FIVE STAR TITLE: FLAMBERGE (C) vs. BRANDON YOUNGBLOOD vs. NATE COLTON vs. REZIN
Vince Howard: The following match is ONE FALL! And is a four-way match for the FIVE STAR CHAMPIONSHIP!
As the crowd buzzes with excitement, all of the lights in the arena go out, and Madison Square Garden plunges into darkness.
Richard Parker: Ahh! I can’t see!
Nick Stuart: Fans, I apologize for–ow! Was that your foot, Richard?
Richard Parker: How the hell should I know?
Then, a booming voice comes forth from the arena’s loudspeakers.
“The world has fallen into darkness, as have we all. We howl and scream and lash out blindly, wounding those foolish enough to offer comfort. We wish with all our hearts for our torment to end.”
“Our prayers will be answered.”
“Though darkness has claimed the day, its hold cannot last. Once more, there will be hope. Once more, there will be truth. No matter how hopeless it might seem, or how deep and complete the darkness, once more…”
Words appear on the PRIMEview, accentuating the voice.
The words fade, and now the PRIMEview shows a scene of similar darkness…but slowly, a light begins to build in the background. Soon we can see the horizon, and the night slowly turning into day. At any moment we can expect to see the sun crest over and into view.
Instead, what we get are…horses?
Yes, four fiery horses gallop into view, and they carry behind them a golden chariot. The chariot–or rather, the man driving it–seems to be the source of the light. His brilliance floods the landscape below, bringing light and life to all it touches. He is no mere man, but a god; specifically, the Greek god Apollo.
Some people will tell you it’s actually Helios who carries the sun in a chariot; those people can shut up.
As the horses race across the sky, the shot zooms in on Apollo’s face. He is every bit the picture of beauty as described by the ancient Greeks; noble, brave, and handsome. This is the God of Light, the Healer, the Protector of Youth, the Defender Against Evil. He is the Truth, the Prophecy, the Slayer of Giants, the Lover of Muses.
Apollo and his flying chariot fade from the screen, replaced by…another chariot? Yes, but this is no representation created by very skilled artists. This is the real thing; a golden chariot drawn by four horses, trotting through the halls of Madison Square Garden. They travel down the main hall, then into the Argyle Position, and finally the arena proper.
The horses come through the curtain followed by the front of the chariot. But as the man himself emerges, every light in the arena suddenly goes up to maximum.
Nick Stuart: Can you see now?
Richard Parker: I’ve been blinded by the light!
Nick Stuart: Wrong band, Richard!
As the lights return to safe levels, we see Nate Colton standing at the helm of a golden chariot. His body is covered with a toga, though his gloves and pads can still be seen. The chariot veers off to the side and Colton dismounts, while animal trainers appear to feed the horses and give them compliments. The young superstar goes back to the middle of the stage, where a series of spotlights turn on…
CLACK! CLACK! CLACK! CLACK!
…and immediately focus on the spot where Nate Colton stands. He holds his arms out wide as he basks in this artificial glory.
Nick Stuart: Looks like the ACE Network has really gone all out for our Five Star Title Contenders tonight!
Richard Parker: No, it doesn’t! I still can’t see a damn thing!
Rather than stride toward the ring, Colton ducks back behind the chariot for a moment. He emerges a few seconds later, having discarded his toga for his blue satin ring jacket. This part wasn’t in the original format, but Nate insisted on it. Because no matter how you dress him up, he knows who he is and ain’t about to change.
Eagles. “Tryin’.” Hit it.
Nate walks back toward the center of the ramp, right through the congregation of spotlights he stood in moments ago. This time he keeps walking…and the light comes with him. Even as he moves from one side to the other, or stops to fire up the crowd, the spotlights always keep him at dead center.
Shoutout to the stagehands; they’re killing it tonight.
I’m just arrivin’ in the city and there’s music on my mind
Nate circles around the right side of the ring, grabbing the outstretched hands of the fans in the front row. Their smiles are almost as big as his.
Lookin’ for my destination and my home is far behind
After getting about halfway around the ring, he circles back to the ring steps, wipes his feet on the apron, and steps into the ring.
‘Cause it’s a long road ahead
And you can make it in the end
I’m gonna make it with my friends
The spotlights still follow him as he takes his position in the middle of the ring, and the house lights go back down. With all eyes upon him, Colton holds his right arm above his head. He first taps, then grabs his right wrist with his left hand, the same motion his father used to call for the Colton Clutch.
His eyes are full of excitement, but also determination. Nate Colton is focused on his goals, and ready to execute his plan. Step one: find the biggest light in the world, stand in the center…and shine.
And I’m tryin’
As the music fades and the lights return to normal, Nate Colton goes to his corner. He hands his ring jacket to an attendant, then starts stretching against the ropes.
All right, kid. People have started calling you the Next Diamond for a while now. Time to find out if they’re right.
Richard Parker: All right, I think my eyes are working again…oh Christ, it’s this doofus.
Vince Howard: Introducing first, standing at six feet and four inches tall, he weighed in at two hundred and fifty five pounds. He hails from Evansville, Indiana. NAAAAAAAAAAAAATE! COLTOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!
“Search and Destroy” hits the PA–not the Ministry cover, but the Stooges original
The crowd pops as the house lights come low as a display of red and green lights fill up the arena. Then, through the curtain, a wild mob of voluptuous ladies in skimpy togas spill out onto the stage.
