HAYES HANLON vs. NED REFORM
The lights go out.
The first and iconic few chords of Beethoven’s classic “Fur Elise” each throughout the arena. On the big screen, a series of purple music notes appear in tandem with the song. The music shifts from classic piano to a guitar version of the theme (performed by Cole Rolland) as two letters are on the screen: “NR.” The crowd begins to jeer as the house lights come back on, but this time as solid purple.
From the back appears The Good Doctor in all his glory: Ned Reform. He’s dressed in his standard attire for competition: purple singlet with big white “R,” black knee pads, white boots. Reform stops at the entrance way, smiling broadly, taking in the entire arena as if he is a proud papa looking to his children. Of course… that would be an arena full of children booing the hell out of him. But The Sage on the Stage does not sell that for a moment… and he begins to walk to the ramp, waving and smiling as if he were being welcomed as a conquering hero.
Vince Howard: The following contest is scheduled for one fall… introducing first, from Litchfield, Connecticut and weighing in at 226 lbs… NED! REEEEEFORM!
Reform stops mid-walk, furrowing his brow. There is no mic near him, but we don’t need it: we can both read his lips and guess what he’s saying based on history:
Ned Reform (mouthing): …that’s DOCTOR Ned Reform.
Shaking his head in annoyance, Reform resumes his walk to the ring.
Nick Stuart: Ned Reform has a hell of a tall order tonight when he takes on Hayes Hanlon.
Ned steps up onto the apron before climbing to the top turnbuckle while still outside the ring. While standing over the PRIMEates, he puts two fingers under his chin thoughtfully as he gazes around the arena. When he circles the entire place, he smirks and hops down from the turnbuckle. A few swipes of his feet on the canvas later, and he enters the ring. He quickly walks up to Vince Howard, who is preparing himself to introduce Reform’s opponent… but The Good Doctor snatches the mic out of Howard’s hands!
Ned Reform: That’s quite enough out of you, charlatan. Allow a professional to take it from here, yes?
With a scowl, Howard moves away from Ned Reform… who clearly begins to relish the spotlight.
Ned Reform: Hello, children!
Ned Reform: Before I begin tonight’s lesson… the thrashing and subsequent betterment of Mr. Hayes Hanlon… I have an important matter to discuss. I beg of you, children, a moment of respect?
He does not get that. He shakes his head and elects to continue on anyway.
Ned Reform: I would like to draw your attention to these fine gentlemen here in the front row…Tad, Chad, Thad, Brad, and Shad.
There are five men in the front row, all sporting tans and various levels of pageantry. First, there is a man decked out head to toe in black and gold bejewelled clothing replete with cobras and skulls and smells like he has been bathing in POWERBOMB cologne. The second is wearing an expensive polo and a pair of business casual slacks with a gold chain around his neck. The third has a mullet that is covered by a trucker cap with an iron on patch of Calvin pissing on a truck logo. He is wearing a grease stained tee shirt and dingy blue jeans with a tobacco ring in the back pocket. The fourth wears a tee shirt with the logo of a popular electric car company, has perfect teeth, and is probably a TON of fun to talk to at parties. The fifth member of the group has on tactical pants, a tech camo tee shirt with a black rifle logo, tattoo sleeves and no actual military experience.
Ned Reform: These fine, courageous, and upstanding men are members of the Short Dick Defense League, and…
Reform stops when the audience erupts into laughter.
Ned Reform: My God.
He looks around with bug eyes and shakes his head like a disappointed father.
Ned Reform: You people are truly revolting. These men have a condition! A condition! They were born like this, they cannot help it, and yet you mock them!?
Reform leans over the top rope, looking toward the SDDL members.
Ned Reform: Gentlemen. I sincerely apologize for what you’ve had to endure here tonight. Know that if I could, I would gladly teach every mean-spirited and cruel bully in this arena a lesson right here and now. But alas… I will have to settle for the man who has wronged you, Hayes Hanlon! Mr. Hanlon, on behalf of the fine, upstanding, and courageous men in the front row, I implore you… get out here.
Right on cue…
We Came as Romans.
