LOGAN JAMES VS. JARED SYKES
We’re back in the ring.
The sound of a heartbeat pulses through the sound system as the lights fade, and a single note rips through the arena. Deep, rumbling – guitars tuned so low that it crests on the bass register.
I’ll never be ready to meet a memory
With every rhythmic note the arena lights pulse white. The outline of a beating heart appears on the screen, and as the rapid-fire tapping lick kicks it it’s enveloped by a snarling dragon.
Vince Howard: From Boston, Massachusetts…
I’ve gone walkabout with the parasites in my head
The sound from the speakers is drowned out by the roar coming off the crowd as both Jared Sykes and Justine Calvin step through the curtain.
Vince Howard: Weighing in tonight at two-hundred and two pounds…
Far too quiet
As I pick away at the surface the itch burns through my skin
The pair make their way to ringside. Normally, Jared would either slide under the bottom rope, or vault up to the outer second rope in two swift steps. Tonight he walks a slow circle around the ring towards where Ivan Stanislav and Alexei Ruslan sit at ringside.
Vince Howard: JAREEEEEEEEEEEEED SYYYYYYYYYKES!!!
There is no love lost between Sykes and Stanislav. Months of escalating violence culminated at Tropical Turmoil, where the Russian Bear ended Jared’s championship hopes. Now he sits only feet away with the Universal Championship in his possession.
Stanislav and Ruslan don’t bother to stand or, in any way, physically change their current state as Sykes walks slowly around the ring. Ruslan tips his hat and Ivan smirks and lifts a huge paw, bellowing at Sykes.
Ivan Stanislav: Do not fail in -this- tournament, Sykes, and maybe I can beat you again! DYAAHAAHAA!!
The two Russians laugh uproariously while Ruslan pulls an empty chair next to him, pats the seat, and points at Calvin, who stands on the opposite side of the ring.
Richard Parker: Looks like we’ve already got tension between Ivan and Jared.
Nick Stuart: You’ve got to wonder how that’s going to affect Sykes’ mindset throughout this match!
Richard Parker: I’d hate to be Sykes right now, honestly. First, you got betrayed by a ‘friend’ at UltraViolence, then you just have a run-in with one of your least favorite people just a little bit before your match, and now you’ve got another one of your least favorite people sitting at ringside, watching you do your thing. That’s a lotta baggage.
It’s clear that the gears are turning inside Jared’s head, but this is not the day to renew hostilities. He slides in under the bottom rope, ready to begin, just as green lighting fills the arena and “Always” by Saliva begins to play over the PA.
Vince Howard: His opponent… from Livermore, Maine…
The crowd begins to cheer as Logan James walks out from behind the curtain.
Vicne Howard: Weighing two-hundred and fifty pounds… LOOOOOGAAAAAAAAAN JAAAAMES!
Logan James makes his way down the entrance ramp with a look of uncertainty on his face, looking towards Stanislav and Ruslan as he passes. He climbs up the step, the fans cheering turning his uncertainty into a wide smile.
Nick Stuart: Speaking of baggage, you’ve got to wonder what’s going through Logan James’ head right now.
Richard Parker: I mean, two losses in a row, back to back just like that? That’s got to make a man wonder if he’s still got the ‘oomph’. You don’t want to be caught fresh out of ‘oomph’, Nick. That’s how they killed Kennedy.
Nick Stuart: Stop it.
And just like that, the match begins. Jared Sykes and Logan James approach each other slowly, cautiously, meeting in the center of the ring. They don’t even try to shake hands. Instead, they’re sizing each other up, both men waiting for the other to make the first move. They circle each other, waiting and waiting until…
Nick Stuart: And Sykes throws the first punch!
Richard Parker: Too bad! It’s a whiff! Looks like Logan James might be one step ahead of him
James dodges out of the way just in the nick of time, Sykes’ fist grazing his cheek. James moves fast, quickly capitalizing on the opportunity. Sykes looks momentarily shell shocked as James goes for a grapple, using his size advantage to overpower Sykes. James lifts Sykes off his feet and… BACKBREAKER!
Nick Stuart: What a show of strength by Logan James!
Richard Parker: Oof! That’s gotta suck!
Nick Stuart: It looks like James is trying to end this one quickly! He’s going for a pin!
And Sykes kicks out!
Richard Parker: Hey Nick, how many times do you figure a backbreaker has actually finished a wrestling match?
Nick Stuart: Several times, I’m sure! But would you look at that?! Jared Sykes is back to his feet!
