DOUBLE DAWG DARE YA
We Came as Romans.
The PRIME*View bursts to life, taking us on the space voyage toward a looming black hole that heralds the arrival of the Five Star Champion. It’s loud. It hits hard. The Garden is rumbling and soaking in the spectacle.
The Event Horizon, however, is not.
Nick Stuart: Ooooh boy. Wade and Dam better get ready in the back. The Five Star Champion is on his way to the ring, and he is NOT happy.
Richard Parker: You need to have the strap to be a champ, Nick. Stupid, rookie mistake from this kid.
The usual fanfare and showmanship from the young Hanlon is absent as he marches to the ring, microphone in hand, but as our friend Richard Parker made clear, the Five Star Title nowhere to be found.
Nick Stuart: The rookie has enjoyed a strong start to his short PRIME career, and at ReVival 9 he proved himself worthy of holding the title of Five Star Champion. But clearly, Rezin doesn’t share the same sentiment.
Richard Parker: I’ll admit, it’s a low blow to swipe another man’s belt. But if Hayes wants to be the big dog around here, he’s going to have to pull his head out of his ass and put it on a swivel.
The Event Horizon has stepped into the ring, rolling up the sleeves of his black button-down before making the motion to kill his music.
Hayes Hanlon: Well, the circus show keeps on rollin’, doesn’t it?
Hayes settles himself, wiping a palm down his upper lip-holstery.
Hayes Hanlon: At least one of the clowns keeps rollin’, anyway. You all know who I’m talking about.
The Five Star Stud takes a lap, the crowd booing their support.
Hayes Hanlon: There were five of us in that ring at Culture Shock for the Five Star Title, and when I beat ALL of them, all YOU could do was pitch a fit like a squirming, dirty little child.
A pause, and a crack of the neck.
Hayes Hanlon: And still, for what seems like no good reason, the boss decided you had “earned” another shot. But not just any shot! No, you got yourself a shot at Great. American. Nightmare.
Hayes Hanlon: Great American Nightmare. Where Sonny Silver took the big strap from Lindsay Troy. Great American Nightmare. Where Chandler Tsonda took out Bryan Dawkins, Devin Shakur, Xavier Kannon, AND Tyler…
Hayes Hanlon: …Rayne to win The Roulette! But man, I don’t expect you to recognize any of those names, ‘cause that just ain’t your style, is it? It’s not, because you’re not a wrestler, man.
Hayes allows the Garden to rumble before returning the mic to his lips.
Hayes Hanlon: Because you’re the kinda guy that has no respect for this sport. You’re the kinda guy that has no respect for PRIME’s history. For its champions! You’re kinda guy that would spit in the face of every last one the PRIMEates that show up every night, and that ain’t it, baby!
The crowd rolls, a steady stream of boos for the man in question, and a wave of cheers for the Five Star Champ.
Hayes Hanlon: And you’re the kinda guy that would rather steal the strap from the dude who earned it. Rather than square up with him. Like a man. And I’ll be real with ya, dude…
Richard Parker: Careful, kid. Getting a little big for your britches.
Hayes Hanlon: …you don’t deserve another shot. But buddy, I’m HERE, and WHOEVER wants to step inside the ropes with me? Buddy I’M DOWN. But if you’re here to play games, then why don’t we cut. The. Shit. Why wait until Great American Nightmare?
A pop from the MGM Grand Garden Arena, and a rise of heavy cheers.
Hayes Hanlon: …so, REZIN!??
The rookie holds the mic in the air, allowing it to absorb all the arena’s support.
Hayes Hanlon: Why don’t we give you your shot RIGHT. NOW.
Nick Stuart: And there it is! The Event Horizon calls out The Escape Artist!
Richard Parker: About time this kid showed some guts.
Hayes drops the microphone to the mat, turning his attention to the top of the entrance ramp, further adjusting the cuffs of his shirt in preparation, the bellowing crowd lifting the rafters.
…until a voice comes growling out through the PA system.
Nick Stuart: What in the…?
Hayes looks around, searching for the source of the gravelly voice.
“OVER HERE… HAAAYYYESSS HAAAN-LAAAWNNN!!”
Finally, the camera spies a waving figure way up in the seats. A spotlight hits that area, and SMASH ZOOM to “the Escape Artist” Rezin hiding out among the fans, mic in his hand, shit-eating grin on his face, and Five Star Championship brazenly draped over his shoulder.
Rezin: I’ll come clean with ya, Haaayyyes…
He casually begins descending the steps
Rezin: When I snagged this belt off ya, I had half a mind to just scalp it on the black market for a hefty price, and skip all that Great American Nightmare malarkey. But what you just said has got me thinkin’ now…
Continuing his descent, he points to the man in the ring and snarls voraciously.
Rezin: That’d be TOO EASY for the likes of YOU, Haaayyyes Haaanlooonnn…
Rezin comes down the last few steps and reaches the ground level. The crowd milling around the floor-level seats part as he steadily advances toward the barricade. As he walks, he removes the belt from his shoulder and admires its gilded luster.
Rezin: Sure, it would suit my needs just fine, along with the added bonus of pissing off the fans, the front office, and so many others who take material things like this wayyy too seriously! But really, where’s the fun in that?
He reaches the barricade, and clears it without too much trouble. Then he slowly, methodically ascends the steel steps to the apron, eyes never leaving the Event Horizon glaring back at him from within the ring.
Rezin: This is VEGAS, baby! And now that I think about it, I realize that I am just the right amount of CRAZY to risk EVERYTHING I GOT if it means being the one to turn PRIME’s Five Star Stud into a Five Star STAIN on the canvas!
