THE ANGLO LUCHADOR VS. ARTHUR PLEASANT
“Immigrant Song” by Voodoo Prophet hits the speakers and a chorus of boos immediately follows.
Two words, followed by two letters, written in signature style, appear on PRIMEview with a bleeding effect; this is created by a machete that slices through the bottom of the screen with a violent effect. Arthur Pleasant, meanwhile, has already begun making his way out from behind the curtains.
Vince Howard: Making his way to the ring… from Under The Midnight Sun… weighing in at 225lbs…he is PRIME’s WORST NIGHTMARE… ARTHURRRRRRR… PLLLEEEAAASAAAAAAAAAAAAANT!!!
Wearing his black and red duster, Pleasant saunters down to the ring with the words “#RiseAgainstBullies” underneath a rather unflattering picture of TAL with a big red censor circle over his mug.
Nick Stuart: My God. COULD Arthur Pleasant get any more ridiculous?!
Richard Parker: Probably. I dare you to ask him that.
Nick Stuart: Hell no.
The floodlights above go out at Petco Park, and the big screen in the outfield serving as the PRIMEview for the evening shows a shadowy figure walking down concreted corridors. The ambient noise is mic’d up, and the drips of condensation reverberate through into the night sky. The feed flashes for a second, showing The Anglo Luchador tasting his own blood in the entrance to last year’s Great American Nightmare. Back to the hallway, then again a momentary smash cut showing the Luchador careening into Larry Tact into the steps with a tornillo. The hallway, then a cut of Ivan Stanislav completing the Fastball Special with the Luchador flying across the ring. Back to the hallway and one last cut to him shattering a plastic sword across Tony Gamble’s back. The PRIMEview goes static.
A single spotlight shines on the entrance from Argyle.
Not his normal entrance music. “Oye Como Va” doesn’t fit this match. The exploding guitars driven with frenetic drums, the opening of Local H, “Cynic,” fills the night air in San Diego.
YEAH! I made a promise to love myself. But somehow I don’t think I’m gonna make it.
The Anglo Luchador emerges from the back in the spotlight.
Nick Stuart: Listen to this crowd, Rich! They are ready to see the Anglo Luchador get his pound of flesh.
Richard Parker: Well, much like the NLCS last fall, Nick, a guy from Philly is going to leave them disappointed.
Nick Stuart: You don’t think he’s got extra motivation?
Richard Parker: He does. But that just means Arthur Pleasant is in his head.
The Luchador looks around, breathing in the sultry summer air. He briskly begins his gait to the ring.
An ego might not be so bad. It could be something I should have. I can’t make my mind up. Help me with this while I grip this.
He closes his eyes and breathes in the humidity, soaking in the cheers. He arrives at the precipice of the ringside area before slowly making his way to the ring, climbing up the apron, and flipping over the top rope…
Maybe I could be something you could stand.
…and then, TAL is immediately chop blocked by Arthur Pleasant! Referee Elvis Nixon signals for the bell!
The Provocateur frantically hammers away at TAL’s right knee, and after a few blows, Anglo is able to grab Pleasant’s head, pivot his hips, and reposition – now HE’S raining down shots! The two rivals roll around across the canvas, each jockeying for position and smashing the other man with closed fists! Soon they find themselves tangled in the ropes with Anglo in the dominant position, throwing stiff elbows as Nixon begins his count. TAL untangles himself and steps back per the referee’s instruction.
Nick Stuart: A violent clash to start things off, partner!
Richard Parker: What, you were expecting a collar-and-elbow? They’ve been at each other’s throats for MONTHS! This isn’t a match, this is a FIGHT!
Pleasant is able to get to his feet fairly quickly, and he waves his opponent back, insisting upon space. TAL isn’t having it as he charges forward, throwing more strikes into his opponent! Arthur backs into the ropes once again, and Elvis steps forward to physically separate TAL – Pleasant sneaks in an eye gouge! TAL clutches his face and staggers back, Pleasant quickly springs into action and follows up with a few stiff Muay Thai mid-kicks! They land with authority, and TAL is backed into a corner!
