An ominous string movement takes over the loudspeaker, as the arena goes to black. An orange tinted spotlight shines down, and the Las Vegas crowd begins to boo vociferously as they recognize who is about to grace them with their presence.
“The Point of No Return” by Immortal Technique now climbs into your ears, as the man known as brutal, inhuman, and Project: SCAR’s Black Death steps out from behind the curtain. He lifts his head up, and is bathed in orange spotlight, as it glints off the sunglasses that are obscured by his stringy black hair.
Eryk Masters: I was certainly not expecting this man to step out here and be the first thing we see tonight.
Other Guy: I’d just as soon he go back into the back if at all possible. I don’t really want to hear it, you know?
Eryk Masters: Well, unfortunately for you, you’re not the guy in charge of the production truck, so I guess it’s Corazon time.
Corazon makes his way down the ramp, typically ignoring every fan on his way down. He’s met half way by Samantha Coil who hands him a microphone, and he slowly climbs into the ring, pausing a moment to accept the extreme amount of hatred that is poured onto him.
Adrian Corazon: There’s been a lot of talk about the importance of next week’s show. How it’s the official 10th anniversary show… how we have a lot to celebrate. The prevailing theme, of course, has been said to be “old vs. new.”
Corazon fakes a yawn.
Adrian Corazon: For a company that prides itself on being soooo progressive, it’s hard for me to watch how Jason Johnson panders to a certain crowd, and how he continues to extend olive branch after olive branch to relics of the SHOOT Project’s past. So, congratulations, Jason… on ten glorious years. Congratulations for learning absolutely nothing in your time, and congratulations for putting on a show that will showcase just how bad the old guys are.
Corazon smirks, as the crowd throws hateful boo after hateful boo his direction.
Adrian Corazon: Of course, there are rumors as to special guests appearing. Special names from our special past.
He fakes a yawn again.
Adrian Corazon: Needless to say… I’m calling one of those names out. I don’t care who it is, which era they came from, or how terrible they were… I want an old name. I want to show the world ONCE… AGAIN… that being in the SHOOT Project is not about having praise lavished upon you… it’s not about looking “pretty.”
Adrian Corazon: It’s about getting violent… getting bloody… getting dirty… and getting into a fight. You know how this goes, SHOOT Project. Project: SCAR’s black death has issued a challenge… perhaps… oh perhaps… one of these fool legends will be man enough to step into my ring. MY RING. Then, and only then… will we get to see what makes this place truly… beautiful.
“The Point of NO Return” by Immortal Technique explodes over the PA, as Adrian Corazon smiles into the camera, and out to the crowd. He takes his exit, as the view goes back to the desk.
Eryk Masters: I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. That is one disgusting, nasty motherfucker, and anyone who takes his challenge… they’ll have a fight on their hands.
Other Guy: I really hope that someone stuffs a sock in that assholes mouth, because honestly… I’m tired of hearing about the beautification of the SHOOT Project, and I’m sick of all the talk about purification. If Jason wants to have an anniversary show to celebrate a major milestone, let him. Fuck Adrian Corazon.
Tharodund/Crazy Boy d. Jamie Alejandro/Laura Seton - Crazy Boy hits the Crazy Slam on Jamie Alejandro to pick up a pinfall.
There seems to be some action backstage. Let's head there now...
The scene opens to TMB’s locker room in the back. Black is sitting in the shadows of the corner. In front of Thomas is a mirror. Black rocks back and forth in front of the mirror, trying to make sense of the voice he is hearing in his head.
Voice: Do you see how quickly they have left you behind?
Shuts his eyes as if he is trying not to listen.
Voice: you see how quickly they abandon you once the spotlight was there again?
He wants to say that the voice is wrong…that its always wrong.
Voice: where is your good buddy, “The Saint”?
Voice: Where is your new found friend, Trey?
But inside he knows the voice is telling the truth…he was just too stubborn to notice.
Voice: Have you not learned your lesson? It seemed the teachings of Jonny Johnson became lost to you. It seems that truth taught by Sinn and Ozzy failed to stick. Even now as you are in this locker room alone, you wish your comrades where here don’t you?
Voice: right now you wish Jamie would walk in and you two could talk about your dealings with your step dad, right? Maybe Trey would come in and talk to you about staying true to your fighting spirit. Have you not noticed what has happened to you, Thomas. You were at your best when you were alone. You submitted the unsubmittable Pestalance…you went toe to toe with King. But no look at you…look at what you have become.
Black begins to shake as the words start to fill his head.
Voice: You aren’t the same beast that took apart Garvin, Leers and Crazy Boy. You aren’t the monster that beat Lake, Ozzy and Thomas. I can’t even begin to describe what you are, but I can tell you one thing. You are worthless in this state. You aren’t the Hitman…the Samoan Reality Check. You are a disrespect to everything that you have done up to this point sans your foolish “Fallen Saints pairing. You want to know why you are in a rut and why you aren’t winning your matches. Look in the mirror…would you lose to a pathetic piece of shit like you?
TMB: SHUT UP!!!!!
Black quickly stand up and smashes his right fist into the mirror sending it flying to the floor. As the scene fades you can see the rage in TMB take over as he starts to pound away at the fallen mirror. Shards of glass and splashes of blood fly as the scene finally fades to black.
Lunatikk Crippler d. Johnny Napalm - Crippler defeats Napalm after hitting the Bitchified, to retain the Sin City Championship.
Walking around backstage Tanya Black spies something important from a bit of distance away. Her expression shifts and soon Tanya is standing in catering looking over at Jacob Fisher.
Tanya: Well hello Mr. I Don't Answer Voicemails
Jacob: Sorry about that, been dealing with a bit of business. Personal family matter so to speak. I'm sure the details will get out soon enough. He's never been one for not speaking his mind. I'm sure Goeren will find out soon enough. Just doing my part.
Tanya: Yeah I saw what happened at Master of the Mat. Sucks for you but that is why I have been trying to call you so I could cheer you up. I even sent you a picture of my Halloween costume and you just stayed silent. I was starting to think you were off playing with ring rats or something.
Jacob: Haven't had time for much of anything. I've been meaning to return your calls, but now that Goeren knows what the issue at hand is we've had to up some defenses. Things go much deeper than ring wars, and much further than the ring. Goeren could even see you as a target to get to me, but I know you can handle yourself.
Tanya laughs and nods her head as she reaches over and grabs some fruit off the catering table. Popping a couple grapes in her mouth she smirks wickedly.
Tanya: It's not just me he'd have to deal with. Though for the record the Syndicate would prefer to leave Herr DoucheClown to you guys. After all he's beneath us.
Jacob seemed to stare off his mind seemingly in another place.
Jacob: There is a war upon us, not quite here yet, but mark my words hells a coming. There are no bystanders, everyone will have a side. Whether we like it or not there will be victims and casualties. I'm not here to ask you to pick a side or get involved just letting you know that there is a quiet before the storm.
Tanya thinks for a moment then nods with a bit of a solemn face.
Tanya: I will pick the same side I always do with wrestling stuff Jacob. MY Side. I have never been a follower. Right now Cade and Flash like my vision and that's fine. What you need to understand is wrestling is business. No matter how personal some people make these things, I always keep my business in the arena. I don't let it control my life and my choices. So what I do outside the arena and who I do it with has nothing to do with business.
With that Tanya picks up a strawberry and offers it up to Jacob as she holds it delicately in between her fingers
Jacob: Kidd's been threw many a war and the places he's been there’s no difference between business and person. This business is personal and while I owe Kidd a lot I wouldn't stand behind him if I wasn't 100% behind the cause, but be forewarned that Kidd takes a lot of things personal especially when it involves family and this business is his family.
Jacob bites the strawberry leaving the stem in Tanya's fingers. Then stands up straight as he sees someone making his way towards them. Tanya tosses the stem aside before popping a strawberry of her own, making sure to lick her lips clean.
Tanya: I could care less about Patrick Kidd. I just want you to keep in mind what I said because I know you aren't the kind of guy who is going to like what I do to people in order to get what I need out of SHOOT Project. I'd hate for our fun and games to be ruined by this before we even got to the good stuff.
Jacob gives a nod as we see Patrick Kidd standing behind Tanya, he walks around to be standing between Jacob and Tanya but a step back as not to be in the middle of them.
Tanya: Well it seems someone else is hungry? Banana? Or are you more of the ham sandwich type?
Tanya makes sure to stare Patrick Kidd right in the eyes as she stands there defiant of his reputation.
