EDDIE CROSS vs. TONY GAMBLE
Nick Stuart: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Tropical Turmoil. Up next, we have a heated grudge match up next between PRIME Hall of Famer Tony Gamble and the newcomer Eddie Cross. Recent events have seen to it that GAS is banned from ringside.
Richard Parker: This is why I don’t trust the zoomer generation. You never know when they are going to post a clip that goes viral.
Nick Stuart: That may be true, but one can hardly argue it wasn’t effective.
The arena fades to black before the screen starts to flicker and crackle with static. Sounds of mortars landing and gunshots fill the arena.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same. Boundaries shift, new players step in, but power always finds a place to rest its head.
History is written by the victor, and here I am thinking we won. But you bring down one enemy and they find someone even worse to replace him.
Locations change, the rationale, the objective. Yesterday’s enemies are today’s recruits.
Train them to fight alongside you, and pray they don’t eventually decide to *hate* you for it, too.
Same shit, different day.”
Match Start in 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…
– Eliminate Other Players –
The opening guitar to Cross Off by Mark Morton (feat Chester Bennington) echoes, and the words repeat –
“Cross Off the days gone…”
“Cross Off the days gone…”
As Mark Morton’s guitars sear through the arena, Eddie “n1ghtcraw1er” Cross steps out of the back and stops to survey the crowd before pumping a fist into the air.
Nick Stuart: Whoa, this is new! Eddie Cross is standing at the top of the ramp looking like a man who means business.
Richard Parker: I guess that autograph is off the table now?
He adjusts his custom gaming glasses before walking down the ramp focused on the ring. EC pauses at the ring steps, taking off his backpack, unzipping the main compartment, and placing it in the corner of the ring. He waits for the transition between verses before psyching himself up. Vince Howard is waiting.
Vince Howard: From Charlotte, NC, standing six feet four inches and weighing in at 225 lbs, EDDIE “N1GHTCRAW1ER” CROSS!!!
He then runs up the ring steps, wipes his feet on the apron, and enters the ring as Chester Bennington screams into the microphone.
Making my way back from the madness
Shifting my thoughts from the blackness
And the sadness, but the fact is
I’m swinging through life like a clenched fist
Fuck sanity, I wanna bleed
Can’t kill the pain, it’s everything
It’s all I feel
It’s what I breathe
Turn the hate I breed into what I need
Heavy is the hand that points the finger (Finger)
Heavy is the heart that’s filled with anger (Anger)
Did you survey everything you laid to waste
And cross off the days?
Eddie looks nervous but he stands alone ready to do battle with Tony Gamble. Dave Gibson is not here tonight to support him, but somewhere back in Charlotte, he is probably looking on encouragingly.
“Born for this” by Divide Music starts to play through the speakers of Petco Park.
##Where my heart is, rests my very soul
And the colors bleed from blue to gold
When the choice is mine and mine alone
I won’t give in even if you break my bones##
Nick Stuart: What is this?
Richard Parker: It’s rude, that’s what it is.
Nick Stuart: Looks like someone has something to say before Gamble comes out for his match.
Richard Parker: Very rude, and whoever it is is going to pay for…
##I won’t give in ’till your sins have been atoned
All I see is the flickering lights below me
All I need is the power to change what I see
If I can give a little, not a second thought##
Tony Gamble steps out from behind the curtain, soaking in the chorus of boos that rain down from the crowd.
Nick Stuart: Sounds like Tony has decided to change things up a little bit.
Richard Parker: Shame, the last song was so fitting.
Nick Stuart: Better than you is a fitting song for someone that has lost almost three times as many matches as he’s won?
##If I’m stuck in the middle, I will take the shot, woah
All I wanna be, yeah##
Vince Howard: And the opponent, hailing from Las Vegas, Nevada, and weighing in at one-hundredy and eight-nine pounds… TONY “THE GRIN” GAMBLE!!!
Tony stretches his arms out wide, welcoming the crowd’s form of adoration.
