KENNY FREEMAN VS. HAYES HANLON
We return to ringside at the Greensboro Coliseum to the sounds of the trap remix of the Soviet National Anthem, heralding the arrival of the Masters of the Moscowverse. But the Masters are not alone this evening, because there is a colossus walking out behind them. Said colossus, who casts a mighty shadow over the whole of PRIME and who carries its Universal championship, is Ivan Stanislav.
You guys, there are so many boos.
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, this is a second round match in the Seymour Almasy Memorial Tournament! Entering the ring first… being accompanied to the ring by the PRIME Universal Champion, Ivan Stanislav! Hailing from Los Angeles, California! Representing the RED ARMY! KENNNNNNNYYYYY FREEEEEEMAAAAAAANNNNNNNN!!!!!!
More boos as Freeman rolls into the ring and raises his arms into the air. Ivan, meanwhile, walks around the ring until he sets his eyes on the commentary table.
Nick Stuart: Uh, Ivan is heading our way.
Richard Parker: Well, you’d better be on your best behavior, then. And definitely don’t say anything too disagreeable!
As Ivan takes a seat on a chair not exactly built to his specifications, Kenny Freeman’s opponent makes his presence known.
“WHEN MY BACK’S TO THE WALL!”
Turns out, Ivan Stanislav is not the only unpopular guy around these days, because even when the PA system is drowned out by the eardrum bludgeoning that is We Came As Romans’ “Daggers”, you can still hear boos for the Event Horizon.
Hayes Hanlon, the former Universal Champion, has arrived.
And he’s not alone.
Joining him at ringside are none other than Joe Fontaine and Sid Phillips, the Glue Man Group. The man of many nicknames and the man who calls himself “Smooth Joe Cool” saunter down to the ring behind Hanlon, who doesn’t seem to mind his company as much as he probably should. Instead, Hammerin’ Hanlon marches down to the ring with an intensity and a purpose.
Vince Howard: His opponent… from West Linn, Oregon! He weighs in at two hundred and sixty-five pounds! THE EVENT HORIZON! HAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYESSS HAAAAAAANLOOOOOOOOONNNN!!!!!!!!
The new crown jewel of the Glueminati – okay, there’s a few crown jewels in that illustrious crown – hops up onto the ring apron and steps through the ropes. He heads for a turnbuckle and, when the song hits its chorus again, he makes the throat-slashing gesture. He moves to another corner and does the same thing.
Ivan Stanislav: Now I get to show you “commentators” how we commentate in Russia, eh? And first thing is you do not try to interrupt me. You can hear by this crowd they finally see how much of charlatan Hayes Hanlon always has been? I did enjoy smashing him to pieces at Tropical Turmoil.
With Hanlon in the ring, ready to get going, referee Elvis Nixon calls for the bell.
Kenny Freeman immediately comes running after Hayes Hanlon and hammering on him with right hands. Hanlon reacts to them in much the same way that an iron golem would react to the devastating attacks of a gnat, standing there and taking it with little reaction.
Undaunted, Kenny keeps swinging until Hanlon buries a knee into Freeman’s gut that doubles him over and sends him sprawling to the ground.
As this is happening, though, there’s activity at the commentary booth.
Richard Parker: Oh no. No, no, no! No!
Joe Fontaine: Hey, Richie, good buddy, good pal! Thought you could use some cool and brilliant company on this fine evening!
The camera cuts to Joe Fontaine, who has taken a seat next to Richard Parker and has an arm around his shoulder like they’re the bestest friends in the whole world. Which they aren’t.
Richard Parker: I’m in hell. This is hell, and I’m in it.
Ivan Stanislav: As if this evening could not get any worse…
In the ring, the Thresher of Hooves is taking his time throwing the much smaller Freeman around the ring like a sack of potatoes. You know, potatoes you’re not planning to boil, mash, or stick in a stew. A beal throw sends Freeman rolling into the opposite corner, and then Hanlon charges him. Freeman ducks out of the way, but Hanlon stops himself from running into the turnbuckles.
This time, Freeman doesn’t go for the right hands. He stuns Hanlon with an enzuigiri, and that allows him time to run into the ropes for an attempt at a step-up hurricanrana. Hanlon, however, holds on and leaves Freeman hanging upside-down.
