Vegas, Can You?
We come back from commercial immediately into:
We Came as Romans.
A hard hitting drum roll joins with a wall of white flashbulbs, igniting outward inside the darkened MGM Grand Garden Arena. A broad-bodied silhouette rises against the white light, hands rising outward and up. He walks forward slowly as the first verse takes over, the wall of light giving way to reveal the clear image of “Event Horizon,” Hayes Hanlon, clad in street clothes, including his usual black button down dress shirt. But most notably?
The Five Star Title around his waist.
His arms rise to the ceiling once more as the chorus strikes through The Grand Garden Arena.
“I FALL INTO A BLACK HOLE IN MY HEEAAD!
REACH INTO THE DARKNESS FOR WHAT’S LEEFT!
I’M FIGHTING THE GRAAAVITY! IT’S PULLING THE WORST PART OUT OF ME!
Hayes removes the title and slowly reaches it overhead with one hand, eyes closed as he tilts his head to the roof, the chorus blasting out heavily to a roaring crowd. Hayes drapes the belt across his broad shoulders as the chorus shifts back to verse, holding straps down his chest like a towel before making his way to the ring, a small smile creeping underneath his dark mustache.
Nick Stuart: Folks, if you ever doubted that dreams really can come true, look. No. Further.
Richard Parker: Or, look away!
Nick Stuart: It was this young man’s dream to become a wrestler; he did that. His dream to join the ranks of PRIME; he did that. His dream to WIN inside that ring, and he’s done it multiple times already in his short career. But most of all, his dream was to become a champion…
Hanlon steps through the ropes, the music rising once more. He steps to the first ropes in the far corner, turning around to face center-ring, then leans his back over the post, placing the belt across his chest and aiming it to the sky. His arms stretch out wide to meet another flash of light accompanying the chorus.
“I’M FIGHTING THE GRAAAVITY! IT’S PULLING THE WORST PART OUT OF ME!
Nick Stuart: And at Culture Shock, he. Did. That.
The lights trail off along with the music as Hayes rights himself and hops down to the mat, placing the belt on his shoulder and retrieving a mic from a ringside assistant. The music fades off, leaving only the cheers of the Garden crowd. The Event Horizon takes it in, turning and addressing each angle of the arena. The young star takes his time, because after all…
…Hayes Hanlon, has arrived.
With a gleam in his eyes he brings the mic to his lips.
Hayes Hanlon: Las Vegas! Can you HEAR it!?
The Arena responds with a wave of cheers. Hayes smiles, sticking a finger in his ear as if to clean it out before speaking again.
Hayes Hanlon: Vegas! Can you…
Hayes closes his eyes, taking a long, drawn out breath in through his nose.
Hayes Hanlon: …SMELL it?
And again, they roar for The Event Horizon.
Hayes Hanlon: Now tell me, Vegas! Can you FEEEEL it?
Another heavy wave of cheers. Hayes shimmies like a shiver shot through his body. He holds a bright white smile and takes a lap around the ring, while the cheers die down.
Hayes Hanlon: Well that’s good, Vegas, because at Culture Shock I could HEAR that bell ring and I could SMELL that win comin’, but you wanna know what it FEELS like?
Richard Parker: It feels pretty cringey to me.
Nick Stuart: Quiet. Let the kid have his moment.
Hanlon grips his belt in one hand, and holds it high overhead once more.
Hayes Hanlon: IT FEELS FIVE FREAKIN’ STAR, baby!!
He lowers the strap to his shoulder, basking in another wave of cheers from The Grand’s audience.
Hayes Hanlon: After I got knocked out of the tournament I had a loooot of questions, Vegas. I wasn’t sure I belonged here, thought I was over my head, thought I’d have to turn around and head back north to Oregon. But two matches and nine opponents later and HERE. WE. ARE! This one’s for YOU, Vegas!
A roaring ovation cascades through the arena, Hayes taking another lap with his belt held high, cheering back at the rowdy crowd. He rests the belt on his shoulder as they simmer before returning to his monologue.
Hayes Hanlon: Earlier tonight, Lindsay Troy asked me if I could prove it, if I could run it back and show that my win at Culture Shock wasn’t a fluke. After I lost in the Almasy Invitational, I might have said “no, I can’t prove it.”
The crowd boos, disagreeing with his comment. Hayes nods, however, mouthing “it’s true, it’s true” before returning to the mic.
Hayes Hanlon: But here’s my answer for you TODAY, Boss Lady!
The Event Horizon pauses for dramatic effect, the crowd rolling and rumbling until he bursts forward toward the ramp.
Hayes Hanlon: WHO. YOU. GOT!?
Hanlon grips the top rope, wide brown eyes staring up the entrance, ready to receive his opponent for ReVival 7 with the Las Vegas faithful cheering behind him.
The Stone Roses.
There’s a look of surprise on Hayes’ face as Alexander Redding walks slowly out onto the stage, microphone in hand. He’s not alone, either, as both Grady Patrick and Teddy Palmer accompany him.
Nick Stuart: Wait. This can’t be right.
Richard Parker: What was your first clue, Nick?
Nick Stuart: I mean, yes, Alexander Redding did beat Jacob Mephisto earlier this evening for his first win of the ReVival Era, but it was not without help from Teddy Palmer. Not only that, but it’s pretty clear there’s no love lost between this group and Lindsay Troy.
Richard Parker: You can’t blame the Queen for looking out for the company’s best interests, given the past reputations of Redding, Palmer, and Grady Patrick. Hell, they should feel lucky they even have a job at all!
The PRIMEates are also a little confused by this turn of events, and their reaction is decidedly mixed. “Love Spreads” fades out and Redding puts the microphone to his lips.
Alexander Redding: Oh don’t worry, I’m not going to take up too much of your precious time. I’m quite confident I’m not Her Majesty’s choice of opponent for you, Hayes, but since no announcement has yet to be made, I’m taking this opportunity to call my shot. You and me, ReVival 7, for the Five Star Title.
The Event Horizon smiles and bows his head a little, shaking his head slightly.
Hayes Hanlon: You know, Redding, I worked pretty damn hard for my shot at this strap. Can you say the same?
Red lifts the mic to respond, but is quickly cut off by The Five Star Champ.
Hayes Hanlon: Don’t answer that.
A pop from the arena, and unappreciative glares from the trio on the ramp.
Hayes Hanlon: You can call your shot all night long, but let’s see if you can shoot it. I’ll see you in two weeks, right here in Vegas, baby!
Nick Stuart: A challenge offered, and a challenge accepted!
Hayes Hanlon: And you know, dude? I’ve been getting pretty good at dealing with three or four at a time, inside the ring and out if you catch my drift. So Ted and Grady? Feel free to join the party! There’s plenty of me to go around!
With a roar of the crowd, “Black Hole” hits the speakers one more time as Hayes grins behind his ‘stache.
Nick Stuart: Oooh my! I don’t know if Lindsay Troy is going to be happy about this.
Richard Parker: Doubt it, but I don’t think it matters now, does it? And Hanlon better check himself with the extra invites, clearly Palmer’s not afraid to accept!
The music continues to blast out while Red, Ted, and Grady stare down the Five Star Champ before we fade elsewhere.