PRIME IS AGAINST ANIMAL CRUELTY
ReVival 8 fades in from black with the ever intrepid voice of PRIME, Angelica Brooks, standing by backstage doorway entrance to the MGM Grand Arena. Posting up near the double doors with the microphone in her hand, we see a chyron scroll on the bottom left of the screen states ‘Earlier Tonight’. Facing the camera, her expression is sedated, sober, focused.
Angelica Brooks: I’ve received word that PRIME Universal Champion, Brandon Youngblood, is about to make his first appearance since the events that closed ReVival 7. ‘COOL’ Cancer Jiles made his intentions clear after the Finals of the Almasy Invitational; he would cash in the ‘Golden Ticket’ he claimed after defeating Nova in the second round of the tournament, challenging Universal Champion Brandon Youngblood on ReVival 8.
The visual transitions to footage from ReVival 7, the chyron now brandishing the date of the event, May 6, 2022. In the ring, Youngblood holds the Universal Championship belt up high, moving to the corner and climbing to the second rope, having just verbally dashed the COOLYMPIAN, Cancer Jiles. In the periphery, we see Jiles explode from the seat he was in during the mock face to face showdown between the two, dancing across the table, only to chop block the back of Youngblood’s left knee, causing the Last Diamond to topple downward onto the diving COOLYMPIAN. We hear Angelica’s voice over the rolling footage.
Angelica Brooks: The war of words between the two has made an intense situation even worse. With pride and championship gold on the line, and neither man giving an inch to the other, tensions boiled over with Cancer Jiles attacking Brandon Youngblood’s knee, the same one he had injured and focused on in their first contest in the main event of Culture Shock. Things turned violent in a hurry.
The footage flashes forward, focusing on the attack. Pulling at the knee. Twisting it. Kicking it. Stomping it into oblivion. Dragging Brandon and propping his left ankle onto the bottom rope before launching upward and driving himself fiercely into his victim’s knee. Sliding out of the ring and slamming the knee into the ring post. There is malice behind every movement.
Angelica Brooks: Thankfully, before more damage could be done, Universal Championship Number One Contender, Impulse, would make the save before things escalated even further.
We see Jiles close his steel chair, ready to strike. Impulse charges from the back, causing the COOLYMPIAN to bail. We have another flash forward, with the Marathon Man helping Youngblood back to his feet, helping him into the corner.
Angelica Brooks: But escalate they did. Before signing off, the terms of tonight’s main event were revealed. Given the gruesome and violent nature of what transpired in that segment, we will not be showing it as a statement for PRIME management’s denouncement of animal cruelty.
All we get from the final bit of ReVival 7 is a close up shot of the wall and what it read.
The footage ends, cutting back to Brooks and to the present day.
Angelica Brooks: Despite intense internal conversations to possibly void Cancer Jiles ‘Golden Ticket’ as a result of the full breadth of his actions on ReVival 7, not to mention Brandon Youngblood being medically cleared mere days ago, PRIME President and Chief Executive Officer has announced that not only will tonight’s scheduled Universal Championship match take place, but that, despite her reservations, that the contest will be fought under First Blood Rules. We also–
As she is about to continue, the doors behind are pushed open, causing her to pause. As she turns around, she sees that it is Brandon Youngblood, walking in with street clothes, a travel bag slung over his shoulder. There is a ginger shuffle to his walking that is clear for all to see. She doesn’t go to him, rather, waits for him to make a few steps into the hall. Despite their personal relationship, she has a job to do, flagging the Tower of Babel down as he just keeps walking past her.
Angelica Brooks: –Brandon…Brandon…can you give us an update on the severity of your injury? Would you be able to wrestle tonight if it wasn’t a Universal Championship defense?
The Last Diamond gives no acknowledgement, merely walking down the hallway. Angelica keeps up, the cameraman doing his best to keep track as the two move past him, his lens now tailing them.
Angelica Brooks: Is there anything you’d like to say to Bobby Dean? Doozer? Any thoughts you would like to give on Cancer Jiles?
Still nothing. Down a hallway of locker room doors, he arrives at his destination, turning the knob. Angie knows the game. She’s been a pro at this for too long not to. If he was going to be like this, then two could play at that game.
Angelica Brooks: Sources state you were involved in a heated argument with Lindsay Troy over the fact that none of the Bandits were fined or suspended for their actions. A ‘screaming match’ was how it was described. Would you–
Finally, after he opens the door, he turns to face her.
Brandon Youngblood: Angelica…I’ll answer any question you got. But not now. Not until after. Okay?
There is a sternness in his voice, but no threat or caution to be discerned. Interviewer and subject, both having been here before, with each other, know the truth. They nod their heads at each other in understanding before he disappears into his locker room. She turns to the camera, squaring up as she does so.
Angelica Brooks: A focused Champion. Nick and Richard, take us away with our opening contest for the evening, Larry Tact taking on the ‘Hardcore Harlot’ Ria Nightshade…
RIA NIGHTSHADE vs. LARRY TACT
ReVival hits the ACE Network airwaves with a fuckton of pyro and fanfare. The cameras pan around the audience to showcase some of the evening’s signs…
JONATHAN RHINE CAN STIR MY GUMBO ANYTIME
I MISS MUSSY
GREAT SCOTT IS GREAT
I HOPE MIKEY UNLIKELY HITS HIS SHIN AGAINST THE COFFEE TABLE
YOUNGBLOOD SURVIVED CANCER ONCE
I SWIPED RIGHT ON WADE
BRING BACK THE MCDLT
ADAM RICHMAN FEARS PRIME CHEFS
I BOUGHT A TICKET TO SURVIVOR: FLAVORTOWN & I WANT MY MONEY BACK
NEXT LEVEL CRACK COCAINE DEALER
CALLY > PIXAR MOMS
GREAT BEAR FOR PRESIDENT
WHEN THE SURVIVOR TEAMS ARE DONE WITH THE SCAVENGER HUNT CAN THEY HELP ME FIND MY KEYS?
JOIN THE LOVE CONVOY TODAY!
I JOINED THE LOVE CONVOY AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY STD!
Without any further ado, “Pieces of Man” by Drown plays over the arena speakers as the lights cut out. Royal blue lights flicker on the stage while golden spotlights scan the crowd. They settle on center stage where Larry Tact stands. He opens his arms and puffs out his chest, soaking in the crowd’s reaction before bellowing and making his way down the ramp, the spotlight following him.
Vince Howard: The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Making his way down the aisle, from Manhattan, New York! Weighing in at 260 pounds….he is LARRY TACT!
As he walks, Larry critiques some fans at ringside with petty insults before arriving to the ring. He pulls himself up using the ropes and walks slowly along the apron before wiping his boots and entering the ring. He stretches using the ropes before bouncing from side-to-side.
The MGM Grand is then bathed in neon green lighting as the synthesized drum beats of “Tonight (We’ll Make Love Till We Die)” by SSQ fill the arena. After about 40 seconds, guitars and vocals join the drums.
♫ In darkness you will find me
I dance among the dead
But very soon I’ll need to hunt the scent of blood instead
Rising from your earthbed
It thickens in the air
A smell both sweet and rancid, I know that you are near ♫
As the chorus begins, Ria Nightshade finally saunters out from backstage. As she stands near the entranceway, she drinks in the crowd while wearing her usual smirk.
Vince Howard: And his opponent….from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania! Weighing in at 160 pounds….she is “The Toxic Queen” RIA NIGHTSHADE!
Ria confidently strides down to ringside, stopping at the apron. She swings her right leg up, her heel resting on the apron. She turns her head back towards the crowd, giving a wink before swinging her left leg up into the apron.
She stays in the split for a second before sliding under the bottom rope. Ria then sits up on her knees before bouncing up to her feet. She picks a random corner, sashaying over that way. Once there, she leans back against the turnbuckles in a seductive pose, waiting for the match to begin.
Nick Stuart: It’s time for our first bout of ReVival 8, and I don’t know about you Richard, but I’m looking forward to this one!
Richard Parker: Wake me up when Youngblood makes Jiles bleed like a stuck pick.
Nick Stuart: We’ve got a long night ahead of us before that match, partner.
Richard Parker: Then I’m going to be sleeping well tonight, Nick!
With the tolling of the bell signaling the start of the match Larry Tact shoots across the ring, slightly surprised that Ria Nightshade isn’t on her way to meet him in the center of the ring herself. Instead of meeting the charging Tact, Nightshade rather begins moving to her left, circling the ring, putting as much distance between herself and Larry Tact as she possibly can. Larry Tact hot on her heels, anxious to get his hands on her once and for all.
Richard Parker: What in the world is Ria planning to do?
Nick Stuart: I think she plans on wearing him out.
A small smirk appears on Ria’s face as frustration mounts for Tact, as the two engage in the cat and mouse routine, Ria just out of reach every step of the way. A sudden stumble though allows Larry to dart forward, closing the distance between the two! With surprising speed and ferocity, Larry grabs a hold of Ria and in a matter of seconds Ria is airborne, twisting over Larry’s shoulder to slam flat on her back as Tact executes a beautiful Tai Otoshi.
Richard Parker: Look at Larry Tact, going for the win as soon as he can, genius.
Nick Stuart: I can now see why Ria was circling the ring that whole time, very smart strategy!
With Elvis Nixon calling for the break, Larry climbs to his feet, dragging Ria up with him by a handful of hair. Ria, struggling to break free resorts to kneeing Tact in the groin, causing the man to grimace in pain. The knee may have connected but it didn’t have the desired effect, as she is once more taken off her feet as Larry Tact executes another picture perfect takedown, this time with a gutwrench suplex. Instead of going for another submission move, Larry nimbly floats over while maintaining his grip around Nightshade’s torso, lifting her up as he himself climbs to his feet and delivers a second gutwrench suplex, all in one fluid motion.
Nick Stuart and Richard Parker exchange a look of awe before Richard begins a soft golf clap.
Ria dazed on the mat, yet with enough wherewithal in her she begins to roll onto her hands and knees, trying to recover from the dual gutwrench suplexes. Larry slowly stalks forward, pouncing once he gets near, tying her up in a crucifix.
Nick Stuart: Fun fact, the crucifix choke is also known as the Hell Choke.
Richard Parker: Fun fact, no one cares. And hey, fun facts are my thing!
Once again Ria’s positioning saves the day as she immediately reaches out and rests her foot on the bottom rope, causing Elvis to once again step in. But this time Larry holds the choke instead of releasing right away, holding it until the last second, only to let her right as Elvis manages to count to five.
Roughly shoving her off him before scrambling to his feet, the frustration appears to be mounting for Larry Tact as he quickly grabs Ria and yanks her to her feet. He is completely caught off guard when Ria snaps her hand up and pokes two fingers directly into his eyes, effectively blinding him.
Nick Stuart: Look out!
Richard Parker: Oh, the irony…
Nick Stuart: Ria looks like she’s still feeling the effect of the dual suplexes, but I’m curious to see what she’s got in store for Tact.
Now in the driver seat, Ria grabs a hold of Larry’s arm, spinning herself towards the center of the ring, building a little momentum before she launches the larger man towards the far corner with an Irish Whip. With a sudden hop to her step she rushes towards Tact before beginning a cartwheel followed by a back handspring into an elbow but before she connects, Larry steps forward catching her from behind with her arms around her waist. The look of surprise on her face transforms to a grimace as he delivers a German suplex, launching her into the turnbuckles, folding her up like an accordion.
Richard Parker: I think she hit her head on every single turnbuckle!
Grabbing Nightshade by the ankle, Larry roughly drags her outta the corner and drops down for the cover all in one fluid motion. Elvis Nixon drops down with Tact, quickly slamming his hand to the mat.
Ria manages to lift her shoulder off the mat before the three count, causing Larry to scowl at Elvis, as if it were all his fault.
Nick Stuart: I can’t believe she managed to kick out! The way she hit those turnbuckles, I thought she was out for sure!
Richard Parker: We may need to look into Elvis Nixon’s count. Seemed a tad bit slow in my professional opinion.
Shaking his head while once more climbing to his feet, arguing with Elvis every inch of the way, showing him the proper cadence of a count to three, thus he is caught completely by surprise once more as he turns his attention back to his opponent, only to catch a straight field goal kick to the dick.
This one is definitely more effective as Tact spins in place while dropping to his knees, his eyes crossing, gasping for breath as Ria stands behind him, a scowl of her on her face. Without wasting a moment, Ria steps up and rakes her fingernails across Tact’s back, causing him to arch his back before falling forward to his hands and knees.
Richard Parker: She fights like my ex-wife. Dirty.
Nick Stuart: …
Richard Parker: I kind of like her!
As Larry straightens up to his knees, ready to climb to his feet and go after Ria, she manages to wrap him up in a full nelson, dragging him to his feet before executing a beautiful snap dragon suplex, dumping Tact on the back of his head.
Nick Stuart: Could this be the end? Is she looking for the Acid Rain?
Perched on the top turnbuckle, Ria sets her sights before leaping off. Right before she can land, Larry manages to lift his knees. The impact folds Ria up, sucking the wind right out of her, as she rolls off Larry and the two find themselves lying on the mat, each staring up to the rafters above.
Elvis Nixon stands nearby, checking on both competitors.
Nick Stuart: Let the race begin. Who will get to their feet first?
Richard Parker: I got my money on Tact.
Larry struggles to his feet first, as Ria finds herself on her knees, trying to pull herself up with the aid of the nearby ropes. Larry is signaling for the Starbreaker but as he approaches the kneeling Ria, she goes to the well once more, leaning forward and driving the crook of her elbow straight up in between Larry’s outspread legs. Larry drops to the mat once more gasping for breath as a sneering Ria Nightshade manages to pull herself up to her feet.
Ria now steps up grabbing Larry by the hair, looking to drag him to his feet for a possible Code Kiss. She is caught by complete surprise as Larry pulls a page out of her book, driving the crook of his elbow into the crotch of Ria Nightshade.
Nick and Richard share a look of shock at both the desperation and the gall of Larry Tact.
Richard Parker: Whatever it takes to win!
Upon impact Nightshade immediately drops to her hands and knees once more, spewing forth her green poison mist to the empty mat beneath her before she simply dry heaves, green spittle falling out of her mouth as Larry Tact struggles to his feet. Stumbling as he can’t seem to control the wobble of his legs.
Nick Stuart: I gotta say, I don’t know if Larry Tact is going to walk the same after tonight.
Richard Parker: You know what this match needs more of? Dick shots.
Growling, with a mixture of anger, frustration, and pain, Larry roughly shoves Ria’s head in between his legs. Grimacing from the mere touch, Larry quickly snaps Ria up in a powerbomb, looking to end it once and for all with the Starbreaker.
But as Ria goes up she carries through with enough momentum to go up and over Larry’s head, rolling the two of them up with a Sunset Flip out of nowhere!
Richard Parker: Nooooooo! He had it!
Elvis Nixon quickly drops down, slapping the mat with his hand as Larry struggles to kick free, and Ria struggles to maintain her grip holding Tact’s arms to the ground with her legs.
DING DING DING!!
Ria releases Larry from the pin and quickly rolls free as Larry slaps the mat in abject frustration.
Vince Howard: The winner of this match… Riiiiiaaaaaaa Nightshade!
Ria doesn’t allow Elvis to raise her hand, instead shooting him a death glare as she raises it herself. The camera lingers on the winner for a few seconds before cutting backstage.
We start with Jonathan Rhine in his locker room, though he’s quickly exiting it. No time for conversation or wasted moments – Rhine is all business.
Know who else is all business? Nate Colton.
Rhine nearly runs into him as he exits the room. He stops suddenly, putting his hands up to avoid bouncing into the second generation wrestler. Then he notices that Nate is staring at him, no expression.
Jonathan Rhine: Hey, Nate. I guess…you heard, huh?
Nate Colton doesn’t respond, continuing to stare bullets at Rhine.
Jonathan Rhine: I just want you to know that I understand if you’re upset, or annoyed. I certainly didn’t visit your dad with the intent of asking your sister on a date. It just…happened?
Jonathan Rhine: I promise you that I have no bad intentions with Jenny. I was told by Shweta – Shweta Kallemullah, the chairperson of our Foundation, not sure if you’ve met her…
Jonathan Rhine: …that I needed to find a date for our Foundation Fundraisers dinner, and I was having some problems that I wanted to talk to your dad about, and…
He stops because he realizes at this point the brick wall behind Colton would make for better conversation.
Jonathan Rhine: I have an idea. We have room at the dinner. It’s next Friday, May 27, in New Orleans. You can come. You can bring a plus one too.
It is only now that Nate Colton breaks his silence.
Nate Colton: Sounds great. You got a sister?
For a brief second, Rhine looks hurt and ashamed, but it quickly washes away, replaced with a large grin.
Jonathan Rhine: I do, and you can definitely ask her, but I’m pretty sure she’s already taking her wife.
Nate Colton: …I…
Well, he wasn’t expecting that. Nate’s face flushes with embarrassment.
Nate Colton: Crap.
Nate looks down the hallway, just to break eye contact for a moment, and then tries again. This time with a bit less macho posturing.
Nate Colton: I have been…reminded…that Jennifer is an adult, and can make her own decisions about who she…spends time with.
He says this through gritted teeth, so you know he means it.
Nate Colton: And as long as she is treated with respect, there will not be a problem.
Nate’s going to crack a molar if he keeps this up.
Jonathan nods, raising a hand to put on Nate’s shoulder. At the last second, he thinks better of it and scratches the back of his head.
Jonathan Rhine: Then there won’t be a problem. Jenny is great, and I will give her the respect she deserves, as well as the respect you deserve as her well-intentioned older brother.
Rhine holds a hand out for Nate. Colton accepts the handshake, squeezing a little harder than he needs to (because of course, he can’t completely abandon the macho posturing.)
Nate Colton: That’s fair. Glad we had this talk.
Jonathan Rhine: Me too. And good luck in Survivor, Nate. You and Nathan seem to be building something nice.
Nate Colton: Thanks. Good luck to you too; I’ve been pretty impressed with what you and Paxton have put together.
A moment passes, and then Paxton appears in the doorway.
Paxton Ray: Oh, there you are. ‘Bout to say, that was the longest piss break I ever heard of.
He nods to Nate Colton.
Paxton Ray: Sup.
Nate Colton: Hey.
Jonathan Rhine: All right, I’ll talk to you later. I have to go…
Paxton Ray: Piss. He has t’piss.
Jonathan Rhine: Right. Bye, Nate.
Jonathan Rhine walks away, leaving Nate and Paxton Ray looking at each other.
Nate Colton: Right. Guess I’ll see you on Friday too, then.
Paxton Ray: Yeah. They’re makin’ me wear a suit. I hate suits.
Without warning, Paxton turns around and slams the door in Nate’s face.
Nate Colton: Manners must not be a thing with him.
The camera shifts to the back hallways of the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where Ria Nightshade walks with labor back from her opening match victory over Larry Tact. Suddenly, none other than The Anglo Luchador, dressed in a blue golf shirt with a red/white/blue “TAL for Extreme” logo on the left breast and khaki pants, accosts her, an audible groan from Richard Parker at the commentary table.
TAL: Hey, great job out there tonight! You looked good. I think it’s really going to help our Q score and…
Ria: (interrupting) Our what? What the hell are you babbling about?
TAL: Oh, nothing. I forget that wrestlers generally don’t give a hoot about this real inside beltway stuff like Q scores or polls or deep state dark money. Man, I wish I had some deep state dark money right about now. I could order a pizza with pepperoni made from the pork they get from pigs that they farm jamon iberico from. But that’s besides the point.
Ria: You had a point, old man?
TAL: Yes! Now that you’re done with Tact, you can help me do some phone banking to reach out to prospective voters in the Intense Championship ballot.
Ria: First of all, I don’t know what the hell phone banking is. Secondly, pretty sure people simply following PRIME are fully aware at this point that we want the Intense Championship match. Third, no. I’m not doing that, whatever it is.
TH: This is a team effort, you know, two to tango. I thought the younger generation would know a thing or two about the importance of voting since it was you guys who flipped Georgia blue. Phone banking is calling potential voters and trying to sway…
Ria: (interrupting again) Dude, shut the hell up! What’s even the point of this? Why the hell do you even need me involved? In fact, why me at all? You try to act like we’re buddy buddy or some shit, but then you’re willing to step in the ring and potentially shorten my career? That’s on brand for me, not so much you. So what is it? You screwing with me? That stupid crap with IcyHot however long ago actually cause some resentment? Or maybe that other geezer Phil Atken might be right about you?
TAL: Do you understand deathmatch wrestling? The camaraderie that can come from it?
Ria shoots the old luchador a nasty look.
TAL: But no, I don’t hate you, and I am not screwing with you. This is a golden opportunity for you as much as it is for me.
Ria: I’m well aware of what it means for both of us. Your logic still doesn’t make a damn bit of sense. We could just have a regular match if this is a respect or adoration thing. I have to ask if YOU understand deathmatch wrestling? Cuz I don’t grab beers with an opponent I just smashed with a light tube. So if it’s not hate or resentment, then why?
There is a pregnant pause in the air. Frustration wells in the old luchador’s eyes.
TAL: Because… BECAUSE I need to find a way to level up. I need to find the strength I had way back when. To hurt Balaam. To hurt Hoyt. I need it.
Ria shakes her head.
Ria: There it is… Just using me to help yourself. I knew this comradery bullshit was just that. Ya know what? I really hope we get this match. That way, I really can retire your stupid old ass! I’m done playing games with you! Atken was right… I’m gonna hurt you and I’m gonna enjoy every single minute of it, you manipulative piece of shit! I hate you…
Ria storms off.
TAL: Wait, no, I didn’t mean it like that! I’m…
His shoulders slowly slump. His neck cranes down.
The old luchador lets out a belabored sigh before rising and turning around. There he faces a random door with a sign hastily scotch-taped to the door with the words “PHONE BANK AREA – DO NOT DISTURB” written on it in Sharpie. He opens the door and looks upon the tables with old-style Bakelite rotary telephones on them that he set up. Various volunteers are there helping working the phones. There are the children’s television megastars and former ne’er-do-wells of the wrestling world, Beef, El Janito, and Steve, collectively known as Mega Job. Rezin is busy trying to unscrew the speakers on the receiver to look for… substances. GREAT SCOTT is trying to dial the phone, but his meaty fingers cannot get through the holes on the rotary wheel, while GREAT BEAR sits behind him, jamming out to lo-fi beats to chill to in his sick Beats by Dre headphones, out of respect to those working hard making phone calls. Mushigihara sits across from GREAT SCOTT, squinting at the contact list. Sitting to his right are the married couple of his tag partner David Fox and Saori. The Anglo Luchador’s brother Mikey, as well as the former Sephiroth and Joey Baggadonuts, seem to be the only ones doing their jobs correctly.
The old luchador steps to the front-center of the room in front of his loyal cadre of volunteers.
TAL: Thank you everyone for helping me out. As you know, phone banking is an important part of the electoral process. Your contributions to my campaign will not go unnoticed, especially by you, GREAT SCOTT, putting aside your own campaign as a sign of goodwill. If I win the Intense Championship, I will give you the first shot out of gratitude.
GREAT SCOTT: YOU ARE A REALLY GREAT GUY ANGLODOOR I AM TOTALLY OKAY WITH HELPING YOU WIN ANYTHING YOU WANT BUT ACTUALLY IT IS CALLED THE IMPULSE CHAMPIONSHIP SORRY TO BE A GRAMMAR NAZI. .
TAL: I think it’s actually… you know what, forget about it. I’m just glad you’re here. Anyway, I’m sorry I couldn’t get those fancy Cisco smart landline phones, but of the $250,000 I raised through the Throwback BJGA PAC I set up, only $3,000 was available. I guess that’s what I get for letting Roderick McRatrick talk me into letting him head it up.
The camera smash cuts to Roderick driving a Lamborghini Countash on I-70 somewhere in Colorado.
Roderick McRatrick: LINDSAY TROY WILL NEVER CATCH ME ALIVE.
Smash cut back to the phone bank room.
TAL: These rotary phones are all I could afford. I hope they’re not too much of an inconvenience for you guys. Okay, does anyone have any ques…
Rezin butts in.
Rezin: YA!! Where they keep the cash in this thing?!
TAL: Cash? Ummm, are you in the right place?
Rezin: This is the BANK, right?! The one they keep in the PHONE! I need to make a withdrawal, and this damb thing won’t take my pin number!
The Goat Bastard dials the combination of zero-four-two-zero, to no discernable result. He impatiently taps the switch.
Joey Baggadonuts: Uh, buddy, I hates ta break it to youse, but um, dis ain’t a money bank. We gotta call people to get ‘em to vote for my paisan ovah heeyah. I know, I was a little confused too.
Rezin unleashes a groan as his eyes roll.
Rezin: Uugghh… okay, I’ll partake in your Capitalist brainwashing scam, but ONLY for twenty bucks and a lid! And… AND! A bar of soap! But nothing with triclosan in it!
TAL: How about you can use my medical marijuana card for the weekend and I give you some hand sanitizer.
Rezin: YOU DRIVE A HARD BARGAIN, Mr. Anonymous, or whatever you call yourself these days!
The old luchador hands over his card and a 5 oz. bottle of Spring Mint hand sanitizer to The Escape Artist.
TAL: Alright, now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to come around to the different groups and see how you’re doing.
The luchador walks first over to children’s television icons Mega Job. Beef is wearing a pirate’s hat, because of course he is. El Janito, in his snazzy suit, looked incredibly confused (so what else is new?). Steve isn’t even bothering with the correct phones, he instead seems to be playing some sort of word game on his phone.
TAL: How are things going over here, guys?
Beef: I’m givin’ it all she’s got, cap’n, but she cannae take much more!
El Janito: What the hell is with these new-fangled phones and these new-age rotary mechanisms?! Back in my day, we just used smartphones!
TAL: Well, I didn’t want you to drain your batteries or incur data charges? A lot of cheapskates here in PRIME who may not pay for unlimited data. You know I heard one of the eGG Bandits washes paper plates from the advance on the Rumor Mills. I’m not sure how reliable those reports are though, but I can see it. From any one of the three of them. Anyway, I’m rambling. How many people have you called so far?
Beef: Uh, negative two.
El Janito: We actually uncalled people.
You can’t see him furrowing his brow because he’s wearing a mask, but trust me, the omniscient narrator here, the old luchador is furrowing his brow right now.
