Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
It is the day after ReVival 26 and we open up inside a very quaint, very comfy-looking hotel…and what a hotel it is! Such lovely drapes, such magnificent carpets and furniture. One might look at the cozy digs and think “this seems a bit much for our Masters of the Multiverse heroes”…and frankly, one would be correct, but for the sake of focus we do not get a look at the cheap, essentially kid-sized room that the pair managed to book for their stay in Oklahoma City, because that would just be silly.
What we do get, however, is a glance at the many splendors of this fine establishment, including a nice little restaurant where we finally find the men we’ve been looking for. Seated at the wraparound porch, to be precise, are the trio of Kenny Freeman, Randall Schwartz, and Aeon Khronos, the latter looking a bit perplexed at the conversation the B-Team are having right now.
Truthfully, they’ve been at it for some time, but we catch the pair at what seems to be the peak of each man’s frustration with the other.
“Right, but you still haven’t answered the most important question,” states Kenny, a tone of exasperation in his voice as we see Randall fidgeting slightly in his wheelchair. The Entertainer has been seemingly avoiding the very question since this conversation began, but Kenny seems firm in getting an answer as he restates it once more. “What made you think it was okay to agree to joining up with that big bully Stanislav, without consulting us? Without even talking to me first? Make it make sense, Randall.”
Randall stammers for a bit, unsure how to respond…and the words finally fight through, escaping the prison of his mouth.
“I was stuck in some sorta limbo for God knows how long, Kenny! While you were out doing…whatever the hell it was you were doing…I found myself wandering through Mexico, somehow getting onto a damn boat and ending up in Cuba for like two weeks, only to be shipped back to Mexico when they caught me stealing tuna sandwiches from a marketplace…and that got me thinking, what even is the point of capitalism? Make that make sense, Kenny. That’s why, when Alexei raised some good points, I realized there’s a better way! And what better way than to team up with a man of the people in Ivan Stanislav?”
Kenny’s face warps into one of confusion and anger as he shakes his head at the near-rambling that his friend has been giving for the past couple minutes.
“Randall, do you even hear yourself right now? Talking about stealing tuna sandwiches in Cuba, and thinking capitalism is a lie because of–Randall, you’re making even less sense than you usually do! For the love of–”
The conversation is interrupted by a notification sound coming from Kenny’s phone. He reaches into his pocket, but before he goes any further he glances at The Entertainer, the snarl not leaving his face as he snaps.
“This conversation isn’t over Randall, not by a long shot.”
Kenny turns his focus back to his phone, unlocking it to read a message sent his way…and his face drops, the anger quickly giving way to dread as he mutters to himself.
“You’ve gotta be kidding me. There’s no way–”
Kenny lets out a heavy sigh, shaking his head as he notices Randall and Aeon staring at him in confusion. Kenny takes a deep breath, letting another sigh escape before explaining his reaction.
“They’ve got me facing Tyler Best next ReVival. Absolute horse manure, if you ask me.”
“I didn’t ask y–”
Randall’s dumb attempt at a witty retort is stopped dead in its track with a murder glare from Kenny, who follows up on his promise the night before to stay off Jabber for the week by flat-out deleting the app from his phone for the foreseeable future. He locks the device, placing it back in his pocket. This, true believers, is a man adamant on speaking to absolutely no one about his feelings on the matter…well, not quite no one.
“Screw it, lemme get some advice,” Kenny says to no one in particular, just as quickly pulling his phone back out to make precisely one phone call…a call to Xander Azula. Why, one might ask? Well…
“Hey Xander, I’m in a bit of a pickle. See, I gotta match in a couple weeks against someone I know you’re familiar with. I’m takin’ on Tyler Best, you had a match with him once right? How do I–”
The inquiry is cut off by some angry mumbling from the other side of the call, and while most of Xander’s response cannot be made out despite the miracle of technology, there is one final statement that rings out loud and clear from the Fighter, a statement reflective on his own history with the Best family over the course of the past year or so.
“Go fuck yourself.”
The call drops immediately after, indicating just how well that conversation went for Kenny as he finds himself scrolling through old messages to find the source of Xander’s sour mood. In his mind, Kenny struggled to believe that he would face such backlash purely for bringing up past history…and that’s exactly the moment he stumbles across an unread text from last weekend.
“Ah, that’d probably do it,” Kenny mutters, reading the text asking why he and Randall weren’t at a birthday party set for that Saturday night in Little Rock. Kenny grimaces as he closes the app, locking the phone back up before placing it in his pocket once more…and then, Kenny turns to Randall with a look of dejection on his face.
“Right, if I’m gonna be a part of whatever the hell you signed us up for, I have two terms. One, we take a trip through the Multiverse for old time’s sake, and two, we need some new entrance music…and I sure as hell don’t wanna be walking out to the Soviet Union theme. See if we can reach a compromise on that.”
