezin goes back and builds up more steam – Balaam swings in for a Bell Clap and misses with a mighty CRACK~! as Rezin seems to chuckle to himself…the ringside mic picks up something…
Rezin: Love you Hank!
…as Rezin LEAPS and drops Balaam with a flipping neckbreaker! The crowd is on their feet as Balaam is taken off his feet for the first time in the entire match! Rezin goes for the cover-
Nick Stuart: One-OHHHHHH!
Richard Parker: Hahahaha he heaved Rezin off his chest like Jesus heaved the Nemean Lion into the Dead Sea.
Nick Stuart: That absolutely did not happen, Richard, but Rezin’s onto something here, I think – he’s clearly the faster wrestler, and as long as he can maintain space and pepper him with these big – OH NO!
Balaam has Rezin in a full goozle choke. The Escape Artist is fighting and scrambling and squirming HARD, but Balaam’s grip is mighty as he gets to his feet! He pushes his smaller foe across the ring, into the ropes, and eventually spills him over the ropes entirely! Rezin is sent crashing into the apron, then rolling onto the floor! He tries to get to his feet and fails, stumbling and rolling more and more!
Rezin: GOD – AHHH! DAMBIT, BAL-AHHHH!
Rezin almost seems to be fully upright before he just stumbles all over himself and flip-bumps onto the floor. He almost gets his full bearings one more time before his own stony momentum sends him crashing over the barricade into the crowd! A few front row fans have full concession stand accouterments like popcorn, nachos, hot dogs with ketchup, beer – many succeed at saving them, some fail. Bolamba is stupefied and only now begins to think that he should begin a 10 count back into the ring. The fans nearest to Rezin are first to see a major problem…
Nick Stuart: Hey hey hey! That’s Joe Burro and Duke Williams! They’re in the crowd!
Richard Parker: And lo, unto us, Hoyt has sent a miracle!
Having made their way to ringside through the PRIMEates after the altercation backstage, Burro and Williams stalk their way towards Rezin, “The Tailor of PRIME” spraying Febreze in the air as they advance. Balaam makes a point to grab Timo Bolamba’s attention as they do.
The loud sound draws the attention of both Bolamba and Balaam, whose eyes both dart ringside to where they last saw Rezin. Burro and Williams seem to have just gotten to Rezin, though both men signal to the ref that they didn’t do anything at all. Rezin’s face peeks above the barricade, and Bolamba sees a red smear across his forehead…
Timo Bolamba: DISQUALIFICATION! RING THE BELL!
DING DING DING!
Balaam is LIVID! Burro and Williams shout in protest that they did nothing wrong!
Vince Howard: Here is your winner, REZIN!!!!!
Nick Stuart: Hold on, what just happened??
Richard Parker: I have no idea, Richard, but the father and associate of Hoyt Williams are as upstanding of citizens as they come.
Rezin stumbles over the barricade and lightly jogs to get some space between himself, Burro, and Williams…before spotting another fan with a hot dog in the crowd.
Rezin: Can I borrow that?
The fan is more than eager to relinquish his frankfurter. Rezin smears the hot dog across his forehead and takes a substantial bite and winks at Balaam.
Nick Stuart: Wait a minute…you don’t THINK…
Richard Parker: THAT’S KETCHUP! Timo, restart the match immediately, Balaam has been robbed!
Nick Stuart: I can’t believe it! Where there’s a wily son of a gun, there’s a way!
Rezin takes another glorious chomp from his hot dog as Balaam works to figure out where to focus his rage – in this moment, it’s everywhere.
Nick Stuart: You can say many things about Rezin – he is resilient, he never says die, and by God is he quick to find solutions on the fly!
Richard Parker: Rest assured, Hoyt is going to have something to say about this. And I, for one, can’t wait!
Nick Stuart: We will have more action in a bit, but first, this!
Wake Dusk Up!
We return from the commercial break to find Matt Mills standing backstage, next to a coffin. A coffin that has a post-it on it. That post-it note says Dusk.
Matt Mills looks very sad, as if he didn’t notice earlier tonight Dusk is not actually dead. Instead, very much alive, even though he is standing next to a coffin with a post-it on it with the word ‘Dusk’ on it.
It’s made seventeen times more official because it has a post-it on it.
Matt Mills: Ladies and Gentlemen, it fills me with great sadness to be doing this next interview with the casket and corpse of former two-time Intense Champion, The Lost Soul, Dusk. Now–
Before Matt can continue though, a loud sound pierces the eardrums of everyone in the vicinity of it as well as our viewers at home.
‘How can you see into my eyes like open doors?
Leading you down into my core where I’ve become so numb’
The haunting voice of Amy Lee fills the cavernous backstage hallways of the MGM-Grand Arena as Matt looks over, perplexed and confused at the sight he is seeing. Walking towards him is The Anglo Luchador, not only dressed for his upcoming match with Impulse, but wearing a tan trench coat over his outfit with a matching tan fedora on top of his head. Above his head, he is holding a classic black Casio boombox, which is emitting the audio waves we are pleased to be hearing.
‘Without a soul
My spirit sleeping somewhere cold
Until you find it there and lead it back… home’
Matt Mills: What are you doing?!
TAL: Quiet! The best part is coming up!
He then puts the boombox onto top of the casket, places both hands on the casket, and drops his head.
‘Wake me up!’
TAL then pounds his fists onto the casket. Behind him appears Misty and Noelle of the Jimmy Bonafide Dancers, apparently backing him up.
‘Wake me up inside!’
The Jimmy Bonafide Dancers, as their name suggests, dance and pantomime the words as The Anglo Luchador continues to will the corpse of Dusk to arise from the casket. Of course, since they’re the Jimmy Bonafide Dancers, they are terribly uncoordinated and keep whacking each other in the face with their hands.
‘I can’t wake up!’
This time it comes from both the boombox and a man that has appeared to the side of Matt Mills, looking rather perplexed.
This is the actual body of Dusk, very much not dead or even in the casket.
‘Wake me up inside!’
The JBDs continue their song and “dance” as TAL hits pause on the boombox and looks over to see Dusk standing right there.
The Anglo Luchador: Ay, Dios Mio! You’re not in the casket?
Dusk: No, no I’m not.
TAL: Then, why am I out here trying to bring you back to life?
Dusk: Because deep, deep down, you care?
TAL shakes his head and then looks over to see the JBDs still dancing and pantomiming.
TAL: Why are you still dancing and singing?! He’s clearly not in the casket. We do not need to bring him back to life!
TAL then looks back at Dusk.
TAL: Glad to see you’re still alive! You need to make sure you take Phil and Hank out, otherwise they might come after me next.
Dusk: Got it.
TAL: Alright then. (TAL then sheds the trenchcoat) Time for me to go fight Impulse. Catch you later.
Dusk nods as TAL exits the scene, with Misty and Noelle leaving also. He then looks over at Matt Mills.
Dusk: Mind telling me why you were about to interview my casket and ‘deceased’ corpse?
Matt simply shrugs his shoulders.
Matt Mills: What can I say? It made an appearance last week, I figured I would let it make an appearance again this week.
Dusk: Well, let’s not, okay?
Matt nods his head.
Dusk: Alright, good. Now, do you have any questions for me?
Matt Mills: Sure, first and foremost, how are you feeling after the attack from Hank and the Glue Factory at Culture Shock?
Dusk’s hands move to his hips and he cocks his head to the side.
Dusk: Well, I can tell you I wasn’t happy about it. I can tell you that simply looking at my phone irritated my eyes. I can tell you I probably lost some weight vomiting into a trash can for about a week straight. All of that is gone now, the doctors have cleared me, but while the physical pain is gone, the mental frustration is still very much there. That’s why I decided to go see Phil Atken, face to face.
Dusk licks his lips.
Dusk: Of course, when it involves looking someone in the eye, Phil isn’t interested in that in the least bit. Instead, he ran. That’s fine, because eventually, I will get my hands on him. I will get my hands on Hank. And the pain they caused me at Culture Shock will pale in comparison to what I plan to do to them.
Dusk then turns his attention to the camera.
Dusk: I’m a former two-time Intense Champion. I know a little something about pain and how to not only take it, but to dish it right back out. Phil, Hank, you don’t want to face me in the ring like men? That’s fine, I’ll come find you and drag you out to that ring to do it then. Pick a show and I’ll be there. Hell, make it at Great American Nightmare and I’ll be your own personal nightmare.
Dusk motions for the camera to get closer.
Dusk: Matter-of-fact, I believe the fans get to decide who is in the Intense Championship match at GAN, correct Matt?
Matt simply nods his head.
Dusk: Good, good. So fans, you want to see your ol’ favorite Dusk at GAN against Phil and Hank? You can make it happen. Just vote us in for the Intense Championship match and I’ll give you a match you won’t soon forget. It’ll be like it was back in the days, the old days. Speaking of the old days…well, we’ll get to that, won’t we?
Dusk: Teddy Palmer, you get the misfortune of having to square off against me tonight when all I feel inside is rage and pain. You’re going to have to be the one I settle on tonight to let all of that rage and pain out onto. Phil and Hank, they didn’t want to hang around, so I guess it falls to you. See you soon, bud.
Dusk then looks over at Matt Mills.
Dusk: Are we good?
Matt nods his head and Dusk walks off before Matt does the same, just in the opposite direction of Dusk. The camera rests upon the coffin, which after a few moments shakes violently before an ominous, mysterious voice (similar to the one heard at the end of ‘Thriller’) laughs maniacally before the feed cuts to Angelica Brooks.
Cutting elsewhere backstage, Angelica Brooks is doing her best to hold a polite, professional mask, but the two men standing to either side have no such regard.
Angelica Brooks: Ladies and gentlemen, joining me at this time are the tag team–
Teddy Palmer: Excuse you?
Angelica Brooks: Seriously? You know that’s not a…
She trails off, rolls her eyes, and decides this argument is absolutely not worth it.
Angelica Brooks: Fine. The “two-man stable,” Red & Ted.
The shot pans back to get everyone into the shot naturally. Teddy Palmer is already in his ring gear, with the addition of the tropical themed edition of the classic tee. Alex Redding stands by still in street attire: Hail the Villain tee over faded black jeans and black and white Adidas shell toed sized 13s.
Teddy Palmer: It’ll do.
Alexander Redding: Alberta.
Journalistic integrity already being weighed and measured, Angelica looks somewhere just over the camera, but definitely not to either man.