Kidd: I don't eat before I go out to battle, and my match isn't long off. I just have my piece to say then I'll go upon my way. The first shots of an ugly war are almost upon us. You could care less about me and to be honest I don't give a hot damn about that. You don't have to like me, but you will not disrespect me or the men that paved the path that made this place what it is so you can have a job. I'll be the first to say everyone has to earn their place and you've done a lot in your time here, but there be no SHOOT Project if there wasn't men like Carver, Kast, Real Deal, and as much as I hate to say it men like X-Calibur. You might feel that we think we’re entitled to things and take chances from the up and comers, but with 10 years just around the corner for SHOOT Project you have to remember those fans may come to see you, but when you were a nobody they came to see them and that’s how they found out who you were, and they still come to see men like Carver go to war.
I'm not asking you to be on my side, as your don't need to be on anyone's side but your own, but when your battles cross paths with my war you better know that myself and The Gunslingers are what you might call Carver's Army special reserves, and us Outlaws don't take to kindly with others messing with family. You can see first hand with what will happen to Goeren tonight. You can have your issues with Carver and if you want a fight I'm sure he'll give it to you. If things go dirty though or your syndicates buddies want to try anything dirty, i don't mind adding another battle to my war.
Tanya listens patiently. Once Patrick Kidd is finished she takes another moment to ponder his words. Then she laughs, a laughter that carries both a sense of genuine amusement and a hint of barely contained menace. It is the laughter of one you could see easily cross that line into true evil if she wished. Jacob looks on uncomfortable about where this may lead.
Tanya: Listen to yourself. MY war, MY accomlishments, MY blood, MY people. The Gunslingers don't belong to you and Carver is not worth thinking about because he doesn't control SHOOT's future even with an army. Get off your High Horse Patrick. This is my problem. Everything you see, every thought you have, is about YOU. All I wanted was to let my friend, someone who got laid up in the hospital because he took YOUR ass-kicking while you hid in the shadows like a....... Hierachy member, to know that despite my new alliances we could still do things that might make us happy. Things that don't involve SHOOT. You want to talk about me? Fine here is the thing. I respect history. I respect people like Stan Erichson, who built the industry before any of your buddies even thought about lacing up the boots, because he doesn't let his record birth arrogance in his heart. People like YOU who want it all to be about them all the time are who I go to war against. I will take my opportunities and carve my place in SHOOT History because I am as good as any wrestler in this industry. I will bury anybody who says their status as a "SHOOT Icon" means they are too much for me. Not because I am jealous but because I earned my spot on the roster by defying such decrees.
The Syndicate endorses the idea of Patrick Kidd and Azrael Goeren fighting to a mutual demise. Makes our job easier. See to me, you and the men you hate are all the same. I came to SHOOT to wrestle honestly and fairly and show the fans that if you are determined enough, you can accomplish anything. People like you took that away from me, you come and go and hold people down so the spotlight never leaves you. So if you choose to get in my ring, I will take away your dreams. I am The Alpha Female Tanya Black. I don't take shit from anybody.
With that Tanya Black grabs a tuna fish sandwich and gives Jacob a wink.
Tanya: Don't be afraid to call me sometime. I promise I won't subvert your loyalties. Just your attention.
Kidd: Jacob knows what he has entered into and he has the right to walk away at anytime. I never took anything away from you, you want to make a name for yourself you earn it I got no problem with that. I stood toe to toe with Stan and you beat him I'll give you that, but every wrestler who laces up the boots think they are the alpha, and if they don't they don't belong in this business. I said what I’ve had to say, you want to make your name you do that, but I'll say again you want to think your better than the guys who built this place you go talk to the boss and get yourself a contract. I've had my ass kicked by better women than you. I've held gold with Jenna Evans, I've been bloodied and bruised by Ainsley Lake and Victoria DeMitri and truth be told I don't think you could lace their boots. Their actions spoke louder than your whining. You think we act like we deserve things because of our past then step up and knock us down. Now I've got a match, but I'm sure I'll be seeing you. You and Jake have a good time I got a battle to attend.
Kidd turns to Jacob.
Kidd: I'll see you back at the gym tomorrow afternoon.
Tanya: Someone please save me from the ignorant before they infect my brain. Kidd if you think so highly of all those other women, you can tell them I'm waiting in the ring I have taken ownership of. The SHOOT Project Ring. I will fight on the 10th anniversary show, even if it's in the parking lot just for the fun of it. In the meantime ponder this: Goeren is not worth my time, so why should I care about the man who has failed to truly stop him? I end careers and I am ending this waste of my time. Jacob, seriously take care of yourself and tell Stan I said hi.
With that Tanya takes her sandwich and a banana and leaves the catering area.
I can almost taste it…
Cade is interupted by the opening heavy guitar riffs of “Enemy” by 12 Stones.
Eryk Masters: I've never heard this theme music before. Is it someone new?
Other Guy: More like who has the audacity to interupt the former World Champion.
See you look at me
Eryk Masters: Cronos Diamante. That's who.
Other Guy: Change in music for Cronos here. He's dressed in street clothes so it doesn't appear he's here to fight with Cade. One can only speculate why he's here tonight. It's documented they've been good friends dating back many years.
Eryk Masters: The two did ask each other when Cronos first came around to give a good beat down to their respective Revolution opponents.
Cronos looks out at a booing crowd. He nods his head up and down at the boos and looks back to Cade as his new theme music continues to play.
But there's no sympathy
Your the enemy
Cronos makes a cutting of the throat action to indicate his theme music need to be cut. Cronos and Cade share a smirk.
Eryk Masters: This crowd is now completely quiet. I can't decide what Cronos is out here for. To support Cade or God forbid... join his syndicate.
Other Guy: Cronos joining the fold would make for one hell of an addition to The Sinister Syndicate. Let's see how this unfolds.
Cronos Diamante: When The SHOOT Project formed, it was a bunch of ragtag sociopathic mad men and a few vagrant fighters battling in warehouses and old abandoned buildings with one goal in mind.
Cronos holds up one finger and stares at Cade.
Cronos Diamante: To be the best. To stand atop the latter and look down at the competition they'd beaten on the way to becoming a Champion.
Cronos pauses for a moment to survey a crowd not sure whether they should boo the former Rule of Surrender Champion or keep listening without interupting. He focusses his attention back to Cade when the vast majority decide to let Cronos talk while the others begin to boo.
Cronos Diamante: The names have changed over the years. Eric Wolfson gave way to Josh Johnson. Cronos Diamante gave way to Diamond Del Carver. Voodoo gave way to OutKast. The one constant; however, is the mission... it remained the same. To be the best fighter they could be. To stand out amongst the crowd. Undisputed with how good they are.
Over time, those names changed again. Josh Johnson gave way to Corazon. Carver gave way to King. OutKast gave way to Cade Sydal. For a good time, things were looking great for this generation. Just as good, if not better than the previous. Psychos and heroes alike wanting to be nothing but the best.
Cronos pauses and stares up at Cade. He smirks and again Cade returns it.
Eryk Masters: Oh no. This isn't looking good for SHOOT. I have a bad feeling about this. Cronos is going to join, Cade.
Cronos Diamante: What the hell happened to you!?
Other Guy: What!?! What is he saying?
Eryk Masters: Let the man talk.
Cade drops his smirk and stares at Cronos none too pleased as the crowd begins to stir. The fans booing Cronos stop immediately and some of the crowd get to their feet. Cade raises the microphone to his mouth but Cronos cuts him off.
Cronos Diamante: While everybody else kept trying to become the best fighter they could be and stand at the top with respect, love them or hate them, all you seemed to care about was how you could keep a World Championship around your waist. The man I once knew took a stand and made his career mean something. Frankly, Cade, you've been in this business long enough to know that is isn't how long you hold a title, but rather... how hard you work to keep it. I may not have held onto the Rule of Surrender Championship for months and months on end but I never ran away from a challenge. I never looked at that title as the epitome of what I am as if I needed it to be something great. I damn sure never lost the respect I have bled for, scratched for, and fought for with every fiber of my being. Hell I may not even be a good man, Cade. I may even be the Devil, but you'd be hard pressed to find a single person in this audience, at home watching on T.V. Or in that locker room who thinks me a God damn coward!!! Can you say the same, Cade? Really.
Cade stares hard at Cronos for a moment.
Cronos sighs and shakes his head at Cade but doesn't take his eyes of him, staring a hole right through him. Cronos brings the microphone to his mouth, knowing he won't be interupted this time.
