BRANDON YOUNGBLOOD vs. LARRY TACT
We come back to a shot of the ringside area, and Vince Howard standing ready to do the deal.
Vince Howard: The following contest is scheduled for one fall. Introducing first, from Manhattan, New York…
“Pieces of Man” by Drown plays over the arena speakers as the lights cut out. Royal blue lights flicker on the stage while golden spotlights scan the crowd. They settle on center stage where Larry Tact stands.
Vince Howard: Weighing in tonight at two-hundred and sixty pounds…
He opens his arms and puffs out his chest, soaking in the crowd’s reaction before bellowing and making his way down the ramp, the spotlight following him. As he walks, Larry critiques some fans at ringside with petty insults before arriving to the ring, glaring at his opposition.
Vince Howard: LAAAAAAARRRRYYYYYYYYY TAAAAAAAAACT!!!!
He pulls himself up using the ropes and walks slowly along the apron before wiping his boots and entering the ring. He stretches using the ropes before bouncing from side-to-side.
Vince Howard: And his opponent…
BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD
SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE
LET THE GALAXY BURN
From the very start of “Bloodsport (World Domination)” by HEALTH, Brandon Youngblood surges from the curtain, the fans in the MGM Grand Garden Arena exploding in a seismic ovation. There is no pomp, no circumstance, no delay. Through the blinding crimson and white strobing light cutting through the darkness of the arena, the Tower of Babel powerwalks, his eyes trained to the ring, toward Larry Tact. His expression is devoid of all joy, only offering an oppressive scowl of intensity.
Vince Howard: Hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and weighing in tonight at 270 pounds…
There is no walking along the ringside area, no slowdown as the Diamond of the ReVival stomps his way up the steps and into the ring.
Vince Howard: The Last Diamond… BRAAAAAAANDOOOOOOOON YOUNGBLOOOOOOOOD!
Once inside, Youngblood begins pacing around the outside perimeter of the ring, his eyes locked on Tact.
Nick Stuart: There’s the bell, and these two aren’t wasting any time, Richard.
Richard Parker: Does Youngblood look like he’s slimmed down a little bit? He doesn’t look as lumpy to me tonight, Nick.
The two men circle, each one sizing the other up and looking for an opening. Each testing the other to see who will blink first. Despite the similarities in size, Tact presents a taller, leaner frame. He’s more lithe, able to keep his opponent at range if necessary. In contrast, Youngblood – while heavier – is like a spring of coiled muscle and sinew.
It’s Youngblood who moves first, ducking in with a takedown attempt that Tact reacts to avoid, but Youngblood steps to the side revealing the maneuver as a feint. He waistlocks Tact from behind, using his lower center of gravity and extra ten pounds to lean his weight on him. When Tact tries to break free of the hold, the Diamond shifts his grip higher on the body, pulling Tact into a headlock and wrenching it tight.
Nick Stuart: Youngblood really clamping the move in tight.
Tact tries to get a hand in to create some space in the grip, but the former champion jerks hard to one side, causing Tact to have to refocus his energy on maintaining his balance. A second attempt to break the hold leads to a second sudden jerk, like a wolf trying to snap the neck of its quarry, but this time Tact uses the shift in momentum to force his body forward and shove Youngblood off into the buckle.
Nick Stuart: That was an impressive display of physics and body control by Larry Tact to get out of that hold, using Youngblood’s own momentum against him.
Richard Parker: Larry Tact is a successful man both in and outside of the ring, Nick. And you don’t get to that level of success without being incredibly intelligent. He knew what he was doing. Step one, figure out what your opponent is doing. Step two, find a way to use it against him.
When Youngblood turns, he’s met with a flurry of shots from Tact. Rights. Lefts. A knee to the midsection. Despite getting caught in the early going of this match, he’s looking to assert some dominance of his own. An elbow from Youngblood is brushed aside, and a jumping knee strike connects with the jaw of the Hall of Famer, rocking him back. Tact continues to press, grabbing a front side waistlock, and taking Youngblood down with a gutwrench suplex before the Diamond can react.
Richard Parker: This is what I like to see. Larry Tact is an accomplished grappler in his own right, and he’s reminding everyone of that right now.
Nick Stuart: It’s an impressive flurry for sure, Richard. Now he’ll look to maintain that pressure.
Tact moves in for a cover, driving his forearm into Youngblood’s jaw on the mat, but before referee Ashley Barlow can begin the count Youngblood pivots out from underneath his opponent. The two men scramble back to their feet, neither wanting to give the other an inch, and when Tact steps in Youngblood again adjusts his positioning to quickly get behind him, this time grabbing a hold and snapping Tact to the mat with a snap backdrop suplex.
Nick Stuart: Fans, it looks like one of those strikes from Tact – maybe it was the knee – caught the former champ, as Youngblood’s bottom lip appears to be bleeding.
If Youngblood is aware of it he doesn’t react. He quickly moves into a mount position, trying to break through Tact’s guard as he rains down a series of elbow strikes. Tact’s defenses are sturdy, able to withstand the assault as he uses his longer reach to jab upwards from the mat, catching Youngblood on the bridge of his surgically repaired nose. It creates just enough of an opening for Tact to buck upwards with his hips and break free of the situation.
