Revolution begins with his face.
SHOOT PROJECT WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION.
The shot pans back.
He is not alone.
The World Champ is joined by OSBOURNE KILMINSTER, SINNOCENCE, as well as a less than jubilant looking trio of TOM QUINN, JASON RILEY and TIM CALAHAN, who brood in a triangle off to the side. Ozzy and Sinn are seated in folding chairs, Kilminster’s IRON FIST TITLE over his shoulder, Sinnocence’s REVOLUTION BELT resting in her lap, her finger nails impatiently rattling over the metal surface.
Jonny, in a black hoodie and jeans... a pink bracelet around his wrist, stands in front of them, sporting an expression curiously devoid of feeling. He’s wearing a black hoodie and jeans, and eyeballs the SHOOT PROJECT TAG TEAM TITLES which have been mounted in their plastic casing nearby, while fiddling with the strap of his OWN championship belt, resting over his right shoulder. He seems hesitant to say anything at first, though does at least bring his gaze back over the masses.
It’s silent at first.
The DEFILER: I’m sorry. (Taking a long, calm breath) I uhh... I didn’t know how to tell you. I’ve never had to... to tell anyone that... well, tell them anything like... like this.
He rubs at his nostrils and thumbs his nose, sniffing loudly.
The DEFILER: But now you guys know. (Pausing) I have Leukemia.
The Revolution Champion raises a dark eyebrow and stops tapping her nails against the metal plate of her belt. She takes a deep breath and cocks her head to the side.
Sinnocence: They're sure it's Leukemia? They did all the blood tests and shit? Damn, darlin...must have hurt.
She shifts in the chair, moving the title around idly.
Sinnocence: You still could have dropped one of us a text or a call sooner than you did. You had Riley going berserk with worry.
Jonny allows the question a few moments to settle while the room waits in a very nerve-racking tension. Sinnocence basically said most of what was on their minds. Why WOULDN’T he have called or left a text message?
Jonny looks at Sinnocence and very comfortably responds.
The DEFILER: I could have. But I didn’t. I’m sorry, Jada.
He never once removes his eyes from hers.
The DEFILER: Is that enough for our... lovely Revolution Champion?
The raven-haired beauty purses her lips and shakes her head.
Sinnocence: No...it's not. I understand having to take some time to yourself to mull it over, but it only takes two damn seconds to send a text...even if it had just been one to your own damn cousin. We're all here for you, you know that.
Osbourne licks his dry lips and nudges his blue-tinted sunglasses back up to the bridge of his nose and adjusting the Championship belt draped over his shoulder. Jonny remains silent, attentive, and Kilminster takes the opportunity to follow with a few thoughts of his own.
Osbourne Kilminster: (Trying to word things a little better than Sinnocence) We're supposed to be in this together. We're all supposed to be friends here. It's not a case of whether you COULD have told us, so much as the fact that you SHOULD have. We're here for you, but we can't be if you don't tell us what's going on... especially something like this...
He tilts his head to the side.
Osbourne Kilminster: Something like this changes everything.
Riley finally steps out from his group, while Quinn and Calahan watch nervously. It feels like a totally fucked version of INTERVENTION. Jason stares at Jonny, who has no qualms with returning the icy gaze. However, he doesn’t quite match his baby cousin’s irritated scowl.
Riley: Look man... We’ve fought and shit but this? Dude this was FUCKED UP. Okay? Not that I need her to talk for me or whatever, but Sinn’s right, Jonny. You coulda fucking contacted one of us. You could have...
Jonny’s eye rolling and head shaking is enough to silence Riley.
The DEFILER: Could have what? Wiped your fucking diapers? Huh? Could have dressed you? I could have fucking helped you walk from point A to point B? HUH! WHAT, JASON? GUYS? What else COULD I HAVE DONE to... to make YOUR LIVES more convenient?
His glare captures the entire room as he slides his head from one side of the room to the other, making sure they know he’s talking to all of them.
The DEFILER: We’re FUCKING ADULTS and I AM NOT YOUR BABYSITTER. If I vanish, SO-THE-FUCK-WHAT? Do I have a fucking nervous break down because I don’t know where Ozzy is? Huh? Or freak out because Sinnocence hasn’t called me in a week? (Incensed) Or what about the TRIO OF FUCK UPS IN THE CORNER? Did I yell at Tommy when he told me how he fucked up and was living on the streets? DID I BLAME HIM FOR NOT SAYING SOMETHING SOONER?!
For CHRIST’S SAKES. Shit happened, and now I’m having to apologize FOR HAVING A TERMINAL ILLNESS!? WHAT ARE YOU GUYS? The fucking SONS OF LIBERTY? You want to open a can of worms? You want to say what we could have done to... to make shit better?
He looks at Rogue, Riley and Super Fan first.
The DEFILER: Is that what we want guys? Suggestions? How about having some BALLS and doing something for your goddamn selves! (Pointing at the tag team titles) You could have taken those belts, but you tit sucking infants need my fucking approval for EVERYTHING! And then you want to blame your crutch? I’VE NEVER STOPPED YOU FROM ANYTHING.
Frustrated, he turns to look at Kilminster.
The DEFILER: And Maybe some of us could have come up with a less BRAIN DEAD IDEA than have a FUCKING DRAFT for our title division? A DRAFT? ARE YOU A FUCKING IDIOT, OZ? Oh... and you probably COULD HAVE not fucked up the ENTIRE SECOND NIGHT OF JONNYLUTION! That COULD HAVE BEEN great! If you didn’t ruin my show.
His gaze shifts toward Sinnocence.
The DEFILER: Or maybe YOU could have laid off hard drugs so your fucking child wouldn’t have to live in the HELL you’ve built for it. Maybe you could have worked a little harder to avoid being a POSTER CHILD for why some mother’s should CONSIDER ABORTION AS A VERY REAL POSSIBILITY!
Sinnocence's eyes take on a rather venomous gleam as she stands up and tries to throw a punch right into the World Heavyweight Champion's gut, but Osbourne frantically jumps to his feet and catches her arm...stopping her fist in mid punch.
Stopping her fist...doesn't stop her mouth.
Sinnocence: Bring up my son again, cocksucker and I'll be feeding you your balls for a fucking week. Terminal fucking illness, my ass. Don't step on our throats for YOUR mistakes. Oz stepped in when you were nowhere to be found and tried his fucking best, and god forbid your family and friends worry about you.
Riley moves closer now, drawn to the commotion, and is joined by Calahan and Quinn who seem even more uncomfortable than usual. Jonny watches them all pile in closer, but remains totally silent, almost to the point that you have to wonder if he isn’t gaining some sort of bizarre pleasure out of this. Of course, with emotionless features, it’s impossible to have any idea.
Kilminster pulls back his arm, shaking his head.
Osbourne Kilminster: You're ill and I'm sorry to hear about that... and I'm going to put this down to you being all stressed-out about it... I'm a patient man and I think I'm a pretty decent friend, but that's only going to go so far.
He turns away from the World Heavyweight Champion, raising his eyebrows to Sinnocence. She pulls back herself and takes a deep breath, throwing the Revolution title over her shoulder and mouths "I'm sorry." to Ozzy. Sinn turns back to Jonny, glaring daggers at him. Riley shakes his head and Quinn makes sure to move forward and grab his shoulder, offering both reassurance AND a road block.
Meanwhile, Jonny proceeds as though nothing that just happened had any effect on him or this discussion.
The DEFILER: Look, the last two weeks have been an EMBARRASSMENT for most of us, and last week especially. You looked FUCKING STUPID without me, and that’s going to have to change.
He raises his eyebrows at Kilminster and points directly at the Iron Fist Champion.
The DEFILER: Especially you, Oz. You with me? We on the same page here? I’ll support any choices you make for this squad you have to put together, but if you fuck this up... I swear to God, shit’s going to HIT THE FAN. So make sure your teammate selection goes better than your recent endeavors.
He pauses and watches their faces. Kilminster raises a single eyebrow at Jonny and clenches his jaw tightly, holding his temper.
The DEFILER: Everyone else... Find a fucking locker room. It’s obvious that Mama Hen has to let her chicks run free... Or they’re ALWAYS going to be retarded.
Before anyone can respond or, in Jonny’s case, perhaps finish the conversation, the locker room door pops open and the imposing THOMAS MANCHESTER BLACK steps into the room, absorbing the attention and interrupting the tension.
TMB: Yo man... This dude here says he has an appointment?
The door opens a just a little further to compensate the added presence of RON BARKER. Barker nods at Black and makes direct eye contact with Jonny.
Ron Barker: (Shaking his head) I am SO sorry, man. I don’t know what to say. (Moving closer) Should we hug? I don’t usually hug, but if you need it. If YOU NEED a hug, Jonny, I’ll hug.
Barker moves in closer and Jonny nods, while TMB drops his guard and stands attentively in the doorway.
The DEFILER: I might like a hug.
He opens his arms and he and Ron Barker share a very bizarre embrace. The others in the room are nothing short of confused.
Ron pats him on the back. Jonny seems to be appreciative.
And both men pull away, as the World Champion addresses his Friends once more.
The DEFILER: Ron is my new... financial advisor, and... and I trust that you guys would go to him in situations where I’m... unable. Like on days when I have to do doctor stuff. For my leukemia. Ron is our friend. And he’s here to make sure things run more smoothly in our time of need.
Barker gives a slight wave, but seems less concerned with the others as he turns right back to Jonny.
Ron Barker: (Leaning in, Half whispering to Jonny) They said we go live in three minutes.
Jonny nods and looks back to the others.
The DEFILER: I can’t say or do anything to fix what I did. But I love you guys, and I’m really sorry for how this all played out.
He pauses again.
The DEFILER: I promise I’ll clean up your messes.
He casually nods again and, with a tight lipped sense of satisfaction, exits the room along side Ron Barker. Black lets them go passed him, looks the room over one last time and closes the door behind him.
From the video we move to an establishing shot of MADISON SQUARE GARDEN!!! The arena appears SOLD OUT and the New York fans are on their feet and going wild! A stream of pyrotechnics enhance the excitement and draw even louder reactions from this rambunctious bunch! Judging from various signs, this appears to be a slightly smarkier crowd than usual, as this city tends to be (especially in a Wrestling sense). One guy has a sign that says “GLASS CEILING > TREVOR WORRENS” while another shows of a homemade T-shirt that has a picture of a naked Sinnocence from one of her “movies”.
Of course several guys are already drunk, and there are noticeably fewer “kids” than in various other wrestling promotions.
Dave Dymond: (Speaking over the footage) I WANT TO BE A PART OF IT... NEW YORK... NEW YORK! Ladies and gentlemen, WELCOME to Revolution FORTY SEVEN... and no you’re eyes are not deceiving you! We have left the confines of Las Vegas... and we are coming to you LIVE from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York!
Other Guy: Gotta a HELL of a night ahead of us, including a very SPECIAL main event that will pit Cade Sydal against the likes of Chris Davis, Diego Reyes and Jonas Coleman of Perdition, Ron Barker, and Vincent Mallows. All for the sake of friendly competition, Dave!
We get more shots of fans as the cameras continue to pan the arena.
Dave Dymond: And of course that’s not all we have...
Dymond is interrupted by the sound of HAUNTING CHIMES.
Dave Dymond: (Softer) ...a bout between.
Other Guy: (Sighing) Son of a bitch. Does he REALLY need this much television time?
The crowd begins to BOOOOOOOOO MERCILESSLY, though there are a handful of distinguishable cheers.
A guitar croaks out a single note!
Dave and Other Guy go silent, allowing the sound of a WHINING VIOLIN to screech into television sets all across the country.
THE LIGHTS GO OUT!
DRUMS ROLL IN!
A STREAM OF FIREWORKS FLARE TOWARD THE ARENA CEILING and Madison Square Garden is engorged with the DISSONANT SIREN-LIKE SOUNDS, of “Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)” by Broken Social Scene! The few cheers are quickly drowned out by DEAFENING BOOOOOOOS as the World Champion’s entrance music grates on the SHOOT Project fans’ sanity!
Dave Dymond: You feel like you have to say something, but OG, I got nothing. This was the last person I think we wanted to see kicking off the evening.
Other Guy: Which is probably exactly why he’s coming out.
The music continues to swell, and swell, and swell.
The sounds become more maddening with each measure!
It builds, and BUILDS, and BUILDS AND BUILDS...
And right before your ears can bleed...
THE SOUNDS COME TOGETHER AS ONE!!!
The CURTAINS RUSTLE!
THE DEFILER. IS...
The music scratches and cuts out.
...Jonny steps through the curtains to no music.
The lights come up. Jonny remains at the top of the ramp, and looks around, angry and maybe even a little bit confused.
“WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?”
You can hear him audibly shout.
THE LIGHTS GO OUT AGAIN.
“GO ON! GO ON! LEAVE ME BREATHLESS!”
THE FANS SUDDENLY ROAR!!!
“Breathless” by the Corrs begins to play, accompanied by gayishly flashing pink lights. The look on Jonny’s face could not be any more DISGUSTED.
Dave Dymond: Listen to this crowd come alive, OG! (Enjoying it, but confused) What the hell is going on?
Other Guy: Looks like some of the production guys are taking what Tony Lorenzo said to heart, man. After Jonny was defeated three weeks ago, and the momentum shifting victory of the Sons of Liberty two weeks ago, it looks like people are ACTUALLY standing up!
“The day light’s fading slowly. But time with you is standing still.
Jonny lowers his head and makes a solemn walk toward the ring, now attempting to laughs this off to try and keep his cool. The fans reach out for handshakes but Jonny makes sure he’s in position to be touched, walking as close to right down the middle as you possibly can. He doesn’t acknowledge any of the cat calls or taunts, keeping his focus entirely on making it to the ring.
“I cannot lie. From you I cannot hide.
He makes his way to the ring apron and shuts his eyes and does what he can to drown out this experience.
THE FANS BEGIN TO MOCKINGLY SING ALONG WITH THE CHORUS!
“SO GO ON! GO ON!”
“COME ON LEAVE ME BREATHLESS!”
“TEMPT ME! TEASE ME! ‘TIL I CAN’T DENY THIS...
“GO ON! GO ON YEEEEEAHHHHH!”
The bouncy pop song continues and the fans explode with ANOTHER GIANT POP!!!
Dave Dymond: Absolutely DEAFENING! What a goddamn crowd, OG!
Jonny walks up the steel steps and into the ring, pulling a microphone out from the pocket of his jeans.
He takes a deep breath and keeps his head aimed to the ground. But the music does NOT stop.
“And if there’s no tomorrow! And all we have is here and now.
The DEFILER: (Speaking into his microphone, dry, calm) We ge...
His mic is cut off. He taps the top, but quickly realizes what is happening.
“It’s like a dream. Although I’m not asleep!
He raises his eyes and looks out to the crowd with ABSOLUTE LOATHING, which only seems to drive them into a CRAZIER FRENZY AS THE CHORUS KICKS IN AGAIN!
The fans begin to SING ALONG AGAIN!!!
“SO GO ON! GO ON!”
“COME ON LEAVE ME BREATHLESS!”
“TEMPT ME! TEASE ME! ‘TIL I CAN’T DENY THIS...
“GO ON! GO ON YEEEEEAHHHHH!”
The DEFILER: (Trying to talk again) I’m fucking serious turn this sh...
It cuts out again!
HE THROWS HIS MICROPHONE DOWN TO THE MAT IN A VIOLENT RAGE!!!
The music doesn’t stop and Jonny seems stunned, but only for a second or two before he eyeballs OTHER GUY and DAVE DYMOND at the announce booth. He shakes his head, drops down and rolls out of the ring, making sure to keep his SHOOT PROJECT WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP firmly over his shoulder.
Dave Dymond: All right guys. Let’s stop the pranks. He’s headed our way.
Other Guy: (Standing up) You need something, Champ.
The cameras cut to a shot closer to the announce table, obviously being manually walked around due to the up and down, bouncy nature of the scene. Jonny shrugs off a few fans who reach over the railing enroute to the announce table where he begins motioning for Dave or OG to “shoo”.
Meanwhile the music CONTINUES to play in the background.
Other Guy: You think you can treat a grown man like that?
Jonny seems unconcerned with OG’s comments.
The DEFILER: (Off Mic, but audible) Get me a headset. One of you. GET ME A FUCKING HEADSET!
Neither man really accommodates him and so Jonny pushes Dave off to the side and grabs a third, extra headset.
He puts the headset on and tries to talk.
The DEFILER: (Still Off Mic) Can you hear me? Is this thing on? Test! Test!
In the snap of a finger he removes the headset and CHUCKS IT ONTO THE TABLE, watching as it breaks off into SEVERAL PIECES!!! Jonny then instinctively GRABS DAVE’S HEADSET AND PUTS IT ON. Dave backs off, while OG puts an arm on his back to show support.
The DEFILER: Kill this fucking music right now or I swear to GOD that something bad is going to happen. I know you guys upstairs think that this is some sort of revenge or maybe something I would do, but it’s just another FUCKING MISCONCEPTION ABOUT WHO I AM! SO TURN IT OFF! You can fucking hear me! I KNOW YOU CAN! TURN THE MUSIC OFF!!!
It continues to play!
The DEFILER: I warned you.
He drops the headset and then OUT OF NOWHERE, SLAMS THE FRONT PLATE OF HIS WORLD TITLE BELT INTO DAVE DYMOND’S FACE!!! THE FANS AT RINGSIDE FREAK OUT AND GASP IN SHOCK! Other Guy moves toward Jonny, but the World Champion leans forward and grabs Dave.
The DEFILER: (Off Microphone) Don’t even fucking think about! YOU STAY THE FUCK BACK OR I SWEAR TO GOD I’LL MAKE SURE HE CAN’T TALK EVER AGAIN! And then you’ll be next. SO SIT DOWN!
Other Guy, realizing Jonny has leverage in this situation backs down. The music almost INSTANTLY GOES OFF and the DEFILER picks Dave up off the ground and starts dragging him back toward the ring, away from the commentator table. Jonny THROWS Dave in under the bottom rope and then follows in after him. When he pops back up inside, he walks over to where he threw his microphone down, grabs it, and adjusts his WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP while trying to calm down.
The DEFILER: Is it on now?
His microphone is on and the fans begin to boo. Jonny stands stoically, while Dave Dymond is nearly unconscious off to the side.
The DEFILER: I had a simple, professional announcement to make...
The DEFILER: (Trying to repeat himself) SIMPLE... PROFESSIONAL.. Announcement to make...
But the BOObirds continue to do their very best to drown him out!
The DEFILER: No. No you had your fucking time. Remember the singing bullshit? When that thing happened and you all turned into the GAY GIGGLING BRIGADE!? CAUSE IT HAPPENED... and now... Now it’s MY TIME! SO SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!
ALL OF YOU! SHUT UP!!!
Almost in a bout of insanity, he drops to the mat and rolls over to Dave Dymond. He looks at the fans and then at Other Guy.
The DEFILER: This is getting so fucking old. You guys know that? I’m just trying to fucking apologize. I AM TRYING TO SAY THAT I AM SORRY, but you continue to DISRESPECT ME! Why? WHY WOULD YOU FUCKING DO THAT!!!?!
WITHOUT WARNING JONNY SLAMS THE POINT OF HIS ELBOW DIRECTLY ACROSS DAVE’S THROAT!!! THE FANS GASP!!!
Other Guy: FUCKER!!! NO!!!
Dave’s body begins to CONVULSE as he shakes and spits out blood. Jonny watches, as does everyone. Dymond is in SEVERE PAIN, and the World Champion doesn’t look like he cares.
The DEFILER: (Looking at Dave, on his knees) You push... and you push, and... and you push. Well guess what? (He wipes his fingers across Dave’s mouth) Horrible, Horrible things, guys. (Standing up, pointing at Dave) I mean, I just fucked his throat up. It sucks. I feel shitty, man, but... But the music thing. And... and the microphones and... (Nonchalantly wiping the blood from his fingers onto his hoodies) and then all of YOUR bullshit... (motioning to the crowd) It was too fucking much.
He pauses and takes a couple steps away from the body.
The DEFILER: I am a fucking ZOMBIE. Okay? I was diagnosed with Leukemia and all I wanted was to make amends. I wanted my chance to say sorry, but like the HYPOCRITES YOU ARE, you BOO a dying man. You’ll cheer rapists. You’ll cheer fucking murderers and drug addicts. You support FUCKING SCUM, but an honest man begs for forgiveness... HE APOLOGIZES FOR BEING ILL...
And all you can do is inject him with your self loathing venom and scream “PLEASE DIE FASTER!”
He cringes with anger and grits his teeth. Murderous intentions lie deep in his eyes... eyes that burn an entire arena.
“PLEASE DIE FASTER!” CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP! “PLEASE DIE FASTER!”
An actual chant starts up. It’s not super loud, but audible enough.
Jonny can’t believe it.
The DEFILER: When this society is on its deathbed, I want your great grandchildren to see this. I want them to know that THIS FUCKING HAPPENED. And I want them to nod their heads and understand WHY THEIR WORLD HAS BECOME NOTHING BUT THE SHADOWY INSIDES OF TRAGIC CASKET!
He pauses and the fans actually fall into a strange silence.
The DEFILER: I’m sorry, and I want this war to end. Accept my apology.
Swallowing, Jonny looks out to the fans.
The DEFILER: It’s that simple.
He looks over at Dave who is in TERRIBLE shape and sighs.
The DEFILER: He’ll need some help. He’s gonna need a lot of help guys.
And with no remorse, he drops his microphone and makes his exit. A head set crashed to the table and OTHER GUY is the first one into the ring quickly followed by a team of paramedics and backstage staff members.
Jonny keeps his head down and walks past all of them.
Revolution 47 is underway.
A luscious field of incredibly healthy green grass spans out before you. Waves of its gloriousness stretching out as far as the eyes can see.
When he was here, all was right in this world.
Suddenly there is a dark ominous flash and the beautiful field turns barren and ugly. Dirt and rock is all that can be seen under a dark and horribly gloomy sky.
And in his absence, the innocent have suffered.
A vulture swoops down, picking at some bones scattered amongst the terrible sight.
People have suffered. Pain and agony have run rampant.
Off in the distance, a faint, but still ever-glowing light is seen. It’s small right now, but still there is this holy energy about it.
It is time for the suffering to end.
The light grows stronger, illuminating the horizon and slowly but surely overtaking the barren field.
It is time for his return.
Oh that glorious and heavenly light, how it washes away everything. A Clean state… a pristine moment in time. The light fades and all that is left standing amidst the pure whiteness of only the purest of pure white color is him… The Miracle Worker, God’s Champion… Paul Jarvis. He smiles warmly, his arms held out ready for a loving embrace. His nearly perfectly white teeth almost glowing along with his aura of awesomeness.
“Face it. You guys TOTALLY need a miracle.”
The smile only grows bigger as Jarvis points to himself with his thumb.
“And that’s where I come in.”
He holds a pose, and then in a flash of brilliant bright golden light, he’s gone.
Coming back to the ring, the fans inside historical Madison Square Garden are still buzzing about what they witnessed at the very top of the show. The focus rests on the ringside commentary table, and Other Guy sits with a worried expression on his face and now next to him is Scott Richardson who seems a bit all over the place as he tries to get set up.
Scott Richardson: Okay here we go… folks umm… well it’s never easy having to come out here under the circumstances in which I sit next to Other Guy, and all we can do now is hope that Dave Dymond isn’t seriously injured and is back in the proverbial saddle before you know it.
Other Guy: I’m at a loss, Scott. Don’t take this as a disrespect but it just don’t feel the same right now.
Scott Richardson: Completely understood, you and Dave have shared a relationship and chemistry, and I’m not here to even attempt to match that. I’m here to fill in as best I can, to see to it that our first night on SHOOT Project’s national tour moves forward. And that begins with Tres Bien in tag team action, though right off the bat I’d say this doesn’t look good for the duo rockstars turned in ring superstars.
Other Guy: And surprise surprise, their current condition is due to one of Jonny Johnson’s goons, Thomas Manchester Black. This has GOT to stop, and I hope at WAR… it finally does.
Scott Richardson: A lot of negative vibes, so definitely people hoping and begging to see a change for the better, and let’s hope tonight’s Revolution can change for the better as well.
Other Guy: I wanna be optimistic, but I wouldn’t hold your breath, Scott.