Cronos Diamante: You know what, Cade? You're right. I did make Alex Brooks quit. I challenged him to try to fight me and the golden boy slipped. Really hate to be the one to say it, but that happens in this business. More often than it probably should. Let's face facts, Cade... we're not all going to make it to the finish line. But when I won that Rule of Surrender Championship and I was asked by The SHOOT Project to represent them, and the fans, as a Champion... I buckled that belt around my waist and held my head high. Because unlike you, Cade... I understand that from the dark match to the main event, it is a mother fucking HONOR to be here, even more so if you are one of the incredibaly lucky few who have earned that right to be called a Champion.
A small group of fans begin cheering at what Cronos has just said and Cronos begins walking down to the ring.
Other Dave: What has come over Cronos Diamante? This is not the same man. He and Cade were friends. Why is he picking a fight?
Eryk Masters: On the contrary, OD... this is still the same Cronos we knew. He's acting the same way he did before Master of the Mat. He's a SHOOT Project Soldier and he's going to stand up for SHOOT even if he's done some shady things in the past.
Other Dave: I don't like what I'm seeing from him right now and I hope Cade knocks his head off and shows him why he still deserves to be World Champion.
Cronos Diamante: So you can stand up there in that ring and hurl down insults about what I did to Alex Brooks and threaten to come kick my ass. You can act like Alex Brooks is more than just an unfortunate footnote who could have been great were he to have not given up on himself. But You need to remember that I'm not just a SHOOT Project soldier. I'm the SHOOT Project soldier. I'm the mother fucking original. Love me, hate me, I don't give a fuck. What I do give a fuck about is that there is no way I am going to let a sleazy little prick like you try to represent what I would lay my life down for.
With that, Cronos takes off on a dead run to the ring and slides under the bottom rope ready for a fight. When he gets to his feet, Cade and Cassi are already on the outside and backing up the ramp not taking their eyes off Cronos who has moved to the ropes and is yelling at Cade.
Cronos Diamante: COWARD!!!
Eryk Masters: Somehow I don't think this is over tonight.
I can almost taste it…
The lights drop and the fans begin to boo loudly.
It makes no sense to me…
A spotlight slowly comes to a stop on the top of the ramp.
I can almost taste it…
I can almost see it!
It makes no sense to me…
I can almost taste it…
Eryk Masters: Here comes the former world champion. You know he has a lot he wants to show here tonight after that loss at Master of the Mat.
I just wanna be famous!
Cassi Ryan: Ladies and Gentlemen. People of Sin City. Tonight you will witness greatness. Tonight you will witness the finest display of pure wrestling talent ever to grace the SHOOT Project Ring.
The fans boo vehemently as Cassi simply smiles at every fan in eyeshot of her.
Cassi Ryan: It is with utmost respect that I bring to you God's Favorite wrestler. He hails from Southport, North Carolina… but now resides in Sin City, Las Vegas, Nevada… he weighs in at 178 pounds… he is the SHOOT Project's once and future champion… CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADE….. SYYYYYYYYYYDAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!
CARRY ON MY WAYWARD SON..
Eryk Masters: Speaking of someone coming off a big match at Master of the Mat. TREY WILLETT IS HERE!
The fans begin to quiet down as Trey enters the ring. Cassi Leaves the ring along with Samantha Coil, leaving Cade and Trey standing nose to nose in the center of the ring. The tension in the air is thick as the fans continue to stay quiet in anticipation of the match at hand. The bell rings …
The match gets underway with Cade reaching in for a lockup, but getting met with a stiff right cross to the jaw. Cade stumbles backwards a step, but is steadfast, attempting another lockup with Trey. This one connects, tangling Trey up. Cade delivers a knee to the gut of Trey and slides around to lock Trey up from behind. Trey struggles for only a moment as Cade delivers a kick to the back of Trey's right knee, sending him to the mat.
Eryk Masters: These two have quite a bit of history with one another. They had a nice series of matches in 2009. The two certainly know each other, and Cade is doing everything he can to play to his strengths.
Trey struggles against the hold, and is able to power Cade's knee from his chest and break the hold. Cade, not allowing Trey any time to recuperate is right back on him, delivering another kick to the head as Trey tries to get to his feet. Trey falls on his back again, and just as Cade is about to deliver a boot to the arm of Trey, he rolls out of the way.
Other Guy: It seems to be a common theme for Trey's opponents that he is weak against the submission game. Trey is going to have to stay out of Cade's holds if he is going to want to stay in this match.
Eryk Masters: Well, his match with Donovan King was certainly a crash course in how to wrestle a technical expert. Trey is just going to have to stick to his game plan.
Cade gets his footing back and is met with a boot to the midsection from Trey. Trey follows up with a flurry of rights and lefts to the face and midsection of Cade Sydal. The fans explode at the surge of Life from the Wayward Son! Cade staggers backwards, Trey moves forwards, and backs Cade into the ropes continuing his barrage of strikes. Trey grabs hold of Cade's arm and rockets him into the opposite ropes. Trey sizes him up, lifts him up by the waist, and drives him to the mat with a SPINEBUSTER! The fans start cheering at the sight of Cade Sydal on the mat. Trey pops back up, fires into the ropes, and leaps into the air, driving a leg into the chest of Cade Sydal with a leg drop.
CADE'S A NAZI! Clap! Clap! Clap, clap, clap!
CADE'S A NAZI! Clap! Clap! Clap, clap, clap!
Eryk Masters: The fans letting Cade know just what they think of his "Sinister Syndicate."
Other Guy: You know, for all of the skills Cade has proven he has as a creative talent, the SS was a rare, but huge misstep.
Cade is visibly frustrated as Trey makes his way to his feet. Cade Moves to the ropes and begins jawing with a fan in the front row. Trey comes up behind Cade and LEVELS him over the top rope with a wicked clothesline! Cade hits the concrete as Trey moves back to the opposite rope to attempt the regain some of his faculties. After a few moments, Cade brings himself to his feet and makes his way to the ring apron. Trey moves towards the ropes and attempts to lock Cade up. Cade ducks down and delivers a shoulder block to Trey's midsection, doubling him over. Cade grabs hold of the top rope and flips over Trey in a SUNSET FLIP! He rolls Trey into a pin.
TW…Trey kicks out!
The fans Cheer as both men fire up to their feet. Cade strikes Trey with a pair of quick kicks to the gut, then grasps his arm and sends him into an Irish Whip into the turnbuckle! Trey hits the turnbuckle with force, jarring his back, and is met by a running drop kick by Cade! The fans boo loudly as Trey crumples to a sitting position in the corner. Cade, wasting no time, begins to fire stomp after stomp to the face of his opponent. After one final, brutal stomp, Cade reaches down and drags Trey to his feet.
Cade locks him up and fires Trey up and over with a belly to belly suplex. The fans begin to clamor and cheer for Trey to rise back to his feet as he hits the mat with a THUD. Cade gives a very unpleasant gesture to the fans as he moves in towards Trey to lift him t his feet once again.
Eryk Masters: A sudden surge of energy from the former champion. He is certainly showing here tonight that Master of the Mat was just a minor setback for him.
Cade slaps the stunned Trey in the face once, then twice, as Trey tries to respond with a few half-hearted hooks in Cade's direction. Trey, obviously stunned, is locked up again, then fired into the ropes with another Irish Whip. Trey thunders towards Cade. Just as Cade is about to attempt to lock Trey up, Trey hits the mat, sliding between Cade's legs. Before Cade can turn around, Trey leans upwards, locks his legs around Cade's waist, and springboards up flipping Cade over in a surprise Yoshi Tonic! Willie Dean drops to the mat to make the count.
THR…CADE KICKS OUT!
Other Guy: Classic! Trey was playing possum and almost catches Cade off guard there!
Trey releases the cover and mounts Cade, pummeling his face with a series of rights and lefts. Willie Dean breaks it up, and Trey fires back to his feet, soaking in all of the cheers from the fans who appeared to have been reenergized along with him. Cade, groggy, begins to get back to his feet as well. Trey rushes over to Cade, cutting him off from gaining his own footing, lifting him the rest of the way to his feet. He releases his grasp, and delivers a chop to the sternum of Cade Sydal. The Thud resonates through the arena, as Cade back up a few paces, only to be met with another chop to the chest.
Cade stumbles backwards, as Trey is quick to follow. Trey delivers one more chop as a deafening "Woo" can be heard from the fans in the arena. Trey delivers a boot to the midsection and locks Cade in a double underhook!
