UltraViolence 2023 – Night Two
A black screen, with the growing sounds of hustle, bustle, and droning conversation.
And then, a familiar voice of the ReVival.
Fading in reveals the deep, dark eyes and shining, magnificent mustache we’ve all come to know and love over nearly two years. The First Crowned. The once-Five Star Champion. The former two-time Universal Champion.
The Comeback Kid.
The Rookie of the Year.
And the Glueminati’s brand new Thresher of Hooves.
Clad in a gray hoodie and a backwards ball cap, Hayes sits at the center of a table, fingers laced together. The background noise continues, though his words are clear to the camera.
Hayes Hanlon: I’m guessing everybody’s got a lot of questions.
Cue the boos from Soldier Field, who witnessed the young Hanlon’s betrayal of Jared Sykes not twenty-four hours before. But, this being a pre-tape, Home Run Hayes can’t hear them. Instead, he holds out a pair of empty hands.
Hayes Hanlon: But that’s a bummer for you, because I don’t really have any answers. But I’ve learned a lot about this business the last couple years. And that’s exactly what this is….
He pauses, leaning forward to the camera a touch and resting his elbows on the table.
Hayes Hanlon: …business.
Hammerin’ Hayes leans back in his chair, stuffing his hands into his hoodie pockets. He looks away from the camera, exhaling through his nose.
Hayes Hanlon: Look, I already know how this is gonna go. The locker room is gonna drag me through the mud, just like they did to Colton. Calvin will probably try to choke me out in the hallway. And I’m suuuurreee Youngblood will have some choice words. Definitely looking at some “we’re mad, AND we’re disappointed” vibes from the “Good Guys.” But that’s kinda the point…
He turns his eyes back to the camera, and shrugs.
Hayes Hanlon: …because I never really cared about being one of them in the first place.
The Event Horizon takes a beat, and wipes at his ‘stache, then points a stiff finger at the camera.
Hayes Hanlon: YOU put that tag on me. YOU. Not ME. And I’m sorry it had to be Jared to get that point across. But if you were confused then? Let me make it real clear right now:
Hanlon stands, placing his hands on the table.
Hayes Hanlon: I’m here for the big lights. The spectacle. To put on a god damn show. None of that’s changed. But above all that? First and foremost? I’m here for gold and gold alone. That’s why I sought them out. That’s why I got on board. As weird as these dudes are, there’s something here. So I’m gonna go where the gold goes. And right now? The gold…
He sits back down, and extends his arms to the sides.
Hayes Hanlon: …is with the Glueminati.
At this point, the camera zooms out, revealing The Boys in Glue sitting at the same table. And where is that table? The famous Pequod’s on Clybourn Avenue in Chicago. The boys are uncomfortably forced in the middle of the establishment, surrounded by booth seating and busy servers hustling back and forth.
Joe Fontaine: Hey, Sid, who the hell uses a fork to eat a pizza?
Sid Phillips: I do, shut up.
Somewhere far off camera, we hear a shout, apparently for a pickup order:
Voice: BUTCH VIC WANTS THE PIZZA THAT’S THICK FOR VAE VIC…TIS. DAMN IT!
FLAMBERGE slowly pokes at the bruschetta on his plate and eyes the deep dish pans on the other side of the table with loathing and disgust. None of this is haute cuisine, nor is it snack food, and worst of all the wine list is shorter than the beer list, so everything sucks.
Joe Fontaine notices FLAMBERGE’s disgust.
Joe Fontaine: You alright, bestie? You look like you swallowed a bug. Uh, wait, maybe I need a different analogy here… you look like you just watched Brandon Youngblood do a big speech.
FLAMBERGE: Somebody took the tomato cheese soup bowl and overfilled it and burned the holy hell out of it so what am I supposed to think of this place, Sid’s friend? The best wine here is the RED BLEND.
Sid Phillips: That’s what they call “deep dish”, FLAMBO.
While Hayes squints in confusion at these weirdos, clearly uninterested in his post-heel-turn-promo, the camera notices Five Star Friend (OR FIEND???) Cecilworth Farthington for the first time, still very much wearing his ear defenders and blindfold that protects him from the outside world of Chicago. Despite what seems like it should be an obvious impairment to such things, Cecilworth is still Jabbing (™) on his phone.
Cecilworth Farthington: This tomato soup is too lumpy. Also yes, business. Business is good. Charts, graphs, pies that are in sections, that’s all the things Hayes Hanlon desired and we can provide it!
Hayes mouths to himself “charts and graphs?”
Joe Fontaine: This is more like a sectioned cake, if I’m being honest.
Cecilworth Farthington: No, I was talking about the business kind.
Joe Fontaine: Oh, well… I’m not super good with business cake, tee-bee-aych.
Cecilworth leans in the direction that he hopes is Hayes and hushes his voice to a gentle whisper.
Cecilworth Farthington: Sorry about Joe, he’s a good lad who means well.
Cecilworth quickly realises he was talking in Joe’s ear.
Joe Fontaine: Still don’t believe in forking pizzas.
Fortunately, Joe doesn’t seem to notice.
Sid Phillips: Stop that.
It’s at this moment Cecilworth Farthington decides to stand up from his chair, knocking over about seven to his back as he stumbles on his feet.
Cecilworth Farthington: I just wanted to thank our newest, stickiest member for bringing a delightful mustache to the group, for that was really a demographic we were missing. Your MILFs, your GILFS, your GGILFS, that sort of thing. I’m happy that someone was kind enough to notice our good intentions for the future of wrestling and the PRIME brand. Hayes Hanlon rejected terrible things, like Brandon Youngblood’s weird shaped skull, Nate Colton’s desire to show the entire locker room his hog, Jared Sykes’s sad anus. He saw they were all wanting and got out of the Sad Boy Club and into the delicious Tomato Soup Gang. So I would like to formally raise a glass to our newest friend, Hayes Hanlon.
On his way to grab his glass of fine blended red wine, Cecilworth knocks over a water jug and two orders of garlic bread. He gets there in the end though. Hayes, again confused, mouths to himself “Tomato Soup Gang?”
Cecilworth Farthington: TO HANLON AND HIS GLORIOUS FACIAL FEATURE!
Joe Fontaine: YEAH!
The water jug has fully spilled into FLAMBO’s lap. Fortunately, many reptiles use external sources of water to regulate their body temperature, so he seems un-bothered as he raises three-fourths of an empty bottle of The Very Famous Red Blend in the air, looking to cheers with Sid and Hayes before all others.
Sid holds up his mug of beer, and it’s a minor miracle it doesn’t end up all over himself because he attempts to powerbomb it or something. No, he holds it up. Like a normal person does. Somehow. In the distant future, science will still be trying to figure out how he managed that feat of competence. Hayes, reluctantly, raises what is presumed to be a gin and tonic.
Hayes Hanlon: (with a subtle sigh) To the Glue.
The Sticky Squad clink their respective beverages together, and as the rest tip ‘em back, Hayes looks to the camera one more time with sharp intent.
Hayes Hanlon: And that’s a problem for you.
Now, it’s time for the intro video!
ULTRAVIOLENCE NIGHT TWO
9/23/2022 – MGM Grand, Las Vegas
Nick Stuart: COVER!
Richard Parker: DON’T! NOOO! NOT LIKE THIS! PLEASE HOYT NOT LIKE THIS!
There is no life in Julian Bathory right now. Maybe there will be in a few moments. Timo Bolamba, barely conscious, his jaw maybe broken, his face covered in yoljk, sees Cancer Jiles covering Julian Bathory. The smile across the COOLympian’s face would freeze the Devil’s heart.
Cancer Jiles: DO YOUR JOB CRUMB!
He shouldn’t. Timo Bolamba knows he can’t. Not for the soul of PRIME. To let this bastard be its champion?
But he was a man of his word.
No matter how damned they were.
DING DING DING
Haunting guitar notes are plucked by ancient fingers as a raspy, near death, Johnny Cash croons the masterpiece “Hurt”. The image of Cancer Jiles holding the Universal Title fades from the screen, replaced by these words:
9/22-23/2023 – Soldier Field, Chicago
I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
A whirlwind blows and drops two equally matched combatants, Chandler Tsonda and Tony Gamble, into a ring. The words “Great American Nightmare ‘06” flash across the screen with both men jostling for the 5-Star Title. The wind returns and morphs to the men in a cage coming together as “Ultraviolence ‘08” flashes. Finally they stand toe to toe, ego to ego as “UltraViolence ‘23” wisps into smoke above them and they disappear together in the wind.
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The Sultan of Skree flies into a dark frame where, awaiting him is the diminutive and colorful Kennade Starr. Rocky tenses for a fight with a smile on his face that vanishes when he sees Mr. Bubbles step out of the shadows. The FDP releases a mighty SKREE! And charges forward.
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
A giant set of pointed wind up teeth chase Morty around in the darkness and as they grow ever closer, he runs toward the final stop of his destiny. Finally, he can run no further and turns, defiantly giving the mechanical jaws “the bird” before they clamp down and swallow him whole.
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything
Paxton Ray drags a lifeless form into the shot, and before long it is clear that it is Mike Battaglia. He throws the unconscious man at the feet of another, and the camera pans up to see The Anglo Luchador ball his fists to prepare for war.
What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
The voices of Nick Stuart and Richard Parker break clearly over the music.
Nick Stuart: Ladies and gentlemen, this match has “all-timer” written all over it! Remember where you were and what you’re doing because this is a moment!
Richard Parker: I can’t believe we’re getting four of the best in the industry in one match!
Vince Howard: IT’S TIIIIIIIME FOR THE MAAAAAAAIN EVENT OF NIGHT OOOOOOOONE!
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
A Kaiju sized lizard made of glue…a Lizue? A Gluzard? We’re going with Gluzard… charges across a crowded cityscape as the camera pans to Jared Sykes and Hayes Hanlon as they do a Fusion Dance. They touch fingers and a bright light envelops the screen, leaving in its wake a mustachioed hero with Jared Sykes’ tear ducts and a posterior so ample that you know he has never, ever, missed squat day. The two forces collide with an intense rumbling and the screen fades to words as the melancholic song continues.
I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my liar’s chair
Anna Daniels opens a door and flips on a light switch to a room that has written, everywhere in the room in multiple sizes, colors, and fonts “WHO IS MAX KAEL?” As she bravely steps into the room with a sonic screwdriver at the ready, the forms of Max, U.N. Couth, and Violent Purple rise from the shadows behind her.
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Flashes and images of Timo Bolamba and Dave Gibson fighting one another tooth and nail flicker on the PRIMEtron and the camera spins behind Timo and when it comes to the other side it is Eddie Cross. Both the student and mentor collide and all that is left behind is a tee-shirt from 2007 that is faded with cracked text that says “A Hatred that is Hardcore.”
Beneath the stains of time
The feelings disappear
Cancer Jiles holds an eGG carton and opens it revealing Bobby Dean, Doozer, Cardboard Dan Ryan and other eGG bandits past, present, and (God help us) future are within, neatly packaged in each slot. Coral Avalon strides into the frame dressed head to toe in ornate plate mail. He flips down the visor on his helmet and holds Excalibur aloft.
You are someone else
I’m still right here
Nate Colton opens his eyes, and all he can see is pink. His face is bruised, his heart causing him pain in every waking moment. He reaches out a hand, to Skye, to Jenny, even to his Dad. The hand that reaches out for him though is adorned with Pretty Pink nail polish. As the camera follows up to where Jonathan-Christopher Hall is standing next to Vickie, Nate sees himself in Jonathan-Christopher’s eyes.
What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
As a tale of the tape of Ivan Stanislav and Brandon Youngblood shows on the screen, the stalwart ring announcers voice over the video.
Nick Stuart: Can you believe this Richard? Two of the most dominant forces in the history of our sport are finally going toe to toe!
Richard Parker: Will the Diamond do it once again or will the world stand in unison with Praporshchik Stanlislav?
Vince Howard: THE FINAL MATCH OF THE EVENING IS FOR THE PRIME UNIVERSAL TITLE!
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
Two men. Two legacies. Divergent Goals. One to reclaim past glory and establish a new reign and the other to cement his place in history as the unquestioned best of the best.
Ivan Stanislav steps forward, proud, dutiful, and ready. Can he defeat Brandon Youngblood, a man who has been a thorn in his side for months?
Brandon Youngblood steps forward, resolute, powerful, and explosive. Can he defeat Ivan Stanislav, a man who has proven time and again why he is the number one contender?
If I could start again
A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way…
With the last ghostly word of the song, these words appear on the screen:
Welcome to UltraViolence 2023.
ANNA DANIELS VS. MAX KAEL
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
Fireworks fill the sky above Soldier Field as we kick off Night Two of UltraViolence. We see tens of thousands of fans in attendance, some who have just slept in the stadium judging by the stains on their clothes, and see a fresh new set of… SIGNS!
I CAME HERE BECAUSE NOBODY WILL TELL ME WHAT AN EGG BANDIT LUMBERJACK MATCH IS
JUSTICE FOR HOYT’S GLASS
JUSTICE FOR THE APPLEBEES BUSTER GLOVES NEVER STOPS GOING TO
HEY CLARENCE! I’M BACK FOR NIGHT TWO! FUCK YOU AGAIN!!!
BORSCHT FOR THE BORSCHT GOD
FOR ONCE SOMEONE IS LEAVING SOLDIER FIELD A CHAMPION THIS CENTURY
I SURE HOPE NOTHING BAD OR PERMANENT HAPPENS AT A SHOW CALLED ULTRAVIOLENCE
TIME TRAVELED FROM NIGHT ONE TO SEE MAX KAEL? VS ANNA DANIELS
WRESTLING IS FINALLY BACK IN CHICAGO
I AM US CITIZEN. I AM PROUD OF PRAPORSHCHIK STANISLAV VERY MUCH!!!
WAIT THERE WAS A NIGHT ONE? WHAT LOSERS WERE ON THAT SHOW
WAIT, IT’S NIGHT TWO ALREADY?
WAIT, I THOUGHT JILES WAS ON NIGHT ONE! CAN I GET A REFUND?
KENNY FREEMAN SINGS LIVE OR WE RIOT
KENNY FREEMAN SIGNS LIVE OR WE RIOT #ASLREPRESENTATION
I CAN’T BELIEVE HANLON JOINED GLUE LIKE A BIMCH HAPPENED ON NIGHT ONE
Nick Stuart: Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the first match of night 2 of UltraViolence! This is going to be a real treat for those who light high powered offense as we have The Muse vs The Mystery.
Richard Parker: Muse vs Mystery. Did you just come up with that?
Nick Stuart: No, I thought of it this morning during my BM. Why do you like it?
The lights slowly faded in the arena as a ominous piano trilling rose over the P.A.
“I’ve just closed my eyes again.. Climbed aboard the Dream Weaver Train..”
Gary Wright’s voice crept over the sound system, a soothing, soft sound that matches the soft pale light that touches the stage. Yes, indeed, it is in fact Dream Weaver, specifically the Wayne’s World version.
“Driver take away my worries of today.. And leave tomorrow behind..”
As the music swells Max Kael? can be seen rushing out onto the stage, straight to the center of the soft pale light. He raises his arms in unison with the music as it reaches its height aaaannnd…
“ooooOOOOOH DREAAAAM WEAVER!”
The stage comes alive with a single burst of glittering white pyro as Max Kael? poses with his hands held high above his head. The silver haired crone, U.N. Couth, crept out to his right while Max’s bodyguard, Violent Purple, stepped to his left.
Vince Howard: Introducing first, from Arkham, Massachusetts… weighing in at two-hundred-twenty pounds… he is???… MAX… KAEL?????!!!!!!
As Gary Wright continued to serenade the crowd Max swaggered toward the ring with a massive smile stretched across his face. While the fans booed him, the music and the catchy bass line muffled their discontentment. For his part Max doesn’t appear to pay them any attention as he strutted up to the ring steps.
Kael climbed up the ring steps before reaching the apron where he swiftly wiped off his feet. Stepping between middle and top rope Max ran in a circle inside the right until the timing of Wright’s famous song until another repeat of the stanza rolled around..
“ooooOOOOOH DREAAAAM WEAVER!”
He immediately thrusts his arms up into the air, palms forward as a singular pillar of light shines down on Max Kael?. The formerly dead man then pulled his arms into a flex. As he did so he bared his pearly white teeth toward the camera in the form of a predator smile, his brown eyes wild and wide.
As his music dies down Max slunk toward his corner apparently saddened his music was no longer playing.
Nick Stuart: Max is here and now we’re mere moments away from his competitor, Anna Daniels.
Like time itself is listening, the lights go out. Everybody’s expecting the usual. Darkness In my Soul, Anna halfassing to the ring, Richard Parker crying about it. That tends to be the pattern. That’s the way things are, right?
Except…they’re not that way anymore.
The beating of a million drums
The fire of a million guns
The mother of a million sons
C I V I L I Z A T I O N
Strobe lights match the emerging notes of “Heavy Metal × DVNO”, the flashes giving just enough of a glance of the peculiar figures on the sides of the entrance. Varying sizes and shapes, the cloaks they wear making their bodies shadows otherwise. They wear their mirrored masks revealing nothing of their own features. Smoke begins to emerge from the center as the pesudo-Castlevania-like vibes continue to build. A figure slowly rises from the fog, a creature clad in purified white. A warrior morphed by space fascists.
Vince Howard: And their opponent, from Mount Perdition, Gallifrey… weighing in at one hundred and thirty-five pounds… she is THE MUUUUUUSE, ANNNNNNAAAAAAA DAAAAAANIEEEELS!
Anna Daniels is in the building. Everything within the vessel smirks. And as the marching drum beats begin to crack through, everybody moves in unison.
Anna. The figures at her sides. The fans. The commentators. The referee. Those poor cameramen grit their teeth to the point of cracking in resistance of the movement. And it is a very particular movement. Part pendulum step, part man on the gallows, part march and part dance. Like a Whirling Dervish that stops spinning, the equilibrium is messed up but the grace is still there. There’s no lag in any of these poor souls. Each movement is absolutely in sync and the majority of them don’t know why they’re doing it.
The only one that isn’t infected with the dance of death is Max Kael.
Whatever. That’s more than likely by design because if Anna’s bothered by this fact, she’s very good at not showing it. As she stands in front of the steel steps, the dance seems to release its grip on everybody. Bodies are stumbling all over the place except for the mirrored shadows who continue their moves at ringside and Anna who climbs the stairs. She wipes her boots on the apron
Can anyone read, anyone feel
that I’m losing my patience?
I just came here to bounce
and enters the ring. Max tries to meet her halfway, but Anna puts a figure up as if to say “one moment please”. A ring attendant is there to catch her robe, but they aren’t necessary. Instead she balls her mantle up and throws it at Richard Parker just as he gets his sea legs back, forcing him to stay down for just a little bit longer. Was that a nonverbal fuck you?
…yes. Yes, it was.
The Time Lord/Merch Queen/New Era/Muse looks at Max, nods, and seems to say “okay!” as the lights flicker. The mirrored shadows disappear just as mysteriously as they appeared.
Anna and Max look to one another as Ashley Barlow signals for the bell.
Nick Stuart: This is going to be a weird one, folks.
Richard Parker: Weird doesn’t begin to cover it, and what’s more, I’m not sure Anna Daniels has the upper hand finisher here.
Nick Stuart: Oh? Why is that partner?
Richard Parker: Because a punt to the head of Max Kael? might not do anything.
Nick Stuart: You might be onto something there, Richard.
Max and Anna size one another up in the ring, with neither seeming to give an inch in response to the competitor. Finally they eschew the traditional collar and elbow and come together in a flurry of fists and knees ala Don Frye and Takayama. Max, who has the weight and height advantage, pushes Anna back to the corner all the while delivering and receiving blows.
Anna is trying to use angles and her clear striking advantage over Max to pick her shots. For every glancing blow that Max hits, hers have to count to make up for the size advantage. She takes a shot to the eye and returns a jab, jab, cross combo that almost buckles Max’s legs.
The fans cheer raucously as they trade blows back to the center of the ring and press the action. Anna grabs for a thai plum and begins to drive knees into Max’s thighs and midsection while Max, looking for a way out of this predicament, drives his forehead into Anna’s face, breaking the hold and sending her stumbling backward. Her eyes mist up and blood starts to pour from her nose from the blow.
Max shakes the cobwebs from his head and reaches up, touching a severely swollen right eye. He attempts to push the pace and winces as he tries to walk forward, his thigh having been the target of several of Anna’s knee strikes.
Both competitors pause for a moment to assess the other and the fans react.
Nick Stuart: What a start to this event and the crowd here at Soldier Field is enjoying a hell of a slugfest!
Richard Parker: They call it UltraViolence for a reason, Nick!
Indeed, both competitors take a look around to appreciate the ovation before Max, seemingly having shaken out the charlie horse in his leg, charges forward and ax handles Anna to the ground. He immediately goes to work trying to push her out of the ring and does so successfully.
Ashley Barlow swoops in and starts a count which makes Max leap up and down like he has just won the match. Anna wastes no time in getting to her feet and back in the ring at which point Max holds up a “time out” T with his hands and points at Anna while jawjacking to the ref.
Nick Stuart: I… I think Max thinks he’s won already?
Indeed he is stating his case. He even goes as far as to hit the mat and roll out, imitating Anna and then pointing to the damage on his face, stating that he should have won. Ashley Barlow looks at Anna and holds her hands up in confusion, then begins to count Max Kael? for a count out.
Violent Purple rolls her eyes while U.N. Couth reluctantly goes to Max and starts trying to explain how he has not, in fact, won the match and is in the process of actively losing the match.
Max states his case, producing a hastily drawn series of papers with the words “Max Kael?’s battle plans” on it and pointing at a section on the third page.
U.N Couth sighs and watches as he throws the papers down one at a time to get to the page he is now looking for. He turns it around and it’s a picture of him, drawn in crayon, riding on a fire truck.
Finally Violent Purple has had enough and literally grabs Max and shoves him back under the bottom rope. He pops to his feet and scolds VP, but the distraction allows Anna to roll him up from behind!
Ashley slides into place…
2! … Kickout!
Anna, clearly not used to being the level headed one in the match, looks a little confused as she pops up. She pushes the action, launching Max across the ring with a whip and trying a flying headscissor takedown. Max Kael? Hits the mat hard and bounces, rolling under the rope and to the floor outside the ring.
Anna grabs the ropes and leaps over, aiming to splash Max on the outside of the ring, and she hits her target. The Muse stands up and pumps her fist to the crowd before reaching down to grab her opponent and bring him to his feet. A thumb to the eye is all she gets for her trouble and as she stumbles backward, Max leaps forward like a rabid dog and elbows her in the back of the head.
Nick Stuart: Max just leveled Daniels with that blow and he looks utterly astonished with himself!
Richard Parker: Get in the ring!
U.N. Couth and Violent Purple both encourage him to get back in the ring. He slides in and lays on his back, trying to get his breath. Ashley Barlow begins administering the count.
Anna finally stirs and shakes her head. She hears the count hit five and crawls to the apron.
Anna rolls back in and onto her hands and knees. Max flops over and gets to his hands and knees as well. He is bleeding and his eye is now puffed up, but he ushers the strength to crawl forward. As he does, Daniels notices a golden opportunity and gets to her feet. She lines up for the punt kick, charging across the ring and swinging…
Only for Max to be pulled out of the ring at the last second by Violent Purple at the behest of U.N. Couth! Anna flies through the air onto her ass ala Charlie Brown and Max flops onto the mat outside the ring. Ashley Barlow admonishes the duo of women and lets them know one more interference and they are gone.
Max gets to his feet and looks around, not knowing how he got outside the ring, but also not caring. He can hear Ashley Barlow counting, and a glimmer of light appears to flicker in between his ears as he grabs Anna Daniels and drags her out of the ring by her feet.
Nick Stuart: This has turned into a bit more of a war of attrition than I originally thought it would.
Richard: It’s not over yet, Nick!
Anna hits Max with a haymaker and he stumbles back into the rail. He leaps forward and hits her with one of his own, and she barely stays up by holding the apron. They trade blows back and forth like this several times until Ashley reminds them that the count is getting pretty high.
Max fakes the punch and stomps on Anna’s foot, then tries to slide back in the ring with the count at eight. She sees exactly what he is doing though and grabs him by the ankle and drags him back out, resetting the count.
She reaches for her opponent, and Max jabs her in the esophagus with his thumb. He follows up by launching the coughing Muse into the barricade and laying in a series of brutal stomps designed to keep her out of the match.
Nick Stuart: Max’s strategy is paying off, it would seem. Get Anna outside and win by count out?
Richard Parker: It doesn’t matter whether you win by an inch or a mile, winning’s winning.
Nick Stuart: Really?
Max Kael? Slides into the ring, watching from his back as Ashley is issuing the count. He worm-scoots on his back to the center of the ring to avoid getting pulled out once again and puts himself into a state of catatonic stupor in an effort to power nap energy back into his system.
Outside of the ring, Anna slowly gets to her feet. Her nose is almost certainly broken, and her legs feel like jello. She hears Ashley counting, but can barely make out the words. She sees a fan eating a serving of hot wings from the commissary and spies exactly what she was hoping for, a sprig of celery.
She grabs the piece of fibrous vegetable and it turns purple in front of her eyes, at which point she eats it whole and seemingly restores her energy. She suddenly hears Ashley counting “7!” and she runs for the ring, barely making it under the rope before the match gets called off.
Nick Stuart: I don’t understand anything that just happened, partner.
Richard Parker: Me either, but Max better open his eyes!
He does in time to be dragged to his feet and the two re-invigorated combatants go at it blow for blow once again! They tornado around the ring, punching one another fervently in the face, neither giving ground until they both tumble through the ropes and outside once again!
Max is the first to his feet and he wipes some blood off his face before picking up Anna and trying to whip her into the barrier, only for her to reverse. He hits the steel hard and flips over into the crowd. The crowd disperses away and several event security guards rush in to give the fighters space. Anna climbs the rail and goes after Max. As he gets to his feet, he grabs a security guard for purchase and the big man shoves him off toward Anna, who catches him in her arms unexpectedly.
She drags him to the barrier and throws him back over with a thud. He quickly gets to his knees, and she reaches down to grab him by the hair before climbing over the rail herself.
And in a flash, Max Kael? Snaps a pair of handcuffs on her and the other on the rail. He rushes and rolls back into the ring, watching from the ground as Anna desperately tries to free herself. Ashley Barlow is already knee deep in her count and Anna looks to be stuck!
Nick Stuart: Anna is trapped! Max must have stolen the cuffs from that security guard when he was getting to his feet!
Richard Parker: Wait, what does she have in her hand?
Nick Stuart: That’s… a sonic screwdriver?
Richard Parker: It can’t be, maybe it’s a Swiss Army knife?
Regardless of the tool, Anna is trying feverishly to pick the lock on the cuffs, but she can’t and right as she spies the guard and yells for him to give her the key, Ashley Barlow reaches up one last time.
DING DING DING!
Vince Howard: Your winner… MAAAAAX KAAAAAEEEEEEL?!!!!!
Anna slumps down outside the ring and Max celebrates by holding a thumb up in the air from flat on his back in the ring.
Nick Stuart: What a contest ladies and gentlemen. These two went to war in the ring, and there is nothing for Anna Daniels to be ashamed of in this defeat. It was a well fought match.
Richard Parker: Indeed, I still don’t understand the celery though?
Nick Stuart: Some things are better left to mystery, I guess. Up next we have Hayes Hanlon and then Eddie Cross and Dave Gibson will tangle in a highly anticipated bout.
Richard Parker: That’s gonna be a bloodbath, but I don’t know if it can top this match!
Nick Stuart: Well, we’re just going to have to find out as UltraViolence rolls on.
We then cut to a previously recorded video.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Soldier Field is empty and quiet.
The electric energy that coursed through this very space but 24 hours ago could not be denied. Night 1 was a spectacle, an event, as some might call it “a happening.”
Funny how a space can go from raucous to silent in the span of a few hours, isn’t it?
There’s something different with the ring tonight. It looms high above and despite the cabling and chains, it sways an inch this way and that as it hangs from expertly erected scaffolding: The UltraViolence Cage.
Yet Soldier Field isn’t completely empty.
