The screen fades in from black to a wild and rowdy crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Signs are a-plenty, the PRIMEates are cheering and ready for action, and the camera zips over to two familiar faces sitting at the commentation station at ringside.
Nick Stuart: Ladies and gentlemen…guys, gals, and non-binary pals….WELCOME…TO THE REVIVAL!!! I am Nick Stuart and it is my ESTEEMED HONOR to be back with you here tonight as PRIME returns to professional wrestling. Alongside me, as always…love him or hate him…is Richard Parker, and Richard, I’ve gotta say…it’s good to see you, buddy.
Richard Parker: Well, Nick, I’d say it’s good to see you too, but…
He pauses, takes a drink of his water, and contemplates his next words carefully.
Nick Stuart: It’s OK to say it’s good to see me too, Rich. I know you’ve missed me.
Richard Parker: Have I, though?
Nick pats Richard on the shoulder, smiles, and presses on.
Nick Stuart: We are kicking off the Almasy Invitational tonight with the Tony Rolo Bracket. As many of you know, we unexpectedly lost one of our own, Seymour Almasy, in 2018, and this tournament is named in his honor. The prize at the end of it? The Universal Championship. We have eight exciting matchups tonight and we don’t want to keep you waiting any longer. Let’s get right to it!
3 Cecilia Ryan vs. 14 Hayes Hanlon
“Legacy” by Daphne Willis begins playing as second generation wrestler Cecilia Ryan saunters out onto the stage. If the daughter of Dan Ryan and niece of Lindsay Troy looks at all nervous or phased by 10,000+ cheering fans in front of her, she’s not giving that impression at all. Calm, cool, and collected, she makes her way down the ramp to the ring.
Vince Howard: Folks, welcome to the opening contest of ReVival One and the very first match of the Almasy Invitational! Introducing first, from Houston, Texas and fighting out of Tampa, Florida…standing at six feet even and weighing in at 185 pounds….she is Cecilia Ryan!
Nick Stuart: We’re getting our first look ever at both Cecilia Ryan and her opponent Hayes Hanlon tonight, Richard. Cecilia has been trained by both PRIME President and CEO Lindsay Troy and her father, the Ego Buster Dan Ryan. Proficient in strikes and submissions, and known for her ruthlessness, she’s going to be quite the talent here in PRIME.
Richard Parker: Well, with who her family is, is that really any surprise, Nick?
Nick Stuart: Hayes Hanlon is also an incredible prospect as well, coming to us from the Pacific Northwest. I heard that Sonny Silver put a bug in Troy’s ear about him and as soon as she saw the tapes, she did what she could to get him signed.
Richard Parker: Wait….Sonny and Lindsay are friends now?!
Nick Stuart: Apparently. We live in strange times, my friend.
Richard Parker: You’ve got that right.
“Black Hole” by We Came as Romans blasts through the speakers as Hayes Hanlon walks out to the edge of the ramp, soaking in the spectacle of his music and the cheers of the crowd
Vince Howard: And her opponent…from West Linn, Oregon, standing six feet, three inches tall and weighing in at 261 pounds…”Event Horizon” Hayes…HANLON!
Hayes immediately starts a quick and steady march down the ramp. He slides into the ring and moves toward the far turnbuckle, stepping onto the first ropes and turning to face the center of the ring, allowing the PRIMEates a quick photo op, before looking over at his opponent.
Cecilia Ryan…is not impressed.
Junior referee gives both rookies a glance and motions for the bell.
Nick Stuart: And we are UNDERWAY with our first match of the Almasy Invitational!
Richard Parker: And Hayes Hanlon might be calling a dentist in the morning!
Right out of the gate, Cecilia Ryan darts out of the corner with a jumping knee strike, catching the Event Horizon unawares. The West Lynn native has 75 pounds on the woman fighting out of Tampa, Florida, and Cecilia knows she’s going to have to use every bit of her striking know-how to her advantage. Hanlon slumps against the corner, rocked but not knocked out, and Cecilia starts in on some low- and mid-Muay Thai kicks to work him over.
Nick Stuart: An impressive start from the young Cecilia Ryan who, if the last name is any indication, is looking to be just as ruthless in the ring as her father is.
Richard Parker: I heard some people were pissed we didn’t sign Murder Daddy but I don’t know what they’re complaining about…Murder Daughter is taking Pine Tree Boy to school right now.
Cecilia tries to shoot Hayes across the ring but Hanlon reverses and sends Cecilia into the opposite corner…no! She runs up the turnbuckles, wobbles slightly at the top but steadies herself and leaps backwards up and over the incoming Hayes. She doesn’t quite stick the landing, which allows Hayes to pivot and rock her with a lariat! Cecilia hits the mat and Hayes is quick to capitalize, landing a standing leg drop and going for a cover!
Kickout by Cecilia Ryan!
Nick Stuart: A slight miscalculation by Cecilia there and Hayes is able to get momentum in his favor. He’ll have to start thinking about how to use his strength advantage if he wants to advance in the tournament.
Richard Parker: You know what I missed most about you in the ten years we’ve been off television, Nick?
Nick Stuart: My wife’s Sunday dinner and cigars on my back porch?
Richard Parker: No. Well, yes. But also, the way you always state the obvious.
Nick Stuart: Gee, thanks bud.
Hayes has Cecilia up off the mat and Irish whips her against the ropes. On the rebound, he catches her with a back elbow, then wraps his arms around her and lifts her with ease before bringing her right back down to the canvas with a BIG bridging German suplex! Another pin attempt!
And another kickout!
Hayes doesn’t look too deterred; instead he opts to take his chances in the air. He scales the nearest turnbuckle, gets his footing at the top, and holds his hands out to steady himself.
Nick Stuart: What’s he thinking here?
Richard Parker: High risk, high reward? Crash and burn? We’re in Vegas, Nick, 50/50 odds, whatcha got?
Cell phone cameras flash all around Hayes, which seems to give him a big boost of confidence. He leaps from the top rope, looking for an elbow splash!
Nick Stuart: Nobody home!
Richard Parker: Dummy.
Nick Stuart: Oh, look out!
Cecilia Ryan immediately ensnares Hayes’ arm and locks in an arm bar, a look of calmness crossing her face as she wrenches the hold in. Hayes howls in pain as Cecilia grins, just a little.
Richard Parker: The kid’s in trouble, Nick! He took a chance and now he might be down an appendage for his troubles!
Nick Stuart: Cecilia’s got that submission on tight, Richard, I don’t know how much longer Hayes can hold out.
It’s true; the Event Horizon is in a world of hurt. Jimmy Turnbull is asking him if he wants to submit and Hayes refuses to give in! The fans are cheering, willing him to break the hold somehow, which only emboldens Cecilia to apply juuuuuust a little more pressure.
But through the pain, Hayes notices the ropes.
He’s not that far away….
He starts scootching his legs closer to the bottom rope, hoping he can get a toe across them, or across the plane of the apron.
Nick Stuart: Hayes is getting close to the ropes! Just a bit more kid!
Richard Parker: Come on Cecilia, bend that arm like Beckham!
Nick Stuart: Richard, really?
Richard Parker: What!? Anything to win, Stuart! And that movie’s severely underrated, I’ll have you know.
Hayes just barely grazes his boot across the bottom cable and Jimmy Turnbull calls for Cecilia to break the hold. When she doesn’t right away, he starts his five count, which elicits some BOOOOOOOOOOOs from the PRIMEates. The Murder Daughter breaks at four and a half and calmly gets to her feet…
…then punts Hayes in the head!
Nick Stuart: Oh come on! That wasn’t necessary!
Richard Parker: What did I just say, Nick? Anything. To. Win! She’s not playing around and I don’t blame her!
Now Hayes has a hurt arm and a headache! Jimmy Turnbull bends down to check on Hayes while Cecilia just smirks at the vitriol that’s thrown her way. She bends down to bring Hanlon to his feet and is ROCKED by a forearm shot with Hayes’ good arm!
Nick Stuart: Hayes is trying to get back into this!
Richard Parker: Cecilia isn’t going to take that from him though!
With as much force as she can muster, Cecilia drives her forehead toward Hayes and connects with a vicious headbutt! Hanlon’s seeing stars and that gives Ryan the opportunity she needs. She darts off the ropes, building up speed, and sprints back, looking for her aunt’s (and, for those old school PRIMEates, her ex-uncle Tyler Rayne’s) patented flying double knee strike…
…but Hayes catches her with a HUUUUUUGE powerslam!
Nick Stuart: Hayes Hanlon drove Cecilia Ryan into the canvas with that powerslam! He’s fired up now!
Hayes jumps to his feet, throwing both arms out to the side and ignoring the pain from Cecilia’s earlier arm bar; he’s running on adrenaline now. He yanks Cecilia off the canvas, whips her against the ropes, and on the return he catches her by the throat and tosses her up into the air!
Nick Stuart: Cecilia’s going for a ride!
Richard Parker: No no, not like this! Kick him in the head, Cecilia!
But it’s all for naught, as Hayes drives her back down with a powerful sit-out choke bomb called The Epoch! He covers!
DING DING DING
“Black Hole” by We Came As Romans cues up again as Hayes Hanlon collapses on his back on the mat.
Vince Howard: The winner of this match….HAYES HANLON!
Nick Stuart: What an opening contest! What a start to the Almasy Invitational! Both of these rookies are going to have bright futures here but on this night, Hayes Hanlon was just a little bit better.
Richard Parker: Highway robbery! Absolute travesty! This is an awful way to start this tournament!
Nick Stuart: You’ve gotta admit, Richard…both Hayes and Cecilia are incredible talents.
Richard Parker: I will admit no such thing…about Hayes Hanlon. He is a showboat and he has a stupid haircut.
Nick Stuart: Okay well, while Richard yells at the kids to get off his lawn, let’s take it backstage!
Get The Blood Pumping
After the opening bout of the new era of PRIME, the camera feed cuts to the back, the new faces making way for one of its most accomplished and feared from its past.
Sitting in a chair, his shaved head is bowed. In his early forties, it is hard to tell given his physical credentials; he looks to be in absolutely phenomenal shape, all taut and chiseled muscle. He slowly draws his head upward, a stern look peering through the lens as we see the sweat on his forehead, watch as it drips in beads from his nostrils.
Brandon Youngblood: Jonathan-Christopher Hall. The last time I was near a PRIME ring, I was inducted into its Hall of Fame. All for a career that started before you were even ten. I want you to think about that…
He folds his arms across his massive chest, taking in a few breaths.
Brandon Youngblood: Before your voice dropped, I held 5 Star Championships here. Became a pillar and a pariah. You walk around these halls, and you’ll see faces on faces on faces that I’ve fought, that I’ve beaten, that I’ve conquered. The best. Rising stars. And here we are…
A faint smirk crosses his face.
Brandon Youngblood: Your wife said that when I look at the both of you, that I saw two newbies. She said inside you is the heart of a lion. Show me, Jonathan. Show me that lion that you got welled up inside, because you’re gonna need it. And not only that…she’s gonna need it.
He becomes stoic in manner once again, cracking his knuckles.
Brandon Youngblood: This is your shot. To make your mark. And believe me, I know that. But this isn’t a soap opera. Things don’t get neatly tied up with a rose at the end of forty-four minutes. She doesn’t understand what you’re stepping into the ring with…but you do. You know or you wouldn’t have been burying your head in your hands, when your wife was dropping my name. The last time I wrestled one on one in this ring, it was with Jason Snow. And he beat me. But not until after I’d beaten him ragged and raw. You prepared? Prepared for the same? Because that’s what’s coming. Me? I’m on a crusade. You might beat me. But in the end, no matter what…I’m taking my piece.
And with that, the camera feed cuts to The Anglo Luchador and Angelica Brooks.
Short and Sweet
The camera cuts to backstage at the backstage interview hub, where Angelica Brooks is standing by with The Anglo Luchador.
Angelica Brooks: I’m here with The Anglo Luchador, whose first match in over a decade is next up here on ReVival! What made you come back after such a long time away from the sport?
The Anglo Luchador: You know something, Angelica? They say wrestling isn’t about wins and losses, and while in the short term, that may not be true, answer me this. Do you know who won the third match on the fifth episode of ReVolution that aired in 2008? If you asked that question to 100 people, maybe five would be able to say it with confidence, and none of them would be able to answer it without the use of the database at Cagematch Dot Net. Wrestling is about legacy. How do people remember you? A long time ago, the people loved me, or they hated me, or they found what I was doing to be slightly off-kilter, but the point was, they had an idea in their heads on who I was. But which identity was the true one? Was I the work rate genius who wowed them with entertaining wars? Or was I the malcontent choke artist who never won a World Championship that he could defend successfully once? Well, I’m here to put any discrepancy in how you see me to rest. It starts with Alexander Redding, and it won’t end until they pry the Universal Championship from my unconscious body in the middle of the ring sometime in 2025. PRIME is going to be mi casa for as long as I’m able to walk and chew gum at the same time, and you can take that to the bank.
Angelica Brooks: Well, good luck out there. Strong words from The Anglo Luchador! Richard and Nick, let’s send it back to you!
5 The Anglo Luchador vs. 12 Alexander Redding
Vince Howard: The following match is one fall and is a first-round match in the Almasy Invitational!
Nick Stuart: We’re one match down and so many more to go! Up next it’s going to be The Anglo Luchador making his illustrious comeback against another staple in the industry, Alexander Redding, who has competed in GCW and jOlt!
Richard Parker: Wait, what? Where are the PRIME legends? Where’s Chandler Tsonda? Jason Snow? Tyler Nelson?
Nick Stuart: Well, there aren’t any in this match, but you never know, one of these two could wind up being thought of in their same company!
Richard Parker: Pssh, yeah right.
Vince Howard: Introducing first! Weighing in at two-hundred-and-eleven pounds and standing at six feet tall, he hails from Philadelphia, PA… THE! ANGLO! LUCHADOR!
‘Eat the Rich’ by Fozzy rips through the MGM Grand as from the back emerges The Anglo Luchador to cheers from the crowd. He makes his way down the ramp and walks up the stairs before entering the ring.
Nick Stuart: Great to see The Anglo Luchador back!
Richard Parker: I’m withholding my opinion.
Nick Stuart: That’s something new for you.
Richard Parker: I’ve been practicing zen you dipshit.
Nick Stuart: Yeah, working out well for you.
Vince Howard: And his opponent, weighing in at two-hundred-and-thirty-three pounds and standing at six feet and two inches tall, he hails from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada… ALEXANDER! REDDING!
As ‘Eat the Rich’ dies down, the slick and sleazy opening riff of ‘Love Spreads’ by the Stone Roses hits the PA. Those in attendance at the MGM Grand Garden give a modest reaction. We’re well into the open, and damn near the lyrics before a confident Grady Patrick, dressed impeccably and under his trademark bowler’s cap, strides forth. He walks forward a-ways before pointing to the stage. Alexander Redding saunters forward, offering only a slide-glance to the paying public. The garish grin of the Joker splashed on the left leg of his MMA long shorts catches the eye before panning up to the latest release of the Red & Ted tee, the odd one spotted through the crowd. A few steps in and he’s calling Grady in for a conference.
Nick Stuart: A last minute strategy session here?
Conference adjourned, Grady shrugs his shoulders and heads back through the curtain. A confident grin stays plastered on Redding’s mug as he continues forward.
Nick Stuart: Apparently Redding is telling his manager to stay in the back. We might get a fair fight after all.
Richard Parker: Throw away your one advantage, sure. Idiot.
Reaching ringside, Red takes a lap around, mostly ignoring the outreached hands, then slides in. He’s immediately to the referee for a short conversation. Taking his place in the friendly corner opposite the Anglo Luchador, he lifts the tee off and tosses it into the crowd for a mild pop. He rolls his neck, looking ready for this fight.
Both men circle the ring before moving into a collar-and-elbow tie-up. Redding, the larger of the two men, puts TAL into a side headlock. TAL hoists Redding up into a side suplex, but Redding slips out and lands on his feet. TAL turns around, is met with a boot to the midsection from Redding, and Redding bounces off the ropes, connecting with a boot to the side of TAL’s skull. TAL drops to both knees from the shot while Redding hoists him up and connects with a snap suplex.
Nick Stuart: Alexander Redding getting off to the hot start here.
Richard Parker: Yeah, sure, wake me up when the match is over.
Nick Stuart: The match just started and you’re already bored?!
Richard Parker: Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Nick Stuart: What a jerk.
TAL slowly moves to his feet and is met with a rolling heel kick, sending TAL back down to the mat. Redding then bounces off the ropes, leaps into the air as he reaches TAL’s body, and drops a knee across his face.
Nick Stuart: And TAL finds himself behind the eight ball in the early parts of this match already!
Richard Parker: Wh-huh?! Someone say eight ball?
Nick Stuart: Nice of you to wake up.
Richard Parker: I was having a lovely dream and you interrupted it.
Nick Stuart: Well good, because you should be watching the match! That’s what you get paid to do.
Richard Parker: And you clearly get paid to suck.
Redding drags TAL up to his feet only for TAL to catch him with a hip toss. Redding lands hard on his lower back and rushes back to his feet only to be met with another hip toss from TAL. TAL then bounces off the ropes as Redding begins to make his way up to his feet and connects with a dropkick on his opponent.
Richard Parker: Oh look at The Anglo Luchador. He decided to wake up as well and start competing.
Nick Stuart: I really wish they’d replaced you with an actual professional.
Richard Parker: And I wish they’d replaced you with an attractive woman, but we can’t all get what we want.
Nick Stuart: We’ll see about that.
The shot takes Redding down to the mat, but not for long as he hops back up and TAL connects with ear-ringing knife-edge chop that causes Redding to double over from the pain. With Redding doubled over, TAL connects with a butterfly suplex and then goes for the pin.