All of them look inexplicably similar to Kat Dennings, for some reason.
Armed with freely flowing bottles of red wine, they come out on the stage whooping and dancing to the music in a bacchanal frenzy. It should go without saying they are all drunk. Like, crazy, belligerent, and violently drunk.
Richard Parker: Whoa! Looks like my kinda party!
The mayhem gets increasingly more raucous. Some of the ladies begin tearing away at the stage fixtures. A ring assistant runs in to intervene, but within moments, he’s swarmed by Kat Denningses and stomped into hole.
Nick Stuart: You sure about that, Rich?
Richard Parker: Whoa! Well… I know some guys who would pay to have that done to them, in any case.
By the time Iggy Pop begins babbling about a cheetah or something, the curtain parts, and out comes…
Nick Stuart: …is that a DONKEY?!
It is. With none other than PRIME’s resident Goat Bastard REZIN perched on its back.
The dopesmoking Dionysus rides out on his lowly burro amid his mob of drunk and disorderly Maenads, swaying back and forth without a care for staying balanced. The dopesmoking Dionysus has got on a sludge-stained toga of his own and a wreath of ivy sits upon his head. He grins like possum eating shit as he raises a goblet of pinot noir to the cheering crowd.
Rezin: FUGG YEAH, SAAATUUURRRNAAALLLIIIAAA!!
Richard Parker: Well lookie there, it’s an ass on an ass…
The fans are eating it up… but the party is quickly getting out of hand. A pair of Rezin’s raging Kat Denningses begins trying to tear up a pyro mortar set in the stage and–
Fireworks unexpectedly go off, and Rezin’s humble mount is SPOOKED! The beast bucks and kicks in every direction, sending drunken Maenads flying while the Escape Artist hangs on for dear life!
Chaos has erupted on the stage as an out of control animal destroys everything around it. The remainder of Rezin’s entourage follow suit. Finally, the Goat Bastard falls free from the back of the burro and miraculously flips to his feet at the head of the ramp…
…before the donkey straight double-kicks him in the back, sending him tumbling out of control down the rampway.
Nick Stuart: Never fails…
On the stage, the Enemigos run out armed with bear mace and riot foam, subduing the drunken Kat Dennings mob from any further destruction. On the ringside floor, Rezin sits up. He slaps his head when he suddenly remembers something…
Rezin: Oh shit… the MATCH!
Vince Howard: Introducing the third challenger, standing at five feet and ten inches tall, he weighed in at two hundred and five pounds. He hails from Indianapolis, Indiana. He is THE GOAT BASTARD! He is… REEEEEEEEEEEEZIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN!
Madison Square Garden becomes pitch black. Dark. A stillness running through the crowd. That is, until a distant clap of thunder can be heard. Each rumble brings with it a growing closeness, all until piercing blue lightning strikes lash across the PRIMEView. A backdrop of ambient blues. Tell tale signature of PRIME.
The PRIMEView fades from the ether. The lightning strikes are not what bring the thunder; it is the crash of bodies. Cancer Jiles. Miles Lucky. The Anglo Luchador. Jonathan-Christopher Hall. We see the form of Randall Knox caught in midair, spiked into the canvas with a spinebuster, drawing the loudest rumble of all. There are more. Phil Atken. Bobby Dean. Larry Tact. Anna Daniels. Nova. And throughout the history book of PRIME; Tyler Rayne, Jason Snow, Anglo Deville, Karina Wolfenden, Chandler Tsonda, Alexandra Pierce, Chainz, Hessian, Violence Jack, Killean Sirrajin, Jared Sykes. Their forms filter, superimposed, a backdrop to a singular focus, the cause of all their crashes.
The bringer of thunder to the halls of PRIME.
The Tower of Babel.
PRIME Hall of Famer.
The Champion of the Almasy Invitational.
The only three time winner of the 5 Star Championship.
Brandon Youngblood sits upon a throne of skulls, his fists glowing a heavy blue, his eyes piercing in their coldness. It is unaffected, seemingly bored upon his perch. But the sudden flashing faces of Rezin, Nate Colton, and FLAMBERGE bring a smile to his face.
In PRIME, there is only one capable of being called Ace.
In PRIME, there is only one true Zeus.
Then, let there be light.
BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD
SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE
LET THE GALAXY BURN
A wall of dominant noise surges through the arena, an absolutely raucous ovation erupting within Madison Square Garden as Brandon Youngblood appears on the entrance ramp.
Tonight is different. Gone are all traces of crimson, be it in light or in attire. It has been replaced by one singular, dominant color.
There is no pause from the former Universal Champion to soak in his cheers, instead, with purpose, The Last Diamond marches to the ring, his eyes forward. His oppressive scowl of intensity says it all.
There is no walking along the ringside area, no slowdown as the Conscience of PRIME stomps his way up the steps and into the ring. Once inside, Youngblood begins pacing around the outside perimeter of the ring.
Vince Howard: Introducing third, standing at six feet and three inches tall and weighed in at two hundred and seventy pounds. He hails from Bandera Falls, Texas, by way of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canadaaaaaaaaaaa. HE IS THE TOWER OF BABEL! THE ACE OF THE REVIVAL! MR. SUPLEX DADDY! BRANDON! YOUUUUUUUUUNG! BLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!