Ten men and two women stand nervously near the base of the ramp on the way to the ring. They’re dressed not much differently than members of the ring crew. Black PRIME shirts, dark jeans, boots, tool belts, ballcaps, nothing particularly out of the ordinary.
But they do all wear red suspenders.
A sign of solidarity.
Something steadily heavy bludgeons the metallic entry ramp.
There’s a lighter, staccato to the heavy sforzando of the initial footsteps.
Ivan Stanislav walks steadily, but the weight and strength of The Russian Bear hearkens what sounds like an earthquake, while Alexei Ruslan pads behind him. The laborers straighten their backs. One or two of them chew gum, but they stop when Stanislav nears them. He eyes their distinctly colored suspenders and smiles a truly happy smile.
No one says a word as Stanislav’s eyes angle up to the cage, which looms ominous overhead. He has to lift his chin, when the angle of his eyes won’t suffice, to truly take it in. He nods.
Ivan Stanislav: Lower it.
Whirring motors and clanking chains ring out while the monstrous structure descends. Ruslan walks with his hands behind his back and eyes each person who clearly had the task of putting the cage together.
Ivan stands at attention while he watches them. His voice easily overpowers the mechanical sounds and clattering above.
Ivan Stanislav: You are certain you put this together correctly, my countrymen and women?
They nod as one and speak with distinctly Russian accents.
Russian Laborers: Yes, Praporshchik Stanislav!
Ruslan stands behind them. He gives Ivan an approving nod as the cage slams to the floor. Ivan turns and looks at the structure from the outside.
No time for pride. Stanislav fishes out a dark case from his pack pocket and opens it. He stretches an impossibly large pair of half-rimmed bifocals over eyes, and they rest on his prodigious nose. With a hand behind his back, he inspects the cage. He eyes the links, angling his head this way and that to look through the lenses of his glasses. He barks at one laborer and points at a corner, speaking loudly.
Ivan Stanislav: Affix this tighter afterwards!
The man nods his head and returns to where he stands.
Ivan walks quietly around the rest of the cage. He points here and there meticulously directs repairs and adjustments. When he, and Ruslan, finally make it around to the side of the cage where he started, Stanislav replaces his glasses and nods, his back away from the cage.
The others watch quietly, if not fearfully.
He’s done inspecting. Now, he wishes to take it all in.
Ivan turns and looks at the cage once more. He brings both huge hands to the steel links and grasps them. He closes his eyes and savors the metal against his skin. Far from home. Just like him.
Many would view this structure as something threatening. But for Ivan? It’s home away from home.
It surprises the onlookers, even Ruslan, but Stanislav leans forward and presses his cheek against the cold steel, feeling the coolness fade away when it fails to penetrate his thick beard. And then, just like his ursine namesake?
Quickly for a man his age. He scales the cage, one huge hand up and then another. His boots dig into the wall, far too large to find much purchase. His legs don’t do much of the work. It’s his arms that haul his four-hundred pound frame up with frightening ease. The workers at the base of the cage fidget. Yes, the cage is solid and made from Russian steel, but the structure isn’t adequately anchored, let alone the fact that Ivan Stanislav is certainly stress testing the thing! He stares down at Alexei, and the others.
His words were still relatively quiet before. But now? Thunder in Soldier Field.
Ivan Stanislav: I stand atop Brandon Youngblood’s tomb!
His triumphant grin is true, and yet it melts with thought. He reaches into his right pocket and squeezes an unseen object held within. The climb to the top of this cage was difficult. The Tropical Turmoil Tournament led to a match against five of the absolute best in PRIME. The ring is far below, semi-shielded by Russian links. Still, echoes of Culture Shock cannot be forgotten. Even if one tries to climb down from such lofty heights, it’s damaging. Some think that gravity would make it easier.
Not so easy for The Russian Bear.
A harsh lesson already learned once.
Still, his voice is laden with pride.
Ivan Stanislav: Built by most sturdy steel in world! By best hands in world. By proudest people in world! I show you my faith in my country. In my people! In metal the comes from her mountains and hills and deep within her earth.
Stanislav leaves the edge of the cage and walks to the center. He eyes his boots as they press into the ceiling of the cage. It doesn’t matter how sturdy it’s built, it sags beneath his bulk. He inhales slowly, all eyes on him. He tightens his jaw.
And jumps vertically.
Not a great jump, because the cage below doesn’t offer him much to push off from. But in that rare moment, Stanislav’s feet lift into the air, and his weight crashes down atop the cage.
It bends. But it doesn’t break.
No half-assed Culture Shock cage, made from half-assed American steel and put together by half-assed American workers.
He’s slower climbing down the cage than he was climbing up it, but Stanislav nods to the assembled workers. Even Alexei looks pleased. But Stanislav’s face is awash with consideration and gratitude. He points back at the cage.
Ivan Stanislav: Well done. Fix those issues I found. Brandon Youngblood will not get out of this cage tonight. You have made me proud. And I shall endeavor to do the same for each of you, and our fathers and mothers abroad.
He takes one last look back at the cage, a sudden wash of emotion crossing his aged eyes.
Then, the thunder recedes as Stanislav walks back up the ramp, with Alexei in tow. It’s almost time. Just some repairs and then the cage can be raised again, waiting to trap its main victim.
Soldier Field is empty and quiet again.
But not for long.
FINISH THE FIGHT
The buzz of night two of UltraViolence is palpable as the camera catches up to one of the competitors in the Stretcher/Submission match. Eddie Cross, the upstart gamer, opens the door to his dressing room carrying the wooden case with Samoan engravings only to see a familiar face standing in front of him.
El Temblor: Hola, Señor Eddie.
The aging luchador looks well appointed tonight, wearing his finest baby blue mask and a staff uniform for The Asylum. As Eddie closes the door, the camera follows behind.
Eddie Cross: Hey El T, what’s up?
The Luchador steps forward and sizes up the much taller Eddie.
El Temblor: I have a message from Señor Timo. He tells El Temblor to say “this is your fight Eddie, and that torch isn’t for you.”
Eddie looks down for a moment at the box in his hand and then back to Temblor. He sighs and hands the intricately carved wooden box to the old Rudo.
El Temblor: He also tells me to give you this…
El T turns and picks up a medium sized rectangular box.
El Temblor: and to tell you “This is you.”
Eddie looks at the box a little bewildered and takes it from the old man. He opens the flaps and his eyes widen as he realizes what is inside. The young man looks up, unable to find the words, and the Luchador smiles.
El Temblor: Good luck, Señor Eddie. Everything is now ready. Your Amigo friends have helped with lights and music. It is time to be own man.
Eddie, overcome with emotions, puts the box down and hugs El Temblor. After a moment, the Rudo claps the young man on the back and pulls away.
El Temblor: Go get that treacherous son of a bitch!
The fans react as Eddie looks up hearing the entirety of Soldier Field come to life. The buzz turns to a fevered pitch and the camera pans to the ring as a high pitched beeping precedes a brightly adorned ambulance with full flashing lights backing its way to the top of the ramp.
Nick Stuart: We are moments away from what once described as “A Hatred that is Hardcore!” Sixteen years have passed since that fateful night. Will history repeat itself? Will Dave Gibson even the score?
Richard Parker: We won’t have to wait long! The ambulance is in place and I think the first competitor is about ready to come out!
We then cut back to ringside.
STRETCHER/SUBMISSION MATCH: EDDIE CROSS VS. DAVE GIBSON
The opening guitar chords and drum lick of “Paradise City” start to echo through the stadium. As the riff begins, the doors of the ambulance burst open to reveal Dave Gibson. Mr. Old School has a predatory smile on his face, dressed in a set of dark coveralls. His head, freshly shaven, shines under the bright lights.
Dave jumps down from the ambulance to a chorus of boos. Despite the hatred from the fans, Dave is grinning from ear to ear, reveling as he makes his entrance.
Richard Parker: Having not seen Gibson wrestle in so long, I’d forgotten how sadistic he can be. How driven he can be.
Nick Stuart: Back in his time, he was someone mere steps away from being a top contender in PRIME for the Universal Championship. He had some brutal battles, most notably with Brandon Youngblood–
Richard Parker: He is THE ONLY one to ever break the Gridlock without aid.
Nick Stuart: His battles in OSW…his battle with his opponent’s father…with PRIME Hall of Famer Hessian…
Richard Parker: And you know my love of Lord Cecilworth Farthington…but Gibson’s ability to grapple was the progenitor to the leader of the Glue Revolution.
Nick Stuart: And all that time away from the mainstream ring…in those North Carolina backroads…he’s been honing others. He’s never been far away from the ring. From the sport. And tonight, he makes his return. Perhaps for the first time time. Perhaps…for the final time.
Gibson’s eyes are welling up as he heads for the ring, but he blinks furiously as he makes the long walk. Slowly and methodically. Dave leisurely steps between the ropes and raises his hands, spinning in a slow circle before springing to the middle rope in the nearest corner, screaming “LET’S FUCKING GO!” to the ringside fans.
Vince Howard: This match is set for one fall with no time limit and is a Stretcher/Submission Match! The only way Dave Gibson can win is by submission. The only way Eddie Cross can win is by loading his opponent into the ambulance. Introducing first…from Charlotte, North Carolina… he weighs in tonight at two hundred and thirty pounds…MISTER! OOOOOOOOOLD SCHOOL! HE IS… DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVE! GIBSON!!
Dave jumps back down and holds up one finger, starting to unzip the coveralls. Underneath, Dave is wearing an all-white suit, complete with jacket and tie. The fans oooh and ahhh at the ramifications. Blood is about to be shed.
The night sky above Soldier field is full of stars even as the arena lights go dark. On the PRIMEtron, a blue holographic woman familiar to those who have played the Halo series shimmers into existence and a light heroic music fills the air.
Cortana: They let me pick. Did I ever tell you that? Choose whichever Spartan I wanted.
A yellow comet appears and slowly streaks across the sky.
Cortana: You know me. I did my research. Watched as you became the soldier we needed you to be. Like the others, you were strong and swift and brave. A natural leader. But you had something they didn’t.
A smaller comet breaks off from the main fireball, and begins to descend.
Cortana: Something no one saw but me. Can you guess? Luck.
The smaller comet suddenly plummets down to the earth and crashes on the entrance with an explosion of pyrotechnics and smoke on the right side of the stage just past Argyle. The arena fades to black
Cortana: …Was I wrong?
The words echo into the night sky and the fans begin to buzz.
Sergeant Johnson: I remember how this war started… what your people did to mine. I’m not ready to forgive you, but… I am glad you stood by him to the end. …It’s hard to believe he’s truly gone.
Arbiter: Were it so easy…
The tragic final words of Halo 3 play as the music comes to a crescendo and the arena fills with quiet tension and the murmuring of excited fans. Finally the voice of Master chief breaks the wall of silence.
Master Chief: This is Sierra-117, can anyone hear me? Over.
No answer as the arena remains dark…
Master Chief: Infinity! This is Sierra-117 of the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn. Do you copy?
Cortana’s digital form flashes on the screen once again and smiles.
Cortana: Don’t make a girl a promise if you know you can’t keep it.
Darkness one more time. Fan camera phones illuminate the arena like sixty thousand stars.
Spotlights illuminate a UNSC pod on the stage just to the right of the ambulance and the gregorian chant of the Halo Theme – Gungnir Mix feat Steve Vai fills the arena as the fans clamor.
As the chant comes to an end, the pod bursts open dramatically and the door clatters to the ground. Out steps Eddie Cross, wearing Master Chief green Spartan armor inspired ring attire. As the guitars and strings ramp up, he walks to the top of the ramp and looks ominously at the ambulance before turning his gaze up the ramp to the ring and the man waiting inside.
Eddie steels himself and closes his eyes, snapping them back open when Vince Howard gives his announcement.
Vince Howard: Aaaaaaand his opponent… from Orlando, Florida… standing six feet four inches and weighing in at two hundred and twenty five pounds… EDDDDDDDDIIIIIIIEEEEEEEE CROOOOOOOOOOOOSS!!
Screaming guitars and thumping drums play the young man to the ring. He walks with a purpose, slapping fans hands as he goes. As he gets to the ring, he hops up the steps nimbly and points at Dave then to the apron. He wipes his feet in respect before entering the ring with the heroic music filling the air through the arena.
Eddie leaps onto the second turnbuckle and holds his hands up, and the fans respond.
Across the ring, Gibson hasn’t taken his eyes off his pupil and watches as the man known as “n1ghtcraw1er” starts to remove his spartan green vest to prepare for the start of the match.
He never gets the chance, as Gibson charges forward as the vest is being taken off, launching into Cross with a lethal bevy of forearms, pushing him into the ropes and throwing a stiff knee to the stomach to cause the former pupil to his knees. Elvis Nixon thinks about pulling Gibson away, all as Mr. Old School stomps the absolute piss out of Cross, but thinks better of it. It is UltraViolence after all. He does what he’s supposed to do.
He calls for the bell.
Nick Stuart: And Gibson…Dave Gibson…in a PRIME wrestling match for the first time in nearly two decades…Dave Gibson ASSAULTING his former pupil from the very start here.
Richard Parker: The ARROGANCE of Eddie Cross. This man has gone and kicked your damn head in, he’s beaten you up, brutalized you, thrown you out on your ass…and the way you get yourself prepared for that IS TO GIVE YOURSELF THE BIG BOY ENTRANCE? Good Hoyt are you DENSE!
Nick Stuart: Different people get in the mindset in different ways–
Richard Parker: –and SOME PEOPLE get in the mindset by getting dirt stomped to death after their silly video game entrance! Here’s a video game entrance you should’ve come out to, Mister Crawler of the Night…PONG. Because YOU’RE ABOUT TO HAVE YOUR ASS BEAT from one side of the ring to the other, to the other, to the other, and then, you’re going to urinate all over yourself as you cry in submission!
Mr. Old School is good, grabbing onto the face of Cross, looking to measure him to drive a knee into his neck. Not the face, but the neck. And as he does, Eddie manages to grab onto him, getting a roll up.
Richard Parker: WHAT AN IDIO–
Yes, there are no pinfalls in this Stretcher/Submission match. Eddie Cross is very very dumb. A total idiot. A moron. Except…he never did the move to get a pin. The snatch, the pull, the roll, it pins Gibson’s shoulders to the mat, but only briefly. The scramble afterward has Cross rising first and clubbing Dave’s ear with an open handed palm strike that discombobulates the long retired but seasoned pro, dropping him to a knee. Before he can get back to his feet, Cross absolutely blasts him in the chest with a penalty kick.
Gibbo crumples, but Cross gives him no quarter, diving on top of him, driving his elbows into his head as he does, bellowing, roaring, full of adrenaline.
Nick Stuart: You were saying, Richard?
Richard Parker: Hooooooooly Hoooooyt.
Gibson is taking a BRUTAL pounding. All white attire harkens to what is to come, but the beginning stanza of this has already begun, the blood flowing from the head of Mr. Old School. It’s nasty, the gash finding no relief as Eddie continuously finds it, blow after blow, all as Gibson throws his hands up, trying to guard, to find something, anything to stop the onslaught. Nothing.
Nick Stuart: This match…THIS MATCH…it only ends if Gibson goes out in the back of that ambulance or if Eddie Cross submits…but…
Richard Parker: You’re already asking if this might just be stopped right here.
Nick Stuart: Certain fighting organizations might have already called a stop to this–
Richard Parker: But Gibson is still trying to–
Nick Stuart: And someone needs to think of the wrestler’s well being–
Richard Parker: That DEFINITELY isn’t Eddie Cross right now–
Nick Stuart: Perhaps the medics can pull a stretcher OOOOH! OH NO!
Richard Parker: You were saying…Nick?
His head bounced off the canvas like a basketball, leaving a splotch, Gibson is in survival mode, and manages, finally, to get a thumb in eye of Eddie Cross. Not just a thumb, but a thumbnail. The young star yelps instinctively, grabbing for his eye, rolling on the mat, his legs kicking at it, his free hand slamming and reverberating through the boards.
Nick Stuart: That looked HIDEOUS when we–don’t show a replay of…
Richard Parker: OOOOOOH!
A replay on the screen shows that Gibson’s thumb sunk deeper than originally anticipated. Enough to push the eye uncomfortably from the socket. A point of reference? Allan Ray of Villanova. You may search if you wish. The fans in Chicago audibly gasp. But they do even more when Cross lifts his head from the canvas, gets to his knees, and PUSHES his eye back into place.
Richard Parker: I want to throw up–
Gibson is up, throwing a knee to the back of Cross’s neck, grabbing on the jaw, driving the point of his knee and yanking back with a chin lock. The blood is absolutely flowing from him in spurts, but the furious look in his own eyes flashes starkly, hauntingly out of the mask.
Nick Stuart: This is looking just…OHHHH!
Richard Parker: BRAINPAN TO THE MUSH!
Cross threw his head back, smashing into the nose and teeth of Gibson. Mr. Old School reaches for his mouth, stunned, dazed, and then eats a knee to the face.
Nick Stuart: This…this is a fight. Not much wrestling–
Richard Parker: For these two, survival is on the line–\
Nick Stuart: Cross lifting Gibson up and you can see…you can SEE…that one eye is closed, and he’s gritting his teeth, front chancery–
Richard Parker: Gibson escapes!
Nick Stuart: And Gibson wrapping his arms around the neck rear naked–OH! CROSS DROPS! JAWBREAKER REVERSAL. And Cross lifting Gibson up again with that facelock…slingshots him into the ropes FALCON ARROW!
Richard Parker: HE TOOK THAT FROM GIBSON!
Nick Stuart: THE THROWBACK! THE THROWBACK! Cross isn’t done! He has Gibson up and he BIELS him across the ring! What strength shown by Eddie Cross!
Richard Parker: Gibson trying to rise–
Nick Stuart: TRIGGER WARNING! FLYING KNEE STRIKE CONNECTS WITH THE BRIDGE OF GIBSON’S NOSE!
Richard Parker: Those fancy tights are ruined and stained now!
Gibson rises almost instantly, legs wobbly, and throws a wild haymaker swing at nothing. He then collapses, only to try and rise again, using the ropes to make his attempt. And as he does? Eddie Cross charges forward, blasting into him with a clothesline that sends the two of them ass over teakettle to the outside with a BRUTAL fall!
Nick Stuart: The violence here…that fall…
Richard Parker: Gibson looks like he landed awkwardly–
Nick Stuart: Cross narrowly avoided on top of his own head. The velocity he used to launch into Gibson–
Richard Parker: Those simple submission attempts by Gibson, those torquing holds, to see Eddie have answers to them, the perfect answers…it has to have Mr. Old School thinking maybe he bit off a bit more than he could chew…or maybe it’s the blood loss. Definitely the blood loss…
Elvis Nixon is on the outside. The ring isn’t necessary for the contest from the Gibson end of things, submitting Cross can happen anywhere. And the ambulance? It beckons. Cross is stirring, and as he gets up, he goes to grab his former trainer, only to get dropped by a punch.
Nick Stuart: MY WORD! IS THAT?
Richard Parker: A chain. Gibson has a chain. And a bottle of rubbing alcohol.
Given the proximity to the apron, Dave reaching under the ring doesn’t get the most attention. But in the recovery, he managed to wrap his fist with a chain. Smirking, laughing, he unravels the chain, getting up, slumping against the ring apron, dangling it for the camera.
Dave Gibson: This one’s for you…Von Helsing…
Nick Stuart: Hessian? What does he mean?
A sliced end of the link. This chain came from North Carolina as well. A slight rust filters through it. Jagged rust held between blood soaked fingers.
Nick Stuart: Oh my word is he–
Richard Parker: He’s grabbing Eddie–
Nick Stuart: Oh that eye is SWOLLEN–
Richard Parker: A target…
Nick Stuart: No…NO! HE’S GRABBING THE EYELID…HE’S GOING TO SLICE THAT EYELID WITH THE–
Richard Parker: OH DAMN I THINK GIBBO JUST GOT LAUNCHED INTO SCHAUMBURG!
Nick Stuart: LOW BLOW! It’s ALL legal here and that’s a hallmark of Dave Gibson and CROSS with a russian legsweep on the stadium floor. He lifts Gibson up and LAUNCHES HIM INTO THE RING STEPS!
Richard Parker: Seeing that makes my entire body ache!
Cross, his vision compromised, he looks around as best as he can. Then, he finds it. The chain. There is no wrapping it around his fist. What there is? Him storming over to the rising Gibson, and whipping his across the shoulder with the chain link. Then the back. Over and over again across the back. Gibson tries to get away, stagger away, the chain leaving behind rust and welts, all as he hollows like a werewolf into the overcast sky. His entire body quakes in agony as Cross whips and whips and whips the absolute piss out of his former trainer.
Nick Stuart: This match…this match has been anything but a scientific examination of grappling…it’s been absolutely brutal…bursts of hatred, of pain… and where is Eddie Cross–
Richard Parker: Gibson tried to get away by going up the ramp, but…that strategy…it’s taking him closer and closer to the ambulance!
Nick Stuart: Where is Eddie Cross goin–oh no. Oh no no no.
Richard Parker: The rubbing alcohol–
Nick Stuart: Cross…oh my God…Eddie Cross is back near Gibson–
There is no dramatic pulling of the top off the bottle of rubbing alcohol. It just comes off. And then, the contents are dumped all over the back and head of Dave Gibson.
Nick Stuart: JESUS CHRIST!
Richard Parker: OH MY HOYT!
Like a demon soaked in holy water, Gibson convulses in conniptions. His hands shake. He roars in pain. And Eddie Cross? He throws the bottle against the back of his former teacher’s head before lifting him up and snap suplexing him on the ramp. He’s not down long, grabbing the chain, and continuing to smash it into Gibson’s flesh. Like the scalded dog he is, Gibbo scurries as best as he can, bringing him closer and closer to the ambulance.
Nick Stuart: As uncomfortable as things have been in the dissolution of this relationship, this match, its bursts of brutality, has been something.
Richard Parker: It’s just crazy to see Cross dealing with the adversity of what is going on with his eye. And he has to be feeling good about all this…
The stalking is taking Gibson closer and closer to Eddie’s desired and ultimate destination. And as if to help get things going, he brings Gibson up and launches him against the side of the ambulance. The blood smear as he falls is something to behold. Cracking open the latch, Cross drags the body of Gibson over, and then slams his head into the door, causing it to swing to a near close.
Eddie Cross: I!
The door is swung back into Gibson’s face.
Eddie Cross: HAVE!
Another slam into the door.
Eddie Cross: FUCKING!
Eddie Cross: LEARNED!
Eddie Cross: AND NOW!
The blood is becoming one with the ambulance.
Eddie Cross: I TEACH YOU!
And another brutalizing blow.
Eddie Cross: THE FINAL LESSON!
Finally, Gibson collapses.
Nick Stuart: These fans! These fans are roaring for this!
Richard Parker: Bloodlust! Straight up bloodlust!
The ambulance doors now open, the ending seems rudimentary. Predictable. Eddie Cross grabs the body of Dave Gibson, and looks to toss him into the back of the ambulance like the sack of shit he has been. But then, he stops.
Nick Stuart: Why is he–
Richard Parker: YOU HAVE THE MATCH WON! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! He HAS IT WON!
Cross drops Gibson, slowly making his way down the ramp, grabbing the chain. And as he does? Gibson crawls back to the ramp, splaying out after trying to get away as much as he could from the ambulance.
Nick Stuart: What is Cross going to do with that chain–
Richard Parker: OOOOOOOH! OOOOOH OHHHHH OOOOOOOOOOOH!
Nick Stuart: JESUS!
Richard Parker: A KICK! RIGHT! BETWEEN! THE LEGS!
Elvis Nixon and everyone in attendance, as well as those at home, wince. Cross doubles over. Gibson, for his part, grabs hold of Eddie, executes a desperation belly to back suplex which splatters the pair on the ramp. The proximity after the blow gives Gibson the opportunity he needs.
Nick Stuart: THE SILENCER! THE SILENCER! IT’S LOCKED IN! IT’S LOCKED IN!
Richard Parker: AND IT’S TIGHT!
In the world of PRIME, the cobra clutch was owned by Dave Gibson before it was Nate Colton’s. For the old fans, they know this. For the new ones, they know just what this means. End game. Finality. Inescapable. Colton claims the hold as a birthright, but Gibson…it is his body, his blood, his everything. Hold for hold. Mr. Old School.
Nick Stuart: CROSS HAS NO CHOICE! HE HAS TO TAP! HE HAS TO TAP!
Richard Parker: NEVER FORGET HE HAD THE MATCH WON AND HE DECIDED TO DO THIS!
Like a boa constrictor, that body scissor. In training, Eddie Cross has experienced this more times than he’d ever care for. Pitiful student. Never truly good enough. He didn’t have what it takes. THIS…is the final lesson for Eddie Cross. Dave Gibson was more of a father to him than his own dad was…and parenting is tough. Sometimes, it’s all about measuring your child’s expectations. Putting them in alignment with the real world. This isn’t your make up kid. Go home. Find some job that pays well. The sharks of this world know that you will never have what it takes to do it.
Nick Stuart: Nixon is close, he’s asking, he’s PLEADING with Cross to let him end this match–
Go home, kid. You hear those words from your REAL old man?
Now fuck off home.
Fuck off home, you goddamn North Carolina redneck.
A fist flies back, smashing into Gibson’s nose. Chain. Full on chain. And another. The hold is broken. So might Gibson’s face. Struggling for air, Eddie Cross grabs at his neck, but his eye, wide, his mouth, open, he knows he can’t stop. Can’t try to recover. Dave Gibson will never stop if he doesn’t learn the actual last lesson. If he doesn’t push himself through the limits he feels he has. Another punch. And then?
The chain. That jagged edge.
Sunk over the eyelid of Dave Gibson.
Nick Stuart: OH MY GOD!
Dave Gibson roars in pain, his hands wild. But with a grappler like him, any such reaching is to be taken as offense. One grip is all he needs. Which is why Eddie Cross stomps on his head. Which is why Eddie Cross lifts Dave Gibson up to his feet and puts his head between his thighs. Why he moves close to the end of the ramp.
Nick Stuart: He can’t be–
Richard Parker: HE ISSSSS!
Eddie Cross lands it and quite possibly breaks the neck of Dave Gibson for the final time. And he staggers up, using the ramp to pull himself up. The adrenaline rushing through him powers him through. He roars and pounds his chest. Then he looks at the lifeless body of his former trainer.
He lifts him up.
And slams him into the back of the ambulance.
The doors close.
The student becomes the teacher.
DING DING DING
Nick Stuart: HE DID IT! GOOD LORD HE DID IT!
Richard Parker: And he brutalized him!
Vince Howard: YOOOOOOOOUR WINNER…EDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDIE! CROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSS!
Like a Spartan, Cross stands for a moment, his anthem playing, raising his hands before slumping to his knees. He reaches for his eye, trying to push himself to his feet, but as he does, he falls to a knee.
It’s only after he does that he braces against the ramp, sitting over it, pumping his arm upward in victory. His former teacher’s blood is all over him, that wonderful get up completely ruined.
But after all the beatings and suffering, the end result? It makes it all good.
Because on this night, Eddie Cross proved some of his most vocal detractors wrong.
We then cut to commercial.
COMMERCIAL: 24 HOUR RULE
STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES
From the commercial, we see a door simply with the PRIME logo on it. Matt Mills waits outside with a microphone, awaiting whoever’s on the other side. The door creaks open and out from the inside walks The Anglo Luchador, in jeans, sneakers, his lucha mask (regular purple and green since the gold and white one is clearly at the dry cleaners), and a custom-made gray t-shirt that merely reads “OUCH!” in black block letters. Mills runs over immediately to greet him.
Matt Mills: TAL, TAL, to whom were you speaking in there?
TAL: Whoa, whoa, man, let me breathe a little bit. My body’s still making all the blood I lost last night, and having to talk to lawyers and executives didn’t help matters any.
Matt Mills: Executives? Like, juniors or are we talking Lindsay Troy or Killean Sirrajin here?
TAL: Look at you, playing senior reporter. Where’s Ange anyway? She’s usually got my beat.
Matt Mills: She’s standing by with Nate Colton next.
TAL: Ah, okay. At least it’s him and not someone like Jiles or Artie P.