Nick Stuart: And The Anglo Luchador almost gets the victory there.
Richard Parker: You ask me, this new ref over here, she might need some more training classes.
Nick Stuart: Ashley Barlow’s a second generation industry professional out of Chicago, Richard. I’m more than confident she knows what she’s doing in the ring.
TAL watches as Redding makes his way up to his feet and tags him with a right jab, left jab, and right cross combo! Redding stumbles backwards and TAL uses this as an opening to rush at Redding only for Redding to lift him up and connect with a stun gun! TAL bounces off the top rope hard and stumbles around as Redding catches TAL in an old-school spine buster that causes TAL to arch his back in pain.
Nick Stuart: The Anglo Luchador and Alexander Redding just trading blows at this stage of the match. Luchador with a beautiful jab and cross combo there that caught Redding by surprise while Redding managed to get a stun gun and link that together with a beautiful spine buster!
Richard Parker: You know, this Redding kid might have something. Any relation to Otis Redding?
Nick Stuart: What?!
Richard Parker: It’s a question Nick, have you ever heard of one?!
Nick Stuart: Do you ever listen to the words that come out of your mouth? Seriously.
Redding catches TAL with a few stomps across the face before bending over to pick him up. TAL catches Redding by surprise with a monkey flip that sends Redding flying across the ring. TAL slowly makes his way up to his feet, taking a moment to catch his breathe before walking up to Redding and whipping him across the ring into the opposite ring corner. TAL then runs full speed, connecting with a running back elbow!
Nick Stuart: And you can see the ring rust starting to fall off The Anglo Luchador as he nails that beautiful corner running back elbow! Still though, this match could go either way!
Richard Parker: Go to communications school for that, Nick? Go to DePaul to learn all about that?
Nick Stuart: What are you talking about?!
Richard Parker: Look at The Anglo Luchador go with such a beautiful monkey flip.
Nick Stuart: Are you mocking me?!
Richard Parker: Damn straight!
TAL watches as Redding stumbles coming out of the corner and bounces off the ropes, looking for a hurricanrana on Redding only for Redding to counter with a sit-out power bomb on TAL.
Nick Stuart: And a near pinfall for Redding there! He caught The Anglo Luchador by surprise with that sit-out powerbomb.
Richard Parker: That’s why you don’t try to do that flippy-floppy stuff in the ring. Leaves you open to opportunities.
Nick Stuart: Ugh, are you back on this horse again?!
Richard Parker: I never got off of it!
Redding is slow to his feet, using the ropes to his advantage, while TAL rolls around in pain from the shot. Redding walks over to TAL, taking a moment to catch his breathe, before he begins to pull TAL up to his feet and connects with a Hammerlock Discus Lariat, flipping TAL inside out. Redding goes for the cover again.
Redding slowly makes his way up to his feet, dragging TAL with him only for TAL to counter with a no-counter enzuigiri.
Nick Stuart: These two are giving it everything they have in this first round matchup here in the Rolo bracket, trying to make it to the next round and for their chance at the Universal Championship.
Richard Parker: That’s not going to happen.
Nick Stuart: You have no idea what might happen! We’re seeing some great action here, as Redding connected with a MEH SHADDAP and then we saw the no-counter enzuigiri from The Anglo Luchador.
Richard Parker: I rest my case.
Nick Stuart: You’re not in a courtroom!
Both men are slow to their feet, catching air where they can as they stumble to their feet. TAL catches Redding with another knife-edge chop and Redding grabs his chest in pain before slamming his right fist across the jaw of TAL. TAL stumbles into the ropes before he fires back with a jab of his own that causes Redding to stumble backwards. He then rushes forward, slamming his forearm across the face of TAL, sending both men crashing to the mat.
Richard Parker: These two look tired. Exhausted. Spent.
Nick Stuart: Well, aren’t you observant.
Richard Parker: See?! I do what you want and you make fun of me!
Nick Stuart: Because you sound like you’re phoning it in!
Richard Parker: You think I could do that? Do my job from home via phone? I’ll need to talk to Lindsay about that.
Redding begins to make his way up to his feet, grabbing the ropes for support, before he climbs up the nearby turnbuckle and begins to walk across the top rope while TAL begins to stir, looking for the rope-walk cutter. Redding lies in wait, but TAL makes it up to his feet, gets dizzy, and stumbles backwards into the ropes that Redding is standing on, leaving Redding straddling the top rope in obvious pain. TAL looks over at his opponent and sees an opening as he yanks Redding off the rope and connects with a Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Your winner… and advancing to the second round of the Almasy Invitational… THE! ANGLO! LUCHADOR!
Nick Stuart: And the Anglo Luchador manages to pull it off.
Richard Parker: That was the very definition of lucky.
Nick Stuart: Both men laid it all out on the line here tonight. No need for Redding to feel disappointed in the least bit. Both men were shaking off the cobwebs, getting their wind back in their lungs, but only one man could walk out the victor and that man is The Anglo Luchador.
Richard Parker: Great, let’s get to the next match.
Nick Stuart: You are insufferable.
The Anglo Luchador rolls out of the ring, catching his breath from the hellacious match he just endured, and looks in the ring at Alexander Redding who is slowly sitting up. The two men lock eyes, nodding their heads at one another in a sign of respect, and then The Anglo Luchador throws his fists into the air as he celebrates his victory with the crowd firmly behind him.
A Leg Up
The camera cuts to the backstage area, opening on Simon Tillier and Cyrus O’Haire standing in the corner of a locker room. Cyrus’ right leg looks gruesome with the scars and discoloration from surgeries of days past. Simon wears a nice suit, freshly pressed for his first spot on the ACE Network, and carries a microphone. Cyrus wears a pair of black shorts-style trunks with a red stripe down the outside of each leg. Cyrus looks at the camera as it zooms in on him and runs his hands through his graying hair one last time.
Simon Tillier: Good evening everyone! My name is Simon Tillier and I am proud to be one of your backstage reporters here in PRIME. I’m standing next to one of another of PRIME’s newcomers, Cyrus O’Haire, as he prepares for his match against Ria Nightshade at ReVival 2! Cyrus, what was it about PRIME that drew you in?
Cyrus rips the microphone from Simon’s hand, shoving him out of the way. Cyrus looks down at his scarred leg, then up to the camera, speaking roughly into the microphone.
Cyrus O’Haire: My leg was destroyed in the ring ten years ago. The doctors said I was lucky I didn’t lose it. The inside of my leg looks like a God damned hardware store exploded. There’s plates and rods and pins and screws, it took four surgeries just to be able to walk on it again.
Cyrus pauses, his Adam’s Apple bobbing in his throat.
Cyrus O’Haire: So, I ask myself, why am I back in the ring after ten long years? Especially with such an obvious target on my back, or in this case, my leg. Especially when I’m pushing 45 years old in four months.
Again he pauses. A deep breath in through his nose is slowly exhaled through his mouth.
Cyrus O’Haire: Ten years ago, when my leg was destroyed, I was laughed at. They said I was a “Never Was.” I watched as my career passed me by. I watched my kid cousin’s career skyrocket, culminating in a Hall of Fame spot. I watched, and I watched, and I watched, week after week after week. It was all I could do from the sidelines while I rehabilitated my leg. So when my kid cousin decided to tell me about this re-emerging company coming back from the dead after so long, I felt a sense of fate wash over me. When the doctors, after ten long years, decided to clear me to get back in the ring, I felt that same sense of fate wash over me again.
Cyrus steps forward, still looking at the camera.
Cyrus O’Haire: I hate it here. I hate Jabber. I hate the PRIMEates, or whatever the hell they call themselves. I can feel them judging me. It doesn’t matter, because I’m going to win the Almasy Invitational, and I’m going to be the first Universal Champion of the ReVival era. Simon, you said I was ‘preparing for Ria Nightshade’. I am. Every day, every hour, I’m preparing for Ria Nightshade because I don’t want my first match back in the ring to end up as my last match. So, Ria, I suggest you put down your phone, stop with the Jabber, and get yourself ready for a match with Cyrus O’Haire, or your first match in PRIME? It’s going to be your last.
Cyrus looks back at Simon.
Cyrus O’Haire: Now, Simon? Get out of here, before your first interview is your last.
Cyrus slams the microphone into Simon’s chest and shoves him out of the view of the camera. Cyrus stands alone in front of the camera as it quickly fades.
7 Solomon Richards vs. 10 Rezin
Nick Stuart: Well folks, up next we’ve got a major contrast in styles. We’ve got Solomon Richards, a technical expert, set to clash with Rezin who, well, is less than technical.
Richard Parker: He’s punk rock, Nick! Rezin is a guy who’s gonna get things done in the most punk rock way possible.
Nick Stuart: Do you even know what punk rock is?
Brutal thrash metal rips through the arena as a wall of smoke coalesces around the entry-way. On the PRIMEView, footage flashes between images of atomic mushroom clouds, scenes of civil unrest, vehicular collisions, and in-ring highlights.
Richard Parker: We’re about to find out!
Suddenly, “The Escape Artist” REZIN comes whirling out from the haze and comes to a stop at the head of the ramp, grinning maniacally as he scans the jeering crowd. After a beat, he makes his way down the ramp, devilishly toying with the fans lined up at the barricade and getting radioactive levels of heat.
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, from Indianapolis, Indiana and weighing in at two hundred and five pounds… RRRRREEEEZZZIIIIIN!!
When he reaches the ring, he slides in, pops to his feet, locks his arms between the ropes, and leans back to suspend himself in the air in an inverted cross pose for a few moments before lowering himself back to the canvas and going to his corner.
Nick Stuart: This guy’s off his rocker, folks. But, we’re about to get our first look at his opponent tonight!
Lucero’s “Sing Me No Hymns” begins to play throughout the arena and Solomon Richards steps out of the entrance. He barely stops to acknowledge the crowd before making his way towards the ring, his eyes never leaving his opponent.
Nick Stuart: Here’s a guy who is just no nonsense about what he wants.
Richard Parker: Yea, but he’s gonna have to get into the ring against Rezin, who’s a real wild card. I don’t think his technical prowess is gonna come into play too much in this one.
Solomon continues his steady march to the ring, touching hands briefly with just a few fans who recognize him from his early days in Las Vegas.
Vince Howard: And his opponent, from Kermit, West Virginia, weighing three hundred and thirty pounds… SOLOMON RIIIIIICHAAARRRRDS!!
Solomon steps into the ring and immediately goes to a neutral corner, but Rezin is on him right away!
Richard Parker: Here we go!
Rezin continues his initial rush, throwing wild punch and kick combinations, backing Solomon into the corner further! Referee Elvis Nixon is right there, admonishing Rezin to get Solomon out of the corner, but “The Escape Artist” doesn’t take heed. That is, until Solomon throws a heavy headbutt right into the bridge of his nose and staggers Rezin backwards!
Solomon moves out of the corner, shaking the cobwebs out and snatches Rezin, bringing him up for a belly to belly suplex, but Rezin rakes the eyes, breaking the hold! Nixon admonishes Rezin again, but “The Goat Bastard” seems to have gone temporarily deaf to his warnings. He throws a crisp kick to the midsection of Solomon before grabbing a front facelock and running up the turnbuckles, twisting in the air, and spiking Solomon down with a tornado DDT!
Richard Parker: I told you! Rezin is too fast and too crafty for the big man!
Nick Stuart: You call it crafty, I call it cheap. He attacked before the bell and used an eye gouge to gain an advantage!
Richard Parker: Whatever gets the job done, Nick!
Rezin runs his forearm across Solomon’s face as he covers with a lateral press!
T- NO! Not even close!
Rezin pops back up, stomping down on Solomon for good measure before hitting the far ropes and sliding in with a basement dropkick to Solomon’s ribs just as the big man is pushing himself back up. Solomon rolls over clutching his ribs as the fans rain down boos on Rezin. Pulls Solomon to his feet and attempts to Irish whip the big man to the ropes, but Solomon puts on the brakes, yanks Rezin in, and takes him up and over with a big belly to belly suplex!
Rezin quickly arches his back in pain and rolls around on the canvas. Solomon moves forward methodically and snags Rezin before he can escape the ring, bringing him to his feet and delivering a very audible knife edge chop, immediately reddening Rezin’s chest with the impact.
Rezin grabs at his chest, his face contorted in overexaggerated pain. Solomon moves in and snags an arm, quicker on his feet than he looks, and forces Rezin to the mat while locking in a fujiwara armbar!
Nick Stuart: Richards has that armbar locked in! He’s looking to end it early!
Richard Parker: No way! It’s way too early! Rezin’s smarter than he looks, Nick! See?
Rezin immediately scrambles around, all other limbs flailing until he’s able to hook both feet onto the bottom rope. Referee Elvis Nixon sees this and calls for a break, which Solomon immediately complies with. Solomon pops up and goes to grab Rezin, who ducks into the ropes. The referee gets between them and Solomon protests, lunging forward to grab hold of Rezin, but Rezin palms Solomon’s face and rakes his eyes again!
Solomon stumbles backwards and Rezin rushes in, stepping up and clocking Solomon with a swift and nasty enziguri! Rezin wastes no more time and rushes to the ropes, leaps up, springboards and enters into a moonsault!
Richard Parker: REZINSAULT!
Nick Stuart: NO! Richards counters!
Solomon catches Rezin mid-air and drives him down into the mat with a thunderous powerslam! He rolls over, pushing himself back up and stomps down onto Rezin before turning him over and locking in a camel clutch! Rezin’s face comes alive with pain as the much bigger Solomon Richards cranks back!
Elvis Nixon is right there asking if Rezin wants to give in, but he gives the referee a few choice words even through the agony. Rezin tries to crawl forward, but Solomon’s weight is too much to drag. Instead, “The Escape Artist” gets his arms free and just starts gouging at the backs of Solomon’s calves, digging his fingers into the skin and ripping away!
Nick Stuart: Of all the despicable ways to counter a move…
Richard Parker: They don’t call him “The Escape Artist” for nothing!
Solomon releases the hold, kicking at Rezin as he rolls away. He gets back up to his feet, but Rezin hits the ropes and comes back with a spinning heel kick out of nowhere!
Richard Parker: Cloven Hoof Kick! Richards is down! Rezin covers!
Solomon kicks out before the three count! Rezin mounts Richards and fires in a series of punches to the forehead before dragging the bigger man back to his feet. Rezin measures Solomon.
Nick Stuart: Looks like Rezin is setting up for Into the Void!
Rezin begins the motions to execute his asai ddt, but Solomon counters and snatches Rezin up and drives him back down with a back suplex! Solomon bridges for the pin attempt!
THR-NO! WHAT THE!?
Nick Stuart: What a cheap way to escape a pin! He grabbed Elvis Nixon’s arm on its way down!
Richard Parker: Hey the hand never came down for the three! Whatever works!
Elvis Nixon is right up in Rezin’s face admonishing him. Rezin brushes him off and a seething Solomon Richards stalks forward and snatches Rezin, bringing him in for another belly to belly suplex attempt. This time, Rezin fires a headbutt into the bridge of Solomon’s nose and fishhooks him for good measure. Solomon breaks the grip again but snatches Rezin right back and brings him over with the belly to belly! Solomon covers!
Rezin gets the shoulder up before the three! Solomon immediately pulls Rezin to his feet and begins to lock in a cobra clutch!
Nick Stuart: Here it comes! He’s looking for the Divine Smite!
The referee is slightly out of position, so he doesn’t catch Rezin’s boot as it swings back and connects with Solomon’s divine marbles. Rezin leans back into Solomon to prevent the big man from doubling over and uses the momentum to roll him up!
Nick Stuart: Come on, Elvis! How could you miss that!?
Nick Stuart: He’s got the tights!!
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Here is your winner, REEEEEZIIIIN!
Rezin rolls away and scampers out of the ring backing up the aisle with a smile on his face as the crowd unleashes a flurry of boos.
Nick Stuart: This was a travesty of justice here! Rezin stole one!
Richard Parker: Elvis Nixon didn’t see it, Nick! Rezin did what was necessary to pick up the win. And that, my friend, is punk rock!
♪Ooooh whoo hoo hoo!♪
The upbeat, head-bobbing tune of the Rentals’ “Friends of P.” sends the MGM Grand audience in a tizzy, signaling the arrival of one of wrestling’s most anomalous families. A close-in shot of a fan alongside the barricade of the entranceway reveals a sign to mark the arrival, holding it just above his forehead.
SIT HERE MURIEL I HAVE KFC
Richard Parker: Oh NO. Pass the barf bucket.
Nick Stuart: Here we go! They may not be as orthodox as some of the other wrestling families in the business today, but that certainly doesn’t mean they’re not as entertaining! Here comes Muriel and Tapioca Puddings!
Emerging from behind the curtain, Muriel Puddings is being carried to the ringside area via wheelbarrow by her brother: another part of his “training regimen” to bulk up. Always one to ham it up for any audience willing to tolerate her, she points at the sign and licks her lips seductively, eliciting cheers from the fan and those nearby him.
Tapioca, despite his struggles with the lawn equipment and the human debris held within, does seem genuinely glad to be there. Whether that’s due to the fact that he’s not wrestling tonight or that it’s the first time in his career that the crowd is actually applauding his appearance isn’t known. But, we’ll take it.
Richard Parker: It’s like he’s hauling fertilizer to the garden.
Nick Stuart: Well, farming is a great way to build up strength and discipline, Richard.
Richard Parker: So’s a prison yard.
Directing her transportation in a zig-zag pattern to greet her adoring public, Muriel is generous with her high fives. However, MGM security has a near panic attack when she invites a particularly attractive redhead to climb over the iron bars and join her on her lap inside the wheelbarrow. The woman obliges and the two embrace while Tapioca further struggles to make his way down to ringside. Eventually, the guards have enough of the shenanigans and lift her out, escorting her back to her seat.