Pleasant throws kick after kick after kick, a blur of precision and chaos! Eventually, FINALLY, Anglo blocks! He blocks again, and follows up with a right jab! Then a left! A right cross sends Pleasant to one knee! TAL stumbles into position, hooks the arms, and lifts –
Nick Stuart: BUTTERFLY SUPLEX! He’s got the leg hooked, but no – Arthur Pleasant has kicked out!
Richard Parker: Cover by Philly Boy, and no surprise, he’s unable to finish the job.
Nick Stuart: A little harsh, there, Rich – we’re still in the early goings, here!
Anglo looks to press his advantage quickly – the grit in his teeth betraying just how much he wants to hurt this man – and he throws a stiff as hell knife edge chop squarely into Pleasant! Arthur staggers, then responds with a BIG headbutt! This sends Anglo back a step or two, before he rears back and throws a stiff elbow into Arthur’s mush – so stiff, in fact, that we see the faint beginnings of a cut on Arthur’s lip! The exchange continues back and forth, and soon the small cut has turned into a small trickle of red down the side of Arthur’s chin!
Nick Stuart: Heavy hands and heavy heads from both competitors! Pleasant’s got a split lip!
Richard Parker: All I know is, you don’t want to tempt a man with fangs like Arthur’s with the taste of blood!
Both men are starting to show significant welts and sweat, and even though they both need to take large breaths in the summer California air, neither man looks ready to back down. This has been personal – personal for a loooooooong time. One wonders how Craig Hamburgers must be feeling watching this brawl. Arthur taps a couple fingers to his chin, sees the red, and his face sort of twists – excitement in the lower half of his face blended with rage from the top half. He beckons TAL forward – seeing red himself and wanting nothing more than to turn that split lip into a full on Cosmetic Surgery Issue, he lunges forward with the heaviest strike yet….
Arthur ducks it! The momentum of the overhead swinging blow sends TAL tumbling into the ropes – Arthur springs forward – STIFF KNEE TO THE BACK OF TAL’S HEAD! TAL’s down to his knees! Arthur creates space, only to sprint hard once again – THRUST KICK INTO THE BACK OF TAL’S HEAD! Anglo is sent stumbling to the outside!
Nick Stuart: Anglo is down on the outside of the ring! He could be in real trouble here!
Richard Parker: That mask didn’t do a THING to protect him from those huge strikes!
Pleasant rolls under the bottom rope and stalks his prey as Nixon calls out to try to get the men back into the ring. Pleasant sickeningly licks his lower lip specifically, we assume for the direct tap into a source of blood, and he violently grabs TAL’s head, biting into the mask with his bitey bitey teef! Nixon isn’t having it and begins a count – and as soon as he does, Arthur transitions TAL into a standing headscissors, hoists – and PLANTS TAL WITH A PILEDRIVER ON THE OUTSIDE!
Pleasant menaces the fans in the front rows nearby, his mix of blood and sweat and insanity and giddyness causing quite a bit of distress in general. Nixon signals a count that is now at 6 for the men to re-enter the ring or risk double count-out…Pleasant regains his focus and he grabs the still-fallen Anglo by the head, rolling him halfway underneath the top rope so that Anglo’s chest and head are face-down outside the ring. With a lithe hop, Arthur now stands on the ring apron – then looking again, he decides to climb to the top rope! TAL is still face down underneath the bottom rope with his lower half inside the ring and his upper half outside it! PRIMEates make it to their feet!
Nick Stuart: Arthur Pleasant, thinking of going for the kill here!
Richard Parker: He’s not a top rope guy, this is something new! What’s he gonna do??
Nick Stuart: Here he goes!!
DIVING DOUBLE KNEE DROP~~~~
NOOOOOOOOOO! Anglo rolls out of the way!
Arthur’s knees slam HARD into the ring apron upon missing his dive, and he rolls to the outside, clutching his legs in serious pain! Ever the crafty veteran, Anglo is able to use the ropes for leverage to get to his feet…he steps to the inside and braces his hands and arms upon the top rope. Anglo pulls back on the rope, gaining leverage, leaping, TWISTING –
Nick Stuart: DO A BARREL ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!
