INTENSE TITLE BARBED WIRE ROPES MATCH: THE ANGLO LUCHADOR (c) vs. PAXTON RAY
For reasons that should be very obvious, Vince Howard is not standing in the ring.
Vince Howard: The following contest is scheduled for one fall, and is a barbed-wire ropes match for the Intense Championship! Introducing first…
“They say it’s good to start a story with a tragedy.”
The chunky guitar riff of “Fistfight” by The Ballroom Thieves kicks in as Paxton Ray walks out under the PRIMEView. He sneers as the fans boo, then slowly holds his hand up in the air.
The day I finally met you like I knew I would
You raised me from the wreck of my doubts
You were smiling to yourself as if we both understood
The silent language of the anguish of a heart that sings but doesn’t make a sound
Paxton slowly walks towards the ring, looking around as the crowd rains hate down upon him. He steps up to the apron and steps over the ring ropes, then leans back against them and closes his eyes.
Vince Howard: Making his way to the ring, weighing in at 245 pounds…he is The Bayou Butcher…PAAAAAXTOOOOONNNN RAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY!
The crowd is quick to let the challenger know what they think of him, especially in light of what just transpired backstage with Nova.
Nick Stuart: Paxton Ray is quickly making a name for himself in violent matches, and tonight should be no different, Richard.
Richard Parker: We all saw what he did at Colossus. The man carved up a ring, and came damn close to committing some actual crimes inside that ring. Tonight is going to be no different, and if I had my way we wouldn’t have to watch it.
Vince Howard: And his opponent…
The arena darkens. The first dabs of the organ intro to “Oye Como Va” by Santana fill the arena as purple and green lights strobe while the telltale mask of the Anglo Luchador rotate on the PRIMEview behind. Smoke begins to waft across the entryway as the instrumental beginning of the song swells into its big climax. Right before the lyrics sound, The Anglo Luchador appears from the back, looking out at the crowd. He exhales and bows his head before he takes his final stride towards the ring.
Vince Howard: Weighing in tonight at 211 pounds and hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania…
The belt is surrendered to the referee.
Vince Howard: The ANGLOOOOOOOOO LUUUUUUUUUUUUUCHADOR!
Nick Stuart: Here comes the champion! I would love to know what’s going through the Anglo Luchador’s mind right now, Richard.
Richard Parker: Look, I know I can get down on the old man from time to time…
Nick Stuart: Time to time?
Richard Parker: But tonight I am firmly in the Anglo Luchador’s corner. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget what we all saw at UltraViolence, or in the months that followed. Paxton Ray deserves everything that’s coming to him tonight, and I am putting all my faith in this man to deliver a little bit of hardcore justice.
Elvis Nixon takes the Intense Championship in hands covered by black latex gloves and holds it high for the crowd to see before handing it off to the timekeeper.
And if the referee assigned to tonight’s main event looks like he would rather be anywhere else, there is a very good reason for that: he would.
Nick Stuart: Our main event is underway, and fans I just want to take this opportunity to say that if you have small children in the room…
Richard Parker: Call social services on yourself.
Nick Stuart: …now would be a good time to put them to bed, give them a book to read, anything other than let them watch what’s about to unfold here.
Richard Parker: Because letting them watch this is basically child abuse.
Nick Stuart: I don’t know if I’d go that far, Richard.
Richard Parker: Are you forgetting what happened at Colossus? The chain? The gator teeth? And now Paxton goddamn Ray is in a ring whose ropes are covered in barbed wire. How do you think this is ending?
Nick doesn’t answer, but his silence speaks volumes.
Inside the ring, the two men circle. Behind his mask, the face of the Anglo Luchador is resolute. Across from him, Paxton Ray stands with his arms wide and his smile wider, gesturing to the makeshift fence that encircles them both. A cup of soda explodes against his shoulder. He pays it no mind.
Nick Stuart: Part of me hopes that this is how it stays, but that wire… god, there’s so much of it.