Lights out. Spotlight on the empty entrance ramp.
A steady low beat rolls throughout Madison Square Garden, accompanied by deep electric humming pulses.
The beat thump, thump, thump, thumps in the chests of all present, ever so slowly growing in volume as new notes occasionally blip in. As an extra tick on the off-beat kicks in, we slowly see somethings (or someones) emerge. DEFIANT Faithful know what’s up, but this is new to PRIMEates.
Cloaked head-to-toe in teal and gold, seaweed covering their shoulders, Plague Doctor masks adorning their faces, six figures slowly march forward, pulling ropes that are attached to a huge rolling base.
Atop that base? The hull of a large wooden ship.
A rope ladder is thrown over the side of the ship, and as teal and gold beacons swirl throughout the Garden, the beat seamlessly transitions to a different track entirely…
I AM DANGEROUS
Atop the hull stands FLAMBERGE, 5 Star Championship around his waist, a HUGE chorus of boos raining down around him. Two large white smears (glue, perhaps?) stripe across his chest like war paint, and he raises a trident high into the air, each of the three prongs waved like the French Flaming Sword that matches his namesake.
He tosses the trident aside and climbs down the rope ladder. As he cockily struts his way to the ring, gouts of flame shoot up from the ground behind him.
As the French Phenom nearly reaches the ring, “YOUNGBLOOD’S GONNA KICK YOUR FUCKIN’ ASS!” is caught by a hot mic; FLAMBERGE’s eyes narrow. He turns in the direction of the zealous fan, unstraps his 5 Star Championship, and holds it aloft with his right hand as he runs the backside of his knuckles up and down his jawline with his left.
Vince Howard: And finally, introducing the champion! Standing at six feet tall and weighed in at two hundred and six pounds. He hails from Strasbourg, France. HE IS! THE FIVE-STAR CHAMPION! FLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM! BERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGE!
Nick Stuart: We’re witnessing the fusion of rivalries here tonight, Richard, as these four men – all with some shared history – battle for the Five Star championship. Referee Ashley Barlow has the honor of trying to keep this one in line.
There’s an awkward pause at the start of the match, as each man tries to figure out which of them is going to make the first move, and who the first victim is going to be.
Nick Stuart: On the one hand we have the Battle of Indiana between Nate Colton and Rezin. Two men from the same state, who…
Richard Parker: Hey, FLAMBERGE can be part of that. Doesn’t Indy have a French Lick?
Nick Stuart: It does, but…
Richard Parker: Great! And, let’s see… Oh! Youngblood is Canadian, and they speak French in parts of Canada.
Nick Stuart: Richard, there’s a match…
Richard Parker: The Battle of French-Canada Lick, Indiana!
Nick Stuart: Stop it.
Richard Parker: Practically rolls off the tongue.
Each man glances at the other, working through the scenarios. Rezin looks at Colton. Colton looks at Youngblood. All three look to FLAMBERGE, and the young Frenchman’s eyes go wide.
And why not? The French phenom has had a hand in making all three men’s lives hell for the past few months. He’s riled up Nate Colton, and challenged his family’s honor. His hand on the rope prevented Brandon Youngblood from finding the escape he needed, and cost him the Universal Championship. Only weeks ago he bested Rezin, and ended his reign as Five Star champion, the very title all four men are competing for tonight.
FLAMBERGE spits a curse, which everyone immediately understands. It’s a core tenet of foreign languages. Doesn’t matter if you speak it or not, we all learn the fuck words first.
He tries to dip through the ropes and escape, but six hands prevent him from getting very far. A palm strike from Rezin. A forearm shot by Colton. A straight-up headbutt from Youngblood.
Nick Stuart: We knew that FLAMBERGE was coming into this match with a target on his back, but I didn’t think everyone would be lining up their shot this quick, Richard.
Richard Parker: Unfortunately this is the way of these four-way matches. There’s no respite for anyone involved, and the champion is at a severe disadvantage. Not just because he doesn’t have to be involved in the decision to jeopardize his title, but because everyone is just being so mean to him right now. I don’t understand it. Those chips were delicious.
Nick Stuart: In fairness, FLAMBERGE has spent the better part of the year antagonizing everyone else in this match.
Richard Parker: Yeah, but the chips though.
The champion tries to cover up, but shot after shot lands as each of his three competitors land their blows in turn.
Nick Stuart: It’s like a game of human pinball here, Richard. Youngblood with a snap elbow, and – OH!
Rezin is the first one to deviate from the makeshift plan of “Let’s All Tool on the French Kid” as he fires off an enzuigiri to the back of Nate Colton’s head, catching the Next Diamond off guard as he prepared to land another strike on arguably his biggest rival in PRIME. The Battle of Indiana is now underway.
Rezin hops to his feet, turns towards Youngblood, cocks his fist back, and finds himself thrown ass over teakettle across the ring. When he lands and opens his eyes, everything is suddenly upside-down and the Ace is walking towards him on the ceiling like he’s goddamn magical. Maybe it’s a Canadian thing.
What definitely isn’t a Canadian thing is that there’s a hand holding onto the hairs of his beard, using it to drag him up to his feet, because dammit that shit ain’t polite and don’t Canadians apologize for everything?
