Leaving behind the Dangerous Mix moments before their opportunity to become the PRIME Tag Team Champions, we return to ringside, where Angelica Brooks, dressed as stylish as ever, stands with a microphone in hand.
Angelica Brooks: Welcome back to ReVival, brought to you live on Ace Network as well as PWATv. Still to come, the PRIME Tag Team Championships will be on the line as David Fox and Mushigihara of the Dangerous Mix look to end the unprecedented 239 reign of Jared Sykes and Justine Calvin.
A loud cheer from the New Orleans fans. Given what has transpired in the last few months, perhaps Jared Sykes is something of an adopted son.
Angelica Brooks: But first…I would like to introduce to you my guest at this time. Usually, we have a more candid conversation on The Undergroundcast, but this week, by his request, we are going to be doing the segment live and in the ring. Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention, by…
She can’t help but sigh.
Angelica Brooks: Do you experience stress? Or have anxiety…or chronic pain…or have trouble sleeping at least once a week? You’re NOT alone. Feals is a better way to feel better. Their premium CBD will keep your head clear and help you feel your best. Feals is Premium CBD delivered directly to your doorstep. Become a member today by going to feals.com/underground and you’ll get 15 percent off your first order…
A sudden shift from her monotone.
Angelica Brooks: With FREEEEEEEEEEEEE shipping!
BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD
SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE
LET THE GALAXY BURN
From the very start of Bloodsport (World Domination) by HEALTH, Brandon Youngblood surges from the curtain and into the well of sound filling the Smoothie Center. Through the blinding blue and white strobing light cutting through the darkness, the Tower of Babel powerwalks, his eyes trained forward, his hallmark scowl of intensity painting his face. Perhaps he is in need of using the promo code. His attire is of note; a white tracksuit with a trio of stripes down the side (black on the outside, PRIME blue on the inside) and the Youngblood Diamond logo on the upper right breast, as well as a pair of wrestling shoes. There is no hesitation in his movement, and without a second thought, he climbs the ring steps, stepping between the ropes, and as he does, he explodes upright. The chyron banner displays his name, while the kicker states “This Look Soon To Debut, from K2 Sports”. Walking over to Brocks, the music and the roar of the fans continues, causing the Diamond of the ReVival to flash a quick smirk. Hands on his hips, he draws close to Angie as his music fades. The cheers continue on for several more seconds, chanting his name before, finally, all that is left is a buzz. Finally, Angelica begins to speak.
Angelica Brooks: Interesting duds.
Brandon Youngblood: Enjoying your ‘premium’ CBD products?
The shiteating grin shared between the two just goes to show the relationship the pair share. She playfully elbows him, telling him to stop it, before composing herself and continuing.
Angelica Brooks: Brandon, on ReVival 23, you came to the ring and laid out some heavy sentiments. About your performances to round out last year. About your original intentions with your battle with FLAMBERGE. About how you plan on moving forward. Which is to say nothing about the challenge levied to you by Matt Ward…by Tchu…
Just saying the Wrecking Ball’s name gets the fans roaring in approval. The Tower of Babel is nonplussed.
Angelica Brooks: So everything felt rather…comprehensive. So I have to ask…what more is there to say? Why did you…want to do this segment in the ring rather than on the Undergroundcast?
After a few moments, Brandon draws the microphone, held by Angie, to his lips.
Brandon Youngblood: NEW ORLEANS!
Brandon Youngblood: Diamonds are forever…
He unzips his jacket before pointing to his chest.
Brandon Youngblood: And so is Jonathan Rhine!
The shirt is unmistakable. Fighting For Jonathan. The Diamond of the ReVival nods his head, and raises his arms, goading them to keep going.
FIGHT FOR JON!
FIGHT FOR JON!
FIGHT FOR JON!
He only continues when the calm down…a process that takes a healthy amount of time.