Remember this moment, Nick. It will not last.
The Anglo Luchador makes the first move, coming in fast and low to hit the legs of his taller, lankier opponent. He moves for a double-leg, trying to get his body underneath Paxton Ray to drive him back into the wire that threatens them both. The problem is that Paxton came up in the mud pits. He learned to fight on slick, unsure footing. The Bayou Butcher shifts his position and prevents the Old Luchador from exerting his will, and then a rabbit punch forces the Intense Champion to break his grip. An elbow to the back of the neck follows. Then another. Strike after strike pistons down at the base of the Luchador’s neck. Not to hurt, not yet. This is to send a message. Any harder and you never walk again, luch’.
The Son of the Shogun didn’t get this far by wilting. Another elbow is dodged, and he pivots behind Ray. Using his lower center of gravity, he forces Paxton forward towards the corner, where the buckles are covered in the same barbed wire mesh as the rest of the ropes. Paxton tries to resist, but the force behind him is too strong, there’s too much will behind it. He extends his leg outwards, bracing it against the buckle before he’s cruelly introduced to the cutting barbs, and shoves backwards sending both men to the canvas.
Richard Parker: Every time they get close I can feel my heartrate start to rise. It’s like I’m running a goddamn marathon here.
Nick Stuart: Fortunately we’ve got a team of doctors here at ringside to take care of any injuries that might be suffered tonight, Richard. That might include you and I.
Richard Parker: Oh. Great. Because that’s totally something that I had considered and definitely didn’t try to pretend won’t happen.
Inside the ring, Elvis Nixon has taken up a position about as far from both men as he can get without being stuck in the wire himself.
The two men quickly sprawl back to their feet, but given his lucha training it’s the Intense Champion who’s there first. He doesn’t waste any time with strikes; he knows he’s not going to win a boxing match against a man whose reach exceeds his own. Instead, a low dropkick connects with the challenger, staggering Paxton just enough for the Anglo Luchador to pull the man to his feet and try to whip him into the ropes.
The Butcher reverses, but the Anglo Luchador isn’t about to be caught like that. He lets his legs go out from under him, sliding along the mat to a stop before quickly pivoting back to his feet. A snarling Paxton stalks over, but a second low dropkick puts him on the mat chest-first.
Nick Stuart: Neither man looking to be the first to get caught in that unforgiving barbed wire, and I honestly can’t blame them.
Richard Parker: I mean, you’re right. And I hate that I’m about to say this, but I think that means I agree with Paxton Ray. About this. About only this. Also that cancer sucks. So literally just those two things and nothing else.
Nick Stuart: That’s quite the…
Richard Parker: Fuck that guy forever.
As Paxton scrambles to regain his base, the Anglo Luchador goes back to his initial strategy, only this time he’s successful in getting Paxton off his feet. It’s a crude maneuver, more a glorified shove than an actual wrestling hold, but the champion succeeds in getting Paxton up onto his shoulder and drives him back into the corner buckles.
A rabid snort escapes the lips of Paxton Ray as his back is penetrated by dozens of steel barbs. They tear into his flesh, ripping through the fabric of his tank top and immediately staining the white a deep crimson.
Richard Parker: Hell yes!
Nick Stuart: I don’t want to play favorites here, but…
Richard Parker: I do! Now hit him again! Harder this time. Until he dies.
Nick Stuart: Richard, I don’t know if…
Richard Parker: I know what I said!
The Anglo Luchador takes a few steps back, but his eyes never leave his opponent. He charges forward, looking to crush Paxton between his body and the unforgiving bite of the barbed wire, but the Bayou Butcher moves at the last minute. He pulls himself out of the corner, leaving small chunks of flesh behind to drip from the jagged steel. The Anglo Luchador can’t stop himself in time. Physics, unfortunately, don’t work that way. He crashes into the buckle chest-first, tasting the same bitter barbs as his opponent did only moments ago.