The bell sounds after the fans have finally settled back in and a moment after that, “Bell The Cat” by LM.C begins to play and a series of blue and pink laser lights flash all around the entryway to the ring area. The crowd perks up a bit as Shinya and Maya make their way out from the back, but while trying to look confident, it’s apparent they’re hurting. Both superstars sport knee braces, noticeable wounds on their faces, and Shinya has his right arm taped up, while Maya has both of his arms taped up.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, tonight’s opening contest is set for tag team action! Introducing first, weighing in at a combined weight of 332 pounds the team of Shinya and Maya… they are TRES BIEN!!!
The fans applaud, though the reaction isn’t as hot as it might be if the duo themselves were full of energy.
Scott Richardson: You have to respect Tres Bien for coming out to the ring tonight, but at the same time part of you does have to feel sorry for them as well.
Other Guy: No doubt. They are barely in the right condition to fight, and they sure as hell ain’t in ANY condition to have to fight the likes of Sammy Rochester and Roland Caldwell. It just ain’t right man.
Shinya keeps close to Maya, ushering him up the steel steps first before Shinya slides into the ring under the bottom rope. He’s slow to rise and as Maya ducks through the ropes his face shows visible pain. Still they turn out to the crowd and start clapping their hands, trying to get them going. Once more the fans let out a cheer, getting behind the clear underdog team of the upcoming match.
The music cuts out abruptly and the lights start to flicker, but then return to normal as “The Greater Good” by Nine Inch Nails begins to play. The Revolution video screen showcases the Family portrait and then very violent clips of Roland, Sammy, and Kenji in competition. The crowd makes their hatred known for the men yet to come out by booing loudly.
Samantha Coil: And their opponents…
The booing gets louder as Roland Caldwell walks out from the back, followed closely by the monster-child Sammy Rochester.
Samantha Coil: Weighing in tonight at a combined weight of 711 pounds… representing The Family, they are ROLAND CALDWELL AND SAMMY ROCHESTER!
Scott Richardson: Yikes, Other Guy, these two together weigh over seven hundred pounds, and if my stats listed here serve me correctly, Sammy Rochester himself weighs more than both Shinya and Maya combined.
Other Guy: Yeah, this isn’t a David versus Goliath story; it’s just a damn murder waiting to happen.
Scott Richardson: Makes you wonder just exactly what could be running through the minds of Tres Bien, or even The Family… and was this match put into effect as proof that the Defiler may STILL have sway, despite all of us being informed that Jason Johnson IS, in fact, in firm control.
Other Guy: Who the hell knows anymore. But it’s all just fuelin’ and reaching a boiling point, Scott. All I can say is let’s just pray Maya and Shinya can leave with their lives still in tact.
Maya and Shinya look visibly scared as they stand in the ring, but Shinya wraps his arm around Maya’s shoulder, seemingly trying to reassure him that everything will be okay. Roland reaches the ring first, standing now just on the outside of it, staring a burning hole into the eyes of Shinya. Sammy, with the Mikey doll in hand starts up the steel steps and sets Mikey down in the corner, he then grips the ropes tightly, as if restraining himself. Referee Chris Jenkins calls for Roland to get into the ring, and Roland pulls himself up onto the ring edge then enters through the middle and top rope. Shinya motions for Maya to move to the corner, but Maya seems hesitant, like he wants to fight.
Scott Richardson: Maya apparently just as concerned about Shinya, as Shinya is about Maya… and we heard earlier in this week that Shinya wants to protect Maya and keep him out of this match as much as possible.
Other Guy: Maya definitely showin’ he’s taken more injury on then Shinya, but still this ain’t a good situation for either. And I feel for em. They’re tryin’ so hard to keep fighting, to do the right things, but they’re gettin’ nothing for it.
Shinya finally puts his foot down and Maya nods his head and exits the ring. From there Shinya stands as confident as possible as Roland stands only a few feet away. The referee signals for the bell, and Roland smiles the most sinister smile and suddenly turns his body and tags in Sammy Rochester!!
Roland points at Shinya and shouts for Sammy to get him. Sammy enters the ring, easily clearing the top rope in one step, and Roland pats him on the back. Shinya immediately begins to move about the ring, keeping his speed up as Sammy slowly tries to approach him, never once hesitating to shift in the direction that Shinya darts. Still Shinya is too fast for Sammy and soon bounces off the ropes. Sammy waits for Shinya to come to him, and as he SWINGS with a hard right arm, Shinya ducks his head, and keeps running as fast as he can, but obviously his injured legs slow him up slightly. Sammy turns around as Shinya is already running back at him. Shinya puts on the break though as Sammy attempts a big boot, then wraps around to the side then fires a kick to the small of Sammy’s back.
Sammy barely flinches. Shinya nails him with a second kick, but again Sammy just stands there.
Scott Richardson: Those kicks finding NO impact on Rochester what so ever, and what strategy do you implement then if your Shinya and Maya?
Other Guy: I’d say just keep runnin around. Tire Sammy out or hope he makes a mistake.
Sammy turns around now and JUST fires off a punch that Shinya can’t quite dodge. Sammy’s massive hand clips Shinya’s shoulder and side of the face, knocking Shinya down in a second flat. Shinya springs back up though just as Sammy looks for a hard stomp down, and then KICKS at Sammy’s leg repeatedly! The fans get behind Shinya who keeps trying his best to mount some kind of offense against the monster child. Sammy barely falters though and Shinya spins around in front of Sammy, kicking him in the gut and quickly spinning away and running towards the down ring ropes.
Maya starts clapping his hands, supporting Shinya just as Shinya comes off the ropes. Sammy turns slowly, somewhat annoyed and as Shinya LEAPS at him with a diving shoulder block… Sammy doesn’t budge and Shinya FLOPS to the mat!
Scott Richardson: Can you say like bouncing off a brick wall!
Other Guy: Bad judgment on Shinya’s part and it’s leavin’ him in a bad spot here.
Shinya is slow to get up, favoring his shoulder and Sammy just grabs him tightly around the neck with his right hand. Shinya’s eyes go wide and Sammy just SPINS, FLINGING Shinya away and into the upper left corner of the ring. Sammy then turns and Roland is right there urging his partner on. Shinya staggers out of the corner and Sammy stomps towards him… and then CLAPS his forearms on each side of Shinya’s head! Shinya goes down instantly and Sammy just yanks him right back up and sends him across the ring. Shinya comes bouncing back right towards the awaiting Sammy who just DECKS him with a wild swinging right handed fist.
Other Guy: Like I said, a bad spot as Shinya takin’ the beatin now, only a week removed from his unfortunate run in with Thomas Manchester Black.
Maya looks concerned now as Shinya rocks back and forth on the mat in pain, clutching at his face. Sammy looms over Shinya and instead of making a pin, he grabs him by the shoulders with both hands and lifts him up violently off the mat and shoves him into the upper right corner. Sammy actually runs at Shinya SMASHING him in between the corner post and his body. Sammy doesn’t back up and instead starts PUMMELING Shinya with his arms, connecting with punches, forearm shots, and his elbows.
Maya tries to come to Shinya’s aid, running the length of the ring apron, but Sammy turns and NAILS Maya square in the face with a hard punch. Maya falls and bounces off the ring edge, spilling to the floor. Sammy then turns his focus back on Shinya who tries to stagger away only for Sammy to grab him by the back of the head and then DRILLS him with a headbutt. Shinya falls holding the back of his head and Sammy just wildly stomps down at him repeatedly, to the point where Shinya has to roll out of the ring to protect himself. Sammy looks to go after Shinya, but now referee Chris Jenkins steps in, shouting angrily at Sammy to stay put.
Scott Richardson: A brave soul is referee Chris Jenkins who looks to try to control Sammy Rochester.
Other Guy: Yeah, otherwise this one would be out of control and Shinya’s already in bad shape as is.
Scott Richardson: So more than likely a call of sympathy and compassion on behalf of the referee and surprisingly Sammy is listening.
Other Guy: He’s a bizarre cat, Sammy. And definitely lives up to the name of Monster-child. One minute he’s a raving monster, the next he’s as obedient as a child.
Sammy paces in the ring, but only takes a couple of steps, so it looks more like he’s rocking back and forth with long strides. Outside, Shinya works on recovering, and referee Chris Jenkins starts the ring out count.
Maya is back up in his corner, and watches on now as Sammy and Roland just stand waiting for Shinya to get up, waiting like vultures.
Shinya starts to get up, and the referee calls for Sammy to back away from the ropes. Sammy slowly backs up as Shinya crawls in and then he turns and tags in Roland. Roland enters the ring quickly and lands a running stomp down onto the back of Shinya’s head. Shinya grabs at his head but Roland swats his arms away and pulls him back up. Roland then swings Shinya into the down ring ropes, but Shinya manages to hook his arms and stop the momentum. Roland storms towards him and Shinya comes off and picks up speed, landing a running low angled drop kick to Roland.
Roland falters and Shinya is up only to land another low angled dropkick to the legs. Roland drops to one knee and Shinya runs towards the up ring ropes, charges at Roland from behind and FLIPS over connecting with a blockbuster, SMASHING Roland’s face into the mat! Maya is applauding wildly and Shinya doesn’t waste the moment. He pushes Roland over onto his back and makes the cover.
Scott Richardson: Chris Jenkins with the count…
POWERFUL KICKOUT by Roland! Shinya is sent off to the side with a violent shove from Roland. Roland gets up to one knee and Shinya leaps with a sitting dropkick but Roland gets BOTH his arms out in time, catching Shinya! The crowd buzzes with concern as Roland stands all the way up and then DRIVES Shinya down into the mat via a quick powerbomb!
Other Guy: Shinya had a good thing goin’ but Roland putting an abrupt halt to that.
Scott Richardson: A tag will need to be made if Tres Bien wants to stay alive in this one, but like we mentioned, and like we heard earlier in the week, Shinya is going to try to go this one without involving Maya.
Other Guy: Ya gotta respect Shinya’s loyalty to his partner and the care shown, but look at Maya. He’s DYING to get into the ring and into this match. Shinya’s gotta realize that.
As Shinya lays crumpled on the mat, Maya reaches his hand out over the top rope and calls for his partner. Roland lifts Shinya up slowly, only to drive a knee right into his gut. Shinya’s entire body flies upward then his feet come down to the mat first and Roland hooks him around the neck, HOISTS him up… then DROPS him with a stalling vertical suplex. Roland toys with Shinya, nudging him over with his foot, then lifts him up and wraps his arms around Shinya’s waist.
The crowd boos loudly as Roland actually walks Shinya closer towards his corner, laughing at Maya who reaches out as far as he can.
Roland Caldwell: Come on, Make the tag! What’s wrong? Tag him!
Maya reaches out further, only for Roland to SNAP his body back, which sends Shinya FLYING via an overhead belly-to-back suplex!
Scott Richardson: And the sheer arrogance of Roland Caldwell who has been touch and go as of late given some rumors of his physical condition.
Other Guy: But it’s real damn easy to be arrogant when you’re facin’ someone much smaller than you, and Roland knows it.
Roland continues to mock Maya, almost goading Maya to get into the ring. Maya starts in, biting the bait, but the referee quickly comes over, stopping Maya. That’s when Roland turns around and goes for Shinya, lifting him up with a double handed choke and just holds him there, watching as Shinya struggles!
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The crowd grows increasingly frustrated as Roland blatantly chokes out Shinya… but suddenly… out of nowhere Shinya starts throwing out his knees, driving them into Roland’s upper body! Roland stumbles, still holding onto Shinya’s throat, but Shinya keeps fighting back, desperately trying to get free of Roland.
Scott Richardson: Despite the pain, despite the condition, Shinya trying for a comeback here and possibly a pivotal turning point in this match!
Roland continues to stagger and finally drops Shinya. Shinya lands on his feet and as Roland looks to come back, Shinya LEAPS with a dropsault that NAILS Roland in the face! Roland stumbles back and Shinya back up. He charges at Roland but Roland recovers and LUNGES with a violent clothesline… ONLY SHINYA DUCKS IT! The fans start cheering on Shinya now as he runs full steam at the ropes, BOUNCES off the second rope and lands a line drive cross body to the BACK of Roland!
Other Guy: Not a traditional cross body, but whatever works works.
Scott Richardson: Shinya turning this in Tres Bien’s favor, but definitely showing signs of wear. Maya has that arm outstretched again; Shinya has GOT to make the tag.
Roland is on palms and knees now and Shinya slowly back up to his feet. Some of the fans on theirs as well cheering loudly as Shinya looks up and into the eyes of Maya. Maya nods his head passionately as he shakes his arm not far from Shinya. Roland is back up though and Shinya doesn’t make the tag he turns and takes a CLOTHESLINE IN FULL!
Other Guy: Damn it!
The once cheering crowd falls silent as Shinya writhes on the mat in pain. Maya lowers his head, his energy suddenly sucked right out of him. Roland makes a forceful cover and the referee makes the count.
KICK OUT BY SHINYA!
YEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH! The crowd is back in it!
Scott Richardson: You have to love an underdog, and Madison Square Garden sure does. Shinya able to kick out at two and stays alive in this match.
Roland, frustrated, is quick up to his feet and he pulls Shinya up as well, getting him far away from his corner. Roland hooks a punch into Shinya’s gut, and Shinya suddenly fires back with a rising knife-edge chop uppercut to Roland! Roland’s head snaps back and Shinya starts kicking away at Roland’s stomach, driving boot after boot to him. Roland eventually doubles over and Shinya hooks him around the neck… quick DDT… but here comes Sammy!!!
Other Guy: And now we’re seein’ the monster!
Sammy screams out as he charges into the ring, Chris Jenkins shouts for Sammy to get out, but Shinya reacts quick enough to avoid Sammy’s incoming attack and he darts out of the way. Sammy turns quickly, tugging at his hair, eyes wild. Sammy continues after Shinya, and Shinya forced to keep moving quickly, dodging Sammy again. As Sammy chases him about the ring, Roland works on getting up and now Shinya looks to face a two on one situation.
Scott Richardson: Have things gone from bad to worse for Tres Bien now as both Roland and Sammy closing in on Shinya.
Other Guy: The referee not havin’ any luck controlling this situation now, and yeah I gotta say this is lookin’ REAL bad, Scott.
Shinya goes to escape the ring, but Roland there now and he grabs him by the shoulder. Sammy encloses in, despite constant warnings shouted by referee Chris Jenkins. Roland pulls Shinya out of the corner, looking to whip him right into Sammy, but Shinya SOMEHOW pulls his body around, spinning Roland and then the sudden change in direction allows for Shinya to break from Roland’s grip around his wrist. Shinya RUNS up the turnbuckles and Roland charges in!
Shinya FLIPS backwards, landing on his feet, and Sammy stomps towards him, then lunges with a double axe handle. Shinya DIVES forward though, avoiding the attack…summersaults…
AND TAGS IN MAYA!!!
Scott Richardson: What’s the old saying… business is about to pick up?
Other Guy: Ya got that right!
Maya, despite the injuries, is pumped up and running on adrenaline! He LEAPS over the top rope and Sammy now comes in, Maya baseball slides between his legs and then charges at Roland with a diving fist! Roland stumbles back and Maya JUMPS with a spinning hook kick to the face as well, forcing Roland to slump in the corner, Maya turns around and LEAPS onto the top rope then springs off with a corkscrew dive into Sammy! Sammy sways from the impact and then Maya, from the mat, just starts kicking at Sammy’s legs!
Scott Richardson: This thing has exploded, Other Guy, and Maya just doing whatever he can to try to put Sammy on the mat and out of his hair!
Other Guy: He’s gotta remember that Roland is the legal man though, because he’s leavin’ himself open to an attack from behind.
Sammy shouts out in complete frustration as he bends over to grab at Maya, only for Maya to lay on his back now and KICK up at Sammy’s face repeatedly! Sammy swats at the legs, but Maya is quicker and finally Sammy starts rubbing his face, backing away slightly. Maya gets up to his feet and turns around just in time as Roland comes at him… ATTEMPTED YAKUZA KICK….
Maya drops down, spinning leg sweep and Roland’s planted leg is kicked out from under him! Roland is on the mat… the fans are on their feet… and Maya runs, LEAPS over Roland and springs off the ropes with a twisting moonsault… CONNECTS! Maya right back up to his feet… then puts his thumb in his mouth to make a popping noise… and then FLIPS backwards with a standing shooting star press.
Scott Richardson: I believe he calls that the Lollipop Leap, Other Guy!
Other Guy: That’s news to me, but whatever it’s called, it was effective. The cover made… talk about upset of the year right here!
The fans echo one!
The fans BOO loudly as Sammy PUNTS Maya in the head! Maya rolls multiple times on the mat, and then clutches at his head in pain. Jenkins shouts a final warning at Sammy, and actually shoves the seven-foot monster and points angrily towards the corner.
Other Guy: Whoa! Chris Jenkins has had enough but pushing Sammy? That’s a death wish if ya ask me.
Sammy stares at the referee in bewilderment and meanwhile Roland starts to get back up and he sizes up Maya from behind. Shinya starts stomping his feet and clapping his hand, trying to get a rally going that will help Maya get back into this thing. Maya slides his body towards the edge of the ring, and then he starts to pull himself up via the ropes. Roland inches in towards him though, and Shinya won’t have it!
Scott Richardson: Shinya in to make the save for his partner, but now Sammy has a new focus!
The fans buzz as Sammy stomps quickly towards Shinya, but again Chris Jenkins interferes, stopping Sammy and REALLY shouting at him.
Chris Jenkins: No! Back in the corner, Rochester! Right now!
Sammy starts shaking his head back and forth, slowly at first but then it gets quicker and more wild. Shinya DRILLS Roland in the back with a series of forearm shots and the fans rally behind Tres Bien as Maya turns and kicks Roland in the gut. Roland doubles over and Maya calls over Shinya… the two turn Roland away from the ropes and hook him… the crowd on their feet…
Sammy Rochester: MIKKKKKKKEEEEEEEEYYYYYY!!!!!!!
Maya and Shinya hook Roland for what appears to be a double team suplex… and that’s when the lights go out!
Other Guy: Oh damn…
Scott Richardson: The child like scream, the darkened arena… Madison Square Garden…
The lights suddenly come back and Mikey bounces in the corner, all five feet four inches of him.
Scott Richardson: Meet Mikey!
Other Guy: We haven’t seen this bizarre shit in some time… but there he is… the doll has come to life once again!
Mikey RECKLESSLY charges at Maya and Shinya and LEAPS over the bent in half Roland with arms outstretched, NAILING Maya and Shinya with clotheslines! They both drop to the mat and Roland falls to one knee while Mikey drops to a kneel on Shinya’s stomach and then starts CLAW PUNCHING AT SHINYA’S FACE!
The referee IMMEDIATELY calls for the bell as Mikey assaults Shinya!
DING. DING. DING DING!
The chaos continues as Maya works his way up and shoves Mikey off of Shinya… and SAMMY LOSES IT!
Other Guy: He touched Sammy’s best friend, not a good idea!
Scott Richardson: This tag match has been called; it’s all over but Sammy always putting his family first.
Before Maya can react, Sammy HOISTS him up and just LAUNCHES Maya out of the ring! Maya CRASHES down onto the floor.
DING DING DING DING DING!
The bell sounds again and Sammy now grabs Mikey by the hand, pulling him in close and hugging him by the side. Mikey looks ready to cause more damage but Roland shouts for Sammy and Mikey to come with him. Sammy looks back at Shinya, as does Mikey, but SHOOT Project security arrives on the scene, and Sammy slowly backs off as a wall of men come between him and Shinya. Roland is already out of the ring, looking on and Maya now is on the outside, up to one knee, but hurting.
Scott Richardson: So now enough bodies have arrived on the scene to bring this anarchy to an end, but as they say… the damage was done. Tres Bien feeling the wrath of Mikey here tonight inside Madison Square Garden.
Sammy and Mikey join Roland as they slowly retreat to the back. Maya, sensing it is now safe, slinks into the ring, coming to Shinya’s side. Shinya’s face is scratched up and his lower lip is bleeding. Maya looks back at the entryway, making sure The Family isn’t going to come back for round two.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, referee Chris Jenkins has DISQUALIFIED Sammy Rochester and Roland Caldwell… therefore the winners of this match, Shinya and Maya, TRES BIEN!!!
There is a general applause from the crowd and Maya just looks out to them, nodding his head to at least show he respects their support.
Scott Richardson: So Tres Bien doing what none thought would be possible, which is pick up a victory against two large and violent men… BUT it’s not exactly the type of victory you write home about as it’s Sammy and Roland who have walked away from this… NOT Shinya and Maya.
Other Guy: This night already ain’t startin’ out good on any level, but with WAR on the horizon, it’s no wonder we’re witnessin this kind of brutal violence here in SHOOT Project, Scott.
Scott Richardson: That’s right, Other Guy, everyone looking to make a point, make a mark, make a statement as we are just TWO weeks away from WAR… the next SHOOT Project Pay Per View that could very well change this organization for the better… or dare I say it…
Other Guy: Don’t Scott; I don’t even wanna think about the future of this organization if the Defiler ain’t dethroned.
The referee as well as Maya help Shinya slowly up to his feet at this point, and the fans pay their respects, something that Maya seems to greatly appreciate, and even Shinya gives a slight nod of thanks as Tres Bien slowly exits the ring, accompanied by the SHOOT Project security team that brought an end to the vicious beat down from Sammy and Mikey. As they exit, the focus shifts to Scott and Other Guy. Other Guy just shakes his head while Scott angles his body towards the camera.
Scott Richardson: So as my partner for the night here mentioned, Revolution not off to a great start for those who are tired of the innocent being assaulted, and the body count already starting to stack up. Will this be a trend that continues, I for one certainly hope not.
Pacing the legendary corridors of the Madison Square Garden Arena are none other than Iron Fist Champion, Osbourne Kilminster, and Revolution Champion, Sinnocence. Reaching out for his lover's hand, Kilminster turns toward the corridor's double-doors and leads her on through.
Sinnocence: I wanted to check out the arena, I was here a few years ago with another federation...and I want to see if the place still sucks as much as I remember.
Kilminster frowns, a little puzzled.
Sinnocence: I hate New York City.
Osbourne Kilminster: I've never really been around New York... Stopped over to change flights and all, but never really taken a look around the place. When were you here last?
He holds open another set of doors as they enter the main locker-room area, following her in past a couple of security guards and along one of the many corridors.
She adjusts the Revolution title, slipping it back around her waist.
Sinnocence: Two years ago...it was when my ex decided to go nuts and attack me. Cut me open with a knife right in the middle of the ring.
She pulls up the bottom of her shirt and shows off a faint scar on the lower half of her stomach.
Kilminster's jovial expression quickly turns sombre as he sees her scar. His jaw clenches as he pulls her in close for a hug.
Osbourne Kilminster: You don't ever need to worry about things like that happening again.
Leaning back, he looks over the top of his blue lenses and into her eyes.
Osbourne Kilminster: Hey, forget all that horrible stuff. Tonight, we'll try and give you some new memories of NYC and MSG... Good ones, yeah?
She reaches up and snatches the sunglasses off his face and puts them on her own. Sinn grins up at Ozzy through the glasses.
Sinnocence: Don't worry about me so much, I'm a tough girl. Hell, I'm still in the business, aren't I?
She laughs softly, replacing the glasses back on his face.
Sinnocence: Good memories, yeah. We can do that.
Laughing to her, he turns his head to the side and admires her through his newly returned glasses. Osbourne Kilminster: Good.
Smiling, he kisses her softly.
Osbourne Kilminster: If you can go find us a locker room or something, I'll go and see what I can do about getting us some drinks... ?
Sinnocence: I'll try to find one that doesn't smell like someone took a shit in the corner. Find me a bottle of Stoli if you can, I'm feeling frisky tonight.
She grins and squeezes his ass, before walking away in search of a locker room and smiling from ear to ear.
He smiles as he watches he disappear down the corridor, licking his lips and nodding his head as he admires her rear. He shrugs his left shoulder to shift the weight of the heavy gold-plated belt and brushes out invisible creases in his black and red "Victory or Valhalla" T-shirt when something catches his eye. Halting dead, he turns to his right where he sees a familiar face.
Osbourne Kilminster: Kenji...
Kenji looks over Osbourne for a moment. His eyes seem to fill with disgust when his eyes travel across the Iron Fist Title he once held. His head dips slightly before speaking.