Angelic Brooks: Yeah that’s not my name. Regardless, both of you are in action tonight, but I wanted to go back just two weeks and your first win in PRIME, Redding. Ted, maybe you’d like to explain why you needed to hit the Nosebleed Section on Mephisto when the referee had her back turned?
Looking utterly shocked and afronted, Teddy Palmer can’t even turn to the microphone placed up to him. Instead, the mic, and the arm attached, are gently guided to the opposite side.
Alexander Redding: Real cute. You start with that? For the record, there was a bee in the building. Ted, not knowing if he is allergic–
Teddy Palmer: I’ve heard that could be really bad.
Alexander Redding: You know it. So Ted gets to thinking the only thing he can think, and that’s just run. It isn’t his fault Mephisto’s comically large noggin got in his way. Really, Ted showed remarkable athleticism to keep his feet.
With an annoyed ‘excuse me’ cough, Brooks pulls free her arm and looks once more just off camera.
Angelica Brooks: While you were able to finally overcome your losing streak, Red, Ted has found himself the loser of two in a row now. With Dusk tonight, are you planning on trying to break out of that funk?
Teddy’s head nods slightly, his tongue pressed into his bottom lip. He doesn’t turn his head to face the spunky reporter, but rather side eyes her.
Teddy Palmer: Extenuating circumstances have seen a couple ticks scratched into the ‘L’ column, sure. Congratulations on stating the obvious. Let me follow suit by stating the obvious; everyone in this arena, yourself included, know damn well that tonight will be a very different story.
Alexander Redding: The kiddos and creepers might be out there with their Baby Dusk dolls, but you know the women are going to bed with their Dixon Seider ‘massage aids.’
Teddy offers a raised brow and wink to a disgusted Brooks.
Angelica Brooks: Uh huh. On that distasteful note… it’s been rumored that you’ve both been ignoring messages from Front Office all week. Care to address that here?
Jumping ahead of the bullet aimed his partner’s way, Red starts with a laugh.
Alexander Redding: I thought I made it clear to Troy and Co that I wasn’t interested in their joke of a deal, even if the interviewers around here certainly could use a boost in the arm.
Taking offense to the pointed jab, Brooks turns with a look to kill, but mistakenly, the microphone in range.
Alexander Redding: Do you have some objections?
With a well acted cough, Ted motions Brooks to raise the mic his way.
Teddy Palmer: You know what? Fine. Since we have the floor: Lindz, stop texting me at 2 in the morning. I know you’re hitting the sauce.
The deadpan delivery is accompanied with Redding head down, just shaking disapprovingly. Angelica stares in Timberlake at this bullshit.
Alexander Redding: Alberta, quick, before we worry the investors.
Annoyed and over it all, Brooks slams the mic into Redding’s chest and walks off camera.
Alexander Redding: Where is she going? We’re live. This place really does need a better class of interviewer. Hmph. Shame. Speaking of: Hayes Hanlon. Trust me, this isn’t anything personal, it’s all business around here. See, the Man has come back, this time for itty bitty Bambi, and while your hide hanging on the wall is going to look great, I think that 5 Star is the trophy I’ll really cherish most.
Looking down to the mic, and the not-there Brooks, Redding shrugs and gently sets the thing on the polished concrete floor.
Alexander Redding: You going to need me out there with ya, good buddy?
Both men turn to exit stage left, but their conversation can still be picked up.
Teddy Palmer: Negative, broseph. You just keep that laser focus on the main event. Oh, and figuring out watcha wanna do to celebrate the big W’s tonight. Focus on that.
Back into view is Brooks to retrieve the microphone. Quick on the scene is Enemigo IV to stop said microphone from being tossed at the back of either Red or Ted’s skulls.
Fade transition as we take it back ringside.
IMPULSE vs. THE ANGLO LUCHADOR
ReVival returns to in-ring action as the fans who had been stocking up on delicious confectionery treats of all varieties rush back to the ring. The spotlight shines upon Vince Howard as he readies himself for the next bout and a small buzz sweeps through the crowd.
Nick Stuart: The fans are excited for what we’re about to see, and who could blame them. It’s not often we get a match designed to be clean cut action between peers but a Jabber exchange has brought us just that as The Anglo Luchador is set to take on THE number one contender, Impulse.
Richard Parker: It’s like I’ve always said Nick, Jabber should be burnt to the ground and salt thrown upon its ashes so nothing should ever grow from it again…
Nick Stuart: You may not be a fan of the social media service but it’s certainly bringing unique opportunities to the PRIME ring! With that said… let’s hand it over to Vince Howard for the introductions.
The arena darkens. The first dabs of the organ intro to “Oye Como Va” by Santana fill the arena as purple and green lights strobe while the telltale mask of the Anglo Luchador rotate on the PRIMEview behind. Smoke begins to waft across the entryway as the instrumental beginning of the song swells into its big climax. Right before the lyrics sound, The Anglo Luchador appears from the back, looking out at the crowd.
Vince Howard: The following contest is scheduled for one fall… introducing first, making his way to the ring at this time, he weighed in tonight at two hundred and nine pounds… THE ANGLOOOOOOO LUCHADOOOOR!
Nick Stuart: You have to imagine dreams of Balaam are still haunting The Anglo Luchador after his Culture Shock confrontation with the monster under Hoyt Williams’ guidance. How do you enter this match against Impulse with a clear head?
Richard Parker: That cheap masked fool? It’s a miracle he can even find the ring, I find it impossible to believe he would have any thoughts rattling around the hamster that replaced his brain some years ago.
The Anglo Luchador exhales and bows his head before he takes his final stride towards the ring. As he starts his march towards the ring, TAL hands off flyers encouraging fans to vote for him and Ria Nightshade at the Great American Nightmare for the Intense Championship.
Nick Stuart: He may dream of monsters but that won’t stop him encouraging voters…
Richard Parker: Exactly, he’s a typical politician.
As TAL steps into the ring, two banners drop down around the entrance way, it’s hard to make out what they say however, as they immediately fall to the floor.
Richard Parker: You get what you pay for.
The Anglo Luchador doesn’t allow this situation to distract him from his goal as he steps into the ring with a steely look clear in the eyes behind the mask. As the tones of Santana fade away, “Cannonball” by SIRSY fills the arena, and a blue – and – purple strobe combination lights up the entranceway.
Nick Stuart: And here’s Luchador’s opponent, the Universal Championship number one contender, Impulse. You have to imagine that a win over Impulse would skyrocket Luchador’s campaign to get his match with Ria Nightside be determined as the Intense Championship match.
Richard Parker: A lot of people have thought they could use Impulse to make a point and it hasn’t worked for anyone yet. He has continued to fight his way to the top of the ladder. The question is whether Impulse is looking too far ahead and lets The Anglo Luchador take the lead here.
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. 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: And his opponent… the man who is the Number One Contender to the Universal Championship, he weighs in tonight at one hundred and ninety three pounds… IMPULSSSSE!
Nick Stuart: The Luchador with a slight weight and height advantage but this is going to be a very even match. We’re not looking at another Balaam situation here.
Richard Parker: Sadly not…
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. Jimmy Turnbull quickly performs his last minute checks on Impulse and TAL and then quickly hops back to the middle of the ring and signals for the bell.
The match starts off with both men feeling each other out, TAL and Impulse both pacing around the outer edges of the ring and trying to spot if their opponent has left them an opening. The two continue to jockey for position for a few moments as the fans begin buzzing. An excited air sweeps through the MGM Grand, no real chants for one competitor or another but just a general sense of excitement of the match they’re about to witness. A stray fan yells “WHOOO I LOVE BALAAM” and TAL snaps his attention out of the ring for the briefest of seconds but that section quickly drowns out the man who is definitely not affiliated with Hoyt Williams with some good old fashioned rhythmic clapping. Impulse decides to try and make the first opening move, getting close enough to The Luchador to throw an elbow but The Anglo Luchador is able to quickly hop back and out of the way. As Impulse tries to throw a second elbow, TAL manages to block and grab Impulse’s arm, slipping behind him and wrenching in a hammerlock. Impulse is incredibly close to the ropes and quickly grabs the top rope with his free hand, causing Jimmy Turnbull to call for the break, which TAL is quick to honour.
Nick Stuart: No one is able to find an opening to the starting moments of this contest.
Richard Parker: You can see why Impulse might be cautious, he knows his date with destiny is waiting at the Great American Nightmare but The Anglo Luchador’s voters are watching this match and want to know what makes him INTENSE. He needs to stamp his vicious streak into the memories of the viewers.
As if he can hear the words of Richard Parker, The Anglo Luchador takes a few steps back for the break but as Impulse turns back around to face him, quickly fires a knife edge chop right across the Number One Contender’s chest. Impulse winces for a split second in pain, but responds with a forearm right to the jaw, sending Luchador staggering backwards. TAL tilts his head slightly and smiles as he responds with another hard chop to the rest of Impulse. Impulse smashes another forearm into TAL, almost as if his body was automatically responding to the pain of the chop. The second forearm to the jaw staggers The Anglo Luchador enough that Impulse is able to slip behind him. Impulse tries to roll Luchador down to the mat, grabbing TAL’s left leg but Luchador manages to drill the pointy part of his elbow in Impulse’s skull, causing him to let go of the grip. TAL sees an opening and quickly takes the stunned Impulse and locks him in a La Magistral cradle.
Nick Stuart: And Impulse manages to break free! These two men have certainly come ready to fight!
Richard Parker: …unlike the Ballet Dancing we had earlier, Nick?
Nick Stuart: Well, we did have Survivor and…
We thankfully avoid any future mental scarring with references to Survivor earlier in the night by what sounds like a shotgun but turns out to by the uppercut that Impulse drills into the Luchador as both men find an even base. Luchador rubs his jaw in frustration and rushes towards Impulse in frustration, but is met with a drop top hold instead. For the second time in the match, Impulse follows through to the leg and this time manages to successfully roll into a single leg crab. Impulse pulls himself up and wrenches back as tightly as he can as the pain is evident for The Anglo Luchador, even behind the mask. Anglo Luchador slaps the mat to fight through the pain and the fans join in slapping the mat, showing support for the older competitor. Jimmy Turnbull goes down to check but Luchador refuses to quit.
Nick Stuart: It’s amazing to see Luchador fight through the pain here, he’s clearly been continuing to train his body and hone it ready for matches like this.
Richard Parker: Sales of Warmcold are either skyrocketing or plummeting based on this match, I’m just not sure which.