Brandon Youngblood: I’m gonna be quick. You’re right Angie…last ReVival…I said a lot. A hell of a lot. But I want to make something clear. We’re on the road to Culture Shock. Last year, it was all about the Almasy Invitation. 32 Wrestlers. One goal. The Universal Championship. And when the smoke cleared…when it was all said and done…one man stood above the rest. One man rewrote his legacy and finally…finally…DAMN FINALLY…became Universal Champion!
He turns to face them.
Brandon Youngblood: You’re damn right!
Another raucous cheer powers through the Smoothie Center.
Brandon Youngblood: But that’s not the focus this year. PRIME has been ReVived. Bigger. Better than ever. The best promotion in all of professional wrestling. On the road again. But even still…even still…that doesn’t mean there’s unfinished business. I take everything I have one at a time. Opponents, the challenges, I’m not looking past them…not looking past anyone. But I want to make it clear…there’s one thing I haven’t done that is on the bucket list. One challenge I need to make right.
His eyes seem to light up.
Brandon Youngblood: In the past, Culture Shock meant one thing; the Dual Halo. The biggest battle royal in sports. One against all. One match…one night…and if you could conquer it…if you could conquer everyone else…you could punch your Golden Ticket. Now I’ve beaten Universal Champions. Hall of Famers. GTT winners. I’ve won the Almasy and the Jewel in the Crown. But I never got my Halo…
He stands back straight, looking to Angie before continuing.
Brandon Youngblood: 2005…I came close. But Karina Wolfenden…the K-Wolf…she punched her ticket and took the momentum to become the forerunner for female competitors in PRIME. And then…there was 2010. Down to the wire. Down to the damn wire. So close. Only for Vangelus Olsig to Spiked my dreams and cap his career. Damn near runner up twice. And it’s gone. Sold for scrap. But in it’s place?
A wicked smirk.
Brandon Youngblood: Mike McGee is spouting off that he can kick everyone on the roster’s ass at once. The Anglo Luchador says he will fight anyone, anywhere. Coral Avalon is looking for his crown. Every person in PRIME…hell…people we don’t even know about…they’re going to go to Dallas Texas on April 8th…and it won’t be in a Halo. No…it’ll be something bigger. Better. Stripped away of the insanity of moving doors. To be the best…to make your claim…you have to beat EVERYONE before you. The Culture Shock Battle Royal.
Brandon Youngblood: And know this…this one isn’t about dreams or wishes. Everyone will enter that ring with one goal in mind. But to get there? You have to go through me. Because at AT&T Stadium…there’s only one who can tower over the rest. Which leads me to my next issue…something more immediate. See…last ReVival…I addressed the elephant in my room. The challenge thrown my way by Matt Ward. And I figured Angie…I figured I’d have heard something. But all I got was silence. Nothing on social media. No Kaiser Vashaun getting dropped on his head to send me a message. And me? I’m impatient. I ain’t wrestling tonight…and Ward…hold on a sec…
As Youngblood trails off, he reaches into his pocket, fishing out something. And when he pulls what he is looking for out? He displays it for all to see.
Nick Stuart: Is that…what I think it is?
Richard Parker: Red Bull. A can of Red Bull. Sugar free.
Cracking it open, he slugs it down, all before crushing the can in his hand and casually tossing it out of the ring.
Brandon Youngblood: Now that I got my wings…hey Tchu…I know you’re back there…how about I put you on the damn spot? How’s about you get your orange ass out here, NOW!
The New Orleans fans explode. Not one to hide, the Inhuman Being emerges from behind the curtain, but he does so with none of the usual spectacle. No lighting package, no music, just a man… on a crutch.
At a less-than-stellar pace, Ward makes his way toward the ring.
Nick Stuart: We know Ward has struggled with bad knees throughout his career, and at our last ReVival, we saw that left knee betray him in his match against Sage Pontiff. The fallout doesn’t look good for the Hall of Famer.