♪If you’re friends with P., well then you’re friends with me.♪
♪If you’re down with P., well then you’re down with me.♪
Richard Parker: I’m glad she thought enough of our big relaunch to dress appropriately for the occasion, Nick. Seriously, bedroom shoes and yoga pants?
Nick Stuart: Well, to be fair, she is wearing a tuxedo…t-shirt.
Once at the apron, Muriel climbs out of the wheelbarrow and commands Tapioca to get down on all fours, opting to use him as a step stool instead of simply rolling under the bottom rope. He nearly buckles under her, but musters up the strength to follow her inside the ring where she has been presented with the house microphone.
Muriel Puddings: PRIMEates, what you doin’ later?
Muriel Puddings: A lot of people said that this company would never come back. But it goes to show that if you put somethin’ in the hands of my BFF of all time Lindsay Troy? Well, I’ve got one thing to say on that subject. She did it, bae…
AND THAT’S…THE TEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
An enthusiastic crowd is always a plus, but it appears as though this Vegas audience came well-prepared to deliver catchphrases and provide cheap pops. That said, it certainly helped that Muriel was standing at the entrance to the venue before the show with a bullhorn repeating said phrase over and over so that “everyone remembered it.” The bubbly blond affectionately known as Crush Limbaugh smiles, continuing.
Muriel Puddings: Before we came out there, the Queen came up to me and said ‘Chick, I want you to make sure when you and Tapioca go out there to talk to these fans, that you set the tone for what PRIME is gonna be all about. Also, please don’t get naked.’
There are a smattering of boos at the last line of direction, obviously from the more deranged section of the PRIME Faithful. Most did not want her to remove her jeans and form-smushing baby tee with the organization’s logo on the chest.
Muriel Puddings: Gotta save something for the pay-per-view, I guess. Tonight, I’m out here to be a good brand ambassador to both PRIME and the MGM Corporation. A partnership that will take over not just the wrestling industry, but the city of Las Vegas as a whole! And that is why I am pleased to deliver a special announcement to all of the guests of the Grand!
Muriel purses her lips and pauses, building up the suspense to what was sure to be huge news for everyone listening.
Muriel Puddings: In order to provide PRIME with what we need to succeed, MGM has decided to make a few changes to their in-resort entertainment options. I’m sure when you all walked in, you might have noticed a much smaller line forming outside of Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club.
There is somewhat of a dull roar that follows, but not much of a reaction. Which is exactly what Muriel was counting on as she delivered her next line.
Muriel Puddings: Well, I’m pleased to announce that Everybody Loves Raymond’s older brother needs to go home and PACK HIS BAGS, because his residency here is OFFICIALLY TERMINATED! That’s right, Brad. You’re outta here. Take that six-foot-eight bod of yours with the massive hands, feet and that ol’ bulging honker between your legs and hit the bricks. Unless of course you want to come on down right now and give me a big fat smooch, because I’ll be more than happy to ride up to my hotel room on a silver fox tonight! Brad Puddings has a nice ring to…hey, what the?
Unfortunately (or thankfully), Muriel’s 8th fantasy of bedding and wedding a B-list celebrity of the night is interrupted by a gasp of the crowd and the sight of her brother knocked out in the dead center of the ring. She leans down to smack him awake, only to learn that the projectile that had struck him in the forehead was nothing more than an…
Muriel Puddings: Egg?
It could have been that Tapioca’s 20-hour a day “workouts” had finally taken their toll on his energy levels, as all that was needed to put him in R.E.M. was a well-aimed chicken fetus. Or, he was really just that weak. Either way, our view shifts to the ringside area where the sniper is revealed. (Honestly, not very necessary, as there were only a couple of probable outcomes in the wrestling world that would fling an egg at someone.) Climbing the barricade and making his way up into the ring was the T-shade wearing and yolk-dyed hair of none other than the COOL himself.
Cancer Jiles, complete with satisfied smirk on his face, retrieves a microphone and approaches Muriel for a stare-down. Only to back away several steps and wave his hand near his nose in repulsion at the hint of either her breath or her $10 Versace perfume.
Cancer Jiles: Jesus CHRIST, Muriel. You STINK. Have you been porking Zeb Martin in the pigpen again? How is he doing, anyway? Tell him I said hi the next time you see him at the Dollar General. Or the tractor pull. Or the welfare line. Or the family reunion.
Muriel pouts, preparing to address the insult, but is immediately cut off at the pass by the Maestro.
Cancer Jiles: Wrestling’s glad to see you back, though. I mean, no one with a functioning brain thought that your bulbous ass would last very long as a competitor. Besides, the fatso demographic on the roster is already covered. Irony of that is it’s the first time Bobby Dean hasn’t broken a sweat over the thought of losing his spot. Or broke a sweat because of anything, really.
Despite his name coming out of Jiles’ mouth, a huge cheer rumbles through the MGM Grand at the mention of the fellow eGG Bandit.
Cancer Jiles: So, you’re back in business here at PRIME as a mouthpiece for this little twig, huh? Really scraping at the bottom of the trough, Puddin’. What’s the matter? Jenny Craig not returning your calls to be the ‘before’ model?
Muriel begins to fume a bit, inching a little closer to her antagonist and visibly balling her fist.
Muriel Puddings: I’m on Keto, you son of a…
Cancer Jiles: Whoa whoa whoa! I didn’t come here to fight, hick. Besides, you might want to save a little energy to wail around in two weeks!
Jiles laughs, his shade-covered eyes drifting out to the audience with a slight hint of a blond brow pointing out.
Cancer Jiles: Get it? Wail. Whale. Because you should be hunted for your blubber and used for soap. That joke’s got several layers when you think of your bathing habits. Oh man, did I just say ‘layers,’ too? I’m on a roll now! Like what you shut down the buffet line for eating too many of!
The expression on Muriel’s face turns from one of rage to one of self-conscious defeat, which is not received well at all by the PRIMEates, letting Jiles know exactly what they think of his body-shaming antics towards the Barbeque Bae.
Cancer Jiles: Oh, shut up! What do any of you know about comedy? You were just out here cheering on someone who SULLIED the great name of Brad Garrett, and I for one am not going to stand by and let her get away with that. You see that stain on the mat right now, Muriel? Take a good look at your brother’s future. It’s going to be right back to Idaho with the both of you in yet another failed attempt for the Puddings’ to glom onto this industry like desperate men do to your disgusting chest udders for a Taco Bell gift card. Now get him out of here before I change my mind and earn myself a bye right here tonight.
Muriel, hoping that this would just be a night to have a little fun at the expense of a sitcom star, begins to “help” Tapioca by rolling him out of the ring slowly with the tip of her Winnie the Pooh slippers to his sides. He is able to muster enough strength to simply crash down onto the thin padding of the arena floor next to the apron as his sister watches him from the rope.
Cancer Jiles: Almost forgot. One other thing, Muriel…
It was the oldest trick in the book, and one she immediately fell for as she turned around to face Jiles. As her attention was diverted, yet another egg came flying with laserlike precision, this time aimed at her.
Jiles had failed to account for one thing, though, as the crowd went from shock into delight…
Richard Parker: BOOBY BOTOX!
Yes, instead of shattering into a gooey mess, the egg simply careened off of Muriel’s chest, allowing her reflexes to kick in and catch it gently into her awaiting hands. Cancer’s smug grin vanishes at the sight of turned tables, and slowly begins to plead off the anticipated counter attack. However, Muriel does not wind up to hurl it back at him…
…but instead devours the entire egg, shell and all, with one bite. She smirks as she chews, which simultaneously repulses and intimidates the Maestro.
Nick Stuart: Well, she did say she was on Keto!
Richard Parker: It’s just delaying the inevitable, Nick. Those rubbery mammaries won’t save Tapioca Puddings from the beating he’s been promised here tonight by the COOL!
Nick Stuart: That remains to be seen. We may have just caught the youngest sibling in a moment of weakness, so you can’t count out the Chubbuck grappler just yet. Now, let’s take you backstage to hear from Jacob Mephisto and the Family!
Before the quick cut, the camera zooms in first on Jiles who waves off the situation and heads for the opposite corner. We are then left with an image of Muriel, now smiling with an open mouth and bits of shell and yolk visible on her teeth.
OSV: Give’er a scooch to the left. Okay okay, just a smidgen back to the right. Aaaaand…right…there.
The camera backstage follows Grady Patrick, making his way through the non-descript cinder block corridors. The bowler cap, and manager underneath, comes to a halt as we pan around to catch Teddy Palmer, in street attire, shaking the hands of what would appear to be Staples set-up team members.
Grady Patrick: It’s looking good, Ted.
Teddy Palmer: She’s a beauty, ain’t she?
The ‘she’ in question would be a duo of extended cubicles pushed together, cutting out a clearly defined space in the middle of the otherwise wideopen hall. The open middle is largely taken up with a gaming table and chairs.
Grady Patrick: Sure is. But shouldn’t you be taking that down?
Congratulations dear viewer for catching the comically large and comically awkward ‘Congratulations’ banner pinned across the grey felt beauty’s exterior wall.
Teddy Palmer: And why would I do that? It’s still appropriate for the occasion…
Grady Patrick: How? How could you possibly think that is still appropriate?
Palmer’s earnest smile shifts.
Teddy Palmer: Red almost won. Not congratulating him on a great effort out there would just be rude of us.
It is in the awkward silence that you can pick out just how unsecluded a locale the three-sided sectional has been erected. Staffers and agents have been passing behind with their heads buried in business, or hidden from camera, save for a pair who make their way centre-screen, in masks reading ‘III’ and ‘IV.’
Enemigo IV takes a slow walk, inspecting the structure as he goes.
Enemigo III meanwhile steps to the pair and gestures between them and the cubicle, as if to ask ‘who’s idea was this?’
Teddy Palmer: That would be me.
While Ted proudly raises a hand, taking responsibility for the erection of the office furniture, a storm rolls in from the east.
Alexander Redding: Goddammit.
Pouring out a bottle of H2O over his head and face, Red is steaming. The bruises on his chest are just forming into the picture perfect hamburger pink. Done, the bottle is fired off-screen into some recycling, we’re sure.
Alexander Redding: I get it, I fucked up.
Grady turns his attention to Red, while Ted begins taking the security luchadores on the ten cent tour.
Grady Patrick: I want to say I told you that sending me to the back wasn’t the smart play…
Teddy Palmer: Take note of the ergonomic chairs featuring adjustable lumbar support. Designed with correct posture in mind, without sacrificing comfort.
Wiping away frustration and excess water, Red lets out a huff.
Alexander Redding: Yeah, I wasn’t counting the guy light. But you told me yourself. Tell me, if I was that close, and needed the gimmick to end it, you wouldn’t have tossed it? Or grabbed a foot..
In the background, Enemigo III leans in to run a hand along the real leather cover along the table and nod.
Alexander Redding: Not that it matters now. I guess it’s up to Ted to make an impression now.
Teddy Palmer: Genuine leather. Nice, huh? And check this. The filing cabinets are actually refrigerators. Say…can I offer mi amigos a refreshing beverage?
The rocking shoulders and pout out of Enemigo III scream, ‘maybe…’
Enemigo IV re-emerges from his walkabout. Without a word, this world class charades player mimes fire, and points past Ted.
Teddy Palmer: One time. One time I set a cubicle ablaze, and I’m forever labeled a fire hazard.
The camera comes in as Red and Grady join in, Ted in one corner, as the security stand at the perimeter.
Alexander Redding: You know, I’ve damn near seen about all the masks I can stand for one night.
Standing threateningly close to IV, Red might have caught that second wind five minutes late, the tension only getting cut by the crisp release of CO2.
Teddy Palmer: One Moosehead Cracked Canoe.
Enemigo III nods, pulls the mask back just enough to take a sip, then nods in rhythm, tapping at the shoulders of his compatriot.
Taking one step back, and then around, Enemigos III and IV are watched by an unflinching Red as they depart.
Alexander Redding: Assholes.
Teddy Palmer: They seemed friendly enough to me. Anywho…
Ted dips a hand back into the filing cabinet to produce a bottle in the unmistakable purple velvet cover.
Teddy Palmer: Care to christen this vessel, good man?
Taking the bottle, Red rips off the bag and untwists the cap. After a healthy glug, or two mississippi’s, the lid is replaced and the whole bottle of Crown smashes against an exterior corner.
Teddy Palmer: To one last ride!
Redding finally takes note of the banner hanging up, and ungently removes it. Palmer shrugs, exchanging a quick glance with Grady. Grady hands a placard over to Red, who hangs it on the now vacant thumbtack.
“Open for Business”
4 Doozer vs. 13 Garbage Bag Johnny
The crowd is still buzzing from the previous backstage action when the show cuts to the announcers table where the team is ready to get the next match underway.
Nick Stuart: What a night as we continue the first episode of ReVival! It looks like Timo Bolamba and Vince Howard are in the ring ready to keep the action rolling!
Richard Parker: The last time I saw Timo in a ring, he still had a goatee and ponytail. I guess the 90’s called and took them back.
Nick Stuart: That’s not all I wish they would take back.
“Doozy” by Token bumps into the PA system and the PRIME Faithful begin to react as Doozer makes his way out from back and the PRIMEview lights up with his entrance graphics.
Nick Stuart: And here we go!
Vince Howard: Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing the next competitor! Standing at Six feet Three inches and weighing in at Two-Hundred and Seventy-Three pounds, he is The Old Bull…DOOOOOZEEER!!!
Doozer walks down the ramp with a purpose; he checks the tape on his wrist and rolls under the bottom rope deftly before popping up in the ring.
Nick Stuart: Doozer looks to be in a fighting mood, folks.
Richard Parker: Well he better be, because he is in for a scrap tonight. My brother from a dumpster is coming up next.
“Garbage Bag Johnny Will Win Zero 2 Hero” by Garbage Bag Johnny (who apparently has a record deal) erupts on the PA and The Man known as GBJ steps out of the back surrounded by a cloud of smoke from the effects crew.
Vince Howard: And his opponent, standing at Six feet One inch and weighing in at Two-Hundred and Thirty-Five pounds, he is…GARBAGE…BAAAAAAAG…JOHNNY!!!
The Bag’ saunters down the ramp with purpose while the PRIMEview plays his entrance package. He stops for a moment before stepping up to the mat and crossing into the ring through the ropes.
Nick Stuart: It looks like Timo has checked over the competitors and we are underway!
The bell rings and both men circle around to the right. Doozer attempts to initiate a collar and elbow, but GBJ side steps and throws a stiff shot to the midsection that draws admonition from the referee for using a closed fist.
Nick Stuart: This could get chippy quickly folks.
Richard Parker: Speaking of chippy, I heard Bolamba is working this gig because his ex-wife took him to the cleaner.
Nick Stuart: I heard he made billions in crypto-currency, Richard.
Richard Parker: Bolamba Bucks are not recognized by Elon Musk yet, but when they are, I will cash in!
In the ring Doozer tries to tie up and is met with another thudding body blow. He is clearly frustrated by the smaller man choosing not to match strength and tries a move that pays immediate dividends as he reaches out once more and as GBJ tries to counter, he grabs the smaller wrestler’s arm and swings a lariat that takes Johnny off his feet.
GBJ shakes his head and gets to his knees. As Doozer steps forward to press his advantage, Johnny takes his own advantage and uses a line of sight barrier between himself and the ref to launch a punch directly to the salmon eggs of Capistrano, which brings Dooze down in a hurry. The bigger man looks shaken and finds himself on the receiving end of an Irish whip into the corner, but as he hits, he comes out of the corner obviously favoring his lower back. Timo steps in to check on Doozer, and he gets shooed away in a hurry.
Nick Stuart: I guess the years make those turnbuckle shots hurt a little more than they used to.
Richard Parker: Either that or he is faking an injury to lure his opponent into a trap!
GBJ slinks up behind Doozer and grabs for his waistband. He quickly drops to his knees, skinning the pants off Doozer like a butcher skins the hide off a steer.
Richard jumps to his feet.
Richard Parker: “WEDNESDAY” UNDERWEAR?! BUT IT’S FRIDAY!
When Doozer reaches down to grab his pants, Johnny runs forward, bounds off the ropes and back toward his opponent. He leaps through the air and drops Dooze with a Bulldog.
Nick Stuart: That’s the “Legendary De-pants Combo!”
Doozer rolls over and GBJ helps him to his feet. Johnny slings him into the ropes and lets his opponent come to him as he bends over and hoists Doozer several feet in the air with a back body drop. When Doozer hits the ground, he screams in agony and flails his feet out while grasping his back once again.
Richard Parker: Doozer’s back looks like I feel after a night of crapulence.
Johnny senses the end is near as he circles to his opponents feet and tries to lock in a Dan Flashes Sharpshooter. He is clearly confused which leg to start the hold with and eventually settles on trying to twist both legs in an ungainly fashion before turning Doozer over and leaning down on his lower back whilst balancing on one leg.
Doozer bellows and slams his palm on the mat which causes Timo to call for the bell. The Bag’ releases the hold and awkwardly removes his twisted leg from between Doozers before stepping out and celebrating. Timo kneels down next to Dooze and checks the fallen big man. Years of experience results in a quick reaction as Timo throws up his arms in an “X” pattern and the medic team quickly rushes to the ring with a stretcher.
Nick Stuart: You hate to see this, folks.
Richard Parker: I guess he isn’t faking the injury. But someone should really tell him it isn’t Wednesday.
Nick Stuart: Doozer has bigger problems right now.
After several tense minutes and an unnaturally quiet crowd, Doozer waves off the stretcher, and the med crew slowly helps Doozer to his feet. They hold him under the arms as he plods to the edge of the ring and gingerly steps between the ropes and heads up the ramp. The crowd, sensing he is able to walk off under his own power, but clearly too hurt to continue in his current condition, slowly applaud the injured warrior as he vanishes behind the curtains.
