CHANDLER TSONDA vs. HAYES HANLON
Vince Howard: The following match is one fall!
We return from the backstage area where we saw Paxton Ray and the Glueminati back to ringside as the fans are ready for the match to come.
Nick Stuart: We’ve got a match coming up for you that would be a main event on any card.
Richard Parker: Sure, for Hanlon. He’s a Universal Champion. Tsonda is a mere Alias Champion. He’s a curtain jerker if I’ve ever seen one.
Nick Stuart: What are you talking about? Tsonda is a former Universal Champion as well.
Richard Parker: Yeah, in the Revolution era. This is the ReVival era, keep up, Nicky.
Nick Stuart: Oh, jeez. Let’s go back to Vince Howard.
We cut to the dapper Vince Howard.
Vince Howard: Introducing first…
Distorted guitar heralds a black hole emerging on the PRIME*View, dangerously close to the screen; hanging in the void among planets and nebulas.
Sirens accompany as the screen shakes, pulling us in violently, until the lyrics scream throughout the PA system.
“WHEN MY BACK’S TO THE WAAALLLL!!!”
And huge, white block letters fill the screen:
The speakers and amplifiers hold on for dear life as “Daggers” by We Came as Romans absolutely bludgeon the eardrums. And speaking of explosions, those planets and stars on the PRIME*View do just that, bursting into blinding eruptions of violent light. It carries into the arena, rumbling flashbulbs explode in various points throughout the building; in the ceiling, in the stands, one after another.
And then, from the ramp, The Event Horizon. He marches forward, those dark eyes focused, ‘stache on point. The eruption of lights and noise makes the building feel like a mosh pit. If the fans are booing, you’d never know.
Vince Howard: FROM WEST LINN, OREGON! STANDING SIX FEET, THREE INCHES AND WEIGHING IN AT TWO-HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE POUNDS!!
Hayes climbs the apron, steps through the ropes, and b-lines for the turnbuckle.
Vince Howard: The Event Horizoonnnnnnn…HAAAAAYESSSS!! HAAANNNLLOOOONNNNN!!!
Up one rope, then the second, chest and jaw jutting out, and a thumb across his neck.
“DRAW! THE! DAGGER!
CUT OUT THE PAIN! TO FIND THE POWER!”
He hops down, making way to the next post to repeat the process one more time.
“DRAW! THE! DAGGER!
CUT OUT THE PAIN!”
He remains on the ropes, and in timing with the song, beats his chest four times while roaring out the crescendo.
The Comeback Kid stays for a moment, eyes scanning the arena, allowing the music to reach its breakdown. He hops to the mat and takes his place in his corner, ready to go.
Nick Stuart: You know that Hanlon wants to start this year off on the right foot.
Richard Parker: He’s in a faction full of the best and he is seeking to be the best of them all.
NIck Stuart: Yeah, with FLAMBERGE and Cecilworth Farthington, he’s got his work cut out for him there.
Back in the ring, Vince Howard is ready to continue.
Vince Howard: And his challenger…
“I said ‘kiss me, you’re beautiful’
These are truly the last days'”
The weathered voice from the beginning of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s “Dead Flag Blues” fades into the short acoustic section that begins Coheed & Cambria’s “Welcome Home.” After twelve seconds, the guitars thunder in and start to kick ass, as gold and green pyro goes off in perfect timing with the power riffs.
As the PRIME*View displays the words “Model Citizen” in white over a black background, Tsonda swaggers out from behind the curtain. He soaks up the fan’s reaction at the top of the ramp, smirk painted across his face. And amidst the haze of pyro, smoke, and green & gold lights, he sprints to the ring, slides in under the bottom rope, and finally acknowledges his opponent. Tsonda bounces on his toes, mouthing something that’s inaudible to anyone but him.
Vince Howard: Hailing from San Diego, California via Hanoi, Vietnam… he stands at five feet and eleven inches tall… he is the MODEL! CITIZEN! CHANDLER! TSONDA!
Nick Stuart: You know that Tsonda wants to erase the taste of back-to-back losses to end 2023.
Richard Parker: That was a sign, Nick, that it was all over for Tsonda. He had a cute run, but he’s not about this life.
