As the camera cuts backstage, it catches a shot of Lennox Ferguson walking in to the arena. Dressed down in a hooded sweatshirt, jeans, and tennis shoes, The Ox walks with purpose as he reaches into his pants pocket and pulls out a set of… black envelopes.
Ferguson smirks as he grips the envelopes tightly and heads into the heart of the arena.
The camera returns to the ring, and the house lights go down, so that only the spotlight is illuminating the ring. The fans are buzzing in anticipation, and suddenly Combat by RZA w/ P. Dot starts to play. The fans cheer in recognition. After a moment, Thomas Manchester Black emerges from behind the curtain, and steps into the entranceway.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and Gentlemen, this next match is a SUBMISSION MATCH! Introducing first, now making his way to the ring hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina and weighing 265 pounds, here is THE QUEEN CITY HITMAN: THOMAS MANCHESTER BLACK!
TMB rolls under the bottom rope, and then stands in the middle of the ring, holding his arms over his head to acknowledge the cheers of the SHOOT Project fans in the Epicenter.
Thomas Manchester Black’s theme slowly fades and Firestarter by Prodigy starts to play as the fans in attendance start to jeer loudly. The camera shot goes back up to the head of the aisle.
Pestalance slowly steps out from behind the curtain, and stands at the top of the ramp for a moment, a slight sneer on his face. Pestalance looks down the aisle, straight at Thomas Manchester Black in the ring. Pestalance starts to pace down the aisle, with quick powerful strides.
Samantha Coil: And now, his opponent! Making his way to the ring from Plainfield, New Jersey, he weighs 255 pounds: this is THE FIRESTARTER - PESTALANCE!
Pestalance grabs the bottom rope, and pulls himself to the apron. The member of the hated Sovereign faction marches right into Manchester Black’s face, as his music fades and Samantha Coil leaves the bell and motions to Mark Kendrick, who rings the bell to start the match!
Eryk Masters: Here we go, with the next chapter in what has turned into one hell of a rivalry, and a surefire contender for SHOOT Project’s Feud of the Year.
The Other Guy: There’s a lot of bad blood between these two, and a lot of history.
The minute the bell rings, Pestalance’s left arm snaps out, and he grabs Thomas Manchester Black around the neck with his vice like grip! The Firestarter’s features twist into an evil smirk, as he starts to apply as much pressure as he can, choking the life out of TMB!
Finally, Pestalance hoists Black into the air, and then chokeslams him down...but as he does so, Pestalance kneels, and slams Black across his outstretched leg, in a combination chokeslam/backbreaker!
Thomas Manchester Black screams in pain, and to add even more damage, Pestalance leaves Black hanging, face up, across his knee! Pestalance releases the chokehold, and places one hand on Black’s jaw, and the other on his right knee. Pestalance starts to push down as hard as he can on both ends of Black’s body...bending Thomas Manchester Black into a crescent shape, across his leg!
Eryk Masters: Okay...the human body was not meant to bend that way, OG. Looks like Pestalance is wasting no time going for his first submission!
The Other Guy: Oh man, that hurts my back just looking at it. Well, Pestalance isn’t getting paid by the hour here, if he wants to win this early, more power to him!
TMB’s body remains sickly bent across Pestalance’s leg in the grotesque backbreaker. Referee Scott Kamura drops to one knee, and asks Black if he wants to quit, but Black shakes his head.
Pestalance stands up, pulling his extended knee out from underneath Black, which causes him to come crashing to the mat. Thomas Manchester Black lays on the mat, holding his back in agony. Pestalance looks down, the sadistic sneer still on his face.
The Firestarter places his boot on TMB’s face and starts to grind it in, as he holds one arm over his head, posing for the fans with the same sneer on his face! The fans boo loudly, and jeer the sight of Pestalance trying to humiliate Thomas Manchester Black.
Eryk Masters: I think The Firestarter is living up to his name and playing with fire here, OG. If you get Thomas Manchester Black down, you try and put him away. You don’t showboat.
The Other Guy: As much as it annoys me, I might actually have to agree with you, Mack. TMB is not a guy you want to screw around with.
Pestalance finishes grinding his heel in Black’s face, and reaches down, pulling TMB to his feet by the hair. Pestalance starts to bury a succession of knees into the midsection of Black, over and over. Pestalance is snapping his knee lifts up with such power, that every time he connects, Black’s body is literally lifted off the mat from the impact. Pestalance will not let Black’s body fall however.
Finally, Pestalance absolutely pummels Black to the mat, with a short arm clothesline that connects which such force, it almost takes Black’s head clean off his shoulders. The Firestarter forms a half-nelson on Black, then twists around, and sits out...into a neckbreaker.
Pestalance reaches down, and cranks hard on the neck of TMB, yelling at him to submit. The neck crank is a popular MMA move, and the torque on the head and neck of Black is impressive, but Scott Kamura checks, and then tells The Firestarter that TMB does not want to give up.
Pestalance shoots a disgusted look to Scott Kamura, and pulls Black to his feet again. The Firestarter hoists Black over his shoulder, holds him in place, and then charges...driving him into the mat with a powerslam! Pestalance stands up, and starts to brutally stomp away at Black, over and over again. Pestalance repeatedly drives his boot into the torso and midsection of Black as hard as he can.
Eryk Masters: The Firestarter starts laying the boots to Thomas Manchester Black, frustrated that he can’t seem to get him to quit.
The Other Guy: The beating that Pest has been laying on Black has been impressive, but it’s not enough to put a guy like TMB away yet.
Pestalance continues to violently stomp Black. He lifts up his boot, but Black reaches up, grabs his foot...and twists violently! Pestalance screams in pain, and spins through the air, the victim of a defensive Dragon Screw Leg Whip!
Pestalance lays on the mat, clutching his left leg. Thomas Manchester Black staggers to his feet, measures Pestalance off, and then leaps into the air, and comes down, driving his own knee into the left leg of Pestalance! The Firestarter convulses in pain, still holding his leg in agony.
Thomas Manchester Black gets up, and stands back for a moment, quickly assessing the situation. Finally Black grabs Pestalance by the left leg, and then steps over and around, wrenching the left leg of The Firestarter in a classic Step-Over-Toe-Hold! Pestalance rears his head back, and bellows in pain, as Thomas Manchester Black has now twisted his left knee, nailed it with a knee drop, and now he is wrenching it as hard as he can!
The fans are cheering loudly, as Black repeats the motion again, stepping over, and around, wrenching the left leg violently. Pestalance thrashes around, both in pain, and as an effort to escape, but Thomas Manchester Black has the hold locked on firmly, and is twisting the leg of The Firestarter with all of his might!
Eryk Masters: Thomas Manchester Black showing us that grappling and MMA experience here, applying an old school Step-Over-Toe-Hold...shades of Dory Funk Jr!”
The Other Guy: Well, Pestalance laid a beating on Black’s back, so TMB is repaying the favor to Pestalance’s leg!”
Referee Scott Kamura drops down to one knee, and checks with Pestalance, asking him if he wants to quit. Pestalance shakes his head, and yells “NO” so Kamura looks at Black, and shakes his head.
TMB releases the toe hold, and starts to apply the Figure Four Leg Lock! Black steps around, but just as he is to lock the leg up, Pestalance rears back with his right leg, and boots Manchester in the small of the back, as hard as he can! TMB instantly releases Pestalance’s leg, and collapses to the mat, holding his lower back in pain.
Cursing in pain, The Firestarter uses the ropes to pull himself to his feet, and stands up gingerly. Pestalance is heavily favoring his left leg, and can barely put any weight on it. It is obvious that the crafty Pestalance knew that his only chance to break the leglock, was when Black had to turn around quickly while applying the figure four...and The Firestarter capitalized on his chance, and struck Black in his tender area...the lower back.
In an amazing show of strength, Pestalance reaches down, and grabs Thomas Manchester Black by the back of his MMA style tights...cleanly pulling him up into the air. For all intents and purposes, Pestalance has dead lifted 265 pounds, with one hand!
The crowd gasps in amazement, as Pestalance balances himself on one leg, and stands in the middle of the ring, holding Black aloft by the back of the tights, with one hand!
With a grunt, Pestalance tosses TMB like a bag of garbage, right through the ropes...to the outside! Thomas Manchester Black sails through the air, and unceremoniously lands on the outside of the ring!
Eryk Masters: Oh man! Pestalance just tossed TMB outside the ring like a bag of garbage!
The Other Guy: Holy Shit! Did you see that? He grabbed Black by the back of the tights, lifted him up with one hand, and threw him through the ropes to the outside! That takes STRENGTH, Masters!
While Thomas Manchester Black lies in a heap on the outside of the ring, and Pestalance bends over to massage his left knee, the announcers show an instant replay of Pestalance casually picking Black up, and tossing him outside the ring.
Before the replay is even finished showing, Thomas Manchester Black has struggled to his knees, and is using the bottom rope to pull himself back up to the apron! Pestalance looks on, shocked...as TMB is now standing on the apron...about to climb back into the ring!
The Firestarter charges at Black as fast as he can, and just as he reaches the ropes, Pestalance turns to his side. Pestalance collides with Black at full speed, smashing into him, and DRIVING him off the apron! Thomas Manchester Black SAILS through the air, clears the ringside concrete totally due to the force of impact, and crashes into the steel crowd barrier!
The fans in The Epicenter rush to their feet, cheering in unison...
The announcers have no choice but to call for another replay! We see TMB standing on the apron, outside the ropes, holding himself up...and Pestalance charging towards him at full speed, turning, and hip checking Black right off the apron! The camera zooms in, as Black takes the full force of the impact, and sails back first, right into the steel barrier!
The shot returns to live action, and we see Thomas Manchester Black slumped up against the crowd barrier, totally out of it. Pestalance looks on from inside the ring, with a look of grim satisfaction on his face.
Pestalance turns, and runs at the opposite side of the ring! Pestalance bounces off the ropes for momentum, and then charges across the ring, and leaps into the air, diving in between the ropes and flying at TMB on the outside with a SUICIDE PLANCHA!
All 255 pounds of The Firestarter come blasting through the ropes at full speed and he smashes into Black, driving the MMA fighter into the steel crowd barrier even harder!
Once again the fans in The Epicenter rush to their feet, cheering in unison...
Eryk Masters: HOLY SHIT! WHAT A MOVE BY THE FIRESTARTER!
The Other Guy: I can’t believe what we just saw! Pestalance bounced off the far side of the ring for momentum, and then used that to propel himself through the ropes, to the outside, crashing right into Thomas Manchester Black! Black hadn’t even started to get up yet, and now he’s been smacked back first into the steel rails again!
The announcers have no choice but to show another replay, this time of the Suicide Body Attack from Pestalance on Thomas Manchester Black. Meanwhile, both men lay in a heap on the outside.
Pestalance pulls himself together, and slowly gets to his feet. Pestalance grabs the dazed Black by the hair, and pulls him to his feet. The Firestarter clamps a hand around Black’s wrist, and then violently whips him towards the steel steps, and TMB hits them at full speed!
Thomas Manchester Black collides with the steel steps, and sails over top, doing a 360 in the air, landing on the other side. The fans cheer, not for Pestalance, but for the amazing spectacle they are seeing. Pestalance slowly strides over to where Black lies on the other side of the steps. Pestalance is still favoring his left leg as he walks.
