WINNER GETS UNIVERSAL TITLE SHOT AT REVIVAL 13:
PHIL ATKEN vs. DUSK
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one fall with a thirty minute time limit.
As the camera switches to the arena from the scene with Dusk, whose entrance music should hit but… Dusk’s?
“Death Grip” by Watt White churns through the arena’s PA system, and fans get on their feet and cheer rabidly for him as he marches down the ring to their chants.
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
And so on, and so forth.
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one fall with a forty-five minute time limit! And it is for the NUMBER ONE CONTENDERSHIP FOR THE UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP, to be decided at ReVival 13! Introducing first, from Los Angeles, California! He weighs in tonight at two hundred and twenty-five pounds! This! Is! DUUUUUUUSK!!!
Smoke fills the entryway, because Dusk does not make an entrance without smoke machines. It’s a rule. It’s in his contract. The crowd shouts in jubilation as the former Intense Champion marches down to the ring, trenchcoat billowing in the air. While he slaps a few hands on his way to the ring, his eyes are laser focused. He’s all business.
He stomps up the steps and moves to one corner, ripping his coat off and then pacing around unable to fully contain himself.
Nick Stuart: The crowd’s definitely picked their favorite here tonight, Rich.
Richard Parker: Yeah, I get that. The crowd’s always entitled to be wrong.
Nick Stuart: Dusk’s been aching for revenge ever since Culture Shock, when Phil Atken and his associate made their debut in PRIME.
Richard Parker: Yeah, Dusk’s head got dribbled like a basketball! It was awesome! It’s the animated background on my desktop now.
Nick Stuart: …What?
Before Richard could elaborate, the mood suddenly takes a turn.
“(I Want to be The One) To Watch You Die” by The Megas hits the airwaves, and out comes the Humble Proprietor of the Glue Factory himself. He walks to the center of the entryway, eyes locked squarely on the ring and the man that awaits him there. He’s soon joined by his Chief of Security, the seven foot tall behemoth known simply as Hank. The pair makes their way down to the ring with the clear intention of making Civil Dusk a more permanent fixture of the Glue Factory’s wares.
Vince Howard: And his opponent, from Glascow, Scotland! He weighs in at two-hundred and twenty-five pounds! He is the Humble Proprietor of the Glue Factory, PHIIIIIIIIIIIL ATKEEEEEEEEEEN!!!
Upon reaching the ring, Atken leaps up onto the apron. He goes to wipe his boots on the edge of the canvas, with Hank getting ready to hold open the ring ropes. And then…
Nick Stuart: Dusk’s not waiting for Atken!
The crowd roars as Dusk charges the ropes and hits Atken in the side of his unsuspecting head with a running flying knee. Atken flies off the apron in an uncontrolled fashion, hitting the guardrail on the outside. Hank stares impassively at Dusk, who shoots a contemptuous glare at the menacing giant, but makes no move towards him. Instead, he hops off the apron and takes several steps back, giving his boss and Dusk all the room they need to get their fight going.
Atken, the tough old son of a bitch he is, is already getting to his feet as Dusk’s feet land on the concrete. However, he’s disoriented. He stumbles right into Dusk’s waiting arms, who hits him with a forearm to the chin. A second one puts Atken on his back again.
Richard Parker: The bell hasn’t even rung yet! Dusk’s out here with zero regards for the rules!
Nick Stuart: He’s out for blood against the man that tried to end his life at Culture Shock!
Atken, for his part, is already trying to get to his feet. Dusk stalks after him as Atken tries to create space between the two, trying to reorient himself. Dusk takes him by the head and drags him over to the ring apron, slamming his head down onto it. THUNK. He does it again. THUNK. Atken, however, catches Dusk in the ribs with an elbow as he grabs his head for a third time. A forearm backs Dusk up, and gives Atken the space he needs.
Senior Referee Timo Bolamba has long gotten out of the ring to sort out some semblance of control in the contest. Neither participant is very interested in officially starting the contest, though. Atken pushes past the senior referee and lands an elbow at the top of Dusk’s head. This one rocks PRIME’s elder statesman, putting his back against the ring apron.
Nick Stuart: Senior referee Timo out here trying to restore ord—
Nick doesn’t finish his thought before the kick.
