1 Nova vs. 16 Jacob Mephisto
Nick Stuart: And here it is, our main event. The final match in the first round of the Seymour Almasy Invitational Tournament.
Richard Parker: And what a match it is.
Nick Stuart: For the first time in years, Nova, former Universal Champion, former two-time 5 Star and Intense Champion, a PRIME legend and a member of the vaunted Hall of Fame, returns to the ring. And where some companies might give such a competitor the red carpet treatment, what stands across from him is a path of burning coals.
Richard Parker: That’s because he faces someone who, in those years, has been putting in the work. Someone who has been grinding. And thriving. And winning championships and commanding the ring. He faces the methodical, the brutal Jacob Mephisto.
Nick Stuart: And not only that, but our second bounty is in play here. A Universal Championship shot is at stake for Jacob Mephisto if he wins this match, if he knocks out the top seed.
Richard Parker: Everything on the line. You want to make a statement in these halls? You face up a Hall of Famer and you beat them. Period. You answer the question of ‘What if’ and you earn a Universal Championship shot before we even crown the new champ.
Nick Stuart: If you’re Nova, you feel the heat here. You know what’s at stake.
Richard Parker: Your reputation. Hell, your credibility. Just because you were a king in the old guard doesn’t mean you waltz back in the doors here and have prestige handed to you on a silver platter. You earn it.
Nick Stuart: It’s a hard road…made even harder when, from what we know now, Nova, as great as he’s been in the past, is having to play catch up to Mephisto given how long he has been out of the ring.
Richard Parker: It’s why, you want honesty, you want smart money plays? You put your chips on Jacob Mephisto. PRIME fans who checked out when we shut off the lights might not know who he is and think what I’m spouting off is an upset. It isn’t. He’s not here, he’s not a top star in SHOOT, if it’s an upset. And for someone like Nova? That’s not just scary. That’s horrifying.
Vince Howard: The following match is one fall and is a first-round match in the Almasy Invitational!
In the center of the ring stands Head Official Timo Bolamba, arms folding across his massive chest. Suddenly, the lights within the MGM Grand Arena cut, and a stormy sky appears on the PRIMEview. As thunder booms over the speakers and lightning lights up the darkened clouds on-screen, a voice can be heard speaking in soft, reverberating tones.
“Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time…for y’all have knocked her up.
I have tasted the maggots in the mind of the universe; but I was not offended, for I knew I had to rise above it all…or drown in my own shit.”
The stormy sky fades, replaced by a field of stars. One of the stars shoots across the screen, and as the field of stars comes together to form the word “NOVA,” Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain (Live ’71)” roars over the loudspeakers, Eddie Hazel’s guitar screaming with emotion.
Nick Stuart: These fans are going wild for Nova and we haven’t even seen him. What a moment!
At this moment, a spotlight hits the entrance ramp where Nova is knelt, one fist raised in the air. The smoke wafting up from the cigarette hanging out of his mouth swirls irridescently under the hot glare of the spotlight. After a moment, the Risen Star climbs to his feet and makes his way down to the ring, rolling under the bottom rope before standing and flicking his cigarette away. He looks different than in the past, his vibrant head of hair now a balding blonde horseshoe with what remains sticking out with an Einstein flair, his thick brown beard filled with ample amounts of silver. All the same, the fans love him, remember him, what he’s done, and can’t wait to see if the present matches their memory.
Vince Howard: Introducing first! Weighing in at two-hundred-and-forty pounds and standing at six feet and three inches, from Parts Unknown…PRIME Hall of Famer! NOVA!
The lights come up, the fans roaring as the Risen Star blows the last of his cigarette out from his nostrils. The light inside the MGM Grand Arena is short lived, however, as just as quickly as they come on, they begin to flicker, dim, and then die, plunging the arena into complete darkness. The only light seen comes from the legions of PRIMEates’ cell phones.
The sound of a rattlesnake’s tail pierces the darkness and then the voice of “Wicked” Wilson Pickett cuts through.
Tiiiiiiime… is on my side…
“Time Is On My Side” continues to play as the lights flare to their brightest for just a moment before settling back to dim as a spotlight shines on the stage, revealing Jacob Mephisto.
Vince Howard: And his opponent! Weighing in at two-hundred-and-sixty-five pounds and standing at six feet and five inches, from Nazareth Pennsylvania…JACOB! MEPHISTO!
Mephisto walks to the ring casually, not acknowledging fans. He looks to the ring, perhaps seeing Nova, perhaps looking beyond, it’s hard to tell from those blank, pale, gray eyes. Mephisto enters the ring and holds his arms out to the sides, looking skyward before going to his corner opposite his opponent.
Nick Stuart: There’s a cold calculating manner to Jacob Mephisto. He has built a reputation all across the world as a vicious, technically proficient combatant. I think we are in for a hell of a battle here.
