PLEASE WELCOME THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE RED ARMY
Red lights in the arena.
A loud orchestral chord.
Yes, it’s The Red Army. As “The Soviet National Anthem” explodes through the arena sound system and the lights adjust appropriately.
Nick Stuart: Not that I subscribe to Think Red, but Alexei Ruslan did mention a new member of The Red Army.
Richard Parker: Is it you, Nick? It’s you, isn’t it?
Nick Stuart: Don’t hold your breath.
Alexei Ruslan grins wide with the Masters of the Moscowverse flanking him. Ruslan lifts his hands into the air and waves to the crowd, as if immune to the boos and instead hears nothing but cheers. The trio then turn and motion to the backstage area as the lumbering Russian Bear, Ivan Stanislav, emerges and the boos only intensify.
Still, the four members of The Red Army make the most of it. They wave to the crowd. Alexei waves to a red faced fan who shoots him the double bird. Stanislav lets out a guffaw as he points down at another group of fans who give him a thumbs down. He responds to them by wiping sweat from his brow and flicking it in their faces.
Together, they all climb into the ring, with Ruslan producing a microphone from his brown overcoat. With Stanislav standing in the middle, the Masters to his left and right, and Ruslan in front of him, Alexei speaks.
Alexei Ruslan: Helloooooo Cleveland!!!
Alexei Ruslan: I expect no less from you all. My, you have not changed since the twenty-odd years we have been here! But, there is no reason to dilly-dally, is there! I promised you all a grand announcement, did I not?
Stanislav nods his head and grins.
Alexei Ruslan: We have a new member of The Red Army! If I can direct your attention to PRIMEView! And while I would like to introduce her myself, please, why don’t you do the honors, Comrade!
There is a dimming of the lights, a setting of the ambiance. The camerawork fading in upon the PRIMEView is cinematic in its approach. The soft chop of a helicopter. A look down upon tall trees and a gray, rain misting overcast. In bold letters, words fill the bottom of the screen.
The Pacific Northwestern United States
So many trees, some with leaves shifting in color. Is fall truly so closely upon us? From the scene, we are greeted by the soft tones of a woman, seasoned with a hint of rasp.
???: It’s a simple life. At first, you don’t understand how you can give up so much of yourself. Who you are. What you are. But the community needs you. Everyone plays their role. So many people think of collectivism in this way like a machine. Some big, bad, red machine. But it’s not that at all.
The scene descends upon a clearing of simple canvas and wooden yurts. There are no cars. Just simple structures and equipment.
???: It’s not a machine because it’s not made. Call it what you will. Communism…socialism…it makes no difference. It’s just natural. Nature itself. Call it red…
Groups of people in simple woolen clothing, made by themselves. The camera glides past them, their muddy and dusty faces blending together, all before focusing upon one singular individual. A woman with pin straight brown locks, the fringes a mixture of red and gray streaks. Her features as so familiar, tickling the periphery, a sort of dawning of identity to those deep in the know. Most have no knowledge of who she is. Of how important this moment is for the Red Army.
The words that follow remove all doubt.
???: My name is Lindsay Youngblood…and I think it’s beautiful…
The voice of Nick Stuart breaks through.
Nick Stuart: Wait…what the…are you telling me…
Richard Parker: Brandon Youngblood’s own family has abandoned him!
Alexei Ruslan can’t help but beam in pride. Of all the wonderful ways he has been able to further the message and importance of his cause, this one is a masterstroke. The fans are booing heavily, a mere cherry atop the sundae. They don’t understand the full breadth.
How deep he had to tunnel.
How far he had to go.
Brandon Youngblood thought he was made of stone?
Say hello to your baby sister, Tower of Babble. The one who, after the fall of the house of Youngblood, ran the gamut of breakdown, to homelessness, to substance abuse…to living in nature itself with the rest of a commune in Oregon. He hadn’t heard from her in years.
Yet here she was, before the entire world, ready to swear allegiance to Ivan Stanislav and his life’s work.
Lindsay Youngblood: When I was approached by Alexei Ruslan…
The tones of her speech shift ever so slightly. A seam presenting in ‘truth’.
Lindsay Youngblood: I felt so strongly that I had no choice, no alternative…
The camera catches shots of her, working, splitting wood, collecting animal skins, tanning hides. Never do we see her lips moving.
Lindsay Youngblood: It’s not about professional wrestling. It’s about looking at the world for what it is. My brother…my supposed brother…when I needed him most…he abandoned me…
Following the seam. Realize that despite no spared expense, certain technology hasn’t exactly completely become peerless.
Lindsay Youngblood: The death of our mother…he abandoned me. But in the time since, over the course of a year, I have gotten to know the heart of Alexei Ruslan. And most importantly, I have gotten to know the heart of my true brother, someone who isn’t a coward…who wouldn’t have left me in poverty and to fend for myself in the street. Someone who would have nurtured when I thought every night might be my last. My real brother. Ivan Stanis–
BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD
SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE
LET THE GALAXY BURN
Bloodsport (World Domination) by HEALTH is playing catch up.
The Universal Champion is in a dead sprint to the ring.
Alexei drops his microphone. Kenny Freeman instinctively backs away. Randall Schwartz is..well…Randall. The only one who seems to truly understand what is coming is the readying Ivan Stanislav, who is making no secret of his intent to strike Youngblood down the moment he can.