Kenji's steps slighty off the wall he was leaning on. He stands face to face with Osbourne. Kenji's eyes...they are filled with such...contempt.
Kenji: So...how goes the fearless champions draft? Have you consulted Jonny?
Osbourne's smirk quickly changes to a frown as his eyes narrow behind his favourite blue-tinted lenses.
Osbourne Kilminster: Has any of that got a damned thing to do with you?
He doesn't even wait for a retort-
Osbourne Kilminster: No, it hasn't, so you can shut the Hell up about it. The draft would have gone a lot smoother if you didn't have to go all Sunset Beach and have your lover's tiff with Wehali and you might have actually been fighting for this Title tonight... but no. That was just too easy... so you screwed yourself out of your rubber match. Good for you. Happy?
Kenji makes a light clicking sound with his teeth. Other than that there is no emotional response from him. A sly smile makes its way onto Kenji's face.
Kenji: You're sounding more like Jonny everyday. Next thing you know you'll disappear for weeks on end and pulling the strings on your own little puppets. After all, it couldn't be any worse than making CBP or Rufio your number one contenders. Or better yet...maybe you'll defend against that idiot Nightmare.
Kenji turns his back to Osbourne.
Kenji: I told you, Osbourne, whether or not I get a shot...it doesn't matter. Regardless of if I have that title or not? You've already embarassed yourself and that title...beating you is meaningless.
Osbourne Kilminster: Oh, right... Yeah... That makes a whole lot of sense. I don't quite get how it is that I gave YOU a damned title shot on a silver platter and YOU turned it down so you could chew out Wehali's arse, but you get to turn your back on ME and make your little snide remarks. That one beats me...
Kilminster raises an eyebrow.
Osbourne Kilminster: All sounds suspiciously like the talk of a scared man. Maybe you're just too damned scared to get back in the ring with me, Kenji. Tell me I'm wrong. Come on.
Kenji doesn't turn around, just a clicking sound before he talks.
Kenji: I'm not the one that cancelled the rubber match...am I, Ozzy? I'm not the one who backed out of our match because all eyes weren't on him, was I? Like I said, Osbourne, title shot or not...
Kenji's head turns slightly and his eyes seem to beam over his shoulder.
Kenji: Beating you is meaningless.
Kilminster smirks and pulls off his sunglasses with his right hand, holding his Iron Fist Championship belt tightly with his left.
Osbourne Kilminster: Look me in the eye and say that, Yamada. Come and look into the eyes of the man who left you for dead in that ring and walked away with the Championship you loved so much... and tell him that beating him... is meaningless.
Kenji turns around, on command, and looks Osbourne right in the eyes. Kenji's eyes are cold...emotionless, he knows what he is doing. He knows what he is going to say.
Kenji: Beating you, Osbourne...?
Kenji gets in even closer, their eyes almost touch at the pupils.
Kenji: It's meaningless to me.
Kilminster's eyes widen with surprise as Yamada's every word strikes him like a punch.
Kenji turns his back on Osbourne one last time before walking off. Not another word is spoken, just the sound of Kenji's footsteps echo through the halls.
He can’t help but stare at his hands, disgusted by the red stains on his palms. Wiggling his fingers, he shudders and walks carefully down a long stretch of hallway.
The SHOOT PROJECT WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION doesn’t quite look or seem his usual self. His stride is less focused, his actions making less sense. He turns a corner and realizes it’s a little bit darker down here than other hall ways, which turns out to be rather fitting considering where he is.
Directly outside of THE FAMILY’S locker room.
An crooked oak sign hanging from a nail has “HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS” burnt into the wood along with the design of a cardinal (for some reason) and there’s a welcome mat at the foot of the door.
JONNY JOHNSON carefully knocks on the door. After a moment, it opens, but much to the Defiler’s curious surprise it is a woman who stands before him. Never before seen, she wears her blonde hair in a perfect 1950’s up-do, and her dress is red with white polka-dots. She wears a grin that most would deem fake, however judging by her overall demeanor, it’s apparent she is sincere.
She is as about as warm as the pie in her hand.
Woman: Oh hi there Jonny. Vincent will be right out. (Suggestively holding out the pie, excited) I baked a pie. Fresh from the oven!
Jonny has no idea who this woman is and is concerned that pie probably has poison in it. She knows HIM, though, which means Vincent expected him, and when Vincent expects him...
Sometimes things could get weird.
Jonny shakes his head and respectfully declines.
The DEFILER: No, I’m okay. I uhh... I’m not really hungry.
She offers a creepy, plastic smile.
Woman: Of course you aren’t! Not after collapsing that nice announcer’s trachea! I understand. (Gesturing inside) Would you care to come inside? I have to vacuum, but you’re more than welcome to make yourself at home.
Jonny peeks inside and doesn’t notice anything TOO overwhelmingly strange. However, he’s cautious and doesn’t act TOO quickly. He wants to get this over with, though, and take a shower. The smell of Dave Dymond’s blood was making him sick.
The DEFILER: Yeah. Okay... Thanks.
He nods and she moves out of his way so he can enter. Jonny sees an empty couch, the only seat, really... just sort of in the middle of the room and walks over to sit down.
The door shuts behind him, and, of course, when he turns around the girl is gone.
The DEFILER: (To himself, a little freaked out) Really?
Fidgeting in his seat the World Champion now fears someone will kill him with an axe or a blow his head off with a shot gun.
The DEFILER: (Looking up at the ceiling, shouting) I don’t want to play games, Vincent! NOT in the fucking mood!
Vincent can’t help but laugh as he walks into view, though his laughter isn’t the type you’d hear as a response to a joke or an amusing video on you tube. Mallows’s laughter is filled with mockery.
Vincent Mallows: Oh, I am so very. utterly. terribly. horribly SORRY that you are not in the mood. I am incredibly concerned for YOUR well being. Do you think I am in a mood, Jonny? Honestly, look at my face, look into my very eyes and you tell me what kind of mood I’M IN!
Jonny sighs, realizing Vincent has kind of has a point. He rises from his seat on the couch and puts both hands up, hoping he can find a way to smooth things over,
The DEFILER: Shit didn’t go the way I thought it would, Vincent. Okay. I’m fucking SORRY! I know what it’s like to be stabbed by Adrian Corazon. But if we’re going to get back on track, then we... (Changing his angle) “I” need your help.
Vincent stays silent long enough for him to continue, though Jonny can’t quite get a strong enough read on the situation.
The DEFILER: I know shit with us and the Family hasn’t exactly... been perfect. And that’s on me, Vincent. I’ll take the blame. Okay? Even though we both know it’s not REALLY my fault, I’ll be the big man and shoulder the burden of your discontent. But now.... more than EVER, we need to bring Friends and Family back together. Okay? I NEED you, and... and man you need US. Whether you’ll admit it or not.
We’re dynamite together. Okay? And I wouldn’t want to... to die knowing that you... my... my fucking best friend probably of all time harbored any sort of ill will.
His words stop, but his eyes continue to plead his case. Mallows’s lips curl into an empty smile.
Vincent Mallows: Far be it from me to turn my back to a dying (pause) friend. Especially in a time of need. And of course you and YOUR friends are not to blame. It’s not as if we had to constantly do the work they couldn’t accomplish. It’s not as if the reward in return was YOUR Osbourne taking MY Kenji’s Iron Fist Championship away from him. You’re absolutely right that none of this is your fault, and that my Family breaking down around me is all simply because of poor parenting and the lack of a mother.
And he turns his back.
Vincent Mallows: I’m not in this for you anymore. The only thing keeping me from ending your pathetic life myself is that we both dream of a world that is... mmmm.... void of Christopher Davis.
Vincent remains cold to The World Champion, staying with back turned to him.
Vincent Mallows: But you’re right, I do need you, Jonny. I now need something from you.
Vincent and Jonny could argue all day about right and wrong, but unfortunately, neither man was exactly well versed enough in “Right” to be able to make a definitive argument. The DEFILER is well aware of that fact and focuses on only the important matters.
What did Vincent “need”. A lesson in how NOT to be so fucking insane and frightening?
Maybe, but it probably wont be what he asks.
He keeps his answer his simple and to the point.
The DEFILER: Anything, man. Just ask... but it’s under the stipulation that we both try harder to make (pointing to himself and Vincent) THIS work. We’ll talk more. I’ll avoid putting you in scenarios that result in you being stabbed and you can stop pulling weird pranks on me that scare me shitless. Okay? So just ask. I’ll make it happen.
Mallows turns, the words he has heard before, but he was hardly any closer to where he wants to be since hearing them the first time.
Vincent Mallows: You make it right. You give Kenji what that disillusioned viking took from him. I demand it Jonny. And as incentive for that stubborn oaf Kilminster... (a smile of delight) inform him that if he doesn’t comply with my request... then I’ll simply have to pay the lovely Jada a personal visit...
Though Mallows remains in the room, the expression on his face seems to suggest that he’s wandered off in thought. But then his eyes focus hard on Jonny.
Vincent Mallows: And you know as well I do, that when I’m finished... (An abrupt stop) Do we have an understanding?
Jonny sighs loudly.
The DEFILER: I can’t make Ozzy do that, Vincent. Not with everything he has to deal with.
Mallows IMMEDIATELY raises an eyebrow, ready to perhaps knife him, but Jonny holds his hands up, obviously having another idea in mind.
The DEFILER: Whoa! Whoa, dude... calm down because... because I have something better. All right? (Pause) Next week... I give Kenji a shot at the WORLD TITLE. Me and him. One on one. No bullshit. I swear. (Trying to sell his deal) It’s a much bigger pot, man. And I’m doing it because he DESERVES it. The FAMILY deserves it.
His eyes are very serious.
The DEFILER: Take this offer.
Oddly enough, it only takes Vincent a split second to consider the offer.
Vincent Mallows: Alright then. I’m pleased we had this chance to talk, Jonny. (motioning to the door) You know the way out I trust.
Jonny wants to make sure he’s understanding this.
The DEFILER: So we have a uhh... an understanding then? We have a deal, Vincent?
Mallows seems slightly annoyed that The Defiler didn’t understand him the first time. Still, he puts on his best “pleasant face” possible.
Vincent Mallows: Of course we do, Jonny. After all, what are family and friends for?
His smile remains but his eyes narrow.
Vincent Mallows: But remember Jonny, we’ve both been stabbed with the same weapon. Your blood is now in me. We are blood brothers Jonny.... from now until death. And while yours may come sooner than mine, I trust you’d want whatever time you have left not to be utterly.... mmmm.... miserable.
Jonny stares at Mallows an extra second or two while slowly nodding.
The DEFILER: Very eloquent of you, Vincent. Wouldn’t expect any less. (Gesturing toward the door) I’ll see myself out.
Mallows only nods and Jonny walks past him toward the exit. He clutches the knob and pushes his way out of the always bizarre FAMILY locker room. Never looking back, he shuts the door behind him and looks relieved.
The DEFILER: (Closing his eyes) Jesus...
“Have a wonderful day, Jonny!”
Startled, The World Champion looks up and sees that Woman from earlier vacuuming the tiled hallway. She smiles and waves, though Jonny is not nearly as inviting, opting to walk away from her as quickly as possible.
The DEFILER: (Shuddering) Why does he fucking... (Shaking his head) Don’t ask. Don’t even fucking ask.
He takes a few more steps and turns down a nearby corridor.
The DEFILER: (Looking at his blood stained hands) I need a shower.
And on that line the cameras go elsewhere.
The crowd isn't sure what to expect when Littlest Man Band's “Always Sayin'” pumps into the arena... that is, until Nova Lynn Jackson steps out, at which time the crowd starts to boo her mercilessly. She looks around a little, her eyes sad, almost as if she's about to cry, before she tries to shake it off and start toward the ring, as the brass of the trumpets almost drowns out Samantha Coil.
Samantha Coil: The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, from Virginia Beach, VA, NOVA LYNN JACKSON!
She steps under the second rope, adjusting her pink short-shorts as she stands. She's still looking around, finally asking Dennis Heflin “Why are they booing me?” Heflin shrugs as he checks her, pointing to the small box in her hand. She smiles, showing him, while trying to hide it from the audience.
Scott Richardson: What is she holding?
Other Guy: I dunno, but whatever it is, Heflin's letting it slide, so I guess we'll find out shortly.
Nova's theme fades out, and as Boy Sets Fire's “High Wire Escape Artist” starts up, the crowd cheers, and as the guitar comes into full effect, Caleb Knox steps out, raising one arm, and jumping in place before starting toward the ring. He slaps hands with a few fans on the way.
Samantha Coil: And her opponent, from Albequerque, New Mexico, weighing in at 221 lbs, CALEB KNOX!
Nova looks absolutely shocked, looking at Heflin once more, asking “Why are they cheering him?” Heflin ignores her, as Knox slides into the ring, running the ropes for a second. Finally, he backs into his corner, and Heflin starts to check him out... when Nova approaches, tossing the box at him. Nova: This is for your aching vagina.
Scott Richardson: Is that... is that Vagisil?
Other Guy: I'd say Knox is gonna need ointment for that burn, but it looks like he just got it!
Knox looks down at the ground, shaking his head, and finally smiling as he pulls something out of the side of his trunks, flinging it her way. Knox: Give that to your cult leader, OK?
Other Guy: Wow, I... I'm surprised. Knox actually had a comeback for that... and it was witty.
Scott Richardson: Did Knox seriously bring a packet of Kool-Aid to the ring? Did they both think of the same thing independently?
Other Guy: I guess they're more alike than they want to admit, Scott.
Nova looks down at the mat, where the packet landed, and her face scrunches up angrily. She picks up the packet of Kool-Aid, and wings it at Caleb's face! It explodes in a burst of red dust! Heflin turns around, and barely gets out of the way of the Nova Express, as she barrels into Knox, and drives him into the corner! Knox is blinking away, his face somewhat pink where the packet hit him, but it's about to get more so as Nova starts slapping him across the face! Repeatedly! She drives him down in the corner, and once he's sitting, she starts kicking him in the gut instead! He tries to block, but he really can't see what's going on! Finally, Nova ends her flurry with a roundhouse kick to his head! Caleb falls to the side, rolling out of the ring as he tries to clear the colored sugar from his face!
Caleb rubs his face, blinking hard, closing and opening his eyes, and when it looks like he can see again, he turns toward the ring-- only for Nova to fly over the top rope, vaulting onto him! The pair collapse to the floor, and Nova hops up, still raging and ready to go! She straddles over him, slapping his face again, and trying to slam his head against the floor! Knox grabs her by the arms, tossing her to the side, and rolling onto his knees! But Nova doesn't stay down, driving a kick directly to his ribs! Knox flops over, and Nova drops down right on top of him again! This time, Caleb is ready, though, and he monkey flips her over his head! She hits hard on the floor, and rolls over, clutching her back! Knox gets to his feet, pulling her up by her head, and whipping her into the apron! She hits hard again, stumbling forward right into Knox, who rolls her back into the ring!
Caleb hops onto the apron, and slingshots himself over the top rope, dropping a leg across Nova's throat! Knox hops up as Nova starts to cough, and he pulls her up to her feet again, sweeping her up into a vertical suplex! Nova crashes back to the mat, and Knox wraps her up, rolling her into a majistral! Heflin goes down to count, but Nova kicks out before he can even get a one!
Scott Richardson: Knox going for the early cover, but Nova kicks out almost immediately... you think he's being a little too cocky here, OG?
Other Guy: That's one possibility, but you gotta remember, it takes energy to kick out, too, he could just be trying to wear her down.
Nova rolls onto her feet, and she charges Knox again! She drives a kick to his gut-- caught! Knox tosses her leg away, spinning her around, but Nova catches her bearings, and brings her foot right back across his skull! Knox stumbles back, and Nova flies toward the ropes, coming back and planting Knox to the mat with a flying headscissors! Before Knox can react, Nova is back on her feet, and she slams him with a standing moonsault! Nova with a cover this time, and Knox is the one kicking out before the one count!
Nova pushes herself to her feet as Knox rolls onto his knees, and Nova kicks him square in the face! Knox snaps back, and Nova wraps him in a front facelock, going for the DDT! Knox stays on his feet, and pushes Nova to the mat on her back! Nova hits harder than she was hoping, and clutches her back again! Knox grabs a leg, trying to pull her into a crab, but Nova kicks him in the knee! Knox lets go, backing up, as Nova gets to her feet! She leaps up with a hurracanrana-- reversed! Knox drops her in a powerbomb, and Nova rolls over again, clutching her back, and pounding the mat with one hand!
Other Guy: Nova's aggressive approach has kinda gone both ways so far, although it seems like Knox is starting to expect it.
Scott Richardson: Maybe, OG, but Knox seems to be playing the defensive game. He's gonna need to get more aggressive, or this match is not going to go his way... after all, you can't win without fighting.
Other Guy: Deep, Scott. Deep.
Knox grabs one of Nova's legs, pulling it up into a single-leg crab! Nova's eyes go wide as she starts to struggle, and Heflin is down to check on her! She screams out, but she's not about to give up! Knox puts a little more torque on it, but Nova's pushing up, trying to roll out! Knox is trying, but Nova rolls herself over, and puts a boot into his ass to get him away! Knox falls forward into the ropes, and Nova gets to her feet! Before Knox can turn around, Nova FLIPS over him, grabbing his head as she falls out of the ring, and pulling his throat across the top rope! Knox flops back, holding his throat, and Nova hits hard on the floor, once more holding her back and butt! She howls as she hits, rolling onto her stomach, sounding like a dying cat!
Scott Richardson: An AMAZING move on Nova's part, but it looks like it may have cost her more than her opponent!
Heflin looks down at the floor and starts to count! Knox is coughing, unable to get up yet, while Nova hesitantly pushes herself to her feet! She takes a step forward and collapses again, holding her back! Knox gets to a knee, rubbing out his throat, with Nova still on her back on the outside!
Knox gets to his feet first, with Heflin at a 4 count, and gets between the ropes, onto the apron! Nova's still in pain, as Knox runs off the apron with an elbow drop! He catches Nova right in the chest, and Nova's howl only grows louder! Knox pulls her up by her head-- LOW BLOW! Knox doubles over as Nova tentatively gets to her feet, taking a step or two to work out the pain! She grabs Knox by the head, running it into the ring post! Knox hits the post with a clang, and flops back onto his back! Nova drags him back to the apron, pulling him to his feet and rolling him back into the ring!
Nova hops onto the apron at 8, stepping into the ring and pulling Caleb to the corner! She props him up, walking around him, and onto the top rope! She grabs his head, ready for a tornado DDT, and she flies off! No! Knox pulls her to the mat with a sambo suplex!
Other Guy: A great reversal by Knox, but is the cat gonna capitalize?
Knox doesn't go for the cover, pulling her to her feet, and he locks up! He moves to a rear waistlock, and Nova swings her leg back with a mule kick, with her second low blow of the evening! Knox drops the hold, and Nova turns around, starting again with punches to his face! Knox stumbles back, finally catching one arm, and leveling her with a clothesline! He holds on to her arm, pulling her back up, and whips her into the corner! Nova hits hard, and Knox flies in with a back elbow to the face! Nova drops to a seated position, and Knox backs away, running back into the corner with a knee to Nova's face! Nova flops onto the mat, and Knox pulls her back up by her head!
Caleb pushes Nova up against the turnbuckles, and drags her into the middle of the ring, popping her up with a European uppercut! He ducks around her, wrapping her into a full nelson, and slamming her down to the mat with a full nelson front Russian legsweep! Nova's face hits the canvas, and it looks like her energy is gone!
Scott Richardson: It looks like Caleb's aggression just came out, OG, and he might end it here!
Other Guy: It's about time he started taking her seriously, Scott! She might be dumb, she might be small, but she's been hanging out with Jonny's Friends, and she's obviously learned a thing or two about underhanded tactics!
Caleb pulls her to her feet, hoisting her onto his shoulders! He swings her out, and plants her solidly with the Left Turn to Albequerque, and quickly making the cover!
Samantha Coil: Your winner, at a time of 15 minutes and 56 seconds, CALEB KNOX!
Scott Richardson: A hard fought victory for Knox, but I can't see this one being over!
Other Guy: I think Knox just found himself in even more hot water, if I know anything about those assholes Jonny calls his Friends!
The ring crew does a quick swipe down of things and makes sure everything is set. Both competitors have made their way out, but for some reason the camera stays on the ring.
The fans turned to the SHOOT-Tron at the sound of the voice. The man standing in front of them was SHOOT Project’s favorite blonde haired, blue eyed high flyer, Dan Stein. Everyone in the arena jumps up at the sight of him, causing him to pause and smirk.
Dan Stein: Whoa, whoa. Calm down. I mean, I know how excited you are to see me, but I’m not even out from back here and in the arena.
Stein was, in fact, in the hallways, walking towards the arena. He wears a white button down t-shirt with a gold plaid vest tucked into his black dress slacks and black dress shoes. He tips the wool “cabby cap” at the camera as the people continue to cheer for him. He smirks and motions for them to die down.
Dan Stein: You know, I’m walking back here and I’m getting a lot of dirty looks from people. Not just the wrestlers, but the road crew, the techies, all the people that look at me, it seems. I have yet to get a ‘Welcome back’, let alone a nod or something. Why is that?
Why does nobody… care that I am back? They just want to know why I left.
Stein walks forward, through the curtain. He reaches into his back pocket as his pressence in the arena sends the roof rattling. As the people are chanting “Dan-ny! Dan-ny!” at him, Stein rolls up his dress shirt’s sleeves and makes his way to the ring, all the while smirking his trademark smirk. He walks up the steel steps and into the ring, quickly, as to keep the conversation fresh.
Dan Stein: So, why did I leave? Why did I disappear from SHOOT Project television after I walked out of my match with my dearest, best friend Cade Sydal, through the fans and out the arena doors?
Stein holds the mic down a bit.
Dan Stein: The same reason why Quinn wont leave Jonny’s side, the same reason why Jester keeps projecting his position on other people – the same reason why Osbourne Kilminster wont give Kenji his title rematch outright.
Stein looks around the arena as the people look in on him.
Dan Stein: Fear.
The crowd dies. Nobody says a word, not even Stein. He lets that word resonate through the PA system before putting the microphone back to his mouth.
Dan Stein: Yeah, I said it. I was afraid.
But I wasn’t afraid someone was coming for me, or that I would suffer a horrible defeat, or that I would be lost and alone…
Stein pauses and listens to the silence.
Dan Stein: But that this Dan Stein that you see… Well, I wasn’t becoming the man I envisioned myself being. Stresses put on me by my own thought processes were taking a toll on me. I was becoming something… someone that I didn’t want to be. Someone that YOU don’t want me to be.
Stein looks around again, unsure of how this whole speech is going over.
Dan Stein: So, to put it simple… I needed to take a break. I needed to talk to someone. I needed my family. And when I got all that stuff, I realized what I needed most in my time of need; what I needed most in life.
Stein points at the fans, as he spins around slowly in the ring, dragging his fingers up and down over the scenery.
Dan Stein: You guys. Each and everyone of you. I need YOU guys, behind me, cheering for ME when I’m putting on a show for you. When I’m standing up for everything that’s right in wrestling. When I’m telling it how it is, and telling everyone in the back what I think, I need you behind me, letting me know you care, letting me know you respect me… appreciate me… that you want… ME.
I need SHOOT Project.
Stein nods, dropping the microphone as the fans cheer.
Dan Stein: So, before anyone comes out here and calls me a sissy, or makes fun of the way I’m dressed…
Stein smirks, looking around.
Dan Stein: I wanted to thank you. All of you. Each and every flippin’ one of you, for the letters, the e-mails, the board posts about how much you wanted me to come back, and how much you wanted me to take a stand. Thank you all for letting me know how much YOU appreciate ME. And I want to return that sentiment right back at you.
Even the people that think I’m a flake, or that I get burned out, or that I just can’t cut it. Thank you, too. It will be more fun for me, and my supporters, when I walk around the center of the SHOOT Project ring with Oz’s, or Jonny’s, or Sinnocence’s or even Trevor Worrens’ belt around my waist.
And I assure you, it will not be long before I have gold of some style around my waist. That’s a promise.
Stein nods, the fans errupt.
Dan Stein: That’s a fact.