Despite Hanlon staring daggers at him, Rezin steps through the ropes to enter the ring.
Rezin: Stealin’ a belt? Nahh, that ain’t any way to earn my stripes! If I’m gonna take this belt, I want to do it in the way that will make it clear to everyone that YOU – LOST – IT!
He holds up the Five Star Championship and gives a brief lookover… then, his chilling stare finds the Event Horizon once more.
Rezin: …but since I LIKE ya so much, HAAAYYESS HAAN-LAAWN… I’m gonna let you savor the feeling of being a SOME-BODY SPECIAL, for as long as you can! So for now, YOU can just HAVE IT BACK!
Rezin lobs the belt back to Hanlon.
It’s a high pitch. Hayes catches it before it hits him in the face…
Unfortunately, it finds its mark anyway, thanks to the force of Rezin’s HEEL behind it.
Nick Stuart: CLOVEN HOOF KICK!!
Hayes goes down, the Five Star Championship falling to his side. Seething, rasping, and practically foaming at the mouth, Rezin aggressively paces around the ring, hovering around the prone body of the stunned Five Star Champion and pointing down to him.
Rezin: (Breathing heavily into the mic) IIIIII’LL TELL YOU WHAT–TELL YOU WHAT… HHHAAAYYYEEEZZZ HAAANNN-LAAAAAANNN!!! TODAY is YOUR LUCKY DAY, and you WANNA KNOW WHY?! You WANNA KNOW WHY?! It’s cuz THIS OL’ DOPESMOKER is GIVIN’ YOU an OUT!!
The Goat Bastard flops onto his belly at the head of Hayes Hanlon, his maniacal stare looking him right in the face. The Event Horizon is slowly coming to from the effects of having a championship belt kicked into his head.
Rezin: As soon as you pick your ass up off that mat, HAAAYYYEZ HAAAN-LAAAWN, you march RIGHT INTO the OFFICE of LINDSAY TROY, and DEMAND a DIFFERENT OPPONENT to FIGHT at GREAT AMERICAN NIGHTMARE! DEMAND IT… as your RIGHT as CHAMPION! TELL HER you want SOMEONE ACTUALLY “wOrThY” of being the CHALLENGER to the prestigious, the honorary, the esteemed, the epitome of bleached-butthole FIVE STAR CHAMPIONSHIP!
He springs up onto a knee and wrathfully shakes his fist toward the empty heavens.
Rezin: Ask for ANNA DANIELS! Ask for BALAAM! Ask for JULIAN BATHORY! Ask for THE ANGLO LUCHADOR! Ask for PHIL ATKEN! Ask for the GUY WHO YELLS ALL THE TIME! Ask for ANYBODY — AAANYYYBOOODYYY other than this WRETCHED, ROTTEN, and REVOLTIN’ SUM’BISH! Cause at least there’s GRACE in gettin’ your ASS WHIPPED by any of THEM! But gettin’ it from ME?! THAT is a HUMILIATION you will NEVER RECOVER FROM! So DO IT!! DO IT, HAAAYYYEZ HAAAN-LAAAWN!! I DOUBLE-DAWG-DARE YA!!
To raucous jeering from the fans, Rezin rises back to his feet and spits onto the canvas. His focus is on them now.
Rezin: HALF a YEAR I BLED in THIS RING for the ENJOYMENT of YOU SCUM, and YOU ONLY SAW ME as a PUNCHLINE!! But I am GAWD-DAMB thhHHROUGH! WASTING MY TIME in a place that REFUSES to SEE ME for the WARRIOR – EYE – AMB!!
Rezin looks down on Hanlon again. Hayes is rubbing his jaw and pushing himself up to his knees.
Rezin: …and I ain’t gonna pretend like I have any interest in bein’ the Five Star Champion of a cesspool of yuppie scum like PRIME… if it means having to lift it off some pampered-ass poster boy who ain’t got the capacity to look at me as anything more than another notch on his belt…
Hayes raises his head, just in time to see Rezin again kneeling in front of him, snarling face inches away from his own.
Rezin: Do yourself this one favor, Haaayes Haaanlonnn… save yourself from the disgrace of being the guy who dropped the belt to friggin’ REZIN, of all people. Otherwise, I will become the blight on your career that will never go away. Trust me, kiddo… I SMOKE BLACK HOLES for BREAKFAST!
The Event Horizon BURSTS off the canvas to a ROAR from the PRIMEates…
…and the Escape Artist rolls back over the top rope and dips out of the ring, to a disappointed groan from the crowd.
Nick Stuart: And that’s why they call him the “Escape Artist,” folks.
Rezin climbs the ramp, scowling at the crowd as they rain their hostility upon him. He keeps his back turned to the ring. That is, until the mic comes back to life.
Hayes Hanlon: REZIN!!!!
The Goat Bastard stops, looking over his shoulder to see the dazed Five Star Champ, leaning over the ropes for support with the microphone to his mouth.
Hayes Hanlon: I DON’T WANT ANYONE ON THAT LIST!!!
Hayes seethes through his teeth, breathing heavily through his nose, much to Rezin’s twisted delight.
Hayes Hanlon: AT GREAT AMERICAN NIGHTMARE, I JUST WANT YOU!!!
Nick Stuart: And The Five Star Champ has made it clear!!! It’s Rezin he wants for the Five Star Title defense, and it’s Rezin he’ll get!!
“Black Hole” hits the speakers once more, followed by an unimpressed sneer from the Goat Bastard. Hayes grips the top rope with both hands, the two sharing a fiery staredown before we fade elsewhere.