##Yeah, I was born for this
I will keep my secrets high above
In the hopes to protect the ones I love
But I wonder where in darkness lies the truth##
He makes his way down the ramp, ignoring the few smarks in the crowd that actually do like him. They reach their arms out, awaiting a slap of acknowledgement that will never come.
##Of the one who took their lives, you can’t excuse
I don’t fear you, I won’t let you take my home
I will climb through to wherever you may roam
I won’t give in, you can even break my bones##
Tony climbs the steps, looking out at the fans that have not quieted down at all since he stepped out from behind the curtain. They love to hate him.
##What is within is a strength you’ll never know
All I see is the flickering lights below me
All I need is the power to change what I see##
He steps in between the middle and top ropes to get into the ring, making his way to the center.
##If I can give a little, not a second thought
If I’m stuck in the middle, I will take the shot, woah##
He drops down to one knee.
##All I wanna be, yeah##
He stretches his arms out once again, then throws back his head to stare straight up in the air.
##Yeah, I was born for this##
From his corner, Cross lightly bounces in anticipation. He is staring daggers at Tony Gamble, who, true to his namesake, is grinning right back, daring the younger wrestler to fuck around and find out.
Richard Parker: This isn’t right, Tony having to come out here alone! He’s completely NAKED without his GAS!
Nick Stuart: How do you think Eddie feels being there without Dave Gibson?
Richard Parker: This is different! Tony’s a man with a reputation! It’s not just uptight, wet-behind-the-ear rookies that have him in their crosshairs, you know.
Nick Stuart: I don’t think anyone can be any more threatening to him than his opponent right now. After GAS put Gibson into a hospital, and their savage attack two weeks ago at ReVival 30, Eddie Cross looks like a man who will stop at nothing to even the odds here tonight!
Official Ashley Barlow cues for the bell.
Without delay, Eddie comes out of his corner swinging, catching Gamble off guard. Tony defends himself from a flurry of strikes while backing up, finally sticking his top half through the ropes to prompt official Ashley Barlow to make the break. She intervenes, and Cross backs off.
Gamble takes his time coming off the ropes, waiting until he’s fully comfortable before going into a more formal collar-and-elbow. But the younger athlete quickly begins to overpower, and instinctively, Tony breaks loose and dips out again to the apron, ordering the official to keep Bolamba progeny away from him.
Nick Stuart: Eddie Cross is understandably hot and ready to give Gamble some much needed payback, but “the Grin” seems a bit reluctant to get into the action!
Richard Parker: Or, he’s simply stalling to get under the kid’s skin and throw him off his game. Smart strategy, if you ask me!
The crowd jeers, and Cross is likewise becoming increasingly annoyed by the intentional delays. Seemingly enjoying all the hate he’s getting, Gamble’s face shows the slightest hint of a smirk (though it could be the scar). Tired of waiting and ready to kick ass, Eddie brazenly dares him to sack up and face the music.
Again, Tony takes his time stepping back through the ropes, completely calm and collected. They meet again in the center of the ring, ready for another lock-up. Only this time, Gamble stamps Eddie’s foot before they make contact. Cross winces, then reels back for a clothesline, which Tony smoothly ducks and follows up with an insulting tug to the new ponytail hanging off of the n1ghtcraw1er’s revamped head.
By the time Eddie twirls around, fists balled up and ready to sock his opponent in the mouth, the Grin has already powdered out to ringside. There’s no mistaking the smile now. Left alone in the ring, Cross is fuming.
Richard Parker: HAHAHAHA… absolutely brilliant, Tony! Little Bolamba Jr. looks sooooo pissed off right now!
Nick Stuart: The PRIME veteran Tony Gamble yet again slips through Eddie’s fingers. But while it might be antithetical to his hobby, I don’t think Cross has any interest in playing this game of his!