The Firestarter reaches down, and grabs the steel steps. In a smooth motion, Pestalance presses the massive steel steps over his head! Flashbulbs pop all over the epicenter, as the powerful Pestalance lifts the steel over his head...Thomas Manchester Black scrambles to his feet suddenly, and boots Pestalance right in the left kneecap!
Pestalance hollers in pain, and lets go of the stairs. The stairs crash to the ground, and so does Pestalance! Thomas Manchester Black quickly pulls himself to his feet and goes to work.
Black lays Pestalance out flat, as the big man is holding his injured left knee in pain. TMB grabs the steel steps, and grunting with the effort, lifts them up, balancing them on his shoulder for support.
Thomas Manchester Black hurls the steps down as hard as he can, right onto the left leg of Pestalance! Pestalance goes into spastic convulsions from the unimaginable pain, grasping at the empty air, and then falls back, the steel steps laying across his left leg.
As the fans erupt, Thomas Manchester Black pulls himself up to the ring apron, but stays outside the ropes. Black carefully measures Pestalance off, and then runs along the ring apron, and launches himself into the air! Thomas Manchester Black sails through the air, and drives his own body onto the steel steps, which are still sitting on top of Pestalance’s leg!
TMB’s body almost bounces off the steps, and he falls to the ground, but he accomplished what he set out to do. The steps have been driven onto Pestalance’s leg even harder, thanks to TMB using his own body weight to hammer them down!
Both Pestalance and Thomas Manchester Black are lying on the concrete, motionless.
Eryk Masters: Fans I can’t believe the absolute intensity we’re seeing in this match. These two men are just pounding the hell out of each other, with one high impact move after another!
The Other Guy: Only in SHOOT! Black and Pestalance are having themselves a PAY PER VIEW quality match!
Referee Scott Kamura has had enough. Kamura slides outside the ring, and hauls the steel steps off the leg of Pestalance. Kamura stands over top of both men, and starts to shout at them, to get back into the ring. It is clear that Kamura does not want this match to end in a countout, but he has had enough of the brawling outside the ring.
Both men start to crawl to their knees, and slowly roll back into the ring. Pestalance and TMB are soaked with sweat, and breathing heavily from exertion. Both are back in the ring, but are just lying there, motionless. Scott Kamura stands over the two men, and starts to administer a standing 10 count...
At the count of seven, Thomas Manchester Black wearily gets to his knees and crawls over to where Pestalance is lying. Pestalance boots upward with his right foot, catching Black right in the jaw! Black is stunned and caught totally off guard as he staggers back, dazed. Pestalance slowly gets up, resting most of his weight on his right leg. Pestalance stands in front of the stunned Black...
Pestalance reaches over to his left side, as far as he can with his right arm, and then balls his fist up, and swings his arm back as hard as he can, hammering Black in the face with a vicious BACKHAND SMASH!
Thomas Manchester Black’s head snaps back, and blood spurts from his nose and lip from the amazingly powerful backhand. Black steadies himself, and then steps forward, throwing all his weight into a standing forearm smash, that nails Pestalance right upside the head!
Pestalance almost loses his balance as a result of the impact, but he steadies himself, and repeats the backhand smash motion! Pestalance quickly and violently swings his right fist in a backhand arc, which catches Black right across the face!
TMB is rocked, but steadies himself, and steps into another forearm shot, right upside Pestalance’s head! This time, Pestalance doesn’t even seem to notice the impact, and he answers with another mighty, swinging backhand!
Black shrugs it off, and steps into another forearm smash! Black barely finishes delivering his shot when Pestalance responds with another wild backhand! Black answers with a forearm smash! Pestalance with a backhand! Black with a forearm shot!
Pestalance! Black! Pestalance! Black!
The fans in the sold Epicenter come to their feet, and blow the roof off the studio as Thomas Manchester Black and “The Firestarter” Pestalance are now standing toe to toe, eye to eye in the middle of the ring, trading brutal shots back and forth!
Neither man is stepping back, or backing off, as the match has now degenerated into a total slugfest...and is incredibly speeding up! The two men’s arms are now almost a blur, as in a sick kind of synchronicity, they trade shots, blow for blow, back and forth. Every time Pestalance nails Black in the face with a backhand, the veteran’s head snaps back, but he answers back by throwing all of his weight into a forearm smash that he throws at the head of Pestalance.
Referee Scott Kamura watches in fear and amazement, as the two superstars stand face to face, and pummel the living hell out of each other, neither man willing to back away.
Eryk Masters: I can barely hear myself over these fans...they’re on their feet in The Battlegrounds, as Black and Pestalance try and beat each other to death!
The Other Guy: I don’t know, Mack. Look at Black. He’s starting to look the worse for wear.
Indeed, TMB is now bleeding heavily from his nose, and his lip is also bleeding, with a steady stream of blood also flowing from his eyebrow. Pestalance continues to batter Black with backhands, and Black’s forearm shots starts to have less and less on them.
Finally, Black’s arms droop to his sides, and his knees start to buckle from the onslaught of The Firestarter! Pestalance steps back, and grabs Black by the wrist, and pulls Thomas Manchester Black into a roundhouse kick! Black’s head snaps back sickly, and he hits the mat, stunned.
Pestalance limps over and reaches down to pull Black to his feet. Pestalance pulls TMB to his feet, and whips him, back first into the corner! Thomas Manchester Black rebounds off the turnbuckles, holding his back in pain.
Pestalance goes into a three point stance, and charges at Thomas Manchester Black, and spears him back first into the turnbuckles again! Black starts to fall forward, but Pestalance grabs him, and spears him back first into the turnbuckles again! Pestalance finally backs up, and allows TMB to crumple to the mat. Pestalance looks down at the fallen body of Thomas Manchester Black for a moment, and an evil grin spreads across his face. He holds one arm over his head, and to the shock of everybody, he throws a massive fireball into the face of Black!
Eryk Masters: HOLY CRAP! FIREBALL! PESTALANCE JUST THREW A MASSIVE FIREBALL RIGHT INTO THE FACE OF THOMAS MANCHESTER BLACK!
The Other Guy: Well, he is known as The Firestarter, you know. It’s not like he’s never done stuff like this before. Still, that was pretty brutal.
The fans hit the roof as soon as Pestalance hit TMB with the fireball, and Black is rolling around on the mat, holding his face. Scott Kamura screams at Pestalance to get back, and leans over the top rope and shouts some instructions at Mark Kendrick and Samantha Coil.
Samantha Coil: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, REFEREE SCOTT KAMURA HAS DISQUALIFIED PESTALANCE – YOUR WINNER OF THIS MATCH: THOMAS MANCHESTER BLACK!
Scott Kamura goes to one knee and checks on Thomas Manchester Black. At the same time, a group of EMT’s rush down the aisle with medical equipment. While TMB is being attended to, Pestalance reaches through the ropes and grabs the microphone from Samantha Coil.
Pestalance: Congratulations Black. You finally got a win over me.
The boos are deafening, as Pestalance drops the microphone and looks down at Thomas Manchester Black with a disgusted smirk on his face. The Firestarter casually climbs out of the ring and saunters up the aisle, looking as if he doesn’t have a care in the world. The medical staff continue to tend to TMB, as the camera shot goes to Eryk Masters and The Other Guy in the broadcast position.
Eryk Masters: I can’t believe what we just witnessed. Pestalance and Thomas Manchester Black were in the middle of a fantastic match, when suddenly Pestalance goes crazy and tries to blind TMB with a fireball.
The Other Guy: It goes without saying that we haven’t seen the last of this issue between these two men. This feud just keeps building and building, and at the rate this thing is escalating, somebody is going to get seriously injured – if TMB isn’t already. I don’t know how this issue is going to be settled, or what SHOOT Project is going to do because of this action by Pestalance.
The scene cuts to the backstage area where we find Julian York standing in his dressing room, still clad in his wrestling attire... the black and purple warpaint under his eyes seemingly smeared... his hair soaking wet from sweat. He unzips the gym bag before him on the bench, as he quickly fetches a towel... drying his head and chest of sweat. Moments later the door opens as it catches his attention...
A camera catches sight of Thomas Macnchester Black, who looks like he has a lot on his mind as he makes his way through the backstage area.
As he rounds a corner towards his locker room, he bumps into the current Iron Fist Champion, The Ox.
TMB: Well if it isn't the hero...
TMB: He is in my way... I have to move him to get what I want.
Ox: And what is that exactly? A title? A shot at King? If that’s the case, why didn’t you just hold him hostage in the ring like Azraith did a couple weeks ago? Seemed to work for him.
TMB: I want my revenge on King. I want to see the look in his face when he realizes that nobody gets away with anything. I want to watch his world crumble around him piece by piece.
Really, I'm not asking for too much.
Ox nods and reaches into his pocket, pulling out one of the black envelopes he was seen with earlier in the show and holding it out to Black.
Ox: Well, at least we can agree on that much. Here, take this.
TMB: Is this my magic get out of jail free card?
Ox: Not quite, no, but… let’s just say it’ll help get you closer what you want.
What we all want.
TMB: So does this mean you have picked your side, Ox. Or are you just putting together a great escape plan?
Ox turns his attention away from Black for a second and then back to him.
Ox: It’s just an offer. You can take it or leave it…
Hey, look, I need to get going. So, whenever you read it… just give it some thought okay?
Ox: Great… and, trust me, you’ll know when it’s time.
TMB looks at Ox cautiously before sliding the letter into his back pocket and continuing the way he was headed, towards his locker room.
Ox heads in the opposite direction, again casting a glance over his shoulder… towards a corner of the hallway where Jester Smiles was standing… and watching.
The scene goes backstage where a pair of brown leather Tanino Crisci shoes fills the screen. The camera pans out, revealing Azrael Goeren reclining in a folding chair, his feet kicked up on the catering table. Some SHOOT crew members surround him, clearly trying to snack while Goeren continues on with whatever he was talking about beforehand.
Goeren: ...that's the second time I met Ke$ha, and easily the sloppiest Thanksgiving I’ve ever had. Now the third time...
Suddenly, "Find Your Love" by Drake starts to play loudly backstage. Goeren digs into his pocket and pulls out his Evo 4 phone.
Goeren: God I love that crippled kid from Degrassi. Helo da, du hast Herr Goeren...
Azrael's face suddenly brightens as he removes his feet from the table and stands up.
Goeren: You son of a bitch, I was wondering when I was going to hear from you. No, I'm not busy...just spent the day with Eddie E and King, we had a few things to discuss in regards to Azraith's cowardice from last Revolution.
Azrael lets out a laugh.
Goeren: Tell me about it. But enough about me, how are things with you? Where in the hell do they have you right now?
Goeren: Christ man! I can hear the banjos from here, we need to get you back into civilization. A man of your standing shouldn't be surrounded by cousins kissing cousins. Speaking of getting you out here to Vegas, any thoughts on what we discussed?
Azrael glances around him and slowly walks away from catering, going down a narrow hallway.
Goeren: Ja, well I understand my friend, take your time. No need to rush things. Things are fairly stable right now and I think we can wait on it.