Mills shakes his head.
TAL: Relax, buddy. I will tell you that I do have an announcement at least. I know there’s some rumors floating around about me, and I just wanted to say that I’ve agreed to stay on until December 17 at the very least.
Matt Mills: So you’re here through Colossus?
A “RRAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!” can be heard from the crowd.
Matt Mills: So the rumors are true that you’re at least considering negotiating a buyout of your contract?
TAL: sighing Yeah. It’s no secret that I’ve not been running at peak performance lately, and it’s not like it’s the young guys sprinting past me either. It’s the older guys too. I’m starting to feel out of place, but my original contract was for two years. I figure, let’s stick it out, give it the full two-year shot, and hey, maybe I catch a little more fire in the second annual Almasy, right?
Matt Mills: Wow, well, that’s a big scoop, I guess…
Mills is interrupted by a courier carrying a long box. He is, for some reason, wearing a pair of black shades in the backstage area. Even with the black shades, it’s clear his eyes are focused on TAL.
Courier: Excuse me, but I have a gift for Mr. Battaglia.
TAL: Whoa, whoa, whoa cameras on, man, ixnay on the ootshay amenay.
Courier: (ignoring that last statement) Here, take this. It’s for you.
The courier hands him the box.
Matt Mills: Well, this is odd.
Courier: You can go now, sir.
Matt Mills: What? Well I…
TAL: Bud, just do what he says, okay?
The junior reporter indignantly walks off the scene.
Courier: Okay, now open the box.
TAL: Huh? Aren’t you just a delivery guy?
Courier: Well, yes, but I must admit, I enjoy seeing my clients revel in what they’ve been delivered.
He opens the box to find a single long-stemmed red rose.
TAL: This is like the tenth rose I’ve gotten in the last three months. What the hell? Who keeps sending these to me?
Courier: I don’t know, but I think you ought to take some time to stop and smell the roses, Mr. Battaglia. I mean, you’ve had a really rough year so far. You might want to take some time to yourself.
The Luchador’s eyes narrow as he looks at the courier.
TAL: Who… who are you?
Courier: Oh, I’m just a courier, sir. Please though, you should take my advice.
The Luchador shakes his head as the courier backs away slowly. He looks at the rose quizzically before shrugging.
TAL: Guy’s right. Maybe I do need to smell the roses.
He takes a big whiff of the rose and smiles before taking a beat and collapsing to the floor.
Nick Stuart: What the hell? Someone get back there!
Richard Parker: Jesus, I don’t like the guy either, but he lost enough blood to supply an army regiment last night!
As the camera focuses on the fallen Luchador, the courier reaches down and grabs The Anglo Luchador before he knocks down the camera. We see static before it cuts to Angie and Nate.
THE RIGHT DIRECTION
We see Angelica Brooks standing by with Nate Colton. She’s not entirely happy to see him; he’s not entirely happy to be seen. But they’ve both got a job to do, so they both plaster on their best fake smiles and get on with it.
Fortunately, nobody notices.
Angelica Brooks: Thanks, guys! I’m here with Nate Colton, who will be taking on Jonathan-Christopher Hall later tonight. Nate, you’ve had…quite the ride lately.
Nate Colton: That’s one way to say it, Ms. Brooks. I’d say it was more like falling down an elevator shaft.
She smirks, just a little, at the mental image.
Angelica Brooks: That all culminated at ReV35, when the Love Convoy assaulted you and drove you face-first through one of Hoyt Williams’ stained glass windows. How has that affected you heading into tonight’s match?
Nate Colton: Y’know, Angelica…when you’re going through bad times, you’re gonna come across two kinds of people. The first kind are the ones who honestly care about you, they want to help you back on your feet. Now, these last couple months when I felt like I didn’t have any of those…well, that was just about the dumbest thought I ever had in my life. I had a whole bunch of ‘em, but I just didn’t want to listen.
Angelica Brooks: Instead, you chose to work with the likes of Savannah Scandal.
Angelica’s eyes narrow as she says the name, and Nate winces as he hears it. He’s been doing his best to make amends, but it’s obvious that real forgiveness will take some time.
Nate Colton: Funny you bring her up, because she’s a prime example of the other kind of person. That’s the kind who’s gonna try and take advantage of you. They’ll see a guy down on his luck and their only thought is how they can use him to get theirs. Well, that’s Vickie Hall down to the bone.
Angelica Brooks: She certainly tried with you, the way she rolled out the red carpet.
Nate Colton: I gotta admit, she almost got me. When she found me in the halls at ReV33, I was probably as low as I’d ever been. The rest of PRIME had turned their backs on me, with good reason. I thought even my own family was against me. And she just swooped in, figuring she’d sweep me up and do whatever she wanted, ‘cause I was broken like the rest of her toys.
Colton shakes his head, chuckling to–or at–himself. But as easy as it would be to beat himself up over that lapse in judgment…he’s done enough of that lately, so he moves on.
Nate Colton: My head might have been all the way up my ass at the time, but I could still recognize her bullshit for what it was. And that’s why the Love Convoy…well, they did what they did, because I had the audacity to say no to Vickie.
Angelica Brooks: Which brings us to tonight.
Nate Colton: Which brings us to tonight. I’m sure the Love Convoy are expecting the same Nate Colton they left laying in Detroit two weeks ago. Well, that ain’t the Nate Colton they’re gonna get. I’ve finally got my head on straight, my mind right, and my focus on one thing–getting my career in PRIME back on track. And if that means derailing the Love Convoy…so be it.
Angelica Brooks: Strong words from the Next Diamond, ahead of what should be an intense conflict! Let’s go now to Simon Tillier, who is standing by!
Double-doors. Solid oak.
Forebodingly dark brown.
They’re the kind of doors that you know you should never knock on.
The kind of doors that say without saying, “Perish all hope, ye who enter here.”
Every major arena in North America has a set of these doors, to provide a barrier between the commoners and the unfathomably monumental professional wrestling talent on the other side.
Two words are engraved at eye level.
V A E V I C T I S
Yes, you read that right: ENGRAVED.
Quite ornately, in brutalist Roman type.
You better believe these fuckers are custom made.
A certain smiling somebody not-so-subtly slides into the shot, accompanied by an identifying chyron at the bottom of the screen. He flashes the camera a characteristically toothy grin, stretched ear to ear.
Simon Tillier: Gooooooood EVENING, fellow PRIMEmates! Your faithful junior reporter Simon Tillier here on the scene backstage at Soldier Field, amid what I have to say has been an AMAZING second night of UltraViolence! But before we get back to the action, join me right now for what I’m told is a “once in a lifetime” exclusive!
An arm waves to the gateway behind the interviewer.
Simon Tillier: As I’m sure you can tell by the lettering on these doors, I am standing right outside the private clubhouse suite belonging to the members of the esteemed Vae Victis! As it should so happen, the elite supergroup of professional wrestling’s finest athletes are here with us tonight in Chicago to witness this monumental UltraViolence event!
Thoughtfully, Simon turns his attention to the doors. Even he can’t help but notice the certain amount of mystique radiating off of them.
Simon Tillier: Admittedly, I’ve always been interested in knowing more about this group, whose ranks include our own CEO of PRIME, Ms. Lindsay Troy. And if you recall just two weeks ago, I had the chance to sit down with fellow member Kerry Kuroyama, in what I would consider to be an interesting and thought-provoking experience that left me wanting to know even more about how this secretive wrestling society operates behind the scenes.
He bites his lip, pondering over whatever forbidden sights and sounds lie just beyond the threshold.
Simon Tillier: Normally, we wouldn’t have any access to whatever goes on inside, as Vae Victis has been strictly confidential in many of their dealings…
His pink, cherub-like face finds the camera once more.
Simon Tillier: Tonight, however, we are in luck! Because by way of “special request”, yours truly has been granted special access by the founding member herself, LINDSAY TROY!
He can hardly contain his sheer excitement. He is beaming like a kid in a candy store, if all the candy was made out of Red Ryder BB Guns.
His zest for this job seriously cannot be understated. And after everything he’s been through since the inception of the ReVival era, it’s easy to see why.
But here he is now. With the “opportunity of a lifetime.”
A chance to peek beyond the veil.
To look upon the faces of wrestling gods.
Simon Tillier: So, without further adieu… let’s see what’s brewing!
Clearing his throat and straightening his tie, he raises his fist and lightly raps on the door…
Even though it’s a soft knock, every tap seems to resound thunderously through the walls of Soldier Field.
KNOCK… KNOCK… KNOCK…
In heaven, an angel weeps.
In hell, a devil cackles.
As if suddenly realizing his folly, Simon takes two steps back from the door.
And a moment later… the latch clicks.
The doors slowly come open…
And a sole figure appears on the other side.
Simon Tillier: (balking) SCOTT HUNTER?! Y-YOU are a member of Vae Victis!?
Scott looks around.
Scott Hunter: To be honest, I was just looking for the restroom. But they have snacks in here, and I ran out of Combos. I get the cheddar cheese flavored, not the pizza flavored. I don’t care for artificially flavored pizza goo.
Simon Tillier: Isn’t the cheddar cheese filling also artificial?
Scott stares at him.
Scott Hunter: I don’t know what you mean.
From further in the room, a voice bellows out.
“SCOTT!! THAT BETTER BE BONGO HUT WITH MY PANCAKES!!”
Scott’s eyebrow arches at the junior interviewer.
Scott Hunter: You wouldn’t happen to be the pancake guy, would you?
Tillier shakes his head.
Simon Tillier: Um… no. I was sent by Ms. Troy, by special request?
Scott Hunter: Why would someone who works for a pancake place show up if you don’t have any pancakes?
Simon Tillier: I don’t work for – – Look, Ms. Troy sent for me. Can I come in or not?
Scott shrugs, turns, and leads him in. Tillier takes a deep breath, and steps in after him, closely followed by the camera.
Once he’s inside, Simon takes in his surroundings. His face opens with childlike awe.
Simon Tillier: Whoa…
The VVIP Room isn’t so much a clubhouse as it is a micro-palace. The decorations and furnishings are of opulent and pristine quality.
The centerpiece is a large indoor fountain, beneath a crystal chandelier hanging from an uncharacteristically high, vaulted ceiling that doesn’t seem like it would belong in a Chicago sports arena.
In one corner, a string quartet dressed like 19th century plague doctors plays the works of Abney Park with expert precision.
The catering is topnotch. An array of entrees from the Windy City’s high-end eateries line a seemingly endless banquet table. Overlooking the smorgasbord are ice sculptures of Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, and Amanda Seyfried.
And yeah, there’s a Lindsay Lohan off to the side. Half-melted, like her career.
But the pièce de résistance itself is a massive oil painting on the wall, depicting the likeness of the PRIME CEO herself.
From out of the painting, Lindsay Troy’s confidently smirking face stares down upon whatever lowlife is staring back at her immortalized glory.
She’s clad in safari khakis, standing in the classic Captain Morgan pose in what appears to be a field of dead wrestlers, her foot propped upon the back of her trophy, the corpse of a one cOnOr FuSe. Perched on her arm like a falcon awaiting command, Athena’s golden eyes also stare out of the painting.
Clearing his throat, Scott gestures to the portrait.
Scott Hunter: First of all, you know, I know, everyone knows, this… is Lindsay Troy. She is the PRIME CEO, is a patron of the arts, likes spinach puffs, owls and small dogs and has won a kajillion championships in her fifty year career in wrestling.
From within the painting, one could swear that she shoots him a look.
Scott Hunter: Oops, my bad! I meant… in her fifty year career in Professional Wrestling. She is very very tough, both in fighting people and in business. She owns a gym and also a cappuccino machine. She also has two kids, a dog, and fourteen adopted chinchillas, but they live with her ex-husband which is not relevant information right now.
This time she just rolls her eyes. Or at least she does in our imaginations.
Could also be there are holes right where the eyes would be and she’s just standing on the other side of the wall.
I mean, stranger things have happened, right?
The junior reporter continues to scan the room.
Simon Tillier: So, aside from the PRIME CEO, who else is involved in Vae Victis?
Scott nods further into the clubhouse, and leads the junior reporter toward the balcony overlooking the bowl of Soldier Field and the thousands of fans filling the seats below.
Overlooking the view, arranged in a wide elliptical semi-circle, sits a row of plush seats. Crushed velvet, dyed pink.
Figures occupy their respective thrones, looking down at the world beneath them like a pantheon of wrestling Olympians.
Starting at the far end, Scott gestures to the occupant of the first seat. A stately man with a head lined with salt-and-paprika’d hair and a kraken-engraved eyepatch. He’s dressed in a rather dated, Victorian-era admiral’s uniform.
Scott Hunter: Okay, from what I’ve learned this gentleman is Henry Keyes. The thing that you need to know about Henry is that he only has one eye and yet he has the vision of a hawk. That is a type of bird. He has made at least three angry faces in my direction since I came inside, but already he’s my favorite.
The Kraken snorts when he sees that neither man has come with a tribute of Chicago-style pizza.
Henry Keyes: Pequod’s, or GET THE FUCK OUT!
Scott takes a few steps and stops in front of a sharp-dressed man, with an even sharper look in his eye. His swept back blonde hair and Van Dyke are groomed with regal precision. His camel tweed suit is accented by a pair of shining loafers, because FUCK shoelaces. A shovel with a platinum spade happens to be leaning against his seat.
Scott Hunter: This is Oscar Burns. I believe that his name suits him perfectly because it seems that he is a grouch. I don’t know how ‘Burns’ applies to his personality but I just assume it means he has chronic battles with chafing. He likes graps based on his t-shirt collection, website and Tinder profile. I think that means different things depending on each situation. He is also already my favorite.
Oscar Burns: Call me DEFIANCE.
Simon Tillier: Um… as in the wrestling company?
Oscar Burns: Yeah. I AM the company. I’d be PRIME if I was here, too, GC, but… DEFIANCE.
Scott moves on and stops in front of an empty seat.
Scott Hunter: This seat is usually where the big cowboy guy sits. I don’t know his name either, ‘cause I haven’t met him yet, but in my mind, his name is Sheriff Winston J. Cuddlepants. It is rumored that he has a snake in his boot. He is also already – –
Simon Tillier: – – already your favorite?
Scott Hunter: What?? No. I was going to say he is already my… ok yes, already my favorite.
Simon Tiller: Thought so.
Scott continues on, and stops in front of a gentleman with a mohawk and a proud grin etched on his face.
Unlike the previous stops in this tour through the ranks of Vae Victis, this guy actually looks mildly excited to be introduced to the world at large.
Peeking through the lapels of his blazer is his own brand of t-shirt, which plainly reads “BUTCHER VICTORIOUS” in loud red and yellow letters.
Scott Hunter: I don’t know this guy.
The smile disappears, and the guy in the shirt that says “BUTCHER VICTORIOUS” stammers and blubbers indignantly.
Butcher Victorious: WHAAAT?! C’mon, man! They FINALLY gave me a chair!
Scott just blinks at the man, then steps past him.
Finally, at the far end of the row of seats sits someone in an expensive emerald brillo Sebastian Cruz that Simon actually recognizes.
Scott Hunter: Last but not least, there’s–
Kerry Kuroyama: He knows who I am.
And you should too.
That’s the sound of a pair of ice cubes being sloshed around a jewel-cut glass tumbler.
It’s also the universal signal that a man needs another drink.
Kerry Kuroyama: But while you’re here, Scott, be a lamb and fetch me a refill. Hokushu. On the rocks.
Seemingly confused by the request, Scott takes the glass and goes to the minibar.
Scott Hunter: BAAA… BAAAA…
Kuroyama nods to Tillier as a way of welcoming him.
Kerry Kuroyama: Thank you for being prompt upon request, Simon. Have a seat.
Simon is about to put himself into the empty chair next to Kerry when–
“HEY! YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US!”
The aforementioned mohawked individual–we’ll just randomly identify him as “Butcher Victorious” for the sake of convenience–is pointing accusingly at the junior reporter.
Butcher Victorious: Look, everybody! He’s trying to SIT WITH US!!
As if a switch had been flipped, the steely temperaments of Keyes and Burns suddenly transition from mildly irate to volcanically enraged.
Oscar Burns: YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US!
Henry Keyes: (angrily pounding the arm of his chair) You CAN’T! SIT! With US!
Simon freezes in place over the chair, a baby deer caught in the headlights of a Mack truck.
Kerry Kuroyama: Yeah, sorry Simon. Forgot to mention that we kind of have an unspoken policy about that around here. If you wouldn’t mind, pop a squat here on the floor.
Simon Tillier: Um… would it be okay if I just remained standing.
Kerry doesn’t answer. He simply stares at the junior reporter in a way that suggests he’s not the type who cares to repeat himself.
Getting the hint, Simon sullenly gets down on the floor.
Simon Tillier: Well, Kerry, um… I guess I should begin by saying I greatly appreciate the opportunity to be given this close of access to such an esteemed group of individuals.
Kerry Kuroyama: (nodding) As well you should, Simon. It’s not every day the mortals get a glimpse of heaven.
Kerry gives the camera a side eye, while Simon is left pondering this statement.
Simon Tillier: Is… that how you see this place? Or how you see yourselves?
Kerry lightly chuckles.
Kerry Kuroyama: C’mon, Simon… I’m talking in hyperbole here. I think you and the people watching out there are smart enough to know that we in Vae Victis are just ordinary human beings like everyone else. We just also happen to be gifted with extra-ordinary talent in the field of professional wrestling. Hence, the luxury.
Simon Tillier: I see. Well, again, the gesture is appreciated. I know Vae Victis has a reputation of exclusivity. So much so, that I was moderately surprised you requested this follow-up interview.
Kerry Kuroyama: Would it have been better to interrupt a live Pay Per View broadcast by walking to the ring with a mic in hand, so I could fulfill some pedantic need to be the center of attention? Or maybe I can stand around for twenty minutes in catering and exchange witty banter with some of the other talent, comparing the sizes of posteriors?
He shakes his head.
Kerry Kuroyama: I’ll stick to the interviews, thanks. Because I actually understand and respect that this is a professional wrestling event, Simon. Not some two-bit comedy hour.
As soon as he says this, Hunter returns with a pile of lava rocks cupped in his hands, which he promptly dumps into the lap of the Pacific Blitzkrieg, before placing an ice skate on top.
Scott Hunter: One hockey shoe with rocks. It was an odd request, but I always carry a spare ice skate. And Chicago is known for its lava rock farms, so long story short, it worked out.
Kerry looks pensively down at the mess of his lap. Though his expression is stoic, his temples pulsate as his brain attempts to withstand the sheer stupidity he’s being forced to deal with.
Kerry Kuroyama: …thank you, Scott. Your attention to detail is… absolutely impeccable.
While the Pacific Blitzkrieg pushes the rocks off his lap and to the floor, Scott turns and produces a glass with a clear but opaque liquid inside, poured over ice. He holds it out to Kerry.
Scott Hunter: I also got you this drink.
Kerry breathes a sigh of relief.
Kerry Kuroyama: Well played, Scott. Well played. Really had me going there for a minute.
Gratefully, he receives the glass and takes a sip.
…and his lips curl into a frown.
Kerry Kuroyama: …nevermind… this is apple juice…
Kuroyama sets the glass aside.
Kerry Kuroyama: Do me a favor, Scott, and just… don’t breathe too loud. Or something.
Scott silently reaches into his pocket and produces two Breathe Right strips. He places one on each nostril, then gives a thumbs up.
Meanwhile, the junior reporter’s eyes awkwardly dart back and forth. He doesn’t quite know how to react to all of this.
Simon Tillier: Are, um… all Vae Victis gatherings like…
He trails off, knowing that he should probably word this question as carefully as possible.
Simon Tillier: I mean… like this?
The Beast of Seattle releases a beleaguered sigh. Clearly, it’s a complicated issue.
Kerry Kuroyama: Sometimes, Simon, when you work for the better part of a year trying to instill a sense of order within a nuthouse, you’re bound to go a little nuts yourself.
Henry Keyes: (off-camera) WHERE IN BLAZES ARE MY PANCAKES?!
Scott points at Simon, then quickly looks away and starts whistling.
Kerry Kuroyama: I’ve learned to accept the absurdity for what it is, because between the ropes, each and every one of us knows how to fight the real fight. But you needn’t worry, Simon. Unlike some of the miscreants you’ve had to deal with in the past, we’re not the type who will do anything to endanger you, or leave you with any lasting trauma. Like trap you in a room with a bear, or something.
Simon Tillier: Is that a tiger over there?
Scott Hunter: Her name is Helen. She was captured in South Africa during a Helen hunt.
Kerry Kuroyama: Simon, I really need you to focus here. I’m trying to talk to you about serious, no-nonsense wrestling.
Simon Tillier: Okay… then, perhaps I should ask about wrestling. How are all of you enjoying UltraViolence so far?
Kuroyama looks to his other compatriots to read their reactions.
Keyes and Burns remain fixated on the view below them.
“Butcher Victorious” is staring back at him, just hoping someone acknowledges him.
He looks over his shoulder, at Scott, nodding rhythmically to what we can only assume to be a drum solo going off in his head.
Kerry turns his attention back to the reporter, and says…
Kerry Kuroyama: It’s been an experience, Simon. I can say that much. But I can’t really elaborate much more than that, being how difficult it is to judge the current product while knowing it’s on the cusp of a major change.
Simon Tillier: That major change, being…?
Kerry arm waves across the row of seats, and the other men occupying them.
Kerry Kuroyama: Why, the oncoming expansion of the greatest wrestling society on the planet. Outgrowing the festering, toxic swamps of New Orleans for the greener pastures here in PRIME Wrestling. Virgin territory, in our eyes. Ripe to be molded and shaped into a company worthy of calling itself the greatest on the planet.
The arm angles back toward himself, as he gestures toward his chest.
Kerry Kuroyama: And I, as the ambassador to this collective, will naturally become the harbinger to that change. One victory after the next, until I am at the pinnacle. PRIME’s own Emerald Apex.
To his far left, Keyes and Burns pound their armrests in a show of solidarity behind that statement, with Butch following suit a couple seconds after the fact.
Scott looks around. With nothing in his immediate vicinity to likewise sound off, he says in a monotone voice…
Scott Hunter: Boom boom boom.
Over the course of the interview, Simon Tillier’s face has increasingly been filled with reproach. What began with earnest interest in learning more about these vaunted athletes has devolved into a morbid discovery of just how narcissistic and self-absorbed these people really are.
Which is, of course, the exact mindset one would adopt if they were a simple-minded, one-dimensional plebeian, like our dear Simon here.
Simon Tillier: Well, Kerry, I can certainly admire your confidence going into your anticipated debut. Although to be honest, knowing this company as well as I do, I feel that PRIME is the kind of place that is just as capable of changing others as well.
Kerry Kuroyama: (shrugging) We’ll see. But, I think that concludes our time, Simon.
Kuroyama snaps his fingers, calling Hunter to attention.
Kerry Kuroyama: Scott, can you show our guest the door?
Scott Hunter: That is the door.
Everyone stares at him. Scott suddenly snaps, then winks with a “oh I get it” expression.
Scott Hunter: Right this way, sir.
Sensing that it’s time to make himself scarce, Simon pushes himself back off the floor and dusts the pancake crumbs off his PRIME blue suit. He nods to his company to bid them farewell.
Simon Tillier: Enjoy the rest of the event, gentlemen.
No response. Tillier follows Scott to the doors, who holds them open as he ushers the junior reporter out of the clubhouse.
Scott Hunter: Next time, please don’t forget the pancakes.
Back in the hallway, Simon sighs dejectedly.
Simon Tillier: You know, hard as it may be to say this, I think I’m beginning to miss that punk…
eGG BANDIT LUMBERJACK MATCH: CANCER JILES VS. CORAL AVALON
Nick Stuart: Up next, a chance encounter that turned into…
Richard Parker: This.
Nick Stuart: Thank you, Richard.
The arena lights slowly draw to a dim.
A cool breeze makes its way throughout the crowd.
Smoke begins to billow at the top of the entrance ramp.
Nick Stuart: It’s real simple tonight. If Jiles wins, Coral is an eGG Bandit. If Jiles loses, Coral is not.
Richard Parker: That might be the only simple thing that happens during this match tonight.
Nick Stuart: Well Rich, you’re right about that. It is a Lumberjack Match afterall. And not only that, and eGG Bandit Lumberjack Match.
Up on the Crumbotron a gigantic egg appears. Slowly, the shell begins to crack until finally the first seventeen inches Coral Avalon’s forehead hatches through. So his hairline. Then, much to the surprise of the Chicago audience, SIRIUS by the Alan Parsons Project starts to reverberate through the sound system.
Nick Stuart: Oh wow. Talk about your shots across the bow.
Richard Parker: Add Jiles trying to get us killed to the list of reasons I hope his eyes rot out through his asshole. They wouldn’t have to go very far considering his asshole is where his mouth is.
The PRIMEates in attendance leap to their feet after being overcome with the frenzies.
Out from the back and with a microphone in his hand; standing tall amongst the smoke is former Cracking News Network Lead Anchor, Chris Chickentenders. Chris is wearing a tuxedo, egg shell in color, because the occasion is quite the extravagant one. There’s also a plastic shield of sorts for him to stand behind should anyone in the audience think about littering.
Chris Chickentenders: HELLO, BUTT MUNCHERS!!!!!! I’M CHRIS CHICKENTENDERS AND TONIGHT I HAVE THE ESTEEMED HONOR OF INTRODUCING SOME OF THE FINEST PEOPLE AND OBJECTS INHABITING GOD’S GREEN EARTH!
Chris Chickentenders: WITHOUT FURTHER ADIEU…………
Chris Chickentenders: classless butt crumbs….. I’ll show you! ANNNNNNNNDDDDDDDDDDDD NOWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The volume of the famed Chicago Bulls theme cranks up to obnoxious levels, almost drowning out the feverish audience.
One by one, the Bandits walk through the cloud of smoke and down to the ring. All of them are wearing matching electric-blue tracksuits for the special occasion. It’s not every day someone joins the Bandits against his own will.
Chris Chickentenders: Leading the charge at a comfortable pace is the Beautiful Bandit with a bottomless belly button! He’s my friend, and the most famous man or dragon to ever come out of Honalee! Former one time winner of a match here in PRIME, it’s BEAUTIFUL BOBBY DEAN!
Oblivious as always, Bobby raises a hand as if to wave a friendly hello to the gathered masses. They do not share the same enthusiasm; probably because of the obnoxiousness of the song.
Chris Chickentenders: Next up, the man, the myth, the mystery! A founding father of the yolk and shell! He’s invisible in your programs, but number one in your butt munching hearts. From Boston ASSachusetts and on a 24 hour YOU CAN SEE ME pass, DOOOOOOOOOOOZZZZZERRRRRRR!
The old bull of the Bandits lumbers down the ramp probably wondering about mojitos and whether or not his diaper is going to hold up if he has to take a bump.
Chris Chickentenders: And swimming behind the old bull is the young carp! The former upstart of the eGG Bandits who once dated his cousin for two years and thought it was okay because they both went to the same home school! HA! Here for one night only, ZEBBBB MARTINNNNNNN!
Zeb, being a mild mannered man from Georgia, shakes his head as if to say that never happened. Sadly, since he is from Georgia, no one believes him.
Chris Chickentenders: OH MY GOD THERE HE IS! THERE HE IS! IN FIVE PLY, TOO! THE HEART AND SOUL OF THE BANDITS! WADDLING DOWN TO THE RING AND HAILING FROM PARTY WAREHOUSE #970!!!! CARD. BOARD. DANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!
The crowd pops for CBD because it’s been awhile since he’s last been seen on PPV. They also love cardboard cutouts who have expressways named after them. To be clear the tracksuit is over top of the cutout.
Chris Chickentenders: oh. great. he did show up. that’s… DICK. no, sorry. i mean RICK. he’s bergie’s uncle or something like that because he’s french and likes sniffing glue. he HATES things.
RICK, the massive, mountainous, muscle jobber he is, will never read this, which is ironic because he never read anything back then either.
Chris Chickentenders: Next up, SURPRISE MOTHERFUCKER! Coming to us from Kaeggsylvania! He’s the deathstroke yellow eyed assassin from Universe 97! The master of the Yolkulelee! MY MAIN MAIMING MAN, MaaaaaaaxxxXXXxxxXXXxxxXXX SHELLLLLLLLLLLLLL!