Randall nods in agreement, as does Aeon as he reaches into his coat pocket…pulling out the Big Ol’ Multiverse Breacher, his patented device for traveling across the multiverse–oop, got the promo title in somehow!–before looking at the B-Team with a smirk on his face.
“Right, let’s get you ready for a hell of a fight shall we?”
Aeon points the device to the porch beside them, a loud whoosh signaling the arrival of a shimmering blue portal. Fellow patrons of the restaurant watch on in amazement as Kenny grabs the back handles of Randall’s wheelchair, helping The Entertainer along as they enter the portal. They are closely followed by Aeon as the portal closes, leaving us with an astonished–and very confused–crowd wondering how the hell that’s happened.
After all, it’s the winds that go sweeping down the plains in Oklahoma, not portals.
In case it’s not clear how I feel about this match, lemme spell it out.
My gut reaction when finding out I was facing Tyler Best at ReVival 27 was as follows:
“We’re a month late to be doing April Fool’s.”
After all, there was no way they’d be feeding me to a wolf two weeks after coming up short against Terry Woods and Tristan Gladhappy. No freakin’ way they’d let me get put out of my misery, not after reaching something of a low in my career.
Then it started to sink in…the Big Sad, I mean. I don’t like to call that feeling depression, but holy hell there’s nothing worse than that nagging thought in the back of your head.
“Well, shit, if they wanted me to just leave they could’ve said something.”
But then I caught myself. Pulled myself out of the gutter by my own bootstraps, or however that old saying goes. It occurred to me in that briefest of moments that this is PRIME, the land of opportunity. If it was, well, somewhere else, this match would feel like a punishment.
But here? It’s a chance to make a statement.
And that’s gonna turn out to be bad news for you, Tyler.
Because I’ve got a ton on my mind, a whole heaping helping of frustration going into this match. After months of being put through the wringer in some way, shape, or form, I’ve come to something of a crossroads in my career. I can no longer accept the way things have been, and I gotta push forward…and so on and so forth.
I realize I sound like a living, breathing trope right now. That’s the first bad habit I gotta break.
The second is letting myself be overwhelmed by things I cannot control. Things like being matched up against a second-generation talent in Tyler Adrian Best, a man who has been on something of a hot streak since his arrival in PRIME. Look at you go, Tyler, a Culture Shock Battle Royal win under your belt and a shot at the Universal Championship in the wings.
But first, you have to deal with a champion of the Multiverse.
I said what I said.
I can just about hear the snickering now, and you’re more than welcome to it…but I don’t care. Because all this mess I’ve been dealing with the past couple months has left me just about ready to go off on someone, like some straight-up Sicko Mode stuff.
Minus the trampling, mind you…well, maybe there’s room for some of that too.
Tyler Best seems on the surface like some hotshot rookie, but below that? When you really dig down deep, to the core of him?
He’s somehow worse.
Because holy moly, he’s got the skills to back his words up. The skills to pay the bills, as the great poets The Beastie Boys would say. That makes a man like Tyler Best dangerous, no matter how long he’s been in the business.
So how do you combat that? How do you make a strategy around someone who’s that damn good, a man that knows exactly what he’s doing when the bell rings?
You gotta find your opening.
Nate Colton found his opening at Culture Shock. Took all that bragging from Tyler, promising to take the Five Star title and punch his ticket to a Universal Championship shot all in the same weekend, and made those words ring hollow that first night. It took two Colton Clutch suplexes to put a wrench in Tyler’s grand scheme that weekend.
The fact you made good on your promise to win the Battle Royal the next night just motivates me to rain on your parade as much as possible in Kansas City, Tyler…because I have a big problem watching you be so insufferable about it, and I’m gonna make it your problem.
Just like the Hogman found his opening, I’m gonna find mine. Because as good as you are, Tyler, you are so damn prone to overconfidence that all it’ll take is one hell of a flurry of offense and a Schwartz Special to make you look like a fool in front of everyone at the T-Moblie Arena, and everyone watching at home, many raising their hands to their head trying to understand what the hell happened.
Because that’s the real goal, at the end of all this.
Anyone who sees Kenny Freeman as the running gag of PRIME is gonna find themselves speechless when the punchline gets turned on its head. If they paid for a ticket expecting to see ol’ Kenny take another ass whoopin’, they’re gonna be at the box office demanding a refund…but that window will be closed in their faces.
And if I truly have to put up with the incoming Soviet Union jokes surrounding an alliance I didn’t even agree to be a part of, at least I’ll go into that with my head held high and my hand raised in victory. Looking down on a man who goes into his big title opportunity looking like a man of empty promises, checks he can no longer cash.
A tab he can no longer pay up.