Richard Parker: Look at this carnage! I don’t know who’s worse off after that move!
Nick Stuart: The Anglo Luchador knew he had to change the trajectory of this match! Even if it meant sacrificing his body!
Richard Parker: That’s the thing about sacrifice – when you sacrifice everything, what’s left to give?
Elvis Nixon has started up a new count directed to the two mounds of hurting bones and flesh. As Nixon gets to four, as if on instinct, both men begin crawling towards the ring – both scraping and scratching and clawing at the other, maybe in an effort to slow them down, maybe because that’s the only way they can make the other man hurt right now.
At eight, both men make it back inside the ropes. Arthur is still grimacing and clutching at his legs, and his lip bleed has not slowed. TAL is first to make it to his feet, and he sees what Arthur is currently favoring. With significant effort, Anglo steps, steps, reaches, and latches onto Pleasant’s left ankle! He wrenches it in deep – HIGH ANGLE SINGLE LEG BOSTON CRAB! Pleasant HOWLS in pain!
TAP! TAP! TAP! TAP! TAP!
Nick Stuart: CAN THE ANGLO LUCHADOR REDEEM HIMSELF AFTER HIS RECENT STRUGGLES WITH A SUBMISSION HERE?!
TAP! TAP! TAP! TAP! TAP!
TAL has the hold cinched in DEEPLY, but to his credit, Arthur is frantic and somewhat effective at thrusting his body hither and yon in an effort to break free. Arthur’s hand wavers, and it shakes as he holds it above the mat! Elvis launches into position, eyes on Pleasant’s hand, ready to accept the tap out!
Richard Parker: He might be really hurt after his knees said hello to the ring apron – I know it’s a pay-per-view, kid, but there’s no wrasslin’ if your legs don’t work!
Nick Stuart: It just goes to show how personal this feud has become for both men – I’m starting to think The Anglo Luchador is trying to injure his opponent with this hold!
Richard Parker: I’m sure he’ll explain it all away on Jabber later!
Arthur reaches out a few more times, his hand shaking, his eyes betraying a mix of desperation and anger – but he just. Refuses. To tap. Elvis continues his up close and personal position, and in a flash, Pleasant reaches forward and grabs the collar of Elvis’s shirt! Suddenly they’re face to face! Elvis yells at Arthur to let him go, Arthur yells and screams and locks eyes with the referee – and with the eyes of Elvis Nixon completely occupied, Arthur positions his free leg, angles his heel, and thrusts it like a scorpion.
Squarely into the back of TAL’s yam bag.
Nick Stuart: Aw hell, Referee Elvis Nixon didn’t see the low blow!
Richard Parker: GENIUS MANEUVER!
Nick Stuart: Arthur Pleasant drapes an arm over the crumpled body of Anglo!
Nick Stuart: Kick out at the last moment by Anglo!
Richard Parker: Knees shot, lip busted open – and yet, Arthur Pleasant has the advantage here!
Arthur gets to one foot, and the second – nope, just the first again, because that single leg Boston Crab has caused some real damage. He slaps his uncooperative thigh and yells at it in an effort to bully it into submission, and though it’s unclear whether or not thigh muscles can listen, he seems to have found some source of adrenaline that brings him vertical! He can’t walk much, he CERTAINLY can’t run – but he is measuring. TAL stirs, and soon, he’s able to push himself upright to his knees –
– and TAL is immediately met with a BUZZSAW KICK! TAL GOES DOWN LIKE A SACK OF POTATOES!
Nick Stuart: ARTHUR PLEASANT HAS A DEEP COVER HERE! CAN HE PULL OFF THIS HUGE VICTORY??
Richard Parker: TWO, POINT, NINE, NINE!
Nick Stuart: Arthur can’t believe it! He’s arguing to get his hand raised by Referee Elvis Nixon!
Richard Parker: The job’s not done kid! You almost have him! Finish it!
It’s clear that Arthur can’t, or won’t, hear Richard’s advice – instead, he’s SCREAMING in anger in the face of Elvis.