Another genuine laugh from Azrael.
Goeren: You saw that, huh? Well what I did to our idiot timekeeper was just a nice little message to the rest of our staff that they need to fall in line with my way of thinking. They need to learn how to obey here in SHOOT. All of them do. Otherwise...
A cruel smile twists across Azrael's face.
Goeren: You and I will make them learn soon enough.
Fade to black.
The bell rings, bringing the fans’ attention to the center of the ring. “Back to Shalla Bal” by Joe Satriani kicks in as the fans cheer. Crash Carver and The Purple Haze come out, slapping hands with the fans as they do so. They slide into the ring, excited to be there. The two of them stretch against the ropes.
The fans are buzzing when the opening strains of “Blaze of Glory” by Jon Bon Jovi picks up. The fans are puzzled as to who it might be until they see none other than CHARLES BRANDON MAGNUS…AND BUCKLEY DRESDEN. The fans begin to cheer somewhat as the two men stand at the entrance. Buck is wearing a white t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, mirrored Aviators, a worn and faded pair of Wranglers with muddy and torn up ropers. His bottom lip is stuffed with snuff, and the camera cuts to behind the two men to reveal the ring in his left cheek pocket, a crumpled up plastic bottle in his right cheek pocket.
Eryk Masters: Well, look who it is!
Magnus is wearing a cobalt blue pair of slacks with matching sports jacket and a white button up undershirt beneath that with a pair of shiny black leather dress shoes, also wearing a pair of Aviators. In his hand is a microphone, on his shoulder is his CWC Tag Team Championship. He slaps the face plate of Buck’s CWC Tag Team Championship, which rests on Buck’s shoulder. The music fades out, prompting a sly grin on the face of Magnus.
Charles Brandon Magnus: Ladies and gentlemen…my name is Charles…Brandon…Magnus…and this man right next to me is ‘Big’ Buck Dresden.
Charles Brandon Magnus: Together…we are two things. One? We are the Bad Ass Brotherhood. Two? We…are the CWC Tag…Team…Champions.
The fans cheer a little bit for that.
Charles Brandon Magnus: We came together in one single match, put together by Eddie E. and the rest of the Board as a way to welcome the CWC and SHOOT together. To get some synergy going. To get some level of respect and appreciation between the company called SHOOT and the conglomerate called CWC.
Ladies and gentlemen…we were never meant to win.
There are a few scattered boos.
Charles Brandon Magnus: Buck here never wrestled a single match for SHOOT. I was sore, beat up, tired from an epic bout at Under Siege…maybe you guys saw it…it was that whole Laws of Survival Match where I came within a fingertip from becoming Sin City Champion?
The fans cheer, remembering the sure to be Match of the Year Candidate.
Charles Brandon Magnus: Listen…I haven’t had the chance to talk to all of you about it, because as you can see, things have been hectic for me. But, let me tell you…Buckley Dresden and I…we were thrown into this match with these guys, these Wrasslin’ Rangers. Nobody gave a damn about what was going to happen to us. We were just supposed to let the CWC boys look good.
But…you see…a funny thing happened at Under Siege to Charles Brandon Magnus.
He heard your…cheers.
The fans cheer slightly as he pauses.
Charles Brandon Magnus: He heard your cheers and for the first time…it dawned on me that there’s more to victory in professional wrestling besides simply defeating your foes. There’s also…earning the respect of each…and every one of you.
The fans definitely cheer for that.
Charles Brandon Magnus: I walked out of Under Siege with a loss. I walked away beltless. I had nothing to show for all of my hard work except the shouts of praise from all of you as I came thisclose to becoming Sin City Champion.
And for that?
I thank you.
The fans cheer once more. Dresden motions for Magnus to lean the microphone in his direction.
Buckley Dresden: We don’t wanna rain on nobody’s parade, though.
Charles Brandon Magnus: Rain on anybody’s…what are you talking about, Buck?
Buckley Dresden: Listen, Charlie. I love this great sport of ours. I love bein’ a Tag Team Champion.
What I don’t love? What I can’t stand the thought of?
Fightin’ a woman.
Magnus busts out laughing.
Charles Brandon Magnus: What? Come ON!
Buckley Dresden: I’m serious, man. I saw that Alexia girl as she was getting’ ready for her fight with Ozzy Kilminster and she was all talkin’ about bein’ a woman an’ when I saw that cake I just started thinkin’ about my Momma an’ my Momma always told me to keep my hands off the ladyfolk…
Magnus says nothing for a long moment.
Buckley Dresden: I’m just s—
Charles Brandon Magnus: Leave the girl to me, Buck. The SHOOT Project and the CWC…they never saw us coming, my friend. We were NEVER supposed to be in this position, but here we are. The Bad Ass Brotherhood is the FIFTH team in the history of these titles to hold them. What that means, Buck, is that no matter who comes out way…where they come from or who they are…
The Bad Ass Brotherhood represents SHOOT Project.
The fans cheer.
Charles Brandon Magnus: So, CWC? Alexia? Tyler Graves?
Each…and every…ONE of you people who think you can take on the Bad Ass Brotherhood?
Buckley Dresden: Bring it.
Dresden spits into his bottle.
Charles Brandon Magnus: One more thing!
He holds his hand up.
Charles Brandon Magnus: Crash Carver? Purple Haze? Crimson Riot? Flying Avengers?
We’re the Bad Ass Brotherhood.
Buckley Dresden: An’ we just found out we like winnin’.
Charles Brandon Magnus: And we like winning gold.
Buckley Dresden: So keep them SHOOT Tag belts warm, boys.
Charles Brandon Magnus: Because we’re coming for them.
Buckley Dresden: NOW…HIT…OUR…MUSIC!
SHOT…DOOOOOOWN IN A BLAZE OF GLORY!
“Blaze of Glory” by Jon Bon Jovi kicks back in as the Bad Ass Brotherhood pound their fists together, soaking in the fans’ cheers.
Eryk Masters: Well, it looks like Charles Brandon Magnus and Buckley Dresden not only put CWC on notice, but they wanted to let SHOOT Project know they’re going to be adding to their collection sooner or later.
Other Guy: They’re not gonna try to unify them, are they?!
Eryk Masters: God, you’re an idiot.
Wandering out of the Epicenter's canteen area with a double chicken cheeseburger, Osbourne Kilminster is distracted from forcing as much of it as he can into his mouth by the visage of the masked man standing before him, facing away from him.
Kilminster pulls a napkin from his pocket and places the burger upon it, down on a chair sat in the corridor next to him before brushing creases out of his T-shirt.
Osbourne Kilminster: UK Dragon, isn't it?
UK Dragon: That's my name.
The masked man's grin beams through the mouth of his mask.
Osbourne's eyes narrow a little and his eyebrow raises ever so slightly as the smaller man's grin bothers him somewhat.
Osbourne Kilminster: Oh, right, I had to ask because I didn't know you spoke in person. I thought you did all that through the dirt-sheets.
UK Dragon: I spoke my feelings on the CWC Showcase championship match. I'm not going to apologise for having an opinion.
Osbourne Kilminster: I'm not saying you shouldn't have an opinion - I'm saying your opinion happens to be wrong. I'm also saying that some things should be discussed behind closed doors. I'm sure you understand that bit, if nothing else, right?
UK Dragon: You mean like this? In the middle of a corridor outside a canteen? We're not in England Ozzy - we're in America now - freedom of speech, apple pie and all that good stuff. The fact you don't like what I said might just be because deep down inside that tough guy body of yours is doubt. Doubt in your ability. My opinion isn't wrong you just don't like it.
Shaking his head, Kilminster closes his eyes briefly as he processes UKD's rhetoric.
Osbourne Kilminster: No, not really. Not at all, in fact. Your opinion's that I've had too many chances and shots, right? How's that work out when I've held more championships in this company than pretty much anybody else currently active? I've earned my spot, man, just like you'll earn yours one day.
Smiling slightly, he changes tact.
Osbourne Kilminster: You're working towards your shot at the Sin City Championship, right?
UK Dragon: I've already had two shots but yeah I'm working my way up the ladder here in SHOOT. You're always going to the past to talk about how great you are. Ever since you got married and cut off the golden locks you haven't been the same. I might wear a mask but you seem to be the one that has something to hide.
Raising his eyebrows, Osbourne halfway nods, impressed by the relative newcomer's spirit.
Osbourne Kilminster: Really? Funny that... Seems you're in the minority with that opinion. Maybe when you've [i]actually[/i] been a Champion... had a lengthy run... maybe two or three runs with two or three titles... maybe then you can get back to me with this bullshit. I've done interfed shit before - I represented TTW against OPW and SHOOT, back in the day, so on the basest of levels, I have more experience at this kind of thing than you.
Shrugging his shoulders, Osbourne holds his palsm up to UKD to show non-aggression.
UK Dragon: You just made my point. It's always some veteran that has done it all before that gets that kind of shot. How am I or ANY of the newer guys in this company going to get a chance to do the things that you did in the past? If people like you are going to take that shot again and again. Will you win that championship? Probably. But it's always the proven guys that get the chance. That's what my problem was why not Ox? Why not Heart and why not me? We're young and hungry one day you will retire but no one will be there to carry the banner...
Osbourne Kilminster: Heart's the Sin City Champion and Ox is the Iron Fist Champion. There's no way SHOOT would be stupid enough to put them forward because if something crazy should happen and they lost, we'd all look bad. That's just poor business sense. Look, right now I'm a safe bet. That's why I'm there. I don't hold any titles, but they know when I'm on, I'm on and that's what they need representing the company. You haven't proven to them that you can step up. You win that Sin City Championship and you'll turn heads. That's how you start getting to where I am. You'll be one of the young lions waiting to fill my spot when the day comes that I do step down. It's all about time.
Sighing, a little disheartened by his countryman's plight, Kilminster put his hand on Dragon's shoulder.
Osbourne Kilminster: I admire that you want to be the man to step up, but now's just not your time kid. You make some waves, turn some heads and your time will come. Trust me, it will, and I'll be right there to cheer for you.
UK Dragon: Ah well, I guess you're used to hitting chicks more than I am anyway.
Dragon smirks twisting on his feet quickly to make a sharp exit, leaving Osbourne mildly irritated as he reaches down for his chicken burger, his eyes not leaving the back of UK Dragon.
Osbourne Kilminster: That kid's going to be big news around here pretty soon...
We cut backstage to find the lovely wife of Osbourne Kilminster walking down one of the many hallways. She appears to be looking for something, no one can tell what in particular exactly what that is.
The camera shifts back to the ring, where we can see Alexander Freamon cutting a hard stare towards Jeremiah Sloan, as “I Shot The Sheriff” by Bob Marley fades out. The two men are still pacing the ring, eyes locked on one another.
Eryk Masters: So…Jeremiah Sloan and Alexander Freamon have recently debuted here in the SHOOT Project. After putting on one hell of a show last time on Revolution, they’ve been pretty quiet ever since then.
Other Guy: Pretty quiet? Who are these guys?
Eryk Masters: Alexander Freamon…and Jeremiah Sloan.
Other Guy: …who?
Eryk Masters: Recent additions to our prestigious roster.