A murmur rumbles through the crowd as referee Timo Bolamba, smacks his hands together, stepping away from the center of the ring so Nova and Jacob Mephisto take the focus. Nova cracks his knuckles, shakes his head to loosen his neck. Across the ring, Mephisto looks down at his opponent, at his ticket to impact in PRIME, a smirk widening across his lips. An effervescent calm in direct comparison to The Risen Star’s jiggering movement. It’s the PRIME Hall of Famer making the first move, pacing from his corner, drawing his opponent from his, and with a sudden burst, he is shooting off his knee, looking for a quick go-behind. Mephisto sidesteps this easily, a lazy chuckle causing his chest to rock slightly, and before Nova can fully stand, he gets snatched with a collar and elbow tie-up by the larger son of Nazareth, a quick transition to a side headlock following.
Richard Parker: That’s what being out of the ring looks like. It looks like slop. It looks like easy money if you locked in that Mephisto bet.
Nick Stuart: A tremendous amount of torque here on the side headlock.
Richard Parker: Grinding. Like a vice. All Nova’s hand fighting isn’t making a dent.
And it isn’t. Mephisto is corralling Nova like a bull with all the effort of corpse in the grave.
Jacob Mephisto: Calm down, boy. I got you.
With his free hand, he grabs at one of Nova’s wrists, snatching it close, letting go of the side headlock only to wrench down on his opponent’s arm with a nasty arm wringer. And another. And another. The Risen Star isn’t just wincing; his grimace is brutal, languished. It gets even worse when Mephisto drives him in close, blasting his shoulder with his own. And another. He gives a quick wrench of the arm, twisting Nova around, all before snapping him into an absolutely filthy short-arm clothesline.
Nick Stuart: Pride Before The Fall! What a wicked clothesline!
Richard Parker: Nova’s chest is pink as the salmon from Morimoto’s.
Nick Stuart: And Mephisto is grabbing at Nova for ANOTHER Pride Before the Fall clothesline! And now he’s hooking the near leg!
But before Nova can even try to get up, Jacob Mephisto is grabbing at the tufts of blonde hair from the horseshoe on his head, snapping him to the canvas with a violent snap suplex. A few helpless skidding bounces later, The Risen Star is looking up at the lights, surely asking himself questions, wondering why he was in the ring, why he was gifted with the bounty over his head, and even worse, the crashing shin absolutely obliterating him from Jacob Mephisto’s soccer kick. Another cover follows.
Nick Stuart: And Mephisto is chuckling here. Chuckling as he looks down at Nova and grabs onto his hair, just holding him there. This…this is uncomfortable.
Richard Parker: Jacob Mephisto asked the question ‘What If’, what if he wasn’t an afterthought? What if he wasn’t another footnote in Nova’s story? Because we’re past the point of what happens when Nova wakes up…because Mephisto here is putting him to sleep!
The unease in the crowd is growing a full throated boo, with each lashing move turning this bout from major story in the Almasy Invitational to a sad sacrifice of the old given to the new. Jacob Mephisto isn’t one to care about such a past; he’s too busy doing what he’s been doing, owning the tempo, locking Nova in another front chancery, all before another snap suplex drives the wind from PRIME Hall of Famer’s lungs, rattling his spine. Mephisto takes a few exaggerated steps forward before kicking Nova onto his stomach and dropping the point of his knee into the small of his back, all before rising up and doing it again, then grabbing at the head of the Risen Star, lifting him up and snatching his leg.
Jacob Mephisto: This is a Hall of Famer?
Mephisto’s free hand clobbers Nova’s face with a slap.
Jacob Mephisto: They call you one of the best of the best?
NO-VA! NO-VA! NO-VA!
Jacob Mephisto: Ha! Listen to them. Chanting your name as I smack the taste out of your mouth.
NO-VA! NO-VA! NO-VA!
Jacob Mephisto: A joke. You’re just a–
Enough! Nova lashes out with a smack of his own, sneering, his balding mane wild and standing on end. Mephisto is caught off guard, but not enough to leave his feet nor let go of his heel, so another slap clobbers Jacob, this one stiff enough to rattle his teeth.
He drops Nova’s heel, and the next thing he knows, he’s eating the canvas, snapping to it after being brought down from the force of a running front dropkick to his knee. He quickly tries to scramble to his feet, but is brought crashing back to the canvas with a jumping calf kick.
Nick Stuart: The tide is turning! Mephisto was cruising until he started with those slaps.
Richard Parker: Playing with his food too long. Honky tonkying. He had that dragon screw right there and then–
Nick Stuart: And then Nova crashes into Jacob Mephisto with a cross body! Cover!
Both men scramble to their feet, the cool calm of Mephisto giving way, and his opponent, The Risen Star, the PRIME Hall of Famer, looking natural, like he is riding a bike, getting the cobwebs shaken off. Thing have changed. The two converge with a collar and elbow tie up, with Mephisto quickly getting the edge with another side headlock, but Nova drives him backward into the ropes, shooting him off and whipping him to the opposite side, charging forward and blasting Jacob with a kitchen sink that hits like a hernia. As he winces, Nova maintains proximity, and out of desperation, Mephisto catches him with an eye-rake.