The fans continue to clap and stomp in their support for The Anglo Luchador as he refuses to quit and fights his way towards the ropes. Impulse tries his best to keep the hold locked in tight, but the further he wrenches, the more sweat pours out of him, causing his grip to loosen. It’s not enough to break the hold but it is enough to give TAL the scope to move forward towards the ropes. Impulse notices Luchador close to the ropes and stands up, trying to drag him back towards the middle of the ring but Luchador is able to instinctively cradle Impulse.
Nick Stuart: And Impulse is able to break free from another of The Anglo Luchador’s tight packages.
Richard Parker: Not touching that one, this is a family show.
Impulse breaks out of the cradle in a way that creates a decent amount of distance between the two competitors. TAL uses the ropes to help him get back up to an even footing, looking a little bit hobbled and worse for wear in the knee department after a reasonable amount of time locked in Impulse’s crab. Impulse wants to keep the attack up but as he moves towards TAL, The Luchador is able to grab him and lock him in a headlock, using a judo-esque throw to toss Impulse down to the mat. The Anglo Luchador rubs on his left knee a little, clearly feeling a little worse for wear but is undeterred. With Impulse on the mat, TAL grabs him by the wrist and starts to guide him back towards his feet.
Nick Stuart: The Anglo Luchador has wrist control! He could be looking for that Drizzle-Maker of his.
Richard Parker: Wrist control? Wrist control is what matters here? Absurd! Who would ever care about that.
The Anglo Luchador keeps a tight hold of Impulse’s wrist as Impulse gets back up to an even base and waits for a few seconds. The moment that inspiration strikes, The Anglo Luchador tries to pull the ripcord but Impulse manages to duck under the swing of the right cross by the veteran.
Nick Stuart: The speed of Impulse allowed him to dodge what was looking to be a brutal right cross from The Anglo Luchador!
Richard Parker: But Luchador still has control! Perhaps there’s something to this wrist clutch business!
Even though Impulse managed to avoid the wild swing from The Anglo Luchador, Luchador still managed to keep hold of Impulse’s wrist. As Impulse ducks out of the way, Luchador manages to spin a pivot, whipping Impulse right in the corner of the ring with great authority that causes some of the crowd to react by going “oooh”. Impulse clutches his back in agony and seeing that this is doing the job, The Anglo Luchador fires Impulse into the opposing corner too with all of his might. Impulse manages to turn just before he hits the corner, allowing the impact to hit his back rather than his chest.
Nick Stuart: A little vicious glint in the eyes of The Anglo Luchador here, he saw that Impulse was hit hard by making contact with the turnbuckle and decided to keep up the game plan.
Richard Parker: I’m not sure if a little smile after inflicting pain will get him and Ria Nightshade the Intense Championship match, he may have to go deeper and darker if he wants those votes considering the psychopaths running around the MGM Grand.
With Impulse in the corner, The Anglo Luchador rushes towards him with the speed of a man twenty years young and hops onto his opponent, flipping him over with a monkey flip. TAL lands on both feet but suddenly buckles, clearly still feeling the effects of the earlier submission hold. As The Luchador turns around, nursing his knee slightly, he hasn’t noticed that Impulse flipped through and landed right back on his feet too. Before The Anglo Luchador can do anything…
Nick Stuart: Sudden Impact! It looks like The Anglo Luchador landed the wrong way after the monkey flip and he gave Impulse just enough space to strike.
Almost surprised at his own speed, Impulse watches The Anglo Luchador crumble to the ground. Not wanting to take any chances, he quickly drops to the mat and hooks both legs, putting all of his weight behind the pin. Jimmy Turnbull goes for the count.
Nick Stuart: And it’s enough to do it!
Richard Parker: Impulse showed his fast reflexes to pick up the win here but even I have to admit that I’m impressed by the fight that The Anglo Luchador brought here.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Here is your winner by pinfall at a time of fourteen minutes and twenty six seconds… IMPUUUUUUULLLSE!
Impulse hops up from the pin, allowing Jimmy Turnbull to raise his hand in the sky.
Nick Stuart: Whether it’s Brandon Youngblood or Cancer Jiles as Universal Champion come Great American Nightmare, Impulse is sending them a message – one opening, one slip up is all it takes for Impulse to be the next champion.
Richard Parker: I have to wonder if The Anglo Luchador’s condition didn’t play a factor in the ending here. All the brutal assaults and beatdowns he has been through recently… he can’t be recovering quickly from them.
Impulse extends a hand to The Anglo Luchador as Luchador pulls himself back together. The camera fades on a respectful shaking of the hands between the two competitors and a wave of applause from the fans.
Nutsacks in Twain
“Alright. Here we go. Big night! Main event! Gotta defend the title!”
Fading in reveals a very jittery “Event Horizon” Hayes Hanlon, boots and tights on with a “Mustache Rides are FREE” t-shirt over his broad frame. He paces back and forth, making awkward jabbing motions with his fists and odd lateral slide movements back and forth.
Hayes Hanlon: Time to shine, baby! King of the mountain! Apex predator! THE NAAAATTCHA BOOOYY…
Nova: Hayes, stop doing what you’re doing.
The Five Star Champ spins around, a touch red in the face at the interruption. Nova sits next to Garbage Bag Johnny on a bench in the locker room, one hand on his stomach thanks to earlier events at the Survivor challenge. Johnny sits with his arms clutching his chest, forlornly gazing off into the distance.
Hayes Hanlon: Sorry, I’m just friggin’ amped, man! First title defense, first main event! What do I gotta know? What do I do? How grand an entrance is TOO grand…
Nova: You should probably just go out and wrestle?
Garbage Bag Johnny: I MYSELF AM WRESTLING WITH LONELINESS SINCE I DID NOT HAVE A DATE WITH MURIEL TONIGHT.
Hayes Hanlon: Yeah…I wanted to say sorry about that, except…no?
Nova: Feel lucky that you don’t have to keep an eye out for socks on doorknobs.
Garbage Bag Johnny: IT IS LIKE MY HEART HAS BEEN RENT IN TWAIN. OH, THE SORROW!
Nova: Anyway, you have more on your plate to worry about than how well-timed your walk to the ring is. Didn’t you extend the invitation to Palmer and Grady to “join the party” last week?
Hayes Hanlon: Yeaaah…that probably wasn’t a great idea in hindsight.
Garbage Bag Johnny: AND LIKE MY NUTSACK HAS BEEN RENT IN TWAIN!
Garbage Bag Johnny curls up in the fetal position and starts bawling his eyes out. Hayes points a concerned thumb to the Bawling Bag Man and looks to Nova.
Hayes Hanlon: Is…is he gonna be okay?
Nova: Completely fine. But what are you going to do about Palmer and Grady if they decide to take you up on your offer?
Hayes Hanlon: So, about that.
Hanlon puts on his best used-car salesman grin and extends his palms to The Risen Star and the Dirtiest Dude in PRIME.
Hayes Hanlon: Would you guys wanna lend a hand if things get dicey?
Nova cocks an eyebrow, leaning over to assist the sniffling Johnny to his feet.
Nova: You want us at ringside?
Hayes Hanlon: Maybe hang in the back until the time is right. Picture this:
Hayes steps back, lifting his arms and telling a story with his hands.
Hayes Hanlon: During the battle, the referee gets knocked out of the action! She’s dazed, and Palmer and Grady take their chance. I fend them off like a BOSS. A clothesline, a spinebuster, probably a stunner, but it’s not enough! All three of them are putting the boots to me in the center of the ring. “How will Hayes Hanlon escape this onslaught!” they’ll ask! And then…
The young Five Star Champ hops onto nearby chair, standing tall with his arms outstretched:
Hayes Hanlon: “Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time…for y’all have knocked her up!”
Hayes hops down from his chair, extremely excited.
Hayes Hanlon: The music hits! Out run Nova and Garbage Bag Johnny, the crowd is all like “RAAAAHHHHHH!!!!” And you guys dive in and BOOM! Bourbon for Breakfast on Teddy! BOOM! Legendary De-Pants Combo on Grady! And the BOOM! I muster the energy for The Epoch on Redding, and the ref has come-to just in time for the one! Two! Three!
Hayes holds his hands over his head in faux-triumph, until realizing he’s only collected a couple stares. He lowers his hands and takes a big breath.
Hayes Hanlon: Or something like that. I’ve definitely never once day-dreamed about that exact scenario.
Nova scratches at his beard, mostly for dramatic pause. Hayes leans in eagerly for his response.
Nova: No, that definitely sounds awesome. We’re in.
Hayes fist pumps before clapping both compadres on the shoulder.
Hayes Hanlon: Yes! This is gonna be the best! And I’ll bet it’ll go exactly like that!
Garbage Bag Johnny approaches Hayes and puts his hands on the Five Star Champ’s shoulders. He brings him close, looking at Hanlon right in the eyes.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Have you ever been in love, kid? I mean, like, REALLY been in love?
He gives Hanlon a shake to accentuate the “REALLY” part. Nova steps in and gently separates Johnny.
Nova: Come on, buddy. Let’s go back to the 28th floor and get you back in one piece before the match.
Your Ass is On the Line
Backstage. A door. This one, unlike the many others of previous weeks, is far from random. It’s the placard that gives it away; a simple piece of embossed plastic that reads: Melvin Beauregard, Special Liaison to PRIME. It’s the kind of thing that would ward away most folks from daring to intrude, but not the ones currently hovering at the threshold.
The first of these is likely the last person Mr. Beauregard would want in his office, invited or otherwise, but King Blueberry isn’t one to concern himself with these things. Neither is Ria Nightshade, who is crouched low and working on the door’s locking mechanism.
El Hijo del Super Cool Guy and Charity are present as well, but they don’t get to have opinions. Because they’re not alive.
King Blueberry: Thanks for helpin’ me out with this. After the way things went earlier tonight, with the group of Survivor weirdos and their “cooking”…
From somewhere deep inside him comes a low rumbling, like the angry, wet wails of a dying plague demon.
King Blueberry: Dude has this one coming. At least no one tried to feed us IcyHot. I mean, I don’t think they did, anyway.
A pause, as the demon slumbers once more.
King Blueberry: Speaking of, how’s the campaign going? You and Old Man Philly gonna throw down?
Ria Nightshade: He better hope for his sake we don’t. I’m gonna take that mask, shove it down his throat, make him shit it out, THEN shove it down his throat again! A vicious, mask shitting and eating cycle!
King Blueberry: Well, that’s, uhh… vivid.
He works to stifle a gag.
King Blueberry: Horrible mental imagery notwithstanding, I hope you get your shot. And after last week – or two weeks ago, whatever, time is weird – I don’t think I’m alone.