The Inhuman Being limps up the steps and into ring, wasting no time in requesting a microphone. Once in hand, though, he’s not nearly as quick to formally address The Tower of Babel. The two Hall of Famers lock eyes, center of the ring, as the buzz of the crowd begins to churn thru the arena.
Richard Parker: You can feel the tension in that ring
Nick Stuart: There’s a helluva lot of accolades standing in the center of the ring. Over a half-dozen PRIME singles titles, multiple tournament victories, PPV main events.
Richard Parker: Helluva lot of animosity too, for some reason.
Neither man blinking or budging, barely even breathing, The Inhuman Being raises his mic.
Matt Ward: Good to finally get some face time together, Brandon.
The Diamond of the ReVival doesn’t offer much of a response.
Matt Ward: I listened really closely couple weeks ago when you stood in the center of this ring and… graciously… accepted my rather informal challenge. I listened as you insinuated that I saw you as nothing more than a speedbump on my route for a fourth Universal Championship. I dunno if you were paying attention later that night, but my journey is already off the rails.
For a moment, The Inhuman Being turns back toward the entrance way and the backstage and offers up a simple nod of the head.
Matt Ward: Hats off to ya, Sage.
Tchu turns back to the Tower of Babel and continues on.
Matt Ward: Brandon, I was the EVP of Talent. Coulda more or less written my own contract when I decided to come back. It is no accident, no coincidence, no ‘speed bump’ to keep me entertained along the way. I made it clear when I decided to lace the boots back up, that it would be Ward Vs Younglood. And there’s some very specific reasons as to why.
Brandon Youngblood: I’m listening.
Matt Ward: You and I were around back in the ReVolution days, back when I burst onto the scene, won the Jewel in the Crown, won the Universal title and pretty much immediately established myself as the man to beat in PRIME. But you and me, our paths never really crossed. Reason that was… I was the marquee while you were holding down the mid-card. While you were winning, an admittedly impressive, three 5-Star Championships, I was winning one… two… three Universal Championships. I was aware of your talents, but ya never just seemed to get over that hump and come and join me in the main event.
Nick Stuart: I’m not sure Youngblood is taking too kindly to all of what he’s hearing.
Matt Ward: And then I retired. Went about my life. A decade went by when one day, Lindsay Troy contacted me and presented me an opportunity. PRIME was coming back and there was a spot waiting for me if I wanted it. I declined and she offered the EVP role, which I accepted. Stay retired, but stay a part of something I loved. Seemed like the perfect compromise. We started talking about talent, and I was a Brandon Youngblood guy. I was on cloud nine when I heard you would be a part of the ReVival and I hoped I’d get a chance to finally see you ascend that mountain. And I did.
For the first time, since he’s started talking, The Inhuman Being takes his eyes off of Youngblood, or, more specifically, he closes them as he slowly draws in a couple of deep breaths, as if trying to calm himself.
Matt Ward: And you came back and burst onto the scene, won the Almasy Invitational, won the Universal title and pretty much immediately established yourself as the man to beat in PRIME and…
Ward opens his eyes and stares a directly at Youngblood
Matt Ward: It ate fucking hole in my stomach. Everything I had done a decade and change earlier, you were checking all the same boxes. And it reminded me of when I was King, when I was the man. There is no debating… I’m on the Mount Rushmore of PRIME. The only question is whether or not I’m the absolute greatest of all time. Right now, there’s only one individual you can even muster a worthwhile argument to hold a candle to me, and she’s signing checks these days. But here you are, trying to forge a path towards my status.
Richard Parker: Well this is starting to make sense.
Angelica has ceded the microphone to Youngblood, having stepped out of the ring. Lord knows wrestling has taught her that such interactions are fraught with violence, and she will have no part in getting in the crossfire. The space between Youngblood and Ward isn’t great, but it closes even further. There is a seething intensity permeating through the Diamond as he begins to speak.
Brandon Youngblood: You want to talk about eating a hole in your gut, Matt?
The question is rhetorical. Tchu doesn’t flinch.