TAL: Well, uh, the night is young. Thanks for your… you know what, maybe take a powder and let Steve do all the work? Thanks.
The luchador doesn’t even wait for a response before moseying on over to the Dangerous Mix table.
TAL: David! Saori! Mushi! Thank you so much for helping out here. How are you guys holding the line?
Mushi raises his hand, as he is in the middle of a call and seems to be engulfed in the topic at hand.
Mushigihara: Hmmmm, Oooooooosu.
He snaps his head up in surprise and slams his meaty paws onto the table.
Saori Kazama: Impressive. That guy’s entire block, huh?
David Fox chuckles and shrugs.
David Fox: You know how the big man does. Smarter than he lets on, he could sell snow to a penguin. I’m just glad we were able to put in work for a noble cause, my dude. Sorry about the confusion over the whole “Anglo” thing, by the way. Tiocfaidh ár lá and all that stuff, y’know?
TAL: It’s fine, I understand. The whole “anglo” thing was just a way for them to call me “white” without saying I was a “gringo.” I think they liked me. Anyway, I’ve been meaning to ask, what does “osu” mean anyway?
David Fox: What do you mean?
TAL: It’s the only thing he says. Is it like an “I am Groot” thing where the tone of voice denotes what he means?
Mushigihara seems to have finished his call, as he is pulling his headset off and whistling to himself.
David Fox: Let’s ask him. Hey, big man. Anglo wanted to know about your speech deal.
With a nod, the God-Beast smiles at TAL and responds with a cool, calm, and friendly…
TAL blinks three times and is taken back in surprise.
TAL: Huh. I honestly didn’t expect to understand all that. That’s… enlightening. Thanks!
He smiles even wider, as if to say “don’t mention it!” The old luchador turns around to check in on GREAT SCOTT, still hard at work trying to dial the rotary phone.
TAL: And how are you doing over here, Scott?
GREAT SCOTT: I’M GREAT.
TAL: Well yes, but I meant, uh, how are you doing with the phone calls?
GREAT SCOTT: I HAVE NOT MADE ANY PHONE CALLS THIS PHONE IS NOT LIKE MY IPHONE 15 AT ALL IT DOES NOT EVEN HAVE DOORDASH.
TAL: That’s because it’s an old-school rotary phone. Do you even know how to use one?
GREAT SCOTT: MY DAD WAS A MEMBER OF THE ROTARY BUT HE WAS MURDERED BY THE MAFIA SO I NEVER GOT TO LEARN THE SECRETS.
The old luchador muttered something under his breath that no one, even GREAT SCOTT, could not hear, but I assure you, it probably wasn’t congratulatory.
TAL: I’m sorry for your loss. Anyway, um, could you at least try dialing a number with that phone?
GREAT SCOTT: MAYBE YOU COULD TRY PUTTING MY PENIS IN YOUR MOUTH BITCH I AM FUCKING GREAT SCOTT I AM NOT A SECRETARY I WILL FIGHT YOU ON THE GODDAMNED MOON.
Instantly, GREAT SCOTT is embarrassed about his outburst. He slumps down a little in his chair, his face turning slightly flush.
GREAT SCOTT: SORRY ANGLODOOR THAT WAS NOT A PROPORTIONATE RESPONSE TO A REASONABLE REQUEST. SOMETIMES WHEN YOU ARE GREAT LIKE ME GREAT SCOTT AND YOU FIND SOMETHING YOU DO NOT EXCEL AT, YOU REACT WITH HOSTILITY INSTEAD OF HUMILITY. MY SINCERE APOLOGIES. I WILL MAKE THE CALLS AND MASTER THE ROTARY CLUB.
TAL: That’s all I can really ask, I guess.
You can’t see it, but there’s a vein twitching on the old luchador’s forehead. He nods at GREAT BEAR, who is still chilling with lo-fi beats and is not paying him any mind, and then moseys over towards the temporary bane of his existence, Rezin.
TAL: I don’t suppose you made any progress, did you?
The Goat Bastard sets down the receiver of his own phone. As a true child of the eighties, he knows how rotaries work.
Rezin: I am pleased to report that I got ya at least FIVE canceled Disney Plus subscriptions! Solid win for the little guy, amirite?! Take THAT, Capitalism!
TAL: Okay, I’m going to try to be as polite as possible here. Was I not clear when I said you were supposed to be calling prospective voters to cast their ballot for me and Ria Nightshade to be the Intense Championship Match at Great American Nightmare?
Rezin: I’m just sayin’, you could just skip the whole corrupt democratic process thing and just take over by way of anarchist revolution! We can call you “El Anglodente” and give you a sweet beret and shit!
TAL: I did a Generalissimo Anonymous gimmick in Yucatan Pro, it went over like a lead balloon. Anyway, I just had one thing to ask. One El Santo-forsaken thing and…
Rezin: LOOK, dude, cut me slack here! I literally have NO idea what I’m doin’ here, and I’m only doin’ this cause Olvir tells me I desperately need a tax write-off! THAT, and I was told there’d be free pizza!
Rezin grumbles as he painstakingly dials ten whole numbers on the phone and holds the receiver to his ear, casting an annoyed glare at the luchador looming over him. Someone picks up on the other end, and Rezin recites from the script in a monotone voice.
Rezin: Good afternoon, sir or madam, and how are you today? Do you have a moment to speak about our lord and savior, the Anglo Luchador?
TAL: Someone please fire a pneumatic hammer into the back of my head and put me out of my misery.
“Sephiroth:” That can be arranged.
The old luchador looks over at the former MBE also-ran who flew a little too close to the copyright sun, who is standing in front of fire like in the popular game Final Fantasy VII. The fire is emanating from Mega Job’s table, with Beef trying to put it out by waving a towel at it, El Janito having fainted on top of one of the phones, and Steve just yelling “IDIOTS” over and over.
TAL: This is the worst goddamn day ever, and I still have to wrestle Phil Atken. Could it get any worse?
It gets worse. A whole lot worse.
Mushigihara: Osu? OSU, OSU!
David Fox: I’ve only heard him this angry once before. Oh no…
Rezin: …and if you send Mr. Anonymous half your life savings, you get a beer koozie, absolutely free.
Joey Baggadonuts: Are you talkin’ to me? Are you talkin’ to me?
GREAT SCOTT: (breathing heavily, seated fist through the broken pieces of an old-style rotary telephone in front of him, with GREAT BEAR still chilling behind him in his sick Beats by Dre headphones)
Steam is almost visible coming out the earholes of the old luchador’s mask.
The room comes to attention. The fire magically extinguishes itself. Sephiroth comes to his senses.
TAL: I asked you all here to do one thing and one thing only, and you couldn’t even do that correctly. If you didn’t want to help me phone bank, you could have just said no, it’s not my thing. Do you know the hellfreakin’ butt-lord of a day I’ve had so far? Most of it was my fault, sure, but you cretins COULD HAVE HELPED ALLEVIATE SOME OF THAT.
Saori Kazama: Guys, I think we should get outta here.
TAL: NO, stay, do whatever you want. Mikey, order some pizzas, put it on my credit card. As many toppings as these guys want. I gotta get outta here. Like, NOW.
The old luchador leaves the room, slamming the door behind him. Mikey stands up and looks around.
GREAT SCOTT: I WOULD LIKE A LOT OF PEPPERONI PLEASE BUT ALSO ONE WITH NO PEPPERONI BECAUSE GREAT BEAR KEEPS KOSHER AND I DO NOT WANT TO SEE WHAT HE WILL DO IF WE MAKE HIM DEFY THE LAWS OF HIS GOD.
The camera throws it back up to the commentary table.
Richard Parker: You know, I’d feel bad for The Anglo Luchador if I didn’t hate him more than any other person in this company outside of Cancer Jiles.
Nick Stuart: You heard it here first, folks, Richard Parker has the beginnings of a soul developing. Now let’s throw it to the ring for some tag team action!
SOLID GOLD ROCK N ROLL vs. THE EGG BANDITS vs. 2BECOME1
We fade in from the commercial with The eGG Bandits standing in the ring, Bobby Dean takes up the entire corner while Doozer takes his time stretching in the corner.
Nick Stuart: And no absurd entrance for The eGG Bandits this evening.
Richard Parker: Either Dooze forgot to send one in or they spent all the budget on Jiles’. Selfish little…
“Motherload” by Mastodon rips through the arena as Solid Gold Rock and Roll step out onto the entrance ramp. The two pose for a moment as Vince Howard lets it rip.
Vince Howard: Aaaaaand coming out second! Recently eliminated from Survivor! The team of Barry Delgado and Trent Sadikaj, also known as SOLID GOLD RRRRRRRRRROCK AND ROLLLLLLLLL!
Delgado and Sadikaj strut their way to the ring and roll inside. They march to their corner and look absolutely like the living embodiment of everything rock and roll.
Vince Howard: Coming down to the ring… our second team… 2Become1! Jonathan-Christopher Hall and Darin Zion!
Nick Stuart: Darin Zion and Jonathan-Christopher have been on a roll as of late.
Richard Parker: That’s because they believe in REAL LOVE!
“Wannabe” by the Spice Girls plays over the PA as a nervous looking Jonathan-Christopher Hall emerges with his “best friend”, REAL LOVE Darin Zion. DZ has a confident smirk on his face and tells the crowd in the front row what type of man he is. He also tells everyone if they wanna get with him, they gotta get with the Hall’s first.
Nick Stuart: I never took you for a Zion fan.
Richard Parker: I pretty much support all the cults, and this is pretty much a cult.
Clearly. Vickie beams while she holds Jonathan-Christopher Hall’s hand. The two walk well behind REAL LOVE Darin Zion. Zion slides into the ring and hops up and down in the center of the mat, making sure the blood flows through his veins. The Vow of Virtue simply rolls under the bottom rope and finds their corner. Zion smacks Hall in the back like they’ve got this and Jonathan-Christopher returns with a smile.
Nick Stuart: Darin Zion, Bobby Dean, and Trent Sadikaj start it off for their teams in the ring.
Richard Parker: Only thing Bobby Dean is starting off is the rush on chicken wings at the buffet line when he waddles up.
Zion blows past Bobby Dean and goes straight for Sadikaj. The two start ripping into each other with right hands while Bobby Dean is perfectly content to stand in the corner. Zion gets the upper hand in his Don Frye fight and backs Sadikaj into the corner. Sadikaj manages to back Zion off with an eye rake. Jimmy Turnbull jumps in warning Sadikaj who just blows him off. Bobby shrugs his shoulders and tags a very confused Doozer in.
Nick Stuart: What a battle between Sadikaj and Zion going on in the empty corner!
Richard Parker: Bobby Dean just tagged out because he got tired from standing.
Sadikaj has Zion reeling and goes for a superkick, Zion ducks under and tries a superkick of his own. Sadikaj backs away, but manages to step in and tie Zion up, dropping him to the mat with a Leg Sweep. Doozer maintains his space in the corner and looks on very nonchalantly. Sadikaj is up quick and hits the ropes, Zion isn’t far behind him, but manages to eat a big cross body from Sadikaj. Sadikaj hooks the leg and looks directly at Doozer.
Nick Stuart: He’s almost daring Doozer to get involved with the pin attempt.
Richard Parker: I think the old bull knows Zion pretty well, and knows that cross body isn’t enough to finish REAL LOVE Darin Zion off.
Zion kicks out emphatically, Zion makes a break to tag Jonathan Christopher-Hall while Sadikaj decides to tag in ‘Boogie’ Barry Delgado. Delgado comes into the ring and is motioning at Doozer to come get it. Jonathan Christopher-Hall, at the urging of Vickie Hall, takes a cheap shot to the side of Delgado’s face. Delgado is shocked, not because it hurt, but shocked because JCH dared to hit him. Doozer shakes his head and slaps Bobby Dean on the back to tag him in.
Nick Stuart: Delgado is outraged!
Richard Parker: I think Bobby Dean is trying to get a wave started.
Nick Stuart: If you hate him so much, why do you keep watching him?
Richard Parker: His gravity pulls my eyes towards him…
In the ring Barry Delgado has his finger out and is marching at Jonathan-Christopher Hall, who is backing away and begging off. Delgado finally backs him into the neutral corner, and Hall realizes he has nowhere to go. He tries throwing another right hand, but Delgado shrugs the blow off and smashes JCH in the mouth with an elbow. Bobby finally succeeds in getting the entire arena to do a wave, and tags Doozer back in.
Nick Stuart: Thunderous elbow from Delgado in the corner!
Richard Parker: This Hall kid seems a bit overwhelmed in there.
Delgado takes a few steps back and runs in again, slamming a forearm shot into Jonathan-Christopher’s mouth. Hall stumbles out of the corner right into the waiting arms of Delgado. He reaches back and tosses Hall over his head with a huge release German suplex. Hall lands on his neck and rolls head to toe over backwards a few times until he ends up at the feet of Doozer.
Nick Stuart: Uh oh.
Richard Parker: He’s just gonna tag the fat one.
Doozer does not just tag the fat one, and instead stomps JCH right across the mouth. Hall recoils back into the corner, but Doozer doesn’t stop stomping. Bobby has somehow found a cheeseburger and is on the floor outside, laughing at Jonathan-Christopher Hall while Doozer kicks him in the head three or four more times.
Nick Stuart: Here comes Delgado!
Richard Parker: He might have wanted to take a page out of The Bandits playbook there…
Delgado runs over and smashes Doozer with a forearm. Doozer recoils from the blow, but Delgado quickly grabs him around the waist and tries for another German Suplex. Doozer is quick to counter, and manages to unhook Delgado’s hands and slide around behind Delgado. Doozer tries to lift Delgado, but Delgado manages to sneak his left leg in between Doozer’s. The old bull tries to lift Delgado again, but Delgado manages to slip free and ends up behind Doozer again.
Nick Stuart: Some great chain wrestling going on here!
Richard Parker: Never thought I’d see that in THIS match.
Delgado tries to lift Doozer, but Doozer tries to step behind Delgado. Barry manages to stay behind Doozer who rapidly moves to the ropes. Doozer tries to grab hold but Delgado manages to get him off the ground just before. Doozer manages to hook his foot on the middle rope forcing Delgado to stop the German suplex mid attempt. Doozer takes the opportunity to slide behind Delgado and finally German suplexes Delgado, but with all the rotation Delgado manages to land on Jonathan-Christopher Hall.
Richard Parker: Finally…
Nick Stuart: That was a lot of German suplex attempts…
Richard Parker: I hope Youngblood suplexes Jiles that many times tonight.
The Boston Bruiser walks towards the corner where both of his opponents and Bobby Dean happen to be. Vickie Hall is mid freakout and is up on the apron yelling at Doozer to stay away from Jonathan-Christopher. Bobby Dean immediately takes interest and starts walking towards Vickie with a finger twirling in his belly button. Vickie jumps off the apron and runs back to her corner, and away from the near four-hundred pound cretin.
Richard Parker: Okay, that was funny…
Nick Stuart: Vickie Hall is going to need more therapy.
Richard Parker: Like she didn’t already anyway.
Doozer turns back towards his opponents but both are no longer there. Jonathan-Christopher takes the opportunity created by Vickie to roll up Doozer while Delgado tags in Sadikaj. Turnbull slides over for the count.
Sadikaj dives in and manages to break it up at the last second. Jonathan-Christopher immediately runs to his corner, Sadikaj and Doozer both start trading right hands in the center of the ring. Jonathan-Christopher tags in Zion who immediately joins the melee as Doozer pushes the pile to the eGG Bandits corner. Doozer reaches for Bobby Dean, but Sadikaj is able to find an opening and lights Doozer up with a super kick.
Richard Parker: That’s why they call him Boots!
Nick Stuart: What a super kick, Doozer’s down and here comes Zion after Sadikaj!
Zion smashes into Sadikaj with a European uppercut that sends him staggering. Zion doesn’t stop and follows up with a second one. Sadikaj is reeling and Zion spins looking for the discus clothesline but Sadikaj manages to duck underneath and leap to tag in Barry Delgado.
Nick Stuart: AND HERE COMES THE BOOGIE!
Richard Parker: Totally different challenge here for Zion.
Barry comes in with a head full of steam and clubs Zion with repeated forearm shots while backing him up into the ropes. Delgado fires off a kick to the stomach before finally Irish whipping Zion into the ropes. Zion comes back and Delgado lifts him with a backdrop and Zion crashes to the mat. He immediately gets back up and Delgado Irish whips him a second time. Zion comes sprinting back and leapfrogs Delgado to avoid the backdrop. Delgado runs through Zion’s legs to the opposite ropes. The two men collide in the center of the ring with huge clotheslines.
Nick Stuart: WHAT A CLOTHESLINE FROM DELGADO AND ZION! BOTH MEN ARE DOWN!
Richard Parker: Boogie will get right back up… I’m sure.
Doozer, suddenly entering our shot out of nowhere reaches over and tags in Bobby Dean. The largest eGG Bandit comes through the ropes and half runs, half waddles at the two men on the ground.
Richard Parker: Oh dear God.
Bobby Dean leaps and comes down with a huge splash on both opponents. Barry Delgado takes the worst of it with Bobby’s massive gut slamming into his chest. Zion, just from being hit with Bobby Dean’s colossal thighs, is gasping for air and reaching over to tag in JCH. Bobby, stands up, breathing very hard but walking towards the downed Delgado. He simply falls down, dropping a massive leg across Delgado’s throat.
Nick Stuart: Bobby Dean does know precisely how to use that incredible mass he has been cultivating.
Richard Parker: Did you just act like Bobby Dean is trying to be that fat?
Nick Stuart: He’s not?
Bobby slowly makes his way to the ropes, and uses them to pull himself up to his feet. He puts his hands on his knees for a few moments to catch his breath before walking over and tagging in Doozer. The Boston Bruiser beelines towards JCH and takes him out with a huge spear. Delgado is finally getting to his feet, but he’s clearly not all there and stumbles towards Doozer. Doozer hammers him with two huge right hands before hooking Delgado’s arms and planting him to the canvas with a double arm hook DDT.
Nick Stuart: THE ABUSER!
Richard Parker: Oh no, that fat man has grabbed Boots by the leg!
Bobby is holding onto Trent Sadikaj’s leg while Doozer covers.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: AAAAAAAAND YOUR WINNERS BY PINFALL THEEEEEEEE EGGGGGGGG BANDITS!
Nick Stuart: What a match, a big win for The eGG Bandits in their first match of the night!
Richard Parker: Hoyt save us! That terrible human being Cancer Jiles can’t become Universal champion!
Nick Stuart: Well we don’t have to worry about that for a bit. We’re gonna head backstage.
FIVE CARD STUD
Part of the magic of a place like Las Vegas is that you never know just who you’ll end up at a table with. It could even be a celebrity in the middle of a bender. Or it could just be all set up in a cubicle in the middle of the backstage halls of the MGM Grand Arena.
Grady Patrick: Fold.
Alexander Redding: How many black cats did you cross? Or was it a broken mirror type of day?
The usual boisterous trash talk that echoes against the grey felt of Red & Ted’s inconveniently positioned workplace is the first confirmation of the players at the table, including the discarded hand in front of Mr. Patrick. More curiously would be the other two sat around the table.
Enemigo IV: …
The fourth player is 2022’s very own, regular Garbage Bag Johnny. Neither his future counterpart nor his tag team partner nor his tag team partner’s future counterpart are around. It’s not clear what Garbage Bag Johnny’s doing here outside of enjoying a game of poker with some old colleagues from GCW. It’s clear that he is not sure…no rest of sentence necessary.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Hit me.
As he holds the cards, Redding smirks toward Johnny, and slides two more his way. He casts a glance at the Enemigo, though would be hard pressed to see much as the bottom of the mask is pulled to take a draw from the tall boy can of Moosehead Lager.
Alexander Redding: Can never really get a read on those guys. But, speaking of. John, I know you said that wasn’t technically you out there last show trying to cost me the spot as this place’s 5 Star Czar.. Wait, that’s been used before…
From the ultra plush office chair embossed with Teddy Palmer’s name across the headrest, IV tosses a small stack of chips into the pot.
Alexander Redding: Can I really blame you, if that was truly a future version? It’s a Minority Report situation, and I never really liked that movie to begin with.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Not yet. I suppose it will be me one day, but hey, they did a number on me, and it was a lot worse than getting choked with a few butterscotch hard candies.
GBJ peeks under his new set of cards, and he doesn’t like those either, so he just tosses them over his shoulder.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Anyway, that’s all water under the bridge. I’m cool with Future Me, now, and I’m sure you guys would like him if you gave him a chance. But that’s besides the point. I’m sure you didn’t just invite me here to give away your money.
After shaking the thought of being beaten over the head with the colostomy bag by the Future version of the other half of the Future of Wrestling, Grady Patrick peaks his head up to see under the bowler cap.
Grady Patrick: Actually, there was one question.
Alexander Redding: As nice as it is to catch up on the good old days before Caldera went non-extradition… Say, he end up on the same island as Frosty? Nevermind. Ted, he got popped on a test.
Scratching his chin, the vague awareness of a suspended star and general understanding that it wasn’t Ted under the mask sitting to his right, Johnny shows a look of sympathy.
Alexander Redding: So let me ask, just how many times they checking you? As a man known for certain habits.
Garbage Bag Johnny: I’m clean as a bean, but they haven’t made me piss in a cup yet.
Grady Patrick: See, I knew it was all bullshit. They are refusing to tell us even what it is Ted pissed hot for.
Alexander Redding: Troy just fucking with us, and we hardly kicked up that much of a fuss to this point. You remember when you were running the show in GCW? Those were the days. No piss tests there.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Except on Shaman’s toothbrush.
Alexander Redding slaps Johnny on the back and laughs.
Alexander Redding: Ah yeah, I remember that. Say, you remember when you won the Dual Halo as an outsider? That was awesome. What’d you ever use that Golden Ticket on?
GBJ looks a little flustered, but he tries to keep his poker face as it pertains to everything but the card game.
Garbage Bag Johnny: I, uh, actually never got to cash that in. They took it from me when I got released. I think they wrote me a check for it, but that wasn’t my choice.
Alexander Redding: Sounds like an unfair shake to me.
Garbage Bag Johnny: It’s in the past, man. Best for me not to dwell on it.
Redding focuses back on his cards, grinning at his hand.
Alexander Redding: Anyway, Johnny, what you got?
Without touching his cards, GBJ immediately peels off his shirt (which is just a t-shirt printed to look like a half open bathrobe) and tosses it on the table. Red, Grady, and the Enemigo all look at Johnny with expected confusion.
Garbage Bag Johnny: A whole lot of nothing. How’d you guys tell I was bluffing?
In unison of expression, if not all voice, the other three fourths of the table roll back some on the leather-backed office furniture.
Alexander Redding and Grady Patrick: This is not strip poker, man.
Garbage Bag Johnny: I know. This is strip blackjack, right?
Grady Patrick: For the love of all things Holy, we’re four guys.
With a shrug, Johnny is joined by everyone else reaching for the chilled beverage, some praying this awkward beat would pass. Awkward, however, is exactly what they’ll continue to get.
Hayes Hanlon: Remember boys, you can’t stack +4’s. It’s very clear in the Uno rulebook.
From stage left rolls in The Five Star Champ, Hayes Hanlon, holding his belt in place against his shoulder before reaching down to retrieve GBJ’s robe-shirt.
Hayes Hanlon: (Dropping the shirt on Johnny’s lap.) I’d bet money that you’re supposed to have this on. (Turning to Redding) And what’s up, Red? Still got my nose?
Returning the passive aggressive smile, Redding drops the deck back to the center of the table.
Alexander Redding: You know, I’ve got to hand it to you kid: that was one Hell of a fight we put on.
Hayes Hanlon: It was something, that’s for sure. That a new suit, Grady? I hope it is, I swear I saw “Nova” beat you over the head with a colostomy bag toward the end.
Having again been reminded of the countless showers he took after the show two weeks ago, Grady just shoots a well earned sneer to the Event Horizon.
Alexander Redding: Johnny, your boy sure can talk shit. I was wrong, he was even smart enough to try to weasel out of it all with that double countout ruse. Could just be championship material after all.
Hayes Hanlon: (shrugging and patting his belt) I’m figuring it out, and seem to be doing okay so far.
Hanlon turns to Johnny, clapping him on the shoulder.
Hayes Hanlon: Anyway, Nova is looking for you. He was wondering if you had any connections to dudes with old pirate treasure maps. Thought it might be helpful for the scavenger hunt.
Alexander Redding: Yeah, hey, good luck with that fool’s errand business, Johnny.
With tee in hand, the details have found Garbage Bag Johnny, complete with matching ‘Ah-ha’ sound fx. A man on a mission to find a pirate, Johnny walks back in the same direction Hanlon entered the shot from. Hanlon turns to Red before following Johnny out.
Hayes Hanlon: See you in a couple weeks, Red. Oh, and be ready for Cecilia. She’s really, REALLY mean.
Standing to his feet, Red’s drawn Enemigo IV to do the same, sensing the tension.
Alexander Redding: Ryan’s brat kid, I know. You can relax, IV, the kid and I are just talking. You (to Hanlon) just be ready, because I am coming for more than your nose, next time.
Hayes Hanlon: (pointing to his ‘stache with faux-surprise) Is it this? I’m sorry if I’ve been sending mixed-signals, but mustache rides aren’t free for everybody.
Stepping forward to tap a knuckle against the faceplate of the prize on the line at ReVival 9, Red matches grins.
Alexander Redding: Just remember;a triple threat means there’ll be no rookie referees to save you should I feel inclined to color outside of the lines. And, I really don’t think that thing living above your lip is sanitary.
At the encouragement of the masked security official, Hanlon parts with a confident, if teasing, grin, his lip and ‘stache curling with an upward nod before strolling away alongside Johnny.
Alexander Redding: The kid has moxie. And just like that, I might be in the mood to hound down Troy for answers.
Exiting the felt castle, Red walks with intent in the opposite direction, Grady Patrick in tow.
…but before the camera completely cuts somewhere else, Garbage Bag Johnny shuffles slowly back and grabs his abandoned beer, just before he’s pulled back out of camera shot by what appears to be Hanlon’s arm.
THANKS, BUT NO THANKS
Shweta Kallemullah walks down a hallway backstage with purpose. She’s on the phone, and the conversation seems stressful.