Hanlon doesn’t go for the powerbomb. Instead, he just flings Freeman to the ground without care in the world, with little technique required.
Joe Fontaine: Yay!
Nick Stuart: Kenny Freeman is having a tough time out there. He’s yet to figure out how to handle the size difference between himself and his opponent.
Richard Parker: Tee el, semicolon, dee are: He needs to find a version of himself in the multiverse that has a bazooka.
Joe Fontaine: Or one that knows karate. Like Hokuto Shinken. Oh, oh… or maybe the Monster Calamity God Slayer Fist, that one’s pretty good. You could fight the whole S-Class with that. Honestly, there’s actually a lot of different forms of karate, it’s good stuff.
Richard Parker: Yeah, but those are martial arts meant to kill people, and this is a respectable sporting competition. I mean, we don’t want Hayes Hanlon to declare that Kenny Freeman is already dead before he explodes messily. Think of the cleanup!
Joe Fontaine: You’re right, buddy. Maybe Fishman Karate?
Richard Parker: Oh, I think you’re on to something!
Nick Stuart: I have no idea what either of you are talking about.
Ivan Stanislav: I am loathe to admit this, Nick Stuart, but I agree with you…
Back in the ring, Hayes Hanlon had been pounding away at Freeman. He sends Freeman into the ropes and lands his massive, tilting Samoan Drop that drives all of the air out of Freeman’s lungs. Hanlon slides into a lackadaisical cover, and smirks as he counts the three along with the referee.
That’s when Kenny Freeman suddenly springs to life with a crucifix pin.
It only gets two, but Hanlon is rattled by this and he goes to throw Freeman around some more. He hoists him up bodily for a powerbomb, barely even getting set for it, much to the excitement of one Sidney Phillips, the man of many powerbomb-related nicknames. Unfortunately, Sid’s excitement for the actions of Hanlon are premature, as Kenny suddenly and swiftly rips himself backwards and takes Hanlon down with a hurricanrana!
Ivan Stanislav: Well done Comrade Kenny! I taught him this move, called HurricanRussia, in Russia!
Hanlon ends up in the corner, but before he could get his bearings, Freeman manages to hit him with a running dropkick that takes Freeman himself over the top rope and out onto the apron, where he lands on his feet. A leg trip puts Hanlon on his ass in the corner, and then Freeman slingshots himself over the top rope and into a dropkick on the seated former champion!
Freeman grabbed Hanlon by the boot and pulled him from the corner with all of his might. A cover and a two count, but the smaller Freeman had Hanlon on the ropes. Not literally. Oh, wait, now it’s literal, because Freeman makes a point to try and tie Hanlon up in the ropes. This gets a lot of admonishment from Elvis Nixon, but Hanlon’s arms end up tied up in the ropes.
Joe Fontaine: Hey, uh… that’s not cool.
Ivan Stanislav: DYAAHAAHAA!!
With Hanlon trapped in the ropes, Freeman tees up and lands a few right hands to Hammerin’ Hanlon’s face. Then he runs the ropes and hits him with a hard dropkick, the kind where Freeman almost pierces through Hanlon entirely. It’s shockingly vicious from a wrestler like Kenny Freeman, but it’s effective. It also frees Hanlon from his predicament, and allows Freeman to make the cover.
Ivan Stanislav: What is this with these slow counts?!
Nick Stuart: That’s his normal cadence, Ivan.
Ivan Stanislav: *growls* Then his normal cadence is slow, Stuart…
Freeman knows that he needs to do more to keep Hayes Hanlon and his mustache down. Especially the mustache. He steps out onto the ring apron and climbs to the top rope, waiting for Hanlon to get to his feet. When he does, he launches off with a big missile dropkick that… doesn’t knock Hanlon down. Not right away. No, Hanlon is knocked wobbly, and teeters for a few seconds on spaghetti legs. He holds his hand up, finger extended, like he’s trying to make a salient point against the concept of gravity.
Then he goes straight and rigid and slowly falls to his back with a large thud.
Freeman unhesitatingly flies on top of him for another attempt at a pin.
Nick Stuart: Freeman almost had him, but again Hanlon kicks out!