Ria Nightshade: Time is paradoxical. You move through time, while it also moves around you. You can only go forward, never back, and only at the speed of which human life allows. Is time linear? Are there multiple timelines? Is it only a few or are they infinite, with every minute decision creating neverending branches?
King Blueberry: Wow. I think that’s the hardest I’ve ever seen someone work to try and dodge a compliment.
Ria Nightshade: I could stab you with this lockpick instead. Which method do you prefer?
King Blueberry: Okay, that’s a fair point. I mean I’ve dealt with chairs, and light tubes, and then there was this one time I just let a guy almost break my leg, so…
He nods, weighing his options. He also subtly switches his positioning, putting a bit of a barrier between them. King Blueberry, champion of nonsense, now hides behind a silicone sex doll.
King Blueberry: I’m-just-saying-I-want-you-to-be-successful-is-all-I-think-you-can-crush-it-okay
The words fly fast, and he braces.
And then, there’s a maniacal laughter. A man walks into frame, and he stands there laughing for several long seconds, despite two different sets of eyes staring at him.
Baron von Blackberry: AHAHAHA… oh, wait. Neither of you are Melvin, are you?
He looks both Ria and Blueberry over.
Baron von Blackberry: No. No, this won’t do. I have a need to yell unceasingly at that man!
King Blueberry: Buddy, get in line.
The Blueberry beams beneath his mask, and then Baron von Blackberry finds himself the victim of an awkward hug, which is only released when agonized cries of that damn plague demon start up again.
King Blueberry: We’re here for some, well, not revenge. More an impassioned plea to maybe not try poisoning half the roster again. Pretty sure one of those dishes winked at me.
Baron von Blackberry: Then you’re in luck! For I, too, am here to make that same exact plea. Because I’m pretty sure Joe took the food even worse than you did.
King Blueberry: Yeah, about that guy…
He casts a sideways glance at the mannequin – the not-sex one. To his credit, Super Cool Guy appears unfazed by the sudden attention.
King Blueberry: How’s he doing? I’m not sure how it keeps happening – the Canadian Destroyers, I mean. It’s the damnedest thing, but sometimes the laws of physics just go hell around me. Just right to hell.
Baron von Blackberry: Beef and Janito did mention something about physics and how they be damned… but if you ask me, well…
Blackberry suddenly notices that there’s someone else on the scene, and looks past Blueberry.
Baron von Blackberry: Oh hey, Ria. What’s up?
Ria Nightshade: I’m close, but a couple of fucking idiots won’t shut up so I can concentrate! I already have one voice in my head bitching at me, don’t need to hear you two blathering on…
Blueberry feigns indignance, but says nothing. Instead he looks at Blackberry, and gestures with his hands.
King Blueberry: (mouthing the words) Does she mean you and me?
He shakes his head. It’s all very dramatic.
King Blueberry: (mouthing again) Noooooo, can’t be us.
Then points with his thumb at the mannequins.
King Blueberry: (yup, still mouthing) Gotta be them.
It’s all very stupid.
Baron von Blackberry: (also mouthing) Almost certainly.
El Hijo Del Super Cool Guy: …
King Blueberry: Dude! She said to keep it down. You already heard what she said she’d do to Anglo, yeah? You trying to get us killed now?
Baron von Blackberry: …Is he speaking in Klingon?
King Blueberry: I have no idea what he says anymore. Not since I had to replace the head. It’s a whole thing.
There’s a moment of quiet that settles over the group, broken only by the occasional sounds of metal scraping against metal, the pick finding its way in the lock. Some might expect the first meeting in years between the berries to be more upbeat, more boisterous. But this encounter has the distinction of also being their first without the third member of the group.
Without Sultan Strawberry.
Without Seymour Almasy.
King Blueberry: This feels wrong, like everything’s suddenly out of balance. The last time I wore this…
He flicks the base of his mask with his thumb.
King Blueberry: Last time I wore this there were three of us. Now it’s just us, Baron. You and I are all that’s left. Don’t get me wrong, it’s incredible to see you again, it’s just… Shit’s not fair.
Baron von Blackberry: I know, Your Highness. It never seems to be.
The king just nods.
King Blueberry: Hey, Ria, you don’t have to keep going. I’ve wasted enough of your time, so if we’re not close we can just call it. I appreciate you for trying.
As the last words leave King Blueberry’s mouth, an audible CLICK can be heard. Ria’s ever present smirk finally returns to her face as the door slowly swings open.
Ria Nightshade: You were saying?
A little bit of the light returns to King Blueberry, a hint of a smirk playing at his lips.
King Blueberry: Ria, you’re my hero for this. Absolute hero! And if there’s any heat for this – fines or whatever – I’ll take all the responsibility. Want you to know I’ve got your back, okay?
Still crouched down, lockpick in hand, Ria stares up at King Blueberry. She takes his words in for a moment… Before stabbing the lockpick into the right butt cheek of KB.
First is the shock, then the realization, and then the pain, sharp and radiating. Blueberry sucks in a long breath through clenched teeth. His eyes, already starting to water, are closed tight.
King Blueberry: Yep. Totally warned me about that.
A closed fist pounds a slow, steady drum beat on the wall behind him. The demon in his belly picks this time to growl again.
King Blueberry: Goddammit that sucked.
Baron von Blackberry: Thanks, Ria!
King Blueberry: Dude!
Baron von Blackberry: For the door!
Ria Nightshade: You’re welcome! For both!
Blueberry exhales a hard sigh, the latest in a string of many tonight. Still hunched over, he looks first to Blackberry, then to Ria, and then to the lifeless forms of SCG and Charity.
King Blueberry: So. Mannequins in naughty poses on Melvin’s desk?
Baron von Blackberry: AHAHA! He shouldn’t have left the door unlocked! THE FOOL!
With their plastic people in tow, the three dip inside the now-open office of Melvin Beauregard, special liaison to PRIME. Later, when he returns to his office, the first thing he’ll see is the visage of Charity staring blankly at him from across his desk. The second thing will be Super Cool Guy, also staring from behind his desk.
Look, I’m not explaining any more than that. No one here’s trying to get stabbed for real, okay?
What the rest of the internet will see later tonight is all of this, in addition to the many cell phone photos that were taken of all the other places both dummies were posed.
Unfortunately for Melvin, he’ll also be the first one to discover a private sink full of whatever King Blueberry ate during Survivor.
Sucks to be him.
It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
The door opens to a suite on the 28th floor of the MGM Grand and Garbage Bag Johnny flips the light on. He and Nova step inside, laughing and pushing past each other.
Garbage Bag Johnny: No, bro. I’m fine. Someone just paid me on Fiverr to act really sad.
Nova: I don’t think that’s a thing.
Garbage Bag Johnny: I’ve got a picture of Honest Abe that says otherwise. Anyway, you sure you’re not gonna get in trouble for any of this?
Nova: I’m telling you, bro, it’s like they aren’t supervising me at all any more. It’s “MESSIAH” this and “MESSIAH” that and there are no UAs, my fucking GPS is dead…
Nova gestures to his ankle bracelet. The light has gone out.
Nova: That treatment program is all my P.O. talks about! Anyway, no, I’m not getting in any trouble, let’s just pour up a couple for the team no one thought would be a thing, then get down there and back up our boy.
Garbage Bag Johnny: We may not have a catchy name…or even a name at all…but count me in! Nothing like a palate cleanser after a delightful meal.
GBJ grabs the bottle of gin on the kitchen island and arranges a couple of shots. Before Nova can take a full step towards thema figure emerges from the shadows and face-palms him into the wall.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Easy bud, we still have…
A separate person springs from behind the kitchen island, gripping GBJ by his thick locks and slamming his face down onto the shot glasses he was prepping. GBJ springs up, glass stuck in his face, rivulets of blood and stinging gin running down his face.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Aaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!
GBJ waves his arms forward and grips the person in front of him, slamming both of their heads down onto the island, gin-soaked blood spatter flinging across every corner of the kitchenette before the other figure grabs hold of a handful of his hair, snapping his head back.
Future Nova whispers in his ear.
Future Nova: What happened to our fucking belts?
Future Nova looks to his right as Nova stands, drywall flecked across his blinded eyes, and lunges. Nova grabs at Future Nova’s space collar and lands a few quick jabs before Future Nova sticks out a leg and flips Nova through part of an end-table, sending him crashing to the floor, his legs knocking down a standing lamp.
GBJ sweeps the liquor-soaked glass across the island into Future Nova’s eyes, then takes a few quick breaths before turning as Future GBJ connects the wide side of a knife storage block against his head. Most of the knives fly out of the block and a few stick into the surrounding drywall. Future GBJ grabs one and presses GBJ against the kitchen island, plunging down…
…but GBJ catches it at the base, bloody teeth gritted, arms shaking, as the knife quivers above his chest.
GBJ only has time to see the fist coming his way before his head rocks to the side and hangs loosely off the side of the island. Future GBJ drops the knife in his hand. It clatters across the tiled kitchen floor. Future Nova steps around the island with a wad of paper towels, wetting them under the sink before applying them to Future GBJ’s face, cleaning away the spots of blood and glass.
Future Nova: Really none the worse for wear, to be honest.
Future GBJ: We made a huge mistake with all this, Nov. Now there’s no proof we were champs for 50 years at all.
Future Nova grabs him by the shoulders, his space suit crinkling dramatically as he leans in.
Future Nova: Hey! Hey, don’t think that way! We EARNED this! And KEPT this! We just needed to confirm these losers were gonna ensure our legacy even happened in the first place!
Nova crawls out of the broken wood chunks of the end-table, attempting to stand before Future GBJ roundhouse-kicks him in the grill. He collapses amidst the rubble.
Future Nova: And they’re FREAKING NOT! These jackwagons don’t have a name. They’ve never even wrestled a match together.
Future Nova paces back and forth, surveying the wreckage in the room.
Future Nova: No. The only way these turds win the belts is if we win the belts and give it to them.
Future GBJ: I have to believe something was said about this earlier, but that masked gringo asked us so many goddamn questions, I didn’t catch whether or not these suckers made it to the next round.
Future Nova: Doesn’t matter. If they’re still in, we pick up where they left off and win the belts. If not, we beat the stuffing out of whoever does win this Survivor thing.
Future GBJ: Right on, brother.
The elder duo exchange a wrinkly high five, but as their flabby, bloodstained hands clasp together, (barely) present GBJ starts coughing and wheezing and looks up.
GBJ: Who…the helll…are you guys?