Vince Howard: And the winner…GARBAGE…BAAAAAAG…JOHNNY!!!
Garbage Bag Johnny’s music hits and he makes his way up the ramp and exits after producing a small white rolled up paper from behind his ear and putting it in his mouth.
Nick Stuart: Did he just…
Richard Parker: It’s medicinal! Besides, he never exhaled.
Blow it Up!
Cut backstage and a wide shot of the full brackets for the Almasy Invitational, focused on the Rolo Bracket and half the first round matches filled out with their winners. Pan down a bit onto Simon Tillier, tuxedo-clad, overly excited and no worse for wear after his run-in with Cyrus O’Haire, holding a microphone with the PRIME logo on the nameplate.
Simon Tillier: Thanks, Nick! We’re halfway through the first round of the Rolo bracket to crown the first Champion of PRIME’s new era, and we’ve already seen so much! Newcomers like Cecilia Ryan! Legends like Garbage Bag Johnny! But I’m being joined now by an athlete who fits into both categories, as well as neither!
His eyes dart left and right.
Simon Tillier: While he found his fame as a three-time World Champion elsewhere, he’s also making his return to PRIME after participating in Dual Halo over a dozen years ago, I’m standing here with the Marathon Man himself, Impulse!
Impulse steps into frame on Simon’s right, while Calico Rose does the same on his left. With his trademark white tape already wrapped around his hands, Impulse cracks both sets of knuckles as he settles in.
Simon Tiller: Thanks for joining me tonight, Impulse! What’s your impression of PRIME’s return so far? Is it everything you hoped it would be?
Impulse: Absolutely. You know, it’s always a trip when you step into a Las Vegas ring, because you never know what you’re gonna get. The people in the crowd, they’re not necessarily there to see you because Vegas itself is the draw. But tonight?
He looks around, as if he can hear the crowd – and they respond by getting louder.
Impulse: PRIMEates everywhere! This company did itself proud, and more importantly – they did it the right way. This isn’t a nostalgia tour, this is the real deal.
Simon nods his approval, and turns towards Calico Rose.
Simon Tillier: You having a good time here, Calico?
She tilts her purple tinted sunglasses low, looking at him over the top rim.
Calico Rose: Call me Rose, I says to Simon. Or Cally. Calico’s my mom, except not really.
There’s a half second of awkward silence, before she play-punches him in the arm.
Calico Rose: Ease up before you sprain something, Tillierman! These fans are awesome, and they’ve really gone out’a their way to welcome us old fogies into the family.
She pulls the microphone closer to herself and looks straight into the camera.
Calico Rose: We ‘bout to blow it up.
Another roar can be heard from the crowd as Simon nods his approval and turns his attention back to Impulse.
Simon Tillier: There was an interesting take put forth earlier by your opponent tonight, Darin Zion, in which he accused you of false humility – amongst other things. Any response before you meet him in the ring tonight?
At this, Impulse smirks, and looks down for a moment.
Impulse: Right now, I don’t know if Darin Zion really believes what he’s saying, or if he’s gunning for Best Supporting Actor in an Inspirational Tournament nomination. Standing here right now, I can’t tell you if he’s happy that I don’t know him well enough to underestimate him, or angry that I haven’t given him enough of an Inspirational Underdog Story going into the first round.
Impulse: It might be hard to believe, Darin – but I really am Not That Interested in the abstract. I can watch the tape, I can see the moves, I can listen to the scuttlebutt. What sort’a picture does that paint for us, Rosie?
Calico Rose: The Abyss. Worse than a black cat blinking.
Impulse: Exactly. None of it matters until the first bell rings, and none of it has any consequence until the last bell rings. You spent a long time trying to convince me of who you really are beyond the rumors I ignored, Darin…
Impulse: Something tells me we’re about an hour away from actually introducing Darin Zion to Darin Zion. I hope you can live with what you see.
He steps away, leaving the camera view. Simon watches him go, oblivious to Calico Rose sneaking his microphone away.
Calico Rose: Bet on red. Tip your server. Pants stay on in the Champagne Room. Hasta la Pasta!
And she follows behind Impulse, out of frame.
Simon Tillier: Well… Impulse seems like he’s ready for action! Let’s take it to Matt Mills, standing by with JC Hall!
Lost In Love
The scene jumps to a ReVival backdrop and interviewer Matt Mills who greets the camera with too much excitement.
Matt Mills: Hello everyone! I am here with two very interesting guests indeed! Rookie sensation Jonathan-Christopher Hall and his wife, Vickie!
The camera pans to find Jonathan-Christopher standing beside Vickie. The man is wearing a pink and purple “I’m with my sweetie” t-shirt, an arrow obviously pointing to where his woman is. Of course, Vickie wears the same t-shirt with an arrow pointing the other way. However, Vickie looks significantly taken back when Matt speaks.
Matt Mills: JC, tonight in the main event you’ll…
The interviewer stops. Suddenly, Jonathan-Christopher is expressing the same body language as his wife. The Hall’s look at each other and attempt to speak off-mic.
Vickie Hall: Honey, should you tell him?
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: Sweetheart, I don’t think I can.
Jonathan-Christopher is trembling at the thought. It looks like he’s close to tears so Vickie immediately starts caressing his back. Vic is much shorter than the 6’2” rookie so she’s on her tippy toes to find Matt Mill’s mic.
Vickie Hall: Excuse me, sir. First, we don’t subscribe to the terminology of husband or wife.
Vickie turns to Jonathan-Christopher and wraps her arms around him. Jonathan-Christopher places his head in Vickie’s chest.
Vickie Hall: We are Amazing Life Partners! ALP for short.
By now, Matt has repositioned the mic so Vickie doesn’t have to project upright but she still does anyway.
Vickie Hall: And Jonathan-Christopher should not be addressed as JC. He was given the wonderful name of Jonathan-Christopher. Therefore, he should be called by it. I am disappointed in Lindsay… Troy is it? Did you know she put “JC Hall” on some promotional material last week? Severely rattling. Apparently, her excuse was ‘there wasn’t enough room to put Jonathan-Christopher down’. So she opted for JC.
Vickie, too, is almost worked to tears. She continues to profusely rub Jonathan-Christopher’s back.
Vickie Hall: It’s hurtful when you are spoken for and not collaborated with. It’s as if this is a supreme overlord dictatorship!
Vickie turns to her Amazing Life Partner.
Vickie Hall: It’s okay, honey. It’s okay.
And back to Matt Mills.
Vickie Hall: It’s uh, kinda Mickey Mouse-like, don’t you think?
Matt doesn’t really know what to say, (nor does he understand what Vickie means by this). Regardless, he’s just trying to keep his energy levels high with facial expressions.
Vickie Hall: I forgive you, Mr. Mills. Please, go on with your questions.
Matt starts speaking again but Vickie isn’t paying attention. She’s turned back to Jonathan-Christopher and starts talking softly to him.
Vickie Hall: Are you okay, honey? Do you think you’ll be able to answer the nice man, sweetie?
Jonathan-Christopher puts on a brave face, sucks back tears and nods yes.
Matt Mills: I’m sorry Jonathan-Christopher. I wanted to ask you, main event, Brandon Youngblood. Real big stage. What are your thoughts?
Jonathan-Christopher studies the face of Matt Mills. He’s no longer shook, he’s simply trying to look deep within the man who asked him this question. It takes Jonathan-Christopher some time but eventually, he finds the words.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: Tonight, my Wonder Woman and I begin our journey to the top of the PRIME mountain.
He puts a firm arm around Vickie’s shoulders.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: And…
Suddenly, Vickie pops into his field of vision. She giggles with the playful laughter of a school girl seeing her crush finally acknowledge her from across the room.
Vickie Hall: Darling, your eyes…
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: What about them, my dear?
Vickie Hall: They’re so dreamy. I’m lost in them.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: I’m lost in yours, too.
Vickie Hall: Oh, Jonathan-Christopher. You are divine!
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: Honey, the way you spoke up for me when I was rattled a moment ago…
Vickie Hall: Yes?
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: It made my heart palpitate.
Vickie Hall: Oh, baby.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: Yes, baby?
Vickie Hall: I love it when you call me baby.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: And I love calling you baby!
Vickie Hall: Awwwww goosebumps and butterflies when you call me that, baby.
Meanwhile, Matt Mills doesn’t know what the hell to do. Jonathan-Christopher and Vickie continue to steamroll the interview in their own direction. They now hold each other tightly and gaze deep within their partner’s eyes.
Vickie Hall: I love you Jonathan-Christopher!
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: And I love you, Vickie bunches!
Vickie Hall: Tonight our HALLmark Journey begins!
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: I know, baby. Goodness, I know.
Vickie Hall: This is magical! Nothing can go wrong! You, Jonathan-Christopher, will be Universal Champion!
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: But my heart belongs to you, Vickie.
The dubbed Wonder Woman turns to Matt Mills with a question of her own.
Vickie Hall: Gosh golly am I the luckiest girl in the world or what!?
Jonathan-Christopher and Vickie have, thankfully, stopped talking… although they continue to stare into each other’s eyes. Matt Mills doesn’t know what to make of things.
Matt Mills: Uh, back to ringside?
The scene cuts but not before Jonathan-Christopher and Vickie start rubbing each other’s noses against each other, feeling so warm and cozy.
6 Julian Bathory vs. 11 Genevie Carlson
We cut back to the ring as ‘Killing You Hoes’ is winding down with Genevie Carlson standing in the middle of the ring. The fans are buzzing as Carlson stands in the ring waiting for her opponent.
Nick Stuart: We start again with two newcomers but one is accompanied to the ring by a very familiar face.
Richard Parker: What Violence Jack does is beautiful… as long as it’s not happening to me. Have you seen that man lately Stuart? I think he’s more terrifying with the suit.
‘Shadow’ by The Enigma TNG begins to play as Julian Bathory and Violence Jack come through the curtain. Violence Jack wears his suit to the ring while Bathory is in his wrestling gear. The two get down to the ring, where Violence Jack splits off and begins speaking to a suited man in the crowd. The man hands Violence Jack a stone and Violence Jack turns around smiling.
Nick Stuart: That looks like one of the stones Carlson hid around the arena for the fans to find! How did Violence Jack and Julian Bathory end up with that thing!
Richard Parker: That’s brilliant! The mind games of Violence Jack have begun!
Jack turns around flashing the stone to a surprised Genevie Carlson. He looks at her smirking, and begins whispering softly into his hands. He looks up at Carlson and gives her a knowing nod and a smirk.
Genevie Carlson and Julian Bathory stare each other down for a moment as Jimmy Turnbull calls for the bell.
The two pace around the ring, taking their time. Bathory tries to dive in for a single leg but Carlson manages to scamper away from the larger opponent.
Nick Stuart: From my notes, Bathory does like to use leg locks.
Richard Parker: Did you draw pictures? Because I know you can’t read.
Carlson recomposes herself, and resumes the dance around the ring with Bathory. Violence Jack is on the outside staring a hole through Bathory. Bathory noticing the glare shoots in for another single leg, but Carlson sees the move coming and steps to the side, hitting Bathory across the face with a kick. Bathory covers up while Carlson heads to the ropes, and comes back smashing Bathory in the mouth with a low drop kick.
Nick Stuart: What a maneuver by Carlson!
Richard Parker: Jack! Use that rock against her!
Nick Stuart: You heard her Richard, they can’t be used to make a wish for her to outright lose against Bathory.
Carlson rolls to her feet, and slams a foot across Bathory’s neck while grabbing the rope. Carlson smirks at the camera as she continues applying punishment to Bathory while Jimmy Turnbull begins counting the choke.
Richard Parker: Great strategy so far from Carlson. Get the bigger guy down on the ground and choke the life out of him! I should choke you like that Stuart!
Nick Stuart: It is a good strategy Richard, but I don’t think I’d be up for that.
Carlson backs away as Turnbull gets to the four count and Bathory rolls to the other side of the ring while clutching at his neck. Bathory uses the ropes to climb to his feet, and Carlson is back on him delivering a forearm smash. Bathory stumbles away, and finally cuts Carlson’s momentum with a gouge to the eyes.
Richard Parker: That’s some good work by Bathory there!
Nick Stuart: Richard, has anyone ever told you that you’re a dick?
Richard Parker: My name is Richard… of course they have…
Carlson turns back towards Bathory and gets hammered with a few quick right hands. Carlson reels and Bathory slams her to the mat with a scoop slam. Bathory goes to grab Carlson in a reverse chin lock, but she tries to head butt her opponent away. Bathory once again cuts Carlson’s comeback attempt off by floating over his opponent with a snapmare.
Nick Stuart: Every time Genevie Carlson tries to get back on the offensive Bathory is right there to take the momentum back.
Richard Parker: Of course Nick, Violence Jack trained him well!
Carlson begins to get up and Bathory is right there driving closed right hands into the back of Carlson. He goes to irish whip her into the ropes, but Genevie manages to stop and send Bathory careening into the turnbuckles. Bathory slams into the corner but comes right back with a leg lariat!
Nick Stuart: Again! Bathory finds a way to keep Carlson from regaining the upper hand in this match.
Richard Parker: He’s smart Nick, he’s a smart guy. You aren’t going to get one over on a smart guy.
Bathory is the first to his feet, but he’s clutching at his back as he gets up. He measures his smaller opponent and fires himself at her looking to clean her out with a lariat. Genevie ducks under and comes back off the ropes. The two meet in the center with a huge double clothesline. The crowd begins stomping their feet and cheering in the arena.
Nick Stuart: Listen to these PRIMEates! They have two wrestlers out here laying it all on the line.
Richard Parker: Get up Bathory! You got this! You can do this! Believe in Violence Jack and whatever cthulhu God he believes in!
Bathory crawls to his feet first, while Carlson pulls herself up across the ring. Carlson runs at Bathory looking for another clothesline, but Julian spins around having the same idea. Both connect again, but neither goes down. They both stumble backwards a few steps, Bathory recovers quicker and manages to slide around Carlson and goes for a german suplex. Carlson flips all the way over landing on her feet near the ropes. Bathory gets up quickly but Carlson springboards and smashes him with #BowDown!
Richard Parker: NO! NO! JACK DO SOMETHING! PRAY TO THE ROCK OR WHATEVER!
Nick Stuart: Bathory is in big trouble here!
Violence Jack jumps up on the apron and spins Jimmy Turnbull around. Turnbull begins shouting with Violence Jack to get off the apron, but Jack now tries to get into the ring. Across the ring Carlson peels her knee pad down and bounces Bathory’s head off her knee.
Nick Stuart: Sorceress’ Spell! Sorceress’ Spell! That’s gotta be it for Bathory!
Richard Parker: This is supposed to be the second coming! This can’t be happening.
Genevie goes for a pin attempt and hooks the leg. She’s glaring across the ring at Violence Jack who’s still screaming and arguing with the official. She holds Bathory’s leg for what feels like forever, before getting frustrated and storming across the ring to try to smash Jack with a forearm!
Richard Parker: He’s not her opponent! He’s retired! Disqualify her!
Nick Stuart: Genevie Carlson is taking matters into her own hands tonight!
Jack jumps down off the apron and waves off Carlson. Carlson is hanging halfway out of the ring waiving for Violence Jack to come back down to the ring. Bathory finally comes to. He notices the situation and sees a stone laying in the middle of the ring on the ground just behind Carlson. Bathory bee-lines over to it, scooping it up into his hand before Turnbull can see what happens. Bathory skulks off to the corner and acts injured as Turnbull and Carlson finally turns around.
Nick Stuart: Not like this! He’s got one of those stones Carlson hid in the crowd in his hand! Turnbull can’t see it!
Richard Parker: HAHAHA! He’s going to crush her with her own magic rock! This is great!
With the problem solved, Carlson stomps over to Bathory. She drives a forearm across his face while he lays in the corner. Carlson takes a few steps back and comes running in. Bathory smashes her with his stone carrying right hand and Carlson goes down like a sack of bricks.
Nick Stuart: I think Turnbull suspects something!
Richard Parker: Bathory has the right hand of Cthulhu! He’s a trained killer!
Jack jumps up on the apron again and is screaming at Turnbull distracting him enough that Bathory can drop the stone and half kick it out of the ring while he goes for the cover. Jack points to the cover attempt while Turnbull turns around to count.
Nick Stuart: That was pure reflex! She’s still out!
Richard Parker: How do you kill her? He hit her with a MAGIC STONE!
Bathory is disgusted and pulls Carlson to her feet. He sets her up for ‘Chaos Reigns’ and tries to twist over but Genevie Carlson tries to fight the spin by punching Bathory in the face multiple times. Bathory is shocked and stops for a moment, elbowing Carlson multiple times in the chest and neck while holding her hair. Then he spins her over!
Richard Parker: CHAOS REIGNS! CHAOS REIGNS!
Bathory hooks the leg and pins Genevie Carlson.
DING DING DING
Bathory rolls out of the ring to Violence Jack and begins to limp to the back with ‘Shadow’ by The Enigma TNG blares while the two walk to the back with boos and garbage flying at the pair.
Nick Stuart: What a fight from Genevie Carlson. Ton of heart, absolutely incredible effort!
Richard Parker: All that matters is that you win Nick! That’s all that matters when it comes to the Universal Championship tournament! Julian Bathory lives to fight another day!
And Now For Something Completely Different
The MGM Grand has some lovely spaces built for entertainment, live events, and hospitality. This? It ain’t one of ‘em. The viewer at home finds themselves looking into a long room, whose walls are lined with boxes and crates, some spilling their decorative contents out onto the floor. All told, it looks like the Room of Requirement threw up – the closing shot to an episode of Hoarders, where the house could still use a yard sale or ten before it’s up to code, but hey at least all the dead cats are gone. Allegedly.