Gamble soaks up the heat while Barlow methodically begins the count. True to Nick’s point, Cross refuses to idly stand back and let him have his moment, stomping his way up to the ropes. Tony begins to scamper to the other side of the ring when he sees him coming, but instead of following him to the outside, Cross lays his side along the middle rope and beckons him back in the ring. Gamble’s smile disappears as soon as the jeers switch to laughter.
Nick Stuart: Cross telling Gamble he can wait all night if he has to! I feel that’s a smart decision on Eddie’s part, not giving way to his impatience and allowing a snake like “the Grin” to bait him into a trap.
Richard Parker: I guess that means the kids these days still know about Tom and Jerry cartoons.
Irate and cursing, and not about to be outshined by some pesky greenhorn with a semi-famous dad, Tony scales the steps to the apron before Barlow can reach the count of six. Eddie comes out of the ropes and returns to the center of the ring. They jaw jack at each other for a few moments with the ropes between them, before the surly veteran finally steps through them to put this upstart in line the hard way.
Unfortunately for him, Eddie is ready for him with his waiting fists. Cross immediately lights up the Grin with a few jabs to leave him stunned and speechless, much to the delight of the crowd, then follows up a side Russian legsweep to take him to the mat, snagging an arm on his way back up to wrench into a standing wristlock. Tony begs him off, but the n1ghtcraw1er only gives him an elbow across the sternum as reprieve.
Nick Stuart: At long last, Cross finally has Tony right where he wants him, and these fans are loving it! Eddie, still in control of the arm, pulls Gamble back to his feet… and OH MY!! Yanks him right into the TRIGGER WARNING!
Richard Parker: Get outta there, Tony! He… no, wait. No cover?
Nick Stuart: It would seem like an ideal opportunity to attempt a pinfall, but I don’t think Eddie is ready for this one to be over until he’s satisfied Gamble has paid for all the pain he’s caused!
Richard Parker: Well that’s just stupid and unnecessary!
The flying knee strike sends the Grin crashing hard back to the mat and leaves him thoroughly dazed. Starting at the top of David Gibson’s list of 1,005 wrestling holds, Cross goes right for the ARMBAR! Gamble groans loudly as EC fervently works his arm and wrist, but only has to crawl his way a matter of inches to reach the rope. Eddie keeps twisting the wrist all the way until the count of four until he makes the break.
Tony again dips out to ringside to get away, but anticipating his escape, n1ghtcraw1er stealthily slips out the other side of the ring and keeps his head down as he hurries around and behind the Grin. Too busy shaking the feeling in his arm, Gamble practically yelps in surprise when he turns around and sees Cross bounding upon him.
Nick Stuart: CROSS OFF THE STEPS INTO A THESZ PRESS, and wails away at Tony Gamble’s face!
Nick Stuart: This crowd is getting behind the young Eddie Cross, doing what many of us have been wanting to do for some time!
Richard Parker: What a coward! If he wanted to assault the man, he could have done it any time backstage over these past few months! Instead he waits until he’s alone in the ring under the guise of a “wrestling contest”, while his protection is barred from ringside!
Leaving Gamble bruised up on the floor, Eddie pops to his feet and gets a charge from the ringside fans. Then, at the behest of Barlow, he takes the action back to the ring by rolling Tony back inside. The Grin desperately tries to crawl away, but EC swiftly slips in after him and tangles his arms into a modified cobra clutch!
Nick Stuart: Cross with THE SILENCER!!
Richard Parker: I take it this one goes out to the big Davey Gib lying up in that hospital?
Nick Stuart: Gamble is reaching out to the ropes for dear life! Can he get there, or will Cross choke him out first?!
Cross locks in a body scissor and attempts to roll onto his back to trap Gamble for good, but like a cat landing on his feet, the savvy vet’s instincts kick in…
Richard Parker: (invoking the spirit of Peppy Hare) DO A BARREL ROLL!
The momentum is just enough to carry the two of them within reachable distance to the ropes, and Tony frantically kicks the bottom rope. EC is stunned when Barlow calls for the break. At first, he refuses, unwilling to be denied the satisfaction of punishing this bastard. But he inevitably releases when Barlow gives him the four count toward a DQ.