Nick Stuart: This life? You cried about a hangnail last show.
Richard Parker: It hurt!
The two receive their final set of instructions from Elvis Nixon before he signals for the start of the match.
At the sound of the bell, both men cautiously move towards one another. Once Hanlon feels he is close enough, he fires off a kick to the chest of Tsonda, but the Model Citizen side steps it and plants his left elbow into the jaw of Hanlon. With his opponent stunned, he drags him into the corner and climbs up to the top rope before putting Hanlon into a three-quarter facelock. Hanlon immediately panics and slips out of the grasp of Tsonda before rolling to the outside.
Nick Stuart: That could have spelled disaster for Hanlon right out of the gate.
Richard Parker: Tsonda being a bit too greedy there if you ask me.
Nick Stuart: I don’t remember asking you.
Richard Parker: Well, fine then.
Tsonda paces the perimeter of the ring while Nixon keeps him back and begins his count out of Hanlon.
Tsonda motions for Hanlon to re-enter the ring, but Hanlon waves him off, walking the outside of the ring and taking a moment to himself. As he turns the corner, he spots two people he’s recognized with Tsonda in the past. Jasmine Jeong and Jaime Aguilar. Hanlon pauses for a moment and turns towards them.
Hanlon looks back at Tsonda, who is fuming, but Hanlon laughs it off as he inches towards the duo. Tsonda immediately slips out from under the bottom rope, forcing Nixon to break his count. Hayes sees Tsonda out of the corner of his eye and rushes around the ring post before sliding back into the ring. Chandler follows after him and is met with a boot to the back of the skull from Hanlon.
Richard Parker: Well, that was some smart thinking by Hanlon right there.
Nick Stuart: This is a side of Hanlon that six months ago, I would’ve told you I’d never see. Ever since UltraViolence though, we have seen him become more cunning, calculated, and just a rotten human being.
Richard Parker: Exactly. It is amazing. It’s chefs kiss.
Nick Stuart: You know you don’t say chef’s kiss, right?
Richard Parker: Damnit!
Hayes continues with a series of stomps, thwarting Tsonda’s attempt to get to his feet. Nixon admonishes Hanlon, who acquiesces and watches as the Model Citizen rises to his feet. The moment he does, Hanlon cold cocks him with a forearm to the jaw that sends Tsonda stumbling into the nearby corner. Hayes immediately drives his shoulder into the midsection of the Hall of Famer, driving all of his air out of him.
“Should have stayed at home if you were only going to come back and win the Alias Title.”
Hayes then connects with a series of vicious uppercuts.
Richard Parker: This mean streak on Hanlon suits him well. His talent level has jumped two fold easily!
Nick Stuart: What does him being evil have to do with his talent level?
Richard Parker: Everything! It’s why I’m so good at my job. You should try it out sometime. Hoyt knows you need it.
Nick Stuart: Nah, I’m good.
Hanlon takes a few steps back and rushes at Tsonda only for the Model Citizen to lift his legs up and float over the top of the Event Horizon, who proceeds to crash chest first into the top turnbuckle. Hanlon stumbles out of the corner while Tsonda bounces off the far ropes before connecting with a running bulldog that plants Hanlon in the center of the ring. The Event Horizon rolls onto his back where Tsonda snaps off a flurry of kicks to the face of Home Run Hayes. Tsonda then runs to the ropes and springboards off the middle rope, connecting with a moonsault before hooking both legs.
Nick Stuart: And Tsonda used the rage he felt when the spittle hit him to propel him to a near victory.
Richard Parker: A near victory? Oh come off of it, Nick. That was barely a two count. Nixon tried to rush it and even that couldn’t get Hanlon down. It was as close to a victory as was the time you tried to pick up Angelica Brooks.
Nick Stuart: What are you talking about?
Richard Parker: Oh, you know…
Nick Stuart: Ass, that was you.
Richard Parker: Shit, you might be right.