Future GBJ and Future Nova exchange a glance and then crouch down in front of GBJ.
Future Nova: Us? We’re The Future of Wrestling.
With that, both Future GBJ and Future Nova send simultaneous fists into each side of GBJ’s skull, knocking him clean out.
The Future of Wrestling look at each other. Future Nova looks around, Nova collapsed in a pile of particle board, and GBJ face-first on bloodied carpet.
Future Nova: Soooooo…somebody (gesturing towards the fallen) promised to back up their friend, right?
Future GBJ: Right.
Future GBJ: Fuck.
Future Nova: Suit up. We got to teach some more punks to respect their elders.
TEDDY PALMER vs. DUSK
Silence fills the MGM-Grand Arena before “Death Grip” by Watt White fires up as the PRIMEView comes to life and starts playing the entrance video for “The Lost Soul”… Dusk! The man himself emerges from the backstage area and stands at the top of the ramp, soaking in the cheers from the fans.
Vince Howard: This match is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first from Los Angeles, California…weighing in at 225lbs and standing 6’4”, he is DUUUUUSK!
Nick Stuart: Dusk on his way to the ring here with a brand new entrance theme, and the fans seem to be enjoying it!
DUSK DUSK DUSK DUSK!
Richard Parker: Only took him how many weeks to debut this? I bet he didn’t even pick it out himself.
Dusk makes his way down the ramp, high-fiving the fans on his way down, a renewed energy in his eyes as he slides under the bottom rope and bounces off the ropes a few times before he stops in the middle of the ring, a smile on his face. He slams his fists into his legs and abdomen, working to get the blood pumping, and his eyes look as focused as ever, as there is a tiny glimmer of a fire there.
“My Reward” by Hail the Villain plays and the PRIMEView dazzles with bright light and the video for “The Wayward Son” Teddy Palmer.
Nick Stuart: Teddy looks to be ready for a scrap tonight Richard. I hope he is up to the task that the stalwart Dusk presents.
Richard Parker: You know, it isn’t lost on me that this is a matchup between “The Lost Soul” and “The Wayward Son.” Maybe the loser can come up with a new nickname?
Teddy emerges from the back and makes his way down the ramp flanked by Grady Patrick. He stops to slowly walk up the ring steps before checking his brightly colored shorts and wrist tape. As Palmer steps through the ropes, Vince Howard steps forward to make his announcement.
Vince Howard: And his opponent, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada…weighing in at 215lbs and standing 6’1”, he is “The Wayward Son” TEEEEEDDDYYYY PAAAAALMEEEERRR!
Nick Stuart: Here we go!
Teddy steps forward quickly and is met in the center of the ring by Dusk in a classic collar and elbow. The two men are pretty evenly matched in terms of strength with any size Dusk might have as an advantage giving way to youth. Eventually experience wins and Dusk is able to spin into a go-behind followed by a hammerlock. Teddy takes a couple hops before trying a back elbow that Dusk ducks under deftly.
Nick Stuart: Some quick base wrestling by both men in this match. Dusk is showing his ring generalship and out maneuvering the younger man.
Richard Parker: What is he paying Grady for if he is getting outworked by father time?
Dusk turns the momentum of the missed elbow into an atomic drop which sends shocks up Teddy’s spine. He stumbles forward and turns around in time to be met with a forearm smash from Dusk. The older wrestler grabs Teddy and whips him into the ropes. He uses Palmer’s momentum to deliver a knee to the midsection. Dusk grabs Teddy around the head and whips his hand around in a circle over his head.
Nick Stuart: What is that supposed to mean?
Richard Parker: Maybe it is some kind of old guy gang sign? Like he is signaling his motor scooter posse?
Dusk drops Teddy with a filthy DDT hard onto the mat and the younger man sprawls out. Dusk is on him quickly looking for a pin. Elvis Nixon slides into place with practiced grace.
Teddy kicks out and Dusk kneels over him. Slowing the pace a bit, he grabs teddy and begins to lay palm strikes into his downed opponent.
Nick Stuart: Smart move by Dusk not using a closed fist! He can get away with a lot more strikes by using the palm of his hand instead of his knuckles.
Richard Stuart: Yeah but that has gone the way of Pancrase. Nobody uses palm strikes anymore.
Nick Stuart: Tell that to Dusk!
Dusk ramps up the strikes, gaining momentum until he is rhythmically dropping shots followed by another forearm smash. Palmer kicks and covers his face, rolling out of the way of the PRIME veteran.
Grady Patrick swings to the side of the ring closest to the action and admonishes Elvis Nixon for allowing closed fist shots, but Elvis pushes back, informing the rodential man that all the shots were perfectly legal according to the PRIME rule book. Grady slams his hat to the ground and stomps while protesting about the treatment of his wrestler. Nixon seems nonplussed by his behavior, but Dusk yells something that only the manager can hear and waves his hand at him as if to say “stay out of it”.
Nick Stuart: You aren’t going to win by badgering the official!
Richard Parker: No but you can get the time you need to get out of a bad situation!
Teddy uses the distraction and launches a kick into Dusk’s midsection. Dusk stumbles backward and barely has time to see a European uppercut as it connects with his jawline. Ted uses his momentum to swing again and the force spins Dusk and pushes him into the corner. He grabs Dusk around the waist and lifts him quickly into a release German suplex.
Nick Stuart: This was ALL Dusk until Grady got involved!
Richard Parker: I guess that is what he is paying him for!
Teddy goes for a quick pin, but Dusk kicks out before Elvis can even count to one. Frustrated, Teddy tries for another pin, but Dusk kicks out again, this time with gusto and he rolls away from his opponent. He stands up and grabs Teddy in a modified Thai plum and begins to launch knee strikes to his opponents midsection.
Ted drops to a knee and weakly tries to guard his ribs giving Dusk an opening to knee strike his opponent in the jaw. Teddy falls backward, but Dusk doesn’t wait long, running back into the ropes and coming off with speed.
Nick Stuart: Dusk coming with nasty intentions!
Richard Parker: Really? I wouldn’t think he is planning on hugging him.
Dusk hits Teddy with a running knee strike and immediately goes to a pin. Elvis slides into place again…
Teddy kicks out and Dusk sits on his knees, trying to think about how he will put his competitor away. He seems to have a sly smile as he starts to make his way to his feet slowly.
Nick Stuart: Dusk has to be thinking of going to the well on this and breaking out one of his trademark kicks.
Richard Parker: I mean, he is kinda known for those things. It would shock me if he didn’t try for one at some point in this match.
Dusk slowly walks to the opposite corner and begins sizing Teddy Palmer up. The younger man stirs and begins to get to his feet as he stumbles around, Dusk step-hops forward and fires a Super Kick right into the jaw of Teddy. The Wayward Son slowly teeters backward and falls on his back hard. Dusk wastes no time in hooking the leg and going for a pin.
Nick Stuart: Dusk with a picture perfect superkick!
Elvis Nixon slides into position and begins his count.
Teddy kicks out weakly! Dusk pops up and steps to the opposite corner one again. He beckons for Teddy to get to his feet. Outside the ring, Grady fumes and screams for Teddy to stay down. However, Palmer does not hear his manager through his ringing ears and stumbles to his feet once again.
Nick Stuart: The writing is on the wall here, folks.
Richard Parker: I feel like the writing on the bottom of Dusk’s wrestling boot is about to be on Teddy’s face. I hope he wears a recognizable brand!
Dusk launches another monstrous superkick into Teddy’s chin and puts him down hard. Dusk drops for the pin and Elvis counts.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Your winner…DUUUUUSK!
Nick Stuart: Teddy Palmer just didn’t have it together tonight and Dusk is able to pick up a win!
Richard Parker: Sometimes it just isn’t your night and you bear the shame of losing to Dusk.
Nick Stuart: I don’t think there is any shame in losing to a PRIME veteran like him.
Richard Parker: Veteran is right!
Dusk makes his way back up the ramp as ReVival rolls on.
Don’t Let Him Win
Nick Stuart: Well folks, if you’re wondering why there’s a table and chairs set up nice and neatly inside the ring it’s because up next we have a meeting of the minds. A face to face showdown between UNIVERSAL CHAMPION Brandon Youngblood, and everyone’s favorite thorn, Cancer Jiles.
Richard Parker: What could possibly go wrong?
Nick Stuart: As reported in the controversial debut edition of Cracking News, Jiles is “cashing in” his Golden Ticket. He will meet Brandon Youngblood in the main event of ReVival Eight in what’s sure to be a highly contentious rematch for the Universal Championship. Before that–
Richard Parker: BEFORE THAT Jiles the Jerkoff needs to remind everyone just how lucky he is to be walking around God’s green Earth after OUR Champion made an omelet out of him at Culture Shock!
Nick Stuart: Even here in Vegas I don’t like the chances of that happening.
Richard Parker: A boy can dream.
“I am the COOL” by Screamin Jay Hawkins hits and the boo birds awaken.
After longer than usual comes to pass, Jiles, who is dressed down in his company issue electric-blue tracksuit, comes walking out to the uproarious disapproval. The COOLYMPIAN and his golden, Valdez-oil-slick of COOL don’t bother posing for all to see. Rather, both he and hair simply continue down to the ring. It should be noted that the T-Shades on his face are glimmering in such a way that one might say they once belonged to John Connor.
Nick Stuart: I think John Connor once owned those shades.
Upon reaching the ring The Big C rolls under the bottom rope, immediately calls for and receives a microphone, then finds an unoccupied spot to stand.
Cancer Jiles: Yeah, yeah. Like I give a fu–
Cancer Jiles: (talking over) Screw it! Ladies and gentlemen I present to you your UNIVERSAL CHAMPION! THE WINNER OF THE ALMASY INVITATIONAL! THE BABBLING TOWER! Brandon Youngblood!
Youngblood’s music hits. The crowd goes from zero to hero and whips into a fanatical frenzy. Tops come off. Babies are crying tears of joy. Children are wetting themselves. Adult men are pinching their nipples just to make sure the moment is real.
Well, if only for a moment anyway.
Cancer Jiles: Come on down, Champ. Don’t keep your devoted PRIMEordials waiting.
Jiles goes and sits on the second rope, further inviting his prey to join him. The problem is as most of the MGM Grand Garden Arena is quickly finding out; it’s not Brandon Youngblood who is making his way down to the ring.
It’s Bobby Youngblood.
Richard Parker: The NERVE!