Other Guy: This is it Eryk! The Dawn of a New Era! Cade is finished!
Just as Trey is about to lift Cade into the Dawn of a New Era, Cade, struggling, lifts Trey over his head, and slams him to the mat, bridging into a pin!
Eryk Masters: TREY KICKS OUT! That was a close call there by the former champion!
Both men lay on the mat, Cade is clearly worn out from the uncharacteristic show of strength, and Trey is reeling from the force his back took to the mat. Both men writhe in pain for a few moments before Cade begins stirring, rising up to one knee. Trey is next to one knee, as the two men avoid the beginning of Dennis Heflin's count. Cade is first to his feet. Before catching his breath, he moves towards Trey, assisting him forcefully to his feet. Cade locks Trey up, transitioning into a waistlock. Trey fires an elbow into the face of Cade, who will still not release the hold. One more elbow smash. Cade moves his grip upward and locks in a sleeper hold on Trey! Dennis Heflin checks Trey's arm, which immediately is held high in defiance.
Cade wrenches the hold, as Heflin continues to check on Trey. For his part, Trey is able to land an elbow into the side of Cade. Cade, sensing the impending break of his hold, summons all of his strength, pulling Trey's head backwards, flipping him over in a Sleeper Takedown! He immediately transitions upward, maintain his sleeper hold on Trey. Cade wrenches back. Trey, in obvious pain, gets his knees underneath him. Heflin checks on Trey one more time, who mouths the word "NO" at him. The fans begin stomping their feet, chanting Trey's name aloud as he begins to drag himself and Cade towards the ropes.
Eryk Masters: This was not the position Trey wanted to be in here.
Other Guy: But it looks like Trey is actually going to make it to the ropes!
Trey lets out a guttural scream and gives one final push towards the ropes. Cade attempts to wrench back one more time, but TREY MANAGES TO GET HIS ARM DRAPED OVER THE BOTTOM ROPE! Dennis Heflin demands that Cade release the hold, who simply continues to wrench back on Trey's neck. Heflin warns Cade one final time, then begins his count.
The fans shower the ring with a chorus of boos at the former champion.
Cade gives one final squeeze to the neck of Trey before releasing the hold. Cade back up to the opposite ring ropes, and rockets forward towards the still body of Trey Willett. Cade slides to the mat in a baseball slide BUT NO! Trey slides out of the way just in time as Cade slides out of the ring, unable to grasp the ropes before hitting the concrete below! The fans erupt in applause as Trey uses the ropes as leverage to help him get back to his feet. As Trey rises to his feet, Cade is still laid out on the concrete.
Eryk Masters: Cade is still down! It looks like his leg caught the guardrail on his way down. He may have jarred his knee here.
Other Guy: Cade is clutching onto that right leg for dear life, Eryk.
Trey, seeing Cade hurting, grabs hold of the top turnbuckle at attempts to pull himself to the top rope.
Other Guy: What is Trey doing here? This isn't going to be very pretty.
Trey manages to get himself to the top and signals to his fans. Cade is still motionless on the outside. With one final check in aim, Trey rockets himself from the top rope into a TREY50 SPLASH! HE CONNECTS!
Eryk Masters: Oh. My. God. Both men are dead. There is no way either of them are getting up after that.
The arena goes from cheers, to a stunned silence. The atmosphere feels as if all of the air had been let out of a balloon. Dennis Heflin seems a bit slack-jawed for a moment, but is quickly snapped out of it to start his count as both men are laid out on the floor below.
The fans begin to chime back in, chanting and clapping their hands for the Wayward Son.
Trey is back on one knee. Cade still lies motionless on the concrete floor.
Trey is back on his feet and reaches down for Cade's head.
Trey pulls Cade to his feet and slides him into the ring, breaking the count. Trey crawls into the ring after him and collapses onto the body of Cade Sydal! Heflin drops down to make the count.
Abigail Chase: Your winner, at a time of 19 minutes, 28 seconds. He is SHOOT Project's Wayward Son. He is TREY WILLETT!
The fans erupt in applause as Heflin calls to the back for the EMT Crew. Neither man is getting up. Two crews rush the ramp, bringing stretchers down to ringside.
Eryk Masters: What a match! It looks like both men will need medical attention. Just goes to show you how much this business really means to these men.
Other Guy: No kidding. And what about this victory? In the last two months, Trey has beaten four former World Champions. It may not have been pretty, but X-Calibur should really be starting to worry about what is coming his way at Reckoning Day!
Home. It's a term that's used so often it's lost its meaning. What is home? Is it where you first drew breath? Is it where you currently hang your hat? Ask five different people, you'll wind up getting five different answers.
Me? I'm a nomad. Lived all over- born and raised in California, a few years in New Mexico, couple months in New York, hell, even spent some time overseas. Wherever the job took me, I went. Wherever I needed to go to better myself, I went. But there was one place that no matter how beat up I was, no matter how pissed off at the world I was, no matter how fucking low I felt, I knew I could find solace. I could find sanctuary. I could find myself. I could walk in tore up from the floor up and walk out with the batteries charged, the juices flowing at full tilt, ready to add one more name to my list of victims.
Yeah, that's right. I'm a fighter. Cage, wrestling ring, I've been there, done it, and walked away with the accolades, the gold, the hand held high, the fans cheering my name, the fans booing and wishing I'd just go away for good... I've seen it all. And one person helped me make sense of it all. The one person who would never hang up the phone at the sound of my voice, knowing I needed someone to talk to.
And he's here. In Las Vegas. He's down the road.. this road I know so well, having travelled it many times before. He took a scrappy loose cannon with an attitude and forged something else entirely. I can see the gate now...
But something's different.
There's a new sign out front. The SHOOT Project Epicenter.
New ownership. Someone's taken over my sanctuary. The one refuge I knew I could always rely on is now in someone else's hands.
And I'm betting I know who's responsible.
This means only one thing. I've got to break a promise I made to an old friend... and to myself.
Soon... very soon.
It will begin again.
The lights drop out and a lone golden spotlight shines out on the entrance ramp. Bryan Harris decked out in a beautiful tuxedo steps out and pulls a silver plated microphone to his lips as the crowd boos mercilessly.
Bryan Harris: Ladies and Gentlemen if I may have your full and undivided attention, PLEASE!
The Boos only get louder, and Harris scowls out at the masses.
Bryan Harris: About to grace your presence are men who need NO introduction, but are so damn awesome that they get one, anyway! Men who men want to be be, and women want to be with. Men who piss excellence on a daily basis to the point that this place should cease to be called the SHOOT Project, and should henceforth be known as The Hierarchy Complete and Total Domination.... Project.
An asshole chant begins to echo throughout the epicenter.
Bryan Harris: So here, tonight we celebrate the Hierarchy and their collective awesomeness. We celebrate the men who brought you here tonight. Men who have won hundreds of matches, won dozens of titles, and have won MILLIONS of hearts. They are the apple of my eye. The jelly to my peanut butter. The reason I wake each and every day with a smile. Accompanied by Anarchy and Yuri. Here are, Jean-Gerard Baptiste, 3M, the NEW CWC World Heavyweight Champion, THE HIERARCHY!!
Fireworks explode around the SHOOT arena as Anarchy and Yuri stroll out, followed by Jean-Gerard Baptiste, and then Mirage. The men dressed to the nines, make their way to the ring and stand their waiting for the next introduction.
Bryan Harris: And reason for this celebration. He is the NEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWW SHOOT Project Champion of the WORLD! He is... X. CAAAAAAAAAAAL. I. BUR!!!!!!!!!!!
"I've watched you change…"
…Into a fly."
As "Change" rips through the arena X-Calibur steps out with a impeccably tailored navy suit, with a gold button down shirt, and the SHOOT Championship draped over his shoulder. He smirks smugly at the masses as he saunters to the ring. He walks up the steps as the rest of the Hierarchy applauds. T.Rex doing the "we're not worthy" bowing. X steps between the ropes before launching the title sky ward as if he's rubbing it in all of our faces. Harris scurries down to the ring, bringing the mic to X-Calibur. He pulls it slowly to his lips.
X-Calibur: I. TOLD. YOU. S-
"Lets GO-O-O.... LET'S GO!!!"