Richard Parker: That was a close one, but Teflon Tony slips away scot-free yet again!
Nick Stuart: But the damage has been done, and this match is in the palm of the N1GHTCRAW1ER’s hand!
Eddie backs up for distance and prepares his elbow, waiting for Tony to slowly work his way to his feet. Gamble is in agony and disoriented, but still manages to get up with the help of the ropes. Then he turns in time to see the kid coming, and instincts kick in once again…
Nick Stuart: Here comes Cross with the OHKOOOO–OH NOOO!!
Richard Parker: BARLOOOW!!
Ashley Barlow gets pulled into his path when Gamble “unintentionally” grabs her by the sleeve while falling back to the mat. Cross hits the brakes JUST in time, and stands briefly stunned. Naturally, Tony uses the opportunity to slip in behind him…
Nick Stuart: GAMBLE WITH STOP LAUGHING AT ME!! I DON’T BELIEVE IT!!
Richard Parker: Don’t worry, Tony! It’s the KID we’re laughing at now!
Nick Stuart: Eddie looked to be going for a killshot, but Tony Gamble has upended his entire gameplan! I just can’t believe he’d go as far as to put the official in harm’s way!
Richard Parker: That was purely by accident, Nick! He lost his footing, and tried to grab the ref for help! If she had been paying attention and doing her job, instead of standing around catching flies with her mouth, she wouldn’t have been put in that position!
Nick Stuart: And now she has no choice but to make this count, as Gamble rolls Cross onto his back and makes the lateral press in attempt to win this one!
CROSS KICKS OUT!
The kickout gets a light pop from the fans as Eddie keeps his chances alive, but Tony doesn’t phased. Gamble gets right to his feet and brings Eddie up with him.
Nick Stuart: Oh boy, what’s Tony got planned next?
Nick Stuart: OH MY, what a spike! Tony going for another cover now, and could that do it?
NO IT WILL NOT! Eddie pops the shoulder again!
Richard Parker: Kid can’t take a hint, huh?
Nick Stuart: Still plenty of fight left in Cross! He’s not about to give in after all the misery GAS has brought not only to him, but so many others here in PRIME!
Richard Parker: Tony’s just getting warmed up, Nick! The kid had his shot, but blew it, cause it’s clear that he can’t hang at the level of a REAL PRIME legend like “the Grin”!
Cross is laid out, still stunned from the effects of the piledriver. Tony decides it’s time to take a gamble (pun semi-intended), and scales a turnbuckle. The jeering in the audience intensifies, but it only causes his grin to widen. He defiantly flicks his chin to them before diving backward…
Nick Stuart: MOONSAULT BY GAMBLE!!
…and he NAILS IT!!
Richard Parker: (audibly clapping his hands) BEAUTIFUL! ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL, Tony! ENCORE! ENCORE!
Nick Stuart: Gamble hooks the leg!
THR–EDDIE KICKS OUT!! HE’S STILL IN THIS ONE!
Tony scrutinously arches an eyebrow toward Barlow, who insistently shows him two fingers, even though her face says she’d rather show him just the one in the middle. Chuckling, Tony rolls Cross over onto his belly and begins to set him up…
Richard Parker: Time to put this kid to sleep, Ton’! Take us home!
Nick Stuart: Gamble looking to put this away with SMILE FOR ME…!
…but Cross FIGHTS IT!!
The crowd cheers excitedly as Eddie interlocks his arms together to keep Tony from extending him into the scissored armbar. Cross fights his way to his feet, and the crowd gets louder as they watch Gamble desperately shake his head in denial.
With his other arm freed, EC puts the elbows into Gamble’s gut. The third breaks the submission attempt and doubles Tony over. Cross quickly hooks his arms as he parkours off the near turnbuckle into a Tornado Butterfly DDT!
Nick Stuart: EDDIE CROSS REVERSES IT INTO THE OVERKILL!!