It’s an especially uplifting bellow from the MGM faithful. The music hits especially hard, with real weight behind it. The intro crescendos, and the wall of white flashbulbs behind the entrance is blinding. And there it is; the silhouette of the Event Horizon, reaching to the stars against the light before the music slows.
Home Run Hayes emerges, this time looking more put-together. Hair slicked back. Mustache on point. Tights and boots on, and stepping to the top of the ramp, ready for the chorus to ring.
“I FALL INTO A BLACK HOLE IN MY HEEAAD!!!”
Hayes throws one arm in the air, and starts his march down the ramp, though it’s clear that the announcement from earlier is fresh in his mind, and plastered across the young man’s face.
Nick Stuart: Folks, ReVival 18 will remain a show seared into the memory of the Event Horizon. Earlier, Lindsay Troy called the former Five Star Champion out to this very ring to tell him that he. Home Run Hayes. The Event Horizon, and the ReVival era’s first crowned champion, would receive the honor of a Universal Title shot at Colossus.
Richard Parker: And Cancer Jiles had plenty to say about it, but nobody cares. But it’s a real interesting situation Nick. Hayes taking on Cancer at Colossus is fantastic in its own right, but if Nova wins later this evening and earns the Universal Title for the third time? Well, I’m not sure the rookie can handle the implications.
Meanwhile, Hayes has made his way to the ring, climbed to the second rope, turned 180 degrees to face the ring, and leaned back to point his chest to the sky.
“I FALL INTO A BLACK HOLE IN MY HEEAAD!!!”
Nick Stuart: It’s been a stellar year for Home Run Hayes. Enormous victories at Culture Shock to earn the Five Star Title. A massive upset over Cancer Jiles at ReVival 11. An awe inspiring victory over the Russian Bear at UltraViolence. And now, in the footsteps of his heroes. The Novas. The Brandon Youngbloods. Hayes Hanlon will see his dreams come true at Colossus with a shot at the grandest prize in wrestling.
Richard Parker: But first, Ned Reform, and I hope the kid doesn’t take him lightly.
As the music pounds through the crescendo, Hayes drops to the mat, and bounces from foot to foot, ready to go against the Philosopher King.
Ned Reform: STOP! STOP THIS INFERNAL RACKET!
The music bursts to a stop and Ned sneers jubilantly as the crowd rains boos down upon him.
Ned Reform: I am here tonight as an emissary, nay the esteemed representative of these fine gentlemen which have drawn the proverbial short straw in life.
The men from the SDDL look up and pound on the railing in support.
Ned Reform: Allow my intellect to be the hand which beats Hayes Hanlon furiously in your name! Allow my mind to be the burgeoning hammer that strikes fear into the hearts of your enemies! Gentlemen, I appeal to you, allow my genius to be your phallus! Let me…
Jimmy Turnbull has had enough of this shameless pandering to the SDDL and calls for the bell. Hanlon sees the ref’s hand motion and immediately charges at Reform, not waiting for the toll. Ned drops the microphone with an audible thud across the arena and rolls out of the ring leaving a frustrated Hanlon inside. Ned taps his head smugly while the crowd jeers.
Nick Stuart: Well this is a putrescent start to this contest.
Richard Parker: I don’t know what that word means, but I can assume it means you are supporting the brave gentlemen in the front row as they stand up against terrible scrutiny.
Hayes sits down on the second row and holds it open, motioning for Dr. Reform to step back inside the ring. Ned rolls his eyes and walks to the other side of the ring. He cautiously steps on the apron and through the ropes. As he does Hayes charges at him again and he runs away, causing the mustachioed warrior to give chase.
Ned pulls up limp and grabs his hamstring. He hobbles and turns, holding up a hand of mercy to the fired up Hayes Hanlon. Hayes, being the all around decent guy he is, stops and looks to Jimmy Turnbull to help Ned out. When he does, Reform reaches up with the hand he was holding his hamstring with and pokes Hayes in the eye.
Nick Stuart: What a dirty trick by Ned Reform! I believe that will earn a stern rebuke from referee Jimmy Turnbull!
Richard Parker: For what? Are we going to oppress creative use of offense now, too?
Nick Stuart: Creative use of offense? He poked Hayes Hanlon in the eye! If I poked you in the eye would you say the same thing?