The arena roars, and X looks up the ramp lividly as Ke$ha's "We R Who We R" hits and Loco Martinez walks slowly from backstage in a blue Philadelphia Union zip up hoodie, a pair of navy blue cargo shorts, and a pair of bright yellow Adidas indoor soccer shoes. He walks stoically towards the ring; his eyes analyzing the scene before him as T.Rex and Arch Angel instinctively slide out of the ring and stand at the base of the ramp cutting off
X-Calibur: Teddy, Chris. You can step aside. I think I know what the "Freakshow" wants. I don't think he means US any harm. Considering… well, how long has it been since he tasted any kind of success inside a SHOOT ring? Since him and his bestest bud fluked a victory over the greatest entity this earth has ever seen inside a ring?
T. Rex and Arch Angle part, allowing Loco to step through. As Loco hops onto the apron, T. Rex and Arch Angel climb up as well, almost smothering him with their daunting presence.
X-Calibur: Oh, how times change, Loc'. Look at us…
He gestures widely to the Hierarchy collective, and with as much venom and hatred as he can muster..
X-Calibur: … now take one good look at YOURSELF! You have the audacity… the FUCKING… AUDACITY… to come to MY ring, MY celebration dressed like some sort of soccer rat?! Seriously, what the FUCK happened, man?!
Loco looks at T.Rex and Arch Angel who have stepped aside but have kept their eyes on him with menacing intencity. Loco slowly strides through. He takes a deep breath realizing the potential folly he could be making as he rolls into the ring and pops up and gets directly into X-Calibur's face. The crowd buzzes in nervous anticipation. Loco leans in and speaks into the mic X is holding.
Loco Martinez: The times do change, X. As do people. All I've tried to do since coming to SHOOT was to put smiles to people's faces.
Loco Martinez: To entertain people.
Some More Cheers.
Loco Martinez: And yet… I have to wonder if its impossible.
The crowd boos pulls a one-eighty and instinctively boos the negativity in these words. X smiles huge at Loco's doubt.
Loco Martinez: There's a cloud that has long hovered over this place. Akin to the Nothing in the Neverending Story. It comes to destroy all of Fantasia. Its sole mission is to erase everything. If its the Hierarchy or Project SCAR or Jonny Johnson. It has… it has been like this forever, it seems.
The fans listen intently.
Loco Martinez: Guys like Crazy Boy and Jester Smiles have let this Nothing corrupt them. To let it go into their souls and turn them as black and empty and single minded as it is. I see friends snapping. I see good people do horrible things. It is a poison.... and... I have to wonder... can it be stopped?
He sighs heavily, and closes his eyes.
Loco Martinez: I don't know. I just… don't know. Maybe, the old cliché, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." is most appropriate right now.
The crowd REALLY boos this as a giant Cheshire cat-like grin has parted between X's lips.
Loco Martinez: Luckily? I'm not one for clichés, Eryk.
Loco snatches the mic out of a stunned X's hand as the crowd roars their approval.
Loco Martinez: Also… even luckier ? I'm not Atreyu. I'm not a lone warrior. There ARE people back there waiting to be rays of sunlight cracking through the dark cloud attempting to envelope SHOOT. From Maya and Crippler… [crowd roars]… to King and Trey… [Cheers get louder]… and I apologize for breaking convention, but lets face facts: there is ONE thing Loco Martinez hasn't been for his 13 plus year career... and that's CONVENTIONAL.
Loco takes a turn to smile broadly.
Loco Martinez: The reason I'm out here has something to do with what you said. When was the last time I was a winner inside this ring? When was the last time Samantha Coil called MY name out at the end of the match? It was the last time I was in the ring with YOU.
Massive POP from the crowd. Some of them even begin a, "FREAK-SHOW! FREAK-SHOW!" chant.
Loco Martinez: There are a laundry list of people who want a piece of you and a shot at that belt. People who aren't gonna be pleased at my attempts to "jump the line". People who absolutely think that I don't belong. But-but-... BUT, you know better, X. You've been in this ring with me. You know exactly what I can do inside this ring. Win-loss record be damned. You enjoy your little coronation, but I want to know if you're willing to be subject your new found reign to a baptism by fire?
Crowd roars. X's grin has melted into a scowl as he levels an icy glare at his former tag team partner from long ago.
X-Calibur: Out. All of you.
When none of the Hierarchy realize he was directing those orders at them, X turns around, looking at every one of them.
X-Calibur: I said OUT… right now. I'm not fucking kidding.
T. Rex: Dude, I don't think that's such a good I-
Before T. Rex can even finish the sentence, X-Calibur jumps into the air, wraps his arms around T. Rex's neck, and drives him face first into the canvas with an X-Terminator.
Eryk Masters: What the?!?! Why'd he do that?!?!
Other Guy: God. X isn't playing around. His own "comrade".
With T. Rex motionless and face first "in the dirt", X looks around at the remaining members of the Hierarchy. Mirage smiles, nods, and motions for everyone in the pack to exit the ring. Everyone but Azrael Goeren complies. X looks at Goeren and shrugs.
X-Calibur: Sorry, dude. But this shit here? This isn't about the Hierarchy.
He pats Goeren on the shoulder.
X-Calibur: Trust me.
Finally nodding, Goeren steps between the ropes and hops down to the outside. Every single person in Hierarchy walks backwards up the ramp, all eyes on X and Loco.
X-Calibur: What's wrong, dude? You pissed that your "friend" left you high and dry? Huh? Well save it. It ain't MY fault, or the Hierarchy's, that Stellar's become such a shell of his former self that he couldn't even win a contract negotiation for a new contract. I told you from the fucking GET GO, in LEGACY, that going back with Stellar was a bad business news… and now? It took a little longer than I thought it would, but it looks like I was absolutely right. Cause here you are… alone.
Pausing, he looks out at the audience.
Looking back at Loco..
X-Calibur: With nowhere to go. Like that rebellious teenager who ran away from home and, once that stack of bills he stole from Daddy on his way out wallet started lookin' a little slim, came crawling back home with his head hung in shame. Well you know what? Fuck you, Jay. I'm not hearin' it anymore, dude. That ship, as they say, has sailed.
The crowd boos mercilessly as Loco shakes his head in disgust.
X-Calibur: I gave you the opportunity… THE FUCKING OPPORTUNITY… to roll with me here before I even came to SHOOT… and you… you turned it down, man.
He pauses, placing back of hand to mouth, in an act of stifling emotions.
X-Calibur: You told me in no uncertain terms that you were done. That you weren't happy with the person that you have become. That, despite how much money… fame… and RESPECT we had earned together that you wanted to throw it all away on an account of self-abandonment.
He turns his back completely on Loco, who simply stands there looking at his former friend. Leaning forward with his elbows resting on the top rope, X's eyes veer off into the audience. Lips quivering with contempt, they eventually look up into the SHOOTron at Loco and himself. It was like an outer-body experience happening right before him.
X-Calibur: So now, here you are… asking ME for something. Asking ME… for a shot at THIS.
He unstraps the title belt from around his waist and slings it over his shoulder. Knocking his knuckles against the gold face plate, X continues.
X-Calibur: For a shot at a championship you've not ONCE even remotely tried to earn a fucking crack at. For a free pass to cut directly in front of those very names you just dropped on me.
Looking out at the audience, X screams.
X-Calibur: SOME HERO, FOLKS! TURNS OUT YOUR SUPPLIER OF SMILES AND HARBINGER OF HAPPINESS IS NOTHIN' BUT A SHORT CUT TAKIN' BITCH!!!
Once again, the boos RAIN down upon X. Loco though? Loco seems unfazed by the insults.
Loco Martinez: You never answered my question, X.
Loco takes a few steps forward. Noticing this up on the SHOOTron, X turns around and takes a few steps forward himself, going nose to nose with Loco Martinez.
X-Calibur: Your career.
Loco Martinez: What?
X smirks. There's a hushed silence.
X-Calibur: You want a shot at the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship next week? Then you're gonna give me something I want. And I want… your fucking career.
Loco actually looks taken aback by this proposition, as if the thought of retiring at the hands of this man never even crossed his mind.
X-Calibur: I'll give you one more match, Loco. One final chance at defeating me in the middle of this ring. But this time? When you fail? It's not a simple slow walk to the showers and an "aw shucks, maybe next time".
Almost in a whisper…
X-Calibur: When you fail? You… are… done.
Loco thinks this over, he looks out to the crowd who is shouting their opinions like he's in the showcase showdown at Price is Right. Loco continues looking at the crowd. He turns to the SHOOTron, watching himself and X-Calibur inside the ring. He turns slowly.
Loco Martinez: You'd love that, wouldn't you? To get rid of me. For one more threat to be out of SHOOT. When you came to me you warned me to never step foot inside a SHOOT ring. That'd you end my career.
