WHAT WAS OLD, IS NEWS AGAIN
We return from commercial to “Born for this” by Divide Music playing through the speakers as the entire Gamble Adoration Syndicate steps out from behind the curtain, soaking in the chorus of boos that rain down from the crowd.
Tony Gamble stands dead center, the buttons of his navy blue suit jacket unfastened so the crowd can see the golden face of the Alias title he wears proudly around his waist. Frank Pastore stands to his right, the Celestial Dragon Tag League trophy resting on his shoulder. Johnnie Newsman is a few steps behind him on the left – slightly behind Tony – a light brown fedora clashing with the bright yellow Hawaiian shirt that has giant purple and pink flowers all over it. Domingo Cruz is on the left, his hands on his suspenders as he flashes a crooked smile.
The four of them make their way down the ramp as the music continues, swatting away the hands of fans in the crowd looking to get a high five or slap it across the back of Dom or Frank if they can reach them.
Frank climbs the steps first, followed by Tony. Tony stands there on the apron for a moment, and pulls the left side of his suit jacket back in order to give the fans a better view of the Alias title as Dom climbs the steps behind him. The tag team known as No Laughing Matter pulls up on the top rope while pushing down on the middle rope to separate them just enough for Tony to climb through, before following him into the ring themselves. Johnnie grabs a microphone from the time keepers table before getting into the ring himself, motioning with his hand for the crowd to quiet down a bit so he can speak.
Johnnie Newsman: Hello, Pissburgh!!
That did not go over well with the crowd. Crazy that it wasn’t intentional, just a bit of an accent.
Johnnie Newsman: I know, we don’ like thees city eeder, but we at lease can leaf tomorrow. So sorry for your lifes.
Yeah, the boos, they are continuing. They might even be getting louder.
Johnnie Newsman: Okay, Pissburgh, less take a moment to stop wiping away your tears, and instead put your hanz together for the man holdeeng the greatess champeonechip in PRIME…
Dom and Frank are probably the only people in the arena clapping. Wait, no, Richard Parker is also clapping.
Johnnie Newsman: TOOONYYY GAAAMBLLLE!!!
Tony saunters over to where Johnnie is standing and grabs the microphone, then hands it back. Lifting a hand up for everyone to hold on, before removing his suit jacket and handing it to Newsman. Now he grabs the microphone, isn’t his other hand to post the title around his waist.
Tony Gamble: You know…
He stops short as the sound of the boos get louder.
Tony Gamble: If you don’t quiet down, I’m liable to just walk out of this ring right now.
That just makes them get even louder.
Tony Gamble: I guess you guys forgot how to treat champions in this city.
It’s only been five years, but everyone knows hockey fans in Pittsburgh prefer the Flyers so those don’t really matter.
Tony Gamble: Well, if I’m being honest, when your favorite restaurant is a Wawa I don’t expect you to have any taste to begin with. But I digress.
This crowd is not happy, probably because they prefer Sheetz.
Tony Gamble: Lucky you, because I am here tonight to show you what a true champion looks like. I don’t know if you know this, but I am the only member of this roster to hold the same title in both the Revolution and the Revival era. Not to mention, I am also the only two time Alias champion.
No one is impressed, and the claims only cause the boos to reach their crescendo.
Tony Gamble: That’s why, it’s only fitting that this title once again is allowed the privilege to be named the Gamble Championship!
The fans erupt in cheers.
Tony Gamble: That’s right, and in doing so I will be reinstating–
It is at that moment, as someone slides into the ring behind him, that he realizes those cheers were not for him or his announcement. Dom and Frank grab the person on the ring, but it is the one still running toward the ring that has the fans excited.
Tony Gamble: Now that’s just rude.
In the ensuing moments of pop, the second figure, pointing menacingly at the ring gets himself a microphone.
Who’s saying hello? That would be Chandler Tsonda, mic in hand. His eyes are staring right through Gamble at the man who Dom and Frank have in their clutches: Jake Nguyen, bka Doppeltsonda.
Chandler Tsonda: It seems like your historical reenactment of Napoleon stuff is going peachy, so all’s I need is for you to hand over that identity thieving weasel, and we’ll both be out of your limelight, one of us in a stretcher.