Shweta Kallemullah: Listen, I don’t really care how it has to get done. I don’t ask a butcher to show me what goes in the sausage casing, I don’t visit the workshop to see how the carpenter makes my bedframe, and I certainly don’t ask the florist to take me to the garden to show me where the lilies come from. I just want those lilies on the tables come next Friday.
She is focused more on her conversation than where she is walking, and that is why she suddenly finds herself at the end of the hallway, where a few people are waiting.
Julian Bathory, director of MESSIAH International, stands with hands clasped just above his belt. He’s flanked to either side by sharply-dressed colleagues, a raven-haired young woman of Japanese descent and a stern-faced gentleman in his early-40’s. Each clutches an identical briefcase at their side.
Shweta Kallemullah: Just let me know when it’s done. Thank you.
She hangs up the phone and looks at Julian Bathory. With heels she actually appears taller, but it is obvious who the more intimidating presence is.
Shweta Kallemullah: I apologize. I wasn’t watching where I was going. I’ll leave you to your…business.
Bathory holds up a hand.
Julian Bathory: No need. Our business is with you, Ms. Kallemullah. We’re exactly where we should be.
He gestures to either side.
Julian Bathory: My associates. Vanna Lloris and Lucas Cross. They closely handle our organization’s financial affairs.
Shweta does not look at or respond to either of Julian’s associates.
Shweta Kallemullah: Business with me? What business could you possibly have with me?
The head of MESSIAH breathes in deeply, bringing his hands up and steepling his fingers.
Julian Bathory: We believe in making the world a better place in whatever way that we can. Raising up the downtrodden and the wounded, alleviating the woes of people under duress, offering inspiration to maximize potential. To that end, we have an offer to extend to you, Ms. Kallemullah. Eradicating one of the great evils on this planet is one of the most worthy causes that I can imagine, and let it not be said that MESSIAH is not doing its part in that pursuit.
As he speaks, Lloris shuffles through a thick sheath of papers in her briefcase and draws one out at the conclusion of Bathory’s address, slipping it to the director. He offers a plaintive smile and extends it to Shweta.
Julian Bathory: I believe you’ll find the figure quite generous.
Shweta takes the paper, slowly breathing. She fixes Bathory a stern glare.
Shweta Kallemullah: It doesn’t matter what number is on this paper, it couldn’t possibly…
And against all better judgment, she looks down at the paper.
Shweta Kallemullah: Wow.
She looks down again, searching for resolve. Eventually, she finds it.
Shweta Kallemullah: No. Even that figure isn’t enough for us to associate with you. Mr. Bathory, you may fool every upper class person you peddle your wares to. But I worked for one of the worst people to ever live, so I know the type. And I also know that anyone who associates with Bruce…
She tears the paper in two.
Shweta Kallemullah: …isn’t anyone we want giving us money. So thanks, but no fucking thank you. Respectfully of course.
The grin never slips from Bathory’s face. He appears neither angered nor even surprised.
Julian Bathory: Hasty bit of judgment, don’t you think? Are you really willing to turn down such an ample gift out of enmity for someone whose company I keep?
Shweta Kallemullah: This foundation depends on both the generosity of good people and the reputation of being above board. So yes, the company you keep is more than enough reason to reject your offer. Now, have a good evening. I have a dinner to plan.
The director of MESSIAH sighs in mock disappointment. He steps out around Shweta as if to depart, but pauses, placing one hand firmly on her shoulder.
Julian Bathory: Just so you know, Ms. Kallemullah, there’s a belief we hold dearly within our ranks. In our eyes, those who need help will always find it. The conditions may differ but, eventually, it will be received. Örökké a korona.
With that, the director walks away, leaving Shweta looking at her feet. After a few moments she decides it is safe to exit the corner herself, only to find herself nearly running right into King Blueberry, who is carrying the mannequin over his shoulder.
King Blueberry: …Hey.
He walks past her, leaving her to cover her face.
Shweta Kallemullah: Oh no.
MORTIMER KJEDELIG vs. FLAMBERGE
Nick Stuart: An amazing night thus far on our eighth installment of ReVival! Our next match will feature the dubiously connected Mortimer Kjedelig taking on the young up-and-coming posterboy for Bert’s chips, FLAMBERGE!
Richard Parker: In the battle of names I can’t pronounce.
Nick Stuart: That’s why you’re not the ring announcer, Rich. Speaking of, let’s take it to Vince!
“Dangereux” by IAM plays. The crowd reaction is mixed, but nevertheless LOUD. FLAMBERGE appears on the stage and walks straight to the ring. His face is completely expressionless, but full of calm intensity.
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, fighting out of Strasbourg, France, and weighing in at two-hundred and six pounds… HE IS… FLAAAMMMBEEERRRGGGE!!!
Getting the ringside fans buzzing without having to do anything but walk by, FLAMBERGE does a lap around the ring before scaling the ropes and stepping inside.
The opening riffs of “The Immigrant Song” by Karen O with Trent Reznor begins and the masked man emerges from the curtain as the lights dim and the spotlights shine on the ramp. Mortimer Kjedelig begins making his way down the ramp, pointing to the fans in attendance.
Vince Howard: And the opponent, hailing from Horace, North Dakota, and weighing in at two-hundred and forty-eight pounds… HERE IS… MORTIMEEERRR KJEEEDEEELIIIG!!!
As he walks by, he pays no attention to the fans, he’s there to 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 readies himself for the match as the music fades.
As the referee makes her final checks, the crowd breaks out into dueling “FLAAMBOIIIGGGE” and “KJERR-DERR-LERRG” chants. Kjedelig and FLAMBERGE stare at each other from across the ring, both looking ready to tear the other apart.
Richard Parker: So according to my Google Translate, “Kjer-Dee-Lig” is Norwegian for… “boring”?
Nick Stuart: Put that away, Rich! The way these two are staring each other down, I feel this match will be anything BUT! Official Ashley Barlow has made her final checks, and looks ready for the bell!
Kjedelig and FLAMBERGE come out of their corners and begin encircling each other. The young Frenchman brazenly makes the first move, stepping forward with a flurry of jabs that puts Mortimer on the defensive. Kjedelig answers the flurry by wrangling FLAMBERGE in close and locking up his arms. FLAMBO pivots for a sweep, but Mortimer uses his advantage in strength to instead dump him into the corner.
FLAMBERGE now finds himself on the defensive, holding his guard as Kjedelig lays into him with unrelenting rights and lefts. Referee Ashley Barlow calls for a break, and Mortimer obliges by taking the younger wrestler out of the corner with his head tucked under the arm and runs him into the canvas with a bulldog!
Nick Stuart: FLAMBERGE came out guns blazing, but a quick turnaround gives way to a solid start for Mortimer Kjedelig!
Richard Parker: He’s got an advantage in forty pounds and twenty years, so I think it’s fair to expect he’s seen and survived enough in the ring to know how to handle the kid!
FLAMBERGE attempts to push himself off the mat, but following a quick bounce off the ropes, Mortimer Kjedelig keeps him in place after dropping a knee across the back of the head! Kjedelig quickly rolls the younger wrestler onto his back and hooks the leg for the pin.
FLAMBO sits up, but Kjedelig quickly locks his head into a vice and squeezes down hard, pushing his knee into the back for extra leverage. He shakes his head to Barlow when she leans in looking for a submission. The Frenchman clenches his teeth as he wills himself to fight through the pain and try to move himself around.
FLAMBERGE succeeds in twisting himself off of Kjedelig’s knee, but Mortimer quickly transitions him into a front facelock. FLAMBO pushes himself off the mat to regain his footing, and Kjedelig responds with sharp knee strikes to the chest! The young judo technician’s legs wobble, until Mortimer goes to the well too many times and he catches him by the leg, transitioning right into a morote gari.
Nick Stuart: Double-leg takedown by FLAMBERGE, who finally finds himself in a position to return to the favor to Mortimer Kjedelig, as he goes right into the mount and UNLOADS on him with a hail of elbows!
Richard Parker: I don’t think that mask of his is going to provide much protection from those…
Mortimer stays covered for a moment before returning blows of his own. FLAMBERGE returns to his feet and the North Dakotan comes up with him. The rights and lefts don’t stop from either end as the two competitors trade heavy and uncompromising fists and forearms! The crowd gets LOUD as the match descends into an all-out slugfest!
Ashley Barlow finally restores order when she wedges her arms between either man’s chest and pries them away from each other. The official attempts to back FLAMBO back into his corner to check a cut that’s formed over his left eyebrow… but the Frenchman unexpectedly brushes by her, meets Kjedelig in the center of the ring, and the two immediately resume punching the tar out of each other! The audience ROARS!
Nick Stuart: We have an all-out BRAWL on our hands, Richard!
Richard Parker: I know this building has a rich history of boxing events, but this is crazy!
Time stretches between blows as the brawl’s attrition sets in and both men begin to wobble on rubber legs. Still, they keep punching! FLAMBERGE pivots and lands a back elbow that leaves Mortimer reeling. Kjedelig retorts with a big haymaker that leaves the Frenchman staggering off the ropes. He steps in and gives FLAMBO a push to send him motion, but they don’t go far.
FLAMBERGE plants his feet, reverses the hook the arms, swivels himself around, and rolls Kjedelig over to the mat with a judo hip toss, transitioning smoothly into a juji gatame. Kjedelig The crowd noise gets even louder as FLAMBERGE takes a hold of the wrist and locks his legs around the arm, but Mortimer Kjedelig locks his hands to prevent him from fully extending the arm!
Nick Stuart: WOW! In the blink of an eye, this match has become a fight standing up to one on the ground, as Moritmer Kjedelig finds himself in a BAD place right now! If FLAMBERGE extends into the cross armbreaker, this could be OVER right now!
FLAMBERGE pulls, but can’t pry Mortimer’s hands apart. Kjedelig twists and nuzzles and inches his way to the edge of the ring, his leg flopping against the canvas as he tries to reach the bottom rope. The Frenchman complicates his efforts as he laboriously forces his clenched fingers into coming undone.
The bottom rope SHAKES when Kjedelig’s foot finally reaches it, and Barlow steps in to break up the hold… just as FLAMBERGE finally pulls the hands apart and drops to the mat! The North Dakotan HOWLS as the armbreaker reaches its full extension…
Nick Stuart: He GOT IT!
Richard Parker: But a second too late!
FLAMBO’s face fills with confusion the moment he sees the official hovering over him calling for a break, and the momentary slip in concentration giving Mortimer Kjedelig all the leverage he needs to slip free, prop himself up, and bring his free fist down into the young athlete’s face with piston-like force, smashing his head HARD multiple times against the canvas!
Richard Parker: Tell you what, I’d hate to be a Bert’s shareholder right now, cause all anyone’s going to see when they look at that kid’s head after this is a rotten potato!
Kjedelig pulls himself up and shakes the feeling back into his arm as FLAMBERGE lies dazed on his back. Mortimer lays in a few stomps for good measure before pulling the rookie off the mat, hooking the head, and SPIKES him with a flowing DDT!
Nick Stuart: VICIOUS DDT by Mortimer Kjedelig, as he goes for the cover! Could that do it?
FLAMBERGE is still shaking out the cobwebs as he gets yanked back onto his feet. Kjedelig traps the arm and switches into a reverse three-quarter nelson. He’s about to drop into the neckbreaker… until a flurry of motion below the belt leaves him wincing in excruciating pain and instead falling to a knee!
Nick Stuart: LOW KICK by FLAMBERGE! Barlow didn’t see it!
Richard Parker: I didn’t see it either… which leads me to believe that you’re making it up.
Nick Stuart: What?!
FLAMBO twists himself around and the stunned Kjedelig turns with him, ending up right into a head clinch! With Mortimer’s hands around his sore groin region, his face is left totally exposed to a flying knee strike that crumbles him to the mat like an empty bag of chips!
Nick Stuart: JUMPING KNEE goes to the head of Mortimer Kjedelig like a rocket launcher, and is OUT! FLAMBERGE drops across the chest and hooks the legs…
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: The winner of the match, by pinfall… FLAAAMMMBEEERRRGGGE!!!
“Dangereux” by IAM plays over the PA rolls off of Kjedelig and sits up, checking the cut on his head as Barlow raises his arm in victory. He rolls out of the ring and brushes by the medic on his way to the back.
Nick Stuart: The young French judo prodigy pulls out a win tonight, although not without having it marred with controversy!
Richard Parker: I smell a conspiracy, Nick! Did the Belgians put you up to this?
Nick Stuart: …the BELGIANS?!
Richard Parker: I know, right? Who ARE the Belgins? Are they French, or are they German? Pick a side already! Yeesh!
Nick Stuart: I don’t… ugh, in any case, Mortimer Kjedelig didn’t come away without his pound of flesh, but FLAMBERGE proved here tonight that he can take his hits! More action is on the way, fans, right after this quick commercial break!
PEACE WAS NEVER AN OPTION
ReVival 8 returns from commercial to a tense scene in a conference room somewhere in the MGM Grand. A long table that, on one end, sits the Winds of Change. Joe Fontaine and Sid Phillips sit next to each other on one end of the table, both of them looking tensely at the occupant on the other end of the table.
Joe Fontaine: Let me tell you, sir. I’ve about had enough of your shenaniganery. Your shenanigans. You shenanigoon.
When the camera pans right to show who sits on the other end of the table, it’s of a mortal foe that the Winds of Change had run afoul of for the entirety of the Survivor competition. A mortal enemy, one whose crimes against both Joe and Sid could not be left to stand any longer.
The mannequin, El Hijo del Super Cool Guy, simply sits there with an unblinking lack of compromise. His remorseless face can only stare forward at his accusers of shenaniganery.
Joe Fontaine: Hey! English! We speak that here in Vegas!
He taps Sid on his shoulder and then points across the table at the mannequin.
Joe Fontaine: Sid, say something to him!
Sid Phillips: No.
The camera pans back and to the center, and finally displays the two other individuals standing in the room, some distance from the table and against the wall. One man, with his blackberry mask and white lab coat, also looks like a bandaged mummy, with most of his visible skin apart from his head and neck covered in bandages. The other man, with his blueberry mask, watches the events unfold next to him.
King Blueberry turns to Baron von Blackberry.
King Blueberry: What happened to you, anyway?
Baron von Blackberry: What, this? Uh, I said something nice to Ria.
King Blueberry: (nodding) Yeah, that tracks.
Joe slams his fist down on the table. Evidently, El Hijo del Super Cool Guy has said something to have angered Joe. He stands up, palms on the table, and then points an accusatory finger at the mannequin.
Joe Fontaine: How dare you accuse me of deserving your treatment of me!? Do you know who I am? I’m the man that’s going to go to your department store, find your girlfriend, and bang her right in front of you!
A hushed silence falls over the conference room.
Baron von Blackberry: Well, this peace summit is like a minute in and we’ve already had a declaration like that, so this is definitely going well so far.
Sid looks towards the berries with a pleading look. The kind that says that he doesn’t want to be there. The berries ignored his plight. Blackberry instead crosses his arms and casts a glance towards the mannequin.
Baron von Blackberry: He’s certainly a tough negotiator.
King Blueberry: Can we back up a minute? I’m still trying to wrap my head around the part where young Joe here threatened to break into a department store and sex a mannequin, because I don’t know exactly how many crimes that would be, but I bet it’s a lot. And now we’re all accessories.
The king spins in his chair. His first attempt miscalculates how well these particular chairs are maintained, so he overshoots his mark and faces the wall. It’s an awkward correction as he turns slowly towards Joe.
King Blueberry: That what you’re tryna do here, bud? Get us all arrested and sent to jail? For crimes? Well great job, Joe. Now we’re all felons.
A lightbulb goes off over blueberry’s head, but you can’t see it, because it’s very dim.
King Blueberry: Unless you’re up to some spy shit. Full disclosure time, and you have to answer honestly: are you a spy, Joe?
Baron von Blackberry: Yes, I would be very interested to know if you are a spy or not. For science.
Sid Phillips: As a counterpoint, look at this ridiculous man and his stupid gaudy suit. He can’t possibly be a spy. Spies have subtlety.
Joe Fontaine: Yeah, I’m not a spy.
Baron von Blackberry: That is exactly what a spy would say, you realize.
King Blueberry: I don’t think your boy is being honest with us, Baron. I feel like he’s cooking us up a sizzling cast iron skillet of peppers, onions, and lies. A fajita of fantastic falsehoods, fabrications, and fuckery.
King Blueberry: No, I don’t think white is his color. Why?
King Blueberry: Whatever. Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, these are the facts as I understand them. First, Joe may or may not be a spy. Jury’s still out on that one. Second – and I can’t believe I’m about to say this out loud – we have a problem with the mannequin hitting Canadian Destroyers. Is there a third? This is all super weird.
Joe Fontaine: Look, all I know is that every single time I share space with this freak of manufacturing beauty, I get flipped topsy-turvy. Hell, last time, it happened to Sid, too!
Sid Phillips: Pretty sure it was the crap I ate that turned me topsy-turvy, to be honest. A mannequin might have been there, I guess.
Joe stands and points another accusatory finger towards the mannequin.
Joe Fontaine: So what I want to know is, who is this mannequin, and why was he made in Canada?!
Blackberry, who is being suspiciously quiet for a change, laughs.
Baron von Blackberry: AHAHA! FOOL! Perhaps it is reacting to your preconceived notions of prejudice against the hat of America itself, Canada!
King Blueberry: This is El Hijo del Super Cool Guy. I thought that was obvious. Also he’s on the website, so you could just look him up. Is there a Super Cool Guy, Sr.? Maybe.
King Blueberry: As to why he was made in Canada… ummm. I’m sure there’s a company that could answer that. In Canada. You know, where he’s from. Most places that would have manufacturing capabilities to create a mannequin don’t let me anywhere near their factories or bookkeeping. Can’t imagine why.
Joe turns to Sid.
Joe Fontaine: Sid, I need you to Google for an ancestry site for mannequins.
Sid Phillips: No.
Baron von Blackberry: Honestly, I’m not sure the origin of Super Cool Guy the Second. is the issue here. I think the issue is that we have an entity, made out of whatever mannequins are made out of – fiberglass and plastic, I guess – that will stop at nothing to destroy you with the powers of Canada. Think about how terrible a power this is. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Nickelback. Ryan Reynolds. Bryan Adams. Brandon Youngblood. All of Quebec.
King Blueberry: (softly) Oh, that last one’s touchy.
He raises his fist into the air, and shakes it menacingly at whoever is watching from above.
Baron von Blackberry: The powers of Canada are being misused for the sole purpose of Destroyers! As the sovereign leader of the scenic, yet diabolical nation of Fruitsylvania, THIS CANNOT STAND!
King Blueberry: Okay, time-out.
He makes the universal sign for “time-out” with his hands. He also blows an imaginary whistle. King Blueberry is the worst referee.
King Blueberry: I thought all this was supposed to be about some peace accord, but I’m also reasonably certain that you might have just declared war. Is that what’s happening? Am I about to be drafted? How does conscription work for people outside the Fruitsylvanian borders?
King Blueberry: No, I haven’t taken the citizenship test yet. Jesus, why does everyone think that?!
Baron von Blackberry: Yeah, I don’t know why people think you’re from Fruitsylvania, either. You’re clearly from Fruit or Consequences. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course, but you understand that as an allied nation, you may be asked for your service against the dreaded power of Canada.
There is a pause.
Baron von Blackberry: But yes, this isn’t about war with Canada. That will happen in time. Oh, yes, the thousand robot armies of Fruitsylvania SHALL SOMEDAY DESCEND upon Canada. Alexander Redding, Barry Delgado, and Brandon Youngblood are ON NOTICE! They shall rue the day they were born within the embrace of a maple leaf. RUE IT! AND WEEP!
Then Blackberry clears his throat, and says.
Baron von Blackberry: Anyway, let’s settle our peace talks between Joe here and your tag team partner, at least.
Joe Fontaine: Don’t just dismiss my complaint! This is an outrage, I tell you!
Sid Phillips: It’s at least a little outrageous.
King Blueberry: Okay, then. Hit me with your terms and we’ll see how it shakes out. What are you looking for here? A cease-fire? An armistice? An… uhh… okay, I seem to have run out of war-related synonyms for detente. OH! Detente. That’s a good one.
Blueberry holds out both hands in a placating gesture.
King Blueberry: Of course, keeping in mind that we’re talking about a mannequin and whatever’s happened so far because of it has been out of my control. First Paxton chucked him, then the second Destroyer was actually Sid’s fault. He’s the one who threw him during the slide challenge. Yell at that guy.
He points to where Sid is seated.
King Blueberry: That guy right there.
His hand is quickly withdrawn. The looming threat of death by powerbomb is omnipresent.
King Blueberry: I don’t really know what happened during the food challenge, and I refuse to watch that tape back, because that shit was gross. But what I’m saying is, basically, “not it!”
Joe Fontaine: I’m not yelling at my own tag partner for your tag partner’s faults! Look, I was willing to pass off the first one as a fluke, and the second one as a coincidence. But the third is a pattern! A pattern of destroying Canada!
Sid Phillips: No, I think it’s called that because the destroying is of Canadian orig– wait, why am I arguing with you about this? God. Look, there’s only one real solution. One very simple solution that will solve all of these problems, and it’s…
Baron von Blackberry: (interrupting) You are not powerbombing the mannequin.
Sid Phillips: Oh, COME ON!
King Blueberry: I mean he can. It’s fine with me.
King Blueberry: No, you don’t get a say in this, actually. And would you please stop interrupting? The adults are talking.
Sid wordlessly stands up from his seat, and goes over to the mannequin. The mannequin stares in terror(?) until Sid hoists him up effortlessly and brings him down with a powerbomb on the conference table. The moment he hits the table, his head pops off and goes flying, and Joe has to duck to avoid somehow getting Canadian Destroyered by a flying mannequin head.
Joe Fontaine: Dude!
Sid raises his arms in triumph after doing the powerbombing deed.
Sid Phillips: YEAAAAAAHHHH!
King Blueberry looks first to the body of Super Cool Guy, then to where the severed mannequin head lays motionless on the floor, and finally to the clock hanging on the wall.
King Blueberry: Yeah. Not fixing that before the scavenger nonsense. So, umm, good luck later. And, I guess, no promises on Canadian destruction. Not like the destruc… oh, the hell with it.
And ReVival moves on…
A WHOLE NEW WORLDS
The elevator makes a dinging sound as the doors spread and the future Future of Wrestling, presently known just as Garbage Bag Johnny and Nova, disembark mid-conversation.
Garbage Bag Johnny: So, one of them is the size of a silver dollar pancake, and the other is the size of the actual coin.
Nova: I really don’t want to hear more about this, but what’s the difference?
Garbage Bag Johnny: I’m glad you asked. Now, the American Silver Eagle dollar coin is 40.6 millimeters in diameter. That’s the current silver dollar, and it’s the largest coin in production. The previous versions were about two and a half millimeters smaller. The smallest silver dollar pancake generally starts at about two inches. Sure, someone might make a smaller pancake than that, but it would be purely for novelty reasons.
GBJ and Nova approach the door to their room, and GBJ pats himself down for the key, but Nova knows well enough that his tag partner isn’t going to find it and swipes his own keycard in the reader. As soon as he opens the door…
The Present of Wrestling both instinctively duck and cover as Future GBJ and Nova burst out of the room, both blasting confetti cannons.
Future Nova: We’ve been waiting all night for you two to get here.
Future GBJ: We made you something! Come on! You’re gonna love this!
The Future of Wrestling both step to the sides of the door to form an aisle and motion for Nova and GBJ to walk through the door. The room is still trashed from the psychotic beatdown of yester-ReV. It’s even more trashed, but nothing jumps out as surprising…until Future Nova uses some kind of late 21st century wizardry to create a digital screen with his bare hands.
Nova: I didn’t give you permission to use my iPad.
Future Nova: Is it cool that I closed all of your PornHub windows? Sorry if not.
Nova: (Whining) I don’t remember their names and I’m too cheap to sign up for an account! How will I get back there?
Future GBJ: Sit down in whatever furniture wasn’t broken when we assaulted you, boys. You. Are Gonna. LOVE THIS.
Future Nova: (Whispering) Taught myself how to Chromecast, not a big deal but just saying…
Nova and GBJ kick aside some of the debris on the carpet and make their way to a couple of chairs in the living room area. The big screen TV mounted on the wall comes to life with the image of old-man Bitmojis giving warm hugs to still-kind-of-old Bitmojis that are clearly intended to resemble Nova and GBJ, with a large heart emoji hovering above them like some kind of Valentine’s Day guillotine.
GBJ’s jaw hangs open. Nova glances over to Future Nova, who can barely stand still, he’s so excited. Future GBJ gives them both a thumbs-up.
On the screen, the scene fades into their hotel suite on the 28th floor. Nova and GBJ kick aside some of the debris on the carpet and make their way to a couple of chairs in the living room area. The big screen TV mounted on the wall comes to life with the image of old-man Bitmojis giving warm hugs to still-kind-of-old Bitmojis that are clearly intended to resemble Nova and GBJ, with a large heart emoji hovering above them like some kind of Valentine’s Day guillotine.
GBJ’s jaw hangs open. Nova glances over to Future Nova, who can barely stand still, he’s so excited. Future GBJ gives them both a thumbs-up.
Cut to a babbling brook nestled deep in a mountain valley. “Father and Son” by Cat Stevens plays in the background. A campfire illuminates the figures of Nova, GBJ, and the Future of Wrestling, seated in a semi-circle on large logs. Future GBJ is pantomiming how to make a s’more layer by layer as the others focus on him intently. Suddenly GBJ yanks his stick out of the fire, his marshmallow fully ensconced in flame. He scowls, and the others laugh. Future GBJ tosses him another marshmallow, and the anger on his face dissipates into a broad grin.
Cut to a baseball game. GBJ, Future GBJ, Nova, and Future Nova are all in the bleachers. The sound of ball cracking off bat echoes out, and all four of the men rise up to try to catch the home run ball. Unfortunately, someone in front of them leaps up and snatches the ball.
Cut to GBJ and Future GBJ. The camera only shows them from the waist up. They’re both shirtless and sweating heavily. It’s Melvin Beuregard’s office. They high five.
Garbage Bag Johnny: What the hell was that?
Future GBJ: Just keep watching!
Cut to Spring Break. Girls who may or may not have gone wild and plenty of bros awash in Axe body spray are counting and cheering. GBJ and Nova are holding Future GBJ upside down by his ankles as he annihilates a gutful of Natty Ice during a keg stand.