In the middle of this cardboard disaster is a throne that looks like it would be better suited at Caesar’s Palace in the mid-90s, but is instead here amidst the boxes, the feather boas, the Half-Blood Prince’s potion book, a gaudy “Happy New Year 2015” banner, and, presumably, Harry Potter’s virginity. The throne itself has been positioned off-center, and tilted ever so slightly. Perhaps it’s to make the scene look more inviting, perhaps it’s a desperate attempt to give off some hardcore “Masterpiece Theater” vibes. Regardless, it’s currently home to a dork in a white suit and blue lucha mask. Oh, and a crown.
King Blueberry: Greetings and salutations friends and fellows, and welcome to the dawning of a new era. The sun has risen and cast its warm, gentle glow across the fields, bathing the brilliant bounty of berries in beautiful… uhh… In… you know…
There’s a flash of panic, only partially obscured by the royal blue luchador mask, as the focus of our attention has very clearly forgotten what was probably a painstakingly crafted and well-practiced monolog full of alliteration and poignant fruit references. Which is a really fancy way of saying that the big dope forgot his lines. No surprise there, really. In fairness, it was probably never going to be very good.
Let’s see if this schmuck can reassert himself.
King Blueberry: For those of you who don’t know me, hi, I’m King Blueberry, the Viscount of the Vineyards! The Antioxidant Ambassador! The Prince of Produce! Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Wait, how can you be a king of one thing and a prince of another at the same time? That makes no sense.” Well here’s the deal, okay. There’s like a whole hierarchy that I have to deal with, you know? Carrots, and celery, and whatever? They’ve got their own thing going. I don’t mess with them, they don’t mess with me, and everyone’s happy. Otherwise it turns into a whole thing, and the lawyers get involved, and buddy let me tell you that you do not want to be on the other end of a rutabaga that decided to lawyer-up. It’s not a good time for anyone. Brassicas got themselves a Scrooge McDuck money vault and zero chill.
Oh well. He tried.
King Blueberry: But we’re not here to talk about that. Oh no. What I have for you instead is much, much better. Much cooler. See, I have traveled the world and found a partner worthy of helping me subjugate the PRIME…
He shouts the word, not understanding the difference between modern marketing stylization and internet message board capslock screaming.
King Blueberry: …tag team division. A luchador of renown from the hallowed halls of Mexico, whose offense is so electric that it will leave you convulsing. A second-generation star of immeasurable talent. I present to you the newest member of my royal food court. Get ready PRIME…
Again with the shouting.
King Blueberry: …for El Hijo de Super Cool Guy!
He gestures back over his shoulder and waits. Nothing happens.
King Blueberry: I said… for El Hijo de Super Cool Guy!
Again, nothing. There is an awkward twelve seconds of silence before the figurative lightbulb flickers to life. That’s when ol’ KB gets up from his throne and scurries to a space twenty feet back that had until now been obscured by darkness. A literal lightbulb flickers to life, illuminating the silhouette of another person.
This other figure – still not clearly visible, mind you – stands with his feet shoulder length apart, and one hip popped to its side in a pose that says “I’m sassy, but still like to have fun.” One arm hangs slightly bent, hand hovering a good 2 inches away from the hip, with the other arm raised into the air. He is, for all intents and purposes, a little teapot short and stout.
The king reclaims his throne, but not before reaching down to pick up something that the camera doesn’t quite catch.
King Blueberry: Surprised? You should be. My partner is different from anyone you have ever seen compete inside the squared circle, and with far too much talent to be stuck at that Guadalajara Macy’s where I found him, that’s for damn sure. Wave to the nice people, hombre!
Once again the king looks back over his shoulder, all the while his left hand moving like he’s trying to start a tiny, invisible lawn mower. Once again nothing happens.
King Blueberry: Oh for the love…
He mutters that last bit, and then starts tugging harder. It’s here where the camera picks up a tiny reflection of light coming off the monofilament line that the King is holding. Super Cool Guy’s arm moves in an awkward wave, as if it’s only articulated at the shoulder, and then only to rotate north to south.
King Blueberry: You’ll have to forgive him, he’s still learning the customs.
The arm falls off, clattering to the floor.
King Blueberry: Cool Guy, no!
The crowned weirdo leaps from his seat, but forgets to drop the filament in the process. The ensuing chain reaction plays out as follows: the filament is pulled taught; the arm it is attached to is dragged along the floor; it catches on the lamp that had been crudely stood up in the background, which then also topples to the floor; the lightbulb shatters and the back half of the room is dark again; King Blueberry trips over the arm now occluded by shadows; he falls into a case of long, red, fright wigs.
At last, mercifully, the camera cuts to something better.
The screen cuts to what appears to be handheld video. The cameraman is weaving in and out of a positive scrum of teased hair, leather, cigarette smoke, and beers both import and domestic. The thud of bass and drums sounds muffled, and once we get past two beefy security men, it becomes clear: we’re making it to the backstage area of a concert venue. And what a backstage! Catering tables, various dudes with attitudes, and pretty things practically carpet the floor, but the cameraman has a target.
We see him, finally, the crowd parting like the seas. Five and a half feet tall on his best day and damn near as wide at the shoulders, a miniature mountain of muscle with both a mustache and a teased out blonde mullet: “Boogie” Barry Delgado, one half of Solid Gold Rock And Roll. He chuckles, throwing his thumb over his shoulder and drawing our attention to the lanky frame of Trent Sadikaj, who is sitting on a couch like a rockstar nucleus surrounded by groupie electrons.
Boogie: Listen, my bro over there is a little, how you might say, preoccupied. But that’s just the thing that comes with being on the road and rockin’ shows, dude. The women. The ‘backstage betties’. The groups, the leg, that sweet southern comfort.
He takes a pause to enjoy a sip on his glass of something brown and alcoholic, shrugging slightly.
Boogie: And even though we both find the idea of introducing internationally known talent to be at least a little, y’know, insulting…well, the management asked nicely. And we’re dudes of the people, we live to please. So since some of you may have been hermits until now, maybe you just recently regained all of your senses due to experimental medicine, or you’re just now waking up from a coma and this is the first thing you seeing on the television…
His spine straightens, his massive chest puffs out. He runs a hand through his mullet, letting the party in the back swing with a practiced, shampoo-commercial flair.
Boogie: …I’m Boogie. Barry Delgado to the government, I lay down that thumping night time pulse and crack skulls in that ring whenever I do my damn thing! And this guy? C’mon, walk with me.
Boogie Barry kills his glass and leads the cameraman over to the couch. He holds his hand out by way of introduction, showing his compatriot: lanky to an extreme degree, positively poured into his leather pants, knee high boots all patent leather and polished chrome. Barry leans down and cocks his head.
Boogie: This is Boots. Say “Hi” to the folks, dude.
The man draws away from the conversation he was having with a pretty lady, and he doesn’t even need to rev up–the engine goes dead to 120.
Boots: Ay-yay-yow! Electric Boots on the scene, rising to the top–
Boogie and Boots: Fresh cream!
Boots: If you don’t know, what’s your damage? If you don’t know, what’s it like? Is that ignorance bliss? Hold on one sec…
Boots stands up, his height only enhanced by how stocky his partner is. He turns to the bevy of callers with a hand on his heart, batting his mascara’d lashes and affecting a slight pout.
Boots: Babies, Electric Warrior got a little bit of work to do. Why don’t y’all scurry off to the drinks table and give me a tight ten?
As they begin to stand and walk away, he grasps each by their hand, smiling.
Boots: Yes, you…you, you’re always a favorite…ah, my sweet Georgia peach…you especially…you I don’t know, you’re new? We’re going to know one another on definitive levels…mwah, mwah, mwah.
He blows kisses as they positively strut out of frame. He looks after them, totally lost, before a slight nudge to ribs from Boogie’s elbow.
Boots: Where was I?
Boogie: We’re saying hello to PRIME.
Sadikaj steps forward, wiggling his shoulders slightly.
Boots: Baby baby bay-bees, understand that you’re staring at something that’s beyond the dull copper of your imaginations. We transcend, we elevate, and we glitter in the darkness just as well as we do in the sunshine. We are Solid…Gold. We think globally, and we sling globally. But if you want me to give a bon mot to the locals, understand this. We toast Mimosa’s from coast to coast, I’m in those penthouse suites and I ain’t bringing my clothes.
Delgado claps him on the shoulder, grinning.
Boogie: Is the notice given, Boots?
Trent smirks and throws an arm around his bassist, holding his other out as if considering a spectacle in the night’s sky.
Boots: Consider the notice signed, sealed, delivered, and washing out the stars with a neon glow. Live your dreams and think you can be the next big thing, but we got that bad news for any team in PRIME. Boogie lay the news down!
Boogie Barry steps forward, his boulderlike biceps flexing. He takes up the whole frame and grasps the camera itself, getting in extreme close.
Boogie: Y’all can be anything you wanna be…
He lets go and strides past the cameraman, leaving Electric Boots, who holds his arms out to soak in adulation. He finally stops after a solid ( gold ) 10 seconds of posing, and winks at the camera.
Boots: …except us. Mercy!
He blows a kiss to the viewers at home, executes a quick spin, and struts off camera like a fusion dance of Mick Jagger and Conor Macgregor. The noise of the room keeps going as the screen fades down to black, leaving us with a shimmering logo that reads:
SOLID GOLD ROCK AND ROLL
2 Impulse vs. 15 Darin Zion
We pan around the capacity crowd, scanning each row for fans aimlessly tossing popcorn into their mouths. Or some of the younger PRIMEate generation scooping up Dippin’ Dots like there’s no tomorrow. Or better yet, some of the dudes who already tailgated out in the parking lot of the MGM Grand and are 2.9999 sheets to the wind with a plastic cup of beer in their hands.
You can feel these people enjoying the show just by their presence and as they anxiously await the next match-up.
There’s a row of older gentlemen all wearing a white shirt, each representing a letter of PRIME. Unfortunately for them, two are standing incorrectly and it spells out “PRIEM”.
Whipping around to another row in some other random part of the arena, we see a guy wearing a Token Weed shirt and a girl standing next to him wearing a Ria Nightshade hoodie. Once they realize they’re on camera, they start whirling around blue-colored PRIME glowsticks.
Finally, before we head to ringside, there’s a younger millennial looking couple looking like a couple deer in the headlights. They’re just wearing boring Under Armour© clothing. Once they realize they’re on the PRIMEView, they immediately start kissing, thinking they’re on some kind of kiss cam.
Nick Stuart: Alright, PRIMEates. After a fine set of first round match-ups, we have another one in store for you.
Richard Parker: You said it, Nick. Continuing with the Rolo side of the brackets, we have IMPULSE Vs Darin Zion.
“Happy Song” by Bring Me The Horizon blasts over the PA System as Darin Zion, adorned in a black leather jacket, makes his way down to the ring accompanied by none other than Meredith.
Nick Stuart: Ohh. I think I hear some boos already coming from the PRIMEates! Looks like they don’t take kindly to Darin’s somewhat annoying Jabber behavior. Speaking of which, are you on Jabber, Rich?
Richard Parker: Firstly, I am, but I’m not revealing my JabID to you or anyone else on live TV because I don’t want to awkwardly block you for just being you or create any potential stalker scenarios.. Secondly, I don’t know why anybody would be judging this guy so quickly. He hasn’t even had a match yet! For all we know, Darin Zion could be the toughest opponent in this entire Almassy tournament!
Nick spits out a mouthful of water he was sipping.
Nick Stuart: Sure. You double down on that if you need to.
Vince Howard: Making his way to the ring first… from Crown Point, Indiana… weighing in at 220lbs… DARIN ZION!
Zion heads down the ramp and slaps some of the fans’ hands who have their arms outstretched. He even goes in for a hug with a couple of people, who, very awkwardly, don’t know what to do with themselves. One particular fan shouts at him, but Zion makes it look like he’s going to slap his hand anyway. The booing man extends his hand only for Zion to pull his hand back and slick his hair along with it!
Nick Stuart: Something inside me feels compelled to let out an egregious “Wooo!”, and I don’t really know why.
Richard Parker: Yeah I think I’ve seen that whole “sucker the fan in and then deny him” somewhere before.
The Man Who Loves Everybody climbs the turnbuckle and sticks his hands out, receiving a chorus of boos to his obvious nonchalant, annoying behavior.
Once Zion steps between the ropes…
“Cannonball” by SIRSY cues up and the crowd roars with excitement!
Nick Stuart: All right, we’re about to get our first look at Impulse in over ten years, Richard! What do you expect to see from this veteran of the mat?
Richard Parker: Very little, Stuart. Here’s a guy who couldn’t hack it in the sport, and now we’re expected to believe he can survive in PRIME five years older, without those five years of experience?
Nick Stuart: That’s certainly something to think about, but he’s got a number two seed for a reason!
Richard Parker: Yep. Luck of the draw.
Just as the song hits the crescendo, the fans’ cheers intensify as Impulse steps through into the arena, followed half a step behind by Calico Rose.
Vince Howard: Making his way to the ring first… from New York, New York… weighing in at 191lbs… he is the Marathon Man! This… is… IMPULSE!
Impulse looks around, nodding appreciatively, while Cally stops at the top of the aisle and takes an exaggerated bow. They look at each other and give a fist bump before making their way to the ring, slapping an occasional hand here and there.
PRIME official Ashley Barlow asks if Zion is ready.
Then asks Impulse.
When both competitors nod, Barlow calls for the bell.
Circling each other for a moment, Zion actually shoots in for a double-leg takedown, but Impulse sidesteps the attempt. Nodding his head in approval of this attempt, Impulse rotates his shoulders and cranks his neck to further loosen himself up. Zion, meanwhile, is back to his feet, hunched over, and ready to take Impulse down.
Impulse leads another circle around the ring, causing Zion to follow him, only to turn around without warning and blast him with a knife-edge chop to the chest. Impulse follows it up with some snug rights and lefts, drawing excitement from the crowd.
Leaning into the ropes, Impulse sends Zion to the opposite side. On the rebound, Zion gains some momentum and ducks a clothesline attempt. Impulse shows great speed in his own right and after rebounding a second time, he leaps with an arm outstretched and nails Zion with a vertical leaping back-elbow shot that sends Zion down to the canvas.
Nick Stuart: Both of these competitors are extremely fast, but I would have to give the edge to Impulse with the speed factor.
Richard Parker: Seeing that Impulse is thirty-four pounds lighter than Darin Zion, I don’t think it’s that difficult to deduce who’s faster here, ole Nicky buddy.
Rather than going for an early pin attempt, Impulse kips up to the delight of the crowd, doing his best to play up to the fans he’s sorely missed. In no time at all, it becomes clear that the feeling is mutual.
YOU STILL GOT IT!!
CLAP, CLAP, CLAPCLAPCLAP
Nick Stuart: After ten-years, I’d say so.
Richard Parker: You kidding me?! He just kipped up after an elbow shot. Whoopty friggin’ doo.
Playing to the crowd is the only distraction Zion needs as he is already up and waiting for Impulse to turn around. Checking his jaw after that elbow shot, Zion looks furious.
Once Impulse turns around, Zion is there with a dropkick that sends Impulse into the turnbuckles. Before the Marathon Man can even recover, Zion is behind him with the go-behind.
Wrapping his arms up in a double-chicken wing, Zion lifts Impulse up and snaps back down to the mat with a vicious tiger suplex. The fans shriek at the bad landing Impulse took on his neck as the PRIMEView shows the replay for everyone in Vegas and all the people watching on their devices at home.
Nick Stuart: Holy MOTHER. A… tiger suplex?! This early?! He’s going for the cover and Impulse looks to be in a bad way here!
THR- Impulse kicks out and Zion looks crestfallen.
Richard Parker: That was a close one. I’ll take Impulse, you, all of these people, and the idiots on Jabber shouldn’t have underestimated him for 500, Alex. May the G.O.A.T. of gameshow hosts rest in peace.
Guiding Impulse back to his feet, Zion sets him up for a suplex on the harder side of the ring. Lifting him up and back down with lightning speed, Zion connects with the snap suplex!
Impulse instinctively rolls to the outside. Zion, however, is patient and does not follow him outside. Instead, he waits for Impulse to get up. Once Impulse does, Zion runs into the ropes facing the PRIMEView. Gaining momentum, Zion dives through the ropes…
Nick Stuart: RICH, LOOK OUT!!
…but crashes over the announce table as Impulse realizes what was about to happen at the last moment! Zion’s head crashes into the guardrail behind the commentary team, as the rest of him lands in an awkward heap between Parker and Stuart who had the wherewithal to move out of the way from the failed suicide dive.
Richard Parker: (re-adjusting headset) Well, that didn’t work out so well. Crash and buuuuuuuuurn!!
Realizing this could be his moment, Impulse frantically climbs over the announce table and grabs Zion. Barlow’s at one with the outside count. Ripping him up from the mat, Impulse drags him across the announce table, spilling pens and pencils and Parker’s water everywhere. Barlow’s at two.
With Zion’s upper torso hanging over the edge of the table, Impulse hunches down and sets him up for a suplex. Barlow’s at two. Showing great strength, Impulse dead lifts Zion from his vulnerable state on the table down onto the outside mat!
By this time, Barlow’s at seven. Picking Zion up from the outside mat, Impulse rolls him into the ring and follows in order to beat the count. Impulse waits against the turnbuckles for Zion to get up on his own.
The impact from Impulse’s superkick nailing Zion right in the jaw echoes throughout the MGM Grand.
Nick Stuart: Sudden Impact!!
Richard Parker: Goodnight Zion. That’s gotta be it.
Impulse hooks a leg.