Richard Parker: That depends, did the ref see it?
Nick Stuart: Really? That’s the line for you?
Back in the ring, Hayes is nursing a tender eye that is weeping. Ned looks pleased with himself and begins to circle around Hayes’ blind side. He begins to pepper Hayes with shots that draw a rebuke from Jimmy Turnbull regarding the use of a closed fist. Ned grabs Hayes’ arm and turns it painfully, followed by snapping it quickly to damage the shoulder socket.
Hayes grimaces as Ned reform wrings his arm once again. Hanlon drops to a knee, and as he does, Ned Reform inexplicably drops his arm and rolls out of the ring to parade around tapping his head. The SDDL pounds on the barrier and shouts unintelligibly “rah bah bah bah bah!”
Nick Stuart: Interesting…strategy being employed by Ned Reform. I can’t say that I have seen someone give up a dominant position to gloat, especially not on Hayes Hanlon.
Richard Parker: It isn’t gloating, Nick, he is giving these brave men and women hope.
Nick Stuart: and… women?
Richard Parker: Yes, Nick, we don’t judge or label in the Parker household.
Nick Stuart: That’s actually quite progressive of you, partner.
Richard Parker: I am a refined gentleman, Nick. You wouldn’t understand.
Hanlon wrings out his shoulder and rolls out of the ring to give chase to The Warrior Poet. Ned runs like a frightened cat away from the Selleckian author of pain and rolls himself back into the ring. Hanlon follows, and catches Reform before he can run away again, to the delight of the crowd.
Hayes pulls up his fist, and delivers a series of blows, rocking Ned with each one before stopping and winding up his arm like Popeye for the last blow. The Good Doctor shakes the cobwebs and sees what is about to happen. He drops to his knees and uncorks a low blow into Hanlon’s lower mustache. The Hammerin’ One falls over backwards and Jimmy Turnbull is all over Ned Reform, backing him into a corner and chastising him for the use of a low blow.
Nick Stuart: A cowardly, yet effective use of force!
Richard Parker: He is paying Hanlon back for his own cowardice, attacking these heroic victims in the front row.
Nick Stuart: Your framing of rhetoric rivals Ivan Stanislav, Richard.
Richard Parker: I could never hope to attain Praporschik Stanislav’s level of argumentative proficiency.
Ned Reform moves aside the ref and steps to the prone form of Hayes. He poses with his arms extended as the boo’s rain down. He taps his head as if to suggest, once again, that he is smarter than everyone in the crowd and he snaps down, dropping an elbow into Hayes’ sternum. Hanlon rolls and bucks on the ground from the impact.
Nick Stuart: Finally some offense from Ned Reform that isn’t under-handed.
Richard Parker: He calls that The Thinking Man’s Elbow Drop!
Ned follows up quickly by sliding into position and grasping a side headlock as Hayes is on his hands and knees. Hanlon reaches up, splaying his fingers in the air showing his pain. Dr. Reform wrings his arm, squeezing like a constrictor. He starts to circle around with his legs, pulling Hayes with him until he is directly in front of the SDDL men, to make a grand show of his dominance.
Brad, Chad, Thad, Shad, and Tad support their champion and pound on the barrier once again.
Nick Stuart: Ned Reform is getting quite a reaction out of these men with his performance.
Richard Parker: Of course he is! He is their white knuckled fist, he is their pounding drum, their climactic explosion!
Nick Stuart: Those are all just loosely camouflaged innuendos.
Hayes starts to shake his hands and psych himself up even as The Mental Giant wrings his biceps once again. Hanlon powers up and works his way back to his feet. He delivers one, two, three elbows to the solar plexus and then pushes Ned Reform off him, across the ring running.
Dr. Reform bounces off the ropes and as he runs back to Hanlon, he finds Hayes waiting to drop him outside the ring with a huge back body drop!
The Good Doctor lands in front of his entourage, and they reach down, pounding the barrier and shouting words of encouragement. This bolsters his resolve to stand up, tall and proud, even though he can only manage to make it halfway.
Nick Stuart: Ned Reform with a helping hand getting to his feet from the SDDL members. They stand behind their champion, that is for sure!