Nick Stuart: The Hall of Famer pressing his advantage after a vicious suplex lands Rezin in the corner.
Richard Parker: I am contractually obligated to say that the official PRIME Yeet Counter is reserved for Ivan Stanislav, but hypothetically… you know, if it wasn’t… that would be number one.
Nick Stuart: Contractually…? What?
Richard Parker: Look, Alexei handed me a sheet of paper with some words on it that I couldn’t read, but he told me it was fine.
Nick Stuart: Did you sign it?
Richard Parker: He said it was fine!
While Rezin and Youngblood play their private game of “Human Javelin” (AKA “Watch How Far I Can Fuckin’ Throw You”), FLAMBERGE has been taking advantage of the opportunity provided by Rezin’s earlier kick to dive on to Nate Colton, break through his guard, and smother him with a series of grounded strikes.
A punch slips past Colton’s attempt to cover. FLAMBERGE picks his shots, sneaking in a second. Then a third.
Hit him, kid. Then do it again. Do it once for every penny he tried to repay you with, because the damage to the FLAMBORGHINI wasn’t enough of an insult. Make sure that his stupid father sees what his son actually is. Show the whole family – however many there are, god knows they breed like catholic rabbits – that their son, their brother, their cousin is THE bitch.
In the background, Rezin sails through the sky like the meteor that killed all the dinosaurs then brought them back to life as pigeons.
The sight of the Escape Artist in flight offers a brief distraction, which gives Colton enough of an opportunity to shove FLAMBERGE away.
Nick Stuart: Rezin flying! Colton scrambling! FLAMBERGE to his feet…
Richard Parker: (singing, to the tune of “12 Days of Christmas”) And a Youngblood lookin’ orneryyyyyyyyyy.
Nick Stuart: Looking what?
Richard Parker: Mind out of the gutter, Nick. It means angry.
FLAMBERGE connects with a kick to the thigh of Nate Colton. A second one follows. When he snaps off a third, Colton is ready. He pulls FLAMBERGE off balance, yanking him towards a forearm shot.
Nick Stuart: These two men know each other VERY well, Richard. The animosity that started between them leading up to UltraViolence has some fans thinking this could be an all-time rivalry.
Richard Parker: I ship them.
Nick Stuart: I’m… not asking.
Richard Parker: Their name is “FLAMBOlton”.
Nick Stuart: Aaaaaand you’re telling me anyway. Great.
FLAMBERGE staggers back, then comes in hot with a jumping roundhouse kick. Colton ducks, letting the kick sail harmlessly over his head. Unfortunately for FLAMBERGE, this means when he lands he’s already giving up his back.
Nick Stuart: Colton Clutch! Nate Colton has his family’s signature move locked on FLAMBERGE, and FLAMBERGE is fighting!
Richard Parker: He might not have to fight long.
Unlikely help comes in the form of Brandon Youngblood. He moves towards the pair, knowing full well what this hold can mean for the match, no matter how early on it is. Seeing this, Colton not only breaks the hold, but does it in such a way that FLAMBERGE is thrown towards Youngblood. The two collide, cracking heads in the process.
Nick Stuart: Fans, Nate Colton was in a similar situation back at Great American Nightmare. He had the Clutch locked on Balaam, but insisting on hitting it cost him when GREAT SCOTT stole the fall!
Richard Parker: So you’re saying that he’s learning?
Nick Stuart: In so many words.
Richard Parker: Huh. Maybe the Indiana school system isn’t so bad after all.
FLAMBERGE turns, and an exploder suplex takes him down to the mat. Colton tries for the cover, but the defiant champion kicks out at one, and then starts throwing punches from his back.
Nick Stuart: Colton and FLAMBERGE on their knees still trading punches! Youngblood back to his feet, and…
Richard Parker: INCOMING!
Rezin, now partially in control of his faculties again, has leapt onto the ring apron, run the length of it, and leapt onto the top turnbuckle. He pushed off, flying into the ring with a moonsault press.
That’s the crowd gasping in unison as he’s caught in mid-air by Brandon Youngblood. Rezin fights against the hold, kicking and flailing like a toddler being dragged out of a toy store mid-tantrum, but somehow Youngblood manages to adjust his grip. He takes one step forward, pivots on his plant foot, and heaves Rezin over his head in a modified release suplex. The Goat Bastard collides with both FLAMBERGE and Colton, leaving the three men in a heap.
And lo, on this day in the month of holy December, did the Diamond of PRIME bestow unto the world the great and noble sport of Rezinball. When the First Council gathers to draft the official rules they will retroactively award him 30 points for scoring the first Double Whammy in the sport’s history.
Nick Stuart: That throw from Youngblood just took all three of his opponents out in one shot.
Richard Parker: Feel like that’s the makings of a sport, right there.
Richard, my dude, we literally just covered this.
Nick Stuart: But FLAMBERGE isn’t staying down for long. He’s already on his feet, and looks to be making a rather impulsive decision.
Richard Parker: Well, you know what they say, Nick… Youth is wasted on everybody but me.
The French phenom, well and truly irritated from having been the victim of a run-by yeeting, gets right up in Youngblood’s face. For months now he’s tried to get inside the head of the man whose championship gold FLAMBERGE helped take away. There are things said that cannot be repeated or transcribed.