Hanlon stumbles to his feet and is met with a forearm shot to the side of the neck. Hayes stumbles into the ropes where Tsonda catches him with a knife-edge chop. Hanlon yanks his head back in pain before firing off a straight right that connects with the cheek of the former Universal Champion. Tsonda stumbles away and Hanlon quickly rushes at Tsonda only for the Model Citizen to lift him up and drop him throat first across the top rope. Hanlon drops to both knees, clutching at his throat while Chandler rises to his feet. He then bounces off the ropes and connects with a dropkick to the ribs of his opponent, sending Hanlon crashing to the outside.
Richard Parker: What the hell is Elvis doing?! Is he even watching this match
Nick Stuart: What are you moaninig about now?
Richard Parker: Dropping Hanlon’s throat across the top rope, the dropkick to the outside.
Nick Stuart: And…
Richard Parker: And… you’re stupid.
Nick Stuart: Enlightening as always with you.
Tsonda climbs to the outside as Hanlon makes his way to his feet. Chandler sizes him up as Hanlon turns towards him and goes for a Meteora only for Hanlon to move out of the way at the last second.
Tsonda lands knees first on the thin floor apron before slamming into the ringside barricade. Chandler writhes in pain as Hanlon looks at the fallen Model Citizen and howls with laughter while pointing at him.
Richard Parker: Hoyt, if only every one could be as smart as Hayes Hanlon is.
Nick Stuart: Smart? I call that luck. If Tsonda had hit—
Richard Parker: If, Nick. Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda. It didn’t happen because Hanlon is a trained professional and Tsonda is octogenarian grasping at second shot at fame.
Nick Stuart: You going to say that to his face?
Richard Parker: …no.
Hanlon drags Tsonda to his feet and shoves him violently into the ringside barricade, causing Tsonda to slide to the floor in a heap. Hayes plants his boot into the chest cavity of the Model Citizen and grinds it in as hard as he can, pleased with the way Tsonda’s face contorts from the agony.
Hanlon looks over at Elvis, who has resumed his count and waves him off, annoyed that Nixon is such a stickler for the rules. Hayes yanks Tsonda to a vertical position and whips him back first into the edge of the ring apron. Chandler collapses to both knees, grabbing at his back. Hanlon cocks his hand back and connects with an open-handed palm strike across the jaw of his one-time hero.
Nick Stuart: The sheer brutality that Hanlon is displaying right now —
Richard Parker: Kind of cool, eh?
Nick Stuart: The complete opposite, actually. You can see the complete disdain Hanlon has for Tsonda, for Nixon, for this whole thing. This is a kid who loved PRIME at one point and is now… treating it like trash.
Richard Parker: Maybe that’s what PRIME needs. Someone who doesn’t revere it.
As Tsonda slumps onto Hanlon, the sight of his once-hero in such a vulnerable state, the rage flashes across his eyes and he yanks Hanlon to his feet and whips him into the ringside barricade back first.
Tsonda’s body violently collapses face down on the arena floor.
Hanlon yanks Tsonda to his feet and throws him back in the ring. Hanlon follows right after and covers Tsonda as Elvis begins his count.
Richard Parker: That was foolish.
Nick Stuart: Kicking out of a half-assed pin is foolish?
Richard Parker: When you’re nearing the wrong side of your prime, heh, yeah, it is. Hanlon looks a step ahead and Tsonda looks… old.
Nick Stuart: Big talk coming from a man hiding behind his headphones.
Richard Parker: Shuddup.
Hanlon drags Tsonda off the mat and whips him into the ropes and hoists him up for a sidewalk slam, but carries him around the ring before sending all of his weight crashing down on top of the Model Citizen. Hayes sits there for a moment, looking at Tsonda and pursing his lips slightly before he climbs to his feet. He drags Tsonda over to the corner and begins to climb to the top turnbuckle, with his back towards his opponent.
Nick Stuart: What the hell is Hayes doing?
Richard Parker: Oh, I know.
Nick Stuart: Care to clue me in?
Richard Parker: Three words. Model. Citizen.
Nick Stuart: That’s two words, dumbass.
Sure enough, Hayes is sizing himself up for the Model Citizen. Before he can fully stand up though, Tsonda runs up the turnbuckle, wraps his arms around Hanlon’s waist, and connects with a super side suplex.