The lights dim down as "Electric Feel" by MGMT kicks in over the PA system. Pink and white lights start flashing as the crowd rings out in some boos, but most fans are despondent.
Other Guy: I’m sorry, Eryk! I can’t hear you over the sound of how awesome this guy is!
Eryk Masters: Who has a theme song that has a lyric like shock me like an electric eel?
Other Guy: THIS guy!
Samantha Coil: …AND THEIR OPPONENT…HAILING ALL THE WAY FROM LAS VEGAS, NEVADA…HE IS THE SIN CITY VIOLATOR…JULIAN…YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORK!!!
Eryk Masters: I don’t know how I feel about a guy calling himself the Sin City Violator. Oddly enough, the fans are booing. I wonder why.
Other Guy: I know I kinda wish I came up with the name Sin City Violator for myself.
Willie Dean calls for the bell and immediately, Sloan and Freamon begin to get ready, in position for a fight. York, however, merely laughs at the two of them and points. He motions to Delgrotta to look and laugh as well. Delgrotta does nothing, but York demands him to laugh and he chuckles a bit to himself. The two of them lock up while York leans against his corner. Sloan whips Freamon into the ropes and catches him with a decent hip toss. With his back turned to York, he measures Sloan for his next move, and York casually walks behind Sloan.
Other Guy: I wonder what his crazy plan is with these two amazingly wily veterans of the squared circle?!
Eryk Masters: …what?
Other Guy: This right here, Eryk? THIS…IS…WRESTLING!!!
York taps Sloan on the shoulder, prompting him to turn around. Once he does so, he kicks Sloan in the gut, runs to the ropes, drops down, and NAILS Sloan with an uppercut! Sloan flops to his back as York slowly and casually walks around Freamon, who is picking himself up from the mat. York yawns as he climbs up the ropes and sits on the top rope, framing Freamon in his hands.
Other Guy: Did you SEE that move?!
Eryk Masters: It was a good move, OG, yes.
Other Guy: Eryk, it’s like Julian York asked himself HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED and he answered himself…AS A WINNER!! A WINNER IN THE SHOOT PROJECT, MY FRIEND!!
Eryk Masters: …wow, OG. Just…wow.
Freamon slowly picks himself up…and Julian York shrugs his shoulders…measures Freamon up…leaps OFF the turnbuckle…AND NAILS THE SOCIETY’S MELTDOWN!! Freamon is DOWN. York flashes a smile at Willie Dean and sprawls over Freamon, Dean slides into position…
Sloan breaks the count! York is up, a look of fury in his face, and he shouts at Sloan.
Julian York: YOU!
He points at Sloan and whips him to the ropes and he NAILS Sloan with a hard boot somewhere between the head and chest, bringing Sloan to the ground! York bounces off of the ropes and hits a DEVASTATINGLY POWERFUL LEG DROP TO SLOAN!
Other Guy: THAT’S RIGHT, ERYK! WHATCHA GONNA DO?!
York drags Sloan beside Freamon’s body and lays across both of them, crosses his legs and puts his arms behind his head…and Willie Dean goes for the count!
Samantha Coil: YOUR WINNER…LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…THE SIN CITY VIOLATOR…JULIAN…YOOOOOOOOOOOORK!!!!
Other Guy: MATCH OF THE YEAR! MATCH OF THE YEAR! MATCH OF THE YEAR!!
Eryk Masters: Please stop, OG.
Eryk snaps his fingers as York’s theme song kicks back in, York slides from the ring and motions for Delgrotta to follow him. As soon as Eryk snaps his fingers, OG blinks a few times, breathing heavily.
Other Guy: …what? What just happened?
Eryk Masters: What just happened?
Other Guy: …so weird, man. I just felt like I was in…I don’t know…WrestleMania 3 or something…
Eryk Masters: Are you okay?
York waves to a few fans as he leaves the ringside area, the fans booing at their newfound ‘hero’.
Other Guy: …was I just screaming Match of the Year?
Eryk Masters: You’ll do anything to get out of calling a painful match, won’t you?
Other Guy: YORKAMANIA’S RUNNIN’ WILD HERE IN SHOOT PROJECT!!
Eryk Masters: Can we cut to a commercial or go backstage or something?
Lennox Ferguson is hanging around the backstage entrance to the rampway when Azraith DeMitri comes from around the corner and stops in his tracks.
Azraith: What’s all this business about black envelopes and tracking down SHOOT Soldiers? You want to make yourself a target?
Azraith crosses his arms and looks at Ox.
Ox: If I am, I’m just following your lead.
Azraith: Alright. Well, with an attitude like that you might yet be the one to save us all.
Ox reaches into his pocket and pulls out one of the black envelopes; holding it up for Azraith.
Ox: If it all works out – it’ll just be me returning your favor.
Azraith looks questioningly at Lennox, then at the envelope, and then back up to Lennox
Azraith: Yeah, well, consider us even for… whatever – I’m not going to say that I don’t need help in holding off King’s band of goons but I certainly don’t need a partner. And like I told you from the beginning - neither do you.
Lennox steps back, a little surprised, but just nods and puts the envelope back in his pocket.
Azraith: Is that all?
Ox: Pretty much.
Azraith nods and then moves forward, toward the curtain, past Ox.
Azraith: See ya’ later.
Azraith pauses, turning around before reaching the entrance to the rampway to see Lennox Ferguson’s walking away, back to the locker room area. As Lennox disappears, the SHOOT Project champion can’t help smiling, his grin stretching from ear to ear.
Jester is sitting in his locker room. He’s in full ring attire, preparing for his match against Sinn. He’s putting on his last glove when the door to the locker room opens.
Jester Smiles: Oh good, I was hoping I’d get a chance to see you before I hopped in the ring.
Donovan King walks into the field of vision on the camera, looking a bit confused.
Donovan King: ...you were?
Jester finishes putting on the MMA glove on his right hand before leaning back against a locker room.
Jester Smiles: I haven’t really had a chance to talk with you, you know? Kinda curious about something. A few weeks ago, I was ready to go to war with you. I was ready to be the one guy standing against you, sorta like what the Oxxy one is doing now, and I was more than ready to take my licks, like I’ve always done. In fact, up until the end of Uprising, that was still my plan. Knowing this, and knowing how dedicated I’ve been to stopping you before, why me? Why did you spare me, even pick me and extend the offer you extended?
King nods his head, shutting the door to the locker room behind him. He pulls a chair up in front of Jester and looks his old rival in the eye.
Jester nods. He’s listening, intently.
Jester Smiles: That’s the weird thing about all this. I don’t know if I get it yet, but I look at you, Corazon, Pest, Azrael, and Eddie E., and I see villains. I see bad men, willing to take things to a level beyond what is decent, what is right. And when I think about what I did to Azraith, and all the things I’ve plotted and planned for Sinnocence, and for several others in this company, man, I feel downright despicable. I feel like a bad man.
Jester cracks that grin that everyone is so used to. But here, in this scene, it looks perverse.
Jester Smiles: But I think I’m starting to finally get it man. I think I understand what it is. Out there, Black, Azraith, Sinnocence, I was trying to be there hero. I was trying to be something good and pure and wonderful.
Something they NEVER earned. They don’t deserve a hero man, they deserve us. If they ever want a hero, they got to work for it. THEY’VE got to show what I’ve shown, what you’ve shown, what all of us have shown. A dedication, a determination, a passion that doesn’t blow out so easy.
If they can become HALF the men we are…
Jester Smiles: Well then, that would be a start, wouldn’t it? That would be a change that all my goody-two shoesness never really showed.
Jester holds out his hand to Donovan.
Jester Smiles: I never thought I hear these words coming out of my mouth, but together, with Pestalance, Corazon, Azrael, and Eddie E., we’re going to do what I could never do before. We’re going to change the fucking world.
And I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for giving me this chance.
King stops Jester, his grasp on Jester's hand tighter than probably the both of them expected.
King purses his lips, thinking back.
King lets the words sink in.
King's voice is flat.
Donovan King: THOSE aren't heroes. What you did...comin' to work with me again...it was SHOOT's tipping point. Suddenly, Azraith wants to find partners. Sinnocence wants to find partners. Lennox Ferguson calls himself the new Hero of SHOOT. The end of the day, all the shit we do out there in the wild don't mean dick we don't get get it done in that ring.
Jester is in awe. The moment a man finds religion and chooses to become a priest, a monk, some form of religious clergy, that would be the same face that Jester has on now.
Jester Smiles: It’s good to be on your side again, man.
Donovan King: There's nobody else I'd trust to have my back more, homie.
The brass of "Propane Nightmares" blare over the arena's speakers as the cameras cut back to the ring, quickly followed by the drum kick.
The fast-paced technorock thuds like a heartbeat through the crowd as it's SHOOT Project champion, Azraith DeMitri, slowly stalks out to the top of the ramp! The crowd is mixed, some of them obviously not pleased with his actions on the last show…but most are cheering wildly for one of the few people to visibly step up to The Sovereign, and in fact make quite an impact on them.
Eryk Masters: What's Az doing now? It doesn't look like he has anybody in tow…
Other Guy: That might be the case, but at the same time he isn't coming down here without insurance!
Indeed, the closest cameraman to the ramp catches a large metal piece of rebar clenched tightly in Az's left hand. The rusted iron being spun over the top of his hand in a slow, methodical pace. Over his right shoulder, was his bloodied and dented SHOOT Project Championship. He takes his time, letting the bass wash over him before rolling under the bottom rope, quickly climbing the closest turnbuckle and thrusting the championship skyward as a huge scream escapes him, the crowd ROARING at the display! He keeps this pose for several seconds, looking intently into the crowd, a barely-there grin curling his lips before he hops down and moves to grab a mic.
Other Guy: Az still looks cautious, but I think The Sovereign have realized that brute force alone isn't going to be able to stop Azraith anymore.
Eryk Masters: Especially now that Az is going to be fighting King…I don't think you should assume anything OG.
Az hushes the crowd as he brings the mic up to his lips slowly.
Azraith DeMitri: First things first…I've heard a few people say that I crossed a line on the last Revolution. That my tactics were too brutal…too similar to what 'they' would have done. I can only shrug at that, honestly. I wish…and I mean this with ALL sincerity…I wish I had it in me to give a shit. Truly. I wish I had it in me to care that some people think I'm some kind of sadistic monster. As if I'm standing here trying to debate that with anyone. All I can say…is look at what they've done. Look at what they've done to the pillars of this company. To ANYONE that's had the gall to stand in their way. His way. At the first sign of resistance…at the FIRST fucking sign of disapproval of their actions, they strike like the goddamn mob. They've broken THREE men. Me? I've only smacked around one. ALSO, the rag-sheets are getting it wrong. I didn't break Kilgore's arm.
…I just broke a few of his fingers.
The grin grows a little bit as that last line seems to get a laugh out of a small segment of the crowd. Az nods before continuing.
Azraith: Now that that's outta the way…lemme get down to business. We've got a little time left before me and King hash this shit out and we see who's holdin' the real strap and who bought the replica on wrestlingprops dot com. Before then, I figured I'd appeal to the generous, magnanimous authority of SHOOT Project for something so simple, even it could understand.