Barlow calls for the bell!
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: The winner of this match via pinfall and advancing to the next round of the Almasy Invitational… IMPULSE!
Nick Stuart: Well that one unexpectedly got out of hand! That missed suicide dive was brutal. I hope Darin’s okay after that!
Richard Parker: Darin Zion definitely took the risk vs reward gamble with that dive tonight. He had Impulse dead to rights and if he had actually hit that dive, I think we’d be seeing a very different outcome tonight.
Nick Stuart: I don’t know about “dead to rights” but he was definitely on a momentum roll. In the end, Impulse used his ring savviness to outwit and beat his opponent. Congratulations to Impulse for not only his first match in a decade, but his first win as well!
Ashley Barlow checks on Darin Zion while Impulse stands on the middle turnbuckle, playing up his victory to the crowd at hand.
Matt Ward Meets The Donkey
Nick Stuart: What a night it has been so far here on ACE, live from the MGM Grand, and we still have plenty of PRIME to go.
Richard Parker: So, while we were off, what did you get into? Any new hobbies?
Nick Stuart: Hobbies?
Richard Parker: I’m trying to catch up with my old partner here. Did you get into any hobbies? Join any clubs? Find Hoyt in your life. Ran a marathon. I don’t know, hobbies.
Nick Stuart: Its funny you should ask. I took a class in origami and have gotten pretty good at it, if I do say so myself.
Richard Parker: What is that, a weird kink?
Nick Stuart: Nope, it’s the art of paper folding.
Nick grabs a piece of paper and folds it into a swan and hands it to Richard Parker who looks at in bewilderment.
Richard Parker: Now what I’m I supposed to do with this?
Nick Stuart: Keep it, it’s now art.
Richard Parker: So, because you fold something that looks like a duck….
Nick Stuart: …swan
Richard Parker: …a swan!!! I’m now obligated to keep it? Lame. Is it like a fortune cookie, is something inside of it? That would be fun.
Richard unfolds it looking for a hidden message but is sadly disappointed, as is Nick Stuart whose artwork has been destroyed right in front of him.
Nick Stuart: You ruined it!! Let’s go backstage for a meeting of sorts.
We’re brought to the backstage office of Matt Ward. No, not the world famous folk singer. Fans once knew him as PRIME’s Wrecking Ball but now he’s known as the Executive Vice President of Talent Strategy and Development. He’s even got a shiny name plate on his desk. The office is simple, a bit cold, much like the man who occupies it. Ward is on the phone with obviously a secretary.
Matt Ward: I’m not sure how this guy got on my schedule, but I’ll hear him out. Send in … “The Donkey?” Is that right, the Donkey? Jesus. Ok.
In walks a homely homeless looking man with messy gray hair, dark circles under his eyes, and an uneven, messy beard. He is short, stocky, and dressed in sweatpants and a stained red and black flannel shirt. His eyes are crossed, his nose is large, his ears are calloused, and he just seems out of place and out of sorts. Matt Ward shakes his hand and offers him a seat.
Matt Ward: Please have a seat Mr. Donkey.
The foul man chuckles briefly as he sits down.
The Donkey: For I am a messenger from the other side and perhaps my name is not traditional for your times. So, to make things more comfortable why don’t you just call me Joe. Joe Burro.
Matt Ward: Like the football player?
Joe Burro: I’m not familiar, but sure.
Matt Ward: Well Mr. Burro, we’re in the middle of a show, so my time is short. I understand you applied and received a manager’s license here in PRIME. I thought you were bringing in your talent today?
The man chuckles a bit as he grabs a mint from a candy jar on the desk in the shape of Tony Rolo’s head. He sucks on the mint for an uncomfortable amount of time.
Joe Burro: Mmmmm Minty. Yes, I feel like we may have a misunderstanding. For I am simply a courier. You see, Mr. Ward, I’m not sure how versed you are on the history of the Luchadores and wrestling’s roots to the heavens? The Gods have been into wrestling from the Old Testament, the New Testament, to testaments yet to be written.
Tempted by the enjoyment the Donkey is having with his mint, Matt Ward grabs a piece for himself.
Matt Ward: I know some of the history. Mr. Burro, but again, my time is limited here. Can we speed this up?
Joe Burro: Luchadores are Gods of sorts. Weaker Gods, or pieces of Gods, or knights of Gods who are sent to different realms to compete in the game of wrestling, mainly in Mexico. Masks are sacred and a physical representation of a God’s divine grace. In mythology, Luchadores are folk heroes and symbols of justice as perceived by the humans who also enjoy the God’s combat game.
Matt Ward: Right, right, right, symbols of Gods. I got it.
Joe Burro: Mictlāntēcutli was an Aztec God of the underworld. A large skull headed man with empty eye sockets that emitted light. A God with a head dress of owl feather, a neckless of human eyeballs, and ear spools made from human bones. A real bad hombre, Mr. Ward. He governed the afterlife where he judged souls based on normal deaths, heroic deaths, and non-heroic deaths. In Mictlāntēcutli’s possession was the bones of the creatures of the previous world of the 4th Sun. Another God, Quetzalcoatl, came to gather these bones. Mictlāntēcutli did not make it easy and put Quetazal through some very unfair tests. In the end broken badly Quetazal escaped with the bones. The goddesses took these bones and mixed them with Quetazal’s blood and mankind was created as the first woman and man who walked this earth known by western mythology as Adam and Eve.
Matt Ward: Right? Again, where are we going with this? I appreciate the history lesson but would be even more appreciative of getting to the point.
The creepy man places an even creepier burlap sack on the desk besides the mints.
Joe Burro: Time is a concept that is perplexing to the Gods whom are timeless. Anyway. It turns out that Mictlāntēcutli wasn’t completely honest. Given the fact that in western mythology his name translates loosely to Lucifer it’s completely understandable. So Mictlāntēcutli kept the bones of the previous world’s greatest warrior in a gold chest in his kingdom. A few years ago, the son of God, my Master, paid a visit to Mictlāntēcutli challenging him to a steel cage death match for Mictlāntēcutli’s kingdom of Mictlan and those forgotten bones or, if he lost, my master’s eternal servitude. Given he’s the son of the main God Ra, it intrigued Mictlāntēcutli as he hated Ra. A real blood feud you don’t have time for me to explain. All the Gods attended the sold-out event where we saw my God kill Mictlāntēcutli by ripping off his Lucha mask and exposing his rotting skin. Actually, he cut his head off but symbolism is better for folklore sake.
Matt Ward: Sorry I missed the big event, but we are short on time.
Joe Burro: You don’t know how true those words are, Mr. Ward. After the victory my GOD claimed control of the kingdom of Mictlan and found those old sacred bones. Grinding the bones of the old-world warriors mixed with the bones of the fallen Mictlāntēcutli and my Masters blood, he fused them into Mictlāntēcutli’s old Lucha mask and created this.
The creepy man pulls out a mask and lays it on the desk next to the mint jar. The mask is also creepy as it appears gold and black in color made to look like a skull head with an owl feather head dress. It has golden tusks and the eyes appear to be glowing white. A smaller golden skull sits in the middle of the forehead.
Joe Burro: Whoever wears this mask will be free of all injury and have the power, wits, and skill of the old world’s best warriors and Mictlāntēcutli himself. The catch is whatever earthly person who wears it will be under the control of my God. My God told me to tell you to choose carefully to whom you want to wear his mask as they will be unstoppable. Pick your own poison carefully Mr. Ward for hell will follow.
Matt Ward cracks a smile while looking inquisitively at the mask as he stands up from behind his desk.
Matt Ward: Yeah, that’s not really the direction PRIME is going. I’m sorry to waste your time Mr. Burro but we’re going to pass on the mask, or what not. I have great respect for Lucha tradition and if you would like to comeback with a Lucha star perhaps we can arrange another meeting but the mask controlling a person gimmick really isn’t going to work here. Sorry.
Joe Burro: Tragic. If you change your mind the mask remains.
Matt Ward: It’s a hard no Mr. Burro, if you would please take the mask with you that would be great.
Joe Burro: My God will not be pleased. This was your only chance to make a simple choice that will define the future of PRIME.
The creepy man shoves the mask back into the sack and exits as Matt Ward shakes his head and grabs another mint.
Nick Stuart: I’m not sure what the hell that was.
Richard Parker: A historic mask, Stuart! Pay attention. It belongs in a museum!
Nick Stuart: OK, Dr. Jones, let’s move on.
Richard Parker: Who?
8 Bryan Williams vs. 9 Miles Lucky
Nick Stuart: Six out of the opening eight rounds to the Almasy Invitational Tournament are behind us, but this next one may be one of the more interesting match-ups we see this evening, when Bryan Williams meets Miles Lucky in the ring!
Richard Parker: “Interesting?” How!? I never even heard of these guys!
Nick Stuart: That may change after tonight, Rich. Though relatively new to PRIME, there’s a lot of history between these two competitors. Bryan Williams was more or less a mentor to Miles Lucky in his formative years. Who knows what will happen when the student finally faces the master in the ring?
Richard Parker: Ah… so Miles is like the Kanye to Bryan’s Jay-Z. Got it.
Nick Stuart: Well if you want to get technical… ugh, actually, let’s not get into it. In any case, tensions are high between these two, as they came to blows last week when they crossed paths at a press event. Tonight, in this first round tournament match-up, they look to finally settle the score in a face-off that’s been a long time coming!
“Tech Noir” by Perturbator plays through the PA as the house lights come down and neon lights fill up the stage. BRYAN WILLIAMS steps through the curtain and makes his way down the ramp.
Vince Howard: The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, the eighth seed in the Almasy Invitational Tournament! Hailing from New York, New York, and weighing in at one-hundred and eighty-five pounds… here is, BRYYYAAAN WIIILLLIIIAAAMMMS!!
“Play God” by Sam Fender plays through the PA as the house lights come up again. MILES LUCKY bursts through the curtain and charges down to the ring, looking like a maniac.
Vince Howard: And the opponent, the ninth seed in the tournament! Hailing from the City, and weighing in at one-hundred and eighty pounds… please welcome, MIIILLLEEES LUUUUUUCKYYYYYY!!
Lucky slides under the ropes to enter the ring, and official Elvis Nixon sternly commands both mentor and mentee to stay apart until the bell. Bryan and Miles go to their corners, but never stop staring at each other. Nixon gives the cue to the timekeeper.
At the sound of the bell, both men come out of their corners and engage in a long, tense staredown. The crowd noise ramps up to a steady roar. Both men are visibly bereft with emotion as they look at one another–Williams slightly trembling as he fights through his feelings, while Lucky switches through rage and glee and sadness like flipping through television channels.
Nick Stuart: The atmosphere in the MGM Grand Garden Arena is absolutely palpable right now!
Richard Parker: I have no idea why. They haven’t even done anything yet!
Words are quietly exchanged between them as they slowly close the distance between each other. Bryan shakes his head. Anguish fills Miles’ face. Then all at once, they explode upon each other into an all-out brawl of rights and lefts. The out-of-control slugfest sends both competitors dancing around the squared circle in a storm of violence. The crowd is cheering wildly!
Sheer animal tenacity gives Miles Lucky the upper hand as he lands a few blows. Williams backs into the corner and soaks up repeated wild punches, allowing his former pupil to let it all out. Official Elvis Nixon commands them to take the fight out of the corner. Lucky concedes, grabbing Williams by the neck to lead him out of the corner.
Lucky takes his mentor around the head and looks for a Cravat Neckbreaker–but Williams has it scouted and quickly reverses out! Bryan locks up the wrists and twists Miles around before slamming him to the mat with a Straightjacket Suplex! Williams immediately jumps on his protégé to keep him on the mat, but Lucky bursts to his feet with a roaring uppercut that catches him on the chin and leaves him reeling.
Bryan rubs his face as Miles rallies and shoots in low. Williams blocks the takedown and delivers elbows to the spine to put Lucky to his knees. Then he shows Lucky how it’s done by grabbing him around the head and executing a Cravat neckbreaker of his own to put him to the canvas! Williams quickly goes for the pin…
Nick Stuart: Williams goes for the first cover in this match following the neckbreaker, but almost expected the kickout from Miles Lucky. It’s clear these two know each other all too well. Bryan Williams taught Miles Lucky everything he knows! He can predict his every move!
Richard Parker: Can he predict winning lotto tickets? ‘Cause then I might be interested in the guy.
Bryan Williams traps Lucky in a side headlock to keep him on the ground, not wanting to let him up. Miles doesn’t take it lying down, literally and figuratively, as he stubbornly works back to his feet. He grabs Williams by the waist and lifts for the Blue Thunder Bomb–but Bryan AGAIN sees it coming and slips out behind Lucky. Before Miles can react, Williams lifts him off his feet and drops him on his head and neck with the Backdrop Driver!
Lucky’s engines have cooled as he lies on the mat, holding his neck and baring his teeth like an animal in pain. Bryan Williams watches him closely, patiently waiting for Miles to slowly work his way back off the mat. When the time is right, he hits the ropes and connects with a perfectly timed running Bicycle Knee that catches Lucky in the side of the head, and immediately goes for the lateral press!
NO! Lucky kicks out before the three!
Williams traps Miles again on the mat with an inverted facelock, wrenching back on the neck of his protégé. Lucky thrashes as he tries to pull himself loose, but only succeeds in twisting over to prevent his mentor from locking in a Dragon Sleeper. Miles finds his footing and fights to get back up while Bryan wrangles him like a wild animal.
Williams has Lucky in position for the Solar Flare Homicide (Rolling Cutter)–but Miles, knowing the move all too well, slips out at the last second and ends up behind him! Bryan gets shoved into the ropes, and on the return runs straight into a charging HEADBUTT out of nowhere from a suddenly reenergized Miles Lucky! Lucky howls madly and slaps his own head while the fans cheer the sudden comeback.
Nick Stuart: Bryan Williams looked to be handily in control of things, but Miles Lucky is showing some uncanny resilience in this battle against his mentor!
Richard Parker: That guy must have a skull over an inch thick! Would definitely explain why he acts like a caveman…
Nick Stuart: Williams knew he would be walking into one of the greatest challenges of his career tonight, against the very man he took under his wing! I can’t comprehend how a man like Miles Lucky’s brain operates, but Bryan Williams probably knows better than anyone else!
Bryan shakes out the cobwebs before realizing his position and quickly rolls over onto his knees. Miles Lucky stares him down, grinning hungrily ear to ear and noticeably more confident. The fans applaud loudly as Williams rises up and tells his former student to come at him. Lucky launches himself forward, and the two engage in another wild brawl!
This time, Williams gains the upper hand, blocking a wild hook from Lucky before connecting on a pair of European uppercuts that knocks his former student back into the ropes. Bryan attempts to put him into motion, but Miles puts on the brakes to counter the whip and pulls Williams into a headlock takedown to throw him to the mat! Lucky hangs onto the headlock as he buries his weight into Williams’ chest and makes the cover.
KICKOUT by Bryan Williams!
Bryan tries to sit up but puts himself into position for a sleeperhold attempt by Miles! Williams knows he’s in trouble and wastes no time getting his footing and working off the mat, only to break out of the hold with a reverse jawbreaker that leaves Lucky reeling! Bryan wastes no time popping to his feet, but whiffs on a running lariat that gives Miles the chance to slip behind him and execute a Sit-out Reverse DDT!
Nick Stuart: SHOTGUN MOUTHWASH by Miles Lucky, using his mentor’s own trademark move against him!
Richard Parker: Williams got sloppy on that one and paid the price. I gotta imagine Miles Lucky is trying to get under his skin by throwing his own moves back in his face!
Nick Stuart: Miles Lucky has changed the flow of this match, and he hooks the leg for the pin! Could that do it?
NO!! Williams gets the shoulder up!
The crowd has reached a fever pitch as Miles rolls to his feet, slaps his head some more, and gets positioned in the corner, waiting for Williams to push himself off the mat. Williams is groggy as he gets up, but still looks up and reacts in time to dodge the Superkick from Lucky!
Bryan snags him from behind and the master attempts to teach the student how the Blue Thunder Bomb is done–but upon lifting him onto his shoulders, gets peppered with lightning-fast jabs that send him falling onto his back with Miles on top, continuing to pound away! Williams doesn’t panic, bringing up his legs to hook Lucky by the arms and roll him to the mat into a double leg cradle!
BROKEN UP after the leg scissor across the face!
Both men scramble to their feet. Lucky rages in with a forearm, but Williams sees it coming and counters with a backslide pin!
LUCKY ROLLS OUT!
Bryan goes high while Miles goes low, and Lucky wins out with a double-leg takedown to put his mentor to the mat! He executes a quick standing senton to crush Williams’ ribs and stays in place to make a cover!
THR–BRYAN BRIDGES OUT!!
Nick Stuart: What amazing back and forth action we’re seeing between these two! These fans are about to blow the roof off the Garden Arena!
Richard Parker: I’ll give them this: these two can really go in there…
Williams twists around and ends up on top of Lucky. Bryan has plans for suplex–but Miles fights his way out of his arms and drops harmlessly to his feet behind him! Williams turns around and catches the SUPERKICK that Lucky was looking for earlier, sending him sprawling to the mat! Miles throws himself over William’s chest for the cover.
The fans pop hard again as the match continues! Miles Lucky looks unhinged at this point, grabbing Williams by the head and forcing him back to his feet. Williams suddenly catches him off guard with a forearm to the side of the head, and follows up with an EXPLODER SUPLEX that sends him bouncing across the canvas! Williams falls over his chest and hooks both legs…
Miles is hurt, but nevertheless tries to work his way back to his feet. Bryan, however, appears to be in full control as he pulls him up the rest of the way and scoops him onto his shoulders, right before delivering a devastating Fireman’s Carry Neckbreaker! Williams makes the cover…
THR–NO!! MILES KICKS OUT AGAIN!!