Richard Parker: Impossible!
Both men lie exhausted in the ring. Cross stirs away first and works his way back to his feet with the help of the ropes. Gamble is in a daze when he eventually gets onto his own rubber legs, but Eddie is waiting for him right as he turns around.
Nick Stuart: OHKOOOO!! He absolutely nailed it this time! Gamble hits the mat like a ton of bricks, and Cross immediately sets him up… YES!!
Richard Parker: NO!
Nick Stuart: HE’S GOT THE GG LOCKED IN!! GG LOCKED IN!!
The crowd is roaring as Eddie rears back and bridges perfectly into the surfboard dragon sleeper. Tony’s body convulses in pain and desperation. But there will be no getting to the ropes this time.
Nick Stuart: Tony’s going to tap! He HAS to tap! He has nowhere to go, and all that blood is rushing straight to his head!
Richard Parker: DON’T TAP, Tony! PLEASE! Don’t give this crummy Bolamba spawn the satisfaction!
TAP-TONY-TAP!! TAP-TONY-TAP!! TAP-TONY-TAP!!
Gamble’s arm extends out.
Nick Stuart: THIS IS IT!!
Barlow intently watches the hand, waiting for the sign that he’s tapping out…
…but in doing so, misses Tony’s other hand jamming a thumb into Cross’s eye!
Nick Stuart: NO!! GAMBLE WITH THE EYE GOUGE! Barlow couldn’t see it because she was looking for the tap motion!
Richard Parker: What are you talking about, Nick? She couldn’t see it for the same reason I couldn’t see it… because nothing happened!
Nick Stuart: Oh, give me a break, Rich!
Eddie breaks the hold and bolts to his feet, clutching his eye. As soon as Gamble’s face returns to its normal color, he throws an arm through n1ghtcraw1er’s legs in what is either a low blow, or a very forceful way to set up a school boy.
Nick Stuart: Oh c’mon, Gamble with a ROLL-UP!
And a HANDFUL OF TIGHTS to go with it!
DING DING DING
Gamble flops away from Eddie, who sits up in stunned silence. Then when he hears “Born for This” hit the PA, Tony cackles in triumph.
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of this match, by pinfall… TOOONYYYY GAAAAABLLLLLE!!!
Nick Stuart: It appears as though Tony Gamble steals away another one!
Richard Parker: Never doubted my boy for a single second! Never underestimate the savvy of a tried and true VET like Tony!
Nick Stuart: Anyone could see that Eddie Cross was only seconds away from winning this match! Regardless, I think this young man has proven himself tonight that he can hang even with a tenured PRIME Hall of Famer like… oh, hang on a moment, I don’t think Eddie is FINISHED!
The crowd begins cheering again when Cross throws himself upon Gamble and ravages him with a storm of lefts and rights.
Richard Parker: What is this?! DO SOMETHING, ref! The match is OVER, and this spoiled maniac is out of control!
Nick Stuart: Eddie Cross isn’t letting Gamble off that easy! Not after everything he’s done!
All Tony can do is cover up and weather the storm… until he’s suddenly dragged from the ring courtesy of Johnny Newsman and Domingo Cruz!
Richard Parker: Finally, here’s the cavalry!
Nick Stuart: GAS comes to the rescue of their leader… but none of them look ready to scrap with the n1ghtcraw1er!
Richard Parker: Might as well let the sore loser have his ring then…
Nick Stuart: “The Grin” may sulk away from this one with the last laugh, but EC is proving to the world here tonight that he is a competitor that should never be… CROSSED!
Richard Parker: …that was lame, Nick. Even for you.
Nick Stuart: Ugh, whatever. Let’s just move on to our network-mandated commercial for this Pay Per View event.
Gamble stumbles backwards up the rampway with the other members of GAS, trying his best to look triumphant, but still shook and plenty bruised. “Cross Off” plays through the PA while Eddie is standing tall in the ring with the crowd cheering around him.
We then cut to a commercial.