The Diamond doesn’t flinch, almost as if he’s daring FLAMBERGE to make the first move.
The champion’s first strike is brushed aside. An elbow is blocked. A knee is palmed, and then shoved back to the ground.
Nick Stuart: Brandon Youngblood just slapped FLAMBERGE clear across the face!
Richard Parker: God damn, Nick, I felt that one from here.
Irate, FLAMBERGE tries to shoot for a double leg. Youngblood sprawls, widening his base and preventing FLAMBO from grabbing a hold. The Diamond leans forward, forcing the champion to shift his momentum. When the champion tries to retaliate, Youngblood quickly steps aside and FLAMBERGE catches nothing but air as he lands harmlessly on the mat.
He stands, pivots, furious at what’s happening right now.
A second open hand connects with the side of his face.
Richard Parker: Brandon Youngblood is absolutely living in FLAMBERGE’s head right now.
Nick Stuart: Rent-free, as the kids say.
Richard Parker: Yeah, and he’s eating all the food.
Nick Stuart: What?
Richard Parker: Drinking the good beer. He’s got his feet up on the sofa and everything. Brandon Youngblood is totally ordering pay-per-view right now!
Nick Stuart: I can’t even with you sometimes.
Now Youngblood shoots in, capturing FLAMBERGE. This isn’t a kind, fatherly embrace – neither of these men truly understand what that’s like. This is a bear about to maul its pray
Richard Parker: Get Strasbourg on the phone. Tell ’em to get a net ready to catch their countryman!
And as Nate Colton moves to engage, FLAMBERGE is sent flying through the air.
Nick Stuart: Rezin sneaking up on Nate Colton…
One arm snakes under Colton’s left shoulder. The other grabs his left wrist, pulling Colton’s arm across his own throat. It’s a move that Nate knows all too well. Every Colton knows it.
Richard Parker: Oh, that’s ballsy.
Nick Stuart: Rezin with the Cabron Clutch locked in! His version of the cobra clutch. Nate Colton could go out here to the move that’s synonymous with his family!
Richard Parker: The Battle of French-Canada Lick, Indiana just got personal, Nick!
Nick Stuart: Would you please stop calling it that?
Richard Parker: But it rolls off the-
Nick Stuart: It does NOT roll off the tongue!
The Ace of the Revival closes the distance to FLAMBERGE. Eager to not get suplexed again, the Frenchman reaches up and rakes his hand across Youngblood’s eyes, blurring his vision and giving himself a little breathing room.
Nick Stuart: Looks like Nate Colton managed to find some breathing room…
Richard Parker: Literally!
Nick Stuart: …as he’s got one arm free from Rezin, and has managed to break free.
Sensing an opportunity, FLAMBERGE swoops in and knocks Colton out of the ring to the arena floor, leaving the Five Star champion to square off with the man he took that title from.
Nick Stuart: Rezin looking for some revenge against the youngster from Strasbourg!
Richard Parker: Hey!
Nick Stuart: What?
Richard Parker: No doxxing!
Nick Stuart: It’s where he’s announced from every match!
Richard Parker: Yeah, but still though.
Rezin leads with an open palm strike, but FLAMBERGE catches the wrist and uses Rezin’s momentum to flip him over in a judo throw. The Goat Bastard is immediately back on his feet. He manages to scoop FLAMBERGE up into a fireman’s carry, looking to hit a forward roll Samoan drop, but FLAMBERGE quickly slips off his shoulders and executes another throw, this time by the beard.
Richard Parker: Nick, I have a favor to ask you. If I ever grow a beard that long, please do not let a Frenchman use it to toss me.
Rezin stands, and this time FLAMBERGE’s jumping roundhouse connects, staggering the Escape Artist back.
Before FLAMBERGE can capitalize, massive arms lock around his waist and power him to the ground with an improvised suplex/slam.
Richard Parker: Uh oh, suplex daddy got his vision back, and now all his suplex children are about to be put in suplex timeout.
Nick Stuart: You know, there are days when I think I could have been doing anything else besides coming back here and dealing with this.
Richard Parker: Listen, man, just because YOU don’t get holiday cards from the suplex family doesn’t mean you need to be all Grinch-y about it.
Youngblood moves into a mount position and rains forearms and elbows down on FLAMBERGE.
Through this all, Nate Colton has been using the time on the outside of the ring to get his bearings and catch his breath. He slides back into the ring behind Rezin, hoping to use the chaos to his advantage for a change.
Nick Stuart: Colton trying for that clutch again. If he gets it on Rezin this match could be over!
Colton breaks the hold of his own volition, because right now his hands are needed somewhere else. And that somewhere else is his crotch, because it has just been thoroughly kicked as part of the Goat Bastard’s attempt to break the hold. Well, congrats, Rezin. You succeeded. Now Nate Colton can’t show hog, because it has just been punted up into his abdomen. Hope you’re happy, you big killjoy!
Richard Parker: I hope Jake Colton wasn’t hoping for grandkids anytime soon.
If Rezin wasn’t standing directly in front of him and grinning like an idiot behind his beard, there’s a safe bet Nate Colton would collapse to the mat right now. Instead Rezin’s back serves as a brace to lean against while that dull throbbing ache starts to spread up from his nethers into his belly. But when Colton’s chin slides onto Rezin’s shoulder, he strikes.