I want a match with someone from Sovereign. I don't care who it is. Anyone except King. Give me Corazon, let me see how brutal and inhuman stacks against The Avatar. Give me Jester…let me bleed that fuckin' "Hero-Maker" dry. I don't give a shit what body is in front of me…throw at me your best so I can tear him down, and make an example out of him. So I can throw him into the fucking ra…
Eddie E: Oh for the love of God Azraith, will you shut your damned mouth?
No music, no fanfare, Eddie E steps out of the back with Azrael Goeren and Pestalance close behind. The crowd boo's loudly at the interruption, but Eddie waves them off with a dismissive scoff.
Eddie E: All I hear out of you is empty posturing. You claim to be our champion, yet you resort to such…distasteful behavior as the maiming of unfortunate Mr. Stolchansky? As distasteful as it feels to me to give a psychopath something he so brazenly asks for, I will…
The crowd whistles and cheers wildly, throwing their arms up in excitement!
Eddie E:…but not tonight.
Eddie E: Yeah, I've always loved that bit. Anyways…you'll get your match come the next Revolution. You'll get to face up against an old…old friend of yours. Next show…it'll be our SHOOT Project "Champion", against The Firestarter…PESTALANCE!
Pest points at Az with a sick smile on his lips, his eyes gleaming as Azraith nods in approval, clapping.
Azraith: It's about fuckin' time that you grew some sense, Eddieboy. Now if that's all, if you'll kindly…
Eddie E: Oh…did I say I was finished? I apologize, Mr. DeMitri, but you opened this can of worms and before it is over I want to see you choking on the contents. As I said you'll be facing your old friend Pestalance…but you will ALSO be facing your old friend AZRAEL GOEREN!
Az's grin fades somewhat as the crowd boos the sudden turning of the tide. Azrael calmly slides his hand through his perfectly unkempt hair, the arrogance oozing from him like cheap hair-gel.
Azraith: Yeah...yeah I can handle that. I've had worse odds.
Eddie E: Oh I'm sure you can Mr. DeMitri, but we of the Sovereign aren't quite as barbaric and savage as yourself. I'll tell you what...you can have a tag partner of your choosing. Quite frankly the person you choose is really of no concern to us...
The crowd ROARS at the possibility, and Az seems to be opening his mouth before Azrael leans over to whisper in Eddie's ear, and suddenly Eddie raises his hand.
Eddie E: Actually…actually Azraith we might have hit a bit of snag on that part. I've been hearing from some reliable sources that it looks like there might be the beginnings of some kind of nefarious uprising backstage. A few degenerates here and there trying to stir the pot, if you will. That will not stand, and I will not reward such low-lifes with ANY airtime on this show, the least of all with top talent such as the Sovereign. You can have ANY tag partner…with the exclusion of the following: Sinnocence.
Eddie E: Osbourne Kilminster.
Eddie E: Dan Stein.
Azraith: Are you shitting me?
Eddie E: Thomas Manchester Black.
Eddie E: Jaime Alejandro.
Azraith's grin has faded into this low scowl as he leans against the ramp-facing ropes, glaring at the men at the top of the ramp, all of whom seem to be poorly containing their sick amusement.
Eddie E: Oh…of course…Lennox Ferguson.
Azraith SLAMS the rebar on the ramp, rage growing in his eyes.
Azraith: You are SHITTING ME!! This is BULLSHIT!
Eddie E: You brought this upon yourself Azraith! So why don't you kindly SHUT THE HELL UP and let me finish. Have I forgotten anyone?
Azrael Goeren takes the mic from Eddie E, his smirk downright sickening as the crowd is getting to the point of overwhelming even the arena's loudspeakers.
Azrael: Oh I don't know, let me list off a few. For starters…Del Carver, can't have that old coot deciding to come out of retirement and creating some kind of photo-op or anything. I've made sure if any men like Greyson Blade, X-Calibur, Crimson Kidd…or any of the ilk that might have interest in helping Mr. DeMitri from anywhere that isn't our very own SHOOT Project will be escorted from the arena as soon as they are spotted. Oh, of course your beautiful wife Victoria...I'd hate to see her pretty face ruined. Real Deal and OutKast as well will be barred, for their own personal safety. We wouldn't want to see the 'pillars' of SHOOT Project to have any more medical problems, would we now?
Pestalance snatches the microphone from Azrael's hand.
Pestalance: HAH, I got a few! How 'bout that UK Dragon fool? None of that shit. Uhhh...hm. Oh! That outta-nowhere friend of yours Kaji Sugimoto. Also...Trey Willet is a no-go, you've pretty much proven that you can't work with the guy anyways. Am I missing anyone?
Azrael takes the mic back, laughing as he does so.
Azrael Goeren: I'd say Ron Barker, just because who knows, he just might actually show up for it!
Az is pacing back and forth, his eyes burning holes in the ground. He doesn't even bring the mic up to his lips. Eddie, however, takes the microphone back from Azrael.
Eddie E: So…I guess…good luck with that, Mr. DeMitri. The punishment for anyone we've listed helping Mr. DeMitri in this tag match will be an instant suspension, without pay, and stripping said wrestlers of any titles or title shots they may have earned. Again, Mr. DeMitri…good luck.
Eddie raises a brow, taking a few steps forward as the crowd continues to boo.
Eddie E: What was that, Azraith? I couldn't quite hear you over that choking sound you seem to be making.
Azraith: Go FUCK yourself. I'll see you fuckers soon. This isn't over.
Az THROWS the mic to the ground, quickly rolling out of the ring and hopping the railing to disappear into the crowd, the three men at the top of the ramp laughing and shaking their heads.
Eddie E: You're quite right about that, Mr. DeMitri. We'll be seeing you!
Eddie drops the mic as the three men head to the back once again.
Eryk Masters: I…what did we witness here?
Other Guy: I think Az was a little headstrong perhaps after what he did at the last show…and he bit off WAY more than he can chew here. Essentially we just saw Eddie E force Az into a handicap match. Not a smart move…especially when Az needs to be in tip-top physical condition to face King in the very rapidly approaching future.
Eryk Masters: We've seen Azraith fight through tougher odds, it's just the sick satisfaction that Eddie E and those two took in picking apart Az's gameplan. It'll be a rough time…
Pushing the last piece of his double chicken cheeseburger into his mouth, Osbourne Kilminster wipes his hands on the paper napkin and tosses it onto a plastic waste-bin as he passes it in the corridor. Swallowing a little more than he'd initially anticipated, he gulps it back and clears his throat so he can shout out to a certain someone he recognises further along the corridor.
Osbourne Kilminster: Hey! Ron! What's up?
Smiling, Ron Barker walks toward his on again/off again friend.
Ron Barker: Oz. There you are. I've got that big meeting which needs your presence tonight. Are we still a go for that?
Osbourne clears his throat again and slams his fist into his chest to try and ease flow of that last little piece of chicken burger, wincing a little before looking immensely relieved.
Osbourne Kilminster: Yeah, we're still on. When and where, man?
Ron looks at his watch.
Ron Barker: We've got a little bit yet. There's a meeting room on the other side of the building. Just meet me over there in about an hour or so. Try not to choke to death on the way there or something, man. I need you there healthy. Heh.
Osbourne Kilminster: An hour-ish? Alright, I'll be there... and I won't choke. I never do. You know what I mean.
He winks at his Canadian friend.
Ron Barker: Jesus fuck. You're in a good mood today, huh? That's good. I'm going to need that jovial energy. I could probably give you details as to what this meeting is about... but where's the fun in that? Just meet me in an hour and I'll fill you in just before it starts.
Suddenly, a cloud of caution descends upon Kilminster as he almost visibly recoils.
Osbourne Kilminster: Hey, come on. Don't be such a kill-joy. Give me a little heads-up, yeah? What's it all about? Why'd they want me as a character witness anyway?
Ron Barker: Well, man... I'll level with you. It's not them who want you as a character witness. It's me. It's pretty common knowledge that I'm not well-liked. I don't think I'll be winning any popularity contests any time soon, you know? I have the ability to sell myself through speaking and all... it just helps to have that little extra to drive home the point. Someone who's able to vouch for me. That's why I need you, man.
Osbourne Kilminster: So "them" is SHOOT management, right?
Barker smiles mischievously while patting Kilminster's shoulder.
Ron Barker: All in due time, buddy. All in due time. I'm going to go and get some last minute preparations wrapped up. See you in an hour?
Osbourne half-shrugs Ron's hand away, nodding in acknowledgement.
Osbourne Kilminster: Yeah, alright. An hour.
Ron Barker: Thanks, man. It means a lot.
Barker begins to back away with a smile on his face.
Ron Barker: You have my undying gratitude.
Within seconds, Ron Barker disappears down a hallway as Osbourne watches on, his brow furrowed his a perplexed stare, momentarily, before he goes his own way.
"Living Dead Girl [Subliminal Seduction Mix]" by Rob Zombie starts to play over the speakers and the arena erupts into a chorus of cheers and catcalls as the crazy bitch, Sinnocence, appears from behind the curtain and walk down the ramp. Dressed in her normal black leather ensemble, complete with skin-tight leather pants that have "Victory or Valhalla" stitched above her ass. Her ebony hair flows freely behind her, as she stops just in front of the announce table.
Samantha Coil: The following contest is scheduled for ONE FALL with a 20 Minute Time Limit! Making her way to the ring first, weighing in at ONE HUNDRED and SEVENTY ONE pounds! She is the Killer Queen of Sin City…SINNOCENCE!
Eryk Masters: I, uhhh, guess Sinnocence takes some resentment to things you’ve said about her in the past weeks.
Other Guy: That bitch! I am SOO filing a complaint with human resources!
WHEN I GROW UP, I’M NEVER GONNA SLEEEEEEEEEP!
“Sleep Is Wrong” by Sleepytime Gorilla Museum hits. Jester Smiles emerges from the back, and the booing begins, loudly. Jester actually seems to wince at this, but he shakes it off and makes his way to the ring.
Samantha Coil: And now, making his way to the ring, he weighs in at TWO HUNDRED and FORTY-FIVE pounds! He is THE SOVEREIGN HERO of SHOOT PROJECT…JESTER SMILES!
The booing intensifies, but Jester doesn’t seem to notice this time. He just looks up at Sinnocence and shoots her a big grin, before leaping up onto the apron in one bound and then leaping over the top rope in a similar leap. He glares across the ring and holds up both his fists. His usual purple and green MMA gloves have been replaced with solid black and a solid white glove. On his right hand, the white glove reads, in black letters, “Save You”. On his left hand, the black glove reads, in white letters, “Break You”. Jester shoots Sinnocence a big grin.
Other Guy: Sinnocence better be focused. I hope she’s not. I hope the bitch gets knocked right the fuck out.
Eryk Masters: OG’s bitterness aside, Sinnocence better be careful here. Jester outweighs her by over seventy pounds, and he has some nasty, heavy hands and feet.
Tony Lorenzo looks at both competitors. There is nothing spoken, just a nod from Sinnocence and a nod from Jester. Lorenzo signals the bell, the match is on!
Eryk Masters: Jester and Sinn are circling, but neither of them are moving in to quickly. Sinn has to respect Jester’s striking game, and Jester has to respect Sinn’s submission game.