Time Is Irrelevant, Ignore This Bit
Somewhere in the Multiverse
The portal reopens on what appears to be a city street, dropping our favorite Masters off before closing up. Aeon and Kenny pick themselves up, a small sigh of relief from both of them upon seeing that Randall landed safely in his wheelchair on the sidewalk. They start looking around to get a better understanding of their surroundings, when Kenny notices a familiar sign up above…a glowing neon rabbit.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake Aeon,” Kenny shouts, shoving the cosmic being as he points to the sign. “All that talk about traversing the Multiverse, and you brought us to the Velvet Rabbit!? Is this some sorta TAB joke? Because it’s not funny, man.”
Aeon just stares at the sign for a bit, however, before a look of concern grows on his face.
“That’s…that’s not the one you know, Kenny,” Aeon finally replies, looking around as the familiarity of the surroundings finally dawns on him. “But I do know this place…this world. This is like home to me, as strange as that sounds.”
Kenny and Randall nod in agreement, because that sure does sound odd…but they don’t have time to follow up on that before they’re greeted with the voice of an old friend.
“Ah, you’ve come back.”
The trio turn around, seeing a face familiar to all three of them from a previous encounter. They’ve bumped into her…which, for the uninitiated, means they’ve crossed paths with another Aeon Khronos. It’s…it’s a long story.
Aeon looks at the trio with a mixture of confusion as to why they’re here, and happiness to be with them again after so long. The happiness eventually subsides, however, as she enquires with her counterpart.
“I thought you three weren’t going to make these trips anymore. What brings you here?”
Kenny and Randall look at each other, unsure how to respond…but Aeon knows, and has a bit of a chuckle about it before speaking up.
“Well, it seems my Big Ol’ Multiverse Breacher got confused, dear,” the Master of Time Itself (sorry Anna Daniels!) replies, pulling the device out of his pocket as he examines it closely. “I wanted to get Kenny here ready for his next match, and was trying to lock onto a universe with a Tyler Best to brush up on some more. You wouldn’t happen to have one of those floating around, would you?”
Aeon tilts her head slightly, very confused by the question…but still having a think on it, to try and give a proper response. Eventually she shakes her head, not giving her counterpart the response he was hoping for.
“Well, no, none that I can think of right away,” Aeon is cut off by a chirping noise, prompting the Mistress of Time Itself (sorry again Anna!) to pull her own Big Ol’ Multiverse Breacher out from her coat pocket. She takes a careful look at the findings on her screen, her eyes widening in surprise. “Now you mention it, Aeon, there are quite a few Tylers around here,…but no, not a Best as far as this thing can scope here.”
The trio let out a sigh as Aeon pockets her device, looking at her comrades in even further confusion than before.
“Besides, with all due respect…you don’t need to travel the Multiverse to study up on an opponent in your own world.”
Her counterpart lets out an even heavier sigh before shrugging his shoulders.
“Alright, you got me. I just wanted to see you again…it’s been so long, and I’ve missed your company.”
As the two continue their conversation, Kenny leans over to Randall, speaking in a lowered tone so as to not interrupt…whatever the hell is going on between the two Aeons.
“So, we agree this is weird, right?”
Randall nods his head in agreement, drawing a chuckle from the B-Team…which grabs the attention of the Aeons, cutting their conversation short. This garners a shrug of the shoulders from Kenny before he speaks up on the matter.
“What? This is some freaky-deaky space stuff, or some sorta Freudian experiment gone wrong…but either way, it’s not very helpful to me or Randall. We got places to be, and if I’m not gaining anything from being here, I need to get the hell home.”
“Oh, fine then,” replies Aeon, reaching into his coat to pull out the Breacher. He presses a button, opening a portal…from underneath the B-Team, sending them flying through to the other side before the portal closes. With his charges off to handle their own business, Aeon turns back to his main focus, a smirk on his face as he looks to pick back up on his chat.
“So, where were we?”
Somewhere in Kansas City
The portal opens once more, spilling Kenny onto the sidewalk…but noticeably rolling Randall carefully next to him…before the portal closes one last time, leaving the pair to wonder if they are truly back on their world. Everything seems normal at first glance, as they get a glimpse of their surroundings.
The two wipe their brow, thrilled to be back home…until they hear a wailing cry from behind. Kenny turns around, with Randall straining his necktoral muscles to get a view of what his friend is looking at…an inflatable tube person, arms flailing around as that wailing returns, now clearly coming from the fixture of many a retail establishment.
“Heeeeellllp…I wanna go hooooooome…”
The pair just look at each other, realizing that they’ve been left with another random side quest to contend with…one that will have to wait until after Kenny has (hopefully) made good on his promise to beat Tyler Best at ReVival 27.
Thinking about that match seems to snap Kenny back into reality for a moment, languishing on a loose end left untied just before we fade to black…
“Oh shit, we never checked out of the Bradford House!”