The Man from Honalee is donning a singlet that clearly doesn’t fit, and wears a wig prosthetic that makes him look like the Monopoly Man. Oh, and there’s also a toy replica of the UNIVERSAL Championship in his grasp.
Richard Parker: This goon just doesn’t know when to quit!
Nick Stuart: Eh, which one?
After laboring down the ramp, Bobbyblood takes a moment to catch his breath before taking the stairs up to the ring. Sadly, he fumbles his way through the ropes even though Jiles is propping them open. Once he recovers he raises his arms in ultimate triumph, which unfortunately causes both of the singlet straps around his shoulders to snap. The sound of the wardrobe malfunction rubber bands throughout the entire arena.
Richard Parker: Jesus Christ.
Jiles quickly takes off his track jacket and gives it to his buddy so he can cover up– like Bob doesn’t wrestle topless to begin with. Bobby, who doesn’t look too comfortable in Youngblood’s skin, quickly takes a seat atop one of the folding chairs. Jiles does the same, but across the table from his beautiful rival.
Cancer Jiles: (sincere) I’d like to start this off by thanking you for joining me, Champ. I know you’ve been busy writing songs in the garage, so I appreciate you finding the time. I’m sure your adoring, loving, caring, and most of all, CRUMB BUM fans appreciate it, too.
The Beautiful Impersonator raises a closed fist, and shakes it as if he were fighting off rigor mortis.
Cancer Jiles: Whoa! Easy there, Champ. I didn’t invite you out here to fight. That comes later, on the next ReVival. Not to mention I would hate myself if you were to somehow get hurt before that could happen.
Jiles gives a hearty thumbs up to prove he is on the level with his words. It’s half crooked so beware.
Cancer Jiles: Besides, from the looks of things victory has already taken care of that for me, hasn’t it, Champ?
Bob and his sharpened gaze don’t find the fat ribbing too amusing. However, he’s come this far.
Cancer Jiles: Then again, I can’t say I’m too surprised you’ve grown plump. You got your cake. It was a big piece. Biggest you ever had. You ate it while you could. Good for you. Really, good for you. I’m happy it didn’t go to waste.
Bobby lightens up and cracks a small smile, probably from just the sheer mention of eating cake. Meanwhile, the crowd continues to let Jiles have it for his satirical hubris. Their frenzied detriment only causes his hair to seemingly radiate with utter disrespect and sheer confidence.
Cancer Jiles: Now tell me, do you think you’ll WANT seconds? If so, you should know that’s gonna wind up being a whole lot of cake you have to swallow. Not that I don’t think you’re up for it. It’s just — and not to be a Debby Downer here — but you look like you’ve had your fill.
The Grand Maestro of the Bandits removes his shades, and stares into Beautiful Brandon Youngblood’s swollen, watering, eyes. Then, before he can continue on with his demeaning diatribe…
BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD
SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE
LET THE GALAXY BURN
For the second time, Bloodsport (World Domination) by HEALTH blares, the intense and jarring beat causing the fans to roar in approval. It could easily be another eGG Bandits ploy, another way to take the piss out of the crowd, but nobody seems the wiser of the possibility.
Richard Parker: Please GOD let it be him and not that old guy no one can see. PLEASE.
Richard’s prayer is answered. Out comes the UNIVERSAL CHAMPION, dressed to fight, combat shorts, white, black and red track top, championship belt in tow over the shoulder, and The MGM Grand Garden Arena goes full tilt, absolute, roof rattling bonkers because of it.
Richard Parker: FINALLY! KILL HIM! NO ONE WILL CARE!
Bobby quickly flees the scene of the crime, perhaps moving faster than he’s moved at any point this decade. He scampers over the guardrail like a hungry ballerina skipping the line at the buffet and disappears into the crowd.
Nick Stuart: I’d say Robert Dean is smarter than he looks, but he is beautiful.
Richard Parker: Yeah, he’s got a beautiful brain.
Nick Stuart: Don’t look now, but even with this riotous ovation, and Brandon Youngblood marching down to the ring, Jiles hasn’t moved an inch. He didn’t even get up to chase after Bobby when he fled.
Richard Parker: He’s scared stiff. He’s a deer in the headlights.
Nick Stuart: Maybe, but I got a strange feeling The Maestro might be orchestrating.
Youngblood reaches ringside, his gaze never once leaving the grinning hyena trespassing inside his den. He slowly stalks his way up the steps, and carefully enters the ring. Instead of raging–throwing a chair out of the ring and powerbombing Jiles through the table, he takes a seat.
Cancer Jiles: Took you long enough, and here you can use mine. Maybe some osmosis will do you good.
Like he’s got the biggest dick in the room, Youngblood leans forward in his chair, slings the Universal Championship from over his shoulder, and places it on the table for Jiles to clearly see, picking up the microphone.
Brandon Youngblood: Nice toy you had there. Got one better for you though, Jiles. That right there? That’s the real thing. Wanna know how you can tell? It has my name on it.
Ship totally sunk, Jiles’ face, hair, and confidence are all in need of the Coast Guard. The mirror-tint on his precious T-shades picking up the CHAMPIONSHIP belt in their reflection isn’t doing him any favors, either. Poor guy. It’s as if Brandon stamped his name across The COOL’s face.
Brandon Youngblood: Say, are those them “cool” Apple glasses? The ones that take the pics? If so, snap one off. You can send it to the belt maker. Make sure the replica gets a nice view. Don’t need no white photoshop outlining showing up. That’d be pretty embarrassing…
The Tower of Babel leans in close ensuring there’s no confusion as to what comes next. Jiles, still hanging with Anna and Elsa, cowers.
Brandon Youngblood: …almost as much as the idea of your name on the goddamn plate.
Dagger stare. There is no respect here. Why would there be? This isn’t Crackin’ News. This isn’t the mutual admiration society.
Brandon Youngblood: Unfinished Business Tour. Leg one. Because people like Melvin Beauregard thought the Almasy Invitational needed to be jazzed up with bounties. But you’re not Charlie Bucket. You’re a Veruca Salt jackass who came here and kicked your feet screaming ‘mine mine mine’ while a bunch of people were finding their footing. But this isn’t the eGG Bandits show. You’re in the Diamond Age now…and putting you down will be more of a pleasure than an honor.
Youngblood stands from his seat, content. He looks down upon the King of COOL one more time, then grabs the title belt from off the table.
Spoiler, he remains unimpressed.
However, when Brandon turns to leave, he takes one step before coming to a halt.
Nick Stuart: Here we go!
Youngbood is holding one half of the Universal Championship, and Jiles, who has finally found the courage, is holding the other. Think tug of war, just without anyone struggling. The MGM Grand picks up spirit again, and starts to cheer the possibility of Christmas coming early.
Richard Parker: Kill him. No reason to wait two weeks. Do it now.
There’s a few seconds of tenseness… then, like he’s still got the biggest dick in the room, Youngblood pulls the belt from Jiles’ grasp as if the challenger were a mere child. Of course, the downtrodden COOLYMPIAN further cowers in his chair.
Richard Parker: Pathetic. Such a loser.
Youngblood shakes his head in disgust, proudly holds the UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP high for all to see, and then…
Then, Brandon Youngbloood turns his back on Cancer Jiles. He climbs up to the SECOND turnbuckle to further show off the goods for even the comp tickets in the bleeds.
Nick Stuart: That’s not good. That’s not good at all.
Richard Parker: I hate how graceful he looks.
Like the thirsty, depraved, out classed, hyena of a man that he is, Jiles springs from his chair, dances across the eight foot table, dives, and drives his shoulder right into the back of Brandon’s knee.
The MGM Grand Garden gasps.
Nick Stuart: ….
Richard Parker: ….
Youngblood topples over backwards, actually landing on top of Jiles. The Maestro is seen laughing and smiling from underneath the Universal Champion.
Richard Parker: ….
Jiles finds his footing, whereas Brandon Youngblood does not. The Champion is clutching at that knee like it’s the last dollar at the Go-Go bar.
Nick Stuart: ….
Youngblood seethes in agony.
Jiles cackles with confidence.
Then, just like when Brandon yanked the belt from Cancer’s grasp earlier, Jiles returns the favor. Well, kind of. He just does so with Brandon’s leg instead of the Championship. He pulls, twists, turns, kicks, stomps, does the rope prop butt drop move, and even slides out of the ring to slam Youngblood’s knee into the side of the ring post.
His intent is clear.
He doesn’t want to hurt Brandon Youngblood.
He wants to cripple him.
In his agony, Youngblood is unaware of what is sure to be the final blow. The crowd, ravenous in their boos, is roaring as Jiles manages to saunter around the ringside area, our two announcers standing up as he draws near. Perfect opportunity. Richard Parker’s chair is right there for the taking. With gusto, the COOLYMPIAN slams the chair shut, and turns around to take a swing at Youngblood’s injured knee. Why wait two weeks? Cripple the bastard now! Luckily, for everyone involved who isn’t Cancer Jiles, there are still some heroes in the back without a yellow stripe for a spine. As such, number one contender for the Universal Championship, Impulse, comes charging out before the rotten egg can succeed in turning Brandon Youngblood into a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.
Nick Stuart: Impulse with the clutch save! Still, If that knee was feeling better, it isn’t anymore.
RIchard Parker: Classless pig shit coward. He has no spine. He has no morals. Look at him running like a coward…. He’s no Champion.
While Richard might be quick to keep his dander up, it’s clear he’s in no rush to get the chair still in Jiles possession. Impulse, for his part, is ready to chase him off. The damage has already been done. The chair has been dropped, as has the metaphorical gauntlet. Backing away up the ramp, Jiles, in all his greasy best, oozes utter confidence. Impulse, his face tightening in a scowl, stabs his finger in the direction of the King of Cool. The no sell is second nature; let the crumbs have their little moment now…the future is already assured to be eGGtastic.
Nick Stuart: I can’t believe it! Thank god for Impulse here! If it wasn’t for him, who knows what more Jiles could have done here!
Richard Parker: A damn coward. A piece of trash! Someone poison that bastard’s yolk!
Youngblood has managed to push himself away from his corner, prone, heels of his hands digging into the canvas. But he is in agony, wrenching toward his left knee, vacillating between curling his leg and straightening it, pounding the mat, and if one is to look clearly enough, tears in his eyes. How could he not? It felt as though his knee, messed up already, had just exploded into a mess of shredded tendons, diamonds crushed to powder.
Nick Stuart: The Universal Champion in tremendous pain! He can’t…he can barely move!
Richard Parker: Oh my god…is he…is he gonna have to forfeit the title? Is Cancer Jiles going to become the Universal Champion by proxy?!