The scene fades into the parking lot. We see a familiar blue Tiburon sitting in a parking spot. The door opens and out steps Jester Smiles, wearing the “Jester Smiles: He’s Not Bjork” t-shirt and blue jeans. He is grinning as he lazily walks towards Madison Square Garden. A production assistant runs on camera, a worried look on his face.
Production Assistant: Eric! Where have you been?
Jester shrugs, still smiling.
Jester Smiles: I got lost man. Map Quest, dude.
Jester laughs, but the production assistant doesn’t look happy.
Production Assistant: So you have no idea what’s happened, do you?
Jester’s grins starts to disappear.
Jester Smiles: No, what happened.
Production Assistant: Jonny called you out, but his mic got cut. (Jester laughs) Don’t laugh yet, man. He took a TV headset, and then…he laid Dave out, man.
Jester just stares straight ahead, the smile gone.
Production Assistant: He’s still looking for you.
Jester pauses for a moment, thinking.
Jester Smiles: Then he’ll find me.
Jester walks off camera. Scene fades out.
The locker room door bursts open and is kicked shut almost in the same instant as Osbourne Kilminster appears, dumping a large box of bottles on the small fold-out table and laying down his Iron Fist Championship belt next to it. Ripping off his sunglasses, he throws them at the wall, the lenses popping out of the frame and one of the arms flying off.
He shakes his head, red-hot with rage but closes his eyes and sucks in a deep, slow breath through his nose and allows it back out, slowly, through his mouth.
His girlfriend, the lovely Sinnocence, looks up from her curled-up position on the leather couch.
Sinnocence: Who pissed in your tea, Darlin'?
Osbourne Kilminster: I just... Ugh... I just bumped into Kenji Yamada. All this with Jonny and his leukaemia and then I end up with that idiot trying to play me or something.
He takes another slow, deep breath and crashes down onto a steel chair folded out opposite his beloved.
Osbourne Kilminster: I don't like this at all... Everyone knows Jonny's ill and has developed this habit of going AWOL and when they make a wisecrack remark about it, I've got no comeback. We've got to sort this out one way or another...
Sinnocence reaches out a hand to run down his cheek
Sinnocence: You know, a punch in the face is always a good comeback. Why do you let them get to you? There's no use getting worked up about shit you can't control. Jonny will show up sooner or later and when he does, you guys will make them eat their words...you know that.
Kilminster takes her hand in his and kisses it gently.
Osbourne Kilminster: I don't mean to let it get under my skin, but that Kenji's suddenly got so damned arrogant and he has the cheek to... Ugh... You know what, forget about it...
Releasing her hand, he reaches into the box and pulls out a bottle of Southern Comfort, a bottle of Stoli, a bottle of Coke and two cheap plastic cups.
Osbourne Kilminster: Forget them all. We have better things to be doing than worrying about all... that stuff. Haha.
She reaches over and grabs the bottle of Stolichnaya, uncapping it and takes a healthy swig. A slight grimace spreads across her face that makes him grin slightly.
Sinnocence: Mmm, gasoline. Sweets, you're the damn Iron Fist champ and no one's going to take it away from you...least of all a wacko like Kenji. Now pour yourself a glass and let's drink to our health.
Smiling broadly, he nods his head as he pours some coke into one of the plastic cups and follow it up with more than a healthy splash of Southern Comfort.
Osbourne KIlminster: Yeah... To our health.
The camera switches gears to show NOVA LYNN JACKSON walking to her locker room, pouting and in a general bad mood huff. Despite her questionable demeanor and intelligence, Nova was a competitor. So for her to lose... Ugh.
She REALLY wants to punch some... thing... OH!
Nova Lynn Jackson: URIEL?
Like a moth seeing a bright light, Nova squeals with delight when she sees Crush Heart’s daughter URIEL sipping from a nearby water fountain! She shouldn’t be too amazed, because, after all she had found a locker just a few doors down from Heart, but still! She couldn’t have been happier! She immediately smiles and waves, and giggles gayishly when Uriel waves back before scampering off back to her room. She WANTED to be chasing after her, picking her up and giving her the biggest hug of all hugs.
But MAN did she need an Advil. So instead she watches as the girl runs by, the smile etched into her.
Seeing Uriel made everything better, and wrestling was a rush! She is happy again when she opens the door to her dressing room.
The camera, as well as Nova's ears, pick up the sound of water running, and it's only when it's turned off that it really registers with Nova what the background sound had been. Nova doesn't seem worried, but her crinkling nose shows us that she's visibly confused.
Nova Lynn Jackson: Fee Fi Fo Fum, my shower just stopped it's run! Who's there?
There isn’t an immediate response.
Nova Lynn Jackson: Umm, Hello?
For maybe half of a second, Nova considers that she may be the next victim of a serial killer, but her fear turns into something... well, not so “fear-like”, when the mysterious shower user appears from around the wall.
Wearing nothing but a towel around his waist, SHOOT PROJECT WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, Jonny Johnson emerges before Nova’s bashfully lustful eyes. He looks a little startled to see her, but in that coy sort of way where it’s more likely that he totally expected this. Jonny feigns embarrassment and grits his teeth a little bit.
The DEFILER: Wow. AWK-WARD (Nervously laughing) Heh. I had all this uhh... blood on me and, it’s... it’s just so easy to get lost in a new place, you know? So I hope you don’t mind the intrusion. (Looking into her eyes) I just felt... SAFE being here.
Nova’s quick to extend her hospitality.
Nova Lynn Jackson: Oh! You're, like, always welcome anywhere as far as I'm concerned, you know that! I haven't seen you in forever, are you OK?
Nova's face droops, and she walks over to The DEFILER, giving him a shy little hug, her face turning even more red as she does so.
Nova Lynn Jackson: I, um, I saw the interview you did. I cried. I'm so super-sorry, is there anything I can, like, do for you?
Jonny pulls her small body into his and clutches her tightly, kissing her on top of the head.
The DEFILER: Just be here for me. That’s all.
He kisses her a second time and breaks the embrace, leaving Nova momentarily trapped in a state of euphoria. She doesn’t even completely realize he stopped her hugging her until he’s moving back to a corner where all of his clothes are. He drops the towel, exposing his very bare backside and starts slipping into his boxer briefs.
The DEFILER: (Wiggling into his briefs) I was a little sad not to see you at uhh... (Pulling them all the way up and turning around) At our meeting tonight. Where were you?
Nova isn't one to let a little thing like incidental nudity embarrass her, and looks more calm now that he's not touching her. There's only so much of a high that a person can handle. As has become her default, Nova gives Jonny a half-sad half-confused look.
Nova Lynn Jackson: You guys left me out again?
Nova's eyes instantly start to water, and she puts her hand to her eyes, trying to stop looking upset.
Nova Lynn Jackson: I didn't know about it, Jonny, why didn't somebody let me know?
Not wanting to deal with the water works, Jonny quickly throws his pants on and moves toward her, gesturing for her to keep cool.
The DEFILER: Whoa. Whoa. Left you out? You mean? (Sighing) Goddamnit. Jada didn’t fucking tell you, did she? (Mad at himself, disappointed) Ugh. Nova. I’m sorry. I told Sinnocence to make sure you knew. (Shaking his head) Why has she been such a fucking bitch lately? Is she having her uhh... you know... Girl thing or whatever?
Nova blinked, cocking her her to the side, before realizing that it was just a communication breakdown, not an insult.
Nova Lynn Jackson: I'm close to her, but I'm not close enough to, like, know that kind of stuff. She's just stressed out, ya know? She's got a lot of stuff on her plate. She probably just forgot 'cause she was so busy, she didn't mean to forget me. It's OK, don't worry about it! Just let me know, like, what the meeting was about. Besides, it's kinda awkward with me and Ja... JTim... With Tim since I threatened to kill him, and like... stuff. (Glad she caught herself) So it's not a problem at all
Nova is obviously trying to brush off her worries so that she isn't causing trouble for her beloved Jonny. The more she talks, the more legitimately alright with the situation she becomes, until her smile is genuine again.
Nova Lynn Jackson: Don't be mad at honest mistakes, or you'll be mad at everyone all the time, right?
Jonny flashes a warm smile that’s almost too warm, and grabs Nova’s hands.
The DEFILER: You’re right. You are... ABSOLUTELY right. (Smiling) I’m sure it’s a misunderstanding. I’m sure she didn’t mean it when she said she didn’t believe I was sick. It’ll be okay... (Pausing, looking away for a second) But uhh... (Looking back at her) But maybe you could talk to her anyway. Just as uhh... as girlfriends. Make sure she doesn’t hate me.
He sniffles a little bit and looks off to the side.
The DEFILER: I just want everyone to be happy, Nova. So could you maybe do that sometime? For me?
Nova blushes and nods her head enthusiastically. Nova sees Jonny Jonhson in the same way most women see Pierce Brosnan, and was just as likely to behave like a starstruck moron every time he was near her. Tonight is no exception, and she leans forward to kiss his cheek tenderly.
Nova Lynn Jackson: Of course I can! I'll let her know you're sincere. It just, you know, goes to show you just how good at being jerks the Sons of Liberty are that they made Sinnocence question your honesty. She'll be super-nice from now on, if I've got anything to say about it!
He flashes another smile and pulls her in for another hug, this time drawing her even closer to his own body. So close that she can feel every inch of him pressed against her.
The DEFILER: Thanks baby... err..
He stops hugging her and awkwardly moves away.
The DEFILER: Sorry, I mean... (Clearing his throat) Nova. Heh. I uhhh... heh. Damn. Am I an idiot with girls or what?
He shakes his head and moves back to the corner, while Nova again watches on longingly.
The DEFILER: (Putting on a plain white T-shirt) So just talk to her whenever. And don’t be afraid to be totally honest, all right? We’re all Friends. (Grabbing his hoodie next and slipping into it) But right now, I REALLY have to try and find... (Zipping his hoodie) ...Jester. And uhh... (Digging into his pockets and pulling out his pink bracelet) End this war.
He bends down and grabs his SHOOT PROJECT WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP, slinging it over his shoulder. He takes a peek at himself in a nearby mirror and walks back over to Nova.
The DEFILER: (Kissing her on the cheek) Wish me luck.
Like the un-loved wife on an army man, she kisses Jonny on the cheek and sends her “man” off into battle. He doesn’t say anything else and simply walks out of the room. Unfortunately, it isn’t before the door shuts and Jonny is long gone that Nova finally has the courage to say what she had wanted to say the entire time they were in the room.
Nova Lynn Jackson: I love you...
The scene fades.
The camera shot goes backstage, where Cade Sydal stands, alone. He looks intense, already dressed for competition despite his match still not being until later tonight. The black SHOOT Project backdrop hangs behind him as he just stands for a moment before finally… Cade Sydal: Tonight, I'm stepping into a new kind of gauntlet match. But its not just any gauntlet... Cade's voice trails off as he looks to his left and it isn’t long until Trevor Worrens joins him, his Laws of Survival Championship proudly draped over his shoulder. Worrens offers a smile. Trevor Worrens: I’m not interrupting, am I Cade?
Cade just shakes his head and offers a smile back.
Cade Sydal: Not at all, man. Just about to address the SHOOT Project world and my gauntlet opponents.
Trevor Worrens: I guess this is good timing then. I have to say when I saw the event poster, when I heard all the buzz, I was surprised. Four separate matches, five falls in total…. If you think you need to prove you’re a survivor, you don’t Cade. I wouldn’t have tried to light a fire under you if I didn’t think you could live up to that word.
Cade looks to the ground for a moment then back up at Worrens, his smile slightly fading. Cade Sydal: Everyone’s been thinking the same thing. That I’m trying to prove something. You heard me, I KNOW I’m a survivor, and I know that the people out there filling the seats inside Madison Square Garden, they know I’m a survivor.
Cade pauses as the sound of the fans from ringside can just be heard in the back hall, their cheering echoing.
Cade Sydal: It’s not about that at all. Trevor, if you'll recall, at the last Revolution I proposed a challenge. My match tonight IS that challenge. And because nothing stays secret in the wrestling world these days, I’m pretty sure you know that next week… it’ll be your turn. Trevor cocks his head to the side, as if to say “oh yeah?”
Trevor Worrens: Yeah, I got the word, and to say I don’t like it would be a lie. But I have to ask, Cade, why the gauntlet?
The smile returns.
Trevor nods and adjusts the Laws of Survival Championship on his shoulder.
Trevor Worrens: I get it, we both have to survive the gauntlet before we go into WAR. One of us will have the edge, one of us will be able to tout that they put more men down in said gauntlet. It’s a nice little challenge, but I’ve never been one for bragging rights.
Cade Sydal: Me either. This isn’t about bragging rights. The winner of this challenge, the man who can win the most matches in this gauntlet, they get to pick the stipulation of the match, a REAL stipulation. I figured we got short changed our first go around, so this time we make sure one of us, and one of us alone decides under what rules the rematch plays out.
Trevor again nods, looking impressed.
Trevor Worrens: Sounds like you got it all figured out. It’s going to be refreshing to face someone who wants to fight me for the right reasons.
And then Trevor flashes a grin.
Trevor Worrens: Of course beating me is another thing all together. BUT, considering what you have coming up tonight, I won’t make you worry about me just yet. Good luck out there tonight.
Cade raises an eyebrow.
Cade Sydal: Good luck? I’m in this Laws of Survival thing in full, Trevor. And someone recently told me… luck has nothing to do with survival…
Cade looks at Trevor’s Laws of Survival Championship.
Cade Sydal: So tonight, just watch and learn.
With that Cade heads off down the hall and Worrens just looks on after him, a smile still on his face. After a moment, Worrens turns… only to stop… his smile instantly fading. The camera pans out slightly to reveal Kid One and Kid Two. They are dressed in matching boy suits, both white as the purest of snow.
Kid One: Before you speak, all tough and such, we come to say The Family and Friends support you THIS MUCH!
Kid One and Kid Two raise out their arms as far as they’ll go.
Kid Two: Kid One is right, we like the life that you made.
Kid One: And that life will be sweeter, once you beat Cade.
Worrens’s eyes narrow with frustration.
Trevor Worrens: I don’t need this bullshit…
Kid One and Kid Two look shocked.
Kid Two: No need for harsh words, we know how you feel.
Kid One: But you cannot express it, or they’ll see you as a heel!
Kid Two: Your secrets are safe with us, friend Trevor.
They both approach Trevor and hug him around the legs.
Kid One and Kid Two: Just know that the Family and Friends will love you… FOREVER!
With that, Kid One and Kid Two pull away from Worrens and skip happily off down the hall. Worrens shakes his head, seething with anger and the focus shifts elsewhere from there.
As the cameras come back to ringside, ”Frantic” by Metallica begins to echo off the walls of Madison Square Garden. There is a small pop, but not a whole lot more than that. The music blares for a few measures before the curtains open up, unveiling a very focused CRUSH HEART. Unfortunately, having worked mostly out of Las Vegas has made Crush a bit of a new face to the New York crowd. The reaction he garners isn’t nearly quite at the same decible level he’s probably used to. Lucky for Crush, though, he’s hardly a man who cares.
In his standard black wrestling pants and boots, the always imposing Crush Heart strides confidently to the ring. He doesn’t actively acknowledge the fans, but he doesn’t avoid their reaching hands either.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen the following contest is scheduled for one fall with a TWENTY MINUTE time limit. On his way way to the ring... he weighs in at two hundred, seventy-five pounds... And hails from an unlisted location... Here is, CRUSH HEART!!!
There’s another small pop which Crush appears to acknowledge with a nod of his head. The large fellow makes his way up the steel steps and enters the ring very businesslike. He removes a white T-shirt and dumps it outside the ring, where an attendant quickly scurries over to scoop it up.
Scott Richardson: A battle of the big men in this one, Other Guy. We have Crush Heart who weighs in at close to two hundred, eighty pounds, and his opponent, and making his WRESTLING DEBUT with SHOOT Project... Thomas Manchester Black who weighs just about two hundred and SEVENTY pounds.
Other Guy: (Not quite his usual self, though fighting through the broadcast) Black a little more of a technical guy whereas Crush is just gonna try and hurt a bitch, Scott. We should see one hell of a brawl... Both guys with extensive combat training throughout their careers.
“Frantic” begins to fade and Crush slowly tilts his neck from one side to the next and follows with some last minute stretching. In the meantime, “Line Em Up” by Freeway with Chris Young starts up over the PA system, drawing an even smaller reaction than Crush.
Samantha Coil: And introducing his opponent, making his SHOOT PROJECT DEBUT... From Charlotte, North Carolina by way of Hartford Connecticut... Weighing in tonight at two hundred, sixty-five pounds. This is THOMAS MANCHESTER BLACK!!!
TMB comes out from behind the curtains to very little fanfare, which had to be expected considering his very brief tenure with the organization thus far. Obviously, Black shows no signs of concern as he walks toward the ring. A fan reaches out and slaps his hand, and Black throws his hands into the air and stops to glare at the dude who did it. He shouts something at TMB, who raises an eyebrow and moves in closer.
TMB: (Off Mic) Do it again.
He stares down the fan who, perhaps wisely does NOT do it again and TMB, satisified, continues his on way. Crush keeps a careful eye on him as he makes his way to the steps and heads up to the apron and into the ring. Referee AUSTIN LINAM checks in with Black, who throws his hands up and submits to the mandatory pat down. However, his eyes never leave Crush.
Scott Richardson: So a twenty minute time limit, one fall. Thomas Manchester Black making his WRESTLING DEBUT. Crush Heart, a man looking for some momentum. That’s the story here, and OG, any favorites coming out of this one?
Other Guy: Ya know man, it’s a tough call. On one hand, we know almost NOTHING about TMB. He’s a big dude that hangs with some terrible people. That alone... I don’t know. Can’t cheer the guy on. So I gotta take Crush, Scott. I guess it’s really not a very tough call at all.
Scott Richardson: (Kind of in a weird spot) Understandable, OG.
Linam seems good to go after checking in Black and turns to call for the opening bell.
“DING, DING, DING!”
Crush thumbs his nose and lowers his eyes, ready to go to battle, while TMB jumps from side to side, nodding his head. Crush moves in and TMB does the same. Black is pretty quick on his feet and moves pretty quickly into position on his opponent. Crush is caught a little bit off guard by the aggressive grapple attempt and Black gains the initial advantage. He shoves Crush toward the ring ropes, but Heart, a little bigger is able to gather his bearings and spin Black around so HIS back is to the ropes. Linam tries to break things up, but as he does, Black FIRES a forearm shot that connects across the bridge of Crush’s nose! (BOOOOO!) The fans let him have it a little bit. Crush shakes his head! TMB comes in with a high kick, connecting to Crush’s right arm! However, Black goes back to the well only to have his second kicked blocked! Crush holds his leg and TMB hops on one leg, trying to maintain balance.
Scott Richardson: And TMB in a precarious spot!
Crush YANKS BACK on TMB’s leg! TMB jerks forward and Crush CLOBBERS HIM with a short arm clothesline!!! TMB hits the mat! Crush follows with an elbow drop to the sternum! He floats over into a vertical press and hooks TMB’s leg!
Scott Richardson: Early pin fall attempt!
Linam drops down to count!
TMB shoulders out EASILY at one. Crush stands up and tries to recapture the advantage. HOWEVER, TMB lifts his leg as Crush nears and nails him in the head with bicycle type kick from his back! TMB uses his momentum to do a reverse somersault and propel himself to his feet, following with a pretty SICK back elbow! Crush tumbles back a bit! TMB spins and NAILS Crush in the gut with a kick! Crush Heart keels over and TMB goes for a Maui Thai Clinch! He locks Crush in and SLAMS a knee into the front of his face! He goes for another one, but Crush demonstrates some AMAZING power and hoists TMB up and DROPS HIM DOWN ACROSS THE ROPES BEHIND HIM!!!
TMB whiplashes back off the ropes and falls to the mat, holding at his throat, while Crush falls forward to his knee, holding at his head, feeling for blood.
Scott Richardson: A nifty little counter from TMB... excuse me, Crush Heart rather. But now both men seem to be struggling a little bit after some aggressive offense out of the two camps.
Crush tries to shake it off and gets to his feet first, HOWEVER, the fans start to look over toward the aisle way, where NOVA LYNN JACKSON is hand in hand with Crush Heart’s daughter, URIEL. Crush starts to move over to TMB, but realizes the crowd is distracted and turns to see what all the fuss is about.
Scott Richardson: And we have a couple of visitors out to ringside right now... But I’ll be honest and say I have NO IDEA why. That is Nova Lynn Jackson and she is with Crush Heart’s little daughter, Uriel. Crush does not seem terribly thrilled, though I guess confused might be the best word to use.
Crush moves closer to the other end of the ring, but before he can say anything, Nova points at Crush, and Uriel waves to her father. Crush half heartedly waves back.
Crush Heart: What the HECK you doin’?
Nova seems completely oblivious that Crush might not like this situation.
Nova Lynn Jackson: She wanted to see you! (Looking at Uriel) Say hi to daddy!
Uriel: (Waving) Hi!
Crush realizes everything is PROBABLY okay, but still is confused. In the meantime. TMB gets to his feet. Crush realizes he has a match to get back to. However, when he turns around, he’s met with a STIFF kick from Black! Crush takes the shot straight on and the blow sends him backward toward the ropes! He bounces back forward and TMB follows with a SNAP POWER SLAM!!!
TMB hooks the leg and makes the cover!
Linam with the count!
Scott Richardson: Crush POWERS out at two. But OG, why is Nova out here with Crush’s daughter? This thing is almost annoying me. Does it make any sense to you?
Other Guy: She’s fucked up, Scott. (A little short) You wanna go interview her and get the scoop? I don’t man. I’m done asking questions.
Nova moves closer to the ring and bangs on the apron! Uriel, a smart girl in her own right, copies the move and slaps the side of the ring, not quite able to reach the top like Nova can. This of course gets a kick out of Nova who laughs at her adorable behavior.
TMB floats around into a front face lock to keep Crush grounded. He locks the hold in and starts to lift Crush up off the mat, slamming a couple quick knees into his face in the process! He keeps Crush stalled and then decides to go for what looks like a vertical suplex! Crush, though, blocks the attempt and is able to counter with a double leg take down! Crush then aggressively mounts TMB and throws a couple of fists!!! He nails TMB with a right hand and then a left! AND THEN TWO RIGHTS!!! But TMB, an accomplished martial artist, is able to counter out and reverse the mount! He has Crush pinned now and throws shots of his own! He comes down with A RIGHT FOREARM SHOT ANGLING ACROSS CRUSH’S FACE!!! Outside, Nova covers Uriel’s eyes, but still cheers for TMB.
Nova Lynn Jackson: COME ON THOMAS!!
Crush reverses TMB and as soon as he does, Nova moves her hand away from Uriel’s eyes! Crush SLAMS A HARD RIGHT HAND INTO TMB’S FACE! AND THEN ANOTHER!!! TMB eventually covers up and is able to maneuver Crush off of him! Crush slides to the side and both are slow to their feet. TMB stumbles a little bit.
Uriel: You can do it daddy!
Nova smiles and nods her head.
Crush shakes his head and realizes his daughter might be seeing things he really doesn’t want her to see. So he turns his attention back to her and Nova.
Crush Heart: (Off Mic) Get her out of here! I’m serious! Why the hell do you have my daughter! You can’t just take people’s kids!
Nova looks confused.
Nova Lynn Jackson: (Off Mic) She wants to be out here, though! Like, I totally don’t understand what the big deal is.
The fans seem annoyed with the distraction, and then also begin to react to a recovering TMB who sneaks up behind him!
Uriel: DADDY! Look out!
Before Crush can react, TMB leaps and DRILLS CRUSH IN THE BACK WITH A FLYING KNEE! Crush falls toward the ropes! TMB grabs his head from behind and hoists him up into a reverse suplex position!
Scott Richardson: This could be the start of the Carolina Krush! And that’s Krush with a K!
TMB tries to get him into position, but Crush is able to use his size to slip out! He then pushes TMB away! TMB turns around and CRUSH HOISTS HIM INTO A FIREMAN’s CARY!!!
Scott Richardson: REVERSED!
CRUSH SPINS TMB AROUND, HURLS HIM INTO THE AIR AND DROPS HIM TO THE MAT FACE FIRST WITH HIS VERSION OF THE F-5!!!
Scott Richardson: CRUSHING END!
Crush Heart makes an emphatic cover!!!
“DING, DING, DING, DING, DING”!