Cut back to the baseball game. Future Nova gives a baseball to regular Nova as stadium security descends down on them. The man who caught the ball is unconscious on the ground.
Cut to a barren, blood soaked wasteland. Future Nova and Future GBJ and Nova and GBJ are there, but so are various other states of Novas and GBJs. The cut flashes too fast to count them all.
Cut to Great American Nightmare. GBJ and Nova are hoisting Future GBJ and Future Nova who are hoisting the tag team titles. Their smiles are pictures of boundless joy.
Nova: What was that?
Future Nova: What was what? The night we win the tag titles?
Nova: No, before that. Anyone else catch that?
Future GBJ: The ballgame? Those were some great seats. I remember it like it was forty years ago and ten years from now.
Garbage Bag Johnny: No, I think I saw it, too.
Future Nova: Shhhh! You’re missing all the good stuff.
Cut to a beautiful cathedral. All four of them are holding hands and wearing tuxedos as a priest reads wedding vows.
Cut to the cathedral from another view. Pew after pew of GBJs and Novas of all ages. Some in suits, some in dresses. Cut to black. Cut to demonic lau-
Future Nova: Whoops!
Future Nova quickly swipes out of whatever app he had running on the iPad. Whatever app, indeed. The TV is dark.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Anyone else think that got kind of weird?
Future GBJ: Don’t worry about it. That’s just, uh…
Future Nova: The technology must’ve malfunctioned. So primitive.
Nova and GBJ give each other a look. GBJ even arches an eyebrow, but the censors blur it out to avoid copyright infringement.
Future Nova: Hey, don’t worry about all that. The point is, we have a lot of great memories together for you all to look forward to. They hadn’t happened to us before you came back, but we did it! We changed the timeline!
Nova and GBJ exchange another look. This one comes with a shrug.
Future GBJ: That’s right! Pat yourselves on the back, and let’s go win this Scavenger Hunt!
Nova: So, if you’ve done this before as us, you know where everything is and this is going to be a piece of cake, right?
Cut to demons screaming.
Future Nova: You know, it all happened so long ago, but I’m sure it’ll come back once we reacquaint ourselves with our surroundings.
Future Nova turns his attention to the elder Johnny.
Future Nova: You gotta spritz before we go hunting? Our bladders don’t have the endurance they used to.
Future GBJ: I’m packing.
The Future Garbage Bag pulls his shirt up to reveal the waistband of an adult diaper peeking up over his loose shorts.
Future Nova: You got any extras?
Future GBJ nods and beckons Future Nova to follow him to the bathroom for diaper application. When GBJ and Nova are sure their future versions are out of view, they begin whispering to each other.
Nova: Is this a little weird to you, man?
Garbage Bag Johnny: The part where we’re hanging out with future versions of ourselves, or the part where the future versions help each other put on diapers?
Nova: I mean that video.
Garbage Bag Johnny: Oh yeah. That, too. What was with all the-
Future GBJ hops back into the room, interrupting the conversation, but holding a couple extra adult diapers.
Future GBJ: You guys good? We got extras.
Nova’s look says it all, and Future GBJ shrugs and sets the extras aside as a freshly diapered Future Nova joins them.
Future Nova: Vamonos!
TAG TEAM SURVIVOR
Nick Stuart: We’re just moments away from kicking off the next challenge in the ongoing series of PRIME Tag-Team Survivor to determine who the first champions of the new era will be!
Richard Parker: We’re also just moments away from a collective fever dream, because this stuff has all been weird so far.
Nick Stuart: And before we begin tonight’s Survivor event, PRIME would like to officially welcome the Voss Family Reunion here in Las Vegas, all the way from Australia!
The camera cuts to a shot of the Las Vegas strip, just outside the MGM Grand resort and casino, where a large crowd of fans has gathered to get up close and personal with tonight’s Survivor competitors. It then focuses on a massive swath of people dressed in matching “VFR 2022” tee shirts, at least a few hundred strong. Many of them are waving Australian flags.
Richard Parker: Good lord, that’s a lotta kids.
Nick Stuart: As I understand it, each of our teams competing tonight will have to collect a small souvenir flag from the Voss family.
Richard Parker: Seriously. Look at them all.
Nick Stuart: So at least one of the challenges should be fairly straightforward.
Richard Parker: How does one family make so many tiny people? The mind reels.
As Richard’s existential crisis on the nature of Australian mating rituals continues, the camera feed changes to a shot of a hallway, and an open doorway.
Nick Stuart: Well fans, it looks like we’re kicking things off inside the building. We’ve been informed that one of the scavenger hunt goals is to get a small owl statue from the office of Lindsay Troy herself!
Richard Parker: So. Many. Children.
Eleven fully grown adults (and one mannequin) stand huddled outside the threshold, all of them exchanging nervous glances and hushed whispers. It’s a simple enough task in theory. Go in. Get an owl. GTFO.
“I’m not going in first. The baron said specifically not to piss her off!”
“Baron’s not a title. It’s his first name.”
“Hey dude, you think if all twelve of us go in that we can convince her to just let us wrestle?”
“I don’t know, bro. Sounds risky.”
“No, we are not assassinating Melvin. And how are you even talking? Your head fell off.”
“[time travel noises]”
It’s just that no one seems too keen on getting that particular ball rolling.
That’s why nature created Sid Phillips.
The big man exhales an exasperated sigh through his nose, and then does the first thing his brain thinks of. If you’ve been paying attention, you already know what this is. If King Blueberry was paying attention, he would have seen big Sid grab El Hijo Del Super Cool Guy and powerbomb him through the open door and into the office of Lindsay Troy.
The King finds himself shoved to the front of the line, and what follows is the sound of 10 people all taking one giant step back.
King Blueberry: So this is how I die.
He falls to his belly, takes a deep breath, and begins snake-crawling into the open office in search of both mannequin and owl.
Lindsay Troy: What the fuck are you all doing?
The camera pans back to reveal that Lindsay Troy is standing in the hallway behind the huddle of Survivor dorks. At the sight of her, there is a sudden rush of humanity as the entire crowd surges into her office to grab an owl. King Blueberry, by the way, is still on the floor, so he’s effectively trampled by ten people.
Twice, actually. Once on the way in, and once more on the way out.
King Blueberry: (weakly) Called it.
He finishes crawling to the desk, and without getting up from the floor reaches to the desk and retrieves his own owl. The Queen of the Ring watches him crawl out of her office and down the hallway and shakes her head.
Lindsay Troy: Idiot.
The camera position switches to a shot inside the loading zone of the MGM Grand. The facilities crew is milling about. A few are chatting over coffee. One man carries a ladder across the loading bay.
And then there’s the forklift.
The driver’s cage has been repaired and reinforced since having to endure the incredible bulk of Bobby Dean, and the chocolate has long since been washed off the cart, but in the months since it was joyridden throughout the building no one has removed the turkey costume, or the feather boas.
Nick Stuart: We’re jumping now to a live shot of the second scavenger hunt item to be found inside the MGM Grand.
Richard Parker: Nick, I’m looking at this and getting a little worried. The crew is still working. Do they know what’s about to happen?
Quick perspective shift. We’re still in the loading area, but now the camera is aimed at the tunnel that allows passage between this part of the building and the arena proper. The tunnel that at this moment contains a herd of stampeding wrestlers (and one mannequin) barreling towards a forklift.
The panic among the crew is palpable. Ladders and tools are dropped. A few people dive behind crates. One man very clearly shouts, “Goddammit, I’m too old for this shit!” before stepping back into his office and slamming the door.
Richard Parker: I guess that answers my question, then.
Nick Stuart: Joe Fontaine reaching for something on his belt.
Joe Fontaine, by the way, is wearing a Batman-style utility belt full of items that look to have been pilfered from a toy store. There’s a pouch, a collection of stylized J-shaped boomerangs, and a kendama – the Japanese ball and string toy.
What Joe is reaching for at this moment is the bag, and a moment later a flood of marbles are dumped onto the floor in front of the crush of grapplers. Pat Cassidy, Jonathan Rhine, and Nate Colton are the first victims the marbles claim, each one slipping and tumbling to the ground. For his part, Sid Phillips deftly moves through the sea of spheres, either because he was aware of what his partner was doing, or because the hockey stick he’s carrying allows him to deke his way through the field of circular caltrops.
Or both. Probably both.
Some soft hands on that Phillips kid, though. Gordon Bombay would be proud.
Nick Stuart: Joe Fontaine is the first one to retrieve a boa from the forklift for his team!
Richard Parker: And it looks like Sid Phillips can add a second skill to his resume beyond powerbomb: slapshot.
Garbage Bag Johnny staggers through the field of marbles, before stepping on one and stumbling forward. He’s caught by Sid, who does the first thing that comes to mind. You know what it is.
Nick Stuart: Powerbomb by Sid Phillips onto the marbles!
Richard Parker: Which might be worse than stepping on a Lego.
Nick Stuart: Phillips with the hockey stick again, what’s he going to… oh.
Richard Parker: Huh.
Nick Stuart: Well that’s a choice, I guess.
They’re saying this because Sid Phillips just powerbombed the hockey stick onto Garbage Bag Johnny.
Marbles roll. Boas fly. A crewmember who decided to hang out and watch this debacle gets his coffee knocked out his hands by a J-shaped boomerang.
Nick Stuart: It looks like each team has collected their boa.
Richard Parker: Great. Now who’s going to collect all the marbles? Maybe give them to Blueberry. That guy lost his a long time ago.
Nick Stuart: I’m not dignifying that with a response.
Richard Parker: I mean you just did, so.
We’re greeted to an outside shot of the MGM Grand from above. How does PRIME do it? A whole-ass squadron of drones, baby.
The doors to the resort burst open, and out pours the Survivor competitors into the Las Vegas streets. The Voss Family in particular is enthused, as hundreds of children – all likely up well past their bedtimes – cheer on the group and pass out small souvenir flags.
Richard Parker: Imagine the diapers, Nick. The horror.
Nick Stuart: I think I’ll pass on that one, Richard.
Richard Parker: The horror.
The current shot switches to a limousine parked outside the Grand. On the roof, near the skylight, a Baby Dusk doll sits brooding in his tiny overcoat.
Nick Stuart: Garbage Bag Johnny and Nova trying to get onto the roof of the limo, as the Baby Dusk dolls are one of the items that they’ll need to collect in order to try and win this competition!
Richard Parker: Yeah, but it looks like they’ve got company.
Nick Stuart: Pat Cassidy and Brock Newbludd are on the scene!
The Saturday Night Specials, also aiming for the same doll, climb up onto the limo and begin to try to pull both Johnny and Nova off.
Richard Parker: Those are the last guys I would want in control of my car.
There’s a scuffle, and Nova’s head is bounced off one of the rear windows, but eventually both members of the SNS manage to get their hands on the doll. This is where they realize that the doll isn’t moving, likely having been affixed to the roof by something.
Nick Stuart: I don’t think the driver has an idea what’s going on here…
Indeed, the driver pokes his head out the window to try and figure out why his car is being jostled about, when the driver’s side door is pulled open, and the driver is yanked out of the car GTA-style.
Richard Parker: I take it back. That is the last guy I would want driving my car.
“That” would be Future Garbage Bag Johnny of the Future of Wrestling, who flashes a thumbs-up out the window before turning the key and starting off down the street, with both Cassidy and Newbludd hanging onto the skylight for dear life.
Richard Parker: Do you know if these guys have to sign new hold-harmless deals for this?
Kevin Dunn would be downright orgasmic with the amount of camera cuts happening tonight. The most recent bringing us to just outside of Gordon Ramsay’s Hells Kitchen, where an actual fight has broken out between the Winds of Change and Fighting For Nora.
Nick Stuart: Just weeks ago these two teams were on the same tribe trying to advance in Survivor, but tonight all bets are off. Jonathan Rhine trying to scoop Joe Fontaine…
Richard Parker: And what the hell is Fontaine doing now?!
Nick Stuart: He slips away… rolls through, and…
Those are the sounds a Jobberang makes when it hits Rhine in the chest, and then falls limply to the ground. Jobberangs, for the uninitiated, are the J-shaped boomerangs that Fontaine has been flinging all evening.
And is immediately met with a right to the jaw by Paxton Ray.
Nick Stuart: Ray not wasting any time. He’s pressing his advantage.
The bayou brawler advances on the staggering Fontaine, but is sent reeling himself by the massive Sid Phillips.
Let’s see if you can guess what happened. I’m thinking of a word. Nine letters long. Starts with a ‘P’ and ends with an ‘owerbomb’.
Nick Stuart: Powerbomb by Phillips!
Way to ruin the surprise, Nick.
In the commotion, Rhine grabs the object the two teams were fighting for from inside a PRIME-branded satchel, and immediately rolls his eyes.
Richard Parker: Is that a garden gnome?
Yes, Richard. Yes, it goddamn is.
Smash cut, because we’re all over the goddamn map at this point! Thank god for the drones.
This time we’re outside the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas, where Garbage Bag Johnny and his future-shifted counterpart are rummaging through a collection of kiosks for WarmCold. This particular display is for the hottest of the WarmCold launch flavors, “Sizzlin’ Fajita Volcano.”
The limo they commandeered is currently wrapped around a palm tree and smoking from the hood.
Richard Parker: You know, I still don’t get the whole “I eat pain cream” thing.
Nick Stuart: PRIME would like to take a moment to thank its sponsor, WarmCold, the edible alternative to IcyHot. Now available in five exciting flavors.
Richard Parker: Are you shilling right now?
Nick Stuart: Grab yourself a refreshing tube of “Pink Lemonade Catastrophe” flavor and kick back by the pool.
Richard Parker: Nick, are you okay?
Nick Stuart: Or for those cold winter nights, snuggle up with someone special and a tube of “Mint Hot Chocolate Dysphoria.”
Richard Parker: This must be what having a stroke feels like.
Meanwhile, as Johnny and Future Johnny dig through tubes looking for a second flavor, both current and future versions of Nova casually stroll up. They’re holding CVS bags. Nova reaches into his and produces a second flavor of WarmCold, this one simply labeled “Green Apple.”
Richard Parker: Is it legal to pay for items that are supposed to be scavenged?
Nick Stuart: Unless the rules state otherwise, I’m going to have to say no.
Richard Parker: Since when does this competition have rules?
Nick Stuart: Pretty ingenious move though, I have to say.
Further along the Vegas strip, we catch up with Naughty By NATE-ure, Nathan Filmix and Nate Colton. The two men have discovered another of the items that they’re supposed to collect and return to the MGM Grand. In this case, it’s a Baby Dusk doll. The problem is that the doll is about ten feet in the air and attached to a telephone pole.
Nick Stuart: Filmix and Colton – arguably the two best pure wrestlers in Survivor – now faced with the task of retrieving a Baby Dusk from on high.
Richard Parker: “On a high” is probably the best way to describe whoever thought those dolls were a good idea.
Nick Stuart: They’ve sold out every time they’ve been in production, Richard.
Richard Parker: I didn’t know they mass-produced toys in the middle ages.
The two Nates begin to execute a quickly communicated strategy, but when Nate Colton puts his hand on the telephone pole he pulls it away almost immediately. He mouths a single word to his partner.
For the purpose of decency, your author will refrain from making a joke about sticky poles in Las Vegas.
Nick Stuart: Judging by Colton’s reaction, it looks like some sort of substance has been smeared on that pole.
Richard Parker: I wonder if the Glue Factory has been expanding their business beyond the bounds of the building. This is the second time we’ve seen a Baby Dusk stuck to something tonight.
Colton and Filmix reposition themselves by the base of the telephone pole, with Colton adopting a wide, low stance.
Nick Stuart: This unlikely duo seems to have really gelled in the last few weeks. Some great teamwork is on display here as Colton gets ready to boost Filmix up to get that doll.
The larger Colton helps lift Filmix up, their combined height putting the doll well within reach. Filmix gets most of the doll, the head staying behind due to the adhesive power of the Civil Dusk that holds it in place.
The 101st wing of the royal PRIME drone armada springs to life, bringing the viewing faithful a shot of the Bellagio fountain in between rounds of its impressive display, and of the tiny idiot currently ordering two larger idiots around.
Casual viewers who tuned in to ReVival 7 might remember Dr. Zeke D. Badguy, Esq. as “that guy who was there, or whatever,” but the more loyal will also remember that his outfit was dumb.
Dr. Badguy, Esq: Barry… Rocko… DUMP THE CRABS!
Richard Parker: What is it with this guy and crabs?
Two men in black sweatshirts and matching Zorro masks each dump a crate of live blue crabs into the fountain. Which, given the size of the fountain and the fact that it’s not a salt water solution, isn’t going to do much except slowly murder a bunch of aquatic wildlife and piss off the Bellgaio facilities people.
Oblivious to the “danger” presented by the pool of pesky pinchers, Pat Cassidy and Brock Newbludd of the Saturday Night Specials make their way to the water’s edge. Newbludd takes a mighty swig from the bottle he carries, and then hands it off to his partner before diving into the fountain.
Nick Stuart: Fans, I cannot stress this enough: normally the Bellagio does not condone or allow swimming in its fountain, given the safety hazard that it presents, but tonight a special exception is being made for our competitors.
Richard Parker: Real talk? What has anyone done so far in this competition that would be considered “condoned” under normal circumstances?
Nick Stuart: That’s a great point, Richard. And I feel like it’s a great time to tell all our viewers that you should not, under any circumstances, try what you’re watching tonight at home.
Richard Parker: Or any other night for that matter.
Let’s talk about Brock Newbludd for a minute.
Remember how he dove into the fountain while these two were yappin’ away?
He emerges from the water, breaking the surface like the sculpted visage of Poseidon himself, the god of the ocean resplendent among his domain. Beads of water slowly glide along the ripples of his bulging, marblesque muscles, revealing every intimate contour of his hulking, masculine physique. His arms thrust their way into the water, cutting through it with a precision that is both powerful yet tender. His legs pump like pistons. Each kick adding to the rhythmic sway of his hips in the wat…
Sorry about that. Got a little, ahem, uhh, you know, carried away there.
Look, have you seen his roster page? Come on. That shit ain’t fair.
Nick Stuart: Newbludd diving under the surface again. He must have his sights set on one of the poker chips that have been placed at the bottom of the fountain.
It doesn’t take long before he’s back at the surface, chip in hand. A sight that his partner is all too eager to toast.
As the SNS heads out from the fountain, the camera starts to pull away until it catches sight of four men moving at varied speeds towards the fountain. The Future of Wrestling in both present and future forms heads towards the water’s edge. They push past the gathered crowd, and then time stands still as a familiar face catches the eye of Garbage Bag Johnny.
Richard Parker: Oh no. Please no. I can’t handle this again.
Here’s what you’d see if PRIME didn’t blow the entire production budget for this disaster on drones to film things from every conceivable angle. Time would slow, there would be a suite of stringed instruments swelling before hitting its crescendo as Garbage Bag Johnny and Muriel Puddings meet face to face for the first time in weeks. Dozens of little heart-shaped potatoes would encircle the two, before the camera slowly panned up and to the right, leaving us all to wonder.
But alas there are no potato hearts, and there is no sexy-time violin music. Because drones.
Nick Stuart: Looks like there’s a conversation happening among the Future of Wrestling, and it looks like… Well, I’ll be damned, it looks like Johnny is leaving the competition. Very similar to what he did during the boulder roll challenge at Culture Shock.
Richard Parker: Oh thank god. I thought we were going to have to watch them do… things. Again.
Muriel takes Johnny by the arm and begins to walk away, then pauses and offers her other arm to Future Johnny leaving Nova and Future Nova to try and gather a poker chip from the fountain.
Richard Parker: OH GOD the picture in my head might actually be worse!
Another quick camera cut, and this time we get a drone shot of a Porsche Cabriolet with the top down. The car also happens to be full of pudding. Banana, if you’re curious, and really why wouldn’t you be.
Nick Stuart: That’s… huh.
Richard Parker: Is that part of the scavenger hunt?
Of particular interest to certain members of the viewing audience is the license plate. This vehicle seems to be registered in Hawaii, so how it got here is anyone’s guess, but it’s the plate number itself that’s the real kicker. Six letters.
After all, the proof is in the pudding, and the pudding is in, well…
Nick Stuart: If my notes are correct, then yes, I believe it is.
Richard Parker: Okay. Second question. Why? Also who and when?
Nick Stuart: I genuinely don’t know. But apparently it has something to do with eyepatches.
It also has to do with Bobby Dean, though likely not by design. The Beautiful Man from Honalee has a preternatural ability to detect food in the wild, and a few hundred gallons of pudding is far too intoxicating a scent to pass up. That may be why he’s dressed like the backup goaltender for the Las Vegas Golden Knights, because a find like this must be defended at all costs. The shovel? That’s for scoopin’ and eatin’, naturally.
Richard Parker: What is even happening anymore?
The first team to approach are the Saturday Night Specials, but they’re held at bay by the large man and his shovel. To complicate matters, some of the pudding has overflowed from inside the car, making the ground around it slick and hard to stand on. He’s not just an ordinary Custard Man. Truly, Bobby Dean is a paladin of pudding. A guardian of custard.
Nick Stuart: Fans, it was only two weeks ago that the eGG Bandits were eliminated, but now Bobby Dean is out here trying to hoard a Porsche full of pudding, and I don’t even know what to say.
Richard Parker: How about “big boy wants a num-nums?” You could say that, Nick.
This continues for a little bit, as other teams begin to approach the car, and are turned away. At least until Doozer appears out of goddamn nowhere like he’s goddamn Dumbledore and whispers something in Bobby’s ear. The old bull points at an aging, angry-looking bald man standing nearby in a red coat. What shade of red? Oh, probably something overly specific with a number attached. He works a ballpoint pen around in his fingers as he eyes the pair.
Paxton Ray uses this distraction to rip the shovel from Dean’s hands.
Bobby Dean: NO I’LL NEVER GO BACK TO CHICAGO!
The two Bandits make their exit as Jonathan Rhine opens the passenger’s side door, unleashing a flood of pudding onto the street. Both members of Fighting For Nora step back to avoid it, which gives both Cassidy and Newbludd a chance to open the driver’s side, and begin digging through the yellow goo.
It’s all very “Double Dare.”
Nick Stuart: Two teams searching through the pudding, and Rhine is the first one to find something!
Richard Parker: And to say he doesn’t look happy would be an understatement.
Rhine holds up his discovery: a pudding-soaked eyepatch.
Richard Parker: Get it? “Look?” Because he was blind that one time.
It’s here where the Nate-ural Born Killers, Filmix and Colton, make their entrance. They’re followed closely by King Blueberry and his headless mannequin. The King’s feet slip on the pudding, and Paxton Ray calls his shot.
Nick Stuart: Oooh! A shot from that shovel by Paxton Ray, and Blueberry is down!
Richard Parker: I hope for his sake that mask is padded. I hope for our sake that it’s not.
Paxton tosses the shovel aside, and lands a right on the downed Blueberry. The two scramble, but it’s hard to find traction on the pudding-soaked ground. Kinda like the other soaked Puddings will be once her and both Johnnys find a quiet spot, if you know what I mean.
(Editor’s Note, probably: Stop it, Matt.)
(Author’s Note: LOL no.)
Blueberry is the first one back to his feet, dashing off before Paxton can get a hand on him. With one hand he grabs the downed form of Super Cool Guy, and with the other manages to rip the eyepatch out of Rhine’s hand.
Nick Stuart: Nothing in the rules against that!
Richard Parker: Okay, I’m genuinely surprised he thought to do it at all. That’s almost a plan.
Nick Stuart: Well there was also the leaf blower a few weeks ago. The methods may be unorthodox, but they’ve worked so far.
Richard Parker: My therapist will be thrilled to hear it.
Before either member of Fighting For Nora can react, King Blueberry is out of their reach.
The scene switches to outside the MGM Grand, across the street to be exact. There, a beaten down Darin Zion rests inside a portable hot tub while Vickie Hall stands beside it, hands on her hips, shaking her head in disbelief. Jonathan-Christopher is also there, with LOVE CONVOY signs in hand. Of course, no one else is around.
One Survivor participant runs past the trio. Then another. Another. All of them covered in banana pudding.
Vickie pouts as she looks directly to her ALP, trembling in frustration.
Vickie Hall: My goodness, this has nothing to do with wrestling.
She shrugs her shoulders as The Vow of Virtue immediately places the signs on the ground and races over to Vickie himself, rubbing her shoulders.
Another Survivor tag team participant sprints past… leaving drops of banana pudding behind him.
Pretty Pink steps forward, away from her man’s arms. She examines the left over pudding. She bends down, sticks out her hand and puts some on her left index finger.
She pops the finger in her mouth.
Turning to Jonathan-Christopher and Darin, she tilts her head.
Vickie Hall: Tastes better than chocolate pudding.
And she begins to pout again as JC Hall is there to continue his shoulder rub.
The last camera cut of the evening brings us an overhead shot of all twelve Survivor contestants, mostly drenched and covered in banana pudding. It would be fourteen, except Johnny and Johnny went off to, well, you know.
Nick Stuart: All six teams closing in on the finish. There’s only one item left to recover, and it’s not something they’ll be able to carry without help.
Richard Parker: Is that… furniture?
Nick Stuart: It certainly is, Richard.
Richard Parker: Does it look like someone set it on fire?
Nick Stuart: I would have to say yes to that, too.
Six large, bulky pieces of office furniture are arranged on the Strip ten yards from the finish line. Did these once belong to Melvin Beauregard? Yes. Were they all burned in the Great Cleansing of 2022? Yes.
King Blueberry gets a hand on a filing cabinet, and pulls the drawers open to remove any additional weight that might be inside.
Nate-in’ But Love For Ya Baby (the team of Filmix and Colton) swoop in on a coffee table that looks as though two men could carry it easily, but Colton is stopped in his tracks when Paxton Ray grabs him by the waistband and pulls him back. Given that the banana pudding has turned the last leg of the course into a functional Slip ‘n Slide, Colton’s tumble backwards is awkward, and his head crashes hard against a heavy oak bookshelf.
Nick Stuart: I don’t like how that looked, folks. Nate Colton wasn’t able to protect himself at all on that one.
Richard Parker: Like a busted physics engine.
Nick Stuart: His partner Nathan Filmix is trying to help, but… I think we might need the trainers. Nate Colton could be concussed.