Nick Stuart: I am sure Lindsay Troy is going to have something to say about this! This…this is heinous!
Richard Parker: But he’s got a Golden Ticket! His shot is confirmed. Set in stone! We saw how those bounties worked! And if Youngblood can’t go…
As the announcers go into full on panic, Impulse enters the ring, seeing the Last Diamond wallowing in pain. For so many, the instinct would be to pounce. After all, Randall Knox had come so close to beating this man and being the one to win the championship left laying helplessly in the ring. But he was a man of principle. Nearing Brandon, he uses his hands to brace his shoulders on the canvas, lowering himself enough to try and settle the massive beast down.
Impulse: You’re in shock, sir. Settle down. Can you move?
Brandon Youngblood: Get the fuck off me!
The champions arms are reaching for Impulse’s shoulders…but not in malice. He’s bracing himself.
Brandon Youngblood: Shock…I’m in fuckin shock…jesus…yeah…yeah…
Thankfully, the Marathon Man is quick to blow off the steam thrown his way. He does his best to help up the fallen Tower of Babel, allowing him to move without putting any weight on his left leg. With a little bit of movement to the corner, he gets him perched, so he can straighten his leg out.
Nick Stuart: It’s…can you see…it looks like his quad might’ve rolled up his thigh!
Richard Parker: No…no…I’m not listening to that. I’m not seeing that. There’s no way…there’s no freaking way this is going down like this!
Whether Nick is seeing things or not, Brandon can’t help but wince and clutch his face with one of his massive hands. And as he does? Impulse is reaching down for the Universal Championship belt, picking it up from the canvas, staring at the main plate. Contemplating. Smiling. Envisioning.
Richard Parker: Is he…is he going to hit him with the–
Nick Stuart: Never!
Richard Parker: He’s looking at that belt like it’s freaking Cally!
As if to cut off the very thought, Impulse breaks off his stare, looking toward the very wounded champion, walking over before slinging the belt over the man’s shoulder.
Impulse: You’re tougher than this. I know it. Everyone knows it. Don’t let him win.
The added weight is crazy in the circumstances, but Youngblood relents, relaxes. He takes heavy breaths, looking forward, nodding toward the rightful number one contender. But after a few moments, it is unmistakable; Impulse’s eyes are on the prize, transfixed upon it. And the Champion? All he can do is stare forward, toward such a distant and now possibly impossible challenger. The more we linger, the greater the tension becomes.
And the skies were painted yolk as somewhere close, Cancer Jiles let out the most sinister of laughs.
FIVE STAR TITLE: HAYES HANLON (c) vs. ALEXANDER REDDING
Back from commercial, we open on Richard and Nick at the desk.
Nick Stuart: Fans you will not want to miss ReVival 7, when not only with the Universal title be on the line as Cancer Jiles cashes in his bounty for a chance at Brandon Youngblood, but [chance for Lindz to hype anything else important on the next card.]
The buzzing anticipation of the PRIMEates in attendance is joined by the opening riffs of ‘Love Spreads’ over the loudspeakers.
Richard Parker: And I can’t wait for the main event we’ve got here. Redding hoping to show Hanlon the difference between simply winning the belt, and retaining.
From behind the curtain burst first the challenger, Redding striding out the picture of confidence, a devilish grin mismatched with the Joker visage splashed over his thigh.
Nick Stuart: And, well, I guess this answers our question if we were going to have a fair fight on our hands tonight.
A few paces behind, Grady Patrick and Teddy Palmer join on the march to the ring. Passing by a youngster holding a ‘Don’t Cross the Event Horizon’ sign has it send fluttering a few rows back, swatted by Ted.
Richard Parker: I don’t know what you could be referring to, Nick. I am sure Teddy Palmer is out to just make sure Hanlon doesn’t try to get himself disqualified to retain when Redding takes him into the deep end.
Forgoing the usual lap ringside, Redding is in under the ropes and discarding the top carelessly. The referee assigned for this one, Ashley Barlow gets shot a glance, before Redding just paces, begging for the champion to make his way out.
“Black Hole,” by We Came as Romans.
White flashbulbs flicker along with the music’s growing beat. The PRIME*View soars into the cosmos, passing planets and nebulas, picking up speed and shaking as it approaches a massive black hole. A wall of white bulbs ignite in the entryway as the song’s intro crescendos, the silhouette of Hayes Hanlon lifts one arm to the ceiling, the Five Star Title held high in his grasp. The lights dim as the music quiets, and Hayes walks out to the edge of the ramp, soaking in the spectacle and cheers of the crowd. The music builds again, and Hayes thrusts the belt into the air once more with the chorus.
“I FALL INTO A BLACK HOLE IN MY HEAD!”
Vince Howard: From West Linn, Oregon, standing six feet, three inches tall and weighing in at 261 pounds…your FIVE. STAR. CHAMPION…Event Horizon…HAYES! HANLOONNNN!!
He immediately starts a quick and steady march down the ramp, another bright flash of white filling the arena. The Event Horizon slides into the ring and moves toward the far turnbuckle, stepping onto the first ropes and turning to face the center of the ring.
“I’M FIGHTING THE GRAAVITY, IT’S PULLING THE WORST PART OUT OF ME!
He leans back over the post, draping the Five Star belt across his chest before extending his arms outward, eyes closed with his torso aimed at the ceiling. The crescendo following the chorus blasts out through the arena among the flashbulbs.
Nick Stuart: And here we go! 5 Star Championship on the line!
Richard Parker: First title defense of the new PRIME.
Nick Stuart: And we are not wasting any time here. Alexander Redding is drawing close to the 5 Star Champion and is already jaw jacking. We can’t hear him over the buzz of this crowd…
Richard Parker: It’s like he’s leading with his head this entire time…
Nick Stuart: OH! Hayes Hanlon quickly fires off a punch and that stops Redding in his tracks! And another! Another! Big forward momentum taken by Event Horizon as he steps into those heavy overhead shots!
Richard Parker: A bit exaggerated, but they’re getting the job done. Redding is staggering across the ring and grabbing at his jaw, wincing the entire way.
Nick Stuart: There is only a small size difference between the two, an inch in height, but weight wise Alexander Redding is giving up nearly thirty pounds, and OH! Redding firing off a kitchen sink knee into the midsection of Hayes Hanlon, he threw the full impact with his hips there into the stomach of the Champion…
Richard Parker: Look, I’m not going to say that I’m the biggest fan of either of these two, Redding has his high points and Hayes is too damn sheepish with his whole starstruck thing with every damn person who claims veteran status, and if he’s not careful, he’s going to get starstruck into a technical contest and he’s not got the lungs or the experience to deal with that.
Nick Stuart: Dunno if I would agree with that Richard. Experience wise he may be young, but Hayes isn’t some slouch. He became 5 Star Champion at Culture Shock for a reason. But Redding has him in a side headlock, wrenching him downward, and oh! He’s messing with his hair!
Richard Parker: Face wash too!
The Willing Villain can’t help himself, grabbing and twisting at Hanlon’s nose, wrenching back hard and blasting him right in the bridge. He releases, Redding sauntering away, looking to Grady and Teddy Palmer, shouting about how he ‘got his nose!’. While Teddy gives a bit of a chuckle, Grady is pointing toward Hanlon, shouting at him to keep the pressure on. Red doesn’t seem too bothered by this, even pantomiming that he might’ve gotten a bunch of snot all over his taped hands. Maybe the whole process is a bit too much, though, as when he turns around, Hayes Hanlon is charging, throwing himself into him with a flying cross body!
Nick Stuart: Wonderful cross body by Hayes there! And they’re both scurrying to their feet back elbow! Red tries to cut him off and another back elbow sends him to the canvas and he’s rolling out of the ring now, the power showing up big here.
Richard Parker: The fans are building up the momentum pretty staggeringly here. And I don’t know, as much as Redding has the experience advantage, how he’s going to swing that back in his favor. He really struggles there.
Nick Stuart: Hayes at the ropes and he’s barking at Redding to get back in the ring, cocking back his nose, you can see that little joke of a move was a little more impactful than he’d like to admit.
Richard Parker: But he’s thinking better of it. He’s not going into that cluster of Grady and Palmer…
Nick Stuart: Palmer trying to brace his partner, trying to talk some sense into him–
Richard Parker: Listen to the wishful thinking there…
Nick Stuart: Red breaks away, he’s grabbing at the guardrail, he’s telling the fans in front of him to shut up, reaching for them, what is he doing–
Richard Parker: Grady is trying to redirect him–
Nick Stuart: Ashley Barlow is counting here. He’s counting. And Red, we’re nearing the count of six, we weren’t even paying attention here at everything, and it’s, this is so strange! It’s like just that little bit of offense has Alexander Redding so shook that he doesn’t even care about continuing this match!
Richard Parker: These Canucks…they’re freaking weird man. Some take their wrestling too seriously. And others, same breath, just make a mockery of the whole thing.
Nick Stuart: Ashley up to seven now, and what the…Hayes rolling under the bottom rope…
Richard Parker: About to get into the lion’s den.
But Ted and Grady are parting, wanting no part of Hayes. Alexander Redding is busy waving his hands off, having gone over the barricade, looking to get away from the match. He doesn’t get far…but that’s the point.
Nick Stuart: Oh! What was that he threw in Hayes eyes?!
Richard Parker: Probably a Molson.
Nick Stuart: It looks almost like pinetar!
Richard Parker: Okay…Molson Ice…
They serve them some imperial stouts in the MGM Grand it would seem, and for the poor fool who spent about fifteen bucks for one, his coffee flavored suds are now quenching the thirst of Hayes Hanlon’s eyes, causing him to stagger defenseless, all as Alexander Redding kamikaze throws himself in a launch with a leaping forearm smash that sends the bigger champion over the barricade and onto the pads on the other side.
And in the ruckus, we are getting dangerously close to a count out. But Redding, having stalled enough, gets help from Teddy Palmer, who grabs Hayes by the waistband and lifts him up before rolling him underneath the bottom rope. Red barely makes it before Ashley reaches the ten count, diving in, all before rising back up and feigning a few punches to the air before shrugging and giving an aww shucks to the crowd who begin to give him some boos.
Nick Stuart: Barely beating the ten count. Not a lot of matches in the return of PRIME have ended in a count out, the most notable being at Culture Shock, where Anglo Luchador survived Balaam just barely in that fashion.
Richard Parker: And by Hoyt was that a glorious scene until the finish.
