THE DEVIL YOU KNOW
…the ringside area.
Nick Stuart: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to ReVival 31.
Richard Parker: Now with more underwater vehicles!
Nick Stuart: Indeed, but besides all that, we have to go to the ring for a message from one of our second generation up and coming stars.
Richard Parker: Please. This kid’s opponents should be begging to get paired up with him in the ring. Did you know he faced Tyler Best, Coral Avalon, and Morty? That’s 3 title matches at Tropical Turmoil. One common denominator. They all beat Eddie Cross.
Nick Stuart: I’m not sure that you should use math on air, partner. Anyhow, let’s head to the ring.
The opening guitar to Cross Off by Mark Morton (feat Chester Bennington) echoes, and the words repeat
“Cross Off the days gone…”
“Cross Off the days gone…”
Eddie “n1ghtcraw1er” Cross and Anna Daniels walk out of the back. Eddie ramps up the fans with his arms before fist bumping Daniels. The two of them walk to the ring and slip in. After generously working the crowd for a bit on the ring posts, Eddie grabs a microphone and addresses the raucous crowd.
Eddie Cross: Ladies and gentlemen in the luxury boxes and front row… and everyone else not sitting on a pillow up in the nosebleeds!
Eddie Cross: I know that in the past I’ve said some things that didn’t go over so well about the places we’ve gone and the people we’ve met. But, I’d like to think that I’ve grown since then and I’ve come to realize a few things.
He paces around the ring, addressing the fans equally.
Eddie Cross: I’ve realized that you don’t go far in life without friends, and that’s why I asked Anna Daniels to come out here tonight to watch my back.
Nick Stuart: A nice reaction for The Muse!
Eddie Cross: I’ve also realized that they say cheaters never win, but at Tropical Turmoil as I was squeezing the life out of Tony Gamble, he blatantly cheated and managed to steal a victory.
Richard Parker: Why are they booing? That was a completely legitimate victory.
Eddie Cross: I could make excuses, but I don’t do excuses. Tony beat me and I accept that. I challenged him to bring back the Hall of Famer for one night and he did. Hat’s off to him. But…
Eddie turns and looks at Anna and then back to the fans.
Eddie Cross: Let’s face it, he got in a desperation shot and capitalized.
Nick Stuart: I mean, he’s not wrong and the fans are behind him.
Richard Parker: What do they know?
Eddie Cross: Gamble, you’ve played games the whole way through this and I should have known you’d never face me clean. I want a rematch! I’m challenging you to come out here, right here right now in the Capital of the free world, WASHINGTON D.C…
Hold for pop.
Eddie Cross: AND FACE ME 1v1!
After a tense twenty seconds, the crowd roars as the Gamble Adoration Syndicate walks out onto the ramp. Tony pulls a microphone up to his mouth.
Tony Gamble: Come on Eddie, we already did this dance at Tropical Turmoil and Les didn’t like your Cha Cha Cha.
They saunter down to the ring.
Tony Gamble: But here you are running your mouth like you always do. You had Dom and Frank banned from ringside during our match, and yet you still managed to lose. You lost that match, you lost Dave, and now it seems like you’ve lost your damn mind because you’re asking to have your ass handed to you again. This time though, when I’m done with you, you’re going to be on your knees begging me to acknowledge how much you adore me.
Eddie looks around the ring and smiles as he watches the members of G.A.S. surround the ring. He looks right at Tony as he says the next piece.
Eddie Cross: I knew you couldn’t resist bringing the whole squad with you. In fact, I was betting on it. But we’re through with the adoration stage of this whole whatever this is. There’s really only one thing left to say.
He pauses and looks at Anna.
Eddie Cross: GG, Gamble.
Anna rushes toward the ropes and baseball slides into Mort, knocking him into the ring barrier. He gets up and they fight outside the ring while Tony nods to Dom and Frank. They hop on the mat and try to attack Eddie, but he is ready for their games and drops Dom to the mat with a Trigger Warning knee strike before turning to Frank Pastore. He takes a wild swing, but Eddie ducks it and grabs an ankle pick trip.
As Eddie contorts Frank into a heel hook, Anna Daniels and Mort brawl their way back up the ramp to the delight of the fans. Tony looks at the situation in the ring and sneers before sliding in and stomping on Eddie. As the youth is forced to let go of the hook, he covers up and lunges at Gamble, only to get grabbed and held in place by Frank and Dom.
Tony paintbrushes Eddie across the face and insults him verbally as he is held in place by the two G.A.S. goons. Suddenly, the crowd erupts…
Nick Stuart: IT’S DAVE GIBSON! DAVE GIBSON IS BACK AND MAKING A BEELINE FOR THE RING!!!
Richard Parker: And there goes Tony Gamble! He wisely rolled out of the ring the second he caught sight of the charging Gibson! Live to fight another day, Tony!