Nick Stuart: Both men looking to land something big early on, but it’s been fairly evenly matched so far.
Richard Parker: Real talk, I wouldn’t want to be either of these guys with the swings they’re taking at each other.
Nick Stuart: Everyone here has something to prove, Richard. Larry Tact has an opportunity to show everyone just what he’s capable of against the man who’s been the benchmark of the ReVival era, and Brandon Youngblood has made his displeasure of recent events very well known.
Richard Parker: I hate it when mom and dad fight.
And then the first few beats of “Dangereux” by IAM hits the arena speakers.
I am dangerous
Nick Stuart: I think we’re about to have company!
Richard Parker: What was your first clue? Was it the theme music? Because that’s kind of a dead giveaway, if I’m being totally honest.
The reaction of the gathered Faithful is predictable.
But if there’s one person who seems wholly unfazed by this, it’s Brandon Youngblood. He never takes his focus off of his opponent, in fact using the new distraction to his advantage. With Tact momentarily caught off guard, Youngblood shifts his grip around Tact’s torso and lifts the man off his feet, twisting and bringing him to the mat in a Greco-Roman style slam. Tact scrambles, trying to break free, but the Diamond’s grip is a vice. He plants his feet, hauling Tact back into the air amidst the protesting flails of his limbs, driving him into the canvas with a variation on a backdrop suplex.
The music continues to play.
Nick Stuart: FLAMBERGE still not out here, even though that is definitely his theme.
Richard Parker: I’m kind of okay with it. This song is a total bop.
Nick Stuart: It… what?
Richard Parker: It slaps. Goes real hard. This is what the kids say, yeah?
Nick Stuart: Regardless of my partner’s musical tastes…
Richard Parker: Which are awesome, by the way.
Nick Stuart: …it seems that this planned distraction isn’t having the effect that FLAMBERGE wanted.
Which is evident on his face when he finally steps out from behind the curtain. Only then does the song end, much to the chagrin of Richard Parker, who was totally dancing in his chair.
A takedown attempt is stifled, as Tact drops to his knees trapping Youngblood’s arm in between them. In one fluid motion, he captures the Diamond’s other arm with his own, and rolls onto his back, trapping the former Universal Champion in a crucifix choke.
Nick Stuart: Tact using some of that mixed martial arts background against the PRIME Hall of Famer. Much has been said about Brandon Youngblood’s grappling history, but I think it’s important for everyone to remember that Tact comes into this match with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Richard Parker: He’s also a former world champion in his own right, Nick. If anything his record in PRIME is a trap. You look at those numbers and might think one thing, but the reality is that Larry Tact knows how to bring the hurt.
With Youngblood trapped in the move, FLAMBERGE takes a few steps down the ramp. There’s a smile on his face as he extends his right arm, and pantomimes pulling at something.
Nick Stuart: Is he?
Richard Parker: Pulling an imaginary rope? Yeah, I think so.
Nick Stuart: FLAMBERGE here with a reminder of what happened the last time Brandon Youngblood was in a position like this! The time that FLAMBERGE helped cost him the Universal Championship!
Richard Parker: My man might as well have walked out here with a “MURK ME DADDY” sign over his head.
If he notices, Youngblood does not seem to give it much thought. He’s too focused on trying to escape the hold. He plants his feet, pushes back, and manages to roll over onto his chest, only now he has his legs under him. He stands, despite the fact that Tact is still clinging to his back. Youngblood contorts, getting an arm free, and brings Tact hard to the mat with an improvised slam.
The Conscience of PRIME shifts his footing, traps Tact’s left arm, and drives him into the canvas with a half-nelson suplex.
FLAMBERGE’s arm freezes in the air.
Nick Stuart: Huge suplex from the former champion! That move has ended matches and won championships the world over. Tact in serious trouble now.
Richard Parker: Trouble? Hell he might be two inches shorter from the way he landed.
Youngblood maintains his grip, keeping the half-nelson in place as he straddles Tact’s back. With his free arm, he connects with shot after shot as a series of hard crossface-style forearms land.
What follows from the figure on the ramp is a string of invectives so profane that the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel will send the PRIME offices a reprimand letter after this broadcast airs in France.
Nick Stuart: The pressure is on now. Youngblood seems to be firing on all cylinders.
Richard Parker: Remind me to watch this back with the subtitles on later. I need to know what FLAMBO’s saying! You know, really expand my vocab.
Ashley Barlow steps in to check whether Tact is responsive, and if he can defend himself properly as the strikes continue to land. Before she can get close, Youngblood pulls Tact up while maintaining his grip. A second half-nelson suplex thunders through the arena.
Nick Stuart: Good lord! That’s got to be all! There’s no way.
The referee hits the mat for the count.
On the ramp, FLAMBERGE is seething. His plan to shake his rival has failed.
DING DING DING
Youngblood moves to the ropes as FLAMBERGE backpedals up the entryway, his mouth running the entire time.
Nick Stuart: Another win added to an already impressive record for Brandon Youngblood.
Richard Parker: Add it to the rest of the math those stats nerds have plastered all over his bio, I guess.
Nick Stuart: Fans, we’re going to take a quick commercial break, but don’t go anywhere! There’s more action coming up right after this.