He grabs Colton’s head, kicks off the mat, and rotates up and over Nate Colton.
Nick Stuart: Rezin going for Into The Void! He pushes off, and-
He doesn’t land on the mat, because the Ace of the ReVival Era catches him before he can complete the move.
Nate Colton collapses to the mat, his crotch having been thoroughly turned to paste.
Nick Stuart: Youngblood with the save. He’s adjusting his grip, looking for a better hold.
Richard Parker: Well, they don’t call Rezin the “Escape Artist” for nothing.
Unfortunately, he’s not able to break free from the Diamond. Youngblood widens his base, engages his core, and slams Rezin down directly on top of Nate Colton.
Richard Parker: Talk about your all-time anime betrayals!
Nick Stuart: I don’t know that I’d call it a betrayal, Richard. This is every man for themself with the Five Star on the line. And using that extra weight on top of Colton is a sound tactical move.
Richard Parker: Is that the polite way of saying, “Beating a motherfu…”
Nick Stuart: OKAY MOVING ON.
Using Rezin’s body for extra leverage to hold Colton down, the Diamond moves in for a pinning attempt.
It doesn’t get very far, as the attempt is broken up by FLAMBERGE. He descends on Youngblood with vicious strikes, laying in short after shot to the head and neck before Brandon can get back to his feet. A quick punch to the temple dazes him. It creates an opening for a shart uppercut, which gives FLAMBERGE just the opening he heeds to wrap his arm around Youngblood’s throat and squeeze.
Nick Stuart: Marie Antoinette!
Richard Parker: Say it from your chest, Nick!
Nick Stuart: FLAMBERGE with a savvy maneuver here, Richard! Between what Phil Atken did to win the Universal championship, and the way Anna Daniels was able to neutralize him at the last ReVival, are we seeing the new playbook on the way to beat Brandon Youngblood?
Richard Parker: It would make sense, Nick. Especially in this case, since FLAMBERGE was aligned with Atken at one time, and has championed the Glue Factory even in his absence!
Youngblood presses in to try and grab hold of FLAMBERGE’s legs. Unlucky 13 still looms over the Diamond. The rope can’t save him here, he knows that. There are too many men involved. No salvation in a rope break. If he can just get a hand on FLAMBERGE then he has a chance to escape. The Frenchman sprawls, widening his base to try and counter Youngblood’s grapple.
Nick Stuart: And a smart way to defend himself, taking away those lower extremities from Brandon’s reach.
Richard Parker: “Lower extremities?”
Nick Stuart: What?
Richard Parker: You can’t just say “legs” like a normal human man?
FLAMBERGE steps in quickly, but just for a moment. Long enough to bring up a knee to Youngblood’s face.
Cut off the blood flow. Take away his oxygen. Make it harder to breathe. You saw the result from only feet away, kid. His nose was broken. He was suffocating. Phil Atken wrote the book on what it takes, now read from the final chapter and end the man who disrespected you by stealing your championship belt from you.
A second knee connects.
He’s slipping now, fading. You’re so close to making him eat every fucking word he said about you. Think of the press conference.
Youngblood drops to one knee, and FLAMBERGE tightens the hold. The problem for him being that the more he focuses on this one move, the more his back is exposed. Rezen, now up to his feet, lands a shot with the point of his elbow directly between FLAMBERGE’s shoulder blades, and then grinds it up and down the length of his spine with a sawing motion. FLAMBO releases the hold, his body now a magnet for pain. Before he can recover, Rezin has him up on his shoulder and is taking him for a spin.
Nick Stuart: Black Thunder Bomb by Rezin! There’s a cover!
Ashley Barlow: ONE!
Nate Colton’s been able to use the last few moments to get his bearings and collect himself, so he’s got a bit more energy when he dashes across the ring.
Ashley Barlow: TWO!
The count is broken up as a reverse facelock is applied to Rezin, Colton trying to lock in the dragon sleeper. It doesn’t stay on for long, as the Escape Artist is able to get a hand in under Colton’s arm to ease the pressure on his neck, allowing him to do one of the things he’s known for: escape.
Rezin connects with a back elbow that staggers Colton towards the ropes. Rezin charges in, looking to send the blue chipper to the outside, but the Next Diamond ducks and Rezin sails over the top rope. It’s not a deliberate attempt to hurl his opponent to the floor, more a matter of instinct. Rezin holds on, balancing himself on the apron.
Nick Stuart: These two Hoosiers jockeying for position near the ropes, and you have to assume that if the fight goes outside that it favors Rezin much more than it does Colton.
Richard Parker: Oh, for sure. Colton may be a savant in between the ropes, but there’s just so much… I dunno… STUFF for Rezin to jump off of out there.
Nick Stuart: And here comes FLAMBERGE!
It’s hard to know which is worse: having almost just been caught by the man who he beat for the Five Star, or the indignity of being saved by Nate Colton of all people. FLAMBERGE darts across the ring with all the fire that his name implies, looking to send both men to the outside for a hard landing on the floor. At the last moment, Colton is able to shoulder roll away and both FLAMBERGE and Rezin are sent crashing to the floor.
The crowd begins cheering, and it takes a moment before Colton understands why. Amidst the chaos, Brandon Youngblood has made it back to his feet, and they are the only two men left in the ring right now.