The entire audience goes quiet. Ghostly quiet. Meanwhile, unphased, Max Shell calmly makes his way down to the ring while strumming his famed Yolkulelee in tune with SIRIUS.
Chris Chickentenders: And lastly, the Chief Stew aboard the USS Octane. He’s the Bandits TOP tactical advisor when it comes to maritime warfare. Straight out of Larry’s lunchbox, it’s LASSSSSEEERRRRRR!
Laser, big bald head and all, not like Coral big, but just normal big, joins the other Bandits who are scattered about on the outside of the ring.
Chris Chickentenders: Let’s hear it for your eGG Bandit Lumberjacks!
A few seconds pass.
The crowd’s opposition is growing relentlessly, and it’s about to get even worse. SIRIUS has an electric guitar riff, and being so, during said riff the music seamlessly transitions to the opening guitar riff of “I am the COOL” by Screamin’ Jay.
Coinciding with the seamless switch in music is a bevy of pyros that light up the inside of the arena like it’s the Chinese New Year on cocaine. While the arena is lit up you can catch a glimpse of Cancer Jiles standing at the top of the ramp holding some jerk off pose about the tattoo on his stomach.
“I’m the one your mama warned you about”
“When you see me, I will leave you no doubt”
“I’m the coolest man that ever walked this earth”
“I’ve been the coolest since the day of my birth”
“I AM THE COOL”
Chris Chickentenders: No. Intro. Needed.
Chris Chickentenders: But I’ll never get this opportunity again so fuck it!
The lights flash on. The spotlights that is, and they are all on Jiles. Tendy is standing like two feet away from him, and is gearing up to scream into his face.
Chris Chickentenders: HAILING FROM COOLYMPUS! THIS GREEK GOD OF COOL IS ON THE REVIVAL ERA OF PRIME’S MOUNT RUSHMORE FOUR TIMES OVER!! HE HAD THE BIGGEST SHOW OF THE YEAR RENAMED AFTER HIM!!! FORMER, UNIVERSAL CHAMPION!!!! FOUNDING FATHER OF THE EGG BANDITS!!!!! FROM!!!!!! COOLYMPUS!!!!!!! HE IS…
Jiles seems to grow an inch with every bit that boosts his ego, and also from the crowd continuously powering up his NaCL levels.
Chris Chickentenders: THE EGGSECUTIONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!
Chris Chickentenders: CANCER. FUCKING. JILESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!
The Greek God of COOL squats low, tilts his head back, and goes to release a blast of his yolk mist into the arena’s orbit. However, Tendy was about to become an innocent bystander so Jiles tells him to step aside. Here’s the thing though, Chris doesn’t. He holds firm, closes his eyes, and opens his arms as if to embrace the mist. Technically it would only be raining down on him and not really spit into his eyes.
So, Jiles obliges his request.
Nick Stuart: Just when I thought I had seen it all.
Richard Parker: Let me guess. All of these guys live under the same tent.
Nick Stuart: Ship.
Next, the righteous Eggsecutioner says something to Bandit Boy and the two start making their way down to the ring. They exchange pleasantries with those sitting alongside the entrance ramp. Once they get to ringside, Chris is absorbed by the Army of Bandits that have gathered to help out with Coral’s initiation.
Nick Stuart: Looks like there’s one more lumberjack, Rich. The always imposing 89 pound Chris Chickentenders has joined the fray.
Richard Parker: Gee, whatever will Coral do?
Nick Stuart: Say Rich, I’m noticing something about these lumberjacks. They aren’t too…
Richard Parker: Impressive? Intimidating? I mean one of them is made out of cardboard for fuck’s sake. And Doozer… just look at him. I can smell the shit in his diaper from here. Hopefully he’s got his affairs in order. Oh, and don’t get me started on that RICK guy either. Thank god I never heard of him. And what the fuck size is that tracksuit Dean has on? It looks like they stitched two blankets together.
Jiles gathers the Bandits together in a tight circle. After a brief pep talk, mostly about how thankful he is that the Bandits had all come together like this, but mostly about his hair, they all put their hands in the middle and say 1, 2, 3, eGG Queen! KING COOL then slides under the bottom rope, and berates Timo for a few seconds about the gas mileage on Timo One.
Nick Stuart: Well, that’s one down. One more to go.
The lights go out in Soldier Field, blanketing the stadium in darkness.
There’s a brief pause. A murmur in the crowd. Then the PRIMEview comes alive, treating everyone to an unfamiliar scene.
A hallway, lit only by candles that cast wide shadows through the scene. The camera is set low to the ground, such that the individual sprinting down the hall could barely be seen on the right side of the screen. They ran, and the camera followed until they reached a large set of doors at the end of the hallway. With both hands and a shove, this individual shoves open the doors and shouts.
Messenger: Sire! They’ve come!
The throne room is lit by the sun streaming through the windows in the back of the room. The camera moves past the messenger, and sees three men standing in front of the throne. One is a thinly-built, dashing man with the exact energy of Inigo Montoya. One is a hulking dark-skinned man wearing a curious mask. One is an ugly man in a trilby. The camera pans around them, as the man in the trilby looks bewildered. Like he usually does, if we’re being honest, what with the bug eyes and all. PRIME fans have seen this man before. It’s the Lunch Lawyer, Lord Gavin Yum, Esq.
Lord Gavin Yum, Esq.: What? Who? Who has come!?
The messenger stops to catch his breath. He starts to try and speak, but then he holds out one index finger and breathes some more, so much that the tension in the room begins to evaporate. How long did he run? Does he really exercise? Who knows! After a moment, the messenger finally catches enough of his breath to speak.
Messenger: It’s Bandits, sire!
The dashing man who looks like he’s ready to hunt down any six-fingered men raises an eyebrow. His name is Ignacio, by the way.
Ignacio el Jaguar: Bandits?
The camera moves around the three men clustered together in front of the throne, studying their reactions. Lord Gavin, as bug-eyed as ever, looks as bewildered as a man can look. Especially since his movements are following the camera so that he’s always facing it. “Actor” is among the many, many, many things Gavin is bad at, apparently. Ignacio regards the news of an impending Bandit attack with impossibly measured cool. And Anubis… he hasn’t moved much. Is he asleep?
After fully rotating around the three present members of the Crownless Kingdom, the camera turns to the man seated at the throne. Cast in shadow between the two sunlit windows that flanked his throne, the king stands from his seat. The shadow he casts through his furred leonine cloak and the low camera angle makes the king look much more intimidating. This is despite the fact that this king wears no crown.
The Crownless King takes one step forward.
Coral Avalon: Bandits.
He walks towards the camera. As he does, his cloak obscures the camera, thrusting everything back into darkness.
There’s silence, except for the murmurs of the crowd. The silence is broken by the opening strings of Monster Siren’s “Real Me”. Once the first instance of the song’s main refrain hits, a spotlight shines upon the entrance. A fog billows out from the entryway with even more light shining from it. That makes the three figures walking out of the tunnel loom large.
The center of them was utterly massive, almost a full foot taller than the other two. His silhouette was very distinctive, because he is wearing a full-blown ceremonial jackal mask on his head and an overly elaborate usekh collar around his neck. The other two figures are more indistinct, though judging from the earlier video, the identities of all three men are pretty obvious. One of the figures is carrying a battle standard in their hands. The other wears a trilby. Also, all of them are wearing sleeveless flannel vests.
A fourth man emerges behind them, and this one is the star of the show. The Crownless King. The former 5-star Champion. The King who could become a Bandit tonight.
When the guitars hit, Powerslam Anubis steps aside to allow Coral Avalon to pass him by.
Oh, but there’s just a small, minor detail here: All four of them are wearing rubber masks.
Ignacio has chosen a rubber mask vaguely resembling either the major Hollywood actor who plays the role of Peacemaker, or Doozer. It’s hard to say. Lord Yum is wearing one vaguely resembling Lindsay Troy, and we all know that’s going to make him very popular the moment she lays eyes on him. Finally, Anubis is wearing a Bobby Dean mask. Mind you, he’s also wearing his ceremonial jackal mask over the top of it, which makes it very awkward. Thankfully, Bobby Dean masks have a lot of give to them, so it’s not necessarily the most uncomfortable of situations.
Avalon? Avalon’s got his own mask. It’s of ‘ol salt shoes himself, Cancer Jiles. He’s even got the T-shades!
Richard Parker: Oh my god! He skinned the face off of Jiles and wearing it like a mask!
Nick Stuart: …Jiles is in the ring, Rich.
Richard Parker: Look, a man can dream, okay!?
Avalon steps forward. After a few moments, he reaches up and removes the mask on his face. We’d recognize that forehead anywhere!
Avalon drops the mask to the ground, and seamlessly takes the battle standard from Ignacio. It’s only when the house lights come up that we can see the details on the black banner. The Crownless Kingdom’s logo depicting a skull with half of a broken crown on top of it on one side, and a cracked egg on the other.
He walks to the ring, and the other three follow him.
Vince Howard: His opponent… residing in Seattle, Washington! He weighs in at two hundred and twenty-four pounds! THE CROWNLESS KING! COOOOORAAAAAALLLLL AVALOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNN!!!
When the quartet reach the ringside area, Coral stops to wave the flag obnoxiously at the other Bandits gathered at ringside. In particular, Bobby Dean stares incredulously at the towering, heavily tattooed black man wearing a caricature of his face. As though he’s looking into a mirror. Yeah.
Nick Stuart: It seems like referee Timo Bolamba is willing to accept these flannel wearing “Bandits” into the match.
Richard Parker: I’m absolutely stunned that Timo is willing to be flexible with a ruling that may hamper another one of Cancer Jile’s devious schemes.
Anyway, once he’s done waving his flag, Coral passes the banner back to Ignacio and enters the ring.
Never once does he take his eyes off of Cancer Jiles, even when he holds up his hands for the Kingdom’s hand signal or when he takes his entrance cloak off. He knows better than that.
The Bandit Imposters take their position in the corner of Avalon, while the rest of the Electric Blue Bandits surround the three other corners of the ring. Well, most of them do, the very mysterious Max Shell, who definitely isn’t the same as the guy who already had a match this evening, is just quietly strumming his Yolkulele as he sits at the timekeeper’s table. Timo Bolamba is about to start his final checks but before he can see whether Jiles is attempting to hide any junk in the trunk, the ominous chords of a doom piano boom over the speaker system.
“Stranger Fruit” by Zeal and Ardor
Two words in large, bold, Roman typeface quickly appear on the PRIME*View.
V A E V I C T I S
“Stranger fruit, how it grows and grows
We all saw the shoot but we tend to the rose…”
Through the curtain walks the Boss, and Co-Consul of Vae Vicits, Lindsay Troy. Pretty good timing, considering we just saw the rest of the VV boys a few moments ago. The PRIMEates cheer wildly for the Queen of the Ring, and she regards them with a nod and a smirk as she makes her way down the ramp and over to Nick and Richard.
There’s audible rustling as Troy gets herself settled.
Nick Stuart: I can’t complain about the company joining us at ringside but I have to admit, I’m surprised to see you out here.
Lindsay Troy: I’m trying to run a Pay Per View, I’ve had at least twenty calls today alone about the quality of the Russian steel for the main event but something in my gut told me this mess required a chaperone.
Richard Parker: As a former Egg Bandit yourself, do you…
Richard Parker never finishes this sentence. Death glare? Brutal assault? Hard to say because the camera isn’t on the announcer’s table.
As the bell rings, Jiles turns around to face his Bandit Brothers, he calls Bobby Dean over for a second and points towards RICK. The gestures appear to be angry gestures as Jiles wildly swings his arms about like he was portraying a mocking stereotype of Super Mario. Jiles returns to face Coral Avalon, who hasn’t been drawn into the nonsense, keeping his focus purely on the man who yolked him and kicked his head straight in on the last show. As Jiles returns full focus to the ring, and RICK appears to slowly walk backstage, Coral Avalon rushes in and starts the action in a hot and heavy manner, with a flurry of elbows that land somewhere in the region between the neck and the chin of the former Universal Champion. Jiles is quick to cut it off though, as he quickly jabs a poke right into Coral’s ribs, causing The Crownless King to take a few steps back.
In the distance, you can hear Chris Chickentenders yell “THAT’S RIGHT, BITCH!” which is language that would make his mother very upset.
Nick Stuart: He’s an energetic young lad.
Richard Parker: I wouldn’t really call Coral Avalon young.
Lindsay Troy: Remind me to revoke Chris Chickentenders’ credentials. I swore I already had.
As Avalon backs away, slightly clutching his midsection, he has to deal with another issue, which is Bobby Dean weakly pawing at his legs, as Avalon now stands near the ropes. Bobby tries to lunge and grab a few times, exhausting himself in the process and deciding instead to have a little mid-match nap. Timo Bolamba considers admonishing one of the bigger Bandits, but Avalon waves it off. Unfortunately for Avalon, it is enough of a distraction of the mind to allow Jiles to take action, rushing over and drilling a knee straight to his ribs. The poke may have caused annoyance for the Crownless King but the knee delivers some real pain. Avalon groans as Jiles leaps down and launches a dropkick straight to the knees, sending Coral through the ropes and into the arms/body of Bobby Dean (Flannel Division). The strength of The Flannel Bandits gives Avalon something of a soft landing, but action has to be taken quick, as Doozer is rushing to the fray, making sure not to spill a drop of his delicious watermelon beverage on the way over.
Nick Stuart: I mean, if getting all the Bandits out here was an attempt to send a message to Coral Avalon about the strength of the group, I have some questions.
Richard Parker: The owner of the company is out here to support her Bandit brethren…
Richard Parker stops in his tracks once more, probably questioning the life choices that brought him to call this match. Outside of the ring, The Very Suspicious Bandits roll Coral Avalon back into the ring before Doozer can get into the fray. Or maybe he did get there and we just didn’t see him. Jiles saunters over to Coral and grabs him by the head, gesturing that there’s a lot of head to pick up. As he attempts to lift his opponent back up, skull first, his grip is broken with a European Uppercut straight to the jaw. Jiles is staggered, flying backwards into the ropes with the sheer force of the uppercut from Avalon. Jiles leans against the ropes, trying to right himself, and getting assuring back pats from Christopher Chickentenders, whose sweet words of encouragement I am not going to repeat in good company. The support of his Bandits is enough to send Jiles back into the fray, but Avalon keeps up the pressure, switching behind The Eggsecutioner and lifting him up with a picture perfect German Suplex. The Crownless King high arches with a bridge, trying to bring an end to the comedic farce he finds himself in. Bolamba quickly checks for the count.
Jiles rolls over and breaks free of Avalon’s clutches.
Nick Stuart: It seems like Avalon is not looking to play with all of the toys that Jiles has brought to ringside.
Richard Parker: I don’t blame him, even in cardboard form, Dan Ryan is very unsettling. Like an action figure of a terminator that got left in the microwave for a little too long.
It’s at this point you have to wonder if Richard Parker has a death wish that can only be facilitated by Lindsay Troy. Back in the ring, a mildly frustrated Avalon realises that it’s going to take a bit more effort to conquer Mt. Coolympus. He tries to go back on the attack but Laser and Bobby Dean have managed to scoop their man of the ring for a quick regrouping. The Bandits begin to form a shield around the dazed Jiles on the outside of the ring, as Timo yells for Cancer Jiles to get back into the action. As Bobby starts to fan his man, an irritated Avalon decides that he’s going to take action. He climbs up on the top rope while the Bandits are distracted in their inner circle and launches himself off the top and into the fray with a sideways Frog Splash.
Nick Stuart: THAT’S A BANDIT STRIKE! CORAL AVALON GOT THEM ALL.
Richard Parker: That’s not true, what about those three over there. The Flannel ones. Also there’s the weird guy with the yellow eye who has been strumming a ukulele for the entire contest.
Nick Stuart: You sometimes know how to ruin a moment.
Richard Parker: I value journalistic accuracy.
Coral leaps back up, letting out a victorious roar and he beelines straight for Jiles, grabbing him by his immaculate hair and tosses him straight back into the ring but this turns out to be a bit of a miscalculation on the part of the Crownless King, who can’t seem to quite get back into the ring himself, his body sitting halfway in and halfway out thanks to Bobby Dean wrapping his large frame around the legs of Avalon. Jiles rushes to take advantage, looking to stomp on the biggest target available, Avalon’s skull but Avalon manages to roll out of the way and Jiles instead stomps on the hands of Dean, which he does not seem particularly concerned by. Frustrated by The Bandit shenanigans, Avalon rolls out of the ring and throws a headbutt at Dean in frustration. Unfortunately for Avalon, he slightly misses his intended target and lands the strike straight to Bobby’s stomach.
Nick Stuart: Well that’s a new one.
Richard Parker: His head… it’s just kind of stuck in there. I am not comfortable with this.
The force of which Avalon delivered the blow to Dean’s gut has caused him to be slightly trapped within the rolls of the Beautiful One. Everyone at ringside, Flannel and Electric Blue Bandits alike rush to the scene with immediate concern. In the ring, even Jiles is showing signs of panic as he starts to direct traffic on the outside. Laser and Definitely Not Powerslam Anubis hold Bobby tight as Doozer and A Man Who Could Be But Definitely Isn’t Ignacio el Jaguar pull Coral Avalon free. There’s a slight popping noise, like a suction cup being pulled off a wall, as Bandits of all stripes work together to free the Crownless King.
Nick Stuart: I am officially at a loss for what to say.
Lindsay Troy: Hold on, I need to do something very quickly.
LT puts down her headset and walks over to a Man Who Is Certainly Not Gavin Yum and slaps him upside the skull. Was this for not getting involved in freeing Avalon, or for wearing a Lindsay Troy mask and heavily implying she is a Bandit? Well, I think we all know the answer there. With Gavin clutching the back of his skull in pain, she feels that the work has been done and returns to the commentation station.
Lindsay Troy: I think I made my point.
While the camera was following the slap to the noggin, a very frustrated Coral Avalon returned to the ring, where he is now standing off against Cancer Jiles once more. Avalon wipes some concerning looking mucus from his face as The Man Who Is The Cool tries to drive a rushing boot straight to the ribs of Avalon but with all of the frustration building within The Crownless King, he deftly doges out of the way and uses Jiles’ momentum to his favour, slamming him, skull first, into the turnbuckle. A groggy Cancer Jiles is slumped on the middle turnbuckle as if it was a comforting pillow for night-night times. Avalon looks at the situation with a small tinge of pity, but manages to psyche himself up. He rushes to the opposite turnbuckle and quickly hurries back, drilling a picture perfect Yakuza Kick straight to the back of the skull. Jiles, who may be actually dead at this point, flumps back, out cold.
Nick Stuart: That Rhongomyniad was picture perfect.
Richard Parker: It had a little stank on it and hell, I’m glad.
Nick Stuart: Avalon is not messing around. He remembers the yolk, he remembers the Termina
Trying to end his Saga in Banditry, Coral Avalon drops down for the cover and Timo Bolamba is very eager to facilitate such a count.
In a last ditch effort to break the count, a desperate Christopher Chickentenders throws an egg into the ring, hitting Avalon in the shoulder with just enough force to cause a distraction, not much in the way of injury. The momentary lapse in focus is just enough to allow Jiles to roll his shoulder up and escape the dreaded three count.
Nick Stuart: Thanks to an unwelcome intervention on the outside, Avalon’s future as a Bandit is still very much on the table.
Richard Parker: I’d question the legality of throwing an egg to break a pin, but I don’t think this match has any rules or honour to start with.
As a dazed Jiles remains flat on the mat, a now very annoyed Coral Avalon turns his attention to the huddle of Electric Blue Bandits on the outside. He nods to his Flannel Compatriots and he hops out of the ring himself. Men Who Are Definitely Not Gavin, Ignacio and Anubis rush to battle for their King. The whole lumberjack crew are now in Battle Mode, like it’s some kind of terrifying version of West Side Story. Max Shell for his part is still strumming, Cardboard Dan is Cardboard and Chris Chickentenders his positioned himself far away from everyone, just yelling “YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT, BITCH!” every time an Electric Blue Bandit lands a blow. Zeb Martin means well, so he apologises after each punch he throws in the direction of the Flannel Bandits. To be honest The Electric Blue Crew could have done with a muscle monster in their ranks, but Jiles didn’t want him there. Laser and Powerslam Anubis have decided they make an excellent battle pairing in the middle of the fist flying fray.
Nick Stuart: This match has broken down…
Richard Parker: Are you surprised by that?
Nick Stuart: I’m surprised it took this long to be honest.
Lindsay Troy: If any of these doofuses want money for this match, it’s coming out of Jiles’ pay.
In the chaos in the fray, Cancer Jiles managed to sneak into the mix, hiding himself in the chaos, he grabs a chair and drives it directly into the ribs of Avalon. Due to the shield of Bandit Battle happening around him, Timo Bolamba, too focused on directing traffic, does not spot this level of villainy. Jiles manages to break out of the group, pulling a pained Avalon and rolling him into the ring. Jiles doesn’t waste time, very much aiming to gather a new Bandit compatriot and immediately hooks both legs for the pin.
Avalon has a powerful kick out that sets Jiles off at a bit of a distance.
Richard Parker: Absolutely stunned that Cancer Jiles would take the shortcut in this match in the same way I’m stunned that water is wet.
Nick Stuart: Cancer Jiles has had a game plan this entire match, letting his friends cause distractions while he focuses on the injured ribs of Coral Avalon. The man knows match tactics.
Avalon pulls himself back up on the ropes, clutching at his side, fury in his face. The kind of expression that says “I wish to fuck you up with some Armaments right now.” Jiles for his part seems… cool… but that’s his whole deal I suppose. Jiles tries to argue with Timo on the count but even deep in his heart he knows it’s not worth the bother. Outside of the ring, The Battle of Bandits continues, as Lord Gavin Yum decides to drop Cardboard Dan Ryan on the skull with a Galatine Driver. It’s at this point that Timo Bolamba, who, with understanding the context of this match was playing it loose with the rules, instructs the warring factions to separate or be tossed out. Like an egg.
Nick Stuart: Great call by Timo Bolamba here, we want a true winner in this match but things were getting out of hand
Richard Parker: A Cancer Jiles match where the shenanigans get out of hand? No one could have predicted this.
Lindsay Troy: It’s still better than dealing with the Russians.
As the Bandit Brawl disperses, we return to the ring, where Cancer Jiles has just been kicked in the face, which is a normal thing to happen in a wrestling match. It’s ironic because his skull is the smaller target of two, but Coral Avalon landed it very nicely. The force of the second Yakuza Kick of the evening did the damage to Jiles but still had a direct impact on Avalon too, adding more pressure and pain to his already weakened ribs. Coral, wishing to very much hurt the Jiles fellow, begins an assault of stomps to the down Jiles’ skull. If he was a worse person, he might be yelling “who has the big forehead now?” but Avalon is a decent sort of fellow, so he keeps his skull murder quiet. A stray boot catches the nose of Jiles, causing a fountain of blood to flow.
Richard Parker: I’m surprised his blood isn’t yellow.
Nick Stuart: It’s a good point, he’s never struck me as a man with normal human anatomy. Regardless, Coral Avalon has had enough of the parade of shenanigans and with all the Bandits at bay under the watchful eye of Timo Bolamba, he’s looking to end this one.
Looking to continue to inflict further damage on Jiles, Avalon shows an impressive display of strength, hoisting the owner of the Coolympian Yolk high up to the sky and then planting him to the ground, a brainbuster with big time authority. A desperate Bobby Dean tries to paw once more at Avalon but Avalon has the common sense to not be within the man’s admittedly limited range. The Crownless King decides to try and put the outside distractions away from his mind as he starts to climb towards the top rope.
Nick Stuart: High risk for Coral here, he’ll have to act fast if he doesn’t want the Bandits to get in his way.
Richard Parker: I’m pretty sure half of them have been distracted by a shiny coin that a fan dropped. Yup, Zeb’s looking for the coin. Actually, they all appear to be gathered.
Coral looks down from the top rope, taking one last measure of the situation, deciding the time is right, he leaps off the top rope, looking to bring he two legs full force down upon the chest of the devious Cancer Jiles.
Nick Stuart: He’s putting some pressure on this Carnwennan, he wants to hurt Jiles at this point.
Richard Parker: Haven’t we all wanted to hurt Jiles at some point? It’s basically in the entire company’s DNA.
Nick Stuart: Well, I can’t argue with… TERMINAL CANCER!
Nick Stuart’s unfortunate sentence phrasing was due to the action happening within the ring. Just as Coral leaped from the rope to drill a nasty ole double stomp into the chest of Jiles, Jiles managed to roll to his feet and drill a nasty kick straight into the ribs of Avalon. With the ribs already damaged, and the force of the blow and the momentum from the leap, Avalon sails over to top rope, atop the coin hunting Bandits, who notice that a man with a curious forehead is flying in their direction. Abandoning the shiny, they take action and grab hold of the man as he flies towards them.
Nick Stuart: The Electric Blue Bandits have caught hold of Coral Avalon, but they don’t seem to be letting go.
Richard Parker: They seem to be walking up the entrance ramp with Coral Avalon. I’m not sure what I’m beholding right now but I am beholding it.
Cancer Jiles remains in the ring, witnessing his Electric Blue Bandits take Coral Avalon back up the ramp, somehow even Cardboard Dan Ryan has grabbed hold of The Crownless King as they lift him high and move away from the ring. For their perfect, the Flannel Bandits give chase but are a good few steps behind the collective speed of the bright blue boys. Timo Bolamba shrugs his shoulders and looks over to Lindsay Troy.
Lindsay Troy: I’m not getting in the middle of this hot mess. I didn’t take time to learn the rules of a Bandit Lumberjack match.
Bolamba looks back up at the ramp, where Coral Avalon has definitely now disappeared. Cancer Jiles whispers a few things in his ear, which may be instructions or just further insults about his jet. Whatever the case, Timo Bolamba regretfully calls for the bell. After a very brief chit chat with Vince Howard, the bell is rung.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentleman, the winner of this match due to… banditry, I guess… CANCER JILES!
Cancer Jiles begins to sexily dance in the ring in celebration, but it is too hot for even Pay Per View so we quickly smash cut to the announcer’s table where Lindsay Troy is already making a rapid exit, away from all of this.
Nick Stuart: I can’t say we witnessed a technical classic here tonight…
Richard Parker: It was a BANDIT LUMBERJACK MATCH, I’m surprised he even saw a wrestling match and it wasn’t just two hours of increasingly elaborate entrances.
Nick Stuart: Nonetheless, based on the official call by Timo Bolamba, it seems like the Bandit ranks have increased by one tonight. That may be a decision that Coral Avalon regrets for the rest of his career.
Even though we can’t see him, we can hear Cancer Jiles yelling “CRUMB” to various front row members of the Chicago crowd as we fade out from this fiasco to a commercial.
COMMERCIAL: ULTRAVIOLENCE MAIN EVENT
ULTRADIAMONDS 2023: NIGHT TWO
Back from our quick comemrcial break, we are, once again, in the shadow of Soldier Field, the Waldron Parking Deck sits… but this time, it’s anything but quiet.
Ten or twenty people have gathered there on the top deck, each one cheering and jeering and foaming from the mouth. They’re bloodthirsty. They’re ravenous. They’re watching a genuine spectacle, hands lifting up to wave twenty dollar bills in the air. The truck is still there, the headlights pointed into the center of the crowd. The camera moves to look through a gap in the people… and there’s Daytona Diamonds, teeth bared and a bloody nose pouring red down his chin, eyes gone crazed, his shirt ripped away. He almost looks feral.
There’s another man on the mattresses beneath him, in his early twenties and screaming bloody murder, tapping his hand frantically on the ground m Daytona has him in a single leg Boston Crab, his right foot stomping on the man’s head. A fat guy in a striped t-shirt is ringing a cowbell furiously, but Daytona isn’t letting go. Instead, he’s screaming.
Daytona Diamonds: This is what you get when you fuck with the wrong cowboy, compadre! Teach you to punch me in the god dang nose! Fuckin’ peckerwood! This is what you get!
