SAGE PONTIFF vs. DARIN ZION vs. TONY GAMBLE
We then return to the ringside area for our next match.
“You think I’m funny… Funny how?”
The unmistakable voice of Joe Pesci irritates the eardrums right before Metallica’s ‘Better Than You’ begins to blast through the PA System, the calling card of Tony ‘The Grin’ Gamble. He walks out at the same time the music kicks in, passing a quick arrogant glance toward the crowd before making his way toward the ring once the lyrics of the song kick in.
“I look at you, then you me
Hungry and thirsty are we
Holding the lion’s share
Holding the key
Holding me back ’cause I’m striving to be”
Footage from Revolution 94 when Gamble locked The Illustrious Face Eater into his ‘Smile For Me’ submission and won the Internet Title plays.
“Better than you
Better than you
Better than you
Better than you”
Tony takes his time walking up the ring steps, staring into the ring for a few seconds with his left hand on the top rope, before ducking between the top and middle rope to step into the ring. Footage from Revolution 106 plays, where Gamble slams Kenjiro Ito face first into the mat with his ‘Stop Laughing At Me’ signature move.
Vince Howard: From Las Vegas, Nevada! Weighing at at 187 pounds… TONY GAAAAAMBLE!
“Lock horns, I push and I strive
Some how I feel more alive
Bury the need for it
Bury the seed
Bury me deep when there’s no will to be”
Another clip shows, this one from the Great American Nightmare; where Tony Gamble became the Five Star Champion by pinning Chandler Tsonda.
“Better than you
Better than you
Better than you
Better than you”
Nick Stuart: This is going to be a tough test for Tony. Between personal issues and that attack from Anna Daniels earlier, it’s going to be an uphill climb.
Richard Parker: Maybe so. Don’t count him out, though. He’s a Hall of Famer for a reason!
“Satori Part II” by the Flower Travellin’ Band plays over the PA system as Sage Pontiff saunters out. His arms are outstretched, calling out to the crowd as he makes his way to the ring.
Vince Howard: From Joshua Tree, California! Weighing in at 201 pounds… SAAAAGE PONTIFF!
Nick Stuart: Can you hear what he’s saying, Rich?
Richard Parker: I don’t know, something about enlightenment or some such crap.
Nick Stuart: I thought you were a fan of Sage?
Richard Parker: Eh, he’s alright. But if you want real enlightenment, Hoyt is the man to talk to!
Sage casually slides under the ropes before sliding over to the corner. He begins engaging in a number of yoga poses while Tony Gamble shoots him some skeptical looks.
“Happy Song” by Bring Me the Horizon leaves the crowd less than happy as Darin Zion makes his way to the ring. Despite Zion’s pleas for cheers, the PRIMEates aren’t having it.
Vince Howard: From Chicago, Illinois! Weighing in at 225 pounds… DARIN ZIIIIIION!
Nick Stuart: Darin Zion is looking for love, but it seems like he’s having trouble finding it.
Richard Parker: It’s a shame, Nick. Everyone deserves a little love!
Nick Stuart: Maybe he should ask Brando-
Richard Parker: We don’t say that name around him, Nick!
Zion climbs into the ring, shaking his head in disappointment at his reception. With all three men in the ring, the bout can start.
The match starts and the three combatants circle each other. That doesn’t last long as Tony Gamble stops in his tracks. He holds up both of his hands, almost as a sign of a truce… before dropping to the mat and rolling out of the ring. On the outside, The Grin motions for Zion and Sage to go ahead and have at it.
Nick Stuart: Tony can’t actually think this is going to work?
Richard Parker: Why not? Maybe Sage owes Zion some money or something!
Nick Stuart: When would those two ever interact away from the ring?
Richard Parker: I guess you might have a point. Darin is probably more interested in hanging with the LOVE CONVOY. Sage, he’d probably rather hang out with… hippies? Flower children? I have no idea what to call his followers.
While that study in socially acceptable labeling goes on, Zion takes a step towards Sage. Pontiff takes his own step forward. There’s a different energy between these two… Zion’s is tense, frustration trying to seep out of every pore. Sage? Almost nothing but chill. He’s here to teach, not destroy. He puts his hands on Darin’s shoulders, a conversation going on between the two.
Nick Stuart: Seems like there might be an alliance being formed here. That’d be bad news for Tony Gamble.
Richard Parker: Oh, you think? Any other earth shattering revelations you want to share with us?
Nick Stuart: The one who gets the pin or submission will be the winner.
Richard Parker: Hey! I’m the smartass of this duo! Stop infringing on my territory!
Sage’s hands move wildly, the Bodhi animated in his talk with Darin. A nod comes from Zion and we seem to have an understanding. Darin steps towards Gamble’s direction… before turning around and clocking Sage with a hard right elbow! An alliance, dead moments after it was formed.
Pontiff stumbles back, catching his footing after a moment. While rubbing his jaw, a smile begins creeping across Sage’s face. He nods before taking a quick stride forward. Pontiff blasts Zion in the hamstring with a forceful kick, drawing a yelp and painted hop from Sweet D. Zion is quick to respond with a European uppercut, knocking Sage back again. They trade off, Zion with the euro uppercuts and Sage with leg targeted kicks. All the while, Tony Gamble smirks on the outside.
Nick Stuart: After taking that boot from Anna Daniels earlier, Tony Gamble has to be loving this start.
Richard Parker: Sit back and let the other two smack each other around. Gotta respect a thinking man. Especially one that might have a concussion!
Nick Stuart: He should get some advice from Foster.
Richard Parker: Wear a helmet. There, simple enough.
The strike standoff finally ends with Zion collapsing to one knee after another thigh kick. Sage takes a step back, his focus on Darin’s head, bad intentions clear. Pontiff takes a step forward, but before he can strike, Zion frantically waves his hands. The physical outburst is enough to distract Sage from whatever he had planned.