Fortunately, they’re quick to arrive on the scene, stabilizing Colton and moving him out of harms way.
Nick Stuart: It’s turned into a race! The Blue Live Crew…
Richard Parker: AKA “one guy and his real-life imaginary friend.”
Nick Stuart: …are closing on the finish line. The King looking for any way to get there quicker.
A thought comes to him, painfully obvious: jettison the mannequin. And so he does. Letting go of the filing cabinet for just a moment, he flings Super Cool Guy to the side to free up an arm to help pull the cabinet. It sails through the air like a homing missile locked on its target, the only one it’s ever known.
Joe Fontaine: (wide-eyed and trembling) No.
Richard Parker: Again?!?!
Nick Stuart: Canadian Destroyer and Joe Fontaine is down!
With the added mobility, King Blueberry drags the filing cabinet and all the gathered trinkets across the finish line.
AIR HORN GOES DOOOOOOOT
Richard Parker: That’s it. We’re officially in the evil mirror universe.
Nick Stuart: I can’t believe it myself, but King Blueberry and Super Cool Guy, Jr. have managed to pull it off.
Once past the finish, King Blueberry collapses in relief, then immediately has to roll out the way as two Novas – finishing right behind him – come damn close to dropping a coffee table on his crotch.
Nick Stuart: And there’s Fighting For Nora across the line, the Winds of Change not far behind.
Sid Phillips, with an end table slung over his shoulder, shakes his head as he drags Joe Fontaine across the finish line by his arm, leaving behind a trail of pudding like a banana-flavored slug.
Nick Stuart: The Saturday Night Specials across next, and I’m being told that unfortunately the team of Filmix and Colton will be unable to finish due to injury. Sadly that means the end of both teams in the competition, but we all applaud them for their efforts.
Richard Parker: I have to agree. These events are weapons-grade nonsense, but they certainly take their toll.
Nick Stuart: Congratulations to the four teams advancing! And I know I’m looking forward to seeing what both the SNS and the team of Filmix and Colton do here in PRIME going forward.
OUTSIDE THE BOX
The feed cuts to the PRIME-Porium (a.k.a. the merch booths) where we can see several loyal PRIMEates lined up into extended rows, waiting to make purchases. The chain-linked back wall is a grid of t-shirts, foam fingers, posters, action figures, and masks.
Off to the side of this scene, the nefarious Rezin and his newly appointed financial assistant Ollie Arsvinnar are watching this ongoing display of consumerism. Unsurprisingly, the Goat Bastard wears a scowl of utter contempt upon his grizzled face. The Viking accountant, on the other hand, demonstrably holds his hands out to the throng of fans eagerly throwing their money on the table.
Ollie Arsvinnar: See what I mean, Rezin? Merch sales are pretty hot right now. If a quick and easy payout is what you’re looking for, then I’m telling you, this is the way to go!
Rezin: (unimpressed) Eehhyyuuggghhh… looks like another corporate scam to me. And to think, these ignorant rubes are willin’ to waste thirty minutes of their lives just to stand in line for a cheap, disposable rag that’ll one day end up on the rack of a discount store.
Ollie Arsvinnar: I don’t know, buddy… branding could go a long way toward our interests. Just imagine the revenue we could bring in with a shirt that says something like a “Too PUNK ROCK For Pro Wrestling”!
For a moment, Rezin’s gaze drifts off as he envisions the shirt. Perhaps that probably would look pretty badass… but he quickly shakes these thoughts from his head.
Rezin: And let the corporate overlords take their cut? Hard pass. I ain’t in the business of letting the parasites profit off my labor. If anybody was THAT committed to wantin’ to support this ol’ dopesmoker out in the crowd, they can take a Sharpie marker to any old rag sittin’ in their drawer. Save ‘em a lot of money… and they’d have a one-of-a-kind item!
Arsvinnar sighs with defeat.
Ollie Arsvinnar: Well, Rezin, I don’t know how I’m supposed to help you out with your issues if you’re not going to be open to my ideas…
Rezin redirects his gaze to the Viking and points to his temple.
Rezin: Cause you’re still using this in the conventional sense, ya normie Norseman! Do I look like a businessman to you? If we’re gonna make stacks of them dolla-dolla bills, then we need to be thinkin’ outside the box! Like MY idea…
Ollie Arsvinnar: Rezin, I told you, there’s no way–
Rezin: DAMBIT, OLVIR! You know as well as I do that there’s ONLY ONE WAY to do this… and THAT IS…
He trails off, sniffing the air. His wild eyes begin darting erratically to and fro.
Ollie Arsvinnar: …Ovaltine?
In a flash, Rezin TWIRLS around and outstretches his arm into a dramatic POINT that stops a junior reporter dead in his tracks.
Cross-eyed, Simon Tillier looks down at Rezin’s index finger held precisely at the tip of his nose.
Simon Tillier: Hello, Rezin. “Good” to see you too.
Rezin: Thought you could SNEAK UP on me again, eh?
Simon Tillier: I’ve been… standing over here for a good minute, waiting for you to notice me.
The Goat Bastard arches an eyebrow in Ollie’s direction, who nods, confirming that this was the case.
Rezin: (muttering) Damb… I gotta start checking my six more often…
Rezin’s eyes narrowed in suspicion as he turns back to the junior reporter, still seemingly frozen in place at the tip of his finger. He gives Simon’s nose an affectionate wiggle before lowering the arm.
Rezin: …OF COURSE I knew you were here the whole time! I just like BURNIN’ the company’s dime by making you WAIT! Now whaddya want, Simon?
Simon Tillier: I’m just here to ask if you heard some of the recent news in regards to the upcoming Pay Per View event, Great American Nightmare?
Rezin: I dunno… I hear much, Simon. Usually it’s something like, “Rezin, stay out of there” or “get a job, you bum” or “hey man, can I get a lid?” Can’t say that I’ve had much time as of late to dedicate any attention outside of figurin’ out whatever it is the Overlords have planned for me in their latest futile attempt to suppress all the PUNK ROCK CHAOS I’ve unleashed upon their precious federation! You need to be a little more specific, my dweebish dude.
Simon Tillier: Well, to be specific then, I’m referring to the ongoing battle surrounding the Five Star Championship, and how YOU factor into it.
The Escape Artist’s attention perks.
Simon Tillier: Word is, whoever walks out of next week’s match between Hayes Hanlon, Alexander Redding, and Cecilia Ryan as the Five Star Champion will be defending it against YOU at Great American Nightmare.
Rezin blinks. This is apparently news to him.
Rezin: …that a fact?
Simon Tillier: According to a statement made by Lindsay Troy herself, it is.
Smiling, Rezin turns back to Olvir and again taps at his temple.
Rezin: See what I mean? “Outside the box.”
Arsvinnar can only roll his eyes.
Rezin: Well, Simon… guess I’m gonna be payin’ some extra close attention to this match you speak of! My ultimate ambitions of spreadin’ MASS ANARCHY in the world of wrestling could strongly benefit in taking that title! It would CERTAINLY be a great blow to the authoritarian regime that runs this place! Not to mention, some much needed vindication, given I was ROBBED out of winnin’ that belt by those crooked enforcers back at Culture Shock!
Simon Tillier: Again, I should remind you, you had the same chance as anyone else in that match, Rezin.
Rezin: CHANCE is one thing, Simon… but CIRCUMSTANCE is another! At least THIS time, in a straight one-on-one, I won’t have to worry about anyone stealin’ the match right out from under me! One way or the other, at Great American Nightmare, someone’s gonna walk out of there lookin’ like a REAL champion!
Simon Tillier: Of course though, you must realize that it also limits your ability to go for the cheap and easy win, as you’ve consistently done in every match you’ve won in PRIME to date.
Rezin groans, and grinds his teeth.
He gets uncomfortably close to Simon, glaring angrily into his eyes.
Rezin: …you think it’s EASY bein’ ME?!
He is tired of the junior reporter’s face, so he instead looks over to the lines of fans at the merch booths. An idea comes to him.
Rezin: You wanna do t-shirts, Olvir? Fine… YOU handle that racket! But first, you’re gonna have to help me with the design…
A dastardly grin crosses the Goat Bastard’s face as he looks to Asrvinnar. Ollie sighs, knowing exactly what’s being asked of him. He moves around behind Simon…
Simon Tillier: Wait, what… HEY!!
Before he knows it, the towering Viking accountant grabs the reporter by the arms and hooks them around his back, albeit as gently as possible. Tillier squirms to free himself, but doesn’t budge.
Olvir Arsvinnar: Real sworry about this, buddy… it’s for your own protection.
A can of spray paint has materialized in Rezin’s hand.
Simon Tillier: Oh no… wait! What are you going to do with THAT?!
Rezin tears open Simon’s blue blazer and proceeds to spray onto his white dress shirt a jagged black letter “R” with a circle around it. He is cackling with delight as Tillier looks down in horror.
Simon Tillier: My shirt! My one good shirt!
When the work is complete, Ollie dutifully releases him. Simon is aghast as he looks at the tag left on his chest. The shirt is completely ruined!
Rezin: Now THERE’S a one-of-a-kind item! HAHAHAHA!!
The Goat Bastard tussles Simon’s hair and continues his raspy fit of laughter until it gives way to a fit of coughing. Ollie assists him out of the shot before throwing the reporter one last apologetic glance. Tillier is left before the camera, looking down at the encircled “R” on his chest. He is too overwhelmed with the feeling of being violated to say anything else.
The show jumps from Rezinator and his presumably harsh words to the surprisingly unrelaxed Bandits of the eGG. Bobby, Doozer, and Jiles can be seen sitting around and conversing.
Jiles: I don’t care if he cuts himself shaving that bald head of his. I’m counting it. Bloody nose. Bloody knuckles. That time of the month. Don’t care. It all counts.
Bobby Dean: Heh, Brandon “The Men Straighter” Youngblood. Get it? Cherry. Young. Blood.
Dooze no sells. Jiles shakes his head disgustedly.
Doozer: You got ‘im, Jiles.
Doozer: And you bettah, bub, ‘cause if you lose back to back… especially after going through all of this… well, we hafta rent out an actual movie theatre to rewatch the stupid, friggin match again. Come tah think of it, maybe we could invite some of the locker room as a way of saying please don’t hate us as much. Give ‘em free popcorn. I’m sure the homeless guy who still hangs his hat on beating me’d come.
Jiles: Noted, and thank you oh very old and wise one. Now do that disappearing trick befo—
The Beaute from Honalee quickly chimes in before Jiles says something he regrets.
Pure coincidence, mind you.
Bobby Dean: Hey… Given the possibility that you lose and we never hear from you again, I wanted to talk to you about something.
The Maestro removes his shades, and glares at all of Bobby and his hubris. Of course, oblivious, Dean just continues on.
Bobby Dean: I had an idea as to who could take your place while you’re walking about. He’s a… GREAT guy, you could say. Loves animals like you do. He even has an exotic pet like you once did. It is still alive and has a head is what I mean.
Doozer, not because Jiles told him but because Jiles’ eyes roll back in his head like he’s about to superkick someone, does indeed disappear.
Jiles: Let me guess.
Bobby Dean: Wait wait wait, I haven’t told you the Best part yet. He’s got an incredible head of hair, and probably even reads at the same level as you do. It would be like you never left.
The Maestro stands, ready to eggsterminate.
Thankfully, Doozer reappears standing between Cancer the Salty and Oblivious Bobby Dean.
Doozer: Save it for the ring.
Jiles finds his cool. No sense in misplacing a hair before the big dance. Plus, it’s innocent Bob we’re talking about here. As such, the Crown Prince of COOL for the furst tiem evar attempts to be the biggar man by simply leafing. However, when he opens the door there is a genetic freak of nature blocking the way.
And standing next to the four legged animal…
GREAT SCOTT: HI I’M SCOTT AND I WOULD LIKE TO STEAL EGGS.
He defies all logic and reason.
A rippling mound of muscle and childlike innocence, the behemoth known as GREAT SCOTT is flanked by a six foot five actual live bear named GREAT BEAR. As usual, GREAT BEAR is vibing to some lo-fi tunes on his sweet Beats by Dre headphones, just living a whole fucking life that you wouldn’t even begin to comprehend without being a dope ass bear with a license to manage professional wrestlers.
Bobby Dean: Hi!
Jiles’ hair radiates pure toxicity. Dooze is in shock, or he’s old. Probably both. Bobby is clapping, as if he has missed his long lost friend, GREAT BEAR. Who knows when or how or if they’ve even met before.
Jiles: Absolutely not. No. Not a chance. No.
Jiles, for his part, remains absolutely stone-faced inside the shadow of madness. Then again that’s probably not too surprising. He shakes his head vigorously no, immediately slamming the door in the face of GREAT SCOTT and the ever-vibing GREAT BEAR.
Bobby Dean: …so… is that a no?
Jiles: …….. …. Ask me next show.
To the ring.
JULIAN BATHORY vs. JACOB MEPHISTO
“TIIIIIIIIME… IS ON MY SIIIIDE…YES IT IS!”
Nick Stuart: Put on your Halloween masks, folks!
Richard Parker: It’s spooky time!!
Wilson Pickett serenades the arena, and the boos come rolling in. Out walks Jacob Mephisto, The Twins following close behind. He wears a scowl across his scarred face, marching toward the ring with agitated purpose.
Vince Howard: Our next match is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, from Nazareth, Pennsylvania! Accompanied by The Twins, standing six feet, five inches tall and weighing in at 265 pounds…Jacob! Mephistoooooo!!!!!
Nick Stuart: It’s cult against cult to kick off the second half of the night! Jacob Mephisto will square up with Julian Bathory, and something tells me he’ll look to establish dominance as the leading “organization” in PRIME.
Richard Parker: He should look to establish a win.
Nick Stuart: Can’t deny that point, partner. Jacob Mephisto, a looming figure he may be, is still in search of his first victory here in PRIME.
Patience and Decius take position to the side of the ring as Mephisto steps through the ropes, taking place in his corner and glaring up the ramp as the music shifts. “Shadow” by The Enigma TNG rolls through the Garden like a mist, the eerie tones leading Julian Bathory and Violence Jack out onto the ramp.
Vince Howard: And his opponent! From Szeged, Hungary and accompanied by Violence Jack! Standing six feet, two inches tall and weighing 226 pounds…The New World Savior…Julian! Baaathorryyy!!
Nick Stuart: Meanwhile, the Carpathian Devil is starting to set his hooks in. Despite losses in the Almasy Invitational and the Number One Contender’s match at Culture Shock, Bathory is coming off a win against Shawn Warstein at ReVival 6’s main event.
Richard Parker: And as always, ol’ Violence Jack hanging close by.
The Prince of Tears breaks from his mentor, climbing the steps and through the ropes while VJ stares down Patience and Decius. Bathory locks eyes with Mephisto while Head Referee Timo Bolamba gives them a quick check before calling for the bell.
Mephisto is quick to act, charging Bathory and clinching him around the shoulders, driving the smaller opponent into the corner. The knees start flying into Bathory’s abdomen, Mephisto holding the clinch tight while alternating lefts and rights.
Nick Stuart: A chip on Mephisto’s shoulder tonight! Quick to take the fight to Bathory!
Jacob pulls Julian from the corner and pivots, sending him over to center-ring with a big hip toss. The Carpathian Devil’s momentum carries him across and scrambling to his feet, finding himself in the opposite corner, and turning to find Mephisto following and smothering him with a running lariat.
Nick Stuart: Mephisto keeping the pressure on after a BIG lariat in the corner! He’s got Bathory in a headlock, dropping to a knee, flipping him over with a snapmare, then a big knee drop to the chest! Here’s the quick cover…
Richard Parker: The big man is feeling feisty!
Jacob is swift to drag Bathory to his feet by the hair, leaning down to glower in his face. The words “who do you think you are!?” are audible over the crowd noise as he snaps Julian’s head back before delivering a big chop to the chest, pushing the Prince of Tears against the ropes.
Nick Stuart: He’s definitely taking out his frustrations on the smaller Bathory!
Mephisto swings another big chop into Julian’s chest, leaning him further against the ropes. “You’re just a poser!” can be heard and seen from his frothing mouth. He pushes Bathory off the ropes and sends him across the ring, meeting him with a stiff clothesline and sending the New World Savior to his back.
Richard Parker: And apparently there’s a lot of it!
“A false prophet!” jaws Mephisto before falling into a heavy elbow drop. He drags Bathory to his feet once more, draping an arm over his head.
Nick Stuart: Bathory in trouble, Mephisto hoists him overhead! He stalls, he turns…Come and See from Mephisto!!!
Bathory flops to his back after the big vertical brainbuster. Mephisto growls and drops down to a knee, hooking the leg.
Nick Stuart: And Violence Jack sneaking into the picture!
Shanahan steps away after reaching under the ropes and grabbing Mephisto by the boots, pulling him away from the count. He puts his hands up in defense while Jacob seethes, leaving Julian on the mat.
Richard Parker: And now The Twins want to get involved!
Patience and Decius decide to return the favor after VJ’s interference. The two reach under the ropes, dragging Bathory to the apron, clobbering him with forearms across the chest and face. Across the ring, Violence Jack exchanges words with Head Referee Bolamba, keeping him distracted.
Nick Stuart: And to no one’s surprise, this match is devolving thanks to interference!
Richard Parker: Welcome to PRIME in 2022, Nick!
The attack on Bathory, however, does not go without response, as Shanahan sprints to the other side of the ring and bull-rushes Decius with a shoulder, barking at him after the charge. The Twins turn their attention to Violence Jack, who stands his ground like a cornered dog.
Nick Stuart: Shanahan and The Twins getting into it, but Mephisto getting involved!
Jacob has stood tall, leaning over the ropes and hollering at Decius and Patience, pointing back to the ramp and commanding them to get out of the way. The Twins glance between their patron and Shanahan, unsure of how to respond.
Richard Parker: Trouble in paradise in the Mephisto camp!
Nick Stuart: And he’d better watch out!! LOW BLOW FROM BATHORY!
Mephisto doubles over after the Prince of Tears takes the opportunity. Having quite enough, he locks in a cobra clutch and heaves back with all his might, arching his body low to the mat and releasing the larger Mephisto from his grasp, snapping him over violently.
Nick Stuart: And Bathory responding with The Last Resort! Release cobra clutch suplex from The Prince of Tears!
Richard Parker: Shanahan’s eating it up!
The move sends Mephisto from the back of his head to a dazed seated position. Violence Jack smacks the apron with approval, the maneuver named for his favorite bar in Boston. The protege is quick to his feet and back to work, rebounding off the ropes behind Jacob.
Nick Stuart: Bathory with the upper hand, coming off the ropes. He runs, leaping forward…RUNNING NECK SNAP ON MEPHISTO!
Julian somersaults forward as Mephisto goes from his head wrenching forward to snapping back, causing him to clutch his neck with both hands. Bathory keeps the pressure on with a boot to the ribs, then an elbow drop across the chest. The Carpathian Devil brings his opponent to his feet, tensing his body to scoop the larger Mephisto before laying him flat.
Nick Stuart: Scoop slam from Bathory, he’s off the ropes again, and a sliding dropkick catches Mephisto in the face!
Sitting up from the slide, Julian’s stare is focused on Mephisto as he stirs. Standing to his feet, Bathory looks to Violence Jack ringside, who offers him a nod. The New World Savior turns back to Jacob, stalking slowly back and forth as his opponent clambers to a knee.
Richard Parker: It looks like Bathory’s claim himself King of the Cult Castle!
Bathory steps forward as Mephisto pitches his chest upward, just in time to see Julian lift an elbow high, then bring it straight down to the top of his head. Jacob leans back, dazed from the sharp strike. The Prince of Tears wraps an arm around the front of Mephisto’s face, further tilting him over before flashing a look to his mentor.
Nick Stuart: Here it comes! Bathory looking to wrap this one up!
With a twist and a slam, Bathory plants Jacob’s forehead into the mat with a swinging reverse STO, causing the big man to flop onto his back. Bathory glares out at the crowd, then turns that scowl to his downed opponent.
Nick Stuart: CHAOS REIGNS! Bathory with the pin!
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Your winner! Julian! Bathorrryy!!
The Carpathian Devil rolls nonchalantly out of the ring as “Shadows” returns to the PA system. Jack meets his protege in stride as they ascend the ramp, locking eyes with Decius and Patience as they walk by The Twins then make their way to the ring to tend to their patron.
Nick Stuart: And for the time being, MESSIAH reigns supreme!
Richard Parker: That one’s gonna sting for a while, Nick!
Nick Stuart: Another win for The New World Savior, and another match here at ReVival 8 is on its way! GREAT SCOTT squares up with Shawn Warstein after the break!
Richard Parker: Here on the ACE Network!
MASTERS OF OUR CRAFT
Coming back from commercial, we find ourselves backstage with one Matt Mills and the Masters of the Multiverse…B-Team.
Matt Mills: Hello PRIMEates, Matt Mills with the scoop you deserve! I’m here with the Masters of the Multiverse B-Team, Randall Schwartz and Kenny–
Randall cuts the reporter off, still amazed by…something.
Randall Schwartz: Did you see that Mephisto guy moments ago? Dude’s a monster! How are we supposed to handle a beast like th–
This prompts Kenny to smack Schwartz upside the head, Randall rubbing his head with a look of annoyance as Kenny speaks up.
Kenny Freeman: How ya doin’, Matt? Happy to be backstage with ya as always.
Matt Mills: Okay you two, I have to know…what brings ya back to the MGM Grand tonight? You’re not scheduled to compete, and I can’t help but wonder–
Both men chuckle at this, before Randall speaks up.
Randall Schwartz: Well, we made a promise a couple weeks ago, didn’t we Kenny?
Kenny nods in agreement, chiming in.
Kenny Freeman: Yessir, we said we’d be here whenever possible, taking up precious time on the ACE Network, to remind everyone that we’re still here.
Matt takes a moment to think about this, looking frustrated when he realizes exactly what the pair are saying.
Matt Mills: Wait, you’re literally here, backstage, with no match scheduled tonight or the foreseeable future, just to waste my time!?
Kenny Freeman: Time is relative, my guy, and waste is a strong word. If anything, we ARE planning on something…tell ‘em, Randy!
Randall just glares at Kenny, who quickly picks up on why he’s getting that reaction.
Kenny Freeman: Sorry…tell ‘em, Randall.
Randall’s face softens, a smirk on his face as he speaks up once more.
Randall Schwartz: We’re issuing an open challenge to any tag team not tied up in Survivor, to come face us in the ring sometime soon. We’ll show you just why we’re the masters of our craft…and just how dangerous we can be.
Randall walks off, leaving Kenny to nod in agreement as if to say “yeah, what he said” before he too leaves. Matt is left standing there, looking around in confusion as we cut away!
We cut backstage to a banner of the Great American Nightmare, the PRIME Universal Championship Title belt looming large, and the face of the challenger, Impulse, on the right. The left, presumably where the Champion will feature, is currently occupied by a question mark.
Angie Brooks comes into view from below, microphone in hand.
Angelica Brooks: It’s been an event so far, PRIMEates, and we’re only about halfway through! Of course, everyone in the arena and everyone here backstage is on the edge of their seats as we wait for the First Blood match to decide the PRIME Universal Champion! I think it’s safe to say nobody is anticipating this one more than my guest at this time, the number one contender, Impulse!
Joining her from the right is the Marathon Man himself, dressed in nondescript street clothes. Next to him, a handwritten sign stating ‘KICK CANCER IN THE FACE’ is the advance notice for Calico Rose, who is also decked out in what is clearly a homemade tank top advertising ‘ANGELO AND BESTIE FOR ALL THE INTENSITY 2022.’
Impulse: Good to see you, Angie.
Angelica Brooks: Good to see you both as well, but let’s get right to the heart of it. Your spot in the Great American Nightmare main event is locked in, and we’re less than two hours away from knowing who will fill the other half. Who do you think will be your opponent, and who do you think will give you a tougher fight on the day?
He looks at her for several seconds, considering this. Cally, for her part, points to her sign.
Impulse: Trying to figure out who would give a tougher fight is a loaded question, Angie. Brandon Youngblood’s got size and power on me, and all he’d need to do is catch me to do some serious damage. Jiles is more my speed, but that quickness and agility – combined with a penchant for playing fast and loose with the rules of a Championship match – I’d be hard pressed to find another pair of potential opponents with so much to offer.
Impulse: It really comes down to the basics of knowing who you’re facing off with. I don’t doubt either of ‘em would be the fight of my life, and I don’t doubt that either of ‘em could make quick work of me as their opponent under the right circumstances. I think Brandon Youngblood has a sense of honor and fair play that’s lacking in Jiles, but I also know how hard he’s worked to earn that title belt and how far he’d be willing to go to keep it. I see the way Jiles went for his knee – because it would give him an advantage, but also because it was a game to him. Cancer Jiles is a wrestler with unlimited talent, but it’s wasted because he’s not just willing to take shortcuts to beat his opponents, but he’s eager to do so.
Calico Rose: Cancer always sneaks up on you.
Impulse: At the same time, if we’re forty minutes in at Great American Nightmare and Brandon starts to believe he can’t defeat me fairly, I have no doubt he’d do literally anything to retain that title and he’s got the size and strength to make it happen.
Impulse: Who’d be the tougher opponent? Ask me twenty different ways and you’ll receive twenty different answers, all of which are equally valid. But if you want to know who I’m pulling for tonight?
He smirks, and looks into the camera.
Impulse: Getting a shot at the Universal Championship is sweet enough. Having the opportunity to even the record books on the only loss I’ve accrued so far in PRIME is two for the price of one. Doing so, specifically, because Cancer Jiles came up short again?
The smirk turns into a full blown grin.
Impulse: That’s like playing one quarter on the slots and walking out with a million bucks.
He turns on his heels and leaves the view. Cally hangs out for a few more seconds with her sign, slowly filling the screen as she steps closer.
Angelica Brooks: Strong words from the number one contender, let’s get back to ringside for Great Scott taking on Shawn Warstein!
GREAT SCOTT vs. SHAWN WARSTEIN
Nick Stuart: Last week we saw the debut of GREAT SCOTT, who defeated Mortimer Kjedelig. Tonight he takes on Shawn Warstein, a man who has had a few bumps in his short PRIME career thus far.
Richard Parker: Well I personally hope that slide ends tonight, because something about this Scott character really grinds my gears.