Paxton doesn’t give him a moment to recover. Immediately the big southerner is on him, landing clubbing blows into the upper back of the Anglo Luchador that continue to drive his chest harder against the barbs. After a series of shots Paxton steps back, and when the Luchador pulls away from the buckle he’s grabbed by the mask and pulled towards the ropes.
Nick Stuart: Dear lord, I can’t believe what I’m seeing. Paxton Ray, he… he’s…
Richard Parker: Trying to make sure that the Anglo Luchador doesn’t see anything ever.
With both hands Paxton forces the Luchador’s face towards the ropes, pushing his eyes closer and closer to the barbs. Blood flows freely from the wounds on the Intense Champion’s chest, falling in drops to the canvas like crimson rain.
Nick Stuart: I understand that the rules to this match are what they are, but this is… I don’t know what this is.
Richard Parker: Probably for the best if we didn’t try to psychoanalyze a man who paralyzed his partner, Nick. This is the same guy who ended Jonathan Rhine’s career. He took out a hall of famer and PRIME stalwart in Nova just minutes before this match!
Nick Stuart: And if he gets his way, he’ll claim the Anglo Luchador’s sight.
The Luchador braces his hands against the ropes, cold steel biting into his palms. He locks his arms and tries to fight against the malevolent forcing shoving him closer to blindness before lashing out with a mule kick that catches Paxton just above the knee. It’s enough to put the bigger man down, but only for a moment.
The Bayou Butcher rises and lunges forward, but his target has already ducked behind him. A quick dragon suplex – so far the only proper wrestling hold in this match – spikes Paxton Ray on the back of his neck.
The velocity of the move sends Paxton rolling through it onto his knees, but before he can react an enzuigiri catches him just above the ear and puts him back on the ground.
Nick Stuart: And now we’re seeing some of that experience advantage come through. The Anglo Luchador is no stranger to the dangers a match like this creates, but that doesn’t mean the man can’t flat out go.
Richard Parker: Honestly, I think it’s a solid strategy. Both men can brawl. Both men understand the risks involved. But if the Anglo Luchador can use any of that technical knowledge, that could be the deciding factor.
The Anglo Luchador waits, biding his time. He knows that trying to pin Paxton now would do him no good, despite the damage the barbed wire has done. When Paxton makes it up to a vertical base yet again, the Luchador charges in and leaps looking for a hurricanrana to send his opponent sailing into the fence of torture that encloses the ring. Only Paxton doesn’t fall. Instead, he locks his grip and traps the Luchador in a powerbomb position before getting a running start and heaving him into the ropes.
The Luchador lands back first, the weight of his body dragging the length of his back along the mesh of steel spines that surround the ropes. Every barb digs into his skin, pulling and tearing, leaving behind dozens of trenches in the exposed flesh. Blood flows freely from the wounds now, spilling onto the canvas and the mats at ringside.
Richard Parker: Someone needs to end this. He already tried to blind the man, for Christ’s sake, and now this?!
Nick Stuart: Both men knew the risks going in, but that doesn’t make any of this easier to watch. It doesn’t make any of this right.
The Anglo Luchador pulls an arm away from the ropes, his skin puckering as the barbs are yanked away from his body. He gestures towards his opponent to bring it on. Paxton happily obliges. A running big boot from the Lafayette Bruiser sends the Anglo Luchador over the top rope and crashing to the arena floor. Where the Luchador had been nailed to the ropes, now the makeshift mesh that had been wrapped there hangs in loose strands. Paxton grabs these, and begins tearing them away from the ropes, leaving a section of the canvas now covered in blood-soaked wire.
Nick Stuart: …Jesus.
Richard Parker: He ain’t watching this, Nick. If he was, it would be going very differently.
Nick Stuart: What the hell is he doing?
The Bayou Butcher continues to pull at loose strands of wire, bringing more and more of it into the ring until the canvas looks like a Cenobite’s heaven.
