HOME IS A MONSTER’S LAIR
Event: ReVival 23
Event Date: 02/24/2023
HOME IS A MONSTER’S LAIR
We barely have time to transition to ringside before we hear a bass guitar rumbling. A large section of the crowd already knows who’s coming and pops, standing up and cheering. Perhaps not everyone would recognize the opening of this song, since the person using it hasn’t been on PRIME TV in nearly half a year.
But this is New Orleans. This is Rhine country.
This is his home.
“Piece by Piece” by Strata picks up as Jonathan Rhine wheels himself through the curtain. He looks down suddenly, but there is no hiding it, even as he raises a hand to his face. Jonathan Rhine is crying. He looks out at the crowd, the smile never wavering, even as he has to continually wipe his face. After a few moments, he picks up the microphone in his lap.
Jonathan Rhine: I didn’t get to do this in the last PRIME run, so let’s see if I still got it.
He raises the microphone high, tilts his head back, and screams as loud as he can.
Jonathan Rhine: NEEEEEEEWWWWWW OOOOOOOORLEEEEEEAAAAAAANNNNNSSSS!
Nick Stuart: Rhine used to do this in every city during his SCCW run.
Richard Parker: I’ve remarked on how cheesy and cheap it is in the past, but tonight…it just feels right.
Rhine beams as he takes in the response.
Jonathan Rhine: I don’t think I have to tell y’all how good it feels to be here. To be in my home city, my favorite city, the place where I was born and raised. But y’all know me. Y’all know I’m always here. So what makes tonight so different? Because this is here.
He points up at the PRIME logo, and the fans cheer louder.
Jonathan Rhine: I competed in PRIME the first go-round. But it never felt like my promotion. I came up in FUSE. In SCCW. Those were the places I made my mark, the places I won titles, the reason anyone knew who The New Life was. But I flirted with PRIME a little bit. I ran deep in the Dual Halo, I got an Intense Title shot, I won that title. I started to feel like it was mine.
He looks up at the logo again wiping his face.
Jonathan Rhine: But it was this run. This 2022 ReVival. That really cemented it for me. Competing in Tag Team Survivor, making the finals. Becoming friends with Jared Sykes again…
Jonathan Rhine: Just watching what Lindsay Troy has done here. It makes me proud to be here. Not just here in New Orleans, my home, but here in PRIME…my…home. And that makes me so…
He wipes his tears again.
Jonathan Rhine: Listen, I promised myself I wouldn’t do this. Wouldn’t address the cajun elephant in the room. But I’m here at home, so I may as well get comfortable. I love this place, so when I hear that piece of shit Paxton Ray talk bad about it, it pisses me off!
The fans explode. Rhine begins to wheel his wheelchair to the other end of the ramp.
Jonathan Rhine: He hates PRIME? Well I love it! PRIME is the place where true heroes fight. Where guys like Nate Colton can prove he’s one of the best wrestlers in the world despite only having a year of experience. Where stalwarts like Brandon Youngblood, Nova, and Coral Avalon can guide the way while also proving they are still on top of this business. Where men like The Anglo Luchador and Jared Sykes refuse to back down, no matter who is in their way.
Nick Stuart: The fans are eating this up, Richard. Jonathan Rhine is showing the same fire he’s always had!
Jonathan Rhine: Are there issues? Sure, nothing is perfect. But no matter what happens, even when the path is hard to see, even at my lowest point…I still believed in PRIME. I still do today. Because PRIME is the home of heroes.
“Home’a idiots too, clearly…”
It takes Jonathan a few seconds to wheel his chair around to find the source of the interruption, though he doesn’t have to. He knows who it is.
The fans boo as Paxton Ray slowly walks onto the ramp.
Paxton Ray: Rah rah rah! That was so good I need to give it a standin’ ovation.
He mockingly claps as Jonathan grips the wheels on his chair.
Paxton Ray: So ya love PRIME, huh? Even after it put ya in that chair.
Jonathan Rhine: We all know who put me in this chair.
Paxton takes a few steps towards Jonathan, who slowly wheels himself backwards.
Paxton Ray: Yeah, we do. And yet ya still came here. Knowin’ who was wanderin’ these halls. Sorry t’tell ya, Jon, but this ain’t your home. This is the monster’s lair, and ya walked right in.
Paxton slams the microphone down and starts to move towards Rhine. The New Life wheels quickly around and tries to head down the ramp, the only place he can get to in time. And he almost gets there.
Paxton sends a body check into the wheelchair, causing Rhine to spill onto the floor. Rhine’s arms move desperately, trying to find something to latch onto. But there is nothing but smooth metal. Paxton stalks his prey, a smile on his face.
Paxton Ray: Heh…I guess I should say ya wheeled right in…
Paxton raises a large boot to bring down on his former partner…and the crowd pops as an arm reaches around the Bayou Butcher’s throat, yanking him back.
Nova wrenches back on his rear choke hold and leans his masked face in next to Ray’s with a growl.
Nova: …and I’m wheeling you out.
With one outstretched leg, Nova tips up the wheelchair before slamming Ray’s body down into it. Ray tries to twist around and grab at his captor, but he can’t quite orient himself before Nova charges forward with the wheelchair, tipping it up at the edge of the stage in a sea of flashbulbs as Paxton tumbles out of it and over the side of the stage, crashing into a mountain of equipment crates and lighting equipment.
The crowd moves to the fringes of the gated area, looking down into the abyss of black cloth, hard angles, and wire.
Nick Stuart: OH MY GOD!!! NOVA JUST SENT PAXTON RAY TO THE DEPTHS!!
Nova stands at the edge of the chair for a moment, staring down into the mess. Then he turns and pushes the chair over to Rhine, kneeling down to grab him by the arm and help hoist him back into his seat.
The crowd roars as Nova grabs the discarded mic off the floor of the stage and turns to Rhine.
Nova pauses for a moment, soaking in the moment with Rhine before lifting the mic to his mouth.
Nova: You’re right, Jon…PRIME is the home of heroes.
Nova gestures out at the crowd, who continue cheering them on. Rhine takes in the moment as well, his eyes panning around the arena before looking back to Nova.
The Risen Star’s grin is visible under his mask.
Nova: Welcome home.
The crowd pops again as Nova walks over and raises Rhine’s arm in the air with his free hand. PRIME staff can be seen combing the wreckage next to the stage as the cameras cut to backstage.