The Diamond slides under the bottom rope and into the ring, getting to his feet and making a beeline directly for Stanislav. Murderous intent finds the Russian Bear in the form of a hellaciously heavy elbow. The blow connects, and where most shots wouldn’t stagger the massive form of Ivan, this one, catching him in the jaw, forces him to take a step back, for his eyes to close and water.
Youngblood takes the opportunity to throw a volley of punches, closed fisted punches right to the head of Stanislav. Like hitting granite. The Diamond doesn’t care. These blows only serve to wake up The Inevitable, a forceful shove sending Youngblood to his back. He doesn’t stay down long, rolling back up to his feet, launching himself back in the direction of the challenger of the Universal Championship, and this time, it’s unstoppable force meeting immovable object.
Nick Stuart: These two are going to tear each other apart!
LET THEM FIGHT!
LET THEM FIGHT!
LET THEM FIGHT!
The Cleveland crowd is making this noise because the Red Army is interjecting. Ivan throws his own heavy blows, but as he does, Kenny Freeman and Randall Schwartz try to grab at the Tower of Babel. Alexei isn’t getting involved, instead cheering on his men.
Richard Parker: This isn’t a comedy duo holding you, Brandon, it’s the Red Army! And they have a cause they can believe in, that they’ve pledged themselves to–
Youngblood somehow manages to wiggle free of their slimy grasps, hurling himself, throwing elbows, fists, anything and everything. Stanislav nearly folds him with a headbutt, or so it would seem. As fucked up as it may seem, these two men, so different, have the same mind. They both launch with their heads, connecting with violent force.
Both men fall to the canvas.
Heads split wide open.
Nick Stuart: OH MY WORD!
The fall sends everyone in the vicinity backward. Universal Champion and challenger stagger to a knee, a glassing over of eyes. Whatever they hit each other with, it rattles something loose. The verbal attacks, the gymnastics, all of it…it falls away. This is who they are. What they are beneath it all. Two weapons of war, sharpened through decades, on a collision course.
And despite their boastful words…neither man knows who will win.
It’s fear of this unknown that pushes them forward, having to know. Angry at feeling such things. They must hurt each other. Must make the other know true pain. The rest of the world melts away. It’s Ivan and it’s Brandon. Attacking each other. A double leg. A mount and powerful blows from elbows and fists. Brandon has the advantage to start, but quickly, Ivan, impressively, despite age, despite size, is quick with his hips, powering through, working to get his own mount. Such a sight is the thing of nightmares. The power he wields. Anvils coming down at their target.
A few miss.
Most would think it’s to defend Brandon, who might well die right here, right now. Except…one of those missing shots becomes a chance to grab hold of a guillotine choke, and there is no hesitation. Full force. Youngblood’s face is a mess. Blood. Swelling. Yet through it, we see his eyes, wild, threatening, pulsing, as he clamps the hold.
There is no escape. A bear trap. A damn bear trap!
Ruslan is helpless!
Schwartz kicks at the head of Youngblood to save the Russian Bear, and he does.
His reward, as the two heavies find a moment of space?
Cleanly jerked and tossed overhead with a belly to belly suplex.
Kenny Freeman is next, another belly to belly.
Ivan isn’t having it. He crashes into the raging Diamond with a lariat that is more body and forearm. We see now that Stanislav’s face isn’t just thinking red…it’s bathing in it. Incensed. He roars. He’s going to Iron Curtain this bastard into paste! And just as he’s about to lift him, another headbutt. And another. Ivan won’t be undone! He smashes heads with Youngblood himself.
The Enemigos flock from the back, making a beeline to the ring, trying to tackle both men. To bring order. Blood soaked and wanting to tear each other limb from limb, Diamond and Bear treat them as mere hurdles. Charging forward. Throwing wild, errant blows at one another.
The Enemigos are overmatched.
Arena security floods the ring, filling it. The Enemigos at least can make an attempt to stop this onslaught. The Rocket Mortgage Arena crew? They’re getting tossed to and fro like ragdolls. Suplexes. Chokeslams. Treated like complete sacks of shit.
Get the fuck out of the way…the two most feared men in all of professional wrestling have fighting to do.
Dametreyus is on the ramp, making his way to the ring. And by his side? In street clothes?
The Enemigos finally make some headway, the Champion and The Inevitable seeming to tire enough from rage overdrive to be handleable. They aren’t. A sudden burst has the two colliding again, roaring, yelling at each other.
It is only when Dam and Wade get in there, seeming to command full damn legions, that separation happens.
Ivan tries to pull free, but a tangle of limbs, so many hands, prevents him. As does the massive form of Dam.
Across the ring, the same visual can be seen, except it’s Wade playing the pivotal role.
There is barely a single bit of the ring uncovered. Sweat, blood, unbridled rage.
Nick Stuart: SOMEBODY GET SOME DAMN CONTROL OF THESE TWO!
You think, Nick? You really think?
The scene fades. The only reason the show doesn’t continue with these two trying to go at each other? Because of the sheer amount of bodies utilized to pull them away.
Want to see more?
Lindsay Troy doesn’t want you to see any more. She doesn’t like this one bit. Doesn’t like the idea of two of her biggest draws trying to give each other concussions. Doesn’t like the scene that unfolded with arena security being absolutely shitcanned.
Doesn’t like the very notion that, when Brandon Youngblood and Ivan Stanislav come to blows in a few weeks, there might not be enough bodies to stop them from tearing each other apart and destroying everything with them.
If only there was a way to fix that.