Nick Stuart: ANOTHER kickout, after the Ushigoroshi from Bryan Williams! How does Miles Lucky find the strength to keep going?!
Richard Parker: Maybe he’s one of those headcases that can’t feel pain? I dunno…
Nick Stuart: There have been many shifts in momentum between these two competitors who know each other inside and out, but the mentor’s wisdom and experience seems to be coming out on top! Can Bryan Williams put him away, or will Miles Lucky survive this onslaught?!
Bryan Williams pulls his protege off the mat for the next move, but doesn’t anticipate the EYE RAKE from Miles! Lucky jumps on him and attempts a Snap Suplex, but Williams blocks it by hooking the leg! He instead counters by lifting his former student up and dropping him into Brainbuster across the KNEE!
Nick Stuart: PARKWAY DRIVER!! Miles Lucky just went LIMP on the canvas! Could that have done it?!
Bryan makes the cover…
THRE–NOOO!! ANOTHER KICKOUT!!
The PRIMEates ROAR as Williams sits up and looks at Elvis Nixon in astonishment as the official holds up two fingers. He shakes his head in disbelief. Miles Lucky convulses on the mat beside him.
FIGHT-FOR-EV-ER!! FIGHT-FOR-EV-ER!! FIGHT-FOR-EV-ER!! FIGHT-FOR-EV-ER!!
Williams gets to his feet and waits for his opponent. Lucky is somehow moving again, mostly on muscle memory. Bryan can’t believe how much he’s withstood, but knows exactly where he needs to go from here. He takes Miles by the arm and wrangles him the rest of the way to his feet, holding him out at arms length and drawing him in for the RIPCORD LARIAT–
But Miles Lucky suddenly LEAPS onto his shoulders to block the MANTRA! Gravity puts Lucky’s feet back to the mat, and the weight redistribution plays right into Miles hooking the leg as Bryan gets lifted up… and drilled HARD with the 9:30 (Cradle DDT)!
Nick Stuart: WHAT A REVERSAL!! It was Miles Lucky’s turn to predict his mentor’s next move! He goes for the cover… could that be IT?!
DING DING DING
The PRIMEates in attendance pop hard as “Play God” by Sam Fender cues up over the PA. Miles Lucky rolls off of the chest of Bryan Williams, and both men lie on the mat for several moments breathing heavily while Elvis checks on them. Eventually, Lucky sits up, giggling like a deranged man. As he staggers to his feet, he hardly notices his arms being raised; his eyes never leave Williams, his mentor, still lying on the mat.
Vince Howard: The winner of the match, by pinfall… MIIIIIIIIILLLES LUUUUUUUUUCKYYYYYYYYY!!!
Nick Stuart: What a magnificent battle these two put on display, as Miles Lucky moves on to the next round in the Almasy Invitational Tournament with a triumphant win over the man who showed him the ropes!
Richard Parker: Okay, I’ll admit it… that was a pretty good match.
Nick Stuart: Bryan Williams definitely showed he knows how to read Miles Lucky in that ring, but it almost seemed he underestimated his student’s sheer tenacity to survive against the odds! A moment’s hesitation was all it took to cost him a chance at the PRIME Universal Title, although he has to be proud of Miles’ performance tonight!
Richard Parker: Well, whatever. I guess that settles things between these two, huh? We can all move on now?
Nick Stuart: Not sure I would agree with you there, Rich. Williams will no doubt be looking to settle the score somewhere down the line, and I think the overwhelming reaction by these fans would suggest that many would like to see these two meet in that ring again!
Back on his feet, Bryan is leaning on the ropes and rubs the top of his head, while Lucky backpedals up the rampway. Miles no longer looks giddy with victory, but almost heartbroken. Both men never stop staring each other down.
Face to Fuckin’ Face
Our view switches to a blue and white color-schemed interview area inside the MGM Grand where a beautiful redhead is standing by. She wears a silky, shimmering dress and, though we cannot see her feet, is obviously wearing high heels, giving her a couple of inches in height from her normal five-foot four-inch frame. The woman is none other than Angelica Brooks: lead interviewer and longtime PRIME employee during its initial run. The crowd pops hard as they all watch from PRIMEView in the MGM Grand.
Smiling to the camera, Angelica speaks.
Angelica Brooks: Ladies and gentlemen… for the first time ever on a PRIME telecast, Eryk Van Warren.
Eryk Van Warren steps into the camera’s view wearing a white PRIME t-shirt with blue lettering, and an old school Violence Jack zip-up hoodie. His head is shaved down to the scalp– most likely with a straight razor – with a three-inch wide, half-an-inch tall mohawk strip going down the center of it.
Knowing his career exploits from SHOOT Project like the backs of their hands as they were once an affiliate of the Las Vegas promotion, the crowd gives a massive ovation. The surreality of a marquee name, former World Champion and Hall of Fame inductee from another promotion setting foot inside PRIME for the first time? Yeah, that’s not lost on anybody.
Angelica Brooks: Eryk! It’s great to see you.
Saying nothing, Eryk simply looks up and away, waiting for the inevitable chants to be heard inside the MGM Grand.
EVW! EVW! EVW!
Eryk Van Warren: Thanks, Angie. And thank you, PRIMEates, for recognizing me and appreciating me even though you really didn’t have to. I know how territorial fans can be and… well, I’ll just say that I’m surprised at the warm welcome I’m receiving thus far. And Angie? It’s nice to finally meet you. Heard many great things about your interviewing talents here.
Angie nods, looking a bit bashful over Eryk’s compliments. Moments later, she speaks into the microphone again.
Angelica Brooks: Thanks for that. So, I’ll get right down to it since it’s probably the first thing on everyone’s mind when they see you here on a PRIME broadcast. Why are you here, and how have you been treated here since your arrival to the MGM Grand?
Eryk chuckles and speaks into the microphone Angie is now holding in front of EVW.
Eryk Van Warren: I’ll answer that first question in a sec. ‘Cause honestly? I’m more interested in that second one there, Angie. That said? Most everyone’s been pretty chill thus far. Which, coming into a new place after making my mark in another company for as long as I have? That’s usually the last fuckin’ thing that happens to competitors like me. Usually we’re ostracized and gaslighted into believing our accomplishments outside “the bubble” don’t matter and it’s our fault for that happening.
Eryk shakes his head in disappointment mixed with frustration.
Eryk Van Warren: And I mean, I get it. It’s a load of horse shit because we sweat, bleed, and cry tears of joy and failure just the same as everyone else does. But, I get it. I’m an outsider. I’ve been doing this shit for 25 years, so it goes without saying this isn’t my first rodeo. The things I’ve seen… more specifically, the elitist behaviors I’ve witnessed from other outsiders? Like I said, I get it. I really do. It is what it is and I’m not afraid of the uphill battle that manifests itself from that. Fuckin’ bring it, I say.
The crowd pops at his intensity, causing Eryk to pause for a moment. Then, after collecting his words and choosing them carefully, he continues.
Eryk Van Warren: Keywords, though? Most everyone has been chill. I won’t name names ‘cause I’m not in the habit of aimlessly lobbing heat bombs at people in the hopes of one of ‘em sticking and going off on someone. But if you’ve been following Jabber? Then you can probably take an undergraduate-level educated guess at who hasn’t been so chill with me. But that’s okay. Can’t please everybody, right? And I’ve never been the type who gave a flying fuck what the rest of the locker room thought of me. All I care about is what people, those spending their hard-earned money for a night full ’uh pro-wrestling kind of people, think of my ability in that ring and recognize how much effort and sacrifice I actually put into this thing of ours. And hearing that chant just a few moments ago? That tells me all I need to know about that. ‘Cause without their blessing? Whether they hate me or love me, this is all for naught. Which brings me back to the first question you had for me…
The fans watching on PRIMEView all roar in support of Eryk’s words.
Eryk Van Warren: … why am I here? Well, I pretty much just answered that, didn’t I? I’m here because I wanna be the guy who comes in from the outside and finds success amongst a new locker room full of talent, a new generation full of piss n’ vinegar, and add new championships and accolades to my collection. That’s it, really. Anything extracurricular? Like, the respect of the PRIME locker room? That’ll be a great bonus to have. But I’m not chasing it. No, ma’am. That’s not to say I wouldn’t love to have their respect and admiration and would thumb my nose at someone for shaking my hand. But they’ll either get on board when they decide to get on board, or they won’t. Either way, this train’s leaving the station next ReVival when I have my debut match in PRIME. Period.
Angie continues to hold the microphone in front of Eryk’s mouth, as expertly as a backstage interview can.
Eryk Van Warren: I’m not coming into PRIME expecting anything to be handed out to me, Angie. Nah. I’m coming into PRIME ready to fuckin’ WRESTLE my ass off and prove to the world why I am one of the best goddamn wrestlers to ever lace up a pair of boots. Is that answer a simple and clichéd one? Maybe. But who cares?! That doesn’t make it any less true! That doesn’t make it any less significant to the other competitors in this tournament watching my lips move and listening to the words come out of my mouth..
Angie pulls the microphone back to her own lips.
Angelica Brooks: Well, I think it’s safe to say that your honesty will be very much heard throughout PRIME, Eryk.
Raising the microphone back up to Eryk, he continues.
Eryk Van Warren: I’m counting on that, Angie.
Angelica Brooks: I only have one last question for you, Eryk. You mentioned that your debut match in PRIME is happening on the next episode of ReVival. Your opponent is the number fourteen seeded Teddy Palmer. What do you have to say about your opponent?
Eryk looks at Angie quizzically.
Eryk Van Warren: Did you really just ask me to spill my thoughts on my opponent for the next show before the official bookings even went up?!
The crowd laughs at this, to which Angie gives a silent “eek.”
Eryk Van Warren: Hahaha. It’s okay, Angie. I’ll tell you what I think of number fourteen…
Number three stops in his words and looks directly into the camera.
Eryk Van Warren: …on the next ReVival. When he and I are face…
He steps closer.
Eryk Van Warren: …to fuckin’…
Then he takes another step.
Eryk Van Warren: …face.
EVW is nearly nose-to-nose with the lens of the camera at this point. Not blinking for what seems like an eternity, his eyes finally relent to the cold air surrounding him and wink at the camera.
Angelica Brooks: Well, there you have it, folks. For the first time in PRIME, words from the veteran wrestler himself, Eryk Van Warren. Back to you, Nick and Richard!
1 Brandon Youngblood vs. 16 Jonathan-Christopher Hall
Nick Stuart: It is main event time!
Richard Parker: Not going to lie, it feels good to hear that.
Nick Stuart: Aw, Richard! That’s actually a nice thing you just said.
Richard Parker: Well, I meant so I don’t have to hear you talk anymore.
Nick Stuart: And that’s the Richard Parker we all know and loathe.
Richard Parker: I prefer it that way honestly.
Nick Stuart: Next up, we have the PRIME Hall of Fame, a legend, and someone who is hungry for the Universal Championship.
Richard Parker: That’s the truth, and while he’s received the #1 spot in the Rolo bracket, he’s not going to have an easy go of it tonight.
Nick Stuart: That’s correct, as he will be squaring off against Jonathan-Christopher Hall.
Richard Parker: Boy, am I ready to see this kid in action.
Nick Stuart: To see him? Or to see Vickie?
Richard Parker: Same difference if you ask me.
Nick Stuart: I’m regretting I did. Let’s get this main event started!
Vince Howard: The following match is ONE FALL! It is a first round match in the Almasy Invitational and it is our MAIN EVENT!
Vince Howard: Introducing first, weighing in at two-hundred-and-twenty-pounds and standing at six feet and two inches tall, he hails from Folson, Louisiana… JONATHAN! CHRISTOPHER! HALL!
“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith plays over the airwaves as the Amazing Life Partners, Jonathan-Christopher and Vickie Hall walk onto the stage, wrapped into each other’s bodies ever so closely. Jonathan-Christopher is dressed in a divine purple-pink ensemble and Vickie, a onesie of alternating pink and purple shades with cute adorable Mickey Mouse slippers. The two of them hold hands walking down the rampway, not paying attention to anything or anyone around them. Jonathan-Christopher shakes upon reaching the edge of the ring but Vickie turns to him, leans forward and tells her she adores him! He hugs her tight, a tear falling from his eyes knowing they will soon have to stop holding hands. Eventually, he slides into the ring and tells Vickie he misses her already.
Richard Parker: Now the good stuff is here!
Nick Stuart: Oh simmer down over there.
Richard Parker: Look, I’m not the one here who calls Vickie his ALP.
Nick Stuart: You would in about three seconds though.
Richard Parker: Look, I would call her whatever it takes for a date with her!
Nick Stuart: Well, let me know how she enjoys the early bird special at Sizzlers.
Vince Howard: And his opponent!
Nick Stuart: The PRIMEates are ready for this!
Richard Parker: Dumbest. Name. Ever.
Vince Howard: Weighing in at two-hundred-and-eighty pounds and standing at six feet and three inches tall, he hails from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada! He is THE LAST DIAMOND! BRANDON! YOUNGBLOOD!
A sudden heavy drumbeat. A trio in quick succession follows. The synthesized drone of ‘Abandon Streets’ by Jordan K pulses with a rising tension, the seconds causing a buzz to rise through the crowd. The tempest is rolling in. A sudden downsurge. The synths rise in tone.
Screaming white light bathes the entire entrance area, the PRIMEView flickering through the assorted highlight package of Brandon Youngblood. Throwing back the curtain, he powers towards the ring, barely visible through the blinding light. His eyes are fixated on the ring, his face remaining stoic as the fans begin to roar.
Moving down the aisle, Youngblood’s focused demeanor seems completely detached from his surroundings. Walking across the ringside mats, he slowly stalks his way to the stairs. Each climbing step forward stabs the steel, his left hand grasping the ring post as he takes his first pace across the apron. Moving between the ropes, he brings his head down and slackens his limbs before exploding out of the stretching of his shoulders. Peering towards the crowd, Brandon’s expression does not change.
Youngblood casually clasps the top ropes on each side of his designated corner as he rests his back against the turnbuckles, his eyes focusing towards his opponent, his glowering burning a hole right through them.
Nick Stuart: And Brandon Youngblood looks to be as fit and as focused as ever.
Richard Parker: That he does. Jonathan-Christopher Hall is going to have his work cut out for him, that’s for sure. Youngblood has one goal and one goal only, and that’s the Universal Championship. So you know he’s coming out hungry.
Youngblood exits the corner and goes for a collar-and-elbow tie-up only for JCH to feign he is going to enter the hold with Youngblood and then exit the ring via the bottom rope. He walks around the ring, a smile on his face as he does so, while Timo Bolamba counts overhead. He then re-enters and circles the ring with Youngblood before the two make their way to center once again. Youngblood goes for another collar-and-elbow tie-up only for JCH to exit the ring via the bottom rope one more time.
Nick Stuart: JCH not wanting to engage with Youngblood in the early parts of this match. Not that I can necessarily blame him.
Richard Stuart: I don’t blame him in the least bit. I wouldn’t let that muscled-freak touch me either! And it’s not ‘JCH’, it’s Jonathan-Christopher Hall, get it right!
Nick Stuart: Correct, Jonathan-Christopher Hall. I’m surprised you even knew that.
Richard Stuart: Well that’s funny because I’m surprised they hired you back.
JCH walks over to Vickie who tells him to stay in Youngblood’s head. JCH nods as he re-enters the ring once again, and goes to the center of the ring with Youngblood, before he slips out of the ring yet again.
Richard Stuart: Now this is REAL wrestling.
Nick Stuart: This… this is real wrestling? I don’t think we’ve seen a move thus far!
Richard Stuart: See, that’s why they shouldn’t have brought your peabrain self back. Wrestling is only 10% physical and 90% mental. Jonathan-Christopher Hall is over here TEACHING Brandon Youngblood a thing or two about wrestling right now.
Nick Stuart: I imagine in a moment, Brandon Youngblood is about to teach Jonathan-Christopher Hall a thing or two about not pissing him off.
Youngblood decides he’s had enough as he exits the ring and begins to chase JCH. Jonathan-Christopher frantically backpedals with Youngblood in pursuit as Vickie steps in front of Youngblood to slow him down. Youngblood quickly moves around Vickie, while JCH slides back into the ring.
Nick Stuart: What deplorable actions!
Richard Stuart: Hey, hey, none of that political crap!
Nick Stuart: What are you talking about?!
Richard Stuart: Just keep it fair and down the middle.
Nick Stuart: Hall tried to use Vickie there as a decoy.
Richard Stuart: Hogwash!
Youngblood comes into the ring and is immediately met with a barrage of kicks to the back of the head. The shots faze Youngblood, but not nearly enough for JCH as Youngblood fights through them and slams his shoulder into JCH’s ribcage before driving him into the nearby corner. Youngblood then slams his forearm across the face of JCH repeatedly before yanking him out of the corner and connecting with a belly-to-belly suplex. JCH scrambles to his feet, but Youngblood catches him and connects with fierce knife-edge chop, dropping JCH to his knees.
Richard Stuart: Timo Bolamba, what in the hell are you doing in there?! You call this refereeing? I’ve seen NFL officials who call better games than this.
Nick Stuart: Still bitter about the Cowboys lost?
Richard Stuart: Ten-thousand dollars, Nick! Ten-thousand dollars!
Nick Stuart: Youngblood, the PRIME Hall of Fame, managed to fight through those stiff kick shots from Jonathan-Christopher Hall and has unleashed his wrestling prowess and abilities. It’s not a stretch to say that Youngblood might be one of the wrestlers in PRIME today, even with some time off.