Linam, calls for the bell! Uriel pumps her little fists and cheers! Nova looks a little disappointed, but still happy that Uriel is happy She pats the girl on the back, but Crush is quick to exit the ring and scoop his daughter up! She gives him a big kiss, but daddy’s attention is 100% on Nova. “Frantic” by Metallica plays again, but there’s no celebration from Crush.
Samantha Coil: The winner of this match... CRUSH HEART!!!
Crush just shakes his head at Nova, who couldn’t be any more clueless if she tried. After a minute, Crush turns his attention back to his baby girl and smiles at her as he takes her back up the aisle. At the same time, Nova slides into the ring to check up on TMB, though she still watches Uriel...
She casts a sad smile and gives a sad little wave to the girl.
Who waves back!
Nova’s smile gets even BIGGER. Crush, however, gets his daughter’s attention back and the father and daughter pair vanish behind the curtains. In the meanwhile, an all too happy Nova Lynn tends to the recovering TMB, now giving him her undivided attention.
Scott Richardson: Well Crush Heart walks out with a VERY impressive victory, but under perhaps bizarre circumstances. And of course, take nothing away from Thomas Manchester Black who I...
Other Guy: Why are you paying them lip service, huh? Black’s a piece of garbage and you damn well know it. As long as he associates himself with the company he’s associating himself with, he’s gonna be a loser. I mean, DAMNIT Scott... your fucking colleague goes down at the hands of this guy’s EMPLOYER and you’re gonna stick up for him and try to put him over. DUDE LOST. HE DESERVES IT.
Richardson doesn’t say anything. In the meantime, the cameras stay on Nova and TMB for a moment longer before cutting away elsewhere.
Cut to the back:
Eryk Masters: Back here with the returning man of the hour, Dan Stein.
The camera pans over to the blonde haired, blue eyed superstar walking next to Masters. It was obvious Stein has a well groomed beard growing, trimmed and neat. He looks like he was going to play at an Irish Hooley and ended up in the arena instead.
Eryk Masters: Thanks, Dan, for your time. Glad to have you back with SHOOT Project af-
Dan Stein: Thanks, Eryk. Good to be back.
Stein pats Masters on the back with a solid open hand, grabbing his shoulder for a split second with that smirk on his face.
Eryk Masters: While you were gone, there was a lot of speculation as to the extent of your departure. Care to shed any light on that?
Stein chuckles and looks to the camera, shaking his head.
Dan Stein: I wasn’t released, I wasn’t suspended. It was a self imposed break. The rumored ‘brown envelope’ was a letter from one Gemma Keogh, my former beau, if you will… with the ring I bought for her.
Stein looks at the camera again, smirking.
Dan Stein: Which means, ladies… I’m single, and very much looking.
The females in the arena almost bust the roof off as Stein pauses to let their cheers die out.
Eryk Masters: Well, that’s good then. You know, not about the girl thing, but that there wasn’t disciplinary action taken for the way you and Cade han-
Stein put his hand up, waving his finger slowly.
Dan Stein: No, no, no, Eryk. That was all me. That was all my decision. Jonny came at me with a proposal I couldn’t refuse except for the one thing that broke me down further than anything ever could have. Was I willing to take from my friend the one thing that he had devoted his every breath to, just for a shot at my redemption? Absolutely not.
If you’re listening, Cade, I’m sorry for even putting you in that match; But don’t for a second believe you didn’t earn your shot at Jonny long, long before we were ever supposed to step into the ring.
The fans cheer for the comment.
Eryk Masters: Well, I know I speak for the vast majority of the SHOOT Project universe when I say that we lost a big part of our family when you left, so it’s good to see you back here. What are your immediate plans, Dan?
Stein turns to the camera, nodding.
Dan Stein: You know the thing that started my slow decline? It was losing that Iron Fist championship in the first place. I beat Azraith DeMitri in the ring MULTIPLE times, and then I got cocky. Azraith wasn’t paying attention to me; Kenji Yamada had his attention… I bit off far more than I could chew with the two of those men in the ring against me at the same time. That really hurt… really set me back. I lost my title, my city was decimated in the floods and eventually my girlfriend left me…
Stein looks at Eryk, stern, yet calm.
Dan Stein: I want my Iron Fist title back.
Eryk moves to talk, but Stein cuts him off.
Dan Stein: I know there are men in line in front of me, and rightfully so. I left SHOOT Project, I left the division entirely – who am I to come back and DEMAND a title shot? Especially when the man that I lost the title to has already lost the title? I’m not going to jump over anyone until they give me the chance to. I’m not going to ruin anyone’s chance at the title; I will NOT mess with any Iron Fist match that doesn’t pertain to me unless another wrestler is trying to sabotage the match.
I want my belt back, you’re silly if you don’t believe that. But I want it back fair, and from the real champion. If it’s Osbourne Kilminster, more power to him. If it’s Kenji Yamada, remind me to get a muzzle, if it’s Nightmare, you can guarantee it’ll be a barn burner show that fans will talk about for ages. The point is, Eryk, I want the title I lost back…
Stein smirks at Eryk.
Dan Stein: So don’t expect me to let the world pass me by.
Eryk Masters: You sound like you’re pretty set, Dan. Some people in the back were wondering which side of this ‘war’ in SHOOT Project you happen to be on.
Stein laughs, loudly.
Dan Stein: Side? What, am I for Jonny Johnson? For Sons of Liberty? What does that mean, what side am I on?
The side I’m on is the side that brings out the best in SHOOT Project. I don’t have a side. Take that for what you will, I’ll let you decide what ‘the best’ in SHOOT Project is.
A voice carries over to them from down the hall.
Nightmare: Well if it isn't the return of the prodigal son, Dan Stein!
By the grin on his face you can tell this confrontation will not be a negative one. Stein turns to Nightmare as Eryk Masters seemingly slinks away. He smirks, and looks up to the taller, heavier man approaching him.
Dan Stein: Well, I'll be! If it isn't King Kong himself, live and in Technicolor.
Stein holds out his hand for Wehali to take. Jon chuckles and shakes Dan's hand.
Nightmare: Come back to reclaim your throne in the Iron Fist division or looking to conquer new lands here in SHOOT Project?
Stein looks at Nightmare and pats him on the broad chest. He ducks his head, and shrugs.
Dan Stein: Well, I don't want to step on anyone's toes, Amigo, but I was looking to throw my hat in the runnings for that Iron Fist title.
Stein tips his cap as if he's going to throw it before setting it back on his head. Jon grins and nods.
Nightmare: It's all cool, man. With you I know it'll be a Hell of a fight, a true athletic display. Two mma masters going at it like no one else can. I have to warn you, though, this place has gone a bit wild in your absence. Jason Johnson himself declared it a de-militarized zone, an open state of chaos and anarchy. Believe me, people are taking advantage of that too.
Stein nods, running his hand through his trimmed beard.
Dan Stein: Don't worry, Man. Just because I wasn't here, doesn't mean I didn't look after this place from the apparent comfort and safety of my own TV set, you know?
Dan Stein: Looks like you and the rest of the Sons of Liberty have been taking shots, but getting right up. Not that I didn't think it before, but it really shows some resilience on all of your parts, Wehali. I like that. I like knowing I'm stepping into the ring with one of the most determined individuals in SHOOT Project. Glad to see someone, or, in this case, some people standing up to Jonny Johnson and his band of misfit goons.
He has a twinkle of sincerity in his eye, letting Nightmare know he's being honest.
Nightmare: Yeah, despite a lot of misgivings by some, we're in there to fight the good fight. I had my doubts joining this group in the beginning too, but as long as they keep their eyes on our goal, keeping SHOOT Project free for all of us, then I've got their backs. It's going to be a wild wild ride before this is over. I'm glad to see some others stepping up to the task too, whether they're pro-SoL or not.
Jon's smile is as sincere as Dan's as he nods to him, recognizing him as a true soldier. Stein nods in return, returning that respect. Stein looks around himself for a second before continuing.
Dan Stein: I'm glad I bumped into you, Nightmare. I know that you and I... we're going to be gunning for Kilminster's title for completely different reasons than Kenji is, and maybe even than each other, but I wanted you to know that no matter what, I - will - not - get - involved with your matches. No matter what. Winning or losing, you will not see me at that ring side, unless you ask me to be there personally. I hope you'll do the same?
The rhetorical question is posed with a hint of insecurity.
Nightmare: Of course, man. It's never been my way to interfere in matches... unless a friend needs my help. So if you ever need someone to watch your back or fight beside let me know. I'll be there.
Jonathon extends his hand. Stein takes his hand and shakes it firmly.
Dan Stein: Good to be back, Jon.
He smirks as the camera fades elsewhere.
ROGE, RILEY, and SUPER FAN have found their way outside the arena after a fairly stressful opening half of tonight’s program. Riley pulls out a cig, while the other stay warm, hands in their pocket quickly remembering what autumn feels like outside of Las Vegas.
Riley sighs and starts to light up.
Riley: Man I just don’t know any more. This is like... fucking beyond stress. I’m almost at the point where all I can do is laugh. Fucking calling us out like that. It’s horeshit.
Calahan sort of nods, while Quinn shivers.
Rogue: (Shaking to stay warm) Yo, dude you wanna bum me one of those?
Riley sighs, relinquishing a cigarette reluctantly.
Riley: Dude, you bum enough of these; you really should start buying your own packs.
Rogue shrugs and holds the cig between his lips while Riley lights it.
Rogue: It’s a cig, man. If it’s such a big deal, I’ll stop paying for gas all the time and buy smokes instead, and you can get your own fucking gas.
Riley: Good point dude.
Voice from Behind the Dumpster: Psst! Tom! Jase! Psst! Lads!
Super Fan: What the fuck?
They walk around the dumpster to find DECLAN O’LEARY hiding there.
Declan O’Leary: Oh, hey, lads. How’re things?
Rogue: Uhhh… hey, Dec. Why… why exactly are you behind a dumpster?
Declan looks around sheepishly.
Declan O’Leary: Well, ah… ye might’ve noticed a couple weeks ago I ‘ad a… a bit o’ trouble with SHOOT Security an’, ah… they won’t let me in. See, I’m tryin’ to get a contract, an’ it’s kinda hard to get one when I can’t really, um, get in? Think… d’ye think Jonny might gimme a hand wi’ that?
Rogue, Riley, and Super Fan look at each other, then start snickering.
Rogue: Declan, man…
Riley: Jonny wouldn’t touch you with a ten-foot pole, dude.
Quinn tries to pick up the slack after Riley’s total lack of tact.
Rogue: Look, I mean… we’ll swing through every so often, Dec, and we can hang out and have a few, heh, ‘pints’, or something, but, ah… no one’s going to sponsor you. And, honestly, Dec, why would they?
Declan stares at them for a second, slightly stunned. Riley stubs out his cigarette on his shoe and starts back inside. Quinn flicks his off to the side as well.
Riley: Hey, it was good to see you, Dec. But we need to go take care of some shit.
Rogue: Later man.
Super Fan: Peace, Declan.
The three enter the door and let it shut behind them, leaving Declan O’Leary - still stuck outside Madison Square Garden.
The sounds of a ring bell ringing is heard over the PA system, and the fans instantly know who it is, popping loudly.
The ring bell suddenly fizzles out. Without warning, the music kicks in and the lights dim out. The SHOOT Tron shows one single symbol.
CUZ I’M OUT HERE GRINDIN’ CUZ I’M OUT HERE GRINDIN’
The SHOOT Tron crackles to life and green tinted electrical currents flow across the screen.
I DON’T CARE WHAT NOBODY SAY I’MMA BE ME BE ME STAY HOOD STAY RAISED TO THE STREETS CUZ I’M OUT HERE GRINDIN’
The green electrical current forms the shape of a crown as Donovan King stands on the entrance wearing a black Sons of Liberty shirt, glaring dead ahead.
Other Guy: Not the Donovan King we’re used to, he looks insanely focused.
“Out Here Grindin’” by DJ Khaled, Akon, Rick Ross, Plies, Lil’ Boosie, Trick Daddy, Ace Hood, and Lil Wayne TEARS open the PA system as King storms down the ramp. He doesn’t slap hands, he does nothing to acknowledge the cheering fans as he walks to the ring. King slides under the bottom rope and pops up, pointing out to the fans, taking Samantha Coil’s microphone from her. “Out Here Grindin’” dies down.
Donovan King: …you know, it’s mad crazy when a Southern nigga like me gets love from y’all out here in New York fuckin’ City, God damn!
The fans pop as King laughs, pacing the ring.
Donovan King: Last time y’all saw Donovan King…I called Real Deal out. Told him to come out here on dis very show…an’ face me like a man. Told him…I wanted him gone from dis company dat he claims is his house. Told him, basically…I wanted to face him one on one…at WAR.
Donovan King: But what if I told y’all I just couldn’t wait for WAR…and I wanted to bust his fuckin’ head open TONIGHT?!
The fans in attendance blow the fucking roof off at the thought of that announcement. King, however, holds his finger up.
Donovan King: …yeah, I’d like it, too. Unfortunately?
The fans are already booing.
Donovan King: Apparently, The Real Deal…King of the Jungle, Big Bad Ass, Mister SHOOT Project, Franchise his fucking self…either isn’t here tonight…or just don’t got the balls to face me. I don’t know, maybe dude wasn’t feelin’ it tonight in New York…maybe he wanted to the New Jersey Nets try to bust the Knicks tonight…who knows?
There’s a mixed reaction. Love for the Knicks, hatred for the Nets.
Donovan King: All I know is…I’m here tonight to reiterate my fuckin’ challenge to dat fuckin’ punk ass. Y’all listenin’ back there? Donovan King wants Josh Johnson’s lackey ass in the ring at WAR, an’ after I send Robin out…I’m comin’ straight fuh Batman himself, you hear me Jonny?!
The fans pop.
Donovan King: I’m gonna end The Real Deal’s illustrious career on a downer…one where he either can’t get back up from the One Hitta Quitta…or one where he has to give up…and leave dis company by choice…courtesy of the Carolina Crossface!
King glares out at the cheering fans.
“I’m afraid this is all completely unacceptable.”
In perhaps the greatest swerve of all time, it is not the Real Deal who arrives. It is not an Osbourne Kilminster or a Sinnocence. It’s certainly not SHOOT PROJECT WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, Jonny Johnson.
It’s the completely unexpected.
So unexpected that the audience can only react with bizarre shock and silence.
Respected attorney PETER LOLWEN arrives from behind the curtains to a smattering combination of gentle BOOS and hushed whispers.
Peter Lolwen: Don... uhh... Don, Don... Donald is it? King?
He makes a confident stride toward the ring despite his total lack of heat.
Peter Lolwen: Mister King, I am the legal advisor and attorney at law representing WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, Jonny Johnson as well as a new client... a man of no relation, Mister Joshua Johnson. Hereby to be referred to as one, REAL DEAL.
Lolwen swiftly walks to the ring steps and makes his way up on to the apron. He then ducks inside the ring, where Donovan King gives him “What that fuck”EST of all “What the Fuck” looks. It’s clear that this was the last person he expected to see.
Peter Lolwen: First of all, my client would like to tell the GREAT SHOOT PROJECT FANS that he apologizes for not being able to be here at tonight’s show. Unfortunately, extenuating circumstances have kept him from gracing the amazing city of New York with his presence. He would like to add that his reason for not being here has NOTHING to do with this city being an “absolute shit hole, that he’s afraid terrorists would continue to bomb and bomb over and over again, thus putting him at great risk for injury”. He loves this city very, very much.
And now the fans actually begin to boo pretty loudly.
Peter Lolwen: (Moving on) On to business. (Clearing his throat) I’m afraid that in my client’s time of mourning, he is unable to retaliate verbally or otherwise to your remarks, thus making you the perfect candidate for a legal matter I like to call “slander.” (Not pausing despite the BOOOS he starts to receive) Now, Mister King, despite your unsavory demeanor and disrespect, my client has agreed to sit down and discuss the DONOVAN KING, REAL DEAL BOUT at length, in a press conference, but only under the guise, and I quote “that any continuation of SHOOT Project’s unjust and unreasonable war, be ceased immediately”.
He pauses and looks up to King, very businesslike.
Peter Lolwen: We feel this offer is fair to all parties involved.
Donovan King: Wait…what?
King looks at Lolwen for a long moment.
Donovan King: I’m fuckin’…I’m out here to…you totally fuckin’ caught me on dis one, man. I’ll bite…you tell me somethin’, Lawyer-Man. Y’all want dis war to end? You want the Sons of Liberty to disband, maybe…we all move on?
King cocks his head to the side.
Donovan King: The War ends…at WAR. It ends when the Sons of Liberty destroy Jonny’s Friends. It ends…when Jonny Johnson is no longer World Champion and…and you can quote ME on dis one, Lolwen…dis war will end when The Real Deal is sittin’ in the unemployment line…courtesy uh Donovan King.
King leans in.
Donovan King: Get dat? DONOVAN…King? You talk about Real Deal in mournin’…why don’t you fill me in on just what he’s got to mourn about.
Lolwen seems uneasy, especially now that the fans are riled up. He’s not necessarily used to being in this sort of atmosphere, but he does do his best to stay composed and professional.
Peter Lolwen: Mister King, my client does not wish to disclose that information. However we will not hesitate to enforce legal action should you not conclude this interview, OR change the subject matter of said interview, immediately. If you wish to EVER speak to my client, you will need to agree to a treaty and agree to let bygones be bygones.
He holds his ground.
Peter Lolwen: That is our only offer.
King gets in Lolwen’s face.
Donovan King: I’ll change the subject for you, Lawyer-Man…if you’ll pony up some idea of when I’ll have my answer because I promise you this, Lolwen…if you can’t answer for him, then I’d suggest you slither back under your rock because, I assure you…I got enough people on my side…if I can’t get to him because…I don’t know…I were to assault an unarmed man with a few thousand witnesses in New York City…
The fans pop BIG for that hint for our good Mister Lolwen. King shrugs, looking at Lolwen with an earnest face. As earnest as he can be under the circumstances.
Donovan King: …see what I mean, man? I mean, look…I don’t wanna scare ya, man…you seem reasonable. Tell me what I wanna know…an’ we’ll all go our separate ways.
Lolwen is less confident that he’ll leave this situation alive.
Peter Lolwen: Donovan... Please...
King puts his arm around Lolwen’s shoulder, pulling him tightly.
Donovan King: He’s your client, Petey…negotiate for him. You got…legal ability to do so, I know. You out here, worried…you shouldn’t be. We’re professionals, my man. Pure, plain, an’ simple. Give me Real Deal. Give these fans King versus Real Deal. I’ll give you the end to dat war you was goin’ on about.
He hugs him tighter.
Donovan King: An’ I’ll even give you a way outta here.
King looks over to Lolwen, grinning an honest, yet rather dark grin.
Lolwen can’t help but swallow back fear. He’s not a wrestler. He’s never even taken a punch let alone one of these bizarre attacks these guys concoct. The fans are getting into it. King raises his eyebrows, and Lolwen swallows back the fear he keeps vomiting up. MADISON SQUARE GARDEN REAAALLLLLY COMES ALIVE!
Peter Lolwen: You have your match, Mister King. Okay? You have it, but MY CLIENT RESERVES THE RIGHT TO REVIEW AND CORRECT ANY STIPULATIONS HE DESIRES! And... (Trying to work on the fly) and should you fail to recognize his demands, then you will be penalized a sum equal to or greater than... TWO HUNDRED, FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.
He’s obviously upset that he caved in, but straightens his suit jacket and stands as confidently as he can. Peter Lolwen: If you agree to that. We have a deal.
King ruffles Lolwen’s hair.
Donovan King: Oh, Lolwen…you’re such a sweetheart! King versus Real Deal at WAR…Real Deal’s career on the line…which, I might add, my people will give you a call about…oh, Petey, you just made my day!
King laughs, letting Lolwen go.
Donovan King: An’ now…here’s your way out.
KING NAILS LOLWEN WITH THE ONE HITTA QUITTA ACE CRUSHER!!!!! LOLWEN IS DOWN AND THE FANS ARE ERUPTING. King stands up, glaring at the camera as “Out Here Grindin’” picks up, the fans loving it as Lolwen is completely out cold on the mat!! King exits the ring as road agents and referees scurry in to see to Lolwen as King turns around, surveying the carnage.
Scott Richardson: MY GOODNESS! Donovan King talked his way right into the match at WAR with The Real Deal…and he gave Peter Lolwen the hit we’ve all been waiting for!!
Other Guy: Like it or not, Real Deal, your dance card is full up for WAR and it’ll either be the feather in Jonny an’ Josh’s cap…or the nail in their coffin!!
Scene fades to the guerilla position. JESTER SMILES paces for a moment, making ready to go out and address the audience and call out Jonny Johnson. The production assistant from earlier stands next to him.
Production: Alright, Jester, you're on in two min-
“Not necessary, Patrick.”
Jester and The Production Guy both turn around to see THE DEFILER, JONNY JOHNSON appear from behind them. He runs his hand along the cavern of curtains and production equipment, moving calmly out of the shadows and within striking distance of his potential WAR opponent.
The DEFILER: Tell the boys upstairs stick to schedule. Run a Pay-Per-View promo if they’re pressing for time. (Remembering something else) Oh, and make sure they know that I loved their little music and mic thing. It was HILARIOUS, man. (Cold, expressionless) Dave thought it was funny too. We laughed and laughed...
He trails off, his eyes staying on the production assistant.
Production Assistant: (Adjusting his headset and speaking into the microphone) Guys uhh... cut to video thirty four. (Pausing) Eric isn’t coming out.
Jonny nods, while Eric remains on his guard.
The DEFILER: Thanks, Pat.
The World Champion’s eyes suggest to the production guy that he should probably leave. Luckily, the dude’s smart enough to pick up on the vibe and he nods his head and uncomfortably walks away. As he does, Jonny adjusts the World Title over his right shoulder and sniffs fairly loudly.
His icy blue gaze tells the tale of a man seeking forgiveness.
Or perhaps the story of a man more evil than we ever thought.
The DEFILER: Eric. I fucked up.
There is no better way to describe Jester's look than confused. He seems conflicted as to exactly how to understand the man in front of him.
Jester Smiles: Well, you win tonight. I'm confused as hell. I'm not sure who I'm looking at right now, or what, so, for once, I'm just going to listen. (Jester crosses his arms) You wanted me. Here I am.
Jonny lets the silence linger for an extra moment or two before responding.
The DEFILER: I want you to accept my apology like you’ve accepted everyone else’s. I want you to be MY hero and I want this... (trying to find the words, gesturing with his hands) WAR thing to be done with. I... I don’t want anymore people to get hurt.
He continues to stare intently at Smiles.
The DEFILER: I don’t know how long I’ll have to live, Eric. And... And this isn’t what I want people to remember.
Jester looks down. He snickers, but he's not smiling. It's still clear he's not sure what to say.
Jester Smiles: You know, Jonny. (Jester looks up) Part of me wants to spit in your face right now. My dead parents, that was OH SO fucking funny, right? But now, now you get a glimpse at mortality, and death just isn't that funny anymore.
Jester stops. He takes a step back. He looks down again, mouthing "what am I saying".
Jester takes a step forward, regaining his previous position. He still seems confused, but there's a gleam of confidence in his eyes.
Jester Smiles: I'm sorry you gotta go through this, Jonny, I mean that. I honestly hope for a miracle in your case too. I may not like you, hell, I may want you out of SHOOT Project completely, but I don't wish cancer and death on you.
But you want forgiveness from people? You don't want to be remembered like this?
When you start meaning it, maybe then you'll realize just how shitty your position is.
Jester takes another step forward.
Jester Smiles: And this changes nothing. If you are still the World Champion when WAR rolls around, I'm still going to make you feel everything you've done to anyone, and after tonight. (Jester smirks) Now I got another hit or two for Dave Dymond.
As his been the case for a great deal of the evening, it’s extremely difficult to get a read on what Jonny might be thinking. He’s not happy, but he doesn’t appear to be seething either. The Champ just continues to stare.
The DEFILER: Ya know, man. (Raising his right shoulder and the World Title forward) This thing it... it doesn’t change reality. It doesn’t FIX the world or make it a better place. (Pausing) You can hold it if you want. You can sleep with it, man. Take it home. It’s... heh It’s not magic, Eric. But everyone thinks it is. They want it so bad, but... nothing’s going to change.
He shrugs casually.