He pauses a beat, before flashing a smile.
Loco Martinez: Looks like you're going to get your chance. Shine it up for me, Eryk. I'll see you in a week.
"We R Who We R" flares up on the PA system and the crowd ROARS as Loco tosses the mic down and slingshots himself over the top rope, landing ringside effortlessly. He turns and locks into a stare down with X-Calibur as he backs his way up the ramp.
Patting his title, X simply shouts inaudible threats over the music.
Del Carver/Patrick Kidd d. X-Calibur/Azrael Goeren - Carver hits the Diamond Cutter to gain the pinfall.
Azrael rolls out of the ring and heads towards the timekeeper's table at ringside where his CWC World Heavyweight Championship resides. Before Mark Kendrick can even respond, Azrael leans back and blasts him with stiff fist to his face, knocking Kendrick backwards over his chair as Goeren grabs his title belt and a microphone from the table.
Eryk Masters: Come on! What did Kendrick do to deserve that?!
Other Guy: I blame Kendrick on that one, he probably was touching Azrael's belt without permission. Besides, after dealing with Kidd throughout that match, Goeren looks pretty pissed off!
Eryk Masters: When is that guy not pissed off?
Azrael storms away from ringside, doing his best to get away from Kidd before he can fully recover in the middle of the ring. Goeren stops halfway up the ramp, angrily looking back at the ring as he throws his title belt up over his right shoulder and brings the microphone up to his face.
Goeren: Sie idiotische schwein! How dare you lay your hands on me in that ring!
Kidd motions for Samantha Coil to toss him a microphone as he yells back at Goeren.
Kidd: I told you at Master of the Mat that this was just the beginning! You've had time for your actions to sink in, now you're going to pay for them!
Goeren: Have you forgotten everything that I put you through over the years? Do you remember all of those broken bones and shattered ribs? I remember each and every one of them Kidd...I never enjoyed hurting anyone as much as I enjoyed hurting you.
Azrael sneers, wiping his hair away from his face as he slowly backs up the ramp.
Goeren: You're truly pathetic, you know that don't you? You're a busted shell of a human being who had his last bit of dignity stolen away from him years ago by yours truly. I destroyed you in that ring, I erased your legacy...but you still kept fighting me. Why? Why won't you just die like the embarrassing never-was that you are?
Kidd: You may have tried to destroy me in this ring, but you will never have the respect from these fans that Carver and I have. You can't destroy the memories we have given these people, so instead you've decided to destroy my personal life outside this damn ring!
Azrael reaches the top of the ramp and slowly paces back and forth, seemingly at odds with himself over what to say next. He suddenly stops and shakes his head, that sick grin returning to his face.
Goeren: You're right Patrick. After everything we've been through over the years together, you always knew how to cut to the core of me. I put you through hell in the past, I tried to take everything you ever had away from you...but I could never take it all. You always had your pride. Your reputation...and your precious little family.
Azrael tilts his head slightly to the side in a demented fashion.
Goeren: You have Jessica to kiss your boo-boos for you and once upon a time you had the exotic and erotic Anna...and you had...your child.
Azrael stifles a laugh at the last word that leaves his mouth.
Goeren: Little Mikey. The apple of your eye. One of the few things left in this world to keep you sane. I suppose I have to thank you in advance for the folder you gave me at Master of the Mat...
Kidd: You may want to think twice if you want to do this here and now. Choose your words wisely.
Goeren: Why not? You wanted to make this public, let's give the SHOOT fans an inside look at Patrick Kidd's sordid little life. At first, I didn't believe the contents of said folder. It was some trick, some parlor game you were trying to play in order to get inside my head. For what purpose, I did not know. I had my lawyers working day and night on the evidence, trying to find out just how you fabricated those documents. Turns out...you didn't. Turns out, everything in that folder was true.
Azrael stops pacing and glares up at the ring, his next sentence oozing with hatred and malice.
Goeren: Your son Michael isn't your son at all. He's my son.
The crowd explodes with jeers as Azrael remains unmoved by their reaction, keeping his focus solely on Kidd.
Eryk Masters: WHAT?!
Other Guy: Oh man...oh man...
Goeren: I should have known that a half-man like you couldn't produce any children on his own. To think Kidd...all of those times you've gone on and on talking about what a horrible, disgusting subhuman I am...when the truth is you've been raising my seed as your own for the last five years. I took your career, I took your legacy...and now, finally...I can take the last thing you hold dear in your worthless life.
The crowd is still buzzing as Azrael backs up towards the curtain, his cold eyes still piercing on the ring.
Goeren: I want my son back, Kidd. He deserves everything that you could not provide. He deserves a real father. He deserves to be...a Goeren.
The lights suddenly dim and we hear the silky vocals of John Legend rumble over the speakers.
Ohh, the fire, the fire
Ohh, the fire, the fire
A rapid onset of jumbled images flash onto our screen that you can’t make out… the images are too random. We see the warehouses in Tokyo, a fan is taping a match in an extremely small ring with tattered ring ropes. The fuzzy image is a man clad in black, his hands are taped and the hood is pulled over his head. We can’t see this man.
There's something in your heart
And it's in your eyes
It's the fire, inside you
Let it burn
We see a pair of black boots slowly heading towards its destination. We see landmarks of SHOOT’s glorious past. The neon lights of Las Vegas and the rabid fans in the Thomas and Mack Arena are seen. A figure can be seen in the background making his way to the forefront.
You don't say good luck
You say, "Don't give up"
It's the fire, inside you
Let it burn
We’re now taken to the sandy shores of the Pacific ocean… we see a man shirtless with white karate pants. He is stretching out to the heavens summoning his energy…his chi. He is preparing for his journey back.
Yeah, and if I'm ever at the crossroads
And start feeling mixed signals like Morse code
My soul start to grow colder than the North Pole
I try to focus on the hole of where the torch goes
The man’s head is down still obstructed from our view but he rises and faces the camera but we still can’t see him.
My fire… still burns.
My fire… will be rekindled.
My fire … is undeniable.
A spotlight is on the entrance as out steps a man we haven’t seen in nearly four years. A man that had said his goodbyes… this was a man that was retired.. wasn’t he?
In the tradition of these legendary sports pros
As far as I can see, I've made it to the threshold
Lord knows I've waited for this a lifetime
And I'm an icon when I let my light shine
Jun Kenshin steps out to a thunderous applause. His head is still shaved bald, his beard has more patches of white than we last remembered, he is wearing a black tank top with black and silver trim Muay Thai shorts. His ankles and fists are taped like he’s about to do battle. He looks around at the camera and just soaks in the electric atmosphere. “The Fire” by The Roots and John Legend continue to blare in the background.
Eryk Masters: He’s back! Jun Kenshin is back!
Other Guy: Oh my! Folks if you don’t know who this man is. Let me fill you in real quick. He’s a former World Heavyweight Champion, a former Tag Team Champion, former Rule of Surrender Champion, former Iron Fist Champion and the first ever Cruiserweight Champion.
Eryk Masters: He had legendary battles with Vincent Mallows, Christopher Davis, Diamond Del Carver, Roland Caldwell, Eli Storm and Cade Sydal.
Other Guy: But why? Why is he back?
Kenshin breaks into a HUGE smile as he slaps the hands of the fans loving every minute of this unexpected return. As he makes his way into the ring, he climbs aboard the ring steps, wipes his feet on the apron and then jumps excitedly over the ropes.
Jun Kenshin: Wow. I never…
Kenshin has to stop. He looks around at the fans, looks up at the SHOOT Project banner and he has to take it in. He takes a deep breath and continues.
Jun Kenshin: First things first. The last time you saw me in this ring… I was saying goodbye. Now? Now I get to say hello. So let me introduce myself in case you don’t know who I am. My name is Jun Kenshin and I am BACK HOME!
The crowd pops HARD.
Jun Kenshin: SHOOT Project was my home. To say I loved this place wouldn’t be enough. I LIVED this place. For many years, I fought the battles that people thought would be a hopeless cause. And those battles were in AND out of this ring. I didn’t hide any of my demons from you. No, in fact I openly DARED my opponents to use my weaknesses against me. Some did…. MOST did not.
The crowd claps.
Jun Kenshin: For the longest time, my career was all about one thing and that was the pursuit of the Holy Grail of combat sports. The grandest prize in this business and that was The World Heavyweight Championship. Now I know that I am not worthy of that prize nor am I asking for a shot. What I am asking is a shot at redemption.
The crowd buzzes not knowing where Kenshin is going.