Jester never loses the smile as he circles. Suddenly, like lightning, Jester goes in, and before she can react, Jester SLAMS Sinnocence with a left jab! Sinnocence is then sent back further with a right jab, hitting its mark dead on. Sinnocence backs to the ropes and tries to cover up, but Jester hits her hard in the side with a Muay Thai style kick! Sinnocence drops her hands slighty, and Jester comes in with a Thai clinch, launching knees into the stomach!
Other Guy: Beat that bitch up!
Eryk Masters: Come on partner.
Other Guy: SHE PUNCHED ME IN THE FACE!
Jester flings a weakened Sinnocence out of the corner and continues to knee her in the center of the ring. He then pulls her in and goes for a vertical suplex, but in mid air, Sinn counters, lands behind, and leaps on Jester’s back! She’s GOT THE IRON MAIDEN LOCKED IN!
Eryk Masters: She’s got that rear naked choke locked in early! Jester may be done here, and we’re only three minutes into the match!
Other Guy: Even my aching jaw tells me that that was damn impressive!
Jester remains standing, trying to keep himself from falling down and becoming completely caught in the choke. He throws his hands up and punches Sinnocence in the face a couple of times, but the punches don’t have as much power behind them, and Sinn is able to take them, though it is noticed that her mouth appears to be bleeding slightly. Jester begins to stumble forward until finally his legs give out and he goes down…grabbing the bottom rope! Lorenzo tells Sinn to let go, but she keeps the hold locked on!
Sinnocence let’s go of the hold just in time, so as not to be disqualified. Sinnocence stands up and wipes some blood from her mouth, taking a minute to recompose herself. Jester works his way up, and eats a hard kick to the back! Sinnocence launches a few more kicks, but as the third one comes towards Jester, he spins quickly, catches the leg, and is able to pull Sinn to the ground. However, as he tries to get into a mounted position, as to drop more punishment, Sinnocence is able to lock on a TIGHT armbar! Jester is once again, caught, and he again struggles to fight through the pain. He begins to launch punches at the side that he had been kicking earlier, and after several hits, Sinn releases the hold and rolls away. Both of them get up quickly, but this time, neither of them react quickly. They both cautiously circle again.
Eryk Masters: Sinn took quite a beating there, but she was able to use her submission prowess to keep herself alive, and she ALMOST had Jester twice there.
Other Guy: Both competitors are going all out early. This match won’t be lasting too long, but it’s damn exciting.
Eryk Masters: So, you sound like you are over that punch in the face.
Other Guy: Like hell I am! The more exciting this match is, the more I get to watch Sinnocence get punched in the face. She won’t be able to keep going at that pace, and Jester will pummel her face into oblivion.
Sinn goes in this time, attempting to wrap Jester up and try to drag him into some kind of submission predicament. However, Jester hits a thrust kick into Sinn’s knee, causing her knee to buckle. When she goes to a knee, Jester pummels Sinn with punches. She tries to block, get up, and get away, but Jester is relentless, and the beating continues. Sinn’s nose begins to bleed slightly. She falls back, and Jester again goes into a mounting predicament. Sinn tries to grab hold of his arms when he strikes, but Jester is more powerful, and she can’t hold on. She also has to try and keep her shoulders from getting pinned whilst this all happens.
Other Guy: This should be comfortable for Sinn, you know, on her back with a man on top.
Eryk Masters: Really?
The beating continues, and it is clear that Sinn is only going to be able to handle so much more. Desperately, Sinn lashes out and grabs a hold of Jester’s arm and is able to lock on a kimura! Jester however breaks free, but in the scramble, Sinn is able to get to her feet. Jester again charges in, and again, he slams her hard with a right hand. Sinn spins around, and Jester locks in a half nelson and a chickenwing!
Other Guy: Here comes the Last Laugh!
Sinn is able to get away from the chickenwing and throws and elbow behind, catching Jester in the jaw. Jester stumbles back, but launches out with the Punchline!
Other Guy: GAME OVER HERE!
But Sinn ducks! Sinn goes behind. Jester reacts quickly, but not quickly enough! Sinn throws a high and HARD roundhouse kick catching Jester STRAIGHT in the temple. Jester doesn’t go down, but Jester does spin around, dazed! Sinn reacts quickly, going for a school boy roll up! Tony Lorenzo is right there to make the count!
Sinn is up quickly, and she falls against the ropes. Tony Lorenzo helps Sinn to her feet and raises her arm. Jester, meanwhile, gets to his knees, still slightly dazed and looking confused.
Samantha Coil: Your winner, at a time of ELEVEN minutes and FORTY-FIVE seconds…SINNOCENCE!!
Jester gets to his feet and walks over to Sinnocence. He is…grinning. Sinnocence just glares at him. Jester looks at Sinn for a minute and then…extends his hand?
Eryk Masters: The hell is he doing?
Other Guy: I…uhhhh…I have no answers.
Jester continues to hold his hand out, and though the mic can’t pick up what he’s saying, it’s clear by reading his lips that he’s saying ‘congrats’. Sinn shoves the hand away and turns to leave the ring. Before she can leave, though, Jester lashes out with the Punchline, LIGHTNING fast!
Other Guy: Sinnocence is OUT! Take THAT bitch!
Eryk Masters: I guess she was right not to trust Jester’s handshake, but, still, that was damn fast.
Jester is standing over Sinn, smiling down at her. The mic now picks up what he is saying.
Jester Smiles: A hero would have been a good sport. Lesson number 1, Jada.
The camera opens on Abigail Chase, standing with a microphone in front of her face. The close shot reveals nothing more as she begins to speak.
Abigail Chase: Ladies and gentlemen, my guest at this time is one of SHOOT Project’s brightest stars today, and one half of the main event later tonight. He is the two time former Iron Fist Champion, known to many simply as ‘The Lights’. Please welcome… Dan Stein.
The camera pulls back as Stein steps forward, his blonde hair slicked towards his forehead. Stein smirks as he looks at the camera, then back to Abigail.
Abigail Chase: Thank you for being here, Dan.
Dan Stein: Of course.
Stein nods, putting his hands on his hips as Chase puts the microphone back in front of her, collecting the thought in her head for just a split second before posing her question.
Abigail Chase: The question being asked around the locker room this week, in regards to you, Dan, is simply, ‘why’? Why did you attack Cade Sydal last week at Revolution 66?
Dan smirks, rubbing his chin with one hand.
Dan Stein: First of all, let me apologize to you, Abby, for ruining a well put together interview. When I went back and looked at the tape, you were doing amazing well at your job, and I am extremely sorry for interrupting you.
Stein smirks, looking at Abigail, who remains professional, refusing to address Stein’s subtle flirting.
Dan Stein: Now, besides the obvious ‘Cade is a dickbag who deserves his cunt sewn shut’, there’s one reason why I attacked Cade Sydal last week.
Turning his head from Abigail to the camera, and then back again, Stein leans down towards the microphone, making sure he is heard. His smirk slowly fades into an expression of anger, one of the many looks Stein is known for.
Dan Stein: My entire career I have done things for other people. Someone needed their back watched, I was there. Someone wanted a tag team partner, I was there. Someone needed to fill in for their match against Jonny Johnson’s tribe of misfit wrestlers, I was there. I was there when SHOOT Project was under the reign of Roland Caldwell, and I was the first person to step up and show the world that Roland could be stopped. I was in the wrestling ring DAYS after the deaths of my parents, because I knew the fans would want to see me. I took the backseat for Lennox Ferguson, because, in my heart, I thought he deserved the Iron Fist Championship after the gauntlet match at Master of the Mat.
Stein looked at Abigail again, then back to the camera.
Dan Stein: I sat back, and I let life pass me by, because I didn’t feel like I deserved the things that other people were getting. In the back of my pathetic fucking skull, I was nothing. I was SHOOT Project’s Hydro. Shit, I was SHOOT Project’s perpetual Maid of Honor. That was, until I realized something.
Stein paused, running his fingers under the SHOOT Project lettering on his shirt.
Dan Stein: I’m not SHOOT Project’s Maid of Honor… I am SHOOT Project. I embody SHOOT Project. I take SHOOT Project to a whole new level, each and every time I step into the ring, no matter who with, no matter what stipulations, no matter what is on the line.
I sat back, and I let people push me aside. I sat back, and I watched as opportunity after opportunity slipped through my grasp. When SHOOT Project reopened in May, I thought that I had to be something I wasn’t to make an impression, but all it did was cloud what truly makes Dan Stein great.
Stein looked at Abigail.
Dan Stein: The reason why I attacked Cade Sydal, and I ruined your interview last week? I realized what it took to become great again. I realized what it took to become successful again. I realized what it took to take my career to new heights, heights that people out there don’t even know exist.
Stein turns to the camera.
Dan Stein: Me. Being Me. Taking what I want, when I want it. Last week, I wanted to get a few licks in on Cade Sydal. Of course, I would have had he not had his druggy bitch of a girlfriend protecting his scrawny, diseased ass, so I took it. I took the shot.
And Cade knows now what he’s in for.
Just like later tonight, when I step into the ring with Adrian Corazon, it is up to ME to take what I want.
Stein turns to Abigail Chase for a second, before looking to the camera.
Dan Stein: You can have your shitty, un-exciting ninjaguri, you over hyped piece of shit. You think you can screw me out of this match tonight with your pretty striped referee shirt?
Dan Stein: Fucking try me.
Stein looks at Abigail for a moment, before turning to the other side and leaving the room. Abigail simply turns to the camera as it fades away.
The locker-room he shares with his wife is just about in sight, a little further down the corridor as Osbourne Kilminster turns one of the corners backstage at the Epicenter, casually straightening out his t-shirt and green camo cargo pants as he strolls along.
Out of nowhere, Kilminster tumbles to the floor, clutching the back of his head as an even larger man in a black track-suit with a baseball cap and scarf wrapped around his face almost tumbles down on top of him, using the wall to stabilise himself as he slams his foot into the downed Osbourne's body time after time!
Starting to come to, the Englishman tries to twist his body and tries to grapevine his own legs around those of his attacker, but one ALMIGHTY kick right on the button turns his lights out and he slumps down on the cold floor tiles, a trickle of blood meandering down his chin from the corner of his mouth.
Hearing voices nearby, the mystery assailant runs away down the corridor, just vanishing as a couple of technicians stumble across the scene and dart to help the felled Kilminster, one of them hammering on Sinnocence's locker room door as he does so!
Quickly opening the door to see what the fuss is, the wife of Kilminster notices her downed husband and shoves the technician out the way, rushing to him. Her expression the very picture of fury and concern, Jada screams to the technicians as she wipes the blood from his mouth -
NO ONE MAN SHOULD HAVE ALL THAT POWER
The shot goes to the back, with Dutch Harris. He looks to his right, uncomfortably, as the shot widens to show that he is joined by the former Iron Fist Champion, Cade Sydal. Dutch sighs.
Dutch Harris: Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to welcome, at this time, the referee for the main event…Cade Sydal.
Cade smirks to his former tag team partner, a referee shirt slung over his shoulder carelessly.
Cade Sydal: Ya know, if I didn’t know any better…I’d say you weren’t happy to be interviewing me, Dutchy.
Dutch Harris: Well, I’m not exactly thrilled about it, to be honest.