Arthur Pleasant: YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO RAISE MY HAND!
Elvis Nixon: WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT! TWO, ARTHUR! TWO!
Arthur Pleasant: WHAT ARE YOU EVEN GOOD FOR??
The argument ensues more and more, and more, and more…and before too much time passes, the Crumpled Heap Of A Lucha Man has turned into a Standing And Ready To Attack Anglo Luchador.
And seeing more of Arthur’s bullshit, TAL decides to repay a favor from earlier in the night.
Nick Stuart: CHOP BLOCK BY ANGLO!
Richard Parker: Arthur’s legs! They have to be completely wrecked by now!
Indeed, the sum total of damage delivered to Pleasant’s legs seems to reach a tipping point. He is in agony, sprawled on the floor.
And without a word, without consideration, and without an ounce of anything besides the overwhelming feelings of finality and vindication, TAL wraps his arms around Arthur’s torso.
He lets out a mighty roar.
And he lifts and twists…
Nick Stuart: KARELIN DRIVERRRRRRRRRRRRR! HERE’S THE COVER!
DING DING DING!
Vince Howard: Here is your winner! THE ANGLOOOOOOO LUUUUUUUUUCHADORRRRRRRRRRR!
Nick Stuart: What a hellacious fight!
Richard Parker: As much as I hate to admit, the Philly kid finally finished the job. For once!
Nick Stuart: The monkey has been forcibly removed from The Anglo Luchador’s back! What a big win over a very game Arthur Pleasant tonight at Tropical Turmoil!
TAL is certainly beat up, but we see a sense of peace and re-centering wash across The Paladin of PRIME’s face (at least, the parts not covered by his mask) as Elvis Nixon raises his arm in victory. Arthur, lip still bleeding, fires daggers in the direction of his opponent tonight from the top of the ramp.
Richard Parker: Arthur Pleasant might have won this match on another night, no question.
The Anglo Luchador slowly and gingerly gets to the outside, leaning against the ring apron. A blur catches his eye, and he has enough time to look up before the blur bowls him over.
Nick Stuart: Wait, what’s going on at ringside?
Richard Parker: Oh no.
TAL falls over and the camera settles in on the blur, which is now stationary. Paxton Ray stands over The Anglo Luchador, snarling, and the crowd reacts accordingly.
Nick Stuart: What the hell is this! Come on!
Paxton grabs TAL and helps him to his feet only to send him into the ring steps.
The Bayou Butcher doesn’t let TAL recover. He’s immediately on top of him, grabbing his head and slamming it into the steps again and again.
Nick Stuart: He was just through a grueling match! He’s defenseless! Stop this, Paxton!
Paxton does not stop. He lifts TAL in the air in a military press, then drops him so that his head lands directly on the apron. TAL rolls over to the barricade, and as he tries to use it to climb to his feet, Paxton wraps his chain around his fist and delivers a left hand to TAL’s forehead, causing him to fall against the barricade.
Nick Stuart: Where is security! TAL needs help!
As TAL leans against the barricade, blood trickling from his forehead, Paxton smiles and takes a few steps back, then runs towards TAL.
Nick Stuart: The Anglo Luchador moved! And Paxton just went face first into the guard rail!
TAL instinctively starts to turn the tide around. He sends a few kicks to Paxton’s body, then looks over and sees an empty chair near the ring bell. He folds it up and holds it high, looking down at Paxton’s stirring body.
Then, suddenly, The Anglo Luchador’s expression changes. His eyes go wide, and then he backs up a few steps before dropping the chair.
Richard Parker: What are you doing? Just brain the bastard!
TAL shakes his head, then turns around and moves towards the back. He’s not exactly running, but he isn’t shuffling either.
Nick Stuart: What the hell just happened out here? Why did Paxton Ray try to take out The Anglo Luchador? And why did TAL not fight back?
Richard Parker: I don’t know the answer to any of those questions, partner, but if I know anything about the psychopath at ringside, I don’t think it’s over.
Indeed, the camera moves closer to Paxton as he rises, a sick smile on his face.