Jun Kenshin: For many years, I prided myself on getting the best out of my opponents, pushing them to their limits and beyond. Win, lose or draw, when you saw my name on the marquee, you were guaranteed to have your money’s worth because I busted my ass for YOU guys. It didn’t matter if it was in front of a couple hundred people in an unheated warehouse in Japan or over fifty thousand people in Safeco Park…. I went out there and gave everything I possibly had. I gave everything to this business and it got to be where there was nothing left to give. So instead of hanging around, I left on my own terms. I choose to leave because I couldn’t compete under MY standards. But there was always that hunger… that drive in the back of my mind. All that I needed was a purpose and when Jason Johnson called me up, he gave me a purpose.
The crowd pops.
Jun Kenshin: So I came back… I am coming back to SHOOT’s reunion show. Jason Johnson called me up and said he wants me to face the man that made me look like a fool the last time I climb into this ring… he is brutal…. He is inhuman and he is Adrian Corazon!
The crowd goes “Ooooh!” tempted with the matchup.
Jun Kenshin: Corazon. The former two time World Heavyweight Champion. How far you’ve come… you were the essence of brutality. You were SHOOT’s embodiment of its warrior heart. Let me assure of you something Mr. Corazon. I am not coming back for a paycheck. I’m not coming back to be a nostalgia act I came back to make things right.
Kenshin stops to pace the ring collecting his thoughts before continuing.
Jun Kenshin: There’s a saying that when an athlete is young…all he cares about is the name in the back of his uniform. He cares about the glitz… the glamour… all the individual accolades that goes along with it. But when that athlete gets older, all he cares about is the name in the FRONT of the uniform. It’s all about what’s best for the team… how he can make his team great. Well for a long time, SHOOT Project was my team and I have been gone for far too long! For this ten year anniversary, I get to put on the SHOOT Project colors and get to show the world why I am undeniable because MY fire?
Kenshin stops as the camera pans to a close up of his face.
Jun Kenshin: My fire STILL burns!
Kenshin emphatically drops the microphone and raises his arms to the audience.
Eryk Masters: The ten year reunion show is shaping up to be one of the best ever, OG!
Other Guy: Talk about a dream match. A match of former World Heavyweight Champions. The new school versus the old school! Adrian Corazon versus Jun Kenshin!
Eryk Masters: I like it! I like it a lot!
Kenshin exits the ring as “The Fire” plays again and he makes his way to the back.
Eryk Masters: This should be a great match folks. A new debut here in "The Enigma" Bucky Skyler.
Other Guy: Yeah but his opponent is someone who he teamed with in years past so he is a known threat to the always intense Tanya Black who needs to snap her losing streak.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one fall! First to the ring he is from West Palm Beach, California he is BUCKY SKYLER!
"Hammer Of The Gods" by Testament plays as The arena lights flicker then the arena goes dark. Purple lights hit the main area of the stage as smoke billows up towards it as guitar shreds can be heard.
She Will Sing, Til Everything Burns While Everyone Screams Burning In Their Lies Burning My Dreams
The lights dim down for a moment and the video wall springs to life showing various images of SHOOT Project competitors each image being burned away in sequence as if someone was burning a stack of photos.
As Everything Burns continues to play the arena explodes into boos as Tanya Black emerges out of the back, her head hanging down solemnly until she gets to the end of the ramp at which point she looks up at the ring and grins like a cat sizing up it's prey. Standing at ringside Tanya watches as her song dies down the last words echoing through the arena
All of this hate
With that Tanya slides into the ring with a surprising burst of speed given her slow walk to the ring catching those in the ring off-guard. After Austin Linam checks both wrestlers out the bell rings to begin the match. Bucky and Tanya move to the middle of the ring and lock up. After a moment of back and forth positioning, Bucky whips Tanya into the ropes and goes for the clotheslines but Tanya ducks and comes back with a full-speed lariat that takes Bucky down hard as the fans boo. Tanya ignores them as she sizes Bucky up and hits the Stunner as Bucky staggers to his feet, sending him crashing back down. As the fans try to get Bucky back into it, Tanya kicks Bucky hard in the ribs several times before hitting a double stomp to his knees causing Bucky to cry out in obvious pain.
Eryk Masters: She could have snapped his kneecaps in half!
Other Guy: Tanya is not in a good mood tonight. Or maybe she is. It's hard to tell with her lately.
As Austin Linam checks on Bucky who is clutching his knees in pain Tanya looks bored and after another moment shoves the referee back before lifting Bucky up and shoving him back first into the turnbuckle. Chopping his chest mercilessly Tanya follows up with a headbutt to the sternum before grabbing Bucky by the hair and slamming his face into the turnbuckle five times then letting him slump to the ground. Skipping to the middle of the ring Tanya lines up her shot and runs, hitting the double knees to the face as the fans boo her cruelty, the referee forcing Tanya back as he checks on Bucky's condition.
Other Guy: This right here is why Tanya Black is hanging out with a big star like Cade Sydal.
Eryk Masters: Yeah well both lost title matches at Master of the Mat and this match isn't over until she pins the poor guy. We've seen more incredible comebacks.
With Bucky insisting he can still fight, he charges out of the corner but Tanya easily dodges his wild swing and hits the backcracker. With Bucky laid out on the mat again, Tanya drags him into position before hitting a leg drop. The fans begin to boo as Tanya hits a bottom rope leg drop only to call for another. Jumping up to the middle rope Tanya hits her next leg drop before going all the way up. Blowing Bucky a goodbye kiss Tanya leaps and hits the top rope leg drop to finish off the four-hit combo as Bucky coughs and struggles to breathe.
Eryk Masters: Okay. Now he's done. Tanya Black is hitting all her favorite big time moves. It's like she's turned this match into a highlight reel.
Other Guy: I have to say seeing how she is dismantling Bucky Skyler like this makes me want to question getting in the ring with her.
Yelling at the referee to get back Tanya hooks Bucky up with the Boston Crab and cranks back hard on it as the bigger wrestler struggles to get free. Stuck in the middle of the ring, Bucky can do nothing but fight the pain. Finally it seems like he is going to tap when suddenly Tanya Black lets him go and waves off the referee. Forcing Bucky up to his feet, Tanya slaps him hard across the face before hooking up the Tough Love. The referee dives down to count but Tanya doesn't go for the pin, instead floating over and locking on the Tap Out Bitch! cranking hard as Bucky immediately taps out on the mat, though Tanya simply keeps the move locked on until the referee counts to four and threatens to reverse the decision.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen your winner via submission TANYA BLACK!
Eryk Masters: Thank God. Get her out of that ring.
Other Guy: Tanya almost let her desire to hurt cost her the match.
As Tanya Black bows ignoring the boos she turns and sees Austin Linam helping Bucky up. Running across the ring Tanya hits the concussion kick, sending Bucky rolling out of the ring and falling to the floor in a heap. Rolling out of the ring Tanya searches under the apron and pulls out her lead pipe. The fans go insane with hate as Tanya slams the pipe into Bucky's throat as the bell rings, security finally coming out to force Tanya to leave as EMTs race out to tend to Bucky Skyler who is out cold and barely breathing.
Eryk: That's it. She's gone off the deep end. I hope Jason Johnson fines her a month's pay.
Other Guy: I don't think that will stop Tanya. She said it, if she wants your career ended you are done.
“All of the Lights” by Kanye West begins to play as the fans in attendance RIP into cheers! DONOVAN KING steps out from the back wearing a new dark green thermal sweater with a black crown on the chest. He marches down to the ring, slapping a hand here and there. However, he is stone faced as he gets to the ring.
Eryk Masters: This is bound to be…interesting. Rumblings and rumors have followed Donovan King ever since Master of the Mat that he will be facing one hell of a challenge at our Ten Year Anniversary show. An opponent that’s been kept under wraps up ‘til now.
Other Guy: Dude, I’m DYING to know who it is! Will he reveal it here?!
King stands in the middle of the ring, microphone in his hand as “All of the Lights” fades out. He stands there, listening to the small chant for “King…King…” begin to grow.
Eryk Masters: He’s waited his whole career to hear this sort of reaction.
He chuckles for a moment, touched by what he hears. After a few moments, he holds his hands up to try and quiet them down. Slowly but surely, the chant dies down and King stands there, a look in his eyes that seems simultaneously haunted and furious.
Donovan King: This…close.
He pauses, letting the words soak in.