It hits like a gunshot. The sound and force of it is clear for everyone in the front row. Dusk’s chest takes the whole of Atken’s left leg, and the man stands rigid for a few moments before he stumbles backwards. He’s only kept aloft by the ring apron. WHACK. The second one, as crazy as it might sound, hits even harder. Dusk slumps down, breathing labored by the sudden introduction of Atken’s boot somewhere in his lungs.
With Dusk slumped down, Atken puts the boots to Dusk, burying him halfway under the ring apron with his relentless stomps.
Atken has a cheeky smirk on his face as he finishes his barrage of stomps by stamping the sole of his boot in Dusk’s face, and really leans into it. Timo starts a count, even though technically, the match hasn’t even begun yet.
Richard Parker: Look how quickly Atken turns the tables!
Nick Stuart: Atken has taken the upper hand here, and let’s make it clear here that the match hasn’t even started yet!
Atken stoops over and pulls up Dusk by his head. He’s getting ready to throw Dusk back into the ring to start the match, but then Dusk comes alive and smashes Atken with a forearm that sends him sprawling to the floor. Dusk doesn’t let up and presses his advantage, catching Atken in the gut with a knee. Then he grabs Atken by the head, gets a head of steam, and flings him into the barricade near the timekeeper’s table!
Nick Stuart: Atken takes a rough landing, and Dusk is on the attack!
Indeed, Dusk immediately gets on top of Atken and rains fists down on top of the Glue Factory’s Humble Proprietor like it’s monsoon season. Dusk only gets up off of Atken when Timo reaches a four count, and then his eyes catch sight of the monster nearby.
While Hank hasn’t moved a muscle since Dusk attacked Atken to begin the match, he is too close to the proceedings for Dusk’s liking. So when Dusk gets off of Atken, his attention is drawn to the mute monster looming nearby. Hank doesn’t seem to notice or care. Perhaps he is daydreaming of the opulent splendor of the MGM Grand Pool.
Dusk makes a crucial mistake at this moment, as he decides whether to superkick the giant or not.
It’s in making the assumption that Atken was down and out.
In a burst of speed you wouldn’t expect from a fifty-eight year old man, Atken rises up from behind Dusk and gives him a mighty push.
Richard Parker: Oh, so that’s what Dusk’s hollow skull sounds like when you hit it with something.
What hit Dusk’s skull, the density of which is under intense scientific dispute by PRIME’s top wrestling scientists, was the ring post.
Dusk’s head hits the post and he falls in a short spiral to the floor, face-down. Hank doesn’t move even as Dusk lays sprawled out on the ground by his feet, and only backs away when Timo yells at him to step back. Atken, for his part, gives one of his confident smirks as he strolls up to Dusk and grabs him by the hair.
And it’s at this point you know… it’s gotten real.
Nick Stuart: Oh my god! Dusk’s busted open!
A cut has formed just above Dusk’s right eye, and a volcanic spritz of blood is fast covering his face. Dusk looks glassy-eyed from the hit. Atken’s smirk turns into a smile.
And then he’s on him.
Atken himself now has a small wound of his own just under his eye, and now he’s returning the deluge of fists previously endured to sender. Timo once again has to start counting to make Atken break away from him. He does, eventually, his fists stained in Dusk’s blood.
Nick Stuart: Things aren’t looking good for Dusk here. And as a reminder, the bell hasn’t even rung yet.
Atken pulls Dusk up to his feet, and drags him in a headlock closer to the desk.
Richard Parker: Uh, he’s heading our way, Nick.
Nick Stuart: I see that…
Atken smirks when he sees PRIME’s intrepid commentary duo. He grabs Dusk by the wrist and the head, and swings him directly towards the desk. Richard and Nick both yell audibly into their microphones and move away, ready to dodge a flying grandfather.
Instead, Atken swivels Dusk around and tosses him into the ring instead.
He laughs, and makes a small wave to the commentators before rolling underneath the bottom rope and into the ring. And because everyone’s in the ring…
…we can actually get this show on the road.
Atken can barely contain his amusement as Dusk grabs the ropes to try and get himself to his feet, showing the audience just how badly he was bleeding. His face is already a crimson mask. Meanwhile, the commentary team audibly gets their microphones working again.
Richard Parker: Not so sure I like this Atken fellow now.