Brandon Youngblood: You’re right. On PRIME’s Mount Rushmore, you earned your spot. Chiseled it for sure. And if you want to talk about being the best ever here? Well, that’s something for people to debate about. But your history lesson to me needs a little clearing up…because you’re rolling over some very important context, and since finally…FINALLY…our paths are crossing…I’m going to let you…and all the fans in on it.
Brandon Youngblood: You’re right. You did win the Jewel in the Crown. 2005. King of Kings. You want to talk about a marquee? It wasn’t you headlining. It was me. Brandon Youngblood versus Hoyt Williams for the Universal Championship. Staples Center. I remember it. Do you? While you were busy smashing Karina Wolfenden…while you were beating up the woman I love in the Finals in Amy Campbell…I was getting ready. Biggest match of my life. And like I had been doing here recently, I was looking past it. Looking past Hoyt Williams. He was a speedbump, Matt. That night, in Los Angeles…it was going to be my night…crowned champion of PRIME. Most people thought it was a guarantee. I sure did.
Brandon Youngblood: And then I lost, Matt. Because my eyes were too big for my stomach. Because in the weeks and months leading up, I was more interested in doping up and getting high and being the worst version of myself. And I lost. But not just that. You won the Jewel in the Crown. Fresh from the ether. And the ball was in your court. I didn’t get a chance at a rebound.
Brandon Youngblood: I was fired.
Brandon Youngblood: So that marquee, you earned that. You won the Universal Championship. You started piecing together the legacy you have. And I was stuck on the outside looking in. In Global Championship Wrestling. On the Frontier. Not caring. Knowing…knowing…KNOWING…that I was wrestling in second rate companies…in less than a year…I came into PRIME and was one of its pillars. But then, I was tossed away…a piece of shit…butt end of the jokes for Chet Worth and Angelo Deville while they nearly shit this entire company out of business. And I would be on the outside looking in…wanting back…fiending for it. You ever gone through withdrawal, Matt? It’s Hell. But eventually, you string out enough hours, enough days…you detox…you feel human again.
Brandon Youngblood: Try living that for over a year! And when you watch…when you look in on the home that tossed you out like a piece of shit…you see someone near your same size. Your same build. Using your moves. And watching them have the run of dominance that you felt in your bones was yours. And there’s nothing you can do about it. That hole you feel? I lived it. And it did a damn good job of healing up. Until the Orange Came Around…
Brandon Youngblood: And now you’re here…and the only way to plug that hole is to prove it in the ring. You think I’m following in your footsteps. I think you took the legacy I was on my way to forge. So what do you say? How about we stop thinking and feeling and get down to fighting and answering.
The Wrecking Ball finally responds.
Matt Ward: My knee is wrecked, and to be completely honest with ya,I’m not sure I’m gonna be medically cleared in time…but I don’t really give a damn. Mark it on the calendar at Culture Shock, Brandon.
Matt Ward: There was never any reason for me to come back for anything less than the Wrestler of the Year, than the guy who has been the measuring stick. If I can’t go toe-to-toe with the best, then I’ll tuck my tail and re-retire, but I couldn’t sit on the sidelines and let this go.
The Inhuman Being takes a step closer, erasing what little distance stood between the two titans of the industry. Nose to nose they stand as the crowd roars.
Matt Ward: You may not have intended it, you may never have said as much, but when you came back and you finally climbed that mountain top, you came for my crown and I’ll be damned if I was gonna sit behind a desk, a passive pathetic observer, and just let that happen. Beat me at Culture Shock and you can join the conversation for the greatest to every step foot in a PRIME ring. Is it Troy? Is it Tchu? Youngblood? I beat you… and no one ever needs to wonder about it again.
The scowl from Youngblood is as emphatic as his response.
Brandon Youngblood: See you in Dallas…and on Mount Rushmore.
And with that, the battle lines are drawn. Ward v. Youngblood. Culture Shock.
Will Jerryworld even be standing after they are through?