The DEFILER: After next week, it’s a very real possibility that you’ll have an unfamiliar dance partner come November Second. All of this anger and resentment... but for what? What would you have ACTUALLY accomplished, Eric? If anything, you’ll be famous for being the man who saved me...
Because if you hadn’t given me the headbutt of all headbutts...
He casts a smirk to go along with his devious shrug.
The DEFILER: I may have never know about my Leukemia.
I may have died in my sleep, undiagnosed.
He continues to stare at Jester.
The DEFILER: You saved me, Eric. Doesn’t that... kinda ruin everything?
His eyes never once leave Eric’s no matter how uncomfortable the SHOOT Project Master of the Mat looks.
The DEFILER: So just accept my apology, and it can make a little more sense.
Jester Smiles: (Half-heartedly, almost trying to appease his counterpart) Alright, Jonny. (Pause) I accept your apology.
There is a strange silence between the two.
Jester Smiles: But you've still got plenty to answer for. Keep that in mind. Just like King.
Just like Corazon. Just like Danny...
You've still got plenty to answer for.
Jonny shakes his head. There’s something in Eric’s voice that isn’t settling right with him. He looks him over and assesses whatever it is he’s thinking.
The DEFILER: God, you fucking lie, man. Heh. You look into my eyes and you have the nerve to lie to me? LIAR! HA! Fuck you, dude. You think you’re better. All of you... think you’re sooooo much better. And you... gallop in on your white steeds, and you point your accusing, paralyzing fingers in my direction. “HE BURNED THE FUCKING VILLAGE! HE RUINED IT ALL” Because I have the match in my hand. Right? It’s always that easy for people like you. And that’s fine. That’s blood on YOUR HANDS, Eric. That’s YOU who has to live with the wrongful conviction.
He pauses and tries to stay calm.
The DEFILER: If you’re sincere, step forward and embrace me.
Be here for me in my time of weakness.
Jester just stares at Jonny, now looking more irritated than confused.
Jester Smiles: This is how you choose to live out your last few hours, days, or whatever? Making people uncomfortable? You know what, fuck YOU, Jonny. You know what makes you worse, Jonny? You know what makes you different from all the other assholes around here?
No matter how awful you are to people, you feel like the victim. It's all our fault that you're a dick. No matter how wrong you are, you feel right. You don't even know what wrong is.
Jester steps forward, face to face with Jonny.
Jester Smiles: So fuck you, Jonny. I'd rather face Kenji at WAR than have to deal with you another SECOND as World Champion.
Jonny matches Jester’s demeanor and reaches into his side pockets, pulling out a crumpled ball of paper.
The DEFILER: This is a drawing I did for you.
Jonny holds out the balled-up clump and stares at Eric.
The DEFILER: I made it when I was in the hospital. About twenty minutes after they told me I... Well after they told me.
Jester doesn't move an inch. He makes no gestures at all to take the picture. He just crosses his arms again and stares into Jonny's eyes.
The DEFILER: It’s a picture of what I think Heather looks like.
The DEFILER: That’s all.
He drops the paper on the floor.
Jester lashes out, grabbing Jonny by his shirt and shoving him against the wall.
Jester Smiles: You leave my family OUT OF THIS!? YOU HEAR ME, FUCK FACE?! LEAVE MY FAMILY ALONE!!!
The INSTANT Jester lays hands on Jonny, THOMAS MANCHESTER BLACK literally comes out of nowhere and DRILLS JESTER FROM BEHIND!!! Jonny takes a step back and Smiles falls to his knees! TMB then charges forward and, leading with the sole of his right foot, KICKS SMILES STRAIGHT IN THE HEAD!!!
Jester falls nearly unconscious at Jonny’s feet.
You can hear the RABID BOOOS from the fans watching this in the arena.
Jonny looks down at Smiles with a strange sense of sympathy.
The DEFILER: (Kneeling down beside him, almost whispering) It was actually just a picture of Jester Smiles getting kicked in the head by a giant black guy. (Laughing) It looked a lot like this, man.
Continuing to look at Smiles, Jonny’s voice grows even more sinister.
The DEFILER: And by the way... Apology soooo not accepted.
He brushes off his hand, stands back up and looks at TMB, who looks down at his handy work.
The DEFILER: (Pleased) I forgive you for losing earlier. This was way better, man. Good work.
Jonny walks over to TMB and pats him on the back, while also gesturing that they should, knowing full well it will only be a matter of minutes before other SoL folk start running around and screaming bloody murder.
The DEFILER: I think want a drink. You up for a drink?
Black smiles and follows behind Jonny, neither man paying any attention to Jester.
TMB: Long as you’re payin’.
Jonny laughs again.
The DEFILER: Think it’ll make my leukemia worse?
TMB: Always seems to make shit better for me.
Jonny raises his eyebrows.
The DEFILER: You word is good enough, T. After all, who would possibly know better than the Ayatollah of Jack and Cola?
TMB: Not a damn soul, my man. Not a damn soul.
They both laugh. A lot, actually.
It’s a scene that should end with a rainbow in the distance.
Instead, it’s a fallen hero.
And a crumpled ball of paper.
We find ourselves just outside the Guerilla position where ERYK MASTERS is standing in front of a SHOOT Project REVOLUTION backdrop with TOM QUINN, JASON RILEY, and TIM CALAHAN. Riley is in his blue and white wrestling gear, while the other two are in street clothes.
Eryk Masters: I am here with the trio of Rogue, Riley and Super Fan, and gentlemen we obviously just witnessed the horrific attack of Jester Smiles at the hands of your... Friend... SHOOT Project WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, Jonny Johnson and of course Thomas Manchester Black... Can you provide any insight to the condition or mindset of...
Riley shakes his head and Quinn holds up his hand.
Rogue: What Jonny does it Jonny’s business. Okay? You want an interview with Jonny... FIND JONNY. But that’s not why we asked you to come out here.
Riley: It’s fucking simple, Eryk. Right now. It’s US time, okay? And one of US has a match that he’s going to win. I’m going to go out there do my business and end this misunderstanding with Conor. And then we’ll go our separate ways. That’s ONE of us. As for the rest of us? And for this group? Well, we’ve made a fucking executive decision and we’d like to share it if that would be okay with you.
Calahan pumps his fists.
Super Fans: DECISIONS FOR THE WIN!
Riley nods and proceeds.
Riley: We’ve been babysitting a the SHOOT Project TAG TEAM TITLES for a little more than a month. Long Island Hardcore... CJ and Jared... NO ONE wants to do your dirty work. Only the two hapless Jap Fags you keep leading on week after week. They keep doing this shit... they’re gonna get KILLED. So we’re officially saying FUCK YOUR STUPID BOUNTY.
Quinn nods and continues where Riley left off.
Rogue: You want the belts back? Then you’ll have a chance to get them. NEXT WEEK. We don’t really care if you like us or want to fight us or not. It’s out of your hands. We’ll be in the ring, ready to fight you... TAG TITLES ON THE LINE. Because we want ‘em bad, guys. You understand? We want those belts more than ANYTHING. And it’s like Riles said. Fuck your rules. Fuck your bounty. Do this shit on your own.
Riley follows after Quinn.
Riley: So make a speedy recovery, assholes... Because you no show us next week, and things are only going to get worse!!!
Before Masters can say anything, the trio walks off having said what they needed to say.
The cameras cut away.
Returning to the ring, the focus is placed on the Revolution Video Screen as a dull pink background plays against swirling flowery spirals of orange, brown, and green…
As “Where is My Mind” by the Pixies begins to play the trippy video is replaced by clips of Rogue, Riley, and Super Fan. Seconds later, they appear live, in front of the jam packed Madison Square Garden crowd, and they are met with a healthy chorus of boos. Jason Riley is out first, being his usual antagonistic self, and he is closely followed by Tom Quinn and Super Fan.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, this next match is set for one fall with a fifteen minute time limit! Introducing first, accompanied by Tom Quinn and Super Fan… Weighing in at one hundred-seventy three pounds... from Chicago, Illinois... JASON RILEY!!!
The booing continues as the trio head towards the ring, but only Riley enters while Quinn and Super Fan remain on the outside.
Scott Richardson: We are in fact set for a one on one match here, but Jason Riley arriving to the ring with the rest of his posse.
Other Guy: That word doesn’t sound right comin’ out of your mouth, Scott. But your right, I don’t think these guys go anywhere without the other two right there with em. Course after the tension has been buildin’ between Riley and Conor, makes sense that the whole crew would be out here tonight.
Riley, dressed in yellow trunks with the word “Riley” written across the back, paces the ring, stopping every so often only to shout at some of the fans who are particularly rowdy at ringside. The music eventually fades out.
Samantha Coil: And his opponent…
“We Multiply” by AIDS Wolf begins to play and the music is met with mostly boos, but an odd scattering of cheers from the sold out crowd. Conor Caden steps out from the back, his shaggy hair dangling in his face for a moment until he brushes it messily to the side.
Samantha Coil: Weighing in at 197 pounds… here is CONOR CADEN!!!
Conor, as usual, pays very little attention to the fans as he heads to the ring, eyes slightly narrowed as he looks towards the ring, smirking specifically at Riley. Riley is a ball of angry energy tonight as he immediately storms to the edge of the ring, foot atop the second rope as he starts taunting Conor to come get some. Conor remains standing just out of the entryway and very soon he is joined by Art De Luca and LD Lester.
Other Guy: And Conor answerin’ Riley’s back up with some back up of his own.
Scott Richardson: Can anyone say gang warfare?
Conor continues his way to the ring with LD Lester and De Luca following behind him. They walk all the way around the ring, opposite of Quinn and Super Fan, and Lester and De Luca, much like Quinn and Super Fan, remain on the outside while Conor jogs up the steps in his corner, takes three strides down the length of the ring, then enters through the middle and top rope. He immediately leans back against the ropes, and once again flashes a smirk at Riley.
Scott Richardson: Already Conor Caden getting under the easily agitated Jason Riley’s skin.
Other Guy: Not sure where all this tension is comin’ from to be honest, but from what I’m told these two cats got some history and I guess Conor used to be one of the Defiler’s goons.
Scott Richardson: So past and present employees of the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion squaring off here tonight.
“DING. DING. DING.”
Scott Richardson: There’s the bell and referee Willie Dean makes this match official.
Conor bounces himself off the ropes, but only takes a couple steps forward before stopping his momentum and awaiting the quickly approaching Riley. The two men lock up into grapple and Riley recklessly maneuvers out of it from there, turns Conor’s arm around once and YANKS down hard, trying to dislocate the shoulder. Conor winces in pain and Riley does it again. Followed up by yet another violent yank on the arm! Conor drops to one knee this time and Riley pulls him right back up and whips him into the ropes. Conor comes bouncing back and Riley LEAPS with legs flailing as he hits a reckless dropkick!
Jason Riley: You like that, Conor? Right in your stupid mouth!
BOOOOOOO! Some of the fans react to Riley’s taunting and Riley just looks out to them with a disgusted shake of his head. From there he grabs at Conor again, but Conor thinking quickly and he pulls Riley into a cradle pin….
Kick out by Riley. Riley sits up and slams his hand on the mat, frustrated that he was tricked, and Conor stays on the offense getting behind Riley and DRILLING a knee right into the back of his head. Riley slumps forward and Conor drops to the mat now, pushes Riley onto his back and goes for another pin. Again Willie Dean counts…
Other Guy: Riley gets the shoulder up, but Conor not lettin’ up, shoving him right back down for ANOTHER pin.
Dean doesn’t get up, just counts again.
Riley quick to shoulder up and this time turns his body, forcing Conor to the side. Conor gets up, brings Riley up with him… and swings him into the ropes… no, reversed! Conor is sent into the ropes again, but this time he hooks his arms, stopping his momentum. Riley charges, Conor LEAPS over him, and Riley quickly ducks through the ropes to stand on the ring edge. The second Conor lands on his feet, Riley VAULTS over the top rope and takes Conor down with a sitting bulldog!
Scott Richardson: Love him or hate him, Jason Riley certainly a fun competitor to watch given his high flying ability coupled with his quickness.
Other Guy: Kid’s got shit for an attitude though, Scott. And he hangs with Jonny, so you just gotta hate him.
Riley doesn’t go for a cover, but instead rises up to his feet and starts stomping down on Conor’s back repeatedly. Conor rocks slightly in pain from the stomps, then tries to roll away all together, but Riley gets him by the head and pulls him up into a tight front facing headlock. Lester and De Luca cheer on Conor from the outside, as Riley WRENCHES the neck. Conor struggles but he fights back lifting Riley and trying to drop him with an atomic drop. Riley brings his legs down first though, and then SNAPS back to the mat, PLANTING Conor with a DDT. The move silences Lester and De Luca and now Riley makes a cover on Conor, hooking both legs.
Once again the referee hits the mat for the count.
Scott Richardson: Two and a half, a near fall there, but Conor manages the kick out.
Riley pulls Conor up into a sitting position and snaps on a sleeper from there, really working on just breaking Conor down. Conor struggles though and works his way up to his feet, but Riley gets up with him, keeping the sleeper locked on. Conor grabs at both of Riley’s arms and starts prying them away from his neck and head, despite Riley’s best efforts to keep him in the sleeper. Conor slowly turns now, and he comes face to face with Riley and BOTH men go for a boot to the stomach, and Conor is just a bit quicker as Riley doubles over from the kick. Conor hooks the neck from there and swings around, dropping Riley with a quick neck breaker. Another cover made…. LD Lester and Art De Luca cheer on Conor…
And Quinn and Super Fan are the ones cheering as Riley kicks out once again. Conor keeps the pace moving quickly as he wastes no time getting Riley off the mat and he Irish whips him into the upper right corner of the ring. Riley hits hard, back first, and stumbles out of the corner. Conor charges in at him, and Riley just ARRANTLY punches him in the face! Conor SPINS off Riley’s fist, falling flat on his back and now Riley moves back into the corner, elevating himself up onto the top turnbuckle.
Some of the fans begin to buzz as Riley sizes Conor up and then FLIPS forward NAILING a flipping leg drop right across Conor’s neck!
Other Guy: Flipping leg drop from Riley, high risk connects. DAMNIT!
Scott Richardson: Is it a match ender though? We’ll soon find out.
Conor’s body writhes after the impact and Riley quickly re-positions his body to make a cover. Willie Dean slides into position and makes the count.
THRE…. NO! Conor just able to kick out and Riley looks down right angry about this. He argues with the referee for a moment, only then to turn and as Conor works on crawling towards the ropes, Riley STOMPS down on his hand. Conor pulls his arm in and Riley STOMPS down on Conor’s other hand. Conor coils up but Riley grabs him by the head once more and pulls him up off the mat, he goes for a quick swinging neck breaker of his own, but Conor stays positioned, and only Riley spins. Conor SHOVES Riley forward into the ropes, and Riley bounces off of them, chest first, right into the awaiting arms of Conor.
Conor hooks Riley into a full nelson and then slightly moves his body to the side and WHIPS forward, SMASHING Riley’s face into the mat. Conor doesn’t let go and actually stands back up, still having Riley in his grip, and then he WHIPS backwards sending Riley back of the head first down onto the mat!
Other Guy: Conor lookin’ to smash Riley’s skull…. First we see that full nelson face plant move, then a Full Nelson Russian leg sweep.
Scott Richardson: Some innovative offense from a man I remember watching in TTW as a bright eyed Irish boy. Clearly we see the aftermath of what paling around with Jonny Johnson can do to you.
Other Guy: Amen to that, Scott.
Riley rocks back and forth on the mat in pain, clutching at his head and Conor now hits the far left ring ropes and then summersaults towards Riley, LEAPS… looks to DRIVE a knee into Riley’s face, but Riley rolls out of the way JUST in time! Conor clenches his teeth as the pain shoots up his body and Riley looks to fire off a spinning heel kick to the side of Conor’s head, but Conor avoids it, dropping to his back and as Riley spins through the kick, Conor forces himself back up off the mat with a jumping CLOSED FIST PUNCH!
Other Guy: Riley knocked flat on his ass from that one.
Scott Richardson: A hard punch, you bet, but Conor limping after landing back on his feet so both men now starting to feel the effects of this match.
Conor limps as he walks towards Riley, and again pulls him up to his feet. Riley snaps away quickly, but Conor even quicker lands a stiff knife-edge chop. Riley staggers back, arms flailing upwards, but as Conor comes in for another chop, Riley sends a straight kick to Conor’s slightly injured knee.
Conor immediately drops to one knee and Riley goes back into the corner, but Conor is back up and he lunges forward and hits a chop block to the back of Riley’s legs, forcing him to fall from the second turnbuckle and land flat on his back! Conor goes to the outside edge at this juncture, climbs to the top… but now Riley back up…
He runs up the turnbuckle pads and both Conor and Riley in unstable grapple on the top… and they BOTH LOSE THEIR BALANCE AND FALL FROM THE TOP TO THE OUTSIDE… SMASHING EACH OTHER’S FACES INTO THE FLOOR!!!
Other Guy: And Conor and Riley are BOTH out on the outside, man what a dive those two took.
Scott Richardson: One of those, “if I’m going down… you’re going down with me!” moments and now referee Willie Dean has no choice but to start the double count out here.
Dean begins his count, while Quinn, Calahan, DeLuca, and Lester rush to their respective partner in crime! The confrontations stay respectable with no one from either side attacking or even saying anything to the other party. Lester tries to physically help Conor up to his feet, with Art trying to talk him back into consciousness, while Rogue and Super Fan both drop to a knee and check in on Riley.
The count reaches FOUR!
Scott Richardson: Running out of time... Both men struggling. Conor appears a little more aware at this juncture, although he’s holding at his knee. Riley just does not look to be in good shape.
DeLuca helps Conor to his feet, who looks over his shoulder at Riley. He then looks to Dean and the ring and hobbles to the apron.
Conor ducks into the ring, but then slides RIGHT BACK OUT, breaking the count! He drops back to his knees though and grabs at his left leg.
Other Guy: Just stay in the ring and take a win. Why would he do that?
Scott Richardson: Well there’s nothing to say Riley wouldn’t have gotten up by the count of ten and looks like maybe Conor wanted to give himself a little extra time to try and get through what looks like some kind of knee or maybe even quad injury. Not sure, but he does NOT look in real good shape.
Conor Caden: (Off Mic) Son of a BITCH!
Lester and DeLuca come into check, while Riley slowly starts to come to his feet! Conor tries to stand up but hobbles.
Meanwhile, Dean starts his count AGAIN!
Riley pushes Quinn and Calahan out of the way and lets them know he’s okay. He sees Conor and moves after him! Art and LD move out of the way, but not without trying to convince Riley that Conor’s hurt. Riley flips them both a middle finger and DRIVES a sole-lead thrust kick into Conor’s side! Conor tumbles to the side.
Dean’s count hits six.
Scott Richardson: Both men really putting out a fairly solid effort... And I haven’t seen either of these two competitors want a win so badly in quite a while.
Other Guy: I still don’t get how you can talk like this man. FUCK Jason Riley. Why even bother analyzing. Same thing I said with TMB, man. Why stick up for these guys? Call the match, sure... but fuck. I have nothing pleasant, man. I’ll shut up.
Riley grabs a hold of Conor and throws him back into the ring. He slides in after him. Conor tries to push himself up, but stumbles on his bad left leg! Riley comes in with a LOW DROP KICK!!! BUT CONOR DIVES OUT OF THE WAY! Riley scoots across the mat and tries to turn his body around! Conor holds at his leg! Riley to his feet!
RILEY SWEEP KICKS CONOR IN THE LEFT LEG!!!
Conor falls to the mat! Riley flips into the air for a standing swanton! Conor MOVES!!! Conor hobbles up to his feet! Riley up as well!
Conor comes high with a clothesline!
Riley ducks through and charges toward the ropes!!! Riley springboards off with a crossbody!!!
CONOR LEAPS AND HITS HIM WITH A DROP KICK!!!
Scott Richardson: What a counter!!! That might be enough!!!
Unfortunately, Conor is WRITHING in pain holding at his leg!!!
Riley is out, though!
Scott Richardson: If he can make a cover this could be over. Conor crawling! Scratching! And these fans seem to be in his corner!!!
His face goes redish as he crawls over toward Riley!
HE LUNGES OUT WITH HIS ARM FOR A COVER!!
“DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! DING!”
Scott Richardson: What?
Willie Dean looks up and sees Mark Kendrick ringing the bell and moves over to see what is going on! DeLuca and Lester rush over there as well and apparently receive the word before Dean, as they are AVIDLY PLEADING some sort of case!
Conor has spun his body around to see what is happening. Riley is stirring and moving a little bit. Dean exits the ring to check in with Samantha Coil and Mark Kendrick. Quinn and Calahan have no headed over there as well...
Dean only meets for a second before he nods and heads back into the ring.
Quinn and Calahan rush into the ring, while Art and LD look frustrated.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen... the FIFTEEN MINUTE TIME LIMIT placed on this contest HAS EXPIRED! As a result, referee Willie Dean has ruled this contest a DRAW!
Scott Richardson: WOW. A time limit draw, and to be honest, I wasn’t even paying attention.
Conor slaps the mat in frustration, while Quinn and Calahan help roll Riley out of the ring. The crowd stirs as the chaos of the situation settles in.
Scott Richardson: Disappointment from DeLuca and Lester, but these guys managed to put on a show. But with these sort of situations you always seem to wonder “WHAT IF”. Would Riley have been able to answer that ten count? Could Conor have secured a pin fall victory with more time? Those will eat away at Conor, while for Riley, he will be okay with those questions left unanswered.
Conor holds at his leg and rolls around on the mat, while Quinn and Calahan help Riley up the aisle to make an exit.
Scott Richardson: Main event still ahead, but I’ve got word that action is picking up elsewhere, so let’s kick it to the cameras and see what’s happening!
The cameras cut backstage as they're quite so fond of doing. It is not to any generic hallway, no, it is directly to the locker room of the Sons of Liberty. Love them, hate them, you can't ignore them, and after what happened earlier they're going to make damn sure of that.
As Eryk Masters enters the room you spot "Nightmare" Jonathon Wehali exiting one of the smaller rooms adjoining this one. Before the door closes you spy Jester Smiles being treated by the trainers.
Nightmare: This isn't going to go unanswered. We're going to take down Ozzy and his team at WAR. I'm going to make damn sure of that.
Eryk: Nightmare, can you tell us what Jester's condition currently is?
Nightmare: He's hurting, but it's not too severe. The doctor assured us he doesn't have a concussion. Eric has a thick skull and a hard head, fortunately.
Eryk: Do you think this will affect his world title match and your ten-man tag match at WAR?
Jonathon shakes his head.
Nightmare: While it would be a natural assumption that my first picks will be other members of the Sons of Liberty, neither Donovan King nor Jester Smiles will be on the team. Donovan will be facing Real Deal, and Jester is fighting the Defiler. Matches of this magnitude require absolute focus. We wish them the very best, and we will be there to support them; however, they will not be available for this match.
As for the rest of the Sons of Liberty, we are in this together. We have Ainsley Lake, Danny Evers, and Corazon with nothing to do that night. Rather than let them sit in the back drinking beer and eating cheetos, I've decided to draft them into this match.
Each named member of the Sons of Liberty file into the room, standing behind Jon.
Nightmare: I do believe Ozzy's team knows our members quite well.
He chuckles to himself.
Nightmare: Speed, power, ferocity... highflying moves, technical wrestling, powerful striking... these wrestlers bring everything to the battlefield. It is only appropriate that our fifth member does as well.
Which, of course, begs the question: just who is that fifth person?
Jon waits, letting your anticipation grow.
Nightmare: It is a man who made his overdue return to SHOOT Project last week, a man who was referred to as 'the golden child' of SHOOT and is a multiple-times champion here.
Representing the Iron Fist division once more, a man who will continue to be a thorn in Ozzy's side, our last teammate is Dan Stein.
He nods confidently as Stein also walks into the scene, taking his place with the rest of the team.
Nightmare: I defy you to put a team together that can equal ours. These men and woman have no rivals in ability and desire, no matter who you convince to work with you. You are going to lose and there's no avoiding that fact.
It's simply a fate from which... there is no escape.
Jonathon stands with his comrades-in-arms, presenting a determined united front.
And then you are gone.