Still, Dusk sees Atken, and regardless of how his vision’s holding up from the blood in his eyes or how light-headed he must feel after losing so much blood, he can’t help but charge in and smash Atken in the face with an elbow.
Atken reacts as though Dusk hit him with a nerf bat. Made of air.
And then he hits Dusk with an elbow so hard that it knocks him off his feet. When Dusk manages to get up again, Atken tees off on him, landing elbow after elbow in combinations on Dusk’s head. Dusk tries to cover up. It doesn’t matter. The elbows land through Dusk’s attempt at a guard. Dusk gets backed up all the way into the ropes, where Atken continues to beat him until Timo starts a five count.
Atken stops the beating, backing away from Dusk and holding his hands up. His arms are stained in blood, now, from his elbows to his hands.
The moment Dusk takes even a single step forward from the ropes, Atken goes back on the attack. This time, it’s a kick that catches Dusk in the thigh. A second one in the ribs sends Dusk into the corner. Then Atken tees off again, throwing elbows at Dusk’s head and face, pounding him until he’s in a seated position in the corner. Timo tries the five count again, but the relentlessness of Atken’s barrage causes Timo to physically pull him from Dusk’s bloodied husk.
Nick Stuart: This is getting very uncomfortable to watch, very quickly, Rich.
Richard Parker: Honestly, Timo should just stop this.
The fans, though, still support their man.
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
Atken, smirk still on his face, simply holds his hands up after Timo pulls him away. Timo walks over to Dusk, asking if he wants to stop the match. Before Dusk can even answer, Atken goes to deliver more blows.
Oh, that sound? That’s how the crowd reacts when Dusk, grasping the top ropes, pulls himself up and grabs Atken by the head. He spins Atken around, putting him in the corner, and pummels him with a furious string of rights and lefts!
Nick Stuart: Dusk is not done yet! He’s unloading on Atken! Rights! Lefts! An elbow! And… OH!
Atken hits Dusk with a knee in a gap between the blows. He gets out of the corner, and takes down Dusk with a snap mare. Atken hits the ropes in front of Dusk, and when he comes back…
…he kicks Dusk in the chest so goddamn hard that you could’ve heard it in Salt Lake City.
A hush falls over the raucous crowd that’d been excited to see Dusk’s comeback. Atken places a knee on Dusk’s chest, and yells at Timo to make a three count.
Nick Stuart: Dusk kicks out of the penalty kick, and Atken can’t believe it!
Indeed, the expression of Atken’s face is a mixture of disgust and bewilderment. The former is directed at Timo, who holds up two fingers. The latter is expressed towards Dusk. Atken gets back to his feet. Seeing Dusk sit up, Atken smirks, and then hits the ropes again for a second penalty kick.
He hits nothing but air.
Dusk punishes Atken on the whiff, scooping him up for the school boy. This only gets a one-count, though, as Atken easily rolls through it. Both men get to their feet, and Atken snaps off a kick.
Atken realizes what’s about to happen maybe a second before it does. His sneering look of grim superiority vanished faster than a Spinal Tap drummer. Dusk pulls Atken into him and takes him down with a clothesline.
Richard Parker: How is he still fighting back!?
Nick Stuart: I don’t know, but Dusk’s on the offense, now!
Atken gets back to his feet. Dusk charges him and takes him down with a second clothesline. Dusk’s momentum carries him into the ropes, and he’s only barely able to stop himself before he runs headlong into them. Dusk turns, and sees Atken trying to rise again. So he goes for a third clothesline.
However, when Atken turns, he meets something he doesn’t expect. Which is surprising, because he’s in there with Dusk. And there’s one thing you should always be prepared for when you’re in the ring with Dusk.
Nick Stuart: Superkick from Dusk!
Atken doesn’t quite go down. He staggers as though punch drunk. No thoughts, head empty. He backs right up into Dusk’s waiting arms.
Nick Stuart: And a German!
Dusk, through some miracle, is able to hang on for a bridge.
Richard Parker: Unbelievable!
Atken rolls out of the pinning predicament on the count of two. Dusk himself rolls to his stomach, and doesn’t move for a while. Timo begins a standard ten count. Atken is the one on his feet first, surprisingly enough. He staggers over to Dusk, and SLAP.