Nick Stuart: The crowd on their feet for what they’re about to see. Brandon Youngblood and the man he christened “the Next Diamond.” They’ve teamed together, Richard. There’s a history between Youngblood and Nate’s father, Jake. We know that these two trained together only a few weeks ago!
Richard Parker: And now they’re gonna kiss!
Nick Stuart: (rightly ignoring him) And now we might finally get to see some of the tension that built up around the Five Star title come to a head!
Richard Parker: Sexual tension!
Nick Stuart: (pretending his broadcast partner is dead) You can feel it from here, Richard, and I SWEAR TO GOD IF YOU MAKE THIS WEIRD!
Two of PRIME’s purest grapplers slowly circle each other.
On the one side, the first Universal champion of the ReVival era. An Elite Champion. A name synonymous with the Five Star championship. A Hall of Famer.
On the other, a purebred stallion from a wrestling family. One of the hottest prospects to hit the scene. One of the cornerstone pillars of PRIME’s youth movement.
Where one has experience, the other has something to prove.
The slow dance continues, each man trading feints to see who’ll balk first. The crowd eats up every moment, their cheering is a plea for these two to finally lock up. And then, as they close the distance to each other…
Enter Rezin and FLAMBERGE to prevent the crowd from getting what they want.
Nick Stuart: Both Youngblood and Colton were so focused on each other that it gave their opponents a chance to get the upper hand.
Rezin has made the questionable decision to try and clip Youngblood from behind which does absolutely nothing. The Diamond stands stock still. As Rezin is hoisted off of his feet, the camera angle changes to show FLAMBERGE unleashing a strike combination to his arch-rival, before a pair of judo throws are chained together.
In the background of the first one, Rezin flies across the screen at an angle that suggests he has just been suplexed by a big bastard man. He disappears out of frame, then reappears from that same side a moment later, staggering like a man trying desperately to pass a sobriety test.
As FLAMBERGE connects with the second throw, who should appear in the sky as a great bearded constellation but Rezin.
Nick Stuart: The Five Star champion reminding the world that he’s no slouch inside the ropes either! And now he makes a bee-line for Youngblood!
Richard Parker: This could go one of a billion different ways.
Nick Stuart: Well thanks for narrowing it down.
Richard Parker: (gasping) Nicholas! The cheek on you.
As he stands from his most recent suplex, Youngblood is tackled around the waist by FLAMBERGE, and the two men tumble through the ropes to the outside.
Richard Parker: That was definitely one of the ways it could have gone.
Nick Stuart: Smart play by FLAMBERGE to pick that spot, before Youngblood could get his feet fully under him. And now both men are brawling on the floor.
FLAMBERGE drives a knee into Youngblood’s ribs, doubling him over. He pulls Brandon’s arm free, and slams his hand down on the steel steps.
Nick Stuart: That’s the same hand where just two weeks ago Anna Daniels dislocated a finger.
Oh, he knows, Nick. He knows.
It’s why he makes a point of splaying out Youngblood’s fingers on the top of the stairs. It’s why he balls his own hand into a fist. It’s why he brings it down over and over like a hammer on top of the joints, smashing it into the steel again and again.
These are the hands that stole YOUR property, that took what YOU earned away from you. Tried to embarrass you like you’re nothing, all because he wasn’t strong enough to hold onto his own championship. Maybe a little glue on the palms would have fixed that. Maybe a little glue on the knuckles will help put them back together after you’re done.
Richard Parker: I like what I’m seeing out of FLAMBO tonight. He’s young. He’s hungry. And he’s got a point to prove in front of the world that he belongs at the top of this division! At this rate, he might also be trying to prevent Brandon Youngblood from ever pointing at anything again.
Nick Stuart: You’re incorrigible sometimes, you know that?
Richard Parker: I got jokes, baybee!
Nick Stuart: Here comes Nate Colton!
Colton rolls out of the ring, closing the distance between FLAMBERGE and himself. He moves to grapple his counterpart among the young pillars of PRIME, but FLAMBO is too quick. He sidesteps, locks his arms around Colton’s torso, and snaps a head-and-arm suplex onto the arena floor.
Remember earlier when we all had a lovely conversation about how everyone knows the swear words, regardless of language? Well the fans in the floor seats are learning some spicy new French invectives courtesy of the Five Star champion.
Nick Stuart: FLAMBERGE apparently willing to do anything and everything to maintain a grip on his championship tonight.
Richard Parker: Which is the role that every champion should take, if we’re being completely honest with ourselves.
Nick Stuart: So tomorrow night when Cancer Jiles starts cheating…?
Richard Parker: There are exceptions to every rule, Nick. Don’t bring your logic around here. This is wrestling. Sometimes things just are.
The following sequence happens in the blink of an eye, as one unbroken chain of movement from the Goat Bastard.
First, he gets a running start inside the ring, building up steam by rebounding off the far ropes before hurling himself like a goddamn missile to the outside in a suicide dive that sends FLAMBERGE tumbling back up the entrance ramp. Rezin rolls through it back to his feet.
He turns, charges again, and using the ring steps as a springboard he throws himself at a groggy Nate Colton, trapping him in a front facelock in midair before swinging his legs out in a tornado DDT onto the mats along the outside of the ring.