When he finally relents and lets go of the man’s leg, he does it with a sneer. The crowd cheers and the cowbell stops, the man in the striped shirt lifting up Daytona’s arm. Daytona pulls his arm seat, wiping the blood away from his nose before he climbs into the hood of the truck, standing above the crowd with both arms outstretched.
Daytona Diamonds: Are you not entertained?!
Daytona Diamonds: I said, are you not entertained?
Daytona Diamonds: You’re god dang right you are! What’s that make now, huh? Twelve wins, zero losses? I told y’all you could wrassle The Rhinestone Cowboy, but I never said it were gonna be easy… ‘specially when you done gone and pissed on my petunias like that Yankee Doodle Dicknose right there!
Daytona sneers and spits towards the fan he was just fighting. The camera follows after the fan as his friends help him to his feet, carrying him away from the crowd.
Daytona Diamonds: Hey! You! Cameraman! Quit filmin’ that fuckin’ loser and point that thing back at me! I got some shit to say!
The camera jostles as it turns back to Daytona, still standing on the hood of the truck above the gathered crowd. He points his hand out towards Soldier Field, pushing his hair back away from his face as he looks towards the stadium.
Daytona Diamonds: Look at that. You see all them bright lights? You hear all them cheerin’ fans? Why, they’re havin’ on helluva hootenanny over yonder, ain’t they? I reckon they’re real proud of themselves, huh? Bet they made a real killin’, didn’t they? Two whole nights of god dang wrasslin’ on a big ol’ stage! But you know what they ain’t got…?
A wry smirk curls at the edges of Daytona’s lips.
Daytona Diamonds: They ain’t got this! They ain’t got UltraDiamonds 2023! They ain’t got you or me! They can call it a supershow all they want, but ain’t nothin’ super about it without Daytona Diamonds on the card! Ain’t that right?!
Some of the fans cheer. Others mumble amongst themselves, not fully on board the runaway ego train. Others are looking away from the crowd as approaching sirens echo in the distance. As the sirens get closer, some of the fans begin to turn and walk away from the crowd.
Daytona Diamonds: Hey now! Where y’all goin’?! The fun’s just gettin’ started! C’mon now! You boys ain’t scared of an ass kickin’ from The Rhinestone Cowboy, are ya?!
As if on cue, blue and red lights appear from off screen, illuminating Daytona and the quickly dispersing crowd. A squad car pulls into view and Daytona audibly groans, throwing up his arms as he hops down from the hood of the truck. Hands on his hips and trying his best to look nonchalant, the squad car’s doors open and two Chicago police officers step out.
Daytona Diamonds: Well, howdy there, officers! How’re y’all doin’ tonight? Keepin’ the streets safe, ain’tcha? I just want y’all to know, I think you’re a couple-a heroes.
Officer A: Uh… thank you, sir. Care to tell us what’s going on here?
Daytona Diamonds: Oh, nothin’ too much, I reckon. Little tailgatin’, little horse playin’. You know how these sportin’ events can get.
Officer B: Well, we got reports of some fighting happening here in the parking garage…
Daytona Diamonds: Fightin’?! Lord have mercy, ain’t people got no sense? I ain’t seen no fightin’, pal. Just a bunch of wrasslin’ fans gettin’ all revved up and maybe a little rowdy. Ain’t no harm in that, right? Just some good, clean, all ‘Merican fun.
Officer A: …sir, you’re covered in blood.
At that, Daytona shrugs his shoulders, just as shocked as they are, doing his best to play dumb even as he laughs nervously, smiling with blood between his teeth.
Daytona Diamonds: Well, gosh darn it! I… get nose bleeds sometimes is all. Real spurtin’ sons of bitches.
Both officers take a moment to observe the scene while Daytona shifts back and forth on his feet, arms crossing over his bare chest as his nerves get the better of him. The mattresses on the ground, the UltraDiamonds 2023 sign hanging from the truck, the cameramen dutifully filming on, and Daytona himself, this absurd caricature of a human being pulled directly from the remnants of a broken, frayed, tattered man. Both cops sigh in unison.
Officer B: Well, I think it might be best if you pack up your things and leave the parking deck, sir.
Daytona Diamonds: Oh, well, I reckon that wouldn’t be a problem, officer. I was just fixin’ to head out, actually. Hit the ol’ dusty trail, as it were.
Officer A: Alright then, sir. You have a good night.
Daytona Diamonds: You betcha! You two have fun out there protectin’ and servin’ like the heroes you are!
As the cops turn to walk away, Daytona looks directly at the camera, a shit-eating grin on his face as he rolls his eyes and shakes his head, the blood from his nose finally starting to dry.
Daytona Diamonds: Well, folks, looks like the ol’ Rhinestone Cowboy done went and weaseled his way outta another sit-chu-way-shen, huh? Bet y’all thought I was done fer, didn’tcha? That just goes to show, you can’t keep a good cowboy down, even if’n Johnny 5-0 gets hisself involved. I fight who I wanna fight, do what I wanna do, and dang it, I get paid. Say, y’all wanna hear a joke ‘fore I get to moseyin’ on? Alright, alright… what do you call a cop in a sleepin’ bag?
Daytona bites at his lower lip as he stares into the camera, trying to hold back his own laughter.
Daytona Diamonds: …a pig in a blanket! Ha! Now, ain’t that a knee slappe–
Officer B (Off Screen): You know we can still hear you, right?
All at once, all of Daytona’s smirking egotism fades to a wide-eyed frown. The cops step back into the camera frame, one of them already reaching for the handcuffs.
Daytona Diamonds: …well, shit.
Within ten seconds, Daytona’s bent over the hood of the police car with his wrists handcuffed behind his back, screaming obscenities as the cops read him his Miranda rights… and just like that, UltraDiamonds 2023 ends just like it was always destined to: with Daytona Diamonds, patron saint of lost causes, getting stuffed into the back of a cop car and hauled away.
Thank God, right?
We then cut back to the ringside area.
We see the PRIME*RAMP and the PRIME*STAGE, which is absolutely gorgeous and delightful. Free of blood (at least thus far, the night isn’t done quite yet) to boot. The production crew are feverishly working as the fans are trying to wrap their minds around… whatever the fuck that eGG Bandit Lumberjack Match was…
Then, the body of The Anglo Luchador is tossed out onto said stage, half unconscious, half battered. The fans immediately turn their attention to their favorite hero (well, for some it might be their second-favorite hero, but he is still a hero, damnit!) who seems out of it and unable to move very much.
Nick Stuart: What the hell is going on?
Richard Parker: You know, I don’t know any better than you do. I’m literally sitting next to you. You think I planned this? You saw my bachelor party in 2004. I can’t plan for shit.
Nick Stuart: Yes, very true. The Anglo Luchador though is lying on the PRIME*STAGE. We saw him right after the Eddie Cross and Dave Gibson match where he’d received some flowers —
Richard Parker: Not from me, just want to make sure that’s clear for the record.
Nick Stuart: — yes, we know not from you — and he seemed to go unconscious.
Richard Parker: I assumed he was just taking a quick nap.
Nick Stuart: Well, clearly he wasn’t and now he is here.
As he lays there, two men emerge from backstage. One wears a pair of black basketball shorts that match perfectly with his black tank top. His hair, dreads, rests on top of his head like a man bun that hangs loosely around his head. His caramel face exhibits joy and glee at the scene. The other, dressed in black pants and a white button-up shirt doesn’t look to be as joyful though. His face is stoic as he looks at the other man, his short buzz cut a sharp contrast to the other man he’s with.
Nick Stuart: Wait, isn’t that the team that Eminence faced at the Milo Flynn Cup? Kinetic Innovation?
Richard Parker: I… couldn’t tell you actually. I never watched it. This is about all of the wrestling I watch if I’m being honest.
Nick Stuart: I’d heard they signed a contract with PRIME, which is weird considering we don’t have a tag division any longer.
Richard Parker: Or that TAL isn’t a tag team wrestler? This is definitely odd.
They stand around The Anglo Luchador, mocking him, but not touching him. They seem to be having fun though, and that’s the most important part of all this, right?
Oh, probably not. Sorry TAL.
Then, another body emerges. A man with blonde hair slicked back and a pair of black shades (keeping in mind that it’s definitely night time in the city of Chicago at this time) steps out onto the stage, running his fingers around his goatee with a bemused look on his face. Wearing a pair of khaki shorts and a blue cotton-soft shirt, he looks at The Anglo Luchador and slowly shakes his head.
Nick Stuart: What the hell is going on?
Richard Parker: Well, you know how TAL has been receiving random flowers each week?
Nick Stuart: Yeah…
Richard Parker: And you remember those commercials about KING…
Nick Stuart: Yeah…
Richard Parker: And the logo of KING was on one of those boxes…
Nick Stuart: Would you just spit it out already?!
Richard Parker: I think this is KING!
Nick Stuart: Oh…
Then, a fourth man appears from the backstage area. This one, the PRIME faithful recognize a bit more. Those in Chicago might also remember him as he appeared for a local wrestling promotion that we’re not discussing tonight. He is wearing a pair of light blue jeans, a white t-shirt, and denim jacket. He carries a microphone in his right hand and looks down at The Anglo Luchador.
The fans, recognize him, make a reaction, though it is a scattered reaction because of the fact that he appears to be associated with this group. This group which has dragged one of their heroes out onto the stage.
Nick Stuart: Wait, is that David Noble?
Richard Parker: Well, I sure as shit didn’t expect to see him out here tonight.
Nick Stuart: No kidding and yet, here he is. With that random guy and Cory Kensington and Jamaal Ingram. What the hell is going on?
David stands mere inches away from The Anglo Luchador, who is pawing at his ankle, trying to get himself back up to his feet. Noble looks down, a sly smile on his face, as he kneels down and looks at The Luchador.
David Noble: Tom, Tom. Just… relax. It’s going to all be okay. I promise you. Trust us, we wish it didn’t have to happen after your battle with Paxton Ray, but that’s kind of… your thing, isn’t it? You know, saving people? Being the hero?
David then stands back up and looks out at the fans.
David Noble: And these people… the PRIME faithful, they love you for it. Because that’s why they come out here, show after show. It didn’t matter that there was a ten year hiatus in the middle of it, they still showed up in droves! To see… their heroes. And that word? Heroes?
Noble looks around at the crowd gathered in Soldier Field and then looks over at his compatriots.
David Noble: It makes me sick, Tom. They applaud you, they cheer you on. Are you a good guy, Tom? Are you a good guy? Sure, Paxton Ray is a shit human being, but he doesn’t disguise himself to be anything other than that. He doesn’t come out here and pump this crowd up while being a despicable person behind the scenes.
David inches back towards Tom.
David Noble: I get it, though. You think you’re doing the right thing. You hid Melissa and Nora from Paxton because we see the monster that he is. For these fans out here, they believe that’s the right thing to do. Right is relative though, Tom. You see, just because you believe that you are right, doesn’t make it so, now does it?
A smile appears on David’s face.
David Noble: Forgive my manners. I’m out here rambling and I’m sure some of the people in this audience don’t recognize me. You probably don’t watch that little indy place up the road from here that is absolutely seething tonight, knowing that the big ‘ol PRIME is out here in their backyard doing record numbers. Some of you probably didn’t catch my first stint in PRIME or even in DEFIANCE. Well, allow me to introduce myself. I’m David Noble.
He then points to each of the remaining men in order.
David Noble: These two dynamic guys are Kinetic Innovation, Cory Kensington and Jamaal Ingram. And this other guy, this guy who looks like a sexy Ryan Gosling who wouldn’t blink an eye before dropping you where you stand, is Shawn Graham. Together, we are KING. Together, we are here for…
That smile returns to David’s face.
David Noble: Spoilers. I don’t think we’re quite ready for that talk yet. No, no. Tonight, we are here for Tom. We are here because while he’s been busy playing hero and puffing himself up to be the Paladin of PRIME… but, we know the truth. We know who Tom really is. And it’s okay that Tom is who he is. What’s not okay, is that he pretends to be someone else for the rest of you. Just like most of the people back in the locker room do.
David then kneels down in front of Tom once again.
David Noble: But, I see your confusion, Tom. Because you’re looking at me, and you don’t recognize me in the least bit. And that’s right, you don’t know me. You look over at Cory, Jamaal, and Shawn. You don’t know them either. Don’t worry, they don’t know you either. But Tom…
He looks Tom in the eyes.
David Noble: She does.
Then, the lights dim inside of Soldier Field as “Only One King” by Tommee Profit and Jung Youth plays.
‘Cause there’s only one king
And there’s only one crown
And there ain’t enough room for us both on the throne
So it’s ’bout to go down (So it’s ’bout to go down)
So you better start running
So you better start running
So you better start running
Because I’m coming right now
‘Cause I’m coming right now
Then, a woman emerges from the backstage area. Dark brown hair tied into a ponytail, dark blue jeans that are tight, a flow-y white blouse. Her eyes are familiar, with a tint of fire to them, as she steps out onto the stage that she swore she’d never step onto.
The music then fades.
Nick Stuart: Holy shit…
Richard Parker: Wait.. is that…
Nick Stuart: That is the daughter of PRIME Hall of Famer, Dusk. That is Rose!
Richard Parker: Well, let me tell you, I didn’t have that on my bingo card for tonight.
Her black boots echo off the stage as she walks towards Tom and David, before taking the microphone from Tom’s hand and kneeling next to Tom. David stands up and moves behind her.
Her eyes, sharp and focused, would burn a hole through Tom’s face… if they could. She brings the microphone to her lips.
Rose: Hi Tom, long time no see. [pauses] This isn’t just about you, but you are going to be the example for everyone. I promise you that.
She then flips the microphone onto the stage and stands up over Tom. The fans look on, some confused, some stunned. She stands there for a moment before the smile appears on her face.
She may not have wanted to be on this stage…
But it was going to be hers, regardless.
Rose turns around and walks back the way that she came as “Only One King” plays throughout Soldier Field again. The rest of KING follows behind her, taking a final look at Tom, who is trying his best to get up, but is unable to do so.
Nick Stuart: Shit, after last night, things have just gone from bad to worse.
Richard Parker: You’re telling me. Glueminati is in full force. KING is here and it’s not one person, but four and shit, Rose looked like she could compete if she wanted to. People in the back need to be worried.
Nick Stuart: Scary, indeed. We need help for The Anglo Luchador though.
Our final shot is of TAL on the stage, out of it, as medical staff rush out onto the stage to help him out. We then cut to the backstage area.
NATE AIN’T SO GREAT AFTER ALL!!!!
The pay-per-view rolls backstage as Vickie Hall commandeers a video camera so she can obviously make some pre-match comments. She stands in front of a rather stoic Jonathan-Christopher Hall. Well, at least Jonathan-Christopher’s trying to be stoic. At times his eyes wander around the room, looking unsure of himself. This only lasts for a second or two, though and then his eyeballs jet right back out in front of him and he straightens his chest. Vickie, meanwhile, could seriously use camera training because her hand is shakier than an old lady with Parkinson’s.
Vickie Hall: HELLLOOOOOOOOOOOOO WORLD! I’m Vickie Hall and behind me is my number one ride-or-die MAIN MAN, Jonathan-Christopher Hall!
Vickie takes a quick glance behind her but it’s clear she’s only doing it for show. Otherwise, she might get a read on JC’s body language and realize he’s trying to project toughness when he isn’t really feeling it.
Vickie Hall: Nate, Nate, Nate…
With each call of his name, Vickie’s smile starts to frown.
Vickie Hall: You greedy little piggy! Nothing was good enough for you and now you’re OUT ON YOUR BUM! You deserve everything coming your way tonight! You broke our hearts!! You digged into our chests and you TUGGGGGGGEEEEEEDDDD our beating little tiny fluffy hearts out! You stomped on them!
Nick Stuart: Fluffy hearts? Hearts are not fluffy.
Richard Parker: Do you have a medical license?
Nick Stuart: (Not buying into Parker’s comment) Also, isn’t it “dug into our chests?” Vickie’s grammatical structure is painful.
Vickie Hall: We offered you a heaven! Away from judgment and ridicule! But no no no, it wasn’t good enough for you, Mr. Nate. You selfish brat!!! So you suffered two weeks ago at the hands of Jonathan-Christopher and Tristan-Crispin and now you will really suffer. My man is on the BIGGEST ROLE OF HIS FUCKING LIFE, Nate. You are on the downswing! Where is the Five Star Title? Any moron could’ve beaten Cecilworth!
Nick Stuart: Ummm… okay? I’d like to see Jonathan-Christopher try. Wouldn’t last a minute.
Vickie takes a moment to close her eyes and sway side to side while holding the camera. She’s in a deep, wonderful dream! Likely picturing all the hurt her ALP is going to unload in just a moment.
Her eyes open. She is born anew!
Vickie Hall: Jonathan-Christopher doesn’t need a VIOLENT stipulation to pull off the victory. He ONLY needs his honey bunch of oats!
Vickie Hall: Then the real work comes. The message is sent and EVVVVVVRRRYYYYone on the street knows! The Almasy Tournament… where we will FINISH THE JOURNEY!!!!! Ahahahahaha!!!
Vickie snaps back and stares at Jonathan-Christopher, almost like she’s demanding him to laugh along with her.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: (Much more forced) Finish the Journey, baby! Ha, ha, ha!
Vickie is pleased. She snaps around to the camera while Jonathan-Christopher lowers his head and tries some self-talk to pump himself up.
Vickie Hall: Nate The Great, NEWS FLASH! After tonight… you ain’t So Great!
Richard Parker: BOOM! Oh man, BOOM!
Nick Stuart: This is awful.
Vickie Hall places the camera on what looks to be a nearby table. She walks over to Jonathan-Christopher and spanks him hard on the ass.
Vickie Hall: Baby, let’s go!
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: I love you, baby. Let’s do it!
Vickie steers her man into the gorilla curtain and UltraViolence cuts to ringside.
JONATHAN-CHRISTOPHER HALL VS. NATE COLTON
Vickie Hall: (Voice-Over) HERE PIGGY PIGGY PIGGY PIGGYYYYYYYYYYYY!!
Nick Stuart: What the hell is going on!?
Suddenly, a truckload of actual pigs start running out from behind the UV logo at the top of the stage. The majority of them are on leashes so nothing gets too out of hand, as men and women dressed like farmers hold onto the end of the pig’s leashes. The farmers line the rampway up and down. Many of their clothings are typical farm wear but all of them have some garments dabbled in the color PRETTY PINK©. A few sport PRETTY PINK© strawhats, others PRETTY PINK© tie-dyed overalls, gloves, boots, etc.
As the crowd jeers, a PRETTY PINK© painted tractor rolls out from the right side of the stage where MORE piggies hop out and run around the bottom of the pay-per-view stage.
Richard Parker: I love this!
Cue “Livin’ on Love” by Alan Jackson as none other than Vickie Hall is revealed from the back of the tractor’s lift. She sports a full blown PRETTY PINK© farmers outfit, which she changed into quickly after her self-directed interview. Holding a mic in her hands, Vickie starts screaming the Alan Jackson lyrics horribly, as feedback screeches throughout the building’s PA system and many fans in attendance cover their ears.
Two young people without a thing
Say some vows and spread their wings
And settle down with just what they need
Livin’ on love
Richard Parker: What great symbolism by Vickie Hall, hats off to her! Nate IS a greedy little piggy!
Nick Stuart: How is Nate a greedy pig when he told Vickie he didn’t want to be part of the LOVE CONVOY and, therefore, did not take advantage of them!?
Richard Parker: But he DID take advantage of them! He stayed in their locker room! He is greedy and he deserves everything he’s going to receive!
She don’t care ‘bout what’s in style
She just likes the way he smiles
It takes more than marble and tile
Livin’ on love
As the crowd struggles through hearing the most painful lyrics sung in the history of live television, Jonathan-Christopher Hall emerges from the entranceway of pigs lined up and down the rampway. From the PRETTY PINK © tractor, Vickie Hall claps him on with a wicked sense of pride!
Livin’ on love, buyin’ on time
Without somebody nothing ain’t worth a dime
Just like an old fashion story book rhyme
Livin’ on love
Nick Stuart: How is this theme song going to pump anybody up!?
Richard Parker: You’d be surprised. I’m jacked right now watching!
JC Hall marches down the rampway. Sporting his typical boxer shorts in a PRETTY PINK© heart design, where Nate Colton’s face lies at the back of the shorts with an X slashed through it and #DieNateDie as the hashtag underneath.
Richard Parker: Can we get that trending on the socials?
It sounds simple, that’s what you’re thinkin’
But love can walk through fire without blinkin’
It doesn’t take much when you get enough
Livin’ on love
Nick Stuart: None of these lyrics are anything Vickie and Jonathan-Christopher have together.
Richard Parker: You don’t know that! We don’t see them behind closed doors!
JC Hall tries to show as much confidence as he possibly can while some of the little piggies piss on the rampway right by his feet. Jonathan-Christopher steps over most of it but then accidentally slips and falls in the pee at the bottom of the rampway. Vickie hasn’t even noticed, she keeps on singing!
Two old people without a thing
Children gone but still they sing
Side by side in that front porch swing
Livin’ on love
Jonathan-Christopher brushes himself off as best he can. It looks like he might vomit but then he puts a “tough guy” face on.
Nick Stuart: None of these pigs are okay with being here. They’re overwhelmed by the crowd. This is not humane!
Richard Parker: And a pegasus is?
Nick Stuart: We’re in agreement on the pegasus.
He can’t see any more
She can barely sweep the floor
Hand in hand they’ll walk through that door
Just livin’ on love
Vickie Hall has thankfully finished signing from the top of the tractor, even though the song keeps going. She hops off and sprints down to ringside as Jonathan-Christopher enters the ring and PRETTY PINK© pyros explodes from the rampway. JC Hall swings his arms around and readies for the fight of his life.
It sounds simple that’s what you’re thinkin’
But love can walk through fire without blinkin’
It doesn’t take much when you get enough
Livin’ on love
The Woman of Wonder slides into the ring and as the theme song dies down, the farmers begin walking their pigs to the back. However, Vickie still has a mic in her hand. She shoves ring announcer Vince Howard to the side and stands front and center in the middle of the squared circle.
Vickie Hall: This match is for ONE FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!
Nick Stuart: God, this is deafening! Painful!
Vickie Hall: Introducing first, my honey bunches of oats… the man who is going to PUT THE FINAL NAIL IN THE NATE ISN’T GREAT COFFIN… JONATHAN-CHRISTOPHER HAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!
Vickie stops and robotically moves to face the rampway.
Vickie Hall: (In monotone) And his opponent, Nate The Not So Great Greedy Little Piggy Colton.
Vickie drops the mic, gives her man another smack on the ass and rolls out of the ring.
Nick Stuart: Thank God that ended. I thought this place was going to riot.
Richard Parker: It was a truly enrapturing moment of wonderment, beauty, compassion, just like Vickie and Jonathan-Christopher, it was magnificent.
Nick Stuart: Is that tie Pretty Pink ©?
Richard Parker: No, but you don’t have to pronounce the word copyright when you say it.
Nick Stuart: Yeah, the last thing I need is Vickie’s legal team around me.
By the grace of all things holy, Vince Howard has acquired the microphone, and the large amount of pigs have been moved off somewhere.
Nick Stuart: Poor Wade.
Richard Parker: PUT HIM TO WORK LT! SHOW HIM WHO THE BOSS IS!
Vince Howard saves us from another potentially insensitive Richard Parker rant.
Vince Howard: And his opponent…
With those words, the PRIMEView springs to life. The screen goes entirely white, but after a few seconds, three words in blue appear:
They are accompanied by a lot of noise from the crowd. Still plenty of boos, but a lot more cheers than in recent weeks.
The words on the screen fade away, replaced by a logo. It’s a letter C in the shape of a diamond, with a smaller N inside. The logo is framed by the name.
A classic rock riff signals the beginning of “Tryin’” by the Eagles, and the cheers from the Chicago faithful get louder. Not enough to drown out the negative reactions, but we’ll take it. The guy needs all the positive energy he can get.
Nick Stuart: Looks like the crowd is turning around on Colton. I think it’s helped that he’s been trying to apologize for his recent actions.
Richard Parker: I think they just want to see him get put through another window.
Nick Stuart: Hoyt Williams won’t like that.
Richard Parker: Obviously not one of his windows! Each one is a priceless masterpiece!
Moments later, Nate Colton emerges from the curtain. He holds his arms up high, showing off the PRIME T-shirt he’s been wearing to the ring lately–the personalized blue satin jacket still conspicuous by its absence. Maybe he feels like he needs to earn the right to wear it again.
On the other hand, maybe he forgot it at home.
Still, he seems in much better spirits than we’ve seen him in a long time, making an effort to point out cheering fans and hyping them up, while still approaching the ring at a steady pace. The smile on his face seems to falter every so often, but he’s making the effort. Good for him.
Nick Stuart: After a promising rookie year in PRIME, Nate Colton’s had a rough go of things–especially lately. His loss to Farthington, a tainted win against Cancer Jiles, the presence–honestly, the existence of Savannah Scandal, and then the beating he took in Detroit at the hands of Love Convoy…after all that, it’s good to see him start to turn the corner.
Richard Parker: Speak for yourself. I hope they spike his head through the ring tonight.
Nick Stuart: Richard, how can you say that after he gave us those nice gift baskets yesterday? There was a travel mug, specialty coffee, mixed nuts, chocolates…
Richard Parker: Yeah, you know what there wasn’t? A single goddamn chocolate-covered cherry! Everyone knows those are my favorite!
Nate climbs the steps and ducks through the ropes, taking a spot in the center of the ring. As Vince Howard does his thing, Colton raises his arms, appealing to the crowd.
Vince Howard: From Evansville, Indiana! Standing 6’4” inches tall and weighing 244 pounds! He is…The Next Diamond! NAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE COOOOOOOOOOOLTON!
He heads directly to his corner and removes his shirt, showing off his gear–white trunks that reach his upper thigh with a blue stripe down the side, white boots with blue trim, white MMA gloves, and blue elbow and knee pads. He tosses the shirt into the corner and waits there for the referee’s instructions.
Richard Parker: BOO! EFF THAT GUY!
Nick Stuart: Richard, I have to tell you something. I got to the show before you yesterday and…I switched our baskets. Yours had the better coffee in it…and yes, it had chocolate covered cherries. I…ate them already.
Can you hear someone’s jaw drop? If you can, you’re hearing it right now from Richard.
Richard Parker: You monster.
Nick Stuart: Welp, you know. Back to our jobs. Calling wrestling matches. Looks like one is even under way!
Richard Parker: monster.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall and Nate Colton take their time. Colton slowly circles towards JCH, and JCH keeps moving the opposite direction. Colton is keeping one eye on Vickie Hall at all times, making it a point to never turn his back towards her. The second time Colton has to switch directions to accomplish this, JCH pounces.
Nick Stuart: JCH with the first move.
Richard Parker: Obviously, because he’s not a coward like Nate Colton.
The Forever Man comes in on Colton looking for a knee to the midsection. Colton manages to block the knee with his hands and shoves JCH backwards. Colton strikes back with a vicious right hand. The punch sends JCH backwards and he rubs his cheek. Vickie is on the outside cheering JCH on, so Hall commits to an exchange.
Nick Stuart: Might not be the most sound of advice.
Richard Parker: Passion does strange things.
Hall fires off a right hand of his own, but Colton fires back and again staggers Hall, but this time he lunges forward looking for a collar and elbow tie-up. Colton meets him head on and immediately begins driving JCH backwards. Hall slips behind Colton with a hammerlock, Colton is taken aback and goes for a quick reversal. Hall manages to shove Colton forward, and maintains the position by really yanking upwards on the hammerlock.
Nick Stuart: Good wrestling right here from Jonathan-Christopher Hall.
Richard Parker: Of course it’s good wrestling, Nick. He’s a professional wrestler. He gets paid for this, it’s his job. He’s good at it.
Colton drops down to his knees and grabs Hall by the back of the head, he yanks him over the top with a one armed snapmare. JCH lands and Colton is quick to attempt a headlock. Hall manages to get his arms between Colton’s arms, and grabs Colton by the head, bringing him over the top with a snapmare of his own.
Richard Parker: See, I told you. Good wrestler.
Nick Stuart: Nate Colton has more experience in his pinky toe than Jonathan-Christopher Hall has in his entire body.