Nick Stuart: I believe you are supposed to say GREAT SCOTT every time, Richard.
Richard Parker: No one can regulate me!
“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 get even louder as GREAT BEAR steps out behind him, rocking out to some EDM on his sweet Beats By Dre headphones.
Richard Parker: I just don’t even know what to do about this bear situation.
Nick Stuart: The same rule applies to GREAT BEAR.
Richard Parker: They can’t touch me! I’m a member of the union.
Nick Stuart: We have a union?
Richard Parker: Not you, the obnoxious heel color commentator union.
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. 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.
The proceedings are cut off when “Centuries Remix” begins to blare.The curtain gets swiped to the side as Shawn Warstein steps through, also receiving a full chorus of boos. The hood on his hoodie is up as his face stays pointing towards the ground.
Nick Stuart: Last time we saw Warstein in the ring, he lost to Julian Bathory in the main event of ReVival 6.
As the song begins for crescendo Shawn lifts his head and pulls the hood down. The widest, most arrogant smile is on his face. It’s as if the jeers are fueling him. The louder they get, the wider his smile goes. As he walks down the ramp several fans heckle him, but with the back of his hand he waves them off and continues, sliding under the bottom rope and into the ring, keeping his distance.
Vince Howard: His opponent, hailing from Chicago, Illinois, standing six feet four inches and weighing two-hundred thirty-four pounds…SHAAAAAWN! WAAAAAAARSTEIN!
Casting a sneer to the ring announcer Warstein continues towards the far corner and climbs up sitting on the top turnbuckle, before hopping down.
GREAT SCOTT walks to the center of the ring and holds his hand out for Shawn Warstein to shake. Before Warstein can even move (we presume he was not going to entertain this), GREAT SCOTT shouts “DOLPHIN!” and moves his hand sideways under Warstein’s hand.
Nick Stuart: GREAT SCOTT quite the trickster, Richard.
Richard Parker: And he’s going to pay for it!
Nick Stuart: Oh, you’re right Richard! Stiff shot from Warstein to GREAT SCOTT and he’s sent reeling!
Warstein wastes no time getting on the offense, following GREAT SCOTT with three quick punches. SCOTT finds the corner and tries to get a reprieve, and Elvis Nixon grants it to him.
Nick Stuart: Nixon separates the two men…oh, not for long!
Richard Parker: Warstein is relentless early!
Indeed, Warstein was on top of SCOTT before Nixon completely moved away. Nixon sidesteps quickly and is shouting at Warstein, but he doesn’t seem to hear or care. He grabs GREAT SCOTT and sends him over with a hip toss, then immediately smothers him with punches.
Nick Stuart: Warstein with the ground and pound, and it’s his match early.
Warstein stands up and grabs GREAT SCOTT, pulling him to his feet. As he does so, GREAT SCOTT throws his hands up, pushing Warstein back in surprise. GREAT SCOTT hits him with a forearm, then grabs him and takes him over in a vertical suplex! Warstein rolls over but GREAT SCOTT is waiting for him with a belly to belly suplex.
Nick Stuart: Cover by GREAT SCOTT!
Richard Parker: Not enough!
Shawn Warstein kicks out and GREAT SCOTT gets to his feet, looking at GREAT BEAR for support. The bear stops dancing and shrugs. GREAT SCOTT shouts “GREAT ADVICE GREAT BEAR DID YOU SEE ME HIT HIM WITH THE DOLPHIN EARLIER” and then grabs Warstein by his head. He throws Warstein into the ropes, then bends over and flings Warstein over with a back body drop.
Nick Stuart: Huge impact! Warstein started off strong, but he’s in trouble here.
Warstein slowly gets to his feet as GREAT SCOTT fixes him with ANGRY GLARING, which would normally be very effective. However, because Warstein wasn’t looking in GREAT SCOTT’s direction, he didn’t see it and, much like someone with sunglasses near Medusa, was not petrified. Warstein stumbles to his feet and GREAT SCOTT grabs for him again, hitting him with a dragon suplex.
Nick Stuart: Another cover!
Quick kickout from Warstein, but GREAT SCOTT doesn’t let up. He sends a standing elbow drop into Warstein’s chest, then lifts him up and hits another snap suplex. Before Warstein can recover, GREAT SCOTT lifts him up and traps him in the corner.
Nick Stuart: GREAT SCOTT is sending lefts and rights into his face! SCOTT with all of the momentum here.
Richard Parker: Have we checked that bear’s valet license? Something smells fishy there.
Nick Stuart: Is it the salmon?
Richard Parker: The wha–oh Christ.
On the outside, GREAT BEAR is eating a salmon. The fans are cheering, though the ones close by are holding their nose.
In the ring, GREAT SCOTT continues to wail on Shawn Warstein. He moves him to the ropes, then sends Warstein with an Irish whip against the ring ropes. Shawn Warstein ducks under a clothesline, then leaps at GREAT SCOTT…
Nick Stuart: GREAT SCOTT catches him!
Richard Parker: Uh oh.
Nick Stuart: Huge slam, and another cover!
Nick Stuart: Kickout, but GREAT SCOTT is really giving Shawn Warstein all he can handle early on in this match.
GREAT SCOTT rolls Shawn Warstein over and starts to wrench at his arm. Warstein grunts in pain and starts reaching for the ropes, but GREAT SCOTT rolls back and applies the armbar tighter.
GREAT SCOTT: HEY GREAT BEAR I’M A SUBMISSION EXPERT NOW HE’S GONNA TAP
Warstein starts to struggle again, and when he reaches for the ropes GREAT SCOTT rolls back again…which is exactly what Warstein wanted.
Nick Stuart: Savvy move from the veteran Warstein! He used GREAT SCOTT’S momentum to roll back over, and now he’s free!
Warstein gets to his feet and GREAT SCOTT is soon to follow. Warstein hits GREAT SCOTT with a stiff right hand, then tries to grapple GREAT SCOTT but the stronger man powers through and hits an exploder suplex.
Nick Stuart: GREAT SCOTT has been in full control tonight with an array of suplexes.
Richard Parker: Is that all he knows how to do?
Nick Stuart: No, Richard. He is clearly a submission expert now.
Richard Parker: Dammit, I walked right into that one.
Nick Stuart: In any case, Shawn Warstein is in a lot of trouble in this match. He’s the more experienced wrestler, but GREAT SCOTT has overwhelmed him with power and momentum.
Richard Parker: That’s the thing about experience, though, Nick. Warstein is hanging on and biding his time, and it won’t be long before he finds an opportunity to strike and turn this thing around.
Currently, Warstein is in fact hanging on literally, as he grabs the ropes and tries to pull himself up. GREAT SCOTT helps him to his feet, then sends him into the turnbuckle. Suddenly, GREAT SCOTT points and shouts.
GREAT SCOTT: IT’S SCOTTACANRANA TIME
He runs over to the corner to give Warstein a body splash, but Warstein moves out of the way at the last second, causing GREAT SCOTT to smash into the turnbuckle.
Richard Parker: Shawn Warstein is too fast!
Warstein hits GREAT SCOTT with lefts and rights in the corner, and then an elbow to the face. GREAT SCOTT is stunned for a second, but retaliates with a stiff right hand that sends Warstein back. GREAT SCOTT grabs at him again, but…
Nick Stuart: Warstein ducks under the heavier GREAT SCOTT and takes him down with an atomic drop!
Richard Parker: Hey, should we maybe give Warstein the same treatment?
Nick Stuart: What do you mean?
Richard Parker: SHAWN WARSTEIN with a belly to back German suplex!
Nick Stuart: You might want to workshop it a bit.
As GREAT SCOTT rolls on the canvas, Shawn Warstein lays into him with boots to his chest. He lifts GREAT SCOTT up and kicks him, then plants him with a DDT and goes for the cover.
Nick Stuart: Kickout by GREAT SCOTT, but Warstein seems like he’s taking control.
Richard Parker: It’s like I said, Nick. He found an opening and took advantage. It’s what veterans do.
Nick Stuart: Warstein is a fighter, always up for a challenge, and not even the brute strength of GREAT SCOTT can keep him down for long.
Warstein lifts the big man up and tries to Irish whip, but GREAT SCOTT reverses and Warstein grabs the ropes, jumping over them and landing on the ring apron.
Nick Stuart: GREAT SCOTT charging Warstein…no!
Richard Parker: Quick thinking from the Chicago native!
Warstein pulled the ropes down at the last second, causing GREAT SCOTT to tumble out, landing on his shoulder on the outside. Warstein grabs GREAT SCOTT by his head, then slings him towards the steel steps.
Richard Parker: GREAT SCOTT is in trouble now!
Nick Stuart: What impact on his shoulder!
Warstein grabs GREAT SCOTT and rolls him into the ring, where he lies prone. Warstein goes up to the top rope quickly and steadies himself, looking down at his opponent.
Nick Stuart: Going for the elbow drop!
Richard Parker: He hits!
Nick Stuart: Cover!
Nick Stuart: GREAT SCOTT with the great kickout!
Richard Parker: I mean, it was fine.
Nick Stuart: I was just using his na…
Richard Parker: I know what you were trying to do.
Warstein knows how hard it is to kick out of a high impact move like that, and his face reflects it. He looks exasperated, confused, and a little angry. Shaking his head, he pulls GREAT SCOTT to his feet. He pulls GREAT SCOTT over in a snapmare, then immediately applies a reverse chinlock.
Richard Parker: This is where Warstein really shines, Nick. He’s 12 years older than GREAT SCOTT, he has the experience and know-how to take advantage of youth, exuberance, and rampant idiocy.
Nick Stuart: That was probably going too far but I get the gist.
GREAT SCOTT screams in the middle of the ring. It’s hard to pick all of it up, but he’s mostly saying things like “GREAT BEAR HELP ME” and “I DIDN’T STOP THE MAFIA TO GO OUT TO A CHINLOCK”. Warstein wrenches on his chin as GREAT SCOTT continues to struggle.
Nick Stuart: GREAT SCOTT hanging on!
GREAT SCOTT begins moving his body, gathering strength. He gets to his feet and Warstein, despite his best efforts, comes with him. GREAT SCOTT grabs his waist and levels Warstein with a belly to back suplex. Warstein quickly scrambles to his feet as GREAT SCOTT points at him and shouts something loudly.
Nick Stuart: What did he say?
What he said, Nick, was:
GREAT SCOTT: I’M GONNA KICK YOU RIGHT IN THE TITS
GREAT SCOTT lunges forward and sends a high kick right to Warstein’s chest, leveling him.
Nick Stuart: Well, he certainly did…what he said he was going to do.
The fans are eating it up, clearly.
KICK HIS TITS! KICK HIS TITS! KICK HIS TITS!
GREAT SCOTT: I ALREADY DID
Richard Parker: I have no words. No, actually I do have words.
Nick Stuart: And what are your words?
Richard Parker: I HATE THIS.
Warstein is struggling to stand. After all, he DID just get kicked right in the tits. He grabs the ropes and makes his way into the corner. GREAT SCOTT senses this and points at the corner, causing the fans to cheer again.
Nick Stuart: Looks like GREAT SCOTT is looking for his finisher, The SCOTTACANRANA!
Sure enough, GREAT SCOTT ambles over to Warstein and lifts his body up to a sitting position atop the turnbuckle. Shouting more nonsense, GREAT SCOTT climbs the ropes to get himself in position.
But as he nears the top, Warstein stirs to life and knees GREAT SCOTT in the crotch.
GREAT SCOTT: OW MY GREAT TESTICLES
GREAT SCOTT slumps and steps down back onto the canvas. Shawn Warstein quickly bounds down himself and grabs GREAT SCOTT
Nick Stuart: EGO TRIP! GREAT SCOTT has been planted with that DDT!
Richard Parker: Here we go, cover!
Nick Stuart: GREAT SCOTT kicks out! And Warstein is frustrated with Elvis Nixon.
Richard Parker: Putting it mildly, Nick. Warstein thinks that was a three count, and I can see where he’s coming from!
Elvis very sternly holds two fingers up as Warstein shakes his head. Warstein sends a kick to GREAT SCOTT, then rolls him to a sitting position near the corner. He walks to the other side and gives the cut-throat “IT’S OVER” motion.
Nick Stuart: Warstein looking for the King’s Crown, and you have to think if he can hit that it will be over for GREAT SCOTT.
Warstein comes running in for the knee strike, but GREAT SCOTT moves at the last second, causing Warstein to crash into the turnbuckle.
Richard Parker: No!
Nick Stuart: Great athleticism from…
Richard Parker: Don’t.
Continuing that athletic display, GREAT SCOTT turns around and splashes Warstein in the corner, then quickly lifts him up on the turnbuckle. Wasting no time, he climbs to the top, leaps up, and takes Warstein down with the…
Nick Stuart: SCOTTACANRANA! He hit it!
Richard Parker: Come on, kick out!
Nick Stuart: Cover!
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: The winner of this match…GREAT SCOTT!
Nick Stuart: Well, Richard, Shawn Warstein put on a great performance, showing the wealth of his wrestling experience, but it wasn’t enough in the end to put GREAT SCOTT away.
Richard Parker: As much as I don’t like it, that’s now two matches and two wins for this shouting fool, so he’s doing something right.
ONE MAN’S ATTEMPT AT CIVILITY
Melvin Beauregard sits at his desk, fumbling through the mountain of paperwork before him. His brow is furrowed and his face looks complex, which is quite fair considering most people would describe him as a complex person. Though, probably not for the same reasons that Melvin might consider himself complex.
He thinks his night has been pretty bad thus far.
His night is about to get a whole lot worse.
Melvin Beauregard: Who is it?!
There is no answer though. Instead, the door flies open and standing there is a handsome gentleman that fills the frame of the doorway quite well. He is dressed in a pair of baby blue slacks, with a baby blue jacket to boot, and a linen white button-down shirt. His hair is perfectly coifed, smoke somehow seems to be billowing at his feet from an unseen smoke machine that has no business being outside of Melvin’s office, and he looks surprisingly like David Lynch.
That’s right, this man is none other than the Lost Soul himself, Dusk.
Cue the fans going crazy.
Is this all the fans have?
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
That’s better and only fitting for a man that is considered one of the most over superstars (super-stah!) in PRIME today.
Melvin Beauregard: Oh Jesus-Christ-on-a-fucking-pogo-stick…
Dusk simply smiles at Melvin and proceeds to sit in a chair directly across from him.
Dusk: Thank you for inviting me in.
Melvin Beauregard: I most definitely did not.
Dusk: I must say, this is a pretty comfy chair. How comfy is your chair?
Melvin looks around.
Melvin Beauregard: It’s comfy.
Dusk: Mind if I try it out?
Melvin Beauregard: What, yes I mind if you try out my chair! It’s my chair.
Dusk: Wow, never seen someone so territorial over a chair before.
Melvin Beauregard: But, it’s my chair!
Dusk holds his hands up, acquiescing to Melvin.
Dusk: Fine, fine. It’s your chair.
Melvin Beauregard: Anyways, what can I do for you, Mr. Dusk?
Dusk: You know, I would think this would be a friendlier conversation. Have I come and harass you like so many of my colleagues do? I think not. Have I come and destroyed your office like so many of my colleagues have? I think not.
Melvin Beauregard: This is quite true–
Dusk: Have I come in here and defiled your chair by pulling a Cleveland Steamer while bringing three, ahem, girls off the street to do God-knows-what in here? I think not.
Melvin Beauregard: Wait, who did that?
Dusk: My point, Melvin, is that I think I’ve operated myself to be a fine citizen, designed to not give you too much trouble when my history would suggest otherwise. I’m usually a person that likes a little bit of mayhem and destruction. Take a look at my match with Wade Elliott some years ago and you’ll find that to be the case.
Melvin Beauregard: That’s quite true, I do appreciate that. Now, can we go back to the mention of someone doing some quite heinous things in my office–
Dusk: I don’t have time for that. Anyways, I want to know what you’re going to be doing to address the elephant in the room.
Melvin looks around wildly.
Melvin Beauregard: What did King Blueberry do now?!
Dusk: Metaphorical elephant, Melvin. Keep up with me, alright?
Melvin looks back at Dusk, bewildered.
Melvin Beauregard: Then, what are you talking about?
Dusk: I’m talking about Phil Atken and his walking, mute, brain oozing out of his skull, security agent, Hank.
Melvin Beauregard: Oh, that.
Dusk: That? You said it like it was an accident. A mistake. I can assure you that Phil and Hank knew exactly what they were doing when they slammed me multiple times into the mat and gave me a concussion.
Melvin Beauregard: Well, didn’t you take care of things last week?
Dusk: Do you even watch the show? No, I did not. Not even close. I got Gary. Not Phil. Not Hank. Though, I do wonder about the number of people around here with only four letters in their name.
Dusk then looks into the camera and gives a knowing wink.
Dusk: Look, I think I’ve been patient. I can gladly walk around the MGM Grand Arena, the hotel, the casino, the penthouse suites, you name it, and drag Phil and Hank around, reminding them exactly what pain is. I could easily do that and my nature is to go down that path. I’m trying to not. Instead, I’m coming to you, to work your magic, and make a match happen.
Melvin Beauregard: Well, I would say that’s more in the Lindsay Troy camp, wouldn’t you?
Dusk: I’m pretty positive you know the history of Troy and me–
Melvin Beauregard: Yeah, what is it with you two?
Dusk: Long story, no time to discuss it.
Melvin Beauregard: Because I heard that someone impersonated Lindsay Troy–
Dusk: We are NOT going to talk about that any further today, do you understand? We need to focus on the matter at hand.
Melvin Beauregard: I completely understand and respect where you’re coming from, but the truth of the matter is that I can’t just make this happen.
Dusk: I had a feeling you might say that.
Dusk then reaches into his inner jacket pocket and pulls out a lead pipe.
Melvin Beauregard: What the fuck? You just keep that in your jacket pocket?!
Dusk: Like I said, my true nature is to just knock them the fuck out. I thought I would let you try option one first, but you didn’t like option one so I figure I might as well do option two and save us all a bit of time.
Melvin Beauregard: Now, listen here–
Melvin is now standing, but so is Dusk. He’s turned on the spot and begins to walk out of Melvin’s office.
Dusk: Nice meeting you, Melvin. Hope your insurance pay-out has been upped. [chuckles] Actually, I imagine no insurance company will touch this place after the last few months. I’ll send you the bill!
Melvin, red in the face, watches as Dusk saunters down the hall and then looks at the cameraman.
Melvin Beauregard: Why are you still in here with me?! What are you doing here?! Go and follow him, now!
The camera then begins to bounce rapidly as the cameraman chases after Dusk, turning the corner just in time to see Dusk walking down another hallway. He begins to smack the lead pipe against his open palm, creating a large echo in the hallways.
Dusk: Oh Phil! Oh Hank! Come out, come out, wherever you are!
Dusk turns another corner, only to run into The Anglo Luchador. He looks visibly flustered and upset. As Dusk looks at him, he seems to be a bit on edge.
Dusk: You okay?
TAL: Well, the angry lady whom carries a switchblade wants to flay me like she’s a member of House Bolton, and my campaign to be in the Intense Championship match might have gone up in Rezin-ignited smoke. Not my best.
Dusk: Sorry to hear that, buddy. Now, I need to go take out Phil and Hank.
As Dusk starts to walk away, TAL grabs Dusk by the arm.
TAL: You know, I do have a match with them, shortly. Let me handle them for you. I’m in a foul mood, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I want to see people I genuinely care about in this fed get themselves in trouble, alright?
Dusk ponders this for a moment.
Dusk: I wouldn’t be opposed to it. [beat] I will be watching though. They pull any funny stuff and I’ll be out there, ready to crack them upside the head with this pipe.
TAL: That would be great, actually. Aim for the mute guy’s head. I don’t think he knows how to feel feelings.
Dusk looks at the lead pipe and places it back inside of his jacket pocket. He then looks at TAL.
Dusk: Whatever happens out there, just know they’re going to get their justice sooner or later. They can’t run forever.
Dusk then pats TAL on the back and walks away, while TAL looks on and nods his head.
DIAL “T” FOR TIME TRAVEL OR TICONDEROGA OR TRIGONOMETRY OR…
A graphic scrawls across the screen “EARLIER THIS EVENING”. Mortimer Kjedelig leans against the wall next to the corridor leading to the the super secret back entrance that only the talent knows about, the entrance that allows the PRIME wrestlers to escape without the issue of being hounded by bloodthirsty, needy fans. Kjeldelig is sporting a long houndstooth overcoat, why? Because he thinks it’s cool….even if he sweating like Richard Simmons running an aerobics class in hell to the tune of “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John on an endless loop. Morty (if that is his real name) finally sees the person he is waiting for approaches.
Mortimer Kjedelig: Martina McFly, as I live and breathe!
The Time Lord looks at the masked wrestler, expressionless. But then again, can you blame her? All she wanted to do is freeload from catering. Is that really so much to ask?
Mortimer Kjedelig: I admit, I have spent the better part of the week feelin’ a little upset by what transpired with us last week. Admittedly, I may have come off, in a certain perceptive light, as…too forward and things got messy. Not all of it my fault, mind you. You need to take responsibility for your part as well with your “Nothin’ personal” and condensatin’ tone. But then, you took it too far and after our interaction last week, you went back in time and somehow alterated my match with Great Scott. You got some balls, you know that? You and I both know that is the only way that that fuckin’ skidmark coulda beaten me! I don’t know how you did it, if you roofied me or roided him up or what, but I know you did it!
To this accusation, there is an eyebrow raise and the crunch of a nacho. She stands tall, her voice sharp.
Anna Daniels: Don’t be absurd, Mister Anderson. If we wanted to screw you in a match, we’d be a bit more obvious.
Mortimer Kjedelig: Mister Ander….oh! Me! Well, forgive me if I’m not buyin’ it. When I was workin’ for…the…insurance industry….sometimes unruly people would be made an example of and get early retiremented, sometimes with a rodent in their mouth, and other times, people would just disappear and never be seen again, to which the management stated the employee quit and other times, people had an unexpected work related injury. But, you know what? I’m not tryin’ to argue the point. I’m feelin’ like maybe I wanna give you another shot.
Mortimer Kjedelig reaches into his trenchcoat and pulls out a heart shaped box and hands it to Anna Daniels.
Mortimer Kjedlig: Don’t get the wrong idea. I got it in the clearance bin at the dollar store. Eighty percent off. I think they’re still good. The expiration date is faded, but hey! It’s an adventure, right? Consider this a gesture of peace between us. So, whaddya say we revisit my little request from a couple weeks ago?
She looks at the box. Then back at Mortimer. Then she took the box, curious.
Anna Daniels: We’ll listen to what you have to say. No promises, though.
Mortimer Kjedelig: It’s simple, you do your little time travel thing, go back to January 27, 1999. Find an eighteen year old kid named Rowan, scrawny guy wearin’ one of them carnegie sweaters. Like Mister Rogers. A real nerd type. He’d be workin’ at the Macy’s in the mens department. You just tell the kid, do not listen to his uh, “alleged”, cousin, Mikey. Tell him do not get into that car. Bada Bing, Bada Boom, Abracadabra, Alakazaam! You come back, there’s a happy endin’ for everybody involved. Except Cousin Mikey. He’s “allegedly” fucked. I’ll text you the details. You got a disposable phone?
Anna Daniels: Hm.
The vessel that is Anna proceeds to set down her plate of nachos and the discount Valentine’s candy. For a moment, she doesn’t look at Morty. There’s the turning of gears, as if the Multitudes are considering the offer. It feels like forever to him.
Anna Daniels: No, sir. We do not have a disposable phone. and you’re thinking about this a bit too optimistically, don’t ya think?
There was a shift in that sentence, the sharpness turned into smokey brashness. Before anybody else can think about such things, there is another that would remind someone of cold militant bluntless.
Anna Daniels: First of all, let’s consider that we did go to Mister Rowan’s Neighborhood. We tell him exactly what you said. Who the hell are we to him? We would be some random lady that stumbled into the men’s department pretending to get a present for our husband. Why would he believe a single damned word we said? It would be a stranger’s word against the word of a…
A pause for dramatic effect. It’s clear that while the one speaking is harsh, whoever’s steering the vessel simply cannot themselves as they perform the most exaggerated air quotes in recorded history.
Anna Daniels: …”cousin”. Now granted, this can be remedied by going a bit farther back and building some sort of friendship. But here’s the big hurdle.
A sudden movement as her hands go from air quotes to clutching onto his shoulders as hard as possible. It is the motion of someone who needs to be understood and her tone goes along with it. Frantically in a stream of consciousness manner.
Anna Daniels: What if you’re wrong? You think it’s silly, right? Biggest mistake of your life undone by a simple fix. Bada Boom, Bada Bang, Abracadabra, Alakazam, and every other psychic Pokémon. But take off the rose colored glasses for a bit. Consider the possibilities of what happens if Rowan doesn’t enter Cousin Mikey’s car. That guy sounds like nasty business. Do you really think he’d accept Rowan’s decision? Wouldn’t there be something worse right around the corner? Maybe there is no such thing as HAPPILY EVER AFTER. MAYBE THERE’S JUST LIFE IN ALL ITS COSMIC HORROR AND INSANITY!
Another pause. Slowly, she unlatches from his shoulders and returns to a neutral state. She picks up her plate of nachos and crunches into a chip. Almost like the outburst never happened. A clearing of her throat.
Anna Daniels: Answer’s still no, bud.
Anna takes another chip and proceeds to walk off leaving Mortimer Kjedelig staring, nay, glaring at her, his lip twitching, his fists clenching and he looks at the frugal heart shaped gift and then back in the direction of where Anna has made her exit
Mortimer Kjedelig: You fuckin’, manipulatin, CANCEROUS WHOAH!!!!!
Mortimer Kjedelig grabs the box of chocolates, raises them above his head and slams them on the ground and proceeds to stomp on them and then stomping becomes jumping up and down on them like a child throwing a tantrum. He grabs the large coffee pot on the catering table and slams it down on the pink cellophane, red cardboard, chocolate and cherry mess on the ground. Mortimer looks down at the result of his rage and frowns….and sniffs….breathing heavy and then looks down the corridor as the scene ends.
PHIL ATKEN vs. THE ANGLO LUCHADOR
Vince Howard: The following match is one fall…
Nick Stuart: And we are now ready for our next match of the evening, The Anglo Luchador squaring off against Phil Atken.