As this happens, the Anglo Luchador has been fishing around under the ring for something. It’s only when he finds it does the rest of the crowd watching along realize what he was searching for.
Richard Parker: GOOD LORD!
A roll of barbed wire – the remnants left by the ring crew when they set up this slaughterhouse – is hurled into the ring. It blindsides Paxton, catching him hard in the chest and knocking him to the mat.
The mat he just spent the last few moments covering in loose barbed wire.
Nick Stuart: The Anglo Luchador is back in the ring!
Richard Parker: And he found a new toy!
The first chair shot slams into the ball of wire on Paxton’s chest, driving the spikes in deeper on both sides, as the big man finds himself sandwiched between two sets of barbs. One for Jon.
A second shot lands, and a spray of blood mists into the air. This one for Peach.
A third, for Sammy Broadway.
A fourth, for Zo.
A fifth, for Vinny.
For every poor soul who’s had the misfortune of crossing Paxton motherfucking Ray since he showed the world his true colors so many months ago.
The crowd is positively apoplectic at the sight of Paxton Ray receiving shot after shot from the chair, each blow driving the spines deeper into his flesh. There is no blood, not yet. The wounds are stuffed too tight with steel. And with the final blow, the back of the seat is blown out from the chair. All that the Anglo Luchador holds now is a frame, bent and broken.
Richard Parker: I don’t want to say that Paxton Ray deserved every single one of those shots, but I’m also not not going to say that.
Nick Stuart: The Anglo Luchador has just vented months of frustration and rage on his opponent!
And somehow, Paxton Ray is still moving.
The Anglo Luchador watches through a blood-soaked mask as his rival slowly pushes himself up onto his knees and pries the coil of wire from his torso. No sooner is it removed does a thick red fountain erupt from Paxton Ray’s chest.
Richard Parker: Oh god, I think I’m gonna throw up.
The Intense Champion closes the gap, but a left hand coiled in barbed wire is driven into the Luchador’s abdomen. Another follows.
Nick Stuart: Oh, what the hell is he doing here?
Richard Parker: Technically he has his manager’s license. I don’t think we can kick him out.
Foster Nackedy appears at the entryway, calmly making his way to ringside.
Nick Stuart: The Anglo Luchador staggering. It’s a miracle he can even keep his feet given the amount of blood he’s lost.
The champion turns, stumbling towards his opponent. It’s not a lot in the way of momentum, but it’s still enough.
Nick Stuart: Lafayette Lullaby!
Richard Parker: Son of a bitch.
Nick Stuart: There’s the cover! We could have a new champion!
Richard Parker: Don’t you put that evil on me!
Elvis Nixon drops to the mat. Every time his hand slaps the canvas, the black on his gloves gives way to a thick, ruddy crimson.
Blood seeps from both men, pooling around them.
Richard Parker: No no no no no
Richard Parker: Yes!
Nick Stuart: He did it! I don’t know how, but he did. The Anglo Luchador has kicked out!
Paxton roars as he rises to his feet. The Bayou Butcher storms to the corner of the ring and begins gathering the free pieces of barbed wire into a single, sinister coil. As Foster Nackedy watches on from ringside, Paxton closes the distance and begins wrapping the wire around the head of the Anglo Luchador in a crown of thorns.
Nick Stuart: What the hell is he thinking…
Richard Parker: Nothing good, that’s for goddamned sure.
The challenger pulls the champion to his feet, and picks him up over his shoulder. It’s a short walk to the corner, and there is no grace or care in the way that Paxton sits the Anglo Luchador onto a top turnbuckle still wrapped in spiked steel. There’s a collective groan from the crowd. More than a few men instinctively cross their legs.
Richard Parker: Nick, I never want to know what that feels like.
Nick Stuart: Paxton Ray getting the Anglo Luchador into… No. Oh no.
Richard Parker: You have got to be kidding me. He’s not actually going to do this, is he?