We find ourselves backstage, and the crowd pops HARD as Long Island Hardcore make their triumphant return to New York! Jared Walsh waves at the camera, and CJ Nelson pretends to check his hair in the camera lens. They stand in front of a door, but what door it is we can't exactly tell.
Jared Walsh: Ladies and gentlemen, this is CJ Nelson, I'm Jared Walsh, we are Long Island Hardcore...
Jared pauses for another crowd pop, smiling, and continues.
Jared Walsh: ...and we are here on the search for the ever-elusive golden-shelled leatherback. This rare creature, in the wild, can sometimes grow up to fifteen pounds, and are very dangerous... see, they wrap themselves around a man, and only the strongest can survive their deadly constriction.
CJ Nelson: However, we have found one pair of these majestic creatures that have been stolen from their natural habitat and are now in captivity. It is illegal to simply take one of these endangered animals from their home, but they're usually well-guarded when those slimy poachers steal them away.
Jared cocks his head to the side, pointing to the door.
Jared Walsh: But we've found where they're keeping these glorious beasts, and they've gone and left them unguarded. Let's go see if we can't rescue them, hm?
Jared nods to CJ, who puts a boot right underneath the doorknob, and again, finally pushing the door open (and breaking the lock) on the third try. We can now recognize the room as belonging to one Jonny Johnson, although he is absent. On the wall, in their display cases, are the SHOOT Project Tag Team Championships.
CJ Nelson: Look at those beautiful creatures cooped up in there. That's just... it's a tragedy, Jared.
Jared Walsh: It is, it's true. Let's get them to freedom, friend.
CJ and Jared walk up, horking the belts off the wall, and each sliding one under an arm. The crowd goes crazy.
Jared Walsh: Now, guys, as much as it pains me to say it... and it really does...
Jared holds a hand up, biting his fist, and mocking like he's going to cry. CJ puts a hand on his shoulder.
CJ Nelson: Let it out, Jared.
Jared Walsh: It's just that... you guys don't own the titles. (immediately serious) We do. That means you don't get to go around making title matches. See, we laid out a challenge... anyone who got these belts back got a shot at 'em. And even though we're here, getting them ourselves, TRES BIEN had the balls to try.
CJ Nelson: Which is more than we can say for any other tag team in this company. Fucking castrated little bitches.
Jared Walsh: And quite frankly, that kind of attitude should be rewarded, so that maybe the rest of SHOOT will grow up and grow a pair the next time something like this happens. Fuck your match, kids, next week, TRES BIEN gets a shot at these belts right here. Not you.
CJ Nelson: You couldn't get the job done at Master of the Mat, and your security here leaves much to be desired. You might've had a chance if you had any fuckin' leverage on us, but I would say that's walking out the door right now.
Jared Walsh: Sorry, but I guess that's just the way life goes sometimes, guys. Now let's get out of here before they get back.
CJ nods to him, and the pair stride out the broken door, heading down the hall and out of sight.
We cut backstage to see Eryk Masters with a very confident and almost jubilant Ron Barker. With a smirk on his face, he stares into the distance as the New York crowd roar with disapproval at the sight of the former Laws of Survival champion.
Eryk Masters: I'm standing here with the newest member of Jonny Johnson's group of individuals and tonight he's one of the opponents for Cade Sydal in the special challenge gauntlet. Now Ron, I have to ask--
Ron Barker: STOP!
With that, Eryk Masters quickly stops mid-sentence as Barker stares directly at Eryk Masters. Eyes unflinching, he speaks quietly and calmly so there is no misunderstanding him.
Ron Barker: Eryk Masters, if there's one thing I don't like about you it's your inability to get the point without boring the hell out of me. As of right now as I stand before you in all of my 'ravishing' glory, I don't want to hear another word come out of your mouth.
The NY crowd are incensed by the arrogance of Ron Barker as he pauses to let that sink in.
Ron Barker: Tonight, Eryk, is a night of celebration. Tonight is a night where one of the many injustices this company has allowed to take place becomes undone. Tonight, Eryk... I will finally do what I should have done so many months ago the second I had the chance. Tonight, Ron Barker destroys Cade Sydal once and for all.
The crowd continues to boo heavily. Ron Barker sneers as he hears the fans' reaction.
Ron Barker: Do you know why these people boo, Eryk? Do you know why the show their disdain? Because after cashing their welfare checks and giving up on the chance to eat for a month, they have to sit there and watch their hero get what's coming to him and there isn't a goddamn thing they can do about it.
Ron Barker: But you know someting, Eryk? This isn't all doom and gloom. As I mentioned, this is a celebration! Not only will I be victorious tonight... I'm also proud to dedicate this win to the toughest man I know... the man who's survived being stabbed and who will undoubtedly be victorious in his biggest challenge yet... your champion and mine... tonight's win is for Jonny Johnson!
A smile forms as Eryk Masters, defying the rule of not speaking, choose to speak.
Eryk Masters: What exactly IS the nature of your relationship with Jonny anyway?
Barker glares at Masters who begins to realize his mistake. Barker scoffs.
Ron Barker: Cade Sydal? The time for talk is over. I've been looking forward to this for a very long time. I'd love to elaborate but Masters over here broke the rule. This interview is over.
Pushing Eryk Masters aside, Ron Barker leaves to a chorus of boos.
Madison Square Garden comes alive as “Broken Bones” by nonpoint BLARES over the arena’s sound system. All at once fans are on their feet cheering as they see the well known dragon emblem on the Revolution video screen. The image slides to the left, and as it does the name Cade Sydal appears in red lettering with a white outline, causing the fans to get that much louder.
Scott Richardson: A huge ovation for Cade Sydal is how we start out tonight’s main event, aptly being referred to as the Survival Gauntlet.
Other Guy: And it’s about to get a little louder too. Sydal’s a name known and respected pretty much everywhere, Scott.
Sure enough, the fans create a near deafening moment as Cade Sydal emerges from the back, more than ready for the challenge that lies ahead! He stands there taking in the energy that fills Madison Square Garden and he points out to random sections of the crowd, nodding his head with excitement.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, tonight’s main event is a special SURVIVAL GAUNTLET!
Cade starts his way down to the ring, tagging hands with the fans on both sides of the aisle way that stretches down to the ring.
Samantha Coil: Introducing first at this time, the gauntlet challenger, he weighs in tonight at 179 pounds… THIS. IS. CADE SYDAL!!!
Cade picks up the speed and suddenly runs the rest of the way to the ring, sliding under the bottom rope and then springing up to his feet. He walks around the ring, making sure to hit all four corners, and continues to interact and react to the cheering fans in attendance.
Other Guy: It’s been awhile since we’ve hit the East Coast, but man it’s great to be back, and like I’ve said tonight, it’s obvious these fans have been waitin’ for SHOOT Project to come back.
Scott Richardson: Definitely a treat for all SHOOT Project fans across the nation to be able to experience Revolution live in a city near them, and that’s exactly what this jam packed and overly excited crowd is showing us right now.
Other Guy: Gotta just love the love bein’ shown for Sydal here.
Scott Richardson: The question is though can the love and support of the crowd aid Cade Sydal in surviving, can it get him through this Survival Gauntlet tonight? That’s something we’ll find out by the time this night ends.
Cade continues to move about the ring, keeping loose and keeping his excitement and energy up. His music fades out which causes the fans to start to buzz with curiosity. Samantha Coil stands alongside Scott Kamura, waiting for the first opponent to make his way out to the ring.
Other Guy: Who’s gonna be first?
Cade turns his focus to the entryway, as do many of the fans, and soon “Natural One” by Folk Implosion. Almost immediately at the same time, Ron Barker swaggers out from the back, his eyes and smile showing nothing but pure arrogance about him. Sydal stands ready in the ring as Barker starts his walk, which is accompanied by boos… but Barker’s attention is only on Cade.
Samantha Coil: And introducing his first opponent, weighing in at 280 pounds, THIS. IS. RON BARKER!!!
Barker continues to stare straight ahead at Cade, and he mouths the words “payback time” as he reaches the edge of the ring. Cade taunts Barker to come in, but Barker refuses until Cade moves away from the ropes. Referee Scott Kamura motions for Cade to back up, and Cade obliges while watching Barker slowly walk up the ring steps. The fans only boo louder as Barker takes the time to crack his neck from side to side, adjust his boots and then wipe his feet on the ring edge. Finally Barker enters but motions for Cade to be held at bay.
Other Guy: Talk about takin’ your sweet time.
Scott Richardson: Obviously Barker trying to frustrate Cade even prior to this one starting off. A mental tactic, but Cade seems to be holding up and keeping his cool.
Barker grabs the top rope now and starts stretching out his arms, and then he turns and nods to Kamura, signaling that he’s ready.
With the sound of the bell Barker starts to circle the inside of the ring, swinging his arms back and forth across his body, and then he brings them both up in front of him, wiggling his fingers slightly as if to taunt Cade to lock up into grapple. Cade stays light on his feet, only moving in reaction to Barker’s movements, and from there both men have the same idea and come in at each other. Barker only extends his arms out though, kicking his feet out backwards behind him and he quickly hooks his arm under Cade’s right arm and violently snaps him down onto the mat with an arm drag. Barker up, but Cade quick up as well and Cade comes in now shorting running kick into the gut, and Barker doubles over, only for Cade to turn around and then FIRE a kick right across the back of Barker’s legs!
Barker falls backward onto the mat and Cade makes an immediate cover.
Scott Richardson: The opening there…
Scott Richardson: Kick out by Barker. Smart thinking there by the Technical Messiah who has three other matches and four other falls still to get through.
Other Guy: Definitely a survivor’s instinct… no shame in gettin’ a quick victory in tonight’s main event.
Cade is up off of Barker and already has some distance from him as he rises to his feet. Barker shakes his head, slightly frustrated, but he keeps his wits about him and again circles the ring. Cade doesn’t back down and comes in at Barker and this time the two lock into grapple. Cade is overpowered by Barker, so Cade attempts to send another stiff kick, this time to the knee, but Barker moves his arm quickly, catches Cade around one leg, then SHOVES him down onto the mat and without hesitation turns around while still holding onto the leg and applies a Half Crab submission!
Scott Richardson: Barker retaliating here, aiming for the legs with that submission hold, looking to take out Cade’s primary “weapon” you could say, that being his kicks.
Kamura checks on Cade, but Cade is very much still alive in this match as he tries to drag his body towards the rope, despite Barker’s weight hovering over him. Barker toys with Cade, giving him so ground, then suddenly breaks the half crab on his own, only to lift Cade’s leg and then SLAM his knee right into the mat!
Cade shouts out in pain, quickly coiling up and grabbing his knee. From there Barker pulls Cade up and just plants him back down onto the mat with a body slam, then a HARD stomp to the knee. Then a second one! Cade scrambles away, but Barker stays right on top of things and gets to Cade just as Cade gets to the ropes. Kamura calls him off, but Barker grabs both of Cade’s legs, and now Cade walks up the ropes with his hands and then PULLS his body through the space between the middle and top rope, PULLING Barker into the ropes with him! Barker loses his grip as his body bounces off the ropes and now Cade stands on the outside edge
Other Guy: Innovative escape by Sydal there… and now he’s gonna capitalize!
Cade LEAPS up onto the top rope and then flips forward, CRASHING into Barker and sends him down onto the mat… but just as Cade attempts to reach back and grab both of Barker’s legs for a pin, Barker sits up and forces Cade onto his shoulder, having both legs hooked… the cover in Barker’s favor now!
TH…. Cade gets his leg free to clock Barker in the head and break the count just in time.
Scott Richardson: Close count there as Ron Barker surprising Cade Sydal with a sudden pin of his own.
Other Guy: These two cats have come to blows before, Scott, so it makes perfect sense that Barker’s tryin’ to just pull out whatever he can.
Scott Richardson: Yes, I do in fact remember there encounters, including that intense Iron Man Match the two had late in two thousand and seven.
Barker stays on the offense pulling Cade up, but Cade struggles, looking to counter by yanking on Barker’s arm for an Irish whip. Barker pulls back in the other direction and sends Cade into the ropes. Cade hits, comes running back and Barker looking for a big boot and it connects! Cade goes down and Barker drops, but doesn’t cover completely, instead he grabs Cade and lifts him up horizontally off the mat…
The Fall away slam attempted… but as Barker lifts up… Cade turns his body and flips over the shoulders of Barker, going for a sunset flip pin, but Barker at the last minute gets a hold of both of Cade’s legs. Cade squirms, and Barker tries to whiplash him back down onto the mat, but Cade wraps his arms firmly around Barker’s chest, making the action incredibly difficult. Barker shoves Cade’s legs off to the side, allowing Cade to plant them on the mat, and then Barker DRIVES his elbow into Cade’s back, causing him to let go of Barker’s waist. Cade stumbles away, arching his back in pain and Barker stays right behind him and just PUNCHES Cade square in the back of the head with all his force.
Cade drops to palms and knees and Barker follows up with an arrogant punt kick up into Cade’s ribs! The crowd begins to boo loudly as Barker struts by Cade who now focuses on his ribs. Barker stops strutting and STOMPS down on Cade’s ribs again, causing Cade to roll over onto his stomach to protect them. Barker drops to his knees by Cade, forces him back over onto his back and makes another pin attempt.
Other Guy: Could be Cade’s first loss in this gauntlet right here…
Scott Richardson: Part of me doubts that as we are still in the early goings but Kamura down now… the count is made…
TH… but Cade shows a strong kick out, and the fans pop!
Scott Richardson: Too early to put either man away, but Barker NOT giving Cade an inch of breathing room as he is right back up and forcing Cade into the corner.
Other Guy: Ron Barker is one of the most arrogant men I’ve come across in this sport, considerin’ his lack of work ethic, but when push comes to shove if this guy gets the chance to operate in close quarters, he’ll show exactly the shit he can do.
Barker starts working a series of closed fists once he has Cade trapped in the lower right corner of the ring. Kamura calls for Barker to pull back, but Barker refuses to listen and continues to unleash punch after punch into the face and body of Sydal.
Scott Kamura: break it, Barker, come on back off!
Barker DRILLS Cade right in the nose and the fans collectively buzz with concern as Cade’s head snaps back. Kamura shakes his head with frustration and starts the count.
ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR!
Barker steps back with his arms raised at the last possible second, smiling from ear to ear as he looks at Cade slumped in the corner. Kamura issues a stern warning to Barker, and Barker nods but seems to be shrugging off the referee completely. Barker then goes right back in, but Cade musters up enough to kick out his leg and catch Barker in the gut. Barker doubles over slightly and Cade just KICKS upward into his face! The fans react, cheering Cade on now as he lifts himself up onto the second turnbuckle. Barker regains his composure and Cade LEAPS off and hooks his arm around Barker’s head… looking for a DDT… NO!
Cade’s eyes go wide as Barker lifts him up and over for a modified back body drops… but from there Cade keeps a hold around Barker’s neck, and then FLIPS over dropping into a sitting position… NECKBREAKER ON BARKER!
Scott Richardson: A great counter there… Cade just snapping Barker’s neck on the blade of his shoulder and there’s a cover… cover now by Cade from there!
Some of the fans pop big time, rising to their feet.
THR…. Barker shoulders out and the match continues. Cade rises up to his feet, pulling Barker up by the neck and head to his knees. Cade then lunges back only to SNAP off a kick right to the side of the head with a wicked THWACK! Barker just falls over to the side and Cade with another cover attempt. Kamura drops right back down to the mat and makes the count.
Cade nods his head with each count made.
Scott Richardson: It’s over not over…. No it’s not over.
Other Guy: Hah, got ahead of yourself there, eh Scott?
Scott Richardson: What a close fall that was and it would have set Cade in good standing for the remainder of this gauntlet.
Cade shakes his head slightly with frustration. He slowly gets up though and looks to Kamura who simply shows two fingers and motions for the match to continue. Cade backs up from Barker now, shouting for him to get up. Barker stirs but is slow to rise, swaying as he gets up to one knee. Cade waits eagerly for Barker to get up to his full vertical base, and as Barker looks to Cade, eyes somewhat glazed over, he suddenly collapses back down onto the mat and rolls out of the ring!
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! “YOU SUCK! YOU SUCK!”
The fans in attendance become angry and let Barker know exactly how they feel. Barker just stumbles away from the ring, swatting his hand at the fans as if to say “forget you people.” Cade watches with frustration as Barker seems to be heading for the side of the ring that leads to the ramp way.
Scott Richardson: Is Barker calling it quits?
Other Guy: I don’t get it, Scott. The man was hell bent on wantin’ to get some payback and now… now he’s just walkin away.
Barker reaches the side of the ring where the ramp way is located now but Cade not having it. Cade starts quickly across the ring and exits now, and the fans start cheering loudly. Cade makes a mad dash for Barker…
SPIN AROUND… A VICIOUS CLOTHESLINE!!!
Scott Richardson: Wow!
Other Guy: Damn it!
Scott Richardson: Turns out Ron Barker wasn’t walking away, he was luring Cade Sydal in. Barker in FIRM control now as he just pretty much sent Cade into next Tuesday.
The fans continue to boo as Barker now lifts Cade up off the floor, holding him up and then violently he WHIPS him into the corner steel steps! Cade COLLIDES with a loud thud and clang upon impact. With Cade slumped up against the steel steps, Barker flips up the ring apron now and pulls out a steel chair from under the ring. Referee Scott Kamura shouts at Barker to put the steel chair down, but Barker doesn’t listen.
So Kamura takes action! The crowd’s mood changes as Kamura exits the ring and RIPS the steel chair from Barker’s hands!
Scott Kamura: Get back in the ring right now, Barker!
Other Guy: And once again we see SHOOT Project officials taking control and maintaining control!
Barker is absolutely beside himself that the referee interfered, but he just swats him away, grabs Cade and rolls him back into the ring. Cade is groggy at best, trying to regain his bearings, and Barker walks up the steel steps enters the ring, and pulls Cade up so he’s sitting against the upper left corner post. Barker sizes him up then PLANTS a boot right in his face, then leaves it there and SCRAPES it repeatedly across the bridge of Cade’s nose and to the left.
Scott Richardson: Referee Scott Kamura may have in fact kept Barker from using that steel chair, but his involvement has only angered Barker, and Cade is suffering as a result.
The impact of the face wash has part of Cade’s body dangling outside of the ring now, but Barker just grabs Cade, lifts him up and sits him on the top turnbuckle pad. The fans are on the edge of their seats, buzzing with concern as Barker climbs up, hooking Cade by the neck.
Scott Richardson: Ron Barker climbing to the top now and it looks like he’s setting up for a super plex here and that’s going to be a big time impact if he hits it.
Other Guy: Cade’s just out of it right now though Scott, I don’t see him fightin’ back.
Barker stands there for a moment, Cade in a headlock, and he delays as a way to taunt the fans. They begin to boo and Barker just nods his head, taking in their hatred of him before he steps up onto the top turnbuckle, HOISTS Cade vertically up into the air and FALLS backwards with a top rope suplex!
Scott Richardson: The super-plex connects and Barker…. Wait… what’s Barker doing he’s not going for the cover here…
Barker is right back up to his feet and he has Cade up as well and hoists him right back up as if going for another suplex, but instead he just holds him there, letting the blood rush to Cade’s head. Cade’s legs wobble as he starts losing any remainder of his consciousness and from there Barker falls forward with Cade, turning him slightly so his face SMASHES down into the canvas!
That immediately brings Cade back as he coils up, clutching at his face and writhing on the mat! Barker slowly gets back up, amused with himself and very much enjoying seeing Cade writhe in pain. Barker walks over to Cade and pushes him over onto his back with the tip of his boot and then he pulls Cade’s arms away from his face, revealing blood around his nose and mouth.
Other Guy: And Cade’s been busted open.
Scott Richardson: Barker allowed for the blood to rush to Cade’s head and that coupled with the face first impact onto the mat has led to this moment, a moment that does not look to be boding well for Cade.
Barker hovers over Cade now and just SLAPS him across the face!
The crowd reacts just how Barker wants them too and then he swings around so he’s at Cade’s side and DRIVES a knee right into his already bloodied up face!
Other Guy: Oh man, he’s just tryin’ to dismantle Cade at this point.
Scott Richardson: And to think, Cade still has three more matches to go.
Other Guy: Yeah, it’s a hard thing to think about. Cade’s already getting assaulted, not sure he’ll be able to make it through the other matches.
Barker is up and just drives another knee into Cade’s face, and another! Then Barker YANKS Cade up off of the mat and swings him into the ropes. Cade can’t even keep himself up after bouncing off the ropes, he falls down, crashing to one knee first then falling down onto the mat. Barker has to walk the rest of the way to him, and he pulls Cade right into a standing vertical head scissors. Cade is half slumped in Barker’s grasp as Barker has Cade around the waist… and he HOISTS him up into powerbomb position… but Cade starts to come alive…. Throwing reckless forearms down at Barker! Barker struggles to keep Cade held up and the fans start to cheer, but despite the efforts of Cade, Barker still manages to send Cade CRASHING to the mat via the powerbomb!
Scott Richardson: Barker right into the cover from the powerbomb, and this could be it…
Other Guy: Yes!
Kamura lunges up off the mat and holds up two and the fans ROAR with excitement.
Scott Richardson; Cade kicks out, but how… I don’t know. He was a bloody and groggy mess, but Cade tapping into some sort of reserve energy, some sort of extra strength and he’s obviously still in this thing, Other Guy.
Other Guy: No doubt, and Barker is ALL kinds of pissed off about that!
Barker is up to his feet and right in the face of Scott Kamura, demanding he count faster or change the ruling. Kamura shakes his head and just calmly motions for the match to continue. Barker throws up his arms in an exasperated fit but turns back to see Cade making his way to the ropes. Barker storms towards him and pulls Cade up from behind, looking to apply a waist lock, but Cade tosses back a blind elbow shot that connects with Barker. Barker’s head reels to the side, but he still looks for the waist lock, and now Cade tries to get back into things, looking to pry Barker’s arms away from him… and so he fires another elbow shot and then goes to work. He just manages to break free… but Barker lunges at him…
AND CADE FLIPS BACKWARDS PLANTING A KICK ON THE TOP OF BARKER’S HEAD!
Scott Richardson: I don’t know a lot of the technical names, but I do know that one is called the Pele Kick and Cade pulls it off!
Other Guy: Yeah but he’s still hurtin’, Scott. You can see it in how he moves.
Scott Richardson: Cade slowing down a great deal, but considering he has to get through Perdition, Davis, and Mallows yet, it makes sense that he’s trying to reserve some extra energy when he needs it.
The fans buzz now as both Cade and Barker are on the mat; Cade rolls around, while Barker just looks wide eyed up at the ceiling of Madison Square Garden, blinking every so often as the sweat rolls down into his eyes. Cade gets up now, the fans come alive and Cade slowly nods his head.
Cade Sydal: Get up… Get up!
Cade starts motioning for Barker to get up, but Barker shows no signs and now Cade heads off into the upper right corner, and now the fans are on their feet! Cade goes to the outside edge then climbs to the top turnbuckle and Barker still not moving. Cade is ready…
Other Guy: High Flying at its finest!
Scott Richardson: Never been THIS close to the action. I can’t wait… HERE WE GO!!
Cade LEAPS from the top rope as if going for a Shooting Star press, but rotates all the way through so he lands with his back against Barker’s chest! The CROWD GOES NUTS!!!
Other Guy: That’s it. The Four-Six-Nine Two-K-Nine!
Scott Richardson: What a move that was! And Cade remains on Barker for the cover… Kamura to make the count does this gauntlet move forward with Sydal having a victory to his name…
The fans echo one!
The fans echo two!
THREE…. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The fans turn as Barker just gets his shoulder up before Kamura can make the three count.
Other Guy: And this one still goes on. Ya know, Scott, Perdition, Mallows, and Davis, they all gotta be back there realizing that by the time they come out, it’s gonna be some easy pickings.
Scott Richardson: Cade has to do something here to get through because this night does not end until he’s faced everyone in this gauntlet. So we may be here for a while because if you recall, these two went the distance in a sixty-minute iron man match.
Cade slowly sits up off of Barker, his sweat mixing in with his blood now, which thins it out and kind of sees it just as a smear on the lower portion of his face. Cade then gets up to his feet the rest of the way and works on pulling Barker up to his. Barker fights though and trips Cade up, pulling him forward while wrapping his feet around Cade’s ankle! Cade FALLS flat on his face and Barker now yanks him right back up from there, only for Cade to NAIL Barker with a hard forearm! Barker reels back but punches Cade… Cade reels back but nails another forearm to Barker. Barker staggers and Cade follows up with another forearm and another…
Barker really staggering and Cade runs into the ropes now and charges full speed at Barker….