Richard Parker: It is like they said in the *other* Good Book: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Nick Stuart: Are you suggesting Ned Reform is akin to God himself? And somehow making a juvenile joke at the same time?
Richard Parker: No, but Ned Reform is an inspiration to these men, similar to how Hoyt Williams is an inspiration to us all.
Richard thinks about it for a bit.
Richard Parker: I think what I am trying to say is that if Hoyt were here right now, his radiance would inspire these brave men. They would hold him aloft as the spiritual representative of their league and he would tell them they do not have to hang their heads in shame. As long as they have Hoyt in their life, they will rise above all others.
Nick Stuart: That’s a long way to go to somehow link Ned Reform, the SDDL, and Hoyt Williams, Richard.
Richard Parker: I can’t help that I miss him. Look at the lawlessness that has transpired in his absence!
Hanlon waits for Reform to get to his feet and back into the ring. Ned steps forward, and holds up a hand, then drops to his knees and begs forgiveness for his transgressions. He pleads with Hayes’ and the youth looks back and forth. The riotous crowd cheers for him to pour it on, but being the ever loving good guy, he abstains.
Ned takes the opportunity to try for yet another low blow, but this time Hayes Hanlon is ready for him and catches his fist like it is a routine pop-fly! Hayes twists his opponent’s hand and delivers a knee strike that drops Ned Reform to the mat.
Nick Stuart: Hanlon with great intuition! Looks like Ned went to the well one too many times!
As Ned is struggling to clear his thoughts, Hayes steps back and starts pawing at the ground with his feet. He tugs on imaginary batting gloves and adjusts the velcro strap. He steps back and swings the “bat” a couple times before tapping it on the ground to knock the weighted ring off. He points to the SDDL, calling his shot!
As Hanlon crouches into a batters stance, Dr. Reform stumbles to his feet and toward Hammerin’ Hayes. The Mustached warrior kips his front leg up and steps forward, twisting his body and delivering a strike through the legs, hips, torso, and finally with the “sweet spot” of the ash wood that is made of his two fists in a double axe-handle to the jaw.
Ned Reform goes down like Alex Jones in a courtroom and Hayes drops outside the ring. He takes a victory lap around the ring, pumping his fist like Kirk Gibson in front of the SDDL. They boo him and pound on the barrier, jeering as he taunts them. Finally, he stomps his foot on the last corner as though he is scoring a home run.
Nick Stuart: That’s The Walk-Off!
Richard Parker: What a shameless display of classlessness, taunting these maligned men as they watch their champion laying flaccid in the ring.
Nick Stuart: Hanlon is back in the ring going for the cover!
Hanlon hooks the leg and Jimmy Turnbull slides into position.
Hanlon can’t believe it! Ned Reforms leg has reached the bottom rope!
Richard Parker: That’s what you get for your shameful pandering!
Nick Stuart: I wouldn’t get too crazy with thinking there will be a comeback, partner. I think Hanlon has had about enough of Dr. Reform and is setting up for The Epoch.
Indeed, Hayes lifts Reform and whips him into the ropes, on the rebound, he pops him up into the air, then spins in a 180 sitout choke bomb. The showman, choosing to just get the job done over flash this time, hooks Ned’s leg (careful to stay away from the ropes this time!), and waits for the count. Jimmy Turnbull is right there with speed and precision that would make Head Referee, Timo Bolamba, proud.
DING DING DING!
Vince Howard: And here is your winner, HAAAAAAAAAAAYEEEES HAAAAAAANLOOOOOOOON!
Hayes slides out of the ring and holds up his index finger to the crowd. He makes his way back up the ramp as the fans cheer.
Nick Stuart: Hayes Hanlon, victorious tonight and on his way to a Universal Championship opportunity at Colossus! It doesn’t get much better for this young man!
Richard Parker: He still doesn’t need to be a jerk to these men in the front row as they face their demons.
Nick Stuart: Something tells me they will be just fine, Richard.
Richard Parker: You would say that! You don’t know what it’s like Nick. You’ll never know.
Nick Stuart: Thank Hoyt for that, Richard.
Richard’s worries turn to a beaming smile as his compatriot nods to him, cheering him up by momentarily giving in to Hoyt. ReVival rolls on as the show proceeds to the next scheduled segment.