Joe Fontaine: Yeah, it’s gonna take more than that to keep ‘ol Hayes down. I mean, Sid and I have been doing a lot of image training with Hayes to make sure he was ready for this tournament, you know. And, y’know, actual training. But mostly image training. Gotta make sure that mustache is pristine.
Ivan Stanislav: Image training? For record, 10 out of 10 Russians voted that my mustache was better than Hayes Hanlon’s!
Joe Fontaine: Nah, that’s more of a full beard thing you’ve got going on when you think about it. The mustache isn’t really what stands out in that bird’s nest.
Ivan Stanislav: Bird’s nest?! I have had facial hair longer than you have been alive you little…
Back in the ring, Freeman knows he needs to do more to put Hanlon away, but knows he’s not weak enough for the Freeman Special that got him past Darin Zion on the last show. So, he goes to the well again, and heads up to the top rope.
This time, though, Hanlon recovers quick enough that he’s able to knock Freeman off of his perch, crotching him on the top rope. A lot of sympathy pain goes out among the male members of the Greensboro crowd while Hanlon pauses to get his bearings again. Then Hanlon climbs up to the second rope to join Freeman. With a mighty heave, Hanlon flings Freeman across the ring with a huge belly-to-belly superplex!
Ivan Stanislav: Этого сукиного сына надо дисквалифицировать! (This son of a bitch should be disqualified!)
Joe Fontaine: Ahhshakatomonyomtoomofackenfolisamakallimakabrutananadilewski! (My hovercraft is full of eels!)
Hanlon smirks for the crowd as he gets up after landing the big throw, basking in their jeers. With a contemptuous motion, he throws his arms out to the side and slowly begins reaching for the sky. Everyone in the building knows what the Event Horizon is looking for now. It’s the move that’d brought him such success in PRIME. The Epoch.
Once Freeman staggers to his feet, Hanlon tosses him into the ropes.
But Kenny Freeman is a survivor. He grabs the ropes they could send him to certain doom, and kicks up his feet to hit Hanlon when he tries to press the issue. This kick causes Freeman to flip over the top ropes and land on his feet at the apron. Then Freeman surges between the ropes, looking for…
…an early grave.
Nick Stuart: WHAT A KNEE FROM HANLON!
Ivan Stanislav rips the headset off from his head, irate at Hanlon’s luck. The former Universal Champion, who remains the only two blemishes on Stanislav’s record since his return, only smirks at him. Ivan stands to go to the ring to address the issue, but Sid Phillips stands between him and the ring.
And sure, Ivan could maybe swat aside even the Powerbombenheimer himself as easily as he could part an iron curtain.
But that doesn’t matter.
All Sid needs to do is be in Ivan’s way.
Richard Parker: This doesn’t look good for Kenny.
Joe Fontaine: No, I’d say it’s the opposite of good, which is… well. Bye, Kenny.
Freeman gets launched into the ropes by Hanlon, and this time, there is no saving him from…
Nick Stuart: THE EPOCH!
Hanlon grabs Kenny’s legs and holds him down after landing the Epoch.
Ivan has yeeted Sid out of the way…
…but by the time he turns to get a hand on the second ropes, Kenny Freeman’s already cooked.
DING DING DING
Ivan Stanislav freezes as the result is rendered. There’s a bitter disappointment in those eyes.
Hanlon slides out of the ring to join Sid Phillips, half-lying and half-sitting against the guardrail after the aforementioned yeeting, and he’s smiling over notching another victory over the hated Red Army.
Vince Howard: The winner of this match, and moving on to the quarterfinals… HAAAAAYYYYYYESSSSSS HAAAAANLOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNN!!!
Joe Fontaine: Gentlemen, it’s been a pleasure, but we out. Glues, away!
Joe literally leaps out of his chair and away from commentary – and doubly away from Ivan – making his way towards Hanlon and Phillips. The three Glueminati members celebrate the victory with their arms linked and raised.
Richard Parker: This is a disaster for my good friend, Ivan Stanislav!
Nick Stuart: Kenny Freeman definitely brought it tonight, but Hayes Hanlon is one of the most decorated wrestlers in this era of PRIME and he reminded everyone of that tonight!
Ivan checks on Kenny as the Glueminati make their way out of dodge, and ReVival 38 moves on!