It is at this moment that Tony gets a better look at the man struggling to get away from Dom and Frank, who tighten their grip and keep him right where he is. Tony shakes his head slightly as he looks back at the Viet Viper.
Tony Gamble: As if one of you wasn’t enough, now there’s two of you? If I wasn’t in such a good mood right now, having a title named after me and all, I’d–
Jake stomps on Domingo’s foot, which causes him to loosen his grip just enough for Nguyen to pull away.
Tony Gamble: Don’t let him go, Frank!
Chandler Tsonda: On that point, we actually —and this is a first in our long and sordid history—agree. Frank, hold onto that little pain in the urethra for me, if you don’t mind.
The Sultan of Style rolls under the bottom rope, and pops back up on the other side of the ring from the GAS braintrust. He keeps his distance, and keeps his focus directly on the source of his ire.
Chandler Tsonda: Not sure if they get the ACE Network at the Wonka Factory—sorry, sorry, big congrats on the title, trying to kick the habit— but if you boys watched the show tonight, you know that I’ve been chasing (points at Doppeltsonda) THAT nasty little turd of a man.
The Gamble crew watch their boss for any reaction. He shows no reaction either way. Or maybe he’s just seething at having this beautiful crowning moment interrupted. Tsonda doesn’t seem to care.
Chandler Tsonda: And maybe he thought I wouldn’t chase him out under the bright lights, or maybe he’s just a rat in a trap. Either way, I consider all our old scores settled, Gamble. Agua under the bridge. You hand him over, and I’ll leave you to the brave new world of the Alias belt.
Tony Gamble: Hand him over.
Frank shoves Nguyen toward Tsonda, but Jake apparently trips and lands at Chandler’s feet. The slight nod from Tony is only seen by Domingo, as Frank and Chan both look down at Jake crawling over and wrapping his arms around the Viet Viper’s ankles. The next thing he knows, Cruz is driving a forearm into the small of his neck.
Nick Stuart: C’mon! What’s the GAS’s problem?
Richard Parker: Seems like the fuck around-to-find out pipeline is healthy and robust, Nick.
Tsonda falls to the mat, unable to keep his balance with his Doppelganger wrapped around his ankles.
Tony Gamble: Have to say, your arrival has upset me a little more than I’ve been letting on.
Dom and Frank continue the assault, Jake is also getting in a few shots where he can.
Tony Gamble: You came in and immediately started taking little jabs at me, and I’m not even talking about tonight Tussonda. No, I’m talking about your little comments about looking for me just to pretend you don’t remember me.
Tony drops down to a knee, then slaps Chandler on the top of his head as Frank and Dom lock their hands around his arms while Nguyen wraps his arms around Tsonda’s legs again.
GAM-BLE SUCKS! GAM-BLE SUCKS!
Tony Gamble: I’m talking about getting it etched on your tombstone that I lost to you on multiple occasions, and throwing stones at me just because.
Two more slaps on the head. It’s clear that Gamble’s not telling tales; he remembers every single indignity Tsonda has offered him for the past couple of months, maybe for the better part of two decades. In this moment, UltraViolence 2008 seems like just yesterday.
Tony Gamble: Crazy that someone that can’t keep my name out of his mouth, has been doing everything he can to avoid running into me. So I figured I had to find a way to bring you to me.
Tony grabs Tsonda by the hair and pulls his head up to face him.
Tony Gamble: I have to say Jake’s been well worth the money spent, especially tonight – having you run around – tiring you out just enough that you didn’t even think twice about getting into this ring.
The Grin allows his smile to widen.
Tony Gamble: Hell, you practically thanked me in your own special little way. But there’s no need to thank me, because we aren’t done yet.
Gamble lets go of Chandler’s hair, watching his head drop as he stands up. Then gives a nod, signaling for the beating to continue. Frank, Dom, and Jake begun to drive lefts, rights, and kicks on the Sultan of Style.
Tony Gamble: Oh, buddy, we’ve only just begun.
Tony unfastens the belt and lifts it high above his head, as the crowd continues to shower him with their own type of adoration–a sound he is all too familiar with and accustomed to.
Nick Stuart: And just like that, things are deeply personal between these two men for the umpteenth time in their careers.
Richard Parker: Tsonda and Gamble hating each other and only knowing how to express it through sadistic violence? I feel young again, Nick!