Cade shrugs his shoulders.
Cade Sydal: Well, since we’re being honest, I don’t really give a fuck about your happiness. And, since honesty is in the air, I just thought I’d tell you that I requested you instead of Abigail…she annoys me. At least you…well you and I have a special kind of bond that transcends annoyance, doesn’t it?
Dutch stares at Cade, barely nodding.
Dutch Harris: You could say that.
Cade Sydal: Well…what are you waiting for? Do your job and interview me already…
Dutch sighs heavily again, bringing a smile to Cade’s face.
Dutch Harris: Okay…tonight you’re the special guest referee for the main event which pits Adrian Corazon against another one of your former best friends, that you stabbed in the back…Dan Stein. Should we be expecting some shenanigans tonight?
Cade looks at Dutch for a moment, his eyes wide and mouth agape with mock shock.
Cade Sydal: First…do I sense some hostility? What, a little jealous that once your knee blew out, I blew the fuck up? I mean, let’s just get it out now, shall we?
Dutch starts to open his mouth, but Cade continues, pre-emotively interrupting him.
Cade Sydal: I mean, it’s not like I’m the one that fucked your fiancé, right? And it wasn’t me that fucked your knee up…so how is it that I stabbed you in the back? Dan Stein? He can make that claim. You? You can’t.
Dutch takes a deep breath, his eyes narrowed. His jaw tightly clenched. He’s ready to blow. A second deep breath steadies him, though.
Dutch Harris: Fair enough. What about the actual question, though?
Cade Sydal: You…you look a little mad, Dutch. Good. As for your question? No. You shouldn’t expect any shenanigans, because there won’t be any. Listen, last week, when Dan Stein came and attacked me, he interrupted my second announcement. Which was going to be an apology to him and the extension of an olive branch.
Dutch Harris: No you weren’t.
Cade cocks his head sideways, the grin vanishing instantly.
Cade Sydal: I’m sorry?
Dutch Harris: You might be able to lie to everyone else, but I know you a whole hell of a lot better than just about anybody else in, or out, of this business. You weren’t going to apologize.
Cade Sydal: You knew who I was better than anyone else. But you no longer know who I am. And now the world will never know if I was going to really apologize. Do you know why, Dutch? I’ll tell you…because Dan Stein had to come and attack me, unprovoked.
Dutch Harris: You hit him with brass knuckles months ago!
Cade Sydal: And I was going to apologize!
Dutch Harris: No you weren’t!
Dutch stares at Cade hard, his eyes telling the story, as it looks as if he’s had his fill of the former Teen Idol’s antics. Cade locks his eyes on Dutch’s, appearing to be almost equally as angry.
Cade Sydal: …like I said, I guess the world will never know. Unlike Danny, though? I’m not going to hold a grudge. Not tonight. Because I’ve got a job to do, and that is count. That’s all there is to it, tonight. I just have to count. It doesn’t matter to me who wins, Corazon or Stein, because…well, they’ve got their own beef. Let them sort it out amongst themselves. But after tonight?
Cade turns to look at the camera.
Cade Sydal: Well, that’s a different story all together. See, because Revolution 68, Danny? I hope you’re listening…because next week, you’re getting the answers you wanted. Face to face. If, that is, you’ve got the balls to meet me in the middle of the ring.
Cade turns back to Dutch, smirking slowly.
Cade Sydal: Now, Dutch, I’ve got a match to go get ready to referee. You stay sleazy. Say hello to your ole’ boo for me, will you?
Cade winks before turning around and walking down the hall, away from the interview area, where Cassi Ryan is waiting. She reaches her hand out to his, and together they walk down the hallway, laughing.
Dutch Harris: Well, you heard it, SHOOT Project. Straight from the jackass’s mouth…I’m sorry about all that.
The shot goes back to the announce table, with Eryk Masters and Other Guy.
Eryk Masters: Finally, Dan Stein will get what he deserves on Revolution 68!
Other Guy: A beat down?
Eryk Masters: No. The confrontation he’s been waiting for!
Other Guy: Right, that’s what I said…
As "Almost Famous" by Eminem (featuring Lisa Rodriguez) hits Cade Sydal steps through from the back and out onto stage. The Iron Fist Championship worn around his waist, a black shirt with an orange "No Fear" logo on it worn with his green and orange shorts. His blonde hair is wet and in his face as he walks down the ramp, followed by Cassi Ryan, hand-in-hand.
Samantha Coil: Introducing first... your special guest referee for the evening... Cade Sydal!
The couple continue their way down the ramp toward the ring, with Cade kissing Cassi on the cheek when they make it down the ramp. Cade swats Cassi on the rear and points her toward the timekeeper's station, and Cassi happily obliges, smirking at the less-than-pleased Sarah King.
Eryk Masters: Gotta wonder about how this match will play out, OG. I know I'm looking forward to it.
Other Guy: Of course. With combustible elements such as these, you definitely have to wonder. Cade is the X-Factor, so to speak.
Immediately The Ronald Jenkees remix of the Rocky Theme starts to play throughout the arena. The SHOOT video screen comes to life with an artistic montage of various shots of Dan Stein all in different locations. Spliced between the shots of Stein are brief moments of him in active competition. All of the montage is tied together with the words "Dan Stein" and "The Lights" that flash up on the screen every so often.
Samantha Coil: His opponent hails from Cedar Rapids, Iowa and weighs in at 215 pounds, here is DAN STEIN!
Stein steps out into the view of the jam packed SHOOT Epicenter, and is met with a mixed reaction as he just walks to the ring. Stein rolls into the ring under the bottom rope, and as he gets up to his feet he stands more than ready.
Other Guy: Stein looks great here, I can't lie. He looks primed and ready to go.
Eryk Masters: You know, I think you say that every match. Or at least, some variant of it.
The lights go down, and an orange glow takes over the ramp. A black image with only an orange smiley face takes over the video wall, drawn in a way similar to what happened to the chest of Curtis Rose. The fans boo, recognizing the SHOOT Project Soldier who's on his way.
"I'm BRUTAL. INHUMAN."
Orange pyro EXPLODES and then dissipates into nothingness. Out from the back walks none other than Adrian Corazon, hair down, eyes covered by sunglasses. He's got his typical scowl across his face. The overcoat covering him nearly sweeps the floor as he makes his way down to the ring. He ignores absolutely everything going on around him, keeping his eyes trained solely on the ring.
This is the point from which I could never return
Samantha Coil: Introducing first, from Mexico City, Mexico… he stands at six feet, three inches tall… he weighs in at two hundred, twenty-five pounds… he is a former Iron Fist Champion… a former World Heavyweight Champion… he is the BRUTAL and the INHUMAN… CORAZON!
Other Guy: That is one man who I do not want to fuck with. He's a bad, bad man.
Eryk Masters: But is he primed and ready to go?
Other Guy: Why don't you shut the fuck up? How about that?
Eryk Masters: Okay, sure. This has the atmosphere and the energy of a championship matchup, OG.
Other Guy: Yeah, it’s pretty wild. These two guys have some history, that’s for sure. Stein, of course, being the man to end Corazon’s epic Iron Fist championship reign, three years ago.
Eryk Masters: And that’s something Stein made sure to remind people of, though you have to wonder… it was three years ago. Both of these men have changed significantly since then.
Cade Sydal has the two in the center of the ring, going over some last moment rules. Corazon keeps his eyes glued to Dan Stein, who reciprocates in kind. Cade breaks, and the two of them return to their corner, awaiting the bell signaling the beginning of the match.
Other Guy: Yeah… those two are pretty intense.
Eryk Masters: Understatement. Stein has a lot to prove. Corazon, as well. It’s Corazon’s first singles match since SHOOT returned. This is Stein’s biggest match since SHOOT came back, as well.
The bell rings, and the match begins, as the fans are solidly behind Dan Stein. Stein explodes out of his corner, catching Corazon off guard, and going to town with a series of rights and lefts to the body, in Corazon’s corner. The crowd pops hard for this, as Cade Sydal immediately begins a five count. Stein allows Cade to get to four, before easing up. He walks away and then immediately launches into Corazon with a stiff elbow to the chin! Corazon’s rocked against the rope, Stein hooks him around his neck and drives him downward with a bulldog! Stein scrambles to his feet, and immediately pulls Corazon to his own feet. Stein hooks Corazon in a front facelock, then pulls him up and over with a vertical suplex! He goes for a cover, but Cade is slow to get down!
Other Guy: I think Corazon got caught a little off guard there!
Eryk Masters: I think you’re right, but Stein needs to keep the pressure up, and keep at him. Don’t give Corazon a chance to breathe.
Stein, as though he hears the announcers, gets back to work on Corazon, pulling him by his hair to his feet. He earns some admonishment from Cade Sydal. Stein whips Corazon into the ropes, and flattens him with a clothesline. Stein picks Corazon up once more, goes for a collar and elbow, but Corazon breaks it! Corazon nails Stein with a big right hand, then hits him AGAIN with a big right hand, and then one more for good measure! Stein’s rocked, leaning up against the top rope. Corazon follows Stein, and whips him into the opposite ropes. Stein rebounds from the irish whip. Corazon kicks him in the stomach, doubling him over. He hooks him around the neck and then DRIVES him down with a DDT.
Other Guy: I assume that’s what you were talking about, E?
Eryk Masters: It’s not even that he didn’t follow up. He just… he got caught.
Corazon pulls Stein to his feet, and just blatantly shoves him into the corner. He begins to nail Dan Stein over and over again in the face with sets of punches, and then he punctuates it with an elbow right to Stein’s chin. Stein’s dazed, leaning up against the turnbuckle. Corazon backs up and then CHARGES into Stein and NAILS him with another elbow! Stein stumbles forward, right into Corazon. Corazon hooks Stein and pulls him over with a VICIOUS T-Bone Suplex. Corazon takes to the turnbuckle, and waits for Stein to get to his feet.
Eryk Masters: Man oh man, are we going to see a high flying move from Corazon?
Other Guy: It’s rare, but sometimes he feels like he needs to bust it out.
Stein gets to his feet, and Corazon comes off the turnbuckle, going for a flying clothesline, but Stein ducks out of the way, and Corazon rolls to the other end, taking minimal damage. Corazon gets to his feet, but Stein is halfway across the ring already, and he flies into Corazon with a splash in the corner! The crowd pops for Stein there, as he goes to follow up. He climbs the first two ring ropes and motions like he’s going for 10 punches on Corazon! The crowd loves it, counting along with him!
But then they start booing, as Corazon grabs Stein and just throws him down with a spinebuster! He picks Stein up, and hooks him around the waist once more, and throws him over his head, with a belly to belly suplex! He goes for one more, but modifies it a bit and drops Stein more on his head! Corazon goes for a cover.
Eryk Masters: Right when Stein gets a little momentum, it’s like Corazon wakes up, and just gets in the way.
Other Guy: It’s why he’s as good as he is, E. The guy IS a former two time World Champion. Let’s not forget that.
But Stein kicks out!
Eryk Masters: Stein has some heart, no doubt about that.
Other Guy: Of course he does. This is a big, big match for him. Really really big.
Eryk Masters: The real question is… does his heart pee, OG? Does it pee?