Nick Stuart: Holy hell, Hanlon didn’t sense Tsonda coming and the Model Citizen made him pay.
Richard Parker: Desperation has a way of biting people in the long run.
Nick Stuart: When you’re about to pull out your opponent’s finisher, a massive sign of disrespect by the way, that shows how desperate you are. Clearly Hanlon realized he couldn’t hack it against Tsonda.
Richard Parker: Oof, did you pull a muscle?
Nick Stuart: What?
Richard Parker: Stretching that hard.
Tsonda makes his way to his elbows and looks over to see a labored-breathing Hanlon face first on the mat. Chandler pulls himself up to his feet, his body wracked with pain, and he grabs at his back. He walks over to Hanlon and drags him to his feet before connecting with a series of kicks to the legs and ribs of the Event Horizon. Hanlon tries his best to block the feet of Tsonda, but is unable to do so with any effectiveness and Tsonda blasts him in the face with a roundhouse kick that sends Hanlon crashing into the corner.
Nick Stuart: Tsonda starting to get some momentum under his wings.
Richard Parker: You always do this. They get a few moves in, you get your hopes up, and then bam reality strikes you in the face.
Nick Stuart: You’re a bit onery tonight, did you forget to take your pills?
Richard Parker: HIPPA, Nick, HIPPA!
Tsonda drags Hanlon out of the corner and goes to whip him into the ropes, but the Event Horizon reverses it. Chandler manages to duck under a clothesline and flies towards the opposite ropes where he springboards off the middle rope and connects with a Tornado DDT, spiking Hanlon’s head into the canvas to the point he is standing on his head. Tsonda bounces to his feet as gravity takes care of Hanlon’s body. Tsonda spins around, stepping on Hanlon’s hand, and then connects with a standing moonsault before hooking Hanlon’s leg for the cover.
Richard Parker: Damn straight.
Nick Stuart: You can see Tsonda finding his rhythm after the six weeks off he’s had since Colossus.
Richard Parker: All I see is the oil grease building up under him, Nick.
Nick Stuart: …what?
Richard Parker: All the lube he had to do to loosen his joints.
Nick Stuart: You’re in a mood tonight.
Tsonda makes his way to his feet and finds Hanlon stumbling his way back to his feet as well. Chandler narrowly ducks underneath a wild haymaker from Hanlon, determined to wrest away the momentum from Tsonda. The Model Citizen plants his knee into Hanlon’s midsection and connects with a butterfly suplex that sends the Event Horizon across the ring.
Yet, he refuses to stay down as he gets back to his feet and rushes at Tsonda, looking for a running clothesline. He is deft enough to duck underneath it and bounces off the ropes before connecting with a running forearm, sending Hanlon down to one knee. Chandler moves to the nearest corner and hops onto the second turnbuckle before planting a missile dropkick to the back of Hanlon’s skull.
The Event Horizon slumps forward and Tsonda quickly flips him over before hooking the leg and Nixon begins the count.
Richard Parker: Jesus, Nixon, cut it a little closer next time.
Nick Stuart: He’s doing his job.
Richard Parker: While giving an unfair advantage to Tsonda. If you can’t see it, then I can’t help.
Nick Stuart: You haven’t been able to help yourself since 2005.
Richard Parker: True.
Tsonda bounces back to his feet and brings Hanlon along with him before connecting with an upper cut, designed to daze the former Universal Champion. Chandler goes to whip Hanlon into the ropes, but Hanlon quickly reverses it and sends Tsonda instead. As Tsonda rebounds, Hanlon dips his shoulder and the Model Citizen finds himself draped across the shoulders of the Event Horizon before Hanlon shifts him slightly and connects with a tilting, stalling Samoan Drop!
Nick Stuart: HUGE moment there for Hanlon, a moment he desperately needed.
Richard Parker: And these buffoons boo him for it. Of course, their from Philly. They boo Santa Claus like the fascists they are.
Nick Stuart: Hanlon needs to capitalize on this moment if he wants to pull out the victory here.
Richard Parker: This is Hanlon. Big moments is his middle name.
Nick Stuart: Sure, if you say so.