Zion emphatically starts pointing towards the outside. The reasoning becomes clear as Sage turns his head, looking in Tony Gamble’s direction. He turns back towards Zion, locking eyes with him. The two men nod, Sage again turning towards The Grin while Sweet D gingerly gets to his feet. The smirk Gamble had been wearing slowly fades.
Richard Parker: Uh oh…
Nick Stuart: Bad news for Tony Gamble!
Richard Parker: I know Tony probably hoped this would last a while longer, but it was bound to end eventually.
The Bodhi charges outside, leading Gamble to start running. The chase covers about half the ringside area before Tony slides into the ring for safety. Under normal circumstances, Gamble would probably pounce on Pontiff as he slid into the ring. He doesn’t get that opportunity on this occasion. Before he can do so, the Permascar Superstar is grabbed in a full nelson by Darin Zion, finding himself whipped backwards onto his head and shoulders with a Dragon Suplex!
Sage and Zion start putting the boots to the fallen Gamble. Zion pulls Tony up and locks in another full nelson. He motions with his head for Sage to hit the ropes with an attack. Pontiff nods in confirmation, taking off towards the ropes. Instead of a running attack though, Sage jumps to the top rope, flying back with a savate kick! Unfortunately for Zion, Gamble stomps hard on his foot, breaking the grip of the full nelson. By the time Sage comes flying back, Tony has dropped to canvas, leaving Zion to take the kick.
Nick Stuart: Well that double team backfired! At least for Darin Zion, anyway.
Richard Parker: Not a great way to show love, that’s for sure!
Sage looks down at the anguished Zion and gives a half-hearted shrug. As Tony tries to scramble to his feet, Pontiff pounces and grabs him around the waist. Showing surprising strength, Sage yanks Gamble up and over with a gutwrench suplex! Pontiff holds his grip and floats over, pulling Tony up again before flinging him over with another! Sage still holds on, floating over a third time and yet again, Gamble takes a gutwrenching ride!
It’s hard to tell whether The Grin wants to throw up or pass out. Maybe both? One thing is for sure… He’s not interested in taking another suplex. Tony panics and grabs for anything he can to stop the suplex onslaught. In his scramble, he lunges forward and grabs the middle turnbuckle, clinging for dear life. Sage plants himself and does his best to rip Gamble away from his temporary security.
Nick Stuart: I’m a bit surprised Tony Gamble even has enough wits about him to make such a move.
Richard Parker: I think it might be self preservation more than anything at this point, Nick.
Nick Stuart: Weren’t you just praising how smart Tony is?
Richard Parker: Yeah. You know what a smart person doesn’t like? Getting thrown around like a slab of beef in a butcher’s shop.
Sage gets a little ‘help’ when Zion gets up and grabs Pontiff around the waist. With both pulling, the turnbuckle pad is now compromised as it goes flying off. Also flying is Tony Gamble. And Sage Pontiff. Both men and the pad crash down with Zion the ultimate benefactor. Sweet D gets to his feet and walks over to Tony Gamble. He yanks The Grin up to his feet before putting him right back down with the Ban Hammer! Zion goes for the cover!
Nick Stuart: Zion has momentum going his way. That Discus Clothesline about took Gamble’s head off!
Richard Parker: Never underestimate the power of love, Nick!
With Gamble hurting, Zion goes to lock in the Red Rings of Death. Tony thrashes and fights, doing his best to stay on his back. Darin changes strategies, instead locking in a Dragon Sleeper. Gamble tries moving his body to relieve the pressure. When that doesn’t get far, Tony tries to move around to get a foot, an arm, whatever he can, onto the ropes.
Sage is now up again. He charges towards the ropes and sprinboards off with a flying forearm!… that Zion easily ducks. Pontiff crashes to the mat awkwardly. Darin releases Gamble from the Dragon Sleeper, planting a hard kick into Tony’s ribs.The Grin rolls out to the apron, clutching at the damaged area. Zion nods confidently as he makes his way over to Pontiff. He scoops Sage up off the mat by his hair. He gives a fist pump and a yell, bending down to grab Sage’s legs.
Nick Stuart: It looks like we’re going to see the 6th Star!
Richard Parker: Wait! Sage is fighting him off!
Indeed, Pontiff thrashes wildly as Zion attempts to lift him. Though Zion is a bit bulkier, Sage’s lanky frame makes it awkward for Darin to get him lifted for this signature move. It’s enough of a distraction for Tony to swoop in and send a desperation forearm into the back of Zion! He groans in pain, bending forward. Unfortunately, that leaves Darin in perfect position for The Bodhisattva of Transformative Experience. He locks his arms around the waist of Zion and flings the two forward. Darin crashes into the mat head first in a calamitous fall!
Nick Stuart: Shamanic Dreamweaver! What a devastating move!
Richard Parker: Zion might have love in his heart, but that sure isn’t going to help protect his head!
A smile of pure bliss materializes onto Sage’s face. He slowly scoots on his knees to make the cover!
Sage is ripped off of Zion by Tony Gamble, using Sage’s hair and waistband! In an almost completely fluid motion, The Grin whips Pontiff around and tosses his face first into the exposed turnbuckle! Sage’s skull connects with the exposed steel, a sickening thud heard loudly! As Pontiff crumbles to the mat clutching his face, Gamble jumps onto the prone Zion!
DING DING DING
Nick Stuart: That’s a HUGE win for Tony Gamble, but you got to say he stole that one!
Richard Parker: They don’t ask how, Nick, just how many!
Vince Howard: The winner of this bout: TONY GAAAAAMBLE!
We then cut to our next commercial.