The challenger stands on the second rope. Despite the fact that the Anglo Luchador’s head is adorned in dangerous cutting barbs, Paxton Ray wraps his arm around it. With his free hand he grabs his opponent by the tights.
Richard Parker: If he hits that brainbuster here, now… with the wire…
Nick Stuart: Ladies and gentlemen, I understand that as a broadcaster for PRIME it’s my job to call the action as it happens. That said… please, if you’re watching this… turn off the television. End the stream. For the love of god turn off the…
The Bayou Butcher pulls the Anglo Luchador up, trying to get him vertical so that he can end this – and possibly his opponent – once and for all.
What happens instead, is that the Anglo Luchador kicks and flails as hard as he can, until Paxton Ray’s grip on his tights is loosened. The move that follows will never be taught in any wrestling schools, despite the fact that it may well be the one that saves the Anglo Luchador’s life. It’s not a slam, or a suplex, but rather a modified shove – one that Paxton is unable to avoid given that the two men are functionally sewn together by barbed wire at this point.
The challenger crashes to the canvas with the champion on top of him, barbs being violently forced into the soft flesh of his underarm. Skin and hair are torn away as the Luchador tries to roll free, but finds himself trapped in the same twisted netting as his opponent.
The screams of both men are heard throughout the arena, even without the aid of microphones.
After a moment, he manages to slither away, rolling towards the ropes to catch his breath. The crown of twisted wire still sits atop his head.
Nick Stuart: What the hell is Foster Nackedy doing?
Richard Parker: Is that… does he have a towel?
The once-mentor to Jonathan Rhine slides a single object into the ring mere inches from the Anglo Luchador. The Intense Champion looks down to see a single white towel within arms reach. Foster makes a gesture with his hands that gets the message across. You don’t have to stay in this hell. There’s an escape. Peach didn’t take it at the Belmont, but you can. All you have to do is throw it.
The Anglo Luchador looks at the cloth in his hand. Blood pours from gashes in his mask, on his chest, from his arms. With a trembling hand he raises the towel and wipes away some of the blood.
And then, he throws it as hard as he can in the face of Foster Nackedy.
Nick Stuart: The Anglo Luchador just told the world exactly who he is!
Behind him, Paxton Ray rises. His sinister grin reveals a row of white against the crimson mask that covers his face.
Richard Parker: Unfortunately I think that’s about to be a dead man, Nick.
The Luchador pushes himself to his feet, and turns towards his opponent.
The second Lafayette Lullaby is hard enough to knock free the crown of thorns from the Old Luchador’s head.
Once again, Elvis Nixon is down to make the count.
Nick Stuart: He survived the first one… he survived that attempted brainbuster…
Nick Stuart: Can the Anglo Luchador survive the second Lullaby?
No, not tonight.
DING DING DING
The jeers from the crowd are deafening. Paxton Ray rolls off of his opponent and rises to his feet as a storm of trash flies into the ring from all sides. Sodas. Beer cups. Food wrappers. They’re all turned into makeshift weapons by the Tampa Bay crowd.
Vince Howard: The winner of this match… and NEWWWWWWW Intense Champion…
He doesn’t get to finish the announcement. The ring crew charges past him, wasting no time in cutting away the barbed wire that surrounds the ropes so that the medical team can get into the ring unscathed. One group immediately moves to the Anglo Luchador to try and stop the bleeding. A second seems to be waiting for the all-clear before they approach Paxton Ray.
Richard Parker: Goddammit.
Nick Stuart: Fans… I don’t know what to say. The Anglo Luchador has had an amazing run as the Intense Champion here in PRIME, taking on every challenger put in front of him. It’s how he worked his way into the number one ranking within the promotion. But honestly, at this point, I think I speak for both of us when I say that we’re just hopeful that he’s going to be alright coming out of this.
Richard Parker: Goddammit!!
The last thing that we see before the screen fades is a shot of the ring, now covered in more blood than an abattoir, and Paxton Ray standing in the middle of the ring holding his new prize high for the world to see.