Sykes scrambles to his feet and puts distance between himself and Logan James, moving back to his corner with his arms on the ropes as he tries to catch his breath. Without missing a beat, James goes charging towards Sykes, but Sykes dodges out of the way!
James comes crashing against the turnbuckle with a loud THUD and Sykes grabs him from behind, nailing a picture perfect snap suplex.
Richard Parker: Blamo! You hate to see it, Nick. First the guy you’re trying to do wrestling things to decides to not let you do wrestling things to him and then he does wrestling things to you instead. The audacity.
Nick Stuart: It just goes to show how much both of these men want to move on to the next round of The Almasy Invitational! They’re both giving it all they’ve got out there!
With James down on the mat, Sykes takes a moment to catch his breath, shaking his head with both hands on his hips. As the PRIMEates cheer him on, Jared Sykes pulls Logan James to his feet. In a half-daze, James doesn’t even see what’s coming next until it’s too late.
Nick Stuart: LIGHTNING SPIRAL!
Richard Parker: And just like that, Logan James is back on the mat!
The fans erupt on impact. Among them, Ivan Stanislav and Alexei Ruslan are still in the front row, talking back and forth with one another; they both look thoroughly unimpressed, even at Sykes moves to make a pin. Ashley Barlow drops to the mat to make the count!
Nick Stuart: Another kickout!
Richard Parker: Hahaha! Sykes looks like he can’t believe it!
Jared Sykes throws up his hands in annoyance before he stands back up, once again reaching to pull his opponent to his feet, but Logan James is one step ahead this time. As he rises to his knees, Logan throws a hard jab at Sykes’ abdomen. Sykes doubles over as the breath gets knocked out of his lungs, James quickly standing the rest of the way to his feet. With Sykes doubled over, James wraps his head beneath his arm and drops him with a hard DDT!
Richard Parker: I think James might have just knocked Jared six ways from Sunday! Look at him! He’s out cold!
Nick Stuart: And Logan James isn’t done yet! He’s pulling Sykes back to his feet and it looks like he’s setting him up for the Pedigree!
The crowd watches in anticipation as Logan James sets Jared Sykes up for the Pedigree. Sykes, still groggy from the DDT, struggles to break free from James’ grasp. James gets a hold on Sykes arms, ready to drop him.
Nick Stuart: Logan James is going for the kill here, Richard! If he connects with the Pedigree, it could be all over for Jared Sykes!
Richard Parker: Sykes needs to find a way out of this, and fast!
But just when it seems like Logan James is about to execute the devastating maneuver, Jared Sykes summons every ounce of energy he has left. With a burst of determination, he manages to reverse James’ attempt at the Pedigree into a back body drop, sending James crashing to the mat!
The crowd erupts in cheers as Sykes seizes the opportunity to regain control of the match. Both wrestlers are now down on the mat, gasping for breath, but the momentum has shifted in Sykes’ favor.
Richard Parker: Unbelievable reversal by Jared Sykes! He just turned the tables on Logan James and saved his skin!
Nick Stuart: That’s the heart and resilience we’ve come to expect from Sykes, Richard. He’s not going down without a fight!
The PRIMEates in the audience are on their feet, roaring with excitement, as they witness Jared Sykes rising to his feet, determined to capitalize on his reversal. Sykes takes a deep breath, focusing all his energy on the task at hand. Meanwhile, Logan James begins to show signs of life, slowly pushing himself up from the canvas.
Nick Stuart: This match has been a rollercoaster of momentum swings, Richard! Jared Sykes is showing incredible resilience here.
Richard Parker: He’s doing that it takes to survive, Nick! That’s the name of the game!
With James just starting to rise to his feet, Sykes takes a few steps back, creating some distance between himself and his opponent. He surveys the situation, calculating his next move as the crowd’s excitement reaches a fever pitch.
With the crowd firmly behind him, Jared Sykes seizes the moment. He darts toward the ropes, using them for added momentum, and then rebounds back toward Logan James. Sykes launches himself into the air, going for a flying crossbody block.
Nick Stuart: Sykes is going for broke here, Richard!
Richard Parker: He’s soaring through the skies like a big bad bird!
Nick Stuart: …a big bad bird?
Richard Parker: They can’t all be zingers, Nick.
But Logan James is quick to react! Just as Sykes is about to collide with him, James catches him mid-air, showcasing his raw power. The entire arena holds its breath as Logan James effortlessly hoists Sykes onto his shoulder.
Nick Stuart: Incredible strength from Logan James! He caught Sykes in mid-flight!
Richard Parker: That’s some power right there, Nick!
James steadies himself for a moment, with Sykes struggling to break free. The tension in the arena reaches its peak, and then, with an explosive burst, James slams Sykes down to the mat with a thunderous spinebuster!