Atken pulls back and hits him with another SLAP, the sound of which was almost deafening. Dusk is almost on the verge of going down after the second slap, but manages to get himself vertical again.
That one has a different reaction. One entirely undesired by the Humble Proprietor.
It wakes Dusk up.
Dusk squares up, and roars defiantly in the face of Atken. Undaunted, Atken goes for a fourth slap. Dusk blocks it, and then hits Atken in the face with a forearm. Several more follow, and Atken is backed up all the way into the corner. Atken has to cover up once he’s there, but then Dusk hits him with a knee. Then he pulls Atken in.
Nick Stuart: Dusk… gets the northern lights suplex!
There’s no bridge. Dusk rolls through, an impressive feat for a man of his age and blood loss. He stands up and backs into the ropes, and as Atken manages to sit up…
Nick Stuart: Shining wizard!
This puts Atken down, and Dusk manages to crawl on top of him.
Dusk pops up as Atken shoots the arm up, and grabs hold of it and his head.
Nick Stuart: ANACONDA CHOKE! Center of the ring! Atken has nowhere to go!
Dusk cranks back on the submission hold with everything he has. The crowd comes as alive as they ever had before.
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK DUSK!
Atken is screaming, his legs kicking uselessly behind Dusk’s body. Dusk is also screaming, his vocal cords straining as he puts everything he has into his deadliest submission hold. Fans shout, raucous as ever, hoping that Atken’s hand slaps the mat and puts this bloodbath at an end.
But even a veteran like Dusk makes a mistake from time to time, especially when he’s only being driven through his fatigue and blood loss by unbridled passion and anger.
He left Atken’s other arm free to do as it pleased.
Nick Stuart: Atken… ATKEN’S RAKING THE EYES! He’s attacking Dusk’s wound with his free hand!
Even Dusk has his limits. He breaks the hold, holding his bloodied face, as though holding it would unblind what made him blind. Atken scrambles to the ropes, no doubt trying to avoid getting ensnared by an anaconda again, and definitely preferring to not end up like Jon Voight in that one movie.
Still, Atken makes it to his feet before Dusk could get all the way up. When he sees that Dusk is still on his hands and knees, he runs up.
Nick Stuart: Oh my GOD, what a kick to Dusk’s head!
Richard Parker: Ever seen a jousting lance? Imagine it had a wrestling boot at the end. That’s what Atken just did, right now.
Despite the kick, Dusk is somehow able to stay on his knees. Atken sees this. He waits for Dusk to sit up, and when he does, he kicks him straight in the chest.
Dusk falls backwards onto his back, his knees bent under him in a manner that would be hell on someone his age. For a quiet and uncomfortable moment, the crowd was hushed. Atken shook his foot contemptuously. His self-satisfied smirk plastered all over his face…
…for about two seconds.
And then Dusk rises from his goddamn grave.
Richard Parker: Where is he getting this from!?
Dusk roars to life, his arms outstretched. Inviting Atken to come at him with everything he has.
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
Nick Stuart: Dusk wants more! This crowd wants more!
Well, Phillip Martin Atken is never one to turn away a challenge.
THWACK! A kick. THWACK! And another. THWACK! THWACK! THWACK! So many that you’d think that Phil’s trying to get his computer working. After the fifth kick, Atken backs into the ropes for another penalty kick.
It doesn’t come.
Dusk slumps down as Atken rebounds, and he’s forced to come up short or kick nothing but air. The hush returned to the crowd. Timo crouches down to check on Dusk as he lies nearly motionless on the canvas.
Nick Stuart: Timo’s over checking on Dusk, and… hey!
Atken didn’t care.
He moves to grab Dusk by the head and pull him up. But as he does, Dusk comes alive again. He grabs Atken and rolls him up in an inside cradle!
Miraculously, somehow, Atken found a way to escape Dusk’s ruse. He scrambles to his feet, red hot after nearly getting duped in such a manner.
And he takes another superkick.
Atken falls as a tree would in the woods. Dusk falls backwards, and the two men are down once again. Neither move for a time, even as Timo begins a ten count. When Timo gets to three, Dusk stirs, and begins to crawl to the ropes. At six, Atken manages to use the ropes to get to his feet. It takes until eight for Dusk to do the same.