Barker scoops him up though… BLACK HOLE SLAM… SORT OF…. CADE DROPS BARKER WITH HIM VIA A DDT!!!
Cade’s own head though bounces sickly off the mat and slumps to the side…
Scott Richardson: Barker down… Cade down… and both men have arms draped across the other!
Other Guy: Can Cade both win and lose!?
Kamura drops to the mat but then notices that both Barker and Cade are pinning one another. Cade’s arm slowly slips though and it falls just off of Barker… and now Kamura makes the count.
Barker’s arm slipping…
Almost off of Cade…
Kamura calls it as the last bit of Barker’s arm drops off of Cade and onto the mat, but stayed on long enough for the cover!
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of the first match… RON BARKER!!!
The fans boo loudly and it only gets worse as the song “Ave Satani” as chanted by Gregorian monks echoes throughout Madison Square Garden. The heavy guitar rift kicks in shortly after the first couple lines of chanting and Vincent Mallows walks calmly towards the ring, wearing dark red wrestling trunks and a fingerless left glove that matches the color.
Other Guy: Talk about the unluck of the draw.
Scott Richardson: Yeah, no kidding. Vincent Mallows coming out here now as Cade’s next opponent, and even though Mallows still has that recent stab wound to deal with, it looks like all he’ll have to do is come in and cover Cade.
Other Guy: Just like I said, easy pickings.
Barker slowly rolls out of the ring, but isn’t exactly with it himself. Though as he drops to the outside he manages to look up just as Mallows passes him, and he smirks. Mallows walks up the ring steps and enters the ring. For a moment he just stands there, amused with the situation at hand. Cade finally starts to stir on the mat, groggy and tired, but he gets up, only to stop dead in his tracks as he sees Mallows off in the corner. Cade only pauses for that one moment though and then continues to rise up to his feet, actually motioning for Mallows to come get him!
Scott Richardson: Courage for certain being shown by Cade Sydal who despite already going through one match, is not backing down from match number two.
Other Guy: He’s got balls, but not brains right now.
Mallows is beyond confident as he walks towards Cade now and Cade throws out a wild forearm shot, but his movement is slower so Mallows catches him with a knee to the gut first. Cade doubles over and Mallows immediately drops him with a DDT and then right into a cover. Kamura makes the count.
THREE… Cade JUST JUST shoulders out.
Mallows remains calm and collected and pulls Cade right back up, staying on top of the match as he positions Cade in front of him and then NAILS him with a stiff Left handed European uppercut. Cade stumbles back a great deal and Mallows follows, connecting with another one. Cade stumbles back more, now pressed up against the right side ropes. Mallows still right there; he takes Cade by the arm and whips him across the ring. Cade comes bouncing back and Mallows DECKS him with a left hook and Cade drops hard to the mat.
This time though, Mallows doesn’t make a cover, he grabs at Cade’s legs and goes through the motions and immediately locks on a Texas Cloverleaf submission! Cade shouts out in pain, flailing his arms out in front of him and digging at the mat, trying to escape the pain he’s in. Mallows simply sits, enjoying every moment of it and the crowd just continues to boo loudly.
Other Guy: Cade should just tap. I respect his ability. I respect what he can do, but he’s got two more matches, three more falls technically, AND he’s got that Laws of Survival Championship rematch at WAR.
Scott Richardson: But if the damage is done, if Cade Sydal is injured in this gauntlet, he might not go to WAR, so I agree with the assessment that Cade NEEDS to tap out here.
Cade continues to try to beat out the hold, taking as much pain as he can. Scott Kamura asks if he gives up, but each time he does Cade shouts out no! The rally beings at this point, with the fans trying to get behind Cade as much as possible, hoping he can somehow make it to the ropes or something to break away from Mallows’s submission hold. Cade twists his body trying to move, but Mallows sits down on the small of his back with the hold still locked in, legs all twisted up… and Cade SCREAMS out in pain yet again.
Still though he fights, still the fans cheer him on and he tries to move his body closer towards the ropes, but Mallows shows no signs of breaking the hold or letting Cade go. His arms move slower and Cade seems to be fading out. The referee drops down to his knees by Cade’s head asking again if he gives up. Cade shakes his head no, but his face looks to be in agonizing pain.
Other Guy: Is he gonna tap, I mean honestly Sydal can’t be able to take much more!
Scott Richardson: He’s holding on and showing that he’s going to fight no matter what and not fall short. He is most definitely living up to the meaning of survival right here.
Other Guy: Thin line between survivor and fool though, Scott.
Cade’s upper body and head flop onto the mat now, his arms still flailing but very slowly, his energy and intensity fading even faster. Suddenly, the arena darkens, a simple spotlight hits the entrance way as the following words are heard:
"The hottest... under the sun... (who that)"
The fans start going INSANE!
"Ain't nobody fucking with me man"
The words "Christopher Davis" appear on the Revolution Video screen in white block letters, and as the lights come up the fans are seen on their feet and Christopher Davis stands just out of the entryway. Mallows is on his feet shaking his head and GLARING straight at Davis.
Other Guy: Looks like the SHOOT Hall of Famer is arriving to the gauntlet early!
Scott Richardson: Vincent Mallows none too happy about that and he’s completely lost his focus!
Other Guy: The man’s obsessed with Christopher Davis for whatever reason, so what’d you expect?
Scott Richardson: To be honest, not this. But I guess Davis has a lot to say and a lot to do after what went down last week in Las Vegas during the main event between himself and Trevor Worrens.
Davis slowly starts down to the ring, pointing at Mallows and saying something, but the microphones don’t pick it up. Mallows walks to the ring edge, shouting profusely and waving Davis off telling him to leave. Scott Kamura is on hand and he pats Mallows on the shoulder, encouraging him to get back into the match but Mallows just turns quickly, and without looking or thinking he CLOCKS Kamura!
Other Guy: Kamura is down and I don’t think Mallows realized who he hit… hell I don’t think he cares!
Scott Richardson: But that’s Davis’s cue right there because now he’s making a mad dash for the ring! AND LISTEN TO MADISON SQUARE GARDEN!!!
Davis charges full speed and dives into the ring, lunging up to his feet only to TAKE Mallows down by the legs. Mallows is on his back and Davis unleashes with an ALL OUT BARRAGE of punches! Mallows eventually gets his arms up and manages to block some of Davis’s assault and then rocks his body to the side. Davis springs up to his feet shouting at Mallows to get up and Mallows is up, unfocused on Cade who is slow to move into the corner, but then starts to pull himself up, showing a world of hurt on his face.
Mallows gets up to his feet and wipes at his face, his a large swell starting to form at the left corner of his lip, and red can be seen covering parts of his teeth. Davis stands confidently now as the two stare each other.
Christopher Davis: I’m right here, Vincent… FACE. TO. FACE! DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
Mallows shakes his head and clenches his fists tightly. He then starts towards Davis… the fans on their feet…
SYDAL OUT OF THE CORNER… CUTS MALLOWS OFF…
Scott Richardson: It hits! Cade Sydal out of nowhere just CLEANS Mallow’s Clock!
Other Guy: He’s gonna pull it off, Scott. Yeah, with some help from Davis, but he’s gonna do this!
Scott Richardson: Sydal covers Mallows… Kamura not up though…
The fans are counting.
“ONE! TWO! THREE!”
But Kamura is still out, Davis shakes his head and motions to the back now, and here comes Dennis Heflin! Heflin makes a mad dash to the ring and the fans continue to cheer.
Scott Richardson: Heflin in now… and here we go!
The count is made.
The arena echoes with one!
The arena echoes with two!
And that’s that! Heflin calls it and Sydal rolls off of Mallows, still hurting a great deal. Cade scrambles to the ropes now and Davis stands guard as Cade works on getting up to his feet.
Samantha Coil: The winner of the second match… CADE SYDAL!!!
Scott Richardson: That puts Cade at one win and one loss in this gauntlet, but I can only guess that his next opponent is already in the ring.
Kamura starts to get back into things now and with Kamura back in action, referee Dennis Heflin takes his leave of the ring but Davis stops him and says something to him. Heflin nods and makes a signal to the back while motioning to Mallows. Moments later SHOOT Project security once again arrives on the scene and head to the ring.
Other Guy: Looks like the third match ain’t starting until Mallows it out of here.
Scott Richardson: An obvious necessity given that there will most certainly be backlash from Davis’s actions here tonight.
Other Guy: Yeah but that shit only came because of Mallows sticking himself in Davis’s business during the Laws of Survival Championship match last week. I say what goes around comes around.
Scott Richardson: But Mallows of the mind that he ALWAYS has to have the last laugh, and while Davis got a modicum of revenge here, it’s obvious THEIR war is far from over.
A half with it Mallows is escorted from the ring now, who simply snaps his head back and forth, looking around with frustration in his eyes. Inside the ring Davis paces now and as the fans continue to cheer on Cade, Davis applauds right along with them.
Scott Richardson: The third match about to begin, but Davis showing his respect by giving Cade a moment to breathe here before this gauntlet continues.
Cade regains his focus, but he’s bent over taking in deep breaths. Finally he stands up straight and looks to Davis and Davis looks back, the two superstars locking eyes for the first time. The fans are chanting and cheering loudly as Cade slowly nods his head.
“LET’S GO SY-DAL!” “LET’S GO DA-VIS!” “LET’S GO SY-DAL!” “LET’S GO DA-VIS!”
Davis steps towards Cade and mouths the words “you ready?” And Cade doesn’t respond he just charges out of the corner and quickly meets Davis in the center of the ring. The two lock up into a grapple but Davis is quick to send Cade into the ropes. Cade comes bouncing back and ducks a lariat attempt by Davis. He keeps running, trying to keep his momentum going but now Davis comes after him and Cade has no time to react as Davis closes gap. Cade bounces off the ropes and Davis SCOOPS him up and SLAMS him down onto the mat with a snap turning power slam!
THRE… Cade able to kick out!
Other Guy: Cade just won’t stop in this one, and even if he loses for the rest of the night, I think he’s shown somethin’ to the current Laws of Survival Champion here tonight.
Scott Richardson: I agree with you there, of course there seems to be some questions floating around about Worrens, but none of the doubt then men like Jester and Vincent have raised seem to be effecting Cade’s overall respect for the LoS champion.
Davis pulls Cade up to his feet and lands a couple of hard forearm shots to the sternum. Cade staggers back away only for Davis to pull him right into a lifted knee to the gut. Cade doubles over and Davis hooks both of his arms and looks to lift him, but Cade drops to his knees and DRIVES his shoulder into Davis’s gut instead. Davis falters, losing his grip on Cade’s upper body and arms, allowing for Cade to drive another shoulder into Davis’s gut and then LEAP over Davis grabbing his legs in the process to roll him up! Davis is sent off his feet and onto his back!
Kamura makes the count.
Davis kicks out and Cade summersaults backwards, snaps to his feet and just as Davis sits up Cade FIRES a sitting dropkick to his face! Davis is knocked back down on his back and Cade with another quick cover! Again the count.
Scott Richardson: And another kick out by Davis. Cade though you can see is trying to speed up the process, obviously running on a second wind at this point, but whether or not that lasts is what’s left to be questioned.
Cade back up to his feet and Davis starting up to one knee Cade fires a kick towards Davis’s head, but Davis gets the arm up, taking the kick to the arm instead. Davis then rises up to his full vertical base and Cade fires another kick, this time to the side of the ribs. Davis falters only slightly but Cade keeps the offense going with another kick then another kick. Davis lunges in at Cade, but Cade pivots around by him and then around to the other side. He fires a kick into the other side of Davis’s ribs, only this time Davis turns, captures the leg and YANKS Cade in towards him.
Before Cade can snap up his other leg, Davis lifts him up by the leg and then holds him up by the shoulder with the other arm… turns and DRIVES Cade into the mat with a modified SPINEBUSTER!
Other Guy: Big time power from Davis there and that could be it given what Cade’s already gone through.
Davis stays on top of Cade for the cover, hooking one of his legs in the process. Kamura drops to the mat again and makes the count.
Other Guy: Did he kick out?
Scott Richardson: Looks like it! Cade somehow staying in this thing and even Davis seems a bit surprised now.
Davis slowly rises up to his feet nodding his head with a slight smile. He applauds Cade for a moment before crouching low now and just waiting for Cade to get up. The fans begin to buzz, some cheer while others boo, but Davis does not lose his focus on Cade. Cade stirs on the mat, slowly getting up, all the while wincing in pain and groaning. Kamura checks on Cade, but Cade assures him he can continue and starts to get up, holding his back in pain. Davis still waits, looming behind Cade. Finally Cade reaches his full vertical base, but is staggering.
JUST before Cade can turn around, Davis lunges in and SCOOPS Cade up onto his shoulders! Cade is looking up towards the ceiling as A LOT of the fans get up on their feet!
Other Guy: Davis lookin’ for Angela’s Ashes right here and now, but Cade not gonna make it easy to execute!
Cade kicks his legs repeatedly, and Davis doesn’t have a firm hold on Cade as he tries to send him straight down onto his head. Cade slips down onto his feet behind Davis, but Davis blindly reaches back and hooks his arms into Cade’s and FLINGS him forward onto his shoulders on the mat into a PIN!
Cade is the one to kick out now and the Sydal fans pop big time. Cade rolls away from Davis and Davis comes after him, but Cade quickly executes a drop toehold that sends Davis falling forward, his neck coming to rest on the second rope! Cade stumbles to the corner from there and climbs to the top!
Scott Richardson: Again Cade looking to fly, he made good on a high-risk move against Barker, can he do the same now?
Davis is up before Cade can jump and with a BRILLIANT burst of speed Davis actually RUNS to the corner, but Cade LEAPS over him, landing on his feet, although the impact causes him to fall to one knee first. Davis turns around and Cade turns to face Davis, Davis LUNGES with a spear, but Cade drops onto his back and IMMEDIATELY locks his legs around Davis’s neck and then pulls his Davis’s arm through his legs and applies a wristlock as well!
Other Guy: Triangle choke! What a counter to the spear!
Scott Richardson: Color me impressed, Other Guy! Cade managing to bring Davis into that legal choke submission and just like that this suddenly doesn’t seem like a hopeless gauntlet for Sydal!
Other Guy: He still has Perdition to deal with, Scott, but you’re right. Things lookin’ up for Cade.
The Cade fans are on their feet, cheering loudly as Davis struggles to try to get some momentum to break out of the triangle choke. Kamura stays close at hand seeing if Davis taps out, but he’s too fresh to be worn out already and soon Davis LIFTS Cade up with the triangle choke is applied and then DROPS into a sitting position for a powerbomb! Cade STILL has the triangle choke locked on, but his shoulders are now firmly on the mat, forcing a pin.
TW… Cade breaks the triangle choke and then rolls away from Davis, thusly breaking the pin. Cade gets up as quick as possible but Davis a step ahead and he is already awaiting a charging Sydal… and lifts him right into a TILT-A-WHIRL GUTBUSTER! Cade gasps for breath, having the wind knocked out of him as he staggers back up to his feet, clutching at his stomach. Now with Cade winded Davis moves into position behind Cade.
Scott Richardson: Cade has fought hard throughout but now we could be seeing the end.
Other Guy: Angela Ashes, take two!
Cade is HOISTED up from behind onto Davis’s shoulders and this time Davis DRIVES Cade down to the mat, head first, executing his signature finishing move. Cade is laid out and the Davis fans cheer while some Sydal fans are actually boisterous when it comes to their booing.
Kamura makes the count.
Other Guy: And this one comes to a somewhat quicker end, but man I think everyone here can say they’d like to see these two go at it one on one when Cade hasn’t had to fight two other matches before hand.
Scott Richardson: Absolutely agreed.
Kamura calls the match and Davis rises up to his feet.
Samantha Coil: The winner of the third match… CHRISTOPHER DAVIS!!!
Davis stands by Cade and then helps him up to his feet. The fans start cheering loudly and then as Davis raises Cade’s arm up into the air, the fans start rising up to their feet.
Scott Richardson: The respect being shown by Davis here as Cade, who has to be majorly exhausted, has continued on and tried to give Davis a hell of a fight here tonight still.
Other Guy: But possibly the toughest moment is coming now, Scott. Two men in one match, and more unluck of the draw for Cade who has to end this gauntlet with a handicapped match.
The fans continue to cheer, but then “Five To One” by Marilyn Manson begins to play causing the attention to turn to the entryway. The music is not yet very well known, neither are the two men who make their way out to the ring, Jonas Coleman and Diego Reyes. Inside the ring Davis looks to a weary and worn out Cade and you can read his lips…. “Good luck, man.” Davis makes his way out of the ring passing by Coleman and Reyes on his way to the back.
Scott Richardson: There seems to be some sort of relief in Cade’s eyes because win or lose he has reached the final match of the gauntlet… so already everyone here in New York and watching across the nation has definitely got to respect Cade Sydal for going through this without giving up.
Cade awaits his fate as Coleman and Reyes walk in unison to the ring. Both men wear matching black trunks that simply read Perdition across the back waistline on each. Nothing fancy at all. Coleman pulls himself up onto the ring edge while Reyes makes his way to the steps and walks up them. Both Coleman and Reyes enter the ring at the same time, and the fans aren’t exactly sure how to react to them.
However as both men slowly move in towards Sydal, the visual is that of two vultures swarming and the fans start to boo loudly.
Other Guy: Looks like Coleman and Reyes don’t care one bit about this situation, they’re closin’ in and from the looks of it, there is just no way Cade’s gonna be able to fend both men off.
Scott Richardson: Oddly neither man making an attack and Cade just staying on the defensive here, possibly realizing that his best bet is to just try to avoid getting seriously injured if he isn’t already.
The booing continues but then Coleman suddenly extends his hand and offers a handshake to Cade. Cade seems weary and Reyes is by Coleman’s side nodding his head and he even applauds Cade and then points to him. Coleman pulls his hand in and then extends it again, as if demanding a handshake. The crowd settles in at this point and Cade slowly nods his head a couple of times and shakes hands with Coleman.
AND COLEMAN STARTS TAPPING OUT!
Other Guy: What the????
Scott Richardson: It looks like the mercenaries have made some money here working in FAVOR of Sydal instead of against him, and Kamura’s calling it! Kamura’s calling the tap out!
Other Guy: From a handshake!?
Cade looks absolutely shocked as Coleman pulls away now and Kamura signals for it. He looks to Reyes and Reyes offers a handshake as well now. Cade refuses and Reyes seems to get a little agitated and sticks his hand right by Cade.
Diego Reyes: Just shake my hand!
Cade shakes his head no and looks angry at this point, and instead he FIRES with a roundhouse kick and Reyes IMMEDIATELY goes down!
Other Guy: So Cade already taking one fall in this match up and now Diego Reyes just hit the mat like he was hit by chair to the face.
Scott Richardson: Cade not happy though with what’s occurring so obviously it’s not his money in play here as Coleman now hovers over his partner… and what… he’s motioning for the referee to keep Cade back!?
Other Guy: This is nuts!
Cade tries to get at Reyes but now Kamura holds him back and checks on the down and out man… and after assessing the situation, he suddenly starts the knock out count!
Cade shakes his head in disbelief as Coleman stays on guard, selling the fact that his partner is knocked out.
Scott Richardson: This is really happening. In a matter of a few minutes Cade Sydal has technically beaten Perdition.
Kamura motions for the bell now and it sounds. The fans cheer, despite the way the final match played out and joining in the noise, “Broken Bones” by nonpoint begins to play again.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of the final match, and taking BOTH falls… CADE SYDAL!!!
After the announcement, Diego Reyes is up to his feet and both Coleman and Reyes stand across from a pacing Cade Sydal. Both men applaud Cade, and much like Davis, seem to be showing them their respect. Cade doesn’t seem too happy about it, but has survived and now he goes off to the corner and plays up to the fans who rallied behind him the entire time. As Cade plays up to the crowd Coleman goes to the side of the ring and calls for the microphone. While he takes it in his hand, Reyes motions to the back to cut Cade’s music.
Scott Richardson: Well whatever went down moments ago, it looks like we’re about to get an explanation.
As the music cuts out, Cade turns around and sees both Coleman and Reyes looking towards him. Cade drops down from the corner and approaches the men.
Jonas Coleman: Hey Cade, listen. You fought like hell tonight, and what happened. That wasn’t personal.
Cade just nods his head, and his frustration seems to die a little.
Cade Sydal: I get it. That’s fine.
His response is JUST picked up on the microphone as he walks past both men. Reyes takes the microphone from Coleman now.
Diego Reyes: And neither is this.
Without hesitation Reyes CRACKS the microphone into the back of Cade’s head then quickly turns him around and LIFTS him up for a spinebuster, as he turns in Coleman’s direction, Coleman grabs Cade by the neck and Perdition PLANTS Cade on the mat via the spinebuster-neckbreaker combo!
Other Guy: What the hell? First they take a dive, and now they’re ASSAULTING Sydal?
The once cheering fans begin to boo loudly yet again and Reyes and Coleman are both up to their feet, apparently not done with the attack. Reyes shouts for Coleman to lift Cade up and Coleman pulls the barely conscious Cade up to his feet….
The fans suddenly erupt as Trevor Worrens CHARGES down to the ring, and they get even louder as Dan Stein is right behind him!
Scott Richardson: Stein and Worrens hot onto the scene and looks like Reyes and Coleman confronting them isn’t in their job description as Perdition quickly exiting the ring!
Other Guy: I’m glad Stein is back, and it’s a good thing Worrens is in the building tonight, that’s all I gotta say about that.
Worrens and Stein are quickly into the ring, Worrens focusing on Reyes and Coleman, shouting at them as he points. Meanwhile Stein comes to Cade’s side, and Worrens doesn’t even know he’s there. The fans are cheering on Worrens who continues to shout for Perdition to get back into the ring.
“Easy there, Trevor. Don’t get ahead of yourself.”
The voice brings all eyes to the entryway and the camera shot cuts to see Tony Lorenzo standing with microphone in hand. Worrens turns and for the first time sees Stein. He just gives the former Iron Fist Champion a nod of the head and then focuses on Lorenzo. Perdition does as well.
Tony Lorenzo: I know right now you probably want to get a shot at those men, and it’s actually why I’m glad you came out here tonight. This allows me the chance to announce who Jason Johnson has picked as YOUR opponents in next week’s Survival Gauntlet. In fact, three of those men are out here right now.
The fans buzz as Worrens looks around and now he looks to Stein a little longer.
Tony Lorenzo: That’s right, next week you’ll run the Survival Gauntlet and your opponents will be, in no particular order, Jonas Coleman and Diego Reyes.
The fans boo and Perdition just nods their head, liking the sound of that.
Tony Lorenzo: In addition to that man standing in the ring with you, Dan “The Lights” Stein!
This time the fans start to cheer.
Other Guy: So two common friends of Sydal will face off next week, that’s going to be interesting.
As the fans settle Lorenzo continues on.
Tony Lorenzo: In addition to those three men you will also be up against one half of the returning Flying Avengers… Kid Lightning. And the final competitor to be named in the gauntlet… Sammy Rochester.
Madison Square Garden buzzes in response to the names listed. Worrens stands there taking it all in alongside Stein and Cade.
Scott Richardson: So the second of our two survival gauntlets have been set, and a tough line up ahead for the likes of Trevor Worrens.
Other Guy: And that just adds to the intensity of next week’s Revolution, and the final event before WAR on November second. Trevor Worrens runs the gauntlet, and as we learned earlier, next week’s main event… its Kenji Yamada going one on one with The DEFILER Jonny Johnson… for the SHOOT Project WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP!
Scott Richardson: Those matches and more as the National Tour heads to the Nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Revolution will be live from the Verizon Center, and then WAR takes place from the hometown of Jester Smiles, Richmond Virginia.
Other Guy: It’s gonna be something, and while I enjoyed sharing the table with you tonight, I can only hope Dave Dymond is back with us as the tour continues. Until next week though, this is Other Guy sayin’ so long from the Wrestling Mecca of the world… Madison Square Garden!
Revolution slowly fades out, with the final shot being of Cade and Worrens shaking hands, while Stein is on hand applauding both men. All three take in a warm reaction from the crowd.