Again he’s on his feet, sliding into the ring only this time instead of hitting the ropes for momentum it’s just a full sprint across the ring. He vaults up onto the top rope in a single step and launches himself into the air, twisting his body into a swanton variant that sends him flying again to the outside where he collides with Youngblood, and the two men tumble over the guardrail into the front row and out of view.
Nick Stuart: Good lord, after that he’s gotta be dea-
The Escape Artist pops back up into view, standing and smiling as if nothing is wrong.
Nick Stuart: Okay, guess he’s fine.
While FLAMBERGE moves towards the ring, he’s unaware of Rezin’s actions behind him. The Goat Bastard sprints through the crowd, parkouring off a fan’s chair, leaping onto the guardrail, and then he takes flight yet again. This time he twists in the air and he sails over FLAMBERGE’s head, locking him in a headscissors and launching him with a hurricanrana.
Richard Parker: It’s like if Cirque du Soleil was one guy that dressed as Hobo Santa.
Rezin slides into the ring, gets back to his feet, takes two steps, and faceplants in the center of the ring.
Nick Stuart: I think he might have done as much damage to himself as his opponents there, Richard.
Richard Parker: I mean dude basically just survived four separate car crashes.
When the Rezinball committee meets to discuss this match years from now, league commissioner Simon Tillier will be forced – albeit begrudgingly – to award his longtime tormenter three hundred points retroactively like a pro wrestling Dumbledore who stole his dad’s suit. Punk Rock wins the House Bowl (because no one says “smoke a cup”). Fuck Slytherin. All my homies hate Slytherin.
Nick Stuart: Rezin stirring inside the ring. Apparently he just needed a minute.
Richard Parker: He’s about to have company.
Indeed he is, Richard. Nate Colton, still shaking off the cobwebs from being planted head-first on the ground, has rolled into the ring. Rezin gets to his knees, mutters something under his breath, and charges. Colton’s lariat swing is solid, but Rezin is a nimble little minx. He ducks underneath, springboards to the second rope, and hits a picture perfect cutter on Colton just as he turns around.
Nick Stuart: Where the hell is Rezin getting these reserves? His endurance in this match has been nothing short of insane.
Richard Parker: Real talk, my spine would have shattered after that first suplex, so I’m just going to assume he came out of a lab that makes supersoldiers like they had on the X-Files.
Nick Stuart: That’s an… umm… “timely” reference there, Richard.
Rezin gets back to his feet, but not as quickly. Despite the resilience he’s shown thus far in being able to both dish out and take a massive amount of punishment, the match is starting to show its effects. He licks his lips and picks his shot, waiting until Colton is almost to his feet before he runs to the corner, vaults from the second to the third buckle, and arcs a gorgeous moonsault into the ring.
Nick Stuart: OH!
Richard Parker: Yikes.
He’s caught over the shoulder by Nate Colton, who snaps him down immediately with a shoulder breaker. Before Rezin can react, he’s pushed forward into a seated position, and then dragged to his feet.
It’s a move that’s taught to every member of the Colton family, their unique spin on the venerated cobra clutch.
Nick Stuart: Colton Clutch locked in! Rezin with nowhere to go!
The Goat Bastard is pulled off his feet, kicking and thrashing the whole way, before being driven down on the back of his neck. The Colton Clutch Suplex delivered with textbook precision.
Nick Stuart: Nate Colton with the cover!
FLAMBERGE can’t let this happen. He won’t. The Five-Star Championship is his, dammit. And there’s no way he’s going to suffer yet another indignity to that son of a bitch, Nate Colton. He scrambles into the ring, and dives to break up the cover.
Richard Parker: Youngblood!
The Frenchman’s body stops in mid air, with two hands of granite taking hold of his ankle and yanking him back outside. Before he can turn around there’s an arm around his throat. Another snakes in under his arm. Just as he held the rope to prevent Brandon Youngblood from escaping the Shotgun, now FLAMBERGE finds himself trapped in a vice. Struggling against the Gridlock, there is nothing he can do but watch his dreams of glory slip away.
Reciprocity is a real motherfucker.
DING DING DING
Nick Stuart: Nate Colton has done it! The Next Diamond is the new Five-Star Champion!
Youngblood releases the hold on FLAMBERGE, who stares wide-eyed and stunned at the scene before him. That’s Nate Colton. That’s Nate Colton getting his arm raised. That’s Nate Colton being handed the Five Star championship. It’s almost too much to process.
Before Colton’s hands can touch the strap, Rezin rises to his feet and storms between Colton and Ashley Barlow, making sure to shoulder check his fellow Hoosier on his way towards the ropes.
Richard Parker: Call me crazy, Nick…
Nick Stuart: I will. Gladly.
Richard Parker: …but I don’t think things are quite settled between Colton and Rezin.
Nick Stuart: Richard, I know PRIME has got a few weeks of downtime ahead of us, but I can only imagine how this result is going to linger for some of these competitors. I’m not sure we’ve seen the last of any of this.
Colton glances outside the ring, where the original Diamond offers a nod of recognition to the Next in line.
Finally, the title is placed in his hands. A cheer rises from the crowd as he raises it over his head. He no longer has to wonder what it feels like to carry it. The belt is his now, and his alone.
A family legacy etched forever in gold.