An expression of befuddlement appears on Atken’s face. There might be more of Dusk spread across the mat than in the man staggering to his feet like he’s starring in a John Romero flick.
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
Nick Stuart: I don’t know how much Dusk has left, but Phil Atken looks like he’s seen a ghost!
Richard Parker: Well, he’s got those Beetlejuice pants, so… y’know.
Atken meets him with a slap. SLAP! It echoes like all the others. But it doesn’t quite have the same bite they did before. The match has taken its toll on Atken, as well. Dusk looks wobbly, his legs like jelly. Yet he musters up the strength to answer with a forearm.
Then it goes back and forth like this for a time. A SLAP! And then, a forearm. SLAP, then forearm. SLAP. Forearm. But then, Atken falters. He takes steps backwards after the third forearm, and more come for his dome. He’s backed into the ropes, and that allows Dusk to get an Irish whip on Atken.
Atken gets the reversal, and the moment Dusk hits the ropes, Atken runs into the ropes in the same direction. Dusk manages to stop his momentum, but realizes Atken isn’t there. He turns, and Atken slips behind him, and grabs the rear naked choke!
Nick Stuart: SHOTGU- NO! Dusk throws him off! SUPERKI- NO!
This time, the third time is not the charm for Dusk. Atken catches the boot mere moments from it hitting him a third time.
The kick Atken throws is a straight one, aimed right at Dusk’s plant leg. The crowd gasps as one. Even Nick is heard gasping on commentary. Dusk falls to his knees.
It’s almost too easy.
The piledriver that Atken employs, the Tarp, is usually held aloft for several seconds. Atken is not in the mood for such patience. He is aiming for the kill. So when he picks Dusk up for the piledriver, Dusk’s feet are barely even off the ground before his head hits the mat. The crowd gasps again.
Nick Stuart: That’s the Tarp! Atken just stuck him with that one, folks!
Atken lies on his back for a moment. Dusk’s body lingers between Atken’s legs for a moment before he falls to one side. Atken’s confident smirk is gone, now. His eyes tell a different story, that of a man who perhaps expected this to go a much different way than this. The crazy eyes. A man who knows he has to put an end to this.
He picks himself off the mat and pulls Dusk in.
Richard Parker: Oh, man, I don’t want to be Dusk right now.
Atken hoists Dusk up and holds him up in the piledriver position for a long, agonizing few seconds. He pivots several times, showing everyone in attendance what’s about to happen to their hero.
Nick Stuart: And there’s the Tarp! Again!
The impact of the piledriver pops Dusk up and lands him on his back next to Atken. Atken doesn’t even hesitate.
Nick Stuart: The Shotgun’s locked in!
Richard Parker: That’s it. He’s glue.
Atken gets his arms around Dusk’s throat, and his legs around his body. Every time Atken has done this since entering PRIME, it has ended the match.
Despite this, the fans don’t want to give up hope.
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
For his part, despite everything, Dusk reaches out for a bottom rope that might as well be an entire parsec away from him. He’s barely conscious. And then, his arm falls to the mat.
If it were up to him, then everyone knows he’d always choose to continue.
But it’s not up to him.
It’s up to referee Timo Bolamba.
DING DING DING
Vince Howard: Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of this match, by submission… PHIIIIIIIIL ATKEEEEEEEEEENNNN!!!
Nick Stuart: Phil Atken’s done it! He’s going to ReVival 13 with the Universal Championship hanging in the balance!
Despite the sound of the bell, and despite Vince Howard’s announcement, Atken hasn’t released the hold. It takes until Timo physically pulls Atken’s arms free of Dusk’s throat that he finally relinquishes the hold. When Atken does, he shoves Dusk off of him so contemptuously that it only spurs the fans to boo even louder.
Timo raises his arm in triumph once he gets to his feet.
Only then does the confident smirk return to Atken’s face.
Nick Stuart: Dusk gave it everything he had in this contest, Richard.
Richard Parker: Yeah, and look where it got him, Nick! If Dusk gave everything he had and then some, and Atken still chokes him out… What’s going to happen on ReVival 13 is that we might just have a new champion!
As Atken slips out of the ring to join Hank on the outside, the scene cuts away as Timo checks on Dusk’s condition after the match.