Richard Parker: A match for Phil Atken that will help him, in his words, rid PRIME of those simply hanging on and over the hill, stealing opportunities from much younger stars.
Nick Stuart: The irony being… he’s fifty-seven years old.
Richard Parker: Are you implying he can’t do the job?
Nick Stuart: Just pointing out the irony, Richard.
Richard Parker: Yeah, well, I ironed my clothes last night just fine.
Nick Stuart: …what?
Back in the ring.
Vince Howard: Introducing first, accompanied by his Security Guard, Hank, hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, he is the Proprietor of the Glue Factory… PHIL! ATKEN!
“(I Want to be The One) To Watch You Die” by The Megas begins to boom all over the sound system, heralding the arrival of The Proprietor of The Glue Factory himself, Philip Martin Atken. The veteran athlete steps out and heads directly to the centre of the entrance way, not paying much mind to the reaction of the crowd at the MGM Grand. Atken is quickly joined at his side by his Chief of Security, the seven foot monster known as Hank. The tandem begin their march towards the ring with clear purpose and clarity of mind.
Upon reaching the ring, Atken leaps up on top of the apron and the camera catches him giving a small little self satisfied smirk to himself as he wipes his boots on the edge of the canvas. Chief of Security Hank holds open the ring ropes and allows his boss to enter the ring. Hank takes his place in the corner of the ring as Atken gladly welcomes the referee to check him for any contraband items.
Richard Parker: Good to see Phil has Hank around with him this week!
Nick Stuart: After seeing Dusk walk around backstage with a lead pipe, I think Phil might agree with you.
Richard Parker: I mean, Gary got superkicked last week by Dusk!
Nick Stuart: You don’t even know who Gary is.
Richard Parker: So?!
Back in the ring.
Vince Howard: And his opponent… hailing from Philadelphia, PA… THE ANGLO! LUCHADOR!
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. He exhales and bows his head before he takes his final stride towards the ring.
Nick Stuart: You can see the anger and frustration from TAL as he is in the ring, chomping at the bit.
Richard Parker: Well, after the events of earlier, can’t say that I blame him.
Nick Stuart: Atken will need to be careful in the opening moments of this match, otherwise he might find himself on the other end of a pinfall.
Richard Parker: I imagine Hank won’t let that happen.
The two men circle one another in the ring before Ashley Barlow signals to the timekeeper.
At the sound of the bell, the two men move to the center of the ring with Atken looking for a collar-and-elbow tie-up only for TAL to connect with a stiff kick to the back of Atken’s right leg. Atken pulls his leg up in pain as he then walks around the ring, taking the sting out of it. Atken motions for TAL to meet in the center of the ring and looks for another tie-up, but this time Atken connects with a stiff slap across the face. TAL’s head turns from the shot and he then rushes at Atken only for Phil to connect with a hip toss into the middle of the ring. TAL bounces back up only to be put in a headlock, with Atken connecting with another takedown on TAL.
Nick Stuart: And Atken looking to ground TAL in the early portion of this match.
Richard Parker: That would be rather smart on Atken’s account. Keep TAL off the ropes, keep him from getting into his offense. This Atken guy, he’s a sharp cookie.
Nick Stuart: What are you pulling out of your pocket?!
Richard Parker: Some Dusk glue!
Nick Stuart: You’re just asking to be superkicked.
TAL forces Atken back up to his feet, as Phil still has the headlock cinched tight. TAL connects with a fist to the midsection before going for a side suplex to break the hold Atken has on him. Phil though manages to land on his feet and connects with a thigh kick that forces TAL into the ropes, rubbing it in the process. Atken bounces off the ropes and connects with a shoulder to the thigh of TAL, sending him crashing to the mat. Atken returns to his feet, grabs the top rope, and uses it for leverage as he begins to stomp away at TAL.
Richard Parker: I wonder what Atken puts in this glue.
Nick Stuart: I mean, I’m certain Dusk isn’t in that glue.
Richard Parker: Yeah, but can I use it in my hair?
Nick Stuart: Please do. Meanwhile, Atken is controlling the early moments of this match and that has to be beyond infuriating for TAL.
TAL rolls to the outside of the ring, trying to get himself together, and as he does, he bumps into Hank without even noticing him. Which is quite difficult because Hank is seven feet tall and not easy to miss. TAL stares at Hank, but this gives Atken an opening as he slides outside and connects with another thigh kick that sends TAL stumbling into Hank. Hank then pushes TAL off of him as Atken kicks TAL across the face while laughing. He then yanks TAL off of the ground and rolls him back into the ring. TAL fights back to his feet only for the Proprietor to come up behind him and connect with a kick to the skull of TAL.
Nick Stuart: Anglo Luchador is simply not getting much offense here thus far in this match and that’s not going to bode well for him if he can’t get it moving in the right direction.
Richard Parker: You know, TAL talks about how old he is, but Atken is even older and handing it to him. Maybe Atken has a point?
Nick Stuart: And what point is that?
Richard Parker: Get rid of all the old guys in PRIME! All of them! Nova! GBJ!
Nick Stuart: You know you’re one of them, right?
Richard Parker: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Atken drags TAL off of the mat and whips him into the opposite corner, with TAL cracking his back hard. TAL leans against the corner as Atken comes running full speed and goes for another kick to the skull of TAL, only to be greeted with nobody there. TAL manages to move at the last possible second and slams his forearm into the back of Atken. Atken leans into the corner as TAL runs to the opposite corner and then connects with a running back elbow! Atken slumps in the corner as TAL returns to the opposite corner and runs full speed, blasting both knees to the face of Atken.
Richard Parker: Well, Atken’s face is going to need some of this glue after those knees to his face.
Nick Stuart: This is the medicine that TAL sorely needed after finding himself in the hole. I’m not sure Phil knows where he’s at right now.
Richard Parker: I would go down there and help him, but I don’t want Hank getting the wrong opinion of me.
Nick Stuart: Probably a good idea.
TAL grabs Atken by the back of his skull and pulls him up before connecting with a butterfly suplex. Atken rolls onto his side as he winces from the pain, makes his way up to his feet, and is met with a knife-edge chop from Atken. Phil doubles over from the pain only for TAL to force him back up and connects with another knife-edge chop that sends Atken to the floor. As Phil makes his way up to his feet, TAL connects with a right jab, left jab, and finishes it off with a right cross. Atken stumbles into the ropes from the shots and TAL wastes no time as he runs over to Atken and connects with a monkey flip that sends Atken flying across the ring.
Nick Stuart: TAL has picked up the pace here and Atken can’t seem to keep up with him as TAL is firmly in the driver seat now.
Richard Parker: Atken needs to be careful because TAL is no slouch, he will put him down if the opportunity arises.
Nick Stuart: Especially considering the events earlier in the evening. TAL is in no mood after his run-in with Ria.
Richard Parker: I don’t think any of us would be in a good mood if we had a run-in with Ria.
TAL catches Atken with another knife-edge chop as he rises to his feet, sending Atken careening into the nearby corner. TAL yanks Atken out of the ring and connects with a dragon suplex. Atken lies in the middle of the ring as TAL then bounces off the ropes and connects with a front-flip leg drop across the throat of his opponent. He then goes for the cover on Atken as Barlow slides into position.
Richard Parker: Close call there by Atken!
Nick Stuart: Looked like TAL might have an opening and he took it.
TAL yanks Atken up to his feet and is met with a stiff elbow from Atken for his trouble. TAL stumbles backwards before exploding forward with a no-counter enziguri, laying both men out in the middle of the ring. Barlow begins her count as TAL starts to fight back to his knees. As Atken gets up to his knees, TAL is up to his feet. TAL looks over at Atken and connects with a stiff kick to his chest. Atken grimaces from the shot and TAL tries again only for Atken to catch it and connect with a corkscrew leg takedown on TAL.
Nick Stuart: And Atken trying to turn the tide of this match here.
Richard Parker: Maybe Phil can convince Muriel to come down here and kiss Ashley Barlow to allow Hank an opportunity to get in the ring.
Nick Stuart: Gross.
TAL slowly makes his way up to his feet and narrowly misses a kick to the skull from Atken. TAL uses Atken’s momentum against him and pushes him into the corner. TAL then runs at Atken only for a boot to collide with his chest. TAL drops to one knee from the shot as Atken runs at him and slams his right knee into TAL’s face. TAL slumps over from the shot as Atken pulls him back up to his feet and connects with a ripcord into a knee to the face. TAL drops to the mat as Atken struts around the ring, getting his bearings back.
Nick Stuart: Just shows you how dangerous Phil Atken can be in that ring if he has an opportunity to do so.
Richard Parker: Atken is a scary man.
Atken yanks TAL up to his feet, pushes him into the ropes, and slaps him for good measure. Atken smiles in TAL’s face as he then pulls him away from the ropes and connects with a stalling piledriver.
Richard Parker: The Tarp on TAL!
Nick Stuart: This might be the beginning of the end.
Atken then stalks TAL as he slowly sits up, dazed and out of it. He then comes up from behind and puts on a rear naked choke.
Nick Stuart: The Shotgun! Is this it?
It is as TAL is tapping and Barlow is signaling for the bell.
DING DING DING!
Atken though, continues to hold the choke in place as TAL starts to fade from the lack of oxygen. Barlow immediately orders Phil to break the hold, but Atken is refusing to do so.
Nick Stuart: Oh come on! This is ridiculous! Break the hold! You already got the win.
The jeers from the crowd quickly turns to cheers.
Richard Parker: Atken better look out because Dusk is on his way down to the ring and he is moving faster than I ever expected to see him move!
Sure enough, Dusk is racing down the ramp and slides in as Hank grabs Atken and pulls him out of the ring! Dusk, with lead pipe pulled out, swings wildly at Atken and Hank, but misses both of them as they escape up the ramp.
Nick Stuart: Atken trying to put TAL out of commission by holding that choke far longer than he needed to. Thank goodness Dusk was watching and waiting for something like this to happen.
Richard Parker: TAL starting to come to but he looks out of it.
Dusk glares at Atken and Hank, yelling at them before he turns his attention back to TAL and helping him to sit up.
Nick Stuart: You know this battle between Dusk and Atken is only heating up, and I imagine TAL is going to want some revenge as well.
Richard Parker: I would imagine so.
Dusk kneels beside TAL as he glares up the ramp, his eyes firmly locked upon a smiling Phil Atken, victorious in his second match in PRIME.
THE EIFFEL TOWER
The scene opens up backstage in the hallway. The camera is focused on a very specific door. A nameplate on the door reads M. Beauregard. The cameraman holds his shot on the door as a mad symphony of guttural grunts, shattering sounds, and polyrhythmic creakings can be heard coming from behind the door.
Until they can’t be heard.
Another minute or so goes by, and the door opens a crack. Garbage Bag Johnny peeks his head out. He looks like he’s gotten in a good workout. He checks to see if the coast is clear before sneaking out the door wearing a futuristic jumpsuit. He exits hallway right.
Next, it’s Muriel. She’s even dewier than Johnny. She checks if the coast is clear and sneaks out the door wearing Garbage Bag Johnny’s t-shirt with bathrobe print. She takes off hallway left.
About a minute goes by.
And finally, it’s Future GBJ, looking like he’s just gotten out of a sauna. Instead of sneaking out, he just bursts through the door wide open. He’s fully nude, covering his genitals with a framed photograph of Melvin Beauregard with his family.
Future looks both ways but eventually chooses the path regular Johnny took. As soon as Future GBJ moves from the center of the frame, we get a brief glimpse of the carnage in Melvin’s office as the door slowly swings back shut.
There’s definitely a used adult diaper in there.
MERCH ALERT *AIRHORN*
???: You know…we were going to make this a super dramatic thing.
Smash cut to Anna Daniels reclining…somewhere in her timeship with a steaming cup of tea sat right beside her on a table. There’s a smirk that emerges on the vessel’s face. The voice is calm and cultured.
Anna Daniels: We were going to write out–
Anna Daniels: Oh. Sorry. Kayfabe. We were going to film a whole commercial in beautiful black and white ripping off whatever fashion designer we chose at random. We were going to have this rip roaring speech about the old and stagnant, something about cults, and perhaps a slightly snarky reference to PRIME’s resident masked totally-not-a-former-Mafioso Mozzarella Kaleidoscope, depending on our mood.
Her slender fingers pick up the tea cup. The smirk turns into a smile.
Anna Daniels: But then we figured “screw that! Let’s get down to business!” So we shall.
She takes a sip of her tea. Actually, it’s more than a sip. It’s a full on chug on this steaming liquid down her throat. Then she bites into the edge of the teacup, chews the remains in her mouth, and…swallows?
Anna Daniels: How does one start a new era? How does one become such? Paraphrasing the brilliant words of otherverse wrestler, vtuber enjoyer, and philosopher Great O-Kahn: “First we conquer the world of merch.”
A wild picture appears! Cue the knockoff Clearly-Not-Pokémon Wild Not-Pokémon jingle.
Anna Daniels: See this? This is our shirt. It’ll be available at The PRIME-Porium in-person and online as soon as this episode ends. Buy it or you’ll get your fucking head kicked in.
And just as quickly, the Wild Picture escaped. Anna’s still here though.
Anna Daniels: You don’t think we will? Try it.
THE BATTLE OF ALESIA
Odd droning cords bring us from the dark, <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uGf8VT81fE” target=”_blank”>a soundtrack to lead us to this moment.</a> A quick sweeping shot of the crowd in the MGM Grand Arena for ReVival 1 appears. The return of PRIME. And out of the ether of an over a decade long hiatus, we are welcomed by the one and only Nick Stuart.
Nick Stuart: Ladies and gentlemen…guys, gals, and non-binary pals….WELCOME…TO THE REVIVAL!!!
The plucking strings move to their own beat, and as they continue, we see flashes, short bursting shots of certain members (and former members) of the PRIME roster. Jonathan-Christopher and Vickie Hall walking onto the stage, wrapped into each other’s bodies. Tapioca Puddings emerging from behind the curtain with a look of sheer terror on his face. Miles Lucky, his hands still placed on his head, sliding underneath the bottom rope and slowly getting to his feet. Nova on his way down the ramp, his eyes focused intensely forward. Balaam charging toward the fans, ready to strike one of them down. The Anglo Luchador running down the ramp. Teddy Palmer nodding his head as he makes his way to the ring. Impulse at the top of the ramp, nodding his appreciation for the fans while Calico Rose takes an exaggerated bow.
And then, we see our protagonist and antagonist.
It’s time to tell their story.
The beat begins to ramp up at the first strike of the synth pads, and when it does, the color drains from the screen, a wash of images coming across in an almost subliminal order; Black Angel, Boda, Karina Wolfenden, Killean Sirrajin, Hoyt Williams, Tchu, Clyde Walkings, Nova, Lindsay Troy, Sonny Silver, Cozen, Devin Shakur, Chandler Tsonda, Vangelus Olsig, Castor V, Strife, Hessian. One thing binds all of them together; the PRIME Universal Championship, the one thing displayed in color in all the images, whether across their waists, over their shoulders, or pumped skyward in the grasps. A synthetic drone harmony foursome brings to focus the visage of the legendary Final Fantasy, Seymour Almasy, folding his arms across his chest as he flashes a hallmark grin. A chyron underneath him says ‘In Memory.’
“Breathing in the dark”
We are stirred to the battlefield. The side of Brandon Youngblood’s hand explodes into the tanned Ken Doll chest of Jonathan Christopher-Hall. A quick cut. His arms wrap around JCH’s torso, throwing him into the middle turnbuckle with a brutal German Suplex. Another cut. Hall launches himself toward Brandon for a diving crossbody, only to be caught midair and spiked through the canvas with a shattering spinebuster.
“Lying on its side”
Cancer Jiles stomps on the fingers of a retreating Tapioca Puddings. The attack continues, the COOLYMPIAN repeatedly slamming Tapioca’s head into the turnbuckle. A flash and the COOLYMPIAN YOLJK mist sprays all over the young Puddings face. A jaw shattering superkick, Terminal Cancer, provides the mercy killing.
“The ruins of the day”
Miles Lucky’s head is caught like a vice in a modified front face lock by the Last Diamond. Youngblood stomps on the shoeless foot of Lucky, only bare because his sneaker was the last thing he could use to extend his reach to escape another submission hold. There are no more Happy Pigeon Days after the Tower of Babel drives the top of Miles skull into the canvas with a driving, sickening Karelin Lift.
“Painted with a scar”
Cancer’s forearm slams into the face of Nova, stiffening him, a quick knee following, then a nasty snap suplex that leaves the former Universal Champion stunned. Jiles bounces off the rope, slamming him across the face with a brutal knee. A quick succession of bounces off the ropes is ended with a double bird to The Risen Star. Terminal Cancer strikes again. Even though he doesn’t need to, he grabs the Starchild’s tights. A bounty collected. No matter what comes next, a Universal Championship is in Cancer Jiles’ future.
“And the more I straighten out”
The beast, Balaam, is powering through Jiles, all until the COOLYMPIAN deftly strikes, taking out his injured knee with a chop block. He drives his elbow into the former John Kennedy Royko Jr’s knee, transitioning to a knee crank. The Mephistophelian holds Cancer by the throat, the final count disqualifying him, a sick heap of yellow dripping from the COOLYMPIAN’s mouth. The YOLJK is gone, perhaps permanently. Even still, he manages to have the faintest of smiles.
“The less it wants to try”
The Anglo Luchador has been assaulted by knife-edge chops from Youngblood, having offered a kick to the hamstring in defense, but he crumbles to the canvas from a headbutt. The Diamond pumps his hips, exploding through Anglo with a ring shaking belly to belly suplex. A spinebuster is followed by a deadlift into a Karelin Lift, banishing the Old Luchador for good.
“The feelings start to rot”
Teddy Palmer is trying to hit Jiles with a German suplex, but the ever aware King of Cool throws his leg back, nailing him in the pills with a low blow. A snap suplex is followed by a falcon arrow. A perilous position; Palmer has the COOLYMPIAN dangling on the ring apron, and blind charges, only for Jiles to slingshot back into the ring and hit Terminal Cancer. A mad scramble. A loaded boot. Terminal Cancer again, this time it doesn’t go into remission.
“One wink at a time”
Cally is beside herself, shouting for Impulse to watch out, to do something, slamming her hands into the ring apron as her boyfriend is helplessly ragdolled in hellacious succession with back to back belly to belly suplexes by Youngblood. A savage spinebuster from the Last Diamond, but the Marathon Man survives. And then, the controversial finish, the high angle German suplex, the bridge, the last second roll of the Tower of Babel’s shoulder off the mat. The decision rendered, and ever the good sport, Impulse shakes the victor’s hand. He doesn’t yet know that his future holds.
The contenders have fallen. The Seymour Almasy Invitational. A legacy to be honored. At stake is the richest prize in all of professional wrestling; The Universal Championship. A panoramic view of the glistening championship belt, this amazing trophy, flashes across the screen before the sound of lightning, the Culture Shock logo coming to focus as rainfall begins to bathe the MGM Grand.
The Main Event.
Opposite sides of the ring, staring each other down.
The winner will be the ruler of the new PRIME.
The Last Diamond pounds the COOLYMPIAN with a series of stiff forearms, spinning him around and nailing a release German suplex.
“Forgiving who you are
For what you stand to gain”
The tables turn. Jiles thumbs the larger man in the eye, clubbing him in the back of the head, nailing a side belly to belly suplex all before mounting him and drilling him with punches until he begins to choke him. If that is not enough, the assault ends with Cancer stomping away at the Pariah’s knee.
“Just know that if you hide
It doesn’t go away”
Youngblood with a gutwrench slam. A dragon sleeper. A devastating spinebuster. Nothing is putting away Cancer Jiles on this night.
“When you get out of bed
Don’t end up stranded”
Cancer with a protracted battering of Brandon’s knee. Vicious. Rabid. He strikes with a snap suplex, then a fisherman’s suplex. Terminal Cancer. He’d promised an eGG Shaped Future for PRIME. And now its here…until the Diamond kicks out. At his wits end, he rolls from the ring, grabbing the Universal Championship belt, ready to strike Youngblood down and take what is rightfully his. He winds up for the swing, but a spear wipes him out, launching the title from his grasp.
With each stone”
Youngblood looks at the title, the one that has eluded him his whole career. A near twenty year odyssey. He peels the Universal Championship off the canvas, handing it to Timo Bolamba.
“On the stage”
Rapid fire. The conclusion. The mandate. Each of the three Randallplexes Brandon Youngblood annihilates Cancer Jiles with are shown, every single one landing with an outright hideous brutality. The pinfall following is elementary.
“My little dark age”
The culmination. Brandon Youngblood is finally the Universal Champion. PRIME’s Leading Lady, Lindsay Troy, fastens the belt around his waist, placing her hands on his shoulders, mouthing the words ‘I’m proud of you.’ He soaks in the moment, all before he unclasps the Championship from his waist and pumps it skyward.
“Picking through the cards
Knowing what’s nearby”
An aftermath. Brutal. Bobby Dean and Doozer bracing the eGG Bandit leader to a stand, the finalist, the man so close yet so far away. His eyes are glassed over, his neck lolling on a thread. His legs are languid, practically dragging. But through the pain, through the shock, through it all, the evil bastard has a sinister smile spread across his lips.
“The carvings on the face
Say they find it hard”
Angelica Brooks standing with the Universal Champion backstage. No longer a Pariah. The true Ace of PRIME. The Diamond made good. The title belt is over his shoulder. Everyone is smiling. The road ahead is named the Unfinished Business Tour. Bright days are ahead.
“And the engine’s failed again
All limits of disguise”
A closed door. Doozer and Bobby Dean stand before it. With an eerie suspense, the door begins to creak, bursting open with the pomp and circumstance of an HR Giger chestbuster. A cold fog rolls from the cryochamber. Cancer Jiles is alive, and all the more horrifying, his mouth foams yellow. The YOLJK is back. He has the golden ticket. His revenge is nigh.
“The humor’s not the same
Coming from denial”
Inside the ring, a large table. Bobby Dean in a singlet and with a toy Universal Championship belt. Bobbyblood. Jiles holds court over a sea of PRIMEates. Cracking News. ReVival 8 is the rematch the world is waiting for.
Youngblood powerwalks to the ring, ending this farce.
“I grieve in stereo”
Jiles has no answer as he gets a taste of his own verbal medicine, shrinking away in the moment.
“The stereo sounds strange”
The Champion is on the second rope, title on high, but not for long. No more humiliation. Jiles dances across the table and drives hard for a chop block to Youngblood’s left knee, hitting so hard the man tumbles onto him.
“I know that if you hide”
Wrenching. Stabbing. Booting. The knee is like blood in the water, and Cancer Jiles hasn’t eaten in weeks. His hunger is ravenous. His brutality knows no limits. This isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a public gelding.
“It doesn’t go away
If you get out of bed”
The only salvation is Impulse, charging from the back, making the save.
“And find me standing all alone”
The Marathon Man helps the Diamond up, perching him in the corner. His eyes linger on the Universal Championship belt noticeably.
The damage is done and the message received. Jiles drops the steel chair, sauntering with all the swagger one can have after turning an hated rival’s knee to powder.
“Burn the page”
A hobbled Youngblood in his locker room. There are no shots of Cocaine’s head, but what is shown is the utter disarray of furniture, as well as the Champion’s clothes left in ruin with copious amounts of eggs. Misspelled as it is, the message on the wall painted in horse blood is clear. First Blood.
“My little dark age”
Brandon Youngblood is a wreck, yet still, he seethes, spittle falling from his goatee. His chest heaves in violent pants.
The focus moves to the two men, their words, their statements against each other. Whether in the ring, outside of it, in the hotel, backstage, we see these moments as they happened.
“I grieve in stereo”
Brandon Youngblood: I’ve seen enough of you to know that on that night? That was the best you got.
“The stereo sounds strange”
Cancer Jiles: You got your cake. It was a big piece. Biggest you ever had. You ate it while you could. Good for you.
“You know that if it hides”
Brandon Youngblood: I’m a better wrestler than you. I’m a better man than you.
“It doesn’t go away”
Cancer Jiles: –you look like you’ve had your fill.
“If I get out of bed”
Brandon Youngblood: You’re in the Diamond Age now…and putting you down will be more of a pleasure than an honor.
“You’ll see me standing all alone”
Cancer Jiles: I demand of Champions, and not the other way around.
Brandon Youngblood: Time to put you at the back of the line.
“On the stage”
Cancer Jiles: The only reason I want to be Universal Champion is because I want to take from you, and watch you suffer…I want to reintroduce you to monumental and complete failure. I want the absolute worst for you.
Brandon Youngblood: I’m going to bury you. Hurt you like you hurt me. Make you pay with your blood.
“My little dark age”
A wild flash. Cancer Jiles. Brandon Youngblood. Challenger against Champion. Evil versus Good. Cool versus Diamonds. The faces of the two men are cut in half, against each other, the Universal Championship belt in the center. First Blood. ReVival 8. A bevy of highlights of the two men is interspersed with the black and white image of the two, something you’d hang on your wall like a poster, a fight card to remember. And as the song begins to fade away, we are all left to wonder one crucial thing.
Which one of these two will survive?
UNIVERSAL TITLE: BRANDON YOUNGBLOOD (c) vs. CANCER JILES
Richard Parker: Why is he here? I thought we were done with the rest of the show, and now we get to see Jiles get his ass kicked from here to Kingdom Come?
Nick Stuart: These fans are going crazy at the sight of the number onecontender here in the arena, old buddy!
Richard Parker: I notice you didn’t answer my question!
With less swagger than usual,Impulse and Calico Rose enter the arena to a cacophony of cheers, hand in hand and deferentially appreciative of the response. As Impulse is not about to enter the ring for a match of his own he does seem decidedly more relaxed than his usual energy – laden swagger. Likewise, Cally appears less outgoing towards the fans and more subdued. She still wears her ‘ANGELO AND BESTIE FOR ALL THE INTENSITY 2022’ top, but has left her sign backstage.
Nick Stuart: To be more to your point, Richard, who’s more invested in the PRIME Universal Champion than the number one contender? Impulse, good to see you. Cally, lovely as always.
There is a bit of rustling as two more headsets are donned and the music fades.
Impulse: Good to be here with you, gentlemen.
Nick Stuart: Obviously you have a vested interest in whomever leaves with the Championship tonight, do you have a preference for whom you’ll face?