JCH grabs at the side of Youngblood, causing Youngblood to yank JCH to his feet and nailing him with a vertical suplex. JCH sits up, grabbing his back, while Youngblood comes up behind him, wrapping his arm around the neck of JCH, and yanks him violently up to his feet before connecting with an inverted vertical suplex. JCH rolls around on the mat, in pain, while Youngblood stalks his prey. JCH slowly pulls himself up and Youngblood comes up behind him before nailing him with a Russian Legsweep. JCH immediately grabs the back of his head while Youngblood goes for a quick cover, only getting a two count in the process.
Nick Stuart: And Youngblood looks to be in complete control of this match.
Richard Parker: I think you mentioned it earlier, that Youngblood may be the best wrestler on the roster right now and you might just be right. While I think his arms are too large, his head too small, and his breathe smells like the inside of a dead tuna, I can’t deny how good of a wrestler Youngblood is.
Nick Stuart: You should tell Youngblood that after the show. I think he would appreciate it. All of it.
Richard Parker: You know what, I think I will!
Youngblood begins to pull JCH up to his feet and JCH fights back with a knee to the midsection that causes Youngblood to double over in pain. JCH then bounces off the ropes and slams his knee across the skull of Youngblood, which sends him down to one knee. With Youngblood in a vulnerable position, JCH rushes over to the PRIME Hall of Famer, and connects with a DDT that plants Youngblood in the center of the ring.
Nick Stuart: And Jonathan-Christopher Hall is showing he has some fight in him and taking it right to Youngblood.
Richard Parker: Can’t put someone like Jonathan-Christopher Hall down, that’s for sure. Not for long anyway.
Nick Stuart: Hall is getting an introduction to PRIME that I wouldn’t want to wish upon anyone in the form of one of the legends of this sport. Still, he is holding his own in the early parts of this match.
Richard Parker: Of course he is! He’s not a nimcompoop. You’re a nimcompoop. He’s not a nimcompoop.
Nick Stuart: Real professional Richard, real professional.
JCH hops up to his feet, celebrating this, and rushes over to Vickie, looking for adoration. Instead, she yells at him to go cover Youngblood, and he nods his head, doing just that, but only gets a two-count. Vickie yells at JCH who looks at her with disappointment on his face. He begins to make his way up and begins to climb to the top turnbuckle. Youngblood slowly makes his way up to his feet and turns towards JCH, receiving a a top rope dropkick for his trouble.
Richard Parker: The best part about Jonathan-Christopher Hall is the fact that he’s got someone in his corner like Vickie.
Nick Stuart: You mean someone willing to cheat for him?
Richard Parker: No, someone who keeps his head on straight and focused. That’s why they asked me to come back, to help keep you in line!
JCH bounces back to his feet and circles the ring, taking a victory lap for himself, before he turns his attention back to Youngblood, who is using the ropes to help himself up. JCH connects with a stiff forearm to the face only for Youngblood to slam his right palm across the chest of JCH.
JCH yells out in pain as he connects with another forearm strike to the face of Youngblood and Youngblood retaliates with another stiff palm strike to the chest.
JCH looks down, sees the redness of his chest, and connects with another forearm strike to the face of Youngblood. Youngblood takes a few steps back from JCH and JCH considers this an opening as he rushes at Youngblood only for Youngblood to plant him in the center of the ring with a pendulum backbreaker.
Richard Parker: Nevermind. Not telling Youngblood shit. I don’t want to be on the receiving end of those meaty palms on my chest.
Nick Stuart: I imagine Hall would pay you double your salary to be on the receiving ends of the shots he just took instead of himself.
Richard Parker: Not in a million years.
Nick Stuart: These two have been fairly evenly matched thus far and are just trading blows left and right with one another. Youngblood battling back with the pendulum backbreaker, but it’s anyone’s game at this point.
Both men slowly make their way back up to their feet, but Youngblood is the first to strike with a snap suplex. JCH makes his way up to his feet only for Youngblood to place him in a smothering headlock, using his size advantage to ground JCH. He yanks JCH around the ring, as JCH fights profusely to rid himself of his opponent. Youngblood proceeds to plant a knee into his ribcage for his trouble.
Nick Stuart: I felt that one!
Richard Parker: If you felt that, you’d be dead right now.
Nick Stuart: Thank you for your vote of confidence.
Richard Parker: Anytime. Youngblood is doing a… good… job of asserting himself in the ring right now.
JCH drops to one knee before he powers up and puts Youngblood into a fireman’s carry position and then connects with a gut buster that causes Youngblood to roll around, grabbing his midsection. JCH takes a moment, grabbing at his throat, before he bounces off the ropes and connects with a leg drop. Youngblood grabs at his throat while JCH looks over at Vickie for approval.
Richard Parker: A smart man, right there, getting approval from his woman.
Nick Stuart: Is this why you’ve never been a happy person?
Richard Parker: What are you talking about Nick, I get plenty of approval. I just don’t necessarily remember all of their names.
Nick Stuart: Alright then, glad to see some things never change. Meanwhile, the gut buster from Hall neutralized Youngblood long enough to give him the opening he needed. Guts from Hall, guts.
JCH begins to drag Youngblood off of the mat and pushes him into the nearby corner where he attempts to hoist Youngblood onto the the top turnbuckle. Youngblood drives his left elbow into the back of JCH repeatedly to break his grasp on him and with JCH’s back to him, Youngblood immediately wraps his arms around JCH’s torso and connects with a German Suplex with JCH’s head bouncing off the middle turnbuckle.
Nick Stuart: Oh man, what a BRUTAL shot that Hall just took there from Youngblood.
Richard Parker: With Youngblood being such an expert in the ring, you have to imagine he knew exactly what he was doing there.
Nick Stuart: You should appreciate that Richard, someone doing whatever it takes to get the victory.
Richard Parker: Oh you have no idea.
Youngblood, smelling blood in the water, rolls over to JCH and puts him in a guillotine chokehold. JCH begins fighting frantically before he begins to go limp. Vickie, sensing trouble, grabs JCH’s leg and places it on the bottom rope before alerting the referee to this to make Youngblood break the hold. Youngblood stands up and stares at Vickie, which gives JCH an opening for a school-boy rollup.
Richard Parker: Oh come on, that was a three count!
Nick Stuart: And yet, it was not. Close though and Youngblood has to ensure he’s keeping an eye out for an opportunist like Hall and Vickie.
Richard Parker: Opportunist?! What are you talking about!
Nick Stuart: You know full well I’m talking about Vickie putting Hall’s leg on the bottom rope. I’m not getting into this with you!
Youngblood scrambles to his feet and JCH just manages to get a spinning heel kick to the jaw of his opponent. The shot slows Youngblood down, dropping him to one knee, which prompts JCH to charge at Youngblood only to be met with a backdrop from Youngblood. JCH slowly brings himself up to his feet and is met with a European Uppercut by Youngblood. JCH drops to one knee after the shot, but fires back with a leaping knee that catches Youngblood on the bottom of his jaw.
Nick Stuart: Back and forth action right here!
Richard Parker: I’m loving what I’m seeing from Jonathan-Christopher Hall tonight! This kid has got spunk! I love spunk.
Nick Stuart: I’m pretty positive you hate spunk.
Youngblood staggers backwards and JCH rushes at Youngblood, going for a diving crossbody, only for Youngblood to catch him in midair and connects with a fallaway slam. JCH slowly makes his way up to his feet and Youngblood charges at him only for JCH to move out of the way, causing Youngblood to hit the nearby turnbuckle face first. With Youngblood stumbling, JCH puts Youngblood in a front face lock and connects with a tornado DDT.
Nick Stuart: And Jonathan-Christopher Hall with a MASSIVE tornado DDT right there! Oh man!
Richard Parker: That’s the kind of skill and intelligence that will have him on top of PRIME one day!
Nick Stuart: Whoa, slow it down there buddy.
Richard Parker: I said what I said. Don’t ‘at’ me.
JCH is the first to stir as Youngblood lays there, motionless. JCH slowly climbs up to the top turnbuckle, Vickie urging him on, and then connects with a High Angle Moonsault (He’s All That). His body collides hard with Youngblood and he goes for the cover.
Nick Stuart: And Hall with the ‘He’s All That’, but wasn’t able to get the cover.
Richard Parker: He is truly all that. Glad you agree with me.
Nick Stuart: No, that’s the name of the move Richard.
Richard Parker: Sure it is, Nick. Sure it is.
JCH slams his fists into the mat, drags Youngblood up, and goes to whip him into the corner only for Youngblood to reverse it into a half-nelson suplex, JCH’s body ricocheting off of the mat with the force Youngblood applies. Youngblood then goes for the cover.
Youngblood slowly makes his way up to his feet and connects with a deadlift belly-to-back suplex on JCH and then goes for another cover.
Nick Stuart: Oh man, I thought Youngblood had it there! The half-nelson suplex, I’ll be surprised if Hall doesn’t have brain damage after that.
Richard Parker: Jonathan-Christopher Hall is showing he’s not a quitter, that he has something deep down inside him that refuses to let him stay down. Vickie got herself a good man there!
Youngblood begins to pull JCH up to his feet and JCH pulls him into an inside cradle.
Both men scramble to their feet and JCH rolls out of the way of a knee from Youngblood, coming up behind him and connecting with an inverted facelock backbreaker onto Youngblood! Youngblood squirms from the pain in his back as JCH begins to pull Youngblood up and is met with a headbutt for his troubles. JCH stumbles backwards before Youngblood spins him around, wraps his arms around his torso, and lifts JCH for a release German Suplex. JCH though manages to land on his feet and hops up to the top turnbuckle.
Nick Stuart: What athleticism being shown there by Hall!
Richard Parker: I’m putting ten thousand on this kid, right now!
Nick Stuart: Put your phone away!
Richard Parker: Stop it! My sponsor told me spontaneous decisions like this were good for me!
Youngblood turns around and is met with the sight of JCH soaring through the air for a diving crossbody. Youngblood though catches him in mid-air and uses JCH’s momentum to drive him into the mat with a shattering spinebuster!
Nick Stuart: OH DEAR GOD!
Richard Parker: Um, on second thought.
Nick Stuart: I think Youngblood just killed Hall with that.
Richard Parker: Yeah, it was nice knowing you kid.
Youngblood then goes for the cover.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Your winner… and advancing to the second round of the Almasy Invitational… BRANDON! YOUNGBLOOD!
Youngblood rises to his feet and looks at the crowd as they cheer him on. His arm is lifted and he looks down at his opponent who is coming to his senses. He then slides out of the ring and walks up the ramp, locked in and focused on one thing, the Universal Championship.
Richard Parker: Impressive match from Youngblood.
Nick Stuart: It feels great to be back and have that be our first main event of this new era in PRIME!
Richard Parker: Feel bad for Hall though.
In the ring, JCH is sitting down and looking down at the mat. Slowly, but surely, tears begin to form and drop from his face while his ALP watches in disgust and she rolls her eyes.
Nick Stuart: Well, that’s new.
Richard Parker: That’s love, I guess.
Nick Stuart: How would you know?
Richard Parker: I don’t.
At the top of the ramp, Youngblood looks out at the fans one more time, raising his hand up high. He’s on to the second round and that feels absolutely amazing. Inside, he is one step closer, but he knows there is quite the journey ahead of him.
Richard Parker: So that’s the show?
Nick Stuart: That is ReVival 1 in the books, ladies and gentlemen! We will be back in two weeks time for ReVival 2 where another PRIME Hall of Fame, and a former Universal Champion, will be making his return. That’s right, NOVA is back and I know this crowd can’t wait for it!
Richard Parker: I would prefer to wait for it.
Nick Stuart: On that note, for my partner Richard Parker, I’m Nick Stuart. Good night and good luck! This is PRIME!
Fade. To. Black.
Every New Beginning
The soles of a pair of size 14 steel toe boots, crossed at the ankles, rest on a glass coffee table. The rugged frame of the man they belong to is a familiar face to the PRIME Faithful, despite a gray head of hair and short beard that was once brown and goatee’d:
Wade god-damn Elliott.
The ‘Bama Bruiser’s sharp blue eyes comb over a yellow legal pad, squinting and studying. Finally, he looks up and across the room.
Wade Elliott: I ain’t much fer poetry, but those’re some pretty words, Dam.
Leaning against the wall is another familiar face: the hulking 6’6” frame of Danny Ferguson’s former bodyguard: Dametreyus. Dam smiles, sporting a shaved head and gray stubble-beard of his own. Each man wears a black t-shirt, the PRIME logo screened onto the left pectoral with their names written in white block lettering. “Head of Security” is written under that.
Dametreyus: Shit, that’s real nice of ya, Wade. Just a rough draft is all. Been thinkin’ about puttin’ another collection together.
Wade Elliott: (looking back to the writing, baffled) I mean…th’ IMAGERY of the thing. Makes a man question all the wrongs he’s done. Shows ya a sort’ve…window, to a diff’rent world. A life that coulda been…
The Bad Dog looks over his left shoulder, holding up the legal pad.
Wade Elliott: You read this shit, Lindsay? God damn unbelievable!
The camera pans up, revealing Lindsay Troy sitting behind a desk. The Queen of the Ring looks exhausted, arms across her chest, head tilted back with her eyes shut.
Lindsay Troy: I have signed first edition copies of everything Dam’s published. Of course I’ve read it.
She opens one eye and smirks at Wade.
Lindsay Troy: I’m surprised you even know what “imagery” is, by the way.
Wade Elliott: That’s a testament to yer ignorance, not mine.
Lindsay Troy: (Still smirking) Touché, salesman.
She leans forward, allowing her arms to fall on top of her desk, and glances between her two long-time friends.
Lindsay Troy: So….the show went OK, right? I mean, it wasn’t perfect, nothing ever is, but, it was alright…right?
It’s a rare moment of anxiety and nervousness from a normally unflappable, confident woman. Lindsay Troy never lets anyone see her sweat, but the truth of the matter is: she’s putting a lot of pressure on herself. Resurrecting one of the most popular wrestling promotions of all time and endeavoring to do it justice in the Entertainment Capital of the World is a tall order.
Dametreyus: It was a damn good show, Boss. And I saw Cirque Du Soleil last night, so that’s sayin’ something.
Lindsay Troy: And things on the security side?
Wade Elliott: Nothin’ to write home about. A few drunk idiots tried sneakin’ backstage, but the Enemigos took care’ve it quick.
The Southern Sparkplug pushes off his knees to stand with a small groan, turning toward the Lady of the Hour.
Wade Elliott: The show went great. Take a breather.
Lindsay Troy: Yeah…I’ll take a breather after tomorrow morning’s meeting with Melvin.
She stands up as well and smiles.
Lindsay Troy: I know I’ve said this about a dozen times already at least, but I couldn’t do this without you two.
Before the Co-Heads of Security can reply, there’s an obnoxious, pointed knock at the door that draws the attention of Wade, Dametreyus, and of course, Lindsay Troy. Enter the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion, and current crosstown thorn in the Queen of the Ring’s side, Joshua Breedlove. He is sarcastically slow-clapping as he stands in the doorway.
Joshua Breedlove: Wow. Unbelievable work you’ve done here. Amazing. What a GREAT first show.
Breedlove rolls his eyes.
Joshua Breedlove: I mean, it’s no SHOOT Project, but then again there’s… no place like home, right?
He clicks his heels together, Dorothy style. Dametreyus moves away from the wall, Wade squares his body towards Breedlove, and Lindsay rolls her eyes.
Lindsay Troy: Joshua. How brave of you to leave the circus at home and show up here all by your lonesome. I’d ask why but since you live to annoy me, I already know the answer.
Joshua Breedlove: Oh puhleeeeeze. I just wanted to congratulate you on a great first show, hun. You know, as one does. I enjoyed being here tonight. Did you know I was here? I’m sure you didn’t. I’m sure you’re surprised to see me, but I’m Joshua fuckin’ Breedlove, babe. I go where I want, when I want. That’s the luxury of being me. I just… you know, I wanted to see how the other half lived.
He smiles, leaning against the door jamb.
Joshua Breedlove: Enjoy this, Lindz. Enjoy that you get to be here and that you don’t have to go back to that mean old SHOOT place and face that mean old champion. But hey, if you’re feeling a little froggy, you can just stay here with Barney and Fred or…
Joshua Breedlove: You still have a key to my condo… you’re welcome to come back for a nightcap.
On that note, Wade takes a couple big steps forward and slams a big palm against Breedlove’s chest, pushing him into the hallway.
Wade Elliott: (seething) I think you wandered into th’wrong office, son. Here, me an’ Dam’ll show you the parkin’ lot.
Dametreyus positions just behind Wade, making a move to “escort” Breedlove out of the building, but Joshua takes a few steps back into the hall, holding his hands up.
Joshua Breedlove: Don’t worry guys, I’ll leave. I’m out. See ya, dear.
He puts his hand underneath his chin and waves towards Lindsay Troy before stepping away. The Queen flips him the bird as he goes, which he doesn’t see, and then flops back into her chair. Wade watches him leave before returning to the office and closing the door behind him.
Lindsay Troy: (muttering) Toddler.
Dametreyus: Can have the Enemigos slash his tires.
Lindsay Troy: Don’t bother, I’m gonna handle him soon enough.
She looks at the Bad Dog, who’s still fuming.
Lindsay Troy: Could use a drink, though.
Wade Elliott: Well, I ain’t gonna stop ya.
The Queen reaches under her desk, producing three shot glasses in one hand and a bottle of bourbon in the other. Wade and Dam move to the desk as she fills each glass, each taking one in their hand.
Wade Elliott: Got any more’ve them pretty words, Dam?
Dametreyus: (holding up his shot glass) “Every new beginnin’ comes from some other beginnin’s end.” Seneca.
Lindsay Troy: That’ll do.
The three clink their glasses and throw back their bourbons, slamming the crystal onto the top of the desk.