Dave hits the ring with a full head of steam and spins around Frank Pastore. He blasts him with a series of left jabs followed by a looping right hand that drops the big man to the mat. Dom lets go of Eddie and reaches back for a punch, but Dave double legs him and takes him down to the mat hard.
As Dave is raining down punches and elbows with fury, Frank gets back to his feet and grabs him. He lifts Dave high in the air with a suplex, and drops him to the mat hard. The crowd gasps, perhaps remembering Dave has a surgically repaired neck, but their fears are assuaged as Eddie intercepts Pastore. This allows Dave to get back to his feet, spin around Frank and kick him square in the balls before pushing him back at Eddie who spins and CRACK! Drops Frank to the mat with OHKO!!!
Not done yet, Domingo Cruz charges at Dave with a lariat, but the wily veteran ducks and immediately takes Dom’s back to lock in The Silencer. Eddie steps into a surfboard and stretches Frank with GG!!!
Nick Stuart: Tony Gamble is pounding the mat but now that the numbers aren’t on his side he doesn’t dare get in there!
Richard Parker: Can you blame him? This is unprovoked aggression from Dave Gibson! He is a manager and has no business in that ring!
Eddie and Dave release their holds and roll the fallen Dom and Frank out of the ring. Tony helps them both and stares daggers in both Dave and Eddie as G.A.S. slinks to the backstage area.
Nick Stuart: Dave Gibson back in action for the first time in more than 10 years! Dave and Eddie standing tall! And this crowd is loving it!
Eddie looks at Dave and smiles, shaking his head.
Richard Parker: I don’t think Eddie expected to see his mentor out here tonight. I know I certainly didn’t!!
Eddie turns to Dave and gives a small bow of respect. Grinning, Dave grabs Eddie’s wrist and holds his arm up in victory as the crowd roars.
And then pulls Eddie into a fierce embrace.
The reaction from the fans appears to double. Eddie blinks in surprise and then wraps his arms tightly around his mentor.
Even the announcers go silent at the moment.
The camera pulls back to a wide shot of the embrace between the teacher and the student. Dave leans in and is whispering something into Eddie’s ear. Eddie, eyes closed tight perhaps to stave off his emotions.
Nick Stuart: The last time we saw Dave he was put on the shelf by Gamble and G.A.S. It must feel great to get some measure of comeuppance!
Everyone in the arena, now that Tony and his goons have exited, is cheering and celebrating this moment! The two men part the hug and Eddie turns to play to the crowd once again…
But Dave maintains a grip on his left wrist, crossing the arm in front of Eddie’s body.
Eddie looks down and registers this, and a wolfish smile flashes across Dave’s face briefly as he spins his protege around into a WICKED ripcord lariat. Eddie is taken nearly out of his shoes by the shock of the impact!
The jubilant crowd gasps and goes dead silent.
Dave stands over his student, glaring down without blinking. Then he proceeds to start delivering a measured and violent series of stomps to the head and torso of Eddie. His former pupil takes a precise shot to the brow and splits his forehead. Blood begins to run down the young man’s face and he tries to wipe his eyes out.
The silence is now broken as boo’s cascade down from the shocked assembly.
Eddie, obviously rattled by the clothesline, is trying to cover up and protect himself but can barely defend against the stomps. Dave yanks Eddie to his feet and stares at his bloody mask. The young wrestler’s knees buckle and his eyes flutter, but Dave holds him up, placing one hand under his chin until their faces are mere inches apart. Dave looks at Eddie, completely devoid of emotion, and then turns him around and takes his back with the Silencer.
The boo’s continue to rain down as Dave applies the hold with maximum torque. A half-conscious Eddie is tapping lightly but Dave maintains the hold until the second-generation star sinks into unconsciousness.
Dave releases the hold, shoving Eddie’s carcass off him and leaving him facedown on the canvas. He stands over the young man, staring down at him and garbage starts to rain in the ring. An audience member throws a drink that hits Dave in the chest. He doesn’t flinch.
Gibson looks up at the crowd and cracks the slightest of smiles as the boo’s cascade down on him. And with that, Dave rolls out of the ring and walks quickly up the ramp without a second look. As he does, the medical team led by Dr. Astrid Fihlguud runs past him toward the ring to attend to Eddie, who still hasn’t moved.
Nick Stuart: Ladies and gentlemen, I am not sure what just happened, but this man, this fiend… he just betrayed Eddie Cross’ trust in a way nobody saw coming.
Richard Parker: Even I don’t think Eddie deserved what just happened. Praporshchik Stanislav was right about Dave all along.
Nick Stuart: Not now, Richard.
In the ring the medical team is wiping the blood from Eddie’s face and trying to stop the gash above his brow from leaking. His leg moves and he reaches out before one of the team tells him to stay down so they can attend to his injuries.
Meanwhile, Dave stops before walking into the back, turns, and soaks in the moment for a few seconds longer as the camera zooms in on his face and fades to a pre-taped segment.