Richard Parker: Well that’s not where you store experience in the body anyway, Nick.
Before we try to truly understand the last comment, there is wrestling going on in the ring. JCH goes for the post-snapmare headlock, but Colton also knows his way out of a headlock, and is quick to get to his feet. He shoves JCH into the ropes, JCH comes back as Colton leaps into the air for a drop kick. JCH simply shoves Colton away, letting him crash to the canvas. Colton is quickly back to his feet and Hall comes off the ropes for a cross body.
Richard Parker: Oh… that’s not good.
Colton snatches JCH out of the air. He stands and holds JCH for a minute, Colton shifts Hall up to a fireman’s carry position, and then shoves him off his shoulders to the ground. JCH takes the opportunity to roll to the outside and regroup. Vickie rushes around the ring and over to JCH. The Hall’s regroup on the outside, Turnbull begins to count but JCH waves him off as he climbs back up the stairs. Colton lets Hall back into the ring, and the two men begin another slow dance.
Nick Stuart: How does JCH win a wrestling match between the two…
Richard Parker: ….
Colton lunges in for the collar and elbow tie-up this time, JCH manages to duck under into waist control. He gets himself behind Colton and tries to yank him over the top for a german suplex but Colton has already gone to work on JCH’s grip, and JCH stumbles backwards. Colton turns around and takes a swipe with a right hand, but Hall once again ducks underneath. This time he grabs him and manages to spin him over with a quick german suplex.
Richard Parker: What a suplex from Jonathan-Christopher Hall. The man is an incredible athlete.
Nick Stuart: Suplex looked good, can’t even argue.
Colton is back to his feet in a hurry, Hall is waiting and comes in looking for the kneelift to the midsection. The Next Diamond manages to catch the knee for a second time and this time steps forward while tripping Jonathan-Christopher Hall down to the canvas. Colton pushes Hall’s legs out of the way and drops an elbow down across Hall’s chest.
Nick Stuart: Good counter to the knee again by Colton. Richard, your other employer doesn’t look thrilled out here.
Vickie is pounding the canvas at Jonathan-Christopher Hall. Not so much as cheering him on, as she’s literally smashing the canvas and shrieking at him. Colton jumps up to his feet quickly and brings a woozy JCH up with him. The two men lock up again, and this time Colton takes JCH’s back, Hall tries to escape, but Colton lifts Hall up off of his feet, twists him, and smashes him against his own knee with a pendulum backbreaker. Hall looks like he’s been hooked to a TAL dog collar, while holding his back. Hall grimaces and tries to get back to his feet but Colton is already on top of him again.
Nick Stuart: Nate Colton is inevitable.
Richard Parker: Kid almost looks like Youngblood Jr. in there.
He shoves JCH forward into the ropes, Hall comes back across the ring, Colton ducks down for a back body drop but Hall manages to plant him in the chest with a stiff kick to the sternum. Colton clutches at his chest and looks up as Hall grabs him to flip him over with a snap suplex. Colton is quick to reverse the position though, and yanks both him and Hall around to the side and sends Hall crashing to the canvas with a swinging neckbreaker. Colton hooks both of Hall’s legs and Turnbull slides in for the cover.
Nick Stuart: And a kick out by Hall. Feel like I’m going to be saying that a few times tonight.
Richard Parker: You watch, Hall’s going to take Nate Colton to the limit tonight.
Colton is back up to his feet in a hurry, and drags Hall up to his feet with him again. Hall smashes Colton with a shot to the ribs, then another that causes Colton to let go of the back of Hall’s head. Hall grabs Colton in a front facelock and tries to snap backwards for a DDT, but Colton wraps his arms around Hall as tight as he can, and holds him just a foot or so off of the ground. Hall is shocked as Colton yanks Hall up to a standing position. He dumps JCH to the side, and floats over, crashing into JCH’s chest, while JCH crashes into the mat.
Nick Stuart: OUCH!
Richard Parker: Yeah, that hurt.
Colton doesn’t stop there though, and he is back up to his feet quickly. He pulls Hall up, who is still gasping for air, and sends him over the top with a Colton Clutch Suplex. How sudden the move happened, Turnbull has to sprint his way around and into position. Vickie Hall sees her moment and grabs Turnbull by the foot.
Nick Stuart: COLTON CLUTCH SUPLEX— WHAT IS VICKIE HALL DOING!
Richard Parker: Whatever it takes Nick, whatever it fucking takes.
Turnbull becomes airborne, and crashes to the canvas jaw first. Nate Colton looks around shocked, and Vickie Hall yanks an unconscious Turnbull out of the ring, and once again poor Jimmy takes the fall right on his face. This time from the apron to the outside. Vickie Hall begins frantically waving her arm in a windmill motion at the Argyle position. Jimmy Turnbull slowly begins to stir, and Vickie drives a heeled foot directly into his face. Tristan-Crispin and Zion come storming from the back as Nate Colton backs his way into the corner. On the far side of the ring, Jonathan-Christopher slowly begins to drag himself to the ropes.
Richard Parker: HA! Look at Colton, trapped just like Jared Sykes!
Nick Stuart: And Zion in the ring, straight at Nate Colton.
Zion dives at Colton with a flurry of right hands, as Tristin-Crispin rushes in behind him. Colton is throwing right hands at Zion as hard and as fast as he can, but Tristin is all over him with kicks to the ribs that send Nate stumbling backwards into the corner. Vickie Hall gives Turnbull another kick to the head before she slides into the ring herself and begins directing traffic. Colton slumps in the corner as Zion and TCG turn away with their arms stretched out and smiling.
Richard Parker: They just did what everyone in the back WANTED to do but couldn’t do themselves. YOU BOO THEM YOU BOO US ALL!
Nick Stuart: I don’t think anyone wanted to fight Nate Colton three on one.
Richard Parker: You didn’t hear what I heard…
Nick Stuart: Give it a break, Richard. The Love Convoy just absolutely made a mockery of this entire match.
Vickie smirks and raises Zion and TCG’s arms and smiles at the crowd.
Vickie and Zion turn toward Jonathan-Christopher Hall and help him up to his feet. TCG goes over to give a few more boots to the ribs to Nate Colton, but firsts leans down to give him a nice, warm, loving, fantastic embrace. A nuzzle.
Nick Stuart: That’s really uncomfortable.
Richard Parker: Yeah, no, nobody said that guy wasn’t a little weird. But his head is in the right place, and that is what’s important.
TCG smiles as he backs away. He rushes forward looking to kick Nate Colton’s head off, but Nate Colton rolls out of the way.
Richard Parker: Oh no, he’s going to fight back. Whatever shall the other three people in the ring do.
Nate Colton gets to his feet, and stumbles the length of the ropes as TCG is in hot pursuit. Nate makes it to the corner and spins around, sitting on the middle turnbuckle. TCG comes in but Nate Colton lights him up with a left jab. TCG is stunned.
Richard Parker: Okay, someone turn around. Someone turn THE FUCK AROUND!
Nick Stuart: Looks like they heard you.
Zion spins around almost on command and storms the corner, but Colton fires off a jab that catches Zion in the nose. Zion steps back shocked, and blinking. TCG comes in, and Colton fires off another jab to TCG, then one to Zion, then one to TCG.
Vickie Hall hears the roar and turns around while Jonathan-Christopher finally steps out of the corner just in time to see Nate Colton grab Zion’s head and TCG’s head. He pauses, then yanks the two men further apart, before smashing them together. Zion and TCG stumble backwards out of the ring.
Nick Stuart: Double noggin knocker.
Richard Parker: You sound like an old man.
Nick Stuart: It’s a scientific term, Richard.
TCG and Zion both roll out of the ring as Vickie and Jonathan-Christopher storm in. JCH swings a right hand that connects, but Colton fires back with a howitzer. Vickie is flailing both her arms at Colton and Nate tries to push her hands away, but Vickie pushes through the arms, and is scratching and clawing at Nate Colton. Jonathan-Christopher comes in again, and Nate Colton does the only thing a man can do in this situation.
Richard Parker: NO!
Nick Stuart: YES!
The next ‘double noggin knocker’ involved Vickie Hall and Jonathan-Christopher and Soldier Field explodes in cheers.
Richard Parker: NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
Nick Stuart: A double Double Noggin’ Knocker!
Richard Parker: HOW COULD HE! HOW COULD HE DO THAT!
Nick Stuart: Pretty easily it looked like Richard. You just grab them both by the back of the skull, and ram them together as hard as you can.
Richard Parker: HE HIT VICKIE!
Nick Stuart: Nate Colton didn’t hit anyone Richard, he was just trying to help them kiss.
Richard Parker: If you haven’t noticed, I don’t think they need any relationship advice or help from Nate Colton.
Vickie Hall stumbles backwards, and falls out of the ring between the bottom and middle rope all the way to the floor. Jonathan-Christopher stumbles his way back to the center of the ring, rubbing his skull. Nate Colton is gasping for air in the corner, he looks up and sees the dazed Jonathan-Christopher and explodes out of the corner with a lariat that turns Jonathan-Christopher inside-out, upside-down, and round-and-round. Nate Colton drops to his knees and collapses face forward into the mat.
Nick Stuart: What a huge lariat from Nate Colton! But I don’t think he can capitalize.
Richard Parker: Oh, now Turnbull shows back up. Where was HE when Vickie Hall was attacked by the monster Nate Colton.
Nick Stuart: Oh, I guess we’re both monsters now, huh?
Richard Parker: Same level of dirt.
Turnbull staggers into the ring and looks around at the chaos. Jonathan-Christopher is slowly pulling his way across the ring, while Nate Colton is doing the same thing. Turnbull surveys the area as Colton and JCH pull themselves up to their feet. The two men stumble to the center of the ring and begin firing. A right hand from JCH, but Colton fires back with a right hand of his own that staggers Hall. JCH fires back again with another right hand. Zion and TCG are the first of the Convoy to their feet on the outside, and they stumble their way around to Vickie Hall’s side of the ring. Zion’s face is shocked as he kneels down beside Vickie. Tristin-Crispin has his hands on his head with a look of total anguish across it.
Nick Stuart: Oh look, they finally found Vickie.
Richard Parker: monster.
Colton fires back with another right hand that staggers JCH. JCH can’t keep up with the larger Colton’s strikes and this time after a right hand, he cuts Colton’s right off with a kick to the stomach.
Richard Parker: Kid is getting smarter.
On the outside Zion begins to yell at TCG, and points to a Pretty Pink © handbag lying on the ground. TCG scrambles over to it, and runs it over to Zion. Inside the ring, Jonathan-Christopher grabs Nate Colton and flips him over with a snap suplex. Jonathan-Christopher rolls through to a side headlock.
Nick Stuart: Getting better in the ring too. Might be good without all this garbage going on around him.
Richard Parker: You mean his WIFE, Nick? You’re a homewrecker.
Nick Stuart: I’m going to ask to never call another Love Convoy match with you in my next contract.
Zion hands Vickie the handbag, Vickie’s blonde hair obscures everything that Zion and TCG don’t by huddling around her. Jonathan-Christopher cranks the side headlock and bridges himself backwards, pinning Colton’s shoulders to the canvas. Turnbull slides in and slaps the mat.
Nick Stuart: Colton with a shoulder up!
Richard Parker: Looked like a slow count to me.
Colton rolls to his stomach, Jonathan-Christopher tries to stay with him, but Colton is able to get his feet under him and bring both men up to their feet. JCH has a look of concern on his face as Colton begins to push Jonathan-Christopher forward. JCH sees the writing on the wall and instead takes to the ropes. Colton drops to the mat as Hall comes off the ropes. Hall jumps him and heads to the far ropes as Colton presses himself up to his feet. JCH comes back and Nate Colton leaps into the air, thousands of flashbulbs go off simultaneously as Colton connects with a picture perfect drop kick.
Nick Stuart: Outstanding drop kick.
Richard Parker: Is this 1983?
Colton gets his bearings, shaking his head back and forth to knock the cobwebs loose. He gets to his feet and grabs JCH by the head and yanks him up as well. He sends JCH crashing into the turnbuckle, and follows JCH in with a clothesline to the back. He sits JCH up onto the top rope and climbs his way up to the middle buckle. JCH is forced up to a standing position, and weakly throws a few right hands down at Colton. Colton steps through them up to the top rope. He throws JCH’s arm over his shoulder, Hall tries to block Colton’s Superplex attempt by sticking his foot between his legs, but Colton lands a right hand to the midsection that crumples JCH. Colton checks behind him one more time, and then brings JCH, up, over, and down to the canvas.
Nick Stuart: SUPERPLEX!
Richard Parker: C’MON GUYS! LET’S GET BACK IN THE GAME! HE NEEDS HELP!
The two crash to the canvas, the impact causes Zion and TCG to look up from the face down Vickie Hall. Nate Colton crawls his way over and lays himself across JCH and hooking a leg.
Richard Parker: KICK OUT!
Nick Stuart: You got your wish, Richard.
JCH throws his shoulder into the air and Nate Colton lets go of JCH’s leg and tries to collect himself. Hall rolls himself over onto his side as Colton rests up against him.
Richard Parker: Colton is wasting a lot of time here! Someone’s gotta make him pay!
As if on command, Zion springs into action and hops up onto the apron. Turnbull turns towards him and immediately ejects him. Zion is shouting and yelling, he marches to the turnbuckle and begins pointing to the tag rope and making motions with it. TCG comes into the ring with the PRETTY PINK© perfume, Colton shoots up immediately and shoves the spray away from his face as TCG sprays it into the air. Colton shoves TCG away from him just as Turnbull turns away from Zion and sprints across the ring also ejecting TCG. Jonathan-Christopher in the meantime comes up behind Colton and rolls him up in the center of the ring.
Richard Parker: Ye-NO!
Nick Stuart: Turnbull says two! Turnbull says two! His hand hit the mat for the third time, but he said Nate Colton got it up just in time.
Zion and TCG are horrified as Jonathan-Christopher is shouting at Turnbull. Colton is back up to his feet quickly, and grabs JCH around the waist. He lifts him up over his head and plants him with a german suplex. Colton rolls through, and keeps Hall hooked. He yanks him over for a second german suplex. Nate keeps his grip, and yanks JCH up for a third time. This time Colton slides his hands up JCH’s sides and locks in the Cobra Clutch. JCH wobbles, just as he goes over the top for the third time. He smashes into the canvas, on top of his head.
Nick Stuart: Colton Clutch! Colton Clutch!
Richard Parker: monster.
Colton hooks JCH’s leg and Turnbull slides in for the cover.
Nick Stuart: NATE COLTON DID IT! HE DID IT!
Turnbull calls for the bell as Nate Colton collapses to the mat.
DING DING DING
Vicky Hall sits up on the outside of the ring at the sound of the bell. The contents of her PRETTY PINK© handbag are scattered across the ground. Nate Colton slowly gets to his feet and looks out into the crowd.
Vince Howard: And your winner by pinfall… NAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLTON!
Colton covers his mouth with his hand and smiles as he looks around at the crowd.
COL-TON! COL-TON! COL-TON!
Nick Stuart: It’s a great thing to see.
Richard Parker: HE’S A TERRIBLE PERSON! HE BROUGHT THAT REPORTER BACKSTAGE! HE’S THE DEVIL!
COL-TON! COL-TON! COL-TON!
JCH begins to stir, and slowly starts making his way to his feet. Nate Colton rushes over and gives JCH a hand. Hall shoves Colton away and turns towards the downed Vickie Hall. Nate Colton reaches over and turns Hall around back to facing him. The two men are exchanging words for a moment and Nate Colton extends his hand.
Richard Parker: DON’T YOU DO IT JONATHAN! YOU KNOW WHAT HE DID!
Nick Stuart: Maybe it’s time for Jonathan-Christopher to step out of Vickie Hall’s shadow, finally, once and for all.
Richard Parker: HOMEWRECKER! MONSTER!
A shriek can be heard from the outside of the ring as Vickie Hall stands up and flips her hair back.
Nick Stuart: Oh. My. God.
Richard Parker: I TOLD YOU! LOOK!
Vickie Hall’s face is covered in a very red, very blood-like substance. And she is shrieking like a banshee. Jonathan-Christopher looks back at Nate, who is trying his hardest not to look at Vickie. He nods down to his outstretched hand. Jonathan-Christopher looks at Nate, then Vickie, then Nate, then Vickie.
Vickie Hall: LOOK WHAT HE DID TO MEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!
Zion and TCG come sprinting down the ramp to flank Vickie. Jonathan-Christopher looks back at Nate, and at his outstretched hand. The two continue to converse, and Nate gestures to the outstretched hand again. JCH brings his hands together, takes one last look at Vickie Hall, and looks back at Nate Colton. He stretches out his hand as well, and Colton meets him, pulling Jonathan-Christopher in tight with a hug.
Richard Parker: NOOOOOOOO!!!!!
Nick Stuart: FINALLY! FINALLY THE BOY HAS COME TO HIS SENSES!
Jonathan-Christopher Hall looks Nate Colton in the eyes, keeping a hold of his hand. His smile turns into a snarl, and then he kicks Nate Colton as hard as he can directly in the testicles. Nate Colton’s face changes in slow motion, his smile slowly morphing to that ‘why’ look that can only be achieved by a man who has just been kicked squarely in his dick.
Richard Parker: YEEEEEEESSSSS!!!!!! THANK HOYT!
JCH begins throwing rights and lefts at Colton as he slumps to his knees. TCG and Zion slide in under the ropes and begin kicking and stomping on Nate Colton. Vickie slides into the ring and once again starts directing traffic, having Zion and TCG stretch Colton out across the ring.
Richard Parker: YES! EXACTLY WHAT HE DESERVES! KILL THE MONSTER! KILL THE MONSTER!
Nick Stuart: AND HERE COMES THE CAVALRY! GET HER GINNY!
Adam Ellis and Ginny Van Lear come sprinting down the ramp. Ginny springs at Vickie Hall like a wild woman while Adam Ellis takes JCH’s head off with a superman punch.
Nick Stuart: Ellis and Ginny Van Lear are cleaning house!
Ellis turns around towards TCG and sprints over, but the Love Convoy gets out while the getting is good. Ellis checks on Colton and helps him up to his feet as the Love Convoy regroups on the outside. Vickie, face still covered in the crimson mask holds her hand out to JCH. JCH looks down and takes it as the group walk up the ramp. The ALP’s still hand in hand.
Nick Stuart: What a ride. What a match.
Richard Parker: Night two sucks. First Jiles wins, then Colton. This whole thing is fixed.
Finally our scene fades with Adam Ellis and Ginny Van Lear helping Nate Colton up to his feet and holding his arms in the air as the crowd cheers before we cut to our final commercial of the evening.
COMMERCIAL: COLOSSUS 2023
From the commercial we head to the dressing room, a very -Russian- dressing room. We’re talking banners of the Russian Federation and former Soviet Union hanging on the walls. We’re talking Russian war songs playing from a small radio in the corner. We’re talking Lenin and Stalin propped up in 8×10 frames.
Most people would run out of this room screaming. But oh, you know who wouldn’t, and we know it’s that time.
Because there’s not much time left.
We don’t know why Ivan Stanislav has his own room. Maybe it’s because most of the roster can’t stand to be near him? Maybe it’s because he’s the challenger in the main event of this evening? Maybe it’s because he’s ranted and raved enough to have his own people bring in the comically large (yet personally well proportioned) furniture to suit a man who is as big and heavy as Stanislav.
The reasoning is as murky as what goes on in President Putin’s office. And really, do we want to know?
But whatever the reason, Stanislav is there, and Ruslan is at his side. The Russian Bear stares at the camera and he smiles, wide.
Ivan Stanislav: I am sure each and every one of you expect big, triumphant speech from The Russian Bear, eh?
Ivan looks over at Ruslan and he smirks, before looking back at the camera.
Ivan Stanislav: Well so do I! DYAAHAAHAA!!
The sound wave that blasts from his massive maw is palpable, as Ruslan nods his head and laughs into a red handkerchief, before dabbing his eyes. But Stanislav’s signature laugh cuts off, almost immediately, and he shakes his head.
Ivan Stanislav: Not much time left, PRIME. Doomsday counter has been tick-tocking for past year. Yes, you have tried to stop me. Yes, you have celebrated small victories here and there, but oh, this has been year of the Bear, has it not?
Stanislav smiles, and he tilts his head to the side and cups his ear. His grizzled gray and black beard crinkles as he grins even wider.
Ivan Stanislav: I hear you out there, PRIME. I hear fans. I hear roster. The fever bitch, yearning for bloodshed and destruction. I hear your hunger for something, no, someone greater to ascend to top of PRIME. You need not admit it. Ivan Stanislav is best thing to happen to PRIME in long, long time.
Ivan nods his head thoughtfully at the camera. His smiling expression melts away into a scowl.
Ivan Stanislav: Not much time left, PRIME. Tick-tock. Let us go out with bang.
Ivan walks with Alexei, who immediately locks the door behind him, in tow. The two Russians make their way to the ring as we fade to a video.
THE PINNACLE OF ALL SPORTS
We return from backstage to Soldier Field.
Nick Stuart: What a weekend. A new Alias Champion
Richard Parker: …STILL the Gamble Championship to me!
Nick Stuart: We’re still dealing with the fallout from Hayes Hanlon shocking the wrestling world last night by attacking his own partner, and perhaps turning his back on the fans that have welcomed The Event Horizon into the world of PRIME.
Richard Parker: A sensible decision, when you think about it.
Nick Stuart: Hrmm…people have been wanting to tear each other limb from limb. Like a bloodlust has taken over. We’ve seen it last night, and now tonight. But folks…all that might pale in comparison to what we are about to witness. A year to the day of one of the most blood soaked, violent, insane matches in the history of professional wrestling…and it’s back. One on one. Ivan Stanislav. Brandon Youngblood. Universal Championship Match.
Richard Parker: The UltraViolence Cage.
Nick Stuart: But before we arrive at this climactic bout…as has become tradition…we celebrate the lineage of the richest prize in ALL of sports.The PRIME Universal Championship.
The fans are buzzing in anticipation, knowing what is next. Suddenly, the stadium lights dim, a loud cheer erupting from the crowd. Out of the blackness, the PRIMEview comes alive, the PRIME logo displayed prominently. It fades, the opening tones of Rivalry by Colin O’Malley beginning to play. With a lashing strike of blue, words fill the screen.
THE PRIME UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP
THE PINNACLE OF ALL SPORTS
Descending, a lone spotlight shines upon a table of velvet. Stood up for prominence is the PRIME Universal Championship belt, polished and shined. As the music continues, its contours and plates are scanned with care. Every detail is magnificent. The tension of sound rises, and with it, the camera pulls away from the majestic championship. The scene abruptly cuts to black.
And with the rising dramatic percussion, the still shots. Subtle movements slowly focusing upon the figures as they appear for a few moments, their achievement marked in text in convenient spaces.
The inaugural Universal Champion and final Global Champion. The bridge between the eras, cemented at King of Kings 2. He stands an enigma, a seeming average man in build, but what he lacks in impressive physique he makes up for in mystery. One championship belt for each trench coated shoulder. His eyes are focused and evident through the white mask absconding his identity.
A titan of muscle, massive in stature not just physically, but for his time in the sport. A once hero, now, he is a betrayer, joining the Dark Age. There is no sense of shame with his smirking expression.
A whirlwind of color, a form of taut muscle and artistic expression. She stands stoic, the championship belt over her shoulder. Does she care? Only she knows. Her moment has arrived, seemingly unstoppable, one of the greatest beginnings to a PRIME career of anyone. The Vanguard of the Golden Age. A trendsetter.
Behind crimson glasses protecting his eyes, a seminal figure. Chiseled from granite, his tattoos prominent, if ever a man stood as The Supreme Machine, it is he. The ender of the K-Wolf’s era before it even started. Later, the hand chosen by Tyler Nelson to put an end to a Universal charade. When one speaks of PRIME, his name is one of the first to come.
4th, 8th Champion
The winds behind him sweep about, blowing his majestic hair with perfect photogenic bravado. The only true Son of God. His appearance has not changed, even today, proving his parentage. The Last Judgment features prominently on his tights. Chicago’s favored son, the roar his mere visage elicits is one of the loudest of the night. Under his hand, you shall be crucified and saved.
Before him were titans in stature, but in their place comes one in sheer brutality. His fists and forearms are taped for battle, his muscle built for performance and savagery. Inhuman. A wrecking ball in human form. From nowhere, he arrives at this pinnacle, only to be knocked from it in the greatest upset in the history of PRIME. He will regain it from one of his greatest rivals, The Supreme Machine on the biggest stage. Years later, he returns from the sidelines, managing to defy expectations to put a temporary halt to The Murder Show. Rushmore features him prominently. He stands as one of the truest of greats.
6th, 9th, 21st Champion
A goofy wire of man. The most unassuming of all. So long of a shot, his chance comes in the middle of Revolution, a clear expectation of how easy he shall be steamrolled. A Christmas Miracle. Perpetually silly, the joke is not only the Inhuman Being, but also, all those who thought so little of him.
Born from the stars, beloved by all, charismatic, amongst the most skilled the sport has ever seen. He has returned from injury to claim his rightful place, but failure is all that meets him. In this moment, the drums of war sound, the very foundation of PRIME under threat from Machavallian forces. The star rises and turns his back on the fans and people who believed in him, joining the ranks of the devils who claim him to be their friend. Clean shaven, burned by the light. He fights off a record number of challengers. He is where the balance of PRIME rests.
The balance of power shifts. Her face, her essence, are intrinsically linked with PRIME, but in this moment, she is an assumed outsider. This moment changes not only her place in the company, but in her life. Home. The ultimate trendsetter. The Queen of the Ring becomes The Final Boss twice over. Her spot amongst the very greats is without question. In this building, she was the one to close out the prior era. Without her, where we stand today isn’t possible.
11th, 13th Champion
The rival to the Queen. Scum looks down upon him. A betrayer of friendship, of allegiance, all for self service. So many times, he fell, unable to answer the challenge, and in doing so, all rejoiced. Driven mad, Ahab manages to rise in his final stand, capturing his illustrious white whale.
Mismatched eyes, lacerating fingernails, and diminutive stature. In one night, she nearly conquers the Halo. In her next match, she manages to usurp the Queen. Scary and unknowable, a chameleon who can assume the identity of any she chooses. She lacks her own agency and identity, yet here, for a time, she can claim the Universal Championship as her own.
The Man in Black hides his pieces and scars under a dress shirt and slacks. A mess of black hair falls along the sides of his face. Many claim him to be emo, but they will come to know him as the ruiner, death incarnate. His war against PRIME will eventually lead to its closure. Even here, with a painted black middle finger, his detestment of PRIME is evident.
Charisma personified. In truth, his arrival to this pinnacle has been foreseen for ages. His potential is limitless, yet in critical moments, he falters. Until here. Until now. Until he realizes the promise after years of toil made to look like a designer accessory. His presence is legendary. A hero to so many. Brash and arrogant to others. Regardless, he is can’t miss, must see, and unforgettable. His reign, to this point, lasts longer than all others before.
The Unbeatable. The Unconquerable. Awoken from dream, The Original Villain stops fighting with mere bits of his true skill and strength. The path he cuts lasts over a year, and in its wake, promising careers, legendary challenges, and destinies all fall under his heel. Gone, but never forgotten. Though some draw close, he walks away into the annals of history never having lost the most prestigious prize in the sport.
From the distance, from the ether, his face painted with black, the oddest of sorts, his skin pale, he returns. The Intense Championship is marked as his in all of lore, but after conquering the Halo, he soon after fulfills an impossible destiny, capping off a Hall of Fame career with the final piece it lacked.
Hollywood beckons. A silver screen savant, he brings with him pomp, circumstance, and a director’s vision. An outsider who rises.
CASTOR V. STRIFE
The monster incarnate. The Murder Show. Burly, powerful, a viking from a long forgotten age who has spent an age in PRIME without realizing the fullness of his potential. It is remembering what it is to be dominant that he ascends to his throne, leaving behind a wake of broken bodies and dreams. For a time, the lineage ends with brutality under his knuckles. The oppressive, uncompromising final champion of the Revolution.
20th, 22nd Champion
The spear of the ReVival comes from the Revolution. Before this moment, he is considered the greatest to never win ‘the big one’. After over a decade away, the Tower of Babel rises, removing all doubt, finally taking his place amongst the true greats. The beginning. And after an odyssey of pain, the present. For others in this era, this prize is transient. For him? They are one.
23rd, 29th Champion
A life’s work. Destroy the past and present and burn it all away so the future can rise. The Humble Proprietor has spent his life as an afterthought, cast aside, treated less than human despite his love of the sport he has dedicated his life to. Their cackles and machinations forge an intensity fitting for a monster. The threat. The killer. Robbed of the result of it all. Even in the distance, his name brings chills to the air.
Lights, camera, pucker and kiss. The Anti-Christ. Under t-shades and salt shoes, he brings with him an apocalypse in tracksuit and baby blue. Despised and thought little of, the ultimate cockroach doesn’t just survive but thrive. His threats carry weight because he makes good on his promise. Nobody on this list has a hope of ever being this COOL.
The Event Horizon, the future, all of the ReVival’s promise and dreams comes in his chiseled form. His reverence to PRIME’s past is known, but he makes his own history, taking the Universal Championship for his own and under the most dire of circumstances. He stumbles, but in Hell, he overcomes not only the yang to his ying, but the oppressive boot of the Soviet state.
26th, 28th Champion
Punk rock in all forms, a fighter through and through. He doesn’t care about the championship, just what it brings to him in the ring. The greater fights. The ability to test his penchant for destruction. He snuffed out the promise of the horizon in his void. A goat kick to the head. A free spirit for rebellion against the norms.
With the final image fading away and the song having reached its crescendo, a final shot of the Universal Championship upon its velvet table is shown. And then, we cut to black.
A rich history of greatness.
Is The Inevitable finally here?
Or does The Standard remain the same?
UNIVERSAL TITLE: BRANDON YOUNGBLOOD (C) VS. IVAN STANISLAV
There’s a hush over Soldier Stadium as we return to the ringside area. The crowd has just watched the Pinnacle of All Sports video and they know what is next. Because they are watching as the UltraViolence cage is being lowered around the ring.
Nick Stuart: We’ve had an action packed two nights here in Chicago…this evening we’ve seen Max Kael defeat Anna Daniels —
Richard Parker: Sure, if you want to call it that.
Nick Stuart: Eddie Cross pull out the vital victory over Dave Gibson —
Richard Parker: I would have been much happier if Eddie had been taken out of here and we never had to see him again.
Nick Stuart: Cancer Jiles apparently defeats Coral Avalon, making him a full-fledged member of the eGG Bandits.
Richard Parker: Weirdest thing I’ve seen in a long time, if you ask me. Poor Coral.
Nick Stuart: And finally, Nate Colton squeaked out the victory against Jonathan-Christopher Hall.
Richard Parker: Lots of crazy in that match.
Nick Stuart: And now, it’s time.
Richard Parker: For a potty break? I need one.
Nick Stuart: Nope, not time for that. Let’s go to Vince Howard to get the introductions for our final match of the evening.
We see Vince Howard, looking his dapperist, standing in the center of the ring.
Vince Howard: Ladies and Gentlemen…
Vince Howard: IT’S TIME!
Vince Howard: FOR THE MAIN EVENT!
The “Soviet National Anthem” by The Red Army Choir blares through Soldier Field as the fans, as one, are bathed in crimson light and immediately let their opinions for the upcoming PRIME superstar be known.
A cacophony of boos.
The proud, booming voices of The Red Army Choir fight to overpower the negative reaction to The Russian Bear, Ivan Stanislav. There is no clear winner in this contest.
Vince Howard: Introducing first, from Arkhangelsk, Russia. He stands 7’1” tall and weighs in at 400 lbs. Accompanied to the ring by Alexei Ruslan, he is…
Vince Howard: THE RUSSIAN BEAR!!! IVAN!!! STANISLAAAAAAAV!!!!
The lumbering Russian Bear emerges from backstage with Ruslan directly behind him. The two Russians walk/march towards the ring, with Stanislav glowering intensely at the massive structure around the ring while Ruslan pats the pockets and sides of his brown overcoat.
The duo usually argue and fight with the crowd, but for all the negativity that is flung their way, neither seems to notice. Stanislav approaches the cage and runs one huge hand along the links thoughtfully. He closes his eyes for a moment, then snaps them open and turns to face Alexei, the two of them not yet in the structure.
Ruslan speaks animatedly to Stanislav, clearly speaking their native tongue. He slams his fist into his hand, and begins counting things out on his fingers, when Stanislav, with a stern expression, grips Ruslan’s arm and holds it fast. He says something, and Ruslan stares up at his friend, dumbfounded.
The two share a short, but intense exchange. Ruslan shakes his head, Stanislav nods his head back and finally, with a nod from Ruslan, Ivan releases his friends’ arm. Ruslan appears quite emotional, all things considered, and he reaches up and grasps Stanislav’s thick shoulders, lifts up, and kisses his friend on the cheek. He takes a step away, and then smiles and spreads his arms wide as he speaks, his chest swelling with what has to be pride.
Then, the two Russians salute one another sternly. Ruslan turns swiftly on his heel and marches up the ramp, while Stanislav squeezes himself into the cage, steps up onto the apron, and into the ring. The Russian Bear looks around, his chest heaving as his breath quickens. He takes in every negative yell from the raucous, angry crowd. He reads their signs. He hears their words. He sees their gyrations and motions.
The old Russian looks down and reaches into his pants pocket and produces a glittering object almost comically small in his massive, calloused paw of a hand. He stares at it, nods to himself, and squeezes it before plunging it back into his pants.
Then, hearing the music of his countrymen, surrounded by the steel of his homeland, and on the precipice of a dream he has always wanted, The Russian Bear explodes into an angry, challenging roar that drowns out all the noise, and instead beckons The Universal Champion.
Nick Stuart: This feels like a long time coming for Ivan Stanislav.
Richard Parker: Whatever do you mean, Nick?
Nick Stuart: One year ago, Ivan made his PRIME debut. And it was the last time someone actually pinned him in the ring. He hasn’t been defeated since, gathering eight victories since then in singles competition. Of course, he had a Universal Title match at Culture Shock some five months ago, but wasn’t pinned that night.
Richard Parker: Are you saying we have two streaks?!
Nick Stuart: If Ivan can win here tonight, definitely.
Richard Parker: Oh geez.
The Soviet National Anthem fades off into the crisp Chicago night. Ivan Stanislav roars, and the proceedings roll on in their calculated and curated way.
Nick Stuart: Stanislav with such a show of raw emotion before the bell even rings.
Richard Parker: Raw emotion? As much as people think Stanislav is an animal…look at what he’s locked in. Remember the unbridled carnage that took place last year in the UltraViolence Cage. That’s not raw emotion. That’s a man psyching himself up because he knows…knows…that the price coming due for stepping foot inside this cage…is years shaved from his life.
Nick Stuart: Stanislav has been nigh unbeatable since coming to PRIME one year ago at UltraViolence 2022. Only one man has managed to pin his shoulders to the mat…again…a year ago. Some argue that he didn’t lose the Universal Championship as much as Hayes Hanlon managed to survive after all the damage The Russian Bear did to Rezin.
Richard Parker: He won the Tropical Turmoil match against a who’s who list of top contenders…of PRIME Champions. Him being here? It’s inevitable.
The heavy drums of Trust Me by Brad Fiedel never come. There is no following from the locker room which is a hallmark for the entrance of the Universal Champion. Just the crowd buzzing, booing at points toward Stanislav, and waiting…ready to roar.
Nick Stuart: The anticipation is building to a fever pitch here. This title match, this match, this…fight…is personal between these two.
Richard Parker: Oh you think?
Nick Stuart: Keeping Brandon Youngblood and Ivan Stanislav separated has taken all of security, has taken a sea of bodies…and they won’t stop coming for each other. The hatred. The rage. It supersedes the Universal Championship. For these two…their only satisfaction will come from destroying the other.
Richard Parker: Very much expect these two to put up a hell of a lot more fight than the Bears will against the Chiefs tomorrow. Years ago, when they renovated this building, those Bears had to play down in the middle of the state in a cornfield called Champaign. After we are done tonight…they might have to move down there for a few years…this old field might not be standing at the end.
The sound of seagulls. Their squawks, is there a flock descending? There is nothing visually that denotes such an appearance. From the sound system then? The sound is gone now, a single lash of fingers over guitar strings cutting through. A slight delay before the next strike. A third occurs much quicker. The tempo begins to pick up. If you know, then you know.
Some of the fans in Chicago, ever a PRIME town from before it based its operations there, before the Revolution signed off in this same building…they know. That’s why the buzzing is shifting to an unbridled, unhinged roar.
Nick Stuart: …wait just a moment…
Richard Parker: What? You worried about me saying stuff about–
Nick Stuart: Richard…are you listening?
Richard Parker: Yeah, I’m–
Nick Stuart: No. Richard. Are YOU listening?
An electric chug. A building. From the Revolution. From the depths of PRIME’s Hell. The chords strike their tone. And for the old heads, the dawn has arrived.
Richard Parker: Wait…are you…Nick…
Nick Stuart: …
Richard Parker: Uh oh.
Nick Stuart: Yeah.
Richard Parker: Uh. Oh.
The anticipatory cheering is expected. A big entrance for a big fight by the Universal Champion. The Ace. The figure who, himself, has held the top prize in wrestling’s ReVival than all his peers COMBINED. The Constant. But that’s not what they’re getting tonight. This isn’t for vanity and it isn’t for sport. This is oblivion. To come out the other side of what is to come, one must be willing to embrace standing alone upon the cinders of the ruined world.
A clarion shout. “Fight.”
The briefest of pauses. An assault of drum beats. All comes together.
Bastard by Devin Townsend.
Across the PRIMEView?
P A R I A H
Richard Parker: Oh. My. Hoyt.
Screaming white light bathes the entire entrance, the PRIMEView alive with a blaze of hard hitting violence, suplexes, and submissions from Brandon Youngblood. Like a force of nature, powering through opponents and enemies. Savage and brutal. The unrepentant Chicago crowd is screaming into the night.
And then…he arrives.
Nick Stuart: The mood…just changed.
The Universal Champion stands, his head turned toward the UltraViolence Cage and his challenger. A tight look on his scarred and swollen face. Clean shaven, these details are all the more stark. His singlet is the same, save the old fanged skull logo he had used throughout his pre-ReVival career. An intense scowl and flaring nostrils. He turns, beginning his descent to war.
Nick Stuart: For one hundred forty days, Brandon Youngblood has reigned as the Universal Champion. He climbed the mountain again. And in the ReVival, his standing and resume are in their own stratosphere.
Richard Parker: He looks so angry! Like he’s already been through a damn bar room brawl BEFORE showing up tonight!
The Universal Championship belt is held in a football gloved hand, his entire left arm Gronk braced and his shoulder kinesio taped.
Nick Stuart: This is as subtle as a sledgehammer. The message is clear. Ivan Stanislav and Alexei Ruslan wanted to go digging in Youngblood’s life and past? Well…be careful what you wish for…
Richard Parker: Dug up like out of Pet Sematary.
Vince Howard: His opponent…hailing from Bandera, Texas by way of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada… weighing in at 265 pounds… he is…the PRIME…UNIVERSAL! CHAMPION! THE PAAAAAAAAAAAAARIAH! BRAAAAAAAANDON! YOUNGBLOOOOOOOOOD!
There is no shoulder sway, just a stomp down the ramp.
Nick Stuart: And Ivan moving towards the cage door–
Richard Parker: HE IS EXITING THE CAGE DOOR AND HEADING TOWARDS YOUNGBLOOD! BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES!
As Ivan storms out of the cell towards Youngblood, Brandon chucks the Universal Title into his face and quickly closes the gap between the two men, pelting the Russian Bear with a series of rights. Each shot is stiffer than the last one and many in the crowd are wondering if Youngblood is attempting to break the jaw of his opponent. Youngblood then switches to forearm strikes, rocking the monster from Russia in the process. Ivan manages to drive his knee into Youngblood’s midsection and then proceeds to introduce Youngblood’s face into the cage.
NIck Stuart: These two couldn’t wait until they got into the ring to start their match! Timo looking on and absolutely doing nothing about it.
Richard Parker: That might be the smartest decision he makes here tonight. There is NOTHING that is going to stop these two from getting their hands on one another.
Nick Stuart: The way that title bounced off the face of Ivan and he didn’t even slow down has to be a bit terrifying.
Richard Parker: That thing hit his face and slid down as if it hit an invisible force field. If I’m Youngblood, I would have turned around and walked right back up the ramp. Let Stanislav have the title, because this is not going to be the night you want it to be!
Youngblood stumbles away from Stanislav, but Ivan drives his forearm into the center of Youngblood’s back, forcing him into the ringside barrier. The fans in the vicinity slap Youngblood on the back before scooting away as they see Ivan has murder in his eyes. Ivan spins Youngblood around and connects with an open-handed palm strike into the chest of the Universal Champion. Brandon’s eyes shoot wide open as the shot reverberates throughout his entire body. Ivan grabs Youngblood by the wrist and goes to whip him into the UV Cage only for Youngblood to reverse it and send Ivan face first into it!
Richard Parker: Not sure what that cage is rated at, but I’m pretty sure Russian Bears aren’t meant to crash into it like that!
Nick Stuart: Russian steel is what I believe was used to build this cage, from what I heard. There might have been some Russian workers even who worked on this, thanks to the demands of Ivan.
Richard Parker: If Ivan wins here tonight, do you think he’s going to insist on most of the production crew being Russian-based?
Nick Stuart: There might even be Russian versions of ourselves doing the telecast.
Richard Parker: Well, that’s an unnerving thought.
Stanislav stumbles backwards towards Youngblood, who drives his elbow into the neck and shoulder of his opponent. Ivan howls out in pain as Youngblood snaps his boot into the back of Ivan’s right hamstring. The Russian Bear stumbles away from Brandon, but the Diamond follows after and drives his forearm into the back of Stanislav. Brandon then spins around Ivan and pushes him into the barricade before connecting with a knife-edge chop that echoes through Soldier Field.
Ivan’s eyes close from the shot and before Brandon can connect with a second one, Ivan fires off a headbutt that catches Youngblood off guard.
Ivan then wraps both hands around Youngblood’s throat and neck before hoisting him into the air and slamming him back first onto the ringside barricade.
Nick Stuart: These fans might be getting their money’s worth with those tickets considering how close Ivan and Brandon are to them right now. Youngblood though might need to have his spine realigned after the way he was slammed into that barricade.
Richard Parker: Seriously, the city of Chicago might just need to write-off Soldier Field after this match, because these two might just destroy it.
Nick Stuart: Youngblood is definitely trying to get up, adrenaline coursing through his veins, but Ivan refuses to let him do just about anything.
Richard Parker: You consider the size of Youngblood and you hear that, you should be absolutely terrified about what you’re going to see tonight.
Ivan, holding Brandon on the barricade, slaps the ever loving shit out of his chest with his oversized meaty bear paw.
Youngblood tries to get away from Ivan, the pain nearly unbearable, but Ivan holds him there and connects with a second palm strike to his chest.
This time, Ivan lets him go and Youngblood sits up, clutching at his chest. Ivan drills a fist into his face before yanking him off the barricade and driving his boot across his face. Brandon stumbles away from Ivan, but Stanislav stalks his prey and spins Youngblood around only to be met with a forearm to the face. The shot rocks Ivan as Youngblood follows it up with a second before Youngblood grabs Ivan by the back of the head and drives him head first into the ringside barricade by the timekeeper and ring announcer (hey Vince!). Ivan leans against the barricade, dazed from the previous shots, and is unable to do much to stop Youngblood, who is rushing at him and connects with a spear through the ringside barricade and into the audience.
Nick Stuart: Holy hell, that barricade was definitely not rated to support all of Ivan and Brandon’s weight.
Richard Parker: Fans, get the hell out of there because this isn’t a wrestling match, this is a bloody war and we’re all simply stuck in the middle of it.
Nick Stuart: The carnage that these two have caused in just the opening minutes of this match is insane. Fans are trying to take pictures, but PRIME security is getting in there and moving them out of the way.
Richard Parker: These guys are far more effective than the Enemigos, why don’t we use them every week?
Youngblood sits up, grabbing at his left shoulder, the same one injured during the tag match at ReVival 35. He massages it, gritting his teeth in the process, before making his way up to his feet. Ivan is on the floor, clutching at his ribs. Youngblood plants his boot into said rib cage repeatedly, each kick with more momentum than the previous one until Ivan grabs the boot of the Universal Champion. Brandon yanks his boot away from Ivan before slamming his boot across his face. The Russian Bear rolls onto his knees, smarting from the kick, and shaking his head at the same point.
Richard Parker: The fact that Ivan has any teeth still in his head after that kick is a damn miracle, this man is unreal!
NIck Stuart: And you may have noticed that Youngblood is rubbing his shoulder right there. I’ve heard mutterings tonight that he may have further damage to his left arm that we’re not even fully aware of as he had a heated conversation with medical staff when arriving here tonight.
Richard Parker: Yeah, and what the hell is up with his face? I know I asked about it earlier, but that man had a fight with a tiger, which is exactly what you want before you battle a bear.
Nick Stuart: Needless to say, Youngblood has targets available for Ivan to target and that’s not something you want either.
Stanislav makes it back to his feet and blocks a right hand from the Universal Champion before connecting with a thrust to his throat. Brandon grabs at his throat, turning away from Ivan in the process. The Russian Bear, seeing his opening, slams his elbow into the left shoulder of the champion. Brandon nearly drops to one knee from the shot, trying to create space between him and the challenger. Ivan though is relentless as he drives his elbow down on the left shoulder for a second time. Youngblood stumbles forward into the crowd as fans at Soldier Field quickly clear space for the two heavyweights.
Richard Parker: And there you have it, Ivan going after the shoulder that he injured at ReVival 35. This man is playing the long game and there’s not a damn thing that Youngblood can do to stop it.
Nick Stuart: Timo is nearby, watching the fray —
Richard Parker: Nearby is overstating it, he wants as much distance as possible between him and the action so that way he doesn’t end up a toothpick inside of Ivan’s mouth.
NIck Stuart: — keeping an eye on the proceedings and making sure that if Youngblood needs medical attention that he gets it immediately.
Richard Parker: Then he better get it now because if this goes on any longer, Ivan is going to be beating Youngblood with his own arm!
Youngblood turns around and is met with a fist to the jaw that nearly topples him across multiple folding chairs. Brandon manages to hold his ground though and plants his boot into the midsection of the Russian Bear. Youngblood attempts to wrap his arms around Ivan and suplex him onto the chairs, but is unable to do so due to the pain emitting from his shoulder. Ivan quickly headbutts the Universal Champion, breaking his grasp on him and with Brandon stunned, Ivan wraps his paw around the throat of the Universal Champion before lifting him into the air and chokeslamming him onto the now-vacant chairs.
Nick Stuart: What a chokeslam from the Russian Bear! There are chairs in the fray that are bent and twisted worse than a tornado could do to them!
Richard Parker: That’s because Ivan is about the size of an F5 tornado! Not sure if you picked up on it though, that Youngblood tried suplexing Ivan and his shoulder wouldn’t allow him to do it.
Nick Stuart: It’s something that I definitely noticed and many fans around them noticed as well! If that shoulder is out of commission, most of Youngblood’s offense is chucked to the side. Youngblood is a dangerous foe even without it, but cutting him off from his most effective offense is a blow to his gameplan, that’s for sure.
Richard Parker: The one thing that Ivan needs to watch out for is that if you corner a wild animal like Youngblood, he’s going to tear your eyes out and make you eat them in return.
The Diamond lies on the chairs, grunting in pain as Ivan reaches down and wraps his meaty hands around the throat of the Universal Champion before hoisting him back into the air again and slamming him back down into the chairs, with some of them giving way and causing Youngblood to spill onto the floor.
A throaty laugh escapes the lips of Stanislav, as he looks around at the fans who are bearing witness to his destruction of the Universal Champion, the rock of PRIME. Ivan reaches down once again and pulls Youngblood up to his feet before mowing him down with a clothesline onto the remains of the scattered steel chairs.
Nick Stuart: Sweet Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! The body of Youngblood has just been through a car accident it looks like and the area around him reflects that as well.
Richard Parker: At what point does Timo just call this match? There’s no sign that Youngblood is even able to slow down the Russian Bear and Brandon might end up being roadkill if Timo doesn’t stop this eventually.
Nick Stuart: It’s a thought that you know is running through Timo’s mind, but the act of doing it is something completely different because Youngblood might murder Timo if it meant keeping that title.
Richard Parker: Both men are capable of just about anything, as this run to UltraViolence has taught us quite well.
Ivan stands over the Universal Champion, who is trying to force his body up to a vertical base, but is unable to do so. Youngblood uses his forearms, to great pain to himself, as he tries to move away from Ivan, but Stanislav slams his boot into the lower back of the champion. Brandon lies in the steel carnage until Stanislav reaches down and grabs him by the singlet and yanks him up into his arms before connecting with a gutwrench slam through another set of now-vacant steel chairs.
Youngblood rolls around in pain, every nerve in his body on fire it seems like. Ivan just stands there, triumphant over the Universal Champion.
Richard Parker: You can see the concerned look on Timo’s face! Ivan is looking over at him, almost beckoning him to end this match and crown him the winner.
Nick Stuart: Talk about a moment that Timo doesn’t remotely want to see, knowing the battles the two men have had in the past.
Richard Parker: And he needs to put that behind him! This is the biggest moment of his career, by far, and he’s going to get a front-row seat for the murder of Youngblood if he’s not careful.
Nick Stuart: You of all people should know better than counting out the Diamond of PRIME before it’s all said and done.
Richard Parker: Tell me an opponent that Youngblood has faced that is like this.
As Youngblood writhes, Ivan grabs one of the vacant steel chairs and folds it up before driving it into the left arm and shoulder of the Universal Champion. Brandon immediately brings it into his body. As Ivan tries for it again, Youngblood rolls to his right and takes the edge of the chair into his right arm and shoulder. Brandon falls onto the concrete, lying at the feet of Ivan, who simply takes the chair and slams is across his back, echoing throughout Soldier Field
Nick Stuart: That steel chair is echoing throughout the massive Soldier Field and you can see the concerned look in the eyes of many of the fans here tonight.
Richard Parker: As they should, I don’t think any of them signed up for a snuff film.
Nick Stuart: Even more vital than that chair shot across Youngblood’s back, but was the one where the edge of the chair being driven into his shoulder.
Richard Parker: Because Ivan is a sadist. He is enjoying every moment of this and I can only imagine the victory parade being planned in Moscow right now!
Brandon tries to get to his feet, his body beaten and battered, as he paws at the stomach of Ivan. Stanislav looks down at his foe and drives his fist into his already battered face. Youngblood remains on his knees, his head drooping in the process. Ivan drives another fist into the face of Brandon, who’s head drops further, even as he remains on his knees. Ivan tries to yank Youngblood to his feet, but Brandon doesn’t budge. Ivan glares down at the Universal Champion and as he does, Youngblood plants his right forearm in between the legs of his opponent and swings up as hard as he can. Ivan’s eyes grow large in the process.
Nick Stuart: YOUNGBLOOD WITH THE LOW BLOW!
Richard Parker: Look, when you’re being beaten by a man with a chair, you have to be willing to stoop low enough to do whatever it takes to simply survive.
Nick Stuart: The fans here could care less about the ethics around such a move, their hero is not out of this and not by a long shot.
Richard Parker: I cautioned Ivan about toying with his food. This is the exact reason why. Youngblood will not go down without a fight. If Youngblood loses tonight, you have to wonder how much of Ivan he’s going to take with him.
Ivan stumbles away from Youngblood, grabbing at his nether regions, while the Universal Champion slowly climbs to his feet. Ivan turns towards Youngblood, who drills him with a right forearm that rocks the Russian Bear. Youngblood quickly follows it up with a knee to the face of the doubled over opponent. Ivan’s torso shoots straight up, though he remains on his feet somehow. Youngblood grabs Ivan by the back of the head, but Ivan fires off an elbow to the midsection of the Universal Champion. With Brandon stunned, Ivan rushes at him only for Youngblood to catch him off guard by lifting him up with his right arm, spinning 180 degrees, and connecting with a spinebuster through the vacant steel chairs.
Nick Stuart: You may have thought there was a ten-car pile-up on I-90 with the way Ivan’s body crashed through those steel chairs!
Richard Parker: Ivan may have destroyed twenty or thirty chairs there. And those are the souvenir chairs! Fans are going home having paid hundred for their seats thinking they could take it home and well, nope!
Nick Stuart: Youngblood though also showed that he is FAR from down for the count. That spinebuster showed that Youngblood is firmly in this match and willing to do whatever it takes to put Ivan on his back.
Richard Parker: That has to be a sobering thought for someone like Alexei in the back who is definitely watching this and nervously wondering how much of the Russian hero is coming home with him tonight.
Youngblood slowly rises to his feet and grabs the foot of the fallen Russian Bear. He begins to drag him back towards the ringside barricade that is partially destroyed thanks to him. Ivan yanks his foot back after a moment, but Brandon twirls around and blasts Ivan in the face with his right boot.
The shot is enough to cause blood to start trickling out of the Russian Bear’s nose. Brandon reaches down and yanks him to his feet before slamming it face first into the ringside barricade, dazing his greatest foe yet.
Nick Stuart: And Youngblood has drawn blood from the Russian Bear! The fans here in Chicago are going crazy at the sight of this as they’re watching the Diamond rise from the ashes like a phoenix!
Richard Parker: Yeah he is and considering the beating he took, it can’t be taken for granted how impressive that is. But blood on the face of Ivan is like showing a red cape to the charging bull. Do it at your own risk, because that’s one beast you don’t want to anger.
Nick Stuart: I think both men are showing that they’re going to continue to rise to the challenge that tonight brings.
Richard Parker: That very well may be the case, but there’s only so far one can go before there’s nothing left to give and you’re staring down the barrel of a beast who is ready to rip you to shreds.
Youngblood grabs the back of Ivan’s skull and slams his face into the steel cage that beckons them, that they haven’t event stepped foot into. Ivan stumbles away from Youngblood, who seems incensed and ready for murder at this moment. As Ivan stumbles towards the entrance to the door of the foreboding cage, Youngblood sizes him up and then spears him through the threshold and into the edge of the ring. Timo immediately closes the cage door and signals for the match to start.
Nick Stuart: WHAT A SPEAR TO IVAN! THROWING ALL CAUTION TO THE WIND RIGHT THERE!
Richard Parker: The crazy part is these two have been battling for the better part of fifteen minutes now and just NOW is the bell being rung.!
Nick Stuart: And now they’re behind that hulking steel cage. Fans are safe and it is designed to hold all of this crazy in.
Richard Parker: You sure about that?
Nick Stuart: Um, well…
Youngblood immediately hammers away at the top of Stanislav’s skull, shaking the Russian Bear to his core with each repeated strike. Brandon then climbs onto the ring apron and slams his boot into the massive skull of the Russian Giant. Ivan is stunned by the shot and turns away from Youngblood to shake away the cobwebs. As Stanislav turns around, Youngblood runs full speed at him and slams his left knee into the face of the Russian Bear. Ivan collapses to the floor from the shot. The Universal Champion then leaps off the ring apron and connects with a splash onto his opponent.
Nick Stuart: Youngblood soaring through the sky is the last thing that I thought I would see here tonight!
Richard Parker: Keep in mind, Nick, these two aren’t even in the RING yet. And Youngblood becoming a flippy-doo was something I didn’t have on my bingo card here tonight.
Nick Stuart: Definitely not, but it shows that Youngblood realizes that to conquer the giant, you have to be willing to think outside of the box a bit.
Richard Parker: Look, if he tries to do a Shooting Star Press, shut it down. We’re all going home and never speaking about this night ever again.
Brandon rises to his feet and rolls Stanislav into the ring. Ivan doesn’t stay down for long, forcing his massive frame to rise to its feet. Youngblood connects with a forearm strike into the back of Ivan’s neck, stunning the big man into the corner. Brandon immediately fires off a series of boots to Ivan’s midsection, punishing the big man for the months of torture Ivan had inflicted upon the Diamond. Youngblood then grabs the wrist of the Russian Bear and whips him to the opposite corner before connecting with a running clothesline, using his right arm. Stanislav stumbles out of the corner and Youngblood spins him around before connecting with a backdrop driver, dropping Ivan on the back of his skull before going for the cover.
Nick Stuart: And Ivan was definitely stunned there as both men finally stepped foot into the ring and Youngblood managed to get the first pinfall attempt here of the evening.
Richard Parker: Youngblood saw an opening and has capitalized on it, keeping the offensive flurry coming at a pace he can’t possibly keep up with, but doing enough to give himself some time to catch his breath when needed.
Nick Stuart: Every fan in Soldier Field on their feet right now, taking this moment in because you’re not going to see a moment like this again.
Richard Parker: Exactly, Nick, but the question comes… what moment will it end up being? The greatest victory in Youngblood’s career or the ushering in of the Red Era?
Youngblood immediately mounts the challenger and wails away at him with a series of rights that are designed to bust open the Russian Bear. Ivan manages to get his right paw clear and smashes it into the injured left arm of the Universal Champion. Brandon immediately rolls off of Ivan and clutches at his arm, working to create space between him and Ivan. Ivan rises to his feet, slowly, but drives his boot into the back of Youngblood’s skull. Ivan then bounces off the ropes and connects with a leg drop across the back of Youngblood’s neck and skull. Brandon thrashes from the pain, his face driven further into the mat.
Richard Parker: Oh hell, Youngblood might need reconstructive face surgery after that leg drop!
Nick Stuart: That is not the sight you want in the least bit–
RIchard Parker: Youngblood didn’t even see it coming! He just felt the crush of weight across the back of his neck and skull as his face was nearly melted into the ring apron.
Nick Stuart: Fair enough. Not a moment that Youngblood will want repeated, that’s for sure.
Ivan makes his way back up to his feet and drags Brandon up with him. He grabs Youngblood by the right wrist and yanks him into him, connecting with a lariat that stuns the Universal Champion, seemingly out on his feet.
Ivan yanks him in once again and connects with a second lariat.
Brandon stumbles around on his feet, somehow not falling down, but Ivan yanks him in for a third time and drives Brandon to the mat with a third lariat. He immediately goes for the cover.
Nick Stuart: And this time Youngblood manages to get his right shoulder up there.
Richard Parker: Is it telling that it was his right shoulder?
Nick Stuart: Youngblood is going to want to minimize the amount of effort he puts into that body part to minimize the amount of the damage he is doing to himself.
Richard Parker: Smart thinking, but that’s only going to make the target larger in the mind of the Russian Bear.
Stanislav looks at Timo, glaring at him, before he reaches down and grabs a slow-to-rise Youngblood by the back of his head and smashes his knee into his face.
Brandon rolls away from Ivan, dazed, but Stanislav grabs him by the back of his neck and yanks him to his feet. He then whips him into the ropes and lifts him into the air like he’s going to do a sidewalk slam, but Ivan just holds him for a few moments while walking around the ring. Then Ivan moves to the center of the ring and connects with a backbreaker on Youngblood. He holds him there before rising back to his feet, still holding Brandon. He hoists him onto his right shoulder and holds him there before connecting with a shoulder breaker to the injured left shoulder of the Universal Champion.
Nick Stuart: Youngblood in a WORLD of pain right there!
Richard Parker: Let’s not gloss over the fact that Stanislav just held Youngblood up like he was a plastic blow-up doll! People do NOT do that to Youngblood and Stanislav just made it look effortless.
Nick Stuart: An impressive show of strength for sure from Ivan right there and Youngblood is not going to enjoy being manhandled like that.
Richard Parker: Certainly not when it ended with his shoulder being damaged the way it has. That can’t be a good sign.
Nick Stuart: No, not in the least bit.
As Youngblood squirms on the mat, Ivan rises to his feet and presses his foot against the shoulder of the Universal Champion. Brandon groans in pain as he tries to remove Ivan’s boot, but is unable to do so. Ivan, a smile on his face, leans down and mocks Youngblood. Brandon, seeing red in more ways than one, grabs at the heel of his boot and lifts with all of his might, catching Ivan off guard just enough for him to slip out of Ivan’s grasp. Youngblood immediately rushes to his feet and drives his shoulder into the ribcage of the Russian Bear and drives him hard into the corner.
Nick Stuart: Love him or hate him, you have to be impressed by the sheer tenacity of Youngblood.
Richard Parker: Sheer tenacity or pure craziness?
Nick Stuart: Well, it’s probably a fine line.
Richard Parker: A fine line that Youngblood is definitely flirting with right now.
Youngblood is relentless as he drives his shoulder repeatedly into the ribcage of Stanislav until all of the air has been driven out of his body. Youngblood then hooks both of Stanislav’s arms behind his back and drives his knees repeatedly into the face of the Russian Bear before connecting with a butterfly suplex out of the corner.
The entire ring shakes, but Youngblood gets back up to his feet in a hurry and drives his boot into the right knee of his challenger. He continues to stomp away as Ivan howls out in pain, trying to grab Youngblood to stop him, but Youngblood immediately locks in a kneebar!
Nick Stuart: The butterfly suplex out of the corner has to be an encouraging sign for everyone!
Richard Parker: Well I can tell you what’s not an encouraging sign. You are not a happy camper if you’re Alexei in the backstage area and you see Ivan in a kneebar! And I would not be surprised if Youngblood rips Ivan’s leg off here and beats him with it.
Nick Stuart: That feels only fair considering Ivan’s focus on Youngblood’s left arm throughout this match.
Richard Parker: Oh, don’t get it twisted, it would be a moment that would be remembered forever if it happens.
Ivan groans in pain as he can feel the ligaments in his knee stretching. Youngblood looks like a man that could rip off Ivan’s leg right below the knee. Stanislav steadies his left boot and plants it across the face of Youngblood. Brandon though holds onto the knee bar before being blasted in the face once again by Ivan. This time, Youngblood lets go. Ivan starts to make his way to his feet, though feeling ginger on his right leg. He tries to rush at Youngblood only for Brandon to connect with a spinebuster before following it up with a pinfall.
Nick Stuart: And Youngblood almost put down the Russian Bear though!
Richard Parker: That he did! He weathered those kicks to the face from Stanislav, but Youngblood refuses to be slowed down here.
Nick Stuart: He can’t stop for one second, his foot has to be on the gas pedal the entire time. If he lets up for a second, that could be the end of it for him.
Richard Parker: Truer words haven’t been spoken tonight.
Youngblood gets back up to his feet and snaps his boot across the face of Stanislav, before dragging him up to his feet. He pushes Ivan into the ropes and connects with a knife-edge chop. Ivan, physically worn down, eats the chop and grimaces from the shot. He doesn’t get much of a chance to do anything else as Brandon fires off a trio of knife-edge chops that echo throughout the arena.
Ivan tries to move away from Youngblood, but Brandon holds him in place. Ivan yanks Youngblood into him and bites into the left shoulder of Youngblood, causing Brandon to howl in pain. Ivan then switches places with Youngblood and ties him up in the ropes.
Richard Parker: Nothing is off limits in Ivan’s mind and he just showed it right there!
Nick Stuart: What a despicable match and Timo is absolutely helpless in doing anything about it! Youngblood had firm control of this match and just like that, Ivan has put it back in his control.
Richard Parker: The ease of which Ivan did it in has to be astounding though. Youngblood was laying into him with a sheer offense that would put anyone else down. Sadly, Ivan is not any normal man.
Nick Stuart: Sadly.
Ivan drives his fist into the crown of Youngblood’s skull. Brandon is helpless, defenseless, to stop the attack. Stanislav snaps his elbow across the jaw of the Diamond, whose legs become spaghetti after the painful blow. Ivan then walks around the ring with a slight limp, but then bounces off the ropes and connects with a clothesline on Youngblood.
Brandon’s body lifts into the air before his feet settle back onto the mat. Ivan bounces off the ropes again and connects with a second clothesline. Brandon’s body slumps from the shot. As Ivan begins to bounce off the ropes again, Brandon manages to free his arms from the ropes. As Ivan gets closer to Youngblood, Brandon explodes past Ivan and bounces off the ropes. The Russian Bear turns around to the sight of Brandon Youngblood charging right at him before the Universal Champion connects with a spear that sends both men through the ropes and through the Russian-steel UV Cage!
Nick Stuart: HOLY SHIT WHAT DID WE JUST SEE?!
Richard Parker: Part of the UltraViolence Cage is GONE! The two behemoths just crashed through it and the fact that their bones didn’t become dust is a miracle!
Nick Stuart: And one side of the ring ropes are absolutely destroyed.
Richard Parker: I don’t want to think of the fine that is coming to both men!
Both men are slow to stir, lying in the carnage of several panels of the Russian-linked steel that collapsed on them. Timo checks on both men, who gingerly push Timo away, not interested in his instructions or pity. Brandon is the first to emerge from the destruction and drives his boot across Ivan’s face. Youngblood goes for a second kick, but Ivan catches the boot and sweeps the leg out from underneath Brandon.
The Universal Champion falls hard into the steel mesh as Ivan fights his way back up to his feet. Youngblood isn’t far behind him as they two begin trading punches with one another.
Nick Stuart: And these two men are not only standing after the explosion of the ring and steel cage we just saw, but are TRADING punches with one another.
Richard Parker: You want to tell either of these two to stop?! There is no greater prize in our business and add on top of that the pure hatred these two men have for one another, there is no telling what either shape of these two men will be in by the end of it!
Nick Stuart: Just a wild display we are seeing from both men and the crowd is just eating it up.
Richard Parker: Hell, maybe they do want to watch a snuff film. They are from Chicago, after all.
Ivan connects with a headbutt that sends Brandon stumbling up the ramp and towards the PRIME*VIEW.
Stanislav chases after him, but Youngblood connects with a right that stops Ivan dead in his tracks.
Youngblood takes a few steps back and then rushes at Youngblood only for the Russian Bear to pick him up over his head and hold him there in a Military Press before slamming him back down onto the steel ramp.
Youngblood arches his back from the pain, but Ivan scoops him up in a hurry and connects with a running powerslam on the steel ramp!
Nick Stuart: YOUNGBLOOD MIGHT BE DONE AFTER THAT!
Richard Parker: Well, I can tell you this, he’s not feeling better than he did ten seconds ago!
Nick Stuart: The sheer power of Ivan is jaw-dropping. If he wins here tonight, who can stop him?
Richard Parker: The answer is no one, Nick. No one.
Ivan drags Youngblood back into the ring, over the steel carnage, and connects with a haymaker that has Youngblood almost out on his feet. He then lifts Youngblood into the air and connects with a short arm clothesline. Brandon collapses in a heap as Ivan places one boot onto the chest of Youngblood. Timo immediately begins counting.
Nick Stuart: OH SHIT! HE HAS AWOKEN A BEAST! YOUNGBLOOD IS INCENSED RIGHT NOW!
Richard Parker: Ivan has done pissed off the Diamond of PRIME, the Tower of Babel, and we should all take cover right about now.
Nick Stuart: That kind of arrogance may have been the biggest mistake that Stanislav has made here tonight and he’s about to pay for it in spades.
Stanislav drives his boot into the chest of Brandon Youngblood, who refuses to stay down, and rises to his feet. Ivan goes for a haymaker, but Youngblood blocks it and connects with a headbutt.
The shot rocks Ivan who drops to one knee. Brandon then begins pelting the Russian Bear with a series of right fists to the face, to the forehead, to the jaw. The punches keep coming, faster and faster, until Ivan is laid out on the mat and Youngblood’s fist has flecks of blood on it.
He then covers Ivan.
Nick Stuart: IVAN SOMEHOW MANAGES TO GET HIS LEFT SHOULDER UP!
Richard Parker: Holy hell… Ivan just got absolutely destroyed right there. Any one else, they would need a gurney out of here and somehow, Ivan, covered in his own blood, has managed to kick out and keep this match going.
Nick Stuart: If you’re Youngblood, are you a bit scared at this moment?
Richard Parker: If he’s not, if he doesn’t have a moment of pause, then he should think twice about that.
With blood dripping down his opponent’s face, Youngblood climbs to his feet and moves over to one of the ring corners before proceeding to rip off all three of the turnbuckle covers. He then turns around and drives his boot into the side of Ivan’s skull.
Brandon puts Ivan into a side headlock and slams his fist into the crown of Ivan’s skull. Youngblood then goes to whip Ivan into the corner, only for the Russian Bear to reverse it and send Youngblood crashing chest first into the exposed steel turnbuckles!
Youngblood immediately collapses on the canvas, clutching at his chest.
Richard Parker: The foolish fans here in Chicago might be booing Ivan for what he just did to Youngblood, but Brandon was about to do the same to him!
Nick Stuart: One of those situations where Youngblood inadvertently made his night significantly worse.
Richard Parker: I mean, is his heart even working? Does he have internal bleeding? Could Timo stop the match here?
Nick Stuart: Youngblood’s heart could be out of his chest and he would stop Timo from ending the match right now.
Richard Parker: That just tells you of how many brain cells Youngblood has that are still working.
Ivan wastes no time pouncing on Brandon, yanking him to the mat and connecting with a headbutt. Stanislav then takes the injured left arm of Youngblood and wraps it around the cold steel turnbuckle, wrenching it as hard as he can. Brandon cries out in pain, tendons and muscles tearing with every passing second. Ivan then moves towards the opposite corner before running at the corner, extending his boot as he inches away, looking to smash Brandon’s arm into the exposed steel only for Youngblood to move it out of the way at the last possible second.
Nick Stuart: Thank goodness Youngblood moved out of the way there! That would have been carnage unlike anything we’ve seen thus far! It would not have been pretty.
Richard Parker: Ivan figures if Youngblood is looking to disfigure him, he might as well do the same back at him and I can’t say that I blame him. Both men continue to up the ante here and one of them are going to go broke for it.
Nick Stuart: This is a match that is not for the weak of stomach, that’s for sure.
Richard Parker: It’s not, and it’s a wonder how either will be able to compete coming out of this match for quite some time. The winner gets a basically two month vacation before they have to wrestle while the loser is going to have to wrestle much sooner than that!
Youngblood, standing behind the stunned Ivan, wraps his arm around the neck of the Russian Bear and drives him down backwards with his back colliding into the Russian Bear’s back. Ivan groans in pain as he sits on the mat while Youngblood bounces off the ropes and snaps his knee across Ivan’s face for good measure. Stanislav’s body collapses onto the mat as Youngblood puts both feet on the bottom rope and then leaps up before driving his boot across the face of the Russian Bear. He continues to stomp away at Ivan, sending the Russian Bear under the bottom rope and to the floor of the cage, where the fallen metal is at.
Nick Stuart: There is absolutely no quit in the Diamond of PRIME and it’s awe-inspiring.
Richard Parker: Or stupidity at its finest, depending on how you look at it.
Nick Stuart: And you expect Youngblood to roll over and just die?
Richard Parker: Nick, that just might happen anyways.
Brandon grabs a piece of the fallen steel and bends it as best as he can before driving it into the ribcage of the Russian Bear. Stanislav coughs in pain, flecks of blood coming out of his mouth in the process. Youngblood repeats said action, forcing Stanislav onto his knees. Brandon drops the steel he is holding and mounts the back of Stanislav and immediately wraps his arm underneath the jaw of the Russian Bear, looking to choke the life out of him. Stanislav paws wildly at the arm of Youngblood, looking to pry it loose, but Youngblood extends his body against Ivan, forcing the Russian Bear to lay out from the weight being applied to him.
Nick Stuart: Oh shit, is Youngblood going to choke out Ivan?!
Richard Parker: That’s very possible! I’m not sure, can the match be ended here?
Nick Stuart: I think all rules went out the window about thirty-seven minutes ago.
Richard Parker: In that case, if Youngblood chokes out Stanislav right here, it would be the biggest shock of the night and we saw Hayes Hanlon TURN on Jared Sykes.
Nick Stuart: Let’s not bring that up again.
Timo checks on Stanislav, who is fading, his eyes closing. Timo tries to lift the massive arm of Ivan, but he pushes him away before exploding up to his feet, with Youngblood hanging onto his back. He then drives his feet into the ground and moves both men backwards into the ring apron. Youngblood’s lower back collides hard with it before Ivan shifts his hips and sends Youngblood flying off of him and onto the unforgiving steel.
Nick Stuart: Ivan managed to find his way out of that!
Richard Parker: It helps when you’re the size of a freakin’ semi truck. Keeping him down on the mat for any length of time is going to take a herculean feat and even then, you’re not going to be quite certain if he’s going to stay down.
Nick Stuart: What will it take to keep Ivan down?
Richard Parker: Hit him with a bulldozer and maybe we can talk about it. Because he got hit with a forklift by Sykes and that didn’t even keep him down!
Nick Stuart: …true.
As Youngblood rises to his feet, body wracked with pain, Ivan’s hands wrap around his throat and he is thrusted against a metal pole designed to hold up the UltraViolence cage. Brandon can feel Ivan’s arms lifting him up and his feet dangle inches away from the ground. Brandon slams his forearm into the arm of the challenger, but there’s a look in the eyes of Ivan that Brandon hasn’t seen yet; bloodlust. Youngblood plants his boot into the chest of Stanislav, who simply twists his body and slams Youngblood into the mat. With the kind knocked out of him, Youngblood is helpless as Ivan slams his entire body weight with an elbow across his chest and sternum.
Richard Parker: Ivan may have crushed Youngblood’s chest cavity there. You can’t continue to take repeated damage to your chest like that and expect to live!
Nick Stuart: Youngblood might be a freak of nature, but you do have a point there. How much more punishment can he take?
Richard Parker: How much more punishment is Timo going to allow him to take because that might be the only way Youngblood walks out of this ring alive.
Nick Stuart: That’s a sobering thought, to say the least.
Ivan rises to his feet and drags Youngblood up with him. He walks over to the ringside barricade and goes to slam his head into the edge of the barricade only for Youngblood to block it with his boot before driving his elbow into the gut of the Russian Bear. Ivan loses grip on Youngblood, who manages to slip behind Stanislav and connects with a German Suplex on the outside! Youngblood climbs to his feet, grabbing his left arm that is barely hanging on and slams his boot into the face of a sitting-up Ivan. He reaches down and yanks Ivan to his feet before whipping him into the ringside barricade.
Nick Stuart: Where does Youngblood keep getting the fight?!
Richard Parker: Told you, he doesn’t have enough brain cells left to tell him to stop.
Nick Stuart: While I’m not going to question the intelligence of a man like Youngblood, you have to imagine in some way his body is on autopilot here and may not stop until he literally can’t move anymore.
Richard Parker: Exactly. That’s not a good thing if you think it is.
Youngblood goes to slam his boot into the torso of Ivan only for Stanislav to catch it. He yanks Youngblood into him and headbutts him before wrapping both hands around Youngblood’s throat and lifts him into the air, slamming him into the steel ramp.
Youngblood rolls around in pain as Ivan catches his wind and walks over to Youngblood. Brandon retaliates with a stiff kick to the right knee of Ivan, dropping the Russian Bear to one knee. Brandon fights to his feet and drives a right fist into the jaw of the challenger before connecting with a sweeping DDT on the unforgiving ramp.
Richard Parker: What the hell did Youngblood take before this match? The special drink Michael Jordan gave the Looney Toons before their greatest game ever?
Nick Stuart: Are you talking about the movie Space Jam?
Richard Parker: That was a movie?!
Nick Stuart: I… can’t with you.
Brandon tries to pull Ivan down the ramp and back towards the ring, but the general state of his body and the hulking figure out Ivan, makes it nigh impossible. He reaches down and grabs Ivan by the neck of the skull. Stanislav, not sure which way is up, stumbles up to his feet and is dragged down to the ring by Youngblood, who throws him into the ropes. As Youngblood follows after him, he’s mowed down with a lariat from Stanislav! As Youngblood stumbles back to his feet, Ivan plants his boot into his midsection and then powerbombs him in the center of the ring. Ivan immediately goes for the pin.
Nick Stuart: Youngblood is digging down deep and is finding the strength to simply carry on.
Richard Parker: That should not be applauded, Nick! This man has a son. He needs to be there for his son.
Nick Stuart: Did you put money on Ivan?
Richard Parker: No, I… what is this weird beating feeling in my chest?
Nick Stuart: Well, I guess one miracle did happen tonight.
Both men lie in the center of the ring, the first time both men have been stationary for longer than ten seconds. Their chests heave as the crowd in the Soldier Field tries to will Youngblood back up to his feet. Timo checks on both men, who are conscious, but physically and emotionally spent. Ivan is the first one to move, slowly sitting up, bruises all over his body and face. Dried blood on his cheek and forehead. He grabs the ropes and uses them to help himself up to his feet. Behind him, Youngblood is trying to do the same, though his process is much slower and seemingly more painful.
Nick Stuart: The fans here in Soldier Field haven’t sat down in over forty-five minutes and the surge of energy everyone in the crowd just got as they watch both men climb to their feet is surreal.
Richard Parker: I have no idea how either of these two men are even standing right now!
Nick Stuart: Neither do I, because both men look like they’ve been through absolute hell!
Richard Parker: Hell is an understatement right about now.
Both men turn towards one another and as they lock eyes on the other, there is nothing but hatred shared between them.
Their chests are heaving, their bodies drained, but the desire to destroy the other prevails over all sense. Ivan drives his fist into the jaw of Youngblood, who is rocked, but fires back a right jab of his own that sends sweat and blood flying off the face and hair of the challenger.
Ivan digs down deep and rights off a right of his own and then follows it up with a left that stuns Youngblood where he stands.
Stanislav then launches himself at Youngblood, looking for a clothesline, only for Brandon to duck under it. The Diamond turns around and as Ivan rebounds off the ropes, he nails the challenger with a spinebuster that shakes the entire ring.
Nick Stuart: THAT COULD BE IT! YOUNGBLOOD MAY HAVE CONQUERED THE GIANT!
Richard Parker: The way that Ivan’s body slammed into that mat, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least bit.
Youngblood then covers the Russian Bear.
Nick Stuart: IVAN KICKED OUT?!
Richard Parker: How… in the hell…
Nick Stuart: I think even Youngblood is wondering the same thing. Timo is wondering the same thing. TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN SOLDIER FIELD ARE WONDERING THE SAME THING!
Richar Parker: I just… wow.
Youngblood rolls off of Ivan, spent. He makes his way up to his feet and reaches down to an equally spent Ivan before wrapping his arms around his waist. He lifts with everything he has as the fans stand around the arena and watch as Youngblood deadlifts Ivan into the air before connecting with a belly-to-back suplex. As Ivan collides with the mat, a snap is heard, followed by the most guttural sound the fans have ever heard before.
Nick Stuart: YOUNGBLOOD IS DOWN! THAT ARM GAVE AWAY!
Richard Parker: GAVE AWAY?! THAT ARM IS DEAD!
Nick Stuart: If you have ever seen a wounded animal before, this is eerily reminiscent of it.
Richard Parker: Well, don’t try to deadlift a Russian Bear and you might not be in that situation.
Brandon writhes on the floor, clutching his arm, as Timo checks on him. Youngblood shoves Timo away, pulling in his arm like a wounded animal. He tries to push himself up to his feet, but collapses as his arm is essentially useless at the moment. He lies on the mat, gritting his teeth, ordering his body back to its feet and is halfway up when he collapses to the mat once again. Youngblood crawls himself over to Ivan and uses his skull to push Ivan onto his back before draping an arm across him.
THREE — NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Nick Stuart: STANISLAV GOT HIS RIGHT SHOULDER UP RIGHT AS TIMO WAS ABOUT TO SLAP THE MAT FOR A THIRD TIME!
Richard Parker: And Timo is confirming to ALL of us that the match is NOT over!
Nick Stuart: That has to be a sickening feeling for Youngblood, who is battered and beaten, has an arm that might be completely shot, and if that moment hadn’t happened, he probably would have gotten the victory.
Richard Parker: Soul crunching can’t even describe it.
Youngblood slides off of Ivan, stunned. Ivan makes his way up to his feet, slowly, as Youngblood can only look on. He drives his boots into the mat, but continues to clutch his utterlly useless arm. Brandon slaps the shit out of Ivan, forcing the Russian Bear to see red as he headbutts Youngblood and then hits him with the Red Scare!
Youngblood flies through the air and his body thuds into the canvas. Ivan makes his way back up to his feet and deadlifts Youngblood off the mat before connecting with a second Red Scare, Youngblood’s body folding like an accordion as it hits the mat.
Stanislav walks over to the battered Universal Champion as Timo can only watch on in horror. Ivan reaches down to lift Youngblood up for a third Red Scare, but looks at Timo, who shakes his head.
Nick Stuart: Oh God…
Richard Parker: There is no God, Nick, there is only Ivan Stanislav.
Nick Stuart: He would have continued hitting him with a Red Scare if not for Timo there.
Richard Parker: Youngblood is barely moving.
Stanislav begrudgingly kneels down and covers Youngblood, as Timo begins his count.
DING DING DING
Nick Stuart: It’s… over. Ivan has… won.
Richard Parker: I think Timo is going to be ill.
Nick Stuart: Youngblood needs medical attention, right now. Oh my goodness.
Richard Parker: This crowd here in Chicago is stunned right now by what they just saw.
Ivan rises to his feet, his eyes wide open as he looks out at the fans who are booing him, jeering him, while Vince Howard rises to his feet.
Vince Howard: Your winner…
Vince Howard: AND NEW!
Vince Howard: UNIVERSAL CHAMPION! IVAN!
Vince Howard: STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANIIIIIIIIIIISLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAV!
Nick Stuart: He’s done it. Ivan has conquered the Universal Champion.
Richard Parker: Brandon Youngblood. Phil Atken. Cancer Jiles. Hayes Hanlon. Rezin. Hayes Hanlon again. Brandon Youngblood again. And now Ivan Stanislav.
Nick Stuart: And how does anyone hope to stop him? HOW?!
Richard Parker: That is the million dollar question we’re all going to have going into the road to Colossus.
Nick Stuart: HOW?!
Ivan stands there in the carnage. He looks down at Brandon, who is breathing, but just. Timo walks over to him with the Universal Champion. Ivan locks eyes with Timo, who simply hands him the title as Ivan takes it from him. He looks at it for a moment.
A year ago, Ivan Stanislav walked into UltraViolence and left a loser.
A year later, Ivan Stanislav walked into UltraViolence and will leave… the Universal Champion.
Ivan holds the Universal Championship in his hands, it looking small in the massive paws of the Russian Bear. He slowly unfolds it and holds it inches away from his face. He then looks out at the fans, some who are leaving, others giving him the finger.
An evil smile appears on his face as he holds the title above his head.
The laugh explodes out of Ivan, who is once again on top, having vanquished the Diamond of PRIME.
He continues to laugh as he throws his head back in victory.
Yet, Ivan does not care, because he has finally captured what has eluded him for years. The chance to be the greatest in the world again.
Nick Stuart: A crazy two nights here in Chicago–
Richard Parker: Two nights that were filled with roller coaster movements, that’s for sure. There were some highs and some lows.
Nick Stuart: That’s for certain. New champions were crowned in Chandler Tsonda and Ivan Stanislav.
Richard Parker: Backs were stabbed in the case of Jared Sykes by Hayes Hanlon.
Nick Stuart: We apparently have a new member of the eGG Bandits.
Richard Parker: Poor Coral. But to end it all…
Nick Stuart: …most importantly…
Richard Parker: The Red Era has begun.
Nick Stuart: That it has. In two weeks time, we begin the Almasy Tournament, which will crown a winner that will face potentially Ivan Stanislav at Culture Shock 2024, if he is still the champion.
Richard Parker: You show me who can dethrone him and I’ll believe it.
Nick Stuart: …that may be the truest thing you’ve said all weekend long. For my partner, Richard Parker, I’m Nick Stuart. Thank you for tuning in! We will see you in two weeks time at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis for ReVival 36 for the start of the Almasy Tournament! Thank you and good night!
We see the medical staff tending to Youngblood.
We then see Stanislav standing in the center of the ring, holding the Universal Title above his head for all to see.
In Russia, a celebration has begun. A celebration that would go down in the history books.