Nick Stuart: Hayes trying to pick himself up, but Alexander Redding with a kick boot to the midsection, and then another, and oh, Hayes caught that one…
Richard Parker: Not for long.
Nick Stuart: Leaping enziguri! Alexander Redding catches the 5 Star Champion with a wicked leaping enziguri and he goes for the cover!
Nick Stuart: Oh a powerful kickout by the Champion here. Not going to be stopped that easily, but oh, Redding staying on the attack with a side russian legsweep!
Richard Parker: What did I say about technical contests and Hayes Hanlon?
Nick Stuart: Is it technical wrestling prowess to throw a beer in the eyes of someone?
Richard Parker: Did Ashley disqualify him? Adversity breeds character. And Hayes Hanlon, he’s a kid who needs some beat into his starstruck ass.
Nick Stuart: Red keeping on the full frontal assault here, big boot stomp…and Hayes…he lifts him up and stun guns him on the top turnbuckle. And another cover!
Richard Parker: Didn’t have as much power on that one, did he?
Nick Stuart: Alexander Redding displaying some killer instinct here. Look, you have to know that this man has his struggles. Perhaps he lacks some momentum, perhaps there’s some self confidence issues. Maybe it’s a feeling of being a perpetual outsider. But right now, on the attack, and coming off a win on ReVival 6, Alexander Redding is showing he belongs in this title picture despite having used that beer to get the early advantage.
Richard Parker: Maybe a little more seriousness will do him some good. This sport isn’t for jokers.
Nick Stuart: And Redding saying its over! What? Oh! Oh he’s going for it!
Richard Parker: Lifting Hayes up–
Nick Stuart: He’s going for the Grady Special III! A piledriver might finish it heeeee–
Richard Parker: Uh oh!
Nick Stuart: You had to see that coming! You had to see it! Hayes Hanlon explodes upward with a heavy back body drop out of the Grady Special! And before you can even blink, Hanlon is reaching the rising Redding AND GERMAN SUPLEX! GERMAN SUPLEX AND THE RING IS STILL SHAKING!
Richard Parker: It’s like a damn explosion–
Nick Stuart: Picture perfect! And Alexander Redding’s brains have to be scrambled with that!
Richard Parker: And what goes great with scrambled brains?
Nick Stuart: Flapjack! Oh man Hayes Hanlon nearly launched him into orbit with that velocity on that!
Richard Parker: The kid is starting to wake up…
Nick Stuart: Event Horizon. Like a meteor crashing into the Earth’s surface. This blue chipper arrived on the scene and he’s looked the part, and with the 5 Star Championship, he’s made an impressive start with showing for the part. But now–
Richard Parker: A shoe?
Nick Stuart: What the–
Richard Parker: Grady Patrick lost his shoe. In the ring. Almost like someone threw it in there.
Nick Stuart: And Ashley, she’s, what is Grady doing in that ring?!
Richard Parker: Isn’t it obvious?
Nick Stuart: He’s trying to give his man a break!
Richard Parker: Look sometimes your kicks can do this. Spontaneous combustion is a thing. A messy thing but still…
Nick Stuart: Ashley trying to stop him here but he’s blocking off the referee’s vision…
Richard Parker: Nick! You’re missing the action!
Nick Stuart: Hayes not caring with who is getting in the ring! He’s going for a headlock takeover wait…wait…WAIT!
Richard Parker: What was that bit of silver–
Nick Stuart: OH! WHAT A…WHAT A SICKENING THUD! Are those…are those handcuffs? They’re handcuffs! And Alexander Redding, he used them like a set of brass knuckles!
Richard Parker: Oh I don’t know about that–
Nick Stuart: There’s a wound over the eye of Hayes Hanlon Richard! And he’s groggy. Oh no! Not like this! Backdrop backbreaker! Backdrop backbreaker! Alexander Redding! Did he just become the 5 Star Champion in this way! No! No!
KICKOUT AT THE VERY LAST SECOND!
Richard Parker: That was his shot! He loaded up and took his shot!
Nick Stuart: Hayes Hanlon staggering! Alexander Redding is in shock! Utter shock! And Grady Patrick, that damn weasel, he’s not far behind! And now the other shoe flies! Ashley Barlow struggling to keep everything in control right now this is madness! Hanlon’s busted open over his eye and he’s seething, you can see it, he’s stark raving mad like a bull! But he keeps falling to his knees! Red tries to kick his leg out but oh! Oh! A driving headbutt from Hayes Hanlon! That smears him with crimson!
Richard Parker: The fans are going crazy!
Nick Stuart: So much wildness going on! What is going on?! Hanlon whips Redding across the ring and OH MY GOD! MASSIVE ATTACK! WHAT A SAMOAN DROP! COVER HIM!
Richard Parker: Bias!
Nick Stuart: But Ashley doesn’t even see it because of Grady’s damn wardrobe malfunctions are you kidding me?! Are you kidding me?! Teddy Palmer just grabbed and pulled Hayes Hanlon off of Redding and launches him into the ring steps! Disqualify him! Disqualify this man!
Richard Parker: Look if we had instant replay–
Nick Stuart: Grady and Teddy Palmer have made a mockery of this main event match! And Hayes Hanlon, he’s a mess right now! Alexander Redding, he is ready to pounce from inside the ring, diving outside with an elbow drop! Jesus are you kidding me here?!
Richard Parker: Wait what!
Nick Stuart: The fans are going crazy…wait…who is that coming down the aisle…
Richard Parker: It smells like Bengay.
Nick Stuart: Is that, is that, why are Nova and Garbage Bag Johnny in silver jump suits–
Richard Parker: They look like liverwurst! And liver spots! And liver!
Nick Stuart: Melvin Beauregard being cagey about Survivor challenges here…
Richard Parker: What challenge do you know of involves two men putting on fifty years and reeking of cat piss and hospice care?
Nick Stuart: They’re moving fast here, and OH! These two crude dudes with the attitudes are taking it to Teddy Palmer and Grady Patrick!
Richard Parker: Is this how COVID 22 starts, with Johnny biting at the face of Teddy Palmer?! That’s hepatitis!
Nick Stuart: Ashley Barlow is throwing up her hands! She’s lost all control! But the 5 Star Championship is on the line! She’s looking for Redding and Hanlon, and they’re on the outside duking it out, firing back chops, forearms, this is getting so out of damn control! I can’t keep things straight! She’s counting them out of the ring!
Richard Parker: She’s warning them!
Nick Stuart: Hanlon and Redding need to get back in the ring! Ashley is counting fast here because of everything!
Richard Parker: WHY IS NOVA HITTING GRADY PATRICK WITH A COLOSTOMY BAG?!
Nick Stuart: Lindsay Troy is…oh my word she’s going to be pissed and fine heavy with everything going on here, this is insanity! Barlow just gives up! Wait no!
DING DING DING
The crowd is in the frenzy, regardless of the incoming announcement.
Vince Howard: This 5 Star Championship Match is ruled…a double! Countout!
Nick Stuart: This…are we going off the air with this?!
Richard Parker: Garbage Bag Johnny is trying to choke the life out of Teddy Palmer with handfuls of Werther’s Originals!
And the midst of the craziness, Hayes Hanlon and Alexander Redding are still going at it, slapping at each other, looking to get the upper hand, a heel kick, and shoulder block, nothing settled, the two charging the other into the barricades, perhaps a fresh new rivalry having been born out of a miasma of outright craziness.
Eat Your Heart Out, Jack Woltz
A crackling thud. A downshift in emotions. The MGM Grand has seen so much in the year 2022, but nothing, nothing like this night. Nothing resolved. Everything left to simmer, to stew, to boil over. In the history of PRIME, the good guys had many long nights before the breaking of the dawn. The fun times couldn’t last forever. Burning offices, bad Taco Bell conspiracies fueled by lord knows what, Survivor, and an ever muddying of the battle lines within the entirety of the organization were starting to show.
A Great Nightmare, made in and for America.
Brandon Youngblood’s knee is in a massive compression sleeve, crutches under each armpit. He is ambling down a hallway in tremendous pain, gingerly trying to get to his dressing room. He’d spoken of carrying the weight of being the Universal Champion on his shoulders. Now? What use was he? Some frail, bloated, sweating thing, made a mockery, and pounded into an oblivion. His hubris is now legendary, as is the glowing red target marking his left knee. The Championship belt droops on his shoulder, hanging comically low, a status for the supposed standard shown for all.
Opening the door to his dressing room is a challenge. Once he manages to get it open, the real fun begins.
The proceedings had eGG Bandits written all over it. The furniture is a mess. Tossed. Pizza boxes and pepperoni matted into the fabric. Soup bowls tossed about, a mixture of split pea, potato, and vegetable (because who needs something without carbs, I’m sure Bobby Dean would argue). Brandon’s street clothes are strewn about in a disgusting matter, egg shells splattered all over them in heaps. And propped up in the center of the room, as if it were some trinket to be taken by Indiana Jones before some large boulder came to crush him, a rather large Halliburton briefcase barely holding on with the clasps.
Grunting, the Last Diamond powers as best as he can to the spot, flicking it open. It’s almost as if it is springloaded. A shock of blood is, though, sputtering over his chest, toward his mouth. He closes his eyes on the impact, and when he opens them.
Oh no. Not a mountain of the powder. Wrong Al Pacino vibe. You have to go back a few years. A thousand or so miles up north.
A horse head. Severed somewhere at the neck. There is no comically large bone, no weird drawings or glasses or anything. Its tongue droops lifelessly as the flies circling its rigor locked ears. And the horse he rode in on, its name was Death, and Hell followed with him.
Cancer Jiles had rode his steed into battle at Culture Shock, metaphorical and in some ways, literal. But just as Balaam had disadvantaged him by crushing his larynx, the old war horse had done so in so way or manner before his great bout with Brandon Youngblood in the Almasy Invitational Finals. Such failures are not to be tolerated. The fury in the face of the Last Diamond is riotous. And on the wall, in front of where the Halliburton is, is the message. Loud and clear. Painted red across the cream colored wall.
It is more than the Universal Champion can take. Grabbing the head of the horse, his crutches fall to the ground. Grunting, roaring, yelling, he launches the head into the wall in front of him, the words smearing, a dent in the drywall, a seething, breathing beast, with fluid filling his left knee, is stark raving mad, spittle falling from his goatee. He can’t control his breathing.
ReVival 8. First Blood match.
An offer Brandon Youngblood can’t refuse.
As long as his knee can hold up.
But can it and he hold the weight of PRIME on its shoulders?