Nick Stuart: Spinebuster! That’s got to be it, Richard!
Richard Parker: Sykes might need a chiropractor after that one! Christ, I felt that impact all the way out here!
The crowd erupts with a mixture of shock and awe as Logan James goes for the cover, hooking Sykes’ leg.
But Sykes defiantly kicks out just in the nick of time, refusing to let the match slip away. The audience roars in approval.
Nick Stuart: Logan James can’t believe it!
Richard Parker: Neither can I! I could’ve sworn he broke Sykes’ back!
Logan James, undeterred by Sykes’ tenacity, rises to his feet, his eyes locked on his downed opponent. Sykes, though battered and bruised, starts to stir on the mat. The two men exchange determined glares, fully aware of what’s at stake.
The audience watches with bated breath, eager to see which warrior will seize control once again in this high-stakes encounter. In the front row, Ivan Stanislav leans forward in his seat, a big grin spreading across his face.
With a sudden burst of energy, Logan James makes his move. He charges at Sykes, attempting to go on the offensive. Sykes, however, reacts quickly, sidestepping James just in time. James crashes into the turnbuckle, his momentum carrying him into the corner with force.
Nick Stuart: Sykes with the evasion! James just crashed and burned in the corner!
Richard Parker: That’s the ring awareness of Jared Sykes, Nick! He saw it coming and avoided disaster!
With lightning speed, Sykes closes the gap and grabs James from behind, hooking him for him for his finisher.
Sykes lifts Logan James off his feet, positioning him for Omega 13. The crowd is on its feet.. It looks like Sykes has it in the bag… but just as Sykes gets James where he wants him, Logan James makes a desperate, last-ditch effort to counter! He uses his immense strength to shift his weight mid-move, causing Sykes to lose his grip.
Nick Stuart: James with a counter! He’s fighting to stay alive!
Richard Parker: Logan James is so slippery, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone rubbed butter all over him before the match. In fact, I’d almost guarantee it.
In a breathtaking display of power and determination, Logan James manages to break free from Sykes’ grasp. With Sykes momentarily off balance and unaware of, Logan James seizes the opportunity. He quickly grabs Sykes, hoisting him onto his shoulders in a fireman’s carry.
Nick Stuart: Logan James has Sykes on his shoulders!
Richard Parker: He’s treating Sykes like he doesn’t weigh a damn thing!
With a deep breath, Sykes still draped across his shoulders, James rushes forward before dropping Sykes.
Nick Stuart: DEATH VALLEY DRIVER!
Jared Sykes looks out cold on the mat as Logan James rises to his feet. He lays in a few kicks on the downed Sykes before he hoists him up, dazed in the center of the ring. James goes sprinting towards the ropes, bouncing off, and rushes back towards Sykes, flattening him with one hell of a clothesline.
The crowd watches in awe as Logan James showcases his dominance, lifting Sykes back up and delivering another devastating clothesline that sends Jared Sykes sprawling to the canvas. Sykes lies motionless in the center of the ring.
Nick Stuart: Logan James is absolutely relentless, Richard!
Richard Parker: That’s what hunger looks like, Nick! Well, sorta. James is a big guy. I bet he eats a lot.
The tension in the arena reaches its peak as Logan James appears poised to secure the victory. He ascends the nearest turnbuckle, slowly coming to a stand at the top rope. One deep breath and he dives off with a flying elbow!
However, just before he makes impact, Sykes musters the last bit of life he has left and rolls out of harm’s way, narrowly avoiding Logan James. The crowd erupts with excitement as James crashes and burns, clutching his arm in pain.
Nick Stuart: And just like that, the tides turn again!
Richard Parker: This match is making me seasick, Nick!
Seizing the opening he desperately needed, Jared Sykes quickly climbs to his feet. As Logan James rises, groggy from the missed move, Sykes seizes the moment and grabs James from behind, hoisting him up with all the strength he has left.
Nick Stuart: OMEGA 13!
Richard Parker: Good night, Logan James!
The crowd roars with anticipation and then explodes as Sykes successfully executes Omega 13, sending Logan James crashing to the mat. Ashley Barlow drops for the count.
DING DING DING
The bell rings and Jared Sykes stands victorious, but battered and bruised. Justine Calvin joins him in the ring as he leans back against the ropes for support, a triumphant smile spreading across his face as his eyes cross Ivan Stanislav in the front row.
Nick Stuart: And just like that, Jared Sykes advances to the next round of the Almasy Invitational!
As Sykes points towards Stanislav, we fade to commercial.