Donovan King: One…two…kick out. That…close. After going through Diamond Del Carver, Cronos Diamante, and Dan Stein…three of the biggest, baddest, most resilient people to have ever set foot in a wrestling ring…I miss it by that much.
Donovan King: Have that match ten times, it might’ve gone ten different ways and maybe? Just maybe…maybe…one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine times…I could beat Trey Willett. Maybe.
Instead…that one. That one match, dat one second, dat one single…solitary moment…when I failed.
He pauses again, letting the words sink in.
Donovan King: One year ago, I was The Uncrowned Donovan King, head of the table in Sovereign, World Championship I believed I never lost sittin’ on my shoulder an’ the world at my feet. Then…I lose my title, I shake that man’s hand. Then, I can’t handle Tommy Black, I just…make it through. I…maintained. Then…my Sovereign brothers got tired of my maintainin’ an’ they dropped me like a bad fuckin’ habit.
He holds his right hand index finger up in the air.
Donovan King: Now, logic dictates that when I get my ass handed to me by a bunch uh cowards…that vengeance is on my mind. An’ it has been. Azrael Goeren…X-Calibur…they have been on my hit list for months now. After I get my ass kicked, I get ready to hit ‘em hard. What happens? X an’ Azzy decide they needed to…distract me. They hired onto their entourage…Triple M himself.
He lets the fans boo as he says that name.
Donovan King: He kept at me, he beat me, but my goal…my ultimate goal…was to break The Hierarchy down. I keep…climbin’ that mountain an’ somethin’ keeps swattin’ me down. Black, Cronos, Mirage…Trey. Now, X-Calibur is World Champion an’ Trey Willett’s gonna be gettin’ the first crack at him. My redemption an’ my reckoning…all on one man’s head…all…in one other man’s hand.
He looks down, letting the words continue to sink in.
Donovan King: An’ I’m sick of it. I’m sick of bein’ runner up. I’m sick of bein’ one or two people away from winnin’ a Rumble or one second away from winnin’ a tournament that’d earn my shot to the top. Sooner or later, all the shit I’ve said about myself starts comin’ true. My one World title reign was two weeks long an’ came after I took advantage of a weaker and half beaten opponent. I’ve only survived in a crew.
Donovan King: SHOOT Project is gonna celebrate their ten year anniversary next week. My opponent is shrouded in mystery. All I know is…no matter who it is…I’ll never give up. I will never quit. I…
...and the thunderous boos rain down.
3M steps out onto the rampway shaking his head, he stops when he gets to the lip of the stage area and slowly lifts the mic to his masked face, his flowing tribal covered trench moving in waves behind him. He suddenly brings the mic back down and paces to the other side of the stage area and continues shaking his head again.
He lifts the mic again, and in a sniveling, whining type of voice...
3M: One...two...kickout. I was that...close. I could have fought that match 10 times and won 9...boo hoo, poor widdle diddle me. I’m sick of being a runner up...I’m sick of being second...I’m...
3M suddenly begins jumping up and down on stage, as if throwing a childlike tantrum. After making his point, he stops, turns toward the ring area, pointing at Donovan King.
3M: ...and I’m sick of you being a pussy because you’re a fraud. The real Donovan King...the MONSTER Donovan King didn’t come out the ring and moan about losing...and do you know why?
3M holds his hands out toward the fans as if he was asking the question to them.
3M: Because THAT Donovan King didn’t lose. THAT Donovan King didn’t try to forget the past and move on without resolving UNFINISHED FUCKING BUSINESS. And we. You and I, Donovan King...we have unfinished business. You see...I thought I had started to reawaken you. I thought maybe...just maybe I’m going to get to see the monster King again, he’ll drop this bitch ass facade and bring the fucking house down...so I backed off and let you compete in Master of the Mat. Peacefully. A calculated move, yes...but a peaceful move. And what is it you do in return? You lose. To who? To Trey...fucking...
The audience finishes the name in unison -- Willett.
3M: Thank you for that...but I know his name. So...I ask myself, what do I do about this? Do I pull a Donovan King and...well, let’s face it, adopt a empty sense of honor and move on from my problems, maybe come out to the ring and cry like a child in front of millions? No...that’s an act more fitting a...Queen. So it’s time to take some drastic measures. It’s obvious this is a product of motivation, or lack thereof on your part...so I’m gonna give you motivation. I’m through backing off and watching you fool the fans, the announcers, and everyone in between...hell, I’m through watching you fool yourself. I will awaken the sleeping dragon in you, King...if the last thing I do. And I will barrage you with unmitigated assaults until you wake the fuck up...and be...who...you...really...are.
3M shrugs, nodding slowly.
3M: So here’s the deal. Lose a match...pay the price. And believe me, this time...you won’t forget about me.
Donovan King: I have fucking HAD it!
He glares at Mirage, the fans beginning to cheer.
Donovan King: Why the fuck are you even here right now? You beat me, you failed in Master of the Mat just like I did. What? Because I got trained by the guy who helped make you big? Wait…because you think I’m this ruthless monster? What do you think is gonna happen, huh? You think I’m gonna cripple you? Kill you? End your career? You’ve stood in my way ever since Hierarchy attacked me…keepin’ me from getting to the both of them. Why the FUCK…do you even CARE?!
3M: Ohhh, he’s had it...and he even...*gasp* used the F word! TWICE!
3M puts the mic under his arm and slowly applauds King’s reaction. Taking the mic and slowly lifting it, 3M stops...and walks toward the edge of the rampway, sparking a gullible reaction from the audience...only to sit down, his legs dangling off the stage area.
3M: Why do I care? Wow. That...almost hurts. Hmm...how do I answer this in a way that conveys exactly how I feel? Ohh, I know. And I say this with all seriousness. In the words of a madman...it’s because...you...complete me.
3M laughs just loud enough for the mic to pick it up.
Donovan King: Mirage…you don’t even know me. You don’t know anything about me.
3M: I think I do know you...better than you know you. I just want you to be...well, all that you can be. And what you are right now...well, slinging insults doesn’t quite put the picture in focus, does it...but do you know what does? Results. And the results of this astoundingly amazing last year of your “career”...speak for themselves. I know! Maybe next time you can be the runner up in, hell, I don’t know...whatever contest that follows up your astoundingly ‘almost-was’ performances at the Rumble and Master of the Mat.
The fans boo as King stands there, seething. He takes a moment before he finally begins to speak.
Donovan King: …okay. You wanna keep playin’ this game? Fine, Emineminem, let’s. You tell me that if I can win, I don’t need to sweat you no more. An’ if I lose…you’re gonna come at me with a vengeance?
Donovan King: Fine. Perfect. I’m gonna stomp the shit outta whoever it is an’ maybe…just maybe…I’ll be done wit’ you for good. Because somebody like me doesn’t need to constantly have to look over my shoulder an’ wonder when oh when is Marcus Fucking Mirage gonna come outta the shadows on me.
3M stands back up.
3M: Wow...you really do wanna get rid of me, don’t you? Can’t say I understand why, because when I’m around you’re at your best...but c'est la vie, I guess...after all, a promise is a promise.
3M begins walking away when he suddenly stops.
3M: Oh...hey…almost forgot...about that so-called mystery opponent? Do you know who it is?
He doesn’t give King the chance to respond.
3M: Iiiiiiii doooooo!
Donovan King: How in God’s name could you possibly know that?
3M: Ah ah ah! It’s the ten year anniversary of SHOOT, Donnie. Where some of the biggest and best names in the company all come back to pay you and me a little visit. See, to get me out of your nappy hair forever…all you gotta do is take down…
The crowd…fucking…LOSE IT.
Eryk Masters: NO! WAY!
Other Guy: SIGN IT! DONOVAN KING VERSUS CHRISTOPHER DAVIS! ONE NIGHT ONLY!
3M: Until next you lose, which won’t be long...in the words of Ray Charles, I said...just an old sweet song...keeps Georgia on myyyyyyyyyy minnnnnnd!
Eryk Masters: Folks this is big. I mean, this is HUGE.
Other Guy: For one night only, Chris Davis! SHOOT Project Hall of Famer Christopher “Enigma” Davis is coming back to SHOOT and MIRAGE, of all people, had the scoop! He knew before all of us!
Eryk Masters: You gotta wonder the fear…the trepidation…I mean, Donovan King’s had a hard time of late and it’s not going to get any easier when face to face with somebody the likes of Christopher Davis! I mean, King idolizes Davis and now he’s gotta beat him?!
King leaves the ring, the camera focused on his eyes as he stares dead ahead, the look of pure intensity burning in them, as the show fades to black.