Other Guy: Hey look, action in the ring!
Corazon’s lording over Stein, as Stein starts to get to his feet. Corazon gives him no time, and delivers a soccer kick into Stein’s midsection. Corazon measures Stein and then drops an elbow on him. He goves for a cover, but only gets a two count. Corazon pulls Stein to his feet once more, and leads him around the ring, mocking Stein’s fans, who let him have it.
Other Guy: Corazon not making any friends here, Eryk.
Eryk Masters: Of course not. Do you see a friendly guy when you look at Adrian Corazon?
Both men are up now, as Stein circles the ring as Corazon stands proud in the center, literally stamping his authority as he turns to maintain his visual fix on his opponent.
Other Guy: Dan seems a bit tentative here...
Eryk Masters: The rep Corazon carries, I'm not surprised.
Suddenly, Stein lunges in for a collar-and-elbow tie-up, but as Corazon reaches out to match him, Stein bobs to the side and SMASHES his right fist into Corazon's mouth! Corazon's staggered, his eyes rolling ever so slightly as Stein rushes in with his fists raised, looking for the finish! He loads up with his left, but Corazon gets his arms up in time, absorbing the impact on his triceps and circling away, back away from the ropes and toward the center of the ring. Stein smells blood and jumps right in with a Superman punch, but Corazon's cobwebs are clearing and he side-steps away from the aerial maneouvre and catches Stein flush across the solar plexus with a roundhouse kick and drops him to his knees with a killing blow of a left hand to the side of the head! Stein's on his hands and knees, his face bright red as he spits out mouthfuls of saliva and tries to suck in some air, but the Brutal One seizes the opportunity and leaps into the air, crashing down into the middle of Stein's back with a jumping knee that flattens him onto the canvas.
Not even moving, Corazon wipes away a trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth with a wicked smirk.
Other Guy: Holy shit!
Eryk Masters: Look at Stein, twitching and spasming and then look at that sadistic grin on the face of Adrian Corazon. It turns my stomach!
Other Guy: Just for a minute there, I thought Stein was going to repeat his Iron Fist win against Corazon by knocking him clean out, but NO!
Cade Sydal looks on, gob-smacked, looking over to the timekeeper, unsure whether to halt the match and call for the medical team but the decision is taken away from him as Corazon grabs Stein by the hair and pulls him slowly, painfully to his feet. Stein's back is arched awkwardly as he stands, supported only by Corazon's hands around his throat. Clearly false sympathy strikes Corazon's face before he simply releases his grasp and allows Stein to fall, crashing down onto his knees with his face a twisted visage of agony beyond comprehension. Corazon circles the ring, again wiping at that trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth.
Eryk Masters: Dear God... somebody's got to go and help Stein right now...
Other Guy: He's a soldier, Eryk, a SHOOT Project soldier. He knew what he was signing up for when he agreed to the match. He knows better than most just what Corazon is capable of!
Loading up, Corazon slaps his right leg and charges toward Stein, drawing his leg back and swinging, his shin almost lazer-targeted to the chin of the downed man but AT THE LAST SECOND Dan Stein catches the leg and drives forward, a sloppy single-leg takedown bringing Adrian crashing to the canvas! Like the shark in Jaws eating it's way up the boat, Stein hurriedly pulls himself up Corazon's floored body, taking a mounted position and swinging down a BOMB of a right hand into Corazon's face! Corazon squirms, bringing his hands up to cover his face as Stein offloads with lefts and rights!
Other Guy: Look at that!
Eryk Masters: That's the Stein spirit we know!
Running out of gas, Stein halts his assault, reaching out for the ropes and using them to pull himself to his feet, slowly standing and using the top rope to stretch his back out as, behind him, Corazon rises slowly to one knee and then to his feet, blood oozing from several small cuts around his eyes and cheeks, a trickle from his nose linking up with the one from the corner of his mouth which is twisted into an evil smirk as he eyes Stein up from behind, debating what move to make...
Other Guy: Look at that! Some of those punches got through!
Eryk Masters: What do you expect? Law of averages. Stein must have thrown twenty or thirty, so a few must have got through. Look at Adrian's face...
Other Guy: He doesn't need a Halloween costume – he already looks like Freddy Krueger!
Other Guy: Listen to that crowd!
Eryk Masters: They are SOLIDLY behind Dan Stein here.
Other Guy: I think they have respect for both of these men, really going for it here tonight.
Out of nowhere, Corazon hoists Stein up onto his shoulders, but Stein elbows him in the side of the head, and then spins around. He drops him with a tornado spike DDT! The Power Surge! Both men are down!
Eryk Masters: What a move! Stein takes Corazon OUT right there, but can’t follow up! Both guys are down!
Other Guy: The crowd really doesn’t know what to do with itself here!
Cade Sydal begins his mandatory ten count!
Stein begins to stir, but Corazon is still down.
Stein is to his knees, and Corazon is on all fours!
Stein is to his feet, as Cade cancels his count. Stein, not entirely sure what to do here, waits for Corazon to groggily get to his feet. Corazon does, and Stein hooks him front chancery style. Stein snaps him over with a snap suplex, and Corazon’s flat on his back. Stein looks out to the crowd, and then over to the turnbuckle! The crowd pops HUGE for this!
Other Guy: Stein’s about to go for it, E.
Eryk Masters: Shooting star press!? The crowd thinks so! My heart thinks so!
Stein ascends the turnbuckle, and motions to the crowd, and then points down to Corazon. Cade Sydal yells at Stein, distracting him, but Stein jumps off the turnbuckle, and completes one rotation, Corazon jumps to his feet! CORAZON IS UP! CORAZON JUMPS AND GRABS STEIN’S HEAD IN MID AIR, HE DRIVES STEIN’S HEAD INTO HIS KNEES! CORAZON NAILS HIM WITH THE ACT OF INHUMANITY!
The crowd starts a “HEART JUST PEED” chant!
Other Guy: THAT WAS HUGE. HOLY SHIT. STEIN IS DOWN. CORAZON IS UP BUT HE’S LIMPING.
Cade calls for the bell and immediately slides out of the ring. The fans begin to boo loudly.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and Gentlemen…Your winner, at a time of twenty-three minutes and forty-three seconds by way of pinfall…He is the Brutal…Inhuman…AAADRIAAAAN CORAZON!!
Eryk Masters: Chalk up another win for the Sovereign…
Other Guy: Say what you will about Adrian Corazon, but he picks up a solid win tonight in his first singles….WHAT THE HELL!!?
Just as Corazon raises his hand in victory, a man jumps the security rail just beside the ring. The fans part to either side as Trey Willett slides into the ring holding a large steel rod! The fans EXPLODE as Trey stands behind Adrian Corazon. Corazon spins around to come face to face with Trey. Trey cracks a sly grin as Corazon draws his fist back to strike Trey. Just before he pulls his hand forward, Trey drives the steel rod into the stomach of Corazon. Corazon crumples to the ground, his body going completely limp.
Eryk Masters: Trey Willett is here, O.G.! It’s been almost a month since we’ve seen him, and Trey is here, and it looks like he’s come to get a little revenge on Corazon!
Other Guy: I don’t know what Trey hit him with, but Corazon seems down for the count!
Eryk Masters: My god! That’s a cattle prod! Trey Willett has just hit Adrian Corazon with a cattle prod!
Trey wastes no time scurrying to ringside. He reaches under he mat, and removes a small ream of rope. Trey reaches in between the turnbuckles and pulls Corazon’s arms behind him, securely fastening his to the corner. Trey walks around to the announcer’s tale and grabs a chair. Tossing it over the top rope, it comes crashing down into the apron, just as Trey is sliding under the bottom rope. He casually walks to the chair, picks it up, and sets it upright just inches away from Adrian Corazon. He positions the chair backwards, and takes a seat.
Other Guy: I have to say, I’m just a little confused, Eryk. I’m not so sure htat I would poke a wild bear like that if I were Trey.
Eryk Masters: It was only a matter of time before Trey got involved in this fight. It’s about damned time if you ask me!
Trey sets the cattle prod next to him, and removes a mic from his pocket. He mockingly slaps Corazon in the face a few times, bringing him out of his daze.
Trey Willett: That's a ton of volts right there, Adrian. Tell me, can you move your legs yet? It’s ok. You just sit tight. Here’s how this is going to work, buddy-boy. You are going to sit there, and listen to every damned word that I have to say. You see, I haven’t been in a SHOOT Project ring in almost a month. Ever since you and Donovan got one over on us at Under Siege. I had planned on showing up last week, but it seems that someone had other plans for me. More sinister plans. Brutal. Inhuman plans.
Trey Willett: You Listen to me, you piece of shit…I don’t care what you’ve done. I don’t care what your reputation is, and frankly, I don’t care what kind of monster you really are. I…will…end you. Before all of this, it was just you against me. You wanted to put a stop to whatever shining beacon you thought I was becoming. I wanted to avenge my friends. You just had to take it a step too far, didn’t you?
I stayed out of this shit for as long as I could. Every time I turned the television on, I had to hear people wonder if I was even involved. Where does Trey Willett stands? TMB, Dan Stein, and Azraith are doing everything they can to stop the Sovereign. Where the hell is Trey? Is he even ready for the war that is coming? I’m here. I’m not here to stop King. I could give two shits less about the clown and the firestarter. I’m here for you, Adrian. Doesn’t that make you feel special? I am in this building for no better reason than to come out here and talk to you.
Other Guy: Trey is getting awfully close to Corazon’s face.
Eryk Masters: He’s making a statement, O.G. He will not be intimidated. He will not lay down and surrender. He’s here for his family. He’s here for his fans, and Adrian Corazon is in a bit of trouble here.
Corazon struggles to free himself for a few moments before giving up. He resigns himself to glaring a hole through his captor. Trey leans in, and slaps Corazon across the face a few more times, enciting a look of rage in the eyes of Corazon.
Trey Willett: Through all of it, I have stayed the course. I didn’t let my emotions get the best of me. You almost ended Curtis’s career. You put Jason Johnson out of commission. I came out, had my match with you. I played it clean, tight knit. Everything was going well. Then you took it just a step too far. You can deny it all you want, Adrian. I know you have them. I fucking KNOW IT!
Trey drives his fist into Corazon’s chest. Corazon heaves a cough as Trey kicks the chair back off its feet. Trey reaches into his back pocket, and the gleam of a pair of pliers catches the camera. Trey pins Corazons legs down with his knees, and leans in close to his face.
I’ll make you a deal, Adrian…You have two weeks. Starting tonite. You and me, in the ring. Revolution 68. I’m warning you.. Think I’m a joke. Don’t take this serious if you don’t want. But I swear. If you come down here, Sunday without my family, I will pull every goddamned tooth out of that fucking face of yours.
Trey smacks Corazon across the face with the pliers, and tosses them to the side. He stands up.
Trey Willett: Two weeks, Adrian. You better hope I get my family back before then. I’m outta here. Show’s over.
“Carry on, Wayward Son” HIt’s the PA. The fans continue to scream as Trey makes his way back over the guard rail. He looks back over his shoulder at Adrian Corazon, who has just begun to attempt to free himself again. The guitar solo continues on as Trey makes his way out of the arena.
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