Both men scramble to their feet, Hanlon driving his elbow into the right side of Tsonda’s neck. Chandler stumbles into the ropes while Hanlon bounces off the opposite ropes and connects with a running boot to the face of the Model Citizen, sending him over the top rope and landing on the ring apron. Tsonda slowly gathers himself and pulls himself up to his feet, blocking a right hand from Hanlon before wrapping his hands behind the skull of Hanlon and dropping him throat first across the top rope.
Tsonda makes his way back up to the ring apron and springboards off the top rope, looking for a flying headscissors on Hanlon, but Hayes catches him and connects with a sit-out powerbomb as Nixon begins his count once again.
Richard Parker: Ladies and Gentlemen, the one-of-a-kind Hayes Hanlon. No one does it better.
Nick Stuart: Tsonda thought he’d stunted Hanlon’s momentum and came up just short there with that flying headscissors and paid greatly for it.
Richard Parker: Hanlon is younger, smarter, and frankly, more handsome than Tsonda could ever imagine being. This is Hanlon’s world and Tsonda is just living in it.
Nick Stuart: Okay, the hyperbole is getting all over my suit jacket.
Hanlon grabs Tsonda by the back of the scalp and yanks him to his feet before driving a series of knees into the face of the Model Citizen. Tsonda drops to one knee and Hanlon bounces off the ropes. He looks to slam his knee into the face of his opponent, but Chandler manages to block it at the last second and delivers his own knee into the ribcage of the Event Horizon. With Hanlon doubled over, Tsonda then connects with a stalling lifting implant DDT.
Nick Stuart: Golgotha Drop!
Richard Parker: Big yip.
Nick Stuart: That could be it for the Event Horizon.
Richard Parker: Wake me up when Tsonda does something exciting.
Nick Stuart: You are really insufferable tonight.
Both men lay on the mat, Tsonda’s chest heaving before he sits up. He makes his way up to his feet, slowly, and looks down at his opponent, the younger Hanlon. Tsonda gingerly walks over to the nearby corner before climbing the turnbuckle to the top rope. Nixon looks on as Tsonda prepares for the Model Citizen. As he leaps from the top rope though, Hanlon manages to roll out of the way.
Tsonda though manages to land on his feet, but as he does, Hanlon plants his boot into the midsection of his opponent. He then wraps his arms around the neck and skull of the Model Citizen before connecting with a shoulder sit-out jawbreaker.
Richard Parker: Now, that’s what I’m talking about!
Nick Stuart: Flash Point! Hanlon hit the Flash Point out of nowhere!
Richard Parker: As he usually does.
Nick Stuart: Ugh. Can he make the cover and was it enough to put Tsonda down?
Hanlon crawls over to Tsonda and hooks both legs as Nixon begins his count.
DING DING DING!
Nick Stuart: And Hanlon has pulled it off.
Richard Parker: Yeah, yeah. I’m not surprised.
Nick Stuart: Alright, tonight has been really fun.
Hanlon rolls off the Model Citizen and sits up, body wracked from the hellacious match he’s just been through.
Vince Howard: Your winner… HAYES! HANLON!
Hanlon makes his way to his feet and Elvis tries to raise his hand in victory. Hayes yanks it away and looks down at Tsonda for a moment.
Richard Parker: Go ahead and put him out to pasture.
Nick Stuart: No matter how much of a dick Hayes can be, that’s still one of his heroes in the ring with him, and he does have some respect for him.
Hanlon pauses for another moment before he slides out under the bottom rope and begins heading up the ramp.
Nick Stuart: Well, Hanlon had a thought, but he let it go.
Richard Parker: Weak. He needs to spend more time with Cecilworth, clearly.
Nick Stuart: Well, you try and pry him away from his phone then.
Richard Parker: That sounds like an impossible challenge.
Hanlon reaches the top of the ramp and looks back to the ring, where he sees Tsonda making his way up to his feet, clearly disappointed. Hanlon places his hands on his hips before disappearing backstage.
Nick Stuart: Well, Hanlon starts the year off with a victory while Tsonda is running a bit of a losing streak now.
Richard Parker: I call that a sign!
Nick Stuart: Shut it. Let’s head backstage!