Impulse: I don’t think that really needs elaboration, does it?
Richard Parker: The entire company has come together under an Anti-Cancer banner, you don’t have to say anything.
A horse mightily neighs.
A voice then plays.
“Run for it, Charlie! Run straight home, and don’t stop ‘til you get there!”
Then, as if it weren’t clear enough, the vibrant opening guitar riff of “I am the COOL” erupts through the MGM Grand. It is loud, but not loud enough.
COOL, calm, and collected, Jiles, alone, emerges from the back on his own two feet. He stops at the top of the ramp and takes in the “adoring” audience from behind the comfort of his T-shades.
Richard Parker: BLEED!!!!
Sly, like a snake, the COOLYMPIAN crouches down into a pounce position, cocks his head upward, and releases a violent burst of his venomous YOLJK high into the air.
Nick Stuart: Guess he’s healthy.
Richard Parker: Guess it won’t matter. NOW BLEED!!!!!!!!!!!
With mist dripping down his chin like his mouth were a leaky faucet, the challenger slowly starts to make his way down to the ring. His wrists are taped. His boots are laced. His hair shines like the sun.
Impulse: This is going to sound crazy, but part of me wants him to win so I can be the one to step on his sunglasses. Is that wrong?
Richard Parker: Blasphemer.
Impulse: PART of me.
Upon reaching ringside the Philly native slithers under the bottom rope, waves a swell hello to the unimpressed announce team, and then shares his thoughts about what constitutes “blood” with senior referee Timo Bolamba.
Nick Stuart: There’s a palpable sense of dread here tonight. A cornered animal is dangerous, and with what is on the line, with what he’s done, perhaps Cancer Jiles…yes…Cancer Jiles…has the advantage. A loss for him here, and even after making the Finals of the Almasy Invitational, after coming in as a prized signing given his credentials from places like High Octane Wrestling…he suddenly becomes an odd man out. There isn’t another bounty. No second Golden Ticket. This is it.
Richard Parker: And for all our damn sakes, no path forward.
Nick Stuart: The PRIME Universal Championship is one of the hardest championships to win in the history of professional wrestling. To earn a shot, to earn the right to fight for it…that is a battle in and of itself. But to win it? The lineage, the history of the Universal Championship is filled with those who had momentum on their side, who looked unbeatable, unstoppable, only to fall.
Impulse: I’m not going to lie, that’s true. But it’s also a Championship where, on any night, the challenger can do what most think is unthinkable. I was in the crowd at Ultra Violence 2005, when Karina Wolfenden lost the Universal Title to Killean Sirrajin. Everyone thought the K-Wolf was unbeatable. Yet, when that night was over, Karina, her championship, her record tying ten match winning streak…all of that was gone.
Richard Parker: And then there’s the upset of the century. Tchu fought and annihilated a slew of Hall of Famers in 2006 to win the Universal Championship from Hoyt Williams…and by Hoyt…not three weeks after everyone was screaming Inhuman Being Era, he lost to Clyde freaking Walkins!
Impulse: Is it an upset when the man wins the rematches? Because Walkins did that.
Nick Stuart: The historical ramifications of tonight, the tea leaves…nobody knows what’s about to happen. And for some, that’s scary. Either the Diamond Era is truly here, or PRIME becomes the proving ground of the eGG Bandits.
The challenger is out, confident, the Cool of Cancer Jiles oozing with the force of a man-made disaster. The fans are booing heavily as he stands center stage, utterly unaffected by the cries of the PRIMEates. They’re waiting, baying for blood, growing ever impatient.
The heavy percussion powers in a rapid four, a metallic reverberation in two quickly following. An unmistakable sound hallmarking perhaps the first true seminal action film; <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKUQJ5aRUmQ” target=”_blank”>Trust Me by Brad Fiedel.</a> The drums of the coming war. The PRIMEView transitions quickly away from the arena, to the backstage, the camera on a door with a simple tag that causes the rain of boos to instantly change to primal roar.
Richard Parker: Okay. Things just got real in a hurry here.
The door explodes open, nearly coming off its hinges with the raw power used to push it open. Out steps the Universal Champion Brandon Youngblood, the belt slung over his shoulder. He powerwalks, a slight, barely noticeable limp in his stride, his expression focused, intense, and for many, harrowing. The only noticeable difference in his attire on this night is a large, bulky knee brace strapped over his left knee, needed thanks to the humiliation of Cancer Jiles.
Impulse: I think this has to be worrying if you’re Jiles. You’d think Brandon would be in a lot worse shape. He was only cleared for this match earlier this week. But the Champion isn’t showing as much wear as I thought he would coming into tonight after what happened at ReVival 7.
Richard Parker: And if that’s the case, then the fact that this is a fight and not a match isn’t in Jiles favor.
Impulse: As much as I believe in Brandon, he’s still not one hundred percent.
Nick Stuart: First Blood. The ultimate variable.
He moves, undaunted, through the locker room hallway. Nobody filled those halls, not now, not with what was about to come. The intensity of Youngblood is legendary. If it was even possible, tonight marked a focus never before seen from the Tower of Babel. He’d already defeated Jiles once, had beaten everyone in his path to win the Almasy Invitational and claim his rightful place as the Ace of PRIME. The Last Diamond. This, though, is personal. The hallway transitions from locker room doors to the backstage, to the metal supports and the black drapery making up the lead to the entrance ramp. The cameraman has followed Brandon religiously since he started his advance, the champion never wavering, never looking away from his own path. And as he neared the steps leading to the Argyle Position, the camera stops, now shooting his back as he ascends and turns, his hand throwing back the curtain. He disappears, the cameraman lingering, the soundtrack having reached its final beats. The fans are ready. And as the show goes back to the arena, we can see the fever pitch is about to reach another level in a few short moments.
All debts between them will be collected tonight.
There will be no doubt.
BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD
SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE
LET THE GALAXY BURN
A wall of dominant noise surges through the arena, an absolutely raucous ovation turning the MGM Grand Arena into the modern day colosseum. And as <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiXA5TMHRTc” target=”_blank”>Bloodsport (World Domination) by HEALTH</a> thunders, their Maximus arrives.
Nick Stuart: Oh my! This ovation!
Richard Parker: It’s time! Blood for the Blood God! Put this asshole’s skull on your throne! Let’s get through this egg shaped nightmare and get on with our lives!
Nick Stuart: This is what Cancer Jiles is up against. The PRIME Universal Champion. The man who Randallplexed him three consecutive times beat him without controversy. But it’s more than that. Jiles faces a true tower of Babel moment here; the last time Brandon Youngblood lost a singles contest in professional wrestling on a non-Pay-Per-View event? August of 2007.
Impulse: Danny Ferguson.
Richard Parker: Whoa. How’d he–
Impulse: Leave no stone unturned when trying to learn your opponent. Brandon wants five more minutes? I’m going to make them everything he wants and more.
If looks could kill, Cancer Jiles would have died untold millions of times under the glower of the Tower of Babel. The COOLYMPIAN, under his T-Shades, stares back, an oddly macabre smirk painting the corners of his lips. Youngblood’s march, while marked with a slight hobble, is purposeful.
There is no walking along the ringside area, no slowdown to take in the scene of his first, and possibly last, Universal Championship defense. Instead, he stomps his way up the steps and into the ring, and taking one pace forward, forcefully throws the Championship into the chest of Head Official Timo Bolamba. The pitch causes the Samoan Silencer to backpedal, a look of concern crossing his painted face. Youngblood makes no acknowledgement. He just stares toward Jiles, through him, waiting for the bell.
Nick Stuart: I tell you, you can watch those entrances all you want, you can be on the edge of your seat for the entirety of the match to see who ends up walking out as PRIME Universal Champion, but right now? The excitement of seeing these two facing off again, the anticipation of what’s about to happen? This is why I’m firstly a fan of the sport.
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, it is now time for your MAIN EVENT, and it is for the PRIME. UNIVERSAL. CHAMPIONSHIP!
Huge pop from the seats, neither of the competitors look the slightest bit distracted by it.
Vince Howard: And this is a FIRST BLOOD MATCH!
Impulse: There’s such a different headspaces you need to be in when you can lose a match without being pinned or forced to submit, you need an entirely different strategy.
Vince Howard: Introducing first, is the challenger!
Boos cascade through the crowd at the very hint of the challengers name. Jiles shoots a few of the bolder ones a look from behind his shades, the hint of a smile on his lips. Clearly, he has a plan.
Vince Howard: Representing the EGG BANDITS… From Phildadelphia, PA and weighing in at two hundred eighteen pounds… COO—
The announcement suddenly gets cut off as Jiles pulls the microphone away from Vince and shouts something incomprehensible at him. Vince stares for a moment, before shrugging with the slightest eye roll.
Vince Howard: Weighing in at two hundred and eighteen pounds, pending an additional twenty, he is the GOD of MOUNT COOLYMPUS, and the Champion of the Almasy Invitational Lisieux bracket… COOL! CANCER! JIIIIIIIIILES!
Nick Stuart: You can hear the disdain for Cancer Jiles in these fans reactions!
Richard Parker: You can heard the disdain for Cancer Jiles in the midst of a memorial service for a two hundred year old nun, this isn’t new.
Impulse: They can hate him all they want, but he’s in the spot he’s in for a reason and if you let your feelings for Jiles personally cloud your preparation in the ring, he’s got you dead to rights. And he’s proven that again and again.
Vince Howard: AND HIS OPPONENT…
That’s all it takes, a “BRAN-DON-YOUNG-BLOOD” chant breaks out in the arena.
Vince Howard: From Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and weighing in at two hundred eighty pounds… THE LA—
Now the Champ cuts Vince off, though somewhat less obnoxiously.
Vince Howard: Hem. Weighing in at two hundred eighty pounds because his championship title does not weigh him down, the three time former 5-Star Champion, the winner of the 2009 Jewel in the Crown and PRIME… HALL… OF… FAMER… the Champion of the ENTIRE Almasy Invitational Tournament…
Richard Parker: Suck it, Jiles!
Vince Howard: THE REIGNING PRIME UNIVERSAL CHAMPION… THE LAST DIAMOND… BRANDON YOUNGBLOOOOOD!
Nick Stuart: It’s night and day looking at fan reaction to the challenger and the champion!
Richard Parker: Would you want to be the one walking into the arena with a sign that says ‘I’m A Fan Of Cancer’?
Vince Howard: At this time, it is my pleasure to introduce the official for this match, head referee and PRIME legend, Timo Bolamba!
The two shake hands as Vince hands him the microphone.
Timo Bolamba: Gentlemen… this is a First Blood match for the Universal Championship. There will be no DQ and no countouts. I will not be calling for any rope breaks or giving any warnings for use of foreign objects or however long you may be out of the ring. My only role will be calling for the bell when there is sufficient blood.
Impulse: First blood matches are the bane of the mat wrestler, they force you to throw out everything you know about the art of it for full on brute force.
Timo Bolamba: I will not be calling the bell on a small scratch that might draw blood, or a tiny cut over the eye, or a minor bloody nose. You don’t get to leave here as Universal Champion unless I see blood dripping. Do you both understand?
Nick Stuart: They both nod assent, and it doesn’t get much more serious than this!
Richard Parker: Even if I seriously want to see Jiles’ teeth punched down his throat. Would that count as dripping blood?
Timo holds the Championship Title belt up in the air and the bell sounds off, signifying the start of the match! Jiles immediately fakes for Youngblood’s delicately wrapped knee, nearly causing the Champion to lose his balance as he adjusts his weight to compensate.
Nick Stuart: Youngblood may have been medically cleared, but he’s still favoring that knee!
Youngblood glares daggers at Jiles, who moves around the ring, light on his feet, making a very obvious point.
Boos. Clearly. Jiles stops his fancy footwork and holds his hand up, which is just out of the ordinary enough to stop the Champion in his tracks.
RichardParker: There’s no time outs here, what does he think he’s doing? Andwhy is Youngblood humoring him?
With an over-exaggerated flourish, Jiles turns his back to the Champion and slowly removes his sunglasses.
Nick Stuart: YOUNGBLOOD HOOKS HIM FROM BEHIND! GERMAN SUPLEX!
Richard Parker: That arrogance might throw off any other opponent but all he did was make the Champion mad!
Impulse: He’s playing it all wrong. Jiles’ speed is his biggest advantage and he hasn’t pressed it yet.
Youngblood holds on and hits Jiles with another German suplex, and pulls him around again, but this time instead of lifting and dropping him on his neck and shoulders, the Champ adjusts his grip and sends Jiles down with a Randallplex!
Impulse: Any other match and it’d be over right here. These are the risks you take when you take on an undorthodox match.
Timo backs Youngblood off and checks Jiles face and back of his head, but there’s no blood to be seen and he steps away.
Richard Parker: Oh, the ultimate insult, Youngblood pulls Jiles up with two hands full of hair.
Standing behind his challenger with the formerly-perfectly-coiffed hair in his hands, Youngblood sends Jiles face first into the top turnbuckle! And again! He lifts even higher, aiming for the ringpost! Jiles gets his hands up at the last minute to shield his face, and he rolls out of the ring on wobbly legs!
Richard Parker: Still not busted open. You’re taking too long!
Nick Stuart: It’s been all Brandon Youngblood so far in this one and he’s following Jiles out of the ring!
A forearm to the back staggers the challenger, and Youngblood shoves him even harder from behind, sending his opponent ribs first into the guardrail. Youngblood grabs his foot and pulls him off the railing – once again face planting him on the floor!
Richard Parker: Still no blood from Jiles? What is he, a replicant?
Impulse: Champ trying to end this one early, which is a good idea. As much as we rag on Jiles, he’s a dangerous opponent, especially when all he’s gotta do is make you bleed.
Forearm to the back of the head! Youngblood flips Jiles over and crouches over him, firing forearms and elbows into his face and chest! Timo gets right next to them, checking for blood, as Jiles tries his best to cover up. It’s a stalemate, however, as every time Brandon’s hands are free Jiles is able to cover up, and every time the Champ pulls his hands down his blows are less damaging.
Nick Stuart: This is weeks of frustration coming out right now.
“FUCK ‘EM UP BRANDON FUCK ‘EM UP” shout the fans.
Like a mouse caught in a trap, Jiles attempts to squirm away as best he can from underneath Youngblood’s massive frame, but the Universal Champion catches him mid shimmy and hoists him up in the air with an incredible military press. HE DROPS JILES ON THE RING STEPS! Timo is in position, but he waves his hands no!
Nick Stuart: I don’t believe it!
Youngblood argues for a half second with Timo, but this isn’t like a fast count, it’s a black and red issue and the fact remains, there isn’t any blood. A split-screen replay shows Jiles scrambling even as he falls to protect himself as best he can – he took the impact right in the ribs and while there are several ugly looking welts and blisters, there’s nothing that would cause Timo to call for the bell.
Nick Stuart: Youngblood not wasting any time, he’s got a chair in hand!
Richard Parker: Hey Superboy, what do you think of this as a pro wrestling tactic?
Impulse: It’s the risks you take in a no hold barred match. I wouldn’t want to be there, but you do what you have to.
Timo stands back, ignoring his referee instincts due to the match type, and Brandon Youngblood raises the chair to drive it into the back of Cancer Jiles’ head and sandwich it with a literal hard place—Jiles shoves the ring steps forward into Youngblood’s shin!
Nick Stuart: That was right to the right shin! Youngblood staggers back into the ring apron!
Impulse: The boot should offer some protection for the shin but most of his weight was probably on his right foot, favoring that left knee.
While the shot to the shin seems to have been no worse than a ‘Now walk it off’ to Youngblood, the breathing room left to Jiles seems to be everything he needs. Even as the Last Diamond recovers his footing and reaches back for his chair, Jiles hoists the top half of the ring steps and crashes them down between Youngblood’s shoulder blades! He hits the floor on top of the chair and Jiles swings the steps hard!
Impulse: Just like that, the momentum can swing.
Richard Parker: So can a weapon. Youngblood needs to stop with the blunt and go for a blade.
Taking opportunity to scramble away and breathe a little easier, Jiles first moves to another side of the ring before grabbing a chair of his own and sliding back between the ropes. Armed with the high ground, he sets himself up defensively for several seconds, until he sees Youngblood’s head appear from beneath the apron again as he pulls himself to his feet.
Nick Stuart: JILES SWINGS! HE CONNECTS! OH MY GOODNESS!
Richard Parker: Please no, please no, please no, and please no!
Impulse: It looks like he caught the champion in the face with the edge of the chair, if this isn’t over with the blood it might be over with Youngblood unable to continue.
Cally: Can they… do that?
Nick Stuart: I think Timo Bolamba will have to exercise extreme discretion here, but if he calls the match due to a bloodless injury I think he’ll have a very angry Tower of Babel in his rear view!
The camera closes in on Brandon Youngblood, attended to by the referee. He looks up at Timo and he is clearly not bleeding – but an audible gasp escapes the crowd as we see his right eye is swollen completely shut from a still – swelling mass on his face! The conversation is inaudible, but the response from Youngblood – “FUCK YOU” – is obvious.
Richard Parker: Can he even see out of that side?
Youngblood rises to his unsteady feet and looks towards the ring, and he locks eye with Cancer Jiles. Immediately, the look of apprehension on the challenger’s face melts away and the far-too-familiar confidence returns. He coughs twice, still catching his breath from the barrage on his chest and lungs, but remains vertical.
Nick Stuart: Forget about the knee, that bruise is a massive target!
Impulse: You’re not wrong, Nick. Worst case scenario Jiles can take out the knee to knock out Youngblood’s mobility, and he’s ripe for the picking.
Jiles off the ropes, and a baseball slide to Youngblood’s face! Youngblood turns his head at the last moment to protect his vulnerability, and he sprawls out on the floor! Cancer nonchalantly picks up his chair and steps through the ropes, and drops down with a heel right into the back of Youngblood’s left knee!
Impulse: There you go. He’s got that knee well protected with the brace but you don’t wear one of those unless you need it. Everything that hits it is going to have the volume turned way up.
Nick Stuart: Chair to the back of the head! The steel bends but there’s no blood!
Richard Parker: He’s already bleeding, partner, it’s just not gushing yet! Just a matter of time, pending a miracle! Is it too late for a Hail Mary?
Surprisingly, the Champ is still trying to rise. Jiles circles him, gesturing at Youngblood to hurry up! The fans’ volume raises at his audacity, and the boos begin to fly even harder (if you can believe it) when Jiles backhands him in the face! Youngblood storms to his feet, clearly running on adrenalin, and he takes a swing that gets cut off by a boot to the knee and a dragon screw!
Nick Stuart: Jiles is toying with the Last Diamond! He’s fully in control right now, but he’d better get on the ball and bust Youngblood open quickly while he has the chance!
Richard Parker: Don’t give him ideas!
Jiles stops and does a 360, looking at the fans booing him and dodging the bit of trash that’s started to be tossed. He raises his hands in victory, not flinching as a handful of cups and papers bounce off his chest.
Richard Parker: Why is he coming this way? He’s not welcome here!
Showing complete disrespect for his opponent, Jiles walks at his own pace to the commentary table, but he also shows a level of intelligence by staying out of reach.
He points at the timekeeper’s table.
Cancer Jiles: I’m about to take the Universal Championship.
And he points at Impulse.
Cancer Jiles: Then I’ll take you out at Great American Nightmare.
Finally, he points at Cally.
Cancer Jiles: Then, if you’re lucky, I’ll take you to the alley behind the arena for the best night of your life.
Nick Stuart: Now wait a—
Impulse stands up, and locks eyes with the challenger. The Marathon Man looks deadly serious, until his eyes shift to the left and a smirk forms on his face! Jiles looks a second too late as a knee brace bounces off the side of his head!
Richard Parker: THAT’S WHAT YOU GET!
It was still an adrenalin – fueled blind rush as Youngblood lands on his hands and knees, but he looks up and lets loose a primal scream that the fans respond to with a massive pop. Climbing to his feet, he takes several careful – but solid – steps towards Jiles and scoops him up!
Nick Stuart: Youngblood playing a bit of possum with his knee, I have no doubt it’s still tender but he looks like he’s walking pretty well on it!
Impulse: Oh yeah. If you’ve got an injury that can be exploited, your opponent has the advantage. But if your opponent thinks you have an injury and you’re calling attention to it, you can turn it around on them.
Youngblood doesn’t bother with anything fancy, he hoists Jiles above his head and drops him on the announce table, his head, ribs, and hip cracking against the monitors! The Champion steps back a few to rest against the ring apron while Jiles writhes in agony. Timo is on the scene to check both men but Jiles is black and blue with no red anywhere, and Youngblood still has vision out of one eye.
Nick Stuart: Care to take a free shot?
Impulse: He wins, I’ll save it for Great American Nightmare. He loses, he’s not my concern.
Cally: He’s gross.
Jiles rolls to the floor, hand pressed to his side. He manages to get his knees underneath his body, but before he can rise up under his own power, Youngblood pulls him up and whips him into the apron! Jiles holds on to the bottom rope to stay on his feet, only to eat a series of elbows to the head and face!
Nick Stuart: The Champion is in control again, but both of these men are battered and bruised, and it’s still anyone’s fight!
Impulse: Honestly I think Jiles might still have the advantage. One good shot at Brandon’s eye could be the end of the match.
Youngblood sends Jiles back into the ring, but takes a second for himself to steady his steps. The pain in his legs may have been exaggerated to sucker Jiles, but it’s still real and it’s still a distraction, which means he does the only thing he can.
He ignores it, and climbs back between the ropes.
Nick Stuart: Huge discoloration on Jiles’ rib cage, it’s gotta hurt to even take a breath!
Richard Parker: One can only hope.
Youngblood hooks Jiles from behind around the neck, and he locks in a blatant chokehold with Jiles’ right arm trapped as well! There’s no submission so Timo does not ask Jiles how he’s doing, but there’s also no disqualification so there’s no need or incentive for the Champion to hide it or camouflage it. He’s holding the pressure right on Jiles’ jugular, but the wily challenger is doing his best to keep himself from getting fully locked in!
HOOK AROUND THE BACK OF THE HEAD! MODIFIED JAWBREAKER FROM JILES! Youngblood lets go and staggers backwards, holding his jaw, while Jiles holds his ribs after impacting with the mat.
Nick Stuart: They’ve both been battered and beaten, but neither man is bleeding!
Impulse: Neither of them have been able to maintain control for very long. It might be time to abandon the first blood tactics and go for a traditional victory. If one of them can get the other down for the equivalent of a three count, that should be enough time to get first blood.
Jiles with a kick to the midsection! He whips Youngblood into the ropes! The Champion ducks a clothesline attempt – COOLYMPIAN YOLJK!
Impulse: Like that. He’s just taken away the Champ’s other eye!
Richard Parker: That damned yellow mist! Jiles hits Terminal Cancer and he’ll pop that blister and possibly pop the Champion’s eye!
Clearly, Terminal Cancer is on Jiles’ mind as he sets himself to be ready as soon as Youngblood is in position, but Timo Bolamba pulls him away and starts to point at his face. Arguments ensure, while Timo continues to gesture to Jiles’ mouth while Jiles pushes his hands away!
Nick Stuart: I’m not sure what the argument is here, but Jiles is livid at Timo—wait! Wait! He’s shouting at the head referee, and Jiles is hot! Wait a second, what’s that?
Impulse: Jiles just coughed red into his hands!
A split screen slow motion replay shows that the Coolympian Yoljk was actually orange, not its traditional yellow. In real time, Jiles continues to cough, splattering bright red on Timo’s shirt and onto the mat.
Nick Stuart: TIMO CALLS FOR THE BELL! LISTEN TO THESE FANS!
To a massive roar of approval, Timo raises Brandon Youngblood’s hand in victory even as the Champion tries to fight him off, still blinded by the mist! Jiles hits the top rope hard with both fists while another split screen shows Jiles landing ribs first on the stairs, on the guardrail, on the announce table – and the camera catches a close up of the bruising on Jiles’ chest and abdomen.
Vince Howard: Here is your winner… AND STILL—
Nick Stuart: CANCER JILES WITH TERMINAL CANCER! BRANDON YOUNGBLOOD IS BUSTED WIDE OPEN! He’s on top of the champion firing fists into his face!
Timo pulls Jiles off the still blinded Champion, but Jiles spins around with a kick to the groin and a DDT, putting the referee to the mat!
Richard Parker: Here comes the Enemigos… one, three, four… Somewhere in the back a clown car is missing a cab fare.
Keeping the advantage of the high ground, Jiles defends his position in the ring against multiple security forces, dropping all of them from the outside of the ropes before they can get inside. He continues to return to the Universal Champion, kicking him either in the head or the abdomen, despite Youngblood’s continued efforts to pull himself to his feet.
Nick Stuart: Brandon Youngblood has retained his Universal Championship, but at what a price? Jiles is still having his way with a prone Champion!
Impulse: Not on my watch.
The rustle of a headset dropping on the table fills the audio as Impulse springs to his feet and slides under the bottom rope while Jiles is still focused on Youngblood. The roar of the crowd tells him something’s happening and he turns, firing a fist towards the number one contender! Impulse blocks him and continues to play defense until the two men are in the corner and they lock up, both vying for control!
Nick Stuart: Dametreyus and Wade Elliott are at ringside to try and regain some control, and Timo is getting himself back to his feet – Impulse has grappled Jiles to a standstill – BELLY TO BACK SUPLEX BY BRANDON YOUNGBLOOD!
Finally getting a moment’s respite to catch his breath, the Universal Champion has cleared his vision and sees his current and future opponent grappling in the corner. Seeing nothing but red, the Last Diamond grabs for Cancer Jiles and dead lifts him over his head, dropping him on the back of his head and neck halfway across the ring. Jiles does the math and rolls under the bottom rope, holding the back of his head with blood dripping from the corner of his mouth.
Nick Stuart: Finally, Timo hands the Champion his title belt and raises his hand properly, but Cancer Jiles is hot!
Cally: Under different rules, who knows? But Brandon just beat Cancer! That’s some cause to celebrate!
Nick Stuart: We’re just about out of time, for Richard Parker and the rest of the PRIME Wrestling family, good night!
Close up in the ring of Impulse, still tensed but holding steady, watching Jiles backwards walk down the aisle. Behind him, Brandon Youngblood holds onto his title belt, burning a hole in the back of his next challenger’s head with a mixture of appreciation and suspicion. His guard does not drop.