Nick Stuart: And head official Timo Bolamba pulling Mephisto away and warning him on that eye rake, he’s not going to tolerate that…
Richard Parker: But he’s cutting the momentum there! Stay back until he throws the challenge flag, come on you have to let things go down their normal progression…
Nick Stuart: A challenge flag? Preposterous…
Richard Parker: It’s not a chair shot…
Nick Stuart: And this isn’t pro football; it’s wrestling! PRIME wrestling! And Nova is trying to get his vision back still as Mephisto is closing the gap and goes for a double axe handle-
Richard Parker: Can see well enough to avoid that Nick–
Nick Stuart: Nova switches position and pushes Mephisto in the corner, ratcheting up the pressure with punches to the gut in rapid fire!
Nova rushes out of the corner, crashing in at high velocity with a brutalizing lariat in the corner. Mephisto remains standing, instinct taking over, his hands grabbing at the ropes to maintain his position. Nova once again charges into the corner, driving his knee into the gut of Jacob, the Risen Star grabbing a side headlock and slamming Mephisto’s head into the canvas with a bulldog. Jacob shoots up from the canvas, pushing up, a balled fist over his chest, a few staggering steps forward before he is lifted up and dropped right on the back of his head with a hellacious bridging german suplex.
Richard Parker: Survival is key! I can’t believe Mephisto kicked out of that with how nasty that fall was on his head!
Nick Stuart: He’s staggering, wobbly legged, it’s like he’s made of spaghetti. Nova pushing him into the nearest corner, and he charges toward him—
Richard Parker: Oh how smart!
Nick Stuart: Possum! He’s playing possum! Nova went with another running knee and Mephisto got out of the way cradle!
Nick Stuart: Oh did he have the tights there?
Richard Parker: I didn’t see it!
Nick Stuart: And Timo didn’t either! Nova trying to scramble–
Richard Parker: He’s going for Memento Moris!
Nick Stuart: He’s got Nova in the fireman’s carry! Lungbl—no! Nova escaped and Mephisto on his back trying to get up!
Mephisto’s scramble is quickly cut off by a stiff rising lariat, spittle flying everywhere, the crowd beginning to roar in the MGM Grand. Nova beats Mephisto to his feet, the timing proving deadly as he gets grabbed and powered over with a T-Bone suplex.
Nick Stuart: Nova giving a powerful roar right here!
Richard Parker: And Mephisto is right there!
A sudden burst of adrenaline has Jacob Mephisto trying to drive for a single leg, but Nova locks him with a front facelock, quickly going with the turn…
Nick Stuart: No-Value! No-Value! What an absolutely violent drop! Nova with the cover!
DING DING DING
Nova drops the hooked leg, rolling off the very game Jacob Mephisto before Timo Bolamba quickly drops to his knees his hands bracing against Jacob, who is trying to get back to his feet to continue the fight, albeit extremely groggy. His head jostles from side to side, eyes wide as his brain starts to register just what had happened, growling as he looks toward Nova, “Maggot Brain” by Funkadelic pounding through the MGM Grand as the fans roar in delight.
Vince Howard: Your winner…and advancing to the second round of the Almasy Invitational…NOVA!
Nick Stuart: Head official Timo Bolamba trying to protect Mephisto from himself here, and you have to feel for him, he proved himself in a PRIME ring with a trial by fire and came out swinging.
Richard Parker: And was on his way to a complete squash until he slapped the fight into Nova. He goes for the dragon screw and it’s a different ball game.
He’s a little older, but Nova, disheveled, sweating a storm, his skin showing with bruising, can’t help but give a smirk, looking toward the crowd, a few claps of his hands and a knowing point to acknowledge them, their energy. It feels good. It feels great. It feels like home. On the other hand, Jacob Mephisto knows pleading his case isn’t going to get him anywhere, and disgusted, at himself more than anything, he rolls out of the ring, hands on his hips, shaking his head. He curses to himself as he rips at his own wrist tape, looking over his shoulder at his opponent, a quick sneer, knowing full well if he ever steps foot in the ring with Nova again, it will be different. That he will have the right game plan to trap him for good this time.
Nick Stuart: Definitely Richard. You could tell that was the moment this match completely turned around. And while Nova looked good when he started firing on all cylinders here, it needs to be remembered…it took a good while for him to get there, and Jacob Mephisto, when he is pouring on the pressure, is quite the tall challenge.
Richard Parker: And hey, look, I am not sure how I feel exactly on that count…
Nick Stuart: Oh will you stop!
Richard Parker: What? I think it’s only healthy for everyone to maintain the same timing with their counts, and I mean, who knows if…
Nick Stuart: And with that, the final piece of the puzzle for round two of the Almasy Invitational is in place. Nova will take on Cancer Jiles, and remember…remember! Jacob Mephisto was close tonight, and that bounty on Nova is still in place. You beat him, you bank a future Universal Championship match.
Richard Parker: You don’t think it’s a good idea? A fair idea? Don’t shut me out Nick, you know I’m–
Nick Stuart: For Richard Parker, I’m Nick–
Richard Parker: Don’t put me in the corner. Nobody puts Rich Daddy in the corner!
Nick Stuart: –Stuart